Oct 302014
 

Feats of Seafaring By Endzeitgeist

Mythic Minis 17: Feats of Seafaring clocks in at 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page content, so let’s take a look, shall we?

This time, we’re all about sea-themed feats, so let’s check this out!

The mythic version of “Corsair” extends its benefits to any aquatic environment and doubles the bonuses while on board of a ship and also allows you to treat foes as flanked via mythic power. Solid. The “Hoist the Colors” mythic feat allows you to intimidate foes via your flag and, with mythic power, even whole crews/vessels and similar military units – and yes, more power, more severe fear-effect. Awesome, mythic – nothing to complain about!

Naval Commander comes as a regular and mythic-augmented version – it allows you to aid another ALL target allies on your ship. Which is damn cool even before expending mythic power to make the bonus LAST. Two thumbs up, especially since bonus to attack is still limited to once per ally/turn!

Savy Seafarer also offers two versions – the regular one offering bonuses to ship/repair/survival-themed actions, increasing the bonus with familiar vessels. The mythic version further increases these bonuses…and allows you to TRACK VESSELS OVER WATER. Yeah. THAT is what I want in mythic – epic options, more roleplaying potential, stunning derring-do, doing things that transcend the powers of regular PCs. Two thumbs up!

Finally, mythic Sea Legs kilsl most penalties to acrobatics and climb and also lets you move sans delay through water-themed terrain, but does not protect you from it. Solid.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games 2-column full-color standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

See, this mythic mini is what I’m talking about -feats that are bland and subpar in their regular, non-mythic version get better and worthwhile. The new feats are glorious and actually vastly increase roleplaying potential while breathing the spirit of mythic gaming, offering both rules and simply new hinges on which to base storylines and scenes. This one’s just awesome and well worth 5 stars + seal of approval – if your mythic campaign goes anywhere near pirates and similar themes GET THIS!

Endzeitgeist out.

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Oct 302014
 

Universal Path Abilities II By endzeitgeist

Mythic Minis 16: Universal Path Abilities II clocks in at 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page content, so let’s take a look, shall we?

This time, we’re all about more universal path abilities after the first, awesome installment, so let’s check this out!

We begin with 4 different 1st tier abilities, with two of these netting bonus feats from Mythic Magic: Core Spells. Yeah – while I get why they’re here, let’s call them out for what they are – filler. So what about “Dramatic Reveal”. This one is all about roleplaying potential – whether a birthmark or another characteristic – something marks you for greatness and revealing it helps immensely in social skills. While mechanically none too awesome, the potential and concept BREATHES mythic for me, so yeah – as far as I’m concerned: Cool! The final 1st tier ability, “Planar Scholar” makes you a savant of planar knowledge, allowing you detect portals and decipher information about them. This ability is damn cool and carries a LOT of roleplaying potential while feeling distinct and suitable for mythic characters. Two thumbs up!

We also get 3 different 3rd tier abilities and oh boy…neat: Take one that nets you contingency (or its mythic equivalent, depending on your tier!) as a mythic power fueled ability. Yeah! What about being eternally young, including age-disguising/changing and yes, the immortal ability is also granted at higher tiers. Neat! Gaining endure elements and know direction on other planes and further expanding your planar knowledge, this one is a neat follow-up that delivers narrative potential galore: Two thumbs up as well!

The one 6th tier ability allows you to grant one mythic monster ability to your eidolon, companion etc. Solid and versatile, yes, but nothing that utterly wows me.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games 2-column full-color standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Jason Nelson’s second universal path-centric pdf offers quite a few cool abilities that range from awesome to filler. While the majority of path abilities herein belong on the winner side, the second column of the pdf is 1/4 empty, offering ample space for additional content and the two feat-granting abilities feel like filler to me. Generally, the overall path abilities can be considered cool, yes, but still, the last spark didn’t jump over to me. Make no mistake – this is a cool, nice pdf, but falls short of true greatness due to both the relative brevity and aforementioned points. Overall, a quintessential “good” pdf and thus well worth 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

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Oct 292014
 

Feats of Treachery By Endzeitgeist

Mythic Minis 15: Feats of Treachery clocks in at 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page content, so let’s take a look, shall we?

This time, we’re all about feats of treachery, so let’s check this out!

All right, we begin this collection with “Betrayers” mythic version, which makes the attacks against foes you befriended is further increased – very much a standard improved version with slight mythic bonuses. Okay, but bland. Deceptive Exchange’s mythic version is more interesting, allowing for disarm/steal to accompany the feint and even replacing items in foe’s hands. “Disengaging Feint” as a mythic feat can be used as a swift action or as a standard action sans AoO, regardless how much you move through the threatened creature’s spaces. “Disengaging Flourish” works analogue to the previous feat and “Disengaging Shot’s” mythic feat allows you to add a dirty trick sans AoO with your shot – neat!

“False Opening” increases AC and makes foes falling for the AoO flat-footed. Okay, I guess. “Flick of the Wrist” is neat, allowing for sleight of hand to make drawing light weapons as free actions possible, potentially flat-footing foes. And yes, this one has a mythic tier-based per combat cap – interesting, if potentially problematic logic-wise. Why does the DC not increase for witnessing the trick/falling for it?

“Two weapon feint’s” mythic version allows you to use mythic power to reroll feints and sacrifice multiple primary hand attacks for multiple feints. The improved version of the feat allows you to sacrifice the highest BAB attacks to render the foe dex-bonus-less for longer durations, potentially even until your next turn – Okay, I guess, but VERY specific. In a lot of cases, I consider the trade-off not worth it here, though I like the idea behind the feat.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games 2-column full-color standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Jason Nelson provides a solid array of different treachery-based feats that allow for some nasty tricks…while some of the feats herein did underwhelm me. In the overall concept, none of the feats herein truly blew my mind and while they’re not bad, I also wouldn’t consider them must-purchase material. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 due to In dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.

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Oct 292014
 

Archmage Path Abilities By Endzeitgeist

This Mythic Mini clocks in at 3 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page content, so let’s take a look, shall we?

This time, we’re all about abilities for the archmage path so let’s check this out!

We kick this one off with 4 1st tier abilities – two of which will immensely help alchemists, with one helping with extracts and using mythic abilities (essentially fixing a GLARING hole in the base rules…) and a further one allows you to create better bombs. Spell Dilation is also rather cool, allowing your PC to make more or less minor metamagic-style forming modifications of spells. Those are cool. Detect Animals or Plants as an at-will SL, powered with mythic power, which is used to change the species-specific nature of the ability, though, feels very anticlimactic.

We also get 4 different 3rd tier abilities, one netting you a fear-aura when casting spells/using SLs, another increasing bomb-damage-dice and a third taking the cake, with the option to create even more impressive oozes (hint: There are two Mythic Monster pdfs to make use of!) – if you’re an alchemist. The final one makes your magical walls better.

The 6th tier ability is a godsend for arcanists, as it allows you to expend mythic power to escape grapple etc. via teleportation and for more mythic power, even potentially bypass teleportation-blocking effects – with concise rules, mind you. Neat!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games 2-column full-color standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Jonathan H. Keith and Jason Nelson deliver here – the path abilities make sense in the context of the path and the poor, neglected alchemist finally has some valid reasons to take this path. This is a blessing and a curse, though, seeing that the majority of the content herein is for the alchemist. Personally, I’m a big proponent of the class, so that’s more than fine with me, but it might not be what you bargained for. Even if you did, though, you should be aware that the oozechemist ability is a reprint from Mythic Monsters: Oozes, Too and as such not new. Which brings me to a slightly unpleasant topic – I really liked this pdf and the options herein – what’s there, is arguably great, especially for alchemists. The one page has about 1/4 – 1/5 empty space at the bottom, though – space that could have been filled with more content. Add to that the cool (but reprinted) oozechemist, and this pdf, even for its length, falls short on the content-side. What’s there is damn cool, if very alchemist-centric, required even and would warrant a rating in the highest echelons of my system, but the relative brevity + reprint (which btw. eats as much space as all other 3rd tier abilities COMBINED) mean I can’t go as high as I would have wanted. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to for the purpose of this platform. Alchemist aficionados may add +1 star here.

Endzeitgeist out.

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Oct 272014
 

Skinwalking Shaman By Endzeitgeist

CLASSifieds: Skinwalking Shaman (Druid Alternate Class clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?

Instead of nature’s bond, skinwalking shaman [sic!] can choose a domain from a limited list, but only receives the domain’s powers, no bonus spells. Furthermore, the shaman is treated as a full BAB-class for a round in which he only attacks with natural weapons/unarmed strikes. This replaces nature sense. Instead of a common wildshape, skinwalking shamans learn to turn into one specific creature from a list of 8 different choices for 1 hour/level (which should probably be class level…) and at second level and every two levels thereafter, the archetype gets +1 use. Now I *assume* that both the daily number of changes and time limit fracture in as limiting factors – if the time limit resets after every change, it becomes quickly rather meaningless. A nitpick, yes, but still – clarification would be nice. On the plus-side, the lineages do come with suggested sample creatures to wild-shape into.

Now you also need to know that you can choose a lycanthropic heritage, which locks you down to one form, or go with a non-heritage skinwalker who can freely choose each time, but if you do choose a heritage, at 4th level, you are treated as +2 class levels higher for purposes of proper wildshaping. Now as much as I do like the base ability, it breaks one of the balance tenets inherent in Pathfinder that is easy to overlook – turning into small bats at 1st level allows you to bypass the prohibition against low level unassisted flight, which usually only becomes available a couple of levels later. Whether that is an issue for you (compare the flight-hex, which only allows for flight at 5th level, for example!) or not depends, but for me it does present a balance hick-up.

Instead of wild empathy, skinwalkers may influence lycanthropes. Instead of resisting nature’s lure, skinwalkers learn to enhance their concentration on new moons and improved bestial prowess on full moons – nice idea, though moon phase tracking may become annoying. It’s also a slight shift from the established design paradigms regarding lunar ties, which usually penalize characters at one point – though this time around, I actually don’t mind this: Penalizing some days means that players will try to avoid doing anything then, which isn’t fun for anyone. As far as I’m concerned: Okay, if perhaps a bit paper work intense. Now to pay for the increased physical prowess, skinwalkers only learn prepared spellcasting via wis at 4th level and only get up to 6th spell level.

High level skinwalkers get lycanthropic DR, immunity to diseases and finally, full-blown lycanthropic ascension as a capstone. As a minor downside, it should be noted that 17th level is almost a dead level, with only a level 4 spell gained – which, at this point, won’t impress anyone.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are solid, if not perfect. Layout adheres to Fat Goblin Games’ beautiful two-column full-color standard ad the pdf comes hyperlinked with the good type of hyperlinks for your convenience. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Tyler Beck’s Skinwalking Shaman is an interesting alternate class – one focused on melee and on paper, it doesn’t look bad. Where balancing imho gets wonky is as soon as you play an heritage-less shaman – the choice and flexibility are very strong, especially seeing how many animal abilities like Trip (Ex) or Grab (Ex) usually outclass the respective feat options available for regular characters. Add to that the nerfed, but not neutered spellcasting and the full BAB when in beast form and we have a class that is too strong. Think pouncing barbarian with spellcasting. Yeah, you get why I consider this one too strong. I’ve seen what claw/claw/bite full BAB-characters do with opposition, even sans animal bonus abilities. Let me tell you: Not pretty. And yes, claw, claw, bite doesn’t work easily here, but the animal abilities do somewhat offset that…AND you can get claws and bites via feats and races… So personally, I think this class is too strong for most groups. Then again, it is not utterly broken and while some abilities could use clarification, the overall writing is relatively solid.

My final verdict will hence clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3 for the purpose of this platform due to the low price and the fact that for some groups, this will work.

Endzeitgeist out.

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Oct 232014
 

flesh_and_iron By Endzeitgeist

This racial supplement clocks in at 15 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

We kick of this book with the Prometheans. These guys and gals thankfully have nothing to do with the ridiculously bad sci-fi movie and its clumsily disguised anti-science propaganda, but rather hearkens to the standard set by White Wolf to describe Prometheans as an euphemism for the created/artificial species – -or rather, for golem-like races.

Here, we make a distinction between cobbled-together Flesh Prometheans in the vein Frankenstein’s Monster, who receive +2 Con adn Int, -2 Wis, can sniff out carrion (and those severely wounded), have darkvision 60 ft, ferocity, may 1/day tap into old memories of one of their parts to get an insight bonus equal to their character level to a skill, get +2 to saves versus diseases and poisons and are healed by negative energy and harmed by positive energy as a drawback (or bonus in the apocalyptic world of Obsidian Apocalypse). All in all, a solid race, with the energy affinity making for a nice tip .in the high-powered OA-default environment, this is a bonus, in a regular setting probably a hindrance. Nice take on the Half-undead race.

The second type of Prometheans would be the Clockwork Prometheans – or, to give you a better understanding – brains-in-a-jar in power-armors. Yeah. Awesome concept. These fellows receive +2 Str and Int, -2 Dex are slow, receive resistance 5 against negative energy, lose no hp when they gain a negative level and also receive a +2 bonus to saves versus death-effects, energy drain, negative energy and necromancy spells and SPs. They also receive a +2 natural armor and +2 to saves versus disease, mind-affecting effects, poisons and exhaustion/fatigue-inducing effects. They need non eat, sleep or breathe. They are considered half-constructs and cannot be raised or resurrected. Both receive the Promethean subtype and the clockwork Prometheans are also rather strong (and not suitable for low powered gaming), but fit in well within the context of Obsidian Apocalypse’s high-stakes gaming. That being said, if you don’t bat an eye at the ARG-races, these probably won’t prove too much either.

Gaining weaponiszed weapon-grafts (or if you’re a machinesmith, even mobius weapons), shutting temporarily down all emotion, stopping bleed effects, natural attacks – okay feat options. Now personally, I don’t like the automatic detection of magical auras and undead one of the feats grants – auto-detects tend to result in broken in-game logic. The race comes with favored class options, which suffer in parts from minor glitches – like “Gain a +1/2 bonus to rolls to critical hits while raging.” Yeah, not all crits are meant – there’s a “confirm” missing here. +1 to CMD versus two maneuvers of your choice is cool, though I would have appreciated information on whether these can be taken again with different maneuvers or whether the bonus always applies to the same two maneuvers. Nice to see – FCOs for both Machinesmith and psionic classes.

Now the spirit-of-vengeance-possessed Raijin, absent from the basic OA-book also make a return. They receive -2 Cha, a Die Hard-like effect (with synergy with the feat), +2 to will-saves and fort-saves, treat any part of their body/weapons/armor as +1 for the purpose of bypassing DR and their possessing spirit receives an ego and follows the rules for magic items – smart. Instead of being a base-race, the Raijin is essentially a story-reward, perhaps the result of a story-feat etc.A total of 7 feats accompany the race and allows the Raijin to affect the minds of otherwise immune mindless undead. Slightly annoying – the cool and iconic, if a bit powerful option to control creatures via possession sports quite a number of easily avoidable editing glitches that make the ability slightly harder to understand than it ought to be. Personally, I think this feat requires a kind of daily limit – control of foes via touch as a supernatural ability sans limit is rather powerful even before further augmenting the ability with supplemental feats. A final feat allows you to make necromancy-spells sickening.

The final race would be the Uzamati-and they are weird – they have darkvision 60 ft., are immune to poison, sleep, paralysis, disease, nausea, fatigue and exhaustion and the sickened condition. Uzamati are healed by negative energy as if they were undead, but unlike undead or constructs, they have con-scores and need to make fort-saves. They also heal damage normally, are not immune to mind-influencing effects, are subject to critical hits, nonlethal damage, stun, ability damage and drain and death/necromancy-effects. As beings of pure negative energy, the Uzamati cannot be raised or resurrected and do not need to sleep, eat or drink. They also get +2 to Int, Wis or Cha and Necromantic Phasing as a bonus feat. …which should simply be part of the race write-up, since every Uzamati gets it.

This feat nets you the ability to phase away for cha-level + chosen mental attribute modifier rounds per day. While phased out, they receive half damage from corporeal damage sources., may phase through and enter solid objects, deal +1 negative energy damage with unarmed attacks that cannot heal the Uzamati or other negative energy-healing creatures. Foes trying to perceive you receive a penalty of -2 to perception and using the ability on a plane “That has a strong negative energy makes you vulnerable to all damage.” So…does this mean double damage from everything? +50% damage? What constitutes strong negative energy? The planar trait for strong negative energy affinity? Don’t know. There are also 4 traits – one of which makes it possible to be healed by positive/negative energy normally…which is weird, for the racial traits specify that these do work normally on you. Something went wrong here. For just a feat, channel energy can have all dice upgraded to d8, which is too strong and phased out damage-increase to d6 is okay, as is affecting incorporeal creatures. Phasing through walls is also awesome.

The Uzamati as a people of artificially created body-simulacra for negative energy-bound souls are a downright awesome concept. I also like quite a few of their rules and the phasing is cool – but since it’s essentially an outsourced racial power, it does far too much at once – had this feat been split up into multiple feats and the race studded with some vulnerability, it would be utterly awesome – as written, it is an overpowered beast that imho even transcends the power-level of the strong Obsidian Apocalypse races with the vast array of unnecessary immunities. Fixable? Sure.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, but not glorious. There are quite a few glitches in here that could have been easily caught, but formal ones and in the rules-language. The pdf adheres to a drop-dead-gorgeous 2-column standard and the ridiculously awesome artworks, all of them originals (though two have been used before in Obsidian Apocalypse) make this one of the most beautiful pdfs out there, especially for the low asking price. The pdf has no bookmarks, which is a minor comfort detriment.

Authors Rich Redman and Wendall Roy have created an array of truly inspired races that all breathe high-concept awesomeness. The balance in respect to the Obsidian Twilight-versions, where available, has been significantly mproved, though imho, there are still some hick-ups and feature-bloat, especially with the Uzamati, to be found here. These races are not for low-powered games, be aware of that. While the Uzamati could use a nerfing, the other races are high-concept and damn cool. On the downside, we get no FCOs for the Uzamati and no age, height and weight tables for ANY of the new races, which is a major detriment in my book – especially knowing how much the massive Prometheans weigh would have been more than crucial; Raijin and Uzamati can be explained by just adhering to base creature/human defaults.

This pdf has all the makings of greatness and awesomeness and falls short by a small margin – with the Uzamati’s balance-issues, glitches and missing age, height and weight tables conspiring to make this slightly less than its awesome concepts deserve. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform due to the high-concept, cool ideas and with an explicit recommendation if you’re looking for strong races, are willing to do a bit of crunch-balancing or just in love with the cool concepts.

Endzeitgeist out.

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