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Psionics Unleashed (PFRPG)

****( ) (based on 13 ratings)
DRSPSU0001E

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Tap into the mysteries of psionics, using sheer force of will to allow psionic characters to let loose power to rival any physical force or magical energy. Contained in this book, you will find the secrets of psionics, the magic of the mind.

    Contained within the pages of Psionics Unleashed you will find:
  • Four 20-level psionic base classes: the psion, psychic warrior, soulknife, and wilder
  • Nine psionic prestige classes, including the elocater and the thrallherd
  • Eight psionic races to create new characters, from the blue, to the elan, to the serpentine ophiduan
  • Dozens of psionic feats for psionic characters of all classes
  • Hundreds of psionic powers, ranging from precognition to reality revision

Updated to support the rules of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Psionics Unleashed contains everything needed to easily integrate psionics into any campaign, including characters, items, monsters, and powers.

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DRSPSU0001E


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Product Reviews (13)
1 to 5 of 13 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | next > last >>

Average product rating:

****( ) (based on 13 ratings)

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Well done adaptation of Psionics

*****

If you like psionics then this book is a good investment. The authors did a great job of updating the rules and bringing them on par with stuff from paizo.
Even GMs that prefer the classic Sword and Sorcery fantasy theme, can use the content to some extent. Abberations and other alien lifeforms that are "not from this world" can use psionic abilties and class levels to create unusual encounters or give seasoned players something new and challenging.

From changes made to the classes I would like to mention the Soulknife. This class in particular has seen a lot of improvement. Her weapon was made stronger and more versatile, while the many blade skills you can choose from give it unique options that are hard if not impossible to get by otherwise. I play one at the moment and neither outshine the others nor do I just stand behind and watch.

As others have mentioned already the artwork is the only big drawback. It is understandable though, as artwork can be a big cost factor for smaller companies.
Still, the pictures give you a basic idea how things look and at the end of the day that's what really matters.


Bringing Psionics to Pathfinder

*****

This product is an updated and rebalanced version of psionics from 3.5. If you didn't like the flavor of psionics in 3.5 you probably won't like it here. However, if psionics are your thing, this is a wonderful port from the old system to the new.

The races have been rebalanced to be in line with the Pathfinder races. Classes have also been updated to be in line with the power of pathfinder and have been extensively playtested (and openly so, through Dream Scarred's website). So long as the rules are followed, this is a wonderfully balanced take on psionics.

There's literally nothing bad I have to say about this product, I have used it quite a bit (including playing in a Dark Sun game) and have found no problems what so ever. I guess the closest I could come to a complaint is that there is no new material in this book (by new material I mean classes, races, etc. there are new things such as upgrades to the classes), but this book feels new, given the amount of changes that's went into it (both rebalancing the broken parts of 3.5 (soul knife is now playable even) and in bringing everything up to pathfinder standards).


Golden's Look at Psionics Unleashed

***( )( )

I'd say something witty, but this is literally the last sentence I wrote for this review. Let's sink our minds into Psionics Unleashed! Or ... something.

The Crunch
In my opinion, Psionics Unleashed is at its greatest when we look at the rules and game mechanics that the book provides. There are four base classes; the four that originally appeared in 3.5's "Psionics Bible," the Expanded Psionics Handbook. Dreamscarred Press did an amazing job here, managing to update all four base classes so that they are competitive with the Core classes without being overpowered. Parts of me are worried that the Psionic Races may be a little too good without any penalty, but they really only shine on a character devoted to Psionics; really, there's nothing in the book that makes playing an elven psion a better choice then, say, an elan psion. However, this can be said about 3.5's psionics system, where the Psionic Races always had a leg up on Psionics. I think that was an unneeded remnant of a time where the Favored Class bonus was designed as a restriction and not a reward, and I would have liked to seen it leave for the so called psionic races. The book includes a baseline Psionics/Magic transparency rule, major overhauls of various powers that were considered "overpowered," clarification on rules, and what a lot of us like to refer to as "the Pazio Touch," in this class, lots of unique options for the base classes. {Rating: 10/10}

The Fluff
Psionics Unleashed is a tad bit weak on the descriptions, true to its Paizo source material. However, where the good folks with the golem have the entirety of the Golarion Campaign Setting to flesh out how Druids and Monks and Wizards fit into their world, Dreamscarred Press doesn't have that luxury. There is a decent guide on to how to incorporate Psionics into a campaign setting, but there isn't much information on what makes a good Psionics Campaign. For example, what would that world look like? What creatures thrive there? Does magic still exist? Besides this, Paizo doesn't need to give much fluff on the core classes because most Pathfinder Players have known and loved the Core 11 for over a decade, since 3.0 was first released. While the Expanded Psionics Handbook is old, less people are familiar with it because it is not core, and as such you want to be as detailed as possible so that the people playing your product get excited to try the Soulknife or the Wilder or the Psychic Warrior or whatever. Dreamscarred Press definetely comes off having placed a lot more effort into the game mechanics and not as much into the game integration with their book. {7/10}

The Appearance
Ugh. THIS is where Psionics Unleashed trips and falls on its face. I believe the author himself made a statement about how art is subjective, and while that may be from my own opinions, to all the forums I have read, to all of the people I have shown my hard copy of the book to, no one has liked Psionics Unleashed's art. There are many awkward facial expressions, it does not integrate well with the book, body parts (such as the toes on the racial line-up) are little better than boots with shade markings that suggest they are individual digits, and the characters appear static and motionless; not fluid and dynamic as you would expect heroes to be. The racial line-up is probably the worst I have ever seen in any source book and part of the art's failure comes from the book itself; it is a very minimalist style, with no background texture and no page boarders. This effectively makes the art stand out like a sore thumb, like it was an afterthought to include it and that there was no real style involved with the book itself. The book is printed in Black and White, which is not a problem; I've seen the PDF, and the art looks even worse in color. The final nail that seals the coffin on Psionics Unleashed's appearances is the sheer number of misspellings, grammatical errors, and oversights in the text. One of the most common in the first edition printing (which I own) is that apparently when writing one of the Prestige Classes, at one point the name of a specific psionic power had to be hyphenated. The book was later altered, and the hyphenated word came back together on the same line. With the hyphen still in it. So now in the book, there is (or perhaps was) this psionic power sitting in the middle of a sentence with a completely unneeded hyphen. {3/10}

Total and Closing Remarks
This book is well done if you're looking for hard rules on converting a Psionics system to Pathfinder. Besides sheer number of cosmetic flaws in this product, it completely lacks its own identity. There is absolutely nothing in Psionics Unleashed that makes one think "Wow, now THIS is Pathfinder Psionics!" This is 3.5 Psionics, updated to the Pathfinder standard. It works and works extremely well, but it is not the end-all-meets-all quality that Pathfinder players know and love from Paizo, and because of this, it is my personal opinion that a Psionics revamp is not at all impossible from Paizo. Psionics Unleashed reigns supreme as Pathfinder's unoffical Psionics System, but one can only wonder for how long it will occupy this throne.

Rules and Mechanics: 10
Descriptions: 7
Editing and Style: 3
Total {20/3 = 6.7 = 3 Stars}

Final Thoughts: Psionics Unleashed is an acceptable buy, even an amazing buy, if you want someone else to convert 3.5's rules for Psionics for you. It offers little else beyond that. If you didn't like 3.5 Psionics, you probably won't like Dreamscarred Press Psionics either.


Fantastic!

****( )

I've had the PDF for a few weeks but I'm a print guy, so I was waiting for my print copy to arrive before I really jumped into this.

Wow!

I come from a printing and publishing background, so production value means a great deal to me. This book made me very happy on that front. It uses a nice, heavy weight cover stock and equally nice interior pages as well. The book has well done, tight perfect binding - overall, it's just a very well produced product.

As for the actual content ... simply put, this is a fantastic book. Others have done a great job detailing and disecting the contents, so I won't bother doing so as well. What I will say is that this book absolutely deserves to be seen as the default Pathfinder psionics book. It's really that good.

Well done Dreamscarred!!!


The Core Psionics system for PFRPG

****( )

This book is a whopping 231 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages editorial, 2 pages ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving 225 pages of content.

I own both the pdf, which is full-color and the dead-tree version, which is b/w.

For this review, I'm going to break my usual format, partly due to me wanting to finish this review this century and not wanting to write a 10+ pages review, so let me first make clear where I'm coming from:

I always loved the idea of psionics. I always hated the implementation. Offense and Defense-modes? Blergh. I'm going to commit a kind of blasphemy and admit to not liking the mindscape-system from the 3.0-days of old. Then came along the Expanded Psionics Handbook... and delivered. Then, I stumbled over Dreamscarred Press and enjoyed their take on the powers of the mind, too.

I've been saddened to hear that Paizo does not plan a psionics-book in the near future, but when the guys at DSP stepped up, I immediately remembered the 3.5-days and hoped that they would be able to bring psionics to PFRPG in style. Their task was monumental: Changing the huge amount of content from the XPH to the pathfinder design philosophy as a little 3pp and still keep it reasonably priced.
In this review, I'm mainly going to take a look at some of the new additions and changes.
The book starts with a section on psionic races that takes up 12 pages. The races are:
-Blue: A goblin sub-race, formerly a monster.
-Dromite: Halfling-sized insect people. I never liked them. Sorry. I just don't.
-Duergar: My friends, the grey dwarves are back and their new write-up rocks!
-Elan: A kind a creepy modified race, chosen from other races and transformed to something not quite human anymore. I liked them in 3.5, and I still like them here.
-Half-giant: Another race I never considered too cool. I prefer RiP's Jotun for the fluff-angle and I never really got why they have psionic abilities.
-Maenad: I hated these in 3.5. Thanks to an excellent article in KQ 9, I added them to just about any setting I play. Go check it out, if you haven't already and be thankful they've been converted to PFRPG.
-Ophiduan: A reptilian race. Not sure what to think of them. Mainly because I still have the old Ophidians and Yuan-Ti in my mind.
-Xeph: Ahuman-like race without pupils. They are ok, I guess.
Chapter 2 details the base classes and boy, have they been streamlined!
-Psions: Psions get to choose from the disciplines and an optional generalist choice and get special benefits according to their selection, further emphasizing the difference between the specialisations.
-Psychic Warrior: They get slightly more PSP and warrior paths to choose from, making them more versatile, too.
-Soulknife: Finally. Finally someone has taken pity on this poor unfortunate class and given it it's rightful place. Badass, cool and FINALLY balanced and no longer the monks weak little brother, this write-up is just as versatile as the first two classes, not only adding power to the class, but also options. Awesome work, guys.
-Wilder: And a second "finally!" from my mouth: Wilders, the chaotic users of natural talents, have finally been reworked so you actually WANT to build one. Where before they were the Psion's stupid little brothers and sisters, they are now a versatile, genuinely unique class. Excellent work, DSP! I considered this class unsalvageable.

The classes take up 18 pages.

Chapter 3 features discussions of skills and feats for psionics and new skill-usages. The default method is that e.g. Use Magic Device can be used to use psionic devices as well, dispel magic affects psionics, too etc. A minor rules change I welcomed was that obtaining psionic focus does not require a roll any more, just concentration. At low levels, it was just annoying to wait for the psion to make the DC 20 check in 3.5., so good riddance. We also get 69 psionic feats, many of them updated from PFRPG. One update I didn't get, though, was Cloak Dance - while a cool feat, I already though this general feat would have been better in another book, but oh well. The feats are well-balanced, balance-issues from 3.5 have been streamlined, I'm content with this book. This chapter also takes up 18 pages.

Chapter 4 (14 pages) details the general rules of psionics in a concise and easy to grasp way - good for newcomers to the powers of the mind. The chapter also thankfully features notes on the "Psionics are different"-approach I personally prefer to the powers of the mind. Dodged a bullet there, DSP! ;)

Chapter 5 is almost half of the book, 86 pages of psionic powers. Enough to provide a huge amount of balanced options. Insta-kill abilities have been streamlined to adhere to PFRPG-design philosophy etc. Nothing to complain, apart from: I want MORE!

Chapter 6 (20 pages) details Prestige Classes, to be precise updated versions of the XPH-classes. The Illithid slayer has been converted to a slayer of psionic creatures in general. On another note: The Pyrokineticist HAS a save-or-die ability, however, it's element-based and his lvl 10-capstone ability, so I'm cool with that.

Chapter 7 details psionic item on 28 pages and, while all-time-classics like the Annulus are here, I would have loved this section to be expanded upon.

Chapter 8 updates the critters from the XPH (sans the Neothelid - @#&$-copyright reasons!) to PFRPG. The artwork is oriented along the artwork of the XPH, a nice nod.

The book closes with a glossary.

Conclusion:
I like psionics and I loved some of the 3.5 DSP-books and, to put it bluntly, they have achieved quite a feat in bringing this book together. Layout is nice and apart from one page that is blank but for one feat, the space is well-used. It can be expected that some typos creep into a book of this size, but they are thankfully very few and far between and none of them hampered my understanding of the material presented or its usability. This excellent quality does not entirely stretch towards the art-side, though: There is a plethora of art-styles assembled here, from comic-style color to some pictures that are a bit anime-like and classic b/w-artwork. While not bad per se, they give the book a kind of disjointed feeling that is thankfully not matched by the content. On the content side: I got, what I paid for: An updated, great core system for psionics I'll be using in the years to come that finally enables me to update our main-campaign (which has been on a halt since switching to PFRPG, we playing other characters since then) to PFRPG. Thus, due to the minor glitches and artwork problems, I should probably rate this 4.5. stars. Unfortunately I'm a long time follower of DSP and had high hopes indeed for e.g. the brilliant Morphean-class, sequestral and mantra-feats and the like to be included as well. They are advanced options, I get that, but I'd have loved to see them nevertheless. My final verdict will thus be a straight 4 stars. Here's to hoping we'll get more material soon and that some of the material gets updated. And what about blending with the new APG-classes? There's much to be done, folks at DSP! Come on, get in on! ;)


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