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Class Acts: Wizards (PFRPG) PDF

****( ) (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: Wizards includes thirty-two new arcane discoveries, first featured in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Magic sourcebook.

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Product Reviews (5)

Average product rating:

****( ) (based on 4 ratings)

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Worth the price of admission...

*****

It's not just some wizard feats, it's 2 solid pages of arcane discoveries which aren't as can be taken in place of feats, and from a quick glance, there are some really cool ideas in this one. Animator, love this one, as it gives animate object to the wizard's spell list, and grants a bonus animate construction point. Arcane Signet is pretty sweet, but I would lower the required level, it's a weak ability for a level 20; level 11 I think would be better. I love Ioun Bond as well, the ability to add Ioun Stones to your bonded object, best idea in here. None Dare Speak His Name, another great ability with a level 20 requirement, awesome idea, but doubtful it would ever be taken, except for NPCs, which IS a nice plot device. the last of my favorites is Living Spellbook, yes, give up a feat to turn your spellbook into a sentient item. 32 arcane discoveries, I would allow almost all of them in my game, perhaps with a little tweaking in some cases. I would be wary of Illimitable Power and Dedicated Familiar, as those two discoveries could be abused horribly. I would not allow Permanent Magic. This is an excellent and creative supplement, it's well worth the $.99 in my opinion. Visit EpicRPGBlog.blogspot.com for updates to this review and reviews for many RPG systems.


From "Wow!" to "Eh" to "Wow!" Again


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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While I'm not a huge fan of the wizard class, there are some amazing arcane discoveries, here. Considering the price tag at the time of this writing, this PDF is worth picking up if you ever plan to play a wizard - not because some of the abilities are so good (they are), but because when Ultimate Magic first came out, I was stoked to see that the wizard was getting some "menu-style" choose-them-as-you-gain-levels abilities. "Welcome to the club" said the fighter, and the bard, and the rogue, and the barbarian, and the monk, and the ranger, and the magus, and the witch, and the summoner, and the gunslinger, and the oracle...

"Shut up, monk. A couple of bonus feats don't count; get out of here," said the witch.

Unfortunately, the arcane discoveries contained within the pages of Ultimate Magic were sort of skimpy. I think there are more discoveries in this PDF than there are in Ultimate Magic - and several of them are at least as good, or better. Thirty-two discoveries is a lot.

Sadly, this product is all over the place in terms of quality. Don't get me wrong - the language is clear and the grammar is perfect... everything looks professional and is worded well - but there are a few (not a lot, but more than a couple) instances of "wasted potential" here.

Illimitable Power? Gee... thanks.

Arcane Signet? Really? A +10 bonus on two skills that only applies roughly half of the time (at best) is not a capstone ability.

Aside from the odd flatly-underpowered dud (of which Wizened might be one; but I can't tell if it sucks or if it was meant to be a "pat on the head" for high-level mystic theurges) there are some seriously-great discoveries here. Let's talk about the good stuff.

Animator! Animator!!! Nets you animate objects as an arcane spell, and gives you a bonus with that spell. Don't mind if I do.

None Dare Speak His Name and Sense Artifacts are awesome. Nevermind that these are both 20th level capstone powers which will likely never see play - they're awesome, damn it.

Wrest Summons is super-cool. Voice of Reason is basically just one of those "use x in place of y" abilities, but it lets wizards be good at something that they weren't good at before. Obfuscation is perfect for "tricky" mages and illusionists, Mind Over Matter gives you a neat and wizard-y variant of Diehard, and Forceful Counterspell lets you "push back" against your enemies spells' so hard that they get nosebleeds. Ioun Bond lets you affix ioun stones to your bonded object to give the object bonus hit points and other benefits.

Dedicated Familiar will be a popular choice for multiclassed wizards, and Imperious Familiar actually allows your familiar to be legitimately but very situationally useful in combat now and then. Coolest of all the familiar discoveries is Reservoir Familiar, which allows you to "hide" a spell in your familiar's mind and get it back, later. I'll admit... I didn't "get it" at first, but the uses are readily apparent if you think about it.

As awesome as None Dare Speak His Name is, coolest arcane talent goes to Living Spellbook, which does exactly what it sounds like it does. Ever wanted to play Gin Rummy with your familiar and your spellbook? Now you can.

All in all, the hits outweigh the misses (and those hits are spot on). I want to give it more, but my verdict is three and a half stars. ****

- Sarah McLean


Some excellent arcane discoveries and some bland ones - good for the price

***( )( )

This pdf is 4 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving 2 pages of content, providing a total of 32 new arcane discoveries for wizards to choose from, so let's check this out!

Much like the Class Acts-pdf on rogue talents, this one kicks off with a rather specific discovery: Animator lets you animate more objects with more construction points. Very specific for an arcane discovery and not too powerful, but an ok option. Arcane Signet on the other hand is ridiculously lame - at 20th level, when displaying your arcane mark or carrying it around, you gain half your class-level to diplomacy and intimidate, but only against people with at least 1 rank Knowledge (Arcana) and Spellcraft. Let's re-check that - 20th level. Timestop. Meteor-swarm. Etc. - and as a capstone, we can get paltry social skill bonuses? Against a specific set of persons to boot? Come on! AT least get rid of the restriction, this is pathetic as a capstone.

Dedicated Familiar deserves special mention, since it allows your familiar to use your character level instead of your class level to determine its power - cool, elegant, simple: Two thumbs up! Ioun bound is another one of the nicer discoveries - affix ioun stones to items to get the stone's benefit and slightly increase the item's durability. Living Spellbook is another cool discovery that makes your spellbook an intelligent item - a lot of potential in that particular one.

Speaking of potential: As much as Arcane Signet sucks as a capstone, as much rocks "None dare speak his name" - every time a creature of Int 3+ speaks your name and is on the same plane, you become aware of the distance to and direction of the speaker. AWESOME! This becomes a staple of all of my archwizards, be it as discovery or (ex), (su).

Another potential capstone, permanent magic, on the other hand could break your setting: To render spells with range of "personal" permanent, you ignore 10.000 GP of costs - can you see the repercussion when allowing a lot of spells in your campaign? As a 20th level discovery, it's okay I guess, but still - not too cool.

Rather cool are the discoveries that enable you to e.g. memorize two spells of the same school in one slot, choosing the one you want when casting the spell or even commit the memorization of a spell to a familiar. Insightful preparation is a good concept, granting you a bonus depending on the school of the highest level spell you have prepared. Each time you prepare spells, you can choose anew. And boy. +4 armor bonus for conjuration. +2 natural armor bonus for transmutation. OUCH. Plus: If you e.g. have a 4th level evocation slot, you can benefit from this discovery, but as soon as you get access 5th level spells and don't know a spell of the corresponding school, you lose access to that particular bonus from the discovery, which feels plain and simple weird to me.

Voice of Reason hits a pet-peeve of mine: The discovery gives you diplomacy as a class-skill and makes it an int-based skill. That's not good design or imaginative, but rather just bad filler. Speaking of filler: Wizened grants you +2 to Wisdom. Wait. What? Aren't age-categories used to reflect such changes? Plus: A discovery for a +2 attribute bonus is rather steep in my mind. Then there also are some discoveries that enable you to learn prestidigitation, ventriloquism, comprehend languages and message-spells - okay, but again, rather bland when compared to other ones.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are good, though some wordings could be slightly clearer. Layout adheres to a 2-column standard with a parchment-like background, has no artwoks and no bookmarks, but needs none of the former at this length. All right, let's get right to it: This pdf is not perfect - part of the freshman-quartet of pdfs, this bullet points-style class-act shows some rather neat promise regarding design, but, especially with this one, I feel that less would have been more: Several of the arcane discoveries herein do not feel like arcane discoveries, but rather like other concepts, perhaps for archetypes etc. or miscellaneous new rules. That being said, there are not as many ones I'd consider broken or bland as in the one on rogues and, as in all class acts, there are multiple contents herein that can be considered winners - elegant, cool designs and iconic ideas, but the disparity between the superb ones and the rather lame ones is rather evident. That being said, if you're looking for some great arcane discoveries and can live with some that should be ignored/tweaked, you should still give this a chance - the low price and good bang-for-buck ratio still make this a valid purchase. My final verdict will thus be 3 stars due to the low price, a close scrape with the 2.5, but better than that.

Endzeitgeist out.


***( )( )

Weighing in at 4 pages, with 1 each going to front cover and OGL, this addition to the Abandoned Arts Presents: Class Acts line covers 32 new arcane discoveries for the Wizard. Following the dual column format for new material, on a colored page background that is muted enough to not detract from reading, this PDF would be one of the four that Abandoned Arts introduced themselves to us with.

A new company on the scene, with Daron Woodson handling the design chops, they've released their first offerings at an extremely affordable rate to give folks a chance to get to know them. So, let us take a look through this PDF, and see if it is worth the price of admission, shall we?

OK, for those few out there not in the know, arcane discoveries are a glorious little gem available to the Wizard class that can replace the bonus feats one usually gets through normal level progression. So, this PDF's purpose is essentially to offer additional options to that list of discoveries to further torment your players with when it comes time to decide upon a discovery to choose....ah, I love choices.

With 32 total, I am not going to build you a shopping list, preferring to focus on a few that stand out and grab my attention instead. Dedicated Familiar allows you to use your character level, instead of your class level, in regards to your familiar. Forceful Counterspell delivers nonlethal damage in the amount of a spell countered upon a successful countering. Ioun Bond allows you to bond the stones to an object instead of allowing them to float around your head...which pleases me immensely, as I personally have never been a fan of the floating halo effect. Living Spellbook, oh there are so many different directions a GM could go with this, lol...both good and bad...LOVE IT!!!!!!!

None Dare Speak His Name is the type of discovery that helps really set a theme for a truly powerful character within a setting. Must be a 20th level Wizard to even think about this one, but if you take it, none may be able to speak your name upon the same plane as you without you being aware of it. The little mental needle goes off and points like a compass to the offending knave whom has spat your name, and the distance to their beating heart is known like the back of your hand. Ahhhhh, terrorizing the locals has never been more fun.

Now, after reading through several discoveries that ranged from standard fare to really good, there were a few that made me stop and wonder why they were included...so we shall address those as well...
Voice of Reason, gain diplomacy as a class skill, utilizing Int mod. Really? Sharing the same page as None may Dare Speak His Name nonetheless. Or, Wizened, gains a straight numerical bonus to your Wis score...boring. Sorry. Wizard's Tricks and Wizard's Whispers really didn't do anything for me either, not when I'm thinking on the level of discoveries.

So, final thoughts here...still within the freshman offerings, and each of the four appear to visually all have the same basic concept going on, text on a colored page with no artwork. Design wise there are moments of true quality here, and this from a new company still cutting their teeth, it will be interesting to see what direction they go in next. With the handful of out of place discoveries really pulling down the status quo, and the visually unappealing look, I can not go higher then a 3.5 for this one, rounding down to a 3 for the purposes of this rating system. Still worth the price of admission, as you are still getting 32 discoveries for a dollar, with some true gems included.


Solid product, awesome for the price

****( )

I'm happy with this download. Let's start with the basics:

The PDF is 4 pages long, two of which are the cover and OGL pages, respectively. On the two pages of content, there are a full 32 new Arcane Discoveries, which for a <$1 product is fabulous. I'll give a quick yay-or-nay on each discovery below:

Animator - boost to animate objects; very situational but well-written. (yay)

Arcane Signet - use your arcane mark to impress spellcasters (yay)

Artificial Conduit - drain magic from a magic item on your person to power a staff; I'd never use this one, personally, but a cool idea (yay)

Dedicated Familiar - use your character level instead of your arcane spellcaster level for determining your familiar's abilities and whether you can take Improved Familiar; possibly creeps on the Boon Companion feat, but otherwise solid (yay)

Dual Slot - prepare two spells in one slot but the slot is expended if you cast either - a good way for a wizard to get a little bit more versatility. The only thing I'd change is to specify that this ability can only be chosen once. (yay)

Endow Wand - spend time to give your wand an extra temporary charge; this is probably a little overpowered since there seems to be no penalty at all, and there's no level limit (if it was only wands of spells up to 2nd level, I'd say fine). (nay)

Forceful Counterspell - cause nonlethal damage to the caster when you sucessfully counterspell; sounds fun (yay)

Illimitable Power - more uses of a single arcane school power; this one is probably a little overpowered since it uses your level to determine the number of uses per day, I would say this should be a static 4 more uses per day or something like that, especially since some favored class options would give even more uses per day. (nay)

Imperious Familiar - your familiar gains dominate animal as a spell-like, but only can use it on animals of its kind; this might be a little bit OP since it's 3 times daily, though it's balanced by requiring the same kind of animal (would this mean that your cat familiar couldn't use this on a tiger?) cool concept though. (yay)

Insightful Preparation - Okay this one needs a little work. Essentially, each time you prepare your spells you get a boost, based on the arcane school you choose. These benefits seemingly last 24 hours. Some of them are really weak (+4 to Spellcraft checks), and some are insanely strong (+4 armor bonus!!). The +4 armor bonus essentially means you'd never need mage armor again, so I think that one would have to go. (nay)

Ioun Bond - you can attach ioun stones to your bonded object instead of them floating around your head. your bonded object gets 2 temp HP. I like this one a lot, but it needs to be limited to a single ioun stone (or maybe a certain number based on your wizard level). (yay)

Living Spellbook - your spellbook becomes an intelligent item; cool concept, though I'm not sure what you'd gain from it. (yay)

Mind Over Matter - Use your Int score to determine negative hit point total at which you die; no issues here, situational but could come in very handy that one time an Ogre decides to focus on you. (yay)

None Dare Speak His Name - VOLDEMORT! You know when someone says your name; very cool, though it requires 20th level so it won't be available in 90% of games. (yay)

Obfuscation - bonus to Spellcraft DC to identify your spells; meh, it works (yay)

Permanent Magic - permanency spells work way better for you; requires 20th level so again, it won't be important in many games. (yay)

Power Staff - magical staffs you wield gain a +1 enhancement bonus to attack and damage; by the time you qualify for this (5th level) you'll be able to enhance weapons to make them way better than this (nay)

Read Magic - read magic spell as at-will spell-like ability; one less cantrip to memorize each day (yay)

Reservoir Familiar - store one spell per day in your familiar, touch it to memorize the spell on the fly; I think this mechanic is flawed, since you theoretically don't have a free spell slot to cast the spell with. Could use a little work. (nay)

Scholar's Shorthand - write spells in your spellbook using up less pages, -25% cost; soild (yay)

Sense Artifacts - does what the name says, you sense artifacts within 100 miles; super situational, and requires 20th level, but fine (yay)
Spell Battery - use up charges of a wand or staff AND cause it to gain the broken condition to recall a spell that you've already cast today; I can see this being used to cheesily recall spells using 0th-level wands, since it doesn't specify a required spell level of wand or staff, so I'm gonna say no to this one (nay)

Spell Thesis - auto-identify one spell, gain +2 on concentration checks pertaining to that spell, etc.; this one's solid. (yay)

Stately Spellcraft - use a longer casting time to increase the duration and range of a spell; very situational, but fine (yay)

Symbol Mastery - boost DCs to locate or remove "symbol" spells you cast; pretty cool, could be fun in conjunction with the arcane mark discovery from earlier (yay)

Trace Bond - locate your familiar or bonded object at will; I'd never choose this one, but it's fine (yay)

Voice of Reason - use Int instead of Cha for Diplomacy checks, it's always a class skill for you; Super awesome, I'd pick it in an RP-heavy game (yay)

Wand Transfer - transfer charges between wands of equal or lesser spell levels; This could be really useful for random loot that you'd never use: "oh, that wand of alter winds we found back there? Hand it here. Mmkay, now I have more charges in my mage armor wand. *tosses wand of alter winds in trash* (yay)

Wizard's Tricks - prestidigitation and ventriloquism become duration 1 hour/level; meh, I wouldn't choose this one, but if you like those spells, awesome (yay)

Wizard's Whispers - comprehend languages and message become duration 1 hour/level; this one's a little better than Wizard's Tricks (yay)

Wrest Summons - lets you steal control of a summoned creature if you have a sufficient summon spell prepared; pretty cool, though they need to specify that the duration is 1 minute or the length of the effect whichever is shorter (yay)

So, only 6 out of 32 that I think are bad ideas, and most of those could be fixed with a short phrase. Overall, this is a good product, without much creep potential (probably less than a lot of Paizo-sanctioned products from recent times), and I'd recommend it for your wizard if your DM approves.

I'd also like to say that for a first foray into sourcebooks, Abandoned Arts has done an excellent job!


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