The Genius Guide to 110 Spell Variants (PFRPG) PDF (based on
Super Genius Games
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Although a vast number of spells are available in the game's core rulebooks, many GMs and players have an insatiable desire for more options. In many cases it's not necessary to create new spell options from scratch, since a few minor changes to an existing spell can create something with a very different feel or impact on game play. These spell variants are based on the idea that you can make a lot of different effects with fairly minor changes to how a spell works, or by combining effects of multiple spells, or by mixing a spell and magic item or even a class ability (preferably from a class not used in the campaign).
Some spell variants are common and fairly obvious, such as having an iceball spell that is a fireball that deals cold damage. The following list of one hundred ten spell variants are slightly more complex and are designed to show how you can create new spells without too much work. One important tip is that when you base a new spell on an old one, many details—such as its school, components, duration, and often even interaction with other spells—is already determined. Similarly, you can often create spells that have entirely new themes just by changing casting time and legal targets. This last trick is often a great way to make spells appropriate for new classes.
For example it's fairly obvious a druid class shouldn't have the haste spell on its spell list, but a new spell called pack tactics that acts like haste but can be cast only on creatures of the animal type is perfect for druids. And even better, you already know it's about a 3rd-level spell, since it doesn't do anything the wizard haste spell doesn't.
Because the following are all variants of existing spells, we present only a minimal sketch of each spell. Any information not presented or mentioned is the same as the base spell the variant is built off. These spell descriptions are so short, it seems silly to list each one multiple times if it happens to appear on more than one class spell list. As a result, each spell variant lists what class and level it is designed for after its name. In cases where the spell appears at different levels for different classes, it is listed with the level of the first class to gain it. Other information such as School, [Descriptor], Casting Time, Components, Range, Area, Targets, Duration, Saving Throw, and Spell Resistance are only given if they differ from the base spell.
This pdf is 10 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page SRD/editorial, leaving 8 1/3 pages of content, so let’s take a look at this compilation of slightly modified and reskinned spells!
This selection of spells is rather interesting, as it does not necessarily add brand new, innovative spell, but rather variants of known ones. To offer an example, there is a spell called “magic mace” that works as magic missile, but has a range of touch and deals d8 instead of d4. That’s about the information you’ll get, i.e., if you want to use the variants, you’ll have to have the spells they refer to ready. While enabling this pdf in the first place, this unfortunately also can be a burden on the DM, who has to research the original spells. Interaction between referred spells can be quite complex, too, as e.g. in “Analogue”, which creates a clone and lets the clone act as a simulacrum.
It should be noted, that thankfully the new classes from the APG all get their due in this pdf, from alchemists to inquisitors to some nice exclusive Oracle-spells, they all get their due.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the 3-column standard and I have to commend the full-color artworks: They just rock!
I didn’t expect to see these awesome pieces in such a cheap pdf – kudos to the artists! I have to admit that I’m not that into the spell variant concept and rather enjoy having my spells all set and done so I don’t have to skim through additional books. However, this pdf offers an awesome bang-for-buck-ratio – for the low price you’ll get a lot of magic that really enriches your game. On the other hand, the nature of this pdf also limits the variations to being close to other spells. While this is restricting, at least the variants don’t pretend to be wholly new spells. While I’m somewhat loathe to rate this pdf that high due to not liking to have to look for the specific spell information, in face of the low price, awesome artwork and per se, very cool content, I’ll settle for 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.
This product is 10 pages long. It starts with a cover and intro. (1 pages)
110 Spells (8 pages)
This has a 110 spells that are variations of existing spells. A few examples to follow. Right now I will break the spells down by level. The spells are fairly spread out for all the classes.
0 level – 3
1st level - 18
2nd level - 18
3rd level - 17
4th level - 18
5th level - 11
6th level - 11
7th level - 6
8th level - 4
9th level – 4
Pestilence – Summon Swarm by those damaged also effected by contagion
Ooze Form – turns you into ooze
Ring of Fire – like a wall of fire in a ring about you, that moves with you.
Whiteout – Make is snow and block sight
Cavalry – Same as summon mount but can be used on others.
Rejuvenate Familiar – same as rejuvenate eidolan except for familiar.
Touch of Frailty – like touch of idiocy by effects physical stats.
Dancing Shadows – like dancing lights but in reverse.
It ends with a OGL and credits. (1 pages)
Closing thoughts. The art work is mostly color and ranges from good to very good. Layout and editing was well done. There was a couple of spells I wish they would have had a bit more information about. Torchbearer, which works like dancing lights. The name suggest it holds a torch but other than saying it works like dancing lights it doesn't say. Also there is one spell listed twice. Rejuvenate Familiar is listed as a 1st level and a 4th level spell. All and all the product is very well done and the spell range from, that’s pretty neat to why didn't I think of that.
So what's my rating? Well I want to give this one a 5 but it does have the one spell listed twice and then a couple of spells could have used a little more text to explain them. So with that in mind I am going to settle for a 4.5 star. Fix the couple of minor issues and I would up it to a 5.
I bought this one a whim today and was extremely pleased with the content it gives. The spells are interesting and useful, and provide a lot of new options for all spellcasters. One thing I really enjoyed was the number of Antipaladin and Oracle only spells included, something the APG seemed to lack.
The only oddity can see is that the spell listed in the intro (Pack Tactics) isn't in the actual spell variants!
I've always heard arguments of 'why can't my wizard research cure light wounds?' While most of the spell varients are clever versions of published spells (a summoner's spiritual weapon resembles his eidolon's jaws) the end result is a wonderful way to customize a character's spell list.