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Angvar Thestlecrit

Kolokotroni's page

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. 8,248 posts (8,276 including aliases). 18 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.



1 to 5 of 18 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | next > last >>

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Worth the wait

*****

So, waaay back in 2009 Super Genius games release the Genious guide to the dragon rider. I quite like the class and have used it several times in my games, and have a player use one as a pc in the first pathfinder campaign I ran.

At the time Owen hinted at a more castery version that was in the works. Now, 5 years later, here it is, the Dracomancer. And in my humble opinion, it was worth the wait.

Now mind you, if you dont like the idea of a pc in your game having a dragon buddy follow him around, this class isnt going to work for you. Though there are some less obtrusive options (some of the dragon options are actually tiny sized in this product), many of the best choices for dragons are going to eventually be rather big.

If dracomancers and dragon riders arent actually a part of your campagin world, this is going to be a rather significant issue when the dracomancer rides into down on the back of a huge dragon. In my game world we made some allowances, adding them to the lore of the world, including several countries that favor dragon riders and dracomancers for the benefits of what amounts to an air force in their military. So at least in my world, its no more outrageous or problematic then say a druid with a tiger companion walking into town. Not a normal day, but not unheard of either.

As for the class itself, its nearly perfect in my mind. 6 level casting, a combined summoner and magus spell list, and a potentially powerful companion makes for alot of choices. The thing is, they are generally choices. The more powerful dragons, which have animal companion like stat blocks and progresion, require actions by the dracomancer (starting at standard actions) in order to do more then take a move action on their turn. So if you put that along side say a druid with a combat focused companion, the druid is significanty more capable, since both he and his companion can act in the same turn.

There are also some of the smaller dragons which are really just walking breath weapons x times per day for the dracomancer to use when appropriate.

This makes for a very flexible class. With the spell list you have access to as well as the spells granted by your specific dragon choice, you can be a potent spell caster, though still operating with 6 level spell slots. Or you can focus on the dragon and its combat prowess, effectively alternating between casting spells and laying the hurt with your big dragony buddy.

There is also a fairly unique and entertaining roleplay opportunity here. While the dragon's actions are bound to the will of the dracomancer, and it will act to support him, its words are not. In my game I have taken on the role of the dragon (as the dm) and it has become a fairly enteraining relationship with the players at the table as this intelligent and charismatic creature comments on the actions of the party and the situations they are in. I have definately enjoyed that interaction in my game.

All in all, I really like this product. But again, you have to be comfortable with the general concept. Basically, if a caster riding a dragon that isnt grossly overpowered and actually works as pc class is something that sounds awesome to you, you will like this class. If a caster with a dragon buddy (possibly a tiny dragon) seems like a fun way to inject a little extra roleplay into your campaign, then again, I strongly recommend the Genius Guide to the Dracomancer.


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Interesting take on the fighter mage concept

*****

There have been quite a few 3rd party attempts at a fighter/caster combination in pathfinder. Not many have made me think they would do the job better or as well as the Magus. The battle scion definately makes me consider it.

It is a full bab d10 HD, 4th level spell max caster that is very similar in style and performance to the paladin. It is a prepared caster that primarily relies on martial abilities with a few defensive buffs, and a couple strong burst damage/attack abilities. Where the paladin has smite evil and divine bond, the Battle Scion has Force blast and deowmer weapon. Deowmer weapon functions almost identically to the weapon version of divine bond, with different potential enhancements. Force blast, is, well exactly what it sounds like. A blast of force spell like ability that the battle scion can use 3+int times per day that scales as you level.

2d4 damage (which does up as you level) isnt really impressive then you realize the battle scion could easily be swining a great sword for 2d6+6 + power attack and weapon specialization (since they count as fighters at level-3 for qualifying for feats) but since it works like a magic missile it makes for a versatile tool. Battle Scions are intelligent, and consequently can be selective about their targets. This makes them fairly dangerous enemies to use as npcs.

Minor Rise of the Runelords Spoilter:

I used a goblin Force Blaster Battle Scion to lead the attack on the swallow tail festival in the opening of the Rise of the Runelords campaign I ran this past weekend.

Blast was an interesting contrast with the comical and mostly crazy behavior of the normal goblins. He was smart, and was selective about his targets, putting some real fear into my party's cocky conjuration wizard when he was hit with a couple force blasts. 2d4 doesnt seam like all that much unless you are a 1st level wizard with a d6 hit die.

It worked out quite well and I think using the Battle Scion added something to the encounter that might not have been there otherwise. It was interesting to see the assumptions my players made as the 'mage' was both throwing bolts of force, and going after people with a horse chopper.

Overall I really like the class, and I think it does something that is different then those that have come before. I particularly like the Force blaster archetype, which focuses even more on the force blast ability then the normal battle scion.

I think the only thing I'd change is a persona preference thing, where I would make it charisma based and alter the skills some, but that is just my own pet peeve about the lack of charisma based character classes in the game, and not a failing of the battle scion itself. If you want a good Fighter/magic user (big F little mu) the battle scion is a good choice.


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Great Resource for any Dhampir Character

*****

I think a lot of people find the idea of playing a half vampire interesting. The potential inner conflict with your darker nature, or the outer conflict with your parentage can really provide interesting moments at your table. Dhampir: Scions of the night provides this in spades.

The are a host of ways to customize your Dhampir. After giving you a fair bit of Flavor in the first 2 pages, you have a number of alternate racial traits to personalize your Dhampir. Some of the ones that really stand out to me are the variants on spell like abilities. While detect undead is somewhat useful (particularly if you are going with the Dhampir Vampire Hunter Trope), it can be a little lackluster. These alternate spell like abilities offer some very interesting additional options, and they all capture a piece of the lore that surrounds vampires in game. From animalistic form, which at high levels allows you to change into a bat or wolf, or draining touch, which gives you a taste of the power that vampires wield against life itself, you'll find something to suit your tastes here if you like vampires.

This product also offers a number of interesting character options. In particular the rogues Play Dead Talent seems like it could offer an interesting dynamic to a combat. Its a bit more flavorful and dramatic then a simple in combat feint to get in a sneak attack. Overall I'd say you can find a number of interesting options here for most any kind of Dhampir character.

It is also a very useful tool for DMs who want to include Dhampir NPCs. First and foremost it has several fleshed out and detailed Dhampir NPCs at the end, complete with backgrounds, tactics and plot hooks to bring them into your campaign. In addition all of those alternate racial features are laid out in tables that you can roll against randomly if you need to generate an NPC on the fly. There is also a random feature chart with everything from bite shaped birth marks, to pupils that disappear in the sun. There is lots to flesh out what sets your Dhampir apart in this table.

Overall I'd say its a very good product, and definitely brings that can't wait to play one of these feel to playing a Dhampir Character.


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Solid if not exciting

****( )

Sometimes you set out to create player options and you end up with something that is more a tool for GMs. That is what I see this product as. It provides a host of options and customizations for Aasimars, but nothing really stands out as an exciting thing that really makes me want to make my next character an Aasimar.

What I think it does very well is give DMs a tool to flesh out their Aasimar npcs very easily. Alternate racial abilities, and defining features are laid out in neat tables to allow for random generation. A very useful tool if you suddenly have need of an Aasimar npc you havent planned for. For those who have ever had a party member take the population breakdown of a town or a city as a challenge to meet every one of the races mentioned, its nice to have a table to roll on to bring up a detailed character to life quickly.

Airin the Elysian Blooded, Steadfast, healer, with Copper Hair and silver fingernails, already has a ton of character even before the first words are exchanged with the PCs. And that is before rolling on the origin chart on page 16, which provides 12 interesting starts for an Aasimars Backstory.

There are also several sample NPCs of a variety of CRs that can be used in a pinch as well. They have detailed backgrounds, and descriptions. They even come with individual hooks to work them into your campaign.

There is also the issue of some of the information in the product conflicting with the Advanced Race Guide. It isn't a major issue, but is one that you will have to be conscious of when using this product. In particular the age, height and weight charts, and the racial favored class bonuses differ from the ARG. Again I don't think it's a problem, just check with your DMs on which you should use if you are a player using this product.


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How magic probably should be

****( )

Let me start by saying that had this product ended on page 13, it would have gotten a 5 star review. I absolutely love the riven mage, and the concept of riven mage. It is unfortunate that (at least in my opninion) an archetype added at the end of the product brings it down in my eyes.

First off, I really like riven magic. I like the concept and the execution. Basically you have a handful of simple spells, and you can pour more or less energy into them to vary the effect with limits based on your level. So a 1st and 10th level riven mage might both know the same 'bolt' spell, but the 10th level riven mage can put alot more 'umph' (called flux in the product) into it, and has alot more umph to use over the course of the day.

Think Dresden files. Harry has always known his fire spell 'fuego' but the amount of energy he has been able to put into it has changed (increased) over the course of the series. The same spell can be used to set something flammable on fire, or to knock out a wall of a building, the latter just takes more energy.

There also isnt the same overwhelming number of options that vancian spellcasting offers. You know a handful of spells, they are useful, but you dont have the 60's style batman with an anti-thing spray in your utility belt like pathfinder wizards can often have.

I also like the subtle influence of the riven paths. They seam like a minor ability choice, but they also allow access to one specific riven spell that other rivenmages get. A sacred riven mage can heal, and a sneak can turn invisible. That is the kind of thing that could strongly influence a character over the course of it's career. I'd love for an expansion of this product with a few new riven spells, and especially a few more riven spells tied to riven paths. One that would allow complete healing duties (condition removal and ability damage/level drain) to be handled by riven mages on the sacred path for instance.

With a slight expansion I could see a campaign that elminates traditional spellcasting in favor of riven magic, particularly if we got a super genius style archetype that could be integrated in to most classes.

There are a number of feats after the riven spells that make for some interesting options, though I would love to see a few magic items that were wand/staff equivalents for riven mages. Maybe something that integrated the genius guide to runestaves and wyrd wands implement rules with riven magic.

Then we come to the part of the product I dont like. The last couple pages are occupied by the rivener, an archetype for the Archon, a super genius class that was the projenetor of riven magic. And to be blunt, its bad, and poorly thought out. The archetype basically strips all of its class features and gives it back only a handful and a weaker version of riven magic. It inexplicably leaves in the arcane surge ability that does not work for a rivener since it doesnt use traditional spells, and riven spells are already swift actions. So all they end up with is a weakened form of riven magic (about 1/3 of a spell), 3 bonus feats, Riven bond at 8th level and a capstone feature. Levels, 1,2,4,6,7,10,11,12,14,16,18 an 19 dont have class features. That isnt a good class and its definately not in line with the design goal of pathfinder to have classes get something every level.

As interesting as it would be to combine a full bab class with riven magic, the absolute derth of class abilities the riven mage gets and the inexplicable choice to remove potentially useful abilities like soul of the spell blade or favored spell (which could have been reworked relatively easily to work with riven spells), and leave in a completely useless set (arcane surge) make this an inexcusably bad Archetype. The reduced riven magic is not worth all of the classes class features AND 6 levels of standard spellcasting.

And it is a realy shame because I would love to see several levels of riven magic, perhaps even the full specturm of paladin, inquisitor and cleric casting (4levels, 6 level, and 9 levels). Not sure if the rivenmage is supposed to be in line with the bard/inquisitor or the wizard/cleric when it comes to riven magic, but my impresion is its the middle ground caster. So that would leave open the 'full' rivenspell caster, and the full bab partial caster that the rivener should have been.

That said, this is still a great product, just ignore the last couple of pages. I absolutely love the concept and the execution, and can even start visualizing a campaign where this is the dominant for of magic and not vancian.


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