Aug 242015
 

137321By Endzeitgeist

This module clocks in at 47 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 43 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This being an adventure-review, the following contains SPOILERS. Potential players should jump to the conclusion. Really. The outrageous premise is a part of the fun.

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Still here? All right! First of all – if your PCs have completed the superb “Death and Taxes”-module, they’re likely to be familiar with the subtle, off-kilter humor this module sports – if not, well, then all the better. The PCs are contacted by one gorgeous lady called Sylvia Towntree, the very top-brass of Hordenheim’s real estate brokers and agents. The lady contacts them to clear out a haunted manor constructed by an eccentric gnome/architect, edgewaith manor. The encounters, though, quickly show that this is not yet another grim-dark delve into a family’s tragedy – oozes in the closet just are part one of the challenges that hilariously echo the tasks real life people may face when restoring an old manor: Of course, the place has a vermin problem.

Only we’re talking fantasy world here, and thus, alas, the vermin are sentient – a Formian queen has set up shop in the place and while the unseen servants may have been intended as a rare form of luxury, the well-meaning magical constructs can result in pretty much hilarious accidents on the side of the PCs. Heck, even the bound fire elemental providing central heating can be reasoned with and be played up for a glorious blending of the horrific and genuinely funny. It should also be noted that the house’s depiction regarding rooms is anything but rudimentary, coming with rather exquisite details even before the superb maps in full color (including player-friendly versions) come into play.

Yes, the place has a rather nasty fuse-box. Oh, and yes, PCs may actually do battle with animated chicken coops trying to eat them. No, I’m not making that up. More impressively, they receive artworks that make them genuinely creepy! Now sooner or later, the queen will seek diplomacy, rather piqued by the bad form of the home-invading PCs…and either by combat or diplomacy, hand over the deed to the manor – which coincidentally allows for the free re-arrangement of rooms – all rules for that are perfectly described in a nice, concise handout. And here, the module becomes totally awesome and bonkers – in a twist, the real-estate agent arrives with a full-blown mop-up crew to kill friggin’ everybody! She didn’t get to the top by playing nice, after all! So yes, the PCs, with full command of the house (and hopefully a couple of Formians) may defend the house and use its powers to essentially turn all those tricks they witnessed upon their wannabe assassins for one of the most glorious, iconic showdowns I’ve read in ages. Home alone, anyone?

The pdf provides full stats of for all creatures for both PFRPG and D&D 3.X.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to AAW Games’ 2-column full-color standard with copious amounts of awesome full-color art and superb full-color cartography. The module comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Do you know how many modules I read per year? How many I’ve read in total? Hint: Probably too many. I have seen just about everything and only very, very rarely do i encounter a module that instills a total sense of jamais-vu in me. This module managed that. But it did so much more – it is logical, concise and downright glorious. It is also the funniest module I’ve read in years. Now don’t get me wrong – unlike many comparable modules, this one is NOT a “joke module” – it is superbly crafted, sports great writing and thoroughly iconic ideas and is professional in every way. In order to note how this module brilliantly skirts the boundaries between the creepy and funny, between high-fantasy and tongue-in-cheek nods towards our own culture, all without breaking the 4th wall, one practically ahs to run this exceedingly fun beast.

I am not engaging in hyperbole when I’m saying that playing this module saw one player fall from his chair, laughing. This is one of the most unique, inspired modules I’ve read in AGES. Colin Stricklin’s first module was great – this is ridiculously good. And yes, pun intended. Even the premise would be enough to qualify this as awesome, but add the optional, subdued and INTELLIGENT humor, the unique adversaries and superb production values and we quite frankly have a module that belongs into the collection of every Pathfinder DM. Yes, that good. Unless you have even less humor than the stereotype accredits to Germans like me, this is a must-have blast of a module. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval and nominating this as one of my candidates for teh Top Ten of 2014.

Endzeitgeist out.

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Aug 142015
 

135307By Endzeitgeist

This module clocks in at 42 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 38 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?

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

All right, still there?

As often, the powerful have fallen in this module: Neevoth-Ka, formerly a man of power and reputation, has succumbed to his paranoia. Served by only the spirits of his dead, consumed by his madness – he perished, but unlike Ozymandias, his creation remained – the tower of the screaming sands resurfaces, blown clear from the sands once every 60 years. The time has come. Enter the PCs.

The module begins with the overland journey towards the eponymous tower, with opportunities to save the innocent from dread silt traps, research opportunities and exploring a desert oasis to arrive at the tower, where the DM has to decide whether to opt for a lock-in option upon the PCs entering the place or not: While a time limit is implicit and can certainly be enforced by the DM, it is not required or an integral part of the module.

The exploration of the tower per se may seem run-of-the-mill at first glance – yet another tower? *yawn* This, however, would be a tragic miscalculation: In fact, the challenges presented herein are pretty interesting, innovative, even. Level One, for example, is haunted by whirlwinds screeching through the floors. Even before chambers of flooding sand, the perpetual screech of these dread, scouring winds prove to be a particularly interesting feature which may not look like much on paper, but in actual playtesting proved to be rather ingenious. Better yet – unlike quite a few dungeon-explorations, there is also ample chance for research and even social skills to be used – by e.g. cajoling information from spirits, helpful information on the tower and its dangers can be gleaned.

The second level, with its “chamber of a thousand teeth” and combination fo adversaries also makes for an interesting, though more combat-centric level, whereas the main attraction (and boss) await on the final, third level. Now unlike many a comparable module, the adversary herein comes with advice on foreshadowing his presence as well as completely unique tricks – defeating what once was Neevoth-Ka does require capable PCs!

It should be noted that the tower comes with full-color maps, including player-friendly versions, as well as stats for the adversaries for both PFRPG and D&D 3.X.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I didn’t notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to a slightly Egyptian-style, beautiful custom 2-column full-color standard and the module comes with copious, beautiful full color artwork. The module comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

This is the first module by Matthew Eyles I’ve read and I can definitely say that he knows how to craft an iconic locale – the tower’s location a special hazards are downright brilliant, extremely iconic and hint at a potential to reach a level of craftsmanship in the footsteps of Greg A. Vaughan. That being said, the module does have some minor imperfections in its details.

For one, the journey towards the tower feel like it should either have been its own module or cut – it feels less detailed and ultimately, not necessary to the plot. Secondly, the tower’s first floor with its GLORIOUS hazards overshadows the follow-up floors by quite a margin, seeing how they become more conservative as we go. Why not instead utilize the damn cool theme more? Vault doors, wind puzzles, flying sections…the module practically begs for more weird, far-out challenges and instead opts for a by no means bad, but definitely more conservative take on the topic. Now yes, this fits seamlessly in with Legacy of Fire, Khemit, Osirion, etc. – but it also feels like it falls slightly short of the vast imaginative promise its cool beginning and furious finale show. I definitely hope the author will expand his strength for cool terrains/locations – the talent is there and the module remains easy to run and a fun, good dungeon crawl on the brink of greatness…but not completely there yet. My final verdict will hence clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

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Aug 122015
 

mythic_slotless_items By Endzeitgeist

All right, you know the deal – 3 pages – 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page content, let’s go!

  • Book of the Banned: These books can create secret pages 1/day; furthermore, mythic wizards may inscribe spells of their opposition school on said pages by expending 1 mythic power per level level, 1 for cantrips. Thereafter, the wizard can prepare the spell as though it didn’t belong to the opposition school. Solid!
  • Bullroarer’s Bugle: Horn of pursuit with dual bless/bane effect. Halflings get higher bonuses and the user may opt to penalize only one type of humanoid, who then receives a more significant drawback. the formatting glitch that shows a strike-through box instead of a minus-sign is here, but that’s a cosmetic glitch. In the hands of a mythic character, longstrider or, for halflings, expeditious retreat is applied as well. The sounder of the horn may also expend mythic power to instead bestow the mythic versions of horn of pursuit/bless/bane or power additional uses per day via mythic power. Per se pretty cool, but can the narrowing of the bane effect to one humanoid and the subsequent penalty increase also be applied to the mythic version of the bane-effect? I’m honestly not clear on the interaction of abilities within the horn’s text, so clarification would help here.
  • Midnight Beacon: An intelligent item with full proper senses that may cast detect undead, desecrate and animate dead while also granting death ward to the wielder. The lantern may also generate darkness in conical spreads, deeper darkness for mythic users. In the hands of a mythic wielder, the lantern can emit a pulse that draws undead nearer and puts them under the user’s command. Nasty!
  • Orb of the Seventh Star: Dancing Lights, detect magic, + detect thoughts, though the latter only 1/day for arcane casters. Also, shoot up to seven sparkling stars, like magic missiles, either on their own or in conjunction with other magic missiles, in which case the action economy for adding additional missiles is more favorable. Mythic arcane casters may tap into the stars of the orb to prepare additional spell levels/spell slots, none of which may exceed 3rd level, though this uses the same resource as the missiles. Mythic upgrade is also possible. Now I like this item pretty much, but shouldn’t the max level of the spell level/ slot level scale up to 3 instead of being capped there? Not a bad glitch, mind you, but one where I can construct a corner case that could be deemed slightly problematic – though admittedly, said case would hinge on gross violations of WBL-suggestions.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches apart from the hiccup mentioned. 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 slotless items provide his trademark blending of high-concept style and complex mechanics and generally, this pdf’s items breathe this sense of the magical I like. However, at the same time, they do feel, at least partially, a bit heavy on the number-modification side and ultimately, slightly less awesome than some of the glorious pieces he has crafted in the past. To me, this is pretty much a good pdf – certainly not bad, but also not mind-blowing. My final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

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Aug 122015
 

teamwork_feats By Endzeitgeist

All right, you know the deal – 3 pages – 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page content, let’s go!

  • Back to Back: Numerical escalation plus enemies provoke AoOs when flanking you when you’re with an ally who has this feat.
  • Improved Back to Back: Better AC-bonus for each ally with the feat for 1 mythic power. Pretty weak, imho, despite its stacking potential.
  • Cavalry Formation: Allows for overlap of squares of others for both rider and mount when charging. Also nets you a bonus when attacking a creature that was subjected to the charge of an ally with this feat. nice.
  • Combat Medic: No AoO when using Heal while threatened, even if the aided creature does not have the feat. Also, use mythic power for more daily uses of treat deadly wounds. If the target also has the feat, you can treat them faster and at increased efficiency. Nice!
  • Coordinated Charge: Charge with allies as an immediate action and move through ally squares and difficult terrain while doing so. For one mythic power, charge a foe who is twice your movement rate away from you.
  • Enfilading Fire: +1/2 mythic tier to ranged attacks granted by Enfilading Fire. On a crit, expend mythic power for bonus damage based not only on your tier, but also that of your allies. Mechanically interesting one!
  • Escape Route: Receive scaling AC bonuses when escaping through spaces or threatened areas of allies, with rank/tier as a cap. Alternatively, forfeit that bonus for better Acrobatics or overrun checks. Great – this increases the breadth of options significantly. Two thumbs up!
  • Feint Partner: Extends flat-footed duration for one round, during which feinting is only a swift action.
  • Improved Feint Partner: Provides AoOs as feint follow-ups, with damage bonus based on tier and static critical threat range that is easier to confirm.
  • Seize the Moment: +tier damage, +1 threat range for the AoO, also better crit-confirming. A bit more overlap with improved feint partner than I would have liked, though it’s more general.
  • Shake it Off: Bonus applies even if ally does not have this teamwork feat. Each ally with the feat provides a scaling bonus, which has a flexible cap based on 5 + tier. Nice.

On the SRD-page, there are 3 more feats:

  • Tandem Trip: +1/2 tier to CMB to trip when tandem tripping; If the creature provokes an AoO from you, you geta bonus.
  • Target of Opportunity: +1/2 tier to atk and damage. Bland.
  • Team Pickpocketing: When you could Team Pickpocket, spend mythic power to Sleight of Hand and pickpocket EVERY CREATURE IN REACH. This is awesome! Simple, humble, cool.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Legendary Games’ 2-column full color standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Robert Brookes and Jonathan H. Keith deliver an interesting mythic mini here – one that oscillates between truly interesting and awesome and somewhat bland. Mind you, there is nothing bad in this little pdf, though some options arguably are weaker than others. On a design-aesthetic perspective, several feats utilize very interesting and mechanically feasible cap-mechanics and, moreover, there are some in here that are stars – they expand options in breadth and add much needed flexibility to some options herein. So yes, overall, his is a good file, bordering on the very good, but short of true brilliance with some feats herein that fall on the filler side. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

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Aug 112015
 

Rangers_of_Porphyra By Endzeitgeist

This take on rangers clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 1/4 pages of SRD, leaving us with 8 3/4 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

After a brief introduction (sporting a LotR-quote), we dive into the first archetype, which is pretty much a simple archetype for mounted-themed halflings that gets rid of the size penalties to CMB/CMD as well as favored enemy bonuses versus additional subtypes of humanoids – pretty solid.

The Greenrunner can influence the attitude of plants and are locked into certain terrain types – they also need to get a plant companion. Again, a simple, yet flavorful option. Moon-Rangers would be rangers with a more esoteric bent – using a combination of their increased Sense Motive and spells, they may see past magically disguised alignments in a way that scales appropriately with the skill of the opposing creature. Nice! In lieu of Endurance, they get orisons based on Wis from the cleric-list and they also get access to ranger spells at the usual reduced level -3 instead of ranger spells. The class also offers an interesting mechanic, which allows for the increase of CL by 1 for wis-mod rounds – of either the ranger or his allies.

Only issue: The range of “allies” is not specified. Do they need to have line of sight? Line of effect? How many allies? They can also set up ambushes via Stealth – these grant allies and themselves a bonus to atk, saving throws and Stealth checks, with the bonus granted depending upon the check’s result. Problem: Can the ranger take 10 or 20? How many allies can benefit from one such plan? Granted, neither ambiguities break the game, but they are annoying glitches that could have easily been avoided.

The Purple Sage Rider begins play with a free mount and upgrades that to mount at 4th level. Instead of favored enemies, the rider receives a scaling bonus to an assortment of skills that pertain infidels, i.e. followers of a certain deity. Beyond these, amateur gunslinging and abilities that interact with the unique porphyrite borders of Porphyra make for cool options. (In other settings, I’d suggest substituting either magical borders like the mists of Ravenloft or terrain borders).

Now Iron Gods-fans and people enjoying the technology-guide may enjoy the less than subtle Space Ranger! – quoting excessively early scifi, they get unarmed combat, firearm proficiency and a ranged combat style. More importantly, he begins play with an HEV suit with vacuum protection and flying capability as well as an utility belt that has significant carrying options and sports a bunch of items from the get-go. The suit has a laser pistol and a drive that can drain the ranger’s constitution to refill a battery on a 1:2-basis. The suit also sports an augury and some detect-capability. This eats not only spells, starting equipment and wild empathy, but also woodland stride. The first terrain choice would be vacuum (normally not on the list), with higher levels upgrading the suit. I enjoy this archetype more than I expected, though I think that feats like technologist etc. could have been used to further emphasize the unique take of this archetype. Beyond that, I’m not sold on unassisted flying at 1st level – some limit that scales up to proper flying would be imho cooler and less problematic for some campaigns, perhaps with the 12th level upgrade increasing that to jetpack levels. The suit could also have used a better dispersal of abilities among the levels – as provided, it still makes the archetype too good for low-level dipping in my book – and indeed, with spells etc. gone, that’s the most efficient way of sing this one.

The pdf also provides arm-cannons and double-barreled arm cannons as well as melee sap-drainers. 3 sample plant companions as well as info for interaction with the Xesa-race are provided. The pdf sports two new feats – one that prevents you from being considered helpless while sleeping, bound or unconscious, with the odd sentence: “Rogues cannot sneak attack against you when you are helpless, unless they could otherwise do so.” I literally have no idea what this means or how this component of the feat works.

The second feat is just as confused: “As a standard action, you can parry melee attacks with a bow or crossbow, granting the benefits of fighting defensively while drawing a melee weapon, and still receiving a move action. You bow does 1d4 points of bludgeoning damage.”

This makes no sense and shows that the author does not understand how fighting defensively works. First: Fighting defensively =/= Total Defense. Fighting defensively is executed _as part_ of a standard action or as part of a full-attack action, thus doing exactly nothing to diminish the move action a character has or doesn’t have. Dropping a weapon is a free action. Sheathing a weapon is move action. Drawing a weapon, if combined with a move and executed by a character with a BAB of +1 or higher, is a free action. Furthermore, the feat should not lock the bow to arbitrary damage, but specify that using it as a melee weapon deals this amount of damage. These two feats are sloppy and unbecoming of the content provided so far.

On the plus-side, the 3 magic items are solid and nice – herb-pouch with charges that requires some healing knowledge, terrain-coded stones and reforged blades – okay. The spells herein are a mixed bag – a variant of cure for plants only, one that increases “The former effect increases the herbal potency of a plant, so that a Craft (alchemy) check to use the plant’s properties will be increased by 1 per casting.” So one could stack that up? If so: Broken. If not…huh? Herbal potency? Wut iz zis? Please specify! A risky calling of undead to answer questions is pretty cool, but probably won’t see much use at tables. Calling an alignment-dependant companion for one task is nice and a plant-themed aspect is okay.

The pdf also sports one sample level 9 moon ranger with two regional traits. The sample character uses the wrong HD – rangers have d10, not d8.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are solid on a formal level. On the rules-language level, they are just as varied in quality as almost always with Perry Fehr’s crunch-centric offerings – partially great, partially horrible. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and sports the cool color-artwork.

This is frustrating to say the least. I really, really want to recommend this pdf is a more glowing light – the concepts for the rangers are solid and cool and technology-guide synergy is pretty cool as well. The archetypes once again show that author Perry Fehr can execute proper concepts and complex crunch. And then, sloppiness sets in – the two feats are glaring wrecks – how they got past any editing, I don’t know. The spells and other supplemental content ranges in quality from okay to nice and the incorrect HD are another hiccup.

This installment could have easily been 4.5 stars, perhaps even a close 5, but the rough edges and partially glaring glitches, drag this down to a point where I can’t rate it as high as I’d like to. While I still consider this pdf worth the very low price-point (if my complaints above did not annoy you, go for it!), I can’t rate this pdf higher than 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

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Aug 112015
 

daevic By Endzeitgeist

The third installment of the Akashic Mysteries-series clocks in at 33 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 29 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, as you may have gleaned from my various reviews and designs, I really enjoy classes with a lot of moving parts that manage to get the math right – the first two akashic classes are prime examples of how extremely compelling characters like this can be – instead of twiddling one’s thumbs while waiting for the next turn, there are A LOT of things to consider – move essence or not, burn essence or not? The vizier pretty much plays a bit like a caster, being defined mostly by interaction with veils, while the guru turned out to be a pretty much more versatile and complex support character who can stand at the front lines, while also handling unique things. Mechanically, the guru was defined more by class features and the interaction of veils with them – though both have in common that variations in class themes via e.g. philosophies result in radically different playing experiences, while also putting player agenda on an extremely high pedestal. Suffice to say, I have extremely high hopes for the final book to be one for the records – so can the Daevic maintain this level of quality?

And more importantly, what’s his niche? Well, you’ve read the above rant – and perhaps, you sat there and thought: “That’s not at all what I’m looking for in a class!” Many small choices and tactical options, handling a lot of moving parts – that’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and this is exactly where the daevic comes in as a simpler, but in no means bland akashic class.

Let’s take a look at the frame: Daevics gain d10, 4+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple and martial weapons, all armors and shields (but not tower shields), full BAB-progression and good fort- and ref-saves. The veilweaving here is different from the previous two classes, but there are similarities – the DCs, if appropriate, is DC 10 + 2 per essence invested +cha-mod (making Char the governing attribute here), but there is a crucial difference to default veilweaving – the veils granted at 1sr, 4th, 9th and 15th level must be associated with the chosen passion, whereas the other veils gained operate like standard veils, meaning the progression is from 0+1 to 4+4 over the 20 levels of the class. Essence is gained at 2nd level and scales up to 10, chakra binds also begin at this level and scale up to 6, with progression being Feet, Hands, Wrists, Shoulders, Belt, Neck, Chest. On the minor engine-tweaks, 5th level nets +1 to saves versus enchantments, which scales up by +1 every 3 levels thereafter.

Now I noted the existence of passions – these are chosen at first level. When a daevic invests essence into a veil of a passion (called passion veils), it counts as being invested in all passion veils, meaning that the very scarce essence pool makes investing points here more efficient. However, at the same time, power escalation is prevented by an explicit rule that forbids synergy with veil-specific feats or effects. or catalysts, though you CAN also bind them as normal veils and circumvent these restrictions, adding a further dimension to these veils. Three sample passions are provided, and all modify the list of available passion veils to choose from, the class skill list and all ultimately change how the class plays, so what are they?

The first passion would be desire – which allows 3rd level daevics to use Cha for Appraise and may replace both Dex and Int as prereqs with Cha for the purpose of feat-prerequisites, offsetting some, but not all strain that would otherwise be burdened MAD-wise on a full BAB character. The in-game rationale for this, while not perfect, at least is sufficient for me – why do I mention this? Because I get pimples from the default “I’m so good-looking I hit foes”-rationale employed by some abilities out there. So kudos! Bonus-feat-wise, they focus on thrown weapons. An interesting option – at 6th level, a passion mutates into one of 2 choices – here, this would be love or avarice. Love provides an NPC-companion that is pretty powerful – but it does not stack with Leadership. Daevics that follow the passion of avarice add the returning and called abilities if within the daevic’s possession for more than 24 hours – however, the abilities are lost again upon willingly giving them to another creature. On the nitpicky side, there are some minor formal glitches here. At 12th and 18th level, this ability improves regarding action economy and effects like a miniature bloodline.

The second passion to choose would be dominion, which focuses on two-hand fighting with a shield – yeah, interesting! The 6th level change allows for the choice of benevolence or tyranny, with the former providing a scaling teamwork-granting ability, while the latter provides demoralize support as swift actions with scaling bonuses. The wrath passion has some nasty tricks: Whenever the daevic bull rushes or overruns a foe, he may execute an AoO against the foe, though this powerful effect is somewhat countered by the lack of gained bonus feat. And yes, this also can provide vast amounts of damage. Wrath may transform into justice or vengeance at 6th level, with justice providing access to the vital strike feat-chain…and the option to execute AoOs with Vital Strikes added. And yes, this may not sound like too much, but oh boy can a proper set-up blow damage per round into ridiculous high levels. Still, I can live with this, though GMs should beware – large PC-races + reach weapon + this will be a MASSACRE. As for vengeance:1/round full-attack against a target when succeeding a bull rush or overrun, but only with natural weapons. This ultimately boils down to a true meat-grinder -only shreds and gooey bits remain in the path of such a daevic. At 9th and 15th level, the essence capacity of the passion increases by a further +1.

The Blood Bind ability’s write-up fails to mention that it’s gained at 12th level – and it’s interesting: It provides essentially an additional slot, into which the daevic can bind neck, head, headband and body slot veils, but whenever he does that with a non-blood veil, he takes twice the essence invested damage each round, getting even reassignment abuses out of the way. Nice! The capstone is a boring outsider-apotheosis (native, I assume?) and can reassign veils via 1-hour meditation. Odd – the daevic gains the body-slot at 20th level – so does that mean a daevic can only bind body slot veils to the blood slot before 20th level or is body-slot veil binding only unlocked for the blood slot at 20th level? This needs some clarification.

The feats-chapter does sport some overlap with the already published books, though there is some new content to be found herein – unlocking chakras for classes as well as a significant array of feats to allow for gestalting/multiclass-builds, including support for psionics, ultimately render the whole framework superior in that regard to the predecessor-system Incarnum’s take on the concept. Enhanced Capacity is a feat you WILL want as a daevic, though unlike Life Bond’s interaction with the guru, I saw no balance-issues cropping up from combining the class with previously established content. (Though said feats and its associates still need a retooling.) One feat deserves special mention: Essence Focus. You can invest an essence into the feat to regain your psionic focus, with a 3-round cooldown preventing the constant spamming of the awesome combos available via this feat’s modification of action economy. Even more interesting, the feat allows you to make psionic focus work to activate two abilities that require the expenditure of the focus while essence is invested in the feat. This is pretty much a genius way of providing truly distinct combos – powerful, yes, but oh so awesome. That Extra Essence pretty much is a no-brainer for Daevics with their limited essence pool should not come as a surprise. Over all, the selection here feels pretty refined.

The veils, obviously, do sport some overlap with the other akashic classes, though especially bull rush/overrun specialists will definitely enjoy the option to avoid the feat-tax and adding damage as insult to the injury. Interesting would also be that you can find veils herein that have no effect unless imbued with essence and/or bound to chakras, providing e.g. significant synergy with vital strikes, which becomes very relevant regarding the new builds available for AoO-Vital Strikes – size-increase is the name of the game here. While there are minor rules-language presentation hiccups herein (“Fortitude 1/2″ instead of Fortitude halves, for example), there are also some rather versatile veils herein that not only provide different effects depending on the essence invested/chakras bound, but rather providing different options within those choices as well – and yes, we do get exclusives for the daevic’s unique blood slot – like duplicating unnatural lust or gaining blood that causes both fire and acid damage to the creature attacking the daevic…and binding it to work as AoE via chakra-bind. Imagine my surprise, by the way, when I saw a classic, German slot introduced – “Wrathful Claws” are bound exclusively to the “Hans”-slot – definitely the funniest typo I’ve seen in a while. 😉

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting do show that this is still WiP -while in no means bad and pretty functional, this pdf does sport numerous italicization glitches, typos and the like. The rules-language is more precise than in previous Akashic Mystery-pdfs, though. Layout adheres to Dreamscarred Press’ beautiful 2-cpolumn full-color standard and the pdf does sport a mix of nice original art and some I have seen before, all in full color. The pdf comes with a more printer-friendly version as well. The pdf has no bookmarks, which constitutes a comfort-detriment.

As before, all the gushing about the base system and its mechanics that I have indulged in previous reviews of the series hold true still here. Michael Sayre does provide an actual compelling, tactical full-BAB-class with a plethora of options and things to do – and, coincidentally, the akashic class that does not require constant tinkering: Indeed, the daevic does require the least constant pondering, unlocking the system for players less intrigued about constant complex modifications – while it *does* support this playstyle as well, it can be played more like a prepare and forget type of class, which is ultimately the design-intent here. The daevic is a glorious class, though GMs heavily using DR should take not that the options of the class pretty much waltz all over the DR, making the daevic a powerful shredder if build properly. Ultimately, I adore this class and enjoy its unique slot and the options provided within; more often than not, one can see the growth of designer Michael Sayre that denotes him as one author to definitely watch!

Now I do have to somewhat bash on the pdf due to the editing glitches that can be found herein and minor wording issues that can use streamlining, but once these are cleaned up (and if Michael doesn’t drop the ball in the supplemental content-pdf), Akashic Mysteries may become one of my absolute favorite new system – it has all the potential and makings of an EZG Essential. My final verdict for the daevic as presented, for now, will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform…and for now. I really, really hope Dreamscarred Press makes the final book live up to the vast potential!

Endzeitgeist out.

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