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Class Acts: Magi (PFRPG) PDF

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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: Magi includes thirty-two new magus arcana.

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Unfortunately one of the worst Class Acts

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This pdf is 4 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 2 pages of content which introduce us to 22 new magus arcana, so let's take a look!

The arcanas herein are rather various in their design approaches - starting with e.g. gaining arcane blast as a bonus feat, 1 round of flight equal to your land speed, granting the dancing, merciful, defending quality temporarily to your weapon, dimension door short distances, duplicate hypnosis-effects by waving with your blade etc.

Beyond that, there also are some abilities that allow you to spend arcane pool points to add +4 to dispel checks, to saves against spells you have prepared, to caster-level checks to overcome SR, to AC etc. So far, so dull. There are, however, also some arcanas that go a bit beyond: Oriflamme weapon, rimefrost weapon, solvent weapon and thunderous weapon all are aligned with the respective two weapon enchantments of their corresponding elements and allow you to make special actions while wielding them, inspiring allies with fire, entrapping foes in rime and disrupting spellcasting with cacophonous bursts, thus making the overall idea not only mechanically interesting, but also rather cool - kudos for these 3. Oh yeah, solvent weapons can universal solvent-style dissolve helpless victims -ouch! Speaking of kudos: The Magi out there may now also elect to fill one field within reach of their weapons with elemental energy to damage foes or use up a charge from a wand to gain the benefit of the eschew materials feat for a round.

There also are some odd ducks among the new options for arcana: Healing Pool, for example, grants you fast healing 1 as long as your pool is full, while insight pool nets you +2 to perception and + number of pool points to initiative. The latter is interesting, though I wished it halved the bonus to initiative and instead made it always available - not spending points is not a way to make the magus feel cooler, but artificially rewards character resource-hogging.
penetrating strike is weird: If you fail to hit an enemy, you can still damage the foe equal to your str-modifier. Not sure whether this almost guaranteed hit is to my liking - there are too many ways to use poison etc. to make the low damage output of such an attack a good balancing factor. Spell Synchronicity is a problematic arcana - as long as you have a spell-slot that's empty, you may spend a point of your pool to instantly prepare that a spell you have cast last round. I'm not a big fan of allowing for the regaining of spells, much less when said power isn't even restricted to the Magus' spell-list, so go figure: For me personally, I'd consider this particular arcana utterly broken, even with its included caveat "does not allow you to prepare any additional spells per day."
And then there's Sneaky Spell. Spend 1 point of your arcane pool to make a spell you cast impossible to identify via spellcraft. Yep. Not a +5, +10, or +20 bonus - impossible. No roll - neither for archmagi, nor for similar entities. No chance to counter. This arcana is broken and whether employed by DMs or players, should be considered an unfair move. Ban this.

Beyond these, there are also a couple of "As long as you have at least 1 point..."-powers that automatically add effects to e.g. light spells or make those marked by your arcane mark easier targets - which is cool and honestly, I wish there were more arcanas like this in here.

Editing and formatting are good, I didn't notice any significant glitches in the pdf. Layout adheres to Abandoned Arts' no-frills 2-column standard and the pdf has neither bookmarks, nor artworks, but honestly doesn't need them at this length.

I'm not mincing words here: Boy did this Class Act disappoint me. After all of the recent offerings of Abandoned Arts were of above average quality and even oftentimes brilliant benchmarks for the respective classes (Alchemist, Monk Archetypes, heck, even the Gunslinger!), the arcanas herein almost universally failed to elicit any sense of true excitement from me. +4 bonuses to dispel checks, access to feats via class abilities and limited spell access may not be bad design, but honestly, they are bland design. And beyond bland design decisions like this, we unfortunately also get options like spell synchronicity, sneaky spells and penetrating strike that unfortunately cannot be considered be balanced in any way - Which is a double pity since there are some good ideas and nice arcanas in here - just not enough to make me recommend this pdf, in spite of the low price.

In the end, only the barbarian-class-act felt as bad and bland to me - these Magi lack magic. My final verdict thus will be 2 stars.

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