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The Genius Guide to Crystal Magic (PFRPG) PDF

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Gemstones and other crystals have long been associated with magic and purity. You only have to think of how crystal balls are used in fiction—often portrayed as the very source of a witch or wizard's powers—to be sure of that connection. Even in modern times, the link has remained strong. Go to any bookstore or new age gift store to see that people today still associate crystals with healing and arcane power. Yet, while you will find crystal balls and enchanted gems in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, as a rule they are repositories for generic arcane or divine abilities, not sources of power or iconic items unto themselves.

The Genius Guide to Crystal Magic takes crystals and gemstones beyond the merely cosmetic roles they've had thus far in spellcasting and gives them a magical niche of their own. It begins by discussing the use of crystal foci in a campaign and describing the difference between normal crystals and those particularly suited for use in viewing or healing. Next you’ll find a collection of new spells for all the spellcasting base classes and the addition of a new [crystal] descriptor for spells that tie directly to the heart of crystal magic—healing, scrying, and drawing on the inherent magical power of crystals and gemstones. In addition there are new crystal-themed class options to enable the creation spellcasters whose focus is the magic of crystals. Finally, you’ll see the carbuncle—a new simple monster template to help GMs make crystals a more integrated part of the campaign.

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Product Reviews (2)

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***( )( ) (based on 2 ratings)

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Neat little source-book, especially for bards that are different

****( )

This pdf is 12 pages long 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page SRD and editorial, leaving 10 1/3 pages for crystal magic, so let’s see if it catches our eye, shall we?

What is crystal magic, then? Well, it’s a selection of new spells defined by the new [crystal]-descriptor, the necessity to use a crystal focus to cast them as well as a focus on the healing and scrying arts. Additionally, some spells need the crystal to be attuned to the caster, either via a spell or an attuning skill check in Knowledge (Nature) or Perform (Oratory or Sing). The skills already offer us a hint of an interesting dual focus on rather druidic and bardic magic and indeed, while clerics and wizards also can cast the respective spells, it probably are the performers who benefit most from crystal magic and subsequently, the highest spell-level for any class in this book is 6, a spell which is btw. 2 levels lower (i.e. 4th) for the bard.

The spells themselves are quite broad in application: While healing crystal-spells seem to center on rather mundane improvements of healing (e.g. improving the amount of hp regained by the heal-skill), the scrying/divination spells are the interesting part: There unfortunately is a spell that hits a pet-peeve of mine, show aura, which is a shapeshifter/outsider/fey-detect-spell. Boring and won’t ever happen in my game. The same cannot be said, however, of the other spells. I often complain about too many spells being all combat, no imagination: Finally, here we have some prime examples that cool spells need not be combat-centric: From the option to establish and communicate via a crystalline council, to turning objects into crystal (glass-steel, anyone?) to two very cool divinations to probe the destination of a target creature, the spells are intriguing. Even better, though, are Record Sound, which lets you put messages into crystals and Retrocognition, a spell that shows you what happened in a given place via a vision. These two spells are narrative gold and can offer great additional ways to craft adventures around these PC-capabilities, while remaining easily manageable for the DM – a prime example of excellent spell-design!

Onwards to the additional material. i.e. the inevitable domain, which unfortunately didn’t excite me that much. While ok, it didn’t consider it special. The same goes for the new sorcerer-bloodline, which, though, interestingly, is centered on the divination aspects. The Wizard Specialization, though, is another caliber: From the ability to write spells into crystals and to drain them to regain spent slots and even become a master of prismatic magic, essentially offering a super-metamagic-ability. I didn’t see that one coming and quite enjoyed the take on the trope!

The pdf closes with a simple template for a crystal-infused creature (carbuncle) and extensive information on how to introduce crystal magic to your campaign and how it interacts with other SGG-guides.

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the 3 column standard, the artwork is ok and the guide, once again, has no bookmarks. This pdf has been a very pleasant surprise for me, not only because I expected to get rather bland spells, but due to the versatility with which these spells can be used. First of all, a lot of them are what I call potential plot-device abilities, i.e. spells that not only help the players, but add new story-telling opportunities for the DM and I LOVE THOSE! Secondly, I definitely think that crystal magic might be a godsend for a world without gods or clerics and subsequently, healing magic – for low-level or sword and sorcery-style games, crystal magic might be exactly what people have been waiting for, offering a rather down to earth, balanced opportunity for PCs to heal at a reasonable rate when there’s no divine caster around. My only gripes with this book are the show aura spell (which hits a pet-peeve of mine) and the rather bland domain and bloodline. All in all, though, has this pdf me wanting for more and subsequently, my final verdict will be a very good 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.
Endzeitgeist out.

Not great and not what I was really looking for

**( )( )( )

It isn't bad just not great. The idea is a neat one but the focus of healing and divining is lacking. A few of the spells are neat, the idea of crystals needing to be attuned is done fun with a focus on Bards and Druids which felt right. The Crystal domain was ok, and even the crystal sorcerer was eh? but the wizard crystal was just a waste. I had hoped to adapt the rules to include other elements then just healing and divination but this is done so weakly it's hard to think how I could do this. Gift Certificates
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