Ultimate Options: New Arcane Discoveries (PFRPG) PDF (based on
Rogue Genius Games
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Wizards are portrayed, both in descriptive materials within the game rules, and in most fantasy fiction, as scholars and learned masters of mystic powers who have access to lore and magic tricks second to none. However, in most campaigns there is nothing a wizard can do that a sorcerer cannot. The wizard does gain considerable versatility, in the form of an unlimited number of spells known, but as a practical matter a wizard can only cast spells he thinks to prepare in advance, and the most useful spells (those a wizard is most likely to prepare) are also those a sorcerer is most likely to select as spells known.
The Advanced Players Guide actually amplified this conceptual problem somewhat, for while it provided new options for wizards, it also created two whole new arcane classes—the alchemist and the witch – both of which have considerable powers a wizard cannot duplicate. The “masters of arcane lore” remained a viable class as far as power balance was concerned, but many wizard players felt there was no sign of their character’s presumed devotion to a lifelong study of magic.
Then Ultimate Magic introduced arcane discoveries—special powers a wizard (and only a wizard) could take in place of his bonus feats at 5th, 10th, 15th and 20th level. Here, at long last, were the rules to allow wizards to do things with magic no other class could manage. It was an amazing idea... but as a result of the number of amazing ideas in Ultimate Magic, there was room for only ten arcane discoveries. To expand on these great opportunities for wizards to meet their full, scholarly potential, Ultimate Options: New Arcane Discoveries presents 30 new arcane discoveries, along with two archetypes of alternate class abilities, to allow different kinds of wizards to play with the new possibilities arcane discoveries represent.
Ultimate Options: New Arcane Discoveries by Super Genius Games
This product is 10 pages long. It starts with a cover and intro. (1 pages)
New Arcane Discoveries (8 pages)
There is 30 new Arcane Discoveries in this book, they are listed below with a brief overview of what they do.
Arcane Refusal – Can ignore any secondary effects on a successful save vs magic.
Arcane Vengeance – May cast a spell as a AoO.
Armor Runes – Give up spell slots to wear armor.
Artistic Studies – Use Int mod instead of Chr mod for some skills.
Caustic Magic – save vs acid spells or target is considered flanked.
Deep Bond: Familiar – can cast some spells threw your familiar.
Deep Bond: Object – can cast more spells from your spell book.
Efficient Spellcasting – reduced casting time on spells that take a full round.
Expedited Spellcasting – reduce casting time on spells that take more than one round.
Fierce Caster – reduce your to hit with spells to increase their damage.
Flame Magic – when using fire magic, target saves or catches on fire.
Genie Servitor – gain a Genie as a servitor, has a chart for telling what kind you can have.
Ice Magic – when using ice magic, target makes save or move is slowed.
Improved Blast – increase damage on one blast spell.
Life Lessons – you gain two extra spells when leveling.
Lingering Arcana – when casting a force spell, as a swift action gain some bonus defense.
Lingering Divination – gain detect magic as a swift action after using a divination spell.
Lingering Flames – gain a fire elemental for a short bit when using fire based spells. (notes on how to do the same with other elements)
Lingering Mirage – gain blur as a swift action, after using illusion magic.
Lingering Necromancy – on your following turn after using Necromancy magic, any damage you do with magic heals you as well.
Master of Magic Lore – gain bonus to arcana lore and spellcraft.
Primal Magic – can make a spell into a temporary tattoo.
Probing Magic – as a swift action gain detect thoughts on a target of your mind magic.
Shock Magic – save or take a dex penalty against lightning magic.
Sovereign Arcana – gain limited ability to switch spell slots.
Spell Cunning – can switch spell components, such as verbal to somatic.
SpellBane – damage done counts a ongoing damage for concentration checks etc.
Theurge – can add a spell from off the wiz/sorc spell list to your spell book.
Thunder Magic – target makes save vs sonic magic or is also deafened.
Undying – if killed your body teleports to a location and you are raised.
This PDF also introduces two Wizard Archetypes.
Academician – lose spell school and bonded item, gain skill points and more discoveries.
Zauberer – kinda a cross between a Sorc and Wiz.
It ends with a OGL and credits. (1 pages)
Closing thoughts. The art work is black and white and color, it ranges from ok to pretty good. Editing and layout was very good, I didn't notice any errors. I liked the majority of the new discoveries and I like Academician a lot as a archetype. A couple of the discoveries I was meh about but a few of them like Genie Servitor is just outstanding and so perfect for Arabian Night style setting. I really have nothing negative to say other than I wasn't a fan of all the stuff, but that is more a matter of taste than anything wrong with them. My only other comment is when do we get a follow up PDF of more of them? So what's my rating? Well I really have nothing negative to say beyond personal taste issues so I am giving this a 5 star review.
Trust me, I'm a Succubus.
Stellar rules - a must-have for wizards; the Zauberer alone is worth the price
This pdf is 10 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page editorial &SRD, leaving 8 1/3 pages of content, so what exactly do we get?
With all the love for the justifiably lauded Magus-class in Ultimate Magic, the other good innovations in this granted, not perfect book, did not get a lot of support. This pdf remedies that by providing 29 new arcane discoveries. I do like the concept of arcane discoveries, as they provide exclusive abilities for the wizard, who has seen the thin end of the wedge with the advent of sorceror's bloodlines, witch love etc. So, do these discoveries hold up?
The variety of options presented is quite nice: One expands upon the save-boosting feats like iron will, enabling you to one day act as if you had the equivalent of evasion for said save-class. The master of crunch, Owen K.C. Stephens also has a discovery called armor runes up his sleeve, which is actually a balanced, cool option for arcanists to wear armor and still cast by paying for the protection in unavailable spell-slots. Excellent design! We also get options to cast faster, harder (think power attack for spells), form deeper bonds with your familiar and increase your arcane bond There unfortunately are some rather balnd ones, too - additional effects for the respective elemental damage types: Catching fire, being deafened etc. Not too exciting, but not per se bad either.
Anyone even remotely intrigued by Al Qadim and similar Arabian settings must take a look at the Genie Servitor discovery, which grants you scaling genie cohort - pure awesomeness and actually balanced! There is also proof that elemental-themed discoveries can rock is the lingering flames one, which lets you summon fire elementals via your flame spells. Lingering necromancy lets you heal yourself via damaging foes after casting necromancy spells. Spell Cunning also makes for a smart discovery, enabling you to change one of the components of a spell to another one, e.g. a somatic component for a material. The spellbane-discovery makes a wizard a true danger for other casters and finally, there's a dread discovery for 20th level wizards, Undying: For 25000 GP per usage, it teleports you to safety and brings you back to life as per true resurrection. You may even add a delay to this super-contingency. Very cool and an adequate capstone-discovery.
Finally, there are two alternate class powers for the wizard, the Academician, who gains more discoveries and 6 skills per level, but no arcane school and the Zauberer (German for Wizard, btw., but with slightly different connotations): It is the latter that BLEW ME AWAY. He prepares spells in advance, casts via charisma, but uses not the vancian system, but rather a simple, concise and balanced point system. Very cool and a prime example of concise design: Cramming the necessary information on one page deserves applause.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the 3-column standard and the full color artworks actually rock. The pdf has no bookmarks. Owen K.C. Stephens does it again - this pdf is a prime example of crunch-mastery, adding a vast array of excellent options for wizards that make the class more distinctive. The added variants for the class are up to the excellent quality of discoveries and, surprisingly, none of the new options felt over-powered. This pdf is a prime example of excellent mastery of the rules married to cool ideas - my final verdict will be 5 stars and the Endzeitgeist seal of approval.