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Blackfire Adept

cartmanbeck's page

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16. Goblin Squad Member. RPG Superstar 2014 Star Voter. Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game, Companion Subscriber. FullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 2,066 posts (2,178 including aliases). 8 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 14 Pathfinder Society characters. 2 aliases.



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The best of both worlds!

*****

I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of Munchkin Pathfinder at GenCon this past weekend, and after reading through all of the cards and playing a couple games, I have to say it's a real treat to play. I love the Munchkin brand, I love the Pathfinder brand, and seeing the mashup of them is just amazing.

There are four Classes and four Factions in the game (Factions sort of taking the place of Races in this set, though if you mix it with regular Munchkin you'd have both). I thought I'd say a few lines about each one.

Classes:
Alchemist: The alchemist does exactly what I expected... usable once only items count double in combat. Along with that, when you sell items for levels, each item counts as a minimum of 300 gold pieces. This means that you can stock up on low-cost items, selling them for levels when you can and using relatively weak potions to have a significant impact on combat!
Necromancer: This is a cool one. I was wondering how they would do a magic user like the Sorcerer when the Wizard already exists in the basic Munchkin set, and this is what they went with. The Necromancer can discard three cards during combat to add the top monster from the discards to the combat and make it Undead. Alongside that, if you kill an Undead monster, you get to draw an extra face-down door. This gives your Necromancer the option to throw away some less-than-useful cards to pull out a low-level Undead creature from the discards and add it to your own combat to get an extra level and a door.
Summoner: The Summoner obviously summons monsters. You can play a monster from your hand during any combat as a one-shot bonus equal to double that monster's treasures. To get those monsters into your hand, you can discard a card from your hand once per turn to take the top monster from the Door discards into your hand. This is a great combo, and if you end up with a Super Munchkin card, you can also combine these abilities with the next Class, the Witch!
Witch: The Witch in the Pathfinder RPG uses Hexes to debuff her enemies, and this version of the Witch does the same thing. You can play a monster from your hand to cause that monster's Bad Stuff to happen to another player as if it were a Curse (though it doesn't work for death). Your familiar also protects you from Curses found when you Kick Open the Door, so you also have a bit of your own Curse protection.

Factions:
Eagle Knight: The Eagle Knight's power is exactly like that of the generic Warrior class, with a slight penalty built in also. You can discard up to three cards to give yourself a +2 to your combat check for each one, but you take a -1 to Run Away for each discarded card also.
Hellknight: The Hellknight's ability is Hellknight Armor, which gives you a +5 in combat, taking up your Armor and Headgear slots at all times. This is the first Class-type card I've ever seen that gives you a direct combat bonus, and it's a very interesting idea.
Pathfinder: The power for the Pathfinder lets you look ahead at the next two Door cards before you Kick Open the Door, choosing one of those cards to leave on top of the deck, and discarding the other one. Very cool, and very thematic.
Red Mantis Assassin: You get a +1 to Run Away from your Stealth ability. Along with that, when you Look for Trouble, you can discard up to three cards to get a +2 bonus against the monster for each one.

Alright, so now that I've told you about each of the Classes and Factions, let's get into the other cards. First of all, the pictures, all drawn by John Kovalic, are awesome! His version of Goblins are just excellent, and I love that you can add more Goblins to combats involving them just like Undead. My very favorite card in the whole set is the Hobbes Goblin, which looks like Calvin and Hobbes, and the Bad Stuff is that the tiger eats you. It's just plain awesome.

Other cards of note:
Chelish, which is a +10 Monster Enhancer, and has a devilish-looking Goblin printed on it.
Bloatmage, which is a Level 10 monster, and takes a -3 against Necromancers because they're used to the sight of blood.
Lamashtu, the Mother of Monsters, who is a Level 20 monster which lets other monsters join her in combat. The animation is pretty amazing, too.
Shield of Aroden, which looks awesome and is usable by Eagle Knights only.
Finally, a simple card like "Find the Path -- Go Up A Level" is all it takes to make my day.

One thing I've thought a bit about is the idea of mixing this set with the standard Munchkin game. Mixing with the plain base set should work out perfectly, but I feel like the Gnome class from Munchkin 2 and 3 will probably step on the toes of the Summoner. My plan is to mix this set with my Munchkin Legends set.

One last thing: the purple dice that comes with this and has the Goblin face on it looks AMAZING. Seriously.


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Complicated but extremely flavorful new base class

****( )

Disclaimer: I helped with review of this base class during concept stages, but this is the first time I've seen the PDF.

First thing's first: The cover art is simple but artistic, and though I made a face upon first glance, I think I appreciate it more after reading through the PDF.

This is a 20-page PDF, so there's a LOT of content for just $3.99. The overall layout of the PDF is good, though the page numbers at the bottom are too fancy to actually read in some cases.

The content of the PDF is one full base class, favored class options for several races, three archetypes, 17 new feats, a new spell, and two resource sheets.

I definitely feel that the author tries too hard in some cases to use intricate and complex wordplay when describing the Direlock. Simpler language makes your content easier to digest, in my experience.

As far as the Direlock's role, it's essentially a combination of the Magus and the Witch, in that it is focused almost exclusively on debuffs, but instead of having full casting and staying out of melee, the debuffs happen when the Direlock comes up and smacks you in the face. It's a good concept, and could make a devastating big-bad-evil-guy in a campaign.

The Dire Pool is very similar to the Magus's Arcane pool, and that was a good choice for this class. I like that the Direlock needs to keep a point in her Dire Pool to use most of her other abilities (this was first introduced with the Gunslinger's Grit ability, AFAIK).

The dire weapon ability is fine, though this means that the Direlock is pretty much crippled if her weapon is lost. I like that you can counterspell using the weapon, though the way the dispelling happens is a little confusing to me... do you have to prepare an action to dispel a spell, or can you do it as an immediate action any time a spell is cast within your dire zone?

I feel like the Fell Regalia ability really limits your character, meaning you NEED to have super crazy armor on, which some players won't want to do.

The Inimica mechanic is excellent, though it does lend toward a one-level dip allowing you to get your Charisma mod worth of Inimica with no other investment. This is why the Magus's Arcana and the Alchemist's Discoveries come in at 2nd level.

I don't really get why Dire Sense exists... this class to me isn't really a Dexterity-based class, so Deflect Arrows doesn't fit for me. I would've preferred something more Fort-based. I do like the prevention of flanking bonuses that you get later on, though.

Transferring negative abilities with Fearsome Slough is an excellent mechanic, though it doesn't list an action type required here... I suppose it's just "no action"?

The Dire Mantle ability includes this phrase, which perplexes me: "A direlock may not attempt to absorb a spell
greater than 3rd level, one that exceeds her Charisma
modifier or her remaining storage capacity."
Does this mean you can't absorb a spell that has a level higher than your Charisma mod? If so, that's fine, but it was worded strangely.

I feel like the Dire Mantle ability might have too many options, but that's just because this is already a pretty complex class.

Incunabula is a terrible name for a class ability. There, I said it. I really really dislike the name, it's just too complicated-sounding. However, the feature gives you the option of either a feat or a feat-like power, and I think that's excellent. We're probably running into the problem of the class being a little too complex again, but that doesn't bother me that much.

I don't really understand why the Grimoire isn't just called a spellbook... it's a spellbook, after all.

Eldritch Tendrils is a complicated mechanic that could have just been done like a Paladin's Mercies instead. I'm not a huge fan of the Tendrils as a whole.

Ravening Strike is fine, though we're still adding to the complexity of the class here....

Dire Conduit builds on the Eldritch Tendrils, which I'm still not a fan of. Transferring damage to enemies without another save seems to powerful to me, but other than that it seems okay.

Dire Presense is sort of a weaker version of Paladin's divine grace, which is fine, but might be a little weak to gain this late in the game.

Dire Inimica is VERY powerful if you choose the right Inimica, so I'm not sure I'm a fan of that either.

The spell list looks good, it's very limiting but I think it probably should be in this case.

I'm not a fan of the Half-Elf favored class bonus, because there's no mention of how to round your extra range on the dire zone... i'd assume this would have no effect at all until 10th level, when you'd gain 5 feet of zone.

The Banelock archetype is nice, though I feel like Diminished Spellcasting doesn't do much as far as weakening the power level, since we're dealing with Paladin-style casting anyway.

I'm not a fan of the Dreadmasque, because again you're limiting what your character can wear... you HAVE to wear a huge creepy mask. I wouldn't want to play it, personally.

I LOVE the Fear Eater archetype, and I think this is the one I would definitely play if I were to play a Direlock in any campaign. The idea of getting power from the fear of your enemies is just too awesome.

There are too many feats here for me to go over, but suffice it to say that everything you could think of for a feat for the Direlock has been covered here. This is a LOT of feats.

I like the accumulating error spell, but I think it should have been opened up to more classes!

I can definitely understand why the reference sheets at the end were created, because this is an EXTREMELY complicated class. That being said, I feel like it's been well-made, but it could have been pared down into just a few ability types as opposed to the five different types of interchangable abilities that are there now.

Overall, I like the Direlock, and I hope I have a chance to play one, but it'll have to be a very specific type of campaign for it to work well, in my opinion. The flavor makes the Direlock seem very evil, which means that some campaign settings just won't work for you.


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A well-thought-out concept, but grossly overpowered.

***( )( )

The Aspect is a new base class for the Pathfinder RPG. The PDF is 17 pages including the class itself, description of a new class feature called a "divine companion", one feat, one archetype, and and 2 1/2 pages of information about how an Aspect might interact with others and the world around him.

The Aspect's abilities all stem from being a direct part of his or her deity. This is a full spontaneous casting class, but with a more limited number of spells cast per day (max of 3 per spell level). The Aspect doesn't get to choose his or her spells from the overall cleric/oracle spell list, but instead gains the domain spells from up to five(!) domains as his spells known.

The Aspect also gains a class feature (conveniently called Aspect), which allows him to "take on the form" of his deity for 1 minute per use, a maximum of 5 times per day. This is most similar to a Druid's wild shape ability, though much more limited at first, granting +1 to attack, damgage, saves, AC, and ability and skill checks. Later on, you get the opportunity to add more abilities to your aspect through Boons, which are chosen at 3rd level and every 5 levels thereafter.

The Domains class feature allows you to choose 3 domains at first level, gaining all the domain powers from them, and learning all the domain spells listed. I found it a bit odd that you don't need to choose all domains that are in your deity's portfolio. I also think that 3 sets of domain powers could unbalance your leveling a bit, especially since domain powers are all gained at the same level, so you're getting a huge power boost at 3rd level and 8th level, instead of spreading your power increase across multiple levels. Later on you get to learn the spells (but not powers) from two more domains, to increase your spellcasting repertoire.

The Godly Bond class feature is the one that I worry makes this class too powerful. It comes in one of two forms, a "godly icon" which is almost exactly the same as a Wizard's arcane bond with an item, or a "divine companion". The Divine Companion follows the progression of a Summoner's eidolon, gaining evolutions just like an eidolon. With the martial abilities granted directly to the Aspect, along with essentially an eidolon to kick butt right beside him, this class has massive damage potential, much more than a full caster ever should.

There's also a class feature called Endowment that doesn't really mesh with the rest of the class concept, allowing you to give sacred or profane bonuses to allies, including ability score bonuses, bonuses to saving throws, dodge bonuses to AC, or bonuses to caster level. I get that you're granting abilities to allies because you're part of your god, but with the martial ability of the class itself, and full spellcasting, I don't think you need to add in extra buffs... plus these can be used on your divine companion/eidolon, making it even stronger than before.

The Boons that you get every 5 levels after 3rd are good, for the most part. Some of them add new spells to your spells known list, while some give you new abilities when you're using your Aspect class feature. You can gain channel energy as a cleric, or gain domain powers from one of your last two domains, which don't normally grant powers.

One Boon that I think is grossly overpowered is "Diminutive Aspect", which allows you to become Diminutive size when using your aspect. There are very few spells in the game that even let you become smaller than Tiny size, and that's for good reason... you get a HUGE Size bonus to AC from becoming so small. Even though this specific boon requires that you also choose the Tiny Aspect boon, it's still probably too powerful in my opinion, and could be combined with other Boons such as the Summon boon (which lets you add all summon monster spells to your spell list) to make for some really powerful combinations (a diminutive creature hiding behind a much larger teammate, casting summons, while his divine companion tears up the battlefield, is just crazy strong.)

The Paragon class feature is really cool and flavorful, allowing the Aspect to grant spells to a cleric, but it comes in WAY too early at 7th level. It also grants him the Leadership feat, which many GMs ban instantly.

At 13th level, you get to have a permanent demiplane of your own that is CONNECTED TO YOUR GOD'S PLANE WITH A PERMANENT PORTAL!! WHAT? That is WAY too powerful for a 13th level character, seriously. You can even have dead creatures that were devoted to you hang out in your demiplane and do your bidding! Wowza.

The 17th level Tap Divinity ability is fine, letting you ignore age penalties and speak with any living creature. That's flavorful and not overly powerful.

The capstone power is essentially that you become a true Demigod, which is also flavorful, though I don't like the "you can be communicated with over any distance by prayer" aspect... telepathic communication across any length and through any magical barrier irks me.

The new feat is "Extra Boon", and honestly I can imagine an Aspect taking this feat at every level because the Boons are generally more powerful than a feat. This one should have been limited to taking it a certain number of times per character level.

Then, there's the Demigod archetype. This archetype lets you drop the Aspect class feature to instead gain BOTH a divine icon AND a divine companion, AND you get Boons every 3 levels instead of every 5. So this is just straight-up better in every way than the main class, and very much overpowered.

Alright, so basically my final thoughts come down to this... if you're playing a mythic campaign, this class could work very well all on its own next to players who have class levels and mythic ranks. It's a VERY powerful class, moreso than any other base class in the Pathfinder game, and therefore it should have been balanced more, no doubt.

That being said, I absolutely love the idea of the class, and feel that with a few tweaks (such as just removing the divine companion completely) this could be a fun and interesting class for a player to try out. With a little help from a GM who is willing to adjust the class, I would probably try playing an Aspect in the future.


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Some of Paizo's best work in months

*****

I was really looking forward to the release of this book, and I was NOT disappointed! There is a lot of quality content in this book, including magic item slot options for all your pets, a few interesting archetypes for classes that normally don't get animal companions to pick them up, several useful magic items, new companion and familiar options, and new feats and archetypes for the creatures themselves.

I would like to point out that there are a few little mistakes in here, specifically when it comes to the animal archetypes. A cavalier's animal companion can't technically take the Charger archetype, even though it was obviously written for just that type of companion, because it replaces share spells, which cavalier companions don't get. There's a similar issue with the familiar archetypes and many Improved familiars. However, the writers are already working on an errata for these small issues, and they really don't detract from the overall quality of the work.

This book includes some of the best writing I've seen come out of Paizo in months, and I HIGHLY recommend picking it up!


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I'm incredibly impressed

*****

This coming from someone who has always loved Prestige classes and what they represent, Paizo really hit the nail on the head this time. I wish this was part of the Pathfinder Core Rules series instead of a Campaign Setting, because these PrCs are worthy of every single player who enjoys this game to check out.

There are thirty Prestige classes in this book, and each one of them is full of flavor and has at least one unique and interesting ability that will make players drool. Whether it be the Mammoth Rider whose animal companion or bonded mount becomes a Huge creature, or the Aspis Agent who uses cunning and guile to interfere with the Pathfinder Society's plans, these classes are all excellent.

There are very few abilities that could be "cheesed" by power gamers, which is refreshing and represents excellent writing on the part of the authors of this book. I especially enjoyed how two of the classes, the Blackfire Adept and the Riftwardens, are specifically listed as being antitheses of each other, opposing each other at every turn and essentially holding a quiet war between their two schools of thought.

Every base class in the game is represented with at least one Prestige class that they can qualify for, and usually several for each class. I am extremely happy that this book is out, and I'm eagerly looking forward to which PrCs are pronounced as legal for Pathfinder Society play.


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