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Anthropomorphized Rabbit

QuidEst's page

Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber. 3,188 posts (3,372 including aliases). 9 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 9 aliases.



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No First World problems here.

*****

I think this is the most would-play archetypes (plus mysteries, bloodlines, etc.) I've seen in a player's companion. That's combined with good traits and interesting story feats! A few racial options are a bit much (elf getting constant detect magic or bonus AC versus chaotic creatures is a nuisance for the GM, and gathlain kineticists do half again as much damage as other kineticists), but other than that, things are very nice.

Traits! Two particularly notable ones, but all good. Intelligence has been stealing charisma's thunder thanks to traits, so grab one of these to make your sorcerer as good at identifying spells as a wizard- or go for something fun, like crafting. Retry a hex against somebody once per day? Don't mind if I do.

Archetypes! There's an alchemist that gets a pool of points to spend on random effects (or rerolls for bad results). Very nice for anybody who wants a character with some gambling built in. Two new oracle curses, a new mystery, and an archetype! The mystery is great, with very cool and useful abilities that don't rely on charisma-to-everything. Swift action invisibility! Rod of Wonder effects! Move-action teleportation! Speaking of invisibility, there's a nifty bard archetype that trades out the usual inspire courage for handing out some fey abilities. The rogue will love having swift-action invisibility handed out! It's a versatile list. Ankou's Shadow is the first archetype to really make me want to play a slayer. At-will modified Mirror Image using your shadow, and as you level up, your shadow-selves become more and more independent. Oh, and the swift-action See Invisibility is really nice to have available too. Rogue with built-in darkvision and short-range teleportation is nice. Seducer is a charisma-based witch (still prepared casting) with hexes that get bonuses against anybody attracted. Twinned Summoner is a really classy option to have your eidolon fake being you. Nice to have an unkillable body-double! There's a very serious chunk of material dedicated to making this work even better with an unchained summoner. Psychics get a sorrow discipline, complete with their own private demiplane of solitude. Chronomancer is a wizard that can get back some spell slots when enemies made that save to negate or had good spell resistance, along with options for save rerolls and eventually more flexibility on contingencies.

Shapechanger bloodline for sorcerer gets its own section. It starts off with the underwhelming arcana of +1 CL to personal transmutations, and moves on to what seems like a mildly spiced-up version of the boring and generally useless first level "grow claws" power. Third level, though, is where it really hits. Once per day, boost a minute-per-level personal polymorph to ten minutes per level. That pushes it up into useful for social encounters, or a couple of combat encounters! Then at ninth, it becomes an HOUR per level. Since that stacks with extend spell, by the time you get Form of Dragon I at 12th, you can live your life as a dragon. The other abilities are really cool, too- transmuting yourself into an instantaneous AoE of claws and teeth, modifying your polymorphs with different movement forms, and a solid capstone in the vein of aberration bloodline. New favorite bloodline.

Spells! I don't care if it's not terribly effective- turning somebody's skeleton into jagged cold iron is awesome. Always love getting more fungal spells. The chronomancy spells are the star of the show, though, providing balanced time magic spells for a range of levels.

Feats! Hate teamwork feats? Have the opposite! 0-level Selective Spell metamagic… that only excludes you. Increase your channel's healing… when you exclude everybody else. Spend rage for extra attacks… so long as allies keep their distance. They're pretty cool, actually.

TLDR: You can be a dragon 24/7 now.


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*shrugs*

***( )( )

At ten bucks, the PDF is still a good deal, as with all of the RPG line.

Golarion organizations aren't one of the setting's stronger points, at least going by the selection here. They're more geographically restricted than deities (one even being associated with a single person). I play games set in Golarion, and the organizations still aren't useful as-is. The book suffers from its focus on them, with archetypes trading out features just to fit narrow themes.

The best example is the red mantis assassins. They were given as an example of how the book would be useful for people who aren't using Golarion- if you need a generic assassin, just grab stuff from the red mantis section. Only normal assassins don't want to use an over-designed exotic weapon sword that they can't conceal, and never have any reason to want to look like, summon, or turn into a giant bug. The group comes across as very two-dimensional, with most stuff related to one of those two things. While other groups,

Prestige class content was mostly cleaning up and expanding the existing prestige classes- useful, but not very exciting. No major adjustments made for psychic classes, and some of the usual limited

There were some good new archetypes (especially the Rivethun section), but a personal count turned up fewer that I'd consider when using the class than Horror Adventures had.

All in all, I was initially excited to get a bunch of new archetypes and prestige classes. I'd still want that sort of book, but with a more useful theme (e.g. different types of outsiders, generic organizations, the classes themselves, or the Pathfinder deities). As an experiment, it didn't do as well as the recent themed books like Horror Adventures, Ultimate Intrigue, and Occult Adventures.


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Enough good stuff to be worth it.

*****

It's always better to focus on the best parts of a book rather than what doesn't work well. The best parts are what will get used, after all! This book has enough fun stuff for a five-star rating in my book, although four stars would also be fair.

Fungal Pilgrim what pushed this from four to five stars for me, and I'll admit to some personal bias. First time I've seen a Wild Shape trade that I'd solidly consider. You could get a template on your summons, but modifying your animal companion is the really cool option. Lassie gets to host a brain fungus. At first, it trades movement and dexterity for strength, constitution, a ton of immunities, darkvision, and more natural armor. At tenth level, it now provides you with an unlimited supply of free scaling-DC poison (weak effect, but easy to hide in food and the like), and at fourteenth, it gets a fun poison AoE. As a capstone, it can make make temporary fungal zombie slaves out of weak enemies. Getting the immunities of plant type for yourself is gravy. I know that one review has limited influence, but I'd love to see more creepy fungal stuff!

Blightseeker Alchemist is a great archetype that gets debuffing bombs that stack with bomb modifying discoveries. This is nice design-wise, because it allows for much more flexible and enjoyable battlefield control and debuff builds. It's also a very stackable archetype, so you can mix and match!

Demon-Sworn Witch archetype is an evil-powers-for-(optionally)-good-or-neutral-ends deal, which we really haven't seen much of. Your soul may be toast after you die, but it's not going to screw with your alignment in the meantime to be using shady powers you don't understand. Throwing on some nontlethal damage to ALL hexes is a cool design touch to push towards the darker hexes, but it's low enough that you can still buff or heal allies if you need. Evil-but-subservient familiar that can be (expensively) raised with its internal spellbook intact is also a really nice perk. While it's not one I have a personal interest in, archetypes where you can immediately think of at least two players who'd love them are well worth mentioning.

Beastkin Berserker is a nice complement to Mooncursed Barbarian. It gives you a range of forms rather than focusing on just one, and focuses on the animal form rather than providing a hybrid form. While they each have pros and cons, between the two, players now have better choices.

Psychic Marauder is the last of my stand-out archetypes, and probably ranked second for me. Catches charisma-based up with wisdom-based when it comes to saves, and generates an aura of confusion that isn't always on (if anybody like Psychedelia, but didn't want to be responsible for a bunch of peasant deaths everywhere they go). While there's a non-lawful requirement, the penalties for becoming lawful aren't overly steep, and you can continue using taking levels in the archetype.

Speaking of psychics, Animus Mine is an amazingly fun spell. Booby-trap your own mind. Somebody tries to mess with it, and the mine goes off in their face. (Well, slightly behind their face.) The upgraded version can even protect you from whatever they were trying to do.

There are some good mundane items (like blasting jelly), a fun magical item to bend oozes to your will, and some traits that DO something rather than give numeric skill or caster level bonuses. Additionally, I've skipped over some archetypes for classes I'm not big on, so there may be more options that are worth five stars in your view!

(Grumpy rant time. The book has enough good stuff for five stars, and stuff that didn't live up to my personal expectations formed from half a sentence in the product description shouldn't take away from that.)

Since reviews are looked at for future work, I want to mention the Blightburner archetype for kineticist. I love the class, love the idea of element-specific archetypes, and I want to see more of both! I'm only including this bit because I'd love more kineticist material. But the archetypes should pay more attention to what's fun in the class and what it needs to keep to make it good.

Earth's kinetic defense is really cool for shrugging off damage, and pretty much the only reason I consider it over the more utility-focused elements like aether, water, and air. The archetype trades that away for a completely burn-dependent trivial retaliation damage setup. At minimum to seem about fair, that damage would need to be as high as the DR I just lost.

Kineticist also needs accuracy boosters for physical attacks and damage boosters for elemental attacks. The size bonuses to stats help with this, and also (equally importantly) offset some of the burn taken by boosting constitution. The class is pretty tightly balanced, and has few ways to use items to improve itself. The archetype trades those size bonuses out to provide scaling that its kinetic defense probably should have included by default.

Finally, make useful, fun trades. If I'm a radiation kineticist, I want to be able to shoot people with radiation! Apart from the aura mentioned above, the archetype allows me to… touch somebody for one nonlethal damage per minute as long as I keep touching them? Everything else requires radioactive materials to be present, which is at MOST 5% of the time in the <1% of campaigns that have it at all. And the net effect is that I can save burn by hanging out in radioactive areas, and spend burn so that I can hang out in radioactive areas. Super-specific abilities should also include general applications.


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Supports lots of new character options!

*****

First up, getting the worst part out of the way: Psychic gets spells and items, and that's it. There, it's over, and everything after is better news. (That said, they're basic quality-of-life items for all psychic casters, and the spells include two new undercastable spells. It may be more practical for most Psychics, even if it isn't as shiny as a new archetype or some disciplines.)

Spiritualist gets an awesome phantom with a distinct play style, and it includes support for the numerous archetypes that require special treatment. (High-five to the writer!) On top of that, it gets two very nice archetypes, one for ghostly animal companions and one for Magus-like combat with psychic in-combat casting addressed. (High-five to the writer!) Really cool to see past issues addressed!

Mesmerist gets some love for tricks. Not getting use out of more than one or two? Want a Mesmerist that isn't forced to pass out tricks to be useful? Playing a spontaneous caster to avoid morning preparation? Solved in one feat. (High-five to the writer!) Gets a nice variety of archetypes, covering transformation (offensive and defensive), possession (mostly of the object variety), and heavier trick focus. The new stare feats are significantly stronger than equivalent level stare feats. Blind is a MUCH harsher condition than fatigued, so GMs, you might want to take a close look at that.

Occultist panoplies and an archetype focused on them. By far the most stand-out option is being able to trade in some flexibility for increased BAB. Full BAB and 6/9 casting? Don't mind if I do! That said, the others are useful, especially in particular campaign types. Solidifies Occultist's ability to fill major roles without needing to be a 9/9 caster.

Kineticist gets a ton of talent options. A sizable chunk has an extra feat tax for most races, but that's okay- if you need a bunch of extra options, they're there. There are a lot of weird little editorial issues here- incompatible requirements, mislabeled elements, and extra mechanics that have no actual effect. For those who wanted Kineticist crafters, you're good to go. For those who wanted a melee Kineticist without giving up all your utility talents (or any of them, for that matter), Kinetic Knight is great.

Medium gets one archetype, which is huge and has a bunch of options.
Pros: Heck yeah, I want a familiar with free Improved Familiar and bonus shapeshifting! Awesome flavor, too, with (mostly) different abilities for all sorts of outsiders.
Cons: "You must pay for the atonement spell if you make even a tiny violation" is a terrible way to run a Paladin. Baking that approach into an archetype is not pleasant, even with your code being "pick one restriction out of these three". Replacing all intermediate abilities with the same ability puts a LOT of importance on that ability. Also, delayed summoning for all three evil outsider types lacks the flavor good alignments get.
Verdict: Tough call. Not for me, but there are cases where it's a good fit. Anybody who wants a character that HAS to do something can fit that pretty well here- being deep in debt with outside forces, for instance. It's a very nice pick for caster Mediums, since you get abilities that can be used without relying on granting influence.

Bonus: awesome corruption for psychically inclined characters!

Overall: If you like Spiritualist, Mesmerist, or Occultist, this is a great book for you. If you find yourself struggling to find Kineticist talents you want to take for your element, or want a utility-preserving martial Kineticist, this will help. If you like getting in deep with outsiders, want more items for psychic casters, or need some additional Psychic spells, it's worth a look.


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New basic options for classes? Sold!

*****

Book gets five stars for some really neat stuff design-wise. It expands the basic options for some classes- no archetype compatibility issues, no extra features you don't care about or trading out stuff you wanted. If you play a Druid or a Paladin, you now have additional options on your list. I'd love to see more of this in future books!

If you're a Druid, you can get an alchemist-esque potion-making ability for Nature's Bond. There are some balance issues on the money part of it, so I recommend GMs go with "you can stockpile, but not sell". Could be a good idea to rule that expensive material components still cost money, too.

If you're a Paladin, you can choose from three new bond choices instead of a weapon bond or mount. More healing, a communal ward against evil, or being one terrifying avatar of divine justice. In addition, there are a bunch of new choices for mercies ranging from things that are great for a character arc to cementing your position as the last thing an evil wizard wants to run into.

Another really neat design choice that I'd love to see more is explicitly compatible archetypes- the Alchemist's healing archetype is designed to work with Chirurgeon, addressing overlapping features. Having two compatible archetypes with similar goals is great for character customization- you now have three levels of healing archetype to apply (one, the other, or both). Also solves the big issue with Chirurgeon while it's at it! Both Alchemist archetypes are pretty awesome, and do a great job of expanding character options with good balance.

Clerics get an archetype that doesn't mess with their domains. Whoo! Warpriests and Shamans get subblessings and subspirits.

That said, this book will contain disappointments for people looking for certain things (as some of the other reviews show):
-There's really only one good thing for the heal skill, an inexpensive magic item to expand its effectiveness. Nonmagical healing in the book is not very impressive otherwise.
- If you wanted more healing on non-healing classes, this isn't the book for you. It's a book about making the existing healers better at their job or giving them more options while they do it.
- Sorry, evil Clerics. You're still preparing healing spells in slots like before. You can now use them for torture or manipulation, though, so those spells will be more versatile.

All in all, a great win for character versatility!


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