Hellfire—the stuff of legends and nightmares. Classically associated with the wrath of the gods and the acrid scent of brimstone, hellfire is also one of the background elements of hell and the torments that await there. Hellfire represents a common element of many fantasy stories and classic mythologies, but has very little presence within the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. The Genius Guide to Hellfire Magic adds hellfire as a new option for a broad range of spellcasters, adding options for grim antipaladins wielding hellfire scourges, determined inquisitors calling down hellfire cages to imprison their enemies, and even good-aligned clerics and wizards drawing on the building blocks of hell to fight for justice and honor—though facing constant temptation to call upon more vile forces as they do so.
So, what is hellfire? For purposes of this product, hellfire is both a supernatural form of energy (which is similar to, but not exactly the same as, the mystic fires mortal spellcasters call upon to fuel such spells as burning hands and fireball), and a planar material (similar to magic force effects, such as those used to create everything from a simple shield to a forcecage, though not as resilient as force effects). Entire planes of existence are composed largely of hellfire, where it serves as both unescapable prison and endless and unforgiving torment to the spirits and outsiders consigned to those planes. Like the magic forces it is similar to, hellfire can be conjured, evoked, and bound into tools and defenses by mortals using powerful spells.
Hellfire is an important part of Hell and the Abyss, and as a result of being exposed to its supernatural heat, most demons and devils are either immune to normal fire or extremely resistant to it. Many evil outsiders have been so infused with hellfire that they can call upon less cosmic flames as natural abilities, and their constant manipulations and exposure have infected hellfire itself with a link to the raw powers of evil.
This is without a doubt one of the coolest and unique creations I've seen in a long time, if not ever!! The concept of Hellfire has been touched on here and there, in a few different products over the years and editions, but always in little amounts.
The GG to Hellfire Magic decides to take this long standing tradition and fully explore it in a series of spells available to pretty much every spell caster, save Druid and Ranger, which makes sense as a purely destructive, planar force. Though a Druid casting Hellfire Lake is kinda cool.
I like the idea of the evil additions to each spell as well. Most aren't overly major bonuses, but offer just enough of a boost to make them tempting. Which I imagine was the idea.
The art is also amazing, which is always appreciated.
I know there's already a Bullet Points that gives us five new feats(gonna read that next), but I would dearly love to see even more support for this incredible product. Maybe some more spells, more evil options, I don't know. Though I do agree with the idea that options like a Hellfire Bloodline or Subschool would dilute the mystery/ancient/forbidden feel of Hellfire Magic.
This pdf is 16 pages long, 2/3 of a page GORGEOUS front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving 14 1/3 pages of content for Hellfire magic, so let's check this out!
So what is hellfire? Essentially, it is a new spell-descriptor that is not inherently evil, but constitutes the usage of hellfire, the force that has been used by the gods to create the lower planes and which has been tainted over the years. While not inherently evil and even available to the likes of inquisitors, hellfire spells can be cast with the [evil]-descriptor in order to make them stronger, but at the same time slowly subverting a souls resolve and tempting them towards evil... "This is the life, you see - the devil tips his hat to me..." Furthermore, hellfire does not always produce fire-damage, unless specified.
After an extensive selection of spell-lists including classes like the Antipaladin, we delve into the new hellfire spells: And spells herein make for iconic tools of punishment: Ever wanted to create a lake of acidic fire? A lash to castigate sinners? Or even duplicate ANY conjuration (summoning) or conjuration (creation) spell? Forge hellfire fits your needs. And for just a sliver of your moral integrity, the spells can produce more real versions of creatures and objects... A version of minor creation, fashion sinister trifle, enables the discerning diabolist to conjure up minor tools - because digging up graves is just so much more fun with a spade fashioned from hell itself than with one from Brady's friendly convenience store. Oh, and the purchase can't be traced to you by those nasty adventurers...
Want to truly punish your foes? Send a plethora of deadly bolts of hellfire (acid, electricity and fire damage in one attack) that has the potential to deal attribute damage via soul searing - essentially, this 5th-level spell is rather close to the blasting capacity of a warlock - for 1/min per level, you can assail foes via these bolts. Very cool! Even cooler: If you're not contend with force cages, you can now imprison foes in their very own pocket hells - if cast as evil, you can even visit them inside. Oh, and you can make this one permanent for a rather satisfying, but expensive way to get rid of foes.
We don't get only new spells, btw.: We also get the new Hellfire domain and something I thoroughly approve: An exalted domain version of the Hellfire domain. (If you haven't, be sure to check out Marc Radle's exalted domains, also available from SGG...)
The true winners, though, are the often neglected witches, who get a new major hex, Planar Torment, which can be used unlimited times against outsiders. They also gain two new grand hexes, Hellfire Gate and Scion of Hellfire: The former is a more precise (and cooler) form of plane shift, while the latter lets the witch infuse her hexes and spells with hellfire, changing types between fire, half fire, half acid and half electricity half fire. Very cool and suitably more powerful than the corresponding feat.
Editing and formatting are very good - although I noticed some minor glitches like superfluous tabs, they did not impede my enjoyment of the file. The pdf's layout adheres to SGG's 3-column standard and provides some pieces of truly BEAUTIFUL full color artworks. The pdf has no bookmarks. From the basic concept to the spell-lists and the innovative spells as well as the bonus-content, I have NOTHING to complain. The fact that PCs can cast the spells with the [evil] descriptor and gain additional benefits is just awesome and I'm wondering why no one else has done something similar before. My only true gripe with this pdf is, that I want MORE hellfire magic. The potential is vast and a full-blown sourcebook of hellish options would be much appreciated! Thus, my final verdict will be 5 stars and the Endzeitgeist seal of approval. Excuse me, I'm now going to ride a black unicorn down the side of an erupting volcano!
I don't usually review products unless they truly impress me, and the Genius Guide to Hellfire Magic did just that. This is a perfect example of how some relatively simple mechanics can lead to really superb roleplaying choices. A minute into reading this and my head was swimming with new ideas, which is what truly superb mechanics shoudl always inspire.
Super Genius Games have reclaimed Hellfire as a source of power for the good guys, who in most setting cast the devils down to Hell in the first place, but with the classic and entirely appropriate caveat that power corrupts. Each spell can be cast with the evil descriptor to improve its effectiveness, ranging from simply making conjured weapons masterwork for lower-level spells to giving a forcecage-style prison of hellfire a door openable at will by the caster for the impressive Pocket Hell 8th level spell. This was perhaps my favorite choice, from a flavor perspective, because it perfectly encapsulated, for me, the two different possible applications of Hellfire by the forces of Good and Evil: the former use Hellfire as a tool of just punishment, while the latter have found ways to subvert and manipulate its power for their own ends.
Add to that one spell that does a take on the classic Penance Stare, plus just a hint of ancient and forgotten secrets, and I was hooked. Any campaign that wants to roleplay moral dilemmas and the corrupting power of evil NEEDS to use this supplement. Beware the dark side!
The Genius Guide to Hellfire Magic is a fun product. None of the spells presented, even with the “temptation” options of casting them as evil spells, really seem to throw them out of whack. They are evocative and fun.
The domain(s) presented, as well as the witch's hex options, are similarly within what you would expect for domains or hexes within the game.
I'm not sure I'd unleash this option on every game, but these make for nice thematic spells for a campaign where you want either your PCs to be tempted by the forces of Hell, or where Hell is a very present driving factor in the campaign.
For example, I wouldn't hesitate to throw these into a Council of Thieves campaign or Fire Mountain Games Way of the Wicked adventures.
Alright, I'll admit it, I knew I was buying this the moment I saw the cover image. The left hand weapon effect had me curious, and the spell that allows it, very very cool. 16 pages of virtual weight, with the classic ¾ cover that SGG is known for, as well as the 3 column format. 1 page goes to OGL and credits, leaving us with roughly 14 pages of shiny new goodies to devour.
One of the first things that must be discussed in regards to this product is that the introduction gives us something important to think about, and realize. Using Hellfire does not, by default, make one evil, nor is one required to be evil to use hellfire magics. Think about it, good aligned clerics and paladins have been preaching that not following the will of their gods will doom you to punishment by hellfire, would it not make sense then that these good aligned people be able to use this method of punishment against their enemies? Where not the eternal flaming pits created by the good aligned gods in the first place? Of course, at some point in history, the evil that exists within the planes of hellfire infused enough essence into said flames, that hellfire has become the perfect medium for evil, and brings with it an extra punch when utilized as an evil spell. Every spell presented here gives us the effects for the spell, plus extra effects if cast as an evil spell, allowing you to add that extra level to your games when it comes to how Good uses hellfire, and how Evil understands hellfire. Contained within this PDF are a new spell descriptor (Hellfire), 16 new spells, 2 new domains, and 3 Witch hexes.
Chastising Lash: Long reach weapon of hellfire
Fashion Sinister Trifle: Create useful, mundane temporary equipment from hellfire
Fiend Barbs (regular and greater): Cover armor or clothing in sharp/flaming spikes
Forbidding Chains (regular and mass): Bind creatures in hellfire, hindering movement and magic.
Forge Hellfire(regular and greater): Use hellfire to create weaker duplicates of lower level conjuration spells.
Hellfire Armament(regular and mass): Create a melee weapon out of hellfire
Lake of Fire: Create a pit that deals fire and acid damage
Nightmarish Transport: Steed or vehicle gains the powers of hellfire-fueled movement
Penance Skull: Extra damage against foes who violate your alignment's ethos
Perdition's Wrath: Magical bolt that deals electricity/acid and fire damage.
Pocket Hell: Create a personal prison that will prove very difficult to escape.
Wall of Brimstone: as many wall spells, only with burning rock
Hellfire: Giving a nod to the older religions and the more fire and brimstone kind of viewpoint, this domain gives a cleric access to a variant force bolt special ability (Hellfire Bolt) and the ability to charge a weapon as a Hellfire Weapon. The domain spell list consists of 8 spells from this book, and gate.
Exalted Hellfire: Essentially a stronger, more bad ass version of the regular Hellfire domain, those familiar with the exalted line from SGG will feel at home with this domain.
Planar Torment: Bolt of pure hellfire dealing that is half acid, half fire. Against extra-planar creatures, there is no limit to how many times per day you may use this hex.
Hellfire Gate: Very similar to the Plane Shift spell, opens a portal to another plane. Found within this passage the first grammatical error that stood out..”....each day, those theses need not be...” Am assuming it was meant to say “though these need not be..”
Scion of Hellfire: Turn spell/hex hp damage into specific energy damage, as per hellfire descriptor. And another grammar mistake “....can infuse her other magic attacks with the powerful of hellfire...” Am thinking “power of” works a lot better here.
OK, final thoughts...amazing artwork, loved the theme. There are a few grammatical hiccups, but they are minor. Can't help but think someone went and saw Ghostrider over the weekend, as several of these spells will allow you to create Ol' Bone Head easily enough for your game. Am already planning a regiment of HellKnights wielding Hellfire fueled magic, and of course that one chapter of priests, the old school dudes, who really know how to bring their lord's wrath to the battlefield....yeah, this book is a win, pure and simple. 5 stars happily given, this is a must own PDF.