SGG’s Time-based supplements and Rite’s Renegade-books

Chronomancy doesn’t work. We’ve heard it all before. And then, the reboot of the Prince of Persia-franchise brought us a representation where it does work. Not idle, Super Genius Games created a by now legendary class that ranks among the finest for PFRPG by any publisher in

 

The Genius Guide to the Time Thief

Time Thief

This pdf is 10 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving 8 1/3 pages of content for the Time Thief, a class I should have reviewed a long, long time ago, so let’s remedy my oversight.

 

The new Time Thief base-class gets d8, 6+Int skills, ¾ BAB, good ref and will saves and no spellcasting. The basic signature ability of the Time Thief enables her to use slices of time, so-called time motes, to add a scaling bonus to rolls, a swift action or act in an surprise round. The basic pool is 3+ class level and additional usages of time motes are unlocked via the progression of the class, enabling her to lessen damage, use the motes defensively and even grant herself move actions. Every even level starting at second, the Time Thief also gets a temporal talent from a list of 9, which range from evasion or even steal the fate (i.e. penalize) an enemy.

The Time Thief has further options to customize the class in her usage of Aevum, e.g. offering the option to learn how to, like in the recent Prince of Persia games, rewind her personal time. High-level Time Thieves, of course, can learn powerful ways to deal with their enemies, be it the option to learn time stop or temporal stasis via Aevum. Where there are talents, there are advanced talents and the Time Thief is no exception – we are introduced to 8 advanced talents, including butterfly effect-like manipulations of the past, divination-like glances into the future and run between blinks of time, granting additional mobility.

The capstone ability Time Killer (Project Pitchfork, anyone?) sees her essentially immortal and freed of negative age effects and significantly expands her ability to use aevum and can spend it faster and use 2 of them per round.

The pdf closes with a whole page devoted to helping you integrate the Time Thief in your campaign and offers a great idea: Chronal necromancers who seek to reanimate dead timelines. Sold.

 

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches, layout adheres to the three-column standard. The full-color artwork should be commended, as we actually get larp-style photos of a rather beautiful model who poses for the Time Thief in rather revealing, pseudo-oriental costumes without being gaudy or cheap – I like this experiment quite a bit. I really like modular classes that have a lot of options to choose from and the Time Thief serves as a prime example of excellent class-design. A complex concept that is hard to balance not only gets a balanced representation, but a rather cool one at that. To everyone who saw my personal top-ten-list of 2010 this will come as no surprise, my final verdict for this splendid class will be 5 stars and the Endzeitgeist seal of approval, my only criticism remaining that I’d love to see more love for the Time Thief and that there are no bookmarks.

 

Not stopping there and reacting to the popularity of teh class, SGG delivered a second one, in

 

The Genius Guide to the Time Warden

Time Warden

This pdf is 15 pages long 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page credits and SRD, leaving 13 1/3 pages of content for the sequel to the much-lauded Time Thief-class, so let’s check the wardens of timelines out!

 

The Time Warden base class gets d8, ¾ BAB, good ref and will saves, 4+Int skills per level and spontaneous spellcasting (guided by Cha) of up to 6th level spells. As the Time Thief, the Warden gets access to motes of time as his signature ability. However, while there are some overlapping abilities both Wardens and Thieves can use, the Time Warden actually gets a quite expanded selection of time mote abilities he learns in a linear progression when compared to their thievish opponents. They also get a selection of 7 different aevum powers to choose from over the course of their career. The capstone ability, Lord of Time, lets the Warden reassign feats, skills, etc, essentially making for the ultimate versatile character then – cool idea!

 

Speaking of cool ideas:  One of the aevum abilities lets the Time Warden jump through time and take friends with them, up to the point when they last interacted with a creature with Int, Wis or Cha of 1+. This ability alone is worth gold – the amount of plot options for the DM and cool plans for the PCs is staggering – excellent and thanks to the restriction, easily controllable by the DM.

 

Speaking of easily controllable: The time manipulation trope, easily one of the most bothersome ones in the hands of PCs, gets a large box in which the basic concept of time manipulation as used by the warden is explained. Additionally, the Time Warden’s spells, chronothurgy, and its peculiarities are extensively reflected on: Basically, there are some cosmetic, yet very cool differences from regular arcane or divine spells (the DM can freely choose to which side the Wardens belong): The spells of the Time Wardens don’t break e.g. space, that means that a time warden could teleport to a place he could theoretically reach on foot, but not e.g. inside a resilient sphere. While minor, these special little additions are what in the end constitute a flavorful, cool class. Several pages are devoted to the complete spell-list of the Time Wardens and 6 spell variants (all cool ones, btw.!) and 2 new spells are presented, among them the one spell that HAD to be in this book for me to enjoy it: Time Travel. And yeah, mechanically the spell is sound. Next up is a short template to create creatures that can use aevum and motes of time.

 

Next up is a section that is actually needed or should be consulted, even by experienced DMs: A discussion of adventures in time.  If you don’t want time travel, you can easily eliminate it from the Time Warden and still have a blast. If you do, several ways of handling e.g. paradox, are mentioned and I’ve used some of these approaches myself in my homebrew, prior to purchasing this book. I have to admit, though, that I’d like some more definite rules for paradox along the lines of Mongoose Publishing’s otherwise not too stellar Chronomancy-book. While I wasn’t all into the rest of said 3.5-book, I scavenged some of the paradox-rules.

 

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, as almost always in SGG-pdfs, are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the 3-column-standard and artworks once again are cool, larp-style photographs, this time of a male model – nice! There are no bookmarks, which is a pity. It would have been easy to replicate a fighter-style Time Thief, but rules-mastermind Owen K.C. Stephens has gone out of his way to create a distinct experience that differs in almost all key aspects from the Time Thief, while still having some basic principles in common. All in all, I’m very happy with this awesome class and once again applaud the great concept. My final verdict will be 5 stars with the Endzeitgeist seal of approval.

 

This class was a success as well and thus, we also got a short supplemental pdf,

 

Bullet Points: 7 Time Thief/Time Warden Feats

BP time

This pdf is 3 pages long, 1 page front cover/introduction, 1 page SRD, leaving 1 page of content:

 

-Aevum Mastery: Lets you take another aevum power from either time thief or time warden list. While it enables one class to scavenge in the other’s list, that can be home-brewed and is not exactly what I buy pdfs for.

 

-Alternate Self: Spend one aevum to temporarily gain 3 skill points or one feat (for which you must meet the prerequisites), which an alternate self from another timeline has learned. Great feat, cool idea!

 

-Last-Second Save: Spend one mote of time to make a critical hit or a sneak attack a normal attack. Again, neat idea!

 

-Mote Mastery: Spend a mote to take mote manipulation options from another class at a lower level. Once again, ok idea, but nothing that gets me excited.

 

-Opportune Blow: Temporarily gain a limited form of sneak attack depending on your level for a mote.

 

-Precognition: Spend an aevum for a 90% accurate divination spell.

 

-Timely Detonation: Spend 1 mote to add your mote bonus dice to the total damage dealt by spells you cast.

 

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, no glitches to be found. Layout adheres to SGG’s 3-column standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but at this length need none. This collection of feats comes at an extremely affordable price, provides quality content and is a neat addition for the time-classes. So, due to this, I’m going to ignore the 2 feats that didn’t excite me as much and still award a full 5 stars – well done!

The support went further, though:

Rite Publishing also provided some rules for the classes in their

 

101 Renegade Class Feats

101 renegade

This pdf is 21 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 2 pages of advertisement, leaving 16 pages of content for the new feats.

 

First of all, let me say that I LOVE the concept of this pdf. Providing support for some of the best 3pp-classes, regardless of who put them out, is a prime example of the Open Gaming spirit. The fact that Steven D. Russell managed to get the approval to provide the additional content from the respective creators and publishers not only is an example of a great cooperation between 3pps, but also a sign of class for anyone involved. On behalf of 3pp-fans out there – thank you!

 

Thankfully, I own most, but not all of the sourcebooks for which the feats are written, I hope to be sufficiently competent with regards to reviewing this. I’ll go through the contents class by class, starting with Super Genius Games’ Armiger.

 

The Armiger is an interesting class that takes some unique approaches in being a martial class that tries to be incredibly tough. While the strength of the class, its incredible toughness, make it seem rather powerful, I do like the concept of the class, though I still maintain that they have to be handled with care. 7 new feats for the armiger are herein, two of which are tactical gold: Counter Assault lets you, as a full-attack action cancel out all melee attacks of a foe for one round and prevent said foe from escaping, all with rock-solid mechanics. The ability to partially use a targeted redirection of effects that cause Ref-saves is another feat that is elegantly designed, well-written and makes for extremely iconic situations. The armiger class benefits quite a bit from these feats, adding some neat iconic stunts to pull off for the tanks.

 

Next up is Green Ronin’s Corsair-class from the Freeport Companion with 7 new feats. I’m a Freeport-fanboy. I own ALL the adventures. Even the rare bad ones. The Corsair is an excellent class and the feats capture the iconic feeling of playing a swashbuckling pirate. Many of the feats center on interesting ways to use the Corsair’s Luck class feature – “Flesh Wound”, for example, lets you heal a limited amount of your own damage due to the wounds being only minor flesh-wounds, while “Better you the me” enables you to  exchange places with an ally to make them take the hit for an attack/effect 3/day. Neat feats!

 

The Divine Channeler, one of my favorite 3pp-divine classes has seen a lot of support from its author Jonathan McAnulty in the different issues of Pathways and this book also offers some love for this great class and the 9 new feats..well, they are awesome. From the ability to sheathe yourself in negative or positive energy, it is 2 feats that really open new tactical options – the ability to delay a channeling effect by creating a node of energy and one to even imbue this energy in your allies as a kind of minor contingency – the options make for new and exciting tactical options.

 

The next class featured is Super Genius Games’ Dragon Rider, who gets 7 new feats. I have to come clear with regards to this class. I don’t own the Genius Guide to the Dragon Rider, primarily because I like my dragons as epic wyrms and personally don’t like the idea of having a PC with a dragon mount. And yeah, while I like villains with dragon mounts, I don’t enjoy heroes going this route. That being said, the feats, as far as I can glean, are interesting and could be salvaged for other companion/mount-centric classes. From the ability to shield other between rider and mount to the ability to instantly summon the mount to the iconic feat to short-way teleport and exchange positions with helpless creatures, the heroic aspect of diving to the rescue of others on your draconic ally are well-presented. The rider can even gain access to the dragon’s breath weapon, making these feats interesting choices as far as I can tell.

 

The second class I don’t have access to is 4 Wind Fantasy Gaming’s Gladiator from the Paths of Power book and I have to say that the feats made me VERY intrigued indeed in the class and the book. Taking inspiration from not only traditional gladiatorial sports, but also from the present’s equivalent, professional wrestling. There is a feat that lets you build up 2 personas and split reputations between them/have face and heel reputations, a feat that lets you determine the exact amounts of non-lethal damage you deal without penalty (GOLD) and even again devastating signature finishing moves. You know that feats are well-written when they make you anxious to check out the class they’re for.

 

Super Genius Games’ Godlings probably need no introduction for the most of you – for those who do not know, they are essentially mortals descended from gods in the style of e.g. Herakles and by now have 4 different base-class iterations. They also constitute one of my favorite SGG-classes out there in fluff and mechanics. The feats herein are interesting and add to the divine heritage of the godlings by providing the ability t grant minor bonuses to their allies, requiring less sleep, impart a fraction of their divinity in their allies and, coolest of all lets you gain a subdomain’s powers in addition to you lineage domain’s power. Excellent and could easily be modified to make a feat from to get access to an exalted domain instead. (Require the feat and substitute the domain’s lineage ability with the exalted domain’s ability.) Nice and makes an already awesome class more versatile. However, there is a reprint of the extra scion talent, which is a minor bummer.

 

0onegames is up next, to be precise, one of the classes from the ennie-award winning “Great City Player’s Guide” gets added support. And what kind of support! The glorious Guttermage gets some of the coolest feats herein – From the abilities to expand upon the signature Jinx-abilities to an ability to essentially deal additional barrage damage to foes under negative conditions, the feats rock. I especially loved a jinx that includes kissing and spitting at a foe (Stephen King’s Thinner, or similar movies, anyone?) to the ability to perceive magical traps and even grow poisonous pustules that you can pop to debilitate your foes, the Guttermage is disturbing, flavorful and cool.

 

Next up is one of my favorite classes from RiP, the Luckbringer, who gets 7 feats, mostly centering on gaining more moments of chance, nothing is written and improbable-uses, but also the ability to force rerolls of damage-dice from e.g. a fireball. My favorite feat, though, lets you use hazard to overcome the regeneration of a foe if you’re aware of what can overcome the regeneration. I’m a big fan of the luckbringer-class and would have liked to see some more feats to do more heavily modify luckbringer abilities.

 

The Taskshaper (also by RiP) gets similar feats to expand upon their respective class-ability uses, but personally, I consider their other feats to be a bit more enticing than the Luckbringer‘s: We get a feat that lets you spend limit amounts of moment of change-usages per day to balefully polymorph your foes, one to make your reaction time faster and one that lets you destabilize your foes via moment of change and thus greatly impede their ability to function – nice and disturbing in its imagery.

 

The Time Thief by Super Genius Games, one of the prime examples of class-design and another favorite of mine gets some rather interesting new options as well –  E.g. the ability to use bolt time via motes and not only aevum and even extend your bolt time over a whole round. The Time Thief also learns to heal her (and her allies) minor wounds via the controlled application of her motes of time. It should be noted that these feats are just as suitable for the equally excellent Time Warden class, enhancing their usability. When all’s said and done, though, I wasn’t completely blown out of the water by these.

 

Next up is the Vanguard, also by Super Genius Games, which gets 8 new feats. Those of you following my reviews might know that while I did like the Vanguard-class, I concluded it to be rather linear and more or less obsolete with the release of the Magus. Can these feats remedy that? Actually..yeah. At least they are a great start. Let me elaborate: One of my main gripes with the Vanguard, besides its linearity, was the fact that the class did not offer enough unique signature abilities that distinguish it from other classes. While there are “Improved”-style feats herein, the feats that let you do new stuff are what make me recommend this section in particular: We get a feat that lets you sacrifice spells for protective magical auras, one that grants you the ability to blast foes with unerring, magic missile-like projectiles and the specific fighting style that enables you to get attacks of opportunity  to combat maneuvers even though your foe not necessarily provokes them. Vanguard Tactics is a great feat idea, but in my humble opinion too strong as written: As a swift action, you grant all your allies a circumstance bonus equal to your Cha-modifier to crit confirmation checks, combat maneuvers,  initiative and reflex saves. You may also grant them access to a teamwork feat you know without them having to qualify for it. While these bonuses only last for 3 rounds and end when you get stunned, dazed, etc., the fact that there’s no limit to the amount of times this feat can be used per day makes it too powerful for my tastes.  There is also a feat that is plain brilliant, though, as it solves the linearity of the Vanguard-class elegantly by providing access to sorceror bloodline powers, enabling you to take the feat consecutive times to get access to higher-level bloodline powers as well and making the class much, much more distinct. EDIT: Ignore the comments on the Vanguard’s linearity, the class has gotten a complete overhaul by now and is much cooler than before.

 

The next class by Super Genius Games is the War Master, who gets expanded uses of his tactical prowess, e.g. enabling his allies to share combat feats and even use your tactics faster. Especially when combined with Inquisitors, this class may make for very smart-fighting groups and foes indeed. I would have loved some feats centering on the interaction of battle tactics and teamwork feats, though.

 

The penultimate class, again by Super Genius Games, is the glorious Witch Hunter, one of my favorite tropes from dark fantasy literature, and another fine example of design, but how does the class benefit from this pdf? Quite a bit, actually! The Witch Hunter can now have an even better preternatural sense of witchcraft, enabling the hunter to determine the relative (but thankfully not exact!) strength of the foe she faces. Other feats expand the power of their devoted strikes. Mystical Reaper is also a neat feat, enabling you to use spellbane and cursebreaker in one attack. Shrewd Will is an interesting feat, though one I’m personally a bit leery of: Once you’ve taken this feat, you’re completely immune against reductions of your Wis-score from poison, disease, curses, spell-like or supernatural abilities. While this does not eliminate all potential sources of Wis-loss, it is rather powerful when compared to many other feats. Spell Anathema is a feat that also might be considered powerful, but fitting for the Witch Hunter: Each time you strike a foe with devoted strike, they potentially risk losing their highest level spell slot/spell-like ability for the day on a failed caster level check.

 

The final class is from the excellent Wayfinder magazine, the Wolf Shifter. The 7 feats herein logically expand upon the transformational powers of the shifter and can even learn to shift into different animals, greatly expanding the focus of the class and accounting for all kinds of weird shifters out there. The other feats for the class are logical expansions of the already existing class abilities.

 

Conclusion:

 

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RiP’s two-column full-color standard. The pdf comes without bookmarks, but the artworks are neat, several featuring the covers of their respective origin books.

I really like the concept of this pdf in that it offers a nice selection of feats to support some of the coolest classes out there. Even better, the feats herein make a damn good job at enticing you to buy the respective books for the originating classes you don’t yet own, they’re that good. If there were “feat-holes” for the classes like a lack of feats to e.g. expand upon moments of chance or ones to take more class-specific talents, this pdf remedies the respective minor shortcomings reliably. Even better, it enhances some of the best classes out there by providing a neat array of feat, which in some cases are downright awesome (Guttermage, baby!) or add iconicity to an existing class (Vanguard!). That being said, I did consider some feats a bit more powerful than I’m comfortable with, but me being a rather conservative DM with regards to PC-power, that is to be expected sometimes.  There also are some feats that grant you access to e.g. more moments of change etc. and while they are valid choices and provide a nice addition to the feat-roster, they are not necessarily as awesome as I would have liked – useful to have, but not necessarily feats to get too excited about, which is especially evident when compared to some of the stellar feats herein. The overall quality of the write-ups and new options can convince you to check out classes you haven’t considered until now, which indicates a rather well done job. My final verdict will thus be 4.5 stars. If you want wholly original feats, round down. If you like to also have feats to close feat-holes like granting more uses to class abilities, round up.

 

Furthermore, Rite Publishing has added a quite awesome archetype to the fray recently, in their

 

Secrets of Renegade Archetypes

ren arch

This pdf is 26 pages long, 1 page front cover,  1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 22 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

 

One of the things that galled me most about 3.X was the lack of support for all those cool 3pp-options out there – you find this cool new class and no one EVER supported it. Now Rite Publishing has for some time been at the spearhead of 3pp-collaborations with e.g. “101 Renegade Class Feats” and the collaborations in Pathways that include Owen K.C. Stephens from Super Genius Games, Creighton Broadhurst’s (mastermind of Raging Swan Press) monthly contributions, articles by the Adventureaweek.com-crew etc. Not to speak of e.g. LPJr Design’s take on psionics in NeoExodus, the support of the Machinesmith-class by SGG, Alluria Publishing’s stellar undersea psionics-book that should be a must buy for anyone owning Psionics Unleashed or the support of the bestselling spell-less ranger by SGG. Other players like Jon Brazer Enterprises have supported other 3pp-classes in their Shadowsfall-books and this now is the latest supplement that springs from a community of sharing and support, bringing us new archetypes for some of the finest classes out there, but can they hold up to their excellent base-classes? let’s check this out!

 

The pdf kicks off with new fodder for SGG’s Armiger, arguably the tank-class to go to for PFRPG, with an archetype that at first feels absurd – the Divine Upholder gets no proficiency in medium or heavy armors. Yes, a tank in light armor. Get that. However, the divine Upholder offsets this by being surrounded by guardian spirits and they also use their shields to determine touch AC in addition to dex and learn a limited array of spell-like abilities over the levels (namely sanctuary, holy shield, shield other and martyr’s bargain) and may opt to learn to channel energy via armiger talents or learn to use their spirits to hamper sneak attacks, crits and even entangle foes. They also sacrifice their armored DR for resistance bonuses to saves and at higher levels even send rays back on the casters that threw them.  All in all, a more mobile, divinely inspired shepherd-style sacred warrior that I can see work oh-so-well in my campaign. Two thumbs up!

The second Armiger-archetype is the Juggernaut and if you’re familiar with the Marvel villain, you know what this is about: It’s about waltzing over your foes! Gaining increased bull rush and overrun capabilities, the juggernauts cover their allies when charging through their spaces (a neat ability) and use their level as BAB for combat maneuvers instead of the lesser progression of the standard armiger. Better yet, the 4 new armiger talents juggernauts gain access to allow them to deal e.g. spiked armor or shield damage when using their crushing combat maneuvers and may also rather impressively improve their grappling prowess. I can see characters wincing when the heavily armored colossus comes for them – spellcasters will dread these guys and I love ’em.

 

Next up are 3 archetypes for a class that is very popular, but completely, utterly, totally not something I’d ever want to see in my game: SGG’s Dragon Rider. Yes, the class per se is well-balanced and works just fine, but the concept is just something I personally could never really get behind. That being said, my animosity will not fracture into the final verdict and I’ll base my verdict on the merits of these archetypes. Without further ado: The Drakker makes this class work for me. Yes. There. I said it. I hate the dragonrider and even I have to take a bow to the Drakker-archetype. Why? Because it essentially allows you to play a reincarnated dragon that is stuck in a petty mortal shell – the archetype uses the base classes mechanics to instead change into draconic form. This is pure awesomeness and so incredibly cool, especially since the archetype is so concisely worded that it’s actually not as hard to use in-game as you would think. Glorious! The Mythographer archetype is closer to the base-class and the archetype is much less complex – the archetype lets you play a kind of chronicler of your dragon’s deeds. While their focus with their steed is slower than the regular dragon rider’s, they get access to the bard’s spell-list and grant competence bonuses to steed and allies when focusing. Okay, but nothing to write home about. Skalwyns are another relatively simple archetype, they get access to the paladin’s spell-list, an aura of good and can serve as shock-troops of good.

 

Rite Publishing’s Divine Channeler is a stellar divine caster-class and the Iconist, who can scribe scrolls in the form of carvings, religious calligraphy etc. Their icons may also channel the energy-types garnted by their domains, making the archetype interesting for me mostly due to liking the fluff – after all, we all know about religious icons, statues weeping blood etc. pp. and being able to play a person who can inspire others by their works is cool. If you don’t get the appeal of religious imagery and the awe it can inspire, even in guys like me, make a trip to Rome and visit St. Paul’s. Even to me as a not particularly religious guy, the effect was mind-boggling. Now add true magic and there we go!

 

The Galdiator-class from 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming’s “Paths to Power” also is supported via the new Crackerjack-archetype – these guys are not the stars of the arena, but rather of the underworld, the back alleys and may gain access to minor gunslinging and devastating grappling, making them ideal as secret agents of the underworld or intimidating enforcers. Cool!

 

The Godling-classes by Super Genius Games have seen quite a bit of support, which is definitely cool – but here we get 3 new archetypes suitable for all types of godlings. The first being the godslayer, who has the aim of slaying the god of his/her line – they can suspend clergy powers, gain hp when saving versus divine spells and may as a capstone either be reborn as full-fledged mortals or challenge their deity and usurp their divine throne. So damn cool! Soulgivers are godlings with blood that inherits the spark of creation, allowing them to have a clockwork/or toy familiar that is animated by their lifespark as well as gaining the ability to infuse object with life and, even cooler, making spells ooze-like beings that wobble around and may serve as allies, dealing their damage over the rounds: The idea is that the ooze only does minimum damage and vanishes once its maximum array of damage points have been dealt. Offers some nice tactical options and is iconic – I approve! They may also heal allies and even keep the souls of the recently dead from departing, but at a cost to her own body. The third godling archetype is something for fans of nature-based characters, counting as a druid for purpose of animal companions gained via the animal lineage domain and gaining access to the beast master ascendancy (with 4 steps). Okay, though not as awesome as the first two. If you don’t get an increased companion, you may instead opt for a divine trait o scion talent.

 

Rite Publishing’s Luckbringer is one of my favorite 3pp-classes out there and thus, I’m glad to see two new archetypes for it: The first is a variant of the Black Cat Burglar archetype centered on gaining the dirty trick-feat tree and which can use moments of chance to force rerolls of natural 1s and 20s by using a ranged, enhanced dirty trick maneuver. As an improbable option, she may opt to deny AoOs and use cha instead of str for dirty tricks. As an highly improbable option, she may opt to use dirty tricks to grant her allies an AoO at penalty versus her target. The second archetype, the White Rabbit, can cause rerolls of d20s of nearby allies even without being aware of them, grant allies a +2 bonus to a d20 roll as part of an attack and even alternatively allow them to spend the bonus to regain 1 ability pool point à la motes of time, ki, etc.  Per se a cool archetype, were it not for one problem: What about classes with multiple pools like the Time Thief/Warden? Can the ability be used to replenish aevum as well? I wager not, but I’m not sure. What about rounds of rage or rounds of bardic performances? My gut tells me, they should also be able to exchange the bonus for one more round, but I’m not sure… This archetype NEEDS clarification.

 

Now the extremely cool shapeshifting-class Taskshaper gets a new archetype called Doppelgänger, who may use his moments of change to get access to racial traits they witnessed and exchange them for others, using the ARG-point mechanics. They may also emulate proficiencies they see in action by mirroring other combatants, which is extremely cool – remember all those creepy “evil mirror image”-opponents in gaming? Yeah – be one of them! Also gain a genetic pool to keep certain racial traits and may imprint feats and even class abilities when impersonating others and may even crudely reproduce spells via an ability shift. While in no way an easy archetype to master (as it modifies an already very complex class), the doppelgänger is a cool and rather intriguing concept that could also be used by DMs to scavenge abilities for any kind of shapeshifter o give them a further edge. Cool!

 

Another 3pp-class that should grace the virtual shelf of just about any group would be LPJr Design’s Machinesmith and we get two new archetypes for this cool class – the first beiing the Cypher, a cryptography-expert that has to take the analyzer greatwork and gets expanded spell-selection and increased antimagic-capabilities. The second archetype is much more complex, the Toymaker. Obviously inspired by a certain Superman-villain, this variant of the machinesmith gets a mobius puppet and later more of these simultaneously: Speaking of these puppets – we get a total of 13 ranging from analyzing droids to friendly exploding puppets and tiny versions of the machinesmith to two-faced cherubs with knives, nurses that may administer first aid (or drain foes, inject poisons etc.) and mini voodoo dolls. Better yet, each puppet gets two greatworks upgrades, with e.g. Mr Teddy gaining the ability to turn into a real grizzly! A glorious, glorious archetype!

 

The next one we get is one for TPK Games acclaimed Malefactor-class and is called Destineer – though there’s a typo in here (strafe-point instead of strife), the archetype is interesting indeed in that it offers the option to spend said points on creatures attacked to temporarily cling misfortune to them – especially cool for ranged builds. At higher levels, they also can make failing doubly painful by gaining tokens of broken destiny: Everytime an opponent fails a number of throws, the destineer gains one such token up to a maximum of wis-mod and they may spend these to add luck penalties to foes. They may also entangle foes, hamper teamwork feats and hamper language or spellcasting – though the latter ability mentions a will-save, but not how to calculate said save – I assume 10 + 1/2 class level + wis-mod, but I’m not sure. The coolest feature, though, in my book, would be that they gain limited access to temporal talents and moments of chance by the Time Thief and Luckbringer-class respectively. And before you start complaining – the rules are on d20pfsrd, if you don’t own the two files.

 

The final new archetype is the Nechronomancer for the Time Thief-class, who perceive the world as moving too fast and thus seek to steal other people’s time and life for themselves. The archetype definitely lends a sinister pall to the class, which is cool and comes with 3 temporal talents (one of which can actually be used to offset age penalties – great for old characters and a superb storytelling device) and 3 aevums that allow them to e.g. atrophy limbs and deal negative levels on foes. Sinister and a rather cool class, especially for more evil-inclined characters.

 

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting unfortunately are not up to the usually high standard of RiP – I noticed e.g. multiple uses of “strafe points” instead of strife points, underlines where none should be and some other minor glitches, that, while not that bad, detract a bit from this pdf’s quality. Layout adheres to RiP’s 2-column standard in full color and the artworks are ones you’ll probably have seen before. The pdf is fully bookmarked.

This is the first solo-offering of Benjamin Rombeaut and it is glorious: These archetypes (and I’ve reviewed a few so far) are almost universally brilliant, teem with iconic ideas and offer options galore for some of the finest classes out there. In the case of the Drakker, it redeemed a whole class for me! Yes. It’s that good. HOWEVER, I also feel that this could have used another pass at editing – we have here a saving throw that is not mentioned on how it’s supposed to be calculated, there an ambiguity with regards to pool-access etc. These problems need and should be addressed – especially since this is otherwise a collection of SUPERB, innovative, cool and complex archetypes for classes that can really use them. In fact, they are that good that I will still slap my seal of approval on this pdf – but until they’ve been eliminated, I can’t go higher than 4 stars + seal of approval on this. I still encourage you wholeheartedly to check this out, though – these archetypes are brilliant!

 

But why should the players have all the fun? Here are chronomancy-using critters in

 

Mythic Menagerie: Ravagers of Time

mythic menagerie

This mini-monster-manual-pdf is 19 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page introduction, 1 page SRD, leaving 16 pages of content, so let’s check out this latest installment!

 

Due to the special nature of the critters herein, we are first introduced to some basic concepts: The timestream, the new temporal subtype and the aevum and motes of time. The latter two concepts were introduced in the stellar Genius Guides to Time  Thief and Time Warden and while the beasts herein utilize these rules, everything necessary to run the monsters is contained in this pdf. Additionally, time-travelling creatures tend to have weird perceptions and problems communicating with beings that have a simple 3-dimensional perspectives and thus a small table is included for the DM to devise strange ramblings and concerns: “Trapped by 13 o’clock, indeed!”

 

After this neat setting of the stage, we draw the curtains and jump into the first creature entry: The Chronal Dragon, a new type of primal dragon. While reading this entry, I was first skeptical and then started grinning – wide. Remove oneself from the timestream, becoming temporarily invulnerable? Check. Cannibalize foe’s motes of time and personal temporal energies? Check! Secure areas by making a temporal moebius loop? Check! Breath attack that sends foes into the future? Check! We also get 3 sample statblocks and all necessary pieces of information to make chronal dragons of all age categories. This is one of the scarce additions to dragonkind that actually makes sense and I thoroughly enjoyed the new breed.  (Hint: If you want to convert “War of the Burning Sky” to PFRPG, a great wyrm chronal dragon makes for a vastly cooler fight when used to substitute “time” in “The Beating of the Aquiline Heart”.)

 

The next beats is another high-level adversary is the Horological Golem (CR 15). The golem comes with UTTERLY awesome signature abilities: When damaged, it backlashes with a slow-effect. A blast that can change the age and even the position in the timestream of the victims and the ability to inflict wounds over and over on his foes. Perhaps the coolest, most unique golem I’ve read in quite some time – plus: Comes with a kick-ass artwork!

 

On the low-end of the gamut is the leaping insect (CR 1): These poisonous, tick/spider-hybrids can not only jump in time, but also (unintentionally, on a crit), call reinforcements by transporting future or past hive mates.  Disturbing, alien and a rather nasty critter. Again: Well done!

 

Speaking of alien: The Nasr (CR 17) is alien indeed: A gargantuan eagle’s body with 3 lamprey-like heads, they fly throughtime, infest foes with rot and then suck the rotting flesh from their victims. EWWWW! Now if that doesn’t creep your players out…

….then perhaps a rather traditionally gothic horror might do the trick, one like the CR 7 Temporal Wraith. These spectres may not only age you by touch, they can also wrench creatures from alternate timelines to fight along their sides. Worse, their very presence makes time unstable and it possible for you to e.g. spent a minute in battle with one and have a year go by. Great idea for DM! Now here’s another one, by yours truly: Remember the excellent Castle Forlorn boxed set for Ravenloft? Multiple versions of one dungeon, time travel etc., all to finally figure out a way to slay its master and escape? Just add the time warden’s time travel-spell to the wraith’s roster of powers and have fun with a neat basic creature to recreate similar experiences!

 

The beetle-eyed reptilian Timestream Assasssins (CR 10) are intelligent, deadly being living in the timestream and following unfathomable goals – oh, and their strikes can take away your actions! And that’s, again, just one of multiple extremely cool signature abilities. (Motes of time being one of them…)

 

And then, there’s the 3-eyed Wampus Cat (CR 5): These cats can create safe lairs in the time-stream, from which they can surface as either allies or ambush predators. Oh, their gaze might slow you and they also have access to motes of time…

 

Then there’s the supplemental material: The Time Screen is a way to enter and exit the timestream via a frame and the temporal anchor and lock-spells are nice to keep those nasty temporal bastards from jumping.

 

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to SGG’s 2-column standard and each monster comes with a b/w-artwork, most of which range at the upper level of quality, though the piece for the chronal dragon didn’t put awe in me, I e.g. loved the golem. The pdf unfortunately has no bookmarks, which is a pity. Yeah. Ähem. I’ll come out and say it: Sam Hing has surpassed himself. This installment of Mythic Menagerie is literally all killer of the highest caliber. This is by far the best pdf in the whole line, surpassing even the excellent, more recent installments. Multiple signature abilities per creature, iconic adversaries and multiple adventure hooks practically ingrained in the creatures, these beings do what scarcely a monster manages these days – evoke a sense of jamais-vu, a nouveau frissant that immediately gets the creative juices flowing. If you own the Genius Guides to Time Thief/Warden, this is a no-brainer. If you’re even remotely considering temporal peculiarities – check this out. And if you’re tired of PCs bashing foes to pieces without using their brains, check this out. A stellar offering, an unbeatable price, a new standard for small monster-books. This Mythic Menagerie puts the bar higher for what to expect from monster-pdfs. If you don’t give this a try, it will be your loss. My final verdict will be a very easily-given 5 stars + Endzeitgeist seal of approval – scarcely have I had so few doubts about which final verdict to pick. An all-out stellar job!

 

Finally, Super Genius Games has released one massive pdf of supplemental material for all time-based classes,

 

Genius Options: Masters of Time

MoT

This pdf is 30 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 27 1/3 pages of content, so let’s check this out!

 

So what is this book? Well, if you by now don’t know the Time Thief and Time Warden-classes, which for the first time have made chronomancy a fun and rewarding insert into an iteration of d20, I’d suggest you immediately get them. *waits* All right, are you done reading? On a basic level, this product is the big enhancement tome for the two classes, going even further than previous releases (the classes are featured in RiP’s 101 Renegade Class Features and have a Bullet Point as well as a monster-book) by providing content galore based on motes of time, aevum etc.

 

To handle a topic as complex as time, an introduction is provided that e.g. covers influence on the timestream etc.. For the purpose of this pdf introducing the term chronothurge as an hyperonym for any class that manipulates time as well as providing guidance to introduce the content herein to your campaign. The pdf kicks off its crunchy section by providing us with a selection of 9 basic motes of time powers – these can be used by the two basic chronothurge-classes (i.e. the Time Thief and Time Warden) as indicated in brackets. Astute readers may also see Time Reavers and Time Masters as new terminology – both do not reference to new classes, but rather an archetype and a term for any other manipulator of time. Multiple of the mote-abilities allow you to burn motes to gain mote-bonuses, which add +1d4 to the respective roll, upgrading to +2d4 at 8th level and +3d4 at 16th level.

 

The options for the application of mote bonuses cover damage,  saving throws, skill & ability-checks, caster level checks, atk or initiative. The chronothurges may also spend motes to act in surprise rounds, get an additional swift action or even suspend the weight of armor (and its penalty) and encumbrance for one round. That’s not all, though: We also are introduced to 25 advanced mote powers. These mote powers require “bigger” actions on part of the respective chronothurges, allowing them to reroll percentile dice, extend a condition, affliction, spell-like effect etc. for one round, increase the pace of the movement of deadly conditions and other fine tricks: Time Wardens may e.g. spend all their motes to force a reroll of the roll that would have otherwise killed them, be it damage or a save – a longshot last-second save, but a cool one! They may also temporarily inflict the infirmity of old-age on opponents (or buff dragons likewise with increased age) or heal allies by drawing on a possible future vitality. Of course, ripping open wounds and disabling swift actions make also for compelling options, as is the temporary suppression of a negative condition. Standard auguries are also possible, as is it to temporarily gain proficiency with a weapon and gain a bonus to AC, the option to track chronothurgic creatures and beings via scent as well as create aevums by weaving together multiple motes. As one absolutely glorious implementation, they may also glean the effects on a question they have hypothetically asked and then rewinded. VERY cool for espionage-missions etc.

 

Speaking of aevum-powers – of course, we also get new 21 lesser aevum powers and oh boy – while becoming ageless or gaining a miss chance due to altered probabilities are cool options, some of the aevum powers are simply GLORIOUS. Alternate Self, for example, is a BOON for players and GMs alike: This power can only be used on a dead character. There is a chance that said character comes back to life – only, it’s not the character, but a version from another timeline, allowing you essentially to do the Doctor Who-actor change, complete with personality and looks. Let that sink in – as a DM, you have an option to deny resurrections that don’t fit your plot, while players bored of their character-built can change them without upsetting “chosen one”-prophecies and similar plot devices. Have I mentioned the glorious ideas for DMs? The King’s been assassinated – only he hasn’t. He had a “change of mind” and is now promoting brutal pogroms against e.g. elves – what has happened to the righteous ruler? The potential is ENDLESS. This pdf is worth the asking price for this ability alone. Those who want to have always the right tool, can now set aside funds to retroactively have bought certain items. Of course, there are also more combat-centric powers and the option to generate motes by breaking up aevum. Though I see a problem here: 6 motes make one aevum, 1 aevum make 1d6+Cha-mod motes. Insanely high charisma, time on your hands – regain resources. The cha-mod has to be eliminated or at least halved.

Hitting foes with entropy-based bonus damage might be nice, but setting up a restore point at one round and potentially jump at the highest levels back can be a godsend for modules – especially since at 17th level, they may do so with allies. They may also trade places with other beings in reach and even draw a temporal duplicate of her/himself, splitting actions between two equally capable bodies. BRILLIANT.

We also get 11 feats that allow characters to dabble in chronothurgy as a member of another class, gain additional aevum powers, specialize in motes, negate crits and sneak attacks into regular hits, temporarily gain minor sneak attack (or stack on sneak attack) or use divination.

 

Now, I already mentioned the time-reavers – they may be represented by Time Wardens or Time Thieves and gain Time Twist, adding a deadly, yet cool effect to their spells/attacks: On a failed save, those hit temporarily lose access to one of their feats! On the side of the time thief, they may now steal motes directly from others and even options from other characters, restricting them to partial actions for one turn, while Time Wardens gain 2 new spells that allow you to regain motes of time or aevum or temporarily gain access to a mote power you usually don’t have. Time Wardens also get a new archetype based on the relation of space and time, the Warp Warden, which allows him to be further away (or closer) to another creature that does not threaten him. They may also halve ranges of ranged attacks and go all out Portal as in the games. Neat!

 

The pdf also has a massive array of archetypes that allow core classes to gain access to temporal powers of chronothurgy – Barbarians may become Outlanders, aging slower, gain limited mote powers and become mysterious, i.e. it is VERY difficult to find anything out about these children of dissonance. Cavaliers may now join the Order of Finality, which allows them to negate rerolls and a pool of determination that allows them to gain bonuses similar to the mote bonuses. Awesome flair for the impeccable executor/hunter. Very cool! Clerics (and Oracles) may now take the new Temporal Domain, gaining a limited supply of motes and 1 aevum power at 8th level, while druids my of course also gain access to this via nature’s bond. Furthermore, the servants of nature may opt to become Temporal Daduchos, replacing more practice oriented spells with esoteric knowledge and wild empathy with  a time-disturbances tracking scent. Daduchos also replace wild shape with scaling motes. Magi may use their arcane pool as motes of time and count as time wardens and learn advanced mote powers. They also get the Tempus-archetype,  which also grants limited access to aevum. Sorcerors may now stem from the Wampus bloodline (which is not necessarily from the Wampus and could stem from any…thing…chronomancy-related…), allowing them to cut the duration of detrimental effects and suspend spells – and that’s before gaining cha-mod aevum powers as a capstone. Witches are not forgotten either, gaining 3 hexes to become ageless, inflict alternate memories and make a minor wound from the past reappear. Wizards can now of course specialize in the new chronothurgy school, allowing them to spend motes of time from their limited array to change a prepared spell. I’m not particularly keen on that one, since with the right build, I can see that being exploited to making the wizard a bit too close to spontaneous casters.

 

Now that’s not all – we also are introduced to the idea of zones of broken time (including a nice d%-table of effects) as well as to basic guidelines on how to handle monsters with motes and aevum as well as a sample CR 11 temporal labyrinthian, a bovine humanoid with dread powers. For more monsters, be sure to check out the STELLAR “Mythic Menageries: Ravagers of Time”-monster book, btw.!

 

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, though not perfect – I noticed some very minor glitches, like the time reaver once being called outlander. Layout adheres to SGG’s 3-column landscape presentation and features a combination of the real-life photos we know from the Time Thief and Warden-pdfs as well as some kick-style artworks and a rendition of the mythic menagerie-installment’s cover.  THANKFULLY, this is one of the SGG-pdfs that is excessively bookmarked.

 

Oh boy. On the one hand, I have minor balance concerns with some abilities, as mentioned above. But you know what? I don’t care. This class-supplement, for the most part, is STELLAR. It offers so many options that are not only great choices crunch-wise, but open up whole new avenues on how fights are conducted, adventure plots devised etc. Essentially, this pdf multiplies the options you have as a DM when writing complex stories, as a player when doing just about whatever task. And yes, multiplies. For it is not a mere addition – this pdf allows you to do things that would otherwise simply not work, which is plain and simple awesome. I went into this, reading it as a class-supplement and went out with enough ideas for whole MULTIPLE campaigns and adventures. And that, my friends, is what separates a good book from a great one. After the disappointment that “Godling Ascendant” was for me,  I was wary of this one, but my fears turned out to be unfounded.

In fact, even in Owen K.C. Stephen’s rich oeuvre of idea-sparking, excellent crunch, this stands out as one of those singularly rare splat-books that do the same as well-written fluff. They incite the spark of creativity within the reader. And you know what? For once, I acknowledge, that balance-wise this is not perfect, potentially there are options that can be exploited etc. But for this on time, I simply don’t care. If you have read my harpings on any balance-issue whatsoever, this should get you a good inkling on why this pdf is such a colossal success in my eyes. Thus I remain with these words: Be wary of some pieces of content, but for crying out loud, don’t make the mistake of not checking out a pdf that not only offers character options, but which may revolutionize your game. Final verdict, in spite of minor editing glitches and balance-concerns will be 5 stars + seal of approval. Don’t let this pdf slip through your fingers like the proverbial sands of time!

 

Endzeitgeist out.

 

More articles you may enjoy:

Facebook Comments

comments

About Endzeitgeist

Reviewer without a cause