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Infinity's Edge
by Konrad Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/04/2020 22:52:50

There is a nice system here I think, but the presentation leaves something to be desired and shows a lack of attention to detail. Mostly there are small quibbles such as:

  • The xp based advancement system stating that traits should have an XP cost if you use it but then neglecting to actually give any XP costs for the sample traits.
  • No rules given for starting equipment.
  • Equipment chapter gives a lot of rules but no examples of equipment builds that use thouse rules.
  • Runestones are a thing that exists, and there is a skill for creating them but no explanation of what they do.
  • Herbalism is likewise underdefined though not as badly we at least get an idea fo what herbal mixtures do.

All in all it feels like substantial chunk of the system never made it into the book and remains in the author's personal notes, or perhapse merely in his head.
Lastly the arrangement of information is somewhat poor, it works well enough to be read through but I can see it making it difficult to find things during play seeing as the Table of contents is rarether sparse and there is no index. If you want to find the list of sample traits for example you have to remember that its in the Core Mechanics Chapter. There are also a few other chapters which have useful tables scattered about them.

I would also have liked to see a skill list per attribute, though this is more of a personal opinion, as I think it replicates the source material well. In the source characters often put a lot more points into one attribute over the others due to the way skills are so linked.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Infinity's Edge
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Thunderscape: Villains of Aden
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/02/2020 13:56:11

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Thunderscape-supplement clocks in at 17 pages, 1 page front cover,1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 12 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, like the last supplement in the series, this pdf focuses on depicting named NPCs with their respective stats and brief histories – so let’s see if this one fares better!

Well, if the Smoketown Bandit, a CR 4 jurak alchemist radically opposed to Mekanus’ industrial infrastructure is anything to go by, then partially, but not wholly: The build is missing its daily bombu-use, bomb DC, and unless I overlooked something, their damage is off as well, which is a pity, for the discovery-selection is neat. Arcus the Black (CR 11) once was a member of the Radiant Order but his slow descent into anti-paladin-dom isn’t really justified, which struck me as weird, considering he’s got an arena where he pits the captured against each other and legions of soldiers. He, like the previous character, and all but ONE NPC in the entire book, is missing his threat-range and critical multiplier. Big no-go. His CMD is also off by 1. On the plus side, I liked that favored class options and ability score improvements taken are explicitly noted in the pdf.

Bilefang, a rapacian fallen (befouled) 7, is interesting: The survivor of a horrible catastrophe, he has found solace in his unique, grotesque and mutated state, and uses his powers as a killer for hire. Nice one. Durreal the bloody, a level 1 thunder scout, acts as a horribly-scarred vigilante. His signature vehicle’s stats are not included, and yes, I noticed a hiccup in the stats as well. Goremax Bloodhorn, a CR 9 ferran brute golemoid (juggernaut) was once a feared bandit lord – but when he was considered to be slain, his will persevered and allowed him to reach a mechamage, and he became a golemoid – I like that idea. He is tough well-armored, but oddly, two of his magic items are not in italics.

Infectious Elanna is one of the more interesting characters herein: The CR 7 entomancer is obsessed with insects carrying infectious diseases. Her CMD is off, big time. Verminous servant stats are not provided. Karigitha, a serpentine-blooded Jurak sorcerer captured and brainwashed by naga, is a tragic figure, and comes with a sidebar that talks about the possibility of redemption here – I liked that. Unfortunately, I e.g. did notice e.g. spell DCs noted being off. The Shogun (the one character who correctly lists threat-range/multiplier) is a samurai 5/slayer 5. The build lists a feat called “7”, which I couldn’t find and assume to be a glitch. The swamp lord is a CR 15 master summoner who is missing his spell save DCs and has other glitches as well. On the plus-side, abbreviated minion stats are included.

Tovar, the Grand Kazan of the High Steppes, is facing a challenge he probably won’t be able to win, against a jurak contender…and we all know how the desperate can cling to power. This CR 13 villain is super interesting, in that he stands to lose everything. His mount’s stats, are absent from the book, even though his rage powers include ferocious mount and trample. The Iron Tyrant Lord Marlek Urbane gets a huge and compelling background story, and is a genuinely complex character: Both heartless despot and one of Aden’s greatest heroes ever. AWESOME. His artwork is similarly amazing. Rules-wise, he is a paladin (shining knight) 14/fighter (tactician) 4, and gets CR 17 – I assume due to resources! I really like that, in spite of his alignment, he’s not an antipaladin, and his faith and doctrine are fully explained. This fellow’s build is also one of the more challenging ones and worthy of such a legend. I’d go so far as to say that this fellow is also the hero of this supplement, as it’s easily the most interesting construction within. The final NPC herein, Wamba the Mad, is an elven witch who curiously seems to ignore that fact…she is thoroughly obsessed with immortalizing her legend…and insane. Kid most of the time…but, well. She is multi-facetted, and from small tidbits about her character to this dynamic, I liked her story, if not her build, which, you guessed it, does have hiccups. No familiar stats included either.

The pdf concludes on a strong note, with two villain organizations, namely the Gray Masters and the Nameless Ones – both are strong and inspiring, but don’t sport any actual organization rules – they are all about flavor, but do that well.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, on a formal level are good; on a rules-language level, this is a deeply-flawed offering, though not as uneven as the Heroes of Aden book – there is more consistency here, and the builds are more interesting as well. Layout adheres to Thunderscape’s two-column full-color standard, and the pdf comes with 2 neat full-color artworks I liked seeing. Annoyingly, the pdf lacks any bookmarks, which is a comfort-detriment.

Shawn Carman, Chris Camarata, Rob Drake and Rich Wulf have certainly improved since the last book of NPCs. There are, writing-wise, some real gems and cool villain concepts in the book; there also are some less exciting ones, but as a whole, the lore is neat. The statblocks, while less problematic than in the last book, unfortunately still suffer quite a bit. There are a lot of small hiccups herein, though they tend to be at least somewhat consistent. You can use the stats here and get a CR-relevant villain…but the errors are still a downside, particularly the annoyingly persistent threat-range glitch, hiccups like daily uses missing, and off DCs. The latter is particularly puzzling when the build focused on getting that DC up via feats… So yeah, rules-wise, there is still quite some room for improvement. The absence of any companion stats, even for classes that have it as a crucial feature, is JARRING. Seriously.

And yet, it represents an improvement in writing, in build-quality, and as a whole, while I consider this to be a mixed bag on the negative side of things, I’ll round up due to in dubio pro reo from my final verdict of 2.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape: Villains of Aden
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Thunderscape: Heroes of Aden
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/25/2020 12:28:58

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 11 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

So, what is this? Well, functionally, this is a collection of NPC allies with statblocks included. They are the named variety, so not the generic everyman’s statblocks, and the individuals make ample use of Thunderscape’s class array; if required, for example when a thaumaturge is concerned, we have the stats modified by the typically-channeled legend featured in brackets, with spirit points properly noted. Similarly, more complex rules operations are noted in brackets, which can be handy for some less experienced GMs.

We begin with Corbin Clark, who may be of Kuzark stock, though his name is that of an Arasteen native; he oddly is a staunch enemy of the concept of a rewarding life after death, but still is an ardent enemy of the wicked – a position I can relate to, and one rarely seen in TTRPG-products. Rules-wise, he is a fighter2/thaumaturge 4. Aforementioned use of brackets is somewhat inconsistent here, with the senses line noting a Perception of +8, which is the value provided for the legend; this extends to all such characters using thaumaturge legends, just fyi. The statblock is per se nice, but sports errors, like an incorrect initiative value and the magical shortswords not in proper italics in the offense section.

Next up would be Daevid, an echo bard 5/thaumaturge 4 (who ALSO draws on the warrior legend as a default), bereaved of his paladin love; a solid tragic hero. Davan Campos’ bloodline hails back to the  first Lord Protector of the Mistland Republic, he is an exceptionally driven and capable captain, a steamwright 18 who gets a new trait that allows for halved size for non-combat starting inventions. Kaera, Sorceress of the Free Cities, is at this point one of the most powerful benevolent protectors of the Coolwave Coast. Mechanically, she is a rogue 3/sorcerer 15, and while liked her background, her statblock lacks the HD lists, her AC similarly lacks the breakdown of how it’s calculated, her feats are lower case, her statblocks lists her iterative attacks, and her, build, as a whole, is VERY unfocused;  at her level, she is rather ill-prepared to face her appropriate challenges.

Magnus Arcane’s name, before you groan, is indeed a pseudonym, and the somewhat odd black sheep of the family, he’s taken to magic. His statblock (he is a universalist wizard 11) is btw. also missing HD-breakdown, AC bonus key, etc. Marek Celdyrm a level 8 thaumaturge, does not have this issue and lists the like properly. He is also drawing upon a different legend – protector, this time around; Marek is hunting a necromancer, seeking to end the family curse.  Michiko the Fox, an elven ninja, gets a ninja trick that lets her spend 1 point of ki to gain scent for 10 minutes, which is neat, but no activation action is provided; that should probably be free. Ridiculous: Know what scent helps most? Yea, noticing stuff and  tracking. Michiko has not a single rank of Survival. Her list of ninja tricks is also missing this one, and her CMD is listed as “+20”. Her weapon is incorrectly called “katana of frost” instead of frost katana, among other issues.

A mechamage of remarkable skill, Mykal the Toymaker is the lavishly-illustrated fellow on the cover, and being a friend of the fellow (a new trait that is not properly classified by trait type) makes a beginning golmeoid implant masterwork. It is odd, then, that such a potent fellow only ranks at 7 class levels. Odder still: While he comes with a doll golem, the text also mentions his dollhouse, a mobile manor house that can fit into a 30-foot-square, with rotating cannon-platforms. No, that’s NOT the doll golem. Yes, the issues in the statblocks are here as well, with CMD, among other things, being off. I really don’t get why the exceedingly cool Dollhouse wasn’t statted properly.

Nikkos Moran is fighter 5 who uses a single shortsword, not kidding; his CMB and CMD are also wrong. Most amateur players can make a better fighter. Ophelia Mimina is a bard 12 focusing on casting (no magic weapon, all defense) who erroneously lists her CMD as 13. Reinn is a fighter 3/ranger 5 multiclass, and is essentially described as a lone wanderer over whom little is known. The final NPC is Taela Dragonstar, a sorcerer 4 with the draconic bloodline, with 4 qinggong monk levels and 2 seer levels thrown in; is her build impressive when compared to what shows u at my table? Not really, but she is leagues better than  the majority of NPCs herein, and she feels like a character that could kinda happen in a game where the player focuses on making the development of the character based primarily on the story.

The pdf ends with some general advice on handling NPCs and a brief campaign framework of PCs as pseudo law enforcers in Mekanus.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are not good on a formal or rules-language level; I noticed too many discrepancies and hiccups that influence the rules. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf sports a really neat full-color artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, which is a comfort detriment.

The different design skills of Shawn Carman, Chris Camarata, Rob Drake and Rich Wulf are, alas, on full display here: There are a few NPCs I’d consider to be worth introducing, but from the formal hiccups to the build validity on the characters featured herein, the supplement is highly inconsistent on a mechanical level. This tendency, alas, extends to the stories as well, which range from captivating and interesting to utterly bland; unfortunately, cool complex and good builds don’t necessarily correlate in the supplement, which renders recommending this something I simply can’t do. This is not the worst NPC book I’ve seen, but it is a long shot from being fully functional or something I’d recommend to a discerning GM. My final verdict can’t exceed 2.5 stars, rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape: Heroes of Aden
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Thunderscape: Law & Destiny
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/01/2020 04:56:50

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This class-centric supplement for Thunderscape clocks in at 37 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page back cover, 1 page SRD, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, leaving us with 32 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This book, in case you did not know, is all about Thunderscape’s arbiter and seer classes – I assume that you’re familiar with both of them in this review. It should also be noted that, while this is a book about those classes, it is very much one about these classes in the context of Thunderscape’s world of Aden, so this is not just a splatbook of new mechanics, which is evident from the get-go by the massive piece of in-game prose that the book starts out with. The book engages in a couple of interesting operations in that regard: “Law & Destiny”, for example, is a thing in-game - it’s Aden’s most popular, longest-running fiction series.

Indeed, we do get very detailed explanations of the role of the respective classes not only in the context of the role in the party, but also regarding the history of the class in question and their role within the context of Aden as a whole, and the respective nations in particular. These very detailed explorations into Aden’s lore are written in a compelling way and are surprisingly versatile. So yeah, the prose featured herein is pretty impressive. Of course, these entries make distinctions between Pre- and Post-Darkfall!

That being said, there are also new rules-relevant components, such as new arbiter maneuvers. Unless I have miscounted, we get 19 new arbiter maneuvers. Some of these provide linear scaling of mechanics – for example Applied Intellect would fall in that category, as it allows you to treat your Intelligence score as 2 higher for the purpose of arbiter class features, reducing the MAD (Multiple Attribute Dependency) slightly; armored fall adds Acrobatics to your class skill list, lets you ignore some falling distance, and decreases the damage dice caused by falling. In an interesting small tweak, these benefits only apply while wearing medium or heavy armor, and a kite shield. This is a relatively rarely seen design-style – you can see the arbiter using their armor and shield to cushion the fall to a degree. The design paradigms of these options also manage to account for interesting operations that show a cognizance of finer balance-components of PFRPG. Take the demolish maneuver: It builds on the shielded stance, and doubles the threat range, as well as adding Intelligence modifier to the damage. Interesting here is that it gets the interaction with other threat range expansions right, limiting the stacking of such effects to specific class abilities, while proscribing the use in conjunction with other components. Making AoOs inflict short-term entangled or penalties applied to the target’s attacks versus targets apart from the arbiter also fall into this interesting category.

Other maneuvers include gaining social skills as well as rerolling e.g. Diplomacy checks (which makes sense – the class is called ARBITER!). This type of maneuver is, design-wise, a bit more simple, but there can be errors in even the simplest of options – take the notion of a limited use pool of temporary hit points. There are plenty of means to trip here and either reduce usefulness or make it easy to abuse, and the option presented here, which includes being able to use it while paralyzed, disabled, etc. In spite of its limited use, it will matter very much when it comes into play. Or take the means to extend charges. There are also interesting options, like choosing to lose shield bonus to AC for DR 3/adamantine. Building on sage resistance, we have the means to add Intelligence modifier to saving throws versus magic. Yes, magic – not just spells. Using shield charge to attack multiple targets, 1/day negating critical strikes – there are some cool ones here. On the other hand, there is an ability that nets you +2 to attack rolls (untyped) when wielding a kite shield and adjacent to 3+ enemies. That is oddly specific. There is one instance, where you gain DR 10/lethal, oddly phrased as “DR 10 vs. nonlethal damage.” As a whole, though, these new arbiter tricks are certainly worthwhile and rewarding.

The book also features two feats designed for the class: Flexible Strategist lets you choose a strategic maneuver as a flexible maneuver; this maneuver may be replaced with another via 1 hour of meditation, turning it into a kind of wildcard talent. Kite Shield Mastery lets you use the kite shield to grant cover as though a tower shield, and reduces its armor check penalty by 2.

Speaking of shields: The book also introduces new items pertaining these shields and arbiters: For example, there is a kite sheath, which allows for easier concealing of weaponry, and quicker drawing of the like. Another shield variant introduced here in two iterations would be the adjucator shield, which allows for the bracing of specific weapons, including a windowed variant. (And yes, rules to adjust the weapon viable for bracing are included!) While the text specifically calls them a variant of kite shield, I do think that it would have been prudent to explicitly state that they are treated as kite shields for the purpose of interactions with class features, but that is me being super nitpicky, and should not be construed to be a strike against the book. One new medium and 3 heavy armors are presented, and like the aforementioned shield, these come with donning times specifically noted in their own table – nice! The hasta, a variant of shortspear for use with adjucator shields may also be found in this equipment section, and we get two different twinshot crossbows. Particularly relevant for arbiters would also be the inexorable special weapon property, which clocks in at the equivalent of +1: For AoOs, this enchantment increases the enhancement bonus by +1. Sounds like a worse vanilla +1? Well, here’s the catch: For one, RAW; this allows you to exceed +5 as a limit by +1. Secondly, the ability nets you an additional AoO per round, which is particularly neat for arbiters!

The pdf also features a moderately complex arbiter archetype, the adjudicator. This archetype gains Acrobatics as a class skill, and replaces Combat Expertise with Point Blank Shot with a weapon of choice (odd limitation here; PBS is usually not weapon-specific), but interestingly, they can wield two-handed firearms or crossbows while wielding kite shields. The archetype adds Intelligence modifier to Acrobatics and Ride checks AS WELL AS…Initiative! Ouch! This replaces relentless. Instead of shieldwarden’s stance, we get a modification that is based on ranged weaponry, allowing for firing while in total defense, all while granting allies shield bonus. Keen mind, honed mind etc. are modified towards a ranged build as well, and Ultimate Justice is replaced with a pretty badass ability that lets you execute AoOs, one per enemy per turn, within the first range increment, and do so even if you have no AoOs left! Brutal and cool capstone – depending on where you are, terrain-wise, this could be the one-man-army arbiter standing against a whole army unleashed by the Darkfall! Like it! The archetype also features 4 strategic maneuvers, which include having wildcard special ammo with them, for example. It#s funny – the archetype is püretty straightforward in concept, but its execution is more compelling and interesting than I expected it to be. It may be just one archetype, but it is a really, really cool one.

Both arbiters and seers might wish to take a look at the 8 new background traits provided. These include reducing armor check penalty, having a dual identity (weaker than e.g. that of the vigilante, since this book predates Ultimate Intrigue), +1 AoO, properly codified social skill bonuses, etc. Two of the traits are specifically intended for seers, one granting you +1 use of second sight, while the other extends the radius of a specific fatebending aura. But before we come to the seers, there is one more massive section for the arbiter to note: We also get NPCs, two of them, to be precise: Sir Dabot, and Nigel Rathbone. We receive these NPCs with detailed background information, interesting and enjoyable to read background stories, and before you ask: Yes, we also get stats for seers ( Xien Wei Fong, and Benvok the Exiled) for these levels. One of the respective NPCs is a build for the vanilla class, while the second is one making use of a new archetype herein. Personally, I do not mind that e.g. favored class abilities and racial abilities are included in their own lines, but since it is a minor deviation from the standard, I felt it’s worth mentioning.

As far as the new mechanics for the seer class are concerned, we have 11 new minor prophecies, which include swifter activation of an aura currently known, or gaining/doubling low-light vision. (Granted, doubling low-light vision will not be relevant in most contexts, but the notion at least is commendable.) Blessed mentor seriously increase the bonus bestowed by second sight, increasing it by Wisdom modifier, but not when using the ability on herself. Also interesting would be causing second sight’s bonus as a penalty to atk against other targets when hitting a target with a second sight-fortified attack. Increased fatebending DCs, a multiclass-supplementing DC-increase and engine-tweaks like this can now also be chosen. Interesting would be the ability to designate a target as being part of the fatebending aura, sharing second sight’s bonus to saves with allies, and better sniping in the aura. Two new auras are included: Once enhances second sight, increases basic uses of the ability, and the other one doubles the negative hit point threshold before dying.

8 major prophecies include treating initiative rolls of 10 or less as 10 instead, or an extra immediate action that may just be used for second sight. Compared to gaining darkvision 60 ft., these certainly are preferable. (Darkvision 60 ft. is an option that should not be this valuable.) You may have noticed something, provided if you are familiar with the seer: Second sight, as an ability, is highly limited, so changing it can be problematic, limiting the usefulness of the new options herein that widen the ability’s breadth of application. Well, consume fate delimits the ability, in that when an enemy was reduced to below 0 hp in the seer’s fatebending aura, the see regains a second sight use, essentially delimiting the ability. I totally get this…but hand me my bag of kittens, I need to replenish my second sights. Seriously, having an anti-abuse caveat wouldn’t have been hard here. Granted, this doesn’t break the class, but it is a jarring design glitch in an otherwise admirably-precise supplement. The major prophecies also allow for the changing of the aura to a cone, as well as making the aura stick to targets. A new aura is included here as well: This aura nets fast healing for allies, at the cost of consuming second sight uses – and here we have the infinite healing exploit. And all my excitement and goodwill are flying out the window: Infinite healing for the whole group, just pummel a bunch of kittens – you won’t even expend them, because the aura’ll heal them as well! Gather up, gather round – let us all abuse kittens for precious HP.

I’m sorry. It’s just heart-rending to me that, after all these years, there are still instances where designers botch this ridiculous exploit strategy, when proofing it is so damn simple.

Anyhow, the book also features three new master prophecies: One nets a standard action when scoring a critical hit, which may only be used to move or cast a spell. The second one is a new aura that lets the seer 1/turn (I assume the seer’s turn here) choose a single attack roll, save or skill check made by an ally, which is then rolled twice, using the better result. I am pretty sure that this should be 1/round, and that specifying an action (or lack thereof) would make sense. The final one nets you blindsight 10 ft., or an increase by this amount. Which is certainly not on par with the other master prophecies. The pdf also presents 10 new seer spells, the first of which, arsenal of destiny, is a multi-weapon-targeting variant of weapon of destiny. Divine beacon is a shorter range, longer duration divine warning. Bleak bond makes you and your count as flanked. There is a greater version of psychometry, and embed fate lets you anchor a fatebender aura to a static point. Press the advantage is an interesting low-level buff that applies versus targets with lower initiative. Spatial nudge can be cast as a swift action and lets the target make a 5-foot step. Spatial inversion is a short-range swapping of places – which, at 3rd spell level, is a bit overkill. Timely inspiration is also very strong – immediate action to cast, +4 to initiative. This is in as far remarkable, as it looks as immediate actions being a subset of swift actions as a subset of free actions as allowing them to be used prior to rolling for initiative, which is not exactly how I’d have interpreted this. And yes, the spell prevents use if surprised, but yeah – it deserves mentioning and discussing with your players, as another way to read this, would be to consider the swift action guidelines of when they can be used to supersede those of free actions when pertaining to immediate action use. Vision trap is essentially a magical camera that sends brief mental visions to you.

On the cool side of things, the pdf discusses a variety of divination techniques, and guess what: There also is a diviner’s kit among the items, as well as an inspector’s kit and a military outfit. The pdf also introduces Thaelium as a special material. This material can be charged with second sight to glow, and weapons made from the material are particularly conductive there. The low-cost prophetic grants a 1/day insight bonus to one attack, skill check or saving throw, or double a second sight’s bonus. The item is slotless, and as such, I am super grateful for the caveat that prevents a user from benefiting from one of these more than once per day. The robes of the seer enhances Perception slightly and increases the fatebender aura. Enchanted divination tools enhance random percentage chances of spells such as augury or commune (both not properly in italics). Oh, and then there is Law & Destiny, in both its muhndane iteration, AND in the magical special edition, which not only house secret codes, but also allow for second sight recovering. The pdf also includes rules for a cursed variant of aforementioned prophetic charms, and there are 5 feats relevant for seers: One lets you substitute Wisdom modifier for Strength regarding attack rolls with a chosen weapon; you can build on that for ½ Wisdom modifier to damage as well. Fate is Fickle is interesting: You roll a die at the start of the day: If the result is even, the second sight work as usual; if odd, it instead imposes penalties. Predestine Spell is a metamagic feat that requires using a name for a specific individual (true name not required), and said target has a DC that’s two higher. This comes at the cost of +1 spell level. Visionary, finally makes a prophecy known essentially a wildcard that you can change daily.

The book also features two archetypes for the seer, the first of which would be the fatesealer, who lose aura reading in favor of Bluff, Escape Artist and Stealth as class skills, as well as adding vanish and invisibility to their spell list. They can learn sneak attack as a prophecy, and come with a new aura that penalizes Perception and make susceptible versus sneak attacks. Solid engine-tweak. Mentor seers increase their second sight benefits for others, but decrease it for themselves. The archetype may not use offensive fatebender auras, but gains aura of healing and aura of second sight at 2nd level. The archetype has two exclusive prophecies, one of which lets you use a move action to extend the radius of the fatebending aura by 10 ft. The second one lets you expend 5 second sight uses to take an attack for an adjacent ally.

The pdf concludes with a massive array of roleplaying tips for both classes, as well rather detailed Ultimate Campaign-style origin tables for the two classes.

Conclusion: Editing is very good on a formal level; on a rules-language level, it is similarly pristine with few exceptions. Formatting is similarly concise, though at times it does deviate slightly from standard. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the book features an array of high-quality of full-color artworks. Puzzling and grating: The pdf lacks bookmarks, which makes navigating the pdf jarring, to say the least.

Rich Wulf, Shawn Carman and Matt Tyler deliver an impressive book full of flavor for the two Thunderscape classes, one that focuses on a rather holistic approach of components. The design, while not always brilliant, shows a deep consideration for combinations and angles. It is not that often that small archetypes manage to excite me to this extent. That being said, while the vast majority of designs is pristine, there are a few outliers, which would, per se, not suffice to drag this down. However, the lack of bookmarks is – for a book of this density, their absence is seriously annoying, particularly since we first get arbiters, then seers, and then a combined feat/item/etc. chapter, requiring jumping to and fro. As a whole, these factors conspire to make this a good book, bordering on the very good, but missing it by a margin. My final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape: Law & Destiny
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Thunderscape: The Thunder Trail
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/27/2020 08:22:09

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Thunderscape supplement clocks in at 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRd, leaving us with 12 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

We begin this supplement with 2.5 pages of well-written prose – Part 1 of “The Survivor”, to be precise; the narrative is nice. After this, we begin with the main meat here – a look at arguably the most advanced piece of tech in all of Aden, the massive dreadnought-style railways. Prior to the Darkfall, regular trains were employed in Columbey and the Concordance of Le’Ciel (As an unrelated aside: Pretty sure some Final Fantasy 13 designers were covert Thunderscape fans…), but the cataclysm made use of those pretty much a death sentence, and since they required serious resources to run, did not spread through all the lands. It was in Columbey that the first Thunder Train was unveiled, just 2 years after the Darkfall…and the rest is history. A history of pain and intrigue, but history nonetheless.

The eponymous Thunder Trail is the most important trade route in all the known lands, the primary means of restoring trade and commerce in a post-Darkfall age, and connects Mekanus all the way to Bulgrak – we are walked through the route ( a map would have been nice), and after establishing importance and course of these trains, we get information on, you know, actually riding them, with costs noted, and passage from Mekanus to various destinations noted, alongside with travel time, distance covered and costs.

And here, I’d like to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to the authors. Why? We get distances covered not just in miles, but also in km. THANK YOU. Travel speeds are also noted, and guess what? We also get the km/h values, not just mp/h. I love that this helps poor ole’ Europeans like yours truly and other people not used to imperial measurements get into this and develop a relevant/sensible idea of the speed and capabilities of these trains.

Now, not everybody can afford the Thunder Trains. Traveling before them is plain suicidal, and next to them? Problematic for safety reasons. But behind them? In the wake of it and the mighty Iron Guard clearing passage? That’s grudgingly tolerated. As such, we have a kind of cross between externalized hobo- and budget-traveling culture, the remoras, who cling to the ephemeral wake of safety generated by these colossi.

After establishing the general functionality of these trains, we proceed to talk about the 4 iron giants – the Thunder Trains: The Dominant, the Pride of Mekanus, The Boundless, and The Scourging Eye. The Dominant gets a stunning 1-page full-color artwork, btw. The trains also note their length, the number of barges they feature, and the armament. Cargo barges are notes as well. Really awesome: Beyond the usual ballista and storm cannons covered here, we actually get two unique weapons: The Scourging Eye has a potent arcane matrix that can unleash stormbolts with a range of 1000 feet; the Dominant sports The Great Storm – probably the largest cannon in existence. These super-weapons, thankfully, are incalculably expensive – for once I applaud not including a cost here.

Beyond the Iron Guard, the Thunder Trains have another potent defense – the Sentinels, hidden in the machinery, capable of seamlessly emerging from it. These constructs clock in at a mighty CR 15. Not only are they immune to magic, they can fire multiple stun rays per round (as one standard action!), are masters of wielding steamreaver weaponry, and are bound to an engine of the train, gaining an excellent awareness of the train. Of course, as noted, they can camouflage and repair themselves. They are a cool build, though I did notice some minor aesthetic blemishes, like a capital letter X for critical multipliers. Nothing serious/too jarring, though. Yep, they are pretty much terminators. Of course, one of the discussed adventure hooks pertains rogue sentinels…

The pdf then proceeds to briefly touch upon the Urbana’s Annihilators and the airships of Yzeem and Arasteen, but doesn’t go into much detail there.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are good on a formal and rules-language level.- Layout adheres to Thunderscape’s two-column full-color standard, and the full-color artworks for trains and sentinels? AWESOME. Less awesome: The pdf has no bookmarks, which makes navigation a bit of a pain – not cool.

Shawn Carman & Rich Wulf deliver one awesome little supplement here; if you enjoy the lore of Aden as much as I do, you’ll be excited to learn about the Thunder Trains indeed! I like many decisions taken here; for example, not statting these behemoths, and focusing only on the weaponry, where it is relevant. The stats would inadvertently make them something that’ll be destroyed, and for the purpose of most games, they’d be akin to deities of steel. From the inclusion of metric values to the lore, this is a very nice supplement.

But.

And that’s a big “but” – beyond general lore, the book doesn’t really help me PLAY on the Thunder Trains. We waste 2.5 pages on a short story-chapter; 1 full page admittedly awesome artwork, and the final page doesn’t have much to do with the trains either. In an ideal world, I’d have kept the artwork, cut the short story and final page…and instead provided MAPS. Schematics. ANYTHING that lets me picture how these colossi actually work, their layout, their interior/exterior.

I have no idea how a thunder train’s cabins and barges look like. How many may be seated. Where the engine is in relation to the rest. I have no idea how they work, and consequently, no idea how to actually USE them in game, save as an admittedly awesome backdrop. This is GENUINELY heartbreaking for me. I seriously, seriously, mean it.

When I first finished reading this, I was blown away, excited, wanted to use the Thunder Trains…and then I realized that I can’t. Because this doesn’t give me the tools to do so. The lore is fantastic. I mean it. I love it. But it ultimately only creates a backdrop, not an environment you can actually PLAY in. This pdf lets you make the Thunder Train cutscene of traveling from Point A to B more awesome, but it doesn’t really help you use it as a location in and of itself.

If you’re just in it for the lore, get this right now. You’ll love it. If you want an environment to play in, though, if you want to write an adventure in a Thunder Train? Then this will leave you sorely disappointed. My final verdict can’t exceed 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape: The Thunder Trail
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Thunderscape: The Radiant Order
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/24/2020 08:46:19

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This Thunderscape-supplement clocks in at 17 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 12 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

In case you are less familiar with the lore of Aden, the radiant order is essentially a knightly organization that is pretty much deemed to be a good paladin’s order, and while as a whole, a good organization, it thankfully is not depicted in the usual, one-dimensional manner we get for such organizations. Also, of course, due to the order being essentially the government of Arasteen, as the king always hails from the order’s ranks, and the council of Templars is the only body that serves as checks and balances regarding the king/queen’s edicts, with only the bishops of the radiant path rivaling the order’s influence. As most familiar with Thunderscape will have indubitably deduced, the Radiant order obviously follows the edicts of the Radiant Code as a belief system.

The pdf recaps the code and also comments on the by now strained relationship between the order and the seers, and, as a knightly order, settling disputes via duels is covered – and yes, this does have legally binding consequences. The radiant order, with its access to education, can also act as a vessel for social mobility, as exemplified by a farmer’s tale…and the book does not draw a picture of an order devoted solely to warfare and combating the Darkfall: Instead, we also learn about the hospitalers, who are essentially squires who may or may not take up the knightly duties at one point. The process of attaining knighthood, and the duties that accompany it, are described in detail.

Beyond those ranks, there are the Templars – and only those invited may join these ranks, and they may only be replaced after retiring or being confirmed dead. This, obviously, means that there are plenty of roleplaying opportunities hard-coded into this aspect of the order. Above these austere people, there are only the King/Queen, and the Paladin – who is the King/Queen successor, always chosen from among the Templars, and acting as a tiebreaker and mediator, where required. Beyond these basics, suggestions for handling player character interaction with the order are provided.

After this, we learn about persons of note within the organization, with 4 nuanced NPC-write-ups of the order’s leaders provided. While we learn about their rough powerlevel by means of class-levels etc., no stats are provided for them. The pdf then proceeds to give brief summaries of the enemies of the order and their quarrels with it, before providing four new archetypes: The first of these would be the radiant crusader paladin, who replaces smite evil and aura of justice with a variant of barbarian rage sans exhaustion and debuff-components (4 + Cha-mod rounds per day, +1 round per additional level attained), with the bonuses upgrading to +6 at 11th level. The bonus granted by the ability is not properly typed. 5th level makes the paladin enter such a state of zeal whenever they cast a paladin spell, for rounds equal to spell level, and these rounds don’t count towards the daily allotment – a clever way to justify the low number of rounds per day. This replaces divine bond.

The radiant emissary is a rogue, who replaces trapfinding with using optionally Intelligence modifier to Bluff, Disguise, Diplomacy and Intimidate. Sneak attack is slowed to a die increase every 3 levels. Poor guy….but hey, they do get smite evil, and may select cleric spells via the minor and major magic rogue talents, and choose a talent that 1/day as a full-round action, nets Intelligence modifier as a bonus to a saving throw. This bonus remains until reassigned. The radiant path cleric must exemplify justice and compassion, and as such must select glory, law, liberation or war to represent justice, community, good, healing or protection to represent compassion, as domains. If the cleric selects all domain spells from one domain, he gets an additional ability, a kind of virtuous resonance: For justice, this is a buff for allies when he downs a foe, for compassion the option to sacrifice hit points when healing via spell or channel energy, granting the target twice that amount as additional healing. The radiant scholar wizard chooses a cleric domain at first level, adding the spells to the spell list, and gains a spell slot per spell level, which can only be sued to cast these domain spells. Spells not usually on the class list may only be prepared in these special slots. At 8th level, one of these spells may be chosen to be cast spontaneously via slot expenditure. This replaces arcane school and bond. 5th, 10th and 15th level net another domain.

The pdf closes with the radiant redemption spell, which takes one hour to cast and clocks in at 2nd level for clerics/oracles, palas and inquisitors: At the end of the spell’s casting, the target takes at least three paladin vows, gaining a +1 competence bonus that may be applied 1/round to atk, skills or saves, with the benefits lasting up to a week. Violating an oath makes the caster aware, and ends the spell. Such a violation also requires atoning for the violation. Interesting buff!

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. I noticed no accumulation of serious hiccups. Layout adheres to Thunderscape’s two-column full-color standard, with nice full-color artworks. The pdf lacks bookmarks, which is an unnecessary comfort-detriment.

Rich Wulf and Shawn Carman weave an interesting yarn in this supplement, and personally, I very much enjoyed the lore-centric approach taken to this organization. While the archetypes are not exactly mind-bending or novel, they do serve their purpose and add some local color, if you will, to the characters. That being said, I couldn’t help but wonder if inclusion of prestige/organization rules for the order wouldn’t have made membership potentially a bit more rewarding for the PCs in question. Tracking prestige etc. can very well be a rewarding angle, particularly in more rigid organizations like this. Anyhow, as a whole, I consider this to be a worthwhile offering if you’re playing in Thunderscape. Beyond Aden, there’s less of a draw to get this, as the concept per se is not that novel or unique. Fans of Aden, particularly if you’re playing in the setting, should round up from my final verdict of 3.5 stars. Those using these supplements for scavenging purposes might wish to look at another Thunderscape book instead – unless you’re intrigued by the order. All in all, my official verdict will take the intended use into account, and hence also round up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape: The Radiant Order
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Thunderscape: Saints & Sinners
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/16/2020 06:33:42

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the class-centric Thunderscape supplements clocks in at 43 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 38 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, first of all – this book deals with the thaumaturge and fallen classes of the Thunderscape setting; I assume familiarity with them in my review. Secondly, while this is a class-centric supplement, it does not necessarily focus JUST on new mechanics – we kick this off with in-character prose, and indeed, the book defines the classes within the context of the world of Aden to a degree beyond what you’d usually see.

We do learn how it is to be a member of these classes in Thunderscape’s setting, both as member of a party, and within the context of the various societies of the setting. The respective, exceedingly well-written entries do not differentiate between Pre- and Post-Darkfall attitudes to the extent as in e.g. Law & Destiny, but this does not change that the supplement provides a lot of lore and context that makes the classes feel more like parts of a greater whole. I really enjoy this way of linking setting and crunch.

Speaking of crunch – let us begin with the fallen, shall we? As you know, the class is very much defined by essentially a bloodline-like ability-suite called “stigma”, and 10 new ones are presented. Yes. 10. Each of these come with 5 bonus feats to choose, two special abilities, and a suite of stigma abilities, with 2 provided, most of the time, for 4th level, 7th level, 10thlevel, 13th level, 16th level and 19th level. There are instances where higher level abilities only net one. Going through all abilities point by point would bloat this review beyond usefulness, so I’ll instead give you and overview. Apparition nets you negative energy or cold damage inflicting touch attacks, and later nets self-only invisibility, fly and high level turning incorporeal. The claws can be upgraded, obviously. Cataclysm is about withstanding – as such, it fortifies you versus being knocked prone, lets you stomp to knock targets prone, call forth magma elementals, create pits, earth glide etc. Drake is a dragon-apotheosis angle (which has a minor formatting snafu at one point, with a lower caps “reflex” save; the drowned stigma nets you water-themed SPs and better grappling, including grab. Midnight is the stealth HiPS-gaining one, including darkness, shadow conjuration, etc. Rimeweaver, unsurprisingly, is the cold-themed stigma, including minor terrain control, slowing targets, etc.

The sanguine stigma lets your torment cause bleeding damage, animate blood…and if you have kittens on your hand, you gain infinite fast healing. sigh needless exploit there, particularly since assuming blood form is such a cool angle. Scrapheap lets you integrate equipment into your body and is perhaps one of the cooler machine-apotheosis angles I’ve seen in a while. Stormwracked is about agility, with an increased base speed and Acrobatics as class skill, as well as air- and electricity-themed tricks. Withered, finally, might be another one of the really interesting ones, as it allows you to keep enemies from charging/running; it deals with time and space, particularly time, including combo’d haste and slow, for example.

As for supplemental material, particularly items, we have the darkforged bindings, which allow you to easily perceive the frightened and track them; an elixir of normalcy acts as a veil stigma. The hide of hellish fury makes them count as three levels higher for the purpose of stigma abilities. Trait-wise, we have 8 new traits, all classified as background traits. Vicious and Horrifying are two relevant for the fallen, enhancing torment DC or +1 scourge damage; the latter should be a trait bonus, not untyped. The other traits apply to the thaumaturge: +1 DC for an aspect, proficiency with a bonded legend, bonus to Diplomacy with them (again, type missing), and shedding light. Beyond these, we have counting as +1 BAB higher for a feat, and Disguise sans the usual penalty for pretending to be another race.

The pdf provides two engine-tweak-style archetypes: The chimeric fallen loses all bonus feats and toughened, but gets to choose two stigmas, gaining all 1st level abilities, with later levels requiring the PC to choose which one to take, and you suffer an additional -2 to Disguise to represent your nature. The Carnivore archetype also loses the fallen’s usual bonus feat array, and instead gets feast of the damned: As a full-round action, they can absorb the essence of a corpse of a being that has only been dead an hour or less. You get to choose an ability from a massive table, provided you meet the prerequisites. Essentially, this is a surprisingly well-crafted take on the blue mage angle. There are also 9 supplemental feats for the fallen: Agonizing Wave lets you impose the tormented condition (and only it) as a move action to all adjacent targets. Hungry Torment nets you a free action use of torment when reducing a tormented creature to 0 hp. Greater Torment increases torment and suffering ability DCs by 1. Nightmare Smite lets you expend two suffering uses to lace suffering into an attack, with a +1 to the DC. Stigmatic Mastery nets you additional uses for stigma-based abilities, differentiating between uses gained for daily abilities or those you can execute more often – kudos there. Terrible Charge lets you spend suffering to make a full attack at the end of a charge…which is basically a better limited-use pounce, and should probably have a higher minimum level. Torment’s Reach lets you apply scourge damage via ranged weapons when targeting tormented enemies. Withering glare nets you an AC-bonus against tormented enemies Finally, Wrath of the Fallen lets you entangle, fatigue, frighten, nauseated, blind or stun targets those that incur conditions from your suffering.

The pdf includes two fully depicted NPCs with fully realized background stories – Iago Vesten an echo fallen with the horror stigma, and Ariana Dell, a human fallen with the rimeweaver stigma. The thaumaturge NPCs are Gudrun, a jurak thaumaturge, and Ivana Vetrov, a saint adept. These note bound legends in their stats, as well as aspects typically prepared. As usual for Thunderscape, the statblocks are actually a bit more detailed than usual, and thus deviate a bit from the standards, calling e.g. racial abilities and favored class options explicitly out. I like this notion. All NPCs come in three iterations – one at first level, one at 6th level, and one at 12th level. The statblocks are per se solid, though I did notice a few minor snafus.

The thaumaturge gets a serious amount of content herein: 15 new thaumaturge legends are included herein, ranging from the Arcadian to Faceless, Kraken, Sentinel…the interesting aspect here, indubitably, is that the requirements for the respective legends, such as not speaking when drawing upon the Beast, often act as a roleplaying balancing-based tool for the per se potent legends included here. The Faceless makes you a great social chameleon, but if someone sees through your disguise, you’re on your own; the demon and champion’s tenets are incompatible; in comparison, the more down to earth fencer withdraws when you wield a weapon that is not light or one-handed. The magister has no requirement, while the kraken retreats when you spend more than an hour out of water – get it? The proficiencies, feats, spirit points and BAB generally make sense, though it should be noted that the new legends tend to be better than e.g. the Diplomat. Of particular note: The martyr lets you regain uses of legends or heals your spirit damage when withdrawing – which is pretty much a gamechanger. That being said, the rules-language here is a bit opaque – it took me a some close-reading to deduce how this fellow works.

The pdf then proceeds to present a huge amount of new aspects – unless I have miscounted, 18 of them. And these introduce a pretty cool innovation: A lot of aspects herein have so-called resonances, which are aligned with certain legends, changing how they operate. Let’s take the aspect of vigor as an example: The passive effect lets you recover 1d10 spirit damage when consuming an aspect and rendering it inactive. The consume effect lets you, as a standard action, recover 1d6 HP per level, maximum 10d6. If you, however, have the Immortal, said legend’s Spirit Points are increased to 4+2 per level, the passive benefits of the aspect increase tor recovering 2d10 spirit points, and you can consume the aspect to draw upon the Immortal as a free action if it is currently inactive, replacing the active legend. This addition of the resonance engine radically enhances the way in which the thaumaturge class plays, rewarding thematic consistency with combo-potential. I really like this. It cements the Thunderscape thaumaturge class as an, in many ways, better iteration of the medium-concept. Beyond these, we also have 14 new greater aspects, which follow a similar design paradigm, making the thaumaturge the definite “winner” as far as the book is concerned. Indeed, the inclusion of the resonance concept is a pretty significant incision into the chassis, and imho suffices in its extent to warrant potentially a revision of the core book’s aspects regarding an addition of resonance options.

Indeed, as much as I love the new thaumaturge material, it should be noted that rebalancing the entire class chassis to account for the new options would have been prudent, as the thaumaturge has, with these options, all the makings of something truly outstanding. Don’t get me wrong – the new and improved thaumaturge with these options is impressive, it seriously is. If you take an in-depth take of the combos and components, you will notice some inner-class power-discrepancies here and there, though. Still, big kudos for how this improves the thaumaturge.

As far as supplemental material is concerned, we get the mythwrought armor special ability that enhances the duration of aspect or legend effects; the weapon-version sets the weapon ablaze after consuming aspects. Terrifying weapons deal bonus cold damage and increase fear effect durations. Channeler icons let you replenish aspects, pearl of power style, while enhanced books of saints and sinners allow for legend-swapping (unlike the mundane version). Rings of mystic proxy help using scrolls by consuming aspects. As far as the equipment is concerned, we have outfits that designate you as infected (and nobody looks closely at them…), relics, incense that lets you focus on concentration, war paint and taxidermist kits. Oh, and there is a new artifact, which is essentially a chaotic evil Hellraiser-box, Garquorin’s Terrible Puzzle Box. As a note: The magic item section this time around oddly seems to be missing a couple of italicizations in the run-on-text. Nothing serious, but noticeable in the context of the overall book.

We also have 4 feats intended for thaumaturges: Ancestral Guidance nets each bonded legend an additional bonus feat. Extra Legend does what it says on the tin, Soul of Sacrifice lets you exchange a legend at the start of the day for two aspects, and Thaumaturgical Focus increases thaumaturge class ability DCs by 1. We also get two archetypes, the first of which is the saint adept, who gets a paladin code of honor, and 4 + Int skills per level, but only half the thaumaturge’s usual legends, rounded down, +1- 3rd level makes them choose a legend as saintly benefactor, which nets a bonus form a variety of choices, with 7th level and every 4 levels thereafter yielding an additional improvement. This replaces manifest legend. 9th level nets a 1/week commune instead of saving grace. 17th level allows for temporarily gaining the half-celestial template while drawing upon the saintly benefactor. The second archetype, the soulless, goes the other round – instead of focusing on specialized legends, the soulless doubles the number of legends. There is a glitch in the rules-syntax here, when “legend” is used instead of “level” at one point, but that as an aside. The available spirits are determined randomly each day, and when not drawing upon legends, they are staggered! OUCH! I actually really like this. This “full house” allows the soulless to use saving grace more often, and e.g. use legends to transfix opponents in a dramatic manner. I so want to play this fellow. I love this archetype.

Beyond that, we have the Legends domain for clerics, which essentially lets you dip in aspects, and, later, even a legend. The Nightmare sorcerer bloodline is easily the weakest piece of crunch in the book – it’s just another fear-themed bloodline, and an uneven one, with +6 to Intimidate at first level, frightful presence, etc. – not the biggest fan. Beyond the usual roleplaying tips, we get a couple of cool ideas regarding the fallen and their burden, quirks and eccentricities, and we close with detailed, well-crafted origin-tables in the vein of Ultimate Campaign for the two classes.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting oscillates between excellent (most of the book) to good, with few flaws, though these rare ones do sometimes influence rules-integrity. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the book sports fantastic full-color artworks. To my utter baffling surprise, the supplement lacks any bookmarks, which makes navigation a total pain. Particularly since we first get both class chapters, and THEN the items, feats, archetypes, etc. for BOTH, necessitating some serious skipping around. I am not a fan of this organization.

Rich Wulf, Chris Koch and Shawn Carman deliver a pretty impressive book here; while I generally consider the new material for the fallen nice, it was, to my surprise, the context of the class in Aden, the setting-relevant aspects, that excited me most. Then again, the thaumaturge did steal the show with the inclusion and solid implementation of the resonance-sub-engine. If you even remotely are interested in playing a thaumaturge, you need to get this book right now. This book, more so than any previous Thunderscape-supplement I’ve reviewed, walks the line to true greatness. However, as much as I love several aspects herein, there also are a few filler pieces here, a few typo level glitches that can slightly impede the ability to parse the rules at once.

And yet, I have always valued creativity and high concept over e.g. penalizing a BAB off by two in a statblock; this might not be perfect, but I can’t bring myself to rounding down from my final verdict of 4.5 stars, which is why I will round up. If you enjoy these classes, get this right now.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape: Saints & Sinners
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Tiny Legacies
by Quinn M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/21/2019 03:18:11

Tiny Legacies a nice combination of GM world building advice, Legacy setting material, and a half dozen pages of additional rules and some new super powers for the Tiny Supers RPG. The art has a nice consistent look -even if there isn't quite enough of it. Aside from the stats of the included heroes/villains and the aforementioned six pages of system specific material, there is plenty here to use with any other super RPG.

Now, was I blown away by the Legacy setting? Not really. It's a solid take on a campaign setting for super heroes with all the bases covered. I'd be more inclined to borrow a few pieces here and there, but if you want a ready made setting with just enough history/depth? You'll find it here. I was part of the Kickstarter, so I paid a lot less for the PDF and print versions. At $11.99 the PDF is a couple dollars more than I'd normally like to spend on a smaller setting book (at 111 pages total, Tiny Legacies is not a huge book). It does cover a handful of super powers that you or at least one of your players will probably want to include in a Tiny Supers campaign, so you may not want to wait on a sale to pick up Tiny Legacies. Of course, the more of the setting you end up using the better value you'll get for your money.

The new powers are: Disruption, Electrokinesis, Mimicry, Mind Control, and Siphoning.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tiny Legacies
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Thunderscape Vistas: Besieged Village
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/17/2019 12:32:35

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The second Thunderscape Vista clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

All righty, we once more begin this supplement with a brief in-character flavor-text before diving into the background, which is a bit simpler this time around: The Darkfall happened, which changed the requirements and realities of village life and what it takes to stay alive. They are fortified by necessity. If you’re familiar with the first Thunderscape Vista, you’ll notice a flip of the amount of text that is provided for general descriptions and those that depict the realities of the sample village within, which would be Syldan. This is a VERY smart move, as villages obviously are much more familiar to GMs. It should btw. be noted that yes, the generalization notes do actually provide some useful advice when introducing such a village and making sure that they make sense in Aden’s context.

As in the first installment, a big draw for the pdf would be the inclusion of a full-color map, and much to my elation, I found a player-friendly version sans annoying, immersion breaking numbers included: Minor complaint: Quarters are named on the map, and in this instance, going wholly description-less would have made the map more useful. As provided, the “Merchant’s Quarter” will now forevermore be that, as it’s written in bold letters on the map. The pond is also clearly labeled as “Syldan’s Pond”, which limits the use of the map essentially to only working as intended for the sample village within.

The pdf does something smart as it proceeds, though: Instead of providing lame, generic sample villager stats, of which most GMs will have an abundance at this point anyways, the pdf instead features a total of 6 different, named NPCs with full statblocks, including two rather awesome full-color artworks. The first of these would be Hannah Arroven, a female ferran panda ranger 7 adopted by the folks in the village at an early, she grew to become the champion of the people. On the plus-side, I never thought I’d say this, but the lean panda-lady looks extremely badass. Her artwork is genuinely amazing. Her statblock, however, is not – she lacks spells and sports a couple of minor formatting snafus. Harril Arroven would be a level 4 half-elven arbiter, and while he had a bitter childhood, he remains a steadfast fighter. Weird: His wife is noted in the header, but no stats are provided. From the context, I assume her to be a noncombatant, but I’m not sure, since the adoptive kinda-dad of Harril, Claudius, is actually fully statted as a human enchanter 9. Alas, as before, the formatting here isn’t as tight as it should be.

Speaking of formatting gone horribly awry: Typhon, once a scholar of forbidden lore now turned into a CR 9 monster, has change shape and similar abilities jammed into his SQs, notes “Pick 23” for languages and, you guessed it, spells or magic items aren’t italicized, but at least properly chosen. This massive formatting snafu really drags down what would otherwise be an impressive BBEG, for his sabertooth tiger shapechanging is as cool and twisted as his per se nice baseline…I just wished the statblock had received a bit of refinement to make it shine properly. Leona, his erstwhile wife, is btw. one of the reasons Typhon has not achieved his goal – the bard 5 is also fully stated. It should be noted that CMD values incorrectly feature a plus before their values. The final NPC would be a wildcard of sorts, with the level 6 rogue Sergei, who is keen to leave the region.

The pdf has a new trait, home guard, which does not specify its trait type, though background seems likely. This one nets you a massive, erroneously untyped +3 bonus to AC while fighting defensively. The pdf also sports a new feat, One of the Pack; this unlocks pack mentality for non-ferrans and nets you a +1 morale bonus to atk and damage when flanking.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are not particularly good, particularly on a formal level. You can run this, but it’s not as smooth as it should be. The full-color artworks are original pieces and GORGEOUS, and layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard. The cartography is full color and pretty damn neat, and the presence of the player-friendly version is a big plus. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Shawn Carman’s besieged village would per se be an instant recommendation – I liked the NPCs, the map’s cool – what’s not to like? The formatting. It’s really, really bad. To the point where it seriously detracted from my enjoyment of this pdf, where it really hurt this file. My final verdict can’t exceed 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape Vistas: Besieged Village
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Thunderscape Vistas: Academy of Mechamagic
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/27/2019 05:15:52

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This supplement clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page back cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, so, after a brief piece of nice introductory flavor text, we begin this supplement with a background section that explains the advent of mechamagic in the world of Aden, and then move on to the sample environment, the Kixue Academy. Ina way, this supplement presents a ready to slot in locale for your (Thunderscape) game and does so in an interesting manner: We get a full-color map of the complex, which is keyed per se. Much to my joy, I noticed that the pdf also comes with a one-page version that labels the map with proper names instead of immersion-breaking numbers: You can hand out the map and have the players immediately know where scrapyard, eating area, amphitheater etc. are located – nice! This map does come with a grid as well as notes on scale. Kudos for that!

Now, the map represents a general mechamagic academy, and thus, the descriptions featured for the rooms also highlight this general notion. But what if you want details, if you want a sample academy? Well, you’re in luck, as each of the keyed locales features a section wherein the particular versions of the sample Kixue Academy are explained. In short: You’re covered whether you use this as a general sourcebook or as one for a simple drop in of the Academy. The respective rooms have no read-aloud text, but I do not consider that to be a detriment here. Beyond this nice glimpse into the workings of this place of learning, the supplement also features rules-relevant material:

There are two traits for adventurers associated with Kixue Academy, though it should be noted that one of them does not specify that it grants a trait bonus. Botha re obviously intended to be background traits, which can be gleaned from context. The pdf also features two item creation feats: Mystic Scribe lets you create multiple scrolls per day and reduces cost by 10%, but thankfully still has a daily cap based on GP-value. Mystic Scholar requires 5th level and the previous feat, and is VERY brutal and something usually more limited/harder to obtain – it lets you use your own stats to determine the spell effects of a spell cast from a scroll. This is extremely potent and not something I’d allow in my game.

The academy obviously caters to a couple of professions, and as such, we do get a sample statblock for low level mechamages, steamwrights and universalist wizards. Odd: The latter lacks sample spells, which limits immediate usefulness. The pdf also contains level 3 mechamage stats to represent average faculty members, but these also lack sample spells, once more requiring that you take care of one of the most grating aspects of spellcaster design, particularly at low levels where they’re prone to die fast. The supplement also features two named NPC statblocks: Baltus Aizen, the ferran sneak (raccoon) steamwright 7, who acts as the academy’s shop arden, and Dacius Quintus, the elven mechamage headmaster of Kixue academy, who does come with his rock golem companion fully statted. The statblock of Baltus is lacking the text for his attacks/damage, which is incorrectly noted in a bit of a mess in the equipment section, and it should also be noted that there are a couple of bolding glitches. Spells have also not been properly italicized.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are okay, but not as tight as they should be in some instances; this, alas, does also affect the rules-language level. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard, and the pdf has no interior artwork. The cartography provided is in full color, and, as noted, the inclusion of the player-friendly version of the map is a highlight there. The pdf has no bookmarks, which is a slight comfort detriment, but still okay at this brevity.

Shawn Carman and Rob Drake provide a per se solid little supplement here – the academy’s map is a big plus, and the text covering both your needs for a specific and generic academy represents a big plus here. However, I couldn’t help but notice aforementioned glitches, which detract from what would otherwise be a nice supplement. As such, my final verdict can’t exceed 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape Vistas: Academy of Mechamagic
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Thunderscape: Iron Guard Field Guide
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/10/2018 11:47:03

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This class expansion for Thunderscape’s classes clocks in at 38 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 33 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Now, first things first: This is an expansion for the Golemoid and Thunder Scout classes – as such, I assume familiarity with both classes in this review. If in doubt, consult the campaign setting to freshen up regarding their mechanics.

After a well-written piece of introductory fiction, but there is more to this: As the name implies, there are intrinsic connections to the setting’s flavor here: The class options are tied, flavor-wise, to the Iron Guard of Urbana, and as such, the content does not simply exist in a vacuum: The supplement does talk about the roles of golemoids and thunder scouts in the context of the setting. These blend rules-relevant components and history, in a way: We learn, for example, that specific golemoids excel as damage dealers, while others can act as blockers. Beyond, as noted, a history of the golemoid, we also learn about their role and public perception throughout Aden…and about, for example the black marketeers that may be able to salvage golemoid components, making them rather nasty repo men…should you decide that these exist in your game, that is. The interaction of golemoids and rust-causing beasts and effects is fyi also noted.

The golemoid manite implant array is significantly expanded by this book, though it should be noted that other characters with manite implant capacity do qualify for these. The minor implants include using an immediate action and expanding a steam point to use feather fall (not properly italicized), using a move action to create subsonic vibrations (subtle ones!) that penalize Perception and Sense Motive, expending a steam point to reroll initiative (only once per roll and you must take the reroll, thankfully!), using a standard action to make a touch attack that sickens the target on a failed save…some interesting ones here. Mechanically, I’m particularly partial to using Fearvun Ocular Implants to extend the range of precision damage and Point Blank Shot, making one of the most maligned feats ever more suitable. I’d definitely want a fire-starter digit IRL (you can make objects catch fire, and I really like the notion of an integrated grapnel launcher. (RAW, it can reel in stuff as a swift action and may not be used for at-range maneuvers, just fyi!) There are some formatting glitches, though – endure elements, for example, is capitalized and not italicized. If these sound underwhelming, fyi, bear in mind that manite implants are extraordinary, so the elemental enduring would be nonmagical! Auto-stablizing and similar tricks complement a solid, fun section here, one often benefitting from cool flavor: The auto-stabilizing option? It’s called “Phoenix Stabilizer”, which does sound pretty badass. And yes, there are upgrades and more potent versions there.

The basic implants do include some interesting and unique tricks – including a steam point based option to generate a thin sheet of steam that filters out harmful particles from the air. Nice one! Steam point based, limited condition curing with a self-only target, charging unarmed attacks etc. with a stunning charge, an integrated lie detector (sans 100% accuracy, thankfully), a bonus to atk versus undead, retractable claws and the like may be found. The latter btw. come with tightly codified damage types, but no notes on the type of natural attack, requiring defaulting in a minor comfort detriment. Also interesting: The ability to hold a spell of up to 3rd level, usable as a wand.

The section also includes 7 advanced manite implants that include becoming immune to effects specifically targeting metal creatures, the option to extend spells with a duration other than instantaneous or permanent via steam point expenditure and the like. The latter can be problematic for spells with different, specific effects by rounds and would probably have benefited from having a caveat that only applies to spells with a casting time contingent on caster levels, as measured in rounds, minutes, hours or similar increments. Weird: Hypnotic eyes lets you cast suggestion as a SP, which somewhat makes the interaction wonky: “Duplicate the effects of a suggestion spell…” would have been more feasible here, considering the per se default extraordinary nature of these tricks. Delayed phoenix raise dead via previous, significant steam point investment is interesting and gaining additional ring sockets is also a unique trick. There also are three superior implants, one of which nets a 30 ft. cone of electricity. Cosmetic nitpick: There is no such thing as electric damage – the correct term is “electricity damage.”

The pdf also includes two new golemoid specializations: The steamshadow gets steam point based disguise self, courtesy of the integrated illusion matrix and Dexterity to damage when attacking with a single, chosen one-handed or light weapon. This should probably specify that Strength is not added in such cases, though at least two-handed wielding interaction is covered. The improved specialization provides a variant of Hide in Plain Sight, better Stealth and squeezing. Nice: The pdf accounts for the issue that 1st level characters should gain access to the skills granted by this one, contingent on the fact that they take the steamshadow specialization. The level 17 ability nets an automatic critical threat when hitting a flat-footed target and they get steam point-based mislead. The harrier specialization nets better Acrobatics and may choose to trail steam and generate steam clouds – cool soft terrain control angle. The high level options further emphasize this, allowing for two unique tricks: Swift action movement and a multi-target trip/move make for cool tricks. The pdf also features quite an extensive array of new steamreaver weapons. These include aci-drills, cyclone maces and the like – they all come with passive and steam-based tricks, and they are surprisingly cool and unique regarding their benefits. Big plus here!

The pdf also includes one new golemoid archetype, the modular, who replaces basic combat specialization with +1 basic and minor implant at 2nd level and +2 steam points. Whenever they gain access to a new implant level, they also get +1 implant. They are locked into Extra Steam or Manite Implant for bonus feat choices at 3rd, 11th and 19th level (the feats are not properly capitalized) and instead of interchangeable parts, the archetype can, as a full-round action, spend steam to change one of their implants to another of the same implant level, with costs depending on the implant level. 13th decreases the activation action to standard, and 18th level allows for the change of multiple implants at once. Instead of the improved combat specialization, the golemoid gains a bonus swift action at 9th level, but one that may ONLY be used to activate manite implantsm steam mastery effects or steam feats. At 17th level, the modular regains 1 steam point at the end of the round, whenever they spend more than 3 points of steam in a round. This may just be an engine tweak, but it is one that radically changes how the class plays. Nice one. The pdf also provides 9 different, new steam feats, contingent on both old and new specializations and choices: With Aci-Deluge, aci-drill specialists can spray acid; there is a feat that allows for the limited regaining of steam (and no, it can’t be cheesed!), one that nets you temporary hit points…and here, I whip out my trusty bag of badly mistreated kittens. Unfortunately, the duration of these temporary hit points is an hour, and the ability explicitly notes that it stacks with itself. As long as you have kittens to slaughter, you can generate a massive shield of temporary hit points. That is just bad design, and utterly uncharacteristic for the otherwise tight rules within this book.

We also get two sample golemoids: Hesh Dargoh, a ferran predator (tiger) steamreaver, who, as a cyborg-anthro-tiger is probably one of the most badass iconics I’ve seen. Stats for level 1, 6 and 12 are provided. The second sample NPC would be Satsobek, a rapacian steamshadow, who also gets stats for these levels.

The second class covered in this book would be, as mentioned before, the thunder scouts, and in the flavorful write-up section here, we learn about the crude secret language of thunder runes (and who is liable to know them!), public reception, etc. 14 different scout techniques are introduced, allowing for limited mechamage spell-poaching, + class level to Acrobatics to avoid AoOs, increased vehicle jumps, better vehicle or regular movement charge damage, and there is a 1/day option to use a swift action to gain a move action limited to movement – basically a built-in quickrunner’s shirt. Sharing favored terrain bonuses with allies is also solid, and zig-zag charging, running etc. can also be found. The class also gets a variety of new class exclusive spells that interact with the signature vehicle: Hazard zone nets the vehicle a threat range that can inflict collision damage at half speed, while Jerome’s Command is a cantrip for signature vehicle actions. There are a variety of retrofit spells, which allow for quick changing of bonus features, including notes on sidecars and even vehicle type change for the true version of the spell at 4th level. Rubber ride allows for vehicle squeezing (heck yes!) and did I mention the option to create shadow vehicles? Yeah, amazing!

We also get two new fully statted basic vehicles – the Mekanus Loader, an exo suit, and the high-speed arctic snow hare. Love them! There also are three new advanced vehicles, the first of which is the wagon of wonders, a wagon that may upright itself, is lieghtly fortified and an all-terrain Huge vehicle with air generator etc. Really cool! Speaking of which: What about dirigibles? And yeah, these can be made nonflammable. Finally, subterrane mole machines are damn cool – if these feature prominently in your game, playing Gaming Paper’s classic “Citadel of Pain” adventure may be a good idea… ;) And yes, we get a unique feature here as well. The vehicle also provides a crucial bit of clarification: Co-piloted signature vessels retain their status while the thunder scout is manning the pilot station. The pdf also includes the Tsunami superior vehicle, an ironclad marvel of naval warfare, a deadly gunboat…Oh, and prices for signature vehicles are provided! Less daily maintenance, jump pistons, parachutes and ultra-light frames are included among the new vehicle features included within. The pdf also provides rules for the Jump vehicle maneuver.

There also are two thunder scout archetypes: The iron scout replaces spellcasting with limited golemoid tricks with Int mod + ½ class level steam points, using Intelligence rather than Constitution as governing attribute, with Igniter provided for free, but usable only to power mechamagical engines. Instead of the bonus feats, the archetype allows for the use of steam points to operate signature vehicles sans using their hands, with increasing power. Lone Rider, the second archetype, loses additional vehicles, and instead nets a bonus HD and feature at the levels when these would be otherwise gained. Bland.

There is one archetype for other classes: the metalheart bard: Instead of spells, cantrip and bardic knowledge, the metalheart gets ½ class level + Charisma modifier steampoints, using Charisma as governing modifier for them and manite implants as a golemoid. They can double the range of bardic performances for a round by spending steam points, and 5th level nets combat specialization, with 13th level netting the improved combat specialization, but must take the one chosen at “level 6” – that should be level 5. Higher level options include using bardic performance for greater dispel magic (not italicized) and steam point/performance synergy. Interesting hybrid archetype. The thunder scout class also gets two different sample NPCs – a half-elven thunder scout (lone rider) named Lucius “Finder” DeNiels (once more, level 1, 6 and 12) and the dwarven Isolde Waldorf (ditto regarding levels). Both of these characters get signature vehicle stats for all their levels.

The pdf also sports a couple of mundane equipment choices for better climbing, baskets that halve the weight of ferrous objects carried, parachutes and the like. There are three weapon special abilities, one of which allows for automated vehicle gunner tripods, one for sonic damage and one for reduced penalties for attacks with speeding vehicles. A rod that can clamp down on vehicles (think of these as a magical tire clamp), one that unfolds a vehicle…some cool ones here. A painful and unstable elixir that temporarily grants manite implants, reduced collision damage, jet boosters, a draught that replenishes steam points, a good luck charm for pilots…pretty cool. The pdf also notes a couple of traits from the background category. A minor issue here: While these are well-designed and interesting, one of them gets the bonus type wrong. Really cool: The pdf ends with a section that provides role-playing tips for the options within, as well as 2 tables with 10 entries, each of which sports different origin stories. Cool!

Conclusion:

Editing is excellent on a formal level, and the rules language editing is similarly very good – however, formatting is not as good. There are a ton of missed italicizations and wrong formatting choices, as well as a couple of issues in finer rules-formatting. These are few and far in.between, but ina book of this quality, they do show. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard that manages to fit a TON of content on each page – this book could have been twice the size. You get quite a lot of content for your bucks. Artworks deserve special mention: Full-color, original and style-wise consistent with campaign setting and cover art, this is a beautiful book. Annoying: The pdf does not have any bookmarks, which is a huge comfort detriment for a book of this size. I can’t comment on the virtues or lack thereof of the print version, since I do not own it.

Rich Wulf, Christopher Koch, Matthew Tyler and Michael Lawrence provide an amazing expansion for the golemoid and thunder scout classes – while I like the new manite implants very much, I was mostly enamored with the vast potential of the thunder scout tricks. That class is inspiring, and this books made me think of many amazing encounter, adventure and campaign ideas. The blending of unobtrusive flavor and crunch makes for a great supplement of high-quality crunch. That being said, the minor hiccups in the details and formatting do accumulate, and the lack of bookmarks is utterly puzzling. These aspects do tarnish slightly what would otherwise be an excellent book. My final verdict will hence clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape: Iron Guard Field Guide
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Thunderscape Nights: Mission of Mercy
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/08/2018 07:52:24

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This brief adventure clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was requested by one of my patreons, to be undertaken at my leisure.

This adventure is intended for 2nd level characters. The module does feature read-aloud text.

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

..

.

All right, only GMs around? Great!

Ramila Cythin, a 16-year-old girl, is dying due to the attack of nocturnals– she attempted to bring wares to the markets of Balaquim, and while she was saved, her heart has become damaged. Sending a letter to her dad, who has also been wounded, just while in Ulmari, he has one gambit – a mechanical heart that may save his daughter. Thus, the wounded man hires the PCs to get the heart for him and bring it to his daughter. The PCs will manage to find Razeem (fully statted), who turns out to be a black market dealer who tries to scam them for more money.

A steamboat towards Cyrir waiting, the PCs are off towards the girl – and en route, they will be attacked by corrupted young crocodiles. From there, they will need to hike towards the thunder train station (12 hours of forced march), including a battle with cacklers. As the PCs approach their destination, they are hounded by a large group of nocturnal. What kind? No idea, not described. Neither can the PCs take a stand. The read-aloud text railroads them towards the gates of the garrison, and on the train, a goreaux mechamage with metal golem minion and a jurak barbarian will try to rob the train. Both are fully statted and members of the golemoid pirate Horus Kithbane’s crew – is the heart tainted? This is a good place to note that the lack of maps hurts this adventure. The descriptions are not nearly detailed enough to properly portray the battle environments of the module, and this particularly shows on board of the train. We have no idea regarding its dimensions, NPCs there, anything – everything is an opaque blur.

Conclusion:

Editing is tight in all regards, but formatting is not nearly as tight: Italicizations are missing left and right. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard and the sports a nice artwork that Aden fans will recognize. The pdf has no bookmarks, but doesn’t necessarily need them at this length. The pdf has no cartography or battle maps, which is a problem: Since the description is not exactly precise regarding combat environments, the battles feel opaque. As there are no maps, there also are no player-friendly maps.

This module by Shawn Carman and Ryan Boudwin is slightly better than the first Thunderscape Night…but not by much. Once more, there is 0 player agenda to be had; once more, there are no choices or consequences. The module implies that time is of the essence, but de factor, it doesn’t matter at all. The PCs have no hand in saving the girl, other than acting as couriers. The final encounter feels like it has been arbitrarily tacked in; the read aloud text forces the PCs to do things they wouldn’t do, when fighting with a garrison of NPCs would have been so much cooler. In short, this is a lackluster railroad. The concept is cool and the idea of a short journey is nice, but the opaque combat scenarios, coupled with the brevity, lack of consequences and comparably bland challenges, renders this, alas, not significantly better than the first one., My final verdict can’t exceed 2 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape Nights: Mission of Mercy
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Thunderscape Nights: Trouble at the Dunswood Inn
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/16/2018 04:49:24

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This brief adventure clocks in at 10 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This adventure is intended as an introductory module for Aden, and as such, for 1st level characters. The module does feature read-aloud text and also has a side-bar based option to make the module slightly darker, as befitting of Aden’s flavor.

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

..

.

All right, only GMs around? Great! So, the pretty sizable family of Knut Bjornson has weathered the Darkfall, and Knut’s no-nonsense attitude may have spelled doom: One of his younger sons, Magnus, is an aspiring mechamage, largely self-taught. When bandits arrived, one an arcanist and one a golemoid and Knut refused protection, Magnus snuck out, offering to help the golemoid to keep the family safe and satiate his thirst for knowledge.

The module features 4 scenes: The PCs happen upon a man being attacked by nocturnal fire elementals (fully statted) – unless the PCs intervene, the golemoid is as good as dead. Problematic – the man is ostensibly difficult to move while unconscious, but no weight value is provided, which locks the PCs into seeing Knut and his guards approach – the man offers Magnus’ services. As the PCs accompany the Bjornsons to their stead, they rest…and on the next day, the man has died, to be committed to the pyre. Here’s the thing: Why would the PCs not guard the man from the weird folks that suddenly showed up? The module crumbles apart with even a modicum of PC care, for it is contingent on Magnus removing golemoid components. Whether the golemoid was still alive or not depends on how dark a ton you’d like to evoke.

Magnus, in the meanwhile, has taken off to his bandit buddies – defeating the 3 remaining bandits (fully statted) ends the module.

Conclusion:

Editing is tight in all regards, but formatting is not nearly as tight: Italicizations are missed left and right. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard and the sports a nice artwork that Aden fans will recognize. The pdf has no bookmarks, but doesn’t necessarily need them at this length. The pdf has no cartography or battle maps, which is a problem: Since the description is not exactly precise regarding combat environments, the battles feel opaque. As there are no maps, there also are no player-friendly maps.

Shawn Carman’s brief sidetrek has a good idea, but ends up as a horrible railroad. There is zero player-agenda here, and while the background notes on the NPCs are nice, they have no bearing on the plot. The eponymous Inn is utterly opaque – I have no idea how it looks, how rooms are arranged, etc. The module is also contingent on superbly incompetent players that lack even a modicum of the paranoia that characterizes even journeyman adventurers. In short, while the prose and production values are solid, this does not work. Not even for the low price. I don’t consider this to be a worthwhile introduction or a good adventure. My final verdict will clock in at 2 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape Nights: Trouble at the Dunswood Inn
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Savage Thunderscape: the World of Aden
by Adamek P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/21/2017 01:49:10

I absolutely love this setting book for Savage Worlds. I only have 2 small problems with it: the book's size is a bit big for me and the bestiary has very few new monsters - but it gives you an easy way to create Golemoid creatures and Nocturnals, so it's not that big of a problem. What I love about this book the most is the many options it gives you. You can choose from 11 races: Dwarves, Elves, Faerkin (goat-fae-gnomes), Ferrans (humanoid animals, with different sub-races), Goreaux (goblins), Half-Elves, Humans, Jurak (orcs), Rapacians (reptilian humanoids), Echoes (shapeshifters), Ilithix Exiles (bug people). You can choose from some new background edges: Fallen (a "curse" that comes with powers), Golemoid (part machine), Thaumaturge (call upon legendary spirits to help you). You have several types of magic-users you can play as: Cleric, Entomancer (bug-specialized driud), Mechamage (golemancer), Seer, Steamwright, Thunder Scout (vehicle mage), Wizard. There are some new spells, there are new items (weapons, armor, alchemical items, poisons, magic items) and vehicles. There are Manite Implants which are like the steampunk version of cyberware. This book also has detailed information on Aden's landscape, its different nations, which are quite diverse. All in all, it gives so many options to choose from that this was a must have for me; after reading through the PDF, I just had to order the physical copy. I read that hardcover is really good quality, but softcover is good quality too.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Thunderscape: the World of Aden
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Savage Thunderscape: the World of Aden
by Joseph H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/14/2017 20:54:16

I have to say that this is probably one of the most in-depth, detailed, and unique fantasy settings out there. The level of depth is extremely detailed, putting most first party D&D settings to shame (I haven't purchased many setting books for Savage Worlds, so I can't judge it by that standard yet) Mechanically speaking, the book is sound, and not too complex to run either (Only a very slight amount of complexity increase compared to my simpler Savage Worlds games, which tend to use a single companion book and the core rules at most).

Having purchased the hardcover, I can definitely say it's worth the extra money over the softcover or PDF. It's virtually indistinguishable in print quality from the 3E era D&D books, save that the pages aren't glossy. This is more the distributor's doing, but it certainly makes it worth the extra cash.

Finally, if you're buying this, try to get ahold of a copy of the Fantasy Companion for Savage Worlds if you haven't already got it. Savage Thunderscape includes data on things that work from the basis of that (Though they are easy enough to not use), making it optional but highly recommended to have it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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