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Pathfinder Player Companion: Elemental Master's Handbook (PFRPG)

***½( ) (based on 5 ratings)
Pathfinder Player Companion: Elemental Master's Handbook (PFRPG)

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Seize Primal Power!

The earth, flames, waves, and wind that make up all natural landscapes might seem like mere backgrounds for characters' heroics, but those who understand the fundamental makeup of nature know that these core elements can lend incredible power. Learn how to harness the building blocks of existence with breathtaking feats, magic items, spells, and much more. Plus, characters with an affinity for the elements can train in one of the many archetypes and other character options presented in Pathfinder Player Companion: Elemental Master's Handbook.

Inside this book, you'll find:

  • The genie binder prestige class, which grants elemental maestros a pool of charismatic gumption when cowing genies to their will and allows them to create elemental seals of power.
  • New archetypes, from the weapon-enhancing flamesinger bard and the breathless Abendego diver ranger to the mystical stone-wielding earthshadow rogue and the hurricane-punching windstep master monk.
  • New kineticist feats, infusions, and utility wild talents that coalesce the power of the elements, including those that harness the esoteric void and wood elements.

This Pathfinder Player Companion is intended for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the Pathfinder campaign setting, but it can easily be incorporated into any fantasy world.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-965-3

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Player Companion Subscription.

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Product Reviews (5)

Average product rating:

***½( ) (based on 5 ratings)

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Great options, need more kineticist

****( )

This book is full of crunchy, interesting options, including options to "cyborg" yourself with elemental matter. Almost all of them are pretty well written and worth considering.

However, I have to remove one star from the lack of kineticist options. The community has a large demand for more kineticist talents. Many elements have a crippling lack of talents at various levels, and people hoped this volume would help solve that. Unfortunately, the book only got two pages of content.

***( )( )

The Elemental Master’s Handbook has some great concepts and good executions that look into some interesting design space, but suffers from a few options that feel like they needed another editing pass after rewrites.

The first half of this book, divided in four, covers what the Player Companion calls the Masters of the elements (Fire, Water, Earth and Air. Each of these sub-sections contain a different mix of Archetypes, character rules elements and feats, as well as four locations within the Golarion setting that ties thematically with that element, and a rules element associated with that location.

Masters of Fire is first, giving us the Firebrand Gunslinger and Flamesinger Bard. The Firebrand is a bomb-throwing, fire spitting gunslinger, that runs it’s grit pool and bombs of it’s charisma score. They can also can add their Charisma to the DCs of dragon’s breath cartridges. They also count direct hits with bombs as firearm shots with regard to grit regeneration.

The Flamesinger gains Fire Music as a bonus feat, and automatically gains summon monster spells as she levels up, and replaces her ability to inspire courage to add stacking fire damage to her allies weapons, toasty!

Masters of Fire also includes the Salamander bloodline for both Sorcerers and Bloodragers. Both bloodlines gain transformational augments that make them more akin to their Salamander ancestors. Bloodragers can enhance their weapons and armor when they bloodrage, while Sorcerers focus on crafting and augmenting magical items.

The last standout in Masters of Flame is Sunblade, which lets Paladins with Word of Healing spend uses of lay on hands to use the blast of flame as a kineticist! (although at a reduced effective kineticist level), opening up a weapons-free ranged attack for Paladins.

The Earthshadow rogue was the first entry in Masters of Stone that caught my eye. It’s a subterranean-themed rogue archetype that gains a pseudo-ki pool, named Earthcraft points which allows an Earthshadow to cast spell-like abilities, including stone tell and dimension door, replacing half you rogue talents. One thing to note is that it doesn’t list whether or not Unchained Rogue’s can take this archetype.

This section also includes some very nice rogue/investigator/slayer talents: ‘Fortified position’ lets you apply cover bonuses to fortitude saves, ‘castling’ improves cover granted by enemies, and Unbalancing trick gives you the Improved trip feat AND qualifies you for Greater Trip once you’ve hit sixth level!

Masters of the Water gives us the Abendego Diver, which drops out their wild empathy of greater breath holding, locks them into aquatic favored terrain. Instead of woodland stride they gain a natural a natural swim speed, and swift tracker goes in favor of scent while underwater. While it’s very niche, it doesn’t give up much you’d miss. Benthic spell lets you add one to the spell level to either replace, or split a damaging spells damage with bludgeoning via torrents of water.

Moving on past the four classical elements, the book goes on to expand on Wizard schools in Masters of the Esoteric Elements, introducing the Aether elemental school, and the Ice, Magma, Mud, and Smoke focused elemental arcane schools, which provide alternative school powers for elemtal school wizards.

Wielders of Elemental power provides seven blast infusions, talents wild talents, as well as two feats. One allows a kineticist to counter spells with a certain subset of keywords (Generally those that correspond with elemental damage types), and the other provides some mobility while gathering power.

Next up, Elemental Augmentations are a new type of slotless magical item, sort of like an elemental magic prostheses. These are all very interesting, but also quite expensive, and successful or not, Inflicts of constitution damage when integrated (which also requires a fortitude save.

Next up is the Genie Binder Prestige Class. The Genie Binder is a five level, that advances spell-casting three levels out of five. The meat and potatoes of this class are elemental seals, a multi-purpose spell-like ability creating a rune on an object or creature. Each ‘classical’ element has seal, and each seal acts differently when placed on an object, a genie, or a creature other than a genie. Placing a seal costs 1 point from the Genie Binder’s Binding Pool (which contains two times her level, and refreshes daily. It can also be used to give +1d6 on a charisma check or skill against a genie), and the Genie Binder can maintain one seal per day at first level, a second at 3rd level, and a third at 5th. Placing a seal on a genie forces it to save versus charm monster, and if it fails it is affected as long as the seal remains in effect. (Seals remain in effect for 24 hours, and can be refreshed every day by spending a further point from the binding pool). When placed on a non-genie creature, it offers 10 points of energy resistance corresponding with the seal’s element, and a constant spell like ability associated with that element. Finally, when placed on an object, it acts as a blasting Glyph of Warding, dealing damage corresponding with the elemental type. The seals available to the Genie Binder are spaced out across levels, and the more powerful Spell-like abilities are tied to higher level seals. Lastly, a fifth level Genie Binder can raise the DC of their Seals by spending an additional binding point.

The Genie Binder also adds the common types of genie to the list of available summon monster spells. The caveat is that summoning them this way costs points from her binding pool, and the summoned creature cannot cast wish, a perfectly reasonable caveat, preventing Efreeti wishes from [/i]Summon Monster VI. Sadly, the last two features are where things come apart at the seams, a little, and I suspect this archetype may have had some growing pains through development, editing and/or copyfitting. At first level the Genie Binder gains Genie Mastery , at which point the Genie Binder must choose to pursue spellcasting power or bind a genie minion. Choosing spellcasting results her ‘gain[ing] the benefits of her alignment spellcasting class feature at 3rd level, in addition to other indicated levels). Unfortunately the Aligned spellcasting feature is absent from the class entry. Alternatively, the Genie binder may gain a Genie Unchained Eidolon, with an effective summoner level equal to her Genie Binder level plus any other summoner levels they may have, meaning while it’s certainly a possibility to choose for Wizard (for example), a wizard is getting very little from this choice. Overall, I do like this prestige class, though it seems to have suffered some growing pains between writing and publishing.

As mentioned, Elemental master’s handbook also offers the Genie Eidolon subtype. Genie Eidolons are proficient with martial weapons, and as their master increases in level, they can increase their size, gain a movement mode based on their type, gain an array of Spell-like abilities. Overall a decent addition, and the fills a space that was in retrospect waiting to be filled.

Oracles get both a new Mystery and a new Curse: The Elemental Mystery and the Elemental Imbalance Curse. Elemental Imbalance afflicts you with energy vulnerability to one element and bonus spells known based on that elements opposite. Elemental Mystery Oracles gain powers from a variety of different elements, and their bonus spells are suitably broad elemental spells. such as the [i]elemental body line of spells, and they gain a nice mix of familiar and new revelations, with plenty of interesting and useful twists.

Finally, Elemental Alchemy is touch upon. The Energy Scientist is an archetype for the Alchemist which attunes to an element every day, and gains save bonuses against spells with the matching keyword. In addition, his bombs automatically deal that type of damage (discoveries can still alter this on the fly, but the bomb die size is reduced). Lastly, the Energy Scientist is also able to turn dead elementals into alchemical items, although they cannot be sold and become inert after 24 hours.

Development lead for Elemental Master’s Handbook were Amanda Hamon Kunz and Ron Lundeen. John Compton, Eleanor Ferron, Mikko Kallio, Jason Keeley, Isabelle Lee, and Christopher Wasko are credited as authors. The Cover art is by Igor Grechanyi, and the interior art is by Alyssa Davis, Graey Erb, and Kent Hamilton.

Elemental Fun

****( )

I found this book to be a good product, not great, but still solid.

Good stuff

****( )

This book has a lot of options, as most Player Companion books do. Reading through it, I liked most of the options from a flavor and mechanical standpoint. While nothing stood out as 'NEW OP MUST HAVE', I thought a lot of it was fairly good and not totally useless.

As an example, there is an advanced rogue talent that gives DR 2/Adamantium and can be taken multiple times. While not the best rogue talent of all time, it certainly has its uses, especially for enemy NPC rogues.

Overall, this book is a solid entry.

Lot of elemental flavors

**( )( )( )

Good points: Lots of different character options that are elemental flavored for most classes. (Ranger, Rogue, Alchemist, Gunslinger, Bard, Cleric, Summoner, Monk, Wizard/Sorcerer, Oracle and Kineticist. It really feels like this book is a perfect Companion for PFS groups that are just starting Season 8 a year late.

BAD points: I think most people (including myself) expected a lot of options for the Kineticist class - the masters of the elements. It is very regretfully only ~1 page of talents. (7 infusions and 3 utilities, only 1 is universal)

Positive thing for Kineticist is a feat that allows you to move half speed while gathering power. Gift Certificates
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