Supplement Review: Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Z. Z. Grimshanks, the Knave of Sharp Seconds by Matt Banach and Justin Sluder from Rite Publishing

What do you get when you cross Time Bandits, Gladiator, and the cutthroat entrepreneurial spirit of The Apprentice? Maybe something along the lines of Z.Z. Grimshanks, the Knave of Sharp Seconds – a ruthless little goblin with a bad attitude.

Rite Publishing and creators Matt Banach and Justin Sluder have created a little guy with the potential to really mess with some PCs in a variety of ways. He’s both a demonic gladiator and has a talent for slipping through time. But what really sells it for me is that you get three different versions of the enterprising miscreant – a CR21 version, a CR14 version, and a CR8 version, each with complete stats for Pathfinder. Each variation can be used at different times in a campaign to really mess with the players’ heads.

Z.Z. (and no, he’s not a former member of the band ZZ Top) started out as a successful, tricky little gladiator in the Coliseum Morpheuon. All those sharp objects he carries found their way into more than a few gladatorial combatants. And yet that wasn’t enough for him. He wanted more. That hunger for more led him to become the head of the Court of Fell Fortunes, the local guild of thieves. Doesn’t hurt that he can twist time and space to do his bidding when the need arises either.

In the 10 pages of content in Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Z. Z. Grimshanks, the Knave of Sharp Seconds, Banach and Sluder manage to not only introduce a NPC that can appear and reappear in a Pathfinder campaign, but they created a new class… the Time Thief. Time Thieves steal bits of time from their own timelines – split-seconds from their future – to affect the present in surprising ways. Imagine if you were in The Matrix and had the ability to go into “bullet time” or speed up healing or even get an instant do-over.

Plus, there’s a new feat, weapon enhancements, magic items, new templates to apply to existing creatures, and more. The PDF is full of goodies that can be mined for existing campaigns or give you ideas for a campaign set in the Coliseum Morpheuon and the rest of the Tarnished Souk world.

The book is arranged in a two-column layout with clear headings, break-out boxes, and great artwork from Rick Hershey, Mark Hyzer, and Eric Quigley. Quite honestly if I had one knock on Z.Z. Grimshanks, it would be that it’s TOO full of content. And I hesitate to even bring that up!

If you’re in the market for a little demon to torment your players repeatedly, Faces of the Tarnished Souk: Z. Z. Grimshanks, the Knave of Sharp Seconds offers plenty of food for thought for any fantasy campaign. And if you like playing with time, there are some cool options here to allow you and your players to literally “play with time” in the game…

For more about Grimshanks, check out the product page on RPGNow, or check out the Rite Publishing website for more about there many product lines.

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