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Class Acts: Clerics (PFRPG) PDF

***½( ) (based on 4 ratings)

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The Class Acts PDFs introduce new class options for the base classes and core classes featured in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Every PDF contains two full pages of high quality content (no fluff or filler)!

Class Acts: Clerics includes eighteen full new subdomains.

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Product Reviews (4)

Average product rating:

***½( ) (based on 4 ratings)

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A Good Mix at a Great Price

****( )

First of all, I just want to say that I was offered on the EnWorld forums (and did accept, obviously) a review copy of this product, if anyone finds that relevant. Now on to the review.

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The basics: Good price, good layout, very professional.

The disclaimer: I hate clerics. I hate them. Fortunately, I don't mind domains, per se.

The domains: Like the product description says, there are eighteen new subdomains contained in this PDF. Quite a step down from the thirty-two rage powers and rogue talents contained within the Class Acts: Barbarians and Class Acts: Rogues PDFs, but two pages of content, nonetheless. Something this product does have that some of the others don't is a table. A pretty, pink table. It might sound silly, but the table really breaks up the "HEADER: text, HEADER: text, HEADER: text" format and does a lot to make the product look nice.

Anyway, there's some good stuff here and there's some middle-of-the-road stuff here. I am dismayed to report that this is the first Class Acts product I've read to contain anything that I'd call "filler" (here's looking at you Illumination and Spell Lore). Beg is a little more interesting... if you're an NPC.

There's also some really good stuff here. Mistcloak is cool as can be, and Fickle Favor and All for One are almost as good. I also want to mention Aura of Decrepitude because it's cool, and because the author used the word "decrepitude."

The Winter subdomain's Winterwoe granted power is noteworthy if only because it contains a simple but nifty new mechanic that rewards characters with the Endurance feat. The existence of this power alone isn't enough to inspire anyone to take Endurance unless they're also going for Diehard, of course... but I approve of the gesture. I also really liked Stoneshuffle. It occurs to me that there aren't enough mechanics that interact with difficult terrain in any way other than to allow you to ignore it. Good work.

The Curse of Mortality is either underpowered or overpowered... I haven't decided which. Very cool flavor, though. Heat Stone is a nifty variant on the standard "Pew, pew! Elemental damage!" domain powers (and wizard schools, and bloodline abilities...)

One thing this product does a really great job of is the swapping out of domain spells for subdomain-appropriate ones. Compare the Harvest subdomain to the Plant domain, or the Starlight subdomain to the Darkness domain.

Overall I recommend this product if you absolutely must play a stinking damn cleric.

;-)

Four stars. ****

- Sarah McLean


3.5 - Solid selection of subdomains with some rough edges

***( )( )

This pdf is 5 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving 3 pages of content, so let's check this out!

The pdf kicks off with a recap on domains and subdomains and a total of 18 new subdomains are presented. Thankfully, a concise table of domains, subdomains, granted powers, what they replace and even deific portfolios are provided as well.

To give you a couple of examples of what to expect from this pdf, let's take a look at the armor subdomain, associated with the War domain. The replacement spells are shield of faith, shield other, stoneskin and wall of iron and at 8th level, you gain heavy armor proficiency.

The beggar-subdomain of the trickery domain is rather interesting, granting you access toi charm monster and demand and more interestingly, lets you forage in urban environments via the survival skill. Great concept, but unfortunately neither the trickery domain, not the standard cleric-list grant you access to survival as a class-skill, making it doubtful that this one will see much use - an addition that for example eliminates Bluff from the class-skill-list would help here.

Among the coolest of the subdomains herein is the Chance subdomain - flip a coin and if you win, get double cha-mod on cha-based skills and cha-mod to your AC - but only for a round. As soon as you lose the toss, you can't use this ability until 24 hours have passed. However, the write-up does not specify whether the bonus to AC is a luck-bonus or an unspecified bonus - quite crucial for stacking purposes...

Another subdomain with an interesting mechanic is the fellowship subdomain, with its "All for One"-ability that lets you combine all ally's HD in 30 ft with regards to spells that cause fear and are HD-dependant and also treat all as one entity when intimidating foes. Great due to the restrictions that would otherwise have made this the end of power word spells. Two thumbs up!

Great for Undead-slayers is the mortality subdomain, which lets you pronounce a curse lasting one round that eliminates for this short duration all undead immunities from a foe.

It should be noted that among the 18 subdomains herein, only three (Armor, Spell & Starlight) go the easy way and grant you access to a feat, whereas the others come with some exclusive mechanic that should make the cleric feel more distinct. Have I mentioned the mist subdomain that makes mist-spells (and the concealment they provide) temporarily cling to you, decreasing only slowly after you've left the spell's area? (And no, damage incurred from e.g. acid fog etc. does not cling.)

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any typos/glitches. Layout adheres to an easy to read 2-column format, there is no artwork but at this length the pdf needs none. The subdomains in this pdf are mostly solid, especially taking into account the low price at the range of a BP-product of SGG. While not all of the subdomains in this pdf are 100% awesome or feel perfectly balanced, the abilities attempted by them are mostly do work and even use some rather interesting mechanics that could be further developed. Seeing that we get quite a bunch of these sub-domains for the low price and the clearly laid-out presentation, I'll settle for a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of this platform - this new company shows promise and for the low price, a neat investion.

Endzeitgeist out.


***( )( )

Weighing in at five pages, with 1 each going to the cover and OGL, leaving 1 page for a Domain/Subdomain list and a quick explanation of how the APG defines the term subdomain, and 2 pages for the actual descriptive text for the 18 new subdomains. Subdomains, for those not in the know, are a great way to allow a player to further customize and personalize their character by refining their domain into a tighter more specific area.

With a layout that matches the remaining three PDF's in this series from freshman 3PP company Abandoned Arts, the material is presented in a dual column format, on a colored background, with a simple frame. The domain/subdomain list is colored in a muted color that achieves its desired effect of making the chart easy to read without overwhelming the page. Editing is top notch, and I found no mishaps to report, always a good thing.

Whereas I have avoided listing the contents of previous PDFs I have reviewed for this company, it seems fitting to give a list of what is being offered here. I will list them as Subdomain (Domain):so without further ado:[/b]

Armor (War): with 4 replacement spells
Beggar (Trickery): 2 replacement spells
Chance (Luck): 2 replacement spells
Enlightenment (Knowledge): 2 replacement spells
Fellowship (Community): 2 replacement spells
Harvest (Plant): 4 replacement spells
Magma (Fire): 3 replacement spells
Might (Strength): 2 replacement spells
Mist (Water): 3 replacement spells
Mortality (Death): 3 replacement spells
Quest (Travel): 3 replacement spells
Ruin (Destruction): 3 replacement spells
Spell (Magic): 2 replacement spells
Starlight (Darkness): 4 replacement spells
Stone (Earth): 2 replacement spells
Warmth (Sun): 2 replacement spells
Winter (Weather): 2 replacement spells
Zephyr (Air): 2 replacement spells

Now, each of the above subdomains also has one replacement power to be plugged in at various levels depending upon the subdomain. What none of these subdomains has is any fluff, of any nature, period. I'm good with a crunch heavy presentation, I am. But when it comes to the idea of tightening the focus of a domain into a subdomain, I kind of want to know why this instead of that. Even a simple sentence or two, tie a specific subdomain to a region, or a culture, give it life and a reason, anything. Now, having said that, looking through the APG's list of subdomains this PDF follows the Paizo standard identically...so I think this may be more a personal thing. To me these need more explanation than here's the power, here's the spells, moving on...they would greatly benefit from the inclusion of a brief writeup pertaining to each...a reason for why a GM might want to include them within their campaign world, or at least an idea of how, or where.

Those replacement powers? A few choice examples would be Mistcloak: continue the concealing qualities of an obscuring mist or fog effect around yourself as you leave the affected area. Heat Stone: with a standard action you may heat stone surfaces to the point that it will harm those who come into contact with it. Curse of Mortality: wins hands down in regards to a cool new domain power. Cause an undead creature within range to, for one round, lose their immunities and be forced to endure a trip down memory lane, being forced to face what has been taken from them in unlife. Obviously this is the type of thing that would play better in a role play heavy group as opposed to a roll play style gathering.

Now, I can see looking through all the available options presented here that there will be subdomains folks will look at as not worth it, or much “weaker” than others presented here, I counted at least 5-6 that struck me as really on the lower end of combat worthiness myself. But, these options are still viable in that some players want a challenge, and want to play something that hasn't been done to death. I still, really really would have liked to have seen some fluff added to these subdomains though, as I think it would have helped immensely in conveying why some of the “weaker” subdomains (beggar, I'm looking at you) are included in this collection.

I am torn in regards to this product. Taking it at face value, it has accomplished all that it is required to do, at least in so far as what Paizo themselves have established as a standard. But there in lies the problem, for here in the 3PP realm, design is everything, for there isn't a large company standing behind your product pumping massive artwork and promotion into it, so we, the customers, expect those extra touches. And the first of those extra touches would be fluff...a reason to pick one design over another. The second of which would be something visually pleasing to break up the text. Look into stock art options my friends, as we all know budgeting art can make or break a new company, and stock art is a fantastic alternative to the high costs of quality art.

I am going to go with a 3 star on this, as it does accomplish what it set out to do, and obeys Paizo format in doing so, and there are a few replacement powers I really liked...I just feel like there could have been so much more here...perhaps, later on down the road, after one's feet are wet, this can be revisited, or even expanded upon in a second volume.


****( )

As a special note, I did receive review copies of this series of products.

Cool Parts:

  • There's a list of the subdomains with their associated domain, granted power, which level that power replaces, and the deific portfolios associated with the subdomain. The inclusion of the deific portfolios is a really small but great touch in my opinion, as it helps figure out not only what variant channels (from UM) work with it, but can also help GMs figure out where to slot these into gods.
  • Some of the powers are in my opinion really innovative. The Fellowship subdomain's ability is really interesting, although perhaps very situational. The Mist subdomain's ability is really cool too.
  • I really enjoy the Starlight domain, as it gives access to a very nifty feat. And? The bonus spells are very well chosen. It's absolutely perfect for Desnan clerics.
  • The stone subdomain is very cool as well.
  • Chance subdomain has a pretty interesting mechanic associated with it.

    Issues with the product:

  • Some subdomains have fairly boring abilities. One lets you use Survival to forage for food in urban areas, but doesn't grant Survival as a class skill. Others replace powers with much, much weaker abilities.
  • The Mortality subdomain's ability is pretty cool, although I'm not sure if it works well as written. It lifts some immunities of a creature type for only one round, but following that round, they return, eliminating everything that would still be affecting them otherwise. For example, if you use this ability and then a teammate takes advantage of the lack of immunities to cast an enchantment spell, the enchantment spell will end right before your next turn.

    Overall, there are a lot of cool ideas in here. Some of them are pretty situational (such as the Stone domain's ability), but even then they're very interesting abilities. As I mentioned above, there are 4-5 subdomains that are boring, and one or two that I suspect might have been filler. All totaled, there are 18 domains.

    Editing wise, I didn't notice a single error, although I didn't go out of my way looking for errors.

    Balance wise, there was only one power that had me concerned, and truth be told, it's probably fine. (The Ruin subdomain's power, for those interested.) My main concern was that some were too weak. There are a few subdomains that deal with more obscure aspects of the game, like finding food, saves for forced marches, or some extra bonuses to Sense Motive.

    All told, I thought this was a fine supplement. It wowed me in a few places with the innovative ideas, and it's clear that the author Daron Woodson knows the rules very well. But at the same time, many of those ideas where underwhelming from a "Is this useful? Is it a good trade off?" standpoint, such as the aforementioned Fellowship subdomain ability.

    For those reasons, I'll rate this three and a half stars, rounded up for this platform due to the lack of errors.


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