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DungeonmasterCal's page

4,469 posts (4,533 including aliases). 12 reviews. 3 lists. 1 wishlist. 8 aliases.



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The Trickster from Kobold Press

*****

The Trickster (Revised)

Ok, at first glance I didn't care for it that much (but I was on painkillers for a bad knee at the moment). I've had a chance to read it over again and I like pretty much everything they've done, with the exception of cutting back Skill Points to 4 per level. I love Skills and having my player use them, so I'll probably house rule it that they still get 6. The new Shadow Forte is a good addition, and the Dual Forte Archetype is a nice addition.

Changing the magic schools to exclude Evocation and Necromancy is something I'm on the fence about. I personally think the Trickster should be able to choose which two schools he excludes himself, but it's a minor quibble and one I'm sure won't be shared by everyone who uses the revised version.

Overall I like the revisions, and it may be the one I offer any players who might like to give the class a try. And like I said, I like skilly characters, so I may keep the 6 per level option from the original version. Good job Marc and Kobold Press!

The Trickster receives a d8 for Hitpoints and 6 points plus INT bonus for Skills, making it on par with the Rogue or Bard as far as a being a great support class. Its spellcasting abilities are considerable, making it more versatile than the Bard where that is concerned as it draws its spell from the Sorcerer/Wizard list rather than having its own set of spells. With this vast amount of magic to choose from, it can go from buffing the party to outright damage dealer with no problem, though it can only cast a limited amount of spells per day and is limited to 6th level. It must have a spellbook with its spells in it, though it casts as a sorcerer using spell slots, allowing the casting of the same spell over and over until the slots of the appropriate level are gone. No starting gold was listed, however.

As far as skills and proficiencies go, it has a nice selection of the former which borrows a little from the Bard’s list, as well. Combat wise it is proficient with all simple weapons plus the longsword, rapier, sap, short sword, shortbow, and whip. Light armor and shields are allowed, though not tower shields.

The Trickster gains a number of Rogue abilities. These include Trapfinding, Evasion, Uncanny Dodge, and Sneak Attack, though this last one caps out at +7d6. While that may not seem like much, it can augment this ability with other abilities that will be explained.

The unique things that set a Trickster apart from the Bard and the Rogue are its Fortes. There are four of these, and the Trickster must select one at second level. After that it cannot be changed. These are Acrobat, Arcane Accomplice, Beguile, and my personal favorite, Spell Pilfer. The Four Fortes are as follows:

Acrobatics gives the Trickster allows him to perform Acrobatics, Climb, Fly, Sleight of Hand, or Stealth checks while wearing light armor with no penalty. Wearing no armor at all allows for +2 to Acrobatic and Fly checks. The trickster is also considered to have a running start when it comes to jumping.

Arcane Accomplice allows the Trickster to gain a familiar as a wizard might. This stacks with any other ability it might have that allows familiars. The cool thing about the familiar is that it can sneak attack within 30 feet of its master, though it only does d4’s for damage instead of d6’s. It also adds Sleight of Hand and Disable Device to its skill list. It can also deliver harmless touch spells to a target, as well.

The third Forte is Beguile, which, among other things, gives it bonuses to overcome the Spell Resistance of a flat footed target. This begins at +1 and caps out at +3, making it a pretty handy trick to have. It can also use Bluff in combat to cast a spell on a foe during combat, denying it its DEX bonus, though the Trickster is still open to an AoO from its target unless casting defensively.

The fourth and last Forte is, as mentioned before, my favorite, Spell Pilfer. This allows a Trickster to actually steal a spell from an opponent’s mind and use it against him, as long as it’s within a span of time equal to half the Trickster’s level (minimum 1 round) and the Trickster can cast a spell of the appropriate slot. At 9th level the Trickster can pilfer a spell of a higher level it can cast, though it cannot cast the spell, though it prevents the opposing caster from using it.

Other Trickster abilities include Crafty, which gives him +1 to one of the following skills: Bluff, Disguise, Escape Artist, Sleight of Hand or Stealth. This increases by +1 at every third level thereafter, and can be applied to the same skill or one of the others on the list. The Trickster also gains a small number of bonus feats beginning at 6th level. These feats must be one of the following; Deceitful, Persuasive, Spell Focus, Spell Penetration, Stealthy or a metamagic feat. It gains another bonus feat at 12th and 18th levels.

Sneakspell gives the Trickster the ability to add spell damage to a successful sneak attack. This is one of the Trickster’s greatest abilities and is gained at 5th level, and on a critical hit the damage is doubled! If the attack misses, the spell is expended normally but does not take effect. At 17th level gains Improved Sneakspell, which means the spell is not lost but can be held until the next successful sneak attack is resolved.

9th level sees the ability Ranged Legerdemain come into play, allowing Sleight of Hand and Disable Device checks out to a range of 30 feet, though with a +5 added to the difficulty of the task’s DC.

At 14th level I was a bit confused as Table 1 calls the ability Redirect Spell, but the description calls it Filch Spell. This allows the Trickster to take control of a spell that can be directed, such as Flaming Sphere.

Surprise Spells, gained at 15th level, the Trickster adds his sneak attack damage to any spell that causes damage. Care must be exercised in using this ability, because spells such as Fireball deals damage to everyone within its normal range, so friends, foes, and the Trickster itself could take damage from the spell being used.

20th level sees the Trickster at his most dangerous, maxing out its sneak attack at +7d6 and treating all 1’s and 2’s as 3’s on sneak attack damage, making him truly deadly at this level.

Overall I can say that I love this class. It seems to be the perfect balance between Rogue and Spellcaster, able to provide a very skilled character whose abilities can be augmented by its own magic as well as serving in a support role as a backup spellcaster. Despite the oversight of leaving out starting gold and the typo regarding Redirect and Filch spells, I give this class a solid 5 stars. Good work, Kobold Press!


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Terrific Product

*****

Absolutely excellent product. The templates are easy to understand and implement and will make my encounters so much more interesting. And it's also one of the most beautiful PDF products I've ever seen. Great work!


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THE Definitive Psionics Book

****( )

This won't be a long review, because I can't compete with Endzeitgeist's excellent reviews. It's really a small list of glitches that affected my impressions of the books.

First, the good stuff. Fixes to original base classes are great and were necessary, as well as changing some of the feats and the addition of 0 level powers. All good. The expanded list of powers is amazing, and the new classes, for the most part, are pretty interesting. More on that in a second.

The artwork is good, not stellar but, but good. My only gripe with it is once again a female ophiduan was shown with hair and breasts. They're reptiles for Pete's sake, and it clearly says in their description they are hairless. Grr.

There are an uncomfortable number of typos and some awkward sentence structuring, but it's easy enough to extrapolate what's being said in each case. I wish that they'd proofread things a bit more thoroughly.

My biggest "gripe" is the Dread seems unnecessary in my book. It's focus is very narrow and would've made a better psion prestige class, in my opinion, just as the marksman would've been a better psychic warrior PrC.

Overall I'm going to give the book 4 stars, largely for the truly amazing amount of work that went into it. But the glaring typos and curvaceous ophiduan really bugged me.

Addendum. I received two copies 4 days apart with the same order number, though I only purchased one. I've been in touch with Paizo Customer Service and as soon as I get paid I'll be sending the extra copy back so that someone else might enjoy it.


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You Have To Have This Book!

****( )

Let me just say (as I’ve said before) this is the book “Ultimate Magic” should have been. This book is a must have for any player who gravitates toward magic using classes, and with Incantations from Chapter 4 you don’t even have to be a spellcaster. Here’s a brief breakdown of the book:
Chapter One: New Magic Options offers many new spells from some pretty specific sources, ranging from Angels, Minotaurs, Time, and much more. Included in this chapter is the section on Vril, the primal, raw magic that exists all around us. It’s the “spellfire” of the Pathfinder game, I guess you could say. Of the specific types of spells and magic it may be my favorite, though Time and Chaos/Wonder magic are right up there.
Chapter One also brings us Ley Lines, a fantasy tradition that posits the world is crisscrossed with lines of power where a spellcaster can tap into the energy that suffuses the world itself. A Ley Line magic user is powerful and not to be reckoned with.

Chapter Two is the part we waited for the most; new spells - 733 new spells. Some are pretty specialized to certain classes or types of magic, but not so much you can’t use them for another compatible spellcaster. This is the meat of the book, and it’s mighty tasty, indeed.

Chapter Three brings us Symbolic Magic, or the magic of glyphs, runes, and ink magic, which is the magic of ciphers and the power of ink drawings. I found this to be a pretty interesting school, and the book even suggests ink magic could be an optional type of magic, rather than a school. The sections on runes include Aboleth glyphs, magic going back before the dawn of the gods themselves. This is a really good chapter that goes in depth to make these playable and fun.

Chapter Four offers the magic of Words and Incantations. The section on Incantations offers some truly interesting and potent magic often found being used by hedge wizards, adepts, etc. A great deal of detail is offered in this section on the rituals and ritual spaces needed to cast this magic and really makes for an interesting read.
Word magic continues a concept that first appeared in Paizo’s “Ultimate Magic”, whereby using the spoken word to shape magic into new or variant spells and effects is explained. Word magic is flexible and customizable. This system expands on the original words of power with new ones, and makes it easy to incorporate them alongside the existing words of power found in UM.

Chapter Five brings new Bloodlines and Mysteries to the player. The new bloodlines, at least some of them, seem pretty esoteric. For example, the Raven Blooded bloodline is relegated to Ravenfolk only. Others, such as the Aboleth, Mechanical, and Ooze bloodlines bring elements of strangeness to the Sorcerer not found before. There is also a Vril bloodline, which offers the Sorcerer the ability to channel the substance of magic through his blood.

Chapter Six offers us, among others, the Chaos mage, the Demon Binder, the Clockwork Mage, and the Vril Adept. More specialized are the Iounmancer and the Cultist of Charun.

Chapter Seven talks about the Homunculus, Magic Item familiars, Leastlings (strange little man shaped constructs covered in needles that can be used minions and even assassins. The section on crafting undead is perfect for the budding necromancer in your group, giving details on how to create many different types of the traditional undead found in fantasy RPGs.

Chapter Eight offers the reader nine sample spellcasters that use some of the options presented in “Deep Magic”. The NPCs range from CR 5 to CR 20, with some pretty unique individuals included such as Grog Bonegrinder, the Cheerful Goblin, Lady Sorreminx, a “cruel Elven noble”, and a disfigured Clockwork Mage.

The artwork throughout is excellent, and the pages themselves are beautiful, being slightly textured and not glossy (which I really liked) with runes and thaumaturgic circles seen faintly behind the text. Heck, the book even smells good! The binding is good and should provide years of use without worrying about pages coming loose. If I could count off for anything, there are an uncomfortable number of typographic errors from using the wrong word in a sentence to many misspellings. There is an errata sheet coming, but something as long awaited as this book should’ve been proofread a little closer. I’m taking a star for this, as the mistakes can be pretty glaring.
Overall I’m giving “Deep Magic” 4. This book is indispensable for the serious magic using players in your game. It’s well worth the money and the wait; probably one of the finest Kickstarter products I’ve seen. Pick this one up and happy casting!


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Not for beginners

****( )

The Swordmaster is the Swashbuckler you've all been waiting for!
The Swordmaster is the Kensai you've all been waiting for!

I'm not going to delve as deeply as EZ did in his excellent review, because that would be redundant. But I will say that this class is the first Dreadfox product I've ever seen, and I was very impressed. I really believe the work and playtesting that went into the class' development was thorough, and quite likely, exhausting.

Now, to business. This class is not for the faint of heart or most novice or inexperienced players. Although the instructions to use the sword arts are clear, it's just the sheer amount of bookkeeping that's necessary. If a player doesn't stay on top of the action in a combat session he might slow the battle down having to look at the character sheet and decide which art to use on his next turn. These actions need to be worked out as soon the player's turn ends, otherwise this will result in the dreaded "bored player dice stacking" phenomenon while they wait for the next dazzling display of death dealing.

But for a player willing to take the time and set up the character sheet beforehand, this is a brilliant class. It's the acrobatic fighter so many others have tried to develop (with varying degrees of success). A lot of the sword arts, in particular the advanced ones, call to mind some of the maneuvers found in the Tome of Battle (a book I love, by the way). The moves are easy to visualize, as well, helping paint a picture of a dashing, darting warrior cutting through foes like stalks of wheat. It's a class that really fits both the Western and Eastern styles of play, making it easy to be a swashbuckling musketeer or a wuxia master of the deadly arts.

The layout and look of the pdf are really well done, too. Parchment toned, with heavily decorated borders and good interior art. While truly only cosmetic, interior design and artwork plays a large factor in my decision to purchase a product. To me it shows the publishers wanted to go that extra step to cap off a really good effort.

I wanted to give this a 3 and 1/2 stars review, because of the complicated nature of this really flavorful, powerful class. But with great power comes great responsibility, so the player of a Swordmaster must be ready at the beginning of each turn with his chosen sword art. But I'll round up to a 4 star rating, simply because I am so impressed by everything that went into the product's creation. And now that I've seen my first example of Dreadfox's craft, I hope to review more of them.

Have at thee, varlet!!


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