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Dispatches from the Raven Crowking IV
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/20/2017 03:52:17

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The fourth of Daniel J. Bishop‘s Dispatches on the nature of gaming, structures etc. clocks in at 50 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 46 pages of content. These pages are laid out for digest-size (A5 or 6’’ by 9’’) and thus, you can fit up to 4 of them on a given sheet of paper if your eye-sight’s good enough and you need to conserve ink/toner.

We begin this installment with a historic recap of the concept of a mega-dungeon – in both the context of Appendix N, literature and, well, gaming – similarly, we take a look at the development of so-called balance of encounters and it is here that the growth of the series is readily apparent. Instead of antagonistic opinions, we receive a well-reasoned recap of the development of monster/encounter-balance over the course of various editions – and the sentiment expressed, namely that encounters do not need to be level-appropriate, is one that I wholeheartedly subscribe to. While I am an enemy of set-ups that just screw players over, I similarly am a big enemy of designing worlds all around the PCs and ensuring that they will always have an “appropriate” challenge. As the pdf aptly surmises, this takes away from the organic nature of the world and also eliminates player agenda – when all challenges are strictly level-appropriate, player decisions to play risky or more cautious matter less.

Now, beyond this base-line, we take a look at the core subject-matter of the mega-dungeon – the pdf does provide several intriguing pieces of advice for the discerning judge/Gm/writer – whether it’s how to e.g. draw from mythology/myth-based settings or by looking at descriptive elements from the 1st edition DM Guide, we are shown on how to use a couple of words to inspire: We go one by one through the list, brainstorming ideas based on it. This is simple, yes, but it is an exercise well worth engaging in. From here on out, we take a look at some neat tricks to make monsters unique: We categorize them by type of beast and then look at e.g. what happens when you anagram-scramble the names, potentially drawing inspiration right then and there…and you make the monster feel unique! (Hint for those of you who read my own writing: I use that technique as well. One of my published characters is e.g. an anagram for Isaac Asimov…)

Similarly, treasure should be worthwhile – not just a +5 sword of killing stuff – the treasure to be found in a massive dungeon should engender greed, paranoia…you get the idea. Treasures are categorized similarly to monsters. The pdf then proceeds to guide you through brainstorming: From the power of names to sketches of critters and how they potentially interact/make sense, the brainstorming general section is fun and directly leads into pattern mapping, which is VERY important. We have an intrinsic idea of what looks “right” and many “makes no sense”-moments in published modules could have been avoided by properly structured planning. Furthermore, the book teaches to envision first how areas interact, rather than their direct proximity – since ultimately, the dungeon’s structure is beholden to the needs of storytelling, this makes sense and yet again makes for an excellent piece of advice.

Having done the basic sketches, we use the previously generated list and then note, by respective region, where they’ll fit in: This generates the details and, wholly organically, can generate the whole dynamics of a given dungeon. The shrine the goblins worship is in the vampire lord’s territory? Okay, are they allied? In a master/slave relationship? Is coercion involved? This establishes the general structure of the dungeon, and from here on out, once we have established a general vision, we move to the specific and can marvel at Daniel J. Bishop’s seasoned pen elaborating on the themes and topics previously established, adding the evocative flourishes to the great base-lines – suddenly, Esbastus becomes a gynosphinx; there is a vampire survivor of an age long past. A woman of Jade. Monster hunter Owlgrin. This dressing-series alone may be worth getting this, even if you’re not per se interesting in the design/writing-advice provided.

In case you’re interested: Both otyughs and their evolved brethren receive full and proper DCC-stats herein…and yes, the final chapter is where the book transitions from excellent advice for any game to the material directly applying to the DCC-rules: The considerations, colored by the aesthetics, do mention some excellent resources beyond the confines of the rules-set, both regarding literature and gaming material. In short – this section ends the dispatches on the same high note it began.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are excellent, I noticed no hiccups. Layout adheres to Purple Duck games’ nice 1-column standard and is pretty printer-friendly. The pdf sports quite a few nice full-color pieces. While fans of PDG may be familiar with some, I don’t have reasons to complain here. The pdf does provide a nice map and sketch to illustrate the process. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Daniel J. Bishop’s Dispatches series has been excellent from the get-go: The advice provided goes into more detail and depth than that provided by many comparable supplements. While the author and I sometimes deviate greatly regarding our opinions, I have yet to encounter one of these books that hasn’t provided some sort of trick, idea or knowledge – these are great advice-books, even for veterans. Much to my pleasant surprise, this installment provides a well-balanced look at the subject matters sans needing to rely on the subjectivity clause, which is still here, though – just in case. This supplement provides some very smart pieces of advice regarding the daunting task of structuring big pieces of in-game landscape – whether mega-dungeons, wildernesses or settlements. It is my contention that the advice herein can help you design all of them and more. This is, in short, an inspired little advice booklet, well worth the extremely fair asking price. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval. If you struggle with “big design” in games or think you’d like to learn some tricks of the trade – this delivers.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dispatches from the Raven Crowking IV
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Purple Mountain: Temple of the Locust Lord (DCC)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/18/2017 03:50:41

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This conversion of the first installment of Purple Duck's Purple Mountain dungeon is 33 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/patreons-thank you, 2 pages SRD, leaving 29 pages of content for the first level of the dungeon. It should be noted that, like most of the recent Purple Duck games-supplements, the pdf is formatted for digest-booklet size, A5 or about 6’’ by 9’’, which means that, if you print this out, you should be able to fit up to 4 pages on a sheet of paper,

Okay, while Purple Mountain is a mega-dungeon, rest assured that you don’t need to commit to the entirety of the series – this module (and its follow-ups) very much works as a stand-alone adventure and the pdf even provides some guidance for use as both stand-alone module or as part of a mega-dungeon.

Which brings me to another issue that DCC judges will undoubtedly want to have answered: Does this “get” DCC? After all, the system has some seriously different paradigms when compared to both PFRPG and 5e and this module, originally, was published for PFRPG. Let me get that out of the way from the get-go: Yes. For example, the eponymous locust lord, at best something to oppose in PFRPG, has become a patron in this conversion, complete with invoke patron table. (But no unique spellburn or patron taint options, alas.)

Similarly, the PFRPG-version did sport the iconic wayfinder as one object featured – and since DCC has a different aesthetic paradigm when it comes to handing out magic items, it has been purged…but at the same time, if you did actually want the item, you can still find it – fully converted to DCC in the appendices! That’s going the extra mile – big kudos. If you’re like me and have been an ardent follower of PDG’s excellent DCC-offerings, you’ll know the map of the module. It has been used before in the excellent Through the Cotillion of Hours – which, as an aside, was for me one of the moments where DCC-system’s unique aesthetics were perfectly captured.

Structurally, the module is easy to run, to say the least – not only does it sport notes on general dungeon properties like doors, illumination-levels etc., but also notes exits, etc. Similarly, when the pacing begins to lag, you may draw on one of several specific random encounters, which, unsurprisingly, include a variety of magical creepy-crawlies and insectoid threats. Beyond these specific ones, general random encounters can also be found.

That being said, the following review contains SPOILERS, potential players might want to jump to the conclusion.

Still here?

All right.

The temple of the locust lord is actually the fortress of manamites under the command of dread Iraksed, once a man, now a collection of squirming worms under his robe. The manamites depicted herein are not simply mites with a prefix latched on – scorpion-riding mini-knights and the plentiful insectoid threats should provide plenty of chances for uppity PCs to perish. The unique form of Iraksed also makes him, just fyi., a perfect recurring villain – he can reform from a single escaped worm…ouch! The horde of vermin under the command of the manamites and their dread master are not limited to oversized versions of common insects or ones with a bit of supernatural flair – the throach, a dread combination of scorpion and cockroach (full-color artwork provided!), which is just as mean-tempered as it is ugly, represents one deadly adversary…and a demon is stalking the halls as well…

But intrepid adventurers can also find some goodies here – provided they are smart and thorough: You never know what a tank of mealworms may hide…. Have I mentioned the magical pools, which may, for weal or woe, change the fortune of the PCs? (Oh, and greedy PCs may find out that giant amoebas can look deceptively like such pools…) Beyond these, it should be noted that the PCs better should have means to deal with traps. And they should keep their eyes peeled. There is one particularly obvious, but dastardly trap – a massive garbage disposal/grinder…which, unfortunately, for the PCs if you’re planning on using this as a mega-dungeon, also constitutes the only way further down…talk about going into the grinder…

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, I only noticed some very minor glitches, like a “two” that should be a “to” and the like. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly one-column standard with purple highlights. The full-color artworks deserve special note: The pdf sports multiple really nice interior artworks of the monsters by Matt Morrow. (Cover artist is Jacob Blackmon.) The pdf comes with excessive, nested bookmarks and is really easy to navigate. The cartography does its job, but I was a bit bummed that we don’t get a player-friendly, key-less version of it – in an age where many folks play VTTs (and reviewers like yours truly suck at drawing maps), I would have really appreciated having one.

Mark Gedak did not simply have his module converted to DCC. It’s not that easy. Okay, it could be that easy, but you wouldn’t do DCC justice. Instead of converting just the mechanics and slapping a new label on the module, Daniel J. Bishop has gone above and beyond in his conversion efforts. This is, in short, a very well-made translation of the module; to the point where I actually consider it to be superior to its PFRPG-iteration: It feels more dangerous, rawer and more primordial and the challenges herein should test the mettle of adventurers in a fun way. All in all, not much to complain about, apart from the lack of a player’s map and wanting a bit more on the patron. Still, if this is what we can expect from the series, then color me stoked. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up by a tiny margin for going the extra mile in the conversion.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Purple Mountain: Temple of the Locust Lord (DCC)
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Witches of Porphyra
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/07/2017 05:44:16

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Purple Duck Games‘ player-centric „of Porphyra“-series clocks in at 52 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 4 pages of SRD, leaving us with 46 pages of content, though it should be noted that the pages are formatted for digest-size (6’’ by 9’’ or A5) and thus, you can fit up to 4 of them on a given sheet of paper when printing this out.

All righty, as always, we begin with an array of archetypes, the first of which would be the blooded hag – this one has Charisma as the governing spellcasting attribute, gets spontaneous casting and instead of a patron, the archetype chooses a bloodline, gaining the bloodline’s spells at 3rd level and every 2 levels thereafter. Instead of the first level’s hex, the archetype gains the 1st level bloodline power of the bloodline chosen, and, at 4th, 10th and 16th as well as 20th level, the archetype may choose the respective bloodline power instead of a hex, but needs to retain the acquisition order of bloodline powers. They treat these as hexes, which makes me question which save to use – Hexes, per default, are governed by Intelligence, whereas bloodline powers that allow for saves usually have them governed by Charisma. I assume that “they instead treat it as a hex” would mean that the archetype uses Intelligence, but Charisma would make more sense to me. I am also a bit puzzled regarding the familiar question here: As written, the archetype retains the familiar and thus retains the arcane bond component, though, depending on how you picture the bloodline aspect working, it may make a bit less sense. That being said, both complaints are something most GMs should be capable of navigating.

Brewers lose spellcasting and store formulae to prepare extracts in their familiar, but are limited to effects that target at least one creature or object regarding their spell list. They can, furthermore, only prepare extracts duplicating harmless spells or spells with a target of “you.” However, unlike alchemists, the brewer replaces patron spells with the ability to create splash extracts, which must neither be harmless, nor have a target of “you”; additionally, they need to have a fixed number of targets; the extract is treated as an alchemical splash weapon that inflicts 1d3 slashing damage. Single target splash extracts only affect targets directly hit; otherwise, it affects the primary target + a number of squares affected by splash damage equal to the number of targets the spell could normally affect. This modification of the rules-language really made me smile. No, seriously. That’s HARD to pull off properly. This replaces patron spells. The familiar can btw. be affected by mutagens etc. and is treated as an alchemist; 1st level locks the character into the Cauldron hex and 2nd level’s hex is replaced with Throw Anything, adding + Int modifier to damage caused with thrown weapons, including splash damage. The archetype may also choose a variety of discoveries, treating alchemist levels as -2 class levels and codifies properly them as hex, major hex and grand hex equivalents. Complex modification, but one I really enjoy.

The impetuous dervish gets diminished spellcasting and an unchained monk’s flurry of blows with certain limitations; however, starting at 5th level, the archetype may cast a single spell of at least 3 levels lower than the highest spell level available instead of one of the attacks in the flurry, which may then be delivered as a touch attack. Since the ability is restricted to touch attacks, there are no weird interactions here and 8th level unlocks the option to use this flurry in conjunction with a charge attack. This replaces the familiar and the 8th level hex. Once again, a complex and interesting engine tweak.

Next up would be the insufflators. At first level, the archetype has to choose a cone or line; when using a hex that targets a single creature and usually can be used as a standard action, they may choose to spend a full-round action to exhale magical fog in either a 10-ft. cone or 20 ft.-line, depending on the choice made. Instead of normal saves, the targets may negate the hex’s effects via Reflex saves (or halve damage thus incurred). The ability has a 1d4 rounds cooldown and requires being capable of breathing in deeply. This does read much worse than it is – while the area effect and changed save can potentially be very powerful and while personally, I’d make it provoke an attack of opportunity, the need to come very close does actually even out the power of this option a bit. Instead of 2nd level’s hex, the archetype gets Wicked Breath ( a new feat herein) and may use it in the same shape as the aforementioned breath, at + 1 spell level, rather than +3. Here, I am a bit puzzled: Okay, we choose the same shape as the breath ability – but do we use the range of hag’s breath or that of the feat? It’s just +10 ft/+5 ft. range difference, but still. Patron spell gain is delayed by 2 (minimum 1st) levels and the familiar’s effective level is similarly reduced. 4th level provides the option for the archetype to increase the area affected by hag’s breath by +5 ft. or +10 ft., with every 4 levels beyond the 4th allowing the archetype to take this again. This is also added to Wicked Breath’s affected area. A bit of clarification and we have a really amazing archetype here.

Legionmasters replace the 1st level hex with the option to have multiple familiars, but need to spread their levels among the familiars in question: A 5th level character could e.g. have a 3rd level and a 2nd level familiar. Special familiars like patron familiars, improved familiars, etc. cannot be chosen and all familiars must be of the same species, so no stacking of familiar bonuses. For as long as at least one familiar remains alive, the legionmaster will be able to retain spellcasting. At 4th level, 10th and 16th level, the witch increases her level for the purpose of determining the levels that can be assigned to familiars by +2,, replacing the 3 hexes gained at these levels. Nice: The familiar abilities are concisely elaborated upon: You can’t e.g. store one touch spell charge in multiple familiars and both empathic link and scrying is limited to one familiar. Big plus: Limited use pools that familiars may have are addressed – the collective of familiars shares one pool.

Alter hexes and the 8th level hex is lost and instead, the archetype may choose a teamwork feat instead of a hex. One of these teamwork feats may be allocated to familiars each day, with 8th and 16th level providing the option to grant the teamwork feats to more familiars. A lot could have gone wrong here, and I am duly impressed by the care displayed here; the pdf also addresses the summoner/multi-creature-commander conundrum, explicitly acknowledging this.

The mentor archetype gets a variant cohort at 1st level, dubbed an heir. This character is a commoner with Magical Aptitude, upgrading the character to heroic ability scores and 1st level witch at 3rd level, provided the character has a leadership score that’s high enough. Heir exchanges and 7th level Leadership governed by Int are also included. Both mentor and heir have no patron, and thus use a wizard’s spellbook instead; heir gain access to one spell at 2nd level and every even level thereafter the mentor reaches, treating that as the patron spell. 6th level yields the ability for the mentor to assume a fixed familiar form for the heir – kudos: immunity to polymorph is addressed and does not prevent this form. As a capstone, the mentor may ascend to patronhood, upgrading the heir to PC status. I ADORE this archetype. Not only does it resound with occult traditions and how we often picture the teaching of the black arts to work, it has a replacement PC and serious roleplaying potential basically hard-wired into the archetype and feels incredibly RIGHT to me. I love this one. Heck, you could go Krabat and play the heir to a NPC mentor for an interesting one-shot…

Polytheistic witches represent a crossover with the occultist (imho the most underrated Occult Adventures class) and thus begin play with an implement school, with 6th level and every 6 levels thereafter providing another implement. They cast psychic spells and gain the sorceror’s spells per day, but don’t treat spells as on their spell-list unless they have been gained by patron or implement school, with multiple selections of an implement school covered. This severely limited spell array is expanded by the patron pantheon – the witch gains additional pantheons at 2nd, 9th and 15th level, but spells gained from patrons are cast as arcane spells. Instead of 1st level’s hex, the archetype gains mental focus and may invest it in patrons, increasing the CL of the patron’s spells, with a scaling cap provided. Also at 1st level, the archetype gets the base focus power of their implement school, with new implement schools gained also providing the respective base power. Instead of gaining hexes, the archetype may choose to learn a new focus power chosen from the collective of implement school powers available. Additionally, the archetype may, as a standard action, expend 1 point of mental focus assigned to a patron to grant her familiar the patron powers associated with the patron for 1 minute as though it was a patron familiar. Once again, this is one of the archetypes that really makes me smile – it is interesting, plays differently and provides some highly complex rules-operations, pulled off with panache.

The sanguisage gains the kineticist’s burn, except that the familiar takes lethal damage rather than nonlethal damage. The familiar has no limit on the amount of burn it can accept. The familiar may not be archetype’s and loses Alertness, but gains +1 hit point per level of the master. Instead of 1st level’s hex, the familiar gains Toughness. 2nd level provides the option to choose an arcanist arcane exploit, governed by Int, with 4th level and every 2 levels thereafter allowing the archetype to choose whether to learn an exploit or a hex. 12th level unlocks greater exploits. Instead of using arcane reservoir as a resource, exploits are powered by the familiar’s Burn and if an exploit would kill a familiar, the effect is particularly potent. Yeah, it’s actually an archetype that may make exploding the grossly obese and distended familiar a viable option in a pinch – and it reminded me, big time, of Binding of Isaac. That being said, considering the power of arcanist exploits and the greatly expanded uses that the familiar provides, this may not be for all groups, though the concise list of exploits that could result in weirdness and thus is forbidden makes it run pretty smoothly.

The sightless seer expands the spell-list by all divinations from the sorc/wiz-list and is locked into a new familiar presented herein, the matoyasite crystal, which acts as the eyes of the witch, sharing its sight. They are blind and gain a combination of divination-enhancing feats and hexes over the levels, making for a thematically concise option. There would also be the warweaver, who are proficient with simple weapons and a one-handed martial or exotic weapon as well as light armors and bucklers, but still suffers arcane spell failure chance. They get good Ref-saves and ¾ BAB-progression and bad Will-saves. The archetype receives spells per day as though it was a magus, capping at 6th spell level. Patron spells gained are delayed and 3 are not learned at all. To make up for that, they may use Intelligence modifier for a finessable weapon they’re proficient with. Finally, the whitelighter loses all necromancy spells as well as those with the death and evil descriptors and exude an aura of good. Additionally, they may not target a creature with a spell or SP without getting that creature’s permission as a swift action before dong so, including spell-trigger and –completion items. Interaction with spells they’d usually learn, but can’t due to these restrictions is also covered. Finally, both hex and patron choices are limited by the philosophy of the archetype. The archetype is very much defined by the chosen charge, which may be chosen anew each day, with 8th and 16th level providing an additional charge; the charge may transfer this status for 24 hours as a swift action and the whitelighter’s CL is higher when affecting the charge. The archetype gets healing hexes and increases their potency for the charge – all in all, a pretty flavorful option.

Wood witches would constitute the final archetype in the book, using the druid spell list and treating the spells as arcane and is limited in patron selection; however, they can affect plant creatures with touch spells delivered by their familiar as though they were animals or magical beasts. Patron spells are delayed one level. Interesting: At 2nd level and at 10th level, the archetype gains kineticist blasts (wood blast at 2nd, the seasonal blasts at 10th level), but prepares them as spells, getting the translation right – kudos! While infusions may not be added to them, metamagic feats may be added. 4th level nets the Plant domain or a subdomain thereof at cleric -3 levels, using Intelligence as governing attribute; spells thus gained are added to the spell list, but not automatically gained.

The pdf also contains familiar archetypes: Conduit familiars begin play with the option to deliver touch spells, with higher levels providing the option to deliver other spells as well. Kidnapper familiars get Improved Grapple and may later deliver conjuration (teleportation) effects as part of a grapple. Nasty! Messengers may act as a one-way speaker-box. Interesting selection here!

We also get a massive selection of new patrons, all of which include their own patron familiar abilities – kudos! The patrons are Air, beauty, chains, corrosion, desert, filth, force, glass, intellect, mercy, revelry, screams and shelter – and these are well-crafted regarding spell-selection and benefits.

Beyond the aforementioned crystal, the pdf also provides the stats for the hoop snake (yes!), the winged monkey (double yes!) and the TOME OF TEETH familiars. These come with full stats and if none of them made you smile, I don’t know anymore. Seriously. This is damn cool.

The pdf also features a massive array of new hexes – what about cursing foes with dental decay, decreasing the efficiency of their bites and making them take nonlethal damage when biting or eating? Yeah. What about choosing one hex and being able to use it as an AoO? Vomit forth swarms of increasing potency? Causing creatures to sing? Major hexes and grand hexes can also be found here – including the grand hex that steals your breath…literally.

The new feats included feature an option to use hex instead of spell DC for curses (nice!), more efficient use of conductive weapons, combining Arcane Strike and Hex Strike, lacing hexes into spells, using aforementioned Wicked Breath with rys – some interesting options to fill in some holes in the rules here.

The pdf also contains 2 special materials – hauntwood and matoysite, also known as sightstone – both of these materials not only are explained in a compelling and well-written manner, they make sense – meaningful and nice. The pdf also included Kabal Dunedusk, a sample khvostik polkan witch with the insufflate archetype. The NPC clocks in at CR 11 and comes with a boon for the PCs to gain.

The pdf comes with a bonus-pdf penned by Mark Gedak, which depicts the bladeleaf, a CR nasty fey that is naturally invisible, poisonous and capable of creating a slashing storm of leaves…oh, and they are good archers. Ouch! Nice, lethal little buggers!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on both a formal and rules-language level– which precious few very minor exceptions, this supplement is precise, concise and frankly, even when it sports a minor ambiguity, it is usually one that can be resolved easily. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games’s 1-column standard sans background (printer-friendly!), with purple highlights. The pdf sports a blend of old and new full color artworks. The pdf comes with detailed, nested bookmarks, making navigation quick and precise.

Onyx Tanuki’s first stand-alone book is significantly more impressive than I expected; while there are a few minor hiccups herein, the book managed to do something I did not expect: It honestly managed to excite me. I have seen a LOT of witch-options and this one sports some truly amazing, intriguing ones that simply haven’t been done before. More than that, even the engine-tweaks offer for meaningful changes of the overall playing experience, which is a big plus in my book; similarly, the engine-tweak-style archetypes don’t settle for simple cookie-cutter designs, instead opting for complex rules-operations of pretty high difficulty levels. And the best thing is that, for the vast majority of the content, the pdf gets these perfectly RIGHT. In short, this is a great class-centric pdf and for the low asking price, it provides a LOT of worthwhile, cool material.

Now, usually the minor hiccups would make me rate this at 4.5 stars, rounded up. If you’re really picky about minor ambiguities, that’s what you’ll probably think of this pdf. However, this little pdf actually managed to excite me, to make me want to play a variety of the options herein – considering the material I’ve seen, that does mean something. Moreover, it never went the easy road; it doesn’t sport bland filler that anyone could do – this is honest design work that probably is beyond the skills of many GMs out there, juggling complex concepts and rules-operations. And yes, I tried hard to poke holes into this. The fact that it manages to hold up this well in the face of me poking it bespeaks of quality – it’s one thing to see basic rules-language integrity; it’s another beast to see complex operations performed with panache.

In short: I really like this pdf. It is one of my favorites in the whole series. Add to that the freshman bonus and we arrive at a file that is well worth a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval. If you like the witch class and want to do something novel and fun with it, then check this out – it is one of the best 3pp-option books for the class out there.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Witches of Porphyra
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Hybrid Class: Redeemer
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/31/2017 04:48:44

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This hybrid class clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 10 pages. It should be noted that the pages are formatted for 6’’ by 9’’ size (or A5), thus allowing you to fit up to 4 pages on a given sheet of paper if your sight’s good enough. All righty, so what is the redeemer?

A redeemer is a pala/antipala and rogue hybrid, whose alignment must be within one step of the patron deity’s law/chaos or good/evil axis, The class gets d10 HD, full BAB-progression, good Fort- and Ref-saves, 6 + Int skills per level and proficiency with simple and martial weapons + hand crossbow and light armor as well as shields, excluding tower shields. They gain an alignment-based aura and at 5th level, the redeemer gets access to pala or antipala prepared spellcasting, governed by Wisdom, thankfully with the alignment-determinant caveat firmly in place..

While we’re talking of auras: At 4th level, the class gets a 10-ft. aura that enhances saves versus all alignment-based saves and effects. Starting at 5th level and 1 per level (not class level?) thereafter, the redeemer gets a magic item for cost from his benefactors – which can skew the WBL, so beware there. 9th level provides immunity to charm spells and SPs and +4 to saves versus them for allies within 10 ft., with 17th level providing the same for compulsions. At 15th level, the redeemer’s weapons are always treated as one of the 4 alignment-properties for overcoming DR. 7th level provides immunity to effects that would change the redeemer’s alignment.

Okay, so far, so good – let’s take a look at the unique class features, shall we?

The first of these would be hand of redemption, which is gained at 2nd level and can be used ½ level (class level?) + Wisdom modifier times per day. This can be considered to be a combo of the paladin’s lay on hands and the antipaladin’s touch of corruption, inflicting/healing 1d6 per two class levels, + Wisdom modifier (here, we have class levels). The redeemer gets to freely choose whether to inflict damage or heal and may employ negative and positive energy, which is very potent when used in conjunction with undead PCs. He also treats the ability as the antipaladin and paladin ability for the purpose of prerequisites and for qualifying for Extra Mercy/Cruelty.

Starting at 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter, he gains a redeemer talent, which can provide channel energy (powered by two uses of the hand of redemption) at full level, though here, positive or negative energy must be chosen. Dodge (Yay?) and SP-based low-level divine magic can also be chosen alongside rogue talents and cruelties/mercies. 6th level also unlocks a talent to have two reckonings active at once.

Reckonings? Yep, that would be the second unique ability, and it’s available from the first level onwards. Reckonings last 1 minute per class level (which MUST be consecutive!) and may be started and dismissed as swift actions. We begin with 1/day reckoning and increase that daily number by +1/day at 4th level and every 3 levels thereafter. Reckoning comes in three options, in structure not wholly unlike judgments: 1) if the redeemer’s Wisdom score exceeds that of the target’s Dexterity, if the target doesn’t get Dex-mod to AC or when flanking the target, we get basically sneak attack bonus damage, with number of dice increasing by +1d6 at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter. Additionally, the redeemer gets ½ class level to Sense Motive checks.

The second use of reckoning duplicates locate object, at 5th level alternatively locate creature. “Doing so extends the reckoning’s duration to 10 minutes per level.” Does that apply only to the locate creature use? Not sure. Additionally, the redeemer gets + Wisdom modifier to Steal attempts (bonus type not mentioned) and no longer provokes AoOs while attempting them. He also gets +1/2 class level to Sleight of Hand.

Thirdly, we have the option to add Wisdom modifier to initiative checks and Reflex saves as well as +1/2 class level to Perception to locate traps and Disable Device checks, the latter of which may be used to disarm magical traps. He also gains +1 dodge bonus to AC, which increases by +1 at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter.

At 10th level, one reckoning must be chosen to improve: The improvements, in sequence, are: +1d6 precision damage for the pseudo-sneak; +2 to Sleight of Hand and Steal attempts; or +2 to Reflex saves. 11th level provides the means to expend two uses of reckoning to grant the ability to all allies within 10 ft. “the bonuses last for 1 minute” – as a free action. Okay, so does it have to be the same reckoning as the one of the redeemer, if any? Is it intentional that the redeemer is excluded from this use RAW? RAW, there is no limit on how many reckonings may be active at a given time. That being said, you can’t combo the ability with the double-reckoning-talent. Thankfully.

20th level turns one form of reckoning into a constant ability. Instead of classic archetypes, we do receive a variety of alternate reckonings, including their 10th level iterations. These include being able to freely use all weapons sans penalties while in reckoning and 1/round negating a single AoO (WTF!) as well as adding Wisdom modifier to secondary attack rolls when making full attack action. I assume that to pertain to the second of iterative attacks since 10th level provides that for tertiary attacks, but how does it interact with TWF? Flurries? No idea.

The second reckoning that would replace the sneak attack-y one allows for the use of all combat maneuvers (!) sans AoOs as well as +Wisdom modifier to CMB, +1/2 Wisdom modifier to CMD. At 10th level, we choose one combat maneuver…and gain immunity to it. Flat-out immunity. Deity sunders your blade? Pff, am immune. Not a fan.

Okay, the second reckoning may be replaced with skill boosts when dealing with animals and magical beasts and a better CMD against them or better infiltration skills. The third reckoning can be replaced with a scaling save versus all spells and progressively better magic detection/perception-SPs while in the reckoning. Finally, we have better wilderness survival and Wisdom modifier to melee atk and damage versus plants and elementals.

The pdf comes with a massive array of FCOs for the core races and beyond, many of which add +3 rounds to one reckoning’s duration or 1/6 talent. The pdf comes with a bonus-file penned by Mark Gedak, which contains Esmeralda Alectis, who is a sample CR 8 tiefling redeemer.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting on a formal level are very good. On a rules-language level, the pdf is also sufficiently precise to be considered very good, if not perfect. Layout adheres to Purple Duck games’ 1-column standard, is printer-friendly with purple highlights being the only color. The pdf has no artworks apart from the cover, but comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

The redeemer is not the first hybrid class by Aaron Hollingworth I’ve read, but honestly, I may have expected a bit too much here. The redemption-angle of the class exists in all but name; we have no notes on how e.g. antipalas could become redeemers or how paladins could become redeemers…but that is an issue of nomenclature. I did expect to see a sample code of conduct or two, though….but that falls behind my one central gripe with the class: You see, the redeemer is a very strong and nova-y option: The numerical double-attribute boosts are potent and with the very limited reckoning-uses, the class is predisposed to be rather bursty regarding power…but so, kinda, are antipala and paladin. However, these two do not have the massive skill array in addition to their other tricks.

The limited reckonings and their powers mean that, honestly, using the skill-based reckonings is almost always a bad idea, when the sheer power-upgrades draw from the same resource – making choice matter more would have helped there. The rogue-aspect is also very subdued, as far as I’m concerned and the lack of a fluffy niche for the class makes it pale for me.

And then there’s the big issue – I don’t think, just by describing the class in-game, it’d be able to distinguish it from pala or antipala. They have a flexibility-edge via energy availability, but they lack unique things to do beyond escalation of numbers. Comparably, they are frankly a bit too good for my tastes. Combined with the lack of a proper unique feeling and niche, that makes me shrug and move on; in comparison with the INSPIRED Vessel the author has penned, the redeemer is surprisingly bloodless and standard. I try hard to avoid writing “meh” in my reviews, but that is exactly, the perfect summary of how this made me feel – perhaps it’s me being jaded, but…I was kinda bored by this fellow.

I’m not a big fan of several design-decisions here and, worse, at least to me the class remained very pale; much more so than his Armjack and DEFINITELY more so than his excellent Luminary and Vessel, which I’d advise you to get instead – these two are pretty much worth getting ASAP.

Ultimately, my final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, though I will round up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Hybrid Class: Redeemer
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Vigilantes of Horror II
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/28/2017 05:50:45

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second supplement dealing with horrific vigilantes clocks in at 20 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 15 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, first of all, the archetypes all make use of the variant, transformative Dual Identity variant introduced in the first Vigilantes of Horror-pdf, and yes, it has been reproduced for your convenience here. So, what are the archetypes I’m talking about? The first of these would be a modification that can be applied to them all: The revealed monster, who loses aforementioned dual identity and seamless guise with Toughness and +1 to natural armor bonus, increasing that at 6th level and every 6 levels thereafter. Instead of social talents, the archetype gains bonus feats, which may not be combat feats, item creation feats, Extra Vigilante Talent (important) or metamagic feats – or, alternatively, 2 traits. As an aside – this may be a means for GMs to change an exposed monstrous vigilante!

Okay, so what kind of archetypes do we get? The doll master begins play with 3 animated dolls, plus an additional doll at 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter, animating and de-animating one doll as an immediate action. The doll master can control a maximum of 2 such dolls at any given time. The doll base stats are provided, but things become a tad bit more complex: Upon creation, the doll master chooses one role for the doll and he may never have more than 2 dolls of a given role. The roles btw. correspond, analogue to spirits etc., to the mythic roles: Archmages and Hierophants provide limited SPs, champions and guardians defensive options and e.g. Marshall dolls provide a morale bonus based buff alongside some numerical boons – though it does have an obvious “See Page XX”-glitch that should have been caught.

Trickster dolls, among other things, obviously gain sneak attack. It should be noted that these abilities increase in potency at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter. The pdf concisely covers the means to replace destroyed dolls. Dolls, potent though they be, replace the vigilante specialization. Vigilante talents sans requirements that the doll master learns may instead by granted to the doll – this means that the doll master does not have it, though. When such a doll is destroyed and replaced, the new one does have the doll, which is a plus. 5th level provides startling appearance for the dolls, with 11th and 17th level yielding the follow-up appearance abilities for them. They also, btw., become really good at impersonating mundane dolls.

Beyond this significant modification of the base class, the archetype also sports an exclusive talent, which may be selected multiple times, increasing the potency and options available for the dolls – climb speed, burrow speed, attaching – you get the idea. All in all, an interesting pet-class version of the vigilante, which comes with an amazing full-color artwork.

The second archetype featured in this book would be the glaub, who represents the sentient ooze/blob-angle – instead of vigilante specialization, these guys can perform AoO-less overruns, adding scaling acid damage to targets knocked prone thus. As a minor complaint: The slam attack does not note that it’s a primary natural attack, requiring that you default to the standards. Instead of 1st level’s social talent, the character gains acid resistance 5, which increases by 5 at 3rd, 7th and 10th level, replacing unshakeable. 2nd level’s vigilante talent is replaced with a 10% chance to ignore critical hits and sneak attacks, which increases by +5% per class level attained, up to full 100% immunity at 20th level. Okay, does this stack with light/heavy fortification? No idea.

Starting at 4th level, as part of a standard action, the glaub can slime – all creatures through whose squares the glaub moves must either choose: Make an AoO or try to avoid being slimed (non-scaling Ref-save makes the latter option lose its potency at higher levels ) –slimed opponents take acid damage and are nauseated, but may make Ref-saves against a scaling DC to scrape off the slime. Starting at 12th level, provided the glaub takes the right vigilante talent, targets being slimed are also blinded. 6th level provides a 30 ft.-range option to sling acid damage dealing slime. The damage of this and slams, slime, etc. increases at 10th level. 14th level yields immunity to being tripped and the glaub can no longer be flanked and gains all-around vision. The other exclusive talents of the archetype yield reflexive acid damage, adding entangling to sliming foes, gaining grab in conjunction with slams and the follow-up talent to suffocate grappled targets…which can be rather OP with a min-maxed grappling build. I’d strongly suggest at least tying that to being pinned rather than grappling foes.

The grotesque gains a specific type of bardic performance variant ( 4 + Charisma modifier rounds, +2 per level – which should probably be class level), with 7th and 13th level decreasing the activation action from standard to move and swift action, respectively. Satire is an AoE-debuff to attack and damage rolls and saves versus fear- and charm-effects, increasing the penalty thus caused at 5th level and every 6 levels thereafter. 4th level unlocks mockery, a scaling single-target Charisma-debuff. Inspire weakness nets at 10th level two negative levels to a target, increasing the number of targets affected every 3 levels beyond 9th (slightly off formula – but the maximum of 18th level makes me think that it’s intentional) – and before you’re asking: No, you can’t cheese this, the negative levels vanish upon ending the performance and have a proper save. This replaces the vigilante specialization and the talents gained at 4th, 8th and 10th level and those gained at 14th and 20th level. Grotesques may learn bardic masterpieces they qualify for instead of feats or vigilante talents.

3rd level provides +4 to saves versus fear, energy drain, death effects and necromantic effects , replacing unshakeable. The bonus increases at 9th and 15th level. 6th level’s vigilante talent is exchanged for allows for the use of Perform (keyboard) or Perform (percussion) instead of Intimidate for demoralization purposes and gains +1/2 vigilante level to the check. Furthermore, saves versus fear effects caused by the grotesque are made at a -2 penalty, increasing by -1 every 5 levels thereafter.

The inexorable killer’s melee and thrown weapon ranged attacks inflict +1d6 damage versus targets subject to fear effects – cool: The ability covers both the regular fear conditions AND those featured in Horror Adventures. This damage increases at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter and if he is the source of the fear, he also gets +1 to attack rolls against the target, with scaling of +1 at the same levels that get the bonus damage upgrade. When using a terror strike thus, starting at 2nd level, the killer can Cha-mod times per day as an immediate action heal 5 hit points per terror strike’s bonus damage die. 3rd level provides a bonus to track victims after having struck them, as well as gaining a bonus on checks made to demoralize that target – he may only have one such victim active at one time. Solid. 4th level yields aura of menace and 6th level upgrades terror strike’s damage out put: The bonus damage is doubled versus unarmed and flat-footed foes: Kudos: Improved Unarmed Strike, natural attacks etc. are exempt from that. 18th level resurrects the slain killer 1d4 years after he has been dispatched – and an ally of the killer can sacrifice 10 people as a substitution material component to call the killer back from the dead. While this provides a sort of immortality, at 18th level, this makes sense and can be countered…and it’s really, really flavorful.

Nightmare prowler vigilantes receive a modified class skill list as well as a decreased number of skills per level –only 4 + Int-mod. They also lose proficiency with medium armor and are proficient with simple weapons and one exotic weapon of their choice. The archetype casts spells as a psychic, but uses Charisma as governing attribute for spellcasting, replacing 4th, 8th, 10th, 14th and 16th’s level’s vigilante talent. An important limit: The archetype can only cast spells with the evil, fear, pain or mind-influencing descriptors from the psychic and sorc/wizard-lists. 5th level provides the option to 1/day as a full-round action duplicate ethereal jaunt for up to class level rounds. The prowler can’t attack while in this form, but his spells may affect sleeping, meditating or unconscious creatures – such targets also take 1d6 slashing damage per spell level, waking up on a successful save 10th level allows the archetype to affect creatures suffering from a number of negative conditions and 20th level delimits the ability. This is a very potent archetype; personally, I think that the bonus damage should allow for its own save or at least half damage upon making the save, but that may be me. If you enjoy the obvious Freddy-style of the archetype and want it to be sufficiently deadly…well, up to +9d6 guaranteed damage per spell can do that.

Strange Invaders replace vigilante specialization with the omicron beam, which can be fire Intelligence modifier + class level times per day, in a 5 ft. wide, 30 ft.-line, dealing a base damage of 1d4 untyped (not a fan of this, but it IS at least properly spelled out!) damage, increasing the damage output at every odd level. And yeah, Ref-save halves, so that remains palpable. Really interesting: Invaders exchange the penalties and bonuses gained by morale/fear-effects; I LOVE this, idea-wise, but I do think that morale bonuses, switched to penalties, should then allow for a save. The appearance ability tree at 5th level is replaced with losing type and subtype, becoming basically a type-wise non-entity; additionally, the archetype treats cold damage as nonlethal damage starting at this level. The talents of the archetype interact with omicron beams, allowing for shaping of the beam – and the consumption of those eliminated via the beam. There is a remnant “End” in one of the abilities, though.

The towering terror increases HD to d10 and reduced skills per level to 2 + Intelligence, but loses all armor proficiency. Instead of vigilante specialization, the character is permanently affected by enlarge person and monkey fish, while also gaining slam attack (need to default to primary here) and a natural AC bonus equal to Constitution modifier, with 6th level and every 6 levels thereafter increasing the size. It’s a bit of a pity that higher level terrors can’t control their size-increase – the size-increase can be detrimental, particularly at higher levels. Starting at 3rd level, the archetype no longer takes size penalties in urban, mountain and water terrain, which is pretty cool. 6th level yields the option to inflict double damage with slams versus unattended objects. At 18th level , the character gets to choose one of several abilities, from grab to trample. Since the character gets a size-increase at 12th level, losing both 12th and 18th level’s talents for this does make sense.

The final archetype would be the witchspawn, who is always hovering 1 inch and halving weight, with +2 to ref-saves. 5th level yields a fly speed (not flight speed) equal to base land speed, but fails to specify maneuverability – boo! The archetype can summona rotten skeletal arm within 30 ft., +10 ft. at 3rd level and every 2 class levels thereafter. This arm is treaed as a primary natural attack inflicting 1d6 damage (damage type?) , using Charisma to govern attack and damage bonus. The arm lasts for Charisma modifier rounds, and has ¼ of the vigilante’s hit point. Would that be current or maximum hit points? What if a vigilante has less than 4 hit points? No idea. The arm can make Disable Device checks at a -2 penalty and at 6th level and every 5 levels thereafter, the vigilante can summon forth an additional claw when using this ability. Here, the limb is suddenly classified as a claw, which allows for the defaulting of damage types, at least. 7th level increases the critical threat range to 19 – 20, with1 4th level increasing it to 18 – 20.

2nd level yields a non-harmless hex, but these may only affect a target damaged by an arm, as though using Hex Strike. However, triggering the hex is a swift action. 8th level and every 6 levels thereafter yields another hex, with 14th level unlocking major hexes. 3rd level yields hex ward instead of unshakeable. 10th level provides the option, to, as a full-round action, use the arms to drag creatures into solid objects, dazing them on a failed save. 17th level allows for the inflicting of negative levels via concerted claw attacks…which is slightly problematic. It only refers to “claws”, not the claws called forth by the ability, making this very potent for vigilantes who have claws themselves. 20th level unlocks a grand hex.

The vigilante also gets to choose from 2 new social talents – one for 2 traits and one that nets an aura that penalizes saves versus fear-effects and Perception…but also yields an initiative bonus, dismissable at-will as a free action…really interesting! Two thumbs up for this one. The pdf also sports two vigilante talents – one for a second slam attack and one that nets a corruption manifestation sans having to acquire the associated corruption, though the manifestation may not have prerequisites.

The nice tradition of sporting vendettas as nice roleplaying angles is continued in this pdf. The pdf also sports haunted items – which may not be created – these are basically horror-themed items, like whips that animate to lash out, bottles containing grudges…these items are flavorful and ooze cool horror-tropes – big kudos there. Beyond these, eldritch items, also intended as adventure hooks, can similarly not be created or fully understood, including weird infrasound instruments, bolts of etheric silk or the strange last hourglass. Nice: The pdf does offer magic item properties for crafting purposes that interact with Horror Adventure’s expanded fear-system – for this alone, this may well be worth getting for some campaigns.

The pdf comes with a bonus pdf penned by Mark Gedak and Perry Fehr – it depicts the Blood Scarecrow monster (with neat full-color artwork) at CR 4 – who not only gets a throwing pitchfork, but also the ability to choke foes and fly in moonlight. Oh, and paralyzing gaze. It’s a brutal foe for CR 4 and definitely a worthwhile challenge for heroes, unlike many, many iterations of the trope.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good to good on a formal level; however, on a rules-language level, while the pdf gets a LOT really well, often complex operations, it does sport some hiccups that act as slight detriments, sometimes influencing the rules-language. Layout adheres to PDG’s printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf’s full-color pieces are pretty damn cool. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks.

Aaron Hollingworth’s growth as a designer, when compared to book I, is pretty evident: The designs are bolder, more unique and provide meaningful alterations to the base chassis, with very strong themes for all options. The book risks more and for the most part, in spite of the risks and higher complexity of the abilities, it does a better job at what it sets out to do; I found myself smiling at many pieces of content here, though the rules-language does stumble in a few cases. With a bit polishing in that regard, this could have been one of the best vigilante-supplements out there. Scratch that, even with these hiccups, it still is a pretty impressive book and one of my definite favorites regarding option books for the class. In fact, more so than any other book of vigilante supplements, this one may be worth getting even if you don’t use the class for PCs – as an NPC-toolkit and due to the inspiring items, this has something to offer beyond the options for the class.

While not perfect, this comes still with a definite recommendation at 4.5 stars, and while personally, I love this, in my official capacity as reviewer, I have to account for the minor flaws and thus can’t round up. Still, very much worth getting if the content mentioned even remotely intrigues you!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Vigilantes of Horror II
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Vigilantes of Horror
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/25/2017 05:02:52

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of class-options in Purple Duck Games series clocks in at 18 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 15 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, first of all – all archetypes herein share a certain leitmotif, namely that they employ the classic Jekyll/Hyde dichotomy, classifying the vigilante identity as something monstrous; as this transformation is more than the application of make-up etc., e.g. hats of disguise (not properly italicized, in a nitpick – as a whole, I noticed a few instances of spell references etc. that should be italicized) do not hasten the procedure; the monstrous vigilante identity may not be good and as such, a good character changing into it must succeed a Will-save, mirroring to a degree Jekyll’s struggle. This holds true for all vigilantes of horror and thus, this modification of Dual Identity precedes the following archetypes.

All righty, so what do the archetypes offer? The corpseborn, basically the Frankenstein#s monster-equivalent, replaces vigilante specialization with jolting nerves, usable 1/day +1/day at every odd level thereafter. This makes his eyes glow and allows for the addition of 3 + character level (oddly, not class level) on any one d20 roll as an immediate action. This should imho be tied to class levels and sport a proper bonus type– RAW, the massive boost is very dippable. 2nd level makes the character count as Large for the purposes of Intimidate and combat maneuver checks instead of that level’s vigilante talent and 6th level provides electricity resistance 5, which increases by +5 every 6 levels thereafter, replacing 6th level’s vigilante talent. 12th level’s vigilante talent is replaced with immunity to bleeding damage as well as +10 to Heal checks to treat the corpseborn. At 18th level, the corpseborn can execute a 1/day, potentially lethal save-or-die attack. Personally, I think massive damage would make sense instead and while I like how it is flavored, with electricity damage on a successful save, I think that immunity to electricity should probably render immune against it. On an aesthetic hiccup – the ability is called “Act of Revenge” and the internal text calls it “revenge attack” – not a bad glitch, mind you.

The second archetype herein would be the loup garou, who is moon-influenced and thus gains +2 to initiative Knowledge (geography), Perception, Stealth and Survival, increasing the bonus +by +1 at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter. He also treats all terrain as favored terrain while outdoors and above ground, but not submerged in water. Thankfully, this does not stack with favored terrain, but it can yield some potent combinations when interacting with abilities that only work in favored terrain. This replaces the vigilante specialization. 2nd level yields a bite, 4th claw attacks (properly codified!! YES!), both instead of vigilante talents. 6th level yields +2 to Will-saves while in vigilante identity, +1 every 6 levels thereafter. 12th level provides DR 10/silver, which increases by +5 every 4 levels thereafter and 18th level nets at-will locate creature.

The mummified replaces the specialization with entangler, which is basically a Charisma-based SP entangle with a 30 ft.-range. First, affecting only one target, + an additional target at 3rd level and every odd level thereafter. Again, I think that ought to be class levels, but I may be wrong here. 2nd level provides a +2 bonus to saves versus disease, death effects and poisons that increases by +1 at 8th level , 12th and 18th level. 6th level provides a 25% chance to ignore crits and precision damage etc., stacking with light fortification, but not heavy fortification – both of which are not italicized.12th level yields a mummy’s despair aura, usable for class level + Charisma modifier rounds per day and thankfully, with a 24-hour caveat and proper activation action– kudos there! 18th level nets a nice curse.

Podling vigilantes nets a Will-save penalizing pollen/spore aura that increases in potency at 5th level and every 5 levels after that– and thankfully comes with a means to immunize fellow adventurers. 2nd level yields a thorn body-equivalent ability, usable for class level round per day and 6th level provides at-will tree shape, with 12th level providing plant shape I, which upgrades to II and III at 14th and 16th level, respectively. 18th level yields the ability to generate low-CR plant creatures…which is pretty cool! Reeflings get increasing non-lethal bonus damage when using unarmed strikes versus grappled foes and better grappling capabilities as well as the means to carry around heavy loads unimpeded, making for a solid abductor angle. 2nd level provides swim speed equal to land speed and +4 Stealth (should be capitalized) while swimming. 6th level yields properly codified claws….that should mention that the nonlethal bonus damage can be inflicted with them – RAW, unarmed attacks =/= natural attacks. 12th level provides +1 natural armor bonus with accompanying keen armor spikes, and 18th level nets water breathing as well as deep dweller.

The vampiryst vigilante can suck blood from helpless/pinned/etc. targets to heal and/or gain temporary hit points – with a cap AND the important caveat that prevents abuse of the ability via a bag of kittens – kudos! The archetype is also extremely adept at throwing off suspicion regarding the alternate identity and is treated as undead in vigilante identity – solid modification of seamless guise.2nd level yields a properly codified bite attack and 6th level, your choice of either claw or slam attacks – properly codified, once more. 12th level yields DR 3/silver and magic and cold resistance, both of which increases at 16th and 20th level. 18th level yields beast shape II and the ability to communicate with the children of the night. Finally, the vanished may, at 2nd level, duplicate invisibility for class level + Charisma modifier rounds, but also becomes slightly insane while vanished thus, taking a -2 penalty to Will-saves. 6th level provides the character’s choice of always ghost touch, SPs or a deflection bonus to AC while invisible and 12th level upgrades the invisibility to greater invisibility, but also increases the Will-penalty. At 18th level, entering invisibility also is accompanied by a constant rage. And yes, this guy does not trade in the vigilante specialization, just fyi

This is only where the pdf starts, though: 9 social talents include undead nobility (mindless undead don’t attack you, unless commanded), gaining a willing victim (love interest, Igor… with all 10 ability scores), easier means of purchasing mundane items (though they are fragile), etc. – these are flavorful and make sense. The pdf’s main meat, apart from the aforementioned archetypes, however, would be the massive list of vigilante talents: From being able to properly yield absurd weaponry (lethal damage via non-lethal weapons, +1 damage for improvised weapons), 1/day Jason-style short-range teleport (not italicized properly…)…oh, and torturing helpless victims to deal ability damage and confuse them, aquatic adaption, vomiting acid splash, burrowing…what about corpseborn vigilantes gaining electrical spikes? Yeah, there are some gems here…but admittedly also some filler talents à la”+1 to CMD”. That being said, I absolutely ADORE the ability to 1/week choose a sensation like a smell, a sound – you know the like. All creatures within 10 miles get that sensation, subtly alerting them to your presence. While an activation action would have been nice, seeing how it is more of a NPC/flavor ability, chances are you won’t use it in battle…or would you? You see, it makes for a potent alarm-system, so yeah…activation action would have been nice: Though Su would make me assume standard, immediate would make more sense to me. Gliding capes, better grappling via tentacles/vines/bandages, better Escape Artist via temporarily taking off a limb – there are some real gems here that fit perfectly with the themes. What about adding silence to the appearance-based angles? Oh, and there would be the talent that lets you eat two types of organs from a corpse to heal ability damage or remove negative conditions…

Really neat: The pdf sports 20 sample vendettas, basically in-character goals that fit with the horror vigilante-theme. The final page is devoted to new magic items, all of which are situated in the upper power/price echelon: Coffin Armor for the discerning, traveling vampire. The noose of strangulation, a really potent killer-whip….the razor-glove of the dreamslayer (cue Freddy…) and more…these items rock and end the pdf on a high note. The pdf also comes with a bonus-file, penned by Mark Gedak, one depicting Augustus Silvermane, a CR 6 aasimar rook.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting re very good on a formal level; on a rules-language level, the pdf has a couple of hiccups and oversights, but the formatting in particular is the most inconsistent part here – both regarding italicizations and class vs. character level, there are a couple of glitches that do influence the rules-integrity of the pdf. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games’ two-column standard and is pretty printer-friendly, with only purple highlights. The pdf has neat full-color artworks inside and comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

I am a sucker for the classic horror monsters. There, I said it. I read them all. I wrote papers about them. I GM’d Ravenloft for the better part of my adult life. As such, it should come as no surprise that I’m really, really enjoying this pdf – and if you’re like me, you’ll probably feel the same. As a GM toolkit or as a file for someone looking for a more morally ambiguous vigilante experience steeped in the classics of Gothic Horror, well, this is for you.

At the same time, one could also make a good point for Aaron hollingworth’s pdf falling short of the excellence it could have achieved – the hiccups in the rules-language do accumulate, to the point where min-maxy players can get some problematic combos out of dipping….issues that could have easily been prevented. My second gripe with the pdf would be that the vigilante talents sport some filler that made me question why it’s there in the first place – apart from min-maxing number-boosts.

That being said, the pdf does contain some gems and the aforementioned issues do not require much GM skill to handle; as a whole, this does have sufficient rules-integrity to use as written. Still, as much as I love a lot of the tricks herein, the glitches do drag this down a notch – my final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo – well worth checking out if you like the idea, in spite of the rough edges.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Vigilantes of Horror
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Hybrid Class: Vessel
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/16/2017 06:42:15

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Hybrid Class clocks in at 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 23 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, what is the vessel? In short, it is a hybrid class of the medium and the oracle, but that is not really enough to adequately describe it. Chassis-wise, the class gets ¾ BAB-progression, good Will-saves, d8 HD, proficiency with simple weapons, light and medium armor and 4 + Int skills per level. Vessels start drawing spells from both medium and cleric spell-lists, starting at 4th level, casting them as psychic spells which are governed by Charisma as spellcasting attribute. As you will have noted, they are cast spontaneously and the class does not treat cleric spells of higher than 4th level as belonging to the list and is beholden to alignment restrictions regarding cleric spells. This also btw. Takes into account how orisons are treated as knacks. It should be noted, btw., that the class comes with a massive, custom spell-list you can use instead of blowing it wide open. An interesting pecualirity would be that the class does not cast at -3 levels, in spite of gaining spellcasting late – this does look like it may be an intentional decision, however.

Now, it is impossible to talk about this class without first explaining the centerpiece of the class, the cursed spirits: 6 are presented and he may choose one upon preparing spells, being granted divine bonuses and revelations that may be prepared. Similarly, each spirit is also defined by a curse the vessel must bear while thus possessed. A vessel can prepare one revelation from a spirit, +1 at 3rd level and every levels tehreafter. Unless otherwise noted, these are standard actions and the vessel can dismiss spirits as a full-round action, losing the respective abilities. Saving throw DCs are governed by Charisma and follow the 10 + ½ class level + Cha-mod formula. A vessel gains a spirit bonus while channeling a spirit, starting at +1 at 1st level and increasing that by +1 at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter.

Starting at 2nd level, the vessel may avoid failure: After rolling a d20, the vessel can allow his cursed spirit to add +1d4 without requiring an action. This may be used 2 + Charisma modifier times per day and 10th and 20th level increase die-size by one step. At 4th level and again at 6th level and every 3 levels thereafter, the vessel may once completely reassign his skills over night. 5th level yields location channel, duplicating call spirit and requiring that other characters pose the questions. 7th level eliminates the requirement for a special connection to the spirit called via location channel. 13th level yields a reliable, non-draining contact other plane. 14th level provides astral projection, but 18th level becomes really interesting: If an ally that has participated in the special location channel seance (which, like other abilities, refer to it as seance – which it is, granted, but using the name would have been better) dies, the vessel can take his spirit, forming basically a two-player gestalt – really cool, as it allows for the dead PC’s player to still act! The complex rules also work. The capstone may be freely chosen from the spirits and remains active, regardless of spirit inhabiting the vessel. These are potent and flavorful.

Okay, so, what do these spirits do? Well, the Babling Priest is cursed by tongues, with 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter yielding an increase of the powers granted by the curse. Each spirit has unique, custom revelations that include, in this one as an example, better spellcasting under the starry sky, calling down the cold of interstellar cold, immunity to lycanthropy or the like; big kudos for going the extra mile and providing custom packages for the spirits! The other spirits share, btw., a similarly strong array of leitmotifs: The blinded warlord gets battlecries, healing and defensive capabilities, and special, supernatural martial tricks. The disturbed captain is haunted and can call forth the spirits of the dead as shields, as buffs, become incorporeal, etc. The hobbled lictor may be lame (regarding his legs), but is anything but lame, design-wise: With his rusting grasp, item conjuration, scrying through iron and his martial tricks, he makes for a damn cool spirit. The unhearing criminal is one with his city, a nameless killer hiding in urban environments and from urban survival to intelligence gathering, he is the spirit you want. The withered sage, struck by wasting, provides limited arcane spell access and may use his Charisma instead of Dex for AC and Ref-saves with the right revelation. Symbol spells and Knowledge tricks complement this one.

All of these spirits have several things in common: They feel complex and interesting, archetypical without being too specific; they offer a surprisingly unique variety of tricks each and they make for damn cool options. Oh, and their rules-language is point on. They also breathe that sense of the occult, of slight hints of the darker, that really made the class stand out for me. Now, if you prefer a less occult-feeling version, fret not: I’d like to direct your attention to the archetype presented herein, namely the primalist, who replaces the spirits gained by the regular vessel with elemental spirits (no surprise there, given Porphyra’s element-theme) –beyond the 4 classic elements, creation and destruction make up for the missing two spirits to bring the archetype to 6: And yes, these are depicted in just the same, highly-detailed manner.

And yes, they have curses assigned to them, which is a bit weaker from a fluff point of view in my mind, but retains the spirit (haha!) of the class. The custom revelation lists for these fellows include being able to assume a form of pure life eenergy that allows you to walk through allies to heal them (with a limit, thankfully!) or damage the undead; stagger foes with attack spell crits; establishing life links…we have some healing options here that are relatively unique and uncheesable. Now, not all aspects are perfect – uttering a doom-prophecy debuff, for example, imho should be language-dependant and is “only” mind-affecting – but as a whole, the mechanics are surprisingly concise and really well-crafted. Seeing through stone and earth, gaining steelbreaking skin…it’s really uncanny. Whenever I think I have seen everything cool that can be done with the very well-covered elemental theme, some author from PDG’s cadre surprises me in a positive manner!

4 feats are included: One can double the spirit surge bonus for a 1 hour cool-down; 1 nets +1 revelation. Mixed spirits allows you to be inhabited by 2 spirits, with stacking benefits and penalties, which is pretty much a must-have feat for the class, locked behind 2nd level, which may be a bit early. Wakeful Spirit lets the spirit guard you while sleeping and allows you to wake up as a move action, sans this hassle with the sleeping rules. The pdf provides a massive list of favored class options, which cover not only the core races and some of the more exotic ones, but also a significant assortment of Porphyran races. These are all solid and we conclude with Madame Xemu, a sample CR ½ level 1 human vessel currently inhabited by the disgruntled captain.

The pdf also comes with a bonus file: The Shadowcat monster, penned by Mark Gedak. Clocking in at CR 8, we have basically a psionic chameleon cat with a serious damage output Really deadly and perfect for when your PCs stopped fearing dire lions etc. At Str 25, these fellows bring the pain!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch. On both a formal and rules-language level – I noticed no crucial hiccups and the only valid complaint I could come up with would be the nomenclature of referring to seances. That’s it. Layout adheres to a full-sized 2-column standard in b/w with purple highlights – printer-friendly, no complaints. The pdf has no art apart from the covers. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience, with nested bookmarks and all. The bonus pdf has no bookmarks, but since it contains one creature, they wouldn’t have made sense anyways.

First of all: Kudos to editors, Perry Fehr and N. Jolly for making this as crisp as it is –bonus types are concise, complex rules precise and healing is cheese-proof. And, of course, the congratulations should extend to the author Aaron Hollingsworth, who has come a long way indeed. You see, hybrid classes have a tough position: In order to be truly valid, they have to be more than the sum of their parent classes. Similarly, they need something that sets them apart as a distinct entity, something unique that changes the playing experience beyond what a simple archetype could provide. And preferably, they should also have their own in-game identity. The vessel succeeds at all those tasks. The low-level spellcasting capping at 4th level makes the class not one for novice players, but the spirits are amazing. The flexibility is here and the vessel plays in a truly distinct and interesting manner.

The spirits are cooler than those of the standard medium, at least as far as I’m concerned, and they offer a serious array of unique options that make the class feel unique. The bang for buck ratio is also strong in this one: You get basically an alternate class as an archetype (MASSIVE!) that’s just as strong, if in a different tone, as the base class and the length of the options is neat, particularly considering the more than fair price point. Now yes, I had a couple of comments here and there, but I honestly consider the vessel to be one of the best hybrid classes I’ve covered so far – precise, unique, fun – this is well worth getting and I really hope we’ll get alternate spirits at one point, to exchange with the existing ones – the archetypical, storied tropes employed here really struck a chord with me. If you even remotely like how occult classes feel, then this is a must.

In short: This is an excellent, affordable offering, well worth a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Hybrid Class: Vessel
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CE 8 - Goblins of the Faerie Wood
by Florent D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/02/2017 07:17:15

Very fun module. Exactly what i was searching for for my "goblin funnel". I know it's a niche product for a a sub-genre, but if you want to play a goblin funnel, this is exactly what you need ! I played the module with D&D5 and the "fifth edition funnel" rules (you can find them on DTrpg), re-worked some rules for about 3 hours to convert DCC to 5th and it went really smoothly. We had a real good time and quite a laugh :-) Thx purple duck !



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
CE 8 - Goblins of the Faerie Wood
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Stock Art: Dragonmagi
by Steven T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/31/2017 12:50:01

Gary always provides top notch artwork, whether it's stock art or an original commission for a project.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stock Art: Dragonmagi
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Gunslingers Unchained
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/14/2017 04:28:07

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 35 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 31 pages of content. It should be noted that these pages are formatted for booklet-sized supplements, meaning you can fit up to 4 pages of the pdf on a given sheet of paper when printing it out, provided your eye-sight's good enough, that is.

The unchained gunslinger presented herein gets d10 HD, 4+ Int skills per level, full BAB-progression, good Ref- and Will-saves, as well as proficiency with simple and martial weapons and firearms as well as light armors. They begin play with Gunsmith and blunderbuss, musket or pistol as choices. The gunslinger must maintain the weapon each morning - failure to spend 10 minutes with a gunsmith's kit means that he loses the Gun Training bonuses. These are gained at 4th level and require that the gunslinger chooses one specific firearm: he gets + Dex-mod damage with it and reduces the misfire rate by 1 to a minimum of 0. Misfires with it increase the misfire value by only 2 instead of 4 Every 4 levels thereafter, the gunslinger gains gun training with a new gun and further decreases the misfire value by 1 - I assume for all guns, but RAW, it could be read as pertaining only to guns with previously existing gun training. When a gunslinger gains a new guntraining, he gains a +1 bonus to damage with all firearms chosen for gun training on previous levels A new gun training is gained every 4 levels after the 4th, excluding the 20th. 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter net a bonus feat chosen from the combat and grit-feats.

True grit, just fyi, remains unchanged, though there is a serious change to grit: For the unchained gunslinger, it is governed by Intelligence, rather than the default Wisdom, which makes the gunslinger class more skill-friendly.

Okay, so far, so common, right? Well, this is pretty much where the similarities to the regular iteration come to a screeching halt: The deed-system has been completely revamped: For one, you do NOT automatically get a variety of deeds at certain levels - instead we have player agenda, namely a new deed gained at 1st level and every 2 levels thereafter. Furthermore, the deeds each now have an active AND a passive component: The passive one is always on as long as the gunslinger has a point of grit left. The active one may be activated by spending the grit cost. Furthermore, the class recognizes so-called Trick Shot deeds as a subcategory, which may be activated as part of an attack, even a full attack, with free selection of which shot will be used - however, only one trick shot deed may be performed in one full attack, providing some nice tactical considerations.

The benefits of the respective deeds tend to scale in two steps and some feature minimum level requirements. Saving throw DCs, when applicable, are btw. governed by Intelligence. - but let's take a look at their precise benefits: Advanced Training hinges on choosing two skills; one of these may be a non-class skills, which becomes a class skill: These skills gain a surge-like bonus while the gunslinger has grit, one that actually behaves like an exploding die: Rolls of "4" let you roll again and total the maximum, with Intelligence modifier capping the exploding die. While one sentence is slightly awkward in its verbiage here, the intent remains pretty clear. By expending one point of grit, the gunslinger gains the Skill Unlock's benefits for the next application with one such skill. I assume that ranks still matter and that this works with taking 10 and 20, but clarification would have been nice here, if only to err on the side of caution.

Where things get really nasty is Cheat Death: When reduced below 0 hp, spend four grit to instead be reduced to only 1 hit point. This can thankfully only be done 1/round. Passive bonus-wise, we have scaling bonuses to Fort-saves to stabilize...wait, what? That would not be correct - stabilizing requires Constitution checks last time I checked, not Fort-saves! The 4 grit-cost is brutal and means you won't be doing it often - neither can you maintain a reliable invincibility, which is a good thing in my book. Still, I do think this should have a minimum level. A level 1 gunslinger being able to withstand a meteor swarm just feels wrong to me.

We can also find deafening or fascinating shots, the option to cause sonic damage in bursts to those nearby when firing, fire dazzling flares (including the option to shoot them at targets for scaling fire damage instead). Duck for Cover now provides evasion as a passive benefit, and the option for an adjacent ally to use the worse of the two rolls of the gunslinger's Ref-save - which makes sense to me. There also is an improved version, with higher range and better benefits. Flash rounds are also interesting, increasing condition severity at higher levels as an option included. Fluorescent blasts can be neat as well. At 6th level, there is a deed that lets you spend 1 grit to bet on how often you hit. You wager 1 point of grit per attack you think will hit - if you match or exceed your bet, you gain bonus damage on all shots fired equal to 1d4 times the number of attacks that hit in the following round; if not, however, you lose double the amount of grit wagered AND imposes a penalty to damage equal to the amount of grit wagered. The passive benefit reduces the penalties for attacks beyond the first by granting a +1 bonus that scales up to +3 - which is not only insanely strong, it also can leave you in the awkward position of e.g. having a better BAB with off-hand than main hand.

Quick clear's passive benefit, just fyi, now reduces the misfire rate by 1. Quick draw provides scaling initiative bonuses (which can be very strong, particularly in mythic gameplay, I'd disallow that). Firing rounds that scent the target and make him easy to track thus are pretty damn cool, as is the option to increase movement - and upon getting far enough away from hostile creatures, you regain one grit Which is dumb. Add signature deed and you have infinite grit replenishment. after combats. This is a puzzling oversight to me, since quite a few of the deeds do take this potential reduction into account.

At 1st level, 2nd level and every even level thereafter, the class gains a really cool innovation that further sets it apart: Contraptions. These represent mechanical devices and knickknacks, which are mundane or supernatural. Contraptions have limited uses, which replenish upon resting. The verbiage that explains that Intelligence is the governing spellcasting attribute, class level the caster level for those that duplicate spell effects is somewhat jarringly non-standard, though at least functional. Similarly, there are a couple of instances throughout where italicizations have not been implemented properly - remnant (i)s have not been closed a couple of times.

But let's talk about contraptions: From earhorns that grant echolocation to breach explosives that can wreck doors, cream that temporarily increases object hardness, the ideas are really cool, though e.g. the mixing of damage types in the otherwise cool dead man's explosive west could be clearer - is it 1d6 fire + 1d6 bludgeoning damage per gunslinger level or it half fire and half bludgeoning damage? On the plus-side, yes, we do get the info to disarm them! An exoskeleton that grants haste feels weird to me - it should have stats, weight, occupy a slot...or have different dressing. I get the angle, but it doesn't really work for the benefit here. On the plus-side: Horseless carriage? 9th level breath of life-defibrillator? Engines that make food and water (prolonged use can make you really nauseous, though...), named bullets - there is a lot of cool stuff to be found, often with slightly science-fantasy-ish flair.

The pdf provides 3 archetypes: The bootleg alchemist replaces grit and the 1st level deed with an unstable mutagen and loses all deeds, replacing them with a unique formulae-progression for extracts, though he can still gain deeds via Extra Deed. The archetype also comes with sample discoveries.. The construct tinkerer can choose one of three base construct companions, gaining upgrades instead of bonus tricks - kudos: natural attacks are properly codified and having an afterburner on your companion rocks. The spell-reference to at-will mend should refer to the proper name, mending, though. It thankfully only allows the tinkerer to fix the companion. And yes, it RAW does use Handle Animal - you get a robo-dog/copter...thingy in exchange for 5 deeds. The motley gunman, the third archetype, gains the vigilante's dual identity and may choose one of three versions of his cloak of motley colors. Unfortunately, the higher level options, with some patches only being available for some cloaks, are pretty hardcore. They are, fyi, replacing the contraptions with magic abilities and a exploding dice mechanic for temporary hit points that is tied to them in per se interesting ways that do, however, oscillate regarding their power.

The feats include Extra Deeds, Contraptions, Patches and Upgrades.

The pdf comes with a cool bonus-pdf penned by Perry Fehr that depicts the Beavertail (aka Bebruzila), a Small fey with adamantine teeth and a particular aptitude for item creation when wood is concerned - nice critter!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are a weak point of this pdf: We have quite a few remnant "(i)"s that should have been caught and oh boy, could I pick apart non-standard wording in this one. Which brings me to the rules-language...which is actually surprisingly good! I mean it! This is a rather complex modification and for that (and the fact that this is, to my knowledge, the author's freshman offering!), this is a pretty impressive book! It is precise...for the most part. But there is a reason I harp on maintaining the precise wording - the issues that can be found fall in one of two categories and one is the glitches due to nonstandard verbiage. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' 1-column standard with purple highlights and the pdf provides a solid full-color artwork. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Zachery Cothern's unchained gunslinger is an impressive freshman offering - while verbiage of quite a few abilities deviates a bit from the standard, for the most part, this is a well-crafted class. The author's inexperience does show in a couple of the balance- and design-decisions, but it rears its head significantly less often than I would have expected from such an offering. More importantly, the unchained gunslinger herein actually is a more rewarding class than the base gunslinger. The Int-focus, use of contraptions etc. makes this a really interesting and, dare I say, fun option. Mathematically, a 3/4 BAB would have made sense and gotten rid of the "I always hit"-syndrome gunslingers at higher levels experience, but you can't have everything, I guess.

This pdf offers a ton of things to love and I found myself enjoying this significantly more than I thought I would. At the same time, I wish a strict rules-developer had gone over the verbiage and some of the more questionably balanced options and smoothed them over. This is, with a bit of work, pretty much a 5-star class regarding its chassis. At the same time, I can't rate what it would be with some work; I have to rate what's here. And that could, in parts, use a whack with the nerf-bat here, a minimum level requirement for a deed there - you get the idea.

If you're a GM and willing to invest a bit of time to make this fellow shine, then you'll never look back to the vanilla gunslinger. I mean it. I like this class much more than the standard version, balance-concerns of some tidbits be damned - this class is more versatile and rewarding and I love the revised deed-system with its active/passive-abilities. With one dev-pass by a veteran, this can be made into a true star of a pdf!

On the downside, if you want a class to just plug and play, then this fellow can yield some issues in the details, particularly for lower-powered gaming groups. Hence, my final verdict would be 3.5 stars, for a quintessential mixed bag on the positive side, one with brilliant highlights, but also dark shadows. I'd usually round down here...however, since this also is a freshman offering, it gets the freshman bonus and thus, my final verdict will round up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Gunslingers Unchained
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Fabulous Archetypes
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/07/2017 05:14:55

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 1/3 pages of SRD, leaving us with 9 2/3 pages of content, so let's take a look! It should be noted that the pages are formatted and laid out for a 6'' by 9'' booklet standard, which means you can fit up to 4 of these pages on a given sheet of paper if your eyesight is good enough to cope with the letter-size.

We begin with a brief Yeats-quote as well as a short definition of what "fabulous" means within the context of this pdf before moving on to the unicorn rider cavalier archetype, who is locked into good alignment and a properly statted unicorn mount companion. (As a minor complaint from someone who has spent too many hours playing Robot Unicorn Attack's metal-version - pity, I wanted black unicorns...). The archetype comes with its own order, which is set apart by the unicorn choosing the rider. Edicts etc. are concisely defined and Perform and Survival are added, class skill-wise. The order also adds Charisma modifier in addition to Wisdom to the DC to avoid being demoralized.

8th level makes the natural attacks count as good and magic and provides at-will detect evil as a SP. 15th level provides Awesome Blow for the mount.

The next archetype would be Feyfriend, which can be taken by both druid and ranger, since it replaces the regular companion with a fey friend, thus replacing nature's/hunter's bond, respectively. Scaling is based on the druid-levels, which retains balance in the ranger's case. The feyfriend scales up to 16 HD, has 1/2 save-progression for all saves, 6 + Int skills and learns up to 8 feats. Additionally, the fey friend gains a +2 dodge bonus to AC at 3rd level, increasing that in increments of +2 every 3 levels thereafter. Analogue to this, 3rd level yields +1 to Dexterity and Charisma, increasing the value every 3 levels by a further +1 each. Level 1 yields link and share spells, level 3 nets evasion and 15th level improved evasion. Ability score increases are gained at 4th level and every 5 levels thereafter, excluding 19th - here, the ability score increase is instead delayed to 20th level. 6th level nets a +4 morale bonus to Will-saves.

The main draw, however, would be the SPs gained: The feyfriend begins play with a cantrip SP, unlocking one for first level or lower at 3rd level and gains more SPs every 3 levels after that, unlocking a new spell level every time. The SPs are governed by Cha and HD and the feyfriend must chooses, bard, druid, witch or wizard for the SP-selection. Big plus: 3/day limit for non-cantrip SPs. I see quite a few of you rolling their eyes right now - yes, this is potent. However, the feyfriend is diminutive and only has d6 HD to show, which does act, at least somewhat, as a balancing tool with the rather weak base frame. Still, the lack of tricks-requirements does mean that the chance is pretty high that you'll gain more out of the feyfriend. I wouldn't allow it is gritty campaigns, but in standard fantasy, you shouldn't encounter significant issues, considering the fragility of the fey.

After this companion archetype, we move on to the flower child druid, who may not be evil and adds Diplomacy, Knowledge (local) and Perform to her class skills. They lose all weapon proficiencies except for one simple weapon of the player's choice. The archetype gains +2 to Diplomacy and Perform and may retry a botched attempt to sway opinions a second time prior to the 24 hours elapsing. Instead of wild empathy, they may cause their elemental damage-causing spells to inflict nonlethal damage and they increase their CL with nonlethal damage causing spells by 1. The archetype is locked into a domain choice from a list as a replacement of "nature bond". As you can see, there are a couple of minor typos here.

The Ensorceller mesmerist is up next and may cast spells sans spell failure in light armor...and yep, these guys cast arcane spells instead. Instead of the mesmerist tricks gained at 2nd, 4th, 10th and 16th level, the archetype receives access to a bloodline chosen from a limited array. Instead of touch treatments gained at 3rd, 6th, 10th and 14th level, the archetype gains scaling bonuses versus gaze attacks, with 14th level providing immunity.

The Holistic would be an unchained monk archetype, who replaces Intimidate and Knowledge (history) with Craft (alchemy) and Heal. Instead of stunning fis, the archetype adds +1/2 clss level as a bonus to Heal checks (skill reference not italicized here). 2nd level yields joint cracking, replacing the bonus feats gained at 2nd and 6th level: Pretty cool: the archetype can, as a standard action, suppress Str or Dex damage from a willing ally, with the amount increasing from 1d4 to up to 2d6. And yep, an ally may only benefit once per 24-hour interval from it. I really like this, idea-wise!! Holistic tea is cool: Requiring the use of an "alchemy kit" (should be "alchemist's kit"), the character can brew tea - by also expending ki, they may make the tea heal living creatures, replacing the ki powers gained at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter - instead, the healing capabilities increase on these levels. Like it! 13th level yields aromatherapy, 3/day mass cure light wounds as a properly codified SP. The rules are solid and work, but teh ability should probably be SP, not SU. Oh well, that one's cosmetic.

The final archetype herein would be the jolter wizard, who gains 4 + Int skills per level and an expanded class skill list that includes the physical skills - you know, Escape Artist, Stealth, Climb, etc. The spelljolter can expend a spell as a swift or immediate action to grant himself a bonus to said aforementioned array of physical skills. Additionally, he may, as an immediate action, grant himself the bonus to Reflex saves, replacing arcane bond thus. Instead of 5th level's bonus feat, the archetype can expend spells as a swift action to grant himself a dodge bonus to AC equal to the spell's level, for 1 round. Instead of 10th level's bonus feat, he may now also use spelljolt to fortify his Fort- and Will-saves. Really annoying, though: The archetype uses a "magical bonus" for all but the AC-bonus. Know how many bonus types we have in PFRPG? Why not use one of them?

Cool, btw.: The pdf comes with a bonus monster pdf penned by Mark Gedak, the CR 2 meadow maid, a flexible angel that may seem fey-like and is drawn to idyllic pastures, carrying a consecration aura around with her - nice critter!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a rules-language level, good on a formal level - apart from some minor & cosmetic hiccups and a few typo-level glitches, I noticed nothing glaring that would compromise the content. Layout adheres to PDG's 1-column standard for 6'' by 9''-sized booklets and the pdf has no artworks apart from the cover. The pdf comes fully bookmarked - kudos!

Aaron Hollingworth's fabulous archetypes area generally well-crafted lot - in particular the holistic is REALLY cool and adds a whole new dimension to the monk class that makes SENSE. The concepts and their representations are solid and well-made and the spelljolter sports an interesting playing experience, in spite of its brevity. While I was not utterly blown away by this humble pdf, when one considers the low and more than fair price-point, this most assuredly is worth getting, particularly if the holistic or riding a unicorn interests you. The bonus critter adds even more bang for your buck, which makes this a nice offering. As a whole, I will settle on a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fabulous Archetypes
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Death Slaves of Eternity (DCC)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/27/2017 07:14:13

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive adventure clocks in at 80 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with a MASSIVE 76 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Well, first of all, this is a funnel (0 level adventure) and as such, the review will contain SPOILERS later...but it also is a bit more than that: The adventure actually has quite a bit of interesting supplemental material, so let's start by discussing that: One of the appendices contains various curses for plundering the dead; there is a nice 100-entry-strong loot-table for judges and we can find a d30-table of magic items, which include enchanted gladiatorial paint, magic veils, vine made from golden pomegranates, the iconic hand of glory, the horror in clay that can be sent after foes, starsteel items and purple lotus dust. I encountered no issues in this section - the items are evocative and cool.

The pdf also contains the ancient god-king Mog'malu as a new patron, complete with 3 new spells, spellburn table, etc. - and yep, they are well-crafted. Similarly, clerics of the patron can be found, with unique sacred mysteries, titles by level and disapproval-table. The pdf also features something fans of Sword & Sorcery will appreciate: Reskins of halflings, elves and dwarves, who become pirates, cultists and soldiers, respectively. So yes, this is a surprisingly crunchy offering for a module...

...but you want to know about the module, right? Okay, so let's start with the SPOILERS! Potential players should jump ahead to the conclusion!

...

..

.

All right, only judges around? Great!

So, this module is made for 12 to 16 player characters - true to the concept of the funnel, not all will survive this: The module is challenging, so pack your spare character. ;P

The Mad-Sultan fancies himself the heir of the god-king Xothula, deeming his right to rule divine; as such, this decadent tyrant has reinstated the practice of Servus Mortem . the use of the eponymous death slaves, destined to accompany beings of high standing to the afterlife. The sultan drugged his wife with the help of his physician, entombing her "dead", but really just sleeping body and her children in the sacred crypts of eternity...and you don't become tyrant while leaving loose ends...and so the physician joined, much to his horror, the ranks of the death slaves.

Meanwhile, the queen on her funeral bier, with only the wailing of her children to break the silence of the tomb, attracted the attention of a thing from the Outer Dark - and thus, arise she did, awash in cosmic filth, reborn as the Crypt Mother, kept in the equilibrium between devil and mortal, life and death. It has been decades since and the Mad-Sultan is growing old - his son, blood prince Sabal-Ya, visited the PC's humble abode...but the prince was slain and the investigator, the Holy Vizier, declared that all must suffer for the prince's death - and as such, the PCs are condemned as Servus Mortem to the crypts as death slaves...but unbeknown to the PCs, the blood prince has faked his death in a mad gambit: Convinced that he was bound for an eternity of torment, he is obsessed with reaching the gates of paradise contained in the crypts - it is the prince's gambit that flooding the dungeon with death-slaves will allow him to reach his goal.

The PCs get their starting occupations, circumstances of their arrest and starting luck influences the additional information they may have. The starting occupation, btw. is represented by a massive table that also determines the equipment the poor death-slaves will bring along, 12 rumors and superstitions and a massive 1-page read-aloud text help setting the scene.

Within the crypts awaits btw. Mog'mula -ram-headed giant and true godking, to whom Xothula was bad an ill-fated apprentice, who nonetheless managed to seal the giant. The dungeon complex features lavishly-detailed and well-crafted read-aloud text galore, and the clues the PCs can find offer degrees of success, allowing for fine differentiation. Similarly worthwhile mentioning would be the fact that sidebars help the judge to depict the respective NPCs properly. It should also be noted that "floating" encounters not tied to a specific locale come with the same, lavish attention to detail that is afforded to the exploration of the complex itself. Lightning is generated by strange witch-light that gleam in unholy, green radiance...and rumor tables among the servus mortem and advice on replacing PCs that have fallen to the complex.

The crypt of the faithful comes with a handy table if the PCs get lost (and don't want to try to find their way...) and truly, within these halls challenges galore can be found mind maggot prowlers, undead, cackling fools with their infected blood...have I noted the crypts of the mother and the maddening visions? The glorious direct and indirect storytelling? The fact that this module combines the best traits of a dungeon-exploration and investigation?

The module is also studded with copious pieces of full-page full-color artworks, many of which depict the iconic creatures and strange rooms the PCs can - like the chamber of gleaming, black stone, the walls arranged as though they were stars of a mad geometry, with a black block in the middle, from which a rune-carved, gigantic tusk rises. Oh yes, this dungeon is EVOCATIVE. Unique. It is wondrous...and even regular rooms often feature prose that is as captivating as the sword & sorcery greats that have inspired this module - when dead kings, forever crowned in sorrow, corrupted concubines and the wings torn from an erstwhile god await...then you're not just playing an amazing dungeon that epitomizes the aesthetics that set DCC apart - then you're playing a module that is amazing, regardless of the system you're using. (Though, seriously - play it in DCC!) Oh, and yes, there obviously is a guardian down here, a cosmic horror, whose artwork is fantastic in its weirdness...and the conclusion is perhaps the most furious becoming an adventurer-narrative I have read in ages....and no, I am not going to SPOIL the finale...I want you to get this.

The handy appendices keep monsters, NPCs, etc. all in line.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no serious accumulation of glitches. Layout adheres to a nice 2-column b/w-standard and is pretty printer-friendly. The pdf comes with A LOT of original full-color artworks that help render this an aesthetically-pleasing experience. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks. The cartography is in full-color and really nice - my only complaint here remaining that there is no key-less, player-friendly version.

Marzio Muscedere's Death-Slaves of Eternity is a massive...ah, eff it, I can't do that neutral shtick here: THIS IS AWESOME. Seriously, this funnel OOZES amazing Sword & Sorcery flair, pure weirdness, is creative, has precise crunch, copious amounts of well-written prose and oozes style, flair and panache galore. This is one downright glorious, massive module - and if you even remotely like the subject matter, you should definitely get this. I mean it. Even if you don't play DCC, this module is frankly a glorious, rewarding and creative funnel that leaves nothing to be desired and may be worth converting, even if you do not play DCC (but then again...why? DCC is a damn fine system...).

Anyways, this module has a TON of material, great prose, cool critters that actually have a reason to be there and make sense - in short, it has it all. 5 stars + seal of approval. Given without hesitation!! Get this gem!!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Death Slaves of Eternity (DCC)
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Stock Art: Electric Eels
by Angel F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/25/2017 16:18:31

I love the idea of these creatures taking down what I'd consider an Apex Predator. This will display the perfect fear needed to drive the danger forward in any adventure.



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by Angel F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/25/2017 16:14:51

This product immediately provided me with the perfect piece I needed for my upcoming deep sea adventure. Alongside most of Purple Duck Games products. I am extremely pleased.



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Spiritualists of Porphyra
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/09/2017 07:46:14

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Purple Duck Games' "...of Porphyra"-series clocks in at 28 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 24 pages of content. It should be noted that these are formatted for an A5-paper-size (roughly 6'' by 9''), so you can fit up to 4 pages on a sheet of paper, if you're conscious of ink/toner costs and want this printed.

We begin this pdf with new archetypes, the first of which would be the ectofletcher, who adds Stealth to his list of class skills and gains proficiency with all bows and crossbow, as well as with light armor. Starting at 1st level, the archetype may, as a full-round action, manifest 20 arrows. Alternatively, 5 may be created as a standard or move action or 1 arrow as a swift action. Starting at 2nd level, these are treated as +1 arrows, while 4th level increases the range increment of any bow used by 20 ft. At 6th level, the arrows are upgraded to +2 and are treated as the alignment of the ectofletcher for the purpose of overcoming DR, which may be a bit soon when compared to other classes. 8th level yield ghost touch arrows (here, the text has a remnant (i) before the weapon property - i.e. the italicization-closing is missing - but hey, at least you can see that it's supposed to be italicized) and at this level, arrows can be fired in melee sans provoking AoOs. 10th level increases the arrows to +3, 12th level nets Critical Focus for all bows used. As a minor nitpick here: RAW, it is pretty obvious that these should also work for crossbows, with the ammunition-creation being applicable for bolts as well - but as written, this only works for bows and arrows...but that just as an aside. 14th level provides an upgrade to +4 and 18th level to +5. At 16th level, we get a bonus combat feat. This eliminates etheric tether, phantom, shared consciousness, spiritual bond, fused consciousness and empowered consciousness.

At 3rd level can make all ranged attacks at a penalty of -2 to the attack roll, while simultaneously casting a spiritualist spell (nice catch to prevent multiclass abuse!) with a casting time of a standard action. During this combined assault, when casting defensively, the spiritualist may incur a penalty to attacks of up to Wisdom modifier to gain an equal bonus to the concentration check. So far, so nice, right? Well, the ectofletcher may also deliver touch spells through the arrows as ranged touch attacks. This is per se very powerful - particularly since it does not specify how critical multipliers interact with these - since bows start off at x3...well, you get the idea. That...is a problem. This part of the ability can use a whack with the nerf-bat, even though bonded manifestation, phantom recall and dual bond are lost for it. At 4th level, the archetype gains +4 to Stealth when manifesting ectofletching, which is upgraded to +8 at 12th level. All in all an intriguing archetype, though the touch tricks may be a bit too much - gaining more flexibility for the ammunition would have probably constitutes a more rewarding experience here.

The false spiritualist is interesting and loses proficiency with light armor. The archetype also gain arcane spellcasting governed by Intelligence and they completely change their phantoms, instead creating so-called contrived phantoms, constructs of ectoplasm. These are constructs, don't grant skills or skill bonuses, have no emotional focus and lack both Con and Int scores - as such, it is under the command of the character. It replaces the Dex/Cha-bonus with a Str/Dex-bonus, has no good saves, is mindless and gets low-light vision and darkvision 60 ft., immunity to mind-affecting effects, diseases, death effects, paralysis, poison, sleep effects and stunning as well as an evolution pool equal to the phantom's HD, with its customization options equal to an eidolon of the same level. The fly speed gained at 9th level is reduced to 30 ft. (clumsy), it cannot heal damage on its own (OUCH!) and gains the usual other defensive construct immunities. Upon destruction, the phantom reforms at 1/2 maximum hit points the next time the spiritualist prepares spells. Instead of detect undead, calm spirit, see invisibility, fused consciousness and call spirit, the archetype gains bonus illusion spells. I really like the idea here and the execution isn't too bad either - however, one note to bear in mind would be that this, via bonded manifestation etc., can make for a very summoner-ish playing experience and we know how potent these eidolon tricks can be. That being said, the lack of healing imposes an interesting resource-drain here and the bad saves help offset the massive immunity array. In short - not for every group, but I can see it finding fans.

The occult bowler is where things get WEIRD. And I mean "WTF, did not expect that!" levels of weird. The class gains a magic ball, which can be envisioned as somewhere between a familiar and a bonded object. This Tiny construct can be used as a divination magic 8-ball...or as a weapon. This weird feature replaces shared consciousness and phantom,,, and here things become interesting: When wielding the magic ball, the character treats his class level as BAB, with the attacks counting as magic from the get-go. At 2nd level, as a standard action, the character can gain blindsight of its ball for up to class level rounds, which is upgraded to always on at 10th level (though here, we erroneously refer to it as teleblindsight. This ability also yields the option to shunt a mind-affecting effect into the magic ball. 3rd level adds the throwing and returning properties to the weapon function - and no, these do NOT feature in the calculation for enhancements for the magic ball. At 8th level and every 5 levels thereafter, range increments of the ball increase by 5 ft., replacing bonded manifestation thus. At 4th level, the archetype alters spiritual interference to grant a +2 shield bonus to AC when wielding the ball and a +2 circumstance bonus to all saves. 6th level alters phantom recall to instead apply to the magic ball, with 1 daily use, +1/day per 4 levels beyond the 6th. At 12th level, these bonuses increase to +4 for the bowler, and allies in the ball's reach gain the non-upgraded bonuses.

14th level yields spiritual bond, which prevents death by siphoning excess damage taken by the bowler beyond 1 hp to the ball. Instead of dual bond, we get 1/week legend lore as a SP and as a capstone, the bowler becomes immune to mind-affecting effects and possession/imprisonment-style spells. This archetype looks goofy at first...but once you take a close look, it actually is really creative and pretty darn amazing. Big kudos here!

The phantom whisperer alters proficiencies, gaining simple weapons, light armors and up to 3 firearms of the player's choice. The archetype has no choice over the type of phantom gained - each level, they must roll a d12 and look at a random table - this determines the emotional focus of the phantom. Instead of bonded sense, they add Wisdom modifier to initiative...and thankfully, this does not stack with Improved Initiative, preventing abuse there. 10th level alters fused consciousness to just gain the skill ranks and bonuses even when the phantom's manifested and allows for the shunting of mind-affecting effects even when the phantom is manifested, though that dismisses the phantom. So yeah, no bonded senses. At 10th level, when succumbing to a fear-effect, the character may make an attack at the highest BAB (no AoO!) as an immediate action BEFORE the effects of fear kick in. Interesting one.

Next up is the Ruined Preacher - at the GM's discretion, ex-cleric levels can be exchanged for these, which is a flavorful and interesting character development idea here. The archetype gains no spiritualist caster level or spells and instead gains Improved Unarmed Strike, using his class level as BAB for the purpose of determining its efficiency, basing the damage on a brawler of an equal level. Maneuver training is included. 5th level yields command at-will with a 24-hour hex-caveat to avoid abuse. 7th level yields 1/day calm emotions, with +1 use per 4 levels beyond that. 9th level yields 1/day suggestion as an SP, replacing detect spirit, calm undead and see invisibility. Guess someone loves the Preacher comics and TV-series as much as I do. ;) Honestly, really love this one!

There are also new phantom options included herein, the first of which would be dream phantoms, who gain d6 HD and only 1/2 BAB, but they do have dual emotional focus and have a healing while the spiritualist sleeps. Pretty nice. Genius phantoms change the base stats to Int 13 and Cha 7 and their attribute bonuses instead apply to Dex and Int. Instead of an emotional focus, they gain thought foci, of which 4 are provided: Application nets Acrobatics and Fly, good Ref and Fort-saves, Improved Initiative, and as a move action, they can apply Int-bonus to a standard action (not the biggest fan here), with 7th level and every 5 levels thereafter yielding combat feats. The Knowledge focus nets two Knowledge skills, good Fort- and Will-saves and acts as a living book or spellbook, containing 50 pages per HD; +1/2 class level to all Knowledge skill checks and may make these untrained. 7th level yields the option to take 10 and 1/day take 20 there as a standard action, +1/day at 12th and 17th level.

The synthesis focus nets Craft and Disable Device, good Fort- and Ref-saves and they reduce the cost of crafted items by 10%. As a standard action, a touch can offset the broken condition for HD rounds. 5th and 10th level reduce that to a move and swift action, respectively. These can also create a limited amount of regular items - alas, the option does not include a no-specific item caveat...though its limits prevent abuse to an extent. 7th level and every 5 levels thereafter yield a no-cost magic item, but it is limited by the spiritualist CL and spells. The understanding focus yields Appraise and Sense Motive, Reflex and Will as good saves and the genius can make Int-checks as though the score was 2 points higher. They also gain sneak attack at class level, but use d4 as damage dice. 7th level and every 5 levels beyond yield a rogue talent.

Realm phantoms come in 8 iterations that reflect a planar focus - basically, you add a template determined by the associated plane. These generally grant a couple of defensive abilities and a bit of elemental damage - however, one has e.g. holy damage, anarchic damage, etc. - and these damage types do not exist in PFRPG. I get what they're supposed to do, but see alignment-based spells and effects for the proper way to codify damage types thus.

Beyond this, we also are introduced to new feats, 5 to be more precise: Ancestral Revelation yields an Ancestor mystery revelation. Grateful Dead (kudos for the nod) nets your phantom +2 to its weakest save, courtesy of you honoring its past life. Reaper Style is used with scythes - when you trip a target, the phantom gets an AoO as an immediate action against it if in reach. Cool! Reaper's Evisceration adds +Wisdom bonus to damage rolls when attacking helpless, flat-footed or prone creatures with the scythe and finally, Reaper's Evisceration requires saves from targets reduced to negative hp to avoid death. Cool, flavorful combat style here!

We close with the Staff of Iricthan, a minor artifact, of which there ostensibly are 4 in existence - a wielder can, every day, choose the spells known afresh and metamagic employed is one spell level increase less costly. Very interesting artifact!

The pdf btw. comes with a bonus-file, penned by Mark Gedak and Perry Fehr, which contains Zithemerr, a catfolk arcane trickster 15 - nice!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are pretty good on both a formal and rules-level - while there are a couple of glitches, these generally fall into the "kinda aesthetic" category. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games' one-column-standard in b/w with purple highlights and is pretty printer-friendly. The pdf sports a really nice full-color artwork of the occult bowler and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Aaron Hollingsworth's take on uncommon spiritualist options began rather weak and then proceeded to build up steam: While the first two archetypes left me somewhat underwhelmed and concerned, this changed pretty fast with some serious gems: The occult bowler is awesome, the chaotic phantom focus is a cool idea (though I wished it had been more deeply ingrained, theme-wise, in the archetype) and the preacher-option should put a smile on many a fan's face - I know it did that for me. The foci of the phantoms are universally interesting, with the magic item creation's limit being almost genius in its simplicity. The planar phantoms left me a bit underwhelmed, though. Surprisingly, I liked all feats and the artifact is an interesting, very potent tool to level the playing field versus prepared casters, help PCs that have made bad choices, etc.

In short: No, this is NOT perfect. However, the amount of material herein that I consider really creative and cool exceeds the potential snags you're likely to encounter. The ratio of glitches to pretty complex concepts that work is also right, showing a generally very good understanding of complex rules-language. In short - unless you're a nitpicky bastard like me, you'll probably be exceedingly happy with this, for the pdf also offers some seriously creative and cool options...and all that for a more than fair price point. As a whole, I hence feel justified in rating this 4.5 stars...and I'll round up for the purpose of this platform, since the highlights exceed the minor blemishes.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spiritualists of Porphyra
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