Adamant Entertainment
DriveThruComics
DriveThruFiction
Adamant Entertainment



Home » Purple Duck Games » Reviews
Close
Close
Browse









Back
Other comments left for this publisher:
Lands of Porphyra Campaign Setting (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/28/2016 10:53:58

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This massive campaign setting clocks in at 214 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with a massive 219 pages of content, so let's take a look!


Porphyra...Purple Duck Games' in-house setting is massive, it's regional (and extremely crunchy) player's guide clocking in regularly at 60+ pages...and unlike most campaign settings, this world was not crowdfunded...it just slowly, steadily, came to be...which is an impressive feat in my book. Anyways, Porphyra's details and unique components are many and have been suffusing Purple Duck Games-supplements for years: Whether it's the unique mini-game arabakmpsi, the lovecraft gaming toolkit or other offerings - never obtrusive, but the hints, the nods were there. More so than the player-option-centric "...of Porphyra"-series, both the great Purple Mountain dungeon-crawl-AP and books on deities and elemental lords, all open content, mind you, have already shown a vast potential.


Then again, such a wide variety of different environments and ideas could be jarring, right? Well...no. You see, there is a reason Porphyra is called the patchwork-planet...and it's more pronounced than in similar settings. Let me elaborate: When TSR generated some of the grand classics we all have come to know and love, from Planescape to Ravenloft, they split their customer-base...which was one among many factors that led inevitably to the end of the company. (And yes, I am aware of the other countless number of issues...but that would go beyond the scope of this review.) The lesson that most RPG-companies took from this was simple: Focus on a core world, but allow for maximum customization within that world. Most famously and successfully, we can see that approach in Golarion: There is Ravenloft-country, science-fantasy country, magic metropolis, pirate-country, Greyhawk-ish borderland/bandit kingdom-ish regions...you get the idea. Golarion, while certainly not perfect, ended up being a truly astonishing, fascinating setting that maintains a level of consistency in spite of this tonal patchwork. Not the best consistency, sure - but that's a system-immanent issue; one can't have the cake and eat it, too. What I'm trying to say here is, that I like Golarion. It's a patchwork, but a nice one. Which brings me back to Porphyra...which is also a patchwork...so what's the unique selling proposition of Porphyra versus Golarion?


The answer to that question is more complex than one would expect it to be. In order to answer it, I'll have to go a bit into the history of Porphyra, so bear with me while I give you the woefully oversimplified cliff notes-version of the setting's history, all right? The history of Porphyra features a dominance of the faith in elemental lords in the past as well as a successful effort to smash the invading forces of the Great Old Ones - from these wars and the faith in the forces of the elements, the Zendiqi erected an empire that dominated the small planet...until a coalition of orcs and elves spoke THE WORD to fight the oppressors. THE WORD beckoned and sundered dimensional barriers, issuing the so-called "Calling" throughout the multiverse, speaking to deities and calling them to Porphyra - for the first time, the gods had come to the world and the elemental lords were no longer uncontested masters of all they oversaw...for the deities did not arrive alone. The gods from worlds far and wide brought with them a plethora of lands, forever changing the nature of Porphyra itself, tacking them on with the eponymous mystical mineral porphyrite...purple glowing borders, seams now were part of the daily reality...and a religious and cultural clash of heretofore unseen proportions shook Porphyra to its very core, as the NewGod War raged and the armies of genies and elementals fought the deists and their outsiders. The war was brutal, bloody and its effects can be seen to this date, more than 800 hundred years later, in the lands of Porphyra.


It is due to the porphyrite borders that arctic environments can exist alongside simmering deserts...and, GM's willingness provided, the borders can limit e.g. bacteria or similar micro-organisms as well, allowing for potentially interesting explanations on why and how a given place managed to stand the test of time with superior, hostile forces nearby. Basically, this is a twist on domain-borders taken to its logical extreme in a high-fantasy context...and it works. Instead of trying to hide the discrepancy between lands and their themes, Porphyra embraces them, highlights them in a big, purple marker and makes them part of the storyline...which is a big, big difference in comparison to Golarion.


Similarly, the time-scale of the settings is different: Porphyra's current equilibrium does not change the fact that it has, per default, not a ton of fallen empires written into it. It's, as far as a campaign setting is concerned, a pretty young world. But isn't it missing out on something? Well...no. The patchwork nature of the world allows GMs to pretty seamlessly integrate e.g. different serpentfolk empires. "Yuan-ti? But I thought Serpentfolk were the Valossians?" - "Well, they are...in that landed territory over there. Here, on this side of the porphyrite border, we fought the yuan-ti..." The very nature of the setting makes plug-and-playing even relatively lore-heavy modules a relatively simple endeavors. And yes, I'm one of the GMs that takes longer for the fluff-conversion of modules than for the conversion of their crunch...I'm that picky in this regard and I know that at least some of you out there are as well...so yeah. Porphyra does this very well. Passing such a border, just fyi, can be accomplished by a 1st-level spell...usually.


The second component that sets Porphyra apart, and more so that the aforementioned patchwork-component, would be the direct consequence of the nature of its form: With all those deities and their lands, we also obviously have introduced races to Porphyra. Beyond the new races featured in the respective regional player's guides, the setting has its own racial hardcover, Fehr's Ethnology, which actually does feature a couple of my favorite PC-races alongside some less interesting ones. Speaking of races: Erkunae? Yup. Included here. And the sciene-fantasy component I mentioned? Well, there is the Advent Imperiax, born from the crash of a powerful space-ship, but I'll go into more details regarding that region in my upcoming review of that area's Player's Guide. The plethora of origin myths and stories thus mean that the setting, from the get-go, assumes an organic, pretty concise baseline to make the vast array of races and cultures work in an oddly sensible way. Know hoe obscure new half dhampir/half construct race XYZ never popped up before in your campaign, but how a new book introduced it? Well, in Porphyra, the sudden appearance of such individuals and new races can be rationalized much easier than in most settings.


From the blistering Siwathi desert to the classic and less weird Middle Kingdoms or the Birdman Mountains, the respective regions of Porphyra are depicted with sample intrigues (adventure/campaign hooks) to make use of them - from the empire of the dead to the swampy Fenian Triarchy, Freeport, the Hinterlands of Kesh and the Frozen North, Porphyra has a place to stick basically any module or supplement, any type of module but those reliant on geopolitical struggles without any hassle. (And frankly, even these are relatively easy to insert...and you could always judge parts of the world to have been ripped to Porphyra...) While the massive map of the world has btw. not been included (but can be found for PWYW here), the book sports an ample array of full-color maps of the respective regions and current events for the regions paint a picture of a world in flux.


There is another thing that makes Porphyra interesting in my book: Know how Dreamscarred pPress' campaign setting and Third Dawn AP is stalling and taking a long time to finish? Well...Porphyra has psionics integrated into its framework from the get-go. You can ignore it, sure...but seriously, Ultimate Psionics is one of the best books you can get in the crunch-departments..so personally, I'd suggest running Porphyra as intended, with full psionics support. Similarly, animal-headed anumi and the other remarkable races by Alluria Publishing are actually part of the Porphyra-canon. With so many races, a summary of races by region (with distinctions of landed and native). Rules-wise, the pdf also provides the Pantheist cleric, who gets more domains (3) and favored weapons, but at the cost of spells per day. The book also sports brief sketches of the deities (though, for more information, you should really check out the gods-book!) alongside their holy symbols. These religions also come with numerous new faith traits - none of which sported any significant issues, though different authors become very much apparent here - some lacked the proper trait bonus type, while others had it, showing a discrepancy in rules-language handling skills.


The time on Porphyra, the days, trade and the basic value of spells cast provide components you can easily scavenge for other games, with alternate currency ideas, unique flora and fauna and detailed information on the languages spoken lending a level of credibility to the setting as a whole, despite of its patchwork premise. Holidays, including rules-relevant effects and weather phenomena, from hurricanes to glass seas, are similarly covered, and moon-based magic, chaos magic, rune magic, covenant magic, word magic - you name it, it's probably here. Beyond an array of domains and subdomains, basic advice on psionics and several organizations complement the vast panorama depicted in this book: From the Brothers of the Blue Star to the Cordionic Knights-Errant or the Illuminates of Chaos, there are quite a few organizations in this book; something all too often neglected in campaign settings.


Beyond 3 PrCs (think tanky deist quasi paladin-knight that only needs to be lawful; juju-gunslingers and self-destructive fanatic, zendiqi), the pdf sports a vast array of traits and campaign traits (with similar minor hiccups as mentioned before). Beyond these, sketches of personalities to interact with, including items of note, notes on what the NPC is famous for and mini-hooks.


As many a campaign setting, this one also features a brief introductory module, for 1st level characters. The module is set in the Middle Kingdoms, perhaps the most traditional region of the world. Similarly, the module as such is pretty traditional in its structure: By exploring the eponymous ruins of Greencastle, the PCs may manage to unearth the truth of how the fortress fell and a rather dire secret I am not going to spoil here. The enemy-choices are my highlights here, giving some seldom-seen foes a chance to shine, though I should mention that, in general, this is a pretty straightforward, solidly challenging dungeon-crawl. Not more, but also not less. The full-color maps are nice, though player-friendly maps would have been appreciated.


The pdf also provides a list of Porphyra-related books, explanations on porphyran nomenclature, elemental and protean lords as well as a massive, detailed index - which is incredibly important for a book of this size and information density.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are good, bordering on very good. While I noticed a couple of typos and minor hiccups here and there, the book generally proved to be an enjoyable read that was not marred unduly by glitches. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' printer-friendly two-column full-color standard with a lot of full-color artworks and cartography being part of the deal. The very user-friendly standard means you can easily print out this tome, which is a big plus for me. Fans of 3pps may by now know quite a few of these artworks from other publications, since Purple Duck games sells art, but generally, the artwork herein can be considered neat indeed...particularly when considering that this is NOT crowdfunded! The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.


Okay, so these authors made Porphyra a reality: Project lead was Perry Fehr; Contributions from: Ken Austin, Thomas Baumbach, Carl Cramér, Daniel Denehy, Perry Fehr, Mark Gedak, August Hahn, Noble Hays, John Hazen, Sam Hing, Sean Holland, N. Jolly, Chrstopher Kaiser, James H. Lewis, Chris Longhurst, Liz Mackie, Josh McCrowell, Christopher Mennell, Scott Messer, Angel "ARMR" Miranda, Julian Neale, Daniel M Perez, David Pryzbyla, Marc Radle, David N. Ross, Treyson Sanders, Justin Sluder, Todd Stewart, Stefen Styrsky, Mike Welham, Jeremy Whelan, Patricia Willenborg.


Porphyra is a massive setting; a setting that breathes a spirit of eclectic high fantasy, with a metric ton of things to enjoy and do. Porphyra is inspired in that it consciously inorganic - like its namesake. Instead of trying to put a layer of consistency over the hodgepodge nature that campaigns become when one allows a ton of material, it embraces the theme and makes it internally consistent; Porphyra's central achievement lies in the sheer guts of managing to properly depict a world that is rooted in a can-do attitude, in a design philosophy that embraces the diversity of tastes and themes. The restrictions imposed still allow for tonal consistency, while basically inserting a semi-permeable membrane. Porphyra is an exercise in cultural osmosis within our hobby; it is a world that operates in line with many a campaign - diffusion of ideas through a semi-permeable membrane; in this, it mimics how a GM's brain is working, by making the exclusion/inclusion decision a part of its very design.


Don't get me wrong - Porphyra is not perfect; it may not be for everyone. But personally, I am certain I'll gladly return time and again to this patchwork planet...whether to scavenge ideas and cultures, items, crunch from the player's guides or to actually play there. Porphyra is, in short, a fun, evoctiave campaign setting that particularly time-starved GMs tired of BSing a reason why cultural context xyz doesn't work, will come to love for its plug-and-play nature - it is, in short, the USB-port of campaign settings. My final verdict, alas, also has to take the glitches that are here into account and thus will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5...and since I really like the premise and have come to appreciate Porphyra's diversity, this also receives my seal of approval.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lands of Porphyra Campaign Setting (PFRPG)
Click to show product description

Add to Adamant Entertainment Order

Drow of Porphyra - The Xelusine: Sirens of Sin
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/22/2016 12:17:31

An Endzeitgeist.com review


The third book taking a look at the diverse types of drow stranded on the patch-work world of Porphyra clocks in at a massive 29 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with a massive 26 pages of content, so let's take a look!


"You know us. You have always known us. We are what you wish you could be in your darkest moments, when you cannot help but give in to the worst of what you are. We have all the grace you lack then, and none of the regret." This is how this pdf begins, and it is a perfect introduction of both the in-character narrative that suffuses this pdf and to the nature of the Xelusine - they sprang forth from asceticism thwarted, from a wish most tainted and they killed their god, from his corpse erecting the primordial pillars of sin, metaphysically reaching out from the void beyond dreams and omens...and they don't even end up in either abyss or hell - an eternity of sin and debauchery await them in Hamarita.


The Xelusine are the poisoned honey on a voluptuous body, the shuddering ecstasy that changes one's life, the end of guilt; an embodiment of an addictive personality; the dark and handsome stranger; the smoking dame that just smelled like trouble that walked into the room; the decadent courtier; they are the relationship that is self-destructive and yet the most fulfilling you can imagine. They also sport a structure of circles and sin-based factions (obviously 7, one for each mortal sin), each with its own specialties - what the truth about them is, how they work - the in-character prose is delightfully crafted as it slowly reveals the truths of the race...or does it?


The pdf provides a full-blown, wonderfully detailed decadent code of conduct for the Xelusine, the dance, and the triumph of their decadence is indeed lavish, intoxicating even, in its depiction - with a Karza's call to war against them as a well-written counterpoint. Rules-wise, the Xelusine get the Silver-tongued racial trait, guidance, beguiling gift and unnatural lust as SP and also a vulnerability to diseases. It should come as no surprise that this subrace of drow features a significant array of alternate racial traits that tie in with fey-like tricks and sin-themed tricks.


The pdf provides favored class options for bards, clerics, druids, hetaera, monks, rangers, rogues and sorcerors, with clerics following the 7 sins, with associated domains and subdomains. FYI: This pdf comes fully hyperlinked to d20pfsrd.com, with the good type of hyperlinks - nice! A vile rite of sacrifice and actually evocative, unique traits are provided - with cult leadership score modifications, etc. The pdf also sports relatively concise and brief rules for satisfaction and temptation. Wait, I should probably mention the rather cool Cult Leadership feat featured herein - why? Because it actually also has cool downtime exploits for the cult cell and even sports mass combat rules info! KUDOS! At 5th level, there is a feat called Masochism, which ties in well with the torture/interrogation rules and helps against Intimidation - and, as a nice bonus, it is NOT evil. Still, not the most compelling feat I know - but nice to see nonetheless. (Seriously, I really loathe the stigmatization of BDSM and coding of it as evil...)


The pdf, btw., has a template...created drow. Yes, the Xelusine can make non-drow drow.


Want to know, though, what made this pdf even more worth it for me? The concise rules to create custom aphrodisiacs. Think of that as a more complex variant of the Karza's poison creation, but for addiction-inducing things and practices. And yes, I really wanted this and it's the only PFRPG-book I know of that has proper rules for the like. The pdf also provides an armor-type that helps the seducer and, like previous installments of the series, we do get sample cities and adventure hooks for these.


Beyond all of these, the pdf offers a ton of domains/subdomains for the Xelusine - from the Apathy domain to its Conceit brethren, they are cool, though there are minor formatting glitches here - like a bolded ability name that should be italicized...but that's, ultimately, cosmetic. The pdf closes with two new spells - one that creates an extra-dimensional den of sin and the second one, which fires a sin blast - a victim struck sees his or her actions in the next round restricted according to the sin. (This one uses a d7-die to determine the sin- which is a bit odd. I happen to have one, but if you don't, use a d8 with 8= reroll.)


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches in either formal or rules-language criteria - kudos! Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. The pdf sports gorgeous full-color artwork, one of which (in case you're prude) shows a tastefully drawn nipple. (Which probably is one reason this does not have the PFRPG-compatible logo.)


Okay, the Nalbrezu were already awesome; the Xelusine? Oh boy. Pure, glorious decadence; the poisoned nectar, the scions of delicious sin; tainted and evil, yes, but oh so rewarding. Patricia Willenborg has really hit her stride here; the aphrodisiac-rules are tasteful and concise; the depiction of the race superb and well-written. The supplemental material and balancing of the drow-subtype is tight and the writing is evocative, fun and inspiring. This book, much like its predecessor, is well-written, concisely presented and takes a novel, mature and unique take on the drow - one that does not shy away from the subtext that has been part of dark elf lore ever since their inceptions in various fantasy worlds.


I love this pdf; it was a great read and has provided more ideas for drow and encounters with them and how they operate than most other books I've read on the race. The Cult Leadership rules are tight and may be worth it even if you're not interested in the Xelusine as such - this is fun, unique, well-written and daring. Two thumbs up for this one. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Drow of Porphyra - The Xelusine: Sirens of Sin
Click to show product description

Add to Adamant Entertainment Order

Lovecraft Fantasy Gaming Toolkit
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/03/2016 07:48:32

An Endzeitgeist.com review


This pdf clocks in at 70 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC,2 pages of SRD, 1 page blank, leaving us with a massive 65 pages of content, so let's take a look!


Okay, so lovecraftian horror =/= lovecraftian fantasy. We need to get that out of the way right from the bat. When I'm playing CoC and ToC, I lean towards a more purist bent and tend to prefer investigation-heavy, deadly scenarios, where, more often than not, everyone dies or becomes insane, even if they win. This is not for everyone, though; most of my players prefer a less bleak perspective.


The pulpy side of those aforementioned systems never was really something I fancied. At the same time, I do enjoy a hefty dose of weird fantasy and lovecraftian themes in my fantasy, which is a completely different beast - ultimately, the constant presence of magic and increased PC-capabilities result in you telling different stories that blend the tropes of Lovecratiana with heroic fantasy for a dark edge.


The problem is that fantasy roleplaying games like PFRPG, as a default, aren't really intended and geared up to represent the aforementioned tropes in a concise and consistent manner, an issue this pdf seeks to remedy. Hence, to cut a long ramble short, this book covers basically a campaign template that allows you to play lovecraftian fantasy while still sticking to PFRPG's design-paradigms. As such, this book covers A LOT of ground and in the interest of readability, I will not go into the nitty and gritty details of all the components herein, instead trying to highlight what this book, as a whole, has to offer.


We begin with a smattering of lovecraftian-lore inspired settlements, which, while originally taken from Porphyra's Dunmark-region, pretty much can be inserted into any game - from Frog's Crossing to Eelsmarch and Port Akham, the themes are here, resound and the solid settlement statblocks, supported by a smattering of settlement rules, make for a nice introduction to the subject matter.


Now the next course would pertain the core races and their respective roles within the panorama of races in a lovecraftian fantasy setting. Each of the races sports default niches (read: ethnicities and roles) for races to fill, with e.g. being Asian conferring a +1 bonus to Spellcraft. Slightly annoying - the bonuses granted are not properly codified by type - I assume them to be racial bonuses, but ultimately remain unsure. Due to the relatively small nature of them, though, it is hard to construct a scenario in which this would lead to any significant issues. Beyond some adventure hooks, the pdf also provides a concise list of themes to remember - and this includes the relative rarity of class'd characters. Also important: Maintaining a sense of normalcy. Most of the pitfalls of the genre stem from people becoming blasé about threats - without establishing a sense of normalcy, all threats lose and impact. These considerations, mind you, should not only be remembered by GMs using this book - they also can prove to be quite helpful in dark fantasy, weird fantasy and similar genres.


Okay, this section out of the way, we begin to dive into class options - and there is a metric ton of those inside this book. The chapter on archetypes is vast and over 20 pages long! The archetypes themselves are thematically fitting, if a bit conservative - but they do one interesting thing: You see, there is a lovecraftian spell-list which is assumed to be the default for all classes unless otherwise noted, putting a severe complexity (and power) nerf on spellcasting that fits the genre well - though e.g. the surgeon alchemist retains the default formulae-list. Antipaladins sworn to Dagon (with amphibian apotheosis), mental patient barbarians, journalist bards, clergymen clerics, hermit druids, investigator inquisitors that can draw the elder sign, soldiers and lawmen, cultists of Leng monks (think qinggong variant), oracles with the apocalypse mystery (still as problematic and OP as when I first encountered it...but also still as cool), sorcerors with bloodlines from the old ones or elder gods, cryptozoologist summoners, cultist witches and antiquarian wizards - there are even more than I mentioned in this chapter and each character type receives a sample NPC, adding to the usefulness of this chapter. While overall, I wasn't too blown away by it, the majority of the content herein remains valid, though some minor balance hiccups do exist.


Beyond this significant array of archetypes, the pdf also sports a few bardic masterpieces, including, how could it be any other way, the famous King in Yellow and the Music of Erich Zann (not Eric, as this book calls it, at least according to my collected works). Similarly, there are a couple or arcane discoveries (available in lieu of bonus feats) for casters. The new feats generally are pretty cool - and may save your life in a game based on Lovecraftiana - 1/day running from a foe sans incurring ANY AoOs (neither from the target, nor from others) while you run is very useful and increases your survival-rate significantly. Gaining the Innsmouth Look is also an option and indeed, several cool traits can be found here - including heirloom documents.


Speaking of documents: The maleficent tomes of the Lovecraftian mythos are an integral component of the tropes of this genre - but apart from Legendary Games' Gothic Grimoires, there simply aren't that many of them out there. Enter this one. Each book herein has an EDF - an Eldritch Document Factor and a somewhat clumsily named Power Call (abbreviated PC - because that will not get confusing at all...). Level-related powers are cast at a level equal to the EDF. For each month of possession of such a document, you have to roll on the CA-table, with CA standing for cosmic attention. Yes, this is usually bad news. Similarly PC of 5 and above equals a CA-check. To check for CA, one adds EDF, character level of owner and the accumulated Power Call Factor and roll a d% - here, the pdf fails to specify that the above is added to the d%, but the intention is at least relatively clear from the context. Oh, and destroying or selling such a book? BAD idea. Von Unaussprechlichen Kulten (correctly written for once 75% of publications get this one wrong!!) to Zanthu Tablets - quite an array.


Beyond these vile tomes, reskins of some classic magic items as well as new ones can be found herein: Mnar Stones, Alhazred's Lamp, Voorish Talismans - nice. Oh, and yeah - apart from the weaker ones, these have no construction-notes...thankfully. Nothing ruins horror more than being able to assembly-line-craft anti-horror items.


Now I already mentioned the lovecraftian spell-list before - but I did not note that spells cast require a Will-save - on a failure, the caster loses 1 point of Wisdom. No damage. No drain. LOSS. You better not throw magic around all the time - there is always a 5%-chance of failing this throw of the bones, no matter how much you power-game. While I use a more complex system in my horror-games, this is still a pretty easy and elegant representation of the trope. Some sample "forbidden" magics are also provided.


Beyond all those PC-centric options, monstrous adversaries obviously also need their due - with a simple fear/pseudo-SAN/panic-mechanic (fear effects dealing Wis-damage equal to creature CR) and considerations by creature type - e.g. did you know that 10% of cats have human-like Intelligence? Or that whippoorwills can touch ghosts and spirits? Similarly, a lot of the outsiders and creatures are analyzed in details for their respective usefulness in lovecraftian fantasy. The pdf also provides templates - the Batrachian template, one for making cephalopoids or pallid creatures as well as stats for Tcho-Tcho (CR 3), Teuthonians (CR 12) and general basic statblocks for mythos avatars or great old ones, to which micro-templates can be applied on the fly to represent a variety of different creatures.


The pdf also features a nice sample mini-adventure that takes place in a twisted circus, which comes with a nice, fully-depicted map in b/w. The adventure as such it pretty sketchy and I think a GM is better off considering this a sample environment/location-sketch. While there is quite a bit going on and there are tables for rumors and crowd reactions, as a module, this one does fall a bit short in that it does not really present a concise structure of events due to the space constraints - it's basically a nice, detailed environment...but not an adventure. Why it's billed as an adventure in the first place, I don't know.


The pdf closes with a nice list of recommended reading.


Conclusion:


Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect - I noticed some minor hiccups and minor issues with rules-language here and there, though, overall, this book is pretty solid in that regard and the issues generally do not break the content per se. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' two-column standard, is pretty printer-friendly and sports several gorgeous pieces of full-color artwork. The pdf, bafflingly, is not bookmarked, which means that you should probably get the print-version. For a toolkit of this size, the lack of bookmarks is a comfort detriment. EDIT: I have been notified by the master of the Purple Duck that bookmarks will be added to this pdf, which nets it +0.5 stars.


Perry Fehr, David Pryzbyla and Stefen Styrsky have crafted a book I ended up enjoying more than I expected. You see, I already have several rock-solid sanity-systems, horror-systems and the like. This book's take on those concepts is minimalistic, generally pretty elegant and functional, and while I prefer more complexity, there is beauty in the simplicity here. The important observations regarding themes, conversion, etc. are more than useful and, as a grab-bag of ideas and considerations, this does make for an interesting addition to a GM's arsenal - even if you ignore the subsystems, there is quite a bit of rules-scavenging material in this book. While there are some hiccups and the rather glaring lack of bookmarks for the electronic version (probably rectified by the time you read this review), I still consider this a good, if not perfect addition to one's GM-arsenal. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars, +0.5 stars for the added bookmarks...but I still feel I have to round down.


Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Lovecraft Fantasy Gaming Toolkit
Click to show product description

Add to Adamant Entertainment Order

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
Click to show product description

Add to Adamant Entertainment Order

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
Click to show product description

Add to Adamant Entertainment Order

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
Click to show product description

Add to Adamant Entertainment Order

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
Click to show product description

Add to Adamant Entertainment Order

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
Click to show product description

Add to Adamant Entertainment Order

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
Click to show product description

Add to Adamant Entertainment Order

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
Click to show product description

Add to Adamant Entertainment Order

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
Click to show product description

Add to Adamant Entertainment Order

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
Click to show product description

Add to Adamant Entertainment Order

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)
Click to show product description

Add to Adamant Entertainment Order

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
Click to show product description

Add to Adamant Entertainment Order

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!
Click to show product description

Add to Adamant Entertainment Order

Displaying 1 to 15 (of 485 reviews) Result Pages:  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 ...  [Next >>] 
0 items
 Hottest Titles
Powered by DrivethruRPG