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Drow of Porphyra - Nalbrezu, Devils in Disguise
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/23/2016 09:19:01

An Endzeitgeist.com review


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Conclusion:


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


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


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Drow of Porphyra - Nalbrezu, Devils in Disguise
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Drow of Porphyra - Karza, Children of the Loomqueen
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/19/2016 06:52:47

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This pdf detailing drow of Porphyra clocks in at 18 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD (featuring a bit of rules text), leaving us with a bit more than 15 pages of content, so let's take a look!


Porphyra is unlike other campaign settings - the patchwork planet has been very much defined by the NewGod War and the Calling - and when the creatures called out for the reach of other worlds and deities...they got more than they bargained for. A LOT more. One of the drow (yes, ONE of the nations of these guys and gals know for their kind hearts) that responded were the Karza, named for the demon queen that created this race, one entity called Karzerothrine. These drow are pretty much the creatures we'd associate with the classic spider iconography, matriarchal structures, etc. - oh, and guess what? Some are born with sipder-like or arachnid features....not as penalties, but as divine boons. Guided to a titanic cavern in the new world, it is here that these drow struggle.


The pdf provides information on daily life of the drow and yes... even the familial structures. And here things are interesting: Unlike according to the classic depictions, years upon years of hardship and struggle have crafted a societal structure that may be decadent and pleasure-focused, but also one expecting struggle and satisfaction, generating a structure that is in constant flux, but not necessarily bereft of affection. It's not guaranteed...but neither is it anathema and the focus of mutual exploitation and power-garnering means, oddly, that e.g. looks are less important. It should come as no surprise, then, that karza laws are few and far in-between - there are two, though: Heresies are crushed and all drow need to convert or die, adding a surprising sense of fanaticism to the drow that brings the component of evil firmly back into the fold. The pdf does cover the 8 great noble houses of the karza, with interests and specialties as well as reputations covered.


Statblock-wise, karza feature the standard drow traits, but replace their SPs with ghost sound, blend and spider climb. Things become interesting regarding the alternate racial traits, though: Remember how I mentioned drow with arachnid traits? Yep, from bites to different toxins to burrow speed, natural armor or blindsense...or even spider legs or scorpion tails, these alternate racial traits are pretty awesome, though, from a nitpicky perspective, I'd have loved to see bites/stings properly list the respective damage-types...but then again, one can assume the default for these. On a more relevant nitpick, the scorpion stinger lacks information on whether it's a primary or secondary natural attack, unlike the bite. And yes, one of the new feats allows you to gain more of these, in case you want to play a rather arachnid/weird karza...or pit one monstrous foe against the PCs.


The karza do gain unique FCOs for the alchemist, barbarian, cleric, druid, fighter, inquisitor, ranger, rogue and sorceror classes - and yes, they are solid! The pdf also sports 8 faction traits for the Karza and yes, these get the bonus types right. The pdf also provides a nice, uncomplicated rule to harvest poisons from creatures encountered. Similarly, feats allow for variable poisons.


Speaking of poisons - the karza, as a whole, pride themselves on the vast plethora of poisons they can create - which results in a rather well-made and quick custom poison generation system - granted, one that could be didactically better presented, but once you get how it's supposed to work, it turns out to be pretty smooth.


Now I already mentioned some of the prior feats, but it should come as no surprise that poison-supplementing feats can be found here. Not all feats are winners, though - a pretty lame +2/+4 skill bonus (plus option to influence vermin) and a pretty weak teamwork feat for better attacks versus AoO-provoking foes won't necessarily wow you.


On the plus side, the general tendency to create a culturally concise picture of these drow is further emphasized by providing concise rules for hair dyes and liquid skin tones, precious metal body paints and the like actually provide an inspiring glimpse at some potential encounters and cultures - and I know I'd love to recline in a spidersilk hammock! Some fluff-only, brief summaries of karza cities can be found in these pages as well, with several intrigues, basically adventure hooks, further helping GMs looking for an idea.


Aforementioned demon lord gets a full deity-write-up (with gorgeous holy symbol), the verminkind domain and spider subdomain - both of which are solid.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are pretty good - while not always perfect, the pdf's crunch is generally concisely presented and hard to misconstrue. The rules-language could be a tad more concise in the presentation, but ultimately, the pdf suffers no grievous issues. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The artworks deserve special mention here: The pdf sports several gorgeous full-color pieces of karza with spider/scorpion-features. NICE!


Patricia Willenborg's karza were not a group I was looking forward to covering. Spidery drow? Oh boy, innovation prize, anyone? Yes, this is the classic depiction of drow...and it isn't. The VALUED aspect of mutation is an intriguing component that reminded me of a classic elf-based comic in the past...and the explanation and ecology of the lives of the karza is sufficiently distinct from the classics to make them feel different and interesting.


At the same time, the pdf does have some places where it stumbles - when spider legs, e.g., note that they can be "adorned with magical items (taking up shoulders, body, hands, wrists or ring slots)" I unfortunately have no real idea what that means - do the legs take up one of those slots? Can they duplicate such a slot? The wording here could have used some streamlining and it's not the only instance herein - while the pdf gets the fine component right in some cases, in others it misses the mark - not badly, but still. In spite of this and while falling short of perfection, this treatise on the karza remains an interesting book that should provide some nice material for GMs looking for a twist on the spider-themed drow. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 since the great ideas herein deserve being acknowledged.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Drow of Porphyra - Karza, Children of the Loomqueen
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Heroes of the Birdman Mountains
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/11/2016 02:45:28

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of Purple Duck Games' regional player's guides clocks in at 57 pages, one page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with a massive 54 pages of content, so let's take a look!


After a brief piece of introductory fluff, we are introduced to the races prevalent within the birdman mountain region - which, obviously, consists of a bunch of bird-like races. Now here is a bit of a catch that GMs should be aware of: The races like harpies herein often sport 1st level unassisted flight; when they do, however, they are balanced versus the strix race. Now I generally am a big opponent of unassisted flight at low levels, but one has to take these races in context of the region - when terrain is so inhospitable and flight represents a requirement that results in even the local halflings having climb speeds, the array of racial traits obviously have to adhere to different requirements. Interesting: The fey-like urisk race, not appropriate for quite a few of more low-powered environments, has been streamlined herein and makes sense in the context of this region. It should be noted that half-harpies, harpies, kestrel (halfling/harpy-hybrids) and similar birdmen generally are well-balanced among themselves - they are not lopsided (i.e., they have bonuses to physical and mental attribute modifiers) and show consciousness of issues like flight in armor - though the particular modifications are interesting: While e.g. flight in medium or heavy armor is universally problematic, e.g. kestrels can't fly while encumbered either, in line with the rules for assisted flight, whereas harpies suffer from no such explicit restriction - a bit of inconsistency here, which may or may not be intended, but considering the rather problematic presentation of flight rules in PFRPG in general and the otherwise smooth consistency between the races and their power-levels, I'd be inclined to assume the latter.


One more thing regarding the races depicted herein: Even if you take the unassisted flight away, there is material here that should work for more mainstream campaigns. The chaos-infused xax (first introduced by Alluria Publishing's Remarkable Races-series) that fluidly change racial traits each day or the aforementioned half-harpies certainly are intriguing in just about any context. So here's the issue I have as a reviewer: The races depicted here are, by virtue of their flight, etc., not necessarily balanced among themselves...but this is by design. The lop-sided power-levels are intentional and they actually are a vital part of what makes this region work. slow clap Well played. I can't complain about that without misrepresenting the whole region.


Tl;DR regarding the races: The section is, with a minor inconsistency, one that generally is balanced, but in an uncommon manner that is very much dependent on understanding the dynamics of the region; they work in other places, provided you are aware of the significant power of fly speed some of these have. This one component should be carefully monitored, but within the context of the birdman mountains, the section can be considered to be concise and well-presented. The races also sport race traits for the races - which, again, are well-balanced.


As always, though, this book is not simply an assortment of diverse races - this book also sports basically a significant assortment of fully depicted information: You get a great full-color map of the region and the respective entries for settlements - for example the town of Harhold, carved into the mountainside, studded with ample ladders or the xax enclave of Krikoyn, the old deeps within the inside of a hollowed-out mountaintop...woa. The ruin spire within an erstwhile splendorous xax city...the settlements herein are GLORIOUS and provide truly evocative backdrops and locales to visit. The flavor texts help here as well and the settlements come with settlement options reprinted from another source for your convenience.


Personally, I also was rather surprised to see the concise rules for riding the rapids herein - brief, concise, fun. Nice to see! From CR 1 - 8, this massive book also sports several unique characters utilizing the options of this book.


The pdf also sports an assortment of class options - sorcerors can get the new avian bloodline - providing talons, high-altitude resistance and later, proper wings as well as a neat ur-bird capstone. Oh, and yes, this does come with a bloodrager variant of the bloodline. Falconer hunters get avian companions and must select one of 4 animal foci related to birds: Eagle, falcon, owl or vulture, with increased yield when summoning birds via nature's ally spells and at high-levels, they won't be attacked by creatures that could conceivably be considered prey. Following the standards of Purple Duck Games' books, we do get a sample character here and for the other class options. Pretty cool: The gravity focused arcane school, based on transmutation, gets a distortion field and limited control over gravity, with the capstone option to redirect CMBs upon attackers. Oracles may now take the mystery of the open sky, tapping into themes associated with the skies - from flight to daylight and sensors and tapping into the cold or adding fatigue/exhaustion etc. to spell-based crits, the mystery is unique and thankfully comes with a cool new oracle-curse, breathless.


Fans of Dreamscarred Press' psionics will be interested to see a new wilder surge, the skulking surge. The pdf erroneously calls this one healing surge once, but that does not take away an intriguing component - upon receiving psychic enervation, these guys turn incorporeal, become incapable of interacting with the surrounding material and lose power points. They get full movement while using Stealth and cool, Stealth-based abilities at appropriate levels. Fighters may elect to become slingers - and yes, this one makes slings actually feasible. The songbreaker bard is a great countersinger and can actually cause targets to become sickened, dispel via his harmonics and sunder items with dissonant screeches. Damn cool! The stoneheart druid gets delayed wild shape, but also tremorsense burrow speed and better means of ending e.g. petrification and similar issues - basically, a stone-themed archetype. The warren runner rogue gets improving sights, can spider climb via major magic and get climb speeds.


The pdf also provides a new 10-level-PrC, the underhold agent, which requires 5th level, gets d8 HD, 6+Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression and medium Ref-save progression. The PrC allows for class advancement progression of a previous class at 1st level and every 3 levels thereafter for e.g. sneak attack or bardic performance. The PrC gets rogue talents and blends that with agent-style extraordinary suggestions they can implant in foes. All in all, an interesting PrC.


The pdf also features an assortment of diverse feats: Blinding crits with slings, chaotic surges of bonus energy damage on crits, control over chaotic xax traits...the like. The focus here, though, obviously, lies with climbing and flight - with Dive Bomb (flyby bull rush!), environmentally-dependent evasion, less falling damage, metamagic to temporarily reduce the movement rate off affected targets and Kamikaze dives that use your weight to slam into foes or jumping to grapple foes - the feats cover a lot of interesting, fun ideas, though e.g. the aforementioned complex and well-crafted Kamikaze feat should specify where in relation to the target one lands in a prone position when failing the save associated with staying aloft. Granted, this is, once again, me being a nitpicky prick.


The pdf also features an assortment of diverse spells, not all of which I consider well-made: The explosion of scree is similar to a conic fireball that deals bludgeoning/slashing damage AND it has the potential to blind foes....which may be a bit much at 3rd level. That being said, we also get options to conjure forth favorable winds or instilling vertigo in a target. The magic items herein cover slings that may transform sling stones into massive boulders, an artifact bell, which, when struck by a halfling, obliterates nearby harpies (racial tension storyline, anyone?), gloves that provide a better grip, elixirs that enhance your mountaineering...and what about a potion that acts as a wildcard placebo? Have I mentioned the Schrödinger's box?


But one of the best, coolest traditions of this series lies in an aspect one should definitely list - one aspect where you only realize how good it is once you need it - the pdf provides massive, extensive lists of items available in the birdman mountains - weapons, armor, adventuring gear, clothing, food and drink...and yes, this does provide new options: Climber's shortbows, gliding suits, halfling slashchains, smokeless firewood - awesome. Oh, and guess what? 3 sample traps included - yes, including wing clippers.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, on both a formal and rules-language level - apart from total anal-retentive minor hiccups that do not impede the functionality of the content herein. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf features quite a few neat full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Mike Welham, with additional writing by Mark Gedak, provides the one region of Porphyra I did NOT look forward to; granted, fly speeds can be problematic and may not be appropriate for all environments or campaigns - but guess what? Overall, the balancing of the races and character options herein is TIGHT. The races generally feel well-rounded and the book has plenty of material to offer even if the GM of a campaign enforces a strict ban of unassisted flight by race; both new races and options herein are intriguing.


More relevant, if your foreign PCs visit this wondrous land, they'll have a truly interesting tactical challenge on their hands - the supplemental feats and class options work well; but most interesting, at least to me, is the land itself - what we get here is a glimpse at a truly unique and strange land of struggles and cataclysms I can't wait to throw at my non-birdie-player characters and hassle them with those nifty pregenerated NPCs. This is an evocative, novel environment and a type of region I have not seen before. While not perfect, this still is an overall concise and, more importantly, novel environment - and that, ladies and gentlemen, is worth a lot to me. While I would have loved to see more aerial/climbing hazards, but one can't have everything now, right? The rapid rules are nice, though! Sure, the general assumption of flight among those peaks is not for everyone... but still; courage like in this book needs to be rewarded and hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Heroes of the Birdman Mountains
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Heroes of the Advent Imperiax
by Elexious C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/10/2016 11:55:19

A big thanks to Purple Duck Games for the review copy.


Heroes of the Advent Imperiax caught my eye because I'm an admitted nut for scifi material for Pathfinder, particularly since I'm using the system to play a space campaign, and the cover has an alien woman with a space gun. I am a little bit sad that aliens aren't immediately apparent when starting to read it. This is the fault of not being very familiar with Porphyra and not being bothered to look at the linked wiki. Which is moot point, with products like these I really have to judge them based on how the elements fit into homebrew campaign settings because that is where they will likely be used for me.


After some prose to set the mood we have new races. One note of criticism is that images of individual races are not next to the racial descriptions (with one exception), although they do appear throughout the pdf. This irks me a bit as this means that printing out the races separate from the rest of the product is less useful. This isn't helped by the lack of physical description sections. You have to hunt down direct descriptions or images in the product to get a good idea of the flavor of the race. In addition to new racial traits for humans and half-orcs in the setting there are four stranger races. Two of them are pretty much your bumpy forehead alien types with some interesting abilities but nothing extreme. Two of them are much weirder giving something a bit more unique. There's a race of people with four arms but use two of them as legs. They have some rules to work with their weird anatomy that are partially awkward but useable. Then there are a race of psionic sneaky people and a race of hot green chicks and a race of half ooze people.


After this is flavor text detailing the state of the hot green chick race, that they are the remnants of a crashed spaceship that settled on Porphyra and got aggressive with protecting their technology. This includes some city stat blocks and brief history of the three main cities of the Imperiax civilization. This comes with new settlement qualities. There are important-to-the-setting NPCs but not exactly NPC stat blocks. Just their names, common locations, important equipment and a brief description. I actually really like this method. There are some NPC stat blocks later in the book but really for these I don't need too much information and this saves some space while getting to important information.


The next section is on class options. There is a prestige class that I can honestly live without. Its not bad, just that at this point I feel like there's enough material out there to have the concept without having to resort to a prestige class. Plus I'm biased against prestige classes so there's that. There are also new options and archetypes that fill in concepts for the setting. Though they are mostly for the flavor of the setting they look pretty functional, albeit nothing spectacularly new except for the otyugh mount. The Prestige class and the archetypes have a bit of psionic support with a new Terror and archetype for Dreads and the Prestige class requiring a power point pool.


This is followed by new feats. There are some psionic ones and many of them are racial but there are some general goodies in there. None of them feel superfluous or like trap options although Alien Weapon Proficiency brings up a system explained later about alien weapons that aren't exactly necessary given exotic weapon rules and the Technologist feat is sufficient for creating that kind of barrier for using certain weapons. We also get new psionic powers including powers adapted from spells from the Technology Guide which is way more relevant and interesting than the three new powers.


Here things start to get a bit rapid fire. There are two new race options using the race builder from the Advanced Race Guide, two new alchemical items, three herbs which function on an interesting basis that I'd like to see more of, and six new drugs/poisons. We also get new weapons and armor including technological items. The highlights are a nerfed powered suit, a stun gun, and a number of non-firearm weapons. Sadly there are two instances where I feel the rules are unclear about how something works but on the bright side they are easy to spot and only number in two. There are also some general technological items. The technological items are all priced lower than I expected which is a common theme among third party books with tech. Overall I really like the tech items here as I find them very necessary to flesh out the flavor of technology but also gives us a bit more new things with psionic-tech items. Among our general psionic items. We also have new vehicle stat blocks as well as a new type of propulsion type before getting to a list of common technological items in the setting.


Finally we get a gallery of NPC stat blocks using options from the book.


Lets get the bad out of the way first. A lot of the book kind of runs into each other without breaks after the class options section starts, so its a bit hard to find what you want. The lack of a table of contents for a 64 page pdf doesn't help matters at all. There are also a few points where the rules can be clearer or handled differently, particularly where the Femax environmental suit and the Dhosari race are concerned. The fluff, while there and interesting, makes me feel a bit lost on the product. I feel like I need more context outside of the Advent Imperiax to get a real feel for the setting and how this subsection of the setting interacts with the rest of it. I'm also a bit hampered by a somewhat lack of description. I generally assumed what this was and the product has a hard time conveying what it is and how it can fit into your game. And lastly the concept and execution of Alien weapon proficiency is beyond useless given how the rules for exotic weapons are sufficient for this kind of weapon barrier and simply doesn't play nice outside of it's own context.


For the good things; The actual content is really handy and things that I'll immediately put in my scifi campaign. I really like most of the races, The fluff regarding the races is fascinating, the NPC mini descriptions give me a lot to work with outside the setting, the psionic support to technology is very useful, the technological items are instant includes to a scifi campaign. The book as a whole is amazingly handy whether it's the fluff or the crunch and I would recommend at least getting it for the player options if you are running a tech focused game and moreso if your tech focused game involves interacting with crashlanded aliens in a normal medieval stasis world or a Iron Gods-like situation. I think I would give this a 4 out of 5 stars. Its a bit awkward to sort through but its full of things that I'll definitely use.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Heroes of the Advent Imperiax
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Nobles of Porphyra
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/10/2016 02:42:24

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This massive supplement clocks in at 52 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page blank, leaving us with 48 (!!!) pages of content, so let's take a look!


So...guess what - this actually is a prestige archetype book, one that takes the noble scion PrC and codifies it as a proper 20-level base class, though the set-up herein is obviously more versatile in this one - but there is more to this book than that: Beyond extensive observations regarding what it means to play a noble and the wealth available to them, the noble scions do receive a significant stipend each level, to be precise 750 gp times the class level and bonuses to skills according to the respective families they have and areas they belong to - it is here that the "of Porphyra"-component comes into play: The pdf provides a balanced, varied list of diverse regions of the setting for your perusal.


Beyond the aforementioned stipend, the nobles also get a weekly allowance of non-monetary favors equal to 25 gp times class level for top theatre seat, great rooms, etc. - this is known as prestigious influence. Unspent favors from this allowance do not stack, thankfully. At 3rd level, noble scions receive +1/3 class level to Diplomacy, Intimidate, Knowledge (Local) and Knowledge (Nobility) - this ability is called fame and fortune and 4th level nets an expert cohort called servitor...and no, he does not fight. 7th level nets Leadership and at 13th level, a cohort can be one level lower than the scion and all followers increase their levels by +1, with 19th level providing a cohort at the scion's class level and followers increasing their level by a further +1. As a capstone, these guys can roll twice on the appropriate social skills and 1/day treat one such roll as a 20.


So that is the basic framework - and it already is much more solid and feasible than the problematic aristocrat-NPC-class. This framework out of the way, we are introduced to the respective variants of noble scions: The first here being the bloodline scion, who gains 1/2 BAB-progression, d6 HD, good Will-saves and 4+Int skills as well as some basic proficiencies. Bloodline scions receive a sorceror bloodline and spontaneous Cha-based spellcasting of up to 6th level as well as related benefits: Bloodline feats at 6th level and every 6 level thereafter, with bloodline power progression at levels 1, 3, 9 and 15, with the capstone being exchangeable for the aforementioned general noble scion capstone. The class gets Eschew Materials at first level. The pdf does provide a CR 10 bloodline scion/wildblooded-sample character -each of the versions herein does sport such a complex sample character, all with detailed background stories...and, rather cool, there are quite a lot of neat full-color artworks here!


Similarly interesting - the chevalier takes the cavalier class and applies the noble scion - for full BAB-progression, full proficiency, d10 HD, good Fort-saves, level 1 mount and challenge, with well diversified class abilities - Banner at 5th level, tactician at 1st., etc. - all in all, this one is smooth and well-crafted.


The eldritch noble gets 1/2 BAB-progression, good Will-saves, d6 HD, very basic weapon and armor proficiencies and choose either wizard or witch at first level, gaining full 8th level Int-based prepared spellcasting - but losing the additional tricks like hexes, schools and the like - basically a full caster noble.


The enlightened noble, with 3/4-BAB-progression, proficiency with simple weapons, light armors and rogue-y weapons, 8+Int skills and d8 HD alongside good Ref- and Will-saves. These guys are based, roughly, on the investigator. The class receives full studied strike progression and studied combat and applies inspiration to the nobility-themed skills instead - once again, a neatly-crafted variant/hybrid! Similarly, should you prefer a more rogue-y focus...well, the scheming noble, with a similar chassis, instead applies this design-paradigm and combines it with rogue talents, sneak attacks etc.


The hierarch cleric gets 3/4 BAB-progression, good Fort-and Will-saves, d8 HD, 4+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons, sword cane and fighting fan and light, medium and heavy armor as well as with the deity's favored weapons. This one would be the Wis-based prepared spellcaster with full spellcasting progression of up to 9th level. On a nitpicky, aesthetic point - the spellcasting/aura/etc. entries often read "cleric" instead of "hierarch cleric"... Yeah, I'll punch myself now for that one. It's needless nitpickery. And no, these guys do not get channel energy.


The monster scion is based on the summoner class, with 3/4 BAB-progression, good Will-saves, d8 HD, 4+Int skills, proficiency with simple weapons, lance, long sword, rapier and light + medium armor, which do not provide arcane spell failure. They are spontaneous spellcasters via Charisma and gain up to 6th level spells. These guys get a hereditary eidolons - which are native outsiders and cannot be summoned. They are pretty hard to kill, gaining full HP into negative HP, but, upon being killed, need to be replaced via a ceremony and some time. Cool: Fame and fortune can later be applied to outsiders and the ancestral eidolons introduced herein get new evolutions for dual creature types, becoming extra-dimensional, fluid growth between sizes - all in all, neat.


The noble virtuoso gets d8 HD, 3/4 BAB-progression, good Ref- and Will-saves, 6+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons, longswords, rapier, sap, short sword, shortbow and whip as well as shields and light armors. They get access to bardic spellcasting (via Cha, obviously) and free spellcasting sans penalty in light armor. The class receives, obviously, bardic performance progression, 10th level jack of all trades, etc. - all in all, solidly dispersed ability arrays here - but at the price of bardic knowledge and lore master.


The Renaissance Man, at d8 HD, good Fort- and Will-save progression, 3/4 BAB-progression, 2+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple and martial weapons as well as light armor. This one gets Int-based spellcasting from the magus spell-list, 1st level arcane pool, 2nd level spellstrike, 4th level spell combat, 5th level spell recall and arcana at 3rd level, +1 every 3 levels thereafter. Medium armor, however, is delayed to 14th level and similarly, the hybrid does pay a price regarding the regular magus-progression.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level and also rather precise on a rules-language level. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' two-column full-color standard. The pdf sports several beautiful full-color artworks and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


This book was much more work than the relatively brief review here may show - basically, it represents a significant array of hybrid classes between Noble Scions and a significant assortment of classes. The interesting component is that the pdf manages to get the WBL-increase and small favors afforded to nobility done rather well: The respective changes made make sense and, when compared to the base classes, provide a distinct identity that is similar to, but not identical to the respective base classes. The concept is interesting and there certainly is more than one set-up for a campaign that makes sense with one or more player characters belonging to the nobility - I know I've had such a set-up planned for quite a while.


Beyond solid crunch, Carl Cramér's nobles of Porphyra (with additional design by Justin Sluder and August Hahn) also sport a significant array of interesting characters - for a more than fair, low price. Nice crunch, cool fluff - what more could one ask for? In fact, one can, arguably, make one's own additional noble scion-hybrids by extrapolating from the classes provided here and using the general noble scion tricks in this book. All in all, this is a nice, cool pdf and well worth 5 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Nobles of Porphyra
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Kineticists of Porphyra III
by Trent H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/06/2016 21:04:43

Really enjoyed the new composite blast as a lot of them were pretty interesting and I wish there was more. The wild talents were all nice and had new stuff for all the core elements and the kineticists of porphyra elements. Favorite new archetype was the Dread Soul, it works really well for an evil game, but the others were cool too. I kind of wish there was a new element, but it was awesome regardless.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kineticists of Porphyra III
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Kineticists of Porphyra II
by Trent H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/06/2016 21:03:24

The two new elements here are really cool, although poison feels a little lacking compared to viscera. Probably the best thing here was the new magic items, which really helped out when making a kineticist. There's a ton of options here even for the old elements, helping to make a way better class than before, and totally worth checking out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kineticists of Porphyra II
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Kineticists of Porphyra
by Trent H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/06/2016 21:02:08

While the kineticist itself is a fun class, both occult adventures and occult origins lacked content for it. This is totally fixed and more with this supplement, giving 3 new elements and a boatload of new options for old ones, helping to really expand the abilities of this class. It's a huge help if you wanna make kineticists more diverse, definitely worth checking out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kineticists of Porphyra
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Legendary Classes: Sacredote
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/26/2016 03:40:09

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of the Legendary Classes-series clocks in at 35 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page blank, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 31.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!


The sacredote base class presented herein gets d6 HD, 2+Int skills, proficiency with dagger, club, hanbo, quarterstaff and no armors - sacerdotes in armor risk arcane spell failure for divine spells when wearing armor/using shields. The class gets 1/2 BAB-progression and good Will-saves. A sacerdote casts prepared divine spells governed by Wisdom as casting attribute from the cleric's spell-list. He may not cast spells from opposed alignments, as usual - however, here's the catch: They have a second spell-list, based on domains: Sacerdotes add 5 domains together from their patron deity/deities and generate a domain spell-list: They gain as many spells from these domains as from regular spellcasting. And no, thankfully, they don't get domain powers from all of the domains. PrC-wise, sacerdotes only benefit from spellcasting progression that extends to all spellcasting, not from those that exclusively apply to divine spellcasting. At 3rd level and every 4th level beyond, the sacerdote receives a bonus feat chosen from metamagic feats, item creation feats and wrath feats - more on those later.


As the more theoretical divine caster, a sacerdote receives Intelligence modifier in addition to the usual attribute used on attack rolls with spells or divine wrath rays, not extending this benefit to e.g. spell-supported attacks like attacking with a magic weapon. Additionally, they may treat spells with a range of touch as though they had a range of 5ft. times class level, using Dex-mod to calculate attack bonus in conjunction with Int for such touch attacks. On misses, the charge cannot be held, just fyi. And yes, the class is smart enough to restrict this ability exclusively to spells granted from the sacerdote class.


Now I mentioned divine wrath - this would be an SP-signature ability of the class: As a standard action that provokes AoOs, sacerdotes may sacrifice a spell f level one or higher and unleashes a burst of divine energy that deals untyped damage (and doesn't damage constructs and objects) equal to 1d6 per spell level sacrificed, +1d6 at 2nd level and every even level thereafter. (At 4th level, divine wrath would hence deal spell level times d6 + 2d6 damage.) This is treated as a spell equal to the level of the sacrificed spell for purposes of counterspelling. Divine wrath can be manifested as either a 20-ft.-cone burst with a Will save DC of 10 + spell level sacrificed + Int-mod for half damage. The ranged touch attack ray has a range of medium (100 ft + 10 ft. per level) and offers no save, but targets, obviously only one creature. This, like spellcasting, requires the divine focus and it counts as channel energy for purposes of haunts, contingencies etc. - nice catch there.


Starting at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the sacerdote gets a manifestation, which allows the sacerdote to modify the divine wrath to generate lines, forked rays, cylinders, etc. and evena snake line. The class also sports a bunch of favored class options that cover not only base races, but also Porphyran races like the dragonblooded or exotic choices like the samsaran. We also get a CR 10 sample furnace elf sacerdote.


Archetype-wise, the class also receives some options, first of which would be the augur: These guys have a similar chassis as the sacerdote, but get a modified spell-list, the exclusive augury domain and no divine wrath - instead, they may at long range, as an immediate action, twist fate, allowing the augur to expend spells to add their level (capping at Int-bonus) to the result of a check, even after the results are made known. Starting at 8h level, augurs may instead also penalize creatures. They gain bonus feats at 2nd level and every 4 levels thereafter. They may also recast divinations yielding unfavorable results, even when that would usually be prohibited. At 12th level, he can 1/day use good omen sans it being an action (2/day at 20th level) and level 16, groups of people requiring concerted effort can benefit from good omens, for as long as the checks happen in the same round. The sample augur provided is an augur at CR 6.


The pdf also provides a druidic version of the sacerdote: These guys get light armor and a limited domain selection, but they do modify the spell list with a list of at least 2 spells per level that can be spontaneously cast. They add Int-mod to natural attacks and may also spontaneously convert spells into summon nature's ally. Wild empathy is of course also part of the deal. The passive abilities like resist nature's lure, venom immunity, timeless body etc. can be found as well. The sample character provided is an atheling at CR 4.


After this one, we also get an elemental-themed sacerdote - with elemental domains, obviously. Instead of the regular divine wrath, these guys can channel energies as blasts and the elemental wrath can be resisted via Ref-saves saves. These guys gain Placate Outsiders at 2nd level. Now the interesting thing from a design perspective: The fewer energy types you have access to, the more scaling resistance you gain to the energy associated with your domains - this value also determines the amount of energy resistance the elemental wrath can bypass. Interesting set-up. The sample character would be a CR 6 half-cyclops.


The invoker would be the summoning specialist herein - with quicker summons, and spontaneous conversion into summoning spells, with available creatures being determined by the domains chosen. Slightly problematic - for summons of usually a casting duration of 1 round, the class should specify the actions available for the summoned creature in the round they are conjured forth. Also interesting - the creature type determined by the domains can also be targeted with an AoE charm/dominate-like effect...but one tied to your HD. The sample character provided clocks in at CR 6.


The healing sacerdote receives a positive energy-based healing variant of divine wrath, aptly called divine weal: This can take two forms, a 40 ft.-cone or the medium range ray that only affects a single target, but always cures the maximum amount. The ability heals 1d6 per spell level converted, +1d6 at 4th level, with every 4 levels thereafter increasing that amount by +1d6. Non-damaging wrath feats may be used in conjunction with this ability. Unsurprisingly, this variant needs to take the Healing domain. They also get +Int-mod to CL-checks to remove a harmful effect or condition with magic such as break enchantment et al. and alsoincreases touch spell range to 5 ft. times Int-mod, using Dex-mod to calculate atk. At 2nd level, these guys may channel mercy and basically add mercy-like condition-removers, with up to 5 conditions removed in one go. 5th level allows for either the application of aforementioned mercies or to gain treat rolled 1s as 6s when using divine weal. Healing sacerdotes get a manifestation at 9th, 13th and 17th level, and it affects divine weal instead of divine wrath, obviously. The sample character clocks in at CR 10.


Proselytizers are basically a Cha-based variant of the standard sacerdote that is locked into the Community domain. At 3rd level, the class gets Selective Wrath as a bonus feat, but at 5th level and every 2 levels thereafter, he may exclude an additional creature from the effects of divine wrath. At 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter, proselytizers may choose bonus feats (metamagic, item creation, wrath) instead of manifestations. At 7th level, allies excluded from selective wrath gain a new Will-save versus ongoing effects that allow a saving throw, possibly shaking the effect off. Here, the ability is probably a bit wonky - I'm pretty sure this is supposed to only apply to Will-save based effects, but as written, it allows people to shake off ongoing Ref- and Fort-based effects, which would be odd indeed...and render the level 11 ability, which does that for Fort- and Ref-saves obsolete. At 15th level, excluded allies also gain 1 temporary hit point per die of damage of divine wrath. 19th level is brutal: Allies affected by the wrath may take a move or standard action as an immediate action. The sample character is a CR 4 geralite.


The spirit sacerdote is the first of these variants/archetypes that doesn't have its own class table (so yes, the above are pretty complex modifications of the class) and also is governed by Cha and pretty unique: They can change domains by negotiating with creatures, spirits, even the dead, a massive table providing monster types and correlating them to domains - a lot of roleplaying potential here! The sample character clocks in at CR 8.


The theurgist as no access to domains...but can learn ALL domain spells, even opposing alignment domains...but only the spells. Theurgists cast arcane spells. The arcane wrath of the theurgist requires no focus, which is a bit problematic - no disarm or similar tricks will help here. These guys have a cleric spellbook and a domain spellbook. Each level, the theurgist gets +2 cleric spells and 2 new domain spells for free and may learn spells like a wizard. The sample character clocks in at CR 8.


The pdf closes with over 20 feats, most of which belong to the [wrath]-category - these include DC-increases for divine wrath, multiple feats that allow you to placate other types of creatures (like animals, aberrations...you get the idea), gain an extra manifestation...etc. Heightening divine wrath's DC by using it as a full-round action instead is VERY powerful and something I'd nerf. Similarly, there's a save or suck (you won't save) feat that deals no damage to constructs...but dazes them for damage die rounds...considering the crappy Will-saves of constructs a powerful lock-down. Speaking of OP: There is a feat that lets you heal via divine wrath...which means you'll be better at healing raw HP than the Healing archetype (who gets half the bonus die scaling that the damaging version gets). Granted, you can't take away those negative conditions...but still.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good - while not always internally consistent (third vs. 3rd), the book, as a whole, is well-crafted, with precise rules-language and only a precious few hiccups. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' printer-friendly two-column standard with some niece pieces of full color artwork. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Carl Cramér's Sacerdotes (with additional design by Julian Neale and Mark Gedak) are interesting in that they leave me pretty torn. On the one hand, I actually really enjoy this take on the armor-less divine caster/holy man. The complex domain-tricks and variants are pretty awesome, with divine wrath's power being dependant on spells making for an interesting resource-management game. The fragility of the class is pretty important, and, while it looks brutal on paper, in game, the sacerdote and its variants mean one thing: KILL THEM FIRST. More so than clerics and druids, games with sacerdotes should be aware of the fact that these guys can dish out tons of damage...and heal even more in the case of the healer. Similarly, the invoker can pretty much go all Master Summoner on the table and drown foes in summoned creatures. That is, foes should know in-game to attack these guys like crazy - the fact that they can extend touch spells to range, limited though that may be, also means that they can provide healing more reliably sans getting into danger. When they do end up adjacent to any halfway decent attacker, though, they fold like wet tissues.


In playtest, these characters did yield a surprising result: When they worked, they owned the table - a healing sacerdote, for example, can maintain a front-line of melee barbarians in a manner most fearsome and lets a group withstand tremendous amounts of punishment...but at the same time, they could be squashed very easily. I managed to one-hit the guy. MAD is also used in a rather smart manner to reign these guys in.


The base sacerdote's restrictions are interesting and while I still prefer Interjection Games' ethermagic for warlock-y gaming, for divine blasters, these guys are interesting - though I have to warn against one component, particularly in mid-to high level gaming: Divine wrath is UNTYPED and not subject to SR. There is literally no way to reliably guard against this - even negative energy has a few creatures that are immune/resist it...so I'd very much recommend making this a classic damage type. Similarly, if you had issues with summon-spams in the past, the invoker will exacerbate the issue of creature-spamming. Still, overall, that makes for options that may not be perfect...but neither are they automatically problematic. Being able to learn ALL DOMAINS and the theurgist's arcane wrath feel a bit ill-conceived - the more domains you allow, the worse it gets. The means to extend touch spells to range should imho be restricted to cure/inflict-spells - on its own, that would already be VERY strong; with all the others...well...ouch.


Still, as a whole, I like he frame, if not all the precise details.


Where things get rather wonky would be the feats: The increased DC is VERY strong; Being able to potentially outheal the healing variant of the class for one measly feat is similarly baffling. On the other hand, the placate feats sport some cool ideas (a turn-like one for undead, for example), but vary in efficiency. The fact that you can get significant control over divine wrath AND increase the DC significantly means that you'll consider the ability ultimately much more useful and versatile than channel energy. This pdf, in a nutshell, offers some generally well-crafted options in the upper power-echelons. It imho could have used a bit more streamlining and nerfing and has some bits that can become problematic.


In a nut-shell, the sacerdote has awesome blasting, many spells, (broken) powerful healing (broken if you take the feat...)...and still is about as durable as a wet paper towel. On one hand, this class is arguably OP and gets too much out of being a bad BAB-class - for the nerf, they get more spells, ranged healing (already insanely powerful on its own, even with short range) and then add the superb blasting to the fray. In my playtest, I could take sacerdotes down, sure - but I had to do so...fast.


On the other hand, the framework and system presented here is neat, fun and lends itself to easy modification. Still, I can't just rate this on potential and have to rate it for what it presents, no matter how easily one could fix the hiccups and retune the balancing issues. As much as I like this book, I think it does overshoot the target significantly. My final verdict will hence clock in at 2.5 stars - if you think you can fix the aforementioned balance-issues or have a high-powered game, round up; otherwise, round down. For the purpose of this platform, I will round up due to in dubio pro reo.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Classes: Sacredote
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Maiden Voyage of the Colossus (OGL/DCC)
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/24/2016 23:25:14

This adventure is advertised as compatible with both DCC and the d20 OGL systems (Pathfinder, for example). However, the adventure suffers from one rather glaring problem, one which is more prominent if you wish to use it with DCC, as I did.


First, very little is said about the campaign setting or integrating the adventure with other campaign worlds. There's a flying ship, and the company which owns it hires your characters to safeguard it from sabotage at the hands of a rival coorporation (which is also only scantily described). The main reason I bought this adventure is because I'm a big fan of the airship theme (I loved the Princess Ark series that ran in Dragon Magazine back in the day), but such implies a more "high magic" setting where magic is more common and can be used fairly reliably.


DCC, on the other hand, is a weirder and darker setting where magic spells are closely guarded secrets that can be dangerous to both the wielder's body and soul. So, naturally, I was intrigued as to how the author would reconcile the two...but no such effort was made, which I find very disappointing. The adventure helpfully points out that you can buy the campaign setting to learn more about what exactly is going on here, and I realize this isn't supposed to be a complete setting, but a page or two where the author explains their assumptions regarding the setting where they imagine the adventure taking place in would have proved welcome. This is particularly important for game masters using published DCC modules with the assumed weird, fairly low-magic vibe to make the sudden inclusion of airships and big corporations less jarring.


Certainly a seasoned game master can come up with an explanation of their own (the Crawljammer setting provides a good model for how it can be done whilst retaining the DCC "flavor"), but I buy modules like this to reduce the amount of preparation I have to do by providing good ideas and suggestions that inspire me. This adventure didn't do that, which makes me wonder if the author and publisher really considered the matter of why this adventure should be used with DCC.


Second, the adventure does contain DCC conversion notes, as advertised, but it seems to me that these were an afterthought, and not well-designed. The DC numbers to accomplish most tasks in the adventure are pretty high for DCC characters, who generally only add an ability modifier of +1 or 2 to most such rolls (if they get to add anything at all, and sometimes they'll be applying a penalty of equal value), making the 15 (and higher) DCs extremely problematic (expect to fail a lot). This isn't an insurmountable problem (you can lower DCs quite easily), but it's further evidence of what I suspected above, that DCC support was an afterthought and not enough time and effort was devoted to it.


That being said, the rest of the adventure is tolerable, though fairly bland. I rate content based on its usefulness to me; a 5 is something I can't wait to use, and a 1 is something I have no use for, which is unfortunately where this adventure falls for me.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Maiden Voyage of the Colossus (OGL/DCC)
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FT 1 - Creeping Beauties of the Wood
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/16/2016 15:48:16

This is an excellent product. I am using the Faerie Tales from Unlit Shores series with 2 different groups. One group is made of more than half new gamers and the other is made of experienced gamers who are new to DCC. It works well for the latter but exceptionally well for the former. Here's why: the familairity of the faerie tale tropes helps to mitigate the learning curve re: new mechanics and becoming comfortable with roleplaying.


The module is jam-packed with awesome encounters and great setting detail. It is a lot of material for the price and it's totaly worth it.


I have two caveats I would make buyers aware of:


1.) While FT 0: Prince Charming Re-Animator was easily read, digested, and run in one go, this module was not. It takes several sessions to run (3-4) and it is as much a mini-campaign setting as it is an adventure. It is a hexcrawl with lots of random and placed encounters. One needs to be able to quickly decide when a random encounter is appropriate or not and when the group just needs to be sped along. One might also want to be able to move the placed encounters around if things are getting stale without tampering with the overall plot sequence. Moreover, because it is hexcrawl, players might want to travel to Portsmouth at some point during the adventure and if you don't have FT 2: The Portsmouth Mermaid, you might find that your on-the-fly Portsmouth description and NPCs don't match up with what comes out in the next module (this might have happened to me...). While this is easily retconned or altered later, it's something to be aware of. The Goblin Market is also pretty complicated and required more than one read through before I felt comfortable running it for Players, but it was totally worth it - they loved it and can't wait to go back! Tl;dr: while I felt FT-0 would be a great adventure to GM (Judge) for someone who is new to DCC or has never GMed an RPG, I can't say the same about FT 1 even as someone's second time.


2.) The overland map is really cool but I didn't feel a Players' version was necessary. Since my PCs were all peasants from Westlake I doubted they knew the layout of the Grimmswood and the road to Portsmouth. For hexploaration, the slow reveal of drawing the map as they moved around had a lot of payoff, especially for the new gamers who had never been in a hexcrawl before. Now, if one were running FT 1 on an online platform with fog of war, the Players' version would be very helpful. Because there is both a Players' and Judge's version of the map, I felt it would have been better if the Judge's version had both the letter and the name of the encounter site written on it. I found myself writing the names of the encounter sites onto a print out of the map. This was also the case with the map for FT 2: The Portsmouth Mermaid. If possible, I would encourage Mr. Bishop to make this change to any similar maps he may be planning for FT 4: The Twelve Dancing Princesses and/or FT 5: Within and Upon the Beanstalk.


Neither of these does too much to take away from the awesomness of this product. I plan to run FT 2 and I recommend anyone who likes DCC, Faerie Tales, Lovecraft, and RPGs in general buy this product. As stated before, the series is especially good if you have players who are new to RPGs.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
FT 1 - Creeping Beauties of the Wood
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Purple Duck Storeroom: More Magic Pants!
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/08/2016 07:37:48

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of Purple Duck games' short, inexpensive experimental pdfs clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let's take a look!


In case you missed my review on the first magic pants supplement: Yes, these pdfs invent a leg-slot. Yes, they are cognizant of this. Yes, the authors probably have collected the 3 unique leggings in the Baldur's Gate saga....and yes, I consider the idea well worth it. So here are more pants!


The first of the pants is the bell-bottoms allows the wielder to perform secondary kick attacks that have the thundering quality and 1/day duplicate shout...though unfortunately, I have no idea as what action - standard or free?


Awesome: The Black Widow's Garter - it contains an extradimensional space where you can put poisoned weapons, which then have their potency enhanced. And yes, the item gets it right -you can't just store a crapton of poisoned weapons inside. AC-enhancing boxer shorts that can 1/day convert lethal damage to nonlethal damage also are pretty awesome, while kaber kilts help throwing oversized weapons.


In a hilariously bad pun, cargo pants sport limited bags of holding in their pockets and obviously, camo pants enhance your Stealth. Daisy Dukes help Diplomacy and allow you to 1/day fascinate a target, while high-water pants let you...bingo! Water Walk.


Hot pants protect versus the cold...and can be activated to engulf the wearer in a flaming aura - and yes, the activation action is properly codified. And it's hilarious. Leggings of coiling plants can create massive undergrowth and the loincloth of the jungle helps with Tarzan-like stunts - though activation of the spell included here is not perfectly clear - I assume the default standard action of use activation/spell-trigger and spell, but still...would have been nice.


More interesting - what about leggings that 1/day allow your legs o elongate to 20 feet? The benefits regarding obstacles, terrain etc. are concisely covered, the imagery is awesome and the usefulness undisputed. Damn cool! In an homage to Rogue genius Games, I assume, bright red pantaloons allow for a temporary increase of mental faculties - somewhat akin to a mental attribute-based version of a barbarian's rage - nice. Also rather cool - the focus on the mental similarly mirrors the effect in an inability to engage in physically stressful situations while in the throes of the pants. Unlike a rage, though, the wearer is left energized by the pants - pretty cool overall design.


The Pants of the Hammer Master allow the wielder to command foes to stop..and be bashed with a hammer. Yep. Hammer Time. XD Rage-enhancing purple pants of fury, rebellious longstockings that allow you to ignore confinement like Pippilotta Viktualia Rullgardina Krumsnyta Efraimsdotter Långstrump and yes, if the wearer has a horse or monkey as animal companions/mounts, they can learn more tricks. Roadrunner pants allow you to air walk and move faster while running. Smelly pants allow the wielder to be...well...smelly and unleash stinking clouds.


With Perform (Dance) and sparkle pants, you may AoE dazzle foes (hey, that rhymed!), not all pants are benevolent - there are a bunch of cursed ones inside as well - for example swimming pants that attract aquatic predators, pants that make you bossy or crabby and britches that make you sassy...and particularly loathed by vendors...oh, and what about fear-the-dark scaredy pants? Yeah, nice!


Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch this time around - I noticed no significant formal glitches. Rules-language-wise, there are some minor instances where activation actions of spells-in-a-can could have been clearer. The pdf's layout adheres to Purple Duck games' no-frills 1-column standard for the series and the pdf has no artworks, but comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Jeffrey Swank and Jacob Trier's array of magical pants made me laugh very hard - but rest assured that this is anything but a joke product - in fact, there are several benefits and mechanical operations in the crunch here that can be considered to be rather complex. While not always perfect, I still can't bring myself to rate this down - for the low asking price, you do get a rather cool array of magical pants - well worth a final verdict of 4.5 stars...and since the crunch itself sports some unique ideas and particular mechanical executions, I'll round up for the purpose of this platform.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Purple Duck Storeroom: More Magic Pants!
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Purple Duck Storeroom: Heraldric Devices
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/07/2016 04:01:42

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This installment of Purple Duck games' inexpensive series of experimental mini-pdfs clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look!


So, what are heraldric devices? Well, basically, they are add-ons to your shield. They are activated via command word and as a standard action unless otherwise noted. At a GM's discretion, they can be added to heavy armor as well. Item Creation-wise, they are wondrous items and have no effect on their own when not attached to a shield. Cursed heraldric devices exist and cannot be simply removed from the shield.


So what do they do? Well, let me give you an example: The Bat-device nets you blindsight 40 ft for 10 rounds, usable 3/day. A cursed device may bite you and centaur-devices allow you to expand your movement rate a limited amount of times per day. Petrification added to shield bashes, spell-in-a-can effects, energy protection and 1/day fear or 1/day insanity...or what about unerring hydra-heads of force? Grappling tentacles? Hungry pits beyond the maws of purple worm-devices? Yeah, the effects are awesome.


It should be noted though, that the rules-language often deviates from the proper phrasing - when I read "as if the wielder had the Improved Uncanny Dodge ability (at the 8th level of skill.)" [Sic!] something in me cringes...hard.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are good on a formal level; on the rules-language side, it is functional - you get what the text means and the respective wordings don't sport problematic ambiguities...but if it can deviate from how rules syntax and semantics work, it does. So yeah, I did cringe a couple of times...but at the same time, I can't really complain about any significant issues springing from said deviations. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' printer-friendly no-frills 1-column standard for the series and the pdf sports a nice piece of full-color artwork. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Okay...this is an odd one. Sam Hing's published work usually has a more precise rules-language. Still, know what? I actually really like the item-class introduced herein. The heraldric devices are unique enough and make sense...and they make shields more interesting to have around. In spite of the deviations from rules-language conventions, I couldn't really help myself - I like this little pdf and I sure hope we'll see more devices! Is this perfect? Nope, and I can't rate it as highly as I'd want to - but for the fair price, I can still recommend to check this out. My final verdict hence will clock in at 4 stars.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Purple Duck Storeroom: Heraldric Devices
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Kineticists of Porphyra II
by Elexious C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/06/2016 08:33:03

The last Kineticist of Porphyra filled in some blanks allowing the Kineticist to grow to be as robust as other classes. These blanks were pretty obvious but now we get into the slightly odd choices and elements that expand a bit past the 'bender' feel of the class. This starts with the first archetype, the Divine Conduit, that is somewhat of a Kineticist given it's power through divine intervention. It has to be good, has an aura of good and gets 'Kinetic Smite', effectively a Smite Evil for Kineticists. The rest of the powers pull a lot from the Paladin in some way except for a growing DR. Overall it gets cool powers that are well worth what they give up; elemental defense and a few wild talents for a mount, healing, smite, a defensive boost and DR. All in all I'd go for it over any kind of elemental cleric for the streamlined theme. The Dragon Pact Kineticist is a bit hard to read being littered with exclusive wild talents that give it various dragon form abilities and breath weapon abilities making separating wild talent rules text hard to separate from class feature description until you run into a new class feature. once the whole thing is sorted out you're left with a sort of spell-less Dragon Disciple. I like it well enough where I'd put it above normal Dragon Disciple, again for the streamlined theme. The fusion Kineticist is a bit of a yawn. Nothing wrong with it but it's just a basic 'two elements at level one' kind of deal which is great for early levels but it's not like you're lacking in that kind of option at mid levels for normal Kineticist. Its a grid to fill. The Hex Kineticist continues the theme of side-jumping Kineticist into mimicking other classes, this one obviously being a witch. By now this habit gives me the feeling that the kineticists non-spell magic system is being used to replicate a pseudo-Spheres of Power effect. They get a familiar that can later be an elemental gun, and Hexes.


There are new elements. Poison and whatever Viscera is supposed to be. I had to google that and I still don't quite follow how a viscera 'element' is supposed to work. I'm going to go with 'gross body kinesis' based on what the element does, but the point is that we're getting deeper into the non-element territory of elements to manipulate/produce and leaning closer to Pokemon elements. Poison gets an acid blast and Viscera shoots bones I guess.(I'm thinking Marrow from X-Men). The new composite blasts are obvious given the new elements but the new elemental defenses being a bit cool and powerful but a little situational depending on what you're doing so no better or worse than normal elemental defenses. It does open spell resistance and rotating energy damage resistance which is nice.


The new infusion wild talents have some of the same criticisms I had last time. Some of the talents are pretty powerful for what they do and at what level although I have to say that all of the overpowered looking ones seem to have an insane burn cost. If you're set on using them they can end a fight pretty fast but you're not going to be doing anything too interesting later. These are mostly status effect kind of deals like dealing ability score damage or continuous damage (crippling to enemy casters). The utility wild talents are less extreme but definitely keeps kineticist on the path of a themed caster rather than a thing-bender opening up things like making zombies. It also kind of sets it off more anti-caster abilities like the ability to force concentration checks, counterspells and continual damage.


Between all the new wild talents there's a focus on beefing up the new elements but lots of elements get some love with some cool effects so you're going to have to go digging even if you're just a vanilla kineticist focusing on one of the main elements.


From there we have some new feats. Some things that are pretty fun. There's one that I have a bit of a thing against, mainly because it opens cans of worms for cross company utility talents than anything abusive I can think of within normal or Porphyrian Kineticist options. There are some new magical items. Well a lot. Some of them I had expected to already exist but apparently they don't so there's a bonus on that front. After that we leave off with a sample Dragon Pact NPC before OGL text.


I felt like Kineticists of Porphyra had the theme of grid-filling, expanding the Kineticist class to elements and archetypes that seem like a natural fit or a logical extension for the class. Meanwhile KoP2 goes a bit off the reservation with it's elements and if I were to describe a theme it would be a distinct hatred of casters. On one front, the archetypes creepily seek to replace other casters and replace them as doppelgangers. Despite lifting mostly from the Paladin, if you're good aligned the divine archetype is a suitable replacement for divine casters in terms of themes. Then there's the Witch and Dragon Disciple branded ones. On another front a number of the new wild talents replicate spell functions to the extent that you can even perform some necromancy. If you can sort through the fiddly bits you basically can replace all casting with wild talent 'casters' and the flavor remains untouched. Then there are the talents that outright do bad things to casters, numerous ways to deal continuous damage, spell resistance, good counterspelling. Its like the Kineticist not only wants the option to beat casters to a pulp but take their place as a less diverse but 'all day' caster.


Whether or not this is bad depends entirely on how you feel about the Kineticist in general. If you love the class and want it to be a bit more thematically or to do something other than being a blaster caster then this is a pretty decent product. It gives you new and exciting things to do and although I mostly did a single read through, I have not found any real problems in terms of rules and typos.


I would give this 5 stars out of 5. I have somewhat of a sarcastic tone with this product but it really does open up quite a bit and gives more utility to handle more esoteric problems and do cool things. This book kind of brings them up a bit past simply being an elementalist which does kind of bring it out of it's niche but also evolves the class a bit. During the playtest I felt like the Kineticist and it's Wild Talents felt like Spheres of Power-lite and I can definitely feel it here as the class branches itself. These are things that I really like, hence the five star rating.


You can find this review and more over on malwing.blogspot.com



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kineticists of Porphyra II
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Kineticists of Porphyra
by Elexious C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/06/2016 08:31:41

Since Occult Adventures came out I've seen a few products crop up to support the new psychic classes to bring them up to the bulk of options that other base classes enjoy. This product from Purple Duck Games is based on the Kineticist.


After some fluff to explain how kineticists work in Porphyra we kick off with new archetypes for the kineticist. There are four. Some are obvious ones such as the Elemental Avatar that controls earth, air, fire and water, and the Elemental Scion that focuses on one element. The other two feel like they represent the ends of the martial caster spectrum where the Cerebral Kineticist that gets mental buffs instead of physical ones and changes it's main ability score from Con to Int, then there's the Kinetic Duelist makes for a straight melee battler kineticist. The ones that need them, Elemental Avatar and Kinetic Duelist get some archetype specific wild talents to support them. Honestly I'm a little concerned that these types of archetypes weren't the first that Paizo made when I did some light digging to check for redundant concepts. Beyond the archetypes that needed obvious representation the same could be said for the new elements in here, Light, Sound, and Time.


The new elements of course come with a whole list of wild talents which take up most of the rest of the document, about 30 pages worth of talents. If the previous paragraph sounds like a lot of grid-filling, it certainly feels like it, and the wild talents follow the same route. Not that this is bad, particularly since these are grids that should have been filled from the beginning, but nothing particularly exciting happens if you're familiar with tropes of the new elements. If not then you'll have a blast (heh) because most of the effects are worth having making choosing actually pretty difficult. In some cases they're almost be too good since there are so many paizo wild talents that I'd gladly pass on. I'm also just wary about any status effect infusions since you risk handing out status effects like a witch hex only with more damage. Of course I could not playtest all of these as there are quite a few of them so for the most part I had to make guesses so your milage may vary. (As a side note, sometimes Kineticist Abilities are hard to judge. Comparing them to spells they resemble is one thing but you also have to take into consideration burn, burn mitigation, the fact that the Kineticist barely does anything outside of it's Kineticizing. ) Some you do have to suspend a bit of disbelief like Calming Tone, a utility talent that functions as Charm Person that's associated with sound. The Wild talents aren't limited to the new elements. They cover up to Occult Origins in element considerations which is nice.


After the new wild talents are a few feats the probably should have been printed by now. One to reduce how much burn you get and one to gather more energy among other very obvious ones. Then the product ends with a Kinetic Duelist NPC stat block.


This product seems to have some new and exciting things in it but it mostly achieves this by filling in concepts that I had expected to see in a Paizo book rather than something high concept and obscure. Especially things like Elemental Avatar due to the popularity of things like Avatar the Last Airbender. Sure you can achieve a similar effect with vanilla Kineticist but its not the same. But the fact of the matter is that Paizo did not print these concepts yet and these fit in pretty well without being trap options so the gridfilling is all positive leaving me with new ideas for characters and material to bring them to life, which is what a product like this is supposed to do. If I had an actual criticism it would be that I'm suspicious of how good some of the options are, or at least I would be if I had some faith that the kineticist chassis had a real way to abuse these things so I'm willing to give it 5 out of 5 stars until something comes up at the table.


You can find this review and more over at malwing.blogspot.com



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Kineticists of Porphyra
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