Air—perhaps the most mysterious of the primal elements of creation, an invisible medium through which we walk and in whose arms a rare few can fly. The power of air and wind, on their own, seem magical even in our modern world—how much more so in the medieval past? Where does the wind come from, what is it made of, and how can it wield so much power?
The pages of fantasy fiction are filled with the mysteries of air—castles in the sky, weapons made of wind, and creatures like djinni and elementals, who seem to be the very air itself brought to life. Certainly, the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook captures some of the power and mystery contained in the element of air—but that is expressed mostly in the form of movement-based or defensive spells when, as anyone who has ever been caught unprotected in the face of an oncoming gale will attest, air can also serve as a most formidable weapon.
Air vs. Storm
Air magic often overlaps with storm and weather magic, with spells such as control weather and control winds both being able to create tornadoes and hurricane-force winds under the right conditions. For the most part, The Genius Guide to Air Magic focuses only on air spells, leaving more lightning- and rain-focused spells for other venues. Even so there is some overlap (thunder, being a phenomenon entirely of air, sneaks into a few of our spells), and the new class options presented at the end of this product go further afield than the spells themselves (the druidic storm lord being the most obvious case). We also explore some concepts connected to specifically named winds (such as the chinook and sirocco spells), some of which have very little bearing on a scientific understanding of how air actually behaves and functions. We beg the reader’s indulgence if we wander further than expected from a focus on pure aerothurgy.
This pdf is 13 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page SRD & editorial, leaving 11 1/3 pages of new content for air magic, so let’s check it out!
The pdf kicks off by making clear the distinction between air and storm and introducing us to the concept of offensive air magic as well as providing spell-lists for the 16 new spells. From cyclone walls to disease-carrying foehn-winds, warm Chinooks and cold Khazris and spells that bull rush the enemy via pummeling forces of air to the devastating storm-of-the-century-spell that uses a Typhon to potentially obliterate a whole area, the spells can be considered well-designed, though none of them truly astounded me or blew me away. *EZG puts 2 bucks into the bad pun box*
The pdf also offers additional material in the form of a wind domain (utilizing the new spells, elemental form – boring), a druid archetype who exchanges wild shape for weather control via spell-like abilities and get air elemental companions (again, rather bland).
The next archetype is the Air master, a monk who sacrifices his Ki-pool for access to spells with the [air]-descriptor. He casts these spels as divine spells, but with the limitation of arcane spell failure chance and each spell can only be cast once per day. I like the idea, but unfortunately, while it is mentioned that the spells are cast as divine spells, but with arcane spell failure, we don’t know for sure the key-ability for his casting, nor whether he has to prepare spells or can cast them spontaneously, thus rendering this archetype rather problematic. Sorcerors get a new bloodline and wizards a new specialization.
Finally, we get a simple template to add flight to creatures and 2 new feats, one making it possible to ignore verbal components while casting and the other adding bonuses to CMB/CMD when using air-spells.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the three-column standard, artworks are ok, but nothing to write home about and, finally, the pdf has no bookmarks. I was really looking forward to this file, finally wind-magic would get its due. I was looking forward to winds like razors, elementally-ladden winds, buffeting spells to control the battlefield etc. After the excellent spells from the first compendium, I had high hopes and they were not all in vain – I really liked all the spells herein. However: I didn’t consider a single one of them to be truly special or ingenious. In a way, the content is predictable and this unfortunately is especially true for the class-options presented after the spells – The domain and the storm-lord were rather bland and predictable in their abilities to me, as was the wizard specialization, which, in my opinion, is not needed by anybody. The Monk-archetype would have been awesome, had its rules been concise and precisely worded with regards to spellcasting. Come on, how do you botch that? An Archetype with primary feature spellcasting and this of all abilities is not precise…
The sorceror’s bloodline, on the other hand, is what the air-bloodline should have been and focuses on flying, djinn-like style and can even jaunt a bit on the wind – the bloodline ranks among the finest I’ve seen in quite a while and has somewhat reignited my excitement for them. Kudos! Nevertheless, a large section of this pdf left me underwhelmed and the monk archetype is a sad blunder, costing this pdf another star. Thus, my final verdict will be 3 stars – solid product with some great and subpar sections that is worth the low price.
This product is 13 pages long. 1st page is cover art and intro along with explaining the difference between storm and air magic. The next page and half is taken up with class spell lists, including a side bar on what spells fit other Genius Guide classes from other books. The next 6 pages is taken up with the new spells.
Airblast – A air attack that can cause bullrush, trip or disarm effects.
Beneficent Breeze – helps with different kinds of movement
Chinook – creates a warm wind that can melt ice and snow and cause dmg to creature made of such.
Control Winds, Lesser – Can change the direction of wind and increase/decrease the speed of the wind strenght by one.
Cyclone Barriar – creates a wall of hurricane strength wind.
Foehn – carries disease on the wind, which can cause sickened effect.
Gale Scythe – Wind that can be moved around that causes trip attacks.
Khazri – creates a aratic wind that can cause damage to metal and stone as well as put out fires.
Sirocco – creates a strong wind with blowing sand. Limits vision and does minor damage.
Tempest Hammer – creates a column of air that smashes down on it's target. If done in bad weather damage is increased.
Thunder Fist – Makes two small columns of wind that mimic your arms, they do minor damage. Lethal or nonlethal.
Thunder Fist, Greater – same as above except you can make combat manvuer attacks.
Trade Wind – You summon winds that help push a sailing ship along faster.
Typhoon – Summons a storm that turns into a typhoon damaging everything for miles around.
Vortex – Summons a small tornado that you can move, causing damage to those it comes into contact with and can before combat manuevers.
Wind Tunnel – You create a tunnel of calm air surronded by strong winds.
The rest of the book is taken up with new options. 3 and ½ pages.
Wind Domain – new cleric domain.
Storm Lord – Alrernate druid class features. They lose wild shape and gain storm powers in it's place.
Air Elemental Companion – stats for replacing a animal companion with a small air elemental.
Air Master – A mystical monk, gives up several monk abilities to be able to learn limited air magic like a spell caster. May learn up to 6th level spells.
Skyborne Bloodline – A bloodline with air and wind based abilities and spells.
Wind Specialist – A wizard that specializes in air magic.
It finishes with 2 new feats for air magic.
It closes with 1 page of OGL.
Closing thoughts, if you are a fan of new spells and feel there is a like of air based spells then this is the book for you. The art is fair to good, the spells and new options are for the most part well done. There was a couple I wasn't so sure about. Control Wind I think is to high of level personally for what it does for example. But others might find it just right. I didn't notice any real editing errors, so I am giving this a 4.5 star review.