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Incantations: Skill-Based Magic (5e)
by Barry P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/03/2022 09:19:28

I purchased this recently as I was looking for a magic system or subsystem outside of the typical spell slot based magic in 5e.

At first I thought that a skill check based system wouldn't work for me. However, I quickly changed my mind thanks to the example incantations. I was also pleased to see that this is a spellcasting system for anyone, no feat or class requirements neccessary. Better yet, a system is provided to create your own incantations. I started generating a few incantantions for my home game right away. There are notes for how Dispel Magic and Counterspell affect these incantations.

For worldbuilding, this helped to build one or two shadowy magic-based organziations in the world. It also provided helpful NPCs to assist the party in dealing with them. I have always liked the idea of rogues performing some sort of magic and this system fits just right for me.

Great work and very useful at my table!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Incantations: Skill-Based Magic (5e)
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Advantageous Abilities: Savage Abilities Volume 2 (5e)
by James B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/07/2022 01:45:46

Like the first volume, this provides additional abilities for D&D 5th Edition monsters. However, this is the stronger of the two volumes, with abilities that go beyond tactics (a number are skill-focused) and without the wording issues of the original. The amount of actual rules material is the same (two pages), but at least the price is also the same.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Advantageous Abilities: Savage Abilities Volume 2 (5e)
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Advantageous Abilities: Savage Abilities (5e)
by James B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/07/2022 01:41:00

A selection of tactically minded abilities to add to D&D 5th Edition monsters. The system for adjusting the CRs for the new abilities is well thought out, and they definitely provide some useful new options for tactically heavy games. Not so much for other types of games, admittedly, but that's not the target audience; a number would also be rather gory in play. Note there are wording issues with several abilities: for example, they say a target "can" make a save at times when they clearly mean "must". And there's only two pages of actual new rules provided, with the rest of the page count going to explanations and cover material.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Advantageous Abilities: Savage Abilities (5e)
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5e NPCs: Nobles & Ne'er Wells
by Gregory S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/27/2021 09:40:03

I was hooked on this publisher with the Houses and Heraldry products and this one has a direct linkage to those via Fanning Rell. Like the other NPCs, her backstory is simple, clear, and provocative with lots of room for GMs to expand on. Each NPC receives two pages. The stat blocks are well designed to support the NPCs' backgrounds and still allow for added flavoring by the GM. These characters all stand on their own, so if you don't buy the other products you won't necessarily miss out.

I want more, especially linked NPCs!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
5e NPCs: Nobles & Ne'er Wells
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Houses and Heraldry
by Gregory S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/23/2021 09:54:32

The Houses of Heraldry (1 and 2) are wonderful. I enjoyed their detail and format. The house emblems/heraldric shield devices greatly add to the color of each. These really helped flesh out any fantasy campaign without pigeonholing. Each house is described on two pages that can be printed two-sided and put in a binder. Not all houses are linked by backstory so the GM can be selective.

The only downside to these is the inconsistent quality of the color artwork, but for a small press, this is easily overlooked (or remedied by searching the web for alternatives to match the vague physical descriptions provided).

I really love these two products and I want MORE!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Houses and Heraldry
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Houses and Heraldry II
by Gregory S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/23/2021 09:53:32

The Houses of Heraldry (1 and 2) are wonderful. I enjoyed their detail and format. The house emblems/heraldric shield devices greatly add to the color of each. These really helped flesh out any fantasy campaign without pigeonholing. Each house is described on two pages that can be printed two-sided and put in a binder. Not all houses are linked by backstory so the GM can be selective.

The only downside to these is the inconsistent quality of the color artwork, but for a small press, this is easily overlooked (or remedied by searching the web for alternatives to match the vague physical descriptions provided).

I really love these two products and I want MORE!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Houses and Heraldry II
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Handy Handbag or Pointless Purse?
by Ismael A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/07/2018 11:05:12

So I want to start by saying that this product was very enjoyable. It was nearly a treatise on the nature of handbags, and in that sense it was a delightful and informative read.

What I want to say more critically is that while this was very amusing, I was a tiny bit dismayed that it was skewed towards a modern sensibility. Though the lion's share of the humor came from its ensconcement in the trappings of modern purse contents and their idiosyncratic nature, this product then seems well adjusted for modern or post-modern RPG settings.

Which is totally fine, and it works very well for just such a thing, especially for a setting that takes itself less seriously (say Human Occupied Landfill or Paranoia). But I was a little sad to see that there wasn't at least a small page that might have given some fantasy genre items that might be in a handbag, perhaps holding a mirror on our modern customs through this genre parody.

But while I lament, it did not detract from my enjoyment of this product, especially as it was PWYW. I hope you pay for this product, as it is worth the read, especially if you enjoy a sardonic modernist humor. 5 stars!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Handy Handbag or Pointless Purse?
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Advantageous Abilities: Defensive Abilities (5e)
by Ismael A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/07/2018 10:23:52

Disclaimer: I got a complimentary copy of this product.

This book, the next in the Advantageous Ability line from Dire Rugrats, is true to form as it delivers a plethora of defensive adjustments for your NPCs and monster.

Right off the bat, the passive abilities are well considered, and decently balanced. While the monster design would have you just give a monster an appropriate AC rating, for instance, these abilities are there to add flavor and make a monster feel more interesting because of their outward and inward design, which I know players appreciate.

Into active abilities, they are very neat and flavorful, though I wonder about some of them. Many of these abilities evoke movie scenes and martial arts tropes, such as Taproom Defender, which lets an NPC improve their defenses by interposing random objects. The Blind Monk's Stance is thematically very cool, but it implies that the NPC or monster may need to spend a turn blind and helpless to access it. It'd be better to just allow it to work automatically, perhaps upping the CR adjustment.

For reactive defenses, those requiring a reaction to use, there are some more interesting options. At this point, the abilities seem almost circumstantial. Duck and Cover allows someone to duck behind cover to change 3/4 cover to full cover. This seems like a good idea and GM adjudication over an ability that would alter a creature's CR, but it's kind of neat to see the idea proposed. Human Shield is more of a tactical maneuver. It begs for a book of combat maneuvers, whether they be options for the Battlemaster, or for general use. It rather reminds me of the "Book of Iron Might" put out by Monte Cook many years ago, and I mean that in a good way. I am giddy considering what a book of tactical options could mean for the game, especially as it could expand the possibilities for players who aren't ready to think outside of the box with their actions.

The other reactive abilities are great, and can make a fight interesting and colorful. extending the action without necessarily seeming like you are cheating to keep your combatant alive.

Overall, the product is a solid and short toolbox that can help you spice up your encounters. While the 5th edition fantasy rules tend to go for simplicity, there is space for small chunks of complexity and flair that make encounters and game sessions stand apart, and this product is ideal for helping you to do that. The biggest takeaway from this is as inspiration for your own encounter building, at which this product excels.

I give this product a 4.5, which I am rounding up to 5. The price is right, and while there are a few quibbles, nothing stands out as intractable. Totally worth $1!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Advantageous Abilities: Defensive Abilities (5e)
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5e NPCs: Goblins! Goblins! Goblins!
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/17/2018 03:49:08

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This NPC-collection clocks in at a massive 48 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page introduction, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 40 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was moved up in my reviewing-queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreons.

All right, so, first things first: Not all goblins herein are regular goblins; instead, some employ rules from the Moar Goblins-pdf by Dire Rugrat Publishing. It should be noted that all rules taken from that book that are employed herein. This makes the goblins significantly more diverse and interesting and no, you won’t have issues using this book sans Moar Goblins. This book does provide a bit of a teaser for it and provides stats for the Tokoloshe snare trap, the nacht kabouter and the grindylow…and harpoons.

Now, as far as challenge-range is concerned, the material herein ranges from challenge ½ to challenge 12. The presentation of the numerous goblin NPCs herein is detailed: We get the name at the top of the page, a brief summary of the character (like “Goblin Exile, self-imposed”), a brief quote and then, extensive notes on the background-story of the respective NPC – so no, these are not fire-and-forget NPCs, they are proper, fully developed characters. The characters are presented by ascending challenge, beginning with the lowest challenge and moving up the scale.

What type of character can find herein? Well, the first fellow (aptly described by the summary mentioned above) is a goblin who a) is not much of a fighter and b) despised the lack of civility in goblin society; a survivor with boundless optimism, Zazutk Grimheap is anything but grim and sports something I really like about Dire Rugrat’s books: The lack of cynicism and generally…sense of a latent optimism suffusing their books. Sure, the fellow is basically an information broker, but he wants manners and is a pretty happy fellow.

That should not mean that the goblins here are all looking for a hug-party and acceptance, mind you: Take Wottle Skrimjaw, grindylow chief. This fellow is NOT nice. Then again, he is somewhat lazy, which makes for a nice roleplaying opportunity/rewarding of legwork done right. “Yeah, you shouldn’t go in that territory…but if you do…” It’s small bits like that, which make characters feel alive. It should also be noted that quite a few NPCs herein come with suggestions on how to use the character, but that as an aside. While we’re at the topic of tribal leaders: Grunko Whitemane would be one such fellow, one who is particularly adept at felling larger foes…oh, and if the name was no indication, he is a tundra goblin. And yes, the modifications to create rank and file tundra goblins have been included here. A dreadlock-wearing Pukwudgie chieftain, Tiponi, is a strong woman, the first to lead her tribe, in fact!

Next up would be Neeha of Banga Pracira, a rather charming gudro bonga lady…which brings me to another point that may be of interest to you, particularly if you’re new to Dire Rugrat Publishing’s supplements: The NPCs often sport their own signature abilities, often ones that go beyond the obvious defaults, which can add an interesting angle even to characters which usually, challenge-wise, would not pose much of a threat. Speaking of gudra bonga: Vaishikof Gartakara Rupa (challenge 2) (the place is once incorrectly called “Gartaka Rupa”) is an interesting specimen, as his protectiveness and stout build may make him seem almost a bit dwarf-like, while his uncommon heritage and the abilities granted by it add an interesting angle of the supernatural. While we’re on the subject of these, perhaps one of my favorite goblin subspecies: Eakogs Clutternugget is AMAZING. But let me explain: Each goblin herein gets his/her own full-color artwork, which is impressive in and of itself. The goblin merchant’s artwork rocks. However, it is his FUNCTION, which is the draw. Are you running an extensive wilderness/dungeon-campaign and the PCs can’t restock sans 2 sessions of traveling/running? Enter this fellow! Much like e.g. the merchants of Resident Evil 4, for example, he can show up at opportune moments and help out with just the right tools…which he obviously may have stolen somewhere, so potential further trouble can be set up thus as well.

Of course, aforementioned level of playfulness can take a potentially sinister tint – take Royce Mapplethorp, the mighty (challenge 2) goblin herald, whose fightsong is really potent for his allies. Minor quibble here: Only being able to hear as a limitation for its benefits is pretty strong – personally, I’d include a maximum number of targets affected or range-restriction here…otherwise any halfway decent group will get him a magical megaphone sooner or later… But I digress. This fellow may be basically a potent mascot, but he is not necessarily a nice guy… Speaking of which: Know what happens when a rather psychotic goblin kills a cosmonaut that has just injected him with a nanite solution that links him to a central computer? We get a really smart psychotic goblin, who goes on to make a blade that returns to him…and urns mercenary…after all, this vast knowledge at his beck and call can be applied creatively to all manner of topics…Yeah, shades the blade (challenge 6) is a creepy, creepy fellow.

Sometimes, folks are born that are different; most of us have felt that way at one point and for a few of us, this experience of otherness has changed our trajectory in life. Rilidyx Fastbutton is surprisingly good-looking by the standards of most folks…other than goblins. Her mother did not have an easy time, basically being slutshamed for ostensibly consorting with an elf…and after she vanished, Rilidyx ventured forth to find her place in life, charismatic, alluring and surprisingly deadly. Speaking of deadly (and much less pleasant): Fargrakle the despised, at challenge 5, would be a goblin necromancer who specializes in…animating crawling claws. Yeah, this fellow is creepy…

At challenge 3, N’tambu would be a tokoloshe, who is rather unique and no longer bound to serve vengeance seekers. He can drink water to become invisible and is exciting as a redemption story of sorts, one that celebrates the triumph over what one could consider being doomed to be evil. A child of nature and the representation of an almost obligatory trope, Wrelx would be a Wolfrider. Yes, he comes with stats for his wolf. Know what the name of the wolf is? “Grr.” Yes, they have unique synergy tricks. And yes, that name put a smile on my face. Picture it: “What’s the name of your companion?” “Grrr!” “No need to become aggressive, I just asked what his name was!” “Grr!” XD

Call me juvenile, but I can see that in my mind’s eye and it makes me smile.

Also something of a tale of just desserts would be that of Mekan (challenge 7), a former goblin guinea pig for his cruel master, who managed to turn the tables, becoming a fearsome fire specialist in his own right. Oh, and he can delay his magic in a type of spell-like bombs. Ouch.

The trope of the possessed godhand can be found in Flubboks Hugemitt, a goblin, whose right hand has grown to an enormous size and demonic sentience…oh…and Strength 20. Your PCs won’t be laughing about this goblin… Nix takes the idea of the blue (the blue-skinned psionic goblins known from previous editions) and takes a bow to the concept without requiring the introduction of psionics per se, as the mighty Nix behaves as a self-styled deity of the local goblins, with mind blade and potent defenses. Nice nod! She is not alone: Her sibling Zub makes for a deadly second half to the duo, only that his talents manifest as powerful spellcasting…

And then, there would be the final NPC. Koning. King of the Nacht Kabouters – legend to most, doom to many. He comes with no less than 3 lair actions, multiple (properly formatted!) legendary actions and the challenge 12. Oh. And, you know. He knows everything every single nacht kabouter on the same plane knows. Yes, he does have means to be defeated and weak spots – but PCs will probably have to be pretty clever to best this potent foe! As an aside: His missing cap, his weakness…the character’s stats made me immediately come up with an adventure sketch, where woefully underleveled PCs have to best him with brains, rather than brawn…it’s always a good sign when reading a critter makes me immediately have an idea for a whole module…

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, as a whole, are very good, though not perfect on formal and rules-level. As a whole, you should not encounter serious issues here. Layout adheres to a printer.friendly two-column standard with a white background; the statblocks sport parchment-style color-backgrounds to differentiate them. The artworks deserve special mention: There is a ton of them and I haven’t seen most of them before, which is a big plus. There are some original pieces within as well. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

I’ve really come to like Kelly and Ken Pawlik’s style. There is a positive core to their writing, something deeply human that manages to elicit a sense of joy without being naïve or bland. The characters herein are diverse and feel plausible. They are not just soulless fire-and-forget statblocks and they steer clear of the clichés…and even when such tropes are used, they are employed in a sympathetic manner. It’s hard to properly describe, but it could boil down to a sense of empathy with their fictitious creations. You can relate, in some way or another, with quite a few of them, with their motivations and characters. The NPCs herein are relatable and diverse…and frankly, I enjoyed them much more than I expected. There are a couple of real stand-out NPCs in these pages and the price-point of 5 bucks is really fair for the amount of content you get; the bang for buck ratio is rather great here. So yeah, this comes highly recommended, particularly in conjunction with the slightly less impressive Moar Goblins-pdf, if only so you know about the unique goblin-subspecies the Dire Rugrats have dug up! (without it, the pdf loses a bit of its appeal – not much, but a tiny bit of it.) My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars, just short of my seal of approval; a well-made NPC-codex and hopefully, not the last!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
5e NPCs: Goblins! Goblins! Goblins!
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Tangible Taverns: The Hut (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/20/2017 08:10:36

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of Dire Rugrat Publishing’s cool Tangible Taverns-series clocks in at 22 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 17 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was moved up in my reviewing-queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreons.

So, fans of the Wayfinder magazine may be familiar with the basic set-up here; the Hut was featured originally in that publication, though in a basic version – and for the first time, this time around, we get the establishment with all shiny 5e-rules!

Amidst the marshy expanse, propped up by stilts, there is a weathered hut awaiting the weary traveler; several mooring posts allow for the safe tying of boats for the travelers and from its inside, delicious smells waft forth – smells I can almost taste. The steps leading up may seem rickety, but they are safe – and inside a weathered woman ushers guests in with a smile of a life well-lived; this is Mama, and she is one tough cookie, as they say: As the rumors tell (8 are provided), she single-handedly fought off river pirates…and she also makes a mean fried crocodile! Her portions are huge, spicy and full of flavor and made my mouth water for the time when I visited NOLA – I can almost taste the delicious food…

And yes, this being a swamp refuge, there are ample adventuring ideas here – 8 sample events can help you jumpstart adventuring if the rumors alone don’t suffice. It should btw. be noted that, where applicable, the respective creature-stats referenced are hyperlinked for your convenience to the SRD.

Now, the hut itself does come with a solid full-color map that actually comes with a gridless version that’s suitable as a player’s handout – big kudos there! Speaking of big kudos! The picture of the hut, Mama greeting travelers with a pot of Jambalaya, is really nice and captures the heart and soul of the place perfectly – a really nice piece.

That being said, Mama is not a cliché provider; quite the contrary. In the detailed and well-written background, we learn about her interesting life story and also, just as an aside, receive even more angles for adventuring. This tale also serves as a great justification for Mama’s unique abilities: Dire Rugrat’s 5e statblocks tend to feature really nice, custom abilities and her statblock (challenge 3, btw.) is no exception.

She is not the only NPC who gets a detailed and sympathetic account of her life; the hermit/hunter Dexter Cloves, makes for a powerful guide/hunter (challenge 4) and the good-hearted, if socially awkward and silent man, has actually fallen head over heels for Mama – a fact to which she is utterly oblivious…so yeah, if you’re so inclined, PCs playing Cupid would most assuredly make for a nice change of pace. There also would be Turk Krager, beloved half-orc son and twin, looking for his missing family – who may be on the run from rather nasty money-lenders…or worse. Beyond these interesting individuals, we also get a cool magic weapon – the Titanfaller, deadly and very useful against giants. This potent blade is currently wielded by Tryali “Tryx” Bannialtyn and her boon companion, the wild cat named Astra – and yes, we get stats for the duo.

The final NPC within these pages would be Rolf Gunderberg – a kind, good dwarf with some magic talent- but not too much. Instead, he makes up for this by being almost obscenely lucky – he can use reactions to burn spell slots to avoid damage and negative conditions (the rules-language is tight!), and even better, he gets his own 12-entry table – Fortunate Fool. These happenstances are implausible and ridiculously funny in some cases; in fact, I smiled pretty widely while reading this.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no issues in rules or statblocks – kudos. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly two-column standard with full-color artworks and maps; particularly the inclusion of the player-friendly maps would be a big plus for me. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Kelly and Ken Pawlik’s Tangible Taverns have a distinct style I like: They are adventuring supplements bereft of mean-spiritedness; even bad guys are not cynically so. NPCs feel like they are good folks with their own wondrous stories, they feel very much PERSONAL. We have a ton of adventures and supplements that deal with the big picture, that deal with the weird and horrific – The Hut herein is a refuge from that; it is a place that oozes heart’s blood, warmth and kindness. It is obvious that the authors lovingly handcrafted these folks. They created a refuge that warms the heart, a place where adventuring, as epic as it is, mingles with the potential for doing good, for providing a heart-warming solace from the rigors of the adventuring life. The hut, in short, breathes a spirit of positivity that I enjoy and frankly, can’t write well myself. It’s harder to get right than you’d think – and this does it. What do I mean by this? Well, in spite of this being very much a feel-good supplement, it has adventuring potential galore. The hand-crafted, numerous NPCs are not only solid, they are flavorful personalities that can make for great companions for adventuring parties.

In short: This is a great installment, particularly in the season where bleak weather drags down the spirits of folks; it is a little, humble book for an extremely fair price that put a smile on my face and the desire to use location and NPCs in my game. What more can you ask of such a place? Now, excuse me – I need to scrounge together the ingredients for some delicious Southern cuisine…

Forgot the verdict? Well, obviously 5 stars + seal of approval. Highly recommended, particularly if you need a genuine ray of goodness and light in a bleak, hostile swamp/marsh adventure!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Tangible Taverns: The Hut (5e)
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Tangible Taverns: The Bull & The Bear (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/05/2017 05:31:56

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Tangible Taverns-series clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial,1 page foreword, 1 page SRD, 1 page of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This review is based on the revised version of the tavern and was designated as a prioritized review by my patreons.

All right, so, the tavern does feature paraphernalia galore, representing the two eponymous animals, but just short of being cluttered. Patrons frequenting the establishment are scrutinized by two guards - Evie, a young human female, and Durgul, a similarly young half-orc - while flirtatious, they both are actually pretty devoted to one another. Food and beverages served are surprisingly healthy and delicious, though, unlike later installments of the series, we do not actually get a proper menu. The second story of the establishment does btw. contain a discreetly-run brothel.

Really nice would be the rather detailed 8 rumors and 8 sample events featured here for the tavern - an obvious hyperlink here is unfortunately dead. The NPCs that make this place come alive feature btw. an elven, peg-legged, but pretty attractive and cool lady/pirate turned bartender - her stats in 5e are lovingly handcrafted and the lady actually is a REALLY fast climber and swimmer...and if she can swing on chandeliers etc., she'll deliver pain...don't underestimate this lady!! The pdf also features a fluff-only write-up for the head chef Louisa, the madam, as well as 6 further, nice NPCs. Disappointing: Neither the kitsune geisha, nor the ifrit lady has been converted to 5e- this takes a significant factor out of the proceedings and relegates them to fluff-only.

The two guards mentioned before, on the other side, have been converted to 5e: Evie can take an additional action and heal herself, with rests to recharge, while Durgul gets better hits versus grappled foes, better crits and is an expert barroom brawler. The duo should definitely not be underestimated! If you're comparing this directly to the PFRPG-version, I should note that we get only one iteration of the duo for 5e - while that iteration is cooler than the PFRPG-versions, it's still 2 versions of the duo less.

It should be noted that the nice b/w-cartography for the place is player-friendly. Big plus there!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant hiccups here. Layout adheres to Dire Rugrat Publishing's printer-friendly 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with solid b/w-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and the cartography in b/w is nice for such an inexpensive file. While it does not sport a scale, the default can probably be assumed.

Kelly & Ken Pawlik's Tangible Tavern series has come a long way since its humble inception; comparing this to the more recent additions to its canon does illustrate that fact rather well. "The Bull & The Bear" is not a bad tavern and it can be inserted rather easily into any given city, but at the same time, it is less special, less unique than later offerings. The dynamics of the NPCs are fun and so is the dressing - but as a whole, the place remained pretty pale to me, never really coming alive to the same extent that the other, mostly absolutely excellent installments in the series did. I also expected, to some extent, a fortune/dual-themed or finance-themed angle that never really surfaced here. The 5e-version's statblocks, as has become the tradition with the series, are pretty nice and lovingly-made.

While I understand the lack of higher-level builds for the two guards, the lack of stats for the other NPCs apart from the barkeep do gall me a bit - which is why this does not score higher than the PFRPG-version. While we get less individual statblocks, I like the ones we do get more. Hence, I will round up from my final verdict of 3.5 stars for this iteration as well.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tangible Taverns: The Bull & The Bear (5e)
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Tangible Taverns: The Bull & The Bear (PFRPG)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/05/2017 05:28:58

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Tangible Taverns-series clocks in at 18 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial,1 page foreword, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 11 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This review is based on the revised version of the tavern and was designated as a prioritized review by my patreons.

All right, so, the tavern does feature paraphernalia galore, representing the two eponymous animals, but just short of being cluttered. Patrons frequenting the establishment are scrutinized by two guards - Evie, a young human female, and Durgul, a similarly young half-orc - while flirtatious, they both are actually pretty devoted to one another. Food and beverages served are surprisingly healthy and delicious, though, unlike later installments of the series, we do not actually get a proper menu. The second story of the establishment does btw. contain a discreetly-run brothel.

Really nice would be the rather detailed 8 rumors and 8 sample events featured here for the tavern. The NPCs that make this place come alive feature btw. an elven, peg-legged, but pretty attractive and cool lady/pirate turned bartender (using unchained rogue as part of her built) and a fluff-only write-up for the head chef Louisa, the madam, as well as 4 further, nice NPCs. On the crunchier side, we do get statblocks for the kitsune geisha and the ifrit rogue that can be found here...

...and the two guards mentioned before actually not only come with one, but 3 statblocks, with the more advanced ones clocking in at CR 4 and 9, respectively.

It should be noted that the nice b/w-cartography for the place is player-friendly. Big plus there!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant hiccups here. Layout adheres to Dire Rugrat Publishing's printer-friendly 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with solid b/w-artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and the cartography in b/w is nice for such an inexpensive file. While it does not sport a scale, the default can probably be assumed.

Kelly & Ken Pawlik's Tangible Tavern series has come a long way since its humble inception; comparing this to the more recent additions to its canon does illustrate that fact rather well. "The Bull & The Bear" is not a bad tavern and it can be inserted rather easily into any given city, but at the same time, it is less special, less unique than later offerings. The dynamics of the NPCs are fun and so is the dressing - but as a whole, the place remained pretty pale to me, never really coming alive to the same extent that the other, mostly absolutely excellent installments in the series did. I also expected, to some extent, a fortune/dual-themed or finance-themed angle that never really surfaced here. Anyways, for the fair and low price, this is still worth getting, which is why my final verdict will round up from my final verdict of 3.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Tangible Taverns: The Bull & The Bear (PFRPG)
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Moar Goblins (A Mini Bestiary) (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/01/2017 08:24:52

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This mini-bestiary clocks in at 18 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 13 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This review was moved up in my review-queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreons.

All right, first things first: The layout of this pdf has been streamlined and adheres to a two-column standard with color artworks, so that's the first thing I did not necessarily expect. Secondly, we begin this pdf with a nice recap of the term goblin and the various things it meant over the course of the centuries and in various cultures - for that's what this pdf basically does: It expands the concept of "goblin" and looks at different incarnations of the concept. Sounds intriguing, right?

Well, the interesting part here beyond the theme would be that the respective creatures all come with different and rather detailed notes on their background, nature and behavior - beyond what you would usually see in a 5e-bestiary, so that added flavor is something I personally welcome. The classic grindylow, for example, has adapted to water and may function for brief periods on land, but also is much harder to kill in water and is particularly adept at breaking wooden objects in water. Personally, I think it would have made sense to interact with the damage threshold mechanic here and the resistance to all mundane damage types while in water is potent for a challenge 1/2 creature (Why are magic attacks not exempt?), but these are aesthetic quibbles. Interesting: We get harpoons as weapons, with the mariner property introduced, which allows for non-penalized underwater attacks.

At challenge 1, the gudro bonga is unique and a piece of folklore I wasn't familiar with - basically, these goblinoids are worshiped as somewhat divine in subtropical climes; they can disguise themselves as children and may pilfer items at short-range, even potentially stealing items fasted down due to their unique talent of temporarily making objects incorporeal. Pretty cool! Notes on a sample settlement of multiple of these tricksters can also be found here.

Speaking of obscure: The Kallikantzaros from Anatolian folklore should rank as one of the lesser known creatures: Vicious, gray-skinned and trapped on the plane of shadows, legend has it that these vile beings are seeking to destroy the world tree. Creepy, ritualistic inclusion in their doomed ranks makes for a fantastic adventure hook, with the means to prevent being found resonating with mythology. Challenge-wise, these guys btw. clock in at 5 and they can sense victims born during winter solstice...but they may be tricked: making them say "triple" or "three" sends them back to their horrid prison! Amazing!!

Nacht kabouter are chaotic creatures with, stat-wise, a sexual dimorphism - both males and females can stretch and squeeze through small holes, both wear red caps (no, not the blood-drenched ones) that can make them invisible (greater invisibility) and both risk turning to stone when subjected to sunlight, but females (at challenge 1 versus the male's challenge 1/2) can cause nightmares. Anyway, as an aside, in Germany, there is the beloved child-icon Pumuckl, a cartoon/live-action crossover kabouter who is living with an old, kind carpenter called Meister Eder...so if you're looking for a nice way to learn German, that may be worth checking out.

The pukwudgies would be up next and come with both a regular challenge 1 statblock and a challenge 4 shaman version. These goblinoids once sought understanding, but cultural misunderstandings and similar issues have not been kind to them, which led towards a shift towards more mischievous behavior. These folks can assume a porcupine-shape and burn with their touch. Touching these prickly fellows is also generally not the best of ideas...Shamans gain the ability to use a reaction to emit a spray of porcupine-like quills to debuff nearby foes.

Decidedly evil would be the final critter herein, the tokoloshe, Tiny humanoids that clock in at challenge 2: Snatchers of children that ostensibly can hear others wishing harm upon their fellow creatures. With snares (sample trap provided), notes on how to call them and a binding obligation to heed their summoner, these vile child snatcher that can render themselves invisible make for a dark angle of the fairy-tale creature...

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant issues. Layout adheres to a relatively printer-friendly two-column full-color standard and each creature herein receives its own full-color artwork, which is nice for such an inexpensive pdf. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Kelly & Ken Pawlik have created a nice mini-bestiary worth checking out here: Beyond the basic builds, which all have at least one intriguing feature, it is undoubtedly the copious flavor and inspiring supplemental text that makes this pdf come into its own; it s also a big, big plus that this does not simply regurgitate the same tired creatures we have seen over x editions and instead opts to go for the uncommon and novel, drinking deep from the wellspring of more obscure myths and legends. In short: Totally worth the low asking price! An inspired mini-bestiary worth getting, full of evocative, nice ideas - only the classic grindylow feels like it falls a bit flat of its promise. My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Moar Goblins (A Mini Bestiary) (5e)
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(Not So) Advantageous Abilities (5e)
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/04/2017 04:53:43

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Advantageous Abilities-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let's take a look at these abilities!

This pdf was moved up in my review-queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreons.

All right, so in the beginning, we get the by now traditional explanation on how to use the abilities contained within this pdf, with detailed explanations of how to use, the save DCs if applicable, etc.

The pdf, unless I have miscounted, contains a total of 20 different abilities, all of which fall within the category of passive abilities, i.e. they do not require an active use of an action, bonus action or reaction - they're always on, if you will.

From a structure point of view, the pdf mostly covers new ground, though I have e.g. seen peg-legs before in Dire Rugrat Publishing's offerings. This time around, the advantageous abilities are actually drawbacks and thus range from CR +0 to CR -3, allowing an enterprising GM to use them to run a superior villain for a group of PCs. A notion, which, personally, I'm a big fan of, since it further emphasizes 5e's rock-paper-scissors principles; plus, as far as I'm concerned, I'm always in favor of rewarding smart players that do their homework.

Now some of these drawbacks obviously have a humorous edge if you play them accordingly, but that does not mean that this is a joke-product; quite the contrary is the case, for the disadvantages herein can often be played either way; a balance disorder (at CR -1) can make you prone to falling bouts, sure, but this can be used in a serious context...or for massive amounts of slapstick. Beer Budget (at CR -2) means that the creature in question really has a sucky armor and weaponry - and apart from the name, it can be used as an easy tool in serious contexts.

Want a creature (or even PC!) with just one eye, perhaps for a Solidus Snake build? The feature's here. Having a selective blind spot, as previously demonstrated in the "Delectable Dragonfly" can make for some really cool and fun narrative tricks. Having particularly brittle bones increases the damage incurred by bludgeoning attacks and works pretty smoothly in more than one context. Traumatic fear of a given color.

There also would be a representation of utterly being cursed by luck - super-disadvantage, if you will: Whenever you suffer disadvantage , you roll thrice and take the worst result! OUCH! Being grossly flatulent or having the chance of dropping items on fumbles can be assigned to the funnier drawbacks, while a strongly pronounced irrational fear can be found as well; here, it would pertain to blood, though it can easily be tweaked to apply to a variety of different triggers without any issues. Being particularly prone to sleep is cool, bit I particularly like the representation for being sucky caster (magic school dropout- no higher spell slot increases and auto-concentration failures!); you see, it kinda makes sense to me that charlatans and failures like this would exist in a world as steeped in magic as the defaults we assume for our game. So yeah, this alone can not only make PCs feel special, it can actually add a lot f flair to the game. This one may be worth downloading this on its own! (As an aside - I concur with the designer's note that comments on why the save DC here is static - nice look behind the curtain!)

From horrible indecisiveness to being particularly squirrely, the options herein cover quite some ground and yes, they include a propensity fo villainous monologues, which render the villain really distracted while he is elaborating his grand plan. Funny, yes...but also very usable in regular games for sufficiently narcissistic foes.

If all of these CR modifications have you a bit skeptical, rest assured that the massive tables of proficiency bonus by CR and XP by CR help you to immediately adjust the target creature to its new version. Kudos for this very GM-friendly decision!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good: Apart from one instance, where a skill-reference was not properly capitalized, I noticed no grievous glitches. Layout adheres to Dire Rugrat Publishing's two-column b/w-standard, is printer-friendly and comes with a rather funny piece of original b/w-artwork depicting a comically villainous face. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Ken & Kelly Pawlik deliver big time in this humble, little pdf. The material we receive within these pages can truly enrich the game and adds some seriously nice tools to the arsenal of 5e-Gms out there. While a few of the disadvantages herein have been featured in Dire Rugrat's oeuvre before, he majority of them are actually new and extremely usable, not just in slightly humorous contexts. In fact, there are some seriously nice gems herein...oh, and the pdf is available for PWYW!! So you can basically check it out and then leave an appropriate tip...and yes, you should do both. This little pdf is well-crafted, enhances the game and is definitely worth your support. Adding its PWYW-nature to the fray, this gets a full-blown recommendation at 5 stars + seal of approval .

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
(Not So) Advantageous Abilities (5e)
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(Not So) Advantageous Abilities (5e)
by Ismael A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/02/2017 10:33:18

This is meant as a joke product, so I'll be brief.

This is both hilarious and useful. Why not give these weaknesses to strong enemies and make them manageable at lower levels? Seriously, that's value!

Also, I like that bit of art in it.

Also, I keep seeing that baby wandering all over the place. Get some clothes on it, and keep it out of my yard or I'm calling... I don't know, animal control?

5 stars!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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