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R.I.S.K. Supplement: Paani Empire
R.I.S.K. Supplement: Paani Empire
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Elementals Lords of Porphyra [PFRPG]
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/18/2014 09:25:22
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement is 21 pages long, 1 page front cover and combined editorial/SRD, though on different pages, constitute together about 1 page, so we actually get approximately 19 pages of content - quite a bunch, so let's take a look!



Elemental lords? Yes - these powerful beings tend to get the short end of the stick when compared to archdevils, gods etc. - and in Porphyra, they are exceedingly important. You see, the patchwork planet was once the domain of the elemental lords before the arrival of the gods from throughout the planes and the resulting NewGod wars. Somewhat analogue to the legendary Scarred Lands (though more extreme in several cases), the elemental lords thus represent the olden beliefs and still have a lot of worshippers that aren't necessarily on good terms with the extensive pantheon of this planet. Whether they are gone for good or resurgent, though...only time will tell.



We are introduced to no less than 12 elemental lords herein and I honestly expected rehashes of tried and true tropes. Let's make that clear from the get-go: I was wrong. We get write-ups for domains/subdomains, favored weapons/animals, unique spell preparation rituals and 2 religion traits per lord/lady. But let me give you an example: Ashamar Shining, the Lady of Aish, the Glass Queen, cruel and beautiful as a searing ember's flow cherishes the fragility of beauty, while her scorn and malice cut as deep as the splinters that are part and result of her beauty. As patron of glass-workers, her divine assassins kill with poisoned glass. It should also be mentioned that the religion traits provided represent maxims of the teaching of the respective lord/lady, adding yet another dimension to the vivid prose of the supplement.



From the Ice Tyrant to the master of vines and grapes, the elemental lords make for harsh masters and mistresses and generally, they surprisingly uniformly transcend the lame old clichés - take for example Kurofu, the Shadow, master of Oni, samsaran and tengu - Dark wings, dark words indeed.



Najim, the hidden god, born from the dark tapestry, sought to crash his body/moon into the world, now lying hidden beneath Purple Duck Games' super-dungeon-series Purple Mountain, allowing us a glimpse of the possible things to come and offering yet another highly uncommon take on what one would expect from an elemental lord. Have I mentioned Poison Wave? The empress of naga?



We also are introduced to 3 new subdomains with the oni, naga and retaliation subdomains. While the wording of these could be slightly more precise, the respective abilities are concise enough to prevent misunderstandings. We also get 12 new magic items, one allowing you to positively influence targets as if via diplomacy (sans save...). Another would be the ashglobe - a combined holy symbol with a SL and a means of adding a metamagic effect to a specific spell. Rather nice.



Finally, we get 12 new spells that are exclusive for the respective lords and ladies. levitating massive amounts of weight (flying castles!), ice-only minor earthquakes, detecting gems - the spells are mostly okay regarding their wording, if not always perfect. They work best when taking iconic concepts like creating a flying carpet made of FIRE or amplifying penalizing properties of light exposure in a small area.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting aren't in any way bad, but the wordings, especially in the crunchy sections could use a tad bit more precision. While not falling into the bad category, some refinement in this area could have made this pdf shine even more. Layout adheres to a beautiful two-column full-color standard with awesome holy symbol-style artworks for all the symbols of the lords and ladies. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Perry Fehr is one of the authors I never know what to expect of - he has written some of the best modules I've read, some cool crunchy pdfs...and some not so great ones. In part, one of his tendencies seems to be to allow for ambiguities in crunch - a tendency that, while not completely absent, is by far not that pronounced here.



Perry Fehr is also a gifted weaver of words and his strengths come triumphantly to the fore herein - imaginative and unique, the elemental lords herein are thoroughly compelling beings, with intriguing backgrounds and awesome tenets - the write-ups of these beings, which constitutes the majority of this book, is completely and utterly AWESOME. To the point, where I actually want to know more about churches, planet, cosmology... and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the hallmark of great prose.



While the supplemental rules aren't necessarily flawed, they could have used some polish, though that should not deter you from taking a look here. If elemental lords with PERSONALITY beyond "I am fire guy" interest you, then this ought to be a must-purchase recommendation due to the ridiculously low, fair price-point. My final verdict will hence clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 UNLESS you get this primarily for the crunch; Then round down instead, though I think the truly inspired fluff will adequately spark your imagination.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Elementals Lords of Porphyra [PFRPG]
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Heroes of the Siwathi Desert
by Christopher C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/15/2014 14:52:27
Review of Porphyra: Heroes of the Siwathi Desert

First off this is a well written and sizable PDF for the money. This product comes in at 53 pages including the cover and mandatory OGL information.

Heroes of the Siwathi Desert makes a foray in to the desert and provides the Player/GM with a slew of new options including variants on the standard Gnoll as well as some nice takes on Elemental-Kin. I am a sucker for new races and am a huge fan gnolls in general so I really enjoyed the fact that they got some love.

There is a well-detailed section on life in the Siwathi including information about the government of the region and some important settlements. This is the part that I have to say I enjoyed most. I often have to run a game without enough time for proper prep and having pre-generated information like this is extremely helpful. Next are sections of new Classes, Feats, Spells, Equipment and Creatures that help to further flesh out the region as a living entity.

I toughly enjoyed this offering even though deserts aren’t normally an area I adventure in. Anyone looking for something outside of the typical plains/forest/mountain type terrain would be well served to pick this one up!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Heroes of the Siwathi Desert
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Oracles of Porphyra [PFRPG]
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/15/2014 03:33:46
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement is 8 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



The first archetype we get here would be the Deadmagic Oracles - these oracles are devoted to returning magic to dead magic zones à la Mana Wastes - as such they have a unique restriction - they may only take revelations with the (ex)-type. If they can no longer take a new (ex)-revelation, they cannot progress in the class any longer. You better choose your mystery carefully with this one! A list helps with this choice, though. Curse-wise, we also get a restriction - no haunted-curse, no curses that provide access to spells. At 12th level, all deadmagic oracles get antimagic zone as a bonus spell. Now spellcasting is weird here - these oracles can essentially cast spells as extraordinary abilities - as long as the player can convincingly explain it. Essentially, the balance is all up to negotiation between player and DM. Also, spells for deadmagic oracles usually require material components thus. Sorry. this is...broken. Extraordinary abilities don't have verbal or somatic components (and usually not even material components), and the ability does not specify they retain that. Furthermore, extraordinary abilities cannot be dispelled, counterspelled etc. - which makes them the strongest of abilities. The pdf would have needed to clarify that spellcasting essentially remains intact, including concentration etc. The ability is intended to be flavorful, but ends up one of the most broken pieces of crunch I've seen in a while. Which sucks, for clearly, the idea is cool - especially the option to 1/day cast a spell in dead magic zones (later up to 3/day) and a capstone that transforms the oracle into a linnorm - permanently, I might add, make for damn cool options.



We also get 4 new mysteries, first of which would be the apocalypse: At 11th level, one revelation allows you to quadruple a chosen energy type's damage once per day. Yes. Quadruple. Oh, it stacks with empower spell and maximize spell. Do I even have to explain the issue here? Beyond balance, it also is per default a standard action as a revelation and thus incompatible with most spellcasting. Another revelation allows you switch a known spell with another one from your spell-list, provided you have a scroll of the spell. Is the scroll consumed? I assume so, but overall, this is broken either way - the oracle's limited array of spells is one of its balancing factors and this completely gets rid of that factor. Fire and Brimstone deals damage - half of which is fire. What the other half is...no idea, the ability doesn't tell. Too many broken pieces in an otherwise interesting mystery.

Oracles of the sigils mystery allows you to render adversaries shaken or even stunned with your sign. Unfortunately, the ability fails to specify what type of action making this gesture is, though I assume the default standard action for the activation of a revelation. Wildering in Rune Magic (I.e. Words of Power) and bloodrunes (Legendary Classes: Rune Magic) is also possible - all in all, a solid nice little mystery. The Shifting Sands mystery has some cool ideas - drying up massive quantities of water, guarding yourself with sand armor, immunity to poison, affecting vermin etc. are added to the obligatory endure elements and calling camels, sinking foes in the ground - all in all, perhaps the coolest desert-themed ability-suite I've seen in a while. Two thumbs up!



The final mystery would be the Wasteland mystery, which allows you to clad yourself in armor made from hair, skin etc. summon phantom chariots, emit a sonic-damage dealing scream, commune and communicate with nature, thrive on minimum food and water, be a master of your terrain and finally glide through it as per the ability and spell. Again, nice mystery.



We also get a sample character, with Mijaer, an orcale level 3 using the unfortunately broken apocalypse mystery.





Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, I noticed no too excessive issues. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly two-column standard with a pixelated excerpt of the Porphyra-map being the one piece of full-color artwork. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, which is neat to see.



This pdf is decidedly high concept and has glorious ideas - but author Perry Fehr is sometimes simply sloppy with his crunch - the apocalypse mystery could have been easily cleared up and the archetype is awesome in concept, but boils down to "Tough luck balancing that, DM - you won't get good guidelines or rules herein - have fun devising tons upon tons of material components and arguing a lot with your player.". That is a cardinal sin of commercial roleplaying design and is a huge no-go. I'm all for fluff and sensible solutions between DM and player - but this archetype opens an infinite can of worms and discussions and is simply broken as provided. Which sucks, for the idea and rest of the archetype are cool. In fact, this pdf suffers from some abilities that just look like they've been cranked out, when some refinement could have made them actually work. On the one hand, some glitches would have me rate this down...on the other hand, what works is actually exceedingly cool and the price-point is very low. Still, with the issues herein, I have to reflect that in the rating and thus, my final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3 for the purpose of this platform, though only by a small margin.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Oracles of Porphyra [PFRPG]
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FT 0 - Prince Charming, Reanimator (PWYW)
by Joel W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/14/2014 12:29:53
This Level 0 funnel for DCC RPG is a great introduction to Appendix N fantasy. Weirdness, a strong bad guy, creative monsters, and dimension spanning fun all combine to make this adventure a winner. I can't wait to slaughter some 0 levels in Sleeping Beauty's castle. :)

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
FT 0 - Prince Charming, Reanimator (PWYW)
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B1 - Return of the Rat Cult (Labyrinth Lord)
by Richard K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/19/2014 19:05:09
The Return of the Rat Cult is an adventure that is designed to be played in one evening. These shorter modules are ideal for groups of players that have difficulty in getting all the same members back together for multiple sessions, and this format is also ideal to be run at gaming conventions. In addition, it should also be noted that the author does give plot advice for those that want to develop the dungeon further or add a couple of levels.

Speaking of plot, the characters are given several choices of things they can do before beginning the dungeon crawl. They have a time limit, so they must choose carefully. It also has a rumor table.

The map is half-page with 6 noted room locations. I especially like the collapsed tunnels and wandering monster tables that have additional special events other than just monsters, so don't let the low room count disappoint you. There's going to be plenty of things happening.

The text formatting is some of the best you'll find. Parts the DM reads to players is boxed and the monster stats are bolded and spaced from the main text for easy reading.

There's only 1 B/W art and it is a picture of the villain. Kinda disappointing, but it is a short adventure afterall.

I'm going with 5 stars because I think it is one of the best 1 session adventures to be found here and it would be unfair to compare it to campaign modules. If you judge it for what it is intended for, it is a perfect example of the "right way" to do things that hopefully other publishers will take note of and can learn from.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
B1 - Return of the Rat Cult (Labyrinth Lord)
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Antipaladin Feats [PFRPG]
by André F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/19/2014 14:59:48
Despite the very agreeable price tag, I was a bit disappointed in a couple of the feats, particularly those that affect the antipaladin's Touch of Corruption ability: They mirror Paizo-published feats for the paladin's Lay on hands ability, which can already be carried over due to the wording of Touch of Corruption, and so I don't think I got a full 15 'new' feats specifically for the antipaladin. The editing could have been a bit better - Word of Corruption heals targets rather than harming them, for example - but again, I guess you get what you pay for. After reading it, I'm left feeling that the product is a bit superfluous, but there are a few of the feats that are neat and creative.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Antipaladin Feats [PFRPG]
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Heroes of the Siwathi Desert
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/19/2014 13:03:14
Fancy visiting (or coming from) a nice warm desert region?

Here you will find a whole bunch of things to aid you in creating a truly fantastical desert setting within your campaign world - much is transferrable to any campaign world, even if you don't want to use Porphyra. There are notes about using the material in the Porphyra campaign setting which enhance it further.

First up are new player-character races suitable for the desert environment. The anpur - upright bipedal furry creatures, gnolls (OK, not new but not normally found as PCs) and zendiqi, who are desert-adapted aboriginal humans. Then there are the elemental kin, seriously different and quite unusual.

Next is an overview of the Siwathi Desert itself - history, government, settlements... and a nice map. Most settlements are fairly small, the largest (the Tent-City of the Grand Wazir) being some 4,000 souls. Each has some flavour text, a stat block and quite a lot of detail to help you bring it to life.

This is followed by a selection of archetypes, class features and prestige classes that are appropriate to denizens of the desert. One interesting prestige class is the Five Spirits Master who basically is a guru of mystical martial arts based around the elements and passed on by the genies to a favoured few. There are new feats and spells too, and some sample characters.

Useful to anyone venturing out into the desert is some new equipment, other things are ones you will only find there (like a clockwork chess player). Those who are familiar with the Dune series of novels will recognise the wind trap and the zilzala (a 'thumper' like those used for calling worms on Arakis). There are also some magical items which could make an interesting addition to a treasure hoard, even one far away from the desert. This section ends with comprehensive price lists for just about everything required for the well-equipped desert explorer.

Finally, the rules - and even a game board - for a popular desert game, Arbakampsi. It is a gambling, territorial game of two sides. Put simply, each player states a number before rolling a die, and the number of tokens he may place depends on both the stated number and the die roll. The tokens are placed according to strict rules, and the objective is to cover more squares with your tokens than your opponent can. One of those games it takes minutes to learn and a lifetime to master. Whilst it's explained how to actually play it, an abstraction for those who don't want to play it out might have been helpful.

If you like deserts in general, or want to incorporate the Siwathi Desert, this is rather good.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Heroes of the Siwathi Desert
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CE 5 - Silent Nightfall
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/12/2014 03:34:25
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Campaign Element for the DCC-rules is 25 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page blank, 1 page SRD, ~ 1/4 of a page editorial, leaving us with 21 3/4 pages of content, so let's take a look!



This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS: Potential players should jump to the conclusion.



Still here? All right, the first thing you'll notice here would be a freaky nursery rhyme and a skipping rhyme, setting the scene appropriately - why? Well, once upon a time, there was an advanced society on this planet and said society had access to nuclear power. When magical energies confluxed and made a core snetient, heavy water was used to seal deep tubes in the earth - codename silent nightfall. Millenia, perhaps even aeons passed and a wizard and the whispering stone found the complex, degenerating into something thoroughly DIFFERENT. More time passed and the owl-like humanoids, the gallistrix, that have since settled in the complex have turned into aggressive predators, hunting in triads. All the while, the sentience still broods.



Now I've mentioned that said Wizard has changed - he is now the Shaft Crawler, a dread fungoid shoggoth-like slithering abomination, smothering any failing str or agility-checks and worse, infecting tehm with deadly rhizomes. To add insult to injury, it heals itself when consuming ongoing spell-effects, making this 111 (!!!) hp monstrosity a behemoth at this level., one the PCs better try to outrun or at least battle smart...otherwise they'll perish.



The sentient nuclear core meanwhile has developed into something like a demi-patron; Problematic here is that the demon seeks to explode - annihilating everything within miles. We also get 4 complex spellburns for silent nightfall - these include whole-body sunburn and a shadow burnt into the closest wall and similar close to home effects that drive home an uncanny sense of familiarity. The whispering stone in the meanwhile haunts the complex with sentences like "doom", "fall" and similar proclamations of impending death and, once found, makes for a dangerous (read: gaslighting) bonded object. Oh, and it's over 2000 lbs heavy. Transporting this thing will not be easy and test your PC's ingenuity.



Worse, the Grallistrix actually not only levitate and move in perfect silence, they also can make perfect use of the massive shafts thus, potentially resulting in the PCs falling to a very real death. Worse, the gallistrix elders and firstborn and deadly violet fungus zombies roam here as well - 3 levels, all horror, atmosphere and choices - add to that a d30 table of aberrations, 4 sample mutated creatures, teh radiant brotehrhood as a new organization and we get quite some bang for our bucks.



Will your PCs survive the deadly tactics of the Gallistrix? Will the crawler swallow them? Will they unleash all-destroying nuclear-fire or fall prey to the insane gibbering of the stone? Only you can answer that - by diving down into the dark shafts, past ancient languages warning about "Silent Nightfall."



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to PDG's printer-friendly b/w-2-column standard and the original pieces of b/w-artwork are neat for the low price. The maps are serviceable and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Daniel J. Bishop is fast becoming one of my favorite authors for adventures - any adventure, mind you. His writing skirts seemingly effortlessly the border between horror and dark fantasy, has a playful characteristic and is simply brimming with imagination - so much so that I find myself looking forward to each and every module he creates - while his crunch may be good, it's in te end his imagination, the sheer chutzpa of his ideas that make his writing time and time again, fun and surprising to read - ONE of the imaginative premises would have been enough for a lesser author. In Silent Nightfall, we essentially get no less than 3 themes, each of which would have been enough for a module, masterfully blended into a module/supplement that has me grinning from ear to ear and demanding more: Superb, awesome and available at a price-point that is almost ridiculous, this is well worth 5 stars +seal of approval and should be bought (much like PDG's other DCC.supplements) by DMs/judges/GMs of other systems as well - you'll scarcely find better idea-mines.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CE 5 - Silent Nightfall
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FT 0 - Prince Charming, Reanimator
by Peter C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/08/2014 10:29:17
I ran this adventure for my regular group. The storyline was praised as "wonderfully creepy" by everyone. As expected, about half of the zero-levels died off in the course of the exploration. The various villains and monsters were well placed and appropriate.

This is a sandbox style exploration, with a goal. Players who deduce the goal and move straight towards it, will miss out on some treasure, and one key encounter. Players who explore a little run a risk of TPK.

There's an important lesson here for gamers: Not all encounters are meant to be survivable. Some are meant to be avoided. We lost three characters to PC's being stubborn. There's also a lesson for the GM: Sometimes it does not pay to be merciful. Let the funnel do it's work; the players will need to know when to run for the rest of their DCC careers.

My only criticism is that I felt too many magic items get handed out in the course of the adventure. My older players knew enough to be generally polite to the named, talking, NPC's, and so had no problem collecting some very powerful items which they will now carry into the next adventure. Note: THEY don't think that's a problem.

A great first adventure, and we're all looking forward to more from this author.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
FT 0 - Prince Charming, Reanimator
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Monstrous Bloodlines for Sorcerers IV [PFRPG]
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/28/2014 03:28:17
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement is 9 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



Perry Fehr's series goes into the fourth installment now and kicks off with the Elohim bloodline, obsessed with creation: The bloodline allows sorcerors to create creatures with a CR of less than 1 ex nihilo cha-mod times per day by incurring 1 point cha-damage per CR of the creature - why per CR? Because later, apart from defensive abilities, they also learn to create slightly more powerful creatures. Per se an imaginative, nice bloodline for tinkers who want the right creatures for the right task - especially since they don't have control over their creations. Nice one!



The second bloodline would be the Fungal bloodline. This bloodline nets you DR/slashing equal to the spell-level you cast for one round and can expel clouds that fatigue targets and deal minor con damage. I assume the cloud immediately disperses, but no information on whether that's true is given here, so clarification would be nice. Faster healing is also nice, but at least for me, gaining all plant-traits as soon as 9th level is a bit on the strong side, whereas the poisonous blood at 15th level and the apotheosis capstone feel a bit weak in direct comparison.

The Kyton-bloodline gets the ability to manifest blood-glazed chains cha-mod times per day at a range of 30 feet that deal minor damage plus a bit of wis-damage on a failed save. They also get an unnerving gaze, which may make targets shaken for 1/2 your character level rounds - which is fine per se, though a range would have been nice - I assume it follows the default of gaze attacks, but I'm not sure. Useable 3+ cha-mod times per day, this is also rather strong at 3rd level.



The descendants of the Mythic bloodline hail from the seed of heroes of legend, and as such, they essentially may enact what could be called the little siblings of mythic abilities, namely, the mythic surge: Adding 1d4 to any d20-roll cha-mod times per day before the roll is made and later upgrading dice-sizes to up to 1d12. Solid.



The Nosferatu bloodline can grow claw attacks and emulate a combination of verminous and vampiric abilities that includes transforming your arm into a blast of nauseating vermin that damage a foe. Overall, once again, a solid bloodline. The penultimate one would be for those that carry the blood of Psychopomps in their veins and these beings may add ghost touch to their attacks or show targets glimpses of the afterlife as well as gaining some immunities à la death effects, poison and disease - once again a bit soon at 9th level, at least for my tastes, but not per se broken.



The final bloodline herein would be the Starspawn bloodline, which allows you to enter telepathy with willing targets or deal wis-damage to foes as well as bonuses to skill-checks based on mental attributes. At higher levels, you gain the no breath-quality and immunity to cold (again, a tad bit soon) and also leadership at double followers or two metamagic feats at 15th level. I'd be interested how this interacts with sorcerors that already have the leadership feat, an answer the pdf unfortunately does not provide.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any glaring glitches that would impede the quality. Layout adheres to PDG's 2-column no-frills standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked in spite of its brevity- nice!



The fourth installment of monstrous bloodlines offers us some rather unique takes and ability arrays, with overall solid bonus-spells selections and varied options that should make creating more diverse sorcerors a fun task. That being said, personally, I'm not too big a fan of the level 9-immunitites (and I know: there are precedents...) many of these have. That's a matter of taste, though, and will not feature in my final verdict. What will feature here instead is the fact that the high-level abilities at level 15 and 20 often are not that impressive. +4 Str and Con, -2 Dex + no more eating? Not particularly impressive and unfortunately, the same hold true for a couple of the capstones herein. That being said, there is gold here - the rather experimental Elohim bloodline, which in the hands of the right player, can be rather powerful, for example or the "little sibling" of Mythic Surges make for cool cutting edge ideas - and offset the at times slightly (though much less than in no. 3) imprecise wording slip-ups and none-too impressive capstones some of these have. Taking the very low, fair price into account, I will settle for a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Monstrous Bloodlines for Sorcerers IV [PFRPG]
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Monsters of Porphyra
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/21/2014 11:26:02
You can never have too many monsters... and with this product the Purple Duck team has scoured the highways and byways of old OGL material released for Dungeons & Dragons 3e and retooled it for Pathfinder complete with special notes for the Porphyra setting and some truly glorious illustrations. And when I say 'scoured' put it this way: the Section 15 of the OGL copyright notice spreads over FIVE pages!

The Introduction explains the background: that the book was initial conceived as a Monster Update Project where subscribers were invited to select five monsters each to have rebuild under the Pathfinder ruleset: - a project launched back in 2010... so long ago I cannot even remember what my five monsters were! The development of Purple Duck Games, a then newly-formed company, somewhat got in the way, but here it is at last.

Each monster has a brief introduction that is suitable for reading aloud when the party first sees the beastie, a full stat block, gorgeous full-colour illustration, and notes about its ecology, behaviour, combat style and anything else that might be pertinent; including a mention of its particular niche in Porphyra. Each monster has a page (or two pages) to itself, making it easy to print out just the pages that you want for a game.

If you are missing a favourite monster from games past, it may be here. If it's not, sponsors are already being sought for a second volume!

There is a fine selection of creatures here which should provide a good number of opponents and beasties to marvel at in your game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monsters of Porphyra
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Purple Mountain VI: The Well of Stars
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/10/2014 10:51:45
This is a 6th-level underground adventure which can be placed just about anywhere that you have a suitable mountain... or, of course, it can be played as a level in Purple Duck Games's epic megadungeon crawl Purple Mountain. Information is provided to enable you to do either with ease, beginning with the background of the plot the adventure is designed to thwart and ending with notes on how it fits together with other chambers in different levels of the megadungeon if you are using that. If you are using it stand-alone, several good hooks are provided to help you get the party interested.

The adventure itself is challenging, not only because it is virtually all underwater! It opens dramatically, with a brawl in full progress and a princess to rescue, and the excitement does not let up as it continues through the wonders of a labyrinth to its climactic conclusion. There are wonders to see, treasures to find... and plenty of interesting encounters including a wealth of monsters to fight. There's a lot going on down here and it all conveys an air of carrying on regardless of whether or not the party are down here - always a sign of a good adventure.

It is well-resourced with clear maps for the GM and all the information needed to run the adventure effectively - from read-aloud text to monster statistics and tactics and even helpful hints about how to deal with likely character actions (which could also be used to cue in players who maybe have not considered certain uses of the skills and powers should you think it appropriate when they are struggling). An appendix gives you all the game mechanical information that you need to run an adventure underwater in the cold and dark. Others cover NPCs, new items and so on, giving complete details of several innovative monsters that you may well wish to use elsewhere as well as here.

When all is done and the 'end of level' Bad Guy defeated, there are notes to help you bring things to a conclusion, however you have chosen to run this adventure... and there are ramifications a-plenty to deal with! Completing this adventure successful should give the party something to boast about... and the players a fascinating and unusual game to remember.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Purple Mountain VI: The Well of Stars
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Legendary VIII: Legendary Evil
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/10/2014 03:47:23
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The seventh installment of Purple Duck Games' superb series of magic items that improve over the levels is 40 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 36.5 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



Okay, let me come clear for a second - I'm a complete sucker for legendary weapons. No, not the mythic kind, but the ones by Purple Duck Games that have been established for a lot of installments - weapons that grow with the character are just awesome. Until now, the focus has been mostly on tools for the PCs, though - now, we get an arsenal not only fitting for PCs in Way of the Wicked, but also for villains.



The first weapon already sets a cool tone: Thematically spiced with Freeport-lore, the Adderwhip, a whip that was crafted in Valossa, consisting of a magical serpent added to a bone and potentially making for a whip that not only stings, but rather bites and which comes with the speed weapon property.



The greataxe of Minos makes the wielder an nigh-unstoppable juggernaut, including an imho broken upgrade to crit x6 (!!!) over the levels, whereas the planar assassin's dagger Black Spider may actually not only nullify SR, it may actually animate as construct! One weapon the PCs will both covet and hate would be the bow of swarms, whose projectiles may actually distract targets as the swarm quality and even assume control of swarms. The Brothar Hammer is also intriguing - made from a humming metal, it incites melodies and weird sounds - at level 18, it gets an ability to KILL ANY FOE on a failed fort-save of DC 15+damage dealt. Which is insane, even at this level. Here, we require a generous application of the nerf-bat. I'm also not a big fan of the hammer's concentration-ruining humming - at DC 25, no scaling, it starts off as very strong - oh, and the pdf fails to specify what type of action making the hammer hum thus is. The Undead Flail, made from a decapitated head, also has an ability that should never fall into player hands - at 18th level, the wielder may auto-control all undead, with intelligent undead getting a save - but not what the save actually is. I assume standard for supernatural abilities, but getting the DC would have been nice - this holds true for multiple abilities throughout the pdf, by the way.

Oh, speaking of nerfbat - the flail automatically MAXIMIZES any spell of the necromancy school or evil-descriptor within 20 feet, sans cost to the caster. This is insane and broken on so many levels, I don't know where to start. Next: The pyromaniac dogfryer, a magic goblin dogslicer. At 12th level, the weapon has a cool ability, idea-wise: "The wielder of dogfryer may attempt to destroy writing within 30 ft. One page of nonmagical writing is instantly destroyed per ranged touch attack. Magical writings receive a Will save to resist the effect. This is used to target random pages in opponent’s spellbooks." Oh, this is problematic - does a spell that lacks one page stop working? How do you randomly determine spells/writing erased? Does this extend to allies? This ability is woefully under-developed and simply doesn't work as intended. We also get a staff that sacrifices your familiar to be added to its form and instead allows you to conjure forth said familiar in a dire version. Unfortunately, there is again a weird piece of rules here - the wielder may assume the form of his/her familiar, but has the potential of the familiar's spirit highjacking the transformed body. Why should ANYONE go for that? Limited polymorph that sucks? Yay? Also: what about witches using the staff? Can they still regain spells? Do they require a new familiar? I don't know.



The diseased fungal bolas that may spawn violet fungi once again work, though the item feels a bit on the weak side for me. The Ghost-Fire Battle Poi once again work as intended and should be considered a cool weapon. Grasping Electrum also fits this bill, being a meteor hammer that allows the wielder to create silver and golden motes and direct them versus foes. The war-rake Griffon's Claw, especially effective versus mounted and larger foes and a cutlass allows for the raising of galleons.



The deadly spear Heart-Seeker and Hell's Eye, the infernal pistol work rather well - the latter getting a special shot that fires...teeth. Those of the same type of the tooth's "donor" suffer the damage of the tooth again until the offending tooth is removed. Speaking of infernal - the Infernal device can change between dagger, buckler, short-sword and dart-launcher - cool idea! The scythe infinity's edge could e summed as a monofilament-scythe and thus later gains the vorpal quality.



The leaden spear has a cool story and deals additional damage due to its weight - but does not specify how heavy it is. :/ The Liar's Tongue allows the wielder powers that make the rather cool seducers, including a capstone ability that allows them to twist wishes most maliciously. The Linnorm Blade has a cool idea -allow the wielder to place curses on foes in lieu of attacks - but at what DC? As SU-standard or as per bestow curse? It does not specify...



The maticore-themed morningstar Manticora and the Saurian Armorspikes once again work rather nicely (if a bit clunkily in the case of the former), as does the ooze-flinging slime mace. The club Stonefist unfortunately once again is broken. The first ability allows for EVERY ATTACK to force a fort-save or be knocked prone. Yes. You can hit dragons or the Tarrasque prone with that one. Again, no DC. Why not CMD? And why EVERY hit? At 4th level? WHAT? No way. Worse, later, the hits automatically fling ALL targets of size large or smaller away. Damage + prone+ whatever obstacle available.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are not up to Purple Duck games otherwise high standards - I noticed both minor glitches à la "Many" instead of "May" and wordings that could have been clearer. Layout adheres to PDG's printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes lavishly illustrated by Tamas Baranya - all items get their own cool signature drawings in gorgeous full-color. the pdf is extensively bookmarked.



What has happened here? Seriously, this is not what I've come to expect from either author Sam Hing, or Purple Duck Games. A significant amount of weapons herein is downright BROKEN and unbalanced as all hell. (Haha!) there are various instances of item-mechanics just not working as they ought to according to established rules and the lack of DCs for supernatural abilities is quite a comfort-detriment, especially when properly scaling DCs could save multiple abilities herein. This pdf feels like a BETA-version -a multitude of awesome storylines oozing flair, iconic weapons, neat ideas - and then, the glitches and at times utterly broken abilities drag down this pdf. I wanted to love this pdf, in fact, I waited for a moment of disillusion to review this one since usually, the series has established a high standard of awesomeness and fodder for villains and evil PCs sounded like fun galore. Unfortunately, while these weapons may work for DMs to add an unfair edge versus PCs, they should never ever fall into player hands - as written, there are far too many balance-issues herein that simply unhinge a game and could mean the difference between victory or TPK. Yes, that significant.



I have honestly no idea how this could get past editing - I made sure I got the updated version, but still - a significant amount of crunch herein is utterly broken. Which sucks and is just bitter, since the ideas, the stories, are downright AWESOME. This is one of the pdf that leaves a very distinct bitter flavor in my mouth. As much as I love the ideas herein, I can't recommend this pdf to anyone but DM's willing to work quite a lot to iron out the issues. In the end, I can't rate this higher than 2 stars, in spite of evident potential that could have made this the 5-star+seal crowning achievement of the series. Let's hope for a completely revision.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary VIII: Legendary Evil
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Elementals Lords of Porphyra [PFRPG]
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/27/2013 09:21:20
A collection of dark powers, elemental lords with aspirations to god-hood and - sad to say - cult following amongst mortals for use in Porphyra (or readily adapted to a campaign setting of your choice or devising if preferred) is presented here.

Each comes with a range of details - alignment, typical worshippers, domains, favoured weapons and so on - as well as the legend that devotees tell about them and notes on their 'church' and spell rituals... all the flavour that elevates merely stating that an NPC belongs to a certain cult to having his very actions speak of his affiliation. Each entry also provides a couple of traits that are available to devotees.

One nice quirk is that each elemental lord is given several names... and the last is the one by which they are known to their enemies - who quite understandibly do not want to use the more normal self-aggrandizing terms that the elemental lords themselves prefer!

These can be used to build a dark subculture to your campaign. Perhaps it may feature large in your plots as the party strives to defeat their evil plans, or maybe they serve merely as a nasty little backdrop, a reminder that not everyone around you is nice and kind and devoted to the good things of the world.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Elementals Lords of Porphyra [PFRPG]
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HT 1 - The Perils of Cinder Claws (DCC)
by Patrick R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/18/2013 23:50:59
I just finished running "The Thing in the Chimney" (the first of two adventures in this excellent product) as a Judge. Honestly among the most fun I've ever had in a fantasy RPG session and I've been playing for more than 30 years! It's a silly, but challenging, thematic romp. It's listed as "Suitable for 16 1st level characters, 6-8 2nd level characters, 3-6 3rd level characters, or 1-2 4th level characters." This seems perfectly accurate. It would probably also be an excellent 0-level character funnel with a few tweaks. I won't say anything more, for fear of spoiling the humor of this module, but you should buy it now, even if just to read and enjoy.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
HT 1 - The Perils of Cinder Claws (DCC)
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