May 252016
 

Strange Magic Items – Truenaming

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This expansion for the stellar, critically-acclaimed Strange Magic-book clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

 

Wait…before we do: In case you haven’t noticed: My name’s on that cover. I am one of the authors of this book. I am writing these lines since I was explicitly asked to by some of my readers. Hence, this will not be a review – there will be no rating or the like – consider this, instead, to be basically a kind of overview of what’s in this pdf, all right? As such, I will try to take out as much emotion as I can possibly can – so expect none of my usual snark, cynicism or gushing here, all right?

 

Great! This pdf contains new special qualities: One for armors (which provides a reflexive deafening effect that also acts as a minor debuff for the wearer’s recitations) and 3 shield special qualities. Acoustic shields do not fracture in their armor check penalty when receiving a recitation and recitations on the wielders get a slightly prolonged duration. Contingent Speech and its Greater brethren, at +1 and +3, respectively, can store low-level recitations from the Codex of Heart and Mind. The pdf also contains 5 qualities intended for weaponry. Nameseeker weapons attune themselves to a given target damaged and deal additional damage versus said foe. Truesong weapons provide a bonus to recitation checks, while truenamers can channel (at -4 panelty) their voices through a warbling weapon, even while strangled, drowning, etc. Wordbane weapons are particularly efficient against foes subject to an ongoing recitation and wordforged weapons can permanently carry a low-level recitation from the Codex of Artifice permanently – but only one.

 

The pdf contains 3 specific magic items, the first of which would be the Instigator’s Flunky, an earthbreaker that comments your attacks via the truenaming equivalent of “Ohhh, did that hurt?” and similar statements. This cronyism enhances the damage caused by discordant instigators and additionally, the weapon allows for temporary modification of the Law of Finite Malleability. The Sinkhole of Banes may well be the sorriest-looking spear in existence and can absorb a Discordant Zone’s condition dispersal’s condition to then channel it into the creature hit. However, should the spear be broken, it instead affects the wielder…so tread carefully. Finally, the Songbird makes ample use of the new qualities herein and improves when it witnesses a recitation of a sufficiently high level being recited and the bonuses of the dagger may actually be used in recitation, somewhat akin to defending weapons.

 

This pdf also contains three shields – Comeuppance is a tower shield that can store recitations of the Codex of Heart and Mind or the Codex of Artifice and channel them into counterspells, while The Echoing Wall can also store recitations – but it may add the stereo inflection to it once unleashed…provided the wielder is one target and the other is within 10 feet. And then, there would be the highly complex Portable Watchtower. Ramming this shield into the ground generates a comfy, nice…stone watchtower…including a stone archer that does your job for you. And yes, this is powerful, complex and well-executed. And no, you can’t use it more than 1/day this way. Oh, and yes, the tower can store recitations, modifying the greater contingent speech quality upon being deployed.

 

The pdf also introduces artifices – basically the wands of truenaming, with concise costs. The pdf also features a wide array of unique items in the potion, scroll, etc. category. Baneful Pamphlets allow scions of discordia using their condition dispersal to split conditions between targets, witha total of 4 subtypes of potency. The book of concatenated recitations allows you to combine lower level recitations into one (with, obviously, strict limitations), while the cloak of the loquacious has a surprising array of uses, including a reflexive volatilize. A total of 5 variants of fountainless inkpens can be found as well, while the gloves of redirected ire allow you to penalize foes if you botch according to the Law of Croaking Failure. Heckler’s Immunity comes similarly in three variants and allows you, should you inadvertently recite the reverse of your intended recitation, use a refreshing pool to ignore this reversal. And no, they can’t be abused. Magic dogtags to enslave creatures can also be procured. Platypus talismans help you recite defensively (the universe is looking away in shame), while wearers of porcupine talismans may ignore the Law of Croaking Failure once per day for the chosen recitation.

 

Profane Signets deal minor sonic damage to adjacent creatures if the wearer is subject to a recitation. Simian chokers are modeled after the famous “no evil”-monkeys and can affect targets nearby with negative conditions, while singing shards can 1/day set a DC-modifier for a recitation with one inflection as +0. Finally, the truelixir is basically a wild-card 1st-level potion.

 

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch – I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Interjection Games’ classic two-column b/w-standard and the pdf has some b/w-swirlies and symbols as artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, which represents a minor comfort detriment, but one I think that can still be endured at 10 pages.

 

Sooo…do I consider this a must-have addition to Strange Magic? Yes. Am I happy with my own output for this one and Bradley Crouch’s own unique ideas? Yes. Will I rate this? No. Should you have this pdf, drop me a line and tell me whether you can guess which ones I wrote…or just talk to me about the book.

 

Thank you for your attention and reading this somewhat unorthodox article – I hope it wasn’t to bland for you!

 

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

 

You can get the whole subscription here on OBS!

 

You can also get a subscription and have Bradley design your very own custom class/supplement here on his patreon!

 

Endzeitgeist out.

 

May 252016
 

The Mists of Akuma – Tsukumogami (5e)

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This second of the FREE preview-pdfs for Mike Myler & Storm Bunny Studios’ cooperation clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page KS-summary, leaving us with 4 pages of content, though one of these is devoted to the nice maps of Soburin, the continent of Mists of Akuma.

 

So, what do we get in these pages? The reply is simple: 4 of the eponymous tsukumogani monstrosities! What are tsukumogami? Well, in case you didn’t know – on the 100th birthday of an item, there is a chance it may awaken to sentience – with sometimes, though not often, dire consequences. Hence rules for appeasing these creatures and some nice adventure hooks and the impact of these beings on the game-world are covered first. The monsters herein would be:

 

-The akunomōfu (challenge 5) are soiled sheets of former soldiers, possessed by a malign intellect and capable of performing multiattacks and smothering victims, making good use of 5e’s exhaustion mechanic…take heed, though – in groups, these monsters are TPK-material par excellence!

 

-The chōchin-obake (challenge 1) are less dangerous – but these floating and surprisingly nimble paper lanterns occupied by spirits, with their fiery spit, can certainly still be exceedingly dangerous if played right. Again, nice!

 

-The Kaiyo-Horror (challenge 10) can make vast hops and gets a fright-inducing gaze attack as a bonus action…oh, and in case you didn’t know: They are basically cannons; dread warmachines awoken to malign purpose. No, you do NOT want to be in the sights of these dread beings! (The artwork is, fyi, also rather disturbing…)

 

-Kasa-Obake are animate umbrellas with a paralyzing gaze that bespeaks of their knowledge of dread secrets. They have keen ears, a charming tongue with which they can lick you as well as shred you with their talons. Once again, a cool critter.

 

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no truly grievous glitches. Layout adheres to the two-column full-color standard of these pdfs and the respective creatures herein all get full-color artworks in a mix of custom art and thematically-fitting, gorgeous stock art. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

 

Mike Myler’s creatures herein are unique, fun and offer quite a lot of narrative potential and make me excited to see what’s up with the KS. Blending his trademark levity with the horrific has some rather interesting consequences I consider thoroughly enjoyable. So yeah – 4 neat creatures and some ideas for FREE – go check this and the KS out. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

 

You can get these monsters for FREE here on OBS and here on d20pfsrd.com’s shop!

 

You can join the kickstarter (only 5 days to go!) here!
Endzeitgeist out.

 

May 242016
 

I loot the Wizard’s Body! (PFRPG/System-neutral)

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This installment of Raging Swan Press’ “I Loot the Body”-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

 

We begin this supplement with a massive table of 100 different wizard pouches and the thing to find are curious indeed – crossword puzzles in foreign languages, partially knit socks, sealed bins of beard balm, holy symbols, colored chalk, ropes made from impossible smooth substances – from the odd and quirky to the foreboding and weird, this table is great.

 

The second table sports a wide variety of different wizard’s robes, 100 to be precise – which range from living cloaks from which grass and vines grow to noble robes made of damask to classic outfits, including robes depicting the stellar constellations. There also are robes with hundreds of tingling silver bells, rough blankets with a hole for head and arms or simply ones with white furred hoods. Overall a diverse array, but one that imho is a bit robe-centric.

 

The third 100-entry table sports…bonded objects! From amulets made of dried raptor claws to classic amulets or rings, wands of iridescent scales, vials of odd liquid or tiny crystal balls – the selection here is once again a rather inspired collection – no complaints.

 

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, as we’ve come to expect from Raging Swan Press. Layout adheres to the crisp and printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. It should also be noted that the pdf comes in two versions – one optimized for the printer and one optimized for screen-use – kudos for the extra-mile there!

 

Kat Evans’ take on wizard apparel to be found on the deceased practitioners of the arcane arts is certainly a fun dressing file – particularly the table on bonded objects is pretty inspiring, not only for GMs, but also for players looking for a different flavor for their bonded objects. The outfit table is somewhat less awesome, but this doesn’t really hurt the pdf – overall, a cool, fun dressing file, well worth a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.

 

You can get this nice dressing-pdf here on OBS and here on d20pfsrd.com’s shop!

You can get the system-neutral version here on OBS!

If you want a subscription (with added goodies!) for Raging Swan Press’ products, you can join their patreon here!

 

Endzeitgeist out.

 

May 242016
 

Four Horsemen Present: Hybrid Class – The Renegade

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This hybrid class from the Four Horsemen clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

 

The renegade, chassis-wise, is a blending of the gunslinger and rogue and receives d8 HD, 6+Int skills per level, good Ref-saves and a 3/4 BAB-progression. At 1st level, the class gains gunsmith and the class does gain Panache (based on Charisma, maximum equal to Charisma-modifier) and may regain panache via killing blows with firearms, critical hits with pistols and, if applicable, the class pools both grit and panache and may use the resources interchangeably. Proficiency-wise, the class gains proficiency with simple and martial weapons as well as firearms and light armors, but no shields.

 

The renegade begins play with sneak attack +1d6 and increases this by +1d6 every odd level thereafter and second level grants the nimble-ability, which increases in potency by +1 every 4 levels thereafter. At 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the renegade may also choose a rogue talent from a limited list.

 

The class also gets so-called charms – basically, think of them as the deeds of the class – these are thankfully no re-threads of classic deeds, but generally sport some nice tricks – temporarily fixing broken items, a variant of gunslinger’s dodge, 30-ft.-ranged feint, acting in a surprise round, drawing aggro from nearby enemies via Bluff…the charms cover a rather broad sense of options and generally can be considered well-aligned with the levels they’re unlocked at – at 3rd, 7th, 11th, 15th and 19th level, new charms are unlocked. Hiding pistols on your body can e.g. be found at 11th level and at 15th level, a minimum-panache-powered (improved) uncanny dodge + evasion can be found. The capstone decreases panache-costs for the charms, etc.

 

The class also features archetypes, with the first being the brigand, who only gets 4 + Int skills per level and a slightly modified gunsmith. The archetype also has 5 exclusive charms, which basically allow for some solid poaching among gunslinger deeds like targeting, gunslinger’s initiative, etc. as well as a different array of rogue talents. The contract killer similarly has a modified list of charms with panache-powered skill-checks fitting for killers (Stealth and Disguise, hitman-style) as well as deadeye and dead shot…and there are special assassin shots that allow for skirmishing sniping shots and silencing gunshots. Once again, the archetype has a modified rogue talent list. The final archetype is called the smuggler, who also gains medium armor proficiency, trapfinding at 2nd level and gets a panache-minimum-based option to carry around pretty significant objects as well as gaining options to gain several options that represent your access to the black market and unsavory places and enhanced Will instead of Reflex saves – once again, sporting a hand-crafted talent-section.

 

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Rogue Genius Games’ two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports a nice full-color and a b/w-artwork, both of which I have not seen before. The pdf is fully bookmarked for your convenience.

 

Stephen Rowe’s Renegade is a solid, fun hybrid-class – it imho is superior to the gunslinger in that its 3/4 BAB-progression and selection of tricks help mitigating some of the issues associated with gunslinging as well as providing some cool tricks and potential for tactical depth via sneak attack – a well positioned renegade is FUN to play and pretty cool. At the same time, while I did enjoy the class as such, I think the renegade would have benefited from a bit more unique tricks. At the plus-side, the rogue talent selection provides more player agenda than the gunslinger…so how to rate this? I prefer this class to the vanilla gunslinger and the increased player-agenda is nice. In the end, I will settle on a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4.

 

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

 

Endzeitgeist out.

 

May 232016
 

The Big Book of Bloodlines

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This massive, huge book clocks in at 153 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of ToC/editorial, 1 page KS-thanks, 3 pages of SRD, leaving us with a colossal 146 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

 

We begin this pdf with an introduction regarding the goals of this book – in one sentence: Making bloodlines more versatile and interesting. This is achieved in a rather ingenious way – the pdf designates a number of bloodlines as parent bloodlines, others as children of said bloodlines. When multiclassing soceror and bloodrager, all you need to ensure is that the two bloodlines share a parent, are parent and child or match – i.e. one is the sorceror, one is the bloodrager version. Obviously, this approach generates a whole array of previously impossible builds. Oh, and if you’re like me and ultimately are looking for a bit more for some builds…then there would be complex bloodlines. These do one or more of the following: Instead of bonus feats, they can grant bloodline-specific abilities, swap out bonus spells for something else or introduce basically a subsystem unique for the bloodline, which results in these complex bloodlines feeling more like archetypes or PrCs – and yes, they do not interfere with archetypes, further allowing for a significant expansion of options in that regard.

 

Thus, a list of parent bloodlines and child bloodlines for first party material is provided in the beginning…before we dive into a huge assortment of diverse bloodlines. It should also be noted that some bonus feats among the bloodlines of this pdf actually are stripped of their prerequisites – a bloodrager character with the alchemical bloodline can e.g. take Fire God’s Blessing sans prerequisite. Oh, there is one more unique feature I should probably mention – quite an assortment of bloodlines in this book features supplemental feats. All right, so what can bloodragers look forward to? Well, for once, they get acidic saliva they can spit at foes, gain caustic blood and, via a nice feat, they can even heal themselves by dealing acid damage – and yes, as could be expected from Bradley Crouch, this feat cannot be kitten’d. Oh…and high-level bloodragers with this one can light foes on fire. What about a banshee bloodline that can enhance her sonic damage-dealing capacity with ever increasing feats – oh, and guess what – these enhancer-feats can only be taken as bloodline bonus feats, which is an interesting notion I have not seen done before in bloodline design.

 

Even bloodlines that do not necessarily evoke immediate reactions from me have interesting components – brineborn gaining a combination of nautical abilities and acid-themed tricks based on salt – and yes, including a whipping tongue with which you can lick your weapons. As far as I’m concerned, this certainly is fun and sports a unique array of visuals properly supplemented by nice crunch. Cacodaemon bloodragers get a capstone that deserves mention as well – a jaw filled with gems that can hold the souls of those you consume. All right, so what about these complex bloodlines I mentioned? Well, for example the cannibal bloodline allows you to devour the flesh of defeated foes – you gain a feat of your choice, with a limited, but expanding list of eligible feats. These feats, however, also occupy a cannibalism slot – said slots increase in number over the levels. Replenishing spells empties these slots. Oh, know what I forgot to mention? Guess what – it’s not just feats. Abilities otherwise not available can also be gained via cannibalism slots. The Cloudborn automatically increase their ranks in the Fly skill and later may fly while also gaining miss chances when they move. The constellation bloodline can be pictured as a take on the psionic collective for teamwork purposes…and even cast spells on allies designated as part of your constellation…even if they would not usually qualify as targets…which is exceedingly versatile and powerful, making more than up for the comparatively moderate teamwork tricks. Also cool – granting temporary hit points and the like.

 

Okay, so what about e.g. the Cosmic Dreamer? This complex bloodline basically records an ever-increasing amount of rolled dice-results in the morning due to their fragmentary prescience – then, during the day, they may substitute these rolls for those they rolled in a cool take on prescience. The interesting thing is, though, that multiple such rolls can be combined in pretty concise rules that are rendered unambiguous by the rules-language provided. It should come as no surprise, then, that the bloodline actually takes this take on its unique subsystem and utilizes it properly, expanding the options thus gained in unique ways over the levels. It’s not just the complex bloodlines that get evocative tricks – crystalborn may, for example, ready actions, to catch ray-spells in their mouths and spit them back at foes. I certainly know I really want to do this at least once in game. Cooler yet – you may, when making full attacks, forego the bite attack this one nets you to ready such a catch. OM NOM NOM.

 

The dryad complex bloodline is all about aspect-enhancement, allowing the character to modify the plants grown via fey and verdant bloodlines to include flame-thrower flowers, acidic lichen or berries that you can pick to gain limited prescience. What about screaming lilac? And yes, your bloodrage lets you grow squares upon squares of these plants…and the ability works even underwater. Want to dip your feet into the awesomeness that is ethermagic, but sans learning the system? Ethertouched bloodline. Want composition sans having to learn that system (and with an evil tint)? Soulstrummer. And yes, it works completely sans knowing anything about ethermagic.

 

Somewhat similar and just as awesome as the dryad – the fungus complex bloodline: Instead of growing plants, though, your body can produce spores based on a point-system – said spores sport a variety of unique and fun tricks. Speaking of fun – you know how Interjection Games-books tend to be pretty fun to read? Well, there is a bloodline called leper and it’s basically every leper-joke ever told as a bloodline. You can e.g. detach and re-attach limbs, pluck out your eye and send it forth to spy for you…you get the idea. And yeah, it’s cool. Want to play a bookworm bloodrager? The complex Librarian bloodline offers a lot of unique tricks for you, based on some crucial pieces of literature. The lycanthrope bloodline, just fyi, allows you to choose the werebeaver option. And yep, these guys can basically become a looney-toon-ball of kicking, gnawing and working 1/day and, sufficient material provided, generate instant cabins. Yeah, damn cool.

 

From the medusa to the mi-go and even the mime (!!!) – and yes, there is a onmyōdo-bloodline and even a pufferfish bloodline – Magic: it doesn’t have to make sense, as the flavor-text aptly observes. Zombie bloodlines? Yup. Elemental-themed weirds? Aye. And no, at this point I honestly haven’t even begun to list every one of the bloodlines, only provided a smattering of samples.

 

Now the second chapter would be the one dealing with the sorceror bloodlines – and they are nothing if not just as unique as the bloodrager options – hurling blobs of algae? Check. Know, though, which bloodline actually made me laugh…loudly? The Angst bloodline. It’s simply hilarious. Think of it basically as every anime main character, the bloodline. From gaining an ancestral weapon, failing incredibly endearingly to later gaining memories of a lost mentor -absolutely glorious. You are the chosen one and hate every minute of it. More serious – sorcerors that can make complex baubles of spellglass, bloodlines defined by their blasphemy or the butler bloodline. And yes, aforementioned brineborn, cannibal etc. bloodlines also sport sorceror-customized versions herein – though e.g. the cannibal bloodline has a complex child -the cuisine bloodline.

 

And yes, ethertouched’s scavenging/reduction of ethermagic can also be found for sorcerors…and extremophiles, basically the sorceror-equivalent of the magical survivalist – who only take two hours of sleep (but still may not regain spells more often than 1/day) with a feat. The Florist would be akin to the dryad in quite a few ways, but obviously attuned for the requirements of the sorceror class. Gravity-themed sorcerors that gain a reflexive field of gravity can also carry a huge amount of load – and gremlin blooded sorcerors are masters of slapstick that can turn potions into toads, while the haberdashery bloodline grants you the best hat EVER. The magmaborn can conjure forth painful spikes of magma and the complex mimicry bloodline basically can be likened to the old final fantasy secret characters/jobs, allowing you to mimic spells and later your own ones – pretty cool! What about the brewer-specialists, the percolution-savants that can make powerful stimulant cocktails? Yep, it’s basically a barrista/coffee-addict bloodline…and it’s pretty neat. The complex radiation bloodline lets you choose unique mutations instead of bonus spells and the complex rust bloodline just begs to be used in any setting that features a leitmotif of decay and or renewal. Becoming the heir to the snow queen also is rather cool (haha…yeah, I’ll hit myself later for that one…). As a nitpick, the Solar bloodline’s supplemental feat lacks the Metamagic-descriptor in the header, though that ultimately does not impede its functionality…btw. one of the rare formal glitches that can be found in this book.

 

Always liked worms-that-walk/ want to run Age of Worms? Swarm bloodline, baby. Similarly, the complex wanderlust bloodline is cool, providing an assortment of abilities generally associated with romantic notions of wandering, from danger sense to pulling all-nighters and making items from natural ingedients.

 

This is, however, not where the pdf ends – beyond supplemental material for two classes, this whole book can be seen as a colossal playing field for the new bloodlord base class. Bloodlords get d8 HD, 4+Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression, good Fort-and Ref-saves, proficiency with simple weapons and one 1-handed martial, a 2-handed martial weapona nd a thrown weapon as well as with shields, light armor and medium armor, all sans arcane spell failure, though this failure does apply when using tower shields. Bloodlords pick two bloodrager and two sorceror bloodlines at first level, which are then divided into pairs, with a bloodrager and sorcero bloodline each. These bloodlines must share a single parent and this choice is not limited by alignment. At 1st level, bloodlords do not receive the sorceror bloodline arcanas and they gain +2 to skill-checks performed with the class skills associated with the sorceror bloodlines.

 

The bloodlord has bloodrager bloodline power slots at 1st level, gaining an additional one at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter – these slots are distinguished between bloodrager and sorceror – basically allowing for the flexible assignment of powers gained from the bloodlines of the character. They get bonus feats at 2nd level and every 4 levels thereafter and bonus spells at 3rd level and every 2 levels thereafter. Bonus spells are gained from both bloodline bearing classes according to strict guidelines, with the granting of multiple spells being accounted for -said spells, however, are cast as SPs. It should also be noted that multiclassing into bloodline-featuring bloodlines is possible, with guidelines, once again, being included in the rules.

 

At 1st level, these guys can enter bloodboils for a number of rounds equal to 4+ Constitution modifier, +2 rounds per additional level – this state enables the use of bloodrage powers. At 2nd level and every 3 levels thereafter, the bloodlord gains a sanguokinesis talent, which is powered by the transfusion pool – said pool is equal to 1+Charisma modifier at 2nd level and increases every even level thereafter by +1. These talents remain active for as long as the bloodlord remains in the bloodboil-state and one such talent can be added to the state. It should be noted, that unlike a bloodrage or the like, this state does not provide bonuses to attributes, but neither does it have a fatigue cool down, which means you can cycle the effects of sanguinokentic talents. At 11th level, bloodlords may activate up to two such talents per bloodboil, though they have to pay for both. Getting a reflexive disarm, better saves, SR, using bloodboil rounds as a resource to cast bloodline spell-like abilities quicker – there are some pretty tricky combos you can pull off with this class.

 

However, the transfusion pool also has a use on its own – it can be used to quickswap slotted bloodline powers, temporarily gain bloodline arcanas and at 6th level grant willing touched creatures filled bloodline slots – which allows for some very interesting tricks. Higehr levels make btw. this infusion of power into allies faster. The class comes btw. with nice favored class options for the core-races, aasimar, tiefling, hobgoblin, orc, kobold, kitsune, vanar, vishkanya and puddling races. Expanding the SPs ad various numerical tricks of the class can be done via the new feats, which btw. also provides an option for energy resistance while bloodboiling. The base-class also sports jno less than 4 archetypes – the bloodbottler loses the quickswapping of slots and flexibility, but may bottle his unused powers and hand them to eligible drinkers – basically, a less spontaneous variant. The Claimant picks only a single sorceror and bloodrager bloodline – but here’s the catch – they gain an “empty” Eldritch Heritage that he may fill by touching a particular blood, claiming the power. This is retained until the claimant decides to forget it after resting and opt for a new one. And yes, the feature improves over the levels. You essentially trade in bloodlines for more flexibility in choosing and also gain transfusion pool points at odd levels instead, starting at third.

 

The Enigmatist is a pretty complex one – basically, think of these guys as bloodlords sans bloodlines, who instead focus on mysteries and revelations. The final archetype, the mongrel lord, may choose all bloodline abilities (up to from a maximum of 6 bloodlines), but gains neither bloodline arcanas and class skills. Basically, the archetype grants you the option to cherry-pick abilities, yes; but at the cost of gaining the proper powers of the respective, diluted options. Additionally, these guys gain limited access to evolutions and a pretty impressive transfusion pool – but the archetype loses all sangiokinesis talents for this flexibility as well as the arcane awakening, quickswap and transfusion class features.

 

As a nice service to the reader, we close this book with a glossary of 3pp-bloodlines by product.

 

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch for a book of this size – while there are some minor formatting hiccups in this book, it still can be considered to be well-edited. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly 2-column b/w-standard beyond the full color cover artwork. The pdf’s interior artwork is b/w and sports an array of novel, nice pieces. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks. As per the writing of this review, I can’t yet comment on the print-version.

 

Bradley Crouch’s Big Book of Bloodlines takes one concept I’ve seen done to death, namely bloodlines, and OWNS it. There are more mechanical, unique tweaks to bloodlines herein that I have ever seen before in my career. We have a stunning assortment of cool subsystems, evocative ideas and concepts in this book, an array that manages in several cases to bring player-agenda to the table: Big time. Choose the right bloodline and you’ll have quite a bunch of cool customization options. It should also be noted that you won’t find bland “been there, done that”-bloodlines in this book – each bloodline in this tome has at least one ability and/or visual I certainly haven’t seen before. No matter which type of game you’re playing, be it high fantasy, dark fantasy, horror or just plain gonzo weirdness – this book has you covered. The bloodlord per se is a great addition as well, though, by nature of its openness, a class that does require a bit of GM-oversight: Considering the amount of bloodlines out there, though, this is no wonder and not something that could have been avoided. While personally, I consider the mongrel lord a bit too much for some groups, I can just as well picture plenty of campaigns in which it will flawlessly work.

 

So…how to rate this. Well, that question is pretty easily answered – this book, at least for me, ups the ante of what to expect from bloodlines. It may be the book that ended bloodlines, the go-to-tome. And bloodragers in particular need this book – think about quite a few of the bloodlines in this tome as archetype-level complexity without locking you out of your favorite one. You get CHOICES! Player-agenda! Same goes for sorcerors, obviously…and bloodlords are also cool…hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval. Don’t be content with boring filler bloodlines – get yourself some truly unique tricks!

 

You can get this massive tome here on OBS and here on d20pfsrd.com’s shop!

 

Endzeitgeist out.

 

May 232016
 

Veranthea Codex: Radical Pantheon

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The massive first expansion for Veranthea clocks in at a whopping 100 pages (for this price-point!), 1 page front cover,1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 96 pages of content – quite a lot, so let’s get to it!

 

Veranthea Codex is a truly massive book – and still, there are a lot of components that simply, by virtue of their unique ideas, deserved more coverage. Well, this would be the first book doing just that. If you require a brief one-sentence summary – think of this as the setting’s Inner Sea Gods…though, admittedly, the focus is somewhat different.

 

In the first chapter, we get information on the respective deities – from ever sleeping Verahnus to Death and the Nightmare Gods – and, much like Inner Sea Gods, we receive information on the priest’s role in the respective society, aphorisms, holy texts, holidays, etc. – basically, we get the full fluff-write-ups, though, considering the comparably somewhat lesser page-count, obviously the entries are not as extensive as in Inner Sea Gods – still, what is here can be considered fun and sports information on (anti-)paladins for the respective deities – and yes, this includes paladins with an anti-chaos focus instead of the anti-evil focus, for example. Obediences, just fyi, are not part of the deal. If you’re looking for full-blown redesigns of aforementioned classes though, you won’t find them here. As a nice nod towards the game’s traditions, we have a couple of Easter eggs here that should certainly put smiles on the faces of quite a few GMs: Death’s holy text, for example, would obviously be the Libris Mortis.

 

The flavor of these deities is excellent – I will e.g. never stop smiling when reading about the deity of capitalism that puts a smiling face to the world, purporting to be LG when he’s actually LE. (And no, for your info – I am NOT anti-capitalist. Quite the contrary, actually.) The chapter is also suffused by pieces of crunch, though keen-eyed readers may stumble over some avoidable formatting glitches – some of the sidebars vary in font-size, which looks a bit odd. I noticed a reference to “page @@” and, in a feat that grants you a limited use gaze attack that causes hypnotism (insanities to those immune) – and fails to italicize the spell’s name. These hiccups may be cosmetic, but they are here.

 

On the plus-side: Studying some of the dread holy texts of Nightmare Gods can cause (conveniently hyperlinked) insanities – but also convey significant bonuses. And a feat that allows cultists to infiltrate other churches and society at large…nice. The pdf also sports a vast array of player options for the devout, beginning with Religion-traits. These traits generally are pretty powerful, but not in a way that would render then overpowered. For example, gaining +10 to Perception while asleep is interesting. Similarly, extending your darkvision (or getting it) a limited amount of times per day is cool – though the latter trait’s wording could have been a bit more streamlined. The pdf also sports a selection of spells, and they are interesting in some of their concepts: Arcodivinity takes a whole round to cast and emulates an arcane spell of 4th level or lower from the magus or sorc/wiz-spell lists or a divine spell from the cleric/druid-list of 4th level or lower when cast by an arcane caster. This is generally a cool idea, but it should be noted that this has system-immanent hiccups the more spells you allow in your game, allowing for a very strong wild-card spell that may be balanced by the increased spell-level for all but ranger and paladin and the 1 round casting duration, but still – GMs should probably impose some limitations on spell-selection here.

 

Not all spells fall into this high-concept category – blazing insight, for example, allows for an immediate action reroll of Int- or Wis-based skill or attribute checks made in the last round. Other spells are pretty intriguing – divinely intoxicated is interesting: Double your spellcasting attribute modifier’s time, the target has to roll twice any d20 – and then use the results in the following sequence: Better result, better result, worse result. Capital Capitalist lets you haggle exceedingly well – but the reduced price may result in the merchant decreasing his starting attitude towards you. Forcing targets to reroll damage just caused may be okay, but more interesting would be Gift of Undeath – which provides continuous healing for a couple of rounds…and then slays the imbiber and resurrects him as an undead. Ouch, but I( can’t be force-fed to unwitting dupes, thankfully…a damn flavorful for fanatic death-cultists! Touch of the Alien, available as a ranger 1 spell (the other classes get it at a more appropriate level) deals 2d4 Int-damage…and makes the Str-score equal to Int until said damage is healed. Which is basically a huge save-or-suck nerf for martials, with Will to negate. Not a fan here.

 

The pdf also contains an array of magic items, including a theurgist’s mace – basically a mace that grants you the option to smite 2/day spellcasters opposed to your tradition (i.e. arcane casters get smite versus divine casters and vice versa). This smite penalizes saves versus the wielder’s spells and SPs and if the wielder can cast both types of spell, he gets basically twice the smites and may target any creature – not just divine or arcane spellcasters. It should btw. be noted that the inconsistent italicization mentioned above also extends to this chapter. Still, there are damn cool ideas here – an artifact-level blowgun flute? Yes! A coin that acts as a shuriken and lets you convert metal coins while also enhancing your Sleight of Hand? Yep, pretty awesome.

 

The pdf also sports some archetypes – the divine drunkard brawler, who is interesting – when these guys consume alcohol, they accumulate drunk points, which they then can expend to duplicate one of 3 randomly determined effects. The effects are interesting and generally make for a chaotic experience well in tune with Dreksler’s nature. That being said, gaining a “mythic bonus” is probably a typo here and probably should not be here. The Holy Innovator gunslinger basically is a gunslinger who can utilize contraptions from the Veranthea Codex base book – nice. The paladin-archetype merchanteer is reprinted in this book, complete with tithed healing, magnetic channel and transformation to antipaladin. The Tian Ti-Ang Agent bard can be considered to be the heralds of the mythic vampire lords and as such receive an assortment of interesting vampire-abilities.

 

Then, however, one of the coolest chapters in the book begins – after the chosen template (CR +1), we get heralds for the gods – all of them! From an impossible slug swarm to more traditional executors of the will of the respective deities, these unique and powerful beings (clocking usually in at around CR 15) make for a truly inspired, interesting chapter and feature appropriate and cool unique tricks as well as information on planar allies available. The 3 immortal demigods of Urethiel, Boris and his entourage are covered/reprinted and we also get the CR 25/MR 10 Sciemaat the shattered, who seeks to repair the shield that once kept the nightmare gods at bay. Similarly, the last irrational Carambal can be found here. H’gal, the grand lich of Proxima Alterra (CR 17/MR 7), on the other hand, was a rather interesting final creature herein.

 

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting aren’t bad, but neither are they up to the otherwise generally pretty streamlined standards of Rogue Genius Games – I noticed quite a few glitches and relics here and there. Layout adheres to Veranthea’s two-column full-color standard and the book sports a vast amount of full-color artworks, though they do not necessarily adhere to a uniform style. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

 

Mike Myler, with contributions from Luis Loza, Michael McCarthy and Nicholas J. Giebel, has written a massive expansion here – and while there is some overlap with the content already featured in the Veranthea Codex, there still is ample material herein to justify the very low asking price for this amount of content. While I admittedly wished this book had expanded the information on heralds and previously unreleased demigods instead of incorporating material from the main book and while I would have loved to see a tad bit more on each deity, this still remains one of the most comprehensive highlights of a pantheon I’ve read. As such, one can postulate that this book does its job well…and even for scavenging purposes, there is quite a bit to find. Still, the glitches do accumulate and I wished that this component had been a bit tighter in its implementation. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

 

You can get this massive, inexpensive pantheon-book here on OBS!

 

Endzeitgeist out.

 

May 212016
 

Drow of Porphyra – Nalbrezu, Devils in Disguise

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The second installment of books detailing the subtypes of drow that exist on the patch-work planet of Porphyra clocks in at 24 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2/3 pages of SRD, leaving us with 21 1/3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

 

Unlike other planets, Porphyra, defined by the NewGod War and the Calling, is a unique place regarding the drow – taking vastly diverging drow from various worlds, they are NOT all the same. The Nalbrezu, in particular, are a radically different take on the drow: On their home world, the ran perhaps one of the greatest cons of all time, self-styling themselves as a race of immortal rulers…and then, a meteor hit. Drow died. The gig was up, as the in-character prose tells us. The uprising against the decadent drow-rulers was bloody and swift and demonic enslavement in the Abyss wasn’t nice either…but the Nalbrezu got out, courtesy of the forces of hell.

 

Now, they run the empire of whispers – basically, consider that an ultra-lawful race-wide spanning guild. Think of them as a whole race of conspiracy, undermining other drow and races, guided by the code of the Nalbrezu – which is completely depicted with sanctions and decrees codified in 3 tiers. Oh, and guess what? There is actually power in upholding the respective laws, via incentives, providing a crunch-based rationale for the upholding of the detailed code of these drow. Similarly, they do not have slaves – they have indentured servants and paying one’s dues is crucial to the way in which their unique society is structured. And yes, this installment also provides information on greater and lesser noble houses of the Nalbrezu and their society, surprisingly, is rather egalitarian, but determined by meritocratic ideologies. Also, marriage and divorce is handled in a rather nonchalant manner – basically, these guys feel like an intriguing mix between the tropes one would associate with old school Cosa Nostra and drow, with a surprisingly inclusive bent. Nalbrezu do not penalize necessarily the negative impulses – the courts of corruption, each of which has a specialty, ranging from gambling to assassination.

 

A society with such a structure obviously also features unique symbols, some of which are represented in a nice piece of artwork. And yes, the generally surprising level of tolerance extends to the religions. Racial stat-wise, they are akin to normal drow, but gain +1 to Bluff and Diplomacy and +1 language per point in Linguistics, message, vanish and detect thoughts as SPs and two energy resistances 5 of two of the following: cold, electricity or fire. The nalbrezu also have a racial geas – once per level, they need to help someone fulfill vengeance… The race is pretty modular regarding alternate racial traits, with alternate SPs, quick Stealth, luck or fiendish resistance. These are well-crafted and generally balanced.

 

The pdf also sports favored class options for alchemists, bards, clerics, fighters, monks, rangers, rogues and sorcerors – all are nice and focus on the themes of the Nalbrezu.

 

Like the previous installment, we do get an array of interesting faction traits for houses or courts – though, unlike the last book in the series, the bonus types here have not been properly codified as trait bonuses. Oh well, they are still interesting, gaining e.g. one use of the Div bloodline’s spoiling touch ability. Granted, they are not always perfectly worded, but generally, they are well-phrased enough to work sans problems.

 

The pdf also provides rules for Sleight of Hand-ing objects and people and points towards 4WFG’s classic Inkantation-tattoo-rules, while also sporting…*drumroll* Torture-rules! The higher your Intimidation ranks, the more degradation techniques and reinforcement techniques you can get to adjust attitudes, implant suggestions in targets and break their will…potentially even shift the alignments of the poor saps subject to the Nalbrezu’s ministrations. These rules are unique, concise and will get some use at my table!

 

The pdf also sports feats, which include means for Nalbrezu to increase their energy resistances, switch SPs or base Intimidation on Strength or Intelligence. As masters of infiltration, eye color dye, hidden compartments and secret pockets provide cool items.

 

More than that, GMs looking for more inspiration can find it herein in the guise of several sample nalbrezu nooks and intrigues that provide suitably cool hooks for these drow.

 

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level, good on a rules-level – while none of the deviations from standard rules-language are truly problematic, they are here. The pdf’s layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The artworks herein are original, full-color and gorgeous – kudos!

 

Patricia Willenborg’s second book of Porphyra’s drow…is AWESOME. Seriously, at a point where I was certainly bored by most depictions of drow, the nalbrezu are a huge breath of fresh air. I’d even argue that the nalbrezu as a race are more player-friendly and balanced than the default drow. The torture rules are cool…but more importantly, even if you don’t want to use anything herein…this is a great read. No, seriously. Being written mostly in in-character prose, this pdf suckers you in, much like the nalbrezu themselves, and manages to slowly make you sympathize with these guys…which mirrors perfectly the devilish methods and ideology of the nalbrezu themselves. Fun, unique and radically different from all those tired takes on the drow, this is glorious and has a ton of great ideas. While not perfect, it is an inexpensive, fun and evocative supplement well worth a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5…and since I really enjoyed this book, I’ll also slap my seal of approval on this pdf.

 

You can get this evocative ecology-style supplement/ethnicity-guide here on OBS and here on d20pfsrd.com’s shop!

 

Endzeitgeist out.

 

May 212016
 

I loot the Rogue’s Body!

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This installment of Raging Swan Press’ “I Loot the Body”-series clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page advertisement, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

 

All right – after a brief, nice introduction to the subject matter, we dive right into the first table – which contains 50 sample rogue outfits that range from startling color-combinations to dark vests over white shirts…and e.g. goggles and gas-mask-like outfits for a surprisingly diverse assortment of evocative sample outfits.

 

Beyond these, rogues, perhaps more so than other classes, sport an important tool of the trade…and if you’re like me and tie of saying “you find a masterwork lockpick”…well, then the next table is for you: At 100 entries, you can find cracked spyglasses, brass ear horns with the initials “R.W.D.”, spools of copper wire, chains, thin silver wires…now these are inspiring tools beyond the old and tired clichés. Well done!

 

The third table in this book, then, covers the insides of rogue’s pouches – which means that from bottlecaps from diverse breweries to pickled eyeballs of demons and mouse skulls, you’ll find a lot of actually interesting material in this table – what poor fey was deprived of its gossamer wings? Why doesn’t the box with the hand-crank open? I don’t know yet – but these nifty bits certainly make for an inspiring starting point to further develop such angles from!

 

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, as we’ve come to expect from Raging Swan Press. Layout adheres to the crisp and printer-friendly two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. It should also be noted that the pdf comes in two versions – one optimized for the printer and one optimized for screen-use – kudos for the extra-mile there!

 

Eric Hindley’s collection of dressings for the deceased rogues is, in one sentence, a fun, inexpensive and versatile list of tables that enhances the game by providing ample angles for the GM, more interesting finds for the players and a neat combination of the common and uncommon – if anything, however, I do believe that this installment is relying a bit too much on the “find item engraved with XYZ”-gimmick – there are quite a few such entries herein. That being said, overall, this does not tarnish what otherwise is a nice, fun book – well worth a final verdict of 5 stars.

 

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

The system-neutral version can be found here on OBS!

If you want to support Raging Swan Press and get basically a subscription for their material, you can do so here on their patreon!
Endzeitgeist out.

May 212016
 

Tides of War: Magus/X-Feats

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This installment of the Tides of War-series clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

 

As the first pages of introductory fluff clarifies, this pdf is intended to provide feats that facilitate a magus’ means of multicassing synergy – so what do the feats do?

 

-Arcane Brew: The alchemist crossover feat allows you to spend arcane points as part of casting your spell or attacking to ignore penalties imposed on Intelligence or Strength by mutagens or cognatogens, respectively. Solid, functional, no complaints.

 

-Arcane Challenge: 1/day, spend 2 points from the arcane pool to get +1 challenge; alternatively, spend 1 point change challenge target. Cool, flexible, no complaints.

 

-Arcane Performance: After preparing spells, spend up to 1/2 magus level arcane points to gain +3 rounds of bardic performance or raging song for that day per point spent. Nice! Also, 1/day, expend 4 rounds of bardic performance or raging song to regain 1 point for the arcane pool.

 

-Arcane Rage: After preparing spells, spend up to 1/2 magus level arcane points to gain +3 rounds of rage or bloodrage for that day per point spent. Also, 1/day, expend 4 rounds of rage or bloodrage to regain 1 point for the arcane pool. Interesting – the increased potency would make this a superior trade-off when compared to the previous feat, but base class layout and multiclass-interaction isn’t as strong. Comes out as balanced.

 

-Blood of the Magi: If the 1st level bloodline power has a limited number of uses per day, spend 1 point of the arcane pool as a swift action to regain 1 such daily use. Nice!

 

-Cantrip Combatant: When using spellstrike or spell combat, you may cast any cantrip with a casting time of 1 standard action in conjunction, not only those from the magus spell-list.

 

-Focused Smite: Also get +4 to concentration when casting defensively while adjacent to the target of the smite and to concentration-checks prompted by the target of the smite. 1/day regain 1 arcane pool point when defeating the target of the smite. Nice!

 

-Focused Favoritism: Gain favored enemy bonus to concentration-checks versus one chosen favored enemy. This bonus only applies when casting defensively or adjacent to the target. 1/day regain 1 point of the arcane pool when defeating a favored enemy. May be chosen multiple times, with each new choice applying to a different favored enemy.

 

-Link Diversion: Gain +4 to concentration while adjacent to your eidolon or phantasm and an enemy. Smooth one! Avoids exploit via melee caveat – NICE!!

 

-Persistent Hexing: Expend 1 point from the arcane pool as part of using a single-target hex to try to affect the target, even though it has already saved versus that hex within the last 24 hours. May be used 1/2 magus level times per day.

 

-Spellstrike Infusion: When you accept burn for the kinetic blade infusion to execute spell combat or spellstrike, you can expend 1 point of arcane pool to treat your HD as CL for the spell cast. Nice one!

 

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on both formal and rules-language levels. Layout adheres to Flying Pincushion Games’ two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports nice full-color stock art. The pdf has minimalist bookmarks, but more is not required at this level of brevity.

 

Frank Gori’s Magus-multiclassing-feats are a return to form for the series after the rather problematic installment on volley archery feats. The feats in this humble pdf are smooth, balanced, lack means to easily abuse them and enhance the multiclass synergy of the magus, in particular for class-combos that would usually be more problematic…and what more can you ask of such a brief little pdf? Granted, I would have loved to see a feat or two more, but what’s here works rather well. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars – for one buck most certainly a nice array of feats.

 

You can get this pdf here on OBS!

 

Endzeitgeist out.

 

May 202016
 

The Genius Guide to More Witch Talents

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The inevitable expansion book for the talented witch clocks in at 25 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 21 pages of content – quite a lot, so let’s dive in!

 

After getting once again the patented wall of text (which also categorizes them by utility) before diving into the new edges – and there are no cookie-cutter edges in this one – we begin with the complex (and awesome) curse bag: An item-class into which the witch can put all kinds of nasty curses and enhance them – these enhancements are concisely codified by the item’s spell level increase for creation purposes. Utterly iconic, seen in fiction and opens a ton of cool tactics and tricks – Brilliant! Cooler still: Being a curseslinger and firing cursed bullets at your foes! Yes, using curse bag rules. SO. AWESOME. I’m going to adapt that item class for my etherslinger in my home game… Gaining the ability to summon either infernal or celestial servants (somewhat akin to a summoner lite is also interesting – unlike regular spellcasting for the talented witch, these do scale! Oh, and what about witch’s curses, similar to those gained by oracles? Nice selection here!

 

The pdf obviously also features talents – a lot of them. But can they maintain the level of coolness of the edges? Well, let’s take a gander: We get some talents that are conservative, but also novel for the witch class – like arcane school specialization. Okay, I see you not being impressed here? Well, what about better crafting of cursed items? Now that one has some serious roleplaiyng potential.

 

Oh, and there is a rather supernatural-ish talent in these pages as well: Cremate. This hex lets you touch and disintegrate bodies, potentially also dealing significant damage to the incorporeal undead spawned from them! Enhancing wall-spells to also require Will-saves to attack, dispel, pass through etc.? Now that makes for nasty crowd control! Truly evocative (and a bit disgusting) – what about having a seeping wound that also acts as a bag of holding?, increasing in storage capacity? Gaining a spirit servant à la unseen servant or being able to bestow a benevolent blessing on targets – we get quite an array of diverse, cool tropes in this pdf. And yes, included are proper outdoorsperson-style talents, transforming arcane spells into psychic spells, being very hard to topple…or what about witches that enhance the checks of nearby sailors? What about having a key, which, when once used to open a lock, can unlock/lock the respective lock as a standard action? Oh yes, this *is* narrative gold.

 

Among the major talents, animating a creature’s shadow or temporarily rendering a willing creature undead (!!!) certainly sent my mind spiraling regarding some unique tricks you can pull off with that – both as a GM AND as a player…Holes in the rules like the lack of overland flight object-hexes (come on, you know the stories about the Blocksberg, right?), becoming a carrier of diseases and an area of countermagic. What about a curse that forces the target to either lie or tell the truth? Or creating hard to pass demarcation lines? Punishing creatures trying to teleport away? Oh yes. If a witch has a spirit serving her, she may, as an immediate action, cause the spirit to grant herself or an ally 25% miss chance (50% when fighting defensively)…damn cool. As is a curse of gullibility.

 

Have I mentioned the option for benevolent witches to provide atonement? Or curse a target to suffer aggravating delays? What about being able to use herbalism and long-term care to duplicate spell effects? Notice something? Yep, these are exceedingly unique and brim with pure awesomeness and narrative potential! Binding oaths, flexible energy resistance, causing groups of creatures to fall into a berserker rage…frickin’ yeah!

 

Okay, so what about the grand talents? 25 such grand talents can be found in this book. Being savvy in all kinds of esoteric knowledge thanks to ancient whispers, blessing targets with madness, uttering blood curses, immortality, geas-fate-control, 1/day auto-resurrection for witches of the death patron…heck yeah. (Particularly since the death patron sure could use a powerful upgrade like this…) Oh, and witches can have their own dominions, wherein they have limited control over reality! All those cursed forests and kingdoms? Yep. Do it yourself! Rapid aging curses can be found as can one find means to jijack mind-affecting effects, becoming a holy avatar…and have I mentioned the wall of force that can ONLY be broken by artifacts? What about cursing a target to become invisible and silent to all those they care and love? Know the Simpson’s monkey’s paw episode, where the “things turn out the worst possible way”-aspect is so aptly illustrated? There’s a talent for that as well. Ever wanted to crush your resistance with a giant hand of stone or travel through the lightless void of space? Talents for all of these and so much more are in here. Oh, and yes, gaining a true name. One where you ALWAYS know who utters it. And the reverse-aging curse is in here as well. Obviously.

 

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with several nice full-color artworks, some of which I haven’t seen before. The pdf is fully bookmarked for your convenience.

 

Stephen Rowe is a bit of a phenomenon in my book. The output of qualitatively high material he maintains seemingly effortlessly is staggering. But there is more to him as a designer – for one, his craftsmanship is exceedingly good. I only very rarely find anything that can be abused in his work. His wording is precise, he is kind and open to feedback…and his work-ethics, as demonstrated by the talented witch, are impressive. Quite frankly, I wouldn’t want to design a “talented”-book. I like them, don’t get me wrong – but they are capital letters WORK – this much I certainly can attest to from my own design experience. Anyways, his talented witch was an excellent example of great craftsmanship. I was honestly more excited about this one, though. Traditionally, the “more talents”-companion books have fluctuated a bit for me in term of whether I like them or not – but I was pretty positive, Stephen would excel here. Why? Because he has a gift for evocative crunch.

 

You know my old spiel about how design is both a craft and an art, by now, right? The thing is, Stephen has a mastery for the art-component as well. Where a lesser designer would slap down an SP and call it a day, he takes basically a spell, wraps it in neat prose, adds an evocative concept, weaves gorgeous fluff around it and then does something radically different to the crunch, something that sets it apart, something governed by the evocative concepts provided – to the point where you read a book of crunch and don’t just start thinking about builds, efficiency, numbers and minmaxing an efficient character…you think about the story, the narratives you can weave. You are, in short, inspired by the book. This humble little pdf is one such offering, a stunning little gem that is simply…wondrous.

 

All those tropes are here, all the things you never knew you missed. It’s beautiful. And this does NOT mean that this is bland from a crunch perspective – far from it! I *need* to make curse-bag/bullet-specialists after reading this. Seriously. It’s almost a compulsion. I was thoroughly bewitched (haha! I’ll slap myself for that later…) by this pdf. This breathes the spirit of fairy-tales and even if you’re not at all interested in the base talented witch…well. This book is honestly an excellent reason to get it. I’m not kidding and not engaging in hyperbole when I’m saying that this is by far the best selection of witch material I’ve read for PFRPG. And I’ve read quite a bunch. Superb, evocative, cool – my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval and I nominate this as a candidate for my Top Ten of 2016. I got more inspiration out of this book than out of the last 20-or-so witch-option books/witch-option-containing books I’ve read.

 

You can get this absolutely inspired book of supplemental options here on OBS and here on d20pfsrd.com’s shop!

 

Oh, and Stephen Rowe currently runs the massive kickatsrter for the talented bestiary – which you can find here, so join this monster while you can – only a few days left!

 

Endzeitgeist out.