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Advanced Skill Guide
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/12/2018 10:04:28

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive supplement clocks in at 151 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 4 pages of handy index, 1 page KS-thanks, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 140 pages of content, 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.

…who am I kidding, I’d have moved this one up in my queue, even if it hadn’t been for that request.

Why? Because this is the book that translates easily my favorite PFRPG-crunch book EVER to SFRPG. I am, of course, talking about the winner of my Top Ten of 2017, the “Skill Challenge Handbook”.

You know, the book that, like no other before or since, should have been part of the core rules.

Yeah, if you’re like me, you probably have started smiling just a bit right then and there.

However, and this must be made abundantly clear by even a cursory glance at the page-count, this is obviously not all there is to it. We do not have a simple translation of a book to another system here – oh no. This book begins with a chapter on Leadership. Yep, you guessed it. This also is the Starfinder-equivalent of Ultimate Charisma, yet another masterpiece of a book.

But, once more, there is more to it, so let’s take a look at the nit and grit, shall we? After a brief piece of introductory prose, we begin with a glossary of terms: In case you’re not familiar with the terms “cohort” and “follower”, the pdf clearly and concisely defines them. Same goes for the basic mechanics: A Leadership check is a d20 roll, to which total level and Charisma modifier are added, and Leadership checks are treated as either Diplomacy or Intimidate, depending on the style of leadership employed. Leadership modifiers are determined by the GM, and are the result of your playstyle.

There also would be the Leadership score, which is the sum of character level + Charisma modifier, + a bonus to indicate fame. Further modifiers can apply, and concise tables provide sample check DCs by difficulty, as well as a selection of suggested modifiers. If you need a representation of a group effort, there would be PLS – Party Leadership Score, which is calculated and explained in similar and easy to comprehend terms.

Things become a bit more detailed when we take a look at cohort creation – here, the book deviates strongly from previous iteration, in that it employs (gainfully, I might add), the Alien Archive’s NPC-creation guidelines with minor tweaks to allow for an overall very smooth and painless creature creation. Different methods of cohort creation, from promotion to recruitment (including costs to hire) are presented and the book does present different degrees of simulation depth for cohort progression: If you, for example, don’t have the inclination of tracking cohort XP in the traditional sense, you can check out the option presented for one-roll adventuring abstraction, which does not bog down the game. (Of course, you could play cohort-only sidetrek adventures as well…) If that is still too intrusive, you can resort to the autoleveling guidelines, and if that sounds like a hassle – rest assured that tips for players and GMs alike are included to make the process of adding cohorts to the game simple and smooth.

Followers, then, are more akin to redshirts with names and personalities – once your players have a massive space ship with a huge crew, you may well want to have example followers – and indeed, the pdf provides; once more, in an organic manner: The concept of good and master skills is used in abbreviated form for the different roles these fellows may have, once more allowing for a super smooth integration that distinctly can be identified as a Starfinder-centric solution.

The book goes further. In the next chapter, we take a gander at reputation. Fame is a representation of how well you’re liked and known within an organization or region. On the flipside, there would be infamy, of course. These two are collectively known as reputation. “Deeds” would be the term assigned for things you are famous or infamous for, and as a whole, the rules use Starfinder’s “significant threat” rule and transpose it to organizations – in short, reputation only matters and should come into play with significant organizations. I am not kidding when I am, time and again, emphasizing how Starfinder-centric these concepts have been realigned: The reputation section, for example, takes theme-choices into account.

While reputation, as a whole, is a more narrative system, it is not one that leaves the GM or player hanging or in doubt regarding precise implementation. Instead, we receive detailed and precise guidance pertaining reputation shifts, sample fame rewards for certain thresholds…and favor. Favor goes hand in hand with fame and represents basically your ability to call in favors, a kind of social currency. Both favor purchases and deeds, just fyi, have been supplemented with handy tables that provide amply guidelines to run the system or smoothly expand upon it.

But perhaps you and your group are less interested in empire-building and the grand game, and rather would develop the way in which the PCs interact with NPCs and one another? Fret not, for if you’ve been dissatisfied with “I roll once and change the attitude” type of scenarios, if you enjoy the more personal takes and exploration of bonds, whether they be among rivals and enemies, families or lovers, then you’ll very much enjoy the next chapter, for here we take a look at relationships. For simplicity’s sake, they are grouped in 4 rough categories: Animosity, familial, peer and friendship. All of these are tightly defined. The relationships themselves may be roughly categorized in the healthy and dysfunctional departments, somewhat akin to the dichotomy used for the reputation system, and while this is a bit of a simplification, there is a difference here: The system tracks not an objective value of good/evil, but rather the intensity of the relationship! This is VERY cool and a smart choice. It eliminates the “love”-threshold. You know, “reach this many points to get love.” Instead, each character will have different preferences, reactions and the like, and relationships are dynamic. You can actually switch from a familial relationship to animosity to friendship, for example. And yes, you can fake relationships. You can, of course, roleplay all of this, but in case your group tends to favor quicker resolutions, they are provided once more. And yes, they have been designed to allow for quick and painless resolutions. They will not slow down your game – unless you and your group choose to explore them.

The next section also can tie in with that – it pertains alternate and secret identities, and it is one chapter that I wish had been slightly more Starfinderized: The default assumption here would be that a series of Disguise checks is sufficient to establish a secret identity, which, while quick and painless, struck me as a bit…easy, at least in the long run. For brief covert identities and the like, sure, but for long-term identity change, some notes on the use of Computers to delete electronic trails and the like would have made sense to me. (But then again, I’ll return to that aspect down below – and why I don’t consider it to be an issue here.) the subchapter does talk about different means of compromising your identity, and how secret identities and shifts can influence reputation and relationships. And guess what: Having your cover blown is not a pleasant experience. Juggling multiple secret identities is btw. also noted.

Now, the pounding heart of this book, obviously, would be the skill challenges. If you’re familiar with the “Skill Challenges Handbook”, you’ll notice some overlap here and will be already familiar with the central concept.

Basically, a skill challenge represents an encounter-situation that can range from a group dealing with a super-computer’s complex self-defense system,a s it’s steering the vessel into a black hole, in the mainframe to a game of chess. Skill Challenges may be undertaken between teams (representing contests), and can span different increments of time: From long trips across the surface of a blasted planet under a dead sun, to a high-speed chase, the engine can cover pretty much anything. Running a skill challenge may seem daunting at first, but once you’ve read the rules, turns out to be exceedingly simple: You determine awareness first, so yeah, there can be a surprise round. Then, you determine initiative order and proceed to run it akin to a combat, save that it is not a combat, but a collective task.

“Winning” a skill challenge is referred to as “clearing” it, and, depending on the skill challenge, you have several methods: Some skill challenges may require an accumulation. Drawing that moon rover from the ditch, for example? Accumulation. When working against an opposing team, points can be used. Movement-related ones track squares, and for straight win/lose situations with a less pronounced focus on grades of success, “successes” are the tracked method makes most sense. It should be noted that there are actions noted for PCs to in-game interact with the respective skill challenge – obscuring trails, for example, is relevant when embarking on a skill challenge that is based on squares as clearance method.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. How do you beat an accumulation skill challenge? Well, let's say your researching who the replicant-serial killer is, all right? You research, and roll a relevant skill, as determined by the GM. You have a success, and then take a look at the progress rating. For example, 22. Since you succeeded at the task, you accumulate value of by 1d4 + the ability score modifier associated with that check. Once you’ve beaten the progress, you’ve cleared the skill challenge. Being particularly good grants you bonuses, and may move you up in the dice-chain. Class skill? You roll one die size larger. High enough insight bonus? Ditto. To keep things interesting, these skill challenges generally have thresholds noted, where things happen, complications can occur, etc. Let’s say you’ve repaired a part of the mainframe of a desolate space station as you cleared threshold value 8 – electricity is suddenly restored…and the cargo doors open as part of the booting system, freeing whatever was locked inside…

This is perhaps one of the most potent and remarkable aspects of this system – while it can work on pretty much any timeframe, it similarly can slot in seamlessly with combat...and back out of it. What Do I mean by that? Well, you can easily slot skill challenge into skill challenge, Matroishka- or Inception-style.

Let’s say the planet the PCs are currently on is blowing up, and they are escaping the interstellar tyrants that have their homebase on the planet. The PCs embark on a grand skill challenge tracking abstract squares, as they hustle across the planet towards the dilapidated orbital elevators: Atop those, there is a ring of space stations surrounding the planet. (Yes, unrepentant Gundam fanboy here…) As they arrive at the elevators, the planet starts breaking apart…but the damn bullet train is old and needs to be fixed and maintained. Unfortunately, an alien species feeds on the thing, eating it while the PCs try to get it to start – enter a contest. As they finally get the thing running, the kill-squad sent from the tyrants has infiltrated the train – as the PCs make a desperate race for the top, trying to accumulate enough resources, combat breaks out….and even if they succeed, they’ll still need to get out of the system…

That is but one example of interwoven skill challenges, and once you get how these work, space’s the limit. Scratch that, not even that! To infinity and beyond! (Sorry, will punch myself later for that one…) The system may look daunting at first, but one glance at a statblock for such a challenge should tell you a lot about it…and once you understand it, you’ll realize how elegantly this one skill challenge statblock codifies a complex series of circumstances. In use, the system is so smooth, you basically don’t even need to make a statblock. You can run this spontaneously. The precision of all the definitions for increments, time pressure etc. are ultimately there to adhere to the conventions of the game, but in person, I can explain this whole system in under a minute. Heck, I actually implemented it without telling anyone, and it works. A quick-thinking GM can assign PC actions to the general actions within the respective skill challenge.

Basically, what the rules here do, is to allow you to structure how you think about the mechanic presentation of the challenges within. No GM really needs stated that some skill challenges can only allow for a certain amount of failures. Still, the rules are presented within, in order to allow you to write a quick and concise challenge. Similarly, backlash by hazards, traps and attacks, demerits (losing progress) – all there. Beyond thresholds, there also are obstacles – exemplified with the sample task of steering a vessel through an asteroid field. Chases would, obviously, be another example, and one that gets its own coverage – in detail.

If you need further means to modify these skill challenges and want an even tighter array of subrules, you’ll have a whole chapter of special qualities to modify them with: Obstacles, and, as noted, opposition, are covered. When you’re bodyguards for the ambassador’s daughter, whose word may save the galaxy, if you can only convince her… then you’ll want to take a look at the section on influence challenges. If you’re familiar with the way in which Ultimate Intrigue etc. structured social situations and cross that with skill challenges, then you’ll have an idea of how the system works: We basically get a “social” variant of a statblock that focuses more on personality and background, noting biases and strengths as well as weaknesses.

If you instead plan to talk in front of the board of directors of an interstellar megacorp, then you’ll want to check out the section on verbal duels. From allegory to mockery, this is indeed the first of these subsystems/skill challenges that I’d categorize as a mini-game of sorts. Knowledge of associated strategies and how they interact is important…but know what? It actually puts an end to the endless discussions that go nowhere, and it can make social interaction exciting for tables that usually prefer the tactical aspects of combat over storytelling.

For all of these, samples are provided, though, and let me make that abundantly clear: This is not a plug-and-play book of ready encounters. Instead, this teaches you how to use the system and make it your own. Extra design advice, a table of suggested sample DCs by difficulty rating and CR, suggested accumulation, square and success values by CR – ultimately, this is a ginormous guide that aims to teach you an easy system that can make literally everything, from treks across blasted desert planets to researching galactic archives, potentially exciting and interesting. It’s a system that inserts player agenda into what usually amounts to boring, singular pass/fail die-rolls and cutscenes, instead emphasizing the collective experience.

Okay, but we’re still not done. There is another massive chapter – and it’s called combat maneuvers. This chapter introduces an alternative means of resolving, bingo, combat maneuvers. Design-wise, the alternate maneuver system mirrors the way in which Starfinder treats AC: The Maneuver Defense (MD) value is subdivided into PMD (Physical Maneuver Defense) and MMD (Mental Maneuver Defense). The values are calculated as follows: 10 + ½ BAB + Strength modifier (PMD) or Charisma modifier (MMD). All combat maneuvers, and the feint and demoralize skill uses, as well as the Antagonize feat, target these now. Yes. Non-feat taxed antagonize is back. Honestly, it was one aspect of SFRPG that puzzled me as much as in PFRPG. Why lock insulting an enemy, arguably something pretty much anyone can do, behind a feat, while feinting, something I IRL would suck at, is available via skills? But I digress. Maneuvers are listed alphabetically, and are listed with action to activate, skills that can be used, and effects. Descriptors, if any, are noted as well. You basically check the skill against the respective MD. Crushing foes, scaling them…simple. Less simple would be the act of determining these values fro critters. Thankfully, a massive table lists suggested values by CR and array. (As an aside: The array is called spellcaster, not mystic…) Don’t like that? There is a means to use the system in conjunction with the standard KAC +8 solution.

What’s the effect of implementing it? Well, PCs are more likely to succeed at combat maneuvers…but so are enemies. If you are dissatisfied with how hard combat maneuvers are to execute in Starfinder, then this will yield approximately a 25% increase in chance to execute them, which can, particularly in more melee-centric situations, make them game more versatile and nuanced. The new “humiliated” condition is also introduced herein – and, in case you were wondering, there is a whole, massive array of feats that allow you to further customize your characters to make maximum use of this new system. In a rather embarrassing slip-up, the feats refer to the Improved Combat Maneuver feat – which has been rebranded as Improved Maneuver to avoid confusion with the Starfinder core feat. Unfortunately, the references of the feat in the section’s prerequisite lines have not been adjusted that way. It’s a cosmetic glitch, but still a pretty nasty one. Particularly since the Improved Maneuver feat’s special line even erroneously references itself as Improved Combat Maneuver… Also in this section would be the Unlock Skill feat.

Which ties in with…the Skill Unlocks. These can be gained by feats, themes or awarded freely, depending on your preferred playstyle, and include several that interact with other components of the book. At Fame 20, you can, for example, be Aloof without taking a penalty to Leadership score. With Blood Kin, you have a better rapport with your relatives, with Accomplished Climber, you gain a climb speed. Tehre are more unlocks here than I can conceivably cover without ruining the functionality of this review – suffice to say, a handy table organizes them by area of interest – looking for reputation unlocks? All collected in one section. If this notion was not indicator enough: One of the interesting and impressive components of this book would be the fact that all of these can be combined. The pdf does, for example, provide guidance and notes that skill unlocks can make for great relationship rewards…

Of course, considering the new combat options, we also receive a couple of new tricks for character classes: 4 new envoy improvisations, and an expertise talent, as well as tricks, for mechanics, soldiers and operatives may be found. The pdf then closes with 4 solid themes: Contender, scion, fixer and vigilante, before providing a handy glossary. Slightly hilarious: The vigilante gets the “Duel Identity” class feature. No, he is not particularly adept at dueling. That’s a typo.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting on a rules-language level, as a whole, are very good. However, on a formal level, the pdf does suffer a bit and is not 100% up to level we usually get to see from Everyman Gaming. Particularly in the few instances where a typo can make a rule slightly harder to understand, I couldn’t help but cringe slightly. Don’t get me wrong; this is still a tightly-presented book. Layout adheres to the two-column full-color standard of the Star Log.EM-series, adapted to the big book, and the pdf sports a ton of Jacob Blackmon artworks, many of which are brand new and pretty massive. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. My physical copy hasn’t yet arrived as per the writing of this review.

Alexander Augunas and Matt Morris deliver what can be considered to be a crown jewel among SFRPG supplements; we get a book with a sheer impact and coolness, a mighty toolkit that usually only sees the light of day in this extent towards the end of a system’s lifecycle. Having this near the beginning of Starfinder’s lifecycle is amazing. Simple as that. It is no secret that I consider many of the concepts within this book, the whole notion of skill challenges, to be pretty much a stroke of sheer genius. Having them coupled with some of my favorite tricks, as inheritors of Ultimate Charisma’s legacy, puts just icing on the cake. I applaud the degree in which the systems herein have been modified to represents Starfinder’s peculiarities, and once more, I am left to say, clearly and explicitly, that the very concept herein should have found its way into the core rules.

Now, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have some potential complaints to field: The editing, as noted, could have been tighter. I also would have loved to see more space combat-y things and peculiarities – sure, you can easily simply adjust what’s here to the space context, and the skill challenges present actually do just that…but some exclusives would have been nice. But that is not a fair complaint to field. You see, at first glance, there are a lot of similarities between this and the original PFRPG files; if you own the original files, you will constantly feel the casual familiarity that you expected to find…but once you take a more in-depth look, you will get to see the work that went into this tome…and the achievement that codifying the skill challenges this way, ultimately is. Regardless of system. This book was branded as the tome that will bring skill challenges to SFRPG – and more.

And, editing snafus be damned, it succeeds admirably. At this point, this is the most rewarding toolkit for SFRPG I am aware of. It will literally enhance any game it’s used in, and a GM who understands how this operates gets some of the mightiest narrative tools for a d20-game you can fathom on their hands. The concept itself may no longer be novel in all but its implementation into the system, but it doesn’t have to be. What you see on the cover, the exciting teamwork challenge? That can be yours.

Skill challenges have enriched my games like no other crunch supplement. If you play Starfinder and are not yet familiar with the notion, or if you don’t want to do the math and all those little tweaks…well then gets this ASAP! It is a mind-blowing experience. Now, if I were to rate this solely on its formal properties and disregard the content and its vast impact, I’d frankly have to rate this down to 4.5 stars, rounded down, due to the editing glitches. However, even if I were to divorce skill challenges from all the other components, which elegantly entwine, yet remain optional, they’d suffice to make the editing snafus as but trivial.

To state this in an abundantly clear manner: This book can radically improve pretty much every aspect of your game, of your GMing, of your playing experience. You don’t have to read everything. You don’t have to implement what you don’t want to – you can just cherry-pick what’s right for your and your group. Once you’ve understood this, you can implement its components on the fly, you can tell exciting stories that you couldn’t before. In short: This is, formal snafus or none, still a milestone and a masterpiece. I consider this to be perhaps the most important Starfinder supplement currently released by a 3pp. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval. This also gets my EZG Essentials-tag for Starfinder. And had its predecessor not won last year’s Top Ten, and thus disqualified this one from being a candidate for my Top Ten of 2018, you could find it there as well. This is, by all accounts, a must-own supplement for Starfinder.

…now, can we have a sequel book with more skill challenges, tricks and tweaks?

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Skill Guide
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Star Log.EM-045: Glynwyrians
by Monica G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/10/2018 23:11:08

Star Log.EM45 Glynwyrians is a brief sourcebook for the Starfinder role-playing game. It has just a few pages of content that presents a new playable race--the Glynwyrians, of course. They are a race of humanoids with deer-like ears, a crystaline horn growing from their forehead, and markings on their body. They are from a distant planet that is rich in a resource called ralyirum--which is used to make healing syrums. Their planet's ralyrium is highly sought-after by large corporations--which makes for a great source of potential conlict that can be used as an adventure hook in your game. The Glynwyrians have abilities that make them resiliant, giving them bonuses to surviving without food and water, resistance to poisons, and enhanced natural healing abilities. As well, they make very proficient healers, having some useful low-level healing spell-like abilities as their base traits. The book also presents a new feat called 'healing horn' that comes with some associated mechanics that give Glynwyrian characters extended healing abilities. This involves a set of rules that gives the player a small amount of points and a couple of healing spells that they can cast by spending the points. The feat can be taken multiple times to enhance its effects. This makes the Glynwyrians a really intersting character race since buying a feat or two can turn your soldier or mechanic into a backup healer for the party. This makes them a unique and viable option for building a character. Overall, this book offers a really great play option for Starfinder. It would be nicer if it had a bit more--maybe a few more feats, a few spells, and equipment options, like some of the race options that we see in offical Paizo material. It must also be noted that the book has some great exposition, treating the book's introductory text as in-game transmissions. It's a nice touch. Overall, this book is pretty solid, if short, and it makes a great addition to your game whether you're a GM or a player.

See our full review at geeksagogo.com!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-045: Glynwyrians
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Advanced Skill Guide
by Montrell W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/29/2018 20:34:09

So my mindset purchasing this book was that I would be provided dozens of skill challenge scenarios to plug and play from the approximately 151 pages. There are 28 skill challenges ready to use in the book, less than I was hoping for, but that is my fault. 28 skill challenges are more than I had before the book, and the Advanced Skill Guide provides rules on several types of challenges. The rules however are a way to make things playable in the game of starfinder, all of the creativity is left up to the GM. Out of the 28, 9 of them are contests, things such as playing chess or bad mitten.

I have found several typos while reading the book. Most of them are minor and self explanatory, but there is incorrect information on the NPC maneuver table (making higher cr monsters weaker). Some of it appears to be copy paste errors (chases and contests referring to themselves as verbal duels). To segway from copy paste, this book is LARGELY the same information presented in the Pathfinder "Skill Challenge Handbook". If you already have that book, this may be a slight upgrade, it depends on how much you are willing to pay to have a slight conversion and how much time you can dedicate to changing things from "knowledge arcana" to "mysticism". The price point for an unpolished product that has more or less already been released is a key reason my rating of the product was decreased.

The rules for many of the types of skill challenges seem verbose and convoluted. For a GM to read them and understand what is going on for generating challenges is one thing, but to expect your players to be able to keep up with the multiple actions and options they have in these systems is a stretch. It is very similar to how starship combat has its own set of rules, so if that is up your alley you might like things like verbal duels and contests outlined in this book. If your group doesn't like that sort of diversion from the standard game then they would have trouble keeping up with these verbal duel and chase options. Skill Challenges take up a good amount of the pages, backers unlocked several more pages of reputation and relationship rules. A large amount of the character options section is for the reputation and relationships rules.

Maneuver defense is a replacement for the ways combat maneuvers are handled by setting options for things like disarms and dirty tricks in the hands of skills rather than BAB. The Mental Maneuver Defense and Physical Maneuver Defense incentivises the players to use their skills more often and in interesting ways and gives classes without full BAB more options and importance in combat. It is calculated in a way that makes it easier for PC's to pull them off.

I like the maneuver defenses alot, and I have a decent start with skill challenges. What I wanted to purchase with my money was simple skill challenge plugins for ease of use. I will be using the skill challenges and maneuver defense options. I don't think the reputation relationships and secret identities sections are really applicable to all groups, and i don't really value them. The verbal duels are not something I intend to use. Overall my group enjoys skill challenges, they make all the players feel involved and creative.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Advanced Skill Guide
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Star Log.EM-031: Spells of Furor
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/29/2018 05:45:09

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Star Log.EM-series clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 4 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

On the first page, we get a brief history of the spells within in the Xa-Osoro system, and it should be noted that the spells within also take the spellcasting classes from the Starfarer’s Companion into account.

The first spell, blackout, is a technomancer-exclusive and comes in one version for all 6 spell levels. This spell makes you attempt a Computers or Engineering check as part of casting it. All items within the spell’s AOE (a 20 ft.-radius centered on you) that are powered or charged, including computers, technological items, etc. immediately stop working as though they had run out of battery charges. The spell’s effects are capped by spell level and DC accomplished, and a handy table presents these, but, in a puzzling layout decision, is on the next page. Why not have it on the same page?? On a really nitpicky side, I would also have welcomed a caveat that prevents this spell from potentially blackout-ing systems required for survival.

Bone spur transfiguration would be a cleric 3, magus 2, wizard 3 or mystic 3 spell, and requires that you touch a hand or prehensile appendage with a melee attack versus KAC. If you hit, you transfigure painful spiked into the appendage, causing 2d8 nonlethal piercing damage at the start of the subject’s turns. Interesting: Movement, including guarded steps, adds more damage, and if the target takes at least 1 point of damage, it’s sickened for 1 round. If a creature is below ½ maximum Hit Points, it’s nauseated instead, which is pretty nasty, condition-wise, and also requires tracking basically a pseudo-bloodied condition. (If I were to really nitpick here, I’d point towards interaction with Stamina, but you get the idea.)

The energy sphere spell is available for wizards at levels 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 8, for bard, magus and technomancer at levels 1 – 6. You get to choose one of the five basic energy types (yep, sonic included) and form a sphere of the energy, which may be moved up to 30 ft. as a move action. Dimensions and damage are contingent on spell level, and 3rd (wizard 4th) level begins also applying damage when a creature ends its turn within the sphere’s area. I am pretty sure that the 6th level caveat “A creature cannot be damaged by the sphere more than once per turn.” Should not have just been part of the 6th level text. While that level states that damage also applies when it moves through a critter’s space, it can end up dealing less damage than lower level versions.

Psychosomatic weapon is a second level spell for bard, wizard and mystic spells, and increases the damage caused by +2d6 weapon damage for one round; this is basically an illusion, so Will negates. One important component here, is that the verbiage implies that only you can inflict this damage, when the target, weapon touched, would allow you to buff allies. Clarification would be helpful here.

Slapstick is a spell available at levels 1 – 6 for bard, magus and technomancer, and changes one item with a bulk of not greater than 1 easier to wield. It counts as a basic melee weapon with the thrown (20 ft.) special property, and you use key spellcasting ability modifier instead of Strength to govern atk and damage with it, and damage type is usually kinetic, but subject to GM’s interpretation. The spell is balanced by the weapon’s damage being based on spell level, and 2nd level and all thereafter net Weapon Specialization with it, for +1.5 times CL to damage. Minor nitpick: While this prevents stacking two Weapon Specializations atop each other, the spell probably should only add CL to damage, as the feat usually only nets character level to damage, ½ for small arms and operative melee weaponry. The exception would be natural attacks.

Finally, we have vampiric bite, available for clerics level 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 8, and for mystics as level 1-6 spells. This is actually a close-range spells that deals piercing damage and bleed damage, while also bestowing temporary Hit Points, the latter of which may be used to heal damage on a 2-to-1 ratio. Solid one!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting on a formal level are excellent; on a rules-language level, I have a few instances where I can nitpick some details. Nothing horrid, but a few minor clarifications would help. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, the artwork is nice, and apart from the unfortunate decision of dragging blackout’s DC-table to the next page, doesn’t offer much to complain about. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Sasha Hall has certainly come a long way – this is now the second of her pdfs that I consider to be, as a whole, well-crafted. However, in some of the spells have a few rough spots in their details that slightly detract from this pdf’s otherwise precise handling of complex concepts. Hence, my final verdict will be 3.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-031: Spells of Furor
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Star Log.EM-030: Lorefinder
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/27/2018 03:38:33

An Endzietgeist.com review

This installment of the Star Log.EM-series clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 2.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

After a brief piece of text that provides a context for Lorefinders within the Xa-Osoro system, we are introduced to the lorefinder chronicler archetype. The archetype gains alternate class features at 2nd, 6th, 8th and 12th level. At 2nd level, we get “knack for knowledge”, which lets you choose 2 skills from a list. In these, you get a +1 insight bonus, add them to the list of class skills and may use them even untrained. The bonus increases by +1 at 6th level and every 4 levels thereafter , as well as at 20th level. If you gain an insight bonus from another class feature, you may roll twice and choose the better result, though only 1/day. You may do this an additional time per day for every time the bonus increases. This allows you to take the Extra Knowledge feat as an alternate class feature at 4th and 16th level.

This archetype exclusive feat lets you choose two skills and gained the benefits of the aforementioned class feature, even if the skills usually aren’t on the list. At 6th level, the archetype nets “Epic Tales”, which doubles as the hurry envoy improvisation; if you already have it, you gain another one instead. Same goes for 9th level, where improved hurry is gained. The 12th level ability nets you 1/day summon creature (4th level) as a SP, getting to choose whether you’d do so as a technomancer or mystic. 16th and 20th level upgrade that to 5th and 6th spell level, respectively, and these also net new creatures. For 2 Resolve Points, you can use it an additional time, and if interrupted, the Resolve Points are lost.

The pdf also features 3 new feats in addition to the one mentioned above:

-Deep Pockets: Spend 1 hour to effectively distribute gear, increasing total bulk you can carry by 4, lasting until the next 8-hour break.

-Live to Tell the Tale: 1/day attempt a new saving throw against ongoing conditions against which you failed a saving throw in a previous round, even if the effect would be permanent. This does not affect instantaneous or save-less conditions. You can spend 2 Resolve Points to add knack for knowledge to the result of the save. 6th level allows you to spend 1 Resolve Point to use this ability again after you used it that day. For 3 Resolve Points, you combine the two Resolve-fueled uses of this feat.

-Swift Aid (Combat): use covering fire or harrying fire as a move action. You can also use either as a swift action by spending 1 Resolve Point, but multiple uses of this attack do not stack, but you can provoke one target with multiple bonuses against multiple, different opponents. This does expressively not reduce the action required for feats involving covering or harrying fire. Nice catch!

The pdf concludes with a nice piece of flavor text about lorefinders in the Xa-Osoro system.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch on a formal and rules-language level, I noticed no issues on a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the artwork is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this level.

Alexander Augunas and Matt Banach present a rather cool adaptation of the Pathfinder Chronicler to SFRPG – I have no complaints here, and the archetype is actually more interesting than I expected it to be. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-030: Lorefinder
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Star Log.EM-027: Skittermander Options
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/27/2018 03:33:14

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Star Log.EM-series clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

After a cool (and rather extensive!) contextualization of skittermanders within the Xa-Osoro system, we begin with the skittermander paragon archetype, who receives an alternate class feature at 2nd level: Whenever the paragon spends 1 point of Resolve to take a 10-minute Stamina break, they also regain the daily use of the hyper racial trait. Additionally, skittermander-prereq-feats may be taken as replacement class features at 6th, 12th, or 19th level. Minor nitpick: The pdf reads “0r.”

The pdf includes 8 skittermander feats:

-Boundless Energy: Only for paragons of level 5+. Regains hyper racial trait even sans Resolve expenditure to regain Stamina after a 10 minute break.

-Helpful Hand: Increases aid another, covering and harrying fire bonuses by +1; doesn’t stack with other effects. You can spend 1 Resolve Point to extend a bonus you grant to last until the end of the target’s next turn.

-Hyperactive Leap: Athletics as a class skill, +1 to Acrobatics if you already have it. Always have a running start, and better vertical jumps. Utterly HILARIOUS: While hyper, you get an Ex fly speed that needs to end on solid ground or fall. Basically, I picture skittermanders wiggling their arms like a hummingbird on a sugar-high. XD

-Limitless Leaper: Builds on the previous one; you no longer have to be hyper.

-Mania: Use hyper as a reaction when gaining a morale bonus, taking an extra move action. Alternatively, you can forego this to increase the bonus by +1.

-Reflexive Assistance: Builds on Helping hands: Lets you aid, cover fire, etc. as a reaction when an ally does so. There’s a typo here: “Whenever an ally grants uses the aid another..:” – that “grant” should not be there. The rules language here is pretty complex, but it’s handled well.

-Skitterspider: Builds on climbing master, lets you traverse ceilings and vertical surfaces sans Athletics, as per spider climb. (Spell-reference not italicized.) Upside down climbing does not allow for the use of the run action, but otherwise, you may run while climbing. Note that this is better, since the skittermander can use 4 of its limbs to satisfy the climbing requirements!

-Skittermander Suplex (Combat): Here, something has gone awry with the rules language. “Whenever you successfully renew a grapple against a creature that you were grappling at the start of your turn, dealing damage to the grappled opponent as if you had hit them with an unarmed strike.” Either “dealing” should read “you deal”, or there is a part of a sentence missing here. I assume the former, since the damage is notes as grapple attempt minus opponent’s KAC, minus 8.

The pdf also includes two new biotech augmentations: For arms and a lousy 100 credits, you can get Hideaway Hands, which allows you to retract a pair of arms, which can be really helpful re Disguise. The torso can be enhanced with larva-drool tissue, which reactivates the gland producing the numbing agent of skittermander larvae, allowing you to excrete it as a swift action when renewing a grapple. The foe must save or basically suffers from disadvantage when trying to escape the grapple. The effect is precisely codified regarding type and duration, and it requires the grappler trait and the character must be shirtless or have custom clothing/armor. It can be used again after a rest and a 2 Resolve Point expenditure. Finally, we have a cybertech augmentation, nurse’s eyes, when nets 10 ft. blindsense (life) and better medical skills – such as biological anomalies automatically detected in creatures identified with life Science. I’m not a big fan of the “automatic” here.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are still good, but not perfect – there are a few formatting hiccups, and the glitches, alas, can impede rules integrity slightly. Layout adheres to the two-column full-color standard of the series, and the artwork is, as always, nice. We have no bookmarks, but need none at this length.

(X) Put a big “X” here if you think that skittermanders should be frickin’ core. They are an amazing race, and I love them to bits. And Alexander Augunas gets them. The flight feat and spider feat with their tactical (and hilarious!) implications alone warrant imho getting this one. That being said, I do think that hyper can, in the long run, potentially become problematic due to SF’s more transparent action economy, so that’s a thing to look out for. But that just as an aside. I did enjoy the vast majority of content within, and as such, my final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-027: Skittermander Options
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Star Log.EM-029: Boarding Rules
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/26/2018 04:22:14

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Star Log.EM-installment clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1.5 pages of SRD, 1 page blank, leaving us with 3.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

We begin this supplement, as has become the tradition with this series, with a brief note on the tradition of boarding and consequences in the Xa-Osoro system.

After that, we begin with, no surprise there, the boarding rules. Docking or Landing a starship are concisely defined as new Piloting tasks, but invading a space station or enemy ship is another deal. One of the options here would be to breach a starship’s hull: When hitting a starship with a starship weapon that deals at least 1 Hull Point damage, the hull becomes breached until the end of the gunnery phase, after which the breach is automatically sealed. If the enemy ship is hit with an attack or board weapon, the breach instead remains for as long as the weapon remains attached or embedded. Alternatively, adjacent beings (e.g. on the hull with magnetized boots, Dead Space-style), you can use explosives to breach it, using Critical threshold as hardness. As far as weaponry is concerned, the pdf does include adamantine boring drills and claws for direct fire weapons; insertion pods as tracking weapons, intrusion pods as a heavy tracking weapon, and there also is a capital weapon version of pods, and we get a gravity vortex here.

Wait…Board and attach? Yep, the pdf does define these in a concise and sensible manner. Additionally, and much to my joy, these do actually work in conjunction with the ship arms that you could get in the Star Log.EM-pdf on expansion bays. (And no, the latter is not required to make use of the options in this pdf…) Unsurprising, the presence of these weapons, and weapons like claws and drills do mean that a melee range for starship weapons needs to be defined. Which this pdf also does.

Alternatively, you can attempt to override a starship’s docking ports – you can try to override these with Computers – this is a concisely defined new Computers task. PCs acting as boarding parties (with CR-suggestions for resistance faced) are covered. Similarly, if the PCs are more into starship combat, then the new captain action to apprehend boarders can make them lay down their arms – provided your Diplomacy is ace. Science officers can override enemy docking ports during helm phase…and that’s it! Concise, easy to grasp and succinct boarding rules.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch on a formal and rules-language level. I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series, and the artwork presented is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none.

David N. Ross’ boarding rules are fantastic. They are easy to grasp and painless to implement. Do yourself a favor: Print this, then attach it to your core rules – for that is where these should have been. Starfinder is a young system, but even in its brief existence, I’ve been asked, time and again, for boarding rules. Well, this delivers, and it does so with panache aplomb. 5 stars + seal of approval, plus, this is designated as an EZG Essential for Starfinder. If you’re like me and were always dissatisfied with the lack of means to represent cool boarding scuffles, then this is a pdf you will never want to miss in your games.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-029: Boarding Rules
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Star Log.EM-028: Solarian Zenith Revelations
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/26/2018 04:20:32

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Star Log.EM-series clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

After a brief introduction, we take a look at the new zenith revelations featured within; as such, these all require being fully attuned. This pdf contains 4 new photon revelations:

-Burst of Life: When fully attuned, spend 1 Resolve Point as a move action or leave photon mode to generate a 10-ft. radius burst that heals twice Solarian class level HP. This upgrades to 3 times class level at 17th level.

-Inner Fire: Nets all allies within 30 ft. that you have line of effect to grant allies +2 to damage, and the ability renders half damage inflicted fire damage, as if affected by the flaming fusion. Additionally, the solarian may leave photon mode as a move action and increase the damage boost bestowed to +1d6+1 for Charisma modifier rounds.

-Lunar Shift: As a move action, choose a creature in close range and choose one of the 4 core energy types (sonic is excluded). You reduce the resistance to that energy type by 5, minimum 0, for class level rounds. Creatures without resistance instead gain vulnerability (ouch), but this is balanced by having duration only be 1 round. 14th level adds a second energy type, or you can reduce one energy resistance by 10. At 17th level, two may be reduced by 10, or one by 15, but you can only ever bestow one vulnerability. Really cool!

-Umbral Aura: As a move action, gain a gaze attack with a 10 ft.-range that blinds target until the start of your next turn, dazzled on a successful save instead. Duration increases at 13th level, and 17th level excludes allies from the effect.

The pdf also features 4 graviton zenith revelations:

-Collapse Point: Create a gravity point within line of sight and medium range; creatures within 10 ft. must succeed a Reflex save or be entangled and pulled towards the point, moving in initiative order from highest to lowest. They also take 2d8 + Cha mod bludgeoning damage, which increases by +1d8 for every 3 solarian levels beyond 9th. 17th level lets you either increase the radius or exclude a limited number of creatures. This effect lasts until the start of the next turn and the solarian’s immune to the effect. Neat one!

-Gravity Barrier: 10 ft. spherical barrier centered on solarian that lasts for Cha-mod rounds. This barrier pushes creatures away if they fail a Fort-save. Successfully saving mitigates the forced movement to an AC bonus that doesn’t stack with cover and 17th level increases radius.

-Gravity Wave: As a standard action, generate a 30-foot conical wave that pushes or knocks prone targets on a failed Fort-save. Distance of this push increases by 10 ft. for every 3 solarian class levels beyond 9th. Hitting a solid object that prevents movement nets 2d6 kinetic damage per 10 ft. the creature would have been pushed before knocking the target prone. What’s that, you ask? The GM chooses the correct damage type from the physical ones, depending on the object the target is shoved into! Elegant solution for this rules-language conundrum!

-Quantum Release: By spending 1 Resolve Point or leaving graviton mode, you may take an additional move action. Thankfully, no more often than once per round. The ability takes no action on your turn, and is a reaction otherwise – and, important, it may only be used once per round. Since the skittermander’s hyper ability exists, this should be pretty safe as far as future-proofing is concerned, but combo-ing skittermander tricks with this can be potentially pretty brutal.

This is not how the pdf ends, though: Instead, we get detailed notes on the most famous solarians in the Xa-Osoro system: There would be Collapse, anti-capitalist assassin of oligarchs, the samsaran teacher contemplator Valshavan, who notoriously hates the press, a kyubi paragon kitsune solarian, and more – pretty cool NPC background stories/concepts!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting re top-notch, I noticed no serious hiccups in either the formal or rules-language criteria. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series with a white background, and the full-color artwork is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Luis Loza delivers an impressive, fun little supplement that delivers some rewarding tools for solarians to use, often tackling complex concepts, and executing them rather well. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars – definitely recommended for fans of the solarian class!!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-028: Solarian Zenith Revelations
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Star Log.EM-026: Mythos Mystic Connection
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/23/2018 04:43:26

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Star Log.EM-series clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 4 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

After a brief introduction, including the role of the mythos in the context of the Xa-Osoro system, we dive right into the new connection, which has Intimidate and Mysticism as associated skills. As far as the spells are concerned, it should be noted that you do require Starfarer’s Companion to make use of this supplement – all spells granted by the connection are drawn from that book. Annoyingly, none of them have been properly italicized.

The first level ability, contagious whispers, allows you to use the mindlink class feature with a range of 30 feet instead of touch. Additionally, the save changes from Will (harmless) to Will – as the mystic can project horrifying revelations to the target, rendering a target shaken and sickened for mystic levels rounds. This would be utterly OP, were it not for the 1/day per target limitation of the mindlink class feature. 3rd level nets you summon creature via the expenditure of 1 Resolve Point, with 6th level and every 3 levels thereafter increasing the spell level. Formatting here does sport a few minor hiccups: Spell-reference not italicized and a “See page $” remnant. As a balancing factor, you can only have one of these in effect at a given time – oh, and the creature needs to have the eldritch graft.

What’s that? Well, we actually get the eldritch summoning graft here, with traits differentiation between below and above CR 7. NICE! Big kudos for the graft inclusion here. The 6th level ability lets the mystic’s spells and powers ignore fear immunity, with targets instead gaining +4 to saves. Cool: This is further differentiated: Stronger creatures in relation to the mystic’s CR instead get a +8 bonus, preventing anti-boss abuse, and versus CR+3 or higher than mystic level, the ability ceases to work altogether. Additionally, Intimidate, if exceeding DC by +5 or more, may also ignore fear immunity, and once more, we get differentiated treating of this aspect of the ability. 9th level nets Adaptive Fighting, and eldritch creatures summoned via the 3rd level power get the Adaptive Fighting feat- Multiple creatures have to have the same feat. If you know summon creature, you may use Resolve to apply it to summoned creatures as well. The spell, once more, is not italicized correctly.

At 12th level, we have immunity to fear and mind-influencing effects, and all creatures linked in the telepathic bond get +2 (untyped – should be typed) to saves versus fear and mind-affecting effects. You also get a free telepathic bond with creatures called forth with the 3rd level ability – this does not count towards the maximum. At 15th level, all critters critically hit by you or a creature summoned forth are shaken for mystic level rounds, frightened if already shaken. This is a critical effect and thankfully thus explicitly excludes the option to stack it atop another critical effect. The 18th level power lets you 1/day spend 1 Resolve Point to execute a 10-minute ritual that may not be combined with Stamina replenishment. At the conclusion, you get an eldritch summon, save that it lasts for 24 hours. Thankfully, once more, this caps at one critter. The pdf also contains two new spells. Corrupt insight is a mystic spell for levels 1 – 6 and is pretty damn fun: It basically strips insight bonuses away and replaces them at higher spell levels with penalties, with 3rd spell level starting to pile a debuff on failed checks and attack rolls that feature the bonus type. This is really clever, and its higher levels are not simply an escalation of numbers. Like it! The second spell would be glimpse terror, which allows you to strike fear in the heart of lower CR critters by virtue of opening a pretty scary hole in space, from which…things…can be glimpsed, with key ability spellcasting modifier as a cap preventing cheesing of the spell.

Conclusion:

Editing is very strong on a formal and rules-language level. Alas, formatting is weaker than usual for Everyman gaming, sporting a surprising amount of avoidable formatting hiccups. Layout adheres to the nice and aesthetically-pleasing two-column full-color standard, and the pdf has a nice artwork. It features no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Sasha Hall’s mythos connection wasn’t a pdf I looked forward to reviewing; for the most part, the mythos-class options often feel dull, and it’s very easy to phone them in. I am exceedingly happy to report that this is NOT the case here. With a pronounced consciousness of potential long-term issues evident, an intricate entwinement with the mystic’s rules and precise rules-language, the mythos connection actually is a really cool little supplement! From the graft to the spells, it is evident that the author cares – she has actually crafted a connection I’d not only allow; I do consider it to be a fun rendition of the concept. The reliance on the Starfarer Companion spells is not ideal as far as I’m concerned, but as a whole, I do enjoy this supplement. As such, my final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Star Log.EM-026: Mythos Mystic Connection
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Everyman Minis: Animal Companion Archetypes
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/19/2018 12:10:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page introduction/explanation, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

All right, so the notion of animal companion archetypes, if you haven’t stumbled across it in some shape or form, is pretty self-explanatory – these are basically archetypes to customize your companions, as per Ultimate Wilderness.

Elemental spawns replace evasion with a scaling resistance to one of the 4 basic elements at 3rd level, and at 9th, multiattack is replaced with a dding the corresponding special weapon property (e.g. corrosive for acid) to natural attacks; this upgrades to the respective burst at 15th level. Cool one! Empath companions get Diplomacy and Sense Motive and gains +1 skill rank per HD that must be invested in these. It also gain empathic link, but replaces shared spells. Devotion is replaced with a morale bonus versus negative emotion effects that is shared by companion and master, and 15th level nets at-will telepathic bond with the master. Really cool one – I call this one “magical Lassie” and that’s pretty much how I’ll use it.

God-touched conduit represents a deity-touched animal that has a code and will not obey instructions to violate it. The animal gets Believer’s Boon, and must choose a domain power associated with the deity. At 6th level, the HD act as cleric levels for the purpose of the domain power, and it may use the power more often. This replaces share spells and devotion. 3rd level lets the animal cast a domain spell of up to 1/3 HD spell level as a SP 1/day, and the ability also tackles companions that could cast spells. The ability replaces evasion. Instead of improved evasion, we get plane shift 1/day, self and master only, to the deity’s plane. Cool! Hidden Ally replaces share spells with the ability for the ally to at-will disguise itself as an inconspicuous critter. AMAZING!

Performer nets entertain as a bonus trick, and adds Perform to class skills and list of skills that the creature can have ranks in, and may substitute Perform for another skill it has ranks on. The creature also gains Entertaining Companion, replacing the 1st level bonus trick and share spells. 6th level replaces devotion with Enthralling Companion. These are two new feats herein: Entertaining Companion makes the animal a great distraction for hapless folks; Enthralling Companion builds on that and allow folks to potentially slip away

The pointer archetype replaces share spells and devotion with bonus feats for expert tracking. Beyond the two feats already mentioned, there are three more: Contingent Commands is GENIUS and allows you to “program” the companion in 25 words – e.g. “Defend while I am paralyzed.” This feat is a must-have! Keen Tracker lets the animal use Perception instead of Survival to track. Finally, Unusual Intelligence is a great Lassie-supplement feat: Increased Int, and the animal can read and understand its master’s languages! Another winner!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series, and is sufficiently printer-friendly. The artwork is nice, and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Matt Morris’ animal companion archetypes are really cool and add a whole lot of flavor to companions. The feats include two must-own “why haven’t these been done sooner” gems, and as a whole, this is well worth getting. Come on, you know you want your companion to go full-blown Lassie!! Love it! 5 stars + seal of approval!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Animal Companion Archetypes
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Everyman Minis: Wild Shape Variants
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/19/2018 12:07:12

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

On the introductory page, we receive a new shifter aspect, originally penned by Alexander Augunas for the Know Direction network – that would be the Eagle Aspect, which enhances Cha as per minor form; major form includes good flight, bit and claws and Dazzling Display/Weapon Focus (claw), which synergizes if you have them. Dazzling Display’s action economy also improves.

The first page of the pdf is devoted to druid wild shape variants: These act as though they altered wild shape, though a maximum of one such variant may be applied. Some have prerequisites that must be met by 4th level to choose that option, and later losing the prerequisite also deprives of the option of assuming that shape.

Evolved shape nets a 3 point evolution pool that increases by 1 at 6th level and every 2 levels thereafter, and which thankfully comes with a cap. Fey shape allows for 6th level druids and higher to assume forms based on fey form spells, but eliminates the option to assume elemental forms. Alternatively, 6th level onwards can potentially allow for vermin shape I and later, its sequential improvements. This one also replaces the ability to take elemental forms.

Instead of assuming plant shapes, druids may opt for an ooze form-based variant at 8th level onwards. Minor nitpick: here,a cut copy paste remnant once erroneously refers to fey form. Preternatural wild shape also prevents the assuming of plant forms and kicks in at 8th level, allowing the druid to shape into magical beasts – nice: This gets the spell situation right.

Wild Shape Finesse is really interesting – that shape variant nets you Weapon Finesse for the shape’s duration, and later a damage boost with a natural weapon that is thus finesse’d (yep, codified properly) but prevents the druid form assuming Large or taller sizes of creatures with a Dex of less than 14.

The pdf also includes 4 different variants of shifter aspects: the minor aspects of a shifter aspect may be replaced. Animal spirit aspect is cool and lets you partially ignore difficult terrain. This should probably specify that only non-damaging difficult terrain is meant…or am I wrong? Later, this nets freedom of movement and the ability to move through creatures and plants. The aspect does reduce speed by 10 ft., though. Graceful aspect is basically the Weapon Finesse variant here, with Shifter’s Edge instead granted if you already have the feat. Mutation Aspect nets you a 2-point evolution pool, which increases at the usual levels (8th and 15th) – and yes, this prevents multi aspect cheesing, thankfully. Shifter adaptation nets you access to an animal aspect whose minor aspect your replaced with this one, chosen from the major form grants and thankfully, limited. The rules-verbiage here is brutal – kudos for getting that one right!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting re very good, apart froma cosmetic hiccup, I noticed no serious guffaws. Layout adheres to everyman gaming’s two-column full-color standard with a white background, and the artwork featured is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none.

David N. Ross is a veteran designer of impressive skill, and it shows here – the wild shape variants are potent without being overbearing, and the rules-operations are tight and well-executed. All in all, a great supplement for anyone who wants more customization options for the shifter, or weirder druids. My final verdict will hence clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Wild Shape Variants
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Everyman Minis: Animal Teamwork Feats
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/19/2018 12:05:24

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page introduction, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page blank, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

The new feats within are:

-Aspect Unity: requires animal focus; nets +1 to Ref and +2 to initiative when you and an ally within 60 ft. emulate the same focus.

-Aspect Harmony: Builds on the previous feat, increases bonuses granted by the aspect, but not the prereq feat, by +50%.

-Coordinated Grapple: Nets you basically advantage (roll twice, take better result) to initiate, but not to maintain grapples versus targets threatened by character + ally with the feat.

-Coordinated Pounce: High-level feat building on Coordinated Charge; even though called pounce, it actually behaves more like Vital Strike and provides synergy with those types of feats.

-Coordinated Rend: Okay, this one can be interesting: When hitting a creature you and an ally threaten twice or more during a turn, the ally gets a free attack as an immediate action., but only at ½ Strength-mod to damage, regardless of other abilities.

-Coordinated Tie Up: Builds on Coordinated Grapple and allows an ally to aid, decreasing the DC to tie up creatures without pinning them by 5. This is really cool, if situational. Still, I can totally see this as a great feat to award/use in conjunction with archetypes.

-Go for the Eyes: Nets an increased bonus to atk for both, if the character or ally has higher ground, and the target is treated as dazzled. Interesting one.

-Intimidating Menace: When an ally successfully Power Attacks a target, you can attempt to intimidate at +2 to demoralize as an immediate action; has really cool optional Dazzling Display synergy, and is better when the ally crits. Nice one.

-Mounted Disengage: When an ally negates a hit with Mounted Combat while adjacent to you, you may use an immediate action to move away. Really neat!

-Pack Defenses: Total defense increases for adjacent allies, up to Wis-mod.

-Retributive Strike: Immediate action counterstrike when an ally with the feat is brought to 0 HP; +4 to crit confirm and increased multiplier for the attack. The latter should probably cap at x4.

-Scent Seekers: Cool: Allows two beings with scent to automatically pinpoint sources. Will see a ton of use in my monsters.

-Swimming Diversion: Atk bonuses while one target is swimming; +1 more if the foe’s swimming as well.

-Toppling Opening: Okay, this one is brutal: If the target’s tripped, it becomes flat-footed against the other user of that feat until the end of the next turn. OUCH!

-Trampling Opening: Adds AoO to the unfortunate being trampled. Neat!

The pdf also features 3 hunter feats:

-Pack Evasion: Requires mouse aspect; when you and animal companiona re subjected to a Ref-save prompting effect, you may, as an immediate action, switch to mouse aspect. Gets use interaction right. Neat one!!

-Pack Flexibility: Lets animal share in teamwork feats granted by martial flexibility. Cool for the relevant builds and helps them stand out!

-Raise Master: 1/day, a companion can use breath of life, with an extended period where it may be cast. Neat!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting re very good on a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the clean and easy to read 2-column full-color standard with white background. The artwork is nice and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Luis Loza’s Animal Teamwork feats run the gamut from being very potent to being very circumstantial, but they do have in common that they add something and allow for a couple of teamwork tricks that I really enjoyed seeing. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, though I do feel that this is closer to 4 than 5; hence, I will round down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Animal Teamwork Feats
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Monster Menagerie: Draconis Arcanus
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/14/2018 10:25:17

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive installment of the Monster Menagerie-series clocks in at 58 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 3 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 52 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was moved up in my reviewing queue at the request of my patreons.

All right, so, if you’re like me, you can never have enough dragons. In my games, dragons are extremely deadly, rare, and my players try to avoid them at all cost – with my staggering array of supplements, supplemented by home rules, I have made these fellows true forces of nature. It’s a matter of aesthetics, but I’m very much in favor of using dragons very consciously of what they should signify for adventurers. This notion has ultimately led me towards considering pretty much every dragon as its unique entity – whether I’m using metabreath feats, the vast amount of templates, Legendary Games’ Path of Dragons or other supplements, I try to never have two dragon encounters feel alike.

As such, it is very helpful to get a whole bestiary devoted to a new type of true dragon – here, that would be the draconis arcanus; the collective term that peasants may butcher to instead be “spell dragons” – basically, these fellows are organized by magic schools, with each of the types of dragon receiving its own age category table, rules, and 3 sample dragons already statted for you. Much to my joy, none of these sample statblocks are devoted to the low levels, where any GM worth their salt can nowadays stat a dragon – instead, the lowest CR-iterations of the sample statblocks tend to clock in between CR 7 and 9, while the most potent ones run the gamut from CR 16 – 19. We get a sample young, adult and ancient dragon for each of the types of draconis arcanus.

As a new type of dragon, we do begin the pdf with universal rules for these dragons: These dragons can counter spells with any spell of the same school. They may freely learn cleric and sorcerer spells, and any spell from a school that corresponds with their type, regardless of spell list it’s from. As an immediate action, they can increase their CL for a spellcasting attempt by using Spellcraft, with the option to attempt for more potent overcasting by beating higher DCs. All dragons get the Spell Focus feat, with the adult age category also providing Greater Spell Focus. They add Charisma modifier and age category to checks made to overcome SR, get 11 + CR SR, and add their age category to their SR for the purpose of determining its value for spells of the school associated with them.. Interesting: These fellows get the ability to manipulate raw magic, either in the shape of untyped blasts of destructive energy of the dimensions of their breath weapon, or t heal themselves or other creatures – this is but one of the plethora of aura-altering abilities within. The latter, the healing aspect, is a gamble of sorts, though – for the spell dragon does take Constitution damage for using raw magic. Finally, for 1 point of Con-damage per spell level these dragons can attempt an immediate action counterspell. As beings of magic, all spell dragons are susceptible to antimagic effects, which actually hurt them – from dispel magic to mage’s (formerly Mordenkainen’s) disjunction, damage values for such effects are provided – and woe betide spell dragons trapped in a magic dead area.

The theme here is pretty obvious – dragons as incarnations of magic, as perhaps their source, would be a theme that these very well could provide. That out of the way, we begin with the massive array of draconic tricks that this pdf offers, and there are quite a few gems here that will make your PCs fear these majestic beings. Let’s take the Abjuration dragon: Usually neutral, these fellows have adaptive energy resistance, and at age ancient or older, they actually can become buffed by being attacked with magic weapons, leeching off the enchantments temporarily. That mighty +5 dragonbane holy avenger? Not so holy or dragonbane-y anymore…here, let me snap this metal twig for you… Oh yes, this one goes there: Players will fear these fellows. I mean, we all know that dying in honorable battle with a dragon is something many a player will brag about…but first having all magic items wrecked? Now that is plain mean…and I love it. Have I mentioned the 1/day 500 ft. disjoining pulse that wyrms get? Oh, the delicious tears… XD Kidding aside, I love how nasty these fellows can be. Did I mention the great wyrm prismatic scales – these are a dragon hunter’s worst nightmare, right after their disjoining pulse…And no, you won’t be doing a lot of fancy porting around these fellows…Love them!

Now, you may have noticed something – the abilities of the abjuration dragon don’t look very template-y; i.e., they can’t simply be exchanged for the “spell school xyz”-equivalent. This notion is proven true when taking a look at the conjuration dragon, who gets the ability to use free actions to layer metamagic feats on conjuration spells (no, he doesn’t have to know them!), and it can modify the duration of such effects, and retroactively layer metamagic effects on them – oh, and they can redistribute targets in line of sight. Know what’s conjuration? Teleport. Healing…oh BOY, will PCs and players look dumbfounded when first encountering one of these fellows. And yes, they get frickin’ unchained eidolons. Better summons…and great wyrms get a gate breath. They can transform their frightful presence into an undead debuffing healing aura…and what about mist-auras? Or ripping parts from other planes here for planar trait fun? This is gleefully creative, and yes, before you ask, these dragons do think with portals…and these portals actually are only visible for these dragons and those having true seeing…That they get a summoning breath should, at this point, be taken as a given.

Divination dragons get plasma breath (excellent: Rare damage type properly explained in breath weapon entry) and they add Int-mod to initiative and all saves as well as AC (at juvenile+ age category) – and at later stages in the life cycle, these guys get further defensive tricks. Their breath can trap targets in a flood of visions that may confuse them, and these fellows may exert massive control over nearby divinations. Free ation 1/round Int to a d20-check, scrying tricks, and seeing past and future, the dragon may strike traumatic fear in the hearts of his adversaries. Oracular scales…and did I mention the ability to get a more flexible true strike-y bonus that may be distributed among allies nearby? A massive disadvantage aura (roll twice, take worse result) is nice, but the capstone is the genius thing here: Great wyrms may utter a word after observing a target – this can change even an outsider’s alignment, make priests lose their faith, etc. – functionally, it can be insanity, and, ina cool touch, the ability states that making the save equals “forgetting” what the dragon said/not processing it. This one is frightening in all the right ways.

Enchantment dragons, as befitting of their school, are masters of the creatures they defeated, gaining a sonic breath weapon that may confuse foes, and control over an emotional aura that has several different modes. A paralyzing gaze, infectious suggestions and the ability to call forth minions charmed or dominated…nasty fellow. Oh, and attacking these guys? Not so easy, courtesy of their majesty ability. With subliminal commands and subtle suggestions, these dragons make perfect puppet masters behind the scenes.

Know what’s not subtle? Evocation. Neither are the dragons. They can (and will) absorb energy-based attacks – and yes, this includes sonic and even force effects and have these fuel their breath..or provide healing. Oh, and they can do one thing at age old or older that should make them frightful. If you’ve, in the 3.X days of yore, played with a lot of obscure 3pps, you’ll know the notion of chained spells – a concept that, by definition, never was balanced well…but it’s cool. Well, guess what? For an old dragon, chaining spells together makes a ton of sense and can provide one super-deadly, nasty surprise. These dragons can cause their energy effects to be admixture, charge objects with destructive force impulses. Speaking of destruction: Great wyrms can enter the aptly-named “Devastation” energy form; and adult or older evocation dragons cause all damage dealing evocation spells and SPs to be both Empowered and Maximized, with unique effects for the various damage types – basically, debuffs are heaped on top. Ouch. Nitpick here: This ability should REALLY specify a range – I assume here that aura range was intended, but not specified. Did I mention the sundering capabilities of their breath? The option to make wall-breath effects?

Illusion dragons get a vulnerability exploiting breath, the ability to create illusory servants and create projections which it may then inhabit. Subtle and smart, they are naturally greater invisible, and get phantasmal killer auras, shadow duplicates, a breath that traps PCs in a fantasy utopia…while the latter allows for a Will save to end, here’s an idea: The dragon can peer inside the PC’s visions, and thus could modify their memories, so what if you seed odd occurrences, and when you’re fed up with the current story/region – have the PCs wake up, facing the dragon! Just an idea, obviously – though not one that’s so far-fetched, considering that these fellows may indeed alter reality…

Necromancy dragons get an animating aura, the ability to use astral projection at will at age very old or older, acid breath weapon (laced with diseases, for extra fun!), blood drain…and the dragon may lick targets (EW!), and for the next 24 hours, drain physical attributes from targets licked. This is…awesome. “Sure I’ll help you, little ones…I just want to…lick you.” shudders A fear-based gaze, freely interacting with incorporeal targets, a fatiguing touch and a banshee-style howl can be found – oh, and their breath can cause frickin’ lycanthropy! Their blood is diseased. They can generate clouds of rotting skin flakes. Those slain by their bite are almost certainly, barring wish/miracle, lost…oh, and they get a kind of sub-bloodline with unique benefits and associated undead. Did I mention that great wyrms actually dim the sun in the vicinity, getting the full-blown dark overlord vibe? Soil becomes deadly, water toxic…and just uttering the name of someone allows great wyrms to curse them. This is just super-nasty and cool! I’d have loved to see this lair-style ability feature notes on how it can affect a kingdom, but oh well.

Finally, there would be the transmutation dragon – these fellows get electricity breath, the usual control over their associated spell school’s effects, the options to blink around, fabricate materials…and what about a mist that can haste the dragon or slow foes? What about a venom that deals massive damage due to dininetgrate-ing you? As masters of transmutation, these dragons have a serious amount of control over their own bodies, chosen from their own list. Potentially polymorphing breath, the ability to create reverse gravity traps or to control the sizes of their foes – and what about gaining the traits of a subtype? A transformation aura nonlethal damage + Strength and Dex damage via touch attacks, making anthros, temporarily reincarnate-ing targets…and yes, the great wyrm ability is, no surprises there, a time stop-tweak. Here, the rules are a bit odd, as the ability basically represents a target-lockdown, not the ability to step out of time and prepare, so the spell-reference doesn’t make much sense here.

This is not where the pdf end, though – instead, we close the pdf with 10 different templates that allow for e.g. oracle or witch ability pouching, basically presenting quick to implement ways to further customize these dragons.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on both a formal and rules-language level. While I noticed a few missed italicizations and similar formatting hiccups and a few glitches in some abilities, these are few and far in between. Layout adheres to the grimoires-like two-column full-color standard of the series, though, after each dragon-type/subchapter, we have pretty big sections of blank space. The artworks within are original pieces and in full color: Dan Houser certainly has a unique style that some may consider to be a bit goofy, others delightfully charming. The front cover should give you a good idea there. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience. The pdf comes with a second version that is more mobile-device-friendly.

Sam Hing’s draconis arcanus, for me, started off as a concept I honestly was not excited about. AT ALL. Well, I’m happy to report that I was wrong in this instance – the dragons themed around spell schools actually work. Even better, they dare to be NASTY. They dare to be deadly and brutal – you know, like dragons should be. The ability arrays presented render these dragons potent adversaries that offer both brains and brawn as far as their capabilities are concerned. While they share their school mastery as a leitmotif, I was pleasantly surprised by how distinct from one another they ultimately turned out to be. They play differently, have radically different abilities, and more than one could be its own story twist. That evil empire with the enslaved evocation dragon bolstering the battlemages, the conflict of an enchantment, illusion and divination dragon, an epic game of chess and maneuvering…there are some seriously inspiring components here. Now, the pdf is not perfect, granted, but it’s a surprisingly captivating offering that actually made reviewing it fun. If I were to nitpick something, then that would be that the pdf could theoretically make more use of PFRPG’s subsystems, but then again, this may be a feature, not a bug for you and as such, won’t influence my final verdict. Even after all these monsters I’ve covered over the years, these dragons managed to elicit a sense of excitement – and what more can you ask for? While I did not reverse-engineer all stats within, I did check out a couple of them, and they are solid. All in all, I definitely consider this to be a worthwhile purchase and a great addition to the GM’s arsenal. My final verdict will hence clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Monster Menagerie: Draconis Arcanus
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Everyman Minis: Hecaviogos Levialogi
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/29/2018 13:44:02

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 5 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, in case you’re wondering what the levialogi (singular levialogos) are: They are a new creature subtype introduced originally in Paranormal Adventures, originally inspired in a loose manner by the Leviathans from the Supernatural TV-series. However, they are really loosely inspired by them and imho surpassed the source material in that they had a more distinct identity.

There is another aspect to them that renders them remarkable. I a game as offense-focused as PFRPG, they withstand. They endure. They don’t immediately fall apart when confronted with a properly optimized group. Levialogi are both DEADLY and incredibly resilient, making your high-level PCs actually work for once if they want to have even a remote chance of taking one of these fellows down. Add to that great fluff, and we have perhaps my favorite component of the whole Paranormal Adventures book. They are awesome and singular among monsters, in a way that very few types of subtypes are, with perhaps only kaiju and troops having this significant an impact on the base creature.

In short, they are really, really cool. This supplement adds another one to the fray, a critter to challenge even the most powerful of heroes: The hecaviogos clocks in at no less than CR 24. There is no hiding. True seeing and Perception +43. (This guy has a chance to spot the ridiculously powerful magical ethermancer-assassin I have in my game…) Among the constant tricks this fellow has, we are looking at both freedom of movement AND haste. It’s amorphous and immune against all the instant you-lose tricks and exploitable ability score drain/damage tricks. It has almost 550 Hp and invincibility 20. This value acts as BOTH DR and regeneration. Are you seeing what I mean? :D

Okay, add 5 attacks and we also have a nice offense, but where the fellow becomes truly unique is with the mass conversion ability: The hit of a tendril can suspend aging for a year, penalize saves, cause Dex drain, modify memory, major curse…and those are the general tricks. If you own (you should!) the amazing Childhood Adventures or Microsized Adventures supplements, you’ll get two more tricks out of the fellow: For synergy with the former, we have age category manipulation, for the former, we have microsizing targets…oh, and the hecaviogos can also inflict all of that with its gaze. Did I mention the massive array of SPs? Or that, when it possesses someone, it can supersede the target’s body with its own?

The massive flavor text that further explains these horrific twisters of flesh just adds the final flourish to a pdf that oozes the level of panache I expected to find here.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting re top-notch, I noticed no hiccups. Layout adheres to the new two-column full-color standard of the Everyman Minis-series, and the artwork for the fellow is really cool! The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Alexander Augunas had a tough job here: I usually end up as disappointed when I have expectations that are this high for a critter. Not so here. With grace and panache aplomb, the author delivers one nigh-unstoppable nightmare that can challenge the most stalwart of groups when played properly. This critter is a perfect example of what can happen when you emphasize quality over quantity, offering a level of coolness only rarely seen in creatures. This gets a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval, awarded without any hesitation.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Hecaviogos Levialogi
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Everyman Minis: Bloodline Mutations
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/26/2018 13:46:12

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Everyman Mini clocks in at 5 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page of SRD, leaving us with 2 pages of content.

The supplement begins with an explanation of bloodline mutations: Whenever a sorcerer or bloodrager would receive a bloodline power, they may exchange it for one of the mutations within; alternatively, bloodline feats may be swapped for mutations, though prerequisites must be met either way; minimum levels to take the respective mutation are noted for both classes, accounting for the different usefulness for the respective class. Bloodragers may use blood mutations even if they’re not in bloodrage.

All right, the introduction and explanation on the first page out of the way, let’s take a look at the mutations, a total of 10 of which are provided!

-Blood Bath: Whenever you cast a bloodrager/sorc-spell that deals HP damage and affects an area, creatures failing their save also take +1d4 bleed damage. The limit here is that only Spell Focus’d spells or those hearkening from the bloodline are affected by this potent boost. Still, this is one I wouldn’t allow in all my games. High fantasy? Sure. Lower-powered games? Less sure there.

-Blood Blister: Sickens creatures that fail their save versus sorc/bloodrager spells for Cha-mod rounds. Only applies on Spell Focus’d/bloodline spells, and is correctly codified as a pain effect. The minimum levels here are higher than for Blood Bath, which makes the bloodmutation’s potent benefits easier to digest for me.

-Blood Bond: When targeting allies with a sorc/bloodrager spell, you can choose to forma blood bond with one affected ally.. While such a bond is in place, both beneficiaries of Blood Bond gain the Lookout feat while adjacent, and receive the benefits of status (not properly italicized). Only harmless spells may forge a blood bond, and only one may be in place, with new casts allowing for the superseding of previous casts. Nice one, though 9th/12th minimum level may actually be a tad bit conservative for this one.

-Blood Enmity: Choose a creature type (and subtype, if applicable) from the ranger list. The choice may be determined by your bloodline, targeting opposed creatures, subject to GM’s approval. Creatures targeted by your Spell Focus’d or bloodline spells that fit the criteria are in for a bit more pain: You either get +1 to the spell’s CL, or +5 to caster level or dispel checks made with it. Cool one!

-Blood Feud: +1 to CL with single target spells if you’ve been hit by an attack, spell, SP or SU that wasn’t harmless by the target. To nitpick: This should specify a maximum duration, like “within the last minute” or somesuch. It’s just +1, but from an aesthetic point of view, it’d have been slightly tighter.

-Blood Lust: +2 to atk with sorc/bloodrager spells that need to hit; if you hit, the bonus lasts for Cha-mod rounds, minimum 1. This one is pretty potent, but has high minimum levels and is kept in check by the bonus type.

-Blood Mist: Gain concealment when you cast a bloodrager/sorc spell, courtesy of blood spray. This lasts for Cha-mod rounds. Minor typo: “This you can’t use this concealment to make Stealth checks.”[sic!] Important caveat, though! Still, this one is available from 1st level (for sorcs) and 4th level for bloodragers and represents a rather potent ability sans limits. I’d probably make this one require an action to activate.

-Blood Spray: Add + Cha-mod to the bleed caused by the blood bath mutation. This one is suitably high-level.

-Blood Surge: When you target yourself with a harmless bloodrager/sorc spell, you either get fast movement, or increase its power by +10 ft. for Cha-mod rounds. (Here, no minimum duration is noted.) Cool one!

-Blood Thirst: When you use a bloodrager or sorc-spell with the polymorph descriptor to gain a bite attack, your bite attack increases its damage output as though you were 1 size category larger. This one is a bit odd, as plenty of bloodlines grant bites – this should probably interact with those as well, right?

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good on a formal and rules-language level, but not as tight as usual for Everyman Gaming. Layout adheres to the two-column full-color standard with the nice artwork-border. The artwork presented is nice, and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Matt Morris’ bloodline mutations are a fun little supplement; the concept deserves to be expanded further. That being said, due to the wide variety between bloodline powers and feats, it’s hard to judge whether or not you’d consider the respective options to be balanced. As a whole, a few seem to gravitate to the more potent side of things, often courtesy of having arcana-like effects that apply to many or all spells cast. That being said, this is a nice pdf to check out if you’re looking for some nice options for magical bloodlines, and it does have some really cool visuals. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Everyman Minis: Bloodline Mutations
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