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July 27, 2016, 12:01:10 pm by DriveThruRPG | Views: 9 | Comments: 0

Lochfell's Secret (3.5)

Lochfell's Secret (3.5)Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Rating: 4
This adventure tells the tale of the small port of Lochfell, which has been seeing some problems of late. The background describes, for the DM's benefit, what is actually going on: all the locals know is that people are vanishing, a few folks have reported seeing a monster, and they need some help to deal with it. Several hooks are provided to bring this matter to the party's attention.

However you get them there, the adventure begins when the party arrives in Lochfell. The town is buzzing with rumour, as not only is there a possible monster on the rampage, someone has started grave robbing as well. There are opportunities to ask around a bit, which should lead the party to the place most people seem to have been near when they disappeared. Going there will lead to a good brawl and a lair to explore... and that has a few surprises, including several exotic monsters and someone hatching a plot that even the original monster didn't know about!

The lair complexes are clearly mapped with good room descriptions showing you what's where. The main adversaries have detailed stat blocks - it will be worth your time getting fully conversant with their abilities to run them to best effect - they should be played to the full to provide intelligent and challenging opposition. It's a fairly standard delve, but enjoyable and providing a real sense of satisfaction once everything's cleaned out and set to rights. There's little in the way of follow-up adventures suggested, although one antagonist had friends who might lament his passing...
Source: Lochfell's Secret (3.5)
July 27, 2016, 12:01:10 pm by DriveThruRPG | Views: 8 | Comments: 0

Kemonomimi - Moe Races (PFRPG)

Kemonomimi - Moe Races (PFRPG)Publisher: Amora Game
Rating: 4
An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 12 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 9 pages, so let's take a look!

"When the kami placed their thumbprint unto the forehead of man, bretahing life into the husks of flesh, they wept tears of sorrow. Looking upon their children playing upon the ground, rolling in the fields of grass and running alone through lush tracks of wilderness, the Kami felt the hollowness of the human heartbeat, thumping alone." This is the beginning of the legend that talks of the creation of the kemonomimi, and it is but the beginning of a rather flavorful origin-myth, which is subsequently enhanced via age, height and weight tables before diving into the respective races.

Each of the racial write-ups comes with information on physical descriptions of the races, their society, relations, alignment and religion and adventurers as well as with, obviously, racial traits. However, beyond these, neither favored class options nor racial feats or traits are provided, making the depiction in each case rather minimalistic. On an aesthetically positive note, each of the races does come with one or two original piece of full-color artwork (exceptions: Fox and Tanuki-based races...but then again, for the former, Everyman Gaming's numerous Kitsune-artworks should do the trick). All of the races share the kemonomimi subtype and are humanoids, in case you were wondering.

The red panda-based Akaimimi get +2 Con and Wis, low-light vision, +2 racial bonus to Knowledge checks, +4 to Handle Animal and Wild Empathy-checks made to influence red pandas and similar creatures and 1/day augury as a SP (on a nitpicky aside: Not properly italicized). Interesting: The SP can be cast by akaimimi with ki pool (also not italicized, but then, italicizing ki never made sense to me) additional times by expending ki. At 10th level, they also unlock 1/week divination.

The raccoon-based Araiguma get +2 Con and Int, low-light vision, +2 to Disable Device and Sleight of Hand, the same Handle Animal/wild empathy-bonus to influence raccoon-ish creatures and they can use dowsing to lead them to fresh water; By washing food (but not water), they can purify it...which is pretty clever and cool as an idea!

Inumimi, based on dogs, gain +2 Str and Wis, low-light vision, Handle Animal/wild empathy affinity with canine creatures, +2 to Handle Animals and Survival and they are resilient against curses, gaining a +2 bonus to saves against them. This bonus extends to adjacent allies, though multiple such bonuses do not stack. Nice one!

Kitsunemimi, obviously based on foxes, get +2 Dex and Int, low-light vision, +2 to Perception and Sense Motive, fox affinity and a +1 bonus whenever they take 10, +2 when they take 20. Again, a unique racial ability. Basically, think of these guys as more down-to-earth fox folk that work well in campaigns where kitsune are a bit too much.

Nekomimi, based on cats, gain +2 Dex and Cha, low-light vision, +2 to Climb and Perception, cat affinity and may reroll a single die roll 1/day, thanks to their luck. Nice variant of the catfolk trope!

The tanukimimi, based on the tanuki, gain +2 Con and Cha, low-light vision, +2 to Survival and Stealth, tanuki affinity and can gain, 1/day as a swift action, temporary hit points equal to their character level + Constitution bonus (EDIT: The author has contacted me and told me that the pdf's "bonus" is indeed intended here instead of the more common "modifier" - which is pretty rare, but not unknown. So, negative Con-mod is not applied here. Just fyi!) - these last for 1 hour. Neat one!

Finally, the Usagimimi, the harefolk, gain +2 Dex and Wis, low-light vision, +2 to Craft and Profession checks, hare affinity and they gain +1 to atk and skill checks (not rolls) with weapons, tools and vehicles they crafted as well as +1 CL when using scrolls and potions they made. They also reduce the armor check penalty of armors they crafted by 1 and increase the earnings of Perform and Profession by 10%.


Editing and formatting are very good. On a formal level, there is nothing grievous to complain, and while on the rules-level there are very minor deviations from the standard rules-language, these do, in no way compromise the integrity of the rules. Layout adheres to a full-color two-column standard with colored petal-like elements at the corners and, as mentioned before, a surprising amount of nice, full-color artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but does not need them at this length.

Wojciech Gruchala and Greg LaRose's kemonomimi races were a surprise for me. You know, I'm not the biggest fan of anthro races and I've seen quite a lot of them. Most of the time, or at least often enough, they either are lopsided, studded with "OMG, look how KEWL my athro is11!!"-arrays of abilities or the like.

This book is not like that. There is the old design adage of KISS - and this pdf very much is the application of it. The fluff is neat; the races, however, manage an interesting feat: They aren't boring. They are not jam-packed with skill-bonuses to x or z, instead, much like the fluff around them, exhibiting a Zen-like design-aesthetic. It simply does not take much to many abilities to make a unique race, just one good and unique one - and (almost) each of these has just that. Where many races I see are cobbled together from the pieces of the ARG, these guys all have their own, distinct trick that sets them apart and makes sense within the context of their respective fluff.

Suffice to say, I'd allow each of these races in any of my games; even in CORE-only games, these guys will not unhinge the game's balance...and they still feel distinct as races. I really like this racial design philosophy. To make this abundantly clear - in spite of not being too into the subject matter, I found myself intrigued and wanted to know more about these folks. Which brings me to the one detriment of this book - its brevity. The lack of favored class options, race traits, alternate racial traits and the like is the one downside of this very economically-priced supplement. It should also be considered to be the only reason this does not score higher than it does. The races per se are neat indeed and warrant a final verdict of 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.
Source: Kemonomimi - Moe Races (PFRPG)
July 27, 2016, 10:00:02 am by GnomeStew News | Views: 6 | Comments: 0

Mini Review Monday – Chariot and Claustrophobia!

Mini Review Monday – Chariot and Claustrophobia!

Lately, we’ve been getting a lot of requests for reviews of products and supplements. Doing reviews takes a decent bit of time, so we’ve decided to give you a small taste of what some of the things coming across our gnome sized desks are like in a Mini-review Monday.  For the first installment, here are […]
Source: Mini Review Monday – Chariot and Claustrophobia!
July 26, 2016, 03:00:12 pm by DriveThruRPG | Views: 8 | Comments: 0

The Thaumaturge

The ThaumaturgePublisher: DYS Games
Rating: 4
I am a sucker for new classes, especially magic-using classes. So I was very pleased to hear that Matthew Skail was releasing a new class designed to replace the magic-user in OSR games.

The Thaumaturge is a 20-level spell casting class in 10 pages for any OSR-like game.

The main feature of the titular class is their non-Vancian spell casting system.  Now  I will admit that I am a fan of Vancian magic. It is part and parcel of playing D and D in my mind.  That being said I have experimented with a number of non-Vancian and spell-point enabled systems over the years.   But I keep coming back to Vancian magic.   The Thaumatuge is a well thought out class though and the system has merit.  There is a bit of 3.0 in this class' DNA, namely extensive use of the ability modifiers, but not so much as to drive away die hard Grognards.

The class is well written and could easily be dropped into any OSR game.  In fact I think such things should be encouraged; different lands should have different types of magics.

The main feature of this class though is not just the spell-point system, but rather a system that gives the magic-user the means to do some dice-rolling just like the melee types.  Having seen this more in 4th and 5th edition for arcane types, this is not something to be underestimated.  People love to roll the dice to see if they hit or, in this case, a spell's success.   There is even something in this that I normally call a "repeated casting modifier" (called Overcasting here).  The idea of the "Mastered Spell" is also a nice one.   Again, nothing we all have not seen elsewhere, but still nice to have in one place.

Since this is designed to replace the standard Magic-User it still uses Intelligence as the primary ability.  I think though a strong case could be made to replace that with Charisma and make it a unique class.  They can use the same spells as the Magic-user does, much like how the magic-user and elf can in Basic, or the Wizard and Sorcerer in 3rd edition.

There are also a couple of new spells and some new magic items.  All for less money than a 20oz bottle of soda and a bag of chips.

There are some formatting issues with the document.  Page numbers would also be nice and I'd put in a manual page break over Optional Rules.

Thoughts on Expansion

While reading this I could not help but think that is actually two classes.  First, there is the stated design goal, an augmentation of the magic-user class.  But there is also a completely new class here as well.  We can call them the Thaumaturgic Wizard and the Thaumaturge respectively.  Now on paper there is no real difference here, but the concept opens up new possibilities.

The Thaumaturgic Wizard implies there can be Thaumaturgic Clerics, Thaumaturgic Illusionists or even a Thaumaturgic Witch. 

The Thaumaturge, however, is a different sort of caster.  To go with the dictionary definition of Thaumaturgy you would almost need to add a little bit of clerical power to them without necissarily invoking some diety.  Or at least a couple of the cleric's spells.   Again, I'd base his spellcasting ability on Charisma at this point and make him something like a counterpoint to the witch. 

This class as written would also gain some benefit from some of the ritual casting as presented in Dark Albion: Cults of Chaos.  If you use spell points then places of power is a nice logical extension.

I have to say there is a lot of ideas here, certainly more than it's page count suggests.
Source: The Thaumaturge
July 25, 2016, 11:00:05 am by SlyFlourish News | Views: 7 | Comments: 0


Take note that this article has been updated since the original dated March 2012. In particular, you'll notice the topic of combat length coming up more than once in the article. This original article
Source: Patience
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