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Diver

DungeonmasterCal's page

2,488 posts (2,510 including aliases). 10 reviews. 3 lists. 1 wishlist. 7 aliases.



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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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Finally! A workable, logical spellpoint system!

*****

I'm not going to go into the nuts and bolts like Endzeitgeist already has, because he did a great job of doing so. I'm just going to let my feelings flow and say that among all the SGG products I've purchased (and that's lot) this is by far my favorite. I know folks who have lifted the Psionic point system to use as spell points, and I'm sure that works for them. But this reflects the "classic" magic user's method, even down to the fatigue aspect. Easy to understand rules with clear examples and explanations of how they work, and of course SGG's almost paranormally fast responses to questions anyone might have about the product.

In a nutshell, this is perfect. I can't find a mountain high enough to tell it on. Get online and buy this product. Stop whatever you're doing, unless it's CPR or something similar, and buy this pdf. There are rumors of Print On Demand in the future, but don't wait. Buy it. Print it. Love it. You won't be disappointed.

For my longer and more in depth review, see my review at Big Game Productions Reviews. While you're there, if you're a board games fan, you'll find some reviews of some new games for the whole family.


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Magic Missile just got even more magical!

*****

I'm not going to go into a mechanics breakdown, because that's not my forté. I'm a flavor kinda guy; I like the whole whiz bang aspect of spells and related feats. I will say this about the mechanics; I believe a great deal of thought went into making sure these spell modifications are balanced and useful. Prerequisites for them make sure that not every Tom, Dick, and Merlin can just whip these out on unsuspecting foes. Very well thought out.

But I love the new affects these modifications offer. Magic Missile, for all its iconic standing, has for decades just been the go-to first level spell for any burgeoning arcane magic user. But for all its usefulness it's just streaks of light that smack into their targets, usually with little description from the PC or DM to add any flavor to them.

These modifications make this old favorite exciting for casters to use. Imagine the look on your PCs' faces when the realize that magic missile is about to be cast when suddenly they're blinded and staggering around with bright lights clouding their vision. Or to be suddenly stopped in their tracks as though a Hold Person spell had taken effect. And Legendary Missiles when they're slammed with a single missile that does twice the damage they're expecting. Fun stuff!

I love this product. I wish I knew how SGG turns out one home run after another, because I'd build a mind transference machine then kidnap their whole brain trust. Good job, SGG!


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