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Everyman Minis: Mysteries of Summer
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/18/2017 04:16:46

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 4 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This Everyman Mini begins, as they all do, with a nice, brief introduction page that also contains, this time around, a new spell, namely the wall of light – this represents a blinding curtain of light (closing eyes can negate the blindness, unless passing through), and the wall is particularly potent versus creatures from the plane of shadow. Nice visuals! (Yeah, groan-worthy reviewer-pun. I know.)

The main meat of the mini is taken up, surprise, by the summer mystery, which adds Knowledge (nature), Perception, Survival and Swim to the list of class skills. Bonus spell-wise, we have a strong fire-and light-theme, starting off with produce flame and moving with unbearable brightness, the new spell and sirocco to the higher level sun- spells and finally, to fiery body. Now, unsurprisingly, we get the flame mystery’s heat aura (sans wasting the wordcount) among the revelations.

The revelations include a blistering touch that may stagger foes temporarily if they fail their save. Gaining Flaming Spell and being able to use it a number of times sans increasing the casting time…some solid tricks. I particularly liked Heatstroke, which can add fatigue (non-stacking) to spells with fire or light descriptors for a limited duration. I also am partial to Midsummer’s Dream, which generates a fascination-inducing effect that makes the creatures behave as though in their favorite summer retreat – and they even are warmed as though the dream was real! There is an amazing expedition to the frigid ridges angle herein! Pretty cool: There is a revelation that draws sustenance from the sun’s rays, including, at higher levels, the option to rest quicker – and kudos here, it does not break the usual limitations of spell preparation. A solar body form that can damage nearby targets and at higher level blinds them also makes for a nice image.

Gaining some illusion bonus spells is damn cool, as is being a summer child that can stand the heat. Finally, you can afflict foes with nasty sunburns with your light spells (slightly weird: fire is exempt here, when the other abilities all affect fire and light). The final revelation nets you a DC-increase and the option to cast 3/day miracle, but only to duplicate fire or light spells.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to Everyman Gaming’s two-column standard with a white background, making this relatively printer-friendly. The pdf sports a nice full-color artwork and has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Margherita Tramontano’s mysteries of summer are cool: The added effects, concisely-worded, make for a fun and tactical array of options and the revelations often are pretty creative. The dual focus of heat and light make sense and elevate this beyond being just another fire-specialist. That may just be me, but I had this vision of a lone oracle walking through the scorching, hot mesas with a smile on her face and a song on her lips. The revelations provide a variety of cool and meaningful options. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform since the mystery manages to present a rather well-rounded array of options.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Mysteries of Summer
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Star Log.EM-003: Collateral Characters
by Kim F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/14/2017 04:13:58

Orignally reviewed over on the OpenGamingNetwork.

The following review is an OPINION piece and only reflects the opinion and tastes (because ultimately, all reviews will be based on personal taste) of the reviewer.

That disclaimer out of the way, let’s get on with the show!

This week we give you Star Log.EM-003: Collateral Characters!

Publisher: Rogue Genius Games Author: Alexander Augunas (AKA Alex Augunas) Cover Artist: Jacob E. Blackmon System: Starfinder Page count: 7 ( 1 page cover, 1 page credits, 3 pages content, 1 page OGL)

So, to start off with, we have a cover that shows us someone polishing an armor that uncannily reminds me of a Samurai version of Optimus Prime. When I originally saw it, I certainly didn’t think of a slave worker, more of a maintenance type character, but the image itself is evocative enough and is reused inside once more. I’m not sure how I feel about the pattern used as a background though, but it seems to vary according to each release.

(Disclaimer: Reading the sidebar on page 3, I can see that this has particular repercussions for anyone using Blood Space and Moon Dust and the Starfarer’s Companion, neither of which I had access to at the time of the review, so this review will stand on its own).

The introduction is an introduction to the Star Logs.Em releases and the sidebar does a good job of giving a feel for an Ex-Slave in the above-mentioned campaigns, though the grammar in it feels a little disjointed. A direct quote here is “Although three centuries have passed since, the Xa-Osoro System underwent a system-changing catastrophe called the Regicide when one of its binary stars, Osoro, suddenly imploded into a miniature black hole.” – It feels like that sentence should have been continued.

Next up we have a theme, that of the Collateral itself:

The Theme Knowledge ability of this Theme is nice, but it seems like it’s missing something. Other Theme Knowledge abilities mention 1 or 2 specific skills that it reduces the DC for in specific circumstances, and this does not. Instead, though, it gives you the choice of either Athletics or Piloting as a class skill, again where other comparable abilities only give you 1. It seems like a slightly more powerful version of the ability for it.

The level 6 ability Back to the Wall, feels good, and characterful, giving you a bonus when you or your starship is 0 Stamina Points or Hull Points. I do question however, HOW a ship is supposed to use this ability when it’s a 0 Hull Points, since the Core Book states that “A starship with 0 Hull Points isn’t destroyed, though many of its systems are no longer functioning and it is no longer a threat to its enemies” – So the + to damage is not very useful in that situation, though it might well be to the skill check.

Next, at level 12, we have Hardy, which gives an always useful little boost.

Finally, there is Flower that Never Wilts. Now, this ability is really nice, making you hard to kill, though I am curious as to where the name came from, but that is a sidenote, and just my inner nerd being curious.

Next, we have the Collateral Diehard an archetype for former child-slaves. Considering the topic, I would have expected this to be very, very grim, and when I read the fluff and the abilities, I cannot help but think of child soldiers, which is probably the intent here.

At level 2, we see the ability Iron Flower, which gives you a nice self-heal, which is always handy, and at level 6, we see Bloodied Frenzy, which provides a bonus against fear effects, and a damage increase when you’re at 0 Stamina Point, both of which are nice, and fit the description of the archetype quite well. Finally, at 9th level there’s Firm against the Tide, which again gives you a bonus when you’re at 0 stamina point, this time giving you temporary hit points.

Lastly there’s a section on how to include this in the Blood Space and Moon Dust setting, which gives a nice little look into the setting, but is probably not of great use to anyone outside the setting, as these cannot really be imported into your own campaign, as the information is a bit short, though they can most certainly be mined for ideas.

And so we come to the conclusion:

This is a decent (3-star), but combined with the Blood Space and Moon Dust setting, I feel like this could well be a 4, as you’d be able to, presumably, expand on the information in both setting and this book, by using the other.

In the end, I’m giving this a 4-star rating.

Well done everyone involved, this was a good read, but next time, give me a bit more to work with on its own.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-003: Collateral Characters
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Everyman Minis: Brawler Archetypes
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/10/2017 09:28:53

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This pdf begins with a brief introduction and then, the pdf sports two new feats: Feral Pugilism lets you use a natural attack in conjunction with abilities of Improved Unarmed Strike, specifically allowing the use of brawler’s flurry and close weapon mastery as though the natural weapon were a close weapon. This is potentially VERY potent and should have careful GM oversight, as the close weapon group restriction represents one of the problems here. Versatile Pugilism lets you choose one melee weapon, which may be a natural attack – this attack may be used in conjunction with brawler’s flurry and makes it count as a close weapon for the purpose of close weapon mastery…yeah. This lets you use two-handed swords, earthshakers, spears etc. in conjunction with brawler’s flurry. While I am sure that a lot of folks will enjoy these feats to increase the power of their characters, I don’t like them conceptually or balance-wise; they allow you to bypass what makes the brawler a brawler and the class, as such, is not necessarily in need of a power upgrade.

The pdf then proceeds with a selection of new archetypes: The brute is proficient with simple weapons and great club as well as light armor and shields (except tower shields). The archetype gains Weapon Focus (club) as a bonus feat at 1st level and applies all weapon-specific benefits for the club to the great club as well, and vice versa. At 5th level, the brute’s melee attacks with clubs ignore 1 point of DR, + 1 point at 8th level and every 3 levels thereafter. DR/- is not ignored and the benefits stack with Penetrating Strike and its Greater brother. This replaces unarmed strike and brawler’s strike. Brawler’s flurry may only be used with clubs and great clubs (strangely, referring dynamo’s flurry in a cut-copy-paste-hiccup) and 8th level modifies close weapon mastery to instead apply to clubs, using the brawler’s unarmed damage at -4 levels as a possible substitution, if it exceeds the damage of the club. See, this archetype very much makes my point regarding the feats for me – the feats are better than the archetype.

The hurling dynamo replaces proficiency with the close weapon group with thrown weapons. The dynamo’s flurry only works with unarmed strikes and thrown weapons, but both may be used within a flurry, with ranged weapon attacks counting as benefiting from Quick Draw while flurrying. Okay, so do the benefits of the modified brawler’s flurry stack with Rapid Shot? 2nd level locks the character into Precise Shot as a bonus feat. Instead of maneuver training, 3rd level yields either Ranged Feint or the option to use a chosen combat maneuver within one range increment, maximum 30 ft., using Dex-modifier to calculate CMB. This is penalized, though. The first attack of a flurry may be replaced with a maneuver or action chosen with this ability (nice catch re feinting!) and 7th level and every 4 levels thereafter yield another maneuver choice. 5th level modifies the close weapon group mastery to instead work, at -4 levels, based on brawler unarmed damage, provided that damage would exceed that of the weapon.

The kiai master replaces maneuver training with menacing shout at 3rd level, whenever the character hits at least once in a brawler’s flurry, she can make a demoralize attempt against a target thus hit as a swift action. 7th level and every 4 levels thereafter increase the number of affected targets by 1. This cap is weird, considering that the base ability does NOT have a cap of a maximum of 1 target affected at a given time, though the scaling implies just that. Starting at 4th level, the demoralize attempt, if successful, causes 1d6 sonic damage, but a given foe can only take this damage once per round. 10th level adds deafened to the target for 1 round, and 16th level increases the damage to 2d6 and increases the deafened condition to 1d4 rounds. This replaces knockout.

Finally, there would be the style savant, who only gains the benefits of style feats and combat feats based on style feats when using martial flexibility – the style savant can ignore the feat’s respective prerequisite, excluding Elemental Fist. Yep, this allows you to directly skip ahead to the final feat in a style chain. That is problematic, as the ignoring of prerequisites contradicts the central limitation of martial flexibility and prevents the viable reference to the default ability to clear the rules-language. Also from an action economy perspective – can the respective later feats building on a Style feat only be used when entering that style, which RAW, the archetype can’t? This is weird. At 1st level, the style savant treats his brawler level as fighter or monk levels for prerequisite purposes and also as the number of skill ranks in all skills for the purpose of qualifying for style feats or feats that list one or style feats among the prerequisites, replacing martial training. Maneuver training is replaced by two abilities – savant’s style, which lets the character mix two styles known into a more flexible style, allowing the character to be in two styles at once – cool: The action economy here is concise and at 19th level, the character can be in 3 different styles at once. At 7th level, the style savant may use martial flexibility as a move action to enter all allowed stances, which improves to 15th level as a swift action. So, what are “All allowed stances”? All style feats she can enter at once via style savant? What if they exceed the limit? I get what this is supposed to do, namely let the style savant enter multiple styles from her list at once, but the verbiage is a bit wonky here.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, on a formal level, are very good. On a rules-language level, there are some oversights in the details to be found here, alas. Layout adheres to Everyman gaming’s two-column standard with a b/w-background and a nice full-color artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Sasha Hall’s brawler options have in common that they seek to generate new choices and engine tweaks for the brawler class, which is generally something I applaud. However, at the same time, the options presented herein are problematic from a balance point of view and also feature some rough edges – not in their basics, but in the deeper interactions of the rules-language, which renders them RAW less precise and refined than what I’ve come to expect. As a whole, I would not allow this pdf as written at my table; the feats are straight power upgrades that invalidate one of the archetypes completely and the others also feature some potential stumbling stones. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad file, but it is a long way from something I’d be able to recommend. My final verdict will hence clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Brawler Archetypes
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Everyman Minis: Mysteries of Spring
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/03/2017 04:23:55

An Endzietgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 4 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

All righty! As always, we begin this Everyman mini with a brief introduction and on the same page, we can find the Verdant Spell feat, which is a metamagic feat that increases the spell slot used by 2 levels and makes the targeted plant creatures susceptible to mind-affecting effects.

After this, we move on to the main meat of the mini, which would be the spring mystery. This one nets Handle Animal, Heal, Knowledge (nature) and Survival as class skills. The bonus spells granted range from goodberry over grove of respite to control plants. But what do the revelations offer? Well, animate plants lets you animate branches as a standard action, duplicating arboreal hammer, with high levels instead providing the ability to animate trees as treants (nice catch: Sans the animate trees ability of treants). Some of the revelations are drawn from the nature mystery, like spirit of nature or friend to the animals – sans taking up wordcount, mind you.

We can also find the option to clad the character in a scaling plant armor enhancement. Really cool: rejuvenation lets you render the target a Child or Youth (as per Childhood Adventures), though you do not explicitly need that book for the revelation to work properly – a mechanic effect is provided, including means to detect the target. Renewal represents a serious upgrade to the potency of the Heal skill’s treat deadly wounds option (Nice!) and yes, the obligatory speak with plants and verdant shape SP can be found as well. I was particularly smitten with springtime respite, which infuses an area with sustaining life, providing food and, at later levels, daylight (alas, not properly italicized) and a save bonus versus death effects, negative energy, etc. as well as sunbeams versus undead entering it. Cool! The final revelation ios pretty hardcore – it provides immunity versus ability damage and drain, exhaustion, etc., 3/day animal/plant growth (not properly italicized) and when you die, you rapidly decompose – only to come back to life as a plant blooms, bears fruit and spits out a young version of yourself that rapidly grows to full age. There’s an interesting adventure angle here – defend the returning oracle!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level, though I did notice some italicization glitches. Layout adheres to Everyman Gaming’s two-column standard with a white background, making this relatively printer-friendly. The pdf sports a nice full-color artwork and has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Margherita Tramontano’s spring mystery represents a thematically-concise, interesting option. The mystery features some unique revelations, has a concise leitmotif and some really cool visuals. In short: Not much to complain about. At the same time, I don’t consider the pdf to be perfect in all regards – there are some really cool revelations here, though, which makes my final verdict clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Mysteries of Spring
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Writing With Style: An Editor's Advice for RPG Writers
by Jeff C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/01/2017 03:43:04

Since the tender age of ten, I've been in love with RPG's. I learned the fine art of writing for professional publications as a starry-eyed college student. I've taken more writing classes as a journalism major than I care to remember, plus all the English, history and creative writing I could pack in on top of gaming.

This book takes all that great technical advice from any given print journalism or English class and rolls it into one concise document for RPG writers. It also catches a lot of practical mistakes that many of us have had to learn the hard way. (i.e. getting barked at by our editor or boss.) I can't recommend this book enough.

Please, if you are considering writing anything for a game company, self publishing any game content, or even starting your own game company- Do yourself, your fans, and potential customers a huge favor and read this book! Follow this advice as much as you reasonably can and you won't go wrong.

Also, I wanted to give a big shout out to the examples in this book. Not only are they perfect for illustrating the points being made, but they're extremely amusing. I must find a way to use Tum Tum the marshmallow elemental somewhere in a game, just not anything I intend to publish. Lots of love for the T$R mage word replacement anecdote, too.

Keep up the good work!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Writing With Style: An Editor's Advice for RPG Writers
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Four Horsemen Present: MORE Comedic Character Options
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/28/2017 04:41:55

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Four Horsemen present-series clocks in at 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 13 pages, so let’s take a look!

All righty, after a brief introduction, we are introduced to the Comedium (that’s a groaner that could have come from yours truly…), which does not gain the regular archetypical spirits (unless otherwise gained) and instead gains the Comedian, whose séance bonus would be +1 to Bluff, intimidate and Diplomacy. The Influence penalty, unsurprisingly, would be applied to Charisma and Charisma-related checks…oh, and guess what, auto-confirm of ranged or melee attacks. As taboos, you choose to either have to include one joke per conversation, one pun per sentence or respond to criticism with an insult. The lesser ability would be mirth, which reduces penalties incurred from mind-affecting abilities for yourself and allies within 30 ft. by 1. The intermediate ability would be Punch Lines: As a move action, the comedium can allow the comedian to gain 1 influence over him, partially manifesting: This nets the character a Perform (comedy) check against a creature in reach, adding the spirit bonus to the check. If the check exceeds 10 + the creature’s CR + the creature’s Wisdom modifier, the critter loses its Dex-bonus to AC due to being entertained by the spirit. Internal game-logic-wise, I think this probably should be mind-influencing, at least.

The greater ability lets you influence the attitude of crowds and the supreme ability lets you counter language-dependent or verbal component using spells as an immediate action: You roll Intimidate and compare it to either the spell save DC or 10 + the target’s Charisma modifier or the skill-check’s result, rendering the target shaken for 1 round on a success. The ability btw. has a 24-hour cooldown per target, not unlike a hex. 13th level replaces haunt channeler with +2 to Will saves for allies participating in a séance. Instead of astral journey, the archetype can tell a funny joke, affecting targets within 10 ft. per level (not class level) with hideous laughter on a failed save. Minor complaints: Spell-reference not italicized. Also: It’d make sense for this to have a daily limit/hex caveat. The ability also does not specify its activation action – while Su usually defaults to standard action, I’d still have appreciated a stated action.

Doorkicker barbarians gain proficiency with simple and martial weapons, light armor, shields and tower shields and replace fast movement with double land speed in the surprise round. Trap sense is replaced with a scaling bonus to “initiative checks and during the surprise round and first round of combat” – something is wonky here. Does that mean only in those two rounds? Or should the bonus apply to something? No idea. 7th level replaces DR with the option to carry broken down doors or gates as impromptu weapons with the option to perform bull rushes and shield bash attacks with a bonus to atk and CMB with it that increases. Okay, as what type of shield do these impromptu shields count? Do they grant an AC-bonus? No idea.

Forest friend druids replace nature’s bond and resist nature’s lure with Tiny and Diminutive forest critters, Disney-style, that allow the character to perform a Dirty Trick with a reach of 30 ft. as a free action, using Cha instead of the animal’s Strength score and druid level instead of BAB. 4th level provides a +2 bonus, 10th level the option to execute two such attempts at once. The character can’t use animal empathy to influence magic beasts or domestic cats (wild ones are more grateful…) and 4th level replaces standard wild shape with critter shape, sounding like a cute child hopped on helium while speaking in critter form, with -1 to CL and -4 to Diplomacy and Intimidate while in cute critter form. First, the druid can only go Tiny, with 6th level unlocking Small and Medium versions of such Tiny critters. Additionally, damage increases as though one size larger. Every 2 further levels increase the maximum size available by +2, capping at 12th level and Gargantuan. 9th level yields immunity to natural diseases instead of venom immunity and 13th level provides a -2 penalty to concentration for enemies only while nearby the character. Pretty cool!

The cavalier order of the destrier grants bonuses to atk and damage to the horse with his challenge (meta-joke: Low-level horses are deadlier than their riders…) and adds both Acrobatics and Stealth to class skills, with the mount automatically gaining ranks in them upon gaining HD, and both share the highest Dex-score for Dexterity –based checks. At 2nd level, penalties for ranged attacks are reduced by 2 and no longer takes concentration penalties for vigorous motion. The mount no longer takes atk penalties for squeezing. 8th level nets +4 to CMD versus unseating attempts and Defensive Combat Training for the mount, as well as +2 to CMD. 15th level yields Ride or Die: 1/round, the mount can increase its reach as a swift action, for one round. He also may parry AoOs as an immediate action. Yep, this is “every cavalier joke ever” – the archetype.

Master of Disaster monks add Study Stance at 1st level, Missed Me at 6th and One gender-Neutral Army (lol) at 10th level to bonus feats available. 2nd level nets +2 to Acrobatics, Swim and Climb as well as Reflex Saves and Constitution checks, increasing that to +4 at 9th level, replacing evasion and its improved brother. 4th level replaces slow fall with mastery of cover: Increased benefits for the monk, decreased benefits for his adversaries. 7th level provides Superior Style: as a standard action, the monk can enlighten his audience regarding the superiority of his school, technique, sensei’s teachings, etc. – he may forego an attack made at his lowest attack bonus in favor of using an AoO to parry an opponent’s attack, with 12th level allowing for the use of two such attacks for parries. This replaces wholeness of body and abundant step…and is WEIRD. As a standard action, it does not allow for a full-attack in that round, so is it immediately active, drawing on the attacks in a future round? Does it only activate upon taking the next full attack? The lack of a duration and clear sequence make this problematic.

The revelry mystery for the oracle, which nets Bluff, Knowledge (nobility), Perform (act) and Sleight of Hand as class skills. The bonus spells make sense (and contain an asterisk-based, pretty funny joke with the reader). The revelations are pretty cool: Out-of-combat, limited use condition negation, conjuring forth a friendly, cheering crowd (which misses the chance for cool Performance combat synergy, alas), adjusting after botching social skill checks, limited healing of allies, Party trick SPs (that scale up to frickin’ meteor swarm at 19th level), conjuring forth blocking piñatas, verbal roasting of foes – pretty cool general array of tricks…though I’m not a fan of all: Untyped damage via touch-attack tickling, for example, comes also with a no-save staggered condition. Its 11th level minimum does alleviate that a bit, but still. The capstone summons a bad rave that wrecks concentration and conceals allies – cool!

The stoner alchemist replaces mutagens and persisted mutagens with getting high, for +2 to Str, Dex and Con and +2 to Will-saves, but – 2 to initiative and Reflex saves. It lasts for one hours per level (should probably be class level) and takes 10 minutes to activate. While buzzed, the stoner can exhale 5ft.-cones of smoke into adjacent squares, potentially dazzling targets on a failed save for 2 rounds. 3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter increase the options available for second-hand smoke. 5th level and every 4 levels thereafter increase the area affected by this second-hand smoke by +5 ft. and the ability, replacing bombs, can be used Intelligence modifier + class level times per day. 2nd level replaces the poison resistance and immunity with a scaling bonus to saves versus pain effects and those that induce a variety of conditions.

The pdf contains 7 new feats: Awful Good lets Lawful good casters ignore [evil] descriptors of spells at +1 spell slot level…and it should probably have the metamagic tag. Dodecaswap lets you replace 2d6 with 1d12 +1. …get it? Light Armor nets you a dodge bonus to AC equal to Charisma modifier, but only versus targets attracted to you. Mascot nets you a +1 bonus to atk, Will-saves and damage when an animal companion/mount/familiar damages a foe, Missed Me nets you a dodge bonus when flanked – if a foe misses you due to this bonus, he may strike his ally. One Person Army (previously referred to as One Gender-Neutral Army) lets you make AoOs against any square you threaten while charging, but you’re still limited to one AoO per threatened square you moved through. Someone has seen Lightning’s signature move in FF XIII. Study Stance lets you use Sense Motive to identify style feats, with attacks based on identified style feats potentially causing AoOs. Also nets you +1 to CMB and CMD while in the same style as your opponent.

The pdf’s final section is taken up by 10 new spells: Baleful plushy transforms animals and magical beasts into animated plushy versions, hampering AC and natural attacks. Power Word: Die creates a polyhedral die that moves towards your target. Distracting dance fascinates targets. Dodecaheathen deals d12-based damage, particularly if the target’s alignment is further from yours! Fire flowers creates bubbles of energy (one for each base type), causing some serious damage and potentially hampering the foe. Mist me is an immediate action concealment-granting spell, potentially hitting foes behind you. Nature’s furry enhances Diminutive or Tiny critters with brutal power. Plush companion temporarily makes companions etc. plushies…and harmless. After the spell elapses, the creature regains hit points. Squirrel cheeks, aka hamster cheeks, net you an extradimensional space in your cheeks. Walking Bomb makes Tiny or smaller alchemical items mobile, allowing you to command them. Descriptors featured here include [hug] and [pretty]. XD

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level. On a rules-language level, the material is similarly good, though not as good as usual for Four Horsemen books. Layout adheres to Rogue Genius Games’ two-column full-color standard for the series and the pdf comes with nice full-color artworks. The pdf is fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Steven T. Helt’s second array of comedic character options has some evocative, cool concepts – and it’s genuinely funny here and there. The options are, as a whole, solid, often interesting and don’t settle for common tricks. At the same time, I honestly wasn’t as blown away as I was by his first array of funny options from a player’s side – there is no radical change of playstyle herein. The content is by no means bad, but neither did it absolutely blow me away. The minor glitches also hurt the pdf a bit. In the end, this, to me, remains a mixed bag, definitely on the positive side, and hence my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Four Horsemen Present: MORE Comedic Character Options
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Everyman Minis: Sleeping Rules
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/25/2017 05:16:40

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 7 pages,1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, so we begin with a brief recap of the terms “rest”, “sleep” and “unconscious(ness)” in the context of the PFRPG-rules – handy to realize the distinctions when you’re not already an expert designer.

After this recap, we take a look at sleep required for characters – and then move on to concise rules for Sleep Deprivation, which tie in smoothly with Horror Adventure’s sanity system (or any other sanity system you choose to employ) – the rules are based on exhaustion-mechanics and concisely codify how proper sleep can end the weirdness of sleep deprivation, if it hasn’t gone on for too long – and as someone who has suffered from insomnia time and again, I am very much in love with this depiction.

Better yet, these tie in with the conditions of “Asleep” or “Drowsy”, concisely codifying both states and providing, basically, a ladder of sleep-related conditions that allows for a finer gradient. Why is this phenomenal? With just a bit of tweaking, you can balance some of the save-or-suck options at low levels, like the slumber hex, to just note one, without forbidding them or rendering them moot. I ADORE this section.

A total of 3 new spells complement this pdf: Curse of insomnia is pretty much self-explanatory. Sedative drone renders targets drowsy and stimulate can suppress sleep effects or fortify against them, akin to such options for fear.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Everyman gaming’s two-column standard with a printer-friendly, white background. The full-color artwork is neat. The pdf does not have bookmarks, but needs none.

Alexander Augunas and Matt Morris present a humble, little pdf that presents a significantly more rewarding take on sleep than the default: The rules for sleep deprivation are damn cool; but more than that, it’s what you can DO with these rules that makes this amazing.

Replacing save-or-suck insta-sleep with the new condition makes encountering creatures with sleep-inducing capabilities more rewarding for players and GMs alike, balancing some nasty save-or-suck tricks in the process. In short: Using this pdf makes your game better, with almost no work. While I would have loved to see an ability-by-ability-guideline for drowsiness via magic items and effects, what we do get is amazing and all you can ask of such a humble pdf. I adore this. There are very few such small pdfs that increase a game to this extent – and as such, I award this 5 stars + seal of approval. If it had this list, it’d also get a spot as a candidate of my Top Ten of 2017. This is really, really good – get it!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Sleeping Rules
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Everyman Minis: Spells of Comedy
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/20/2017 03:51:02

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

As always, we begin with a bit of supplemental material after the introduction, which, this time around, would be the Tricky Spell metamagic feat, which increases the spell level in question by two: In short, the feat lets you make a dirty trick attempt against ALL targets of the spell in question, substituting caster level for BAB and governing spellcasting attribute for Strength. Feats that enhance dirty tricks apply here as well, but only creatures you either hit or that have failed their saving throw are affected. All creatures targeted by one spell share the same dirty trick effect. I like this feat, though personally, I’d value the flexibility Dirty trick offers higher, at +3 spell levels, considering the less flexible metamagic feats that occupy a precious feat slot and add similar debuffs.

All righty, so what do the spells do? At 1st level, banana slippers enchants fruit peels to wrap around the target’s feet, making the area more slippery. Movement may render the target prone, though slowed movement and Acrobatics d help a bit. There is a 2nd/3rd-level mass-version included. The second level spell (3rd for the psychic/witch) gibber imposes a penalty to Charisma-based skill checks and Charisma checks as well as a 20% spellcasting failure chance for spells or abilities with verbal components. This “wastes the target’s action and any uses of the ability” – I assume this means that the action used for the ability/spell and that the spell in question is expended when failing thus. The wording here, while solid, made me twitch a bit. There is a mass-version at one spell-level higher. Dutiful doorkeeper is a level 1 spell that enchants a door, box, etc. – any attempt t open it is thwarted, with the hand attacking (using CL + governing spellcasting attribute) and inflicting CL times 1d6 force damage (max 5d6). Weird: The hand can attack at range, but has no maximum range. At 1 hour per level, it is a VERY potent option for low level casters: Enchant a box/door and wait – lots of force damage there. While the spell has a passphrase, I think it should have a range for its attacks and since its strikes creatures adjacent to the opener, it can be weaponized weirdly and also imho should have a means to Disable Device it. Not the biggest fan here.

Illusory trio generates basically a figment of three stooges-like comedians that hamper Perception of those nearby and opposed skill checks as well as concentration of nearby casters. Pie projectile is a level 1 ranged dirty trick, again, using the CL and governing spellcasting attribute substitution, but may only generate the blinded condition. Odd: The rules-language, while not that different from other dirty trick-based options, reads a bit wonky in one sentence: “Attempt a combat maneuver check to make a dirty trick attempt against the target…” – cosmetic, sure, but it sticks out when compared to the other spells. Finally, the third level spell (4th for sorc/wiz) production of endless pies generates up to CL pies, which are held as a charge and may be thrown as an attack or full-attack action, with new pie-creation being a free action. The reference to the previous spell is not italicized properly, but the interaction with haste works. Fyi: No flurrying etc. with the spell.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed nothing too jarring. Layout adheres to Everyman Gaming’s nice two-column standard with a white background. The full-color artwork included is neat. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Luis Loza’s spells of comedy are pretty complex for the concepts they attempt and manage to get the required rules-language mostly right. That being said, the focus lies clearly on dirty trick-spells – the pdf focuses pretty strongly on this one rules-concept and does so pretty well, but this also makes the pdf a bit more limited than I’d have liked it to be. The production of endless pies engine of rules-language is pretty impressive, though, and can easily be scavenged and adapted, making that one of my favorites herein. This pdf is not necessarily a must-have, but it is a fun, humble and nice little offering – hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Spells of Comedy
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The Genius Guide to Homophone Spells
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/20/2017 03:49:37

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Genius Guide clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 3 pages of SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, after a brief and humorous introduction, we move right on to the spells in question – which btw. do take the occult classes, ACG classes etc. into account regarding their availability. The first of these would be Ade, which generates a refreshing beverage that quenches thirst for a day and prevents needing to succeed Constitution checks to avoid nonlethal damage from thirst. At 1st level, that trivializes travel hazards a bit early…and as an aside, personally, I become more thirsty when drinking ade – whether it’s Power- or Gator-ade…perhaps I’m just not used to the chemicals and the sugar/sugar-substitutes… Brake enchantment refers to itself, erroneously, as “break enchantment” in its text and makes stopping vehicles easier. Fey’s door opens a gateway to the First World. Flair makes the clothes of the target look more fancy, potentially allowing a Charisma-based ability- or skill-reroll. Gait is pretty potent for 3rd level, allowing each affected target to either increase its speed (I assume just one…or all?), ignore all types of difficult terrain (OUCH), +4 untyped bonus to Acrobatics or standing up from prone sans AoO. Not a fan.

Heel forces an affected animal to follow you and comes with a mass version. Make hole generates a hole under the target’s feet and allows you to make a dirty trick with CL and spellcasting attribute. Meatier swarm is a slightly improved summon swarm. Miner creation creates a digging automaton – oddly, the automaton has no stats, can’t be destroyed and can’t affect structures. No direction scrambles the sense of direction of the target. Plain shift is a cantrip that nets +1 untyped bonus on Fortitude saves versus cold or warm weather. Reed magic is cool: Quickly and magically woven, it makes the terrain over which the reed mat is put less slippery and also use it to trip targets. Sole bind renders immune to caltrops for its duration. Thyme stop eliminates all taste and seasoning from nearby food, making those that eat the fare more prone to being affected by some negative effects.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good. I noticed no undue accumulation of bad glitches. Layout adheres to Rogue Genius Games’ two-column full-color standard. The sketches by industry-legend Stan! Are neat and actually my favorite part of the supplement. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Jason Keeley’s homophone spells are pretty funny, or at least quite a few are. While I’m not a big fan of all the untyped bonuses and while I don’t consider all balancing decisions to be that great, this does represent a nice little supplement. System-immanently, the pdf has less use for you if you don’t play the game in English – homophone jokes usually don’t translate that well (see, most famously, Rammstein’s “Du hast”). When you take the joke component away, you’re left with a decent, if not mind-boggling collection of spells that sports some neat ideas. As a whole, this struck me as a solid, if somewhat unremarkable offering, mainly interesting if you enjoy the novelty-aspect of this supplement. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars – and honestly, to me, they’re closer to 3, which is why I’ll round down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Genius Guide to Homophone Spells
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Everyman Minis: Deific Passengers
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/15/2017 03:55:37

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 3.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

All righty, first things first: You need Paranormal Adventures to use this pdf. The content herein represents an expansion for the Vessel class – think of these guys basically as the equivalent of the Demons and Angels from the Supernatural TV Series, with more control for the person hosting them. The class basically represents beings that are possessed by so-called passengers.

A big and intentional hole in the portfolio of the class, at least as far as I’m concerned, is addressed herein. The original vessel class does not have an option to be possessed by a deity as a passenger spirit – considering the diverging levels of omniscience/omnipotence of deities throughout different campaign settings, this makes sense: Direct involvement in the realms of mortals may break a core tenet of your campaign…or, if you’re favoring less powerful divinities that take direct action, it may just be what you wanted.

The alignment of a deity passenger (passenger “statblocks”, i.e. their presentation, is btw. explained) must match that of the vessel (deities are picky) and they are associated with all of the domains of the deity in question. That can be problematic in very low-powered games– deities provide more associated domains than the default 3 that regular passengers offer, representing an upgrade regarding flexibility when choosing the Omen that grants access to one; since omens may not be taken multiple times unless otherwise noted, you can’t just gain domain upon domain, though – you just have a broader selection available, so yeah, this gets a pass in most contexts. The DR is bypassed by the opposed alignment – as a minor complaint, the rules do not specify whether only one alignment axis is relevant here or both: There do exist a couple of DRs that require two axes to bypass. I assume that’s not the case here, but yeah.

Grace boon-wise, the deity passenger gets divine resilience at 3rd level, gaining resistances depending on the deity’s alignment (one is chosen; two more are gained at 6th level and 12th increases one to 10, with level 15 increasing the others to 10 as well); we also gain a +1 bonus to saving throws versus specific effects based on the chosen domain, which increases by +1 at 6th level and every 3 levels thereafter, capping at +5 at 15th level. Almost a whole page is devoted to listing these by domain and the benefits cover a wide breadth of options: Luck, for example, grants the bonus to saves versus curses and hexes; magic fortifies versus spells, SPs and effects generated by dragons and magical beasts, travel helps versus teleportation and effects that cause Strength damage and also applies to CMD versus being involuntarily moved…honestly, this is impressive. Considering that the bonus is pretty much a vanilla, passive ability, it is rather impressive to note the creative applications here. Kudos!

6th level nets domain as a bonus omen – and no, if you have it already, you don’t get two. 12th level, however, does indeed grant a second domain, including that domain’s divine resilience bonus.

Also at 6th level, when using grace to cast domain spells, CL and DC are increased by +1, which upgrades to +2 at 15th level. 9th level yields Believer’s Boon as a bonus feat, using grace to activate it. 15th level provides reliable passenger’s jaunt to plane shift to the deity’s plane and may carry additional targets with him sans additional grace expenditure. 18th level provides outsider apotheosis as well as the option to cast 6th level or lower cleric spells by spending half the spell’s level in grace and expending a vessel spell slot of the spell’s level.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no hiccups. Layout adheres to Everyman gaming’s nice two-column standard with a white background – it is, thus, printer-friendly. The artwork in full-color is neat and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

I was very happy that the deity option was not included in Paranormal Adventures. It has serious ramifications on the way in which a game world’s cosmology and logic works. That being said, I am just as happy that Matt Morris provided this wide-open, yet surprisingly well-balanced optional expansion in this Everyman Mini. This little pdf actually inspired me far more than I expected when I double-clicked on it to open it. After I had read the brief write-up, a whole campaign had taken shape in my mind: Picture a world, where the divine war threatened to tear asunder the fabric of creation. Faced with mutually assured annihilation and very much limited in potency and knowledge, the deities agreed on having their pawns, mortal godkings and leaders fight on their behalf, channeling them, seeking to establish dominance sans destroying all of reality. Thus rose nations, empires, under the guidance of divine lords, with dynasties of vessels groomed for rulership…but what when one empire’s the deity chooses another? What when ALL deities forsaken their dynasties in favor of new blood? How will the established rulers react when upstarts with a divine mandate arise and armies clash?? When the war of propaganda and intrigue boils, fighting for the souls of nations?

I’m sorry. I was somewhat spirited away there, but more so than the vessel class previously managed to do, this passenger and its interaction with the base-class actually inspired me! This is a prime example of the amazing things that can be done with small minis, a prime example of a great idea, contained in a deceptively brief, incredibly concise little file. This is glorious – not for all campaigns due to the effects on cosmology…but I can count the times I was this inspired by such a small pdf on one hand. This is excellence. 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Deific Passengers
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Everyman Minis: Mysteries of Passion
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/13/2017 06:15:16

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

All righty, we begin this Everyman Mini with a brief introduction and a new 8th level spell, which would be symbol of debauchery: This duplicates symbol of death, but instead affects the targets with reckless infatuation, treating creatures that they have healthy relationships as objects of desire, attempting to stay as close to as many of them as possible, using their actions to engage in consenting and relaxing activities. These are so taxing that they potentially prevent the regaining of spells. Tastefully handled! Big kudos!

Now the main body of the pdf, obviously, is taken up by the new oracle mystery passion, which nets Bluff, handle Animals and Sense Motive as class skills. The bonus spells gained range from charm person to mantle of calm, matchmaker and later nets the new spell as well as waves of ecstasy and overwhelming presence.

Now, revelation-wise, we have life link from the life mystery, as well as punitive transformation – the latter, however, is incorrectly credited to the nature mystery, when it is a revelation of the waves mystery instead. Beyond these previously used revelations, we also have a couple of new options: Awesome Beauty acts as a fascination-inducing aura that prevents targets, sanctuary-style from potentially attacking you if they could be attracted to you. Cool: Via an exchanging of gifts, you can bond souls together, allowing them to sense the direction of their partner and giving you an idea of the subject’s emotional and health auras. You can also send telepathic messages to the subject, duplicating sending (which is not properly italicized). One question: Does the message reach both participants or just one? Desire sight instantly nets you the 3rd round knowledge of detect desires of all targets within 100 ft., making the oracle a fearsome foe in social contexts! With another revelation, you get Conceal Spell and add Disguise and Sleight of Hand to your class skills, with later levels providing Improved Conceal Spell and forcing witnesses of Conceal Spell that could be attracted to you to roll twice.

Another revelation nets you the option to add mercy effects to cure spells or cruelties to inflict spells, with higher levels yielding more cruelties/mercies. You can also add bard spells to your array and another revelation lets you add Charisma modifier instead of Dex to AC and CMD. Finally, we have scaling save bonuses versus charms and compulsions that increase to encompass immunity. The final revelation is an augmented outsider apotheosis that lets you still be returned to life as normal. You also gain immunity to age effects and a constant greater age resistance as well as at-will threefold aspect, with bonus types changed depending on whether you cast cure or inflict spells and sans penalties. Additionally, you may designate Charisma modifier targets that are in a romantic or platonic relationship, granting them the benefits of the final revelation, minus the DR. Cool!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level, though I did notice minor glitches. Layout adheres to Everyman Gaming’s two-column standard with a white background, making this relatively printer-friendly. The pdf sports a nice full-color artwork and has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Margherita Tramontano’s mystery is pretty much amazing – I really, really enjoyed this one and I love how it represents in a tasteful manner one of the most amazing forces that exist – love, passion and what they entail, concisely represented with viable and even culturally sensible options. I can see a community really benefitting from the gift-exchange tradition supervised by the oracle, for example. It’s a beautiful tradition that imho can serve as a great narrative tool to explain a healthy community. That being said, the minor hiccups do drag this down a bit, if not by much – hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform. If you don’t mind these minor hiccups, consider this a must-own recommendation instead – as a person, I really…loved this! …sorry, couldn’t help myself. ;)

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Mysteries of Passion
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Everyman Minis: Gnoll Options
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/12/2017 06:48:56

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 4 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

We begin this pdf with a brief introduction that also recaps the racial traits of the gnolls, before we are introduced to a total of 5 alternate racial traits. The first of these would be the feral gnoll, who gains Snapping Jaws as a bonus feats, but takes a -2 penalty to Intelligence. Feycursed gnolls replace their ability-score modifiers, instead gaining their choice of +2 to Intelligence or Charisma and -2 to Strength. They also receive Eldritch heritage with the fey bloodline as a bonus feat and ignore the Charisma prerequisites of feats that build on it. This one replaces natural armor.

Speaking of which: Instead of the natural armor bonus, gnolls may choose Slaver Magic, which nets a +1 bonus to the DC of enchantment (compulsion) spells cast and they treat their CL for such spells as one higher. Gnolls with a Charisma score of 11 or higher may also use command as a SP 1/day, with character level equal to caster level. Instead of the standard ability score modifiers, gnolls can choose to be terrifyingly ugly, gaining a +2 racial bonus to Intimidate and treat the skill as a class skill. They can also alter a creature’s attitude by 3 steps instead of 2 via Intimidate, but take a -2 penalty to Charisma. It’s a bit odd, considering that Intimidate is based on Charisma, but also makes sense. Still, this does feel a bit more wobbly. Some gnolls gain proficiency with scimitars and falchions and treat spiked chains, scorpion whips and whips as martial weapons – which makes sense. This one also replaces natural armor.

The pdf also contains 3 racial feats: Canine Gait, which is pretty amazing: It lets you sprint on all fours, with codified standing up and charge synergy that makes for an interesting choice and building block for some cool gambits. Command Obedience requires the use of Ultimate Occult and nets you all obedience spells of 6th level or lower as spells added to your list of spells at their noted telepath levels. Interesting: This does get the undercasting options right and rewards spontaneous casters. Mechanically solid, though I’m not a big fan of Ultimate Occult. Thirdly, Heckling laughter is a teamwork combat feat: As a move action, you may laugh and reduce morale bonuses gained by your foes within 30 ft., with multiple heckles stacking. Additionally, the heckling does hamper spellcasting, which is pretty damn cool – finally, the fearsome laughter of the gnolls has a proper rules-representation.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch. (Ironically, with the editing credited to “@@@” being the only bad glitch I noted.) Layout adheres to Everyman gaming’s relatively printer-friendly two-column standard with a white background. The pdf sports a nice full-color artwork and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alexander Augunas’s gnoll options are interesting, fun, and particularly the Laughter-based feat is worth the low price of admission; similarly, Canine Gait is really cool. This is not revolutionary, mind you, but it does constitute a solid, fun little racial pdf that expands the themes of gnolls in a concise, interesting manner, well worth a final verdict of 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Gnoll Options
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Four Horsemen Present: Hybrid Class: The Psychemist
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/12/2017 06:46:45

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This hybrid class clocks in at 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, the psychemist would be a hybrid of alchemist and medium and chassis-wise, gets d8 HD, 4 + Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons and light and medium armor, but not shields. The class gets a ¾ BAB-progression as well as good Will-saves.

The psychemist is defined by using occult alchemy, which theme-wise, is based on the harnessing of spirits and their energy. Psychemists may use spell-trigger items if they are included on the class’s list, but not spell-completion items The extract-equivalent of the class would be pnumea, beginning play with two + Charisma modifier 1st level pnumea, and each new level provides +1 pnumea of his choice of any level he can distill. As with extracts, the psychemist learns to distill up to 6th level pnumea. As a minor complaint – the vials containing them are called canopic vials most of the time, but also canopic jars once, which can be a tad bit confusing. On a plus-side, their costs (as arrows) are concisely defined.

2nd level yields a bonus equal to +1/2 class level to avoid being surprised and to detect invisible or incorporeal creatures as well as detect psychic significance at will as an SP. 3rd level yields throw anything and changes significantly how the class operates – you see, the psychemist can throw canopic vials (which deal very minor damage, sans Strength modifier) and unleash the spell stored within. Starting at 7th level, the vials may be used in conjunction with slings, at a penalty and decreased range, with 12th and 17th level improving this ability.

Starting at 3rd level, he may also prepare a pnumea as a so-called pseudo-haunt, which uses a spell level of 1 level higher than usual, generating a psychic haunt that only lasts for 24 hours, triggering whenever a living target enters the square. Thankfully, only one such psychic haunt may be maintained at once – still, a very, very potent ability. Problematic: The Pnumea per day table lacks the level-column…and if it had been included, one may have noticed that 2nd level pnumea are gained at 4th level, which means that, at 3rd level, this does pretty much…nothing. It’s just one level, but still.

The perhaps most defining and important class feature of the class would be spectral mutagen, available from the get-go. This behaves mostly like a regular mutagen, but is also defined by spirit archetypes – the class begins play with the knowledge to capture the essences of two spirits and one mutagen per day, adding another daily use and spirit known at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter. At the same time, upon gaining an upgrade thus, existing spirit bonuses increase in potency by +2.

Imbibing a spirit mutagen yields a +4 bonus to saves vs. possession, +2 versus mind-affecting effects, but also imposes a -2 penalty to initiative (minor complaint: Reference to Cha instead of Charisma in the duration formula.) The spirits provided are based on the traditional 6 mythic paths, parallel to the spirits of the medium, with each sporting a spirit bonus: The archmage, for example, yields a +2 bonus on concentration checks, Intelligence checks and Intelligence-based skill-checks, while the champion yields a morale bonus to atk, non-spell damage rolls, Strength checks, Strength-based skill checks and Fortitude saves. Weird: Channeling the Marshall nets you and your allies a base movement speed increase of +10 ft. – I don’t have a beef with this, I do like it…but at the same time, the lack of cap or range means that, with enough psychemist followers (or in a military environment), you can generate ridiculous amounts of affected allies – this should have a cap of affected beings and a range.

In addition to the spirit bonus, each spirit provides access to a total of 3 special spectral powers – as part of the action attempted to use the powers, the psychemist performs a Diplomacy check, with the DCs being 20, 25 and 30, respectively. These may be used any number of times, provided you meet the skill check, though the DC increases by 5 every time beyond the first use.

On a failure of one such check, the psychemist takes the influence penalty associated with the spirit and doubles the initiative penalty of the spectral mutagen. Problem here: I have no idea whether the spectral power still takes place on such a failed check – I assume no, but the ability lacks the failure clause. Failing more than two Diplomacy checks thus, causes the spirit to abandon the psychemist, incurring a -4 penalty to influence other spirit archetypes for 24 hours. Slightly odd – this would RAW allow you to choose to fail such a check to deliberately prematurely end a spirit mutagen to get rid of influence penalties. Not sure if that was intended. Anyways, non-psychemists cannot benefit from these and in fact are shaken on a failed save when consuming them. Additionally, I am not 100% clear whether you can consume another spectral mutagen associated with the spirit that abandoned the psychemist after the spirit abandoning him, or whether that aspect is tied to a rest-cool-down: “He cannot access that archetype’s powers and suffers a -4 penalty to Diplomacy checks to influence other archetypes for 24 hours.” Could be read as the 24 hours applying to only the penalty or both the lock-out and the penalty; the latter would make more sense for me, but yeah.

Anyways, why would you want to prematurely end the mutagen’s effects? Well, from -2 to Strength and Constitution checks, Strength-based skill checks and damage/atk-rolls to being forced to fight and cast defensively (as well as -2 damage), the influence penalties are fitting, but yeah….hence the observations above that you may want to fail such a check in certain circumstances. Problematic RAW: The defensive casting mentioned does not really come into play unless multiclassing – after all, the psychemist does not have spells. Not sure if that is intended or not.

Now, regarding the respective powers mentioned before: Guardians can yield, for the duration of the spectral mutagen, DR/- and resistance to the classic energy types + sonic equal to the maximum pnumea you can cast, minimum +1. The more potent options include immediate action concealment – and if a foe misses you, you’ll get an AoO against the target; considering that some abilities allow for non-melee AoOs, a caveat to make that melee-only would have made sense, but that is me being very nitpicky. The highest-powered ability of the guardian allows you to remove a negative condition from a nearby ally. The hierophant provides channel energy (and spontaneous pnumea-conversion into cure/inflict for highest level pnumea rounds – this is pretty potent, considering the potency of ranged healing, but I’m good with this doe to the quickly-escalating DCs.

As a minor complaint: The reference to haste in the additional attack section of the champion has not been properly italicized and while it stacks with that spell’s effects, it thankfully doesn’t stack with other attack-granting options. Where I get a bit cranky would be the champion’s DC 30 attack – for a full-round action AND a swift action, you get to move up to full speed and make a full attack – while it doesn’t combine with sudden attack, it still is an unreliable form of pounce sans a proper minimum level – for the base class, that’s perhaps not too bad, but I still think that simply adding level requirements to spectral powers would have probably made the balancing of the class much smoother; you know, just putting the 2nd and 3rd ability behind a minimum level? RAW, the champion thus would make for a very dippable and potent option…

At 12th level, the psychemist may 1/day when he fails a Diplomacy check versus a spirit “choose to make a second save” to rid himself of the spirit penalty, ending the spectral mutagen on a success. Wait. What? Save? RAW, the psychemist doesn’t get a save against the penalty of a failed Diplomacy check! I don’t get it. 14th level extends the duration of the spectral mutagen to 1 hour per level, or until a new mutagen is imbibed.

But what about bombs? Well, considering that the pnumea behave somewhat akin to them, you won’t be surprised to hear that they are gained a bit later: 4th level yields access to so-called spectral grenades. These are governed by Charisma and…I have no idea how much damage they inflict, what damage type they have…the pdf simply doesn’t tell. Due to the delayed gaining of the ability, there also is no easy means to default to the alchemist: -4 levels? Full levels? No idea. You see, I rattled my brain over this for quite a while, and I came to the conclusion that, perhaps, these bombs are supposed to behave like canopic vials when thrown, with the respective grenade effects added…but that is guessing on my part, since the ability states “Similar to an alchemist’s bomb” and nowhere states that this is the case.

A psychemist can have one spectral grenade in effect at any given time, with 1 minute of preparation required to make a new one. A psychemist may create one spectral grenade per day, +1 for every 4 levels beyond 4th. Two feats enhance these– one for +2 spectral grenades per day, but still with only one prepared at any given time The second feat nets bonus negative energy damage for them…which doesn’t help, since I have no idea on how much damage they inflict. (There is, btw., also a feat for +4 Diplomacy versus a spirit, starting at 10th level +1spirit bonus, just for completion’s sake.) Spectral grenades are tied to the spirits – each spirit has an associated spectral grenade and the psychemist knows the spectral grenades from the two spirits granted by spectral mutagen.

It should be noted that spirits unlocked later do not automatically net you their spectral grenades, btw.! In addition to the two known for the 1st level spirits, there also are spectral grenade effects regardless of spirits – these are potent: Like cold damage plus paralysis, reduced to staggered on a successful save and negative conditions. There also are some cool tricks to make incorporeal creatures visible and known (type + alignment) or rendering targets corporeal. The more potent effects are hidden behind a level-requirement. Hierophant grenades hamper healing, Trickster grenades impose the influence penalty on the target. Okay…what happens if you target another psychemist who is currently suffering from the trickster’s influence penalty? 8th level and every 2 levels thereafter yield another spectral grenade effect.

6th level provides the haunt siphon ability to always act in a surprise round against haunts before they manifest and may use an available pnumea-slot or a prepared pnumea of the highest pnumea level available, the latter of which may be spontaneously expended to attempt to siphon a haunt, with, once again, a Diplomacy check, trapping it for 24 hours. This allows the psychemist to use the haunt as a pseudo haunt…which is very, very potent if not handled with care by the GM. That being said, you won’t want to risk using this ability to stock up on high-powered haunts – on a failure, you get no save versus its effects!! Yeah, OUCH!

7th level provides location siphon, which allows for the expenditure of a 3rd level pnumea slot to siphon a spirit at a location to duplicate a variant of call spirit – at 11th level, an ally’s familiarity may be substituted for that of the psychemist. 17th level yields the ability to craft a special vial for a target – a willing individual that then perishes has the soul stored inside, facilitating return from the dead. Only one such vessel may be held and the character’s soul may be used to make intelligent magical items. (Wanna try out the horsemen’s amazing Living Objects? There ya go.) 19th level yields spirit blend: “When distilling a spirit blend spectral mutagen, the psychemist gains the spirit bonus and spectral grenade effect from his most powerful spirit archetype, but can choose 2 specific powers from any of the other spirit archetypes he can siphon…” – in addition to those the spirit has anyway. Sounds simple, righty? It’s not. It has a big issue. What is “the most powerful spirit archetype”?? One of the starting ones? Should we judge their power? What if you took the Spirit Focus feat on a spirit gained later?

The capstone is pretty cool, allowing for a variant of capture the soul and even steal abilities! Yeah, pretty cool. The pdf also introduces etched vials as a magic item class, basically the enchantable weaponry of the psychemist.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting on a formal level are very good, with only a few minor hiccups. On a rules-language level, though, the pdf sports very unpleasant instances of imprecision that are both uncharacteristic for the author and rogue Genius Games. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports solid stock art and comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

I don’t get it. Tim Hitchcock’s psychemist is per se a class I enjoy. It is innovative in its tweaks; it feels different from both medium and alchemist; it has great ideas and attempts high-difficulty rules-operations. It is also a deeply flawed class, unfortunately. It is pretty evident that the class has gone through at least one major revision, which may account for several of the puzzling inconsistencies within. At one point, saves, the proper damage notes for spectral grenades, etc. may have made sense – but there are a lot of components that got confused/lost in translation. This is basically a highly complex, well-crafted class…that is one consistency check away from being a very good example of a hybrid class.

Now here’s the thing – I want to like this class. It is much more creative than the pretty vanilla blending of themes would make you believe; it attempts fun things…but it also sports serious quirks and glitches in crucial parts of its abilities. And try as I might, I can’t let that pass. My final verdict will hence clock in at 2.5 stars – though, considering the difficulty and how, upon fixing, we have an interesting hybrid on our hands, I will round up for the purpose of this platform; you can fix this and it’d be cool then…but fixing this WILL require work.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Four Horsemen Present: Hybrid Class: The Psychemist
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Everyman Iconics: Taka'shi
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/08/2017 13:30:10

An Endzeitgeist.com review of the revised edition

This installment of the Everyman Iconics series clocks in at a MASSIVE 41 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 5 pages of SRD. Anyways, we are left with 34 pages of content, which is still rather massive, so let’s take a look!

This review was moved up in my reviewing-queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreons.

Making a viable, well-crafted PC or NPC takes a lot of time in PFRPG, even if you’re good with math and as savvy in the rules as many designers or guys like me are. That’s not supposed to be arrogance, it’s just a fact – I’ve been doing these reviews for a long, long time. Still, that may be, as a whole, the biggest drawback of mechanically more complex systems like PFRPG. While there is fun and plenty of joy o be found in making characters like this, the time-factor should not be underestimated…and where OSR systems just let you roll 6 times and you’re pretty much done, spontaneous PC-death can take a player out of the proceedings for quite some time.

This is, ultimately, where this series comes in – we get various iterations of one character, concisely broken down by level, with the whole progression at one glance and all required material – a kind of all in one package if you will, one sporting PC-quality builds. Taka’shi, in case you didn’t know, was originally designed and submitted as a concept by a backer of the Dynastic Races Compendium kickstarter, used and expanded with the blessing of the backer – and why not: Having one’s character immortalized as the iconic for the kyubi, the multi-tailed kitsune racial paragon, is pretty amazing!

Taka’shi’s childhood was not pleasant, for his eight birthday saw the demise of his parents at the hands of a legendary oni…and as a street-kid, he was taken in by a daimyo…blacking out, only to awake in true form, with tattered clothes and a daimyo at his feet, blood staining his teeth…and the daimyo a broken puppet, subject to his every whim. Thus, his ruse continued for years – until he was unmasked when the daimyo was slain. In a panic, he acquired as much gold as he could, venturing forth into the world beyond, with wild-eyed dreams of the wonders of adventuring life. His personality is similarly depicted in a detailed manner and completes the picture of a well-rounded, multi-facetted character.

His base stats, as always, are provided for your convenience, and so are the archetypes he employs as well as traits etc. Taka’shi employs both the nine-tailed heir and wildblooded bloodlines and the kitsune bloodline modified as the kyubi bloodline – those are, of course, reproduced here in full for your convenience. No book-skipping required. The first 5 and final 5 levels of his progression are devoted to sorcerer levels, with the 10 kyubi paragon PrC levels of the immensely flexible kyubi paragon PrC situated between, spanning levels 6 to 15. As always, a handy table makes it exceedingly easy to follow the progression of the feats-chosen, ability-score improvements taken, etc.

Taka’shi, unsurprisingly, uses the spellcasting-centric embodiment of magic of the kyubi paragon class – as always, this is represented within these pages as well (though, seriously, check out the kyubi – it’s an amazingly flexible PrC!). The build itself makes impressive use of this flexibility beyond the basics, sporting a shaman hex and a vigilante talent (also included).

Now, as a spellcaster, Taka’shi obviously has spells – and we get a full table depicting when he chooses which spells from level 1 to 20…and all the spells. Yep, no annoying searching for spells there either! This is one of the reasons this installment is longer than previous ones, but more importantly, the spells make sense from both an efficiency- and a theme-focused point of view.

As always, we get PC-quality NPC-builds, all ready and set to go, for a wide variety of levels: 1, 4, 7, 10, 14, 17 and 20, to be precise. The builds are btw. pretty brutal: When played right, Tak’shi can make for a truly fearsome foe…or ally! The pdf has cleaned up previous hiccups with the stats – kudos for caring about product support!!

Speaking of which, in the fine tradition of the series, the pdf switches to a three-column standard in the back, providing a go-play PC-build of the character for levels 1, 4 and 7…which represents a minor complaint herein – only one of these levels actually has access to the unique kyubi PrC’s tricks – choosing higher levels for the latter two iterations would have made sense to me, but then again, this is me nitpicking in the absence of serious gripes and should be understood as such. The previously existing minor hiccups in the stats have been diligently taken care of – kudos!

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good. Layout adheres to Everyman gaming’s two-column full-color standard (excluding the 3-column hand-out-style PC-builds) and comes sans background in a generally printer-friendly version. The artworks by Brandon Chang and Jacob Blackmon are really neat. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Taka’shi is an amazing character – I’m a huge fanboy of the racial PrC and the character depicted herein is similarly a neat one. I really like the character, I enjoy his story and personality and all the builds are helpful. Alexander Augunas has not just accepted delivering something pretty good, polishing the pdf further, to the point where this character works perfectly now…and the character is pretty much amazing. Hence, the revised version is upgraded to 5 stars + seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Iconics: Taka'shi
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Veranthea Codex: The 5th World
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/08/2017 09:44:13

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This high-level adventure for the unique Veranthea Codex-setting clocks in at 62 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 3 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 55 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, this module is intended for HIGH level characters; as in level 16 – 18. Don’t have some on your hands, much less with the global rules modifications of Veranthea? Well, fret not, for the pdf does contain a significant array of high-level pregens for your convenience. Furthermore, the pdf does contain a massive selection of high-level stats for adversaries/NPCs that can be found in the world of Veranthea, acting as a kind of NPC Codex-like book, but including brief notes on the fluff of the respective NPCs as well. And yes, we also receive stats for Yawvil, the CR 37/MR 10 master wizard of Veranthea…after all, the module begins with meeting him.

Now, if all of that does sound familiar, there’s a reason for that: The module reproduces a lot of content that could be found in other Veranthea Codex books. This means that, yes, you can run this module sans needing to get the whole product line. Here’s the good news for those of us who enjoyed the setting so far and DO own the books: With a proof of purchase sent to the Veranthea e-mail address (which can be found in the product description of the module), you actually get a discount on the book! That is really customer-friendly and gets two big thumbs up from yours truly!

But you’re here for the adventure, right? Well, as always, the following discussion of the module at hand will contain SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion.

..

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All right, still here? Great! The PCs are teleported to none other than Veranthea’s master wizard, for his long-time ally Tyrigilyam the jabberwocky (do you get the easter-egg?) has gone missing in the Forever Dark below the surface; it’s up to the PCs to find out what…and here, the massive array of super-powerful adversaries I mentioned before comes into play: mentally compelled by a strange pulse, these legends stand in the way of the PCs as they make their way to a skein of energy that holds back to the Manhoff trench in the Doryhanna Ocean and best the horribly potent things lurking there. Sooner or later, the PCs witness basically a strange machinery that can be traced along the ocean floor, a massive outcropping of metal, itself shielded from the hostile environment – Ðëñùšä, an underwater city.

Infiltrating the massive place at the bottom of the seas, the PCs encounter powerful crustacean-constructs…and fans of Veranthea will guess that the gig is up: They have stumbled over relics of the dreaded Trekth. Within this strange city, the PCs may find Yawvil’s old friend, bound by the strange things – and freeing the jabberwocky may also free the mind-controlled legends from their strange compulsions…just as Yawvil and the jabberwocky reconcile, the whole power of the tick-like city (oh yeah, didn’t mention that, did I?) resurges as the massive trekth forces seek to overrun everyone – with the help of the legends freed, the PCs may have a chance to escape – but they need to carve a path through the horrid creatures here, as the city itself seems to be capable of even blocking Yawvil’s potent tokens, which were supposed to get the PCs out of exactly this predicament…And yes, the PCs can leave behind the controlled legends, potentially changing the power-dynamics of Veranthea forever…talking about high stakes!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no undue accumulation of hiccups. Layout adheres to Veranthea’s 2-column full-color standard and manages to get A LOT of information on a given page. The pdf comes with solid full-color artworks, most of which will be familiar for fans of Veranthea. The cartography deserves special mention – two maps are provided, one that is somewhat battle mat style and solid, and a full-color map of the fantastic city/being Ðëñùšä. The latter is particularly nice.

Mike Myler’s high-level adventure does everything right. It does not get bogged down in trying to micro-manage the vast capabilities of PCs of this level, instead presenting environments that require high-level arsenals of options to survive. The unique backdrop of the proceeding is compelling, in spite of its brevity, and the way in which the module employs the legends of Veranthea is really smart, potentially allowing for vast global changes in the aftermath of this module. There is but one serious complaint I have regarding the module – its brevity. While the high-level legends allow a GM to stretch this module SIGNIFICANTLY if desired, the module can similarly be rushed for convention-slot length. And honestly, in my book, the module deserves better than that. This features some of the best properties of Mike’s writing style and is, idea-wise, incredibly strong – so strong, in fact, that I wished that this had been upgraded to full-blown mega-adventure status…you know, with NPCs across Veranthea vanishing suddenly, the aftermath of these disappearances, the climactic involvement of Yawvil, a longer trip through the incredibly hostile terrains passed…you get the idea. This almost feels like a whole campaign arc.

That being said: A) Nothing keeps you from expanding the module thus. B) I get why the module is as it is – it is deliberately designed to work for one-shots etc. Consider, thus, my complaints to be a testament to how cool this module is. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars, just short of my seal of approval – highly recommended if you’re looking for a unique, far-out high-level challenge!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Veranthea Codex: The 5th World
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