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Kaiyanwang's page

2,484 posts (2,487 including aliases). 3 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.



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Well done!

*****

Apparently, bestiaries are the strongest point of Paizo, since, as opposed to the "Ultimate" line, their quality is not decreased from the core books. I would dare to say it is actually improved.

The book contains monsters inspired by several cultures, and is a delightful little travel in folklore other than a very good RPG supplement.

Creatures qualities and special attacks are effective and diverse (with few exceptions), from a wisely added double bite attack, to more complex and GM-inspiring out and in- combat powers.

Animals and vermins are well made, and the preistoric ones are more diverse than the usual "more dinosaurs" (but fear not, dinosaurs fan will not be disappointed).

Fey are very good, even if I wished some more high CR ones (but, hellooo, Norn!). Few aberrations, H.P. Lovercraft inspired, definitively removed my mind flayer nostalgia. Great love for the nagas too.

Plants are scary. Undeads are SCARIER, and you will love the new dreadful templates added.

Monstrous humanoids and magical beasts come in different shapes and exotic powers.

Oozes are finally interesting! Even an ooze-hater like me found entries able to intrigue me.

Constructs are excellent. We find some clerical domain based ones, golems able to do more than just bash the enemy, and a brand new category incredibly cool.

Dragons come with several minor ones, the oriental sovereign (mixed feelings) and new, awesome linnorms.

Outsiders are the true gem of this bestiary, expecially fiends. New fiend families are introduced to us, expanding previous single monsters (Kyton, Oni, Rakshasa) in whole families and introducing Asuras, Divs ad Demodands. Paladins have hands full! I needed them so much for my setting, expecially Divs wich seems tailor-made for a specific roles for my infernal legions.

Completely different Outsiders are the guardians Kami. If you do not want to use oriental material, change their background in druidic or whatever spirit guardians is very easy.

My only big remarks are about the powers of the Hekatonkheires titan, quite "meh" for a CR 24 monster in my humble opinion.

Moreover, some monster type is strange. Why the yuki-no-ona is undead? That is a good chance lost for a middle-CR fey.

Said this, good job! Keep this pace, and I will buy up to bestiary 20 :)


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Excellent

*****

The level of quality of the bestiary 2 is excellent. In previous incarnations of he game, the quality of Monster Manual II and MMIII dropped dramatically compared to MMI.

With B2, this is not the case.

The book is full monsters of every type, even fey. Fiends Fans, like myself, will be really pleased.


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So-and-so

**( )( )( )

This is my analysis section by section:

Classes:
Magus: The class and its archetypes are a masterpiece. Solid, balanced, well made. Hexcrafter is particularly interesting. Missing favored class bonuses are the only bad thing. Shame. Thumbs up for the rest.
Alchemist: generally good options.
Bard: Masterpieces are a good idea. The execution and the use in actual play are sometimes dubious. Archetypes are quite nice, but one is unexplainably bad (Geisha).
Cleric: variant channeling is a good idea, but as a feat option, in addition to standard channeling. This is underwhelming. The archetype are decent (even if cloistered cleric was better in 3.5, and theologian too is weak in execution). The undead lord is solid. An option for elemental clerics is strongly missing (something like the Stormlord druid).
Druid: the option bloat starts to kick in, but use the domains as a supplement to the APG options can create well rounded environment-related druid types. Vermin companions are awesome. The lack of a vermin wild shape archetype is indeed surprising and disappointing. Archetypes are overall well made. The Stormlord is particularly intriguing. The Dragon Shaman is really disappointing. There is nothing truly draconic in the Archetype. Better avoid sounding names next time, if not possible introduce balanced true draconic options.
Inquisitor: inquisitions are nice, but here and there comes out sort of a lack of focus by the author’s part. See as an example Critical Precision of the Torture inquisition. A critical focus character will be likely to choose critical feast: how is this class feature not supposed to synergize with the feat?
Monk: vows are a great idea, and some of them are nice. The execution of some of them is simply awful, as an example Celibacy and Poverty. The latter is a true missed chance of accomplishing an interesting archetype. The Quinjong archetype is a nice, nice addition to the monk expecially post-APG.
Oracle: the oracle new Mysteries are interesting and diverse. Flavor choices are very good and well executed. Archetypes are intriguing and inspiring. Well made. Possible problematic combinations are yet to be explored (as an example, the no-save phantom touch and other fear effects. Paizo loves no-save effects, but a great number of them is really troublesome).
Paladin: Oaths are another example of excellent idea (and with great flavor) often executed quite poorly, unbalanced. Get rid of Aura of Justice for Cleansing Flame is ridiculous. The Wyrm oath capstone is totally dysfunctional. In APG some archetype slowed down the progression of smite evil. One wonders why this solution has not be applied for powers like Loyal Oath. Good options exist (Fiends, Vengeance, Charity as an example).
Ranger: Traps are a nice addition. Still, the fire themed ones are really weak, and the traps presented are really few. Feels incomplete.
Sorcerer: new bloodlines are neat, even if the impression given is somewhat scrapping the bottom of the barrel. As with the inquisitor, here and there some lack of focus appears. As an example, how the Accursed bloodline SR capstone is not supposed to be somewhat troublesome for the sorcerer? Cross Blooded and Wild Blooded options are fresh. Nice.
Summoner: the options are for sure intriguing. The models can be priceless for DMs. My only concerns are about the balance of the Synthesist.
Witch: the new hexes are overall really intriguing ad well made. Bonus points for quotes from literatures and fairy tales. Some hex should have be better defined mechanically (Scar). New patrons and Archetypes are good.
Wizard: the arcane discoveries are not a good addition to the game. Most of them are unneeded (True Name), not related to the class (Feral Speech), or break the limitation of the class in a very disturbing manner (Opposition Research, and Fast Study). Metal and wood schools were missing and are warmly welcomed. The Scrollmaster is poorly executed.

Spell Blight: this is a great addition for any campaign, both the gritty and the high magic ones. Well made!
Duels: circumstantial.
Binding Outsiders: Exhaustive and useful. Well made.
Building and modifying constructs: somewhat prone to abuse, but totally, completely awesome.
Spellbooks: Useful. Could have been nice have guidelines similar to those for magic items. This makes the chapter incomplete.
Spell guidelines: the chapter is very well made. I strongly suggest to the authors to attempt to follow it.

Feats: Sadly, a lot of feats follow the usual “theme” of the book: apparently intriguing option, but very poorly executed. Most metamagic feats are not worthy, slotting too much. Burning spell is an example. Flaring Spells is ever more weak, if possible. The feat Antagonize is DISCONCERTING. It seems a bad homebrew feat, written by someone with little game experience. Sorcerous Bloodstrike is hilariously weak. Radiant Charge is pure comedy.
On the flipside, there are feats clashing with assumptions of the game. Thanatopic Spells and Threnodic Spells overcome undead immunities to death effects and mind affecting respectively. This kills diversity and bring oddities on the table. Divine interference is disturbingly odd and clunky.
There are good feats. Accursed hex and Split Hex for witch are very interesting. Echoing Spell metamagic is even too good. The “extras” ones are useful. The inquisitor ones and the eidolon-summoner interaction ones are nice. Cleric and Druid action economy is greatly improved by Quick Channel and Quick Wildshape. The alchemist implant bomb ones are abuseable but cool. Paladins have hands full: auras and healing class features are greatly improved.

Wordcasting: my opinion is ambivalent on this. I praise Paizo for the innovation, but I fear the system is clunky. A more straightforward approach like the 3.5 invocation spells of the Warlock class could have been better. The implication for worldbuilding and roleplaying are enormous indeed.

Spells: the spell session is very intriguing, and is a mixed bag.
There are good and/or inspiring spells like Animate Dead, Lesser, very needed for low level undead adventures, intriguing spells like Call Construct, Create Demiplane, which is iconic, a plot device, a reward, an adventure hook with great roleplaying potential, or pure awesome crazy stuff like summoning of monkey swarms.

On the flip side, there are spells like agonize: makes a highly debated spell stronger (but is iconic, so…) Daze, Mass: troublesome: Immune to daze creatures are really rare. Masterwork transformation hits hard once again the worldbuilding. Emotion spells like Miserable Pity become a laughable nonsense if creatures of pure evil like fiends are involved. Terrible Remorse, as many no save effects, is pure madness. Similar effects can be found in spells 4 levels higher.

On the route of odd flavor,: Should Druids Summon an aberration (Summon Froghemoth)? Is make a target devoured by Fleshworm an inquisitor thing? Is a swift action cold blasting spell a clerical thing? The spell list assignation of some spell is disconcerting at best.
I consider new descriptors as a good addition, since the classification of game elements helps both mechanics and roleplaying of casters.

Overall, I feel Paizo fell short with the book. The quality of rules and flavor is schizophrenic from section to section, with few gems. The book seems rushed, and sometimes not only the power level, but the flavor of elements of the game is damaged. The book can be a decent addition to the library of a PF player or GM, but needs heavy errata. I strongly suggest a greater quality control of rules and errors. I seriously hope this is not the new standard for Paizo.



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