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You're Gonna Die Screaming
by Thomas R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/11/2017 15:16:00

From the title, it's immediately apparent that this is intended to be a joke product, or at least a lighthearted one. The pertinent question then becomes; is it funny?

It isn't. You might laugh at the idea, once, but then you're left with 22 pages of being told that the Commoner class doesn't have options. Having read this product, from cover to cover, I don't feel that I've gained anything from the experience.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
You're Gonna Die Screaming
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The Book of Passion Preview
by Michael I. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/29/2017 16:25:17

From what I read, the book seems to be pretty interesting and may deliver on its promise of a mature themed system add-on that is rich in details and a spark for the imagination.

Unfortunately I will not be buying such a great book as the publisher's KS process failed for me and neither they nore KS tried with any effort to help me with the issue. I even offered to mail in my backing directly to the company, but they failed to get back with me on the offer. I cannot support a company that does not support its customers or those who desire to be a customer.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Book of Passion Preview
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Earl Geier Presents: Hag with Head
by Aaron F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/24/2017 10:11:17

You can't really go wrong with Earl Geier's artwork if you are going after that Old School feel. This particular piece is raw, gritty, and can give a sense of dread. It worked perfectly in my projects. Showing this picture to players during a fight with a hag will erase thoughts of little witches around a cauldron with cute black cats....this picture will put their 'game face on'.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Earl Geier Presents: Hag with Head
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Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures: Skyfire Tree
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/06/2017 09:26:50

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures series clocks in at 5 pages - the front cover contains the header, creature artwork and the social media icons/homepage of misfit studios as well as some introductory text. The SRD takes up 1 1/3 pages and the editorial is in a sidebar - to get all the material you thus have to print out the cover with the icons and part of the SRD as well.

The skyfire tree spawns spontaneous from plants destroyed by lightning, resembling trunks, from which 3 toothy, quasi-humanoid heads grow. What could be nightmare fuel is a bit sabotaged by the artwork employed here. These things can launch 4d6 electrical bolts as a 60 ft. touch attack via a standard action and generate an electrical field that provides +4 to AC versus ranged attacks and guards versus magic missiles. Here's the thing, though: 1/day, their electrical arcs can also inflict +1d4 Intelligence damage (slightly non-standard wording: "sixty" instead of 60, but that's cosmetic). A skyfire tree may only affect a target once with this and gains from here on out +3 Sense motive versus the foe. Every 10th time, the tree manages this attack, it may attempt an Intelligence check to increase its Intelligence score. Upon reaching Intelligence 10, it loses the Int-damage thought-stealing ability, but increases its speed from the 5 ft.-default to 30 ft.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good on both a formal and rules-language level - though the flavor text has a typo, confusing "green" with "greed" and e.g. a plural glitch or two. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series and while I'm not big on the social icons and dispersal of non-gaming parts through the pdf, from an aesthetic point of view, there is not much to complain about. The pdf comes with the classic Crawthorne-artwork as well as the skyfire tree artwork...which looks just derpy and goofy. The pdf comes with a second, more printer-friendly iteration, which is nice to see. The book has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

The skyfire tree crafted by Emily Brumfield is interesting - but its CR 4 feels a bit...weird? It has these 3 pseudo-heads...so why can't it acts with all of them? Elder metamorphosis is also something I'm not sure that makes sense for the critter, as it takes their one unique ability...kinda away. Its low Dex score and reliance on the electrical bolts to hit also means that it is a pretty weak, if resilient CR 4 critter. More of a nuisance/artillery type of adversary, but yeah. All in all, one does not necessarily require this guy, but it's a decent enough plant. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars...but I can't really bring myself to round up on this one.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures: Skyfire Tree
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Metahuman Martial Arts 3e
by JP D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/29/2016 02:42:42

Summary - Complicates combat and is best suited for games with a primary focus of melee centric martial arts characters, not a good supplement if you don't have a group dedicated to playing martial arts characters or settings.

The book primarily focuses on bringing real-life martial art styles into the m&m3e rule set, as you'll probably find with other reviews, the book is rather lacking when it comes to super-powered martial arts styles. To me this seemed odd as anime in particular is full of great examples of martial arts or weapon users with fantastic powers, Dragon Ball, Bleach, Full Metal etc (There are a few style tailored to super powered characters flying, bricks, elastic styles along with a handful of others).

The archetypes presented are defensively too low for their PL, even with their stances, this would make them unsuitable for play along side base m&m3e characters. Also of concern is the complexity it adds to melee combat, requiring a lot of reading by the entire gaming group to get to grips with, and I imagine a lot of practice. This seems counter-intuitive for a book that claims it's focus is bringing martial arts characters up to snuff in a world with aliens and meta humans.

A lot of the abilities could be replicated with the same effects via affliction or secondary effects from base, curiously a lot of them seemed over-priced for what they did and I can't imagine them being very effective against a toughness shifted enemy, pretty much the entire selection of characters are attack shifted and have low damage scores.

The book also has a lot of of sections with See A Better Mousetrap 3e This is a little disappointing as I feel they could have done without doing it and it seems like a ploy to get you to buy more of their products, in fairness they do note that it makes extensive use of mechanics presented in their previous book.

With that said, the book does contain some great ideas for characters, each archetype is presented with an example of different story hooks and options for customizing the characters to fit your personal tastes. They all have a good selection of different strengths and combat options that allows for a lot of creative play.

The book contains a ton of write-ups for different styles, everything from basic police training to forbidden ancient kung fu styles. It's hard to imagine you wouldn't find a style that fits what concept you have while creating a martial arts hero...Even if you did there is an extensive guide on how to create your own styles too.

The pre-made villain groups were the highlight of the book for me, they have a structure and background that is well thought out combined with a generous selection of pre-made villains with enough skills and abilities to be used dozens of time without feeling stale.

I could see the book being great for players who want an Immortal Iron-fist style campaign or action/kung fu movie based and are willing to re-learn a system, but as an addition to a m&m supers game I really don't think this is a good purchase. The book changes far too much of the tried and true m&m melee combat, adding body part targeting, changes to critical hits, and pretty much every aspect of close combat. Even the example powers are heavily focused on making use of these changes, making for limited to no functional of use outside a dedicated Metahuman Martial Arts game.

Too much changed from base in my opinion and not enough focus of actual synergy with core rules. In a group with a mixed selection of player characters, in a typical m&m game,it would be a whole lot of re-learning and reading just to cater to the player(s) that want melee centric martial arts builds.

As an addition to supers m&m games 2/5 As a base for kung fu centric games 4/5



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Metahuman Martial Arts 3e
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Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures: Ioun Eater
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/20/2016 11:04:17

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures series clocks in at 5 pages - the front cover contains the header, creature artwork and the social media icons/homepage of misfit studios as well as some introductory text. The SRD takes up 1 1/3 pages and the editorial is in a sidebar - to get all the material you thus have to print out the cover with the icons and part of the SRD as well.

Diminutive goat-headed constructs, these creatures want to eat ioun stones - once they have one, they can eat it as a standard action, gaining its benefits. They can sense ioun stones, can be repaired (and self-repair when ingesting the proper stone) and spit them at foes, shattering them on impact, inflicting bleeding wounds. Their spiked skin also nets them a defensive, retributive skin that deals damage to those that hit it unarmed or via natural weapons. They come with construction requirements.

It is pretty cool to see that these guys gain size via abilities...but, alas, we get not statblocks for such advanced ion eaters and have to do the math ourselves.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good on both a formal and rules-language level - though the flavor text has a typo, confusing "green" with "greed" and e.g. a plural glitch or two. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series and while I'm not big on the social icons and dispersal of non-gaming parts through the pdf, from an aesthetic point of view, there is not much to complain about. The pdf comes with the classic Crawthorne-artwork as well as the solid ioun eater artwork. The pdf comes with a second, more printer-friendly iteration, which is nice to see. The book has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

I like the idea of these guys. In practice, though, Spike Y Jones' critters would all starve (they're constructs, so they wouldn't die) and still go extinct faster than you can say: "Natural selection would screw these guys over." Why? Look at the rules for diminutive creatures. Think of maximum heights when jumping. Guess what? These guys can't jump very high if you remember that and use it still. Otherwise, they can jump like fleas. They also can't climb. And no, the flavor text notwithstanding, they cannot fly. Even if no predators kill them, they just, RAW, have a VERY hard time getting anywhere near their food-source, which is wont to orbiting the heads of the titans called humanoids. This renders them a nuisance at best and a badly designed critter at worst that is hampered by one of the rougher sections of how small sizes and moving into hostile squares works. In short, even if your reading of the rules ignores the convention of maximum sizes for high jumps, they still will get whacked.

Thankfully, I don't have to elaborate on this particular clusterf*** of rules regarding AoOs, Acrobatics, etc. - and simply point out the fact that, no matter how you interpret the whole complex, the poor Ioun Eater still can't reach his nom. A good idea, flawed in execution, I can't go higher than 2 stars on this one.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures: Ioun Eater
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Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures: Gaze Grabber
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/15/2016 04:09:05

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures series clocks in at 5 pages - the front cover contains the header, creature artwork and the social media icons/homepage of misfit studios as well as some introductory text. The SRD takes up 1 1/3 pages and the editorial is in a sidebar - to get all the material you thus have to print out the cover with the icons and part of the SRD as well.

So, what are gaze grabbers? Think of them as basically oversized tribbles with a toothy mouth and several flimsy eyestalks attacked. They obviously have all-around vision and may, as a standard action, direct their gaze towards a victim within 30 ft., who then must succeed a Dc 9 Will-save to avoid being stunned...if that sounds low...well. The more eyes the gaze grabber uses, the higher the DC becomes: +1 per eye directed at a target. Nice: When the creature gets into melee distance, the flexibility of its eyestalks suddenly makes it impossible to properly avert one's eyes, though the potency of the collective gaze is obviously still diminished. Only half the eyes can increase the save DC when used thus...but do you round up or down? No idea there. Attacking and eliminating eyestalks via both called shots and on the fly methods are covered here and while the base gaze grabber at CR 2 is assumed to have 3d12 eyes, those with 20+ have a CR of 3, those with 30 or more a CR of 4, accounting for the then nigh-unbeatable DCs of these tiny aberrations. Now it should be noted that the creature's bite attack's base damage, at 1d4, is slightly beyond the standard for Tiny size, which would be 1d3.

As always, the pdf comes with 3 solid adventure hooks to employ the critters.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on both a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series and while I'm not big on the social icons and dispersal of non-gaming parts through the pdf, from an aesthetic point of view, there is not much to complain about. The pdf comes with the classic Crawthorne-artwork as well as the gaze grabber artwork, which is decent. The pdf comes with a second, more printer-friendly iteration, which is nice to see. The book has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Spike Y Jones' gaze grabber is a decent creature; while it is a one-trick pony, its one trick is creative in its execution. That being said, it is a save-or-suck critter that either goes down fast or, in groups, can TPK whole groups of unlucky PCs. All are stunned and eaten, that's it. Attacking the eyes themselves, considering the low HP and sucky AC of the gaze grabber, makes for a bad proposition, which does undermine somewhat the tactical dimension of dealing with these critters. While not bad per se, the critter thus falls a bit short of the potential the concept has. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures: Gaze Grabber
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Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures: Treeshadow
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/14/2016 04:36:24

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures series clocks in at 5 pages - the front cover containing the header, creature artwork and the social media icons/homepage of misfit studios. The SRD takes up 1 1/3 pages and the editorial is in a sidebar - to get all the material you thus have to print out the cover with the icons as well.

What is a treeshadow? The simple response would be that it is a particularly nasty CR 4 fey - dubbed dkar'thu in their own language, the resemble dark-skinned, fanged elves that generally choose to live their days as a kind of ambush predator: They merge with trees along well-traveled paths and then burst forth from them to slice mortals to ribbons with their claws, believing themselves to be guardians of feykind...a task entwined with their quasi-religious fervor. When they begin their turn in a tree, they get DR 10/adamantine or cold iron and inflict +2d6 with all attacks; additionally, they do not provoke AoOs from leaving threatened squares when emerging from a tree. Tree merging is a bit of an oddity, ability-wise, since it does not explicitly state an action - this is due to it happening basically at will when the treeshadow ends his movement next to a Large or nigger inanimate (nice catch!) living tree. While thus merged, they retain their flexibility and may still move - but the tree is visually twisted...though this twisting is lessened via prolonged habitation; the longer they wait, the better their camouflage becomes. It should be noted that the base damage (2d6) of their claws is non-standard for their size, which is something purists may scoff at; personally, I can live with that.

As always, we get 3 solid adventure hooks to supplement the critter presented here.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on both a formal and rules-language level. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series and while I'm not big on the social icons and dispersal of non-gaming parts through the pdf, from an aesthetic point of view, there is not much to complain about. The pdf comes with the classic Crawthorne-artwork as well as the treeshadow artwork, which is okay, if nothing special The pdf comes with a second, more printer-friendly iteration, which is nice to see. The book has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Emily Brumfield's treeshadow is an impressive little build: Fey are pretty fragile and making a good skirmishing fey based on melee attacks is a pretty nice feat in itself. The abilities of the monster are connected well internally and leave me, frankly, not with a lot to complain about. For a buck, this is worth getting. 4.5 stars, rounded up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures: Treeshadow
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Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures: Storm Serpent
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/05/2016 10:05:50

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures series clocks in at 5 pages - the front cover containing the header, creature artwork and the social media icons/homepage of misfit studios. The SRD takes up 1 1/3 pages and the editorial is in a sidebar - to get all the material you thus have to print out the cover with the icons as well.

So, what is the storm serpent? Well, in short, it is a CR 10 magical beast that has an interesting assortment of abilities: They can basically cause their bite attack at range via concussive bolts (failing to specify the damage type, alas) and, as a standard action, they may call down vertical bolts of lightning as a standard action, causing "electrical" damage - which should be "electricity", but I'm nitpicking here. The storm serpent may breathe even in the airless void and is immune to harmful effects of weather and natural environments...which is a bit odd, considering that RAW this makes them immune versus lightning storms, but not lightning bolts hurled at them via a spell. Odd: What about the druidic spells? Do they qualify? Honestly not sure. They also gain an extra standard action, which may only be used to execute attacks and concealment when activating other abilities. As a move action, they may generate difficult terrain within 20 ft. and may maintain a dance that allows them to shift weather patterns "for several days" - okay, how long? I get that this is supposed to be a story-ability, but its execution still leaves something to be desired.

As always, we get 3 solid adventure hooks to supplement the critter presented here.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good, I noticed no severe formal glitches, though tehre are some deviations in the rules-language. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series and while I'm not big on the social icons and dispersal of non-gaming parts through the pdf, from an aesthetic point of view, there is not much to complain about. The pdf comes with the classic Crawthorne-artwork as well as the storm serpent artwork, which is kind of CGI-y, which is not bad per se...however, the artwork does become pixelated on the edges. The pdf comes with a second, more printer-friendly iteration, which is nice to see. The book has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Emily Brumfield's storm serpent has all the makings of an amazing critter - a bunch of cool and evocative abilities, some neat ideas and a strong theme. Alas, and this weighs heavily on this pdf, the small hiccups accumulate more in it than I would have liked. The glitches are mostly cosmetic, sure - but in a pdf of this size, their presence still baffles me a bit...and at least partially, they influence the mechanics of how the monster works. While by no means bad, the critter thus, alas, does lose some of its appeal to me. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures: Storm Serpent
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Metahuman Martial Arts
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/25/2016 19:06:11

II'm an older gamer who has been playing table top role-playing games for going on thirty years now and this book ranks as one of the best. Not since Aaron Allston's NINJA HERO for the old Champions rpg, or CJ Carella's GURPS Martial Arts, have I enjoyed an rpg book so much. The book is incredibly detailed and makes martial arts gaming fun and enhances the source material immensely. The system is so open and user friendly that anyone can use it to design their own fighting style, fictional or real, for any gaming genre. There are also numerous real and fictional styles to choose from. The authors love of the genre is obvious from his attention to detail and desire to recreate all the best real world and fictional martial arts styles and character types. A bargain at twice the price and a treasure for any martial arts gamer!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Metahuman Martial Arts
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Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures: Infected Zombie
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/22/2016 07:58:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures series clocks in at 6 pages - the front cover containing the header, creature artwork and the social media icons/homepage of misfit studios. The SRD takes up 1 page and the editorial is in a sidebar - to get all the material you thus have to print out the cover with the icons as well.

The infectious zombie is a pretty popular trope and this pdf reimagines them as a template - as presented, the template renders a creature that has acquired it a neutral undead (interesting choice!) - HD gained from class levels or racial HD are dropped and replaced with d8s, with sizes of the infected critter further increasing the HD of the afflicted: Small or Medium creatures receive +1 HD, Colossal ones +10 HD, with sizes in between clocking in at +2, +4 and +6 HD, respectively. Infected zombies gain darkvision 60 ft. Fort-saves are set at +1/3 HD, Ref at +1/3 HD and Will at +1/2 HD +2. Infected zombies gain channel resistance +2 and is not destroyed at 0 HP, instead continuing to function until they have been reduced to negative Charisma score hit points by anything but fire, acid or electricity. They are only destroyed by either reducing them to twice Charisma score in negative HP or a coup de grace. Below 0 HP, they are helpless, though they may still make attacks as a standard action versus creatures in their square. The template includes rules for called shots versus their brains, just fyi.

Winged infected zombies retain flight capabilities, but reduce maneuverability to clumsy and all other movement types are reduced to 2/3 of their former value- They gain slam attacks, the usual undead BAB and -2 Dex and lose all feats and don't gain any by HD...but they do gain Toughness. They are staggered and also lose any special qualities but extraordinary qualities that improve melee or ranged attacks. Oh, and obviously, they infect folks:

The pdf contains the walking death disease, which takes multiple exposures into account (nice!) - the more often you're exposed, the worse the DC gets. And zombie HD also influences the DC. The disease targets COn and may cause drain and is pretty virulent...so yeah, neat. The 3 adventure hooks provided are nice and the pdf does talk about the differences in comparison to plague zombies. Before you're asking - this template's respective CR is determined by the HD-value of the infected zombie, though the pdf could be a bit clearer in that regard. As written, it is not entirely clear whether you should look at the previous HD or the one after zombification to determine CR and XP. It's obviously the latter, but yeah. The pdf does feature a CR 1/2 sample infected zombie for your convenience.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series and while I'm not big on the social icons and dispersal of non-gaming parts through the pdf, from an aesthetic point of view, there is not much to complain about. The pdf comes with the classic Crawthorne-artwork as well as the zombie artwork and a nice piece of a decayed zombie head. The pdf comes with a second, more printer-friendly iteration, which is nice to see. The book has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Steven Trustrum's take on making infected zombies is surprisingly cool: While not everybody will be excited about the Called Shot-mechanic for brain attacks, it makes sense and enhances the theme nicely. All in all a good, fun little offering, well worth a final verdict of 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures: Infected Zombie
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Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures: Imperial Land Griffon
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/18/2016 07:10:19

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures series clocks in at 5 pages - the front cover containing the header, creature artwork and the social media icons/homepage of misfit studios. The SRD takes up about 1.5 pages and the editorial is in a sidebar - to get all the material you thus have to print out the cover with the icons as well.

So, what is the land griffon? Well, according to the nice cover artwork they are basically non-airborne griffon with bird-like forelegs - as such, their carrying capacity is reduced - which is something I like. However, containing attribute modifications via class features, it would have been nice to get a formula here instead of absolute values - as written, you have to deduce new carrying capacity values yourself. The pdf does mention prices for young and fully trained ones as well as the eponymous Crawthorne's commentary on the critter as well as two variants:

The Imperial Land Griffon (Scout) and the (cavalry)-breed - both are magical beasts that clock in at CR 1, with scouts excelling at Perception - +10 for 2 HD is nothing to snuff at. They are docile, though - but scout training leaves them with the attack, come, down, seek and track tricks. The creature also receives +2 to Survival to track prey with other griffons...which leaves me a bit puzzled how many of them you need to get that bonus. Does one suffice?

The cavalry griffon does not have the docile ability and thus gets primary natural claws to supplement the bite; default training-wise, they begin play with the attack, come, defend, down, guard and heel tricks. They are also trained to intimidate foes on command. Pretty nice: We get 3 relatively neat adventure ideas to use the critters herein.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series and while I'm not big on the social icons and dispersal of non-gaming parts through the pdf, from an aesthetic point of view, there is not much to complain about. The pdf comes with the classic Crawthorne-artwork as well as the land griffon artwork. Personally, I'm not a big fan of them being a stark blue, but the artwork does provide some cute eyes for the critters, which has the intended effect of "I want one!" on those susceptible to these notions. The pdf comes with a second, more printer-friendly iteration, which is nice to see. The book has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Spike Y Jones' imperial land griffons are a solid entry in the series and while I encountered some very minor ambiguities, I can't really complain in that regard - the builds are focused and efficient and feel "right" - you know, none-too-smart magical beasts being focused on being efficient predators and the like. The absence of mount/animal companion stats, however, severely limits their use - they're mounts and lack the convenient animal companion progression-info you'd need to use them as mounts...which is kind of a big deal and eliminates the main use you'd usually have for them. This leaves us with only the critter-use. In the end, this is not a bad installment, but it does shoot itself into its own foot. My final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Crawthorne's Catalog of Creatures: Imperial Land Griffon
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Bite Me! Weretigers
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/25/2016 11:30:44

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Bite Me!-series clocks in at 33 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC,4 1/5th pages of SRD, 3 pages of advertisements, leaving us with ~23 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This time around, we take a look at weretigers, now reimagined as part of the Bite Me!-series. They get +2 Dex and Str, -2 Int, the two bloods racial feature (making you count as a parent race as well as a shapeshifter for purposes of being affected by effects), low-light vision, +2 to Perception and Survival. Beast Form works is presented in a rather precise wording construct that takes temporary hit points, equipment and the like into account and the odd formatting discrepancies gone - no complaints. In beats or hybrid form, DR 2/silver is gained and increases by +2 every odd level gained to a maximum of DR 10/silver. The weretiger gains wolfsbane vulnerability and silver vulnerability. Weretigers also gain +4 to Stealth in undergrowth while in beast or hybrid form - that should probably be a racial bonus, though. As written, it is untyped. That may just be me, but I am not too keen on wolfsbane as a universal vulnerability for lycanthrope-races; to me, it makes less sense for weretigers to be affected by it, but that just as an aside. Okay, here is something that will be cheesed by power-gamers: Weretigers with natural weapons increase the base damage of their claws and bite attacks by one step if they receive it from another, non-racial source. This does not have a non-stackable note. Worse, the rules-language is sloppy: "Increase their hybrid form's damage by one step" - this would also pertain weapons and lacks the reference to the specific natural weapon in question: As written, a bite-enhancer, a claw enhancer etc. would stack for ALL damage caused, not only for the respective natural weapon.

The beast form nets 3 natural attacks and rake as a start, which is pretty nasty. The race is, as a whole, stronger than the other Bite Me!-races introduced so far, which may or may not bug you. Good news is that, if you ignore the horrid dice-step-increase (or use it RAI), it should remain manageable. Weretigers are go-getters and natural rulers and none-too-social and the general flavor provided is solid. On a plus-side, the pdf comes with a full age, height and weight-table. The pdf comes with a total of 10 alternate race traits that include white pelt and arctic acclimatization, alternate racial stats (-2 Str, +2 Dex and Cha), being a black panther, gaining 3 1/day SPs...and replacing silver vulnerability with gold vulnerability. This did elicit a sigh of relief from yours truly - I'm a rather big fan of diversifying lycanthropes more and this is a great way to do just that. On a formatting level, it is somewhat odd to see RP-values for all components in the table listing them all, but have the RP-values inconsistent in their depiction behind the respective racial traits - the base lycanthrope frame-work lacks them, while they are noted in the headers of the new/customizing options. This is aesthetic, though. On the plus-side, the pdf prearranges the alternate racial traits in 3 handy bundles. The favored class options provided for the APG, UC and magus classes are generally nice and lack issues, through +5 ft.-range for non-touch hexes for the witch may be a bit too much.

The pdf also offers new class options, the first of which would be the lycanthrope bloodline - and no it's not the lycanthrope bloodline from the main Bite Me!-book, nor identical with the other lycanthrope bloodlines...so why not give it a less occupied nomenclature? The bloodline nets DR, Constitution bonuses as well as scaling claw attacks with bleed added. Higher levels allow for a kind of pseudo-rage as well as a capstone Hybrid/Primal transformation shapechanger-apotheosis. This does not change the fact that melee-centric sorcs usually are a pretty bad idea, so yeah. The pdf also features a subdomain - the rakshasa subdomain, which features blasphemous, weakening whispers, whose penalty can be mitigated by committing evil acts...cool! Speaking of which: The pdf features racial archetypes as well, the first of which would be the Durjana inquisitor, who is a servant of rakshasa rajadhirajas (5 sample provided) with a unique judgment. 3rd level nets a raktavarna rakshasa Improved Familiar in the shape of a favored weapon, replacing 3rd level's teamwork feat. Solo tactics is moved up to 6th level. Instead of Discern Lies, the archetype can lie with impunity, undetectable by mundane means and 20th level nets a rakshasa apotheosis. As a nitpick, the capstone apotheosis does not specify whether the natural weapons gained are primary or secondary, but that can be pretty easily be deduced.

The second archetype herein would be the Silvertongue bard who gains a powerful charming performance that thankfully comes with a once in 24-hours hex-style limit as well as the higher level option to inspire true devotion from the targets. Instead of versatile performance, the archetype learns to pen missives that contain compulsions, which oozes narrative potential. Thematically, the archetype also gets social skill benefits. This pdf has the best racial archetypes in the whole series so far. No cookie-cutting, unique, cool.

The pdf also provides 13 feats, one of which would be the classic Hybrid Shape of the Bite Me!-engine. Unfortunately, the feats are not all great -Beguiling Speech is a sucky skill-bonus feat. But that's about it regarding suck: We get bite attacks, which can be enhanced with bleed; darkvision 90 ft., leadership-enhancing, better stalking...oh. And Sabertoothed. Sabertooth weretiger. Oh yes. Wolfsbane Resistance can also be found, swim speed and sensitive whiskers that allow for miss rerolls are also part of the deal. Limited wound healing by licking them and hurl nauseating hairballs (!!!) at foes complement this section, making the feat-chapter this time around by far the most inspired in the series so far.

Regarding items, we get alchemical gold as a new material and two magic items - jade tiger figurines and rings that can store weapons - no complaints here. The pdf does feature 5 new spells (alongside a modification of summon monster for weretigers) - the spells include a multi-tiger summoning spell, a tiger-polymorph buff, the silvering silverclaw spell (which can be modified to be gold instead) as well as a powerful spell that makes hands into oversized jadefists that can be used as touch attacks and smashed together to destroy them and send them flying as jade shrapnel showers towards a foe. As a nitpick, it does not specify damage-types for the damage inflicted. Finally, the 9th level Ritual of Nine Lives is incredibly powerful -basically a raise dead, cast 9 times in advance. Damn powerful and potentially campaign-changing, so handle with care...but also pretty cool.

As always, we also receive fully developed NPCs with extensive backgrounds, schemes and motivations and the like - the first would be a CR 2 magus (familiar included) and the second would be a CR 11 barbarian - the latter character comes with the badass Hybrid shape form included and the great full color artwork depicting her.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, apart from the somewhat odd decision regarding the RP-thingy, but that's cosmetic. Layout adheres to Misfit Studios' two-column full-color standard and the pdf features several gorgeous, original full-color artworks in Jacob Blackmon's signature style. The pdf comes with a second, more printer-friendly version - kudos! The pdfs are fully bookmarked as well.

It's been a while since I bashed previous works of Peter Ullman. Suffice to say, I did not look forward to this installment...only to be positively surprised. While not 100% perfect, the pdf does several things right: Weretigers feel significantly more culturally distinct than previous Bite Me! lycanthropes; the archetypes are more interesting than in previous iterations and the general book feels fresher, less sterile - in short, the book has more bite, makes me want to include its material. Come on, you know you want to play a sabretooth-weretiger barbarian and hurl hairballs at foes, right? I know I want to! This is not goofy, though - the archetypes and material can be played as such, but is pretty serious. The installment, as a whole, is the first of the individual race-centric Bite Me!-books that really has this spark, this inspiration suffusing the book. My final verdict hence will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down only because of the minor hiccups here and there; if this was formally perfect and had its very minor rough edges polished off, this would be 5 stars + seal of approval. if you get one of these, get this one!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bite Me! Weretigers
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Bite Me! Wererats
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/18/2016 04:49:23

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Bite Me!-series clocks in at 27 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 3 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 19 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This time around, we take a look at wererats, now reimagined as part of the Bite Me!-series. They get +2 Dex and Con, -2 Wis, the two bloods racial feature (making you count as a parent race as well as a shapeshifter for purposes of being affected by effects), low-light vision, +2 to Perception and Survival. Beast Form works is presented in a rather precise wording construct that takes temporary hit points, equipment and the like into account and the odd formatting discrepancies gone - no complaints. In beats or hybrid form, DR 2/silver is gained and increases by +2 every odd level gained to a maximum of DR 10/silver. The wererat gains wolfsbane vulnerability and silver vulnerability. Wererats also gain Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat. That may just be me, but I am not too keen on wolfsbane as a universal vulnerability for lycanthrope-races; to me, it makes less sense for wererats to be affected by it, but that just as an aside. Regarding beast form and advancement, wererats may actually be suitable for the less powerful groups than some of the other Bite Me-iterations, since their diseased bite may be strong, but has less direct combat application.

Wererats get their own age, height and weight table, which is nice. The race does receive an assortment of no less than 11 alternate racial traits that include darkvision, Dodge as a bonus feat, emphasis on the social nature of rats, permanent rat teeth (cool!) or the option to call forth rodents to talk to and command. No complaints here and the section does combine these in handy, preconfigured set-ups for your perusal. The pdf provides favored class options for the APG, classes, UC-classes and the magus. They generally are cool, though the barbarian-entry lacks the note that the movement speed increase does not have mechanical repercussions unless taken in increments of 5 to account for the 5-ft-focus of tactical movement.

The pdf features a total of 3 different archetypes, the first of which would be the Bully Slayer ranger, who specializes in bringing down Large or larger humanoids and replaces wild empathy for +1/2 class level to Intimidate checks, while also losing the size penalty. 1/day bane versus bullies and longer duration of the ability complement this one. The second archetype is the lightning rager barbarian, who modifies rage to instead grant +2 Str and Con, +4 Dex; 3rd level provides a scaling dodge bonus to AC and an insight bonus to Ref-saves. 7th level nets evasion, 13th improved evasion. Huge problem: The better rages do not follow the theme set by the base rage ability, making the archetype feel half-finished. Not something a GM can't fix, but still. The third archetype would be the Sewer druid, who replaces woodland stride with skill bonuses, movement through difficult terrain in sewers instead of trackless step and iron stomach as well as disease immunity. Wild shape is gained later, at 6th level and at -2 druid levels...oh, and they may assume otyugh and ooze-forms.

The pdf offers a total of 12 racial feats for wererats. These feats include 1/day rerolls due to danger sense, skilled disappearing in crowds, improving the summon tricks to include swarms, bleed to bites, a swim speed and some unique tricks via a 3-feat Style-chain: For example, when targeted by a full attack and missed by all attacks, you can retaliate with a combat maneuver to render the foe fatigued. The problem is that this feat does not specify an activation action - I assume it just happens when the foe misses you, but I'm not sure. Gaining the benefits of being Small is possible and the pdf also has a means to use next a 5-foot-step to avoid attacks, which is cool. Somewhat odd - the feat makes clear that the character can't use a 5-foot step in the round following its use, making sure that you basically borrow next round's 5-foot-step, but what about regular movement? I assume that's still possible or does the evasive action count as next round's 5-foot step and thus eliminates other movement? This pdf does not contain Bite Me!'s Hybrid and Primal Shape feats, so if you're looking for these, you'll need supplemental material.

The pdf also covers items - a total of 4 mundane items is included, featuring rat scent, rat-calling pipes, slick that helps staying out of the grasp of foes and air sweetener to avoid diseases. The pdf also features a new special weapon quality, which, at +1, increases hide and miss chances AND maintains invisibility for the attacker...which is insane and totally underpriced, particularly since it can be applied to ranged weapons. A helm that facilitates rodent communication and nets a diseased bite attack (properly codified as primary) and a rat saddle are okay, as are lenses that can store light they then may emit as fiery rays. The one item that really is cool among the magical ones would be oil that slims targets passing through squares treated with it, allowing thieves and scoundrels to escape through impossibly thin cracks - very cool.

The pdf features a rodent subdomain that allows the user to gain increased speed and a bonus to Stealth 3+Wis-mod times per day. The pdf also features a total of 5 new spells: Close Quarters is intriguing: It allows you and another Medium or smaller ally to occupy the same square and count as flanking foes if you attack the same target, which is incredibly useful for sneak attack. That being said, the spell assumes that you move into an adjacent square when it ends - but what if there is no room? Also, at level 1 bard, inqui and ranger, this spell is pretty strong, though the restriction to the "tricky" classes keeps is still in the "potentially VERY problematic" rather than the "broken" field. Using crowd stride to teleport through crowds is pretty cool and gnaw anything lets you ignore significant amounts of hardness with a selected natural weapon. Growing creatures in a swarm to twice their size is cool and there is a spell-option to increase the deadliness of diseases and poisons.

The pdf concludes with two sample characters with extensive backgrounds, motivations and schemes to incorporate them in your game - Suilin Hinatoi, a CR 11 monk/ninja and Merrick, a CR 9 sewer druid - both of the characters come with stats for humanoid and beast shape. As for the flavor of wererats as presented here, I don't have significant complaints this time around - the social nature and predilection to guild structures, warrens and use of rodents as pets make sense and utilize the established material well.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level, though on a rules-level, there are some minor hiccups. Layout adheres to Misfit Studios' two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with a second, more printer-friendly version: Kudos!! The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and with an array of gorgeous full-color original pieces in Jacob Blackmon's signature style. Particularly the rat-toothed humanoid shape getting ready to gnaw through a rope is awesome.

Robert H. Hudson Jr. and Mike Welham's wererats rank among the better offerings in the wererat series. While there is some material to nitpicking the details, as a whole, there are some gems to be found in the squeezing and crowd-maneuvering component. Power-level-wise, the wererat is one of my favorites among the individual lycanthrope-race pdfs in the series. That being said, the hiccup in the barbarian is not too cool and the other archetypes didn't really wow me either - I've frankly seen the concepts done in more complex and detailed ways. Usually, the items are a highlight in these and the same holds true here - there is some magic to be found...though the book oversteps balance-wise its boundaries here and there.

Staying invisible while attacking sans requiring a the improved version is very strong and in the hands of the right build, can be devastating. Similarly, two capable sneakers occupying the same space can make for a true shredder with the right build. This does not make the options broken, mind you - it just is a symptom of an impression of this pdf, namely that it could have used a slightly more delicate touch requiring some of the repercussions of its effects. These do not have to come up, mind you...but they may. In spite of the gems herein and me liking quite a bit of what I can see here, I hence have to rate this 3.5 stars, rounded down - a mixed bag slightly on the positive side.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Bite Me! Wererats
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Bite Me! Werebats
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/16/2016 18:33:35

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Bite Me-series clocks in at 27 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 3 pages of advertisement, 2 pages of SRD (with one page sporting one paragraph of text pertaining char-hooks), leaving us with 20 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This time around, we take a look at werebats, now reimagined as part of the Bite Me!-series. They get +2 Dex and Con, -2 Int, the two bloods racial feature (making you count as a parent race as well as a shapeshifter for purposes of being affected by effects), low-light vision, +2 to Perception and Fly. Beast Form works is presented in a rather precise wording construct that takes temporary hit points, equipment and the like into account and the odd formatting discrepancies gone - no complaints. In beats or hybrid form, DR 2/silver is gained and increases by +2 every odd level gained to a maximum of DR 10/silver. The werebat gains wolfsbane vulnerability and silver vulnerability. That may just be me, but I am not too keen on wolfsbane as a universal vulnerability for lycanthrope-races; to me, it makes less sense for werebats to be affected by it, but that just as an aside. Regarding beast form and advancement, I do not have significant complaints here...apart from the elephant in the room. We're talking BATS here, after all, and as such, beast form provides unassisted flight at 1st level, which may present a significant issue for some campaigns and modules, where unassisted flight is generally assumed to be available at around 5th or 6th level. Now I've ranted, raved and analyzed the unassisted flight component in detail in various reviews of mine, so let me leave you with this as a caveat emptor warning for GMs and move on. Werebats get their own age, height and weight table, which is nice.

Flavor-wise, werebats make sense to me: Considering the relatively social nature their real life brethren exhibit, expecting a tendency towards the lawful in spite of what outsiders would consider a pretty chaotic commune-structure as the most common social norm, werebats as depicted here are actually pretty comfortable in their hides and environments, which is certainly a relatively intriguing spin on the concept, deviating from the old tropes regarding them. Customization-wise, we receive a total of 7 alternate racial traits for quicker flying, Small werebats and improved social skills. I have an issue with one of these: Cavern Colonist nets a climb speed of 10 feet as well as +8 racial bonus on Climb checks associated with having a climb speed. Stacking with the bonus inherent in climb speed? There wording makes it look like it is. The trait also retains a 30 feet fly speed, regardless of form and fails to note what it replaces. On the plus-side, 3 different subtypes have been created for your convenience using the traits - just one look and there you go.

The pdf also features an array of favored class options covering Core and APG-classes as well as Magus and the UC-classes. In an only aesthetic nitpick, the names of the classes here are usually red and properly bolded - the cleric, oddly, is not red, but black. That's it and pretty much the definition of a harmless cosmetic hiccup. Rules-wise, however, the section of favored class options provides solid and feasible rules-operations and leaves nothing to be desired.

A massive total of 13 racial feats have been included, though veterans of the series will recognize some of them from previous installments: Primal Form makes a return, as does Hybrid Form, which was curiously absent in some of the installments. Personally, I welcome the inclusion of the two pretty central feats. The feats range from useful to creative: Using Fly instead of Acrobatics or as the skill governing bardic performances, for example, makes sense. blindsense 10 ft. that can be upgraded similarly makes sense and better dogfighting capabilities are appreciated. Improving CMD while flying and increasing maneuverability similarly fall into the utility category. Dazing Shriek and its follow-up feat Fearsome Shriek allow werebats to modulate their blindsense to emit an AoE-daze burst as a move action, allowing them to potentially daze lock enemies. While only available at 6th level and beyond, the lack of a hard cap (or at least cool-down) make me uncomfortable with this feat...which is rather odd, considering that Fearsome Shriek's debuffing cone does have a hard cap of uses and arguably, is weaker regarding its direct effects, though the lack of a save makes this also pretty hard-core and something I'd personally nerf in my games. Gaining a reflexive 5-foot step after being hit while airborne is really cool and, speaking of which - there is a feat called Feet like Hands which lets you use your feet for fine manipulations, wielding weapons, etc. However, the feat fails to specify how its benefits interact with multiweapon fighting etc. and, as written needs some serious GM work to work. Oh, becoming a disease carrier is also an option.

The pdf features one racial archetype, the thunder child monk, who gains a sonic-damage causing elemental fist that increases in damage output every 5 levels instead of stunning fist. At 4th level, slow fall is replaced with the option expend 2 points of ki to emit blasts of sonic energy that duplicate a sonic based variant of scorching ray. This theme is expanded at 8th level, where a variant of breath of the dragon can be found, 10th level, where discordant blast is unlocked and 14th level, where, for 3 ki, ki shout is unlocked. All of these are supernatural, but come with CL-info as well as concentration info, which is generally nice. I like the visuals of the archetype, in spite of many abilities being spells-in-a-can-style tricks; certainly one of the more evocative and flavorful archetypes in the series.

The pdf also features information pertaining mundane equipment, which includes bomber's harness, foot shields and delightfully disgusting guano grenades. On the magical item front, a total of 5 items can be found, with carrying nets helping the werebats carry loads while staying aloft, featherlight armor helping with protection while flying. Absolutely glorious: The gastrolith of the hidden hand: Eat a small stone shaped like a finger with a ring on it; you thereafter may vomit forth the ring intentionally (or when really botching saves vs. the nauseated condition), allowing for some pretty cool ring-smuggling. Infusion Collars act as a store option for infusions or extracts of up to 6 3rd level or lower extracts or infusions, which then can be activated via command word. I'm not the biggest fan of such storage items, but for the steep price, I can see it work. Screamer's Masks, finally, would be sonic-blasts-in-a-can.

The pdf also features a total of 6 new spells: These allow you to conjure forth bat swarms or riding bats, emit a sonic scream that can be hear up to 2 miles away, helping orientation and two mirrored spells that grant a bonus/penalize cavern exploration. An anti-air net of entangling force similarly makes sense.

The two sample characters in this installment would be a werebat paladin at CR 6 and a werebat alchemist at CR 9; the paladin comes with statblocks for all three forms (he has Hybrid Shape), while the alchemist comes with two; both of the NPCs feature, as always, neat artworks and notes on schemes and plots to integrate them easier into an ongoing campaign.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level; on a rules-level, there are some minor things that can use a bit of streamlining, but as a whole, the book does a good job. Layout adheres to Misfit Studios' two-column full-color standard and the pdf features several nice, original full-color artworks. As a nice service, we get a printer-friendly iteration of the pdf and the pdfs are fully bookmarked with nested, detailed bookmarks for your convenience.

Robert H. Hudson Jr.'s werebats are honestly better than I expected; while there is some overlap in the base engine of the race (i.e. it has the same traits as the other Bite Me!-lycanthrope-races with one skill switched), the beast form benefits are pretty solid and while 1st level unassisted flight is something I am very weary of in Pathfinder contexts, as a whole, the presentation here is nice. There are some fun ideas to be found herein and, while flaws exist, as a whole the pdf provides a pretty nice look at werebats. In the end, this is a good pdf of mechanically, but not power-wise conservative designs with a few hiccups. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 due to in dubio pro reo. If you disallow low-level unassisted flight, these obviously are not for you, though.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bite Me! Werebats
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