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Chain Mauler

Necromancer's page

1,570 posts (1,607 including aliases). 3 reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 8 aliases.



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Too many good ideas and not enough space...

****( )

This has been a long time coming, but the need to try everything out trumped review attempts.

Let's get the negative points detailed first:
A great deal of the book seemed to just exist to "test the waters" and lacked clarification. I hope this won't be a standard practice, as it hurts the new material introduced. Editing mistakes were very obvious in the first printing, which gave the book a faint 'rushed' feel. The Words of Power variant can be useful in some playstyles, but generally won't see much time at my table. While the approach is fairly balanced, it's also weaker (with an already weakened class type)and I did not like the sacrifices required.

None of this compared to my utter disappointment when I realized that seven pages were devoted to sample spellbooks. I will never use these and feel that the 'preparation ritual' boon (and suggestions on how to add them to existing spellbooks) should have been the focus. This reminds me of when WotC began introducing old monster races with class levels in new bestiaries. The focus should be on the mechanic, not on examples of the mechanic.

Now for the good stuff:
The magus is exactly what it needed to be, despite the odd name choice. While the spellbook requirement is an ongoing problem I'll ignore for the moment, the only immediate fault I can find with the class is very limited spell list.

None of the archetypes were a disappointment and quite a few really set my imagination alight. Arcane discoveries are easily my favorite class option and I encourage Paizo to publish more. The new familiars were welcome additions along with the construct modifications. The feat section addressed pressing concerns and needs and I'm quite content with the remainder. As for the new spells, I'm pleased with the majority (95%) in spite of the lack of 0-level spells.

Summary:
Very rarely is hype surpassed by reality and this is just another case of that combined with limited space. The negative may seem to outnumber the positive at first glance, but it's still a damn good book.


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An Abyssal Treat

*****

This arrived today with Bestiary 2 and I made the monster compendium sit aside and wait its turn; that's how good this book is. The book includes write-ups for 31 active Demon Lords, brief descriptions of 44 Abyssal layers, purpose and thought-processes for every published demon (Babau through Vrolikai), and quite a few player/NPC supplements.

The mechanics introduced are welcome additions, but the book's strong point is the flavor. The evil-mastermind potential within this book is impressive; and these villains are varied enough to go anywhere and to include any society. If you're on the fence about this one: trust me, it's worth it.


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Very, very useful

****( )

GMs can really benefit from this book; plenty of variety ranging from planar to material. A new animal companion (Cooshee) and aquatic 0-HD race (Locathah), along with the cool spells in the appendix, makes this a tiebreaker for would-be buyers wondering about player options. The creature write-ups are solid with decent-to-excellent illustrations throughout (black and white).

Without covering every entry, my favorites were...

...the ten-page Chaosiic article filled with random-anatomy tables and five basic variants to tinker with, plus two Chaosiic Lords, and a new plane, Corrupting Chaos.
...the Devil Doll; at CR1 this creepy "toy" can be used anywhere.
...the Junk Elemental; nothing says surprise like an animate refuse pile. Also, be sure to check out the Plane of Junk.
...the Lejnth. I like the devil-but-not-a-devil status.
...the Mâlite, Denizens of Mâl. I absolutely love this article, but there's only one example of the creature (or rather, its host). Also includes Mâl's planar stats.
There's many more I really liked (for no sane reason at all), but I'll stop here and recommend this for anyone that simply needs more monsters.



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