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Bahor (Glorio Arkona)

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93 posts. 4 reviews. No lists. No wishlists.

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A book of Dragons and (wo)men

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The Genius Guide to the Dracomancer is a followup product to the Genius Guide to the Dragonrider that offers both a new base class and additional class options to the original work. In essence the product is both new and supplemental, providing options for previously released material while providing something new in the process.

The book clocks in at 34 pages of content with full color artwork. The remaining pages are devoted to the cover and licence/copyright information.

The product starts off with some fluff providing detail into the nature of the Dracomancer/Dragon relationship, then moves into the class details.

The core class feature takes up an entire page, noting how it should function and spelling out what restrictions (few) there are. It then moves onto spellcasting. The Dracomancer follows the 6th level spellcasting model like the Summoner, but can draw its spells know from the Magus and Summoner lists.

This is a good design move, as it permits future spells put on these lists to be added to the class. I wish more 3rd party publishers would follow this trend, as a custom spell list often locks a class into what is printed as support for those classes is not at the level of major pathfinder publications. The lists provide the Dracomancer with a mix of offensive, utility, and buffing spells without providing access to all arcane magic like the Wizard/Sorcerer would have access to. This decision was a big positive when I looked at the class. Locking a base class into non-expanding options is always something that should be avoided if possible.

The Dracomancer uses an option list of talents as class features, with each talent providing a useful benefit and outlining its restrictions. This approach allows each Dracomancer to be personalized by the PC playing the character or by the DM creating a memorable NPC.

The book then goes into description of the Dragon Companion, outlines how alignment disparity functions (player freedom in selection is supported by this rules/fluff combo, a big plus). Each companion follows a table of advancement and stats are provided for many dragon types, excepting those provided in the Genius Guide to the Dragonrider (but they may be used, providing cross book synergy to both classes).

The one area of this that needs cleaned up is the description of the focus class feature, operating like the Dragonrider feature of the same name. It seems some of this text was lifted from that class but references were not entirely updated, there are several mentions of "rider" when it should refer to the Dracomancer instead. The rules are still clear, it is just the wording used in this section that needs to be cleaned up.

The class makes a fine addition to the Pathfinder RPG, and if used alongside with the Genius Guide to the Dragonrider provides additional content for that older product as well.

I would have liked to see a sample NPC build at 1st, 8th, and 16th level (indeed I would like to see this for all base classes) but understand that adding it would remove page count or delay a product.

The class is usable alongside other classes, even companion classes and at first reading seems like it can hold it's own weight in a party (this just as important as a class being too powerful, if it is too weak no one will play it).

The few errors in the book do not detract from understanding the text. The content is presented in a two column layout that affords easy reading on an electronic device or for hard copy printing if the owner would like that.

Access to the Magus and Summoner spell lists provides future support for the class by releases from Paizo, or any allowed 3rd party content in a game.

I rate this product as 4 stars. I couldn't help but look at the Summoner and looked back and forth from that class to this one when reading. The Summoner has a few big advantages like the plug and play Eidolon options, a better base attack bonus, and the ability to cast in light armor. The Dracomancer has access to talents that offer customization, access to the Magus spell list, three good saves, two more skill points per lvl, and a companion that is always present (unless the Dracomancer deems to no have the companion around). I'm unsure if the Dracomancer gave up some benefits for the sake of "Cool" factor, Pathfinder is a game of fantasy, but its rules tend to dictate what is used at the table. Class features that give the character something cool, but don't provide real rules benefit need to be looked at, and while it is possible that I am over-reacting, it was something that stood out in my mind as I read the product.

You will like this product as a player or GM if you enjoy dragons and their like taking center stage in the party or setting. I would certainly recommend this product to anyone looking for an alternative to the Summoner or to any group that likes to have fun with dragons, friend or foe.

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April fools joke that can be useful

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I have to admit that the price tag attached to the joke did take me back at first, but I bought the product anyway just to see what is in it. Glad I did.

The pdf is 12 pages, the OGL takes one page so that leaves 11 pages of content.

HOF (Horrifically Overpowered Feats) opens with a direct statement that the feats contained within aren't for use in the standard campaign.

After that the product pitches a few ideas on how to use the feats in a campaign (because why buy something if you aren't going to use it). The ideas for inclusion in a campaign seem solid, but the heading of overpowered campaign includes mention of smaller PC groups, I really wish that the information was broken into another heading, or that the current heading was renamed. There is some very good advice in these sections. For groups that frequently have fewer than 4-5 players, take a read of this section and see if anything rings a bell with you. Some of the advice will make for totally overpowered characters.

Next is the feats table which is presented in a three column layout with alternating coloring in rows for easier reading. The table itself is simple, the feats are organized by category and then alphabetized.

Feat descriptions follow, with mention of the horrifically overpowered type, and the meta-attack type. The meta-attack feats are pretty neat, doing with attacks what some meta-magic feats do with spells (limited by uses per day instead of spell level). Each feat in the description area is in bold type and is colored to make reading easier. You can easily see when a new feat description begins.

Most of the feats shouldn't be allowed in a normal game. However some of the feats could see use by PCs in a game of fewer than normal players with little adjustment (though some of the feats shouldn't be taken, even under these conditions).

The feats that stood out most in my readings were the meta-attack feats, which while having the ability to be really nasty when combined with other feats existing in pathfinder (exa. vital strike) have a great idea behind them.

I don't normally expect great art out of a download product below the $5.00 price point so when I saw the art pieces in the pdf I was pleasantly surprised by how good many of the pieces were (although the images don't impact my rating).

The product is an tongue in cheek product. However with a careful eye, and the right campaign, I could see the feats contained within being used by PCs.

GMs can also get use out of this product by giving the feats contained within to the current big bad in a game, making for a powerful, and memorable encounter.

I didn't include a feat listing in my review, the products discussion has that in it already.

I rated the product at 4 stars because of the limited use the feats will be to the average group. The product itself has a good, easy to read layout. Don't let the April fools joke product stop you from picking this product up. It has real potential for GMs to make the big encounter(s) memorable, and games with few players will find gems that will make the PCs lives better.

If you are a GM that struggles to challenge their players, are looking for easy to account for abilities to add to a big bad, or are looking to give your players an extra edge, pick this up.

If you are a player in a small campaign, talk to your GM and pick this up. If nothing else read it in the tone and spirit it is written in and have some fun.

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Sub-par product that feels like a collection of house rules

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Magnanimous Composition Heroes: Rules of Heroic Games suffers from poor editing, layout, and as a product feels like a collection of house rules put to product quickly.

The pdf is 9 pages, with one being a title page and two being the ogl. That leaves six pages of content which was ok with for the price of admission.

The pdf uses a two column per page layout, but it is unattractive as there are spacing issues. In addition many pages have quite a bit of empty space. Normally I'd expect art in these voids or a redistribution of layout. The editing for clarity needs work as well as I found myself rereading the product just to make sure that I understood its rules as presented.

The internal numbering on the pdf isn't consistent, it appears that this document was separate documents brought together, and the page numbers were never updated. There are even two page zeroes, one right after the other.

The player option is a somewhat more powerful version of the gestalt rules, placing classes in tracks. This can result in a player taking a spell casting class twice and getting double spells known/per day. The product does say rules for heroic games and it certainly does give players that heroic edge, but gestalt did that as well, and the presented system seems to build on gestalt, not bring much new to the table.

The GM area presents rules for gestalt monsters for the heroes to battle and provides these options through what amounts to templates.

After reading the product I walked away with the feeling that the product was quickly put together house rules. Certainly OK for a free product, or as a handout to players starting a game with their GM, but with its layout problems, wording issues, and the entry fee its a no go.

Had this been a free product I'd have certainly been less critical, but this product left me feeling like I bought a handout that a GM normally just gives me as a player.

Note that the lack of artwork (other than the cover) was not a factor in the review, at a $1.00 price point I have no expectation of artwork.

Pros: Powerful PCs (builds on the gestalt rules)
Cons: Layout, wording, little innovation

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Faces is a good product with a few flaws

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Faces of the Rakshasa is a good product for its price point. The introductory story gives a good example of behavior and sets a great tone for the product.

The full 20 level base class has some really great ideas contained within, and allows a Rakshasa character to fit into a campaign that starts from levels 1-20. There are some new features added to the racial class that provide neat tricks to players that fit well with the Rakshasa. The added bonus is that these abilities scale with level and do not have static DCs. If I really had to point out anything bad about the racial class, it would be that it uses a form of ECL that causes a Rakshasa character to lose 4 hit dice. while these levels generally provide something to the player, any level that doesn't advance bab, saves, stat increases, and feats isn't a good idea. While some of the abilities are things that player characters of standard classes don't get, they aren't in my opinion worth giving up a hit die. So much is tied to the hit die in the game that anything that has you give one up needs to be looked at closely. Also the writeup doesn't allow a character to multiclass until after 14th level, the intention is that by level 14 in the class you will have the race fully earned with experience, but would it be so bad to let a character multiclass freely? The limitation seems more like a tax than a necessary thing. As a minor nit pick, PC Rakshasa spell resistance is weaker than the monster itself, this isn't a deal breaker, just something I noticed. The abilities gained after what would be considered the monster progression are neat, and tied to the race.

The next section deals with Rakshasa in the game world and includes advice on how to incorporate the Rakshasa's abilities into the campaign world.
There is also information of Rakshasa society that may or may not fit with a campaign, but it is welcome information for any DM looking to add to the race.

The last part of the book looks at some variant Rakshasa of differing CR done by caste. This is great for any DM looking to add variant Rakshasa into the campaign. It would have been better if there were suggestions on how to incorporate these different Rakshasa into the base class provided in the book already (class feature swapping). The write ups do include social information in addition to combat tactics.

For the price, you are getting a good product that has has a few flaws that can be fixed in play. The product provides a player a solid framework to play a Rakshasa, while the rest of the book gives DMs information that will help in a game with a Rakshasa player or focus.

The background and text work well together and are easy to read, even on small screens, but the art is stock art (which for the price of the product is fine).

This product would have gotten four stars had there been more connection between the alternate Rakshasa and the player character section. The inclusion of what amounts to ECL, even if it isn't a totally dead level was surprising considering that Pathfinder in general doesn't usually have players give up hit dice.

This is a good buy for any player looking to play a Rakshasa, or for a DM who wants to add them into a campaign and focus on the animal headed creatures.

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