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Leader of the Pack: Humanoids (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/22/2014 02:51:57
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The first installment of LPJr Design's "Leader of the Pack"-series is 15 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let's take a look!



Know the feeling? You've had your game derailed/a adventure idea, but no ready to go statblock for the boss of a tribe/group? Don't want to slap on the advanced creature template on that sucker again? Well, Leader of the Pack is here to remedy that by providing boss-adversaries for roaming tribes, lieutenants etc. - this time, the focus being on humanoids:



Bugbears are the first humanoids covered herein, and the two characters provided herein would be a torture-master (fighter 2/ rogue 5 at CR 8) and the Lord of Fear, a CR 10 antipaladin 8. Problem - the Lord of Fear should be CR 9 - 8 levels -1 +2 for the racial HD. Yes, a minor hick-up, but in supplements like this, all designed for drop-and-go, such glitches way heavily. Each of the leaders in this supplement comes with one short plot hook as well as an array of different sample encounters (i.e. with mooks, ELs and XP-values assigned etc.).



Gnolls get the Gnoll Huntsmaster, a ranger 5 at CR 6 that has a formatting glitch that does not have Defense properly highlighted and a Shaman at CR 7 that is a cleric 7. If you haven't figured out - the CR of the cleric is wrong.



Goblins may now be led by a fighter 6 chieftain (for a CR of 5) or a pyromancer (sorc 5) at CR 4, withe specially the latter being more potent than one would expect for a creature of this power when played properly by a DM.



Hobgoblins may be led by a CR 4 Lieutenant (tactician fighter 5) or a CR 7 Battle Priest (cleric 8), with both builds fitting well the martially-inclined, relatively strategic mindset of these beings.



Finally, we get a CR 6 Scarred Witch doctor 7 for orcs as well as an orcish barbarian king at CR 9 - both builds being okay, if not that mind-boggling.



The pdf ends with a glorious sample 1-page lair map with a grid - this map is awesome and will see some use in my games!



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though I did notice some glitches. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard with fitting full-color stock art. The map deserves special mention, since I did not expect to get such a high-quality full color map at this price-point. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and with a second, more printer-friendly version.



The pdf offers interesting builds and some that are a bit more straight-forward than I would have liked - a bit more archetype use or slightly more lethal builds would have gone a long way here. Perhaps it's just me, but I consider archetyped/ multiclass-monsters much more useful than just ones that have straight vanilla class-levels applied - I can add 10 levels of fighter in my head on the fly, but add multiclassing/archetype and it gets a tad bit more complex. So yeah, I'd like to see more of the slightly more complex builds found herein and less of the straight, relatively bland one-class-no-archetype progressions.



Still, Mike Kimmel has delivered a nice kick-off for the series, though one that has still room for improvement: More complexity, no glitches and we have a cult-series in the making here. At the fair price of $3.50, I feel justified in rating this offering a solid 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform due to the glitches preventing me from rounding up by a margin.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Leader of the Pack: Humanoids (PFRPG)
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Obsidian Apocalypse (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/03/2014 03:59:19
An Endzeitgeist.com review

Obsidian Apocalypse is a massive 200-page book, 1 page front cover, 1 page donor-list, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of ToC,, leaving a massive 194 pages of content, so let's take a look!



What is Obsidian Apocalypse? Well, first of all, it's the heir of Obsidian Twilight - a campaign-setting that gloriously failed just about all my expectations. Still, LPJr Design improved so vastly that I joined, with a somewhat hopeful anticipation, the Kickstarter to make Obsidian Apocalypse, the sequel. Kind of. For, while there is a default setting kind of assumed, Obsidian Apocalypse now is less of a campaign setting, but rather an extremely versatile toolbox for to scavenge from. So after the first introduction to the cataclysmic world of Abaddon, we're introduced to the base-races - minus half-elves/half-orcs, for the world was not kind on these beings. Each of the core-races gets their own apocalyptic vista of what has happened to them - from the forlorn/mushroom-infected elves to the cannibalistic halflings, the takes on the races are disturbing and evocative at the same time. Beyond that, each of the races gets 3 alternate racial qualities - want to for example play shaven, mad dwarves, akin to Warhammer's Slayers? Yep. Damn cool.



Of course, we also get an array of new races. While I could go into the details regarding each race, I'll instead try to give you a short run-down. Another note before I start - the races herein you may remember from the previous installments, yes. They are nothing like their previous iterations - they actually by now are mostly rather well-balanced, on par with the stronger PC-races...without using their fluff. How is that accomplished? Well, where before, these races had a slew of special abilities, they retain these, but have to choose them as alternate racial traits. Take the Exalted, essentially the aasimar of the setting, the descendant of legendary half-burned angel Zebadiah, the last angel of Abaddon. Want a blade of deadly light? Angelic Wings? Well, you can now exchange these for the divine spell-like abilities of the race. Where before, they were stronger than even the aasimar, they now are a powerful, but balanced option. Another general improvement that hold true for all races, would be that they're less geared towards a specific class than before, often allowing for a more free assignment of ability score-modifiers. Where there are spawn of the upper planes, there also ought to be those of the lower, and yes, the Infernals are essentially the take on the Tieflings herein. Where in the previous iteration, they were a bit too strong for my tastes and while that kind of still is true by a margin (and this one's crunch sports a couple of minor typo-level/bolding glitches - more than in others), the new take on the infernal is vastly improved.



One of the more iconic races herein would be the Genesai - offspring of angels and demons, these unnatural beings once were somewhat of a Mary Sue-race; Now in this iteration, their powers have been more streamlined, their relative strength cut down to a level where they make for a more valid option. More importantly, their shattersoul blade, a blade made from the dichotomies of their very being, got a more varied mechanic that makes more sense - the scaling is also different from the one of the celestial. Now the Lykians, werewolf-like humanoids still are a tad bit too strong for my tastes: Claws, a diseased bite, +4 to Dex, increased miss chances in dim illumination etc. - even with a weakness to silver, this is a tad bit too much for my tastes. Another gripe - personally, I'm never a friend of +4 attribute modifiers like this one and the one of the harrowed, the spawn of the living and undead. Why am I not complaining about these semi-undead? Simple - they aren't healed by positive energy, but by negative energy, making them much more fragile in your avergae adventuring group. For a race geared towards melee with str+4, that's enough balancing for me - also due to not getting full-blown undead immunities.



It is here I'd like to mention that each of the races can expand their racial abilities via feats, in the case of harrowed allowing you to play any harrowed from the offspring of zombies to descendants of shadows and even liches. These feats often help drive home the uniqueness of these new races, by e.g. allowing you to expand the tricks of your genesai's shattersoul blades or truly be exalted: One feat allows you to sacrifice silver to temporarily stem the tide of the taint across the world and make an area fertile...for a time, as mentioned. Another interesting race would be the Osirions (not related to the Golarion-nation) - a black-skinned high-culture of beings with innate affinity towards necromantic arts - both beneficent and deadly. Not all feats are superb - there is for example one that hasn't been updated and might generate some confusion regarding the final race, the Khymer.



What are the Khymer? Essentially, they are people reduced to puddles of psionic, sentient, toxic blood that can take over corpses and remodel them to look like their lost forms. More importantly, they may burn out these husks (and their bodies) to fuel their psionic powers metapsionics-style. The rules for this race have been massively streamlined and the fact that the race now works better is great - especially since changing bodies can potentially be lethal and a lengthy procedure. The feat I mentioned before still assumes a more short-term duration for host-change than the new one, which takes several hours. Still, they are one of the most unique, iconic races out there and while the enhancements to their psionic abilities are imho too strong at low levels, the race per se is too cool for me to condemn - sometimes, even for me, coolness trumps all.



The feats I mentioned before deserve further mention -there for example are necromantic feats, which allow you to enact special necromantic treats - like forming the bones of a corpse or similar source into a superb armor for fragile spellcasters. Where in the predecessor, balancing was rather all over the place in these, the new takes on the feats even could have used a minor power boost here and there - none of the vast array of feats made me yell or get upset, many though made me grin and ponder why/how I'd use them - so all in all, a surprisingly well-crafted chapter - especially since I didn't really consider it necessary before. The same can be said in a much higher degree about the chapter on spells - with one exception (and that one's level 6 and requires foes to actually have blood circulation: Death by de-veining!), you'll no longer find any save-or-die spells. Indeed, instead, the magic chapter has been thoroughly cleaned up, the spells now often doing actually rather interesting things - what about e.g. a wall of spiders that becomes less efficient the more armor its victims wear? Spells that are hampered by wearing the right equipment? The option to create a duplicate, which if you or it dies, may well actually become you? Teleport-blocks? Anti-true-strikes? Yeah - if you're familiar with some - that's because the book updates quite a few spells from Monte Cook's by now legendary Book of Eldritch Might to PFRPG - and, just like the feats taken from the book, these are no lazy cut-copy-paste jobs, but rather true conversions and often, significant improvements.



But all of that crunch is not what this book is about - this book is about the end of the world. Or rather - the ends of the world - for each of the following chapters deals with one of the possible ends of the world.



And they mince no words. They don't turn tails. They are capital B bad news for all good. The first calamity to end the world depicted is engineered by no one other than the Morning Star, the Prince of Lies. No. Not Asmodeus, this knock-off. Lucifer. Yes. Lucifer. The Prince of Lies has destroyed his opposition, merged his former prison with the prime material and obtain the contract of creation - hence "Hell on Earth" really encapsulates well what has happened here. It should be noted that hence infernal taint comes with feat chains that net significant synergy benefits, allowing the characters to represent the taint and changed dichotomies. It should also be noted that each of the end-of-the-world-scenarios comes with multiple organizations (though no Prestige-mechanics) and fully depicted settlements as well as suggested campaign-outlines/DM-advice. Have I mentioned rules for apocalyptic, hellish weather like rains of frogs, tornados of flame and the like? What about the one ritual that keep the hellish hordes from crushing all resistance?



The next apocalypse would be the result of a meteorite, from which weird life spawned - an illness consuming organic and inorganic material, subjugating everything under its dread swarm-intelligence and potentially non-euclidian-seeming aesthetics. The shaper virus has changed the world by separating it into ever decreasing healthy lands with draconian anti-infection protocols, which proved to be the only way to stem the tide of infection, and the virus-controlled second half of the world, by now a nightmare of infected creatures. PC will have to struggle with the infection, draw strength from it and avoid succumbing to it - this apocalypse is by far the worst in my opinion: In a good way. I love the moral implications, the deadly abilities, the feats that let you draw upon the virus's strength at a price - this one is glorious indeed. Of course, we also get the contaminated-template here as well as an array of sample contaminated victims of the dread virus...



Want to go more conservative with your weird apocalypse - well, there's also a chapter detailing the apocalypse due to the return of the cthulhoid elder gods - and as such, the chapter of course requires sanity rules. What can I say - they're elegant, versatile without being CoC-level punishing, leave enough control for the DM and over all, are the best sanity rules for any d20-based game I've seen in quite a while - essentially characters get starting SAN, a can lose SAN, regain it via Heal and encountering the strange may result in gaining new insights into forbidden lore - yes, essentially, that's the d20-version of COC's SAN-system and it actually works rather well in play! And yes, it includes the Knowledge (Forbidden Lore)-skill (somewhat akin to cthulhu mythos in CoC), but also takes the options of restorative magic etc. into account. Beyond that, sheer proximity to these beasts changes planar properties in interesting ways - this chapter should also prove to be extremely interesting for Midgard-DMs looking to add some oomph to the wasted west. We also get two nice simple templates to modify creatures. Once again a great apocalypse with awesome supplemental material.



Of course, there also ought to be...yes! The zombie-apocalypse - with a new breed of zombie that decreases your movement automatically and by sheer proximity, easily pinning those immobilized and spreading undead destruction around the world - in this world, the war against the never-ending hordes of mindless dead, necromancer lords etc. all rule, making for a nice, traditional undead apocalypse supplemented by some neat ideas and crunch. On the supplemental side, traits, feats, spells and a table for vast hordes of undead and their CR are provided as well as a rather significant array of shambling sample zombies of various CRs



Now it should be noted that theoretically, you could combine all of these into a truly devastating super-apocalypse... but who would do that? *evil grin*



Now a setting like this can't work with petty CR 10+ villains - hence we also get the super-movers and shakers in all their glory -if you recall Calix Sabinus, the Vampire-Lich-God-king and his brethren, you'll know that this chapter provides some truly nasty adversaries - with legendary Mummy-king Asi Magnor getting a resplendent new artwork, just as the newcomer, Reikenjo, the first agent of the shaper virus. CR-wise, these legends range from CR 30 to CR 35 - and thankfully don't include Lucifer or Elder Gods, i.e. beings that should not be slain by mortal hands. One kind-of-gripe here - the equipment of these legends is rather puny compared to their level. DMs probably should add some items and yes, in my opinion also artifacts to make these unique threats a tad more challenging.



Of course, there also are less epic monsters herein, with each and every one of them coming with a downright glorious artwork - whether its old favorites like the boneshard golems or the necromantically-infused creature template or new critters like the slumber-inducing intelligent eye-consuming insects, the undead-hunting bird-like humanoids called Hargila, face-stealing fey, shadow-consuming undead or ooze-like outsiders that spread and sustain themselves on hatred - the creatures in this chapter are gloriously wicked and powerful -beasts to truly FRIGHTEN players, not just their characters, often with an array of interesting signature abilities. This chapter also includes a damn cool array of environmental hazards and weird diseases to spring upon your players.



The book concludes with campaign ideas and options to help a DM plan/organize such a campaign.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are generally very good - while some glitches have crept in (which happens in almost all big books), editor Joshua Yearsley generally has done a great job. Layout adheres to a drop-dead-gorgeous 2-column full-color standard and the artworks deserve special mentioning - this ranks among the most beautiful books I've seen in that department, with iconic piece upon iconic piece. While some you may know from older Obsidian Twilight-publications, the majority is actually new and drives home the superb art direction. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in full color, but is *relatively* printer-friendly when printed out in b/w. If you somehow can get your hands on the color exclusive version from the KS, DO SO. Seriously, I got both the full color and b/w print version and the former is just...beautiful. Even for LPJr Design standards - and that means something.



So...this was another review that took forever, mainly due to having to check back to the old material, comparing it etc. First of all - the balance-concerns I had with the races previously have *mostly* been alleviated, in favor of a much more streamlined experience. And while I'm not 100% sold on the balance of some of them, there always is the "rule of cool"-factor - take the Khymer: While the meta-psionic tricks of the race are VERY powerful and something to take into account as a DM, they are a race of sentient, body-invading BLOOD. The main gripe I have here is that the DC to determine con-damage doesn't scale and that the enhancements, per se, would imho work better as a feat-chain. Now declaring them as such wouldn't be hard on a DM, so there you go. generally, the races can be now categorized as a medium till strong race-option, but not as overpowered as they once were - the core-races no longer feel like declassified second choices compared to them, with fungoid infections, slayer-dwarves etc. offering a neat array of racial fodder.



On the other hand of the spectrum, there are some feats (like aforementioned bone armor) that can only be used 1/day - some scaling for additional uses based on level etc. would have made some of these more viable - which they deserve to be, for they are exceedingly cool.



More than all of that weighs another point - whereas Obsidian Twilight felt a bit like "What's cool? All right, let's mush it together into a setting!", Obsidian Apocalypse does not pretend to be a setting - it's a toolbox, a kit of a plethora of options, ready for the picking. Want to combine the sanity-mechanics from the chapter on cthulhoid threats with the shaper virus or Lucifer's incursion? There you go! You could even reappropriate the mechanics for "humanity" and go for a walking dead-style zombie apocalypse, where the survivors slowly turn into sociopaths. Obsidian Apocalypse KNOWS what it is - it's not the subtle kind of horror (though especially the shaper virus lends itself to this approach), but rather the in-your-face blare of horror, of Midnight-level despair and valiant last stands.



The crunch in the beginning was good, much nicer and more streamlined than I expected - but in the apocalypses, in the scenarios, their settlements and organizations, in the monsters and threats - this is where the book started to grow its rather evil potential. let me give you a comparison: One of my favorite 3.X books EVER is Elder Evils. I loved the book's threats to death - but the signs, the repercussions of the impending apocalypse there just...FAILED. One paltry little change and that's it? All the page-count devoted to lame maps and lamer minion-stats, when all could have been devoted to actually helping a DM make the catastrophes his/her own? Yeah, Elder Evils failed there. Obsidian Apocalypse triumphs in that regard - I guarantee you, that upon reading this book, you WILL be inspired - whether it's a spell, a feat, a monster, a hazard, a legend (though, as mentioned, give those guys more equipment!), an organization - this book will get your creative juices flowing. Whether it's the drawback-laden infection-feats, the ideas, the compelling prose that depicts the respective cataclysms - there is so much to take, combine, change and use that the book simply screams to be used.



This campaign toolkit ranks as one of my favorite toolkits for any iteration of d20 - it may not be perfect in EVERY little component, but it manages to be INSPIRING, even for jaded "seen it all"-DMs like yours truly. There aren't many of these books around. Now don't expect a full-blown setting , but rather consider this an inspiration to follow, a means of making your very own end-of-the world scenario with all its repercussions and you'll find ample, copious inspiration herein. All in all, this is, in my opinion, the BEST BOOK LPJr Design has so far made. It oozes heart's blood, passion and makes for a fantastic book to own. I was honestly skeptical when I backed the Kickstarter back in the day - and am thoroughly glad I did. I'm not kidding when I say that this is a whole new beast that rectifies just about all of the issues of its predecessor and adds vast amounts of awesomeness on top. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval - and, since I didn't manage to get the review done in time in 2013, this one now is a candidate for my Top Ten of 2014. If you'll excuse me, I have an endtimes-scenario to plan...

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Obsidian Apocalypse (PFRPG)
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Image Portfolio Platinum Edition 7: Storn Cook
by Joshua D. S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/05/2014 10:16:41
Disappointed. The art has't been cleaned up at all and artifacts can be seen all over the "white space". What's more the portfolio is nothing more than a pdf file, making it annoying (not difficult, just annoying) to use any of the provided images in anything. Not pleased, and regret the loss of the the $9.99.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Image Portfolio Platinum Edition 7: Storn Cook
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Adventure Path Iconics: Path of Undeath (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/18/2014 09:23:00
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Adventure Path Iconics is 25 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with a total of23 pages of content, so let's take a look!



From the get-go, I feel the need to mention something - these Iconics are not for a traditional AP in the sense of Paizo's published paths. They're rather intended for the recently released Obsidian Apocalypse setting/campaign toolbox by LPJr Design. While the characters herein might work with Carrion Crown, they are ALL very uncommon races, i.e. those from Obsidian Apocalypse, meaning that they're slightly stronger than the core races and that they, fluff-wise, tend to be rather monstrous. Personally, I draw a line between gothic horror and apocalyptic survival horror like Obsidian Apocalypse, so that's something I *THINK* you should be aware of. The characters have been created with 150 GP starting gear and 20 point-buy. The characters also come with information to modify the characters to 15 and 25 point-buy as well as suggestions to improve them over the first couple of levels. Each character comes with a sample quote that gets you in the mood for playing him/her.



The first character herein would be Mik'Quol An-Str-Natk, an Osirian cleric of Zebadiah. Osirians are essentially dark-skinned humans that can tap into necromantic hellfire - which is much less impressive than you'd think - it's essentially temporary fatigue-causing rays at will that act as disrupt undead against the undead. Per se, I have no gripe against the ability, though the very "cool" name and the rather puny effect would get a chuckle out of my group. Osirians also get some bonuses to skills, improved initiative etc. - but for racial info, please check my soon-to-come review of Obsidian Apocalypse. Saved from the deadly vampiric predators that roam the world of Abaddon by the legendary last, half-burned angel Zebadiah, Mik'Quol may not be the sharpest tool in the guerilla shed of Osirians, but he is an interesting character.



The second character in the array would be an infernal sorceror called Xasturian. As an Infernal, he is essentially one of the red-skinned tieflings of Abaddon and thus has natural claw attacks and makes use of the alternate racial trait that nets him +1 to all saves. The son of a succubus, he was raised by his now disappeared big brother - and as befitting of his bloodline, he is both adept at blast foes and charming the ladies. He also has a habit of speaking of himself in the third person. Generally, a rather cool build, though personally, I probably would have gone with one of the more interesting infernal racial traits. His statblock also suffers from a formatting glitch - the Offense-header is not properly highlighted against the rest of his statblock.



The third character is one I have a certain positive bias towards - why? Because Ilita Faara is a Khymer. What are these? Essentially, they are discorporated, corpse-possessing sentient puddles of psionically-charged, toxic blood that require fresh bodies to sustain their existence. They may also burn their body to enhance their psionics, increasing ranges, empowering powers or even regain power points. The latter has me a bit concerned, I might add. Personally, I'm also not a big fan of the fixed DC for the fort-save they have to make to determine whether this body-burning deals one or two points of con-damage - a more flexible DC would have made more sense to me. It should be noted, though, that at least regarding the psychic warrior (yes, Ultimate Psionics-compatible ) Ilita, this is not too relevant. She is an interesting character, striving to meet the demands of a forgotten code of conduct, buried in her memory by the cataclysmic event that transformed her species into sentient blood. Her choice of weaponry with slings and rapiers is not too interesting - but her power selection is solid with biofeedback and call weaponry, if not too creative. Over all, a nice character that comes with all required pieces of information to run the strange race and that also comes with nice angles for roleplaiyng in her propensity for wind instruments.



After that, the next character would be Treeshearer Snarltooth Swifttongue, a Lykian ranger. Lykians are essentially werewolf-like humanoids. Snarltooth uses an alternate racial trait that allows her to emit a howl 1/hour that can cause her enemies to become shaken. Lykians also get a primary bite attack at 1d3 that also comes with a dex-damaging disease rapid onset disease, usable con-mod times/day. Lykians also get 50% miss chance in concealment (but this increase does not make total concealment!) and generally are adept at stealth, but also suffer from double damage by silver weapons. Born to a Lykian pet of a powerful wizard who had to escape to the wild, her standing in the tribe was precarious and once when her animalistic rage burst forth, she once ripped a bigoted human apart - thus requiring her to leave the tribe behind - a tribe that never liked her in the first place. A gruff and hardened survivor, she makes for an interesting choice, though you should be aware that the Lykian race imho is more powerful than e.g. Osiriani.



When there are a special kind of tieflings, there better be also descendants of heavenly forces and indeed - in Obsidian Apocalypse, these beings are the offspring of the last angel Zebadiah and thus, these beings, known as Exalted, bear their father's name - like Yeremil Al Zebadiah, the Exalted monk. Among the racial abilities chosen, Yeremil chose for cure light wounds and remove fear 1/day. As a character, Yeremil was born to a farmer's daughter, who was first ostracized, then revered for her child. Yeremil believes in his preordained destiny -he is fanatic, an ascetic monk...and believes, he has a claim to godhood. He is per se a cool character, though his statblock once again has one header not properly highlighted - this time, it would be "defense."



Setiphet Sir Lykash, the harrowed fighter, would also be interesting - first, by her race. The most reviled of the races of Obsidian Apocalypse, Harrowed are the results of the union of the living and the living death and thus, these beings are exceedingly hardy and come with some undead-like traits. Setiphet was born from a terrible tragedy involving the death of a true love and violations - but still, her mother managed to love her and provide what few harrowed get - a loving environment where they can develop a sense of right and wrong. Thus Setiphet has developed into an egalitarian champion of the downtrodden - a champion the ignorant fear and loathe.



Finally, there would be a Genesai rogue, Mouse. No, that's not "Genasi", it's "Genesai". Yeah. Not a fan of the name, but the race's idea is actually quite awesome - born from the mix of angelic and demonic heritages, these beings contain the blood of both upper and lower planes, marking them with an unnatural aura, but also allowing them to create a blade of conflicting energy, the shattersoul blade, and damage foes with force damage bonuses. A streetchild born into poverty, her fate would have been grim in any other world - in Abaddon, this is doubly true. Thankfully, she was recruited early into a thieves' guild - unfortunately for her, though, the Boss of the guild tended to lock her up, even though she proved a superb cat burglar. Breaking free, tipping off the guards and no, truly liberated for the first time in her life, she wanders the world. A cool, nice character, though her selections of daggers as weapons of choice isn't that impressive.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect - I noticed a couple of minor formatting and editing glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with a more printer-friendly version as well. All characters get DROP-DEAD-GORGEOUS mugshots by Juan Diego Dianderas and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.



Kalyna Conrad and Eric Hindley have created a nice array of characters here, with several diverse backgrounds and interesting histories. That being said, the per se vivid prose tends to feature some minor hick-ups here and there. Another slight issue would be that, if you're looking for core-race characters, you won't find any humans here and the Obsidian Apocalypse races aren't perfectly balanced among themselves - e.g. the Lykians could be considered rather strong and among themselves, the characters have different degrees of efficiency in their choices of equipment, skills, etc.

That being said, the characters per se are well-written, if not as brilliant as some I've seen in the line - probably also due to the lack of an explicit campaign starting point, they don't have much in the way of tying them together - one of the smarter things both this series and similar pregen-collections did. So yeah, get ready for coming up with a way why these guys and gals hang out together. This, of course, is partially the result of Obsidian Apocalypse being highly modular in its primal catastrophe.



I maintain, though, that by writing connections into their background, the value of these folks could have been further increased. Now don't get me wrong, I'm complaining on a high level here, but another thing I won't get used to is the amount of blank space - each character comes with 3-4 pages, 1-2 pages for the statblock, 1 full page of background, description etc. and on the final page, the rest of said personality/background information - which amounts sometimes to 2/3 of a page covered, which is nice...but also has instances, where one or two paragraphs are all that is on the page. Yes, this is graphically offset by a grayed image of the mugshot in the background and not TOO aesthetically jarring, but I caught myself thinking that all this blank space could have been used for something - more story, more distinguishing features/mannerisms, more level progression advice, variants...something. This phenomenon did show in other Adventure Path Iconics-pdfs, but in this one, it is especially jarring, with two characters (who have some tantalizing tidbits in their background that could use further development!) sporting using about 1/6 of their final page.



Now don't get me wrong - this is by no means bad. In fact, It's rather nice...but still, I found myself just not as moved by the characters as in other installments of the series. As pregens, though, they do a serviceable job that allows you to jump right into Obsidian Apocalypse and thus, I'll 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!]
Adventure Path Iconics: Path of Undeath (PFRPG)
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NeoExodus Chronicles: Quartermaster’s Handbook (PFRPG)
by Nick S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/14/2014 13:17:53
This product was a little disappointing. While some of the items were good only a few were really inspired. Most were rehashes of items we've seen many other places. Further there are a lot of fluff entries which server no purpose and don't seem much like something a Quartermaster would concern themselves with such as the NeoExodus version of Penny Dreadfuls. The Quartermaster's Handbook lacks both focus and inspiration and can easily be passed over.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
NeoExodus Chronicles: Quartermaster’s Handbook (PFRPG)
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Monsters of NeoExodus: Chanting Queen (PFRPG)
by Nick S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/06/2014 10:12:04
I thought the chanting queen makes for a good adventure seed. The information on the Chanting Queen and her back story are very good and should be enough fro any good GM to spring board off off. I am however a little disappointed by the lack of information on her cult like thralls and her matrix like imaginary bliss world. Both concepts I feel really could have been explored here to great effect and would have given more material for GMs who want to introduce the chant for parties not ready to take on the hugely powerful Chanting Queen. Still the Chanting Queen gets my highest praise as it seizes the imagination and has immediate potential.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monsters of NeoExodus: Chanting Queen (PFRPG)
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Image Portfolio Platinum Edition 18: Storn Cook
by Davide P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/26/2013 09:33:42
Images are fine, but provided as a pdf and therefore not easy to use

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Image Portfolio Platinum Edition 18: Storn Cook
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Image Portfolio Platinum Edition 2: Storn Cook
by Davide P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/26/2013 09:33:24
Images are fine, but provided as a pdf and therefore not easy to use

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Image Portfolio Platinum Edition 2: Storn Cook
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Adventure Path Iconics [BUNDLE]
by Christopher S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/21/2013 10:15:14
I would have preferred less push on the companies game world and more generic to any campaign characters.
I wouldn't have purchased the Carrion Crown campaign one if it wasn't in the bundle for that reason.
While most of the characters had some good ideas behind them, decent different character types with nice backgrounds and concepts. Mechanics wise there seemed to be a bit of min/maxing 7's and 8's going on.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Path Iconics [BUNDLE]
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NeoExodus Adventures: Silvered Skull (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/02/2013 06:25:47
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This "Pay what you want"-module is 16 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1/2 a page advertisement, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 13 1/2 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



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



All right, still here? It is the summer of 92 AU in the Caneus Empire when two shepherds named Adler (German for eagle, btw.!) and Karl finds a weird silver skull and a ring in an old laboratory. Gifting the ring to his beloved and showing off the skull's weird glow, the shepherd inadvertently has found remnants of the Cavian Empire. Cavians, in case you didn't know, are the mouse-like hive-mind possessing humanoids with innate psionic powers of the NeoExodus-setting. And yes, this is a full-blown psionics-module, compatible with Dreamscarred Press' Psionics Unleashed. But back to the topic at hand - strange things started happening: The town's women started acting strangely, some of them even falling into a kind of coma. The town's priest committed suicide and poor Adler and his skull have been quarantined. Enter the PCs, in the employ of Sir Otto von Korrien.



On the road to Oldenhaffen from Macawi the PCs have to defeat 2 ogres. There, the local remaining priestess Sister Fritzi has already identified the skull as not the origin of the curse - essentially, it converts spells, but not psionic powers, cast on it into light-spell like effects and is completely harmless. After a short, very rudimentary investigation, the players are led to and the proceed to explore the cavern containing the Cavian complex. Alas, the place is now home to a selection of deadly threats - from the quill-furred, dog-like razorfiends, faulty deranged trepanners to finally finding aforementioned beloved woman - with the ring that actually is the source of the problems, for its is an intelligent weapon created to destroy the Sorceror-Kings of Abaddon in ages gone by. Either by combat (with summoned thought-eaters) or by diplomacy, the PCs can get the ring and lift the mental static "curse" on the town. This is not where the module ends, though - whether the PCs hand over the ring to Cavians or keep/destroy it - the choice is up to them and may very well have unforeseen consequences in the future.



We get passable maps for the complex as well as the overall place on the continent where the adventure is set.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to NeoExodus 2-column full-color standard and the full-color artworks are neat. the pdf comes in a second more printer-friendly version. Cartography is nice and actually better than in older NeoExodus-adventures and the pdf has no bookmarks, but at this length, they are not strictly required.



J. P. Chapleau has created a nice module steeped in NeoExodus-lore here - while at this length, we of course get no epic narrative, but what we do get is a nice little crawl that has some social interaction, interesting terrain features and a climax that does not necessarily boil down to "kill em all" - what more can you ask for in a short "Pay what you want"-module? The answer is: Nothing. An enjoyable read for an unbeatable price, my final verdict for this module will clock in at 5 stars +seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
NeoExodus Adventures: Silvered Skull (PFRPG)
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Image Portfolio 1.10 Superhero
by John M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/17/2013 09:59:56
The actual quality of the artwork is high. If you like the style (artwork appreciation being subjective), this is a reasonable purchase.

There's a disappointing ratio of men to women (that is, only one of the images is definitely of a woman), and the characters depicted have a certain Iron Age buckles-and-buckels and zippers sameness to them (in fact, half the images are of two characters, so if you don't like them, I would downgrade this to two stars).

I can't speak for anyone else, but if I were looking to use purchased artwork in something I was going to publish, I'd want a variety of characters (no replication), probably a consistency of look (having them all be Iron Age, for example, is a good thing), and a more even gender split. I recognize that the majority of characters are going to be male, but I'm a little disappointed in the 9:1 ratio. From the perspective of a publisher doing this on the cheap, it seems like it might be worthwhile to save the money and save up to have some artwork commissioned, possibly even by the artist here. Then you'd have the characters you want, though you'd have to have less artwork.

Three of the characters are wearing masks of a sort; the rest are barefaced.

Because there does not seem to be a preview, images represented are:

1. Bald guy happily surviving having been shot at
2. Masked guy with hoof-like footgear
3. Menacing glare from zipper techno coverguy
4. Cover shot
5. Running speedster (mask)
6. Mammoth guy in a spiked collar sitting
7. Taloned guy leaping down
8. Woman approaching the viewer (mask)
9. Coverguy breaking the pavement with his fist
10. Talonguy crouching on a gargoyle

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Image Portfolio 1.10 Superhero
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Ultimate NPC Deck: Obsidian Apocalypse
by jeff S. P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/08/2013 09:46:52
I discovered Obsidian Apocalypse a couple of weeks ago while on the hunt for a new campaign to run. Truthfully, I had thought of running a "Zombie Apocalypse" setting and when I came across this it was a no-brainer. Unfortunately, support for the campaign setting is still in it's infancy, as evidenced by this product. It's simply headshots of all the art in all the supplements up to date. There are no names, stats, or basic character reviews/context for any of the character art, and while some of these are recognizeable if you have already purchased other supplements, (Asi Magnor, Calix Sabinus, Zebediah) some of them are unneccesary. I would have loved a $9.99 product that has, say, 15-20 lesser undead lords/bad guys/minor heroes of light that could be dropped into an existing campaign, perhaps with a bit of backstory for flavor for each and some possible motivations they might have for inspiration for a GM.

This product is fine for a creative GM that has the time to invest, but not great for one that needs a minor villain or lesser boss on the spot. For that, it's an "ok"

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate NPC Deck: Obsidian Apocalypse
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Adventure Path Iconics: Path of Pirates (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/08/2013 04:14:51
An Endzeitgeist.com review

The latest installment of LPJr Design's Adventure Path Iconics-series is 27 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 25 pages of content depicting ready-to-go pregens for teh Skull & Shackle adventure path, so let's take a look, shall we?



As has become the tradition with this series of pdfs, we kick off the supplement with an introduction that explains abbreviations and the like as well as introducing us to the basics - this pdf contains 4 human pregens and 4 ones using the unconventional races of LPJr Design's NeoExodus-setting. Said races have by now been added to d20pfsrd.com, in case you're wondering what they're all about. While all characters are build with 20-point buy, the supplement contains individual scaling information to upgrade the characters to 25 or downgrade them to 15 as well as information for progressing the characters over the next couple of levels.



That out of the way, the very first character, Bale Tehya, would be a Prymidian (red-skinned polyglot humanoids with the potential to have tentacles) bard (sea singer) - son of a famed pirate queen, his revenge and vendetta against the chelish armada almost complete, he found himself in quite a predicament (alongside the other PCs)... however, this would not be the first time Bale has slipped his shackles. Rules-wise, he is a charismatic, agile bard with a solid utility selection of spells.



Second among the new Pregens would be Bilgeghost, a Sasori (Scorpion-man) prize-fighter monk with a bakcground as a brawler in fighting pits - from boogeyman/aspiring information-broker to captive, Bilgeghost makes for an alien, cool character.



The Dalrean Sorceror Flowing kelp makes for one intriguing addition as well - not understanding the concept of private ownership, the Dalrean bumbled through human society until also being pressganged. The writing here is rather concise and intriguing, but at least to me, there are some minor hick-ups that could have been explained - how do Dalreans drink? Being plants, they can, but lacking a mouth, can they get drunk? Do they draw sustenance from alcohol? Also: The Dalrean is mentioned as feeling like heaving upon waking - can Dalreans heave? It's nitpicking, yes, but since the rest of the prose uses appropriate words, using "withered" as an equivalent for "hangover", it's something I noticed. Also, it would have been nice to have the blooline mentioned in the statblock instead of having to extract it from the text/crunch.



The Peg-legged Enuka-barbarian Shark Stalker would be the fourth member of an uncommon race and gets fitting mutations - with gills and webbed feet, he is superbly adapted to water-based adventuring...though personally, while I can see a peg-leg working perfectly on land (even with 40 ft. movement), at least for me, a peg-leg and webbed feet delivering a swim speed don't mix - I'd probably cut the swim speed from webbed feet in half due to the peg-leg. His background also is neat.



The first human character would be the red-haired gunslinger-lady Trista Rask. Born as the daughter of wealthy adventurers, her spoiled upbringing surrounded by sycophants and harsh demeanor has left has friendless and when her brother failed to return from an excursion, she set out on her own - only to be captured.



Sabine Finn, a shark shaman druid, abandoned by her primitive superstitious folk due to an auspicious shark-like birthmark makes for a surprisingly positive, nice character with a glorious artwork - kudos!



Ral Fayden, a freebooter ranger seeks to step out the shadow of his wayward father, making a name for himself - a solid build and probably the most common build you'd expect - very piratey, though not particularly imaginative. A bit strange: He's very much ranged weapon-focused, competing with Trista in that spot.



The final pregen would be Salty Jake, a native of the realm of pirates: Abused and forced into a poison-based mass murder to escape captivity, he is a haunted man - and perhaps one of the most interesting characters here, one that offers ideas galore for teh DM and the player to explore moral shades of grey.



Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - editor Joshua Yearsley has done a great job here. Layout adheres to a full-color 2-column standard with a map-style border and nice parchment-style backgrounds. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions, with the second one being more printer-friendly. The mugshots provided for each of the characters are not only original, they are glorious and top-notch in quality.



Author Larry Wilhelm has crafted a selection of rather cool pregens in this supplement - whether for Savage Tide, Skulls & Shackles or Razor Coast, this supplement provides some cool ideas and nice characters. While the Enuka suffers from some minor incongruities and the sorceror statblock should have mentioned the bloodline, overall there simply is not much to complain is this neat collections of pregens - unlike the Path of Winter-pregens, I noticed no proficiency-glitches or missing traits - a solid offering, clocking in at 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Path Iconics: Path of Pirates (PFRPG)
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Adventure Path Iconics: Path of Winter (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/07/2013 05:27:01
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of LPJr Design's series of pregens for APs is 28 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving 26 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?



The pdf kicks off with an introduction that explains synonymous use of terms (to respect Paizo IP) as well as the basic concept of the line - 8 Pregens, 4 of which are human, whereas 4 belong to the rather uncommon races from LPJr Design's own NeoExodus campaign setting. These, btw., should you require their details, can by now be found on d20pfsrd.com's shop. Point-buy-wise, the characters are 20-point-characters, but each of them offers information on how to scale them up or down to 15 and 25 points respectively.



Now that out of the way, let's take a look at our first character, the giant-blooded Ulfen Barbarian (Breaker) maiden Asta Krigersdottir - giant-blooded, raised in exile and in an orphanage and finally adopted by a northerner, this woman is a force to fear indeed - and one that features an uncommon entry: Her prefered ranged weapon would be her...heavy mace. Seriously. Thrown anything, baby. As we've come to expect from this series, Asta, like all characters herein, comes with advice on further char-progression and roleplaying advice. Neat!



Viniana Aurcroft would be the second human - Taldan rogue (sniper) blessed with heterochromia (which I consider exceedingly hot, but that's another matter), she came from a moderately blessed family and actually has no tragedy and a rather intact family, looking for fame and her own way - refreshing among all the angsty heroes out there. That being said, her statblock seems to have two glitches - one, her statblock lists an incorrect trait and two, she wields a longsword she has no proficiency in - that should probably be a short sword.



Dron Farwalker, the Kellid ranger (guide) once was saved by either Desna or one of her agents from darkest sorcery hidden in a cairn and thus loyal to her, is a rather well-travelled and surprisingly nice (for a Kellid) man and makes for yet another cool character - though his statblock lacks the list of traits - the results of the traits are provided, though.



Jarani Zidane, the Garundi daredevil bard may seem like an odd duck in the frigid north, but that may actually be the appeal of choosing this particular pregen - a thrill-seeker and fan of the larger-than-life Ulfen champions from the North, he is journeying wild-eyed to the north, all while talking of himself in the third person and trying to charm with his bravardo.



Now the first character from NeoExodus' exotic races would be Evergreen, a Dalrean (plant-like humanoid) witch (hedge witch) who comes with a weasel familiar as well as one of the signature feats of the race, which allows the dalrean to grow a bud and store a spell in said bud. Appalling bedside manners coupled with a pargamatism make her an uncommon witch to say the least - but honestly, she's probably the odd choice for players who wish for a challenge - dalrean susceptibility to extreme temperatures and her lack of spells/items to counteract that mean that she will have a tough time - still, a cool character. She lacks the trait-list in the statblock.



The prymidian gunslinger Gryn Kynon is a refugee from another world - and his mugshot enforces that - rather badass, if I may say so, an I'm not particularly fond of the tentacle-using Prymidians! Stranded in the Mana Wastes, he left because he actually hates no languages (unlike his polyglot race) and loves magic - hence making for a cool lone stranger-style character - also due to coming with flare cartridges. He also lacks teh trait-list.



Chalu Adsila would be a cavian cleric - also from another world, a failed apprentice of the winter witches, and thoroughly un-Cavian: Seperated from her racial hive-mind, she actually embraced the antithesis of the deceptionless truthfulness of her kind, obsessing over minor lies and obfuscating things with her harmless, but potentially rather hilarious madness - oh, and she fights with a bladed scarf. Nice, though again, the trait-list is missing



The final new creature would be Maqia, a Cynean Inquisitor (with hunter) - the crystalline being has left her ecclesiastic upbringing to do the work of Iomedae instead of living a life as a living piece of jewelry. Her Cynean race and their particular benefits mean that she is perhaps the most "easy" of the characters herein - at AC 20, with solid melee and range capabilities, she is probably the strongest of the characters herein and could be considered the most optimized. Again, no trait-list in the statblocks.



Conclusion:



Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect - I noticed minor stumbles in wording and punctuation here and there. Layout adheres to a drop-dead gorgeous 2-column standard with a blue-tinted background and scroll-like highlight boxes and once again, LPJr Design has to be complemented for oen beautiful pdf. The same can be said about the glorious mug-shots provided for each character - glorious indeed and often enough to make you introduce these characters right away. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and in two versions, with the second being more printer-friendly.



Jeff Lee knows how to write compelling characters - that's a given by now. The pregens herein are compelling, offer cool roleplaying opportunities and have some nice ideas for further advancement. Surprisingly, the stories for the uncommon races are the stars this time around - with cool background stories galore, these could well stand as intriguing NPCs on their own as well. Especially the Cavian and Prymidian deserve special kudos from yours truly - cool characters indeed! Now on the downside, I do consider both Asta and especially Maqia slightly more optimized than the others, but that's okay, I guess. More annoying are the minor glitches like the absence of trait-lists from no less than more than half of the statblocks herein. Since the sniper has a wrong weapon, getting trait-lists to properly be able to deduce how those builds were made without too much page-flipping - especially if you're not yet familiar with the NeoExodus-races a clear separation of traits and racial traits would have made modification of these pregens for prospective players easier. Now don't get me wrong - this is by no means a bad offering - but it is also not realizing its full potential and has some minor issues that weigh heavy on a pregen-collection, which is supposed to be ready from the get-go. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Adventure Path Iconics: Path of Winter (PFRPG)
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Ultimate NPC Deck: Obsidian Apocalypse
by David B. S. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/02/2013 09:42:47
A great collection of dynamic art that's obviously perfect for an Obsidian Apocalypse campaign, but also for any sci-fi or fantasy experience.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate NPC Deck: Obsidian Apocalypse
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