End(ZEITGEIST) reviews Part I

Hej everyone,

it's been quite some time since I've taken a look in real life to anything by EN Publishing, only to recently realize that they have a rather interesting AP for PFRPG going - with the two basic guides being FREE!

Thus, today I'm going to take a look at the free guides for the AP before I delve into the modules! Hope you'll enjoy the reviews!

Let's start with the DM's guide,

Zeitgeist Campaign Guide

This pdf is 19 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page map/ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 15 pages of content, so let's check this out!

This pdf contains GM-information and is chock-full of SPOILERS and intended for DMs only- this review, though, will refrain from mentioning any details. Since the basic concept of the AP is rather complex, the pdf comes with a concise run-down of the player's antagonists and better yet, the methods of the conspiracy the players will have to contend with. Better yet, since the AP presumes a mystery spanning multiple adventures, keeping the central plot-secrets as well as how to spoon-feed the handling of information and clues are covered - with a nice guideline by adventure for the PCs.

The first five adventures also get a plot synopsis including scenes to whet our tastes for the modules including an option to abridge the campaign if need be. The pdf also features a full-page, beautiful map of the campaign world.

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a beautiful 2-column standard and the full color pieces of artwork can stand up to the highest standards, though the lack of a printer-friendly version will mean that this pdf will put a brutal strain on your printer. The pdf comes fully bookmarked. This pdf is a great overview of the Zeitgeist-AP and the content makes one really run the AP, while providing first hints and advice on how to properly convey the leitmotifs and peculiarities of the saga. Seeing that this is a free pdf, I don't have much to complain about apart from the fact that I would have enjoyed a full campaign synopsis and perhaps a flow-chart diagram for the antagonists, but that's just me being nitpicky. This is a great free pdf and thus, I'll settle for a final verdict of 5 Rudii.

And of course, there's also a free 

Zeitgeist Player's Guide

This pdf is 37 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving a total of 32 pages of content, so let's check this out!

In the Zeitgeist AP by Enworld Publishing, the PCs are not only living in an age of industrialization of clashing ideologies between traditionalism and progress, they also serve as agents in their homeland, working for the Risur Homeland Constabulary, essentially a kind of secret service devoted to the nation of Risur. Race-wise, it should be noted that a nation of tieflings and even of monstrous humanoids exists, as well as that the elven goddess has died in war with mankind and thus, there almost are no female elves left. Dwarves believe that armageddon draws near, but stoically toil on. Planar travel does not work and any kind of magical flight only work for a maximum of 5 rounds. The Zeitgeist AP uses no traits and instead provides a free theme-feat for each character at first level:

Beyond providing a central theme for each character, these feats add roleplaying potential galore, coming not only with the usual crunch, but also with a rather extensive fluff-section - If you need a general overview of the quality you can expect, take the Eschatologist's feat "Icy End of the World": It not only enables you to generate a zone of icy cold that deals character level damage to all inside (including you) and makes healing impossible, it can also be used to stabilize and even resurrect PCs that have fallen in the last round. Or take the feat "The Man with two Guns is God" for Gunsmiths, that enables the user of the feat to attack with firearms as if you had two-weapon fighting and quick draw and even better, not provoke an AoO when drawing and attacking in the same round. Spirit Mediums can talk to the dead as a spell-like ability and even conjure up a spirit to perform a  standard action at you behest. The theme feats are brilliant, smart and iconic and add some rather cool additional angles for the players to explore.

The player's guide also provides guidelines regarding firearms and treasure, vehicles, organization prestige and the options to secure minor help by NPCs in your endeavors. The second chapter details the setting overview, including a section on the planes, wild and dead magic zones and the basic details of all the countries as well as sections on the dominant religions and philosophies.

The third section of the book details the metropolis of Flint, where the AP kicks off - capital of Risur, home to the PCs and beautifully cartographed, this section is awesome indeed - have I mentioned the fully-stated mage-shackles? Since the Zeitgeist AP will juggle a lot of NPCs, the final page is devoted to NPC-mugshots and short run-downs of the respective characters.

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a  2-column, full-color standard with fitting borders and the artworks, oh boy, the artworks are AWESOME and should fulfill the needs of even the most critical person, being on par with Paizo, WotC etc., perhaps even beyond that in a couple of them. The pdf comes with no bookmarks and unfortunately, without a printer-friendly version - the pdf will extol a brutal drain on your printer.  This is a player's guide after my tastes - with stellar crunch, great background stories, no spoilers and a plethora of great hooks (via e.g. the theme-feats) to deeply entrench your characters in the world of Zeitgeist. Am I stoked? Hell yeah! While the lack of a printer-friendly version is a major blemish in my book, this player's guide is free and of a higher quality than most commercial publications. Furthermore, the concepts and rules of e.g. the theme-feats can easily be scavenged, providing goodness even if you don't plan on running the AP. Hence, my final verdict will be 5 Rudii + endzeitgeist seal of approval.

All right, that's it for now! Next time, I'm going to take a look at one massive sourcebook!
As always, thank you for reading my ramblings,

Endzeitgeist out.

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