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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!]
Savage Thunderscape: Character Sheet
by Deb Z. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/02/2016 00:31:35

Awesome! This will be great as I alreqady have the book for the Pathfinder version. Now I can do the Savage Worlds one too!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Thunderscape: Character Sheet
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Thunderscape: the World of Aden: Campaign Setting
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/30/2015 10:15:03

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive campaign book clocks in at 227 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 221 pages of content, so let's take a look, all right?

Now, if I utilize my usual level of detail and analyze everything down to the feat-level, we'll be here next Christmas, so please bear with me while I present this book's content in slightly broader strokes.

After introductory prose and well-drawn maps as well as a general introduction, we begin this book with the section on races, discussing the core-races and their roles within the setting of Aden first - though it should be noted that there are no default gnomes, halflings or half-orcs here - instead, there are A LOT of new races. The Faerkin would be basically the replacement for gnomes - flavorwise, they have ties with the fey, which translates to various alternate racial traits that represent this - Quickling blood increases base speed to 40 ft., for example - generally, I like this race - it's pretty well-balanced, though the aforementioned racial trait lacks the "ft." after the 40. Ferrans would be a race that all fans of werewolves and anthropomorphic animals will love - they are an artificially created race, intended for servitude, though by now they have claimed freedom via a massive insurrection - this war did leave its mark on the race, though - the avian and reptilian ferrans are extinct and now, only the mammalian ones remain - which is, balance-wise, probably a good thing. With either claws or bites, movement speed customization. Here' I'd like to thank the authors - not only have they concisely defined natural attacks, less experienced players also have the rules explained to them - nice one! Btw.: Ferrans come with two complete, alternate racial suites for brutes and sneaks - oh, and the race can select from a list of 3 different bestial abilities to account for the race's diversity. While the ferrans are a powerful race, it's not one that suffers from feature bloat or the like - my playtest did show them to be most appropriate from standard to high fantasy and less so in gritty low-fantasy scenarios, but admittedly, they can function in such contexts as well. Well-crafted one. Here would be, btw., as good a place as any to mention that alternate racial traits etc. tend to favor untyped bonuses, not racial bonuses - so if you're a consistency stickler like yours truly, you might be somewhat annoyed by that. And before you pull out the pitchforks - yes, I am aware that not all published races adhere to this convention either - it just would be nice if they did.

The Goreaux would be Aden's goblin-ish race...and they are extremely smart - with a focus on mechamagic and a focus on brilliant minds, they are an interesting race. That being said, they do gain +4 Int, which is something I am not a fan of, since it makes the race lopsided and ultimately makes them predisposed towards certain pursuits...and such increased bonuses tend to result in higher powered builds. The Jurak, highly adaptable survivalists, would be the stand-in for the half-orc -and once again constitute a great race - diverse, adaptable, interesting. Nice one! Rapacians would be the lizard-folk-ish race of Aden, though they are not primitive. Personally, I'm not a big fan of them getting bonuses to 2 physical attributes, but this is somewhat balanced by them being more straightforward regarding other racial traits - so yes, these guys get a pass from me. Then, there would be the echoes -blank slates of black in humanoid form, they are relatively recent creations...and these creepy-looking individuals may alter self - but only the form of a deceased humanoid, and only if they can secure a component of the humanoid to be integrated into their jewelry/vials/etc. This race is balanced, creepy and all awesome...however, I think the Transient Echo-abilities ought to specify that is Su in the ability-header, not just in the text - and yes, this is the nitpick-level that will not influence my final verdict. The Ilthix Exile, insectoid exiles of their alien insectoid race, get +4 Dex, -4 Cha, making them pretty lopsided. Worse, the race gets unassisted flight at first level, hive sense and non-verbal communication. This is the very picture-book example of a lopsided race and the unassisted flight before 6th level can be quite problematic. That being said, at least the fluff makes these guys suffer for their powerful abilities. This chapter btw. also contains favored class options for the new classes herein - there are a lot of them and chapter 2 is devoted to them. The race-chapter also sports age, height and weight-tables, common names, information on languages, etc.

So now, we'll take a look at the new classes - 9 of them. Seeing how one in-depth class analysis usually tends to cover 4+ pages, I'm going to instead focus on a broader strokes picture. The first class would be the Arbiter - at d12 and Full BAB, these guys are the agents of law and order, gaining e.g. class level as bonus to 3 skills, the class can be considered a more martial inquisitor in theme, with the talents granted at 3rd level and every two levels thereafter providing some customization. Theme-wise, arbiters would be tanks - with a focus on using shields, they can attack and AoO even in total defense and increase the power of these tricks. A solid blocker class - no complaints here...apart from the 10th level ability missing from table and write-up. Like all classes herein, we get information on how the class may be played via the example of numerous sample fluffy character backgrounds.

The Entomancer at d8 would be an alternate class of the druid (nicely done - quite a few authors fail in pointing the like out, resulting in multiclass issues...) and are all themed around "insects" - not vermin, mind you, insects - the definition of this term is pretty concise. Player agenda is emphasized by providing multiple insect mastery-groups - these can be pictured as collections of talents: Unlike bloodlines or orders, entomancers are not restricted to one, but may freely choose between them...however, the respective categories have prerequisites within, thus rewarding specialization in a given way. Once again, on the nitpicky side, I can complain about the prereqs e.g. once depicting the required masteries known as "two" and then as "2" - but once again, this is a cosmetic issue and will not influence my final verdict. From cricket to hawk moths, the companion-steeds provided are pretty cool and options for verminous scouts and swarms add quite a bunch of interesting narrative options - espionage in Aden can be pretty compelling. Oh, and yes, this would be horribly broken, but the loss of 3 schools means that the class needs the golems and actually proved to be a valid trade-off.

The single most defining event of Aden is 10 years past - the Darkfall. The very sun itself was extinguished for a short period and the whole world saw a sudden genesis of creatures from the very nightmares, the subconscious of the populace, suddenly springing to life. The offspring of this cataclysmic event's dread unions would be the Corrupted. However, some do not serve - these beings would be the Fallen, people born from the Darkfall, yet striving to resist its call. 2 good saves, d8 and 4+Int skills point towards a skirmisher -and indeed, they are - with an addition: They bear stigma, which they can use to channel debuff effects, so-called torments, which scale, btw., on nearby foes - think of a mechanic somewhat akin to an antipaladin's cruelties, but at range. Additionally, the fallen can choose a type of stigma, which can be likened to an order or bloodline in that it provides a scaling array of abilities and determines the bonus feats available. I generally like this class and enjoy the fluff immensely, but it does suffer a bit from sharing the same niche as Forest Guardian Press's excellent direlock, though surprisingly, the two classes gel very well with one another.

The manite implants of mechamagic have an unfortunate side-effect -the Wasting. At the same time, extremely modified creatures with a strong sense of dedication and loyalty seem to resist this effect -enter the Golemoids. At d10 and full BAB-progression, Golemoids gain a reserve of steam points with which they can activate their implants and, beyond interchangeable parts and combat specializations, these guys can be pretty much considered to be the robot-class of Aden, with 4 classes of manite implants offering a rather diverse array of options to choose from -e.g. rocket-powered fists. Yes, this class is pretty awesome! The Mechamage alternate wizard-class would be an int-based full caster, with no access to enchantment, illusion and evocation. The interesting component here would be that the class gets a golem minion he can call to himself - or rather, as many as he can afford. You see, while only one such minion can be active at a given time, the mechamage can have multiple ones with different customizations - doll golems, for example. Basic golems are pretty dumb and thus, the commands they understand are carefully noted...oh, and want to do something different? There are writs and they make an otherwise been there, done that pet-class interesting: Essentially, you have pieces of writing, cogs, etc. you prepare (at cost), which you feed to your golem, programming it. And yes, love how this reflects the legend of Rabbi Loew's golem. New writs are unlocked at 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter for an integrated scaling mechanism.

The seer, who gets all good saves, 3/4 BAB-progression and d8, looks somewhat like a monk, but also gets Wis-based spellcasting from the class's own list. These rare beings, gifted with the power of prophecy, rank first among the Darkfall's hitlist - and as such, these beings are RARE. The class is interesting in that it utilizes its fatebending prowess via a significant array of customizable auras, some of which are powered (or can be enhanced) by a growing pool of second sight tricks. This class ranks among my favorites herein - unique in niche and presentation, the seer can provide narrative gold and remains an awesome addition to other settings and systems as well. The steamwright, at d8 and good will-saves + 3/4 BAB and can be considered a super-science-tinker-class, with the closest analogue probably being Alexander Augunas' Technician from the awesome "Age of Electrotech"-book. The interesting component here would be the variable pool of firepower-bonus damage that can be added with quite some flexibility to the damage-dealing components of the steamwright's arsenal. The inventions featured, from various guns/cannons to audiographs that can record what is heard, furthermore come with options to modify them - both invention-specific and general modifications. This class proved to be pretty powerful in playtest, though not to a point where I'd start complaining, especially since it does offer a neat array of awesome narrative options and non-combat utility. The Thaumaturge has a full caster's chassis and all bad saves and they may draw upon legends - the manifestations of how people are remembered (as opposed to how they were) - these legends are called forth and bound - and they modify BAB, feats, skills, etc., while also granting abilities - this class is essentially a dilettante-like class with a truly unique and compelling fluff. Interesting, btw. - the legends have aspects which provide a passive benefit and one more powerful consume ability, which renders the aspect inert until it's reactivated. This class is very interesting - it is extremely weak when caught on the wrong foot, but makes for a great class for solo-adventures or small groups that need multiple roles filled. Beyond that, an interesting conglomerate of narrative tricks can render this class in game pretty awesome - what if a legend's perception changes and a thaumaturge is invested in the legend's ideal? A good GM can craft some inspiring yarns from this class. Did you always want to play the badass pilot on a rumbling micro-steamtank or a jetbike? With full BAB, two good saves, minor spellcasting and a customizable signature vehicle, the thunder scout class is THE class for you - with numerous talents and customization options (and spells pertaining the vehicle), we get an awesome class with one annoying oversight - the vehicle's dimensions and weight are not explicitly stated - while one can take the vehicles later as orientation, I still considered this annoying.

All right, next would be the modifications/archetypes/infos on the traditional classes and their roles in Aden - from alchemists gaining golemoid manites to more controlled rages, the options here are solid, if not mind-boggling -essentially, we get means for existing classes to dabble in the new tools provided herein. On the plus-side, the awesome NPC-fluff-write-ups continue herein! Special mention deserve raging monks and the fact that paladins do not need to be good - however, they need to take several vows...and they do not fall. You heard me. Evil paladins can continue to smite evil and do not lose their class features. Personally, I love this. Why? Shades of grey, baby - and it makes the hypocritical erstwhile hero turned fanatic knight a much easier trope to play. Oh, and if you visibly violate your code, you'll sooner or later be hunted down... Oh, and there are golemoid palas. Samurai get flavorful new order names and an order that takes the smart fox/kitsune as inspiration...and there would be the shark and leviathan orders...

The book also sports numerous so-called folk-magic traits - essentially a toolkit that allows you to cast a single 0-level or 1st level spell as an SP, with CL being locked at 1st level - neat idea! As a nice note - traits utilize the often forgotten trait-bonus type. The pdf obviously sports numerous feats for the significant array of new classes herein -from better piloting to more techniques. Beyond these, support for multiclass monk/sorcs that let them use Wis instead of Cha and similar enabler-type-feats are provided alongside feats that extend the powers of a given racial ability. The chapter also details new uses of Knowledge (engineering), Heal and the rules for Craft (Machinery). After all of this, we dive into a concisely-written history of the world of Aden, which thankfully does not manage to get bogged down in the details, though a significant array of intriguing events are touched upon, before notes on languages, cosmology, calendar, wildlife and agriculture and so much more are provided - in spite of the relative brevity of this chapter, it, surprisingly, managed to captivate me. Major and minor religions, organizations (including a handy Pathfinder Lodge-stand-in) provide more than enough potential allegiances to have and share - though you should note that the religion write-ups are not particularly crunchy.

After this particular section, we dive into the nit and grit of the history, lands and politics of the massive nations that shaped Aden, noting governmental type, major imports and exports and predominant races - you won't find a detailed break-down of these components here, nor (thankfully) the rather annoying alignment-based nation-stereotyping. At the same time, military and similar crucial components are touched upon - and the respective nations sport their own full-color flags, which is a more than nice touch.

Now something I touched upon before becomes much more important in Aden: Magic works differently: Divine casters are not restricted in domain choice by their deities - instead, they may freely choose domains; their belief shapes the power they command and the absence of gods in the traditional sense opens, obviously, the way for numerous heresies and ambiguous options - which is kind of awesome. At the same time, I consider free domain-choice highly problematic - there is a reason domains are grouped for deities - some are simply better than others and being able to cherry-pick domains is not something I'd advise a GM to let her players do. The chapter also, obviously, contains a significant array of new spells - as mentioned before, these interact (often) in unique and interesting ways with the mechanics introduced in this book and several new, unique spells that e.g. deal with constructs, piloting, etc. Some spells also feature an interesting mechanic that makes repeat casts more likely to succeed. Clothing yourself into your swarm of insects would be one intriguing option, to give you an example.

The most intriguing chapter of this book, at least to me, though, would be the one on technology: From the basic concept of manites to the steamreaver mecha-weapons used by golemoids. Firearms in Aden operate btw. via different rules than those presented in Ultimate Combat - the crit multiplier is smaller, they do not ignore armor and suffer no failure-chance. An interesting array of weapons is presented here, with several pretty nice artworks - though their style does not live up to some of the most stunning artworks in the book. Siege and vehicle weapons alongside a significant array of the latter, from thunder cycles to steamwagons and dragon gliders can be found in this chapter with full stats. Alchemical items poisons complement this section with some cool ideas, though e.g. alchemical oil lacks the obvious "fire" damage type it should inflict, at least judging from the item's fluff.

Manite-powered items and implants (along the aforementioned threshold that you should not overstep...) and the process of golmization are intriguing - much like Shadowrun's Cyberzombies, these beings may gain power, but also lose parts of their humanity - and the slow death sentence of the wasting constantly looms, putting these rules once again in the hands of the GM and the story to be crafted. Especially the rules here are great - e.g. alternate options that make the manite threshold unknown to the player and similar gritty options to evoke questions of humanity make this section top-notch in the inspiration-category. The greatly expanded and streamlined section of vehicle combat and customization also renders this component significantly more pronounced (and interesting) than I would have thought -with vehicle maneuvers, speeding thresholds and the like providing a rather exciting array of tactical options. This pdf's rules to avoid constant (and pretty meaningless) skill-checks for basic operation definitely are appreciated! I consider the rules herein more suited and closer in line to my own take on the concept, so yeah - kudos!

The book also sports a bestiary - on the plus-side, the awesome full-color artworks here should definitely be considered awesome and on par with the best out there. On the downside, most statblocks in PFRPG sport a very DISTINCT separation from offense, defense, etc. - while this is maintained, its visual cue is less pronounced - the respective headers for the statblock sub-sections are just as small as the rest of the text, which makes reading the statblocks slightly less comfortable than they should be.

We end this book with a brief treatise on the Darkfall, some fluff-only renditions of powerful corrupted and a handy index that facilitates utilizing this book.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-level - while I noticed quite a few small inconsistencies and minor hiccups, they did tend towards the type that does not (overly) impede the book's usefulness. Especially considering that this is the first book of Kyoudai games, you can color me intrigued for any further Thunderscape material. Layout adheres to a beautiful, yet still relatively printer-friendly two-column full-color standard. The book sports MANY original, beautiful full-color artworks - though the weapons and races fall a bit behind the otherwise Paizo-level artworks. Yes, this is a beautiful book. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience.

Don't start with the campaign setting. It's an old truism and one that mostly holds true - a campaign setting requires great fluff, great crunch, a big budget and it can go wrong in many, many ways. It requires a plethora of skills and is HARD to pull off. More so even when attempted for an established setting - even if that setting has not so far seen too much exposure.

Let's cut this short, shall we? Due to the unique options of Thunderscape, playtesting this took forever -there are many entwined components that require one another. Surprisingly, the rules-language employed is pretty precise even when tackling rather complex concepts. More surprising than that, though, would be the fact that the new classes, more often than not, offer a pretty unique playing experience. Shawn Carman, Rich Wulf and Christopher Koch have definitely excelled beyond my expectations in this book. Aden, as depicted herein, came more to life for me than it ever managed in the games of old - to the point, where I actually consider this a thoroughly compelling campaign setting I will gladly revisit. Granted, there is some sand in the finer components of the otherwise pretty well-oiled machinery that is this book, but seeing that this is a freshman offering, not for the authors, but for the company, and I'll gladly rate this 4.5 stars...and since I really enjoy the majority of choices herein, since the book offers so much coolness to scavenge and/or use, I will round up and slap my seal of approval on this book.

On another note - from now on, you'll also see Thunderscape-supplement-reviews, provided I can get my hands on them - I'm definitely intrigued to see whether they can live up to the excellent quality established in this book.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape: the World of Aden: Campaign Setting
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Thunderscape: Lost Lexicon, Part 1: Heart of the Machine
by Julian N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/22/2015 05:56:26

I’ve now read “Heart of the Machine”, part one of The Lost Lexicon adventure path for the Thunderscape setting… and I’m not sure I like it. It’s a 48 page PDF.

The first part of it (Chapter 1) describes the city of Mekanus, its history and various districts. There is also a lot of detail about two possible factions that the PCs might join, or not. This section is excellent, and includes a map overview of the city with its sections.

The second third of the book (Chapter 2) is devoted to Bounty Missions. While the town does have military forces, they are used against big threats and protecting the important/wealthy areas of the city. The PCs start the adventure by joining the Cogswheel Irregulars, who are semi-professional lawmen who do jobs to help deal with the problems that the authorities won’t. This section starts off by detailing how acceptable or not killing and looting is by the Cogswheel Irregular members. This is followed by several sample missions for a GM to use. This section ends with a four page mission generator; these cover bounty, security, courier, repossession and military missions.

Chapter 3 begins to develop the plot for the adventure, with the characters performing a particular security mission; this covers 6 pages. Chapter 4 covers the adventure’s finale; the PCs should be 4th level when they attempt this section, which covers 8 pages. The last two pages includes a new monster and random encounter tables.

This adventure feels very much like a “kit”. A GM will need to undertake serious preparation to ensure that it remains fun throughout; otherwise, it is just an endless collection a random missions, plus those encounters included in the book. There are no maps, aside from the map of Mekanus itself. Personally, I think that undertaking random missions for one class level (including the sample missions) would be enough to prevent too much repetition, and a series of mini-“dungeons” would work better.

On the other hand, there could be say 2-3 missions with 8-10 or so encounters (PCs taking on a gang in a dilapidated house for example), several 3-6 encounter missions, and several 1-2 encounter missions, with encounters being roleplaying, traps, physical combat or whatever, and there should be maps. If such a thing is done, then the assault on the bad guys’ lair should also be beefed up to 8-10 encounters or it will feel underwhelming, and in any case, the final chapter should require 3rd level PCs and just take them to 4th level, ready for the next adventure. What would also really help is if GMs who have run or plan to run this adventure post the missions they create somewhere in a thread to help others.

Sadly, the do-it-yourself element of Heart of the Machine does not make for a compelling or interesting first part of an adventure path, which is a shame, because Kyoudai books are normally fantastic. A GM could even start this campaign with other adventures beforehand to get the PCs to 3rd level, and start this adventure then, with the PCs arriving at the city as they reach 3rd level.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape: Lost Lexicon, Part 1: Heart of the Machine
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Thunderscape: Iron Guard Field Guide
by Julian N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/22/2015 05:54:00

"The Iron Guard Field Guide" is a class sourcebook for the Thunderscape campaign setting. It provides a chunk of options for characters of the golemoid and thunder scout classes, and more.

It is 36 pages long, and as well as all the crunch provided above, it includes background to the two classes and how they fit into the setting of Aden. Also provided are roleplaying tips for each class, and a table offering suggestions for how the character became a member of their class. In addition, there are two sample NPCs for each class, detailed at level 1, 6 and 12.

The options presented in this book are fun and interesting. This is just as good as Saints & Sinners and Law & Destiny. If you like the other two class books, you'll love this.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape: Iron Guard Field Guide
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Thunderscape: Saints & Sinners
by Julian N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/25/2015 12:18:18

“Thunderscape: Saints and Sinners” is a class sourcebook for the Thunderscape campaign setting. It provides a chunk of options for characters of the fallen and thaumaturge classes, and more. Here is a summary:

General Mechanics • 5 new items • 3 new magic armour/weapon properties • 7 new magic items • 13 new feats • 8 new traits • Chimeric Archetype (Fallen) • Carnivore Archetype (Fallen) • Saint Archetype (Thaumaturge) • Soulless Archetype (Thaumaturge) • 1 new cleric domain • 1 new sorcerer bloodline

Fallen Mechanics • Apparition Stigma • Cataclysm Stigma • Drake Stigma • Drowned Stigma • Midnight Stigma • Rimeweaver Stigma • Sanguine Stigma • Scrapheap Stigma • Stormwracked Stigma • Withered Stigma

Thaumaturge Legends • The Arcadian • The Beast • The Champion • The Demon • The Faceless • The Fencer • The Haunt • The Holy • The Kraken • The Magister • The Martyr • The Sage • The Sentinel • The Woodsman

Thaumaturge Aspects • Acumen • Allure • Bloodlust • Conquest • Divinity • Firepower • Genius • Guile • Horsemanship • Inspiration • Nature • Poison • Potency • Punishment • Resolve • Solitude • Steadfastness • Vigor

Thaumaturge Greater Aspects • Arcana • Death • Defiance • Eternity • Intangibility • Invincibility • Lightning • Meditation • Mourning • Power • Precision • Purity • Radiance • Transference

It is 43 pages long, and as well as all the crunch provided above, it includes background to the two classes and how they fit into the setting of Aden. Also provided are roleplaying tips for each class, and a table offering suggestions for how the character became a member of their class. In addition, there are two sample NPCs for each class, detailed at level 1, 6 and 12.

The options presented in this book are fun and interesting. In fact several of the fallen abilities made me chuckle, while the thaumaturge options greatly increase the potential versatility of that class. The [i]channeler’s icons[/i] are a must have for thaumaturge PCs, IMO, as they act a bit like [i]pearls of wisdom[/i], allowing a character to reactivate a consumed aspect.

Other points: Personally, I think the [i]mythwrought[/i] weapon ability should have a flat +1,000 gp price increase rather than having a +1 bonus price modifier. It should also have the option to inflict energy damage other than fire, but only one type of energy (perhaps chosen when first wielded).

The corrupted claws ability gained at 16th level deals the same damage as at 4th level; I suspect that this should have been increased.

The stat blocks follow an unusual format in that the racial abilities, class abilities and favoured class bonuses are included in their own entries. They should really have been included in the special attack line, special quality line (and so on), as appropriate.

Overall, if you are a fan of the Thunderscape campaign setting, or just the class options, this book is worth getting.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape: Saints & Sinners
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Thunderscape: the World of Aden: Campaign Setting
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/20/2014 19:56:52

Thunderscape: the World of Aden Campaign Setting is an interesting book, obviously if you want to run a campaign set in the world of Aden this is a must buy item, but what if you are just a Pathfinder GM? Well, in that case, it depends on how much use you think you will get out of the new races, classes and rules. If you want to move your campaign in a more magical steampunk sort of direction, there are considerable tools to support that especially of you want to make vehicles more important to your game. Want to have a corrupting evil that spawns twisted agents? There are tools for that. For me, the insect druid Entropomancer is almost enough reason alone to have the book, but not every campaign has a place for such a class. But each GM will have to make the call for themself.

Thunderscape: the World of Aden Campaign Setting by Kyoudai Games for use with the Pathfinder RPG is based on the World of Aden used in the SSI computer game created by Shane Hensley and developed in both novels and source books. This current version is written by Shawn Carman and Rich Wulf and was made possible by a Kickstarter. The World of Aden mixes magic with technology, steam-powered vehicles, gunpowder weaponry and mechanical golems. Opposing this are the sinister powers of the Darkfall and the nightmare creatures it has awoken. Found in Aden are seven new races and nine new classes: As well as traditional dwarves and elves (and half elves) such as: Faerkin, a small fey-touched race. The Ferran, race of magically evolved animals that come in various subraces, predator, brute and sneak, to allow them to be customized to various animal types. Goreaux and Jurak are variants of goblin and orc respectively. Rapacians are lizard folk. The most unusual are the Echoes, a spirit race that must take on the form of someone dead, and the Ilithix Exiles, a race of intelligent insects with interesting abilities from that heritage. The new classes draw upon the nature of Aden: The Arbiter mixes high, but focused, combat potential with an investigative skill set, though it remains primarily a combat-oriented class. A Druid variant, the Entromancer, which focuses on the control of insects and other such creatures and is by far my favorite class in the book. Several of the classes mix magic and technology, the Golomoid (who enhance themselves with golem-tech), the Mechamage (who make golems), Steamwright (steamtech tinkers) and Thunderscouts (master of vehicles). The Fallen are an interesting class, representing those who have been touched by the Darkfall but not subverted by it (though it can also be used to model those as well) who use the tools of evil to fight. Seers, who look beyond, and Thamaturges, who tap into the abilities of ancient heroes, also provide interesting options for characters. As a nice touch, three example characters (only a paragraph though) for each class are presented just to give a feel for the class in Aden. Existing classes are given a handful of new archetypes and how they fit into the setting of Aden as well as two example characters for each class. Next are traits and feats, the Folk Magic Trait is especially clever and has a potential wide application, while most of the feats apply to the new races and classes. A brief section covers new uses for skill in Aden, nothing groundbreaking but useful. Then it moves into history and the nations of Aden, each getting a multi-page description that lays it out as a place to go and adventure in with the current political and military situation and a lovely flag. It would have been nice to see some adventure hooks for each of the areas and points of interest, but what is here being serviceable. Next it is back to rules with new spells, after a discussion of the place of magic in Aden, mostly to fill out the spell selection for Entromancers and Mechamages. Followed by new equipment, including firearms, mechamagic weapons (magmaxe!), vehicles and rules for customizing vehicles, and a handful of new magic items. A selection of Aden specific monsters and templates finishes off the book along with an index (always useful). There is a considerable amount of useful material here for any Pathfinder game but it is very focused on the steam-magic world of Aden and will require adaptation, possibly considerable adaption, to fit into other campaign worlds.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Thunderscape: the World of Aden: Campaign Setting
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Thunderscape: the World of Aden: Campaign Setting
by Jere M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/16/2014 03:12:52

What is Thunderscape? Thunderscape - The World of Aden introduces readers to the battered but unbroken world of Aden, a world where knights and sorcerers fight shoulder to shoulder with mechamagical golems against the nightmarish hordes spawned by the Darkfall, a supernatural cataclysm of unknown origin.

It uses the Pathfinder Roleplaying system that I currently consider my favorite setting when playing D&D games.

LAYOUT Overall look and feel of the book is very good. From its parchment like pages to the small details of gears, shadow beasts and good artwork says “This is Thunderscape – the World of Aden”.

For me the book reminds a mix between the old 3rd edition D&D Forgotten Realms Campaign Settings book and Pathfinder Hardcover books. Some small details are noticeable though; many of the chapters begin with a artwork and a small description of what’s inside, while others begin with just the headline. This was the only detail that bothered me.

CHAPTER 1. Races of Aden Chapter details who the most common races of Aden and introduces all the new races found in it. While the chapter does provide decent information regarding each race much like many other campaigns settings books out there. It did leave me wanting more, but that might only be because I compare everything to one of my personal favorites “The Advanced Race Guide” which details each race with multiple pages.

This is a shame since the game brings a couple of really nice races to the game, I would have like to know more. Also artwork of the races while good seems little plain when comparing with rest of the book.

CHAPTER 2. Classes Now this is where the book begins to shine, Chapter 2 might be the best chapter in the book. Not only does it bring nine new core/base classes in to the game, each one as detailed as any provided by Pathfinder books, they are accompanied with the best artwork in the book to show us iconic character for each class.

Each of the classes brings flavor and detail to the world of Aden that will be hard to match by any other product out there. The dark Fallen that wield powers granted or cursed by Darkfall, Golemoids that infuse themselves with Mechamagic while trying to survive its price the Wasting and my personal favorite the Seer that combine the power of divine spell casting with a gift of prophecy. Also classes provided are very different from each other, so that you will find something that you like. You could even create a whole party just from these classes and you would have very versatile group.

Chapter also provides details how all the existing core and base classes function in Aden with a couple of example character descriptions to each class.

CHAPTER 3. TRAITS/FEATS/SKILLS While the chapter does provide nice amount of new feats it doesn’t quite reach the numbers that some of the campaign settings usually provide, but after 9 new classes full of new features to play with it doesn’t matter. It also provides a new trait called Folk Magic which speaks to how much magic is part of Aden in everyday life of its citizen.

Chapter also provides some new info regarding skills related to Aden’s technology.

CHAPTER 4. History of Aden This chapter is the first that doesn’t provide its own preview page which is little shame since it starts right after mechanics heavy sections in the book and first time I turned the page to it, I was certain my book was missing couple of pages.

Chapter itself while quite short, only half a dozen pages did provide nice amount of info about Aden’s history, which is expanded later in the book when it details each nation and its history. Also world of Aden is still quite young in real life so it’s understandable that it there isn’t more information.

CHAPTER 5. Life in Aden Also another one of my favorites, this chapter details the world of Aden and how it is different from so many other worlds we might already know. While the chapter only goes little inside each aspect of Ade, its those small details that bring the world to life in my mind.

Whether it’s a secret language of Thrun, what the cosmology in Aden is or how in the forest of Sylfanus elves tame Griffons, it all says this is Aden. Because when you read about Aden’s agriculture or what sort of wildlife is found in this part of Aden, you can immediately see in your mind what sort of place this might be.

Chapter also goes more into detail how religion in Aden is very different from most of other settings out there, because its people don’t worship gods. It also details shortly the major and minor faiths found in Aden.

CHAPTER 6 and 7. Nations of Aden I have reviewed these two chapters as one because they both focus on nations of Aden. The chapter expands the info you already got in chapters 4 and 5 as each nation gets brief description of its own history, lands and culture. As well as some major settlements found in it, what military they have and how they’re relationship is with other nations.

Every nation has enough information that you can decide where they want to adventure. It also provides enough info for GM’s to build from it. While I would have like to know more about everything, details provided are in line with what every other campaign setting provides in their main book, with additional details provided in future supplement books.

CHAPTER 8. Magic in Aden This chapter provides info how arcane and divine casters are defined in Aden with some information regarding the unique magical disciples. There are three major unique magical disciples in Aden that are Entomancy that involves insects, Mechamagic the most common that is fusion of Magic and Steam, and finally Thaumaturgy that is related to the most common belief people of Aden about spirits and afterlife.

While information provided is quite short it gives the reader enough info to use them in their games and provides some hints to possible sub disciples expanded in future books. Finally the chapter provides list of new spells that bring Aden’s unique feel to every spell casting class, old or new.

CHAPTER 9. Technology in Aden Again this is a chapter that in my mind is one of the best in the book. Not only does it provide info much technology is a part of Aden but it provides many examples to varies technological and magical wonders. New wonders include things like Lightning sword and Magmaxe. There are also details to various firearms that are much more common in Aden then in Pathfinder setting. There are so many new items, vehicles, alchemical items and armors found that you can really feel how much technology is part of Aden.

Finally the chapter provides more details to the Golemoids unique illness the Wasting and rules for piloting the new technological wonders.

CHAPTER 10. BESTIARY While relatively short chapter it does provide enough new information to show what sort of creature’s you might encounter in Aden. This is mostly done by providing sort of templates that you can add to any creature to create those unique creatures that roam the lands.

NATURE OF DARKFALL In the end the book provides a small section detailing the mystery of Darkfall and many theories surrounding its origin. For me Darkfall is a brilliant way to provide a sort of mystery that many gamers want to solve, while giving players a common enemy that even the most greedy thief or power hungry wizard is quick to oppose.

I’m certain that we will discover many new things about Darkfall in the future books.

CONCLUSION In my mind Thunderscape – World of Aden is one of the best Campaign setting books released and if I had to say anything bad about it. It would be that its 224 pages left me wanting more, more artwork and more details about everything that is Aden.

As a backer of the Kickstarter campaign that launched this product I’m really happy how great product Thunderscape Campaign setting turned out to be. And when considering that the Kyoudai Games is quite a small firm they have really shown us their worth with this. So if this is the sort of quality we can expect from them in the future, you can count on me to getting those as well.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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