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NeoExodus Campaign Setting (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/09/2016 09:08:51

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The revised and expanded version of the NeoExodus campaign setting clocks in at a massive 272 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of ToC/KS-thanks and dedication, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 266 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Before we begin this review, let me mention that this book is more than just an expansion of the material we knew from the previous iteration; while, obviously, there are similarities between the previous iteration of the setting and this one, it is pretty apparent from the get-go that the very scope of this book exceeds what we got to know about NeoExodus; for one, the organization of the book makes more sense, at least to me. We begin with the troubled history of this planet and the leitmotifs of NeoExodus, which already set it apart.

You see, NeoExodus' history is one, ultimately, of emancipation, one where the struggle of actually establishing sovereignty for the races of the land was a hard-won process based in significant ways on the exertion of magical or psionic might. The assumption of the setting is that once, the mysterious and evil First Ones (over whom few know anything - and you shouldn't ever believe what anyone's saying), cloaked in mystery and malevolence, lorded as supreme lords over the races. Scientists and arcane theorists, slaving at the behest of these beings, managed to create perhaps one of the coolest concepts I have seen in a fantasy content: They basically made a humanity god-collective; a repository of the most brilliant minds of the age, which was destined to become the facilitator of the defeat of the First Ones and doubles as a kind of extranet, including avatars of its vast knowledge. Instead of lording over the world as a godking, the Kaga retreated - and an age of barbarism and sorceror kings began and battle they did with the psionic ratpeople named cavians. This war of mind and magic broke the backbones of the sorceror kings and Cavian alike, and in the aftermath of the titanic struggle, the seeds of vast nations were sown, as each region spawned different cultures that would develop further. The arrival of the Armans. the free folk, only exacerbated tensions after the khagan had returned and established the Dominion, to forge order out of chaos and similarly, from chaos and intrigue, the mighty Caneus Empire was born. Meanwhile the Sanguine Covenant, the dominant religion of the land, a uniquely cool blend of basically blood magic and Catholicism was on the rise and after the establishment of the Arman Protectorate, it was the Reis Confederacy as the final "super-power" of NeoExodus that forged disparate city states into a powerful nation.

The following years were ones wherein the very world sat on the precipice of disaster more than once, as the massive nations clashed again and again; it would only be a matter of time, before mutually assured destruction would be the only outcome of further feuds and ultimately, the organization of the janissaries and cooler heads ultimately prevailed, resulting in the calendar-changing event dubbed the Unification, creating the Imperial Alliance, basically a kind of United Nations, wherein everyone is eyeing the other nations with suspicion. Beyond a history of almost hot-flaring cold wars and posturing. Tragedies happened and the world continues to teeter back and forth towards full-blown war, as a current change in regents greatly destabilized major players; assassins are on the loose; the senate tried to impose martial law on the empires...and they declined to comply. Elite janissaries have been deployed. The scenario is unquestionably and nastily close to the events that led to WW I, through a lens both fantastic and creative. It's only 91 years AU (After Unification)...and the world needs heroes.

After the extensive history that generates sufficient awareness of the status-quo and what led to it, the book conveniently depicts the unique selling propositions of the setting, and if the above didn't provide ample clue, its general setup is radically different from pretty much every d20-based campaign setting I have ever seen. While NeoExodus is a high fantasy setting, it is not one in line with the traditional medieval status-quo; instead, the very state of the world hearkens closer to the complexities of modern life, the political zeitgeist reflecting more the highly volatile situation of the 20th century. As such, the politics of empires and the options of PCs to influence these introduce a different type of tone, one that also emphasizes espionage and deal-brokering. That being said, NeoExodus is at the same time a world that consequently applies the options that magic would bring to nations; so no, magic is not just a technology stand-in. In spite of it actually fulfilling similar functions, magic manages to retain its unique flavor. The existence of the Nexus Gateways, basically stargates as a means on inter- and extra-planetary travel also means that NeoExodus can, in fact accommodate a ton of home-brew races or uncommon races and influences without much tweaking; no other setting, perhaps apart from Purple Duck Games' Porphyra allows for such an easy and internally consistent way to introduce new races and creatures.

In short, NeoExodus, ultimately, is closer to a "new" type fantasy that gets rid of the traditional Tolkienesque tropes; the unique racial set-up of the world similarly emphasizes this, with none of the player races just reskinning tropes, providing for unique playing experiences beyond what you'd see in pretty much every comparable fantasy setting. The emphasis on consipracies, politics and intrigue is also reflected in the significant amount of information we receive pertaining the cabals of the world: From the brotherhood of the god of murder Khayne to the First Ones, the AMAZING Folding Circle (still one of my favorite NPC-books ever), the phoenix guard, the order of kaga, the sanguine covenant and beyond, there are a lot of movers and shakers to align with, to support or thwart. The return of the cavians with their psionic collective (and thus pretty alien thought-processes - think of Borg minus assimilation) also prompted the exceedingly cool Black Ops magic/psionics-suppressing task force of Section Omega...and have I mentioned the locari, basically Giger-aliens bred by the First Ones, currently thankfully quarantined to an island? Yeah, the massive section alone lets you add a ton of options beyond the respective empires.

And here, the book, beyond the cosmetic renditions of NeoExodus' movers and shakers and visual representations of the cabal's signs, expands significantly, introducing a selection of new government types and settlement qualities for settlements - racial enclaves, asylums...there are some nice expansions here. After this section, we begin taking a closer look at the respective regions, which are set apart by an easy way to establish a character hailing from the region, with character option- advice being provided for the respective regions. The areas actually also influences the proficiencies and languages of the character in question, which is a pretty cool and easy way of establishing a sense of cohesion.

These regions also sport unique threats and hazards - like exatar's shawl, mirage-like clouds of negative energy. Granite storms may ravage the land and in the right (or wrong) circumstances, the echoes of the long-vanquished sorceror kings may be found, feasting on the magical energies of those present. Important movers and shakers generally receive nice, flavorful write-ups and often, cool artworks. While some may be known to fans of NeoExodus, this still remains an art-heavy book, one that sports A LOT of new material. It should also be noted that the book sports several neat pieces of player-friendly, key-less full-color cartography for major cities within the respective regions - with obvious, cultural differences in how they are build and, more often than not, amazing full-color renditions of the cities in question - often highlighting a truly evocative flavor of the region, with obvious aesthetics of utopian science-fiction and post-apocalyptic settings being employed in creative and new manners, adapted and changed. As a whole, the setting ultimately feels fresh in tone and execution.

This uniqueness does extend to the racial options provided herein; if you've read my original review of NeoExodus' first iteration, you'll know that I really like several of the races the setting introduced; at the same time, I originally did complain about some races being more geared towards specific classes. This has been taken care of in a rather interesting manner - you see, each race features several alternate racial traits that often allow for less-specified builds to retain their viability. Power-level wise, the races presented here generally actually manage to hit a concise level, in spite of their unusual natures: There is no race that absolutely exceeds the power-level I'd be comfortable with and the races all fall in the same category, which is approximately on par with aasimar/tiefling - so powerful, but not to the point where they would hamper the mathematical assumptions of modules for the respective levels. This setting also introduces the Android race to NeoExodus, with a slew of new alternate racial options, so yeah, veterans get something novel here. The thought-sensing cavians with their hive mind and option to implant clairvoyance/audience in the targets of their bite via a cool alternate racial option still remain the only ratfolk-iteration I know that I consider on par in terms of coolness with Warhammer's Skaven...so yeah. I like these guys.

The crystalline Cyneans, powerfully build and balanced by susceptibility to force and sonic damage and higher costs for their armor and non-magic equipment do have some unique tricks as well: What about gaining Cha-mod as a deflection bonus to AC after casting a spell, for example? Yeah, powerful...no, can't be cheesed; you get nothing for casting orisons or cantrips...and since it's spell level cast, that also influences the strategy here. The options provided here are strong, yes, but the stronger ones do come with a price. The bestial Enuka are the one race that is lopsided, i.e., that has its racial bonuses solely on the physical side, but considering the flavor of the race, I can kinda live with that...also since their numerous mutations, of which you may choose 2 at character creation, would make for pretty nasty power-gaming options for casters, making that, at least as far as I can see, a conscious balancing decision. The humanoid plants called Dalreans, with their photosynthesis manage to avoid the pitfalls of plant-races and come with some really cool options: Beyond bioluminescence, those struck by lightning may get fire or electricity resistance or heal faster in sunlight (natural healing, mind you - thank the deities!), but as a balancing restrictions, they actually are more susceptible to environmental hazards. The half-giants presented here make for an interesting twist that emphasizes a clan-structure as well as druidism, changing what one would usually expect of them in a nice manner. The Kalisan, civilized versions of the calibans would be the orc-stand-in and are the second race that is lopsided towards the physical aspect of the attribute-array, though, considering the stigma attached to their blood, that ultimately makes the race non-problematic as well. The scholars and arcane polyglots called prymidians have had the benefits of their tentacles changed in an interesting manner - they now can begin play with Lunge, which renders the idea of a smart fighter more viable for a race otherwise more geared toward scholarly pursuits. The feline P'tan with their hatred for the First Ones and shadow-themed abilities are cool - but not even close to the insectoid Sasori: Information brokers, stigmatized by other races...and smart. These guys can analyze opponents and receive poisonous blood...and via alternate racial traits, they may call forth swarms of increasing power or emit a debuff/obscuring gas. They are one of my favorite races for Pathfinder - unique, flavorful and interesting from both a flavor- and a mechanical position.

Also interesting would be the ability sexual dimorphism for tieflings - females and males may choose different racial and alternate racial traits...and you can emphasize your dark heritage further to gain more of the alternate racial traits...which adds a more complex morality to the race. Why? Well, you may detect as a frickin' antipala...but you may also be so gorgeous you can Intimidate an attack to stop and get better healing capabilities...so playing a saint that detects as a malicious knave is indeed encouraged by the abilities provided. From a rules-precision point of view, I was positively surprised to see proper classifications for natural weapons herein, as well as an array of intriguing abilities that transcend in creativity what you usually see for races. The most grievous glitches you'll find here would be "electrical damage" instead of "electricity damage" and similar, mainly cosmetic hiccups. It should also be noted that, in spite of the power of these non-human races, the setting's dominance of humankind still makes it a rather enticing proposition to play humans of the various ethnicities - not only because of the kaga's focus on the race. It should also be noted that we do receive full age, height and weight tables for all races herein.

Beyond notes on the religions of NeoExodus (including domains and favored weapons, but sans obediences etc.), we do receive some nice class options: 8th level alchemists may pressurize splash weapons to increase their splash range; gunslingers not from the protectorate are marked for assassination...oh, and there is a healing alchemist, a dragon-themed barbarian, the arcane cleric of the kaga, Peacekeeper fighter (who replaces armor training and mastery with diligences like religious trances), at-will shield of faith and similar tricks. The Janissary monk would be a psionic monk who may actually stop fighting parties and make for a cool arbiter. The neat machinesmith base class has been integrated into the book (sans the expansions) and we receive a total of 6 PrCs:

-High Guard: Personal guard of the Emperor of Caneus, 5 levels, d10 HD, 4+ Int skills, good BAB, good Fort and Will-save; these are basically an elite bodyguard class. -Imperial Man-at-arms: 5 levels, d10 HD, 4+ Int skills, good BAB, good Fort-save: Non-magical tougher-than-nails elite soldiers with armored Stealth capabilities. -Khalid Asad: Eternal Lions, anti-spellcaster elite assassins of the Dominion. 5 levels, d8 HD, 4+ Int skills, moderate BAB, good Ref and Will-saves; 2 sneak attack progressions. -Panther Warriors: Feline-affine wild-shaping elite of the Reis Confederacy. 5 levels, d10 HD, 2+Int skills per level, full BAB, good Fort and Will-saves. Pouncing death at the cost of spell progression. -Protectorate Artillerist: 5 levels, d8 HD, 6+Int skills per level, medium BAB, good Fort-and Will-saves. Very cool PrC that is extremely deadly against constructs and can call down artillery fire when near a battery. Awesome idea - whip out the big guns without being over-powered. -Wyrdcaster: Spellcasting elite of the Dominion, d6 HD, 2+ Int skills per level, non-standard-saves (with a minor hiccup - 10th level's Ref-save should be +3, not +2), 10 levels, full arcane spell progression, bad BAB. Learns kind of super-meta-magic via talents that is called wyrd and comes at a price.

The book also has, obviously, feats. A TON of them. The table for them alone spans more than 2.5 pages. It is here, that the races of the setting can gain a significant array of customization options; P'tan adding their shadowspark to their unarmed attacks, eat the brains of your vanquished foes to gain temporarily some of their skills, disrupting the use of spell-trigger items, storing spells within a cynean's body...or what about the option to wield spears as double weapons? Yeah, there are some flavorful, nice choices here - and disrupting spell-trigger items, for example is something I had feat-codified in my own game...so yeah, I like being able to do that.

After a massive assortment of spell-lists by level, we do get a bunch of...bingo, spells. This chapter begins with a bang, namely a spell that can, based on concentration, halve an existing non-instantaneous, non-permanent, non-concentration's spell's duration. A sphere that hampers communication, hampering both spellcasting and even item activation based on command words and the like. High-level annigilation of foes, locking shapechangers in their current shape...and there would be the super nasty bloodletting, which lets you execute an untyped damage-dealing attack that also causes nasty bleed...and said bleed accompanied by an effect that basically curses the target to have SR versus healing spells for the duration, making it tough to stop the damage...and cauterization a very real option. Specialist spells available only to specific clerics (or those that dabbled in the forbidden secrets of the First Ones), total sensory deprivation - there are some seriously cool ideas here. The editing of the spells, originally an issue in the previous iteration of the setting, has been improved. As a whole, the options here tend to be on the upper level of the power-scale, but considering the flavor-restrictions imposed n many, I'd generally consider the chapter to be a significant step forwards.

The book also contains a significant array of alchemical items, from smelling salts to stabilization-enhancing wines and instant ropes. Magic item properties alongside specific magic items can be found here as well...oh, and remember the Treasures of NeoExodus-series? Guess what: The items with their extensive back stories can also be found here: Grasscutter, Ichor Sting, Mordant Wrath, Peace & Tranquility, Raindrop and Rampager's Irons are included - for a reason, mind you: These are the gems of the series, the items that reflect the best and most creative it has to offer so far. So yeah, some really detailed gems here. The book also contains easy to use, fully described tomes, with detailed notes on languages employed, benefits gained, current status of the book, etc.

Now NeoExodus obviously also features some unique threats, and thus, the book goes on to depict just that: Arcanebloat template (CR +1) can detonate upon death and receive a chaotic, reactive retribution for being harmed. Alchemists can btw. learn to make these... At CR 4, arcaneslimes get a retributive splashback, emit noxious fumes and feature 2 variants. Aspic creatures ( At CR +1) are basically poisonous. Calibans and their nasty hounds (CR 1/3 and 2), 6-legged feline crystalline cynean-hunters, CR 8 draco-humanoids...some nice critters here. The holocaust and wrath conflict dragons from the excellent Dragons of NeoExodus-pdf are featured here as well. At CR 1, mebers are mischievous fey with a penchant for pyromania and protectorate golems...well, are badass. A total of 4 of them can be found. The Giger-Alien-like Locari and the CR 14 melted flesh ooze (!!!) are neat; the thermal vampires Necryos (CR 4), the needle-firing avians (CR 9) and the sonic-vulnerable CR 3 Razorfiends similarly are nice. The dreaded extraterrestial slave-making oozes called quickslavers get their representation, as do the scythians. A nice section of appropriate monster cohorts, inlcuding stats, complements the section.

After this, we take a look at the "influentials"-chapter - it is here we get the lowest level (and least impressive) iterations of the amazing Folding Circle as well as of the glorious threat that is Cyrix before gaining several helpful statblocks, NPC codex-style, for various beings. Now, I mentioned psionics before, and indeed, the powers of the mind have been an integral part of NEoExodus lore for some time; as such, I very much applaud the inclusion of the previously pretty obscure Psionic Cavian racial variant in the book...oh, and the chapter also features alternate racial traits that tie in with the psionic rules. Favored class options for cavians are included here as well. The Hive Mind Martyr archetype for the vitalist is pretty intriguing: Anyone within his established collective may instead be the recipient of any benevolent effect; granted, I am not a fan of using opposed Will-saves to settle the differences, if any here, but e.g. the option for members of the collective to heal the martyr by touching him, transforming effectively damage into nonlethal damage (you heal and then take nonlethal damage) is VERY interesting...and abuse-proof due to daily cap; indeed Health Sense, as a whole, is improved as well, with the collective gaining interesting options here. Here is the really cool component of the chapter, though: Know how people are suspicious and prejudiced towards powers? Well, in my campaigns, more often than not, people's reactions to magic tends to be pretty much getting the pitchforks ready...and psionics don't fare better. In NeoExodus, there are some nations that REALLY fear these gifts; as such, there are several feats to make the non-subtle tricks of psionics...well, more subtle. Glamered astral suits, nondescript astral constructs, redirecting displays...I love these options. Oh, and there is this one cool swift telepathy-power that allows you to erase one round's actions. Advice on handling psionics in your campaign and different ways to emphasize them can be found before a couple of powers that are linked to the racial flavor - like Dalrean Photosynthesis. 3 psychoactive skins and a the mindlink interrupter represent the items featured in the book.

The chapter's focus on Stealth and subtlety hearkens from the new cabal features herein, the Unseen Hand of the Seventh Order, who can best be envisioned as the anti-Section Omega. They also get a 5-level PrC with +3 Ref-and Will-save progression, moderate BAB, 6 + Int skills, d8 HD and full manifester progression. Basically, these would be the covert-ops psionics guys that try to shield the psionic beings from persecution. With means that emphasize getting away and smart playing, they make for a thematically concise little PrC well in line with the themes of NeoExodus. The psionic amalgam swarm (CR 7) may absorb other swarms, growing in size and potency (OUCH!) and we also receive a CR 12 imprint of the kaga. The phrenic scourge, in its CR 8 iteration, can also be found here.

This is not everything, however - the final chapter of the book is devoted to mythic power on NeoExodus - in the setting, there is a strong disparity between mythic monsters and characters, with only a precious few being chosen by the powers-that-be...or rather, branded, for in NeoExodus, deities brand those chosen. The deity most commonly associated with this practice would be the mysterious Lawgiver, whose Lazarus Brand provides the source of the mythic power of the character in question...but at the same time, this does mean that it can be suppressed...a noteworthy and required drawback, considering the significant powers the brand bestows. The pdf also features a significant assortment of mythic iterations of feats featured herein and we conclude the book with fluff-only notes on some known ascended as well as an array of mythic versions of spells featured within this book.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are pretty good as far as I'm concerned - there are instances of a word missing here and there; you can find minor glitches like "electrical" instead of electricity and untyped damage that should be typed. That being said, these glitches do not, as a whole, botch the rules-language and don't wreck the generally evocative prose herein. Layout adheres to a drop-dead gorgeous two-column standard. The book's artworks are absolutely glorious; fans of NeoExodus may know some from previous books, but there are actually more new ones herein, some of which rank among the best the setting has featured. The pdf-version sports copious, nested bookmarks, making navigation simple. The cartography for the cities herein is excellent, though I wished we got 1-page-hand-out versions. I cannot comment on the physical version of the book, since I do not own it.

This is the work of a lot of people: Neal Bailey, Thomas Baumbach, Clinton Boomer, J.P. Chapleau, Joshua Cole, Richard Farrese, Lee Hammock, Marc D. Irvin, Jeff Lee, Owen K.C. Stephens, Christopher Alaniz, Andrew Balenko, Thomas Bell, Santiago Delgado, Richard Goulart, Marc Irvin, Kevin A. Shaw, Kary Williams and Louis Porter Jr. It is thus pretty surprising in how holistic the whole campaign setting feels; this is a very sensible, unique world steeped in high fantasy; a world that feels distinct.

Now the question for fans of NeoExodus, at least partially, will be whether to get this, in light of some overlap with previous publications. The reply to this inquiry would be a resounding "Yes" - the revised iteration of NeoExodus is superior in every way to the previous iteration, and it features a significant amount of new content, much of which is exceedingly evocative and fun. I was pretty positively surprised to note the fact that this is not just a compilation of previously released material; instead, we receive an impressive assortment of new information. More importantly, this version of NeoExodus feels more like a big, concise campaign setting - we simply have more information, more space to make the setting come alive.

There is another aspect I feel I should mention. I've been using NeoExodus files for several years now and they have a pervasive habit of creeping into my games; I often talk about idea-scavenging, but ultimately, more so than in many comparable settings, NeoExodus' concepts, organizations and critters have made their way into my game. Quite probably, this is at least partially due to the massive assortment of novel ideas and their execution. This book portrays a fantasy world that stretches the meaning of fantasy; a setting that is a breath of fresh air for everyone, regardless of system, who is tired of Tolkienesque fantasy. While the execution of rules-operations herein is significantly better than in the previous version of the setting, it is ultimately the ideas that represent the capital, the unique selling propositions of the setting.

After having read a ton of fantasy settings, I can attest to this being pretty much the antithesis of generic fantasy and, by virtue of its ideas, a book of great value, even if you do not intend to use the setting at all. In fact, the book contains several races I'd consider to rank among my favorites available. So yeah, this is well worth getting for the fair asking price, even if you already have all the other NeoExodus material. The campaign setting's increased page-count and expanded material help form this into a concise whole and I found myself pleasantly surprised to read the new psionic material, which provides a perfect counterbalance to Section Omega. How to rate this, then? While not perfect (no book of this size is), the campaign setting as presented here is an awesome book well worth having for the ideas alone. The original NeoExodus setting, in spite of its flaws, made my Top Ten at that year, in spite of its flaws and by virtue of its concepts...and this, while not perfect, is better in pretty much every way. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars + seal of approval -and I will round up for the purposes of the diverse platforms. With a caveat: If you go into this expecting mechanical perfection, you'll probably consider this more of a 4 or 4.5-star-book; as a reviewer, though, I rate this as a campaign setting and in this regard, it absolutely excels. There is one more aspect to note: Since the original iteration already made my Top Ten list, this one can't make the list again.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
NeoExodus Campaign Setting (PFRPG)
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Undefeatable 24: Magus (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/22/2016 08:00:46

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Undefeatable-installment clocks in at 4 pages, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of feats, so let's take a look!

-Advanced Fighter: Use total magus level to qualify for fighter feats. High prereq, solid! I like it!

-Death-Taker: Treat cure spells as on your spell list for the purpose of items, etc.; also +2d6 damage when using these spells to damage undead for 1 arcane pool point. Cool!

-Destructive Spellstrike: Treat your weapon as admantine when delivering a spell versus something with hardness.

-Destructive Spellstrike, Improved: When using the former feat, you may expend an arcane pool point for +2d6 damage. Solid.

-Enhanced Alchemy: As a swift action, enhance alchemical items, adding +1d6 per two caster levels of the same type as the object usually causes. Splash damage is increased by +1 per die. Very, very cool - I may steal that as a houserule for rare magic/no magic campaigns!

-Enhanced Necromancy: When delivering cure or inflict spells from wands, staffs or spellstrikes, use you CL instead of the item's CL.

-Flight Arcana: Spend 1 arcane pool point as a move action to gain the effects of fly for 1 minute. The spell's not properly italicized; you may expend more to prolong the effect.

-Kinetic Caster: Choose an element for which you have the Elemental Focus feat. You may accept 1 point of burn as a standard action to increase damage dealt with spells that inflict the energy by 1/2 caster level for 1 minute. Solid!

-Kinetic Caster, Improved: Gain a simple kinetic blast wild talent, with the associated element needing to correspond to that of Kinetic Caster. The blast counts as a spell for the purpose of Kinetic Caster.

-Kinetic Spellstrike: Use simple kinetic blast wild talents gained via the Improved Kinetic Caster feat in conjunction with spellstrike. Complex rules-operation, deftly executed.

-Life-taker: the mirror-image of Death-taker, applies to inflict spells instead.

-Phrenic Caster: Gain one phrenic amplification. You may use it to affect your spells as though they were psychic spells, using arcane pool instead of phrenic pool.

-Psychic Training: Gain detect thoughts as a 1/day SP. You may also expend an unused spellslot of 1st level to cast this SP, calculating the DC as though it's a 1st level spell.

-Spellstrike Training: Gain the fighter's 5th level weapon training. The DC of spells delivered via your weapon increases by 1.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are pretty good, I only noticed very minor hiccups, which are aesthetic only and don't influence rules-language. layout adheres to a no-frills two-column standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none.

Tyler Beck's feats herein are actually surprisingly cool - the options they provide are power-level-wise appropriate for feats; even the kinetic poaching works out as intended and the pdf actually features some nice, novel tricks. The distinct lack of sucky filler feats is another definite plus here. While not absolutely perfect, it is a nice, humble feat collection that is worth getting for the low price-point. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars - a good, fun little book.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Undefeatable 24: Magus (PFRPG)
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Undefeatable 23: Ninja (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/17/2016 06:11:50

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This little pdf clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 4 pages of content, full of feats...so let's take a look!

-All-Around Melee: Share Improved Uncanny Dodge with adjacent allies. Ouch!

-Bloody Advantage: Flat foots opponents suffering from bleed for all subsequent attacks you execute this round. A bit opaque; could be read as needing to cause this bleed and since it seems to indicate that you have to hit foes before they're FF versus follow-up attacks; the trigger could be clearer.

-Clear-Headed Advantage: Same as Bloody Advantage, but for dazed, staggered and confused foes. Same wording complaint.

-Critical Shuriken: Increase shuriken threat range to 18-20/x2. Because we needed more damage output for shuriken builds. /sarcasm off

-Critical Sneak Attack: Add +2 damage per sneak die when criting with a sneak attack. Solid.

-Ethereal Weakness: Incorporeal creatures are no longer immune to sneak attack. Gets magic/non-magic right. Nice one!

-Explosive Smoke: Add +1d6 fire damage on initial impact of smoke bomb, +1d6 for every 4 (not 4th!) levels after that. Ref-save for half damage in splash radius.

-Forceful Shuriken: +2 damage with shurikens. Because we needed more damage output for shuriken builds. /sarcasm off

-Free-Moving Advantage: Same as Bloody Advantage, but for entangled or grappled foes. Same wording complaint.

-From the Darkness: +1atk and damage when striking from areas of darkness. Filler.

-Gooey Weakness: Elementals, oozes and proteans may be affected by sneak attack. Nice.

-Height Advantage: Same as Bloody Advantage, but for prone foes. Same wording complaint.

-Inject Poison: Increased poison DC when used in conjunction with sneak attack.

-Invigorating Advantage: Same as Bloody Advantage, but for fatigued and exhausted foes. Same wording complaint.

-Magical Trickery: Gain ghost sound, mage hand, prestidigitation and spark as an SP "ability total of nine times per day." Wording is nonstandard, but you get what it means.

-Magical Trickery, Improved: Gain charm person, disguise self, illusion of calm, sleep and vanish as an SP "ability total of six times per day." Wording is slightly nonstandard, but you get what it means. Also: Very powerful and has an excess "and" in the spell enumeration.

-Magical Trickery, Greater: Gain ghost accelerate poison, darkness, darkvision, detect thoughts, invisibility, knock and minor image as an SP "ability total of three times per day." Wording is nonstandard, but you get what it means. Again, very powerful.

-Magical Trickery, Superior: Gain ghost blacklight, deep slumber, gaseous form, penumbral disguise, major image and seek thoughts as an SP "ability total of three times per day." Wording is nonstandard, but you get what it means. Again, very powerful.

-Mirror Strike: +10 to ninja or rogue level to determine whether you can flank foes with improved uncanny dodge. Neat one!

-Poisoned Advantage: Same as Bloody Advantage, but for foes suffering from a poison. Same wording complaint.

-Sickening Advantage: Same as Bloody Advantage, but for sickened and nauseated foes. Same wording complaint.

-Slowed Advantage: Same as Bloody Advantage, but for foes suffering from any penalty to Dex, Dex damage or drain. Same wording complaint.

-Smoke Pouch: Throw 2 smoke bombs sans needing ki, +1 free at 6th level and every 3 levels thereafter.

-Sneaky Combat Maneuver: get +2 to executing a combat maneuver, +1 for each sneak attack die you possess in excess of 2d6.

-Starhand: Use shuriken as a melee weapon.

-Stylish Ki: URGH. Makes ki behave as grit. Not even remotely balanced.

-Telekinetic Trickery: Disable Device + Sleight of Hand at 30 ft.-range. Yep. That's the arcane trickster's signature ability as a feat. -.-

-Trick Variety: First time you use a ninja trick each day, it costs 1 ki less. See, this is VERY powerful...but it emphasizes variety and thus can be considered to be neat.

-Unexpected Advantage: Target is flat-footed against each AoO you make after the first.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level, good on a rules-level. Layout adheres to a no-fills two-column standard and is relatively printer-friendly. The pdf has no artwork or bookmarks, but doesn't necessarily need them at this length.

Jeff Gomez' ninja feats are...well, less amazing than I would have wished for. The Advantage feats universally suffer from a wording that could easily be a tad more precise, but at least you get what they're supposed to mean. I do not think shuriken builds need even more damage, so those feats will get nowhere near my game. Similarly, the balance of quite a few feats here is off: Making ki like grit is broken; a feat granting an exclusive ability of a PrC is not cool and the SP-array is similarly a blatant escalation of the spellcasting the class already can get. From a diversity point of view, the pdf sports a ton of the advantage feats and I don't like even one of them; the precision-damage unlocks are nice and so are the smoke bomb tricks, but as a whole, I don't really see myself returning to this pdf. Combined with the balance-concerns I have, this makes it impossible for me to recommend this pdf, in spite of its low asking price. My final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Undefeatable 23: Ninja (PFRPG)
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Infinite Dungeon: The Halls of the Eternal Moment - Cusp, City on the Edge of Eternity (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/10/2016 05:04:59

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The first installment of LPJ Design's Infinite Dungeon clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page of editorial, 1 page of SRD, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Cusp is a small town (fully statted), situated beneath the lip of a mountainous crater that surround the eponymous Hals of the Eternal Moment. It is a little adventurer's boomtown and also a center of chronomancy; a number of wealthy patrons control significant expenditures of gold and the city does feature several unique locations: At the pillars of watching, for example, townsfolk stand and watch foolhardy adventurers entering the complex, placing bets on whether and if so, how many, ever get out. Beyond the town, the erratic time of the complex becomes more of a problem.

The city is not depicted as a vacuum, mind you - the place is rules by the survivor's council of erstwhile adventurers that have returned from the halls and as such, are a pretty eclectic bunch. The adventurous owners of the local tavern, master chronomancer Salos Capernicus or the high-class art-dealer Theodora Hill - a total of 7 of these eclectic NPCs come with gorgeous full-color mugshot artworks...and yes, they're original pieces. I have never seen them before. However, you should be aware that the NPC write-ups are flavor-only: Neither alignment nor build or powerlevel can be gleaned from the entries...though this is not something I'd complain about in this context.

Now I mentioned the dungeon: Well, anyone entering it always returns exactly one day, one week or one month after their departure. Similarly, rapid growth and healing can be found due to the slightly accelerated flow of time, though oddly the healing properties seem to be restricted to animals.

The pdf also contains a couple of ready-to-drop-in encounters: A meeting with the council, a curious time loop to interrupt and miniquests like dealing with an angry raccoon or leaf leshies on the way to the dungeon certainly whet one's taste for more.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a drop-dead, gorgeous and yet pretty printer-friendly two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports several absolutely amazing full-color artworks, but, alas, no map of the city. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Jeff Lee, Rich Redman, Michael McCarthy and Louis Porter Jr. have managed to create a tantalizing pitch here. Time instability? A massive dungeon? Heck yes, the Dr. Who fanboy in me in rejoicing. The quality and set-up this provides is certainly tantalizing. Think of the puzzle-platformer Braid, the Sand of Time saga...there is a lot of amazing stuff you can do with time loops, paradox etc. and the fact that this establishes dealing with such loops in a safe environment, "explaining" by showing, makes me hopeful for the dungeon: If it can employ these tropes, this well could become the most awesome dungeon I've seen in ages. Alas, this is also where I am a bit concerned, for this series will stand and fall for me with the mechanical representation of the time-loops and temporal instabilities - it could be either a tool for GM-fiat or simply an amazingly creative way to provide new problem solution scenarios. The potential is immense, but this being pretty much a teaser, we get no real idea of whether the dungeon can live up to its phenomenal potential. As a teaser, this does its job well, though the lack of a town map is slightly galling. Still, this makes me very excited and hopeful about the patreon that will fund the progress of this saga. For now, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up due to the PWYW-status of this intro-booklet. Check it out and if you like it, consider supporting it - the potential is certainly here!!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Infinite Dungeon: The Halls of the Eternal Moment - Cusp, City on the Edge of Eternity (PFRPG)
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Armada: Expanded Sea Combat and Rules Sourcebook (PFRPG)
by Philip M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/20/2016 21:47:52

The overall layout of the book is nice but the stats and mods for the ship seem a tad overpowered for the price they cost. Streamlining the hull apparently gives your ship extra moves, putting a dagger point on your ship makes it move faster, and other oddities. I still plan on using things from this book but GM's be aware, this book can be a little unbalancing



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Armada: Expanded Sea Combat and Rules Sourcebook (PFRPG)
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Classes of NeoExodus: Protean Scribe (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/12/2016 02:27:27

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The protean scribe class clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Chassis-wise, the protean scribe receives d6 HD, 4+Int-mod skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression and good Will-saves as well as proficiency with simple weapons and light armor. A protean scribe wearing heavier armor than light or a shield suffers from arcane spell failure regarding some of the abilities they have...but more on that below.

A protean scribe begins play with a stylus, a special instrument that is hardier than its mundane version. The stylus can be used to erase something the protean scribe has written. Without a stylus, using her abilities requires making a concentration check with a DC of 10 + twice the number of eloquence used. Eloquence? We'll get there in a second.

As the name scribe implies, the protean scribe obviously is all about writing - writing is categorized in three distinct categories: Embellishments represent buffs; phrases are used offensively as debuffs or damage and stories are about creating creatures, objects etc. from thin air. Regardless of the type of writing used, protean scribes may add primordial words to their writing. Adding a primordial word adds at least +1 eloquence to the cost, potentially more depending on the word in question. A protean scribe begins play with 4 + Wisdom modifier points of eloquence and gains +1 eloquence per level. This pool refreshes upon resting. Upon death, effects of writing persist for 24 hours before dissipating.

Now let's take a look at the types of writing: Embellishments have a range of 30 feet and grant the target affected a morale bonus to atk and damage or a morale bonus on all skill checks. The morale bonus is equal to the total number of eloquence used in the embellishment and may not exceed 1/3 of the class level, minimum 1. Embellishments are supernatural and last until erased or when the protean scribe recovers eloquence and are suppressed in antimagic zones etc. or when removed further than 1 mile from the protean scribe. Starting at 7th level, protean scribes can choose to grant the bonuses granted to an additional creature within range per point of eloquence spent.

Phrases allow for the direct assault of enemies - as a standard action, protean scribes may make a ranged attack against a foe within 60 feet, dealing 1d6 of either slashing, piercing or bludgeoning damage, using Wisdom as the governing attribute to determine bonuses to atk and damage. Phrase base damage increases by +1d6 at 8th and 15th level, respectively. If a primordial word was added to a phrase, it affects the target even when the phrase fails to damage the target, with a save DC of 10 + 1/2 class level (min 1) + Wis-mod to negate unless otherwise noted. Starting at 11th level, a single phrase may target an additional creature in range, including the effects of any primordial words added, sans additional costs.

Stories can be distinguished in two categories - storied objects and storied creatures. Both have in common that they emit dim light in a 5 ft-radius and that writing a story is a full-round action that costs 2 eloquence. Upon completion, the respective creature/object manifests within 30 feet of the scribe. Storied objects may be any nonmagical object (or well-defined set of objects - you'd get a set of lockpicks, not just one) and may not exceed 5 ft. in the longest dimension. Storied objects must be composed of relatively common material and those with a certain complexity or moving parts require a Perform (Oratory) skill check against the Crafting DC of the object to be created in a manner that actually is functional. Masterwork objects can similarly be created via Perform (oratory) versus DC 15, though failure by 5 or more provides a broken object instead. Storied Creatures can either be Medium or Small and share an array of base stats, with each additional eloquence spent providing one Hit Die to the storied creature. At 3HD and every 2 HD thereafter, the creature gains a feat of your choice and similarly, skills are covered. Stories remain in effect until they are removed more than 1 mile from the protean scribe, reduced to 0 hit points, willingly erased or the protean scribe regains eloquence.

Beginning at 4th level, the protean scribe may generate magical storied objects - this requires no less than 10 minutes and make Spellcraft check against Dc 10 + the item's caster level + twice the number of spells listed in the item's construction requirements. On a failure, only a mundane version is created. On a success, the scribe spends an additional 2 eloquence, plus additional eloquence depending on the item type and price: Consumable items are more expensive than non-consumables and the break-down is pretty simple.

Beginning at 2nd level, the protean scribe receives her class level as a bonus to Linguistics checks and at 5th level, she may write 60 words per round when writing mundane texts. She may even scribe scrolls for other characters, at the pace of 5 minutes per spell level. At 6th level, the protean scribe learns a so-called spell word, which is an SU duplication of a 1st level spell she may write 1/day sans expending eloquence; any subsequent use costs eloquence equal to the spell level. At 8th level and every 2 levels thereafter, the protean scribe learns an additional spell word for a higher level spell, as noted in the class table. The governing attribute for spell parameters is either Int or Wis, whichever is higher, and CL is equal to class level.

Now I've already mentioned primordial words: The protean scribe begins play with 3 of them and gains additional primordial words as the levels progress, up to a total of 13 known at level 20. Not all primordial words have effects for all types of writing, so there is a chance that a given word only has an effect on embellishments and storied creatures, for example. Unless I have miscounted, a total of 24 such primordial words are provided. With the exception of one word, they do not have prerequisites, since their effectiveness is directly tied to the bonuses e.g. embellishments grant. From adding different types of energy damage to phrases to providing temporary hit points, making storied creatures undead, the effects are wide and diverse and contain unique boons like the ability to seemingly occupy (one or more) contiguous adjacent square for the purpose of flanking, teamwork feats, etc. Disguise self (not properly italicized, as are other spell-references in one of the few glitches herein), adding senses to creatures, growing in size, SR, miss chances - the interesting component here is most certainly the means by which the effects are concisely capped via bonuses and the like.

Starting at 13th level, the protean scribe reduced the eloquence cost of the first primordial word added to a given piece of writing by 1. Starting at 17th level, the protean scribe may 1/day ignore the eloquence cost of a single primordial word and add it to her writing - whether she knows it or not. This ability can be used an additional time per day at 19th level.

Starting at 3rd level, protean scribes may inscribe harmful words directly onto foes: As a standard action she, may use a melee touch attack to affect targets with primordial words, but unlike utilizing phrases to deliver them thus, the target takes a -4 penalty to saves against it. At 9th level, the effect of phrases is also added to this. At 15th level, she may incur a penalty of -2 to such a tattoo combat attack to basically flurry versus all creatures within reach, applying the effects to each. OUCH!

Capstone-wise, protean scribes may select from gaining one permanent embellishing tattoo, Constitution bleed causing phrases or stories that have their eloquence cost reduced by 3..oh, and if the cost is reduced to 0 or below, the creature/object becomes permanent.

The class comes with no less than 5 archetypes: The scrollblade makes stylus and scrollblade a weapon and gains Two-Weapon Fighting at the expense of reduced eloquence and the loss of the Linguistics-enhancer. The worldwriter replaces phrases with the ability to write a demiplane in a book: At first, it is only a sensory experience, but at higher levels, you can enter it and even shove unwilling creatures inside. The Censor flips embellishments on their head, making them debuffs (yes, with proper language). Runewriters replace the creation of magic items via stories with Craft Wondrous Item - no wonder, they replace stories with a limited array of runes that are used as eloquence-powered spells. Orators may prepare writing in advance, though it only takes effect upon being spoken aloud - this does not require a stylus or writing material. Instead of tattoo combat, orators get increasingly powerful taunts that duplicate the effects of phrases, at higher levels even against mindless targets.

The pdf also contains a total of 6 feats: More range for phrases, higher DCs, making stories linger when refreshing eloquence, extra eloquence, recovering a bit of eloquence when erasing a story or adding eidolon evolutions to storied creatures...all possible.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good or very good, depending on how you look at it: On a formal level, there isn't much to complain about, even though the italicization-missing spells annoyed me. On the plus-side, the internal formatting of the class is precise and to the point and I can field no complaints there. The rules-language is similarly rather precise, particularly for the complexity of the subjet matter. Layout adheres to the beautiful two-column full-color standard used for NeoExodus-supplements and the pdf comes with a second, more printer-friendly version. the artworks featured herein are absolutely gorgeous. The pdf comes with minimalist bookmarks for general sections, but not e.g. individual words, but at this length that's still okay.

So, the protean scribe is a class that you will either love or hate - if raw damage is what you're looking for, then there may be better choices. I won't lie, this is a class that, on paper, didn't look like it would have too much staying power or too fun in play. I was pretty wrong in that regard, as the playtest showed. While it takes a bit to grasp how the system works (presentation here could be a little smoother), Michael McCarthy's class actually played rather well - in a 15-pt.-buy context, I needed no nerfing and at higher point-buys, it still worked rather well, though eloquence is a conservative resource; you will want to take that extra eloquence feat as soon as possible.

Role-wise, we have a support-class here, but one that exceeds in spontaneous modularity just about every class I know and has some serious crazy-prepared tricks written into it. The option to create glowy creatures and objects can offer a TON of fun and roleplaying potential. In a pure hack-and-slash campaign, the protean scribe may be useful, but she shines brightest in an intrigue and roleplaying-heavy campaign where there is a lot of problem-solving beyond "I bash its brains in" - in such scenarios, the flexibility of the class becomes absolutely impressive and extremely rewarding.

As a word of warning - more so than the bard, for example, the protean scribe is a jack-of-all-trades; this does mean that it requires really understanding the class, which could have been made a bit easier from a didactic point of view. (Explaining primordial word use in the primordial word section again, for example.)

Beyond that, though, there is one aspect that will determine whether you enjoy the class: Your own creativity. In an interesting way, the focus on creativity inherent in the act of writing the protean scribe uses, also extends to the player: The more creative the player, the more fun and efficient will the protean scribe be. In short: The class can reward improvisation rather well and does so beyond the confines we usually see in class design. I know a bunch of classes with modular systems; Bradley Crouch delivers them rather often and in crisp precision and detail. However, this class may not reach that level of precision, but it does make up for it in creativity. Younger players that are frustrated by the confinements of most classes in particular, provided they grasp the rules/have them explained, have enunciated that they were more than pleased with the protean scribe class.

In short: This class, even after the literally hundreds of classes for Pathfinder I've reviewed, feels fresh in its playing experience and remains reigned in, in spite of its wide-open focus. Ultimately, beyond didactics, there is but one gripe I do have: We can really use more primordial words for this fellow. Well, that and the TWF-archetype is a horrible trap - melee focus (instead of last-ditch resort) with d6 HD? Not a good idea. If you want to know a quick analogue for the class - to me, it feels like "Read or Die" - the class, with the focus taken away from the medium of paper and geared towards the content itself. But how to rate this? See, that's where things get tricky - I really like the class herein, but, in a rare case, I actually believe it could have used a bit more eloquence per level; plus, it does have a trap option; while the rules are pretty clear, their presentation could be a bit clearer...but at the same time, this was met pretty enthusiastically and does offer a novel playing experience unlike any I've seen in a while. So how to rate this? Well, the engine can be modified pretty easily sans breaking the class, which is a good thing indeed.

Oh, and it allows for truly astonishing flexibility. This may not be perfect...but I don't often find myself enjoying a class to this extent. If you're looking for a class where creativity and flexibility are the bread and butter, you'll love the protean scribe. In the end, I will settle on a final verdict of 4.5 stars, and while I'd love to round up, the pdf could be slightly more refined in the presentation of its concepts and the class could use favored class options...so I'll have to round down. But since I really, really enjoy some things this guy lets me do, I'll still slap my seal of approval on this guy. Can we have more material for this great class?

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Classes of NeoExodus: Protean Scribe (PFRPG)
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Classes of NeoExodus: Protean Scribe (PFRPG)
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/04/2016 11:09:19

This class is filled with amazing creative potential! The protean scribe's concept is so strong and execution so fun it literally kept me up all night consider all the ways to play the class. And best of all, there is so little required "locked in" class features that you can change your play style with as little as a full-round action. Living stories! Magical phrase attacks! Day long augmenting embelishments! If you CAN'T decide between being a buffer, a pet master, a ranged attack specialist or a debuffer... DON'T. Just play this class and switch up your style with your stylus when ever want!

More thoughts here.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate NPC Deck
by Michael T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/15/2016 16:04:06

It's okay for what it is, the art is good, but for my money there are way, way, way too many "gonzo" characters. An otter pirate? When am I EVER going to use that? More importantly how could I EVER use that MORE than once!

So while there are 68 cards (and one blank - what the heck am I going to do with a blank), I'll be lucky if I can use 30 of them.

If you're okay with each of these guys being usable only once, you might like this. Otherwise, there's not a lot of 'normal' NPCs here.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate NPC Deck
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Classes of NeoExodus: Machinesmith (PFRPG)
by Elexious C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/06/2016 16:34:07

The Machinesmith is a fun class. Really all you need in a magi-tech artificer is right here and covers a lot of bases that I could think of and that I desired to play.

It does hit on a few pet peeves. It gains 'prototypes' of six levels that function like spells and it makes me have to explain why this class gets technology and others don't. Balance-wise it makes sense that a mechanic class only has technology that functions for itself the same way that a caster cant grant the ability to cast spells to someone else (wands and scrolls withstanding) but with Paizo's Technology guide it became easy to dismiss what the machinesmith does as personal magitech and leave it at that. There are some points in the font however where its hard to tell where a list of selectable options ends and a new class feature ends but that only required one double take. Also this class feels like it doesn't have a real place outside of campaign that uses high technology in general.

With my nitpicking out of the way, the class itself is balanced, fun and has a lot of options. Whatever you want out of an artificer this class has it. There are also some feats to support it, some archetypes a prestige class and spells that are also compatable with other spell lists.

If you got the print copy like I did you'll be surprised to see two extra goodies. There are the Fleshwraith and Host classes. The Fleshwraith is less machinesmith and more bioengineer. it seems to be missing it's hit die though but I assume it's a d8. The Host, also missing it's hit die, is a symbiote possessed class that gains eidolon evolutions as mutations from the creature living inside him.

Overall the product gives a lot of bang for the buck and the hit die and font problems aside it is my second favorite engineering class. Its easy to understand and varied in it's execution and a lot of fun to play so I'm giving it five stars.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Classes of NeoExodus: Machinesmith (PFRPG)
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Monsters of NeoExodus: Dragons (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/05/2016 03:50:48

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This monster book clocks in at 34 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with a massive 30 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Ah, dragons! Who doesn't love them? They're the apex-predators, the big, nasty super-killer creatures and there is no adversary as iconic out there. Suffice to say, I've read a lot of dragon-variants over the years and I very much loathed the "everything needs to be a half-dragon"-trend in the dying days of 3.X - the tendency cheapened dragons in my opinion and took away from their impact. I've also been pretty vocal about my preference for dragons to be smart adversaries that should be played and presented as such...but that's just my take on the concept.

More important for the purpose of this review would be another component: Both in official bestiaries and in supplements pertaining dragons, I've noticed a tendency towards cop-outs or, if you like, less thorough presentation: Dragons, traditionally, sport a massive table that lets you customize them by age category; in the better installments, we also get sample builds for some different age categories. This, at least in my opinion, in important - it further emphasizes the iconic place these magnificent beasts have in our games and sets them apart - basically, a dragon is already a customizable threat, an entry already covers diverse variants for different CRs. Now this does take up space, sure -but know what? It's a significant part of draconic identity as far as their status as monsters is concerned. This pdf begins by doing this honored tradition justice with the required tables and summary of dragon senses, no breath and similar fun abilities -yes, including starflight.

The respective entries for the dragons themselves sported in this book provide 3 different sample builds, for the young, adult and ancient age category, respectively and each dragon gets a thoroughly AWESOME, truly evocative mugshot - I'm not kidding when I'm saying that these are absolutely gorgeous. Obviously, the respective dragons also sport individual tables that denote ability-progressions over the respective age categories. The cool thing, at least in my book, is that this book does not simply add more chromatics or metallics to the fray - instead, we are introduced to two categories of the dragons with multiple subtypes. The first of these categories would by conflict dragons, and they are nasty. No, really.

Take the first kind and look at the name - In clear letters, one reads "Armageddon Dragon." Yeah, these guys are not playing around - with a starvation aura that fatigues creatures, SPs that include cup of dust, waves of exhaustion and many more and a slashing/dehydration-based breath weapons, these creatures' abilities make pretty clear that they are about the ruination of...everything. More unique still would be the fury dragon - while an acidic breath weapon may seem pretty conventional, these dread beings are plague carriers have an aura that increases the potency of diseases (and makes them more virulent) and they can incubate an insanity-causing berserker-disease. Oh, and they pretty much look like a horrid blending of insects and dragons, with a CR 6 parasite swarm being provided as well. Why? Because they can disgorge increasing amounts of these nasty, lamprey-like worms! Disgusting and glorious!

The holocaust dragon would be the necromancy-themed of these nasty dragons - with an aura that weakens the living and strengthens the undead, a negative energy-based breath weapon (that alas, does not heal undead) and a limited ability to throw disgorged souls at his foes (dealing negative levels AND reanimating present corpses...) as well as the soul devouring abilities of these beasts make clear that they are not to be trifled with. Now wrath dragons would be basically the big, nasty and rather unsubtle destroy-em-all type of grinders - beyond a berserker-rage-including aura and additional fire damage, they can breathe burning shrapnel (which doubles as caltrops), eat most metals easily (ignore 10 hardness) and combine bites with lower-strength breath weapons for truly apocalyptic damage. Oh, and what about a limited breath of molten metal or retributive damage versus weapons that strike these beasts? Yes, pretty awesome!

The second class of dragons introduced here are stellar dragons - where conflict dragons are predisposed to an unraveling, an end, stellar dragons strive to maintain balance and existence - though that does NOT mean they're necessarily nice: Alignment-wise, they are LN or CG and take the VERY large picture into account - which means that yes, they may sacrifice a kingdom or even world to maintain balance and defeat a greater evil. Their abilities are no less unique, mind you: The first of these dragon types would be the gravity dragon: With a slowing presence, gravity-increasing breath and particularly brutal melee attacks, they are intriguing. As a minor complaint - their natural attacks increase as though they were one age category older, but no progression for dragons beyond great wyrm is given, which is a small oversight. One easily rectified, granted, but still. They can also create massive singularities a limited amount of times per day - with devastating effects.

The Nebula dragons can cause cold damage as well as radiation exposure with their breaths and they do receive a nice, defensive concealment-granting cloud of particles and may unleash a magic-suppression cloud a limited amount of times per day. Pulsar dragons can dazzle those nearby and suppress darkness-based magic completely. Oh, and they have laser breath that may not be effective versus all creatures...but it can pass through e.g. walls of force. Additionally, they may use their breath weapon in pulsing blasts, customizing the damage output of each blast according to his needs. The final stellar dragon herein would be the supernova dragon, whose very presence heats metal and hampers cold creatures. His breath incinerates all that fall before him and he may use is breath in a massive radius around him - said breath is btw. a combination of fire and electricity and yes, their SPs are deadly.

This is not, however, where this pdf ends - instead, we are introduced to the two dragon lords - masters of all conflict/stellar dragonkind. Conflict dragons revere the CR 25 monstrosity called Eschaton. If the name was not ample clue, yes, this basically takes the mythic beast from revelations and codifies it not as a metaphor, but as a full-blown engine of annihilation. Whenever one of the 7 heads of eschaton is destroyed, it regenerates a new head associated with whatever destroyed the head, growing stronger...or more versatile. An aberrant head grown can breathe a cone of devastating, mutating slime; a mechanical head has teeth of adamantine and breathes poisonous steam...and a spectral head increases the reach of this engine of destruction to the incorporeal. Oh, and if you're like me and consider that not enough yet...well, there is a mythic version: CR 30/MR 10.

This beast...is so beautiful. An aura that staggers AND has a 50/50-chance of inflicinting murderous command or terrible remorse. Nigh indestructible. Mythic power to make the breath linger or rip open reality to gate in tentacley doom - awesome.

The adversary of this all-destroying master of annihilation would be the infinity dragon Ananta, CR 25. Encompassing both male and female, this dual-headed dragon (you can see the picture on the cover) has devastating sonic and cold breaths and is quicker when undertaking starflight journeys. The combined blast of the dragon's breath weapons can destroy just about anything utterly...oh, and ananta can exist in two places at once, treating either as her location for attacks, reach, etc. Similarly to Eschaton, we do btw. receive a truly awe-inspiring mythic version of this steward of the multiverse - at CR 30/MR 10, this iteration of the mighty infinity dragon can create creatures to fight from the dust of the foes vanquished by Ananta. Similarly, the multi-existence ability and a benevolent, exceedingly powerful music of the spheres complement an awesome, unique take on the mighty dragon lord.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - beyond minor hiccups, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to LPJ design's gorgeous two-column full-color standard and a smaller version is provided in case you want to use this on mobile devices. The artwork is absolutely staggering and excellent - both the mugshots of the dragons and the two full-body renditions of the dragon lords are gorgeous. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Jeff Lee delivers here - the dragons presented in this book utilize unique, evocative mechanics, have cool, unique themes that set the apart and the superb artwork further emphasizes that - seriously, one glance and you'll want to use these asap! The pure imaginative potential of these dragons is impressive indeed and the book, as such a steal for its price-point, particularly if you're like me and enjoy truly devastating adversaries to challenge your players. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monsters of NeoExodus: Dragons (PFRPG)
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Obsidian Apocalypse: Sinful & Vile Feats (PFRGP)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/04/2016 03:58:02

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This collection of dastardly feats clocks in at 19 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 17 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Okay, before I go into this pdf, let me state that loudly and clearly - this is a book of feats, yes...but it is a book full of Clinton J. Boomer-feats. This sets this pdf pretty much apart from every feat-pdf you'll ever seen...why? Well, we all know how feats work, right? Basically, they are short pieces of crunch that provide a rules-option, for the most part a relative generic, wide-open one that makes a character better at something or adds an option to the character's arsenal or makes it viable. Mr. Boomer's approach to feats is completely different, beginning with flavor-text - most of his feats sport a whole paragraph of flavor-text before going on to present the prerequisites. But guess what? Said prereqs are actually pretty hard to fulfill - when one takes a look at Bright-Burning Tempter, for example, one notices that the feat requires class levels as antipaladin AND of the wishcrafter ifrit sorceror archetype, a rather uncommon option.

So yes, there are feats intended to make less viable options that make for cool character concepts more viable. The second thing a newcomer to his design-approach would note is that the benefits...are complex. As in "I can literally list a huge amount of archetypes that do less" level of complexity.

To take the aforementioned feat as an example: When a creature benefits from your wishbound arcana, it is thereafter declared as a "supplicant" - said targets may be healed via touch of corruption as though they were undead and you may spend 2 uses of it to remove a variety of different negative conditions. In a twist, this does not remove disease or addiction - just the effects. Additionally, when you use wishbound arcana, you may expend a number of daily uses of touch of corruption, capping at sorceror level, to evoke one of two or both of the following effects: Effect 1: You may apply a metamagic feat to the spell cast, requiring expenditure of touch of corruption equal to the amount of spell level increases the metamagic feat would apply. The second effect makes the power you bestow addictive, prompting the supplicant to save versus a scaling DC to not fall prey to your power's addictive qualities. Additional expenditure of touch of corruption uses increases the potency of said addiction.

That was one feat. You'll notice 3 peculiarities here - a) this does more than a simple archetype, b) is incredibly cool and evocative and c)...is arguably pretty strong, as it basically unlocks paladin mercy-style tricks for the antipaladin class. Via a follow-up-feat, you can use touch of corruption as a free or immediate action to gain the benefits of e.g. air walk/water walk, bypass fire resistance (but not immunity - immune targets instead get half damage), destroy unattended objects, lace flaming burst on all attacks, king's castle or elemental body II (fire elemental only) for 1 round and you may expend 2 uses to provide the benefits until the end of your next round. Oh, and the supplicant needs to be able to ask for the respective benefits. This feat is aptly called Answer to Apocalyptic Desires and it should pretty much highlight something to consider - these feats are powerful; specific and complex, but very powerful.

Now this is pretty much what makes Obsidian Apocalypse the perfect fit for this kind of design - after all, most "regular" folks have either been killed or corrupted...and these feats very much make clear how the forces of darkness could win.

Another feat herein, Devil's Gate, allows you to expend ki in the dark/dim lighting to summon eidolon/lesser eidolon surge as a SP, with higher levels allowing for progressively higher expenditures of ki for more powerful SPs. There is also a similar feat that substitutes grit for that, which is slightly more problematic, considering that grit is a refreshing resource as opposed to ki. Both feats have btw. in common that they don't have a prerequisites-line. While it's rather apparent that one should have both eidolon and the respective pool, the nitpicker in me still would have wanted a line à la "eidolon class feature, ki/grit pool class feature."

Elemental Adeptness is also interesting - it locks your Elemental Fist into a given element, but grants you a revelation associated with the given energy type (oracle class level = character level) and allows you to, as a standard action, expend spell-level ki or grit points to cast mystery-spells, though they are treated as SPs, get a scaling save DC and they are governed by Wisdom.

Another feat basically takes the skinwalker-theme - you can wildshape into a disgusting proto-beast (at decreased duration - only 10 minutes per level) and fluidly switch between forms - including swarm forms, though these make you exceedingly vulnerable versus AoE-effects. Oh, and yes, animals and vermin shy away from your abominable form. There is also a feat that ties Bloodrager to Charisma, making the class work better with the undead, while Sense of the Shrike allows you to know when your name/title is uttered - the more often the target has spoken your name, the easier you can sniff out the fool who dared to speak your name.

It should be noted that the pdf blends Boomer's design rather well with the unique options of Obsidian Apocalypse - the genesai-race, for example, can extend greatly the use of shattersoul blade, expending it for alternate, defensive purposes. Several other feats follow similarly complex rules-operations, codifying spells as castable via class resources, extending spell-lists.

There is also a feat called Terrifying Blow that lets you utilize natural attacks as Awesome Blows, in spite of not fulfilling the prerequisites for the latter and while the feat provides synergy with the Awesome Blow-feat, the potency of the maneuver and the minimal prereqs here mean that this is rather nasty - even before the added AoE shaken-effect accompanying the attacks. On the plus-side, however, it should be noted that a vast amount of synergy between other feats and this makes the mechanics here solid. Insane gunslingers (or swashbucklers) worshipping the elder gods can inflict damage upon themselves (to hasten activation action) and expend grit/panache to temporarily gain the tarrasque's carapace...and yes, the damage cannot be mitigated.

It should also be noted that the Burning Necropolis provides a feat tree, which, when combined, in text exceeds two pages - and they are intriguing, for prereqs contain exposures to various environmental hazards and the feats add necropolis tokens you can expend to increase the potency of your summon monster spells...oh, and the final feat lets you call forth a fully statted golden-clad legion of skeletons (using the mob rules)...and it can be remotely detonated.

What about a mantra of madness that allows you to use Linguistics as an immediate action to negate attacks or touch attacks by substituting it for AC? Yes, these feats are powerful...but oh so well-written. No, I haven't even touched upon e.g. the feat that makes undead gunslingers basically revenants and lets them rejuvenate for as long as they have grit...including the return of their weaponry...

The pdf also contains the Singer of Praise, a bard archetype, who gets a cleric's Ref- and Will-save progression, 4+Int skills per level (and a decreased class skill-list), but replaces bardic knowledge with access to a mystery (but no revelations, though they can be gained via Extra Revelation). The archetype may only inspire allies sharing their faith (or are within one step of the alignment axis) via bardic music. 2nd level provides a domain, subdomain or inquisition instead of versatile performance, while well-versed only applies to creatures opposed to the patron deity. 5th level provides channel energy at -4 levels instead of lore master and 10th level unlocks a sorceror bloodline, adding bonus spells, treating sorceror levels for bloodline powers as -6. This archetype is very complex, considering the amount of moving parts - so yes, depending on the amount of resources you use, it can become problematic. However, it doesn't have to be.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to LPJ Design's two-column full-color standard for Obsidian Apocalypse-pdfs and the pdf comes with gorgeous full color artworks. The pdf is fully bookmarked and a second, smaller version intended for mobile use is provided in the deal.

Okay, so why did I ramble on for about half the review on the design philosophy behind these feats? Well, because I need you to understand that these feats are not balanced against your average standard feat - what we have here are essentially character concepts in feat form, narrative options. Unlike most feats, the material contained herein, sans exceptions, is so evocative and unique, it made me really want to create characters FOR the feats, not the other way round - prior to reading this, I wasn't aware I needed a wishcrafter antipaladin villain - now I certainly KNOW I need one of these guys in my rogue's gallery! Much like the feats Clinton has crafted for Legendary Games' Legendary Villains-series, these feats are pure, evocative brilliance....and should not find their way into the hands of players unless you're gunning for a truly high-powered campaign or need them to make a character concept work. (Alternatively, these make for great story-rewards...) One can also see Jeff Lee's talented design in these pages.

Here's the thing, though: This approach to feat-design fits perfectly with Obsidian Apocalypse's brutal, high-powered and twisted setting - the last heroes and villains, the sheer epic scope of their conflict...it works with the setting exceedingly well and complements it in a delightfulyl wicked wayx - even among master Boomer's feats, some of these stand out by virtue of their imagery and awesome themes. If the title wasn't ample clue for you: These feats are intended for the bad guys out there and at best, provide morally questionable power and yes, they stumble here and there regarding the precise implementation of prerequisites...but they also manage to juggle extremely complex concepts sans stumbling.

Let me reiterate this: I am going to rate this according to its intent -as a feat-toolkit to craft truly astounding villains or high-powered anti-heroes. And, oh boy does this do its job - usually, reviewing feats is a rather tedious, none-too-exciting process. While reading this book, however, I thoroughly enjoyed myself...and when it was done, I immediately felt the urge to craft some unique adversaries. A single feat herein can inspire a whole cadre of villains - and that is, pardon the horrible pun, a feat indeed. As a GM toolkit, this is pure awesomeness, the astounding concepts and overall execution mitigating the minor issues this has. So what's my final verdict?

Well, I can't rate this the full 5 stars...but this is the first feat-pdf in ages that really blew me away. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up and I'll add my seal of approval to it. Seriously, if you're looking for complex, inspired and extremely flavorful design and a crunch-book that is actually a good read, get this! Beware when using this for PCs, though.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Obsidian Apocalypse: Sinful & Vile Feats (PFRGP)
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Crisis of the World Eater Prequel: A Warning Too Late (PFRPG)
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/08/2016 23:00:05

This one succeeds on all counts-it successfully blends elements of high fantasy, superhero tropes, and science fantasy, serves as a set-up for events to follow, and is an entertaining mini-adventure in its' own right. While a bit linear (as might be expected in a scenario of this length), ambitious GMs could certainly expand on the options given inside. Though I'd normally give this one a four star rating, the spectacular cover artwork puts it over the top.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Crisis of the World Eater Prequel: A Warning Too Late (PFRPG)
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Crisis of the World Eater Prequel: A Warning Too Late (PFRPG)
by Marshall G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/01/2016 21:56:37

This looks to be a very intriguing start to a very intriguing campaign. I can't wait for the Kickstarter, coming on Leap Day this year. I've read through this prequel, and it has definitely whetted my appetite for more. I'll wait to actually run it until the full campaign is closer to available, but on a read through it definitely promises some great play.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Crisis of the World Eater Prequel: A Warning Too Late (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/30/2015 04:38:24

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This prequel for the unprecedented Crisis of the World-Eater-saga clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement,1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 9 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.

...

..

.

All across the world, an uncanny psychic scream echoes through the minds of the minds of the world, driving many individuals to suicide - and the trail leads to the irradiated Kray Wasteland, officially a hostile area broken by the impact of a meteorite. Major Marco Dempompa send the PCs into this wasteland - and it is here, the PCs find something they did not expect: Beyond the deadly gangs that inhabit the wasteland, the PCs unearth a strange, star-shaped complex - for from it, the scream was sent forth. They are not alone in their discovery, though - it is here that a secret super-soldier program was launched and three of these changed beings now have returned: The apathy-field generating arcanist Synapse, the unbreakable Colossus like berserker Vault and the Magneto-style elven storm sorceress Ozone.

Finally, beyond the locked down central section, the deadly quicksilver/flash-like Black Silver and the cabalists of the Onyx Cabal remain - and here, the PCs find the broken figure depicted on the cover, the chronicler - who has regained his strength to emit the scream...to warn the world of the approach of Saitan, the deliverer of Omega...before falling back into hibernation. I should btw. mention that the bosses/super-soldiers of this module, like bosses in Metal Gear Solid or superheroes/villains sport unique abilities that render them significantly more interesting than the sum of their builds.

It is with a sense of doom impending, paranoia versus the world's nations and a player-friendly map of the complex that we end this first taste of the dread things to come...

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly, elegant 2-column full-color standard established in the surprisingly awesome "Chronicle of the Gatekeepers"-campaign serial, though with minor modification. The pdf's artwork is original and absolutely stunning and the cartography is just as awesome. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

This brief module by Michael McCarthy, Jeff Lee and Louis Porter Jr. delivers in its promise - it makes me excited for "Crisis of the World-Eater" - even more so than I was before - the evocative backdrop suffused with exceedingly cool bosses renders this a great little module. Oh, and this one is "Pay What You Want" - which means there is literally no reason why you shouldn't check out this cool little module. Personally, I do believe that it is worth a tip/compensation for the obvious care that went into it for the unique bosses alone. Seeing how this is PWYW, I can't see a reason why this should not be considered to be 5 stars + seal of approval - an intriguing, first glimpse at the vast things to come.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Chronicle of the Gatekeepers Omega: Dawn of a Thousand Wars (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/27/2015 05:45:06

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The final adventure in the Chronicle of the Gatekeepers Campaign Serial clocks in at 22 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 18 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

Now if you want to know what happens if the PCs did not play all the sidetrek and thus have not yet reached the required 4th level of this module...well, the book already hints at what to expect from "Crisis of the World-Eater," as a handy sidebox provides suggested fluff-only adversaries from diverse worlds to be inserted after the first encounter of the module: Whether drow from AAW Games' Aventyr, Puppeteer-ridden humanoids from Dreamscarred Press' Third Dawn, leather-clad ladies from Legendary Games' Hypercorps 2099, goblin firestarters from Rogue Genius Games' Veranthea or ghouls from LPJ Design's Obsidian Apocalypse - there is some serious diversity here regarding the suggested adversaries to bridge the XP-gap.

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

...

..

.

All right, still here? Great! Atlantis folly and hubris are well-documented in the myths we weave o earth - struck down by a cataclysm of deific proportions, the Atlanteans drew back from the worlds and their nexus gateways - until recently, when the Deltans, former colonists, re-established contact to save their home world from the forces of Entropy. Bringing Atlantean weapons to bear, the inexorable advance was slowed, but not stopped. Where Atlantis fell into fatalism, the vespans didn't - and thus, Sodan took control of the legendary city and sent forth legions to scour the worlds for something to save Delta. He found what he was looking for on NeoEoxdus, in the guise of the rather unpleasant animancer Pushae, whom the PCs hunted back in module alpha. Thanks to the work done in the previous sidetreks, the PCs and their mentor Large-Biter can finally narrow down the activity of the Vespan's to one particular gateway - and beyond that lies the answer to their questions - stepping through the portal with the nexus key (or not, if you want to reiterate the cool portal activation in "Speaking the Same Language", the PCs arrive in the buffer - where a Comozant Wyrd awaits - and after this line of defense, there lies Atlantis.

The beautifully mapped (player-friendly, btw.) city then constitutes the backdrop for the PC's further investigations - and if visitors from hundreds of worlds were not ample clue, then the Vespan patrols will be: They better be low key. Alas, unfortunately news travels fast, even in Atlantis - hence, the module tracks PC notoriety, with certain special encounters happening upon PCs crossing a certain threshold. It should be noted that multiple skills and degrees of success are featured here for a pretty fine-grained investigation, particularly for a module of this one's brevity - bravo! Indeed, finding Pushae may go both ways - with either the PCs finding the animancer or him coming after them - still, exploring the wondrous vista while laying low does have its appeal in either way. Sooner or later, the PCs will have to venture forth to Old Atlantis and the soul crucible there. And exploring the place does reveal some terrible truths: Beyond the scrupulous guards and assistants, traps and people stripped of their souls do not bode well as the PCs explore this fully mapped mini-dungeon (including a player-friendly version, just fyi!) - and finally, the PCs will be face to face with Pushae inside his Soul Crucible. Interesting here: Pushae is a powerful foe, but as a researcher convinced of the necessity of his work, he is thankfully underprepared for the PCs.

The module does not end here, though: As Pushae's own soul is consumed by his crucible, Sodan and his vespans enter the building, telepathically contact the PCs...and make clear that they just literally stuck their faces in the wasp's nest: From here on out, the PCs will be hard-pressed to run...fast...and hopefully, to the artillery range...to sink Atlantis! As legions of vespans assault the PCs, they'll have high-powered atlantean siege-weaponry at their disposal to mow down scores of attacking foes while the Obliteration cannon charges - 10 rounds. Believe me when I'm saying that 10 rounds can be a nail-biting experience. It should be noted that this encounter is not run as a siege-weapon combat, but rather as a mini-game - a welcome change of pace in this instance...and yes, notoriety also features in how quick Sodan can muster his troupes...

Soon after Atlantis' hull is breached, its final defense mechanism kicks in - and the city warps to NeoExodus, stranding on the planet! Let's hope that the PCs can escape in the chaos...but this is not yet the end of either the story of the pdf: 12 hook allow for further customization and the pdf ends with a brief gazetteer of Atlantis, fully depicted Atlantean siege engines (like miniguns and tesla lances) as well as magic items and stats for the no-longer fully human CR 6 Atlanteans and the powers - which includes a domination aura that does look a bit like Khaynite tricks to me...but we'll see.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring glitches (apart from one instance mentioning "Hypernet 2099", which should be "Hypercorps 2099"...); the pdf's layout adheres to LPJ Design's beautiful 2-column full-color standard and the pdf's artworks are pretty gorgeous, as is the cartography. The book comes with a second, more printer-friendly version. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Michael McCarthy and Louis Porter Jr. had me curious, but ultimately skeptical regarding the end of the "Chronicle of the Gatekeepers"-serial - I wasn't sure whether the omega-adventure could live up to the hype and anticipation generated by the previous modules, particularly after the more down-to-earth sidetreks. Then I saw the page-count and my heart just dropped. I couldn't conceive the module living up to its ambitious premise and title in so few pages. Well, I'm glad to report that the omega adventure of "Chronicle of the Gatekeepers" is a fast-paced, exciting action-romp par excellence: Partway infiltration/espionage, partway full-blown action-movie escalation, this trip to the legendary city is not only well-structured, it is downright cinematic and bombastic in its concepts and settings - most AP-ending adventures do not manage to evoke such a palpable sense of high stakes. At the same time, the module does have one "flaw", if you will: Due to its brevity, the legendary city explored in this book does not get that much space to shine, when it, by concept alone, could have carried an epic 100+ page plot of a mega-adventure. Oh well, GMs can add to this unique location, so if you're like me and excited for this...well, there you go.

The furious finale, with its alteration and reveal of one damn cool addition to NeoExodus' metaplot made me conclude this module with a palpable sense of gravitas and foreboding, but also with a lot of excitement and anticipation for the world-spanning "Crisis of the World-Eater." Oh, and the unique finale's mini-game is, in the hands of a capable GM something players will keep talking about for years to come. Beyond being a very good module, this also constitutes, in my opinion, Michael McCarthy's best module so far and a worthy conclusion of a series that saw me skeptical and managed to win me over via the diverse, unique challenges offered - in short, a final module for the serial well worth a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Chronicle of the Gatekeepers Omega: Dawn of a Thousand Wars (PFRPG)
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