I mentioned some time ago I would do them all and I always keep my word - thus, there we go!
101 4th level spells
This pdf is 32 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 2 pages advertisements, leaving 27 pages for the 101 spells. So let's dive in!
After 4 pages of spell-lists, the new spells are introduced.
4th level has always been a peculiar one for my players and me: With dispel magic and the classic battle-spells like fireball and lightning bolt, 3rd level spells have traditionally been the ones my players anticipated. 4th level on the other hand...has almost always been one of the spell-levels that still has some spells left when the party rests. Subsequently, my players have not been too stoked about this level and thus, I'm hoping for this book to change that. Let's take a look whether it succeeds and which spells catch my eye, positive and negative.
Among the 101 spells were several that caught my eye, and I'll endeavor to give you some of the cool concepts contained herein: "Borrow Limb" lets you temporarily use an additional severed limb - creepy, cool, I love it. "Chaotic Blast" is a hasardeurs/chaos mages battle spell and extremely versatile. "Dying Vengeance" is a nice curse for bards."Fold" temporarily folds you into one square, making this an extremely cool plot/infiltration spell. "Foresight of the Just Warrior" is the first of several extremely cool paladin spells that caught my eye - it is feat-dependant, i.e. it can only be cast if you have power attack, but always makes your attack use the ideal amount of atk/damage exchange. "Hand of Time" speeds time for magic effects, essentially ending them faster - unfortunately also the beneficial ones. For all the people who want their paladin to become martyrs and make their character's ultimate sacrifice meaningful, we get "Last Act", which gives you one last round, even when you're dead, and "True Sacrifice", which sacrifices your life to resurrect another one. There were also some spells I didn't care too much for: "Boorishness" drops charisma of a foe to 1, essentially being a "save-or-suck"-spell for bards and sorcerors. "Sonic Blast" is a cone that deals sonic damage and just felt like filler. "Stomach Bloom" lets the target vomit up acid, damaging both him and an adjacent enemy. The damage is evenly divided between both. However, I'm not entirely sure, whether the target receives all the damage when there's no-one in vomiting range."Zone of Mishap" potentially makes casters fizzle a lot, but from the description I'm not entirely sure whether the caster is exempt from the spells effect or whether he has to check against his own spell.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any mistakes. The pdf is extensively bookmarked and layout adheres to the two-column-RiP-standard. The b/w-artworks are ok, though I've seen more beautiful ones in RiP-books. The quality of the crunch is top and I liked more spells than I didn't. 4th level becomes much more interesting thanks to this book and especially paladins get a LOT of awesome spells, though I would have loved to see the feat-concept further evolved. In spite of my praise, though, e.g. the 0- or 9th level installments felt a bit more imaginative to me. Thus, I'll settle for a final verdict of 4 Rudii - a good book of spells that helps casters make 4th level spells just as exciting as 3rd ones.
This pdf is 32 pages long, 1page front cover, 1page editorial, 1 page SRD and 2 pages advertisements, leaving 27 pages for 101 spells, so let's dive in!
After 3 pages of spell-lists we get the 101 spells. 5th level has traditionally been a level that made magic complex - abjurations, layered defenses and the first spells one can consider higher arcana - iconic. Instead of milling through all the spells, I'm going to tell you about the ones that grabbed my attention, positive or negative. Let's go! On the "cool-idea-side" we get "fell tree", which drops a tree on your opponents. Hilarious and kinda cool! "Flatten" makes you 2d, essentially opening a lot of creative potential for players to shine and use the spell in unconventional ways, especially in infiltrations.
"Pain Circuit" is a mechanically interesting spell - It opens up a conduct between you and your foe, making the foe experience your ailments and damages. My other favorite spell, though, has to be "Voice of Memories" - you can replace memories of the targets, change them etc. Story-writing gold for the GM and cool tactics for PCs, especially if they've screwed a given adventure up.
I've also noticed two spells I didn't care for: "Chastise" penalizes the enemy and deals non-lethal damage. If you've read some of my reviews, you'll notice that I'd usually love spells like that, offering to catch enemies alive. However, this spell actually gets the [evil]-descriptor. I get the "dealing unnecessary pain is evil"-argumentation, but this spell does not feel inherently evil, but could be arguably used for a plethora of "good" (e.g. NONLETHAL) ways. That's an easily corrected nitpick of mine, though. Of all the spells in the book, I felt that one was severely overpowered: "Spell Grounding". When within range of any rays and chain-spells (such as chain lightning), it is automatically drawn to you and is negated. I think the spell should only work for spells of level 5 or lower or at least offer an opposed caster-level check. That's about it with negatives, though. The only other negative thing I could say, is that there is a typo in the "Phantasmal Nymph"-spell, mentioning lich instead of nymph, an oversight from copying from the other cool phantasmal spell, "Phantasmal Lich".
Editing is good, I only noticed one typo. Formatting and layout adhere to the b/w two-column standard by RiP. The file is extensively bookmarked and offers some very cool and imaginative spells for you. The b/w-artworks are also fine. Most of the spells rock, but I wasn't absolutely blown out of the water as e.g. with the 0-level spells. Due to my minor gripes with two of the spells and the aforementioned difference in coolness (at least from my point of view), I'll settle for a final verdict of 4.5 Rudii.
This pdf is 35 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 2 pages advertisements, leaving 30 pages for the 101 spells. Let's check them out!
6th level. The last level accessible to non-primary casters. An iconic level, a level that e.g. should offer a lot of nice stuff to e.g. the bard. Does it deliver? We'll see!
After 3 pages of spell-lists, we are introduced to the new 101 spells. I'll be following my format for these reviews, i.e. I'm going to tell you which spells I fancied and which ones I didn't like and try to give you a good overview of what you can expect from this installment of the 101-series.
All right, the first spell I loved, was "Aid Item", which gives an item 3 charges that can be used to activate the item faster. One of my absolute favorites in the book is "Bestow Major Curse", which offers a whopping selection of 14 (!!) new curses in one spell! By the way, have I mentioned that there are several other, really cool curse-like, permanent spells? The enchanters and practitioners of subtle magic like bards get some completely AWESOME spells - "Buried Suggestion" puts a suggestion into the target that cannot be detected until it is triggered. The bard's "Dance of Nakedness" does not make the target naked, but negates its items - however, the bard must keep moving AND stay close to the target - powerful, exciting and takes a seldom-seen mechanical edge to the spell. "Divide and Conquer" makes you a swarm of 300 tiny versions of yourself - damn cool. Fans of clerics get cool spells like "Excommunicate", "Exile" and similar spells that focus on their role not only as divine warriors, but also as spiritual and moral leaders.
There are also some spells that would make the chaos magic-fans and hasardeurs among you cackle with glee - I know I did: "Bouncing Boom" is a ball of changing energy - ever wanted to kill your enemies with an elemental bouncy ball? Glorious! There are also new scrying spells like "Scryingjack" that lets you take control of hostile scrying attempts and finally a spell to counter "Find the Path". There are also cool plotspells like "Kiss of Death" - kiss an enemy and get the ability to kill them in the next 12 hours - great idea to subvert parties and trick PCs. Spells I didn't like...well. Ähem. Sorry. This time, I didn't notice any balance problems, there is not a single filler spell in this book.
Editing and formatting is top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the two-column standard and the b/w-artwork of this installment is cool. Furthermore, I liked the spells. ALL of them. They are cool, imaginative and I've just given you a small taste of the great spells herein. Even in the good 101-spells-series, this one stands out as an excellent, supremely cool book of spells. I'll rate this a full 5 Rudii. If you like spells, go ahead and check this out.
All right, still here? I don't know about you, but I need some diversion from this crunchy overload, so let's check out the latest Faces of the tarnished Souk, ok?
This 8th installment of the Faces of the Tarnished Souk series is 21 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 2 pages advertisements, leaving a whopping 16 pages of content - nice! Let's check it out!
As with all installments of the FoTS-series, we start off with a one-page introduction to the character, including information on dream-burning, a lore-section and a how-to-use sidebox for DMs looking to use the witch in their campaigns. Witch? Yep, we get full APG-support in this installment, further establishing this line to use more than just the relatively common core-rules. Just take a look at the cover. She looks mad, yes. And crazy. And boy, she is. Not in the nice mad-hatter kind of way, but rather in the potentially extremely deadly, unpleasant kind of way.She is truly a dastardly, drunken, mean-spirited proprietor of a place where the worst of the worse the Coliseum has to offer go to drink, battle and, perhaps even, die horribly.
Potential SPOILERS abound, thus I'd encourage potential players to skip to the conclusion.
Still here? All right.
Maelgatryx is actually the descendant of a VERY important major player of the coliseum and secretly wants to be accepted by this dreadful entity. Once again, her CR 20 incarnation is a beauty to behold (even when the coarse witch isn't) and gets two templates and a cool level that ensures that her drinking habit reflects heavily into her fighting style. She also gets a full stat-block for her cacodaemon familiar and a minor artifact weapon. Ready for some stroke of genius? There you go: Her signature weapon are the shrunken heads (!!!!) of a half-fiendish ettin (!!!) with whom she talks and which she uses as both a bola (!!!) AND a dire-flail. (!!!) Do I have to say more? I was cackling with diabolical glee all the time while reading this. We also get 8 new feats, centering on "witchy" stuff like creating shrunken heads and her familiar. That's not where the additional content stops, though: We also get a new witch's patron, "Dreams" and two new dream-traits, as per the Coliseum rules. Moreover, we get a new incantation (and I love incantations, especially when they're about adding insult to injury and consuming souls of fallen enemies!), 3 spells and 2 magical bodices for all the ladies, who, like mine, think that oxygen is for wusses.
Her mid-level incarnation also rocks, but, in contrast to other FoTS-installments, my favorite one is actually the low-level version, possibly due to her familiar at this level, "Mistah Eatey-Eye", an albino raven. Great and iconic idea. But that's not where this pdf stops: Rather, we get the rune-carved template and, more importantly, rules for variant tieflings: You can choose from 10 basic ability sets, depending on your fiendish ancestry, and yes, qlippoths and even onis are included. More importantly, you can roll (or choose if you take a feat) on a list of a whopping 100 abilities to customize the hell out of your tiefling.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the tried-and-true b/w-two-column standard and the B/w-artworks are nice. Writing adheres to the high and evocative quality we've come to expect from Rite Publishing and the amount of content for this price is rather unprecedented - we get so much more out of this installment than in even any of the other, chock-full pdfs of this series and the selection of e.g. cool items and support for incantations just rocks. Try as I might, I can't with any good conscience nit-pick at any part of this file. It's just a great little pdf and subsequently deserves ANOTHER 5-Rudii-rating, which makes this the 3rd 5-Rudii-verdict in a row for this series. Which is by the way the record for any rpg-product line I've reviewed so far. Congratulations!
Next time, I've got some cool critters for you.
A ll right, that's it for now, thank you for reading my ramblings!