Jan 312019
 

Wild Magic

The cover may not look like much, but there’s a veritable storm of chaos within!

This massive expansion for Spheres of Power clocks in at 94 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 88 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was requested by one of my readers to be moved up in my reviewing queue.

We begin this supplement with a foreword called “Forward” (clever pun or oversight?), before we are introduced to the basis of Wild Magic – the wild magic chance, which is a percentile value that affects spells and sphere-abilities, but SPs and activated items are usually exempt, though effects that increase wild magic chance do apply to them. It should also be noted that increases of wild magic chance stack, and that there is no “stable magic”, i.e. wild magic chance cannot fall below 0% probability When a wild magic chance is triggered, a wild magic event occurs – these vary wildly, and when a specific DC is not explicitly noted, default to a DC-value of 10 + ½ the originating creature’s HD + the creature’s casting ability modifier, or, in an absence thereof, the creature’s highest mental ability score modifier. In the case of multiple effects being triggered, they are resolved in order, but duplicate results do not stack. A check to determine wild magic is a d%-roll, with any result equal to or below the percentile chance triggering the wild magic effect. For wild magic chances exceeding 100%, one wild magic effect is guaranteed to take place, with the probability of a second effect. This is determined by subtracting 100 from the total chance and checking. In the instance of multiple spheres being used in conjunction with a triggering effect, the respective spheres are divided equally, rounded up, and then you roll on each sphere’s table. This seems like a solid solution to me. In the case of an absence of a sphere of an originating effect, an universal wild magic table is provided. If effects modify the roll on such a table below 1, they are wrapped around, much like a moebius strip, adding 100 to determine the effect – it’s a small thing, but rules-aesthetics wise a design decision I enjoyed for its simplicity and elegance.

Some wild magic results have the (Combat) tag, and only take effect if the caster is in combat, which is concisely defined. If rolled outside of combat, the result is shelved and applies once combat is initiated. If you have the wild magic drawback and the Cantrips feat or similar access to the like, you may, at-will, as a standard action roll on the cantrips wild magic table; you can reduce the action required via spell point expenditure, and saving throw DC defaults to 10 + ½ class level + casting ability modifier. Wild magic may also substitute mishap chances of spellcrafted spells. Minor nitpick: header for this section is not properly bolded, and same goes for the subsequent notes on the interaction of wild-magic and talent-based crafting and traditional casting. Nice plus: The pdf does come with a school/sphere conversion guideline, which allows for seamless integration of the system proposed with targets that do not apply sphere-based casting. Rules to identify wild magic are provided, and there are a couple of variant rules included that I absolutely adored: For example, replacing spell failure due to breaking concentration with wild magic…and there is a notion of major events, which applies when a wild magic chance would rise above 200%. These are supported by a table of their own, instead of requiring stacking. This is pretty much the definition of going the extra mile. Kudos!

The pdf contains 2 different archetypes, the first of which would be the arcanophage elementalist, who can intuitively understand magic witnessed in practice. When successfully identifying a sphere, the caster gains access to 1 talent used in that effect, plus an additional one for every 3 class levels. These temporary talents are retained for 1 minute per class level. The total maximum of talents caps at a total of CAM; subsequent ability uses that would increase the number of tricks beyond that value require the choosing of which to retain. Kudos: Prerequisite talents that allow for use of the respective ability are explicitly exempt from being viable choices for being lost. Any sphere effect thus gained uses class level instead of CL…and, here’s the catch: wild magic chance increases by 10% per talent, stacking with itself. This replaces weave energy…and makes for a surprisingly epic modification of the base chassis, allowing for Final Fantasy-style mimic action.

Bonus combat feats are modified to instead allow for casting and wild magic feats, and instead of favored element, we get stifle spell, which translates to the Counterspell feat, which works in conjunction with aforementioned spell mimicry; this ability improves at 8th and 14th level, with MSB-bonuses and the susbsequent feats in the Counterspell feat chain being unlocked. Instead of a dodge bonus, we get a scaling save boost versus magic, spells, SPs and sphere-effects. 5th level provides spell shield, which means that the arcanophage gets SR equal to a 5 + class level versus spheres of which he currently has a talent gained via spell mimicry. Lowering and raising this is covered, and the SR does scale. This replaces elemental defense. Finally, energy body is replaced with a loss of the wild magic chance increase, and the delimiting of the timer of the base ability. This archetype is a glorious little piece of design that is significantly more  fun and novel than the class it modifies – a surprisingly efficient and fun class hack. Two thumbs up!!

The second archetype within would be the wild mage thaumaturge, who replaces forbidden lore with tap chaos: As part of casting a spell or using a sphere ability, the wild mage may increase his CL by 2, a bonus that increases by +1 at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter. This applies to the specific effect, but not overarching sphere effects like companion strength et al….but if the wild mage does this, wild magic chance increases by 100%, though this can be affected by effects that, in some way affect wild magic chance. The archetype comes with a new, custom set of 10invocations, including one that reduces wild magic chance by 50%, temporarily infecting a creature affected by a tap chaos-enhanced effect with wild magic chance, better spell penetration with tap chaos, getting a defensive miss chance shield, delay the onset of wild magic effects and the like. The more potent invocations are kept behind appropriate minimum level restrictions. The capstone allows for the use of 2 invocations at will. So…I’m not a big fan of the thaumaturge, but as far as the class is concerned, this actually represents an archetype I’d enjoy playing. Congrats!

There also is a new arsenal trick – and much to my joy, we do also get a new imbue sequence (imbue + finish) for the monumentally awesome prodigy class from Spheres of Might. Scholars from Spheres of Might get to choose a new material imposition, with lead, which, following lore, can help block divinations; lacing wild magic-y effects into flashbangs is also possible here. Nice! Four new mystic combats also allow you to dabble in the chaotic joy of wild magic if you’re a mageknight, including SR and even the chance to return abilities that fail to pierce it back to sender.

The next chapter, which deals with player options, features a total of 10 feats, all of which have the (Wild Magic)-descriptor. As an aside: Kudos for explaining how burn works in a sidebar, as the first feat, Blood Dampening, allows you to exert a bit more control and negate wild magic events you cause (excluding major events, unless you have a couple of wild magic feats) by taking burn. This decision must be taken before the roll on the table is made; having enough wild magic feats reduces burn. Careful Caster presents a scaling reduction of wild magic effects; Chaotic Counter adds a temporary increase in wild magic event chance for targets who successfully counterspell as well as a MSB-increase to do so. Energy Shift allows you to change destructive blast energy types via wild magic chance; Inspired Surge increases wild magic chance by +100%, but nets you one of the effect’s base sphere talents temporarily to your arsenal. You still have to meet prerequisites. Heedless Metamagic modifies metamagic feats to instead operate via wild magic; rolling twice on the table and choosing the result, increased wild magic chance for better SR-penetration, modified sell point cost (here, slightly uncommonly, abbreviated with SP), and chaotic switches of effects – all of these are interesting in a couple of ways: They allow you to twist risk/reward ratios, and to exert more reliable control over wild magic – but never to the extent that it becomes “tame”…and lame. Even if you play it safe, wild magic still remains a volatile force, though one that you can strain to tweak and twist. This is, design-wise, a tightrope act that plenty of chaos magic iterations I’ve read over the years got wrong.

We do get more: a casting tradition, a boon, a general drawback and two actually meaningful traits complement this section. The pdf sports 3 magic items – chaos buffers allow armor and shields to add their effects to saves versus wild magic. Wild critical, at +1, temporarily makes the target of critical hits sport a 100% wild magic chance. Matrix of order lets you 1/day negate a wild magic event.

And then begins what makes this book epic: Wild Magic tables. Dozens and dozens of pages of Wild Magic tables. All d100-strong, all with no less than 100 effects! Yep, you read right. This may be the most comprehensive, massive book on chaos/wild magic effects penned for any iteration of d20, ever. And the effects are just what they ought to be: Chaotic! Taking ability damage? Check. Temporarily get the Draining Casting drawback? Check. Decreased spell point cost? Check. Sudden manifestations of elementals, with CL determining size? Check. Becoming temporarily a plant creature? Check. Being stunned? Yep. Sudden fire on all unattended objects? Yup. Casting time increase by two steps? Yep – though that one would have benefited from a brief sidenote that explains steps in casting time; not all players/GMs have the system mastery to immediately know what’s meant here. Temporary swapping of BAB and CL? Immunity to all spheres not possessed? Yep, and double yep. By the by – all of these are from the universal table!

The pdf has so much more to offer: As noted before, there is a cantrip table, where the loss of the ability to distinguish colors, grease-painted style moustaches, retries of some skills, concentration-disrupting squeaks and the like may be found. Did I mentioned the Stealth-enhancing option to temporarily become translucent? On the other end of the power spectrum, the optional major event table sports more serious modifications – like the caster being slain and immediately reincarnate’d (spell italicization missing); temporary loss of all spell points/spell slots within Long range can potentially doom whole military units; did I mention immediate animation of all dead creatures in a 10 mile radius? This table is amazing if you want to emphasize the volatile nature of magic. In fact, it’s what I’d be using if my players opted for a return to Ravenloft or a grittier campaign setting – this table makes magic feel dangerous, unstable, and potent – a force to be feared, a grand equalizer, a tool with potentially disastrous consequences when misused. I LOVE IT.

The Alteration sphere (EDIT: Now bookmarked properly!) is a great example for the fun and weird things wild magic can bring to your table: Beyond the expected sex-change, we also have shapeshift (not italicized) not having an effect – or the chance that all creatures are morphed into a homogenous blob, or that they gain swallow whole! (Also notable here – entry 6 and 7 are nigh identical, differentiated only slightly by verbiage). It should be noted that there are always a few effects that can be found in multiple tables – like being stunned for one round in combat…but the majority of this pdf? Unique. Conjuration sphere users can get invisible summons (which can be hilarious), end up being merged into an amalgam with the creature, end up with a regenerating creature…you get the idea. Creation sphere based wild magic includes damage to unattended objects, having the ground become covered with flammable oil, swarms of paper cranes (!!!) granting concealment and inflicting paper cuts, box-creation, creating water in lungs, generating marble-like objects…and more.

Among the Dark sphere entries, we have see in darkness, trailing darkness, have your shadow perform mocking pantomimes, temporarily developing photophobic vertigo, black tendrils, a kleptomaniac shadow, instilling light blindness…. And speaking of Light: Anti-Dark burst, being surrounded by strobing lights or distracting motes, areas affected by all your (glow) talents, pillars of light – cool stuff!

The Death sphere table (EDIT: Now bookmarked properly) provides temporary undead apotheosis, raging dead, a negative energy aura, sarcastic floating skulls (LOL! – Mort homage?), being compelled to exhume dead…notice something? These tables genuinely represent the effects of their respective spheres. Life’s table may make you more susceptible to diseases, adding pain to healing, nonlethal damage, temporary hit points…and what about becoming, for a brief while, someone who takes the damage healed? Did I mention the trail of positive energy?

Illusion is particularly neat – from an illusory longsword to getting a fireworks display when you next enter town (that can be really awkward…) to flickering disguises and illusory insect swarms, this is a pretty massive one. Did I mention illusory weather? The Mind sphere’s table can make targets think they’re chicken! What about effects failing, with the caster firmly convinced that they worked? Yeah, that can be rather funny indeed. Temporary language loss, potentially putting targets to sleep…and, once again more, so much more. The Nature sphere includes dust storms, sporting armor spikes for allies, attracting rodents Hamelin-style, stone-sheaths on foes, ice locking down targets, vegetation size increases…or what about turning all nearby animals friendly for a while? Protection sphere effects include flat-out immunity to almost everything in one entry, and in another, pretty much the opposite – Protection + wild magic is a truly volatile table that can turn the tide of battle. Speaking of which: Yes, there is a table for the War sphere, and it has quite a bunch of combat effects – it may also compel you to charge potential threats, hamper all movement, temporarily gaining teamwork feats…

At this point, you probably get the design paradigm behind these – a mix of far-out effects, potent benevolent and malignant effects. Telekinesis, Time, Warp, Divination, Destruction and Enhancement, Fallen Fey, Fate also are covered…EDIT: And the publisher has swiftly responded, adding in the missing bookmarks, and making the book as comfortable to use as it should be. Kudos! The pdf concludes with approximately a page of referenced material reprinted for your convenience. Kudos for that!

Conclusion:

Editing is very good on a formal and rules-language level – particularly regarding the density of this book, I was duly impressed. Same can’t be said about the formatting of the rules-components, which often deviates from the established standards. A thorough check in that regard would have helped the book. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series, and artworks are solid stock art. EDIT: There has been an issue, where not all tables had been bookmarked correctly. The publisher Adam Meyer has responded swiftly and fixed that! Kudos indeed!

I do NOT envy Andrew Stoeckle the epic task that the completion of this book must have been. Writing basically 76 pages of mechanically relevant tables for the spheres, taking all the peculiarities of spheres and how differently they operate from another into account, must have been a truly daunting task. Particularly since chaos magic is already a difficult subject: You have to be volatile and chaotic without being too random; you have to walk the tightrope between benefits and penalties…and if you overshoot in one direction, it’ll be called OP; in the other direction, no one will use it. Chaos Magic is hard.

Particularly considering that premise, it’s pretty baffling when you stop for a moment and think about it –this book could have just slapped “you get chaos magic access” on all Spheres base classes and be done with it. The first three tables would have sufficed, done. Most freelancers would have probably opted for that option. Instead of this, the book pretty much is the definition of going not one, but several extra miles. The archetypes presented within are not simple “slap chaos magic on xyz”- options; and we get not only the expected standard tables, but a vast, ginormous array of them! And they actually are genuinely distinct in tone, in rules employed, etc. Some effects are very  potent, some are devastating, and some are just genuinely funny and unique. This, in short, is the most impressive chaos magic book I’ve seen for PFRPG. my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval…and while the formatting isn’t as tight as it should be, this nonetheless represents a tremendous design achievement, and now, with bookmarks completely there, this also gets a nomination for my Top Ten of 2018. While nominally, the formatting snafus alone would usually drag this down to 4.5-stars terrain at least, the book is so chockfull with amazing stuff, oozes passion to such a degree, feels so genuinely fun and inspired, that anything short of 5 stars + seal of approval would be an atrocious injustice to this gem.

You can get this inspired, wild supplement here on OBS!

Missed Spheres of Might? You can find the book here!

Curious about Spheres of Power? The book can be found here!

You can directly support Drop Dead Studios making these sphere-system expansions here on patreon!

Endzeitgeist out.

Jan 312019
 

Monstrous Lair: Goblin Raiding Camp (system neutral)

This installment of the Monstrous Lairs-pdfs clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Sometimes, you just need a bit of dressing for a wayside encounter – or something specific to a monster type. Finding appropriate entries can be rough, and so, this series attempts to remedy this shortcoming on 2 pages, with a total of 7 d10-tables.

In this installment, we take a look at the raiding camps of the chaotic goblinkind, with 10 approaches to the camp containing e.g. rudimentary tripwires, goblins slain in pools of blood or fireworks illuminating the nearby area. Within the camp, there are 10 activities to choose from, which include fights about to break out, goblins playing weirdo games, watching combats between dire grubs and maggots and, of course, adding to a rickety bonfire that sees like it’s about to collapse, covering the pyromania angle. Really cool array here!

Notable features for the camp include blood-stained fighting pits, poorly erected tents covering their spoils, wooden cages holding mangy bears (druids/rangers – your new friend!) and the like. On the more cosmetic side of things, 10 features are included, which include grossly mutilated goblin corpses, piles of skulls, scarecrows made from former wizard attire and unwashed bowls – these all have a strong chaos/mischief angle befitting goblins. 10 entries for goblin appearance include massive amounts of crude earrings, missing a lower jaw, bells tied to the nose (LOL!) and similar odd customs – these are full-blown successes as far as I’m concerned! The pdf also sports 10 sample treasures to be found, which include buried gold, poorly hidden dagger-stashes, and rings used as piercings, which, alas, has plummeted their value. 10 less valuable trinkets, including charcoal drawings and goblin teeth in pristine condition, walk the tightrope between funny and disturbing – just like a goblin-centric supplement should!

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant two-column b/w-standard, and we get a nice piece of b/w-artwork. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, in spite of its brevity (kudos!) and is included in two versions – one optimized for screen-use, and one for the printer.

Jeff Gomez really knocks it out of the park here – we get a great assortment of dressing tidbits that walk the line between the hilarious and odd and the somewhat disturbing. The childlike maliciousness of goblins is perfectly captured in these tables. 5 stars + seal of approval.

You can get this cool dressing file here on OBS!

You can directly support Raging Swan Press here on patreon!

Endzeitgeist out.

Jan 312019
 

Monstrous Lair: Giant Spider’s Web (system neutral)

This installment of the Monstrous Lairs-pdfs clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Sometimes, you just need a bit of dressing for a wayside encounter – or something specific to a monster type. Finding appropriate entries can be rough, and so, this series attempts to remedy this shortcoming on 2 pages, with a total of 7 d10-tables.

The first 10-entry table within this pdf notes approaches to a giant spider’s web, which includes rats loudly squeaking that might alert the spider, shadows clinging to the net, with horrible stench as silent testimony to the horrible fate of folks before and desiccated bodies hinting at the things to come. I liked this table’s subtle nods towards the threats to be encountered. When reaching the spider, the PCs may find it hunting rats, in the process o subduing struggling prey in its netsm suspended from the ceiling, as it’s feeding, being covered in fist-sized young – some really nice ones in this one!

As far as notable features are concerned, we have ginormous spider’s eggs, partially consumed rats sending waves of trembling panic through the web; we have the sense and smell of decay and death,. Heavy in the air, and various webbed things hanging and dangling – from strange shapes to threads to macabre remains of previous food, these are surprisingly distinct. The next table, 10 entry-strong, which does contain minor features, includes web-choked cracks, ribcages of victims containing egg-sacs, and similarly striking visuals. The spider itself can have a broken leg, a non-standard eye-amount, strange patterns or particularly camouflaged chitin – surprisingly diverse entries may be found.

As far as treasures are concerned, the 10-entry table features an ironic leather armor with a spider web-like piping, perfect silver arrows, face masks with silver mandibles and ebony legs – surprisingly spider-centric, this table proved to be a fun addition that I did not expect to carry this much potential. The presence of the mask, for example, hints at cultists, probably ones from a highborn house! Cool! The trinket table is similarly inspired: I can basically see some entries in front of my mind’s eye, with my favorite being one, wherein the spider’s venom has crystallized blood drops into gemlike shapes that now dot the spider webs. Come on, that is amazing! I can see the dangling, gleaming and macabre jewelry, and if that’s not a potential power component for a spell/ritual, what is?

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to Raging Swan Press’ elegant two-column b/w-standard, and we get a nice piece of b/w-artwork. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, in spite of its brevity (kudos!) and is included in two versions – one optimized for screen-use, and one for the printer.

Steve Hood’s trip into the webs of giant spiders is amazing: the respective tables all have strong, often thoroughly inspiring consequences, hinting at things beyond. They maintain a strong leitmotif associated with spiders, and provide some truly memorable and creative dressing. Easily one of my favorites in the series so far, this gets 5 stars + seal of approval, no doubts! Excellent job, sir!

You can get this cool little dressing file here on OBS!

You can directly support Raging Swan Press here on patreon!

Endzeitgeist out.

Jan 302019
 

Dear readers!

While OBS is working out their kinks, I figured, I’d draw your attention to a couple of Indie Kickstarters you may have missed!

Cha’alt (OSR) by Kort’thalis Publishing

Venger is an author with a distinct narrative voice, and much to my joy, he is returning to a non D6-dice-pool-based project with his latest book, a magnum opus of sorts: Cha’alt is a post-apocalpyse science-fantasy setting that looks like it’ll be able to recapture and perhaps even surpass his Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence masterpiece. If you are looking for a beautiful book, smythe-sewn hardbacks are available! The KS is almost funded and you can check it out here!

Lex Draconis (Modern) by Higher Grounds Gaming

Raymond Machuga contacted me about this project, which has a unique baseline. traumatized dragons in the Modern world? Now I haven’t seen this one before! The author has quite a few kickstarters under his belt, and while one for a new RPG-setting is not yet finished, the others are. You can check out this kickstarter here!

The Haunting of Hastur Hardback Omnibus Edition (OSR/5e) by Dark Naga Adventures

This one is a no-brainer; full disclosure: I did some editing on the final module’s 5e-version, but even before that, the Haunting of Hastur-series stood out as something remarkable these days: A series of adventures that is very distinctly rooted in D&D traditions, but that is still very much NOT about murder-hoboing everything. Instead, you get to use your brain and do things that actually matter! Recolored and combined in one tome, with 5e and OSR-options, and considering the author’s excellent track record, this one is almost fully funded for a reason! You can check it out here!

The fundraiser by roleplaying game creator Jeremy Tangman has almost made the goal – but only almost. Jeremy is still missing a relatively small sum – $250 as per the writing of this, but it’s due soon, and facebook fundraiser donations will, at this point, be too slowly processed. You can directly donate to Jeremy quicker by using this e-mail address; you can directly contact him by writing here! And guess what – you can get a huge bunch of RPG-swag by donating – check out this list of stuff!

(Coincidentally, if you’ve been on the edge about Haunting of Hastur – guess what? You can get the first three Haunting Of Hastur modules by donating that way – and believe me, you’ll be hooked by the time you put the second module down!)

All right, that’s it for now. After a ton of trying, I managed to get two reviews posted, in spite of OBS’ server issues. Here’s to hoping that I can flood you all with reviews tomorrow!

Cheers and all the best,

Endzeitgeist out.

Jan 302019
 

Star Log.EM: Soldier Fighting Styles (SFRPG)

This installment of the Star Log.EM-series clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

After a brief introduction to the subject matter and the context of soldiers in the Xa-Osoro system, we begin with the first of 3 fighting styles herein, the berserker.  These folks can enter berserkergang (NICE and kudos for getting the name right!), which translates to a +2 morale bonus to melee attack rolls and damage rolls as wellas to these roles with thrown weapons and on Will-savesm but at the cost of -2 to AC (collective term used; this, this applies to both EAC and KAC) and 2 temporary hit points per soldier level. This mode does, like the rage it’s clearly based upon, prevent the use of concentration-requiring skills with some exceptions, but manages to get gear boost etc. interaction correctly. Activation is a swift action, and the mode lasts for 3 rounds, fatiguing you for a single round thereafter, and yes, this does prevent, foresight be praised, rage-cycling, should the options ever raise their heads. At 5th level, we get deadened nerves which translates to DR 1/- in berserkergang, and that increases by 1 at 7th level and every 2 levels thereafter. Cool: Gets augmentation synergy right! 9th level nets immunity to shaken and frightened while in berserkergang, and 13th level upgrades the bonuses to +4 for atk and damage, +3 to Will, and the temporary hit points granted increase to 3 per class level. You also gain a +2 insight bonus to the DC of critical effects of weapons you wield, including synergy with class abilities, feats, etc.. 17th level upgrades the Will save to +6 vs. enchantment effects, charms and compulsions and gets rid of the fatigued cooldown, but in a cool catch, still doesn’t allow for cheesing. The duration also changes until ended. Cool fighting style!

The second would be the rapscallion, who gains Improved Maneuver (dirty trick), and enforces a save on an application of the maneuver. If the enemy fails the save, it takes a standard action to remove the trick’s effects. 5th level nets Spring Attack with a dirty trick synergy; 9th level provides the trick fighting ability, which nets a +1 insight bonus to dirty trick attempts, and it basically adds dirty trick effects to your critical hits as an alternate critical hit effect. 13th level nets an onslaught version of dirty trick that has a unique feature: If you focus on one target, you get to substitute one of the 4 different conditions for the regular ones, using the second roll’s effects to determine duration. 17th level provides AoO and charge synergy with dirty trick, and removing the effects now will cost a full action on a failed save, a standard action on a successful one.

The third style herein is the striker style, which allows you to take no atk-penalty when fighting defensively, but nets only a +1 bonus to AC. You may also fight defensively as part of a standard action or as part of charges and Shot on the Run or Spring Attack; in such cases, you take -2 to atk. 5th level nets the ability to intimidate unarmed opponents you threaten sans actions. If you succeed the target is off-target on all attacks against you until the start of the next turn. 9th level yields Deflect projectiles, and may use any melee weapons to do so. This gets better in conjunction with fighting defensively, and the ability makes damage type matter. Evasive maneuvers, at 13th level, nets you evasion while fighting defensively, and the bonus to KAC from fighting defensively is applied to Ref-saves when fighting defensively. 17th level increases all damage reduction and resistances you may have when fighting defensively or in total defense.

The pdf also sports 4 gear boosts: You’ve got three guesses of what Danger Sense does: Bingo, bonus to AC and Ref-saves vs. traps, hazards and surprise round attacks; additionally, Perception becomes a class skill, and the skill gets a +3 insight bonus that increases at higher levels. Finesse Soldier lets you, when you hit with an operative weapon adding Dex to atk and Str to damage, add ½ class level to the weapon damage. This bonus can’t exceed your Dex-bonus. Grappler Dash is cool: When hitting a target with a grappler, you can spend 1 Resolve Point as a move action to immediately move to an open square adjacent to the target, up to a maximum range of 500 ft. Movement must be a straight line, and moving more than 240 ft. renders you flat-footed, and when you do this, the foe gets a free Acrobatics check to break free. This is a very powerful movement tool, but one kept in check by its clever balances. As an old bionic commando fan, I love this. Uncanny Agility, finally, nets you the operative ability whenever you’re in light or no armor.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules language level. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series, and the pdf has a nice artwork, as seen on the cover. The pdf has no bookmarks, but requires none at this length.

Alexander Augunas delivers some truly core aspects for soldiers here – the berserkergang will be a boon for barbarian fans that have migrated to SFRPG, and the defensive style is also pretty nice. The gear boosts have a true “Did you see that?”-gem with Grappler Dash. All in all, a great little installment in the series. My final verdict will be 5 stars.

You can get this neat player-option book here on OBS!

Endzeitgeist out.

Jan 302019
 

Star Log.EM: Envoy Improvisations (SFRPG)

This installment of the Star Log.EM-series clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

All right, as you could glean from the title, this one features new improvisations for the envoy class, to be more precise, 4 new 2nd and 8th level improvisations, as well as 6 new 6th level improvisations. It should be noted that these come with the appropriate glyphs denoting language-based, mind-affecting etc. improvisations, which are also explained once more in a side-bar for your convenience.

Among the 2nd level improvisations, we find fantastic assist, which allows you to replace regular attacks in a full attack action with covering or harrying fire at a -4 penalty, maintaining consistency there. Kudos: This does interact properly with e.g. the onslaught type of full attack modifying tricks; as a minor nitpick, I do think that it would have made sense to explicitly state that greater penalties to atk as a result of such a combination override the penalty incurred from this improvisation. Polylinguist nets you envoy level additional languages, as well as +1 language per envoy level. Team Assist nets an ally within 30 ft. attempting a skill check an untyped +2 bonus as if you had used Aid Another (which is why I don’t complain about the bonus being untyped) – kudos: Can’t be cheesed by stacking aid another on top, and abilities that enhance aid another don’t increase this bonus. Telepathic Improvisation makes audible or visual-component sporting improvisations for allies or foes work via telepathy or limited telepathy. Cool.

Among the 6th level options, we have Antagonizing Mastermind works like Antagonize, but makes an ally the target required to offset the penalty, which is btw. off-target and -2 to skill checks, with duration scaling based on how you rock the skill check. Amazing Coordination lets you threaten opponents even when not wielding a weapon. As a move action, you can choose a threatened square to count as your square for the purpose of flanking bonuses. Neat. Avenge Me! is conceptually a nice one: When reduced to dead or dying, if you can target the offending creature with go get’em and spend 1 Resolve Point…as an immediate action. Which does not exist in SFRPG. That should be a reaction. The improvisation targets the creature with go get’em until the target dies, is reduced to 0 HP or below, or 24 hours elapse. If you have improved go get’em, you can apply that instead.

Catch! lets you use a standard action to choose one wielded grenade and attempt to Bluff an opponent, with the feint DC. (This is NOT a feint-check!) The grenade detonates at the end of the round, detonating on the corner of the target’s square, and if you made your check, the target takes a penalty to Ref-save. I am pretty sure that this should have an attack-like component. RAW, obstacles like forcefields etc. don’t hamper feints, when they’d clearly stop the grenade from ever reaching the target.

Inspiring Martyr is similar to the aforementioned “Avenge Me!”, but oddly gets the action economy right, being based on reactions. It allows you to immediately use a move and standard action to trigger up to two envoy improvisations. Language-dependent ones change to sense-dependent. Kudos: Verbiage prevents cheesing via stabilizing. Nice one! Play the Crowd is activated as a full action and lets you choose a 20-ft.-radius area within 30 ft. and attempt a social skill check. There need to be a bunch of noncombatants within 100 ft. Opponents within the area draw the ire of said crowd if you make your check, which can cause one of 3 different conditions. Cool!

Among the 8th level improvisations, we can find Amazing Assistant, which lets you roll your expertise die and substitute that for aid another, and also add the expertise die as part of covering/harrying fire, and affect that number of targets with the respective action. This is a really, really cool assist! Love it! Easy Now can be used as a reaction or sans action, the latter requiring the expenditure of 1 Resolve Point. If you do, you can grant an ally the option to take 10. In short: Become the guy that you really want on the other end of the line when your ally’s defusing the nova-bomb. Nice! Hysteric Inspiration is a standard action that can be used when an ally within 30 ft. is at 0 Stamina and less than half total Hit Points. This grants a whopping ½ Stamina Point total temporary Hit Points, as well as a +1 morale bonus to atk, and a morale bonus equal to the envoy’s Charisma bonus to damage rolls; these benefits last for expertise die result rounds, but afterwards, the ally becomes exhausted. An ally can only benefit once per day from this, and the envoy can’t target herself. Action economy seems to be odd, though: The ability states that, by spending 1 Resolve Point, you can use this ability as a reaction instead of a move action. But the ability is triggered as a standard action, not as a move action. Which is it?? Pass the Torch is another one that inspired allies when you fall to 0 HP or below and get the dead/dying condition. You can spend 1 Resolve Point to grant an ally within 30 ft. 1 Resolve Point. The ability may not be used again until you and the ally have recovered Resolve Points after an 8-hour rest. I…kinda like this, but there is an odd interaction here. If you’d force the envoy to grant all Resolve to targets (like e.g. space-kittens) and then cryo-sleep those kittens, the envoy would be stranded sans Resolve. Making the granted Resolve operate on a timer for the target would have been more elegant here.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good on a formal level and okay on a rules-language level, though I did notice a “cna’t”-typo and a couple of uncharacteristic hiccups. Layout adheres to a  two-column full-color standard, and the artwork provided is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none.

Alexander Augunas’ envoy improvisations are per se a cool array of unique benefits; while the “blaze of glory”/avenge me-angle is a bit dominant, I found myself liking all concepts herein. Unfortunately, the pdf is rather rushed. While none of the glitches truly wreck the rules language of the material herein, the pdf does sport a couple of indicators that point towards the fact that this could have used a bit more scrutiny regarding a few of its components. While it is functional as a whole, this does drag down the pdf from the accolades it’d otherwise get. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down.

You can get these improvisations here on OBS!


Endzeitgeist out.

Jan 252019
 

Pop Culture Catalog: Vidgames (SFRPG/almost system neutral)

Videogames do matter now!

The first installment of the Pop Culture Catalog-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was moved up in my reviewing-queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreon supporters.

Being the first in a new series, this supplement deals with something that was painfully absent from many a supplement in many a science-fiction/science-fantasy/space-opera game – flavor, particularly regarding the small details. Whether you think of Star Wars or series more in line with my tastes like Firefly, Defiance or The Expanse, you’ll notice something when going into the in-depth analysis of what works and what doesn’t – while the big world-building is important, so are the smaller tidbits. The representations of the respective cultures depicted, and their popular culture artifacts and expressions. This pdf is the first in a series that attempts to fill that hole, to make the small, often neglected components, make sense. While nominally tied to the Xa-Osoro system as the default shared setting of Rogue Genius Games and Everyman Gaming, the content herein works just as well in other science-fiction/fantasy/space opera settings. As such, this receives the “almost system neutral”-tag. It features rules for Starfinder, sure, but these are slightly less important – this book is just as viable in e.g. Stars Without Number.

Speaking of rules: on the first page, we are introduced to fandoms of pop culture representations – to belong, you have to engage with a  topic for 24 hours; said time must be spent in 1-hour increments, and need not be consecutive. You can belong to 1 + Charisma modifier fandoms (minimum 1); for every 5 ranks you have in a skill associated with a fandom, you can join an additional fandom associated. The pdf provides a list – Athletes and Sports teams? Associated skills Athletics (not Athleticism) and Culture); Infosphere Sites? Computers, Culture. Clothing Brands? EDIT: The pdf has been updated and got rid of a minor glitch here. Leaving a fandom is a matter of declaring it, and rejoining only takes 12 hours. Each fandom has its unique benefit, which is known as fandom perk. Whenever you take a 10-minute rest to replenish Stamina, you can switch the active fandom perk from the ones you have, as you can only benefit from one at a given time. Alternatively, you can spend 2 Resolve Points as a full action to swap an active perk for another. Each of the popular vidgame franchises herein comes with a fandom perk, which are generally in line and approximate with theme knowledge – a reduced DC, for example. If you already have such a reduction in place for that matter at hand, you instead gain a bonus to such checks.

As soon as you start looking at the actual content, you’ll start grinning from ear to ear.

Why? Well…there is, for example a deplorable company that purchases smaller studios and milks them dry until the public tires of them. Said company also holds the rights of the biggest sport-series simulation in vidgames, Hawkvein Sports, and releases a new, slightly tweaked iteration every year. The publisher also has the rights over Simulacraft, developed by Mixim, wherein the player gets control over the fate of a small community of artificial beings. (And in the science fiction context, simulacra of scanned persons may be included in the game…) Suffice to say, this publisher is not very popular, is considered to be a blight upon the gaming sphere…

Sounds familiar? Yep, it’s obviously…DE Games. No. Not EA. What? The logo provided looks similar enough to make abundantly clear what’s meant? You don’t say… 😉

Kidding aside, the glorious thing here, is that the logos and publishers are clearly based on real world entities, but abstracted enough to prevent any possible form of litigation. “Kyko”, for example,  publishes “Kingdom Clash XG”. Okami is a legendary publisher under the CEO Satoru Yamawata, and has such gems as the “Legend of Xion” (which takes place in Hivool, latest installment: Mark of the Wilds), “Nullchamon” (in which you become the best there ever was in training Null-Space chamber monsters…) of “Starsune” under their IPs – the latter being a fun tweak on the StarFox reference. And yes, there is a series about a portly construction worker – Super Malvick. There also is a Smash Brothers franchise mentioned.

You’ve got three guesses which company “Tsunami” is based on. If It’s not immediately evident: Age of Ashes (AoA) is the most commercially successful MMORPG ever; there is a dungeongrinder that starts with “D” (Demgagogue X) plagued by sneak updates, a science-fiction RTS and a team-shooter with that sports “Watch” as a syllable in its name.

Virilsoft, obviously based on Ubisoft, has franchises such as the skill-enhancing “Lumman”-platformer, “Move! Motion! Mayhem!” (totally not DDR) that can actually teach you to dance; “Murder’s Mark” is set in historical events and allows for better mook-killing due to coup-de-grace cinematics-studying…and “Skitterscreamers” hilariously lampoon a certain rabbid-based franchise with Starfinders beloved skittermanders in the main role.

Beyond the big ones, the pdf also includes a couple of more “Indy” (in the roughest sense of the word) nods, which include survival-game “Shipwreck”, obvious Portal reference “Wormhole,” and, much to my joy, nods to both the awesome Indy gem Shovel Knight (“Spade Shogun”) and to my childhood platformer of choice, which is represented here as “Dasher the Hedgepig.” While the latter has suffered seriously during the last years, particularly with the atrocious “Dasher the Hedgepig ‘26” (that made me lol…), it’s still a cult classic. As an aside: “Sonic Mania” really rocks and captures old-school Sonic exceedingly well. You’ve got three guesses which franchise “Ultimate Fantasy” references…

So yeah, the flavor here is phenomenal and made me smile time and again. What about the mechanics? Well, what about a Reflex save reroll at -2, that may be recharged by resting and spending Resolve? Effectively handling manual tools? Bonuses for ganging up on opponents? What about one of them helping with verbal duels as codified in the Advanced Skill Guide? The benefits aren’t world-shaking, but they are meaningful – and they are not boring.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a rules-language level and has been further refined in a recent update. No more complaints! Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard, a and we get a couple of really nice pieces drawn in Jacob Blackmon’s signature style. My favorite aesthetic component within, though? The company logos. Similar enough to make clear what entity is meant without being on the nose. The Blizzard stand-in, Tsunami, to give you an example, does not have “frozen” letters or such a font, but instead sports a rendition of the wave you’d associate with that natural disaster. They are genuinely clever. Kudos! The pdf now comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Alexander Augunas’ first Pop Culture Catalog is a great start for the series that shows a genuine passion for the subject matter. While Alex is a great designer, he also knows how to write compelling and captivating prose, settlements, races – you name it. In this book, he can flex his narrative muscles, and I for one was thoroughly entertained by this offering. While clearly a Starfinder supplement regarding its rules, I maintain that this genuinely is useful, regardless of the game system you’re playing. And if you’re even remotely interested in videogames, then this will definitely be fun for you – attempting to decrypt the plethora of references is certainly amazing, and frankly, I can’t wait to see sequels, where franchises like “Quiet Mountain”, “Memory Loss” or the like are covered. The subject of videogames certainly has a lot to offer. Furthermore, I do love how this book, design-paradigm-wise, rewards characters in-game for engaging with the flavor presented. Ultimately, having hobbies and the like adds depth to a character, and this pdf achieves just that. EDIT: Devoted to quality, Alexander has updated the pdf and ironed out the minor kinks, which increases the rating to 5 stars. And since I really loved what this has to offer, I will also add my seal of approval. A fun read, meaningful effects, and plenty of reasons to smile – what’s not to like?

You can get this cool pdf here on OBS!

Endzeitgeist out.

Jan 252019
 

Storm Bunny Presents – The Zhamaja (5e)

Just as beautiful in the 5e-version…

The 5e-version of this little pdf clocks in at 4 pages, 1 page of which is devoted to the SRD, with the other 3 sporting content of some sorts, with the first page sporting the amazing artwork of the monster, as well as the description – the zhamaja is a worm from beyond space and time, prowling the darkness beneath, with horrid, ringed mouths and poisonous stingers – on page two, we actually do get visual close-up representations of the moth and poison-sac-laden stingers, including annotations, making that part look a bit like a field manual, which is a pretty damn cool angle, as far as presentation is concerned.

The zhamaja comes with 2 statblocks – one for CR 6 and one for a CR 13 iteration. Both have in common, that they can either opt for tentacle slams, stinger or bite attacks as far as their attack routines are concerned, and with their telepathy, they are not mere brutes, but actually sentient adversaries. Another plus would be that we do get descriptions of the respective features of their behavior patterns, with the pdfs explaining e.g. the functionality of the acidic maws and behavioral patterns. These diverge between the two variants and add some serious value to the critter, contextualizing them in the context of the game and kicking the creative juices in high gear. A problem here in the 5e-version, is a slight disjoint regarding the flavor and attack array – their Multiattack consists of a tentacle, a bite and a stinger attack, with the stingers actually, flavor-wise, being part of the tentacle; this is in as much a bit odd, as it deals the same amount of damage, but also adds poison damage on a failed Constitution save. This is supposed to be offset, I guess, by the optional attack routine of hitting with additional tentacles instead of bite and stinger, if the first tentacle attack hits. Considering that bite gets bonus acid damage, stinger bonus poison damage, that option usually doesn’t make much sense, in spite of the cumulative (and some might argue “un-5e-ish” +1 bonus to attack with subsequent tentacle attacks.

On a formal level, it should be noted that, while the statblock is solid, it does not properly format the abilities, which are usually both bolded and italicized in 5e, and followed by a full stop. Similarly, “Hit” is not italicized in the attack section. A possible error in the statblock pertains to the stinger attacks, which are +1 too high – this leads me to suggest that the stinger may have been intended at one point to require a previous hit of a tentacle. As far as tentacle attacks are concerned, an easy means to differentiate them slightly would have been a change of damage type. While tentacle attacks are often bludgeoning in 5e, e.g. gricks have slashing tentacles, grells piercing ones, so I don’t object to piercing tentacles per se. Considering 5e’s rock-paper-scissors approach to damage types, though, it’d have made more sense to provide a meaningful choice for the monster there, perhaps shifting the tentacle damage value around.

The introduction of the Outerdark as a new terrain type made me smile, as it reminded me of the much-beloved Ocean Game-based settings by Pelgrane Press, so that’d be another flavor-plus, as far as I’m concerned. So, as far as flavor and artwork is concerned, this is a definite 5 star + seal candidate, but, as noted, there are a couple of components that may end up irking you slightly ona  formal level.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting re very good on a formal level, and slightly less refined on a rules-language level. Layout is pretty gorgeous and adheres to a two-column full-color standard reminiscent of a field manual, with the phenomenal artwork by Terry Maranda being one of the highlights of the supplement. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

I really liked Jaye Sonia’s zhamaja, mainly because they are a great example of what I’ve been preaching – good flavor can really elevate a critter. A cynic could call them another worm-like thing without much going for it, but it’s the contextualization of the monster that adds to it, that helps it come into its own. While the pdf sports a few minor snafus and design decisions that could have been refined a bit, the creature ultimately is more compelling in its 5e-iteration. While not exactly reinventing the wheel as far as critters are concerned, it is a solid addition to your bestiary. Having a couple of special abilities that diverge more strongly between versions also helps the two iterations stand out from one another more. In short, this version, to me, feels slightly superior to the PFRPG-version, which is why I will round up due to in dubio pro reo from my final verdict of 3.5 stars.

You can get this gorgeous, if not perfect critter here on OBS!

…but slightly more refined, if not perfect, in the 5e-version.

Endzeitgeist out.

Jan 252019
 

Storm Bunny Presents – The Zhamaja

Amazing artworks and aesthetics…

This little pdf clocks in at 4 pages, 1 page of which is devoted to the SRD, with the other 3 sporting content of some sorts, with the first page sporting the amazing artwork of the monster, as well as the description – the zhamaja is a worm from beyond space and time, prowling the darkness beneath, with horrid, ringed mouths and poisonous stingers – on page two, we actually do get visual close-up representations of the moth and poison-sac-laden stingers, including annotations, making that part look a bit like  a field manual, which is a pretty damn cool angle, as far as presentation is concerned.

The zhamaja comes with 2 statblocks – one for CR 6 and one for a CR 13 iteration. Both have in common, that they can either opt for tentacle slams or for bite attacks as far as their attack routines are concerned, and with at-will telepathy, they are not mere brutes, but actually sentient adversaries. Another plus would be that we do get descriptions of the respective features of their behavior patterns, with the pdfs explaining e.g. the functionality of the acidic maws and behavioral patterns. These diverge between the two variants and add some serious value to the critter, contextualizing them in the context of the game and kicking the creative juices in high gear.

The introduction of the Outerdark as a new terrain type also made me smile, as it reminded me of the much-beloved Ocean Game-based settings by Pelgrane Press, so that’d be another flavor-plus, as far as I’m concerned. So, as far as flavor and artwork is concerned, this is a definite 5 star + seal candidate; alas, the critters themselves are mechanically less interesting, offering not much in the way of truly distinctive tricks, and sort some glitches in the statblocks, like missing the application of special size modifiers to CMB/CMD, for example. The glitches are not bad, mind you, and these remain usable, but if you’re particular about mechanical precision, this may irk you.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting re very good on a formal level, and slightly less refined on a rules-language level. Layout is pretty gorgeous and adheres to a two-column full-color standard reminiscent of a field manual, with the phenomenal artwork by Terry Maranda being one of the highlights of the supplement. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

I really liked Jaye Sonia’s zhamaja, mainly because they are a great example of what I’ve been preaching – good flavor can really elevate a critter. A cynic could call them another worm-like thing without much going for it, but it’s the contextualization of the monster that adds to it, that helps it come into its own. However, at the same time,  I can’t well ignore the fact that the critters per se don’t really have anything unique going for them on a mechanical level; their feat load-out is clever, but combined with the minor hiccups in the mechanics, I can’t rate this higher than 3.5 stars, rounded down. If you don’t mind these components, this is still worth getting!

You can get this critter here on OBS!

…but rules-wise, less compelling and refined

Endzeitgeist out.

Jan 252019
 
Alas, the cover is one of the coolest things herein…

The first installment of the Dungeon Lord-‘zine clocks in at 28 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page introduction, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 22 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, so the pdf contains a one page basic generator that allows you to randomly determine inclines in your dungeon, with a d3 to determine incline or lack thereof, and the gradient of the slope. Basic, but potentially useful, if you really needed such a super basic table. I couldn’t help but feel that a finer differentiation and nuance would have helped there. We also get a nice poem, “Some Ziggurat”, penned by Julian Bernick – and it actually is a nice one! I will use this at one point to set the mood.

The lion’s share of the ‘zine, though, is devoted to adventures, so in order to discuss these, I will have to go into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.

..

.

All right, only judges around? Great! So, on the inside of the front cover, there is a nice little one-page dungeon, the “Calcified Caves of the Slime Yeti”, penned by Ron Yonts, which comes with a nice map (no player-friendly, unlabeled version included) and a brief magic item loot table. The dungeon comes with wandering monsters, and, to my joy, does feature a brief note on terrain hazards. While we don’t get stats, this is a nice one-page dungeon that manages to squeeze a bit of atmosphere into the space allotted.

The second adventure, and the main article herein, would be “The Caves of the Sacred Seven”, a level 1 – 2 adventure that has a distinct thematic focus on prehistory. This complex is depicted with full stats and the map…exists. It’s not exactly aesthetically-pleasing, and it lacks a scale. No unlabeled version is provided. The complex has 36 keyed locales, and comes with a d30 fluff-only random corridor generator. I per se like the prehistoric flavor of this place, but the rules are…all wrong. There is, for example, a per se cool room wherein PCs exposed to primordial slime either evolve or devolve – d7 tables for both are provided. How do you determine which you roll on? “This causes them to either evolve or devolve depending on their luck, rolling a d7 on the appropriate table below:” That’s literally all we get. Yeah. Nonfunctional. Telepathic communication has no range, etc. –this, alas, does extend to the whole content here, and what’s here is not sufficiently interesting to warrant the effort to make this work as intended, which is a pity, as e.g. a wizard that can wipe body parts away and place them on walls is a great idea, though one that is, once more, lacking regarding the mechanical representation, and I’m not going to start with formatting and intricacies.

The pdf also contains a thoroughly linear fun-house dungeon, the “Tomb of Zarfulgar the Lost”, which lacks notes on suggested player maps and has a map that spells out “ABQ Zine E Fest 2014.” This is per se a solid funhouse, though it lacks proper stats or rules-relevant components: Playful beings of light and a bunch of fun weirdness can be found here, but there is a downside: The dungeon is provided in a ginormous wall of text in a font that’s super unpleasant to read. As in: Migraine-inducing. This rather ugly and jumbled presentation, combined with the lack of actual rules, means that, ultimately, I can’t come up with reasons to actually run this.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are not good; on a formal level, at least editing is okay, if not perfect, but on a rules-language level, we have a supplement that barely qualifies as DCC as far as I’m concerned. A few decent b/w-artworks are included in the pdf. The cartography is functional, but not exactly amazing. There are no player-friendly, unlabeled maps provided, and the pdf, in a puzzling move, lacks bookmarks, which makes for a comfort detriment that would have been easy to avoid.

I wanted to like this ‘zine by Taylor Frank, Julian Bernick, Jason Pfiefer and Ron Yonts, but ultimately, I can’t claim I did. The one-page dungeon and the poem remained the only bits of content that I took out of this, with both big dungeons so problematic, they don’t really warrant scavenging. This is not a cynical cash-grab, but it is a pretty rough offering when compared with other DCC-‘zines. My final verdict will clock in at 1.5 stars, and honestly, since I really got nothing but the poem and the solid, but brief one-page-dungeon out of this, I’ll round down.

You can get this ‘zine here on OBS.

Endzeitgeist out.