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Legendary IX: Legends of Antiquity
by Raymond L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/14/2014 13:46:59
As fans of the series already know this book brings great back stories for very unique and interesting magic gear. James Lewis, in his first addition to the series, written a tome that should be on every gamemaster's shelf or research folder.

As I read through the work I had to stop multiple times to make notes for my campaign and new campaigns only now germinating due to the seed left by this book.

An easy read, and easy to use tool for every pathfinder GM!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary IX: Legends of Antiquity
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Purple Duck Storeroom: Animated Skulls
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/11/2014 03:05:54
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Purple Duck Games' short micro-pdfs clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of SRD/editorial, leaving us with 11 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



So what is this - animated skulls, yeah, but instead of just a set of statblocks, this actually is a mini-generator! A kind of Monster-Dressing, if you will.



We get a d12-table to determine locations of the skull, an excessive list of 10 potential origin-legends for the skull (like being a fragment of an outsider lord's consciousness, a lich gone wrong etc.) and then, things become interesting indeed:



3 sample partial statblocks await you to roll basic stats - one of these would result in you rolling on a d12 list of PC-class levels, while a d20-table allows you to randomly fill in the skull's skills and a further d12 table covers feats. Finally, movement, from levitating to hopping (!!) and flight can be determined and voilà - that would be the basics.



The pdf does not stop there - a 5-entry appearance table can result in further spell-like abilities via implanted gems and you may optionally determine alignment via a d8 table. If the skull has an implanted magic item, a 2-entry micro table covers that.



The pdf also provides 12 sample temperaments/personalities and 10 potential special purposes for the skull. We end the pdf with one sample skull and its background. I also should mention that the pdf also covers taking an animated skull as a familiar.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a digest-style one-page no-frills standard and the pdf comes bookmarked in spite of its small size - kudos!.Apart from the cover, there's no art, but that's to be expected from a micro-pdf like this.



Perry Fehr's Skull-generator is GLORIOUS. I really, really love this easy-to-use skull generator, the skill/feat-selectors etc. - this makes crafting animated skulls exceedingly fast. Now this would immediately hit my best of ratings, were it not for one issue: The statblocks this generates are non-standard. Looking much more like DCC or 2nd edition statblocks, they have all you need to run the skulls, but e.g. lack CMB/CMD etc. and just feel unnecessarily obscure when adhering to standard statblock conventions would have been easy - why no simply state the senses, ini, etc. according to statblock conventions? This is baffling to me and unnecessarily opaque, especially since the generator could easily support standard statblocks. As much as I love this pdf, due o this strange, strange decision, I can't rate this higher than 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4. This is still a glorious buy for the low price.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Purple Duck Storeroom: Animated Skulls
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Purple Duck Storeroom: Tiny Monstrous Humanoids
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/03/2014 03:24:28
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Purple Duck Storeroom is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let's take a look!



Monstrous Physique II allows you to turn into tiny humanoids. Problem is, there aren't that many. In fact, in core, there are none. Enter this book.



So let's take a look! Gaeolings at CR 1/2 are small, furry beings that can spray blinding dirt and camouflage as dirt. Cool! CR 1 Mirelings are deadly, superbly stealthy, potentially degenerated/cursed micro-halflings that can't be detected and are adept at vanishing. And you thought certain trap-making kobolds were a nightmare to catch. Seriously, a capable DM can wreck havoc with these guys...



Also at CR 1 Nimerigar are tiny, yet deadly warriors utilizing poison while hunting even creatures of mountain lion size and above. On the very disturbing side, imagine a combination of stirges and small humanoids for the Stirgelings - yeah. The iconic imagery alone is well worth the price of admission here and I *know* I'll be using these guys.



Speaking of potentially disturbing - the Trowlings with their tiny greataxes and their regenerative qualities also make for a strange imagery - think about those guys, Gulliver-style, chopping to bits the tall folk... *shudder* On the more benevolent side, the Urslings might look like teddybears, but are actually benevolent protectors - think gummy-bears, the race.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to a 1-column digest-style b/w-standard and the pdf comes bookmarked in spite of its small size - nice.



This is Purple Duck Games and author Perry Fehr at their best - no frills, cool and iconic creatures that universally have something awesome about them AND at the same time, this closes a hole in the rules? Yes, please. And take a look at the exceedingly fair price point. Believe me, you will not regret getting this one. Well worth the low costs, iconic in imagery, 5 stars + seal of approval. Two thumbs up!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Purple Duck Storeroom: Tiny Monstrous Humanoids
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Paladins of Porphyra
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/30/2014 06:41:46
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 10 pages, so let's take a look, shall we?



In Porphyra, paladins are servants of the NewGods and thus, we get archetypes for specific deities - Aleria, the love of life, for example, gets a paladin that receives an modified steed that is under constant pass without a trace, may speak to animals and recieves at higher levels an aura that severely penalizes all melee attacks executed nearby her - including her own. Surprisingly cool one! Codionic Knights of Gerana are more martial and inclined towards intimidation, not diplomacy. They also may shield others and partially replace mercies with power attack and cleave and gets a menacing aura at higher levels. Once again, nice.



Ithreia's Order of the Gyrfalcon (which strangely lists a patron-prerequisite the former two entries lacked) learn to deal cold damage via lay on hands (tied to uses per day and in damage-potential, to class level) and generally can be considered a more aquatic type of paladin. Solid. Now antipaladins following the apocalyptic deity Mâl receive a concentration-disrupting anti-arcane aura and sicken foes hit by their weapons and communicate with just about everything -to corrupt it. Again, neat. The Dreamcatchers of Neria become immune to illusions at 2nd level - the ability can be suppressed as a swift action. *sigh* To what does this immunity extend? Simply seeing through everything? Does it require interactions? Only extend to spells cast upon the paladin? Does e.g. mirror image work against the paladin? Even in exchange for divine grace, potentially a VERY powerful ability that imho needs further clarification. Apart from that, the archetype's prophecy/dream-focus is neat.



Rajuk Amon-Gore's Deathdancers gets bonus feats and command undead and at high levels dance of thousand cuts as a spell-like ability. Toma Thule's Darksiegers don't get detect evil and replace smite with a constant to atk/damage-bonus and receive bonus feats instead of mercies and get improved defensive fighting. Rules that align these paladins with the unorthodox paladin-rules from "Strategists & Tacticians" are also provided.



Next would be a total of 7 oaths - and these are interesting: What about an oath TO addiction for antipaladins that results in a poisonous aura and resistance to harmful substances? An anti-chaos oath? An oath that makes an antipaladin a herald of conflagration and fire, allowing you to radiate damaging heat? An oath that makes you a herald of light? One against deforestation (which is replete with roleplaying potential galore) - including the ability to quench fires and blunt weapons? Sons of Kaliban that swear the Oath of Submersion can be considered somewhat like the folk from the iron isles in "A Song of Ice and Fire", only with added swim speed and the deadly power to smite land-dwellers. Antipaladins of Korufo the Shadow may misdirect, blur and are masters of subterfuge.



We also get two new spells, one to detect faithful and one to imbue others with addictions (nasty!) - and we also get a new drug, the dread daemon seed as well as level 9 paladin and a sample level 8 antipaladin. As a nitpick - both miss their CR-ratings. As icing on the fluff, we get two awesome battle-hymns - the Dirge of the Hands of Doom and the Song of the Righteous Warriors - all lyrics ready to recite. Two thumbs up for this cool fluff!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting can still be considered good, but aren't perfect -I noticed a couple of minor glitches, but no significant ones. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested, extensive bookmarks.



Perry Fehr is a wildcard author for me - he can write great fluff, but his crunch fluctuates wildly between the awesome and the sloppy. I'm not sure whether it's due to a daily shape of author and editor/developer or some other weird phenomenon, but that's irrelevant anyways. What I'm trying to say is - I did not expect to be wowed by this book. And yes, the abilities of the paladins are a bit on the conservative side here, but the wording of the crunch is actually solid, really solid. The same holds true for the oaths - and all the rest herein. The oaths are evocative and fill important niches, the sample characters are nice and the hymns are the icing on the cake. While the minor glitches would usually make me good for a 4 star rating, the great fluff of the songs and the mostly awesome oaths just wouldn't make that a just verdict. hence, I will settle for a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 - author Perry Fehr delivers here.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Paladins of Porphyra
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AL 5: Stars in the Darkness [DCC]
by Tim C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/12/2014 21:53:54
I have run this adventure twice, and it was equally crazy, and substantially different, both times.

This adventure does a great job bringing a cosmic feel -- stars disappearing, Luck is waning -- to an old-school dungeon crawl.

It's well-written, inventive, and the encounters challenged my players. Good stuff!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
AL 5: Stars in the Darkness [DCC]
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Bards of Porphyra [PFRPG]
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/12/2014 09:44:54
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 9.5 pages of content, so let's take a look!



After a short introduction in regular text and a nice piece of in-character prose, we are introduced to the cantor archetype - an bard archetype with strict taboos that prevent taking e.g. the extra bardic performance or extra channel feats (though other channel feats are eligible). In an interesting twist, they are not proficient with most weapons and taboos also influence said choice, though they receive two-weapon fighting when using a quarterstaff (and only a quarterstaff). At 4th level, cantors may channel energy at their class level -3, with one channel eating 3 rounds of bardic performance. Add to that a nice improved aid another boost for skill use in combat. An elegant, short archetype. Nice performance by author Perry Fehr. Haha Okay, I'll put a buck in the bad pun jar.



The Holy Fool does not learn bardic knowledge, but may add a limited array of cleric spells to their bard spell list, improved will-saves and at 5th level, access to a single subdomain or domain at class level-4 and at high levels, duplicate symbol of stunning for a serious amount of bardic performance rounds. Solid and no one's fool. Sorry, couldn't resist. The Gagaku are masters of a zither-like exotic weapon, the 6-stringed Yamamogoto, a string instrumen that becomes enhanced over their levels as a ranged composite shortbow re str-rating. Additionally, they are more proficient at dodging ranged attacks and do not provoke AoOs in melee with it. On a nitpicky side, once, the archetype is called arrow courtier instead of Gagaku, but that does not influence the functionality of the pdf. An archetype that may not be the strongest choice, but which is high in concept - and honestly, I like it.



The Howler archetype exclusively for Gnoll and Catfolk. Instead of a regular bardic knowledge, these guys can yowl - a sound that requires concentration-checks from all that hear it at increasing penalties to cast spells and use skills. It can be maintained as a standard action up to 30 minutes per level, meaning the class probably won't run out of yowling. Where things become probematic would be with the range - it's a friggin' mile. And while allies only take half penalty,, this one requires nerfing -it does not provoke AoOs. It does not even count as language-dependant or mind influencing. This one needs a whack with the nerf-bat, though I like the ability's concept.



The Laulajan may not learn spells the bard has in common with the inquisitor or paladin, but may add select wizard and witch spells to their lists. They may also take metamagic feats and apply them to their spells in lieu of bardic performances. Yeah, not that blown away either. Limited reduction of metamagic-increased spell levels and unlimited, at will ghost sounds are somewhat nice. Solid. The Muzzein could have been an insensitive archetype, but isn't - using bardic performance to temporary power blindsense and calling to worship would be nice - the Call to worship increases the DC of saves versus the spells of allies, damage of the same or duration. The latter proves problematic - what about instantaneous spells? multi-round effects that change what they do over the duration of the spell? That's very problematic and requires A LOT of clarification. Still, once if this was clarified, the archetype would be rather cool.



We also are introduced to 7 new bardic masterpieces that include e.g. an homage to "The music of Eric Zann", a defensive, obscuring swirl of leaves, snow or sand or damage undead sans save. All in all, nice masterpieces.



Temporarily upgrading channeling via bard spells makes for a nice idea and the 9 new magic items also are rather cool - from magic masks to bardic performance-powered instruments - a nice array here, though the artwork of the air sitar mysteriously seems to have vanished from the pdf. We close the pdf with a sample Cr 11, level 12 Holy Fool sample NPC.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay, though I noticed a couple of non-standard, not broken, but less than optimal wording choices and minor formatting glitches. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' two-column standard and is rather printer-friendly. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with extensive nested bookmarks.



Perry Fehr's take on bards is steeped in awesome, cultural allusions and high-concept ideas, like in most of his writings. This time around, the significant majority of his ideas properly pay off - with high-concept archetypes that mostly work, we may have a couple of issues that require further streamlining, but the majority of the content herein is rather cool and enriches one's game via uncommon ideas. the channel/divine-synergy ties in well with the new content and generally, especially for the low asking price, this indeed can be considered a worthwhile, if not perfect purchase. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform - not only for people interested in Porphyra, but for everyone that is looking for culturally and mechanically distinct bards.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bards of Porphyra [PFRPG]
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Purple Duck Storeroom: Alternate Class Abilities
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/01/2014 06:14:16
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/explanation, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so what are these alternate class abilities?



Essentially, you could think of them as micro-archetypes - to learn one of them, you have to give up a class ability of a equal level when you level up or retrain. Bonus feats and divine auras do not qualify and spellcasting progression potentially counts as such an ability. In the end, the DM has the final say. Got that? Good!



A total of 18 1st level abilities are provided and range from access to a mount (which works as a full-blown animal companion!) to poison use, throw anything as a bonus feat or gaining animal empathy. All those nice little abilities like trapfinding, familiars etc. are part of the deal, as is the unarmed AC bonus of the monk.



At 2nd level, 5 are provided, with uncanny dodge, favored enemy and stand up some more powerful options coming into the fray.



For 3rd level, only maneuver training and trap awareness are available, whereas at 4th level, expert trainer, favored terrain adn slow fall become options. AT 5th level, you may go for solo tactics, at 6th for evasion and swift poisoning, at 10th for opportunist and at 12th for camouflage or stalwart.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I did not notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to a one-column b/w-standard and the pdf has no art, but needs none at this length. The pdf does have bookmarks, which is awesome to see.



Author and mastermind of Purple Duck Games Mark Gedak provides a surprisingly complex system here for next to no cost -essentially, these can be considered a way to make all classes talented in a limited manner. And that is awesome - thief with cantrips? Done. Cleric with trapfinding? Done. And so on. The options are diverse and solid indeed, covering important abilities, but not the signature ones and thus enrich the list of valid character concepts. Now that being said, I do have gripes with the pdf - for one, the balancing is off regarding some of the options: bonus to craft versus gaining a mount that will eclipse at low levels its rider? Hmm, which do I take? Or take evasion - arguably one of the most useful defensive abilities in the game, it is too easy to get as written. Seriously, though - that can be handled by a DM. Another oversight would be that, as written, nothing prevents the stacking of these class abilities other than the usual convention. Witches with two familiars, druids with two companions. Urghs.

The concept is glorious and would warrant further expansion/ a proper, full-blown book with streamlined balancing. As written, this is still a great resource as long as you as the DM keep a tight control on what which character can exchange - a notion the pdf admittedly calls attention to. For the expansion of options and due to the low price, I will hence settle on a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Purple Duck Storeroom: Alternate Class Abilities
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Stock Art: Exotic Beauty
by Jeremy Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/26/2014 01:48:03
I love the colored version, the B&W version is good as well, but the line art version looks...odd, at least in the face.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Stock Art: Exotic Beauty
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FT 0 - Prince Charming, Reanimator (PWYW)
by Clayton B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/13/2014 23:30:46
Prince Charming is a pretty solid funnel. It is fairly short, but it gets the job done. The monsters are really tough, and we had a TFK (total funnel killed for a couple players), but the module has a nice way to generate new 0th level guys.

This is a fairytale based module, and you may or may not want to file off the serial numbers on some of the more overt markers of this (for instance, there is a guy literally named Prince Charming). There are a lot of unique items here, but you may want to modify or eliminate some of them. There is an orb that answers three questions each day and does other things too, for instance, and that may be a little powerful for 0th level characters. The items in one section cannot be taken by the players as the module is written, but I allowed the players to wish out a monkey's paw so they could wreck havoc upon themselves. The magic weapons are really strong. I immediately removed the magical pluses to attack and armor from them. I liked the item that didn't let anyone lie, but I wouldn't let them use it to find out meta information, maybe.

The prince was kinda silly, waiting for days at a time for the PCs to do their thing, and so I suggest trying a few things with him:
*Remove player rations. They have to make their way back to the Prince's camp to replenish and report on their progress.
*Have the prince spy on events with a magic falcon. Falconry is an expensive hobby, so it fits.
*Give the prince a strange henchman that follows the party. The henchman doesn't talk, moves slowly, and never seems to die.
*Provide the PCs with a couple hunting hounds. Because of how fun dogs can be in this module.

The church of Justicia was a nice touch to inject some DCC mythology into the setting. I would have placed a couple related gods and/or saints in her church, though. Also, a table for players to roll unresolved sins on would have been cool.

One of the nicer things about the module is that it brings a new patron for players to try out too. Nice RP opportunities for budding wizards there.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
FT 0 - Prince Charming, Reanimator (PWYW)
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AL1: Bone Hoard of the Dancing Horror [DCC]
by Clayton B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/13/2014 22:58:46
You can't beat the weird vibe of this module. Flopping, vampiric vermin. Dancing, hypnagogic horrors. Potions the party knows it shouldn't drink, but inevitably will.
There are a couple cool items. I appreciate the seeding of some spells for DCC judges who like their wizards to have to quest for them. Lots of unique monsters and hazards is very much in the spirit of DCC and is a great plus in my book.

There are a couple things that kept me from rating this a solid 5, however:
One of the most important monster's info is a bit spread out, and over two pages at that. This makes it harder to pick up and play. You'll have to study all the monster abilities and probably take notes to figure out how to run the encounter smoothly. Some kind of summary box or shorthand would have been appreciated.
Most of the room description text is short, but it runs long in a couple places. People will have different feels about boxed text, but my preference is two lines or less.
The map is rather sterile. It would have been nice if it had a few illustrations between the rooms for traps and monsters as reminders. One of the biggest rooms has bones littered about it, but that isn't conveyed on the map at all; you have to read a long boxed text to remember to convey that part to the players. The room title helps, though.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
AL1: Bone Hoard of the Dancing Horror [DCC]
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Heroes of the Siwathi Desert
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/11/2014 03:18:10
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second of Purple Duck Games' Player's Guides for their upcoming, highly anticipated Porphyra-setting clocks in at 53 pages of content, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 2 pages of SRD and 1 page blank back cover, leaving us with a massive 48 pages of content, so let's take a look!



Introduced to the setting's harsh realities by an aptly-written in-character narrative, we are introduced to the new races herein, first of which would be ancestor-worshipping Sibeccai-like humanoids, Fnolls and the godless, elemental-worshipping Zendiqi, the latter of which you may already know in more detail from one of the best Fehr's Ethnology-installments. These 3 races have in common that they are balanced, do what they set out to do and include 2- 4 racial traits (even properly listing bonus-types) - all three races have in common, that they properly portray the races, don't feature broken bits and can easily be dropped in just about every setting power-level-wise. Kudos! We also get takes on the 4 genasi-like races (and yes, I know Paizo has renamed them, but every time I write "Ifrit", "Oread", "Sylph" or "Undine" as a moniker for those guys, a part of me dies, so for the purpose of this review, I'll call the collective genasi...nothing to fault Purple Duck Games for, but still something that has me nerd-rage a bit at Paizo...) - these clock in at about the power-level of aasimar and tieflings, so they're appropriate for most campaigns that don't skirt the lower power-level echelons/point-buys. In their write-ups, some minor glitches have crept in - or rather, been taken over from the (imho less than stellar) ARG. Treacherous Earth, for example, still has no action type specified for it its use (why not make it su or even sp) thus making the action required to activate slightly more opaque than it ought to be - a flaw more on the side of the source-material, but still a flaw. Formatting-wise, speak with animals-like abilities could have used the (Sp) or (Su) in brackets, but that's me once again being anal-retentive. In the fluff-department, the roles of the genasi-like races is great and steeped in the cultural lore - which is awesome and something more settings should imho do - on the downside, the nomenclature might become somewhat jumbled. Air-genasi are for example called "sylph" and "habu" in alternating instances - why not establish the terminology in the text and then use the proper "habu"? Generally, that's a nit-pick, though - the expert writing and fluff actually make these races feel much more organic than I'm used to them being...so kudos!



After that, we not only get a full-page, gorgeous map of the area depicted in this book, we also are introduced into the politics , governments and social structures of the desert, including additional supplemental settlement qualities taken (and properly credited to!) Skortched Urf' Studios supplement on that topic - great to see such awareness! A total of 7 such qualities are here. A total of 4 wholly diverse settlements, complete with statblocks (and including a tent-city and a tomb city!) are up next and help getting much easier into the meat of the area. Have I mentioned the in-character narratives for the respective settlements? Yeah, cool!



The Five Spirits Master-PrC, a 5-level PrC has 1/2 BAB-progression, up to +3 save progression for all saves, d10, 4+Int skills per level and are all about the elemental monk styles, elemental fits etc. The PrC also gets a terrain-ignoring stride related to the elements, thus allowing the character to pass lava, water etc. - but requiring a full-round action as well as an end of the movement on solid ground. Limited, yet cool take on the stride and not one that can be broken easily. Now next would be an ability that may seem problematic - the blending of aforementioned djinn-related styles, activating more than one at once and getting each level an additional style active. I'd complain about multiple styles, but seeing how limited their selection is, it works. Furthermore, the PrC gets a cool mechanic that allows you to counter AoOs with elemental fist attacks, makingthe former make much more sense. And if all of that weren't enough coolness, the capstone allows you to use the style-endgame abilities as counters. And as the icing on the cake, the CR 13 sample character uses Rogue Genius Games superb talented monk-class instead of the regular one, netting you a superb sample character AND acting as a cool teaser, since all rules required to run the character are in here. Kudos for the best elemental monk-take I've seen in quite a while - I actually want to try this one out!



The Djinn, Marid and Efreet Binder summoners are all archetypes made in the vein of the shaitan-binder archetype - completing the classical elemental cycle of options - but once again going above and beyond what was required by sample statblocks and using material from the must-have Advanced Options: Extra Evolutions-book by Rogue Genius Games - again, using material, with an own spin and sans requiring other books. All the previously challenged summoners will rejoice at their new genie-eidolons. While still related in form, balancing and abilities to one another, they feel distinct enough to set them apart, though, again, as a nitpick, I would have preferred slightly more unique tricks for the respective archetypes to set them apart, but that's me complaining at a high level.



Fans of psionics can rejoice with the inclusion of the new Guardian Psychic Warrior Path - though this one has a weird wording ambiguity - on the one hand, the path renders immune to fear, one the other hand it nets a scaling bonus against fear effects. I *assume* a formatting glitch here, with the first instance of the word supposedly referring to the spell - see, and that's why I complain when spells aren't properly italicized. Expending the psionic focus to execute AoOs of foes moving through threatened squares fits with the concept, though - so generally, a nice path. Mahdi clerics wear veils, muffs and gags and can be considered as somewhat neutral-themed ascetic clerics that pay for the ability to daily choose the alignment domains with slightly less spells. Again, nice concept and rather visually cool. The sample character also uses a feat of domain channeling (again, from Rogue Genius Games) and also features two nice spells. The Muhartik Slayer rogue is all about slaying those pesky divine casters and similar infidels and makes for a rather effective foe of casters - neat and imho more flavorful in execution than similar mage-breaker archetypes I've seen! Cavaliers may now pledge allegiance to the Order of the Sundered Spear - no mercy, no retreat - dangerous stipulations - somewhat offset by the target of a challenge getting one counterattack per AoO performed against the cavalier. OUCH! That ability is powerful, yes, but on the other hand, the no-nonsense edict is also harsh, so I'll let that one stand.



Oracles of the Flames, Wind, Waves and Stone mysteries get additional revelations - and mostly, they're rather cool. One is a bit problematic, though - parting any size of water body (including oceans!) to provide passage feels problematic - while the caveat for x passing characters is fine, the overall wording is slightly problematic - as written, it can be inferred that the parting of waves is maintained for the whole body of water. But consequence-wise, that could entail grounded ships (no caveat but no. of crew!), flooded fields etc. - a slightly modified fluff-text that does not infer parting the waves for the whole body, instead implying more of a bubble would be more in line with how the ability is supposed to work - and while feeling less like Moses, it would probably result in less DM headache. Once again, a rather nitpicky complaint on my part, though. Pact Lords make for cool fighters that get the cavalier's tactician, is better at helping others and grant bonuses to allies via commands. Solid! 12 new feats allow for godless healing, better attacks versus vehicles (yeah!) or the option to add hieroglyphs to scrolls, granting metamagic effects to already created scrolls - cool! Add prophetic dreams and further feat-extensions to fighting styles (already mentioned briefly in the PrC) and we get a nice array here with quite a bunch of roleplaying potential. Want to know more about these style extensions? What about dealing +1 fire damage, +2 CMD when moving 10 ft or more? Force foes out of their styles/stances when active upon a successful strike? Or what about a feat that nets you DR 2/-, but sees you dissolve into sand at -1 hp? Yeah, damn risky, but also so cool!



On the spell-side, the antidivine field will become a staple for just about all undead in my games! What about a curse that turns all food to ash in the eater's mouth? Banquet of Ash indeed! Or the cantrip that deals no damage, but lowers initiative of the target? Seriously these spells are on the high-concept end of the scale, in both execution and ideas - and that's by someone by now VERY jaded regarding spells - I've reviewed more than 2000 spells for PFRPG so far and some of the ones herein still stood out to me.



Speaking about standing out -what about a book of Scheherazade-style tales, cool animal-totem-style masks, a more controllable rod of wonders, an artifact throne and even a sand-traveling folding boat-style item are in here as well. A massive 4-table list of mundane equipment available, including sources like the legendary Luven Lightfingers-book is also part of the deal- as is the cool, somewhat Go-like mini-game Arbakampsi, first pioneered in the Purple Duck Storeroom series - and yes, the game is actually fun - I had the opportunity to play it a couple of times.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, if not perfect - especially spell italicization isn't 100% consistent throughout the pdf. Still, nothing too bad. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and with cool full color artworks and great cartography and the pdf is fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks. The pdf is also studded with unobtrusive hyperlinks for your convenience.



Authors Perry Fehr and Josh McCrowell have delivered a damn fine player's guide here - while I did not look forward to reading it at first, the generally balanced take on the races and content herein quickly dispersed my initial reluctance. The duo has managed to craft cool, iconic settlements and quite a few high-concept crunch nuggets I did not expect. Better yet - what I at first expected to be a bunch of yawn-worthy variants of established races interspersed with some original ones turned out to be valid, balanced recombinations of racial traits into a fitting, holistic whole - beyond the crunch, mainly thanks to actually getting solid and proper identities that root the races in the lore of the setting. Add to that the exceedingly cool PrC (just when I thought I was too bored to ever enjoy an elemental monk/martial artist archetype/PrC again...), massive use and awareness of pre-existing and beloved rules and we get a player's guide that actually fulfilled my expectations. Beyond simply offering crunch upon crunch, this book makes sense, draws you in and makes you excited about the setting and the stretches of land depicted herein; yes, even excited about the interpretation of gnolls and sibeccai-like humanoids. And then, there's Arbakampsi as a cool bonus alongside the new pieces of equipment. All in all, this pdf has over the course of this review been exposed to some of my nastier nitpicking habits and while it had to leave some small feather, it stands surprisingly well and intact, with the Zendiqi and the godless healing options making for cool rules to scavenge for low magic campaigns beyond the scope of this pdf. While not perfect or flawless, this player's guide is still one great achievement and imho a step up from the first one - my final verdict will hence clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform - whether on Porphyra or elsewhere - desert-dwelling heroes (and DMs) should take a look...

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Heroes of the Siwathi Desert
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Stock Art: Chained Sphinx
by John D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/29/2014 11:24:25
Great artwork in a convenient format, which we were very happy to use in one of our publications.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stock Art: Chained Sphinx
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SW 1 - The Monastery of Inexorable Truth
by Bryce L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/23/2014 07:23:59
By David Pryzbyla
Purple Duck Games
Labyrinth Lord
Levels 3-4

It is said that the truth will set you free… but is that, itself, the truth? The monks of the Order of Veracity built an amazing monastery complex in the frozen mountains, using the heat of natural magma flows, in order to contemplate the truths of their stern god, Ket the Unbroken. When they were given a wondrous tome, the Codex of Inexorable Truth, they thought that all of the truths in the world would be theirs to behold… and it would be a lie to say that their bones rest easily because of it. But the truth can be a valuable thing, and your party of intrepid adventurers has been tasked with obtaining the truth borne in the pages of the Codex, and must journey to the dark halls of frost and fire- to learn the Truth.

This adventure was a pleasant, if a bit hackey, surprise. It takes please in an abandoned monestary and exists more as a locale to quest to than as a plot to uncover or an Evil bad Guy to defeat. There’s a nice little artifact that’s present in the dungeon that can serve as an excellent adventure hook. Basically, the monks god rewarded their devotion with a book that contained the Inexorable truth. Ask a question and get an answer. And then get a second answer … the consequences of the first. The monks couldn’t hand the truth and ended up killing each other, and then they got punished by their god. Their god who, because he’s kind of a dick, finds it interesting to watch how the puny humans react to The Truth. I found this a really excellent backstory and hook. Best of all it’s all presented in less than two pages. A brief little history and backstory, the details of the god and the book, hooks and all the rest. There are a couple of other bullshit hooks as well, the usual sort of lame “hired by someone” and “great evil blah blah blah” stuff. But the core hook: Book of all Knowledge, is a VERY good one. It motivates the PLAYERS, rather than the characters, and those hooks are always the very best ones. Want the keyword for the Sword of Kas? Guess which monastery you are going to!

The map has thirty or so encounters on it and is done by Dyson Logos. I’m not the rabid Logos fan that others are, and this map is a good example why. In spire of this being a monastery set amid a lava lake, it’s boring It is, essentially, just a loop with the two hallways running directly in to rooms and then meeting on the other side of the map. Oh, there’s a side room here and there, as well as smaller loop, but not in a meaningful way. This is, far too often, a problem with Logos maps. Logos generally has a good idea or two but the maps tend to peter out after that idea and become small uninteresting affairs. If you strung all of the good ideas together you might get something good. It seems like there’s just something that hasn’t clicked yet with Logos. There’s another problem with the map, but I suspect it’s not Logos. The various rooms each note the doors as open or closed, the lighting, and the temperature. This is a waste. These sorts of things should be noted on the maps. The door is locked. The door is unlocked. The room is lit. The room is dark. The room is lit by magma from the hallway. The room is very hot. All of this should be shown on the map instead of taking up valuable space in the text. I know, I know, it seems like I’m backseat designing, but, I think not. This is critical information and just as relevant as how many exits there are and how big the room is. It should be shown on the map. The map is a reference document. That information is reference data. Represent it on the page that shows us reference data! There are four wandering monsters, all new, and all just presented as normal monsters. Eh. Nice to see new stuff but nicer to see them doing something. A few extra details in the wanderers activities could have pushed things over the top.

The encounters here are generally quite good and presented in an interesting format. Let’s cover the format first. Each room starts with a small bit of read-aloud. A SMALL bit of read aloud. No more than two sentences. I’m not opposed to read aloud, jus the excessive read aloud present in most products. This one gets things close to right. Here’s an example from the first encounter:
Monastery Entrance. An archway carved from the mountain rock frames an open doorway. Blown snow forms drifts that extend a few feet into the corridor.
What follows is then a bolded section that describes what’s unusual. In the above example there is a small subheading that describes the archway, the door, a lever inside the door, and what’s in the snow drift. Note how all of that is alluded to in the read aloud text. If someone examines something that you JUST told them about then they get a little bit of extra data. When the adventure is at its best it is focusing VERY tightly on the interesting aspects of the room. It GENERALLY succeeds more than it fails. Sometimes it drifts off in to the irrelevant, describing things that don’t matter. Sometimes the read aloud doesn’t mention something critical in the room which should be obvious to a casual observer at first glance. “There’s s shit ton of ice spiders” or “there are several pillars and pedestals with glowing markings on them.” Then sometimes it drifts in to describing something like a bench which has no purpose. While inconsistent and the format is a little wordy and, as mentioned before, notes far too often things which should be noted on the map, which only contributes to the wordiness. This ends us causing the product to only contain about four or five encounters per page. The format here is interesting, but we’re not buying the product for an interesting format.

There are, however, more than a few things going on in each room and the data presented is generally in line with supporting party interaction with the environment. For example, those snowdrifts mentioned in the first encounter have the body of a dead adventurer in them. His short sword is coated in blood, his body rent with claws, and his face blistered from heat. Interesting! The party now has numerous clues to one of the new monsters in the adventure. Yeah! The dude also has a gem in his shoe, rewarding those players who taker the time to interact with their environment. Other rooms have other clues to other new monsters, or to other clues to other things in the dungeon. That’s EXCELLENT design. The overall impression though is that the rooms are on the Hack side of the line. There’s not going to be a lot of negotiation with the vermin or the undead, and thus the faction play is sorely lacking … a problem with most adventures that feature undead. I noted ‘interaction with the environment’, above, but I’d like to back off of that a bit. While there are a lot of clues to what’s going on, giving inquisitive players a leg up, the interactivity, proper, is lacking a bit. There’s not a lot of ‘weird’ going on, or things you can impact, other than hacking them. The connected nature of the rooms is strange. On the one hand you’ve got lots of clues as to what might be in the next room, but there’s just not a lot of interactivity beyond that. The clues here are excellent, some of the best I’ve ever seen, but the interactivity (beyond hacking) is lacking. I don’t know if I’m making myself clear.

I’ve mentioned previously the new monsters. There are five or so, and few other monsters outside of these new ones. I REALLY like new monsters. I like a party that is afraid of the creatures they meet. They don’t know the special attacks or defenses or anything else . The creatures here are interesting and reverent to the environment, and have some decent descriptions. “They exude a powerful odor of charred flesh.” … Cool! The treasure is less great. There are some interesting treasures, like a desk or so, but there is far too much that is generic. “3500gp in misc jewelry” “a jade idol”. A jade idol of what? Just two more words and that had idol could have been a really special treasure. Instead it’s just generic junk. The magic items are similar. One or two get a description, like a handle that returns and is decorated with gold and red. But others are just generic +1 mace and “potion of levitation.” One or two more words, a little extra work, and the standard book item garbage could have been turned in to something special. :(

Origins was a bust, with only 1 OSR adventure, so I bought a lot of Purple Duck stuff during their recent sale. I was dreading the reviews, but, now, I’m cautiously optimistic about them. Let’s hope the other LL and DCC adventures from them are as good as this. Not the greatest adventure , but a solid C+ or B- in my opinion, which means it better than the vast vast majority of stuff published.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
SW 1 - The Monastery of Inexorable Truth
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Monsters of Porphyra
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/31/2014 04:21:37
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive bestiary clocks in at 199 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages ToC, 6 pages of SRD, 2 pages blank, 1 page back cover, leaving us with an impressive 186 pages of content, so let's take a look!



We kick off this bestiary with an interesting introduction, one, in fact I feel the need to mention: The genesis of this book is uncommon. Once upon a time, Purple Duck Games released small monster pdfs, where patrons could choose old-school monsters to be updated to PFRPG - alas, the small pdfs didn't catch and so, instead, this massive book became a flicker in the eyes of the creators. As you probably can imagine, a monster book ranks among the most expensive things you can do as a publisher, with artworks clocking in among the most expensive components in any rpg-product. Thus, this one went on the back-burner and PDG slowly, but steadily, acquired the funds (all sans kickstarter, mind you!) and crafted this massive tome. Since then, some of the artworks commissioned have been sold to other 3pps for use, so here and there, avid readers of 3pp-material may stumble across a piece of artwork already known - well, this book is where they were supposed to show up in the first place.



As always with monster books of this size, I will not do the math for each and every statblock - instead taking a broader look, checking here and there and looking for obvious glitches, flawed formatting or those that impede the game - like badly worded signature abilities, non-sense types and the kind. Got that? Neato - It should also be mentioned that the monsters all come with a small paragraph that tells us about their role on the world of Porphyra.



Now the first creature herein would be looking like a bird - the Alaihar, a small CR 10 avian creature with majestic, iridescent wings - that actually is a dragon! No, seriously - including breath weapon, interesting spellcasting (both sorc and cle-lists), this sacred bird makes for an interesting ally for good PCs and a cool twist of the holy bird-trope. Now if the gods of good are angered, their wrath is all too often downplayed - enter the alticorns of Idumea, gargantuan, equine beasts of righteous wrath, these beings can crash castles - 1/turn dealing x10 damage to objects and structures makes them fearsome bringers of ruin indeed - especially since they also are rather adept at sundering objects... OUCH!



Speaking of ouch - yes, there is a concise table to create amalgam creatures, with types being determined by awesome ranks - which reads more fun and insincere than the concise template should - for actually making ooze/outsider-combinations and the like, the template is nice, though *personally* I would have preferred a slightly more stream-lined, simpler template here or a more complex one, but either way, that's a personal preference and will not influence my final verdict.



Now if a certain anubis-headed race has been missing from your game ever since Arcana Evolved, you'll notice that there also are a bunch of humanoid races in here, one of which, the Anpur can be considered the heirs to the Sibeccai. Races like the yeti-like Ithn' Ya'roo, the four-armed sabertooth feline Knük or the ogrillons - the races in here tend to fit some classic niches and should make some of the readers positively nostalgic.



Now if you prefer some more apocalyptic creatures, this is the book for you: Whether it's truly apocalyptic creatures (via the new template), remnants of a by-gone age can also be created via another template - for two truly dastardly killer-creatures indeed. Have I mentioned that Fenrir is in here as well? If you want to go Giger/need beings from the cold expanses of space, the void-creature template should cover that itch. The pseudonatural creatures have also been updated, but changed dramatically from previous incarnations - no longer true strikes, but instead a changing of shapes. Paragon creatures also make a return - with optional mythic rules! Neat! Better yet, the sample paragon flumph gets up to CR 7/MR 3 and also comes with a full-blown origin story - which is rather awesome! Speaking of old favorites - a template-based version of creating beast lords can be found herein as well. Vampiric dragons and vampire thralls are back - though the dragon's former treasure-hoard dependency is gone. Also: The stake-weakness doesn't make much sense to me in the case of vampiric dragons, so overall, this template could have used some more specific divergences to help drive home the uniqueness of the undead apex predators. Not sold on that one. Magical constructs and even transformer-style constructs can be created via the material herein as well.



Beyond templates like this, we also get quite an array of fey - like the regal fey, the Njuzu, the new imperial jade dragon or the magi dragon - the apex predators also have a selection of dragon-hybrids and lesser versions like dragonnels, scorpion/dragon hybrids and similar classics you might know from previous editions - with respective, new, unique rules-representations.



If you wanted the eye-beasts to return - they are back in these pages as well - as are the crystalline horrors, gem golems and beholder related beasts that can somewhat fill the void of these ip-closed critters. It should also be noted that a new devilish archdevil-level creature can be found herein as well. Ioun remnants ( are also in here as an example of a cool, unique adversary) are also in here - and, fans of the Iron Kingdoms should take heed - the legendary Ironclad Lich gets the Pathfinder treatment herein - finally, one of the most iconic 3.X monsters back in the game!



Strange creatures and beasts like the devil dogs, burrow-mawts and the like are back again as well - though personally, I would have preferred a more deadly rules-representation of the devil dog's throat rip than making resurrection harder. Fans of Asian critters can also rejoice - fukuranbou, komori ninja and Rokurobi, for example can be found in these pages - and some of the creatures, like the earth-gliding rognak burrowers, even come with Ultimate Psionics-compatible psionics. Haters of psionics should know, though, that the pdf is not centered on these, though. What about the rather deadly stirge swarm, the memory-stealing, decapitating, disturbing and perpetually silent stillfiends?



The monstrous lycanthrope template also deserves special mentioning - creating e.g. were-stirges or were-otyughs is just awesome! And yes, there also are interesting undead herein and while the barrow wight is rather bland, zombie rats, corpse orgies and similar disturbing adversaries like a hound with a cluster of maggot-like tendrils for a head also mean that aficionados of the macabre get enough food for their campaigns herein.



The book also comes with a list of making monsters, simple templates, advice for monsters as PCs, a table of monster-stats by CR, universal monster rules, lists of creature types and subtypes, monster cohorts and animal companions, monsters by type, by CR and even by roles - awesome and extremely handy for getting the right creature in a pinch - kudos for making the book that user-friendly.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, especially for a massive book of this size. Layout adheres to a neat, easy to print two-column full-color standard with one for artwork for each and every creature - even for the sample creatures of templates more often than not! The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



The design team of Mark Gedak, Perry Fehr and Stefen Styrsky deliver one massive, impressive bestiary with the art of Tamas Baranya, Jacob Blackmon, Gary Dupuis, Mark Hyzer, Matt Morrow and Tim Tyler delivering solid representations in gorgeous full color. Purple Duck Games has these spontaneous inspirations, where sometimes, their pdfs come out of left field and blow your mind - and this book does reach this level of brilliance in quite a bunch of the entries. It should be noted, though, that not all of the critters reach this level of creativity and awesomeness -some of the adversaries could have used an additional signature ability or two - mainly, this is due to being creatures converted from previous editions, when it does show up - so essentially, complaining about that goes against the design intent. Still, personally, I did tend to gravitate to the creatures where PDG went all out, went utterly original. Some of the templates and creatures herein had me grin from ear to ear - and taking the extremely fair price-point into account, this bestiary is indeed a superb purchase with a great bang for buck ratio.



However, one should also mention that by now, my expectations for bestiaries are extremely high -Alluria publishing's underwater bestiary Beasts of the Boundless Blue raised the bar regarding artwork, whereas Legendary Games' shorter bestiaries have done the same for unique signature abilities - and while the production values of this book are great, personally, I would have loved to see a bit more in the latter department - more truly unique abilities. Still, it should be noted that this remains me complaining at a high level: The respective creatures more often than not come with at least cool combinations of abilities and unique fluff, even in the case of creatures sans unique signature abilities - and hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars, omitting my seal of approval by a margin.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monsters of Porphyra
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Legendary IX: Legends of Antiquity
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/23/2014 03:01:14
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The ninth installment of Purple Duck Games glorious series of magic items that scale with levels clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/explanation of basic rules, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with a massive 28 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



In case you're new to this - legendary items as per this series are magic items with an extensive, well-written background story. These items feature prerequisites in order to unlock their powers. The items per se scale with the character level of the wearer, thus making for a neat way to combat the christmas tree syndrome - and thus see excessive use in my games. They usually have either a 5-or 10-step ability progression, with miscellaneous items usually getting the former, while weapons, armor etc. get the latter progressions.



All right, so how do we start? Well, we kick off with the perception-improving, movement-impediment negating battle-mask and then get a bladed bracer. What's that, you ask? Well, first of all, an interesting off-hand weapon and secondly, a weapon that nets you a ton of feats when using the bracer - rather cool item-class! The headband of deathless devotion called vesture of Ahusye not only looks damn cool, it also gets an auto-resurrection capstone - yeah!



Or would you rather prefer a cestus that can punish the wicked, even pulverize them, even, a limited time per day, turn botches into successes? Yeah! Foes of humans may enjoy the new, lethal fanged bracers and their necromancy-effect duplicating tricks. More heroic people (of dubious origins) may enjoy a new punching dagger sworn to destroy all evil, devils in particular. What about a cold-iron flail that delivers some wildcard-feat style selections and counts as a size larger thanks to its kinetic enchantments? What about an elven ioun dagger of obsidian that makes for a neat tool not only for scoundrels, but also for casters?



Do the words "Ah, fresh meat!" still send a shiver down your spine? If so, the greatcleaver weapon class and its legendary version are just what you want to wield and not end on the other end off - yeah, the Diablo-Butcher-weapon-class has found its way within these pages. A Ninja's new best friend would be the legendary bladed tonfa herein, studded with SPs galore. And if you ever thought that the boss of the first Kingmaker module required a proper item (or if you roll that way with the fey - erlkönig-style), then you'll be happy to know that yes, a stag-antler studded magical mask can be found within the pages of this pdf as well.



Always wanted that damn cool lethal throwing axe? Well, you're in luck, for one herein exactly fits that bill! Clerics will in the meanwhile learn to appreciate a new mace herein, which nets them quite an impressive array of channel feats, leaving precious feat slots for other choices. Characters more in line with the "God punishes, I kill"-notion of the sacred assassin will enjoy the new katar herein, while a new sickle and an ioun club make for tools for those more in line with nature's forces.



You may also wield all that remains of a solar's noble sacrifice in the form of a trident - one that may look evil, but which is suffused with divine power indeed.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly 2-column b/w-standard and each item herein gets its onw, neat b/w-artwork. the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Author James Lewis delivers a neat host of weapons, one themed mostly about slaying evil - with quite a few holy weapons herein, Wrath of the Righteous heroes will probably find quite an array of exotic, cool tools to destroy their dread opposition. (And it should be mentioned that I'd take PDG's scaling legendary items over those introduced by Mythic Adventures any time of the day!) Overall, the items herein show interesting, versatile background stories and abilities -though the latter are a bit more on the conservative end of the spectrum, with many feat/SPs granted by the armory. While that is no way bad, personally, I would have enjoyed slightly more unique abilities - then again, that's nitpicking at a high level. James Lewis did a fine job with this installment of the Legendary-series, one well worth a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform. Go forth and conquer evil!

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary IX: Legends of Antiquity
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