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Station on the Borderworlds (Starfinder)
by Daniel K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/30/2018 05:44:22

A very good homge to the classics while taking the game into the future. This adventure is exactly the type of module Starjammer/Starfinder needs, with alot of options for players to feel like they're exploring a new world, detailed hub that is an adventure site in itself, and a well rounded cast of NPCs that feel well fleshed out and with goals of their own.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Station on the Borderworlds (Starfinder)
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Starjammer: Races of the Void Book One
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/27/2018 03:53:14

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement for the Starjammer setting/rules clocks in at 39 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 35 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This being a racial book, we don’t waste much space before we’re introduced to the first new race herein, the Aurellians, who gain +2 Dex and Wis, -2 Cha. They are Small aberration (darkvision 60 ft., must eat, breathe and sleep) and they have a limited, natural fly speed (not affected by antimagic fields) of 20 ft., but must remain over a solid surface that can hold their weight. Slightly weird – there is no maximum height from such a surface mentioned (which to me would make sense, but oh well…) and they don’t have a maneuverability rating. Aurellians have eye-stalks and can theoretically look into all directions, but require focus, so in essence, they don’t actually get all-around vision. The stalks negate flanking-based bonuses to atk rolls, but not flanking itself. Their language is partially based on gestures and their limited telepathy. As somewhat weird jelly-fish-y beings, the race is mute (which means feat tax for most casters) and lacks chest or feet magic item slots. However, they do gain an extra wrist slot and two extra ring slots (ouch!). They also get grabbing appendages: They have two arm-like tendrils and one longer one with a 10-ft.-reach. This grabbing tendril can grapple as though the Aurellian had Improved Grapple and, unlike most monsters, it may maintain grapples with it and attack with regular arms sans penalty, which can make for some brutal, brutal builds..

The race sports a total of 3 racial subtypes: Man O’Wars lose grabbing appendages and eyestalks and are Medium. They gain two natural sting attacks (primary, I assume) for 1d3 base damage and 10 ft. reach. As a swift action, a number of times per day equal to Con-mod, min 1, the Man O’War may deliver poison via these stingers. This poison may be applied to weaponry as a move action, lasting for Con-mod rounds or until successfully hitting the target. At character creation, one of three poisons is chosen, all of which are governed, DC-wise, by Con. They inflict either 1 Con damage, 1d2 Dex damage or 1d2 Str-damage, all with a frequency of 1/round for 6 rounds. Man O’ wars gain Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat, +2 to Appraise and Perception to find hidden objects and determine whether food was spoiled or identify poison by taste. They also treat Stealth and Perception as class skills.

The second variant is the inspired one, who loses the grabbing appendages for 1/day aid and cure moderate wounds as SPs. Foes suffer -1 to Will-saves versus spells and effects cast and the inspired one gets +2 to Diplomacy and Intimidate versus other races and never suffers from penalties due to being a different race or not sharing a language. Thirdly, there would be the chaos child, wo also lose the grabbing appendages. They are treated as 1 level higher for the purpose of spells with the [chaos] descriptor or using powers (note: Not gaining them!) of the chaos domain, blessing, protean bloodline powers and outer rifts mystery revelations. They are immune to diseases and poisons and may use alter self 1/day for up to character level hours, assuming the shape of a Small humanoid. Note that this has none of the usual low-level shape-variety limitations, but it does at least not modify ability scores. Minor complaint here: While all abilities note the RP, not all specify the type – in the case of the shape changing, that would have been interesting.

The race gets 3 different racial archetypes, the first of which would be the aberrant warden druid, who replaces the spontaneous conversion into summon nature’s ally spells with the new summon strange creature spells presented as part of the supplemental material:These come with a massive table and range from beheaded and chon chon to gibbering mothers, chuuls and in the IX-variant to charybdis, flying polyps and froghemoths. As you can glean from this brief excerpt, the new creatures gained are more potent, something to bear in mind, for the druid is locked as a balncing mechanism out of the animal companion option and must choose the Madness domain. Nature sense is modified to apply to Knowledge (dungeoneering). Instead of wild empathy, we get the option to improve aberration attitudes, even those of mindless beings. Instead of resist nature’s lure, the bonus applies to saves versus SUs and SPs of aberrations. Instead of wild shape, the archetype gains aberrant shape at 6th level, which grants 4 evolution points, using druid level as summoner level to determine for what it qualifies. This may be maintained indefinitely, but used only 1/day, +1/day at every other level after 6th. 10th level increases the points to 6, 14th to 8. Additionally, evolution surge (not italicized properly) is added to the spell list and the warden may target itself with it.

The second archetype is the floating monastic monk. Flurry of blows is modified to add a free grapple attempt as a swift action when hitting at least twice, using monk level as BAB to determine CMB, though still at -2 penalty. Instead of 2nd level’s bonus feat, we get Crushing Blow. At 4th level, a floating monastic may spend 1 ki as a swift action before attempting a grapple to roll the check twice and take the better result. This replaces slow fall. The third archetype would be the void scholar wizard, who may apply the benefits of Silent Spell to wizard spells without increasing the spell level. If the spell requires that the scholar is heard, then the race’s telepathy suffices, provided the target is in range. This replaces arcane bond and Scribe Scroll. 5th level’s bonus feat is replaced with the option Int bonus times per day convert half damage of ANY spell cast with “damage caused by the cold vacuum of the void”, ignoring any elemental resistance (should be energy resistance) of any type. Ouch. I mean, okay, loss of the familiar sucks…but still. Ouch. 15th level’s bonus feat is exchanged for an upgrade: 3/4th untyped damage; alternatively, the character can expend a use to increase the DC of a Will save caused by 2.

The race gets a total of 4 feats: Highswimmer actually clarifies the confusing part about the limited flight of the race, but actually looks like a downgrade if read back to back with the racial feature. Did something go wrong there? Pattern Weaver is cool: As a move action, flash in colors. Creatures that see you within 30 feet take a -2 penalty to concentration. Additional Toxin unlocks a second racial toxin as well as +1 daily use of it. Twin Toxin Blow builds on that allowing you to deliver two racial toxins at once. We get notes on their segmented armor and 4 variant telepathy dishes (Tech-rules!) that increase their telepathy range, which is per se cool. Do they take up a slot? There is a magical gem that transforms armor into aurellian segmented armor and a low cost brooch that allows them to speak. Summon amoeboid lets you cool giant amoebas or amoeba swarms. Minor complaint: The reference to the aurellian racial quality is incorrect – should be limited telepathy, not “mindspeech”. Swarming tentacles is a level 1 psionic power based on inevitable strike that nets a temporary +5 insight bonus to the next grapple maneuver before the end of next round, as a swift action. The race gets a proper age, height and weight table, but no favored class options.

Okay, the second race would be the Bisoni. Bingo. The fellows on the cover. These guys get +4 Str, -2 Dex and Int, which makes them more minmaxy in that regard than what I enjoy. This is further exacerbated by them being Large (yes, this totals Strength +6!). They are humanoids with a normal speed and get a primary gore attack for 1d8. They also get +3 natural AC and powerful charge as well as proficiency with katanas as a bonus feat at 1st level. They are culturally inclined to have a stringent code of honor, which means they suffer -2 to skills, saves and atk after violating this code, requiring some form of redemption. As another double-edged sword, they have 6 + character level SR, which may not be lowered; this anti-magic component extends to spell trigger and spell completion as well as command word or mental activation items, which have a 10% chance of failure. There is an alternate racial trait that eliminates this one, losing SR, but also the failure-chance. Pretty cool: We actually get 6 pretty detailed codes of conduct as orientation.

The bisoni get two different racial subtypes, the first of which would be the runt, who gets +2 Dex and Con, -2 Int. These guys are Medium, get +4 dodge bonus to AC versus bisonic, +2 to saves vs. poisons, spells and SPs and an additional bonus feat at first level. They also lose powerful charge. As an aside: Being Medium, their gore attack’s damage should probably be adjusted as well. Void Blooded bisoni get Perception and Stealth as class skills and +2 to Appriase and Perception checks to find hidden objects as well as +4 to Craft (mechanical) checks to use improvised parts. These guys lose the katana, but also the honor code and the thick hide. The bisoni get favored class options for barbarian, bloodrager, cleric, fighter, hunter, magus, oracle, shaman, spiritualist and warpriest. No complaints there.

Once more, we get 3 racial archetypes, the first of which would be the savage mage magus, who may use the arcane pool to enhance natural weapons instead of manufactured weapons. Spell combat does not require the use of weaponry and spells that target the magus herself only bypass the racial SR. Spellstrike works with natural weapons instead and spell recall is replaced with enhanced savagery: As a standard action, gain a 1d8/1d6 bite, 2 claws (1d4, 1d6) or a slam (1d4, 1d6) for one minute. Yes, RAW, she may have multiple ones. Yes, this makes the already glass cannon-y magus a shredder in the hands of a halfway capable player. No, I would not allow this. The archetype may not choose item creation or metamagic feats (awww…) and instead gets combat feats (!) or rage powers (class level as barbarian level); rage powers requiring rage instead apply when the magus enhances natural attacks. So…how does this interact with rage powers that have a per-rage use? At 7th level, when enhancing a natural attack, the magus may spend an additional point to enhance a second attack. 11th level yields arcane pool-based pounce (instead of improved spell recall) and 16th level lets the magus enhance all natural weapons at once for +2 points when granting her natural attack an enhancement bonus, replacing counterstrike.

The second archetype would be the spellrender fighter, who may not have traded away the racial SR. Instead of 1st level’s bonus feat and all instances of armor and weapon training and armor mastery, the character can charge of sorts when a spell fails to penetrate the SR. This lasts for fighter level rounds and adds +1d6 acid or fire damage, +1d6 at 3rd level and every 2 levels thereafter, but the number of dice may never exceed the spell level of the absorbed spell, thankfully preventing abuse via cantrips etc. Only one such charge may be held. 2nd level yields spellshield, a +1 bonus on Ref-saves versus AoE spells that increases by +1 every 4 levels thereafter, replacing bravery. 20th level replaces weapon mastery by providing optional spell turning when affected by a spell that failed to penetrate SR. The final archetype is the tauric shinobi, a samurai who replaces mount with charging slice, i.e. +2 to atk during charges, and +class level to damage on crits executed with charges. Instead of challenge and demanding challenges, the archetype gets “Seeing Red”, i.e. an unchained barbarian’s rage, which is upgraded to greater rage at 12th level. This obviously adjusts honorable stand as well. Instead of last stand, we get a 1/day option to ignore hardness or DR, +twice class level damage…or attack a spell effect, duplicating greater dispel magic at CL equal to character level.

We get 4 racial feats: Distracted Stampede lets you join a charge of a nearby ally, providing potent synergy with Coordinated Charge. Merciless Gore adds bleed damage to gore attacks, scaling with BAB. Spellproof increases the racial SR to 11 + character level and the fail chance of activation items to 25%. Unstoppable Charge lets you follow a successful charge attack with overrun, also providing nearby allies an insight bonus on atk vs. a target you overrun. Magic item-wise, the amulet of reckless casting lets the bisoni 3/day as a swift action deliver a touch spell as a charge within movement range. Okay, does this refer to the base movement rate or the extended one of the charge? Snoutrings of foraging net +5 to Survival to get food and scent 30 ft. Once more, age, height and weight table is included.

The final race within would be the turtle-like Tortanians, who get -2 Dex, +4 Con, +2 Int, +2 Wis, +2 Cha, making them ability-array wise too strong and lopsided for my tastes. They are Medium humanoids with slow and steady, low-light vision and stability. They also get +2 natural armor bonus and get the option to enshell as a move action that does not provoke AoOs. Small or light objects may be pulled inside, others are dropped. This yields soft cover (+4 AC) and while enshelled, the character has no line of sight, but does not drop prone. The bonus to AC increases at 6th level and ever 6 levels thereafter by +1. While enshelled, the tortonian dos not threaten spaces and may take no other action than to exit the shell, which feels internally a bit weird, considering mental activation items etc. They also get +2 to Will-saves versus charm and compulsion effects and spells and if a tortonian fails such a save, he may retry one round later. Alternate racial trait-wise, we get Small size. And the antural AC bonus and stability may be traded for +2 Dex. The natural AC may also be exchanged for being umbra touched, i.e. cold and electricity resistance as well as a whopping 50% miss chance in dim light! Yeah…not seeing a fair trade-off here. Instead of the Will-save boost and stability, there also is an option to gain DR 5/- while enshelled.

The race gets favored class options for alchemist, druid, inquisitor, magus, ninja, oracle, shaman and vigilante. No problems there. We also get a racial variant, the exposed, who represents a tortonian that has lost his shell: The character loses enshell, stability, the Will-save boost and +2 natural Ac and gets +4 Dex, for an even more elite ability array. Additionally, slow and steady is replaced with 30 ft. movement, but the loss of the shell scarred the tortonian for life, imposing a -2 penalty to Will-saves.

The race comes with two racial archetypes, the first of which would be the shellshocker barbarian, who does not provoke attacks of opportunity when performing a bull rush in a charge and gets +2 to bull rush attempts as well as +2 to CMD against them; the ability qualifies as Improved Bull Rush for prerequisite purposes, but if used thus, the benefits may only be used during charges. This replaces fast movement. Instead of uncanny dodge, the archetype gains shell fortification, which allows the shell to be enchanted as if it were a masterwork shield, and may use shield bash with it as though it were a heavy steel shield. Critical hits and sneak attack damage have a 25% chance of being reduced to a regular hit. Instead of improved uncanny dodge, 5th level provides a +2 enhancement bonus to shield bashes with the shell, which is a bit odd. The fortification effect of the shell is enhanced to 50% at 8th level, replacing the rage power usually gained there. 12th level yields Shield Mastery in conjunction with the shell, replacing that level’s rage power. Instead of indomitable will, we get a final fortification upgrade for the shell at 14th level, of up to 75%. Probably one of the coolest archetypes in the book.

The second one would be the adamantine fist initiate for the brawler class. Instead of brawler’s cunning, the initiate may, after being hit in melee with a critical threat, attempt to sunder armor, shield or weapon of the attacker as an immediate action, gaining +4 to the sunder attempt if the crit was confirmed, which btw. does not provoke AoOs. Instead of the bonus combat feats gained at 2nd level and every 3 levels thereafter, the archetype gets the adamantine fists ability, which lets the brawler ignore 1 point of natural armor the target possesses at 2nd level, increasing by +1 at 5th level and every 3 levels thereafter. If the ignored bonus exceeds the natural armor, the brawler instead applies + brawler level to damage. So, lot of flexibility and player agenda lost for bland damage boost. Not a fan. Instead of maneuver training, we get +2 to bull rush and to resist it, which increases by +1 at 7th level, where +2 to CMB and CMD versus trip are gained. 15th and 19th level further increase these bonuses by +1. At 4th level, we get crashing assault: When making a melee or ranged attack versus a target with hardness, the brawler ignore ½ class level hardness 1/day, +1/day every 6 levels thereafter, replacing knockout. Instead of close weapon mastery, 5th level yields titan’s disruption, which allows the character to use martial flexibility sunder unattended objects for shards that cause all three types of physical damage in 10 ft., with the save to halve based on Strength. Yep, basically Shrapnel Strike. Having the feat doubles range. At 10th level, two uses of martial flexibility may be used to attack a vessel component: If damage exceeds twice the object’s hardness, it is disabled for 1d4 rounds, +1 round for every 5 by which damage exceeded that threshold. Multiple such attacks only increase a disruption’s duration by +1 round. The ability comes with an engineering remedy for it, btw. Easily my favorite archetype ability in the book.

The race gets 4 racial feats: Abjurant Shell nets SR 11 + character level while enshelled; Enshelled Concentration allows for the casting of psychic spells or those sans somatic components etc. while enshelled. Quick Enshell lets you assume or end enshelled status as a swift action. Shell Shield lets you treat your shell as a tower shield, granting total cover, but at the cost of -4 to atk. We also get a new technological weapon, the shock bat (guess what it does…) and 5 new cybertechs: Ley Matrix, at implantation 1, allows the shell to be enchanted as a shield and allows the tortonian to use its special abilities while enshelled. Shell cannons clock in at Implantation 4 and integrates a technological firearm in the shell, which may not be disarmed and the wielder is proficient with it. Shell spikes add a 1d6 slam for Implantation 1; the spikes may be enchanted. At Implantation 3, spell absorber can store a spell, releasing it as a full-round action into a single space adjacent to the wielder, with space affected being chosen anew each round as a free action. To offset the flexibility, the wielder is staggered while using this one. The effects may be ended as a standard action. Finally, the underwater exploration kit (implantation 4) nets +30 ft. swim speed, +20 to Swim checks and the ability to breathe under water, as well as providing full buoyancy control. This one does eliminate the enshell ability while installed, though. The magic item, the shellbrooch nets 3/day the option to store the shell in the brooch, gaining +4 to Dex and freedom of movement, but can mean potentially losing the shell. The race comes with an age, height and weight table as well as a new spell, namely shellsight, which allows the caster to see through the shell while enshelled, providing line of sight, but not effect.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting on a formal level are good. On a rules language level, I noticed a few hiccups, but no truly grievous accumulation of them; however, some of them do influence rules-integrity. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports original pieces of full-color artwork for each race, which I applaud, even though, personally, I didn’t like them that much. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks.

Tyler Beck’s races herein have in common that they all have cool concepts and that I have not see them executed before; that alone is worth something. He has also attempted to do something unique with each of them, which is something I really like.

That being said, this originality unfortunately does not extend to the majority of class options and feats within, which could have gone more creative routes as far as I’m concerned.

This pdf also stands as an excellent example to illustrate that the RP guidelines presented in the ARG, as I have observed time and again, SUCK as a guideline of the power of a race. While the races herein are not overpowered per se, they significantly exceed all core races in power, potentially limiting their appeal to games that favor higher-powered races, needlessly limiting their appeal. They also are bit too strongly geared towards specific roles for my tastes. Bisoni spellcasters, for example, are a bad idea, while their martial representations are ridiculously potent and mop the floor with comparative races of their RP. This overkill will certainly find its fans among the more min-maxy-minded players, but I maintain that the power-level of the races is not in any way required by the respective concepts, representing an artificial limitation of the cool ideas.

As a person, I liked the idea of all 3 races, but not the execution of any of them, which means I, alas, will never use them. That being said, I attempted to provide you with a good overview of what can be found within this pdf, so you shouldn’t have a hard to judge whether this appeals to you or not. Additionally, I do try hard to leave my own biases at the door when rating a product, and ultimately, this can be a worthwhile, if perhaps not an overwhelmingly awesome, book. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars. If the strength of the racial concepts sells this on you, then round up. Considering the fact that a significant part of the supplemental material didn’t blow me away, I still feel justified in rounding down for my official verdict. All in all, this represents a mixed bag, slightly on the positive side for groups that enjoy really potent races.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Starjammer: Races of the Void Book One
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Starjammer: Medical Marvels
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/02/2018 03:59:40

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement for Starjammer clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 27 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This pdf is framed by the audio logs of Dr. Karer, which adds a nice touch to the crunch-centric focus of the supplement and serves to liven up the material. The pdf begins with one of the components that I love to see in supplements and never would want to do myself: We take the Technology Guide’s items and classify them according to availability: Unrestricted (UR), Permit necessary (PN), Military Grade (MG) and Highly Restricted (HR); this makes sense in a scifi/space opera context and the pdf proceeds to provide table upon table of items, including the converted costs in credits. And yes, black market price restrictions etc. can be found. How many pages do we get? 9. 9 pages of properly classified items. If you’re like me and want that level of detail, but have no inclination to do all this work yourself, then this section on its own may well be worth getting the pdf for.

After this, we get a total of 13 new pieces of cyberware, all of which also come with their legality codes etc.: Amphibious rebreathers allow for the free breathing under water; auto injectors (Implantation 1) are really cool: They can be programmed to inject potions(pharmaceuticals under specific circumstances and up to 2 may be implanted at once. Really cool. A classic would be the hidden tooth compartment and the leg-based smuggling compartment and we also get ICDs – internal communication devices. Magesense modules act as detect magic and net +2 to determining the qualities of magic items or spells being cast. Magnetic hands let you spider climb on metal surfaces, which may be cool…but oddly, this one does not make disarming etc. harder. Night vision modules nets darkvision 60 ft. (or +30 ft.) and thermographic goggles net basically infravision – though at a penalty to atk versus adjacent creatures and those farther away. Pressurized jet streams net a 30 ft. swim speed (no upgrade if you already have it, alas), but the character can take 10 and take the Run action underwater, which is pretty neat. These must btw. be installed into cybernetic legs. Unlockable joints cut movement in half when unlocked, but also net you +10 to Escape Artist, +5 to Acrobatics to reduce falling damage…and +5 to CMD and DR 5/bludgeoning. The CMD bonus should probably not apply universally and is pretty high, considering the other benefits. One item straight from one of my favorite, most disturbing Black Mirror episodes would be the visual recording module. We also get an option to alter one’s voice.

Now, the pdf takes a cue from Shadowrun with an optional rule regarding cybertech: Usually, it is governed by Int or Con, as you know. Spirit is basically a derivative attribute based on the average of Charisma, Constitution and Intelligence. This score represents a numerical limit for the maximum implantation value a target can take. Implants in excess of that score take up the slot, but do not work and also imposes a whopping -4 to saves. Here’s the catch: When having cybertech implanted, you can attempt a spirit save, DC equal to 10 + implantation value. On a success, only half of the implantation value is applied! Creatures need to have at least two of the ability scores that make up spirit. This variant rule is easy to grasp, elegant and smooth – and for certain campaigns, it is absolutely amazing.

There is another optional rule here that has its origins, to a degree, in Shadowrun: Cyber sickness. Whenever a character implants more cyberware than the lower of either Con or Int, instead of not working, it does work, sans penalty. However, the character must succeed a save based on excess implantation values – on a failure, he contracts stage 1 cyber sickness. Every 30 days thereafter, the save is repeated, with increasing DCs. On a failed save, the affliction progresses to stage 2 and every 7 days require a save. Once the character has succumbed to stage 2 cyber sickness, he turns CE and becomes an NPC. Did I hear cyber-zombie? Both stage 1 and 2 comes with a full-page 12-entry table of effects each. And yes, the rules also include synergy between spirit and cyber sickness. I really liked these variant rules, which once more represent an excellent reason to get this.

Speaking of optional rules: We also get one for pharmaceutical addiction. Not all pharmaceuticals are addictive; those that are, have been designated in their own table. Unlike drugs, addictive pharmaceuticals cause no ability score damage. And yes, combining them may not always be a good idea. We receive a total of 8 such pharmaceuticals: Altraeg enhance melee damage at the cost of precision and AC. It also means you can’t retreat from combat and must fight until killed. Disinteril is an agent to cancel Tardinol. What does that one do? It delays the onset of effects! Yes, this allows you to set up contingency chemical cocktails. Or, you know, stories à la: “You’ve been poisoned…” Yes, I frickin’ love this. Nosufur is a potent pain killer that even nets you DR, but multiple doses make you sluggish and can knock you out or even die. Stablent is basically a Diazepam-like drug that steadies your hands for sniping or similarly delicate tasks. Velofleet enhances initiative and nets you a brief haste-boost, but leaves you fatigued. Vivify keeps you conscious and immune to sleep, and finally, Zorn (German for “Wrath”, fyi!) is an agent based on rabies, catapulting those afflicted by it into a murderous rage.

We get another variant rule here for pharmaceutical and potion miscibility: This includes potential allergic reactions and empowering of effects; while these not necessarily are bad, they also are not as smooth as I’d like them to be. They require some GM-interpretation and are, so far, the weakest component of the pdf, though e.g. the Tardinol variants as one pharmaceutical that interacts with another, is explicitly exempt from these rules. Still, while I like the chaos-factor here, I think that the rules could use better differentiation regarding combinations.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level and similarly good on a rules language level – I noticed no undue accumulation of errors. Layout adheres to Starjammer’s nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports quite a few rather neat full color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Michael Ritter delivers a really nice, really convenient toolkit here: This lists alone represent a level of comfort I wouldn’t want to miss and I’m a big fan of the new pharmaceuticals and variant cybertech rules. While not all cybertech implants are perfect, and while the miscibility rules are less detailed and precise than what I’d like them to be, the fact remains that this is a pdf that is most definitely worth checking out. My final verdict will hence clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Starjammer: Medical Marvels
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Affordable Arcana - Magic Rods (PFRPG)
by Monica G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/20/2017 09:38:09

Affordable Arcana: Magic Rods is a sourcebook that adds some flavor to Pathfinder games. The book is simply a list of low-powered magical rods that can be integrated into just about any Pathfinder campaign. For dungeon masters, this is a great tool at many points in the campaign in that it’s a great way to provide your players with useful, yet not over-powering magical items at lower levels in the campaign. Many of the items give a low-level bonus (+1, +2, or +3) to skill checks. Much of the items in the book are of this nature, giving you some very nice options that add a lot of flavor to your game in lieu of giving your players the same old low-level items that they are used to getting in a standard campaign setting.

Some items are a great help if you’re a DM running a low-magic campaign or if you’re just not willing to give your players +1 magical items yet. One such item is the Rod of Tyranny act as a great replacement for a +1 magical weapon. This rod acts as a masterwork mace that gives a +1 to intimidate checks and penalizes opponents by -1 on the same check, but gives no magical bonus to hit or damage. Or if you’re a DM who is just trying to help your players make it out of the lower levels, the Rod of Battle Casting can be a big help to inexperienced casters with a +2 to their combat casting checks.

Later in a campaign, this book provides options for treasure that is still useful in some situations. Items, such as the Rod of the Climbing Claw can be useful in mid-to-higher levels of a campaign, since it acts as a magical grappling hook that never misses its mark. The Rod of the Blacksmith repairs 2d4+2 points of damage to arms and armor per day. That can deal with the pesky problem of occasionally needing to repair weapons or armor, which every player faces at every level. Casters of any level will find it useful to keep around a Short-Ranged Rod to add 10 feet to spells with a 25’ range up to 3 times per day.

We recommend this book for DMs looking for magic items that provide something new and fresh, something to limit the magic level, or something to help your players survive. Players have plenty of reason to check out this book as well. If your caster character just took the “craft rod” feat, this book provides more options at very low cost that can make your character more versatile.

  • Reviewed by William Paprocki (GeeksAGogo.com)


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Affordable Arcana - Magic Rods (PFRPG)
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Station on the Borderworlds (Starfinder)
by Kiel H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/09/2017 08:29:58

DISCLAIMER - I received a free copy of this for the purposes of reviewing it.

Station on the Borderworlds is an attempt at bringing a love of the classic The Keep on the Borderlands into a Starjammer/Starfinder compatible adventure. Station on the Borderworlds is 115 pages with front and back cover, 1 page credits, 1 page TOC, 1 page editor's foreward, 2 pages OGL, and 1 page ads leaving 107 pages of content.

The book opens with an adventure summary and an experience track that presents the standard Starfinder xp track and an advanced xp track (which is recommended as the adventure assumes that is the track taken). We are also given some background on the Cyrollia System, a yellow dwarf star with 6 orbiting planets. The planets are largely single biome (i.e. magma planet, desert world, etc). A small sidebar gives you some basics on time in this setting, 25 hour days, 10 day weeks, 3 week months, and 12 month years (with some custom names based on the latin for which number month they are). Two major groups vie for control, the super good Blackvine Company based on Chyra, and the evil Cult of Nyarlathotep.

The focus of the adventure starts at Station Paxem and several adventure hooks are offered as to why the PCs would be there. We're given what amounts to a gazetteer on Station Paxem including some maps, rumors around the station, and some random events (SPACE FLUMPHS!!!). We move on to the Swamps of Fear, or the moon of Chyra called Dymbra. This moon has been inaccessible to the Blackvine Company because of its unique foul magical atmosphere that gives non-natives some madness effect (using shaken->frightened->panicked eventually to Wis damage). We are treated to another gazetteer style breakdown of Dymbra. I just want to stop for a second and point out that there an odd hex map presented on page 26 that is reminiscent of some old school PC games or older editions of TTRPGs, the layout on this particular map is a little jarring and it actually ends up breaking the flow of the book. I would have preferred if it took the whole bottom half of the page instead of trying to give a 1/2 column to text. Good news Grippli fans....there's a whole Grippli village! They're pretty reduced because of the Cult's influence. We get another table and writeups for random encounters.

The Temple of Dread is given a gazetteer treatment as well and its a pretty big place so a large chunk of wordcount is dedicated to it. I won't get into specifics because...well...I don't want to ruin any surprises :)

The actual adventure is more of an outline where the PCs are arriving at the station, go to Dymbra and the Temple of Dread, and then back to station. Again, I don't want to ruin any surprises so I won't get more specific than that. I will say, and its neither good nor bad, that the layout choice in general makes this feel an adventure framework, you're given a setting, a few important places with gazetteers, and a short write up on how to proceed on an adventure through those places. There's a whole section of Side Quests. This type of adventure isn't necessarily meant to be played straight through, Station Paxem serves as a hub and various things can happen at any time. I appreciate this as my typical players like to take left turns at every opportunity and there's some good thought into how to use the spaces provided and make it feel like it is an actual living, breathing space where life happens instead of being an adventure backdrop that only exists to service the PCs and their adventure.

After the sidequests we're greeted by the appendices starting with Appendix A of new equipment. There's only 2 pieces of new equipment, which is a missed opportunity since we have 6 distinct worlds in a different solar system and would've been great to see some interesting pieces of equipment based on those planets. Appendix B is a writeup of the Cult of Nyarlathotep. Appendix C is the stat blocks of some legacy creatures. Bear in mind this was released before Alien Archive was released so there's a reason why this is included as a separate appendix. Appendix D is new creatures stat blocks. Appendix E contains stat blocks for NPCs. Appendix F contains 2 new starships and their statblocks. We are then given full page treatments of 3 of the maps related to Station Paxem (I would have appreciated a full page version for EACH map presented).

Layout adheres to a 2 column format. For the most part, the layout is great but there are a few odd spots (like the aforementioned hex map) that sometimes pull me out of reading about the setting. The art is good, feels like it takes up just the right amount of space and the choices for each piece and what they represent flow pretty well. I did notice some slight sentence structure oddness in a few places and a few issues that would likely have been caught on one more deep editing phase. They aren't frequent and don't really detract much from the overall experience.

In conclusion, if you loved Keep on the Borderlands and ever wanted a similar experience in space then this will slake that thirst. Some things adhere a little to strictly to some older design philosophies but again, its a touch of nostalgia that works. I'm giving this a 4 star but highly recommended 4 stars.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Station on the Borderworlds (Starfinder)
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Starjammer: Core Rules
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/03/2017 05:49:32

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive tome clocks in at 238 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 230 pages of content. Of these, 8 are devoted to a handy index (kudos!).

This review was requested as a non-prioritized review by my patreons.

So, as you can see from the page-count, this is a massive book. As such, I will try to be brief without sacrificing analytical depth.

First of all, we take a look at how to use this book – and, in case you did not know, this is NOT, I repeat, this is NOT a Starfinder-book – this is a scifi-toolkit for PFRPG. We begin with different ways of using the book: From sprinkling parts in, to developing an ongoing campaign to go to the stars to a full-blown campaign in the vast regions of space. It should be noted, that this book makes use of the Technology Guide’s rules. I strongly suggest getting that book.

The first chapter deals with races for Starjammer. The first would be the Abiarazi, a race of shapechanging oozes that take humanoid forms. As such, they are oozes with the shapechanger subtype, get +2 Con and Int, -2 Cha, 30 ft. speed, do breathe and don’t need to sleep, unless preparing spells etc. They thankfully are neither blind, nor mindless and have no special immunities to gaze attacks, illusions, etc. The race can, as a standard action, assujme oozeform, which allows them to fit into spaces as though they were half their size, quarter their size with squeezing penalties. They also get a plasmic lash, which is kind of like a tongue that can tether those nearby to the creature, with rules codified properly – kudos! 1/day, they can use blur as an SP (which is pretty potent), and as a shapechanger, they can alter their forms into a Small or Medium humanoid as per alter self, minus the ability score adjustments. As downsides for their potent tricks, they suffer a -2 penalty to Will-saves against compulsions and require twice as much food, suffering the fatigued condition when not eating at least once in 4 hours. Shape changer may be replaced with 1/day psionic powers or psychic spells. The racial archetype is an interesting fighter-tweak that replaces armor training for an immediate action miss chance that scales with the levels. Pretty cool for a small tweak. The racial feats range from basic bonuses to 1/day crit/precision damage negation to a high-level –feat that nets a lot of immunities – but the previous, less amazing feats make up for the massive benefits that one provides. There is also a spell to lock targets in a specific form and there would be two race traits.

It should be noted that all of the races herein come with favored class options AND an age, height and weight table as well as some flavor to contextualize the respective races, so bear that in mind – I’m not going to repeat myself in every entry.

Manu have seen a meteoric rise from basically savages to one of the most advanced races in the system. Black-skinned, with chiseled features, they gain +2 Int and Wis (lopsided), have normal speed, darkvision, detect magic as a constant SP, +1 untyped bonus to Disable Device and Knowledge (engineering) as well as +1 to Knowledge (arcane) and Craft (mechanical) and treat the latter two skills as class skills. They gain a further +1 to Craft checks made to create magic items. 1/day, they may treat their level as 4 higher for the purpose of a level-based class feature. This does not grant early access and an ability thus boosted only lasts for one round. While this could be slightly more precise, it is surprisingly concise and well-presented, considering its open nature. The alternate racial traits include a psionic variant of the skill-boosts and magic sense and master tinkering may be replaced with +1 to atk, +2 damage versus goblinoids.The racial archetype would be the technician investigator, who is better at using and identifying magic items, resists them easier and later manages to craft them quicker. Basically, a crafter engine-tweak. The racial feats let you hold your breath longer, haggle better, etc. There is an anti-magic suit that nets SR +2 (or grants you SR 7), a stabilizing jacket when gravity is lots( doesn’t help vs. spells) and a spell to suppress magic items. The traits help you better assist allies in crafting items or improve your vessel crafting skills.

The Pasimachi are crafting beetle-people – they are monstrous humanoids with the insectoid subtype. They have slow and steady as a speed, darkvision 60 ft., a climb speed of 20 ft., additionally a constant spider climb effect (but can’t cling to smooth surfaces), +2 natural armor (split over two traits) and a primary slam attack as well as stability. Attribute modification-wise, they gain +4 Str, -2 Dex and Int. This race is pretty lopsided and arguably stronger than the previous 2. Clumsy, personal flight and several options for a natural attacks beyond the slam attack make this race distinct and interesting, but stronger than the others presented so far. That being said, the archetype presented is pretty cool: Bombardier beetle rider cavalier? Yes, please! Better wings and pheromone messaging make for interesting racial feats. A healing clockwork beetle and spells that enhance defenses (highlight: Prismatic shell, which lasts for 7 rounds and switches defenses each round) complement the entry. The trait that enhances AC by +1 verss bludgeoning and slashing weapons is interesting, but a bit micro-manage-y.

Transgenics are the result of the coupling of a human and an alien. They gain +2 Str and Int, -2 Con, are humanoids with the transgenic subtype, darkvision, normal speed, +2 to Acrobatics and Survival and they can survive in the void for longer. They also have 150 ft. range individual telepathy, usable for 1 round per character level.v There are a ton of racial variants for them – 10 subraces, all of which come with their own alternate racial skills and ability score modifiers – no complaints regarding their balancing. The racial feats include personal flight (unlocked at 4th level) and this feat#s dressing is modified for the subraces – kudos! The Xenofilos magus can tap into the arcane pool to enhance telepathy, using limited telekinesis and combine that with spellstrike. They also learn some custom spells. All in all, an interesting archetype!

Now, beyond these new races, we take a look at the core races and their role within the context of Starjammer: Each race gets some crunch and fluff – archetypes and flavor. Dwarves get a construct-specialist cleric; elves get a rocket-pack specialist investigator. Gnomes get the close-quarters combat scuttle swashbuckler, an anti-construct specialist. The gnome technomancer summoner is pretty potent – with a mechanical eidolon that gets some modifications and a custom summon-list. As a whole, I’d be weary of this one – it’s pretty potent. Half-elves can become hullbreaker brawlers, anti-tech sunder specialists. Half-orc space marines are brawlers trained to deal with strange worlds, unusual gravity, etc. – really cool! Halfling privateer slayers can study vessels, gaining the benefits of studied target versus captain/pilot and may execute breaching ramming maneuvers with vessels. Human explorers are all about knowledge and all classes may take it – the archetype replaces skilled and 1st level’s bonus feat. Finally, there would be the razer – a gnoll barbarian, who gets progressively better at smashing through walls and obstacles – both with attacks and charges.

Okay, this concludes the racial section; from here, we move to the non-race-specific class options. The heliacal healer cleric is locked into the Healing domain. Cool: Creatures healed multiple times may be designated as crew – this title connects with the other abilities – pretty cool. Shock trooper fighters also have a bit of a Warhammer 40K-feeling: Chanting litanies while boarding? Hardsuit training? Yeah, I like that! The Void tracker ranger can, bingo, track in space. Speaking of rangers: We get a Siege combat style for them. Oracles can elect to choose the infinity mystery, which allows the oracle to lock down dimensional travel, temporarily remove targets from time – pretty damn cool mystery here! There is a utility wild talent to create air and a rogue talent to use siege weapons with sneak attack. All in all, a flavorful bunch of options – surprisingly so, if I may say so. While I wasn’t totally blown away by the material, there is a distinct lack of filler or broken material, so yeah, kudos!

To my surprise and delight, this is where the book introduces factions. Not one or two, but 5 of them – all with their own proper write-ups: You know, entry-fees, extracurricular activities, education granted – pretty damn cool, they also provide a context for learning, magic, etc. – big plus here. And yes, we get, for example, codes of conduct, rules for the drug-spice salmagundi (stats provided; cue insert “THE SPICE MUST FLOW!!”)…really neat chapter. Speaking of really neat: The book also covers a new skill uses and modifications: Craft (vessel) is provided and Knowledge (geography) is modified. Profession (pilot) treats the vessel as a flying creature, just fyi. The pdf also contains 18 feats – and there is a big plus here: From Null Gravity Combat and its follow-up feats to those that help piloting, the feats do the right thing: they focus on the peculiarities of the system instead of providing numerical escalations. Big plus.

Anyways, the equipment section discussed currency – and while it explains, in detail, the use of comets (common markers for economic transactions), these are correlated to traditional coinage – i.e. you won’t have to deal with nasty currency conversions: Prices in silver, gold and copper are retained. The setting comes with its own WGL-table (helpful!) and sports new items: magnetic shields (lacking italicization in one instance), an extremely long-range emergency beacon, a torc that slows the movement of the wearer…really cool. Similarly, there are quite a few costly custom tech suits…and hardsuits. Think of these as basically power armor. And yes, in another callback to Warhammer 40K, we do get a space marine suit. Apart from some cosmetic hiccups, a cool section.

The spell-section follows a similar design-paradigm, focusing on the demands of the setting, as opposed to being redundant – air creation, an antimatter ray (with a powerful untyped damage balanced by spell level and affected target), creating slipstream or a holy nova, mending vessels…some spells use plasma, using the proper fire/electricity duality – in short, as a whole, a welcome array of spells.

From here on out, we take a look at encounters – and hazards: Dust clouds, comets, anti-magic fields, solar flares – there is a ton of these, including handy tables that include checks to avoid, collision damage, etc. There are rules for planetary rings, ribbon storms of highly virulent fungal filament…this section really drew me in, and, beyond what I’ve seen so far, helps to make the system presented feel more unique. We also get guidelines for planetary classification by size and type: Rules for acid world, cold iron worlds that are anathema to fey and demons, planets permeated with fear, mithral worlds – and yes, the classics, from desert to swamp to the elements are all covered as well. Once again, a really handy chapter. We also get 3 completely detailed sample worlds, with adventure hooks, stats, notes on adventuring and sketch-like gazetteers. Next up is a chapter on the gods of the setting: Mechanically, we usually get 5 domains and subdomains per deity, with sacred animal7color etc. noted. Similarly, inquisitions are provided – some deities, like Israfel, do go a bit beyond that with e.g. 6 subdomains. Instead of retreading old content, the pdf notes deities suitable for the setting with a handy table.

Now, let’s take a look at traveling the Void, shall we? First, we should talk about crew roles: These are flexible, with command(optional) captain, chief engineer, first mate, helmsman, medic and tactical officer as basic roles. Recommended skills/feats are provided – and yes, NPCs can take up these roles. Automata may be purchased to cover these rules, we get notes on mutiny and 4 specialized crew roles. Instead of trying to jam Pathfinder’s sizes onto vessels, they are categorized in 5 classes, with length, squares, ram damage and costs per square allowing for pretty solid customization. Vessels are really big – as such, they track their damage in VP (vessel points) – each is the equivalent of 10 hit points. This retains the importance of big weaponry, while still allowing potent PCs to damage the vessel, if in a greatly reduced capacity. Vessels reduced to 0 VP are crippled and start breaking apart after 10 rounds, with additional damage reducing the count-down – nice solution to allow for last second saves etc. We get full stats for a ton of vessels – from drones to destroyers, this section is massive and groups the vessels by size. Personal Transportation Devices.

Speed rating ranges from 1 to 30 and is divided in 3 categories: tactical speed for starfights, interplanetary for travel within a solar system, interstellar for the journeys between solar systems. Vessels move 1 mile cubes in tactical combat equal to their Speed rating. A vessel can increases its current Speed by the Acceleration rating each round. A handy table collates tactical and interplanetary speeds, with notes for travel times etc. And yep, including interstellar speeds. Big comfort-plus here. Vessel engines, with repair DCs, costs etc. are all provided as well – Spellforge turbines require Spellcraft, as do Essence Drones – the other engines use Craft (mechanical) for repairs. Really cool: You may coax out more of an engine, but at the expense of the engine, which is damaged by overclocking it thus. The engines all note their maximum speed factor,a cceleration, propulsion, control devices (including stats for AC, hp, hardness, etc.) and the Driving check in question. If the “-jammer”-aspect has been lost on you so far – the weapon-section will change that: Various ballistae, including rules for pod-mounting can be found alongside spell projectors, all next to beam cannons, weapons that can fire alchemical payloads, rail cannons…the blend of the fantastic and weird is nice here. And yes, we get custom ammo as well. Weapons etc. obviously cost space – as such, we get a simple and easy to grasp Point Buy value for weapons, crew space, defensive components, etc. – the system is elegant and easy to grasp. Want a cloaking device or a heat shield? Both may well save your behind, but their point cost and weight must be considered…and yes, life support is similarly codified, as are communications, tactical components…This whole vessel section is very easily scavenged for other purposes as well – the proximity of the rules employed to classic PFRPG-vehicle rules helps there as well. Amazing: This is NOT where we stop: We also get vessel templates for e.g. blessed vessels…and if you don’t want to handcraft a vessel, starting packages help there, as does the massive Point Buy Chart array for vessels. This chapter is really, really, really good.

Okay, so next up would be the vessel combat section – it codifies diagonal movement regarding the cubes assumed for 3D-combat. The fast-play rules are as follows: All vessels drop to tactical speed. PCs and important NPCs roll initiative. Movement occurs on the Pilot or captain’s initiative count. Speed rating can be moved as a move action. Direction changes cost a standard action, but only at the start of the character’s turn. Attacks are executed at the pilot or captain’s initiative count. This is relatively quick, but it shows, rather quickly, a weakness of the system presented: The other characters become less important…which is a pity, for I LOVE how the respective piloting options are concisely summarized, how we learn about CMB/D of vessels and the dogfighting tactics add a bit of strategic depth: They have prerequisites, but are otherwise unlocked by those meeting the prerequisites. Strafing, swift reversals…pretty cool. Even the circumstances of piloting, from withdrawing to other options, are concisely covered.

The next chapter deals with new creatures, introducing variants of starflight (with a handy table, once again making the actual use of the book easier) as well as the plasma burn ability. Beyond these, we get strange predators, mighty CR 24/MR 10 ribbon dragons that can trail ribbons of torn space-time fabric, space remoras, asteroid spiders and starbeasts like Betelgeuse, Fomalhaut, Wormwood…and there would be the extremely varied tardigrades, which come in a frightening variety of types, courtesy to their extreme adaptability. There are space goblins, cephalopod living vessels…and there are the zhurkans. Super-powerful destroyers and enslavers of civilizations – 3 of these fellows are included, they are CR 20 – and compared to some starbeasts, they are not the worst you can find within the endless Void…

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, on both a formal and rules-language level, are surprisingly good for a tome of this size. The tome has obviously gone through a lot of careful checking. There are a few hiccups here and there, but yeah – well done. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard that captures the style of the setting rather well. Artworks range from amazing original full-color pieces to some stock artworks – particularly the bestiary section suffers a bit from that. The pdf comes with extensive, nested bookmarks, making navigation comfortable. The presence of the massive index really helps, as do all the helpful tables.

My congratulations to Peter K. Ullmann, Kirby Flake, John Reyst, Troy Daniels, Michael McNeill, Manuel A. Oaxaca, Allen Snyder and Michael Ritter – in spite of the numerous authors, the book feels surprisingly concise and unified. It is only in a precious few instances when internal balance could be tighter. I love the vessel-customization options and the flavor that suffuses this book: It feels like a more magical version of a scifi-setting, with some slices of the weird and Warhammer 40K-ish aesthetics. The book sports a distinct and unique identity – while I did bemoan the lack of spacehamsters and goofiness, I think that the decision to not just do Spacejammer 2.0 is a smart one; there are some nods here, but this is, as a whole, a serious, concise setting.

Now, when taken as a whole, I do really enjoy this tome. There are a few things that could have been better – the vessel combat could have used more stuff for non-pilot/captains to do; much like PFRPG’s default vehicle-rules-engine, the vessels herein are a bit captain-heavy regarding tactics etc. The races aren’t perfectly balanced and there are a few hiccups here and there – not many, mind you, but yeah. That being said, I am complaining at a high level – this is certainly well worth checking out. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Starjammer: Core Rules
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Mind over Matter: Psion and Soulknife (PFRPG)
by Skjalg K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/15/2017 11:56:34

This is a terrible product. The Psion archetype that opens the book does not gain any new features until 8th level. The new features are bland and mostly pointless, which is true for all the archetypes in this book.

Add to that the options that just do not function and the terrible rating and rampant errors and flaws, and this is an utter waste of money even at the low price it is currently sold at.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Mind over Matter: Psion and Soulknife (PFRPG)
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Mind over Matter: Psychic Warrior, Aegis & Vitalist (PFRPG)
by Skjalg K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/15/2017 11:53:54

This is a terrible product. Most of the archetypes don't even function, and those that do are just bad, trading out important class features for extremely weak options.



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[1 of 5 Stars!]
Mind over Matter: Psychic Warrior, Aegis & Vitalist (PFRPG)
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Starjammer: Core Rules
by Simon H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/04/2017 00:09:50

Maybe 4.5 rather then 5 but, eh, close enough and calling it 4 would be petty. My main complaint, a little light on some setting suggestions and examples and a little light on possible mix and comparison with high tech versus magic even after they mention it. However, like I said those are petty complaints and they do an excellent job of giving you an up to date set of tools and examples on how to bring space back to pathfinder based systems. Honestly I'd probably not even harp on those little niggles so much if things weren't so slender on this subject matter right now, this feels a lot like complaining someone isn't including the whole Monster manual in the GM guide book. In any case this is definetly worth buying if your interested in doing space or galactic empires in your pathfinder based game and aren't just going to handwave it as 'a space wizard sends you between planets.'



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Starjammer: Core Rules
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Starjammer: Medical Marvels
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/19/2017 11:44:09

Starjammer: Medical Marvels.

The first release in what is shaping to be a promising product line and a spiritual successor to Spelljammer that is living up to it's hype. What we have here is a 32 page pdf, -5 for Front/Back Cover, Editorial Stuff, advert for the OpenGamingStore, the Open Gaming License, as well as half a page for the introduction Leaves us with 26.5 pages of content to dig through. From the get go we're given a the first of 7 "Audio Logs", which are sidebar flavor text sidebars from the perspective of a Dr. Karer, conveying thoughts from an in character standpoint about the topic the page it appears on is covering, the first of which even comes with a portrait of the good good doctor. Afterwards we are given data on Pre-Tech prices (see Golarion's tech level at the time the Technology Guide was printed), Post-Tech prices (Starjammer's current day), and Legality codes. These lay out how to parse the information presented in the rest of the book with the why's and hows of each legality level, why currency moved to credits (a briefer version than Starjammer's entry), and even an odd little quirk on essentially 'sales tax' for using coins still.

After that we are given nine tables spanning across pages with fun art that can convey the different styles of Space Opera character art, laying out pre and post tech prices of things Paizo made in the Technology Guide with their Legality codes. I can't find any readily available formula they used, implying that each item was taken on a case by case basis instead with things such as the lighter going from 10 gp to 1 credit, but the Vortex Gun went from 182,000gp to 150,000 credits (as well as a hefty legality code). Gives players a more reasonable opportunity to access tech gear in a setting using this but still doesn't make past tech items such as the bow, or sword, completely outdated. One thing I kind of wished they addressed, and I might have missed this entirely in Starjammer core, is firearms that are not presented in the technology guide and where they are assuming the technology level is for those. Just a little thing that could help a DM gauge things and manage expectations of players walking into this universe.

With the bookkeeping of the past items handled they jump into new toys for players in the shape of Cybertech and Pharmaceuticals. Each is presented in the same way you would expect to see a technological or magical item, including the pre and post tech prices and legality codes here as well, with my personal favorite being the smuggling compartments leg slot cybernetics and Altraeg for Pharmaceuticals. The fun doesn't stop there however, we're given three new sets of option rules and one revisited, Spirit, Cyber Sickness, Pharaceutical Addiction (revisited), and Miscibility.

Spirit is the option for Cybernetics implimentation costs. Instead of being keyed off the lowest of intelligence or constitution, they instead have you base it off the average of Constitution, Intelligence, and Charisma citing mind body and soul all helping keep you grounded as you get yourself chrome'd out. This helps mitigate an issue I was little soured on when I first saw that in Paizo's book as it felt like it forced only specific people could be decked out in said tech (namley the smart tank), or have the terrible penalties apply.

Speaking of, instead of the typical -4's to all the things of the Technology you have the neat option of Cybersickness. The rules are laid out under the assumption that you do not use Spirit with a notation on the back end that replaces the appropriate saves with 'Spirit' Saves, altering the base DCs for Spirit. Stage 1: If you go over your implmentation value you immediately make a fort save that scales based on how high you go exceed your cap by. On A failure, roll on a table for bad stuff which can be not as bad as the usual -4, only penalizing a skill or two, to reduced healing, or even electricity vulnerabilibility. On a pass, you're safe for a month, but the DC increases by 1 on your next save. So far so good right? You can have plenty of fun managing roleplay opportunities of losing yourself to the machine, or even pushing your body to the limits from decking yourself out as much as possible for a specific mission. Stage 2: After Obtaining stage one, you make a well save, this time off of will, and with a higher base DC, every week. On a failure you roll on another chart, and these penalties do stack with your stage one bad stuff, these are going hurt dramatically more than the base penalty some dictating how you act. While Stage One was mostly inflicting penalties to how you interact with things physically, this is more corruption of the mind and how you handle things socially. If you make your save you are safe for a week but your DC increases by one for the next save. Stage 3 (aka Severe) : After obtaining Stage three, you again make will saves. This time it is against a flat DC that scales for each previous week you succed by. If you fail this one, you shift alignments and become under the GM's control (very much like the final stages of corruption). The way to cure these maladies? Remove your overage and wait out as your body normalizes back

With Pharmaceutical Addictions, it felt nice to to see they brought up the situation. I personally do not like how Paizo itself handled their addiction rules, but from a mechanical standpoint it makes sense how they expanded upon the rules here. If you enjoy the addiction rules Paizo presented, these will feel like a nice refinement to those things.

Lastly, we are given Miscibility. Holy cow was I excited when I saw this in my table of contents. Being able to answer "what happens if I drink/take both at once" with something more than "Effects as normal" and have an easy readily available chart to do so? It brightens my day and if nothing else I'd view it worth it buying just for this little gem. There are seperate charts for mixing Pharmaceuticals and Potions, with good and bad effects being extreme when they happen, but far from the norm (however there are slightly more 'bad' effects, making it still a risky task to do this). A curiosity I have and I would work out with your DM should you use this system for potions is when you roll a 100, which can lead to permanent effects. The chart cites the condition as a 'curse', as curses are handled a couple of different ways in Pathfinder, ranging from needing a Remove Curse to handle, to needing a 'to restore from this point you need a remove curse or a <X> CL check' you might want to clarify with your DM how they wish to handle that.

The Good: We have a neat tightly packed PDF that gives us plenty of updated and new mechanics. Interspaced between the tables and charts we are given fun pieces of art, and flavorful pieces of fluff to read. It can be used with or without Starjammer Core in any pathfinder game where this technology is available. The writing makes me feel like this was very much a labor of love project.

The bad: I'm a little saddened that nearly a quarter of the PDF is updating old products. I understand the why of it, just that could have been 8 more pages of neat things or fun ideas.

The Meh: As I mentioned above, the addiciton rules didn't flip my trigger. Looking closely at the potions rules on extreme cases you can gain some pretty bonkers effects (permanent Resist Energy comes to mind)

From a layout standpoint the book is wonderful, neat, and had a nice ratio of art to text so it's not a drab technical manual but isn't using art as filler space either. Mechanically it gives potential for so many interesting stories just on the obtaining items through the legality code, dealing with cyber sickness, or a miscibility accident gone wrong. Final Verdict. 5/5 Stars.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Starjammer: Medical Marvels
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Starjammer: Core Rules
by David D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/17/2017 02:21:41

I love the content, the races are well balanced and lend to the Science Fiction feel. The insectoid race has multiple options to keep almost any player happy. 5 stars and well deserved.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Starjammer: Core Rules
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Starjammer: Core Rules
by Sam H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/11/2017 03:37:17

First the good stuff: We start off with a couple of new races, info on the standard races, and then some racial archetypes. This is followed by some archetypes for classes, and faction information for new factions. We have some new skills and feats, as well as new spells and equipment. All of this takes up some 90-odd pages.

After this, we have more than a 100 pages of GREAT stuff. The stuff we all want - Space! Or rather, the Void, as it is called. First there is the hazards, with random encounter tables for things like meteor showers, radiation belts and wormholes (but not limited to just these!). This is followed by information regarding different types of planets you might encounter, and the environmental hazards that might accompany them. Enough information for you to create hundreds of different worlds your group might visit. There are also a number of pre-built worlds, complete with adventure hooks for each world. And then even more info, for example trade goods from different worlds.

And then we come to the reason we all want this product - the rules for traveling the Void. Rules to build your own ships. What (and number of) crew you will need, complete with bonuses if your crew is specially skilled in their position. For example, a Tactical Officer can give you bonuses on attack rolls against enemy vessels, as well as bonuses in combat against enemy crew who may have boarded your vessel. And if you don't have enough PC's to crew your ship? Well, you can then hire NPC's, or your DM might allow you to buy droids that can fulfill certain tasks.

On the ships themselves, you can have anything from a Ultralight vessel, usable by and intended for a single character, all the way to Superheavy vessels which are the flagships of space-navy fleets, and which can have entire invading armies on board! There are pre-built vessels, but (more importantly) there is also rules for building your very own vessel! And all of this is only starting to touch all of the information in the book!

Pros: It is Spelljammer for Pathfinder. Need I say more? Cons: This book references other Paizo material. However, the material referenced is available on D20PFSRD.COM



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Evil (PFRPG)
by Robert G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/06/2015 04:24:04

A great product. This has allowed me to bring new levels of insidious evil to my players. A must have for villain design!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ultimate Evil (PFRPG)
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Ultimate Evil (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/09/2015 02:35:48

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive source-book clocks in at 72 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page author bios, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 67 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

The pdf kicks off with a King Lear quote that misspells it "King Leer" and sends the academic in me into a frothing twitch, but rest assured that this thankfully does not extend to the rest of the book's editing. ;) So, how the proper book begin? With essays on what makes a good villain - essentially, tricks and considerations for the DM to properly make memorable antagonists - including a 100-entry strong table of considerations: From villains who would never steal to taboos versus certain weapons in the villainous arsenal, the array here can be considered interesting indeed - after all, think about all those great villains and their quirks - more than once, you'll come over such a quirk of their morale code, twisted though it may be...

After these essays, we delve straight into the significant array of crunch presented herein, with the Darkwater Spellbinder wizard archetype - essentially a wizard who receive access to an evil, water-themed school, including close range pummeling water-surges and lines of poisoned water. Nice! The Traitor to the Faith, intended for paladin/anti-paladin, is one that deserves special mention - it is intended for paladins/antipaladins that stray from the path of their intended alignment and codes of conduct - it is, in a nutshell, a way to retain a character as viable even though the alignment isn't flipped on the head - we get mundane abilities that replace the supernatural/divine-themed one and a focus on powerful, mundane benefits that result from such a life, including synergy with Legendary Games' twisted surgical procedure-rules, which are partially reprinted in the back of this book. While not perfect from a power standpoint, the narrative potential of this archetype is vast and its offering of a viable alternative to "sucky fighter sans bonus feats" can be considered well worth it. Heck, even beyond the frame work of paladins, this makes for a compelling character concept even without the lost divine component. So yes, I like it.

Antipaladins seeking to remain in the good (haha!) graces of their vile patrons can enjoy becoming hands of pestilence, dread harbingers of disease and decay, including an inspired, multi-stage disease at high levels and appropriate imagery- grim and vile. And that is before the exceedingly deadly parasite-themed capstone. I like it! The gateway to godhood summoner is less interesting, though it will suit some tables - the idea is simple: Divine spellcasting, but a need to prepare the spells in advance and an eidolon that is beholden to the deity's will, not that of the summoner. On the slightly nitpicky side, instead of noting that the expenditure of one feat allows the summoner to influence it via UMD, why not simply provide the feat? Would feel less wonky and adhere to the standard way in which such things are usually handled in PFRPG. Overall, still solid. The Herald of Godhood is pretty similar in focus - only that they exchange spells beyond the first level with combat-themed feats for either themselves or their eidolon, which may be called via the summon monster-ability of the class. Okay, I guess, but utterly ineffective and in need of some additional power. Finally, the vile virtuoso bard is pretty cool - replacing standard performances with command/forbid, inspired fanaticism etc. feel neat and the option to deliver performances through works of his/her twisted art can be considered downright awesome - perhaps it's the Ravenloft DM in me, but I can see this one inspiring vast amounts of cool adventures - both as NPC and as PC. Kudos for this one! A new masterpiece to manipulate targets into feeling as if they were part of a deadly, righteous army does feel like it is employed on a regular basis by quite a few politicians to deadly effect - both in-game and IRL.

Next up would be blood rites - which generally are very interesting - you receive 3 feats, which can be used for a huge array of effects: From granting pleasant dreams to locating lost, nearby objects, the uses of the feats range from the mundane folk magic-y style to the powerful, with blood-based spellcasting. These feats are powered by expending blood points and one can only have con-mod blood points at a given time. these regenerate upon resting and furthermore, can be replenished by inflicting char-level damage to yourself - each such increment of damage nets you one point. This means they can be utilized infinite times per day, provided you have a simple way of fast healing or regeneration, rendering the whole system broken from the get-go. The abilities themselves, while awesome in concept, simply do NOT work within the frame of PFRPG: 3 blood points, for example, ward a house versus accidental fires. Now this IS awesome on a concept side, but what does "accidental" constitute? A mishap while fire elemental summoning? Define "house" - does a castle work? If yes, what about the stables in the court? Included? Don't get me wrong, these feats are thematically, conceptually, awesome - but they are not functional for PFRPG. They would work in the context of WoD or similar games, but in the highly codified rules-interactions of PFRPG, they ultimately provide wishy-washy absolutes that lack the necessary precision for smooth system-interaction - and yes, this includes lacking information on just about any rules-relevant interaction point, from ability-type to CL. The chapter also provides a blood point-storage item, as if the resource wasn't infinite enough... Another significant problem I have here would rest in the constant reference of a blood mage and said mage's resources - I have no idea to WHICH blood mage this reference points and it is neither hyperlinked, nor mentioned in the pdf, leaving me incapable of properly judging the interaction with said classes blood pool. Searching via d20pfsrd.com didn't help either, so consider me puzzled -which leaves this chapter as high-concept, yes, but also as ultimately very, very flawed, in spite of a nice nod towards NotNW's nice fiend-binding book. Apart from concepts, unfortunately a dysfunctional waste of space that is tantalizingly close to being the awesome chapter it ought to be and deserves to be.

The next chapter deals with a plethora of evil-themed spells - from ones that net DR 5/good or lawful to vomiting acidic black bile on foes, there are several that elicited a sense of unimpressed déjà-vu, whereas other with their ability to conjure forth mythic aboleths have an interesting component - they work better for archetypes introduced herein. Self-harm-inducing bardic spells. Many of the spells utilize mixed energy types, with e.g. a mix of negative and force damage for a reflexive damage shield at 3d level feels like a bit much. A suffocating sphere of water, on the other hand, is rather interesting and works moderately well balance-wise when compared to similar spells. All in all, a solid selection, though not one that blew me away.

The feat-chapter provides mainly an assortment of options for antipaladins, for extended auras and healing of evil, non-undead cohorts - on a definite plus, the pdf directly credits feats for their original publication if applicable - nice indeed! Developing an almost vampiric taste for blood in exchange for level-scaling SPs usable via touch of corruption. On the downside, the quoted microfeats have not had their language properly cleaned up, with bonus types etc. left out in the original due to the brevity of the format, not having been inserted for proper non-micro formatting - they may remain functional, but still. The diversity between cool and okay feats can be seen here as well, though I admit to really enjoying the feats that allow you to utilize touch of corruption to power scaling SPs. Brilliant would be the feat that actually presents a rationale for explaining your evil masterplan - the foes who have to listen to it have to save or receive massive penalties - this feat is downright BRILLIANT! I also love the option for high-level antipaladins to offer the ultimate temptation - in the form of wishes powered by massive drawbacks and uses of touches of corruption - after all, how else did they make those do-gooders fall?

DMs can enjoy a level 17 graveknight antipaladin build and a CR 22 banshee as well as a CR 12 vampire fighter - solid builds. Some additional creatures, from fey River Elk to the insectoid plaguewyrm, can be considered okay, but ultimately not too exciting in my book. Then again, I'm one spoiled reviewer...

The oathbreaker template, which may fuel class abilities by draining charges from items, is VERY interesting and yet another way of making the concept of the wayward champion work -a massive template neatly lines up all the class abilities and provides essentially the option to play paladins/antipaladins of any alignment, with alignment-specific bonuses and abilities, partially powered by charge-draining, being provided over a significant array of pages. Step-by-step, ability by ability, the respective new tricks are provided - and they are, overall, rather solid in their wording. However, they do suffer from one particular oddity - they utilize, correctly, I might add, rules to take e.g. smite evil and replace every component, including the results etc. - while I applaud the difficulty this must have been, why not simply write the new ability and then finish it with "This replaces.."? Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty impressed and the benefits are sufficiently complex and varied to hold my interest, but this is just the type of unnecessary over-engineering I tend towards as well. So if you mind stuff like that, consider yourself warned - personally, I have no issue with the concept and its somewhat convoluted rules-language. (And I downright love the utterly NASTY tricks the champion of sins abilities provide - nice scavenging grounds for Thassilonian-themed modules!) -so yes, overall, I like this chapter, in spite of the nitpicker in me complaining about rules-language deviating from the default in the presentation and a certain feeling that an alternate presentation may have been more concise.

The pdf, as mentioned, also provides surgery and sanity-rules originally presented in LG's "The Mad Doctor's Formulary." Since I have already covered that one, I'll just point you towards it.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect; I noticed a couple of minor glitches. The pdf's layout comes with a 2-column standard and a used-parchment look that is solid, if not particularly printer-friendly. Artwork is thematically-fitting stock art and the pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks and two versions - one linked to d20pfsrd.com and one unlinked - nice to see that, since I tend to click on links by accident while scrolling through the text!

So, I'll come right out and admit it - I'm a huge fan of Clinton J. Boomer's writing - "The Hole Behind Midnight" is the better Dresden Files and Coliseum Morpheuon remains one of my all-time-favorite roleplaying games-supplements ever. So yes, he and Peter K. Ullman have created a pdf that did not disappoint me - Ultimate Evil presents A LOT bang for your buck and more often than not, one can find some generally great pieces herein. Peter K. Ullman, who probably hates me by now for my reviews of his last couple of books, obviously has crafted some of these options - but know what? The man has improved! The rules syntax and semantics are infinitely more precise and while some of the wording choices may seem needlessly complicated, they can overall be considered functional and, in fact, fun! Kudos for the improvement!! Now some of these options oscillate in a pretty weird way - on the one hand, the exceedingly versatile options tend to end up as being pretty powerful. On the other hand, some are exceedingly conservative, especially among the spells.

I honestly have a hard time rating this book, mainly because its problems are local ones - a slight over-engineering here, a non-standard rules-syntax there... The spells left me unimpressed, but I'm jaded. The feats range from superb to okay. We have the downright awesome, but slightly over-engineered oathbreaker-toolkit (which is, essentially, a complex archetype, not necessarily the template it professes to be) on the one hand, the non-functional blood rites on the other hand. We have cool high-level foes, but also pretty bland additional monsters. We have a couple of glorious archetypes...and some that are just not smart choices for most groups. We do have a mixed bag here, but one that is definitely on the better side of the spectrum, with the amount of nice options and ideas exceeding the bad ones by quite a stretch. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Compendium Arcanum Vol. 3: 2nd-Level Spells (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/25/2015 08:58:39

UPDATE to reflect the added errata: The big design-guffaws I've mentioned have been cleaned up by the errata and the installment benefits quite a bit from that. At the same time, not all have been cleaned up -there are quite a few still remaining and, once again, the base system's issues regarding the interaction and balance with other components of spellcasting is not addressed. Hence, my verdict will remain.

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Compendium Arcanum-series clocks in at 121 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 117 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

So what is this series about? In a nutshell, the compendium arcanum-series takes the concept of 3.X's Arcana Evolved for the option of heightening/diminishing spells and translates that to PFRPG. This means a spell can be cast as one level higher or as one level lower. The series covers all spells from the core-book, APG, UM and Ultimate Combat. If a class has no level lower (i.e. no cantrip slots), you can't cast the diminished spell and the heightened effects require you to be able to cast the heightened spell level - obviously preventing classes from casting a heightened spell that would e.g. be 10th level for a full caster or 5th level, for a paladin, to give you two examples.

After the unfortunate cantrip-debacle of the second installment of the series, we here do not have the issue with potential infinite casts, remaining with only a significant increase in flexibility. At first glance, one can see a nice little improvement in layout -diminished and heightened effects are now denoted by small, neat arrow-icons, making the actual use of this pdf more comfortable - nice! On the downside, at this point I feel obliged to mention two significant gaps in the system that were simply not relevant in the first installment and paled behind the vast issues the 1st level-installment had. Number 1 would be that the pdf does not specify how e.g. light/darkness-counterspells work - can e.g. a diminished light counterspell a heightened darkness? The pdfs remain silent on this. Secondly - what about spell-like abilities? How do they work within in the frame of this system? No idea.

Now what kind of balancing mechanisms do we get? Well, among others, the obvious ones would include modified durations as well as changed range/target-lines - limiting a spell from touch to personal, for example, makes sense, as does the upgrade from e.g. +2 to +4 bonuses. However, not all spell-scaling effects can be considered well-crafted - the by themselves powerful "massive bonus spells" like acute senses - the diminished version nets only a +5 bonus, scaling up to +10. The heightened effect, however, increases duration by factor ten for 10 min/level. Alas, there are glitches herein- take the diminished effects of alchemical allocation: "If the spell contained in the potion or elixir has variable, numeric effects, they are decreased by half, including bonuses to those dice rolls. If the spell contained in the potion or elixir has variable, numeric effects, then instead its duration is decreased by half. " Sooo...what is it? I don't get how this is supposed to work. Something obviously went pretty wrong here.

Now on the plus-side, adding cure light wounds to allfood's heightened effects would be a pretty cool idea, going into breadth, rather than depth (though the former spell is not italicized) and animal aspect's diverse heightened effects (one for each animal chosen) make for a cool idea. Arcane Lock's heightened effect allows you to specify a password to temporarily bypass the lock - which makes more than just a bit sense and can be used for plenty a cool narrative - it is in instances like this where Timothy Wallace's talent definitely shines. On the downside, there simply are quite a few guffaws herein - blur's heightened effects e.g., among others, changes target to "creature touched" - which the spell already has - instead, it should clarify the number of creatures to be touched. Why? In another issue, the spell's heightened effects allow you to freely assign the duration in 1-minute intervals among creatures touched - which renders the spell effectively a kind-of-(communal) spell, so why not simply utilize that terminology?

Chameleon Stride would be an example of a diminished effect gone horribly wrong, with the diminished version providing " You gain a +10 bonus on Stealth checks, but are not granted any concealment. The bonus increases to +20 at caster level 5th, and to +30 (the maximum) at caster level 9th." -no concealment, yes, but a bonus that may be on par (and as untyped, stacking) with invisibility. Remember, that would be for a level one spell. The heightened version provides concealment for all attacks further than 5 feet away. This renders reach weapons rather useless and also eliminates any possibility to target creatures with spells and effects that require line of sight. For a level 3 spell, that's pretty sick.

On the plus-side - using a heightened command undead without needing to speak the commands, instead going for the telepathic route once again can be considered a stroke of genius - undead ninjas with a necromancer-commander? Why not? Nice! Lesser Confusion/Confusion have been merged into a nice combined version and a similar merger has been made for continual flame and light: Makes sense, as does the combination of pit trap/spiked pit. Instant revelation of all information via detect thought's heightened effect once again feel a bit problematic in my book.

On the plus-side, integration of all relevant and required information for e.g. catching on fire is a pretty neat added convenience. Moving flaming spheres to execute ranged combat maneuvers with a concentration-check may be a bit too much, though - ranged maneuvers at what amounts to a full BAB-class bonus, plus trait/feat-trickery is very strong, especially considering the additional damage/AoE-upgrade. Stinking Cloud has been delegated to being the heightened version of fog cloud, which may be a bit too weak for 3rd level.

Extending the effects of grace to creatures touched would constitute another gripe I have here - the base spell is OP enough, allowing it to be extended to other characters makes it ridiculously powerful, even for 3rd level. Share Memory's diminished effects allow you to share memories only for a limited time, allowing for significantly more complex narrative frames - so yeah - this one is pretty brilliant. Silk to Steel's heightened effect is pretty awesome, allowing you to use it either for defense or as a scorpion whip. Here one might nitpick that the spell does not confer proficiency, but it doesn't need to - the wording specified "as if" - and in dubio pro reo, so this one's safe from my nagging. Heightened Touch injection sans chance to poison yourself, even without poison use, also makes sense - at least for non-alchemists. Spitting poisons transmuted from potions makes for another interesting option and the option to make undetectable alignment kind of communal via the heightened version also is pretty cool. Adding minor energy resistance of your choice to a web shelter also is a rather awesome decision.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting is pretty solid on a formal level - on the rules-level, the book could have used a close look by a solid developer. Layout adheres to the easy-to-read, well-presented 2-column standard and is pretty printer-friendly. The added icons make reading the pdf easier - kudos. The pdf comes bookmarked for your convenience - one for each spell! Kudos! The pdf also comes in two versions, with one sporting extensive hyperlinks to d20pfsrd.com's shop and the other being free of them, should you prefer it that way.

Timothy Wallace, generally, knows what he is doing. However, this is longer than 120 pages and thus, I wasn't surprised to see some hiccups here - some of the new options presented here are quite frankly not appropriate for the spell-level to which they adhere - at least in my book. Now usually, I'd be slightly more lenient in that regard, but as anyone who has ever run a game with compendium arcanum-rules can attest, these modifications significantly enhance the flexibility of all casters, thus making the required balancing all the more peculiar. The series is notoriously quiet on its rather significant effects on balancing - personally, I'd suggest taking a very close look at whether your game is up for the increased caster-power provided here. Especially prepared casters imho simply do not require the additional flexibility. But that won't influence my verdict - what will, though, are the glitches that can be found and the at times very problematic, even broken effects. HOWEVER, at the same time, the (communal)-tricks, the spell-mergers...there is a lot of cool material to be found herein, some of it downright inspired. So while the balance-concerns within the system would usually have me round down, I'll instead settle for a verdict that reflects this as a quintessential mixed bag, for a final verdict of 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3 stars for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Compendium Arcanum Vol. 3: 2nd-Level Spells (PFRPG)
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