Aug 202014

Mind over Matter: Psion & Soulknife


This book that expands the glorious Psionics-rules from Dreamscarred Press’ Ultimate Psionics clocks in at 20 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, ~1.5 pages SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with ~15.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?


We immediately kick off with a new archetype for Nomads, the Locus. Skill-wise, they exchange fly and survival for bluff and perception as class skills and overall, they modify the discipline abilities of the Nomad beyond 2nd level, i.e. the archetype’s signature tricks are learned at 8th, 14th and 20th level and replace the respective default discipline abilities. What are these? Well the 8th level ability lets the nomad 1/day make a full attack versus any creature within reach, making all of the wilder’s melee and touch attacks versus said target count as the target being flanked. The nomad may designate a secondary target for one of the attacks within 10 feet of the primary target. The reach for eligible secondary targets can be extended by + 5 feet per power point expended. No more than con-mod power points can be expended thus – which feels slightly strange if you’ve been playing with psionics for some editions and still remember psychoportation generally being the dex-discipline, but since that connection has been diminished almost completely, no complaints there. (And yes, we get more daily uses as the levels progress…) At 14th level, the Locus may project a phantom self as long as the locus is psionically focused.


The phantom has all your physical traits and powers, but does not benefit from your magical items and only has psion level times int-mod hp, but cannot exceed your hp – I *assume* here that current hp is meant, but I’m not sure. While phantoms have no powers and usually can’t interact in a physical world, you can pay 3 power points to make a standard action, 2 to make a free, swift, immediate action with it. What do move-equivalent actions that interact with the physical world cost? The psion is aware of all the phantom’s experiences once the effect ends, but no sooner, making for an interesting balance mechanism here, though one that requires careful separation of in-game and out-game knowledge – why?

Because the psion is knocked unconscious for 10-con mod minutes if the phantom perishes, making scouting with it potentially perilous. Now generally, I love the idea of this ability. The execution and the wording, though, fall somewhat flat. A phantom may move up to psion level times int-mod times 100 feet away from your psion. What happens if the phantom tries to move beyond? I don’t know, the ability does not specify it. Also problematic – the phantom’s action economy – so only power points restrict the phantom’s actions? The text reads “The psion is able to make a single physical standard action…”, which proves to be the key here – the phantom’s actions seem to be that of the psion, i.e. the psion steers the phantom – which the text, apart from this small tidbit, unfortunately fails to mention. As written, the ability can be read as the phantom and psion acting simultaneously, rather than the psion steering the phantom, which would break action economy hardcore. From the text, I gather that was not the intention, though the ambiguity still remains. Also problematic – the ability fails to specify where the phantom emerges. As a capstone, you may create an exact duplicate of yourself and actually manages to get the hit point, magic items with charges (solved via a kind of quantum indeterminacy – first one to use the item, has it until the effect ends), effects and spells – all the stuff, RIGHT. Seriously, impressive capstone, well-crafted, two thumbs up for it!


The second psion-archetype would be the Mind Reaver for the Telepathy-discipline, who replaces profession as a class skill with disguise and must be non-good. And they better invest in some disguise ranks, for rather paltry checks can determine that there’s something not quite right with these guys and noticing nets severe penalties to all social interaction but intimidate, which is, of course, granted a bonus against those weirded out by the reaver. Rather interesting would be the ability to impose -1 penalties to will-saves via the expenditure of power points as a swift action (up to 1/4 psion level, min 1) until the target’s next turn. Where things get slightly off here would be in the additional ability, that allows for the expenditure of +3 power points to extend the effect to all creatures within 30 feet…of what? The power’s target? The mindreaver? This is a very important distinction. Also, as written, this means the ability can be used first at 12th level, whereas usual augment rules (yes, I know – usually applied to powers, not class abilities) cap augments at manifester level. I *assume* the ability’s limit (and thus, 12th level) take precedence over augmentation limits, but a clarification would still be nice. -1 to will does not seem like a good trade off at 12th level, especially since allies can’t be excluded from this ability…


As a standard action, 2nd level mindreavers may create psychic javelins and hurl them at targets via a touch attack (nitpick alert – this should be RANGED touch attack) – reach being the javelin’s reach, I *assume* and the javelin can be enhanced via feats etc. just as if it were a real javelin.Hit targets are shaken in addition to the damage received. The psion may spend 2 power points to increase threat range by plus 1. (At what cap? Could a psion make a javelin that threatens a crit on a natural 2?) At 6th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the range of the javelin increases by 10 ft., the damage dice by “a factor of 1″[sic!]. Granted, my math vocabulary may be a bit rusty, but factor is a term in multiplication and usually denotes one of the numbers used in it – so this would mean no increase. I think the wrong term has been used here and don’t have the slightest clue, how the base damage of the javelin scales. Why not just adhere to the rules-standard and write something like “at level x, the javelin’s base damage dice increase by +xdx and every y levels thereafter, said amount is increased by z” or something similar? The spear can be manifested 3+Int-mod times per day.


At 8th level, highjacking targets via mind control (via power points even as a move action!) becomes possible, though whether this special augment stacks or is in addition with the default augmentations of the power, I’m not sure. As a capstone, the mindreaver gets a deadly, madness-inducing aura and can pay power points to expand the aura and attack targets within with black tentacles of energy that stun the targets for 3 power points per target – unfortunately failing to specify the action creating one or more of these stun-tentacles takes. All in all, glorious in concept and pretty close to working, being awesome, this archetype is brought low by several minor issues that make it simply not work properly as intended.


The feats herein allow e.g. the Locus to get +2 uses of disturbed space per day, make a bull rush attempt (ranged combat maneuver, not a fan, but at least the restriction that bars movement by the manifester and the 1/fold restriction and power point cost balance it) via disturbed space, additionally knock targets prone on a failed save and even expand said attempt to hit all within 10 feet – of what? The Manifester or the target of disturbed space? What if disturbed space targets multiple creatures? Multiple AoO Bull Rush/Trips?

Amplified folding does not work as written – disturbed space is a full attack action, meaning the locus will not have a standard action left to make an attack at full BAB with flanking bonuses to two separate foes. An increase of the will-save crippling power of the mind reaver gets the changes its effect to fort instead does get the interaction with the base ability’s power point cap right, btw. The archetype can also get a power point-based gaze attack – that somehow does not work like gaze attacks. Usually, gaze attacks automatically work and can be targeted at creatures to potentially prompt second saves. However, the gaze attack granted by the feat does not have this passive component of the gaze attack – does that mean only those explicitly targeted can be affected with it or does the expenditure of the power point activate it? If the former, for how long?


The Soulknife-Attenuator archetype also modifies the class skill list and may make knowledge checks versus 10+CR to gain scaling circumstance bonuses to atk against targets for 3+wis-mod rounds – 2/day at 1st level + 1/day at 6th level and every 4 levels after that. While at first a full-round action, the action type this takes diminishes at 5th level to standard and thereafter on 8th to move action and finally to swift action at 11th level. Not a fan of the CR-mategamey aspect, but as an exchange for the 1st level bonus feat, okay. Instead of throwing their blade, the attenuator can execute a special attack that deals no damage, but applies negative conditions (first fatigued, then exhausted and dazed, and finally, stunned) to the target as a full-round action, useable 3+dex.mod times per day. The target gets a save. This ability is VERY weak and could use some improvements…


Foes properly identified via aforementioned gauge weakness-ability find, at 10th level, that it’s hard to cast spells or use powers on a failed save for wis-mod rounds. Per se okay disrupto, though I doN’t get why a save is used here in lieu of a concentration-check. Does the target realize the disruptive power? If not, are failed spells lost or not? Using concentration instead would have eliminated all these ambiguities. Additionally, since this ability replaces psychic strike, it makes soulknife levels 3 and 7 dead levels where nothing is gained. Bad! The capstone can emit a combined antimagic/null-psionics field that fails to specify caster level/manifester level as well as taking into account that the default assumption is for psionics and magic to interact.


The Manic Magpie automatically gets combat expertise and does not provoke AoOs when attempting the steal and disarm combat maneuvers and instead applies additional benefits when taking the improved-feats for these – paltry as they may be with a +1 competence bonus to slight of hands. This ability costs throw mind blade as well as the 1st level bonus feat.


At 3rd level, Magpies may steal weapons from foes via sleight of hand versus touch attack. The foe gets a ref-save versus the skill-checks result to prevent this. I consider this ability bad design. skill versus AC is not fair, skill versus touch AC is insane. Even the ref-save (which will always be below a properly maxed out skill) does not cut it. Also – why use this convoluted mechanic that deviates from how steal in handled in EVERY OTHER context and create confusion? Also problematic – when stealing mind-blades and spell/power-made weapons (which becomes possible at higher levels), blade skills, enhancements etc. are retained – but can apply their own blade skills to the mind-blade as well? Also, the ability features a caveat that it can be used +1/day at 6th level and +1/day every three levels thereafter, but the base ability has no daily cap. As a capstone, the Magpie may steal a single target spell/effect/power via sleight of hand that targets the character or an adjacent ally and redirect the effect – per se cool, but fails to specify what action it is – free? Immediate? that’s about it. Why does the character not have to identify the effect in question, as is custom with counterspelling and the like?


We also get 4 blade skills – one allows you to ignore soft cover when throwing your mind blade, which is pretty weak, and one that teleports you to the target of your throw as a move action. The former could use an anti-teleportation caveat, but apart from that, the caveat for direct lines, implying that obstacles can break your stride, works for me. Power Point-sapping does, too. However, the final skill, which costs a standard action to render your blade ghost touch for wis-mod rounds, is ridiculous. Look at that soulknife-table – at +1 equivalent, they can already do that. And yes, I get the added flexibility, but compared to other blade skills, this still makes no sense.


The new soulknife feats allow you to use the archetype abilities with x/day uses more often, combine at 15th level thrown mind blades with melee attacks/multi-throw, increase mind blade range or imbue the brilliant energy special ability into a piece of ammunition SANS LIMIT OR DURATION. Yeah, a soulknife with this feat can flood the market like kingdom come. Absorbing (and destroying) a psicrystal, gaining temporarily its personality benefits also seems a bit situational for a feat. Also confusing – why does stealing a psicrystal take a whole feat? Adding minor non-lethal damage to pressure strike (the negative condition-inducing attack of the Attenuator) is a nice touch, but since that remains the only damage the attack gets, its scaling (max 4d3+4) remains very weak. Also, do str-mod and similar bonuses to damage apply here? I *assume* no, but I’m not sure. A second feat makes this damage lethal instead. Yeah, not stoked either.


There also are 4 general new feats, one generally enhancing your effective ML by +1 whenever spending power points. So does this mean the augment-cap for the augmented ability is higher or that whenever you augment anything via power points, you’re treated as +1 ML? Before or after power points are expended? Don’t know, needs clarification. The same hold true for the follow-up feat. Critical Insight is one of these bad design-feats – regain 1 power point for every natural 20 you have with an attack. Bag of kittens. Ineffective bag of kittens that takes forever to replenish your power points, but still. A meditation that takes 1 hour and regains character level power points does work – limited by time, caveat for being uninterrupted and no ability to exceed the regular limits ensure it is a valid last ditch reserve.


We also get a neat new power that deals wis-damage and can cause a random, permanent insanity – here, two new ones, delirium and psychalgia, are provided. Nice! The new power Radiant Banner is an okay buff, while Thousand Cutting Cranes is interesting – an explosion of paper swans is less effective versus those wearing metal armor, while non-metal armor takes additional damage. The power also obscures sight for a limited duration. I love the imagery and idea of the power, but its implementation is suboptimal – what about non-metal materials that are harder than metal? Tying the mechanics to the hardness of the armor instead of its composition would have made for the more elegant design choice.


As a bonus, we get content for Mythic Adventures as well with the medium path – every tier in it increases hp by 4 and at 1st tier, one of 2 aptitudes needs to be selected. The first lets you expend mythic power to mitigate expenditure of a psionic focus and power point cost of a manifestation of a power. Additionally, it lets you roll twice to overcome power resistance and forces targets to take the lower of two saves when hit by said power. Per se cool, but what about augmentation? Does the use of mythic power also cover augmentation power points used or just the base power points expended? Metyphysical Strike is insane – use 1 mythic power to attack at full BAB as a swift action in addition to other attacks. Additionally, you have to spend 2xML in power points and gain said point spent as bonus to atk. Additionally, said attack deals 2d6/manifester level “psychic” (damage type does not exist) AND base damage ignores all DR. For a level 1 path aptitude, this is rather extreme and too strong. Additionally, the focus on power points and manifester levels means that the poor soulknife can’t take it either – the path has no aptitude for it. The capstone tier-10-ability nets you hp equal to your attacker’s HD and you may ignore 10 points of “psychic resistance” – which, as an ability, is codified as SR equal to class level+10 in Ultimate Psionics. So does that mean the abiliyt works only against those with said psychic resistance quality? Or does it refer to spellresistance? Or ANY type of energy resistance? I don’t know.

Regaining mythic power whenever a foe fails to save against you is also broken (bag o’ kittens extreme) – and yes, i know – tier 10, say goodbye to balance. This still breaks too many design-tenets to work. Unless I’ve miscounted, we also get 24 path abilities that include an incorporeal familiar, faster item creation, more customization points for Aegis astral suits, a tier + int-mod-based flash of light that can destroy objects within 5 feet, spend mythic power to automatically regain your focus, auto-identify powers (with a weird a caveat that lets you “learn” them – which does not happen in psionic classes; vitalists may rotate them, for example -don’t get how that part was supposed to work – as written, it does nothing unless a manifester has deliberately refused to learn a power – which makes no sense…) and cast said powers via mythic power for a select duration (which directly seems to contradict aforementioned caveat…). Balance is wonky here – detect thoughts in a slightly improved fashion is not a great choice for investing mythic power, whereas other are imho a tad too strong: Never being flat-footed except via mythic abilities and immunity to non-mythic sneak attacks and mythic power to negate extra damage from a crit or sneak attack feels like too powerful when compared to the abilities granted by all regular mythic paths…Granted, this may be due to lacking the distinction between 1st, 3rd and 6th tier abilities within this pdf – as written, ALL of these are 1st tier… and their balance is all over the place. (And yes, I’m aware that further content can be found in Vol.2 of the series, but still…)


This mythic path is unfortunately quite a mess – if your base choice already excludes part of the target demographic from getting any benefits (and yes, the path has soulknife-exclusive path abilities), then you’re into trouble. The path’s issue here being, beyond the tier-glitch (Or is it one??), that it tries to be too general – one path for all psionic classes is just too thin a stretch to cover them all properly, which is a shame, for generally, the abilities feel solid.



Editing and formatting are very good on a FORMAL level; regarding rules-editing, there are a lot of issues – too many. Layout adheres to an elegant two-column full-color standard, with thematically-fitting art/stock art. The pdf comes fully hyperlinked and bookmarked for your convenience.


Author Peter K. Ullmann ALMOST gets it right; Alas and alack, this extends to almost every single component within this pdf. The psion-archetypes are interesting in their focus on discipline powers and even in concepts, though flawed in execution. The soulknife archetypes are simply bad choices, with quit a bunch of design-flaws to boot. The bonus content is a mixed bag, with feats often failing to be precise enough and only 1 blade skill worth picking. The new powers and insanities show promise, though the former also suffer from less than optimal choices here and there. The mythic path tries to cater to too many types of classes and also has several wording-issues – I won’t start with the balance-problems.


Writing this one was, I won’t lie, a rather somber affair for me – on one hand, the designer is close to getting even complex abilities right – and then fails over some wording ambiguity, forgets the final dot to make the ability work. This is one of the pdfs, where everything almost makes sense and then…doesn’t Mind you, this one does have a bunch of cool ideas, valid concepts, but their implementation is flawed. The page count is also on the low end of the spectrum, though, seeing you can get this as a bonus for shopping at’s shop somewhat mitigates that. Still, this one has so many issues in almost every component, I can’t recommend it. The amount of things that work is far eclipsed by very weak, unbalanced or simply, not properly working content, that I’m forced to rate this, in spite of its promise, as 1.5 stars, rounded down to 1 for the purpose of this platform.


You can get this pdf here on OBS and here on’s shop if you wish to tinker with it.
Endzeitgeist out.

Aug 192014

Mythic Monsters: Inner Planes


This installment of Legendary Games’ Mythic Monsters-series clocks in at 34 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 3 pages of introduction/how to use, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 24 pages of content, so let’s take a look!


Now sometimes, a mythic monster installment features some cool, unique supplemental idea – this one provides a code of symbols (similar to what e.g. gypsies used back n the day, though much more obvious) for planar gates to help the wary planeshopper decide on whether to jump through the portal. Quite an array of solid, full-color glyphs with obvious meanings are provided here, covering e.g. the inner planes and negative/astral/ethereal planes, but also providing some symbols for portals that are one-way, lead to djinn, sahuagin etc. Nice.


Now fans of cheesy horror classics may get a chuckle out of the nomenclature of the wishmaster ability for mythic djinn – those beings are the keepers of their races and essentially the wishing police – these beings may even undo the wishes of other djinn. Yeah! Now let’s take a look at the respective mythic creatures and what sets them apart!


At CR 10/MR 4, the Noble Djinni Vizier comes with a mastery of gravity and its manipulation, cannot be easily contained and gets some neat SPs. AT CR 12/Mr 5, the mythic Malik (i.e. noble efreeti) may cause non-mythic fire resistance ignoring conflagrations, shroud themselves in clouds of embers and are never blinded by smoke etc. – nasty for line of sight/effect tricks. Spell-like abilities powered by mythic power and the iconic arrogance also get neat signature abilities here.


At CR 5/MR 2, mythic Janni actually are rather neat – they can change the elemental properties of magic items and spells they use via swift actions and summon forth powerful elemental support. The CR 14/MR 5 Noble Marid Shahzada may desiccate targets via water’s fury and craft deadly prisons of ice. Their liquefying touch, insanely accurate senses under water as well as their utter superiority in the realms of underwater creatures ensure that these guys are awesome terrors to behold.


The CR 16/MR 6 Noble Shaitan Pasha can force creatures to land, calling to swimmers and flyers – but what about those with a burrow speed? Apart from that oversight, the collective of cool legalistic wordsmithing, superior metalworking etc., a grand beast of a foe. Have I mentioned the ability to push targets into stone, melding them with the surroundings? Now that is creepy imagery.


Mythic Ghuls at CR 6/MR 2 gets a cursed, special, selective cloud of obscuring mists as well as superiority over hyenas and hyena-like creatures and temporarily grant these subordinate pack creatures teamwork feats. At CR 9/ MR 3, the iconic invisible stalker gets the exceedingly cool ability to activate an electrical shield that damages targets depending on the amount of metal they wear and also use this field to see targets. Its nigh unstoppable tracking also helps make this one a full-blown success.

The CR 6/MR 2 Mercanes come with a second extraplanar decoy chest and constant mind shielding, making them appropriate hagglers. Now mythic salamanders, at CR 8/MR 3 get imho one of the most iconic abilities – regeneration that can only be suppressed by mythic cold effects or weapons forged by their own mythic brethren – so simple, so elegant, so awesome. Of course, that are not all of their tricks, but it’s the coolest in my book and rife with storytelling potential.


At CR 6/MR 2, the Mythic Tojanida get toxic ink, which is a rather cool idea, especially considering the option to power to enhance the damage with mythic power. The dreaded mythic Xill at CR 8/MR 3 can abduct non-helpless targets, may implant eggs on targets grappled and may switch teamwork feats in a limited manner, adding a strange component to the creature appropriate for the dreaded creatures. Compared to that, making earth waves and bludgeoning earth-eruptions for mythic Xorns (at CR 8/ MR 3) feel a tad bit more conservative.


Now my personal highlights in the mythic monster series tend to be Legendary Games’ unique, new creatures and this time around, we get the CR 10/MR 4 Liminal Hound, a superb hunting dog of silverish hexagonally-scaled skin that not only is a glorious tracker, but which may also highjack grappled creatures trying to teleport away, interrupt those trying to get away, function perfectly in even zero gravity. As a nice bonus, we get a new armor made from their skin as well as a full-blown 1-page artwork of the most glorious quality. While not the best of Legendary Games’ unique creations, I do like this critter’s tight planeshopper-hunter-focus.



Editing and formatting are good, I did not notice truly annoying glitches, though e.g. the Tojanida, Ghul, Malik and Genie-statblocks lack their respective ecology entries. Layout adheres to legendary Games’ 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with two great full-color artworks and some cool symbols. The pdf has no bookmarks – a comfort detriment.


Jonathan Keith delivers a fine array of elemental-themed adversaries, with a tight focus on all those non-elemental denizens of the often neglected Inner Planes. Indeed, the overall takes on the respective mythic creatures, often drawn from folklore and pop culture, can be considered iconic and the new mythic toys to play with are neat. On the other hand, even though the adversaries herein often have a rather unique additional tool (or even a whole array of them), not all blew me away. Add to that the minor glitches and we arrive at a good installment of the series, if not a perfect one – well worth a final verdict of 4 stars.

You can get this selection of mythic adversaries here on OBS and here on’s shop.

Endzeitgeist out.

Aug 122014

…to all my friends and strangers who read my ramblings:


Sadly, for the rest of the week, there will be no new reviews due to real life. After that, I’ll be back full force.

Enjoy Gencon, have awesome games, and hopefully, one day I’ll be able to attend and meet a couple of you fine ladies and gentlemen there.


Roll some bones for me, too!


All the best,


Aug 122014

Sometimes, being a reviewer is awesome: I got the epic, full-blown Gossamer World Nexopolis prior to its release and had time to digest it – so before the product even goes live, here’s the review! EDIT: Now with cover and links!


Gossamer Worlds: Nexopolis


This installment of the Gossamer Worlds-series depicting infinite worlds along teh Grand Stair clocks in at 51 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 48 pages of content, so let’s…


…wait. What? Yes, this is a break of form for the series: Where usually, Matt Banach provides, short, extremely affordable primers for worlds that can be essentially considered campaign seeds, this one is penned by Matt Forbeck and is more of a full-blown sourcebook.


Now the book kicks in with a 2-page full color map of the island and city of Nexopolis and while not bad, it is one weak spot of the pdf – compared to the awesome, original pieces of full color atwork, the map didn’t wow me – it is functional, but nothing special. That being said, LoGaS stands and falls with its setting – and here, the foreword sets a theme – much in line with e.g. Catherynne M. Valente’s “Palimpsest” and similar weird cities that act as a kind of nexus, Nexopolis has a welcoming committee – one exemplified by the character (and player!) potentially reading this as an introduction to the setting at hand.


The city of Nexopolis and its island is ultimately one island that is the last inhabitable place in a world ravaged by the war with the dwimmerlaik – here, survivors of once the more door-rich worlds on the Grand Stair still dwell and here, countless doors still exist. Though legendary Finnian has some control here, via specially created keys. So Finnian’s the leader and lord? Well, yes and no. Finnian is the none-too-subtle power behind the leaders, the constant power behind the throne, so to speak – Finnian’s not about politics, but rather governing: Managing and ensuring survival. And in a world ravaged by war, where poisonous storms may howl with the ghosts of the dwimmerlaik slain in the war, where people from countless worlds come for trade (or vacation – the weather’s nice!) and where both magic and high technology reign supreme, that’s something.


Indeed, Nexopolis can be considered the ultimate melting pot – in the tradition of planar metrolpolises like Sigil, next to everything you can imagine can be found here – hence, the local populace tends to exhibit a jaded, somewhat condescending stance toward less cosmopolitan dwellers of other Gossamer Worlds. Also in tradition of similar hub cities, law and its enforcement is less conventional; to prevent constant ideological issues and gripes, law is more about keeping the peace here and different zones (i.e. neighborhoods) with their own styles, rules and things to do are provided. And surprisingly, the respective neighborhoods actually transcend the standard depictions one would expect from e.g. the slum-like area.


Rather interesting would be, that often ignored issues like e.g. the transport of military and WMDs are covered as well, including the outside of the inhospitable world, ravaged by the wars long past. Glorious! The book also features quite an array of different NPCs – from the Lord Finnian to the in-character author of the pdf to Marhseeba, Finnian’s scientist-come-trade-advisor to the leader of the Vigilance Council, the leader of the Official Business Development, the justicar, the mysterious potentially reverse aging Mother Girl sorceress -all these characters come with full-blown stats – and fluff-only write-ups of even more intriguing characters provide quite an array of hooks. Beyond that, even the stance of well-known Gossamer Lords and Ladies regarding Nexopolis and its special position is discussed, adding further potential for story-weaving.


Now beyond this vast panorama of narrative options, we also are introduced to an array of no less than 8 cantrips, 6 spells and 4 artifacts. Not enough? What about rats that use coconuts like hermit crabs use shells? The fabled white squid?


Now beyond these, this supplement opens a whole new dimension of LoGaS-gaming – the primer for creating nonpowered characters! While the primer is short, the total usefulness of the short section rocks.


Finally, the pdf closes with a smattering of adventure hooks, just in case you’re not inspired enough yet – and if neither reading this book, nor the hooks helped, I really don’t know what will.



Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing’s 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with a neat plethora of awesome, original full color artworks. The pdf comes with extensive, nested bookmarks.


Matt Forebeck delivers what could essentially be summed up as a inter-planetary/planar Nexus meets tropical, post-apocalyptic casablanca meets high-intrigue capitalism and CEO-business-level intrigue. This supplement actually managed to carve out its own niche within the plethora of planar nexus-style cities I’ve read for various supplements and systems and that’s a feat in itself. The lively, cool characters add vast array of angles to pursue is staggering – even before adding other gossamer worlds. Add to that the more than required rules for non-powered characters and we have a supplement on our hands that should be considered a non-optional purchase for anyone invested in Lords of Gossamer and Shadows. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.


You can get this awesome supplement here on OBS!


Endzeitgeist out.


Aug 122014

Urban Dressing: Pirate Town


This Urban Dressing-installment clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 8 pages of content, so let’s take a look!


There are plenty of Pirate Towens out there – from Freeport to Sasserine and Riddelport to Raor Coast’s Port Shaw, there are quite a few of the cities out there and this book seeks to provide a handy way to make them stand out more. The pdf thus kicks off with a massive 110-entry table of sights and sounds to provide local color and hooks at the miniscule level for the PCs – you know, all those small things that make a place come alive: Cured sharks, loinclothed pearl-divers, ordered men from the military on a futile quest to bring order, a mausoleum built of skulls and bones…from the mundane to the extravagant, a neat array of fluff. The next table, spanning 50 entries, contains one sample business for to integrate into the campaign.


It should be noted that, between fishmongers, tattoo parlors and the like, a counterfeiter called “All that Glitters” makes not only for a cool entry, but also for a neat easter-egg for RSP’s superb print book of the same name. The type of business is provided in brackets behind the name of the business. And yes, tarboys and similar often neglected professions are here. Kudos indeed!


A massive second table of 50 entries containing sample people of interest can also be found herein and besides corrupt scum, people hustling to get along etc., sea hags and similar creatures make for a small, rare touch of the exotic here for a brilliantly balanced table between the weird and the kind-of-mundane – as far as living in such a city can be considered such.


Of course, sometimes a DM just needs a quick hook/complication to spring upon your players – the table containing 20 events – from gaining the black spot from a stranger to finding a bloated body to weirder entries – yet another neat table. The pdf’s final page is taken up by a one-page spread artwork in b/w of a harbor.



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 with thematically-fitting, neat b/w-stock art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions, one optimized for screen-use and one to be printed out.


Author Josh Vogt delivers one of the most rounded versions of the diverse Urban Dressing-pdfs, with details galore to flesh out a city of the type, ample things to do and each table hitting home just as it should – immensely useful, fun and just helpful, this pdf makes for a great purchase at a very fair price to bring more life to your pirate towns. Final verdict? 5 stars + seal of approval.


You can get this cool dressing for all piratey towns here on OBS and here on’s shop.
Endzeitgeist out.

Aug 122014

Bards of Porphyra


This supplement clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 9.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!


After a short introduction in regular text and a nice piece of in-character prose, we are introduced to the cantor archetype – an bard archetype with strict taboos that prevent taking e.g. the extra bardic performance or extra channel feats (though other channel feats are eligible). In an interesting twist, they are not proficient with most weapons and taboos also influence said choice, though they receive two-weapon fighting when using a quarterstaff (and only a quarterstaff). At 4th level, cantors may channel energy at their class level -3, with one channel eating 3 rounds of bardic performance. Add to that a nice improved aid another boost for skill use in combat. An elegant, short archetype. Nice performance by author Perry Fehr. Haha Okay, I’ll put a buck in the bad pun jar.


The Holy Fool does not learn bardic knowledge, but may add a limited array of cleric spells to their bard spell list, improved will-saves and at 5th level, access to a single subdomain or domain at class level-4 and at high levels, duplicate symbol of stunning for a serious amount of bardic performance rounds. Solid and no one’s fool. Sorry, couldn’t resist. The Gagaku are masters of a zither-like exotic weapon, the 6-stringed Yamamogoto, a string instrumen that becomes enhanced over their levels as a ranged composite shortbow re str-rating. Additionally, they are more proficient at dodging ranged attacks and do not provoke AoOs in melee with it. On a nitpicky side, once, the archetype is called arrow courtier instead of Gagaku, but that does not influence the functionality of the pdf. An archetype that may not be the strongest choice, but which is high in concept – and honestly, I like it.


The Howler archetype exclusively for Gnoll and Catfolk. Instead of a regular bardic knowledge, these guys can yowl – a sound that requires concentration-checks from all that hear it at increasing penalties to cast spells and use skills. It can be maintained as a standard action up to 30 minutes per level, meaning the class probably won’t run out of yowling. Where things become probematic would be with the range – it’s a friggin’ mile. And while allies only take half penalty,, this one requires nerfing -it does not provoke AoOs. It does not even count as language-dependant or mind influencing. This one needs a whack with the nerf-bat, though I like the ability’s concept.


The Laulajan may not learn spells the bard has in common with the inquisitor or paladin, but may add select wizard and witch spells to their lists. They may also take metamagic feats and apply them to their spells in lieu of bardic performances. Yeah, not that blown away either. Limited reduction of metamagic-increased spell levels and unlimited, at will ghost sounds are somewhat nice. Solid. The Muzzein could have been an insensitive archetype, but isn’t – using bardic performance to temporary power blindsense and calling to worship would be nice – the Call to worship increases the DC of saves versus the spells of allies, damage of the same or duration. The latter proves problematic – what about instantaneous spells? multi-round effects that change what they do over the duration of the spell? That’s very problematic and requires A LOT of clarification. Still, once if this was clarified, the archetype would be rather cool.


We also are introduced to 7 new bardic masterpieces that include e.g. an homage to “The music of Eric Zann”, a defensive, obscuring swirl of leaves, snow or sand or damage undead sans save. All in all, nice masterpieces.


Temporarily upgrading channeling via bard spells makes for a nice idea and the 9 new magic items also are rather cool – from magic masks to bardic performance-powered instruments – a nice array here, though the artwork of the air sitar mysteriously seems to have vanished from the pdf. We close the pdf with a sample Cr 11, level 12 Holy Fool sample NPC.



Editing and formatting are okay, though I noticed a couple of non-standard, not broken, but less than optimal wording choices and minor formatting glitches. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games’ two-column standard and is rather printer-friendly. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with extensive nested bookmarks.


Perry Fehr’s take on bards is steeped in awesome, cultural allusions and high-concept ideas, like in most of his writings. This time around, the significant majority of his ideas properly pay off – with high-concept archetypes that mostly work, we may have a couple of issues that require further streamlining, but the majority of the content herein is rather cool and enriches one’s game via uncommon ideas. the channel/divine-synergy ties in well with the new content and generally, especially for the low asking price, this indeed can be considered a worthwhile, if not perfect purchase. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform – not only for people interested in Porphyra, but for everyone that is looking for culturally and mechanically distinct bards.

You can get this nice supplement here on OBS and here on’s shop.

Endzeitgeist out.


Aug 112014

The Sinking: Widow’s Walk


This installment of 0onegames’ short modules centering on one catastrophe is 17 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages advertisement and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?


This being an adventure-review, this review contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.


The Hasserbruk family has had to endure quite a lot – when Albrion Hasserbruk’s ship vanished beneath the waves, his widow grieved, though she did take the reins of the family business, as women of well-bred stock are wont to do. The widow Hasserbruk thus raised the family to newfound glory. Then, suddenly, her presumed dead husband returns….and she slams the door in his face.


Enter the PCs – and an investigation resumes that will prove…interesting. For while the lady suffers from a slight delay in facial muscles, both she and her faithful butler seem to be telling the truth…as does the captain. The resulting investigation of the mansion and the Hasserbruks hides a disturbing truth – turns out, the widow Hasserbruk has committed suicide years ago, deeming her beloved husband gone. As fate would have it, an unlikely couple stumbled across her body.


Turns out that the lady’s faithful butler is the former lover of the being that now controls her – an intellect devourer. But not any intellect devourer, but one that chose said bard over its own brethren and thus was exiled. Maintaining the body of the widow with a magic mirror, the creature is actually an exile from its own people and hunted…and as far as intellect devourers are concerned, it is open and yes, nice even. So the PCs are looking at an interesting conundrum – the creature hasn’t done anything wrong and exposing t will mean certain doom for it. Worse, hunters of the intellect devourers have arrived in the city and seek to reclaim the magic mirror that is the basis for the widow’s body…


A moral conundrum indeed, one without any right answers, but with A LOT of different, awesome, roleplaying options and consequences. Better yet, the module actually features various helping pieces of information that cover spells and similar ways of finding out the truth – great to see those options being taken into account.



Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect, I noticed a couple of minor typo-level-glitches. Layout adheres to 0onegames’ neat 2-column standard and the original pieces of b/w-artwork are great, as are the maps. Though, as always with the series, I would have enjoyed printer-friendly versions of them. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


The characters herein are well-crafted, and the capabilities of 8th-level characters are taken well into account -what can I say: I’m thoroughly impressed by David Schwartz’s ability to cram a TRULY interesting scenario into the scant few pages allotted. Roleplaying potential, awesome moral conundrums, cool builds -this is a truly awesome little module, with the superb price-point offsetting the lack of player-friendly maps. My final verdict will hence clock in at a triumphant 5 stars + seal of approval. Glorious!

You can get this great mini-module here on OBS!

Endzeitgeist out.

Aug 112014

Feats of Abjuration


All right, you know the drill – 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page content, so let#s take a look!


9 feats for abjuration are provided, so what do they do?


-Abjurant Flux: Prevent the decrease to perceive abjuration spells in close proximity to another, making masking energies easier. Nice, if very specific.

-Abjurer’s Abnegation: +2 points of damage for damage-dealing abjurations.

-Arcane Ward: Sacrifice a prepared spell to get the effects of an improved, scaling shield as a supernatural (thus non-dispellable) ability.

-Circles of Resistance: Protection and Magic Circles also grant SR vs alignment-based spells.

-Guarded Spell (Metamagic): +1 spell level allows the spell to cast while taking the total defense option if casting duration is not too long. AWESOME idea.

-Overwhelming Dispel: Add spell focus and its greater cousin to dispel checks; Deal spell-level damage to target if you dispel his spell.

-Resistant Abjurer: Gain resistance 1 to cold, electricity and fire 1 when under the effects of abjurations with save: harmless. Too weak for my tastes.

-Warding Blast: Make arcane blast powered by your ward – expend shield for deadly blast.

-Warding Shield: Make arcane shield powered by your ward – expend the ward shield for better arcane shield.



Editing and formatting are very good, I didn’t notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to Abandoned Arts 2-column, landscape style and the pdf has neither bookmarks, nor artwork and needs neither at this length.

Daron Woodson has delivered quite an array of interesting feats here – while not all are eligible, some indeed can be considered awesome and uncommon regarding their mechanics. While not all rock, the vast majority is cool – hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.

You can get these nice feats here on OBS and here on’s shop.

Endzeitgeist out.

Aug 112014

Brabarians of Porphyra


This supplement clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let’s take a look!


After a short paragraph of prose and introductory text, we are introduced to the first archetype, the Hound of Heaven (primarily intended for the Avoodim-race). These guys MUST be lawful good (a diversion from the usual barbarian alignment restriction) and get the ability to become more deadly versus people whose tracks they identified in lieu of rage powers – which is a very bad trade-off, even when taking the potential paladin/monk mullticlassing into account. Furthermore, the ability mentions “quarry” a lot – which is unfortunate, for there already is such an ability and I’m honestly not sure whether the two can potentially be combined or count as another for prerequisites etc. A slightly wonky wording here that can easily be remedied, even if not being problematic to the extent of ruining the archetype.


The yeti-like Ith’n Ya’roo may opt to become Ice Champions, who become particularly adept at using bone weapons and bringing down beasts bigger than they are – I *assume* this refers to the beast monster type, but I’m not 100% sure – Applying the bonus to damage granted to all foes that are bigger wouldn’t hurt this one. The exceedingly cool Erkunae may opt for the Madblade archetype and must take the chaos pact when choosing their racial pact. The use wis as governing attribute for rage, increase their DR and may sniff out followers of law. Nice one.


The human Polar Berserker, are tougher, speak giant and gain endure elements. Boring filler if there ever was one. The Wyrmheart for the cool Dragonblooded race may funnel rage into a breath weapon akin to a dragon blooded sorceror (called draconian – when it should refer to “draconic” – but I’m nitpicky here…) and words the usual save-DC formula in words. High-level reptilian telepathy is nice, but still – the damage of the breath doesn’t really rock my world. Not sold on this one either.


We also get 5 new feats – and we get a fail at the very beginning: Elemental Purification: “If you take damage from an energy type that you have resistance to, you gain a round of rage for every increment of that resistance amount.”A) There’s a mistake in the example that is supposed to explain how the feat works. B) What is an “increment” here? Resistance 5? Resistance 10? C) This makes it possible to easily recharge rage. Rage-out? Hold your hands in a torch. This feat is utterly broken and needs to die. The same goes for Fury Knives – add int-bonus as well as str-bonus to damage when two-weapon fighting AND add a further +2 when wielding the same type of weapon in 2 hands. So…beyond the obvious, much too high damage boost…what about double weapons? Broken. Sand screamer is different – 1/day as a swift action, grant yourself unused rage-rounds as DR. It does not specify which type of damage reduction, though. It does specify it does not stack with other DR, making it at higher levels not particularly useful. Needs better scaling. Faster death attack for barbarian/assassin-cross classes (just 2 rounds of study) is fine by me, as is increased movement when on slippery floor like ice, glass or grease. Neat one.


We also get 5 new rage powers – reducing the first point of mental attribute damage per atatck, healing yourself by expending rage, using stealth while in rage – these are neat. The two One-Vow powers are problematic, though – 1/day, while raging, the barbarian may add unused rage rounds as point-for-point to atk or damage, depending on the type. Now atk has to have the bonus divided between multiple attacks, but I’m not sure whether the damage power applies it to all attacks or one – both lack a duration. Beyond that problem, I’m not sure whether these powers expend the unused rounds of rage or not – the wording ought to specify that.


Now Perry Fehr’s biggest strength as an author has in my opinion always been his knack for crafting great ethnicities and cultures and we actually get two fully detailed cultures – the B’nai, a schism of the godless Zendiqi. (Which are AWESOME!) and come with flavor-dripping taboos, a grand story and dietary restrictions, information on their 6 tribes and an alternate class feature that replaces trap sense in favor of better saves against magic for their barbarians. Glorious entry! The second entry on the Sikayanoi is no less compelling – weird humans tending to being pale and towards albinism, these guys increase their miss-chance slightly whenever they receive it and have a much easier time stabilizing. Have I mentioned that the tribal and warrior traditions here are also depicted? No complaints here either – this tribe is glorious.


Beyond that, Josh McCrowell’s Rune Magic gets a nice nod, with the archetype of the Rune Drummer that wilders in the exceedingly cool bloodrunes – the archetype has a special rune drum that replaces blood lust with a rage-like power and the new bloodrunes provided are nice. We close the pdf with 4 new weapons as well as the items reindeer-blades (for reindeer-drawn one-man sleds) and wind sleighs – though the latter alas does not get vehicle-stats. We also get a sample CR 11 polar berserker barbarian.



Editing and formatting, on the formal side, are good – on the mechanical side, not so much. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games’ two-column standard and is rather printer-friendly. The pdf comes massively bookmarked with copious, nested bookmarks.


Oh boy, this pdf is heaven and hell – on the one hand, the archetypes are mostly lame and problematic, the feats are broken and the mechanic issues extend to the rage powers as well. It’s a pity, really, for some of these ideas behind the pieces of crunch can be often considered awesome. I was honestly getting ready to trash the living hell out of this when the new ethnicities came up .and, what can I say – they are glorious. The same holds true for the ideas behind the items and I the bloodrune using archetype shows that Perry Fehr CAN write a nice archetype. Whether you can get anything out of this pdf depends completely on what you’re looking for – the crunch simply isn’t up to snuff, but the fluff is just as glorious as the crunch is flawed. This book, honestly, felt to me like the book had this glorious idea for cultures and then just cobbled some lackluster crunch to supplement it. If you’re getting this for the fluff only, then this book is still a great read, but if you’re looking for good crunch, you’ll be disappointed. Were the fluff not that good, I’d bash this even further. As provided, I can’t go any higher than 2.5 stars, rounded down to 2, even when taking the more than fair price and great fluff into account.

You can get this supplement here on OBS and here on’s shop.

Endzeitgeist out.

Aug 082014

GM’s Miscellany: Wilderness Dressing


This massive compilation of Raging Swan Press’ Wilderness Dressing-series clocks in at a massive 159 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page back cover, leaving us with no less than a massive 152 pages of content, so let’s take a look!


Okay, so you know the deal, right? I did reviews for all the constituent files of the wilderness dressing-series and I don’t like repeating myself over and over, so if e.g. the exact content of what the installment on “Snow & Ice” or “So what’s the Pirate Ship like, anyways?” intrigue you – just check out my reviews for those, all right?


Great – what I will go into details about, though, would be the massive array of brand new tables to e found herein as well as the organization, for especially the latter is downright genius:


The first bunch of the book covers features and events – caves and their dressings, firesite/campsite events and the like complement the installments on ruins and castles. Then, the next chapter provides bandits and travelers to put in respective locations, whereas after that, we have a concise organization of dressing-tables by terrain type – expanded by the equivalent of three full wilderness dressing-pdfs (and we’re talking this chapter alone!): Full coverage for swamps and marshes and farmlands as well as borderlands complement well the classics like the glorious primal forests or desolate deserts. Now the final chapter provides ample tables for ships – from shipwrecks and pirate ships to coastlines and sea voyages, the new supplemental content herein once again amounts to a surprising amount.


On a content-base, the campsite tables features no less than 100 full entries for dressing and features each and the same holds true for the tables about caves, which furthermore get terrain properties. The Borderland-content as well as the content on swamps and farmlands follows the full wilderness dressing formula by proving massive tables of 100 entries for both dressing and minor events as well as coming with concise d12-tables of random encounters that include the respective fluff for the adversaries faced. And yes, the variety here is universally as staggering as we’ve come to expect from the best of wilderness-dressings – from bulls about to break out of control to fey and GARGANTUAN BUMBLEBEES, creatures from all 4 bestiaries get their chance to shine here. The swamp rules-cheat-sheet for DMs, with quicksand, undergrowth and bogs etc. all collated further provides a level of DM-help unprecedented in just about any supplement apart from those by Raging Swan Press.


I should also not fail to mention that exactly this level of detail also extends to the entry on coasts, while 50 entries of sample shipwrecks, 100 entries shipwreck dressing and, once again, 12 encounters, round out this book.



Editing and formatting are top-notch, bordering on flawless – an impressive feat for a book of this length. The pdf comes in RSP’s two-column B/w-standard with thematically fitting b/w-art that partially is stock, partially glorious original. The book comes with two pdf versions – one printer-friendly and one optimized for screen-use. The pdfs are extensively bookmarked with nested bookmarks and even ToC etc. is hyperlinked within the document in an unobtrusive manner, rendering navigation by pdf as comfortable as possible. It should also be noted that the pdfs are extremely tablet/smartphone-friendly and render perfectly on my Google Nexus 5 while taking up next to no space -the screen-version does not even surpass the 10 mb. The print-version has its title conveniently placed on the spine and offers a neat, matte cover as well as nice paper. Nothing to complain there either.


The designers John Bennett, Creighton Broadhurst, Seamus Conneely, Brian Gregory, Eric Hindley, Greg Marks, Brian Wiborg Mønster, David Posener, Josh Vogt and Mike Welham have almost universally done a great job and when some tables aren’t as glorious as others, then only due to the insanely high standard of the series in general. Now I won’t kid you – I didn’t particularly look forward to reviewing this, mainly because I did not think I’d be able to say something I hadn’t said in one of my reviews of the small pdfs in the series. And yes, I could have ran my usual spiel of talking about the respective new tables, what works and what doesn’t etc. – but it didn’t feel like it would be enough.


So I postponed and procrastinated. Then, my group went into the wilds, on journey and left civilization, at least for a while.


I’ve got to go on a slight tangent here: As some of you may know, I print out all my pdfs. I just prefer paper. It makes catching glitches easier for me and is just more pleasant to work with, at least for me. I printed out all the component-parts, archived them in my terrain-folder and had them on standby ever since. I did use them and I enjoyed them. Then I got this book.


The difference, by some strange quirk of my mind, organization in the tome or whatever you may call it, is staggering. This book has since rapidly turned into my most-used DM-accessory book. And oh boy, is my campaign better off for it! And the reason eluded me for some time…after all, I had most of the constituents, why do I use it now this excessively?


The answer came to me the other day – I looked at the ToC and it was there, I read it, it made sense. When I was gaming, though, I did not actively remember where what is, my usual process. Think for a second, recall information xyz, go on. With this book, I didn’t have to.


Somehow, the organization of this book, at least for me, is so borderline genius and adheres to some weird principle of how my brain processes information and draws logical conclusions that I don’t even have to remember what first letter (i.e. the “d” of desert) the respective table has – via a borderline genius organization of tables and content, my subconscious manages to immediately pick up where the information I’m looking for can be found. Now mind you, I experienced this phenomenon from the get-go, the very first use of the book. This is a triumph of glorious organization and layout and perhaps the best example of the like I’ve seen in any roleplaying game supplement. This is a proof that layout artists, alongside developers and editors, truly belong to the heroes of the rpg-industry. And it makes me use the book. ALL. THE. TIME.


Now even if this observation does not interest you in the least and you already have all the old Wilderness-Dressing files – take a look at the sheer amount of bonus content. Yeah. Even for people like me who had the constituent files, this should be considered a must-have, a book that every DM should own. This book is a hot contender for my top ten no. 1-spot of 2014, gets a 5 star + seal of approval and while I’m at it – every DM should own this: It’s hereby declared an Endzeitgeist Essential-book for DMs. Players, if your DM doesn’t own this, get it for him/her – they’ll be happy and your gaming experience will improve significantly while traveling – I guarantee it.

Do yourself a favor and get this book for your game. If you’re a player, buy it for the DM. Seriously, your game will immediately become more detailed, more awesome. You can get this GEM here on OBS and here on’s shop.

Endzeitgeist out.