May 312019

Star Log.EM: Terragaru (SFRPG)

This Star Log.EM 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!


On the first page, we have a new size-category –Supercolossal. All creatures of this size are even larger than Colossal critters, and receive the Massive extraordinary ability. Creatures with this ability ignore difficult terrain and environment-based movement-impairing effects of up to 1/4th of a height or depth of the creature’s space. These creatures may not be flanked by critters that are Large or smaller, and receive +2 to AC against attacks from such targets. They also only take half damage from effects from such targets. These critters also get an untyped +2 bonus to all saving throws against effects with sources Large or smaller, and obviously, supercolossal creatures can’t be grappled by Large or smaller targets, and supercolossal creatures don’t gain the grappled condition when grappling or pinning Large or smaller targets.


This pdf contains two different statblocks – the first (and lower-powered one!) would be the Colossal Joey of Terragaru, a mighty CR 20 magical beast that has an extraordinary fly speed of 100 ft. via mighty leaps, a bulk that can hold literally more than a ton – 10, or 2K bulk, to be precise! Objects may be transferred to and fro as a swift action, and as a full action, the joey can attack all creatures in a 15-foot cone with the tail, using an ammo-less version of the automatic property to provide a properly contextualized AoE attacks with their tails…which btw. also can be used to grapple multiple targets, depending on target size-category. The joey doesn’t have space and reach noted, which *may* be a glitch or a conscious design decision, considering how it interacts with the adult terragaru. Odd: The joey has two subtypes noted that the adult Terragaru doesn’t have. This is probably a glitch. On the plus-side: I love that senses like blindsight (scent) have their ranges extended to a range that actually makes them sensible for creatures of this size.


The big terragaru is Supercolossal CR 25 monster that further improves upon the massive defensive qualities of the joey; the mighty leap has a whopping 500 ft.-range, and the big buddy’s kicks actually cause massive bleeding and even Constitution drain! Nice: While it also has mighty leap, it does not have the joey’s stipulation of needing to end on a solid surface, and thus has maneuverability noted. Easy to overlook – kudos for catching that!

Oh, and while speaking of small details I enjoyed: Being inside a joey’s pouch is a hassle, being inside the Terragaru’s pouch is deadly – if the joey is inside the pouch, that is! Kudos: Damage here is based on the joey’s presence, and as such uses the joey’s stats – it’s a small touch, easy to overlook, but I loved seeing it!


Their sweeping strikes can attack targets in a massive 250-foot cone, and these guys can even grapple multiple Gargantuan targets!  The massive being can attempt rerolls on failed saves vs. paralysis, petrification, polymorph, mind-affecting effects, etc. sans action, and 1/year, when they’d be reduced to 0 Hit Points, the terragaru can enter a lethargic state as a reaction, becoming nauseated, but also regaining a massive array of Hit Points, retreating into a kind of hibernation…but any attacks will end this state’s effects and retreat, and make the terragaru hit back for round #2! As a creature of massive size, every step of the vast creature is accompanied by a massive earthquake, and as a full action, they can not only leave a localized quake in their wake, but cause a massive 1-mile radius quake!


How does that work in SFRPG? Well, fret not, for pdf does come with a new 6th-level mystic spell, earthquake, which btw. may not affect e.g. environments like starships that sport no seismic activity. The spell does miss one thing in the conversion to SFRPG – the damage it causes should probably be typed as bludgeoning.



Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level, almost as good on a rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the artwork is neat. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.


Alexander Augunas’ depiction of a massive kaiju kangaroo for SFRPG rocks – the massive monster is deadly, and I certainly can see it decimating whole invading fleets, as noted in the flavor text; similarly, I can see the besieged local populace of yroometji venerating the massive being as a destructive protector. The flavor puts a nice spin on this force of nature. While not perfect, this is a delightful and interesting critter-pdf, with some cool angles hard-coded into these creatures. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up.


You can get these delightfully weird kangaroo-kaiju here on OBS!


Missed the kangaroo-folk that you can play? The yroometji may be found here!


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Endzeitgeist out.

May 312019

Star Log.EM: InsaneCorp’s Delightfully Destructive Disintegrators (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!


Why do I have such a strange feeling of unease? As though something odd that I’ve forgotten has…


*tap* *tap*

Is this reviewer-dude on? Great! Hoomanz of Planet Earth, this is Doctor Malifaord Hudson Insano speaking once more to you from beyond the boundaries of your backwater galaxy, directly transmitting my brainwaves into this mortal vessel to tell you about my delightful disintegrators and how they can solve your problems!


What problems? I’m glad you asked! You see, if you consult the introduction-page of this pdf, you’ll notice my explanation! In your local parlance for tl;dr, here’s the gist of it: What couldn’t you solve with them? Trash? Disintegrated. Boss nagging? One zap and you’re rid of all those annoying deadlines! Redecorating? Steel  won’t withstand our handy tools! Really dislike that one city block? Well, whip out your trusty atomizer bazooka!


But I’m getting ahead of myself! Let’s go through all those wonderful weapons, shall we? All of these items come in 4 different versions for different levels of expertise, with different prices. Are you handy? As in: Do you like your advanced melee weaponry? Well, then I have two options – the dissolvatron katar, if you prefer one-handed weapons, and the fission katana for two-handed slice and dice! Both are obviously powered weapons, with all but the most basic models of each kind offering corrode on critical hits. The katana slashes foes and deals acid damage as well, while the dissolvatron katar uses sonic and acid to pulverize foes.  These two come for levels 2, 7, 12 and 17, but…oh. Damn. The dissolvatron katar…is kinda missing its damage values in the table. Damn. I need to contact my hooman guy to fix this.


Anyhow, the katana! You wanted to look at that one, right? Right! Well, it obviously has the deflect and operative special property, but it also comes with my patented single grip. This allows you to wield a two-handed weapon in one hand – though at the drawback of it becoming unwieldy.


Didn’t get any formal combat training with the big slice-and-dicers? Fret not, dear hooman! Your friend has you covered! Available in levels 1, 6, 11 and 16 versions, we have the atomizer chakram that may be thrown and is an operative weapon. Its high level versions have the wound and severe wound critical effects, respectively. It’s obviously acid-based, but you knew that already.  For two-handed foe pulverizing, I do heartily recommend the  ion smasher – with acidic effects, corroding crits and a blend of acid and bludgeoning damage, there are few things as satisfying as squishing targets with it.


For levels 4, 9, 14 and 19, I do recommend the discombobulation pistols – with neat acid, 20 charges, a light bulk and the blast special property, they are easily concealed and rather fun to use, though their range is only 15 ft. For those who value their privacy, I always recommend my bondbreaker sniper rifles, which are currently available for levels 3, 8, 13 and 18. Like the pistol, it has a usage of 5 and a capacity of 20 charges, but it also has a range of 40 ft., the sniper (250 ft.) and unwieldy property, but it does come with handy corrode critical effects for all models!


What’s that? I saw you eyeing that big one. Yep, that’s the atomizer bazooka I mentioned before! It’s available in 4 versions, for level 5, 10, 15 and 20, has a range of 30 ft. capacity of 20 charges, usage 4…and bulk 3. Okay, I know – it’s still two bulk less than the sniper rifle, okay? It does make up for that with corrode in all models, d20-based damage, and the explosive special property. While the lower two models have 10 ft. there, the higher-level iterations increase explode’s radius by +5 ft. each!


Oi…the signal’s got some issues…guess I’ll hand the rest over to the reviewer guy…



Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level. On a rules-language level, the absence of damage values for one of the weapons is slightly jarring and hampers and otherwise very precise book. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the artwork presented is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.


Alexander Augunas’ transcriptions of these weapons rock – I enjoy them all, and there are some seriously cool concepts here. Apart from aforementioned glitch, there is nothing to complain about here, making this a nice book of weaponry. My final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.


You can get these cool weapons here on OBS!


Please consider supporting my patreon to keep the reviews flowing!

Endzeitgeist out.


May 312019

Fear Itself: The Seventh Circle (GUMSHOE)

This adventure for Fear Itself clocks in at 78 pages of content if you take away the covers, editorial, etc., so let’s take a look!


First of all: This was penned for the first incarnation of the game, which means that you may need do some slight conversion work when adjusting this to the second iteration of the game. Secondly, it should be noted that the “Trail of Cthulhu”-header denoting an alternate system is not simply cosmetic or an indicator of a single page of information; the module does present quite a bit of advice on how to use it in conjunction with that game, should you prefer that cosmology to the criminally-underrated Ocean Game-setting.


My review is based on the print version, a softcover with glossy, nice pages. I do not own the electronic version of the book.


The book comes with 6 different pregens, and essentially can be summed up as two different scenarios: The imho more rewarding one is clearly intended for a regular playing experience – it hinges on the PCs being smart and doing their legwork from the get-go, and makes the whole scenario significantly most investigative in focus. The second way of playing this, is to basically throw the PCs pretty quickly into the main location of the module – in such a context, the whole story may end up being somewhat obtuse in its details, but the module can then be easily resolved within the frame of e.g. a convention. It should be noted that this adventure does a much better job at this convention-game-angle than many comparable modules released for Esoterrorists or Fear Itself.


Okay, and this is as far as I can go without diving into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.





So, this is the story of a man named Patrick Raleigh, and how he met the lawyer Valerie Irvine and thus was introduced into the per se not malignant Hermetic Order of the Seventh Circle. While, of course, not necessarily benevolent in the context of the world of Ocean Game, these occultists nonetheless are not per se esoterrorists – and when Raleigh found out about the island Eilean Mòr (situated in the Flannan Isles) and how mysterious disappearances happened there, he began investigating.


Wary of Valerie Irvine, he indeed confirmed that the remote island does seem to have something going on – and decided that he’d need to place a ward there to harness the power. This is where the famed architect Nathan Glaas entered the frame, who himself was in the midst of a nasty divorce with his soon-to-be ex-wife Audrey. Nathan was tasked to create a house based on the principles of sacred geometry, Indeed, much to my joy, the book comes with rather extensive cartography, an explanation of sacred geometry patterns, and provides player-friendly versions of the maps as well – this is, particularly for GUMSHOE-titles that often skimp on the cartography, a huge plus!


Anyhow, Nathan Glaas complied to the demands of Raleigh for secrecy – also to keep the profits from the construction off the books, after all, he was involved in a messy divorce. Soon after the building’s completion, Raleigh and the now properly in the order initiated Nathan traveled to the island, unearthing an ancient cave that showed signs of human sacrifice – and something truly dire – basically a tear in the membrane. Sealed for now, but yeah – the occultists pushed the circular altar to the side, and inadvertently opened let the genie out of the bottle – something emerged from the Outer Dark! Retreating into the house, the surviving members realized that they had a containment breach of the worst kind, but thankfully, the sacred geometry of the house left them with one final, desperate gambit – a ritual that would see the occultists all die but Raleigh, and see Nathan entombed in the center of the house, as a kind of supernatural ghost-guardsman.


Thus, Raleigh vanished, taking the alias of Adam de Brate (funny) – but he did not account for Valerie Irvine’s ambition or Audrey Glaas’ persistence. With her husband vanishing, divorce was stalled, and so the two women forged an alliance that saw Irvine masterminding the entry vector of the PCs. The pregens are members of the television-crew of a Ghost Adventures-like reality TV – perfect dupes to unleash the entity – and for Irvine, to harness the power.


Thus, the module has two vectors – if the PCs do their legwork, they will happen upon Raleigh and enter the island forewarned, while otherwise, just throwing the PCs inside can make the rather labyrinthine background a bit puzzling. My personal suggestion? Play this with OV-agents that research Raleigh, find him and before he explains what he knows about the horrid things that came to pass, cut to black. THEN use the pregens, play the second route of the scenario, and once things inevitable go down the drain, have the OV-agents show up. This way, you can play both scenario-progressions at once!


The island and its dilapidated lighthouse manage to evoke a sense of forlorn potency, and as the PCs experience the haunting of the ghost-turned Nathan Glaas, they will sooner or later find the prehistoric ritual chamber and their puzzling array of corpses – the PCs even get the chance to rappel down into basically the Outer Dark (hint: BAD IDEA!), and Valerie Irvine as a mundane villain and wildcard, makes for a nice tool for the GM to use if the PC’s finale is going too smoothly.


You see, once Nathan’s been taken care off (from the PC’s perspective, he is, after all, responsible for the haunting!) and laid to rest, the true horror emerges. Or rather, doesn’t. Why? Well, of all critters. Of all ideas. Of all the cool entities that the world of Ocean game offers….of all of them, the module opts for living darkness. Yep, ladies and gentlemen, whip out all of your Lost and Alan Wake jokes right now, the big monster is about as lame as can be. And yep, it can, big surprise, be driven back by light. You’ll likely need the appearance of Valerie to sabotage the PCs, and in the convention version, this can come rather far out of left field. This monster is the central failure of the module – it is not even remotely scary. It’s boring, cliché, and I strongly suggest that you replace it with something more interesting.


They can also use her to beat the adventure – for sealing the rift once more, you guessed it, requires a sacrifice – either one of the players, or some NPC – and the latter aren’t exactly available aplenty on the remote isle.



Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the two-column b/w-standard with really neat b/w-artworks provided. The cartography and handouts are similarly b/w and truly appreciated in their player-friendly focus. The softcover is neat, and I can’t comment on the electronic version.


Matthew Sanderson’s “The Seventh Circle” is a per se great and versatile adventure; the investigative angle works slightly better than the one where you drop the PCs directly on the island, but the option to employ both in conjunction with one another as I suggested above adds some further replay-value and options. While the background story can feel a bit overcomplicated for the convention-game-style progression, it can be really helpful when the players are veterans, making the truth at least somewhat challenging to unearth. Indeed, I’d consider this a 5-star adventure, were it not for one thing: As awesome as the story, the atmosphere, the build-up, is, the payoff is hard to stomach – it is one of the worst disappointments I’ve seen in a horror module in quite a while, and it kinda sinks the module as written for me. Sure, a replacement is easy enough to pulls off, and sure, the Trail of Cthulhu option is actually better this time around, but ultimately, this drags the module down from a definite recommendation to a module that is certainly good, but not as good as it could have easily been. My final verdict will thus clock in at 4 stars.


You can get this adventure here on OBS!


You can get the Fear Itself 2nd edition rules here on OBS! (The first edition rules seem to have been taken down.)


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Endzeitgeist out.

May 302019

Keeping It Classy: The Barbarian (5e)

This class-centric supplement clocks in at 40 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 33 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 patreons.


All right, after a brief introduction, we dive right into new primal paths – 15 to be precise. Discussing all of them in detail would bloat this review beyond any usefulness, so I’ll keep it short and to the point. I assume that you know when a barbarian gets his primal path class features. I’ll be referring to the respective names in the following, so for brevity’s sake, we’ll be talking about “the arena champion”, for example, and not of the “Path of the Arena Champion.”


All right, so the arena  champion would be the first fellow here, and receives advantage on melee attack rolls while facing off in melee against a single target. Higher levels allow for the use of Attacks to execute flourishes that represent a kind of sudden death mode – both you and your opponent have advantage on melee attack rolls against each other, while opponents attacking either of you suffer from disadvantage. Higher levels allow you to render targets frightened and to move after striking the killing blow/reducing someone to 0 hit points. Nice one! Enjoyable, and manages to convey its theme in its mechanics.


The second path would be the beast rider gets advantage on Wisdom (Animal Handling) and on Charisma checks to convince non-beasts to serve as their mount. At 6th level, the mount may, as a bonus action, accompany your attack with an attack of its own, but only if it hasn’t attacked on its turn. 10th level shares rage with the mount (properly codified!) and beyond that, we have advantage on Strength and Constitution checks and saving throws. Additionally, the mount gets your proficiency bonus on all Strength and Constitution checks. Minor nitpick: The pdf calls this “modifier”, but that is cosmetic. Beasts in 5e are hard, and this had the chance of being broken – however, the caveat that allows the GM to retain control and explicitly notes that the critter isn’t necessarily loyal allows a GM to retain firm control and prevent exploits. Well done!


The immortal’s first ability is retaliatory: After taking melee damage, on the subsequent round, you get advantage on attack rolls versus the target, and use proficiency bonus instead of rage damage increase. The higher level abilities increase your AC when wearing medium armor or lighter, and provide a form of damage reduction. The highest level ability lets you choose an enemy when raging, increasing your damage output against them. Barbarians that follow the path of the jungle get a climbing speed while hands are free, swinging from branch to branch, rafter to rafter, etc. At 6th level, we have the option to ignore difficult terrain, and beyond that, poison application and the means to harvest poisons (cool), culminating, probably to make up for the power of the latter ability, with the means to talk to animals at will and no longer be considered an enemy. Phantom, Mowgli, et al.


But perhaps, you’re not from a certain “non-civilized” environment? Perhaps, you just have anger management issues or are stark, raving, mad? The Madman retains the ability to concentrate on spells while raging, and the rage may be maintained longer and are harder to knock out of  it. There’s a minor die/dice-typo here. After that, we get heavy armor proficiency (yes, gets rage-synergy right), and after your rage ends, you regain hit points. At the highest level, it no longer takes a bonus action to start the rage. The magehunter begins with a VERY powerful defensive ability – advantage on ALL saving throws versus spells and magical effects. This imho should only be active while the magehunter is raging. This is further improved at 6th level, when we have condition resistance vs. charmed, exhaustion and frightened while raging. At higher levels, we double rage damage against creatures that you witnessed using “spells of spell-like abilities” – I assume the latter should reference innate spellcasting? This level also provides +2d6 radiant damage while raging. The highest level ability nets you locate creature to hound spellcasters and those with “spell-like abilities.”


The Noble has a powerful offensive ability – bless for all allies within 30 ft. while the noble is raging. This does not affect the noble. Indeed, at 6th level, this nest two attacks when using Attack; advantage on the first attack with the first attack if they have Extra Attack. Beyond that, we have immunity to being frightened while raging, and the effects of exhaustion are lessened. Minor nitpick: This could be a bit clearer regarding whether it only applies while the noble is raging, but close reading suggests so. The highest level ability is a 30-foot debuff radius, and extends the previous buffs to all allies in sight. This one can be REALLY brutal, or really underwhelming. Personally, I enjoy it, as it provides in-game justification to take down that noble commander.


The Northman gets advantage on Dexterity (Acrobatics) and Strength (Athletics) checks and resistance to diseases and even a scaling bonus to saves against them.  After this, you may swim in heavy armor unimpeded, and beyond that, we have bonus damage in melee, as well as a capstone of hit point replenishment that may, in line with 5e’s design aesthetics, be eliminated. Kudos: It manages to get the verbiage right to prevent abuse. The Savage increases damage of improvised weapons used, and has the option to execute an additional attack as a bonus action when attacking with a simple weapon. At higher levels, we have better wilderness survival skills, grow claws, and may finally execute an extra attack while raging – plus, targets hit by all three attacks must save or become frightened.


The Skinchanger has to choose a weapon, a suit or armor or other item to be the focus. The skinchanger requires a proper Action (somewhat awkwardly-phrased) to enter rage, but does receive enhance ability benefits. 6th level nets an ability depending on the type of focus item chosen, and at higher levels, you get one more, with the 14th level providing scaling giant-strength while raging. The Slayer is immune to fear and being frightened, and gains bravado while adjacent to an enemy who is larger – this is represented by bravado dice, which may be spent as reactions for better defenses, heal yourself slightly or enhance your melee attack rolls. Die-sized increase. NICE! Later, we have rage in heavy armor,  and an ability that allows you to jump into the maw of large critters attempting to bite them: The attacks executed from within are not swallow whole-style penalized, but actually enhanced. This is balanced by a nasty risk, for you can’t avoid breath attacks inside, and failing the jump will hit you hard. Nice one! I really enjoyed this one!


The Tribal Guardian has to choose a signature weapon, and the abilities only work with this weapon type. The archetype instead applies rage damage bonus to AC, and may later extend this benefit to nearby allies. Higher levels provide limited foresight, translating to advantage on the first melee attack you make per round, as well as disadvantage for the first attack against the guardian each round. At the highest level, the guardian can call forth phantoms of ancestors.


The valkyrie’s first ability is pretty damn brutal – all allies within 30 ft. of the raging valkyrie get resistance versus bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage. Now, this is just me, but as choosers of the fallen, this potent benefit could have had a more interesting application – while the valkyrie is raging, allow allies to spend an HD to get the buff with a duration. Considering that the vast majority of creatures in 5e are incapable of executing magic attacks with their default weaponry, this would serve as a balancing tool for a VERY strong ability, a balancing tool that would also reflect the lore. The higher levels include summoning spectral worgs, fly (at increased rage cost) and a cool capstone that raises your allies for one final battle from the slain and prevents them from being used as undead. I love this one flavor-wise, but I am not sold on the power of the initial ability.


The waverider uses Strength to calculate initiative and automatically beats tied initiatives. The path also nets heavy armor proficiency and better swimming; 10th level enhances Reckless Attack, and the capstone, Relentless Rage’s save may restore some hit points to you. The Wild Rider focuses first on granting unaligned beast mounts the option to make an attack as a bonus action as well as advantage on Wisdom (Animal Handling). Beyond that, we have better Dash for mounts, the ability to share Rage and Reckless Attack, and finally, the means to use ranged attacks with Reckless Attack, but doing so penalizes your attack rolls in the turn after that.


The pdf then proceeds to present a new race, the redscale lizardfolk. Minor formatting complaint: The names of racial features are bolded and printed in italics, with a full stop. Here, we have them just bolded, and followed by a colon. The race increases Strength by 2, Wisdom by 1, has a 30 ft. land and swimming speed, natural armor of 12 + Dexterity modifier while unarmored (and may not wear heavy armor, unless it’s specifically designed for the race), has Hold Breath and receives proficiency with Wisdom (medicine). The lizardfolk has a 1d6 + Strength modifier slashing damage bite attack that’s treated as unarmed, and resistance to fire. Vital stats re height, in a nice bonus, are provided, if you enjoy that. They can also cut themselves to slather their fiery blood on weapons, which increases weapon damage by +1d4 fire damage for 1 minute. This is a bit overkill, and probably should instead be tied to Hit Die expenditure.


The pdf also contains 5 new backgrounds, presented with personality traits, ideals, bonds, flaws, etc. – the full shebang. And yes, they have solid features. Theme-wise, they are envoy, exile, out of time, savage child and slave – I really enjoyed these! The pdf concludes with a brief section on new equipment that includes war paint (for Pict-style unarmored barbarians), and 7 new weapons: War darts and clubs that may be thrown; in a minor deviation from 5e-presentation standards, they list their range in their own column, instead of in brackets after the Thrown property, but I didn’t mind. 1-handed and 2-handed claymores, lochaber axes, bolas and recurve bows complement this one. The axe can only be wielded properly by the strong, recurve bows may be used while mounted to more easily control mounts, and bolas similarly have special rules, restraining targets on a failed Dexterity save. Claymores get Parry, which allows them to be used as a kind of shield when not attacking.



Editing and formatting re very good on a formal and rules-language level. While not always perfect, the deviations I found did not impede rules-integrity and fall into the cosmetic category. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard, with a blend of full-color artworks and expertly-chosen public domain pieces providing a nice atmosphere. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Interesting choice: The bookmarks are listed backwards within each sub-chapter – starting e.g. with “W”, and then proceeding from the back through the alphabet. I am pretty sure this is intentional, and, while a bit weird at first, I actually ended up liking this decision. Why? Because you can quickly scroll to “A” and quickly use the bookmark to get to “W.”


Anyhow, I think this may have been Kim Frandsen’s first 5e-offering, and it genuinely has me intrigued and excited for more. While personally, I enjoy high-complexity class-hack-ish class options for 5e a bit more, I do have to applaud the way in which this supplement uses paths etc. to create truly distinct playing experiences. The tie between theme and mechanics is strong, and indeed, I found myself genuinely excited about quite a few of these paths. While here and there, there are minor concerns I have regarding the balance of a precious few abilities, and while there are a few minor snafus, this is nonetheless a remarkable and fun expansion for the barbarian. My final verdict will hence clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.


You can get this well-wrought class expansion full of barbarian material here on DM’s Guild!


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Endzeitgeist out.

May 302019

Starfarer Adversaries: Thugs (SFRPG)

This installment of the Starfarer Adversaries-series clock in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!


As always with these pdfs, we do get a neat one-page full-color rendition of the cover artwork, which makes for a nice handout. Beyond that, we also receive not one, not two, but 6 different statblocks in this pdf – CR 1, CR 2 and CR 4 are based on regular orcs, while CR 3, CR 6 and CR 9 are heavy thug statblocks, based on ogres.


Let’s start with the orc-builds, shall we? They use the soldier class graft and have the adjustments applied properly, and use the blitz fighting style – yes, rapid response has been properly implemented, and, as a courtesy to the GM, even been listed. Much to my pleasant surprise, the CR 1 version has a small and neat, but not overbearing ability that nets a bonus to attacks when attacking in conjunction with allies within 5 ft. Similarly, the CR 2 thug has a reduced base speed due to armor, but lists base speed as well – it’s a small thing and technically not required by SFRPG, but I enjoyed seeing that. Melee striker has been properly implemented for the CR 2 version. CR 4 is similarly built in a solid manner.


The ogre-based heavy thug builds don’t use a class graft, and instead elect to provide an ability that makes their slams count as non-archaic and armed, in line with tradition. The CR 6 and 9 builds add wyrmling glands to their arsenal. It should be noted that the DCs for these don’t use the standard ability DC here, and instead use the gland’s default calculation, which makes them come up, DC-wise, at +2 higher than when based on the default values. Checking the overall damage output versus Starfinder conventions, this still has them in line with everything. No complaints on my part, save that there are a few VERY minor formatting deviations, like a slash as a break before critical effects of weapons. These are cosmetic, though.



Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length. The handout-style rendition of the cover artwork is appreciated.


Jacob Blackmon’s cadre of unpretentious thugs made me expect a rather boring cast of NPCs, but I’ve been pleasantly-surprised by this one. Within the limited frame available, this has delivered a rather nice array of adversaries for a more than fair price-point. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform. Recommended if you need some rank-and-file goons and don’t want to waste your time statting those!


You can get these thugs here on OBS!


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Endzeitgeist out.


May 292019

Advanced Adventures: Stonepick Crossing (OSR)

This adventure/supplement clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front/back cover, 1 page editorial, ½ a page SRD, leaving us with 10.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!


This review was requested by a supporter of my patreon, to be undertaken at my convenience.


All right, so, as always, this supplement was designed with the OSRIC rules in mind, though formatting conventions do somewhat deviate from the system’s established standard. The module is intended for characters level 1 – 3, though at first level, the experience of running this can be rather deadly. A well-rounded group is certainly suggested, and it should be noted that there is actually plenty of roleplaying in this supplement.


Supplement? Didn’t I claim this was a module? Yeah, well, both are correct. You see, in a way, this one treats a specific settlement like a dungeon, with a more conventional dungeon-level below.  The module does not sport read-aloud text.


All right, and this is pretty much as far as I can go without diving into SPOILERS. Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion.





All right, so Stonepick Crossing is testament to two dwarven virtues: Ingenuity, and the tendency to go overkill. When a clan of dwarves fought a particularly nasty, and well-entrenched goblin tribe, they refused to deplete their ranks by attacking the goblins’ excellent defensive positions, instead crafting a colossal dam – the eponymous Stone pick Crossing. The dwarves have moved on, the goblins have been drowned, and in the centuries since, the dam has persisted (for the most part!) the test of time. The dwarven craftsmanship has made the dam an excellent place for a waystation/trade-type of settlement, and as such, this settlement was born, with the locals living in the buildings left by the dwarves of old.


Stonepick Crossing as a settlement sports 3 levels – two levels on the dam, and one below the water surface; the latter, obviously, represents aforementioned more conventional dungeon level, though it’s not a place that PCs will immediately fin. Instead, they will interact with the surprisingly vivid cast of characters that may be found here. The short encounter-tables and detailed notes make it rather simple to generate a sense of an organic, lived-in location, and there is quite a lot of loot to be found. Due to the concept of a dwarven building repurposed as a village, there even are secret rooms that smart PCs can find – for this trade-hub has a dangerous black market that can be a very dangerous encounter if the PCs don’t behave. Beyond the knowledgeable beggar, we also have rather dangerous haunted locales here, and Stonepick Crossing has been suffering from mysterious disappearances, which are investigated by a none-too-subtle/smart investigator who might make for a good contact for good PCs.


At this point, I should also note that these disappearances actually are due to a rather dangerous individual capturing targets and selling them off into slavery. The dam-structure also means that not all rooms on e.g. the deep level are connected – one of the halves of the lowest level has seen the magics that keep out the water partially fail, flooding the place and providing egress to rather dangerous humanoids that can lead to further complications, including crabmen. And yes, ancient dwarven treasures may be found by curious and capable adventurers that don’t fall prey to the dangers of this place.



Editing and formatting are good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column b/w-standard, and the pdf has no interior artwork beyond cover and editorial page. The cartography is b/w and functional, but not spectacular. No player-friendly maps are included. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


This is the first offering by Mark Morrison I’ve reviewed, and it’s a surprisingly cool one – the combination of settlement and dungeon has been pulled off with surprising panache. In spite of the supplement’s brevity, Stonepick Crossing feels like an organic place, and I managed to picture the inhabitants rather well. With multiple sandboxy plotlines that may or may not converge, it’s a classic “insert PCs for adventure” type of module, one that manages to pull off its angle rather well indeed. The one issue of this one would be that the word-count gets slightly in the way of the module: Stonepick Crossing is a VERY cramped space, and unless you expand the settlement to encompass buildings beyond the dam, the settlement feels very cramped and claustrophobic, and lacks the infrastructure to support its populace and services. The trade-angle only can account for so much, and personally, I’d suggest GMs using this to add a few farmers beyond the dam, some additional places – you get the idea.


With a few more pages allowed, the author could have presented a rather great offering here – it certainly knocks the White River Run-adventures out of the water. Haha. Sorry, couldn’t resist. All in all, a fun supplement/module, and easily one of the more impressive installments in the series. My final verdict will be 4 stars.


You can get this neat supplement/module here on OBS!


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Endzeitgeist out.

May 292019

Galaxy Pirates: Katar Light Freighter (SFRPG)

This installment of the Ship-supplements for the intriguing Galaxy Pirates-line clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s check this out!


The light freighter of the katar would be a tier 1 ship, powered by a pulse brown power core, equipped with a basic drift engine, basic computer, and budget short-range sensors. This one has 3 cargo holds as expansion bays, but one thing that is not basic, that is actually better than what e.g. the heavy freighter offers: The little vessel has good crew quarters!

Defense-wise, it sports mk 3 armor and mk 2 defenses, as well as basic 10 shields (focused slightly on forward and aft). Regarding offense, we have light torpedo launchers on port and starboard, and two fire-linked light laser cannons as the main weaponry facing forward. The AC and TL ratings of the ship check out, as does the rest of the math here.


The light freighter, as always in the series, does come with its own, already filled-out ship-sheet, a paper-mini version of it, a full-page hand-out-style rendition of the great artwork, and the Computers (“S” missing)  table that allows PCs to know about the ship in-game. As always, we also get a gorgeous full-color map that shows where what can be found within – to my slight chagrin, this one doesn’t seem to feature the katar garden that served as a subtle cultural unifier for these ships, and the weaponry isn’t reflected in the map either – though here, I’m admittedly nitpicking.



Editing and formatting are good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the artwork presented is awesome. I love the look of the freighter. The full-color map that notes access ladders, cargo, quarters, etc. is detailed and amazing as well. The addition of paper minis and ship-sheet add further convenience here. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.


Paul Fields and Jim Milligan provide a nice little freighter here – it’s useful, feels a bit more familial than its big brother, and the production values are solid. That being said, it does feel a little less captivating than the heavy freighter to me; still, as a whole, a worthwhile addition to the series. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up.


You can get this neat freighter here on OBS!


You can get the entire ships-bundle here on OBS!


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Endzeitgeist out.


May 292019

Star Log.EM: Zephyrians (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!


The first thing you’ll notice when checking this pdf out – we actually get roleplaying advice for the zephyrian race! Nice! The race may, at first glance, be mistaken for human, though their skin pigmentation does differ, and their increased hair growth means they have mighty manes – but this resemblance with humans that are into hair metal is only skin deep: The zephyrian physiology allows them to absorb radiation from sunlight to defy gravity, and a nine-chambered stomach allows them to digest A LOT. Adolescence sees hair hardens to facilitate a chrysallization process, as they dissolve and reform in this strange cocoon, with adult organs and all. Zephyrian tongues can also read the muscle memory of mouths they come in contact with, which can result in some interesting behavior patterns, to say the least – yep, they can learn languages by kissing. Their homeworld etc. is discussed, as is their strange society, which, while nominally sporting a king or queen, is an ochlocracy – ruled by the masses. Their “rulers” can quickly and unceremoniously be disposed of, and elections thus happen whenever enough people think it’s time for them, in what most folks would consider a chaotic mess. Proud and emotional, we get information on their changing nomenclature, and a proper subtype graft is included.


Racial stat-wise, zephyrians get +2 Strength and Charisma, -2 Wisdom, 6 Hit Points and are Medium humanoids with a base speed of 30 feet. Zephyrians have supernatural flight of 30 ft., with average maneuverability, but until 5th level, must end their movement on the ground or fall. Directly tied to their ability to feel unbridled joy, this also has cool roleplaying repercussions baked into the rules. Zephyrians can go 1 hour without breathing and exist in vacuum without suffering environmental effects, which can, depending on how you handle SFRPG-races, be a bit of a bummer – I wouldn’t allow them in Grimmerspace, for example, as this ability eliminates pretty much the threat of open space.


As a standard action, they can assimilate a language of a willing creature with a kiss, though only one language may be retained thus at a given time. New ones supersede old ones. They also are capable of absorbing ultraviolet light and transform it into photon bolts. As long as a zephyrian has at least 1 Resolve Point, they can unleash an energy blast that is treated as a small arms weapon attack with the bright and reload special properties. These bolts begin at 1d3 fire damage, and increase the damage output to 1d6 at 4th level. At 8th and 12th level, the base damage increases by +1d6 each, and at 15th and 20th level by +2d6 each. This ability, once more, is tied to an emotion – the ability to experience righteous anger. Emotion effects, just fyi, prevent zephyrians from using their two potent signature abilities. Problematic: Guess what’s missing. Yep, a range.


The race comes with two racial feats: Improved Star Flying requires 10th level and improves their fly speed to 60 feet and maneuverability to perfect. When not in immediate danger, zephyrians with this feat can accelerate to starship speed, at standard engine speed for quick interplanetary/stellar travel. It’d have been pretty cool to get rules for how they then interact with suddenly erupting star ship combat, but that’d probably have been its own supplement…still, this one may require some GM-calls. Stellar Zephyrian, a combat feat, requires the solar weapon class feature and makes the photon bolts use the higher between solar weapon or photon bolt damage.



Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf comes with a nice artwork. The file has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.


Alexander Augunas’ zephyrian race was a pleasant surprise to me: First of all, their strong emphasis on abilities that blend mechanics with roleplaying is awesome – though they do require mature gamers to handle properly. If unlimited, the race most assuredly will be much stronger than many comparable SFRPG-races, and imho overshoots the power-level somewhat. Perhaps that’s only me, but the second surprise here was that they feel like a love-letter to classic scifi and silver-age comic books. They reminded me of the New Gods or the Shi’ar – replace the shi’ar’s feathers with a mane…anyhow, for interplanetary romance, for games embracing these aesthetics, the zephyrians represent a great addition to the game. More low-key settings, particularly when space is supposed to be dangerous, will probably with to skip this one, though – such groups should round down instead. If, on the other hand, kissing folks to learn their language, if emotion-powered super-powers strike a chord with you and fit your game, then these come highly and warmly recommended. I really like the race, even if its appeal is less universal than usual for the new Star Log.EM-races. My final verdict will thus clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down.


You can get this race here on OBS!


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Endzeitgeist out.


May 282019

The Secrets of the Twisting Colossus (5e)

This module clocks in at 39 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, leaving us with 36 pages of content. The module does come, however, with a bonus-pdf that contains no less than 17 pages of handouts, which is pretty amazing as far as I’m concerned.


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


Okay, so the first thing you need to know about here, would be the exemplary handout-array provided. I genuinely did not expect to see this level of support – the module comes with an extra pdf that contains no less than 16 pages! Some of these are plaques, while the others depict the exterior of the complex and the rooms – what the PCs see, in stark b/w. With a slightly grainy filter and the contrasts of these artworks, we actually have a VERY distinct, and dare I say, artistic rendition of the complex.  As a helpful aid for the GM, small renditions of the respective rooms are featured in their individual entries, providing helpful prompts when to give the players one of the respective handouts.


The map of the complex is depicted with a surprising amount of details, including a sideview that helps illustrate how the whole place is laid out. There are a couple of additional things you need to know: For one, even if you’re not interested in this as a module, it very much is worth reading on, for this, in a way, is one example of the rarest breed of adventure – a genuine puzzle-dungeon that makes sense. This module REQUIRES player skill over PC skill.


Another important note: If you’re one of the groups that use only a part of 5e’s rules to basically play an old-school hacked version of the game, then this module lends itself very much to that approach – some guidance has even been provided for this type of playstyle. Read-aloud text is provided for your convenience. While nominally intended for 4 characters level 4 – 6, this module is not a cakewalk – it is very much an old-school module in that it can be rather deadly if the players don’t take care! It is, however, pretty darn fair in its challenges.


This module has to be applauded for another aspect – it makes sense and is consistent. The traps featured herein are not based on the paradigm of crossing an invisible line and taking damage, instead adhering to an internal, logical consistency. Beyond rumors, random tables for objects and scribbles and similar supplementary content, the module also comes with a pretty impressive array of notes, and presentation of information is not only consistent, but uses bullet points, 5e-aesthetics (bolded headers in italics) and the like to convey information quickly, efficiently, and in a way that is easy to process while playing. For example, triggers, countermeasures and the like all get their own easy to parse paragraphs, sticking out and making the running of complex situations rather convenient.


It should also be noted that this module, with minor cosmetic modifications, could theoretically be set in our own world, courtesy of its surprisingly well-researched alchemy angle. Indeed, this may be one of the most-thoroughly-researched modules I’ve seen in a while, but in order to elaborate on that, we will need to go into SPOILERS.





All right, only GMs around? Great! So, in the aftermath of the last Great Modron March (nice shoutout to the Planescape classic!), the eponymous twisting colossus, a prison of sorts, has crashed on the material plane. The malfunctioning modrons inside have been tricked by the legendary alchemist Paricalus (Nice nod!) that he is the S-S-L: Substitute of Supreme Logic. (LOL – and yes, this does have a couple of nice insider jokes for the GM) They thus serve him unquestioningly – which is a bad thing, for Paricalus is a driven man who seeks nothing short of divine ascendancy via the means of alchemy.


In order to talk about this module, it is crucial to note that we’re talking about “proper” alchemy here – not the “I brew potions and make bombs”-type, but one that is deeply rooted in well-researched real-world lore. As someone who has studied alchemical texts and the surprisingly compelling magical logic and philosophy at their core, this was something that made me smile from ear to ear. You see, the twisting colossus is, in a way, reminiscent of deathtrap dungeons like the ones popularized by the CUBE franchise of movies, but each of the rooms is aligned with an alchemical process: Calcination, Fermentation, etc. – and yes, these and what they signify within the context of alchemical philosophy have been explained in a handy table.


The maze has an entry and exit chamber, and outer chambers that move alongside a linear path, as pearls on a string; inner chambers are immovable. Each room has a binary success/failure outcome, but there is actually progress for failure as well – the PCs aren’t simply locked out of moving forward. The in-game reason for this is simple: Paricalus is extracting the essence of heroism from those running his gauntlet – he thus has a vested interest in seeing the PCs continue and struggle, and eventually breaking them, but at the same time, has to avoid wiping them simply out. This makes the master alchemist a much more plausible villain that a ton of oh-so-smart archmages in various modules out there. Speaking of the BBEG here – Paricalus is one of the best bosses I’ve seen executed in 5e. Not only does he get his own, massive statblock, personality traits, conversation points and a whole page of unique items are provided, including the highly-volatile god-potion he seeks to brew. Did I mention the copious amount of magic mouths that establish rapport between the PCs and their adversary? Paricalus thus also provides “hints” for the PCs, and cues the players in to the reasons for this whole dungeon;: what would be arbitrary in another module is placed in a sensible and evocative context – all while conveying some genuine bits of knowledge.


This, alas, also brings me to the one thing that this module doesn’t do that well: Editing. The alchemist’s Arcana and Wisdom saving throw are off by +1, and in one instance, (Arcana) is erroneously-referred to as (Arcane). Prepositions and conjunctions are not always correct, there are instances of “roles” instead of “rolls” and the module’s prose tends to stick to short, simple sentences that make reading this module not exactly the best experience.


That being said, please don’t stop reading! You see, this adventure is exceedingly rare not only regarding its genre; it’s also one of the very few adventures out there today that are not great to read, but ABSOLUTELY AWESOME to play. I am not kidding.  This may not be exactly well-written regarding the quality of its prose, but it is exceedingly well-designed regarding its set-up, its structure, its presentation and also its thematic consistency. Thankfully, the read-aloud text is slightly better than the rest, but this, as a whole, means that e.g. the brief local village-section in the beginning is probably one you won’t exactly consider to be genius. However, this module also, time and again, goes one step beyond what’s required. What do I mean by that? Well, the module offers a frickin’ appendix with extra puzzle rooms! Not one or two, but 5 (!!) of them.


Okay, I’ve postponed this long enough, let us check out one of the rooms to illustrate why I love this to bits: The PCs enter a room divided by salty-smelling pool with water lilies, and scratch marks on the wall. The ceiling starts crushing down, forcing the PCs into the pool, where properly codified mechanical tentacles attempt to grab them – a bronze ring below the water allows the PCs to end the threat of the trap. This is deadly and challenging in the right ways: The PCs have time to escape being crushed; they are faced with danger below, and the capability of both quick-thinking players and the powers of the PCs are required in equal measure to best this. Now, I could, of course, go through all the rooms, one by one – but I’d only be spoiling the coolest thing about this!


Trap-wise, this uses a design-paradigm conductive to roleplaying, and indeed, I honestly believe that this module is worth getting even if you have no interest in 5e or play a radically different game. Why? Because the theme and design-principles underlying the traps transcend the system – the primary value here lies not in the implementations of the concepts in the context of a system, but in the concepts themselves. To cut my long ramble short: This book is worth its asking price for the rooms alone!


Oh, and once the PCs do reach Paricalus’ laboratory, there’ll be alchemical experimentation tables and the like, presenting an impressive array of options in a more conventional environment. Yet, do believe me, the PCs will want to have their payback after this dungeon!!



Editing and formatting on a rules-language level is pretty good; particularly regarding formatting conventions, this is clearly above-average. On a formal level, the same can’t exactly be said. I really wished a capable editor/developer had gone through this adventure and spiced up its prose and eliminated some of the cosmetic glitches. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of many DM’s Guild products. Cartography is neat full-color and surprisingly-detailed, but no player-friendly maps of the interior rooms are provided. On the plus-side, the huge amount of handouts does offset this minor drawback. Much to my chagrin, the module does not come with any bookmarks – I strongly suggest printing this one when running it.


Christian Toft Madsen’s “The Secrets of the Twisting Colossus” is pretty much the definition of a flawed masterpiece. As a person, I absolutely ADORE this module. I am not kidding. This is a glorious gem that really deserves being checked out! As a reviewer, I can’t, alas, let the number of glitches, mostly cosmetic though they may be in their totality, slide. How good do I think this is? Had this received a bit more refinement, you’d be seeing this among my Top Ten Candidates. Yes, that good. While I can’t rate this adventure the full 5 stars, I still wholeheartedly recommend getting this gem right now, particularly if the unique implementation of the alchemy-angle even remotely struck a chord with you. My final verdict will hence clock in at 4 stars, but this does receive my seal of approval, denoting the achievement this imho represents.


You can get this amazing little gem for less than $3.00 here on DM’s Guild!


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May 282019

Starfarer Adversaries: Glabrezu (SFRPG)

This installment of the Starfarer Adversaries-series clock in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, ½ a page empty space, leaving us with 2.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!


All right, so there are three glabrezu statblocks in this supplement – the lesser glabrezu clocks in at CR 9, the regular one at CR 13, and the glabrezu demon lord at CR 17. The lesser one may be called forth with a 4th-level summon monster, the regular one with the 5th-level version, just fyi. The neat artwork we can see on the cover is reproduced as a one-page spread within this pdf.


The builds employ the combatant array and present pretty deadly foes, with the glabrezu’s multiattack being capable of dishing out really nasty amounts of damage – which, considering the tradition of the creature being an upper-echelon damage-dealer, suits me just fine. Being a relatively early release for Starfinder, there are a few cosmetic hiccups to call out regarding the notation of spells that exist in various spell levels – Roman numerals have been employed instead of Starfinder’s usual notation. Similarly, damage types inflicted are written fully instead of using the one/two-letter abbreviation, but that is cosmetic at best. A +2 boost to Fort-saves from the outsider graft has been properly implemented, and the builds list spaces and reach correctly. Somewhat to my chagrin, the lesser and regular glabrezu lack ranged attack options – which, however, may well be an intentional design decision, considering their melee-shredder build.


Slightly more relevant and annoying would be that not all spells that should have it, do note their DCs – e.g. force blast is missing it. It should be noted that the builds makes use of spells from the Starfarer’s Companion, which is relevant information if you’re like me and have banned parts of that book.  The lord-version of the glabrezu comes with a called dispelling unholy artillery laser that has its formatting somewhat odd – it lists “unholy” as part of the damage – and there still is no unholy damage in SFRPG. *sigh* On the plus-side, we have the cybernetic template graft added to the fellow, which here means that the fellow also has a zero-cannon! Cool! (I’ll punch myself for that one later…)



Editing is generally precise on a rules-language and formal level, but there are a few minor snafus among the formatting conventions to be noted. Not to the extent where they impede functionality, but they’re here. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the artwork provided for the CR 17 critter is cool. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.


Jacob Blackmon delivers some solid glabrezus to tear into your PCs here – the damage-output of the demons is pretty solid, and as a whole, I enjoy how he went the extra mile with the highest-CR-iteration. At the same time, the melee focus and minor hiccups in statblock formatting conventions might upset some, which is why I’ll settle on a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded down.


You can get this inexpensive critter here on OBS!


Missed the Starfarer’s Companion? You can find the tome here.


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