Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Coven (PFRPG)

****½ (based on 11 ratings)
Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Coven (PFRPG)
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Are You a Good Witch? Or a Bad Witch?

Wizards may wield studied spells and clerics pray to the gods themselves, but witchcraft—wild, untamed, perilous—is the magic of the common folk, with all the desperation and danger that implies. Embodied by hags and their half-blood daughters, changelings, witchcraft has always been one of the broadest, most potent, and most misunderstood forces of magic... until now. Learn the dark rituals and curses witchcraft empowers, and the good it stands to do in the world as well.

Inside this book you'll find:

  • An examination of the changeling race, including changeling covens, enhanced hag heritage, and specific rules for the 10 subraces of changelings, depending on their hag mothers.
  • New hag- and witchcraft-focused archetypes for a variety of classes, including bloodragers, clerics, investigators, and witches.
  • New curse spells and magic rituals employed by witches, as well as curse-related feats to help adventurers get the most out of a bad day.

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: 978-1-60125-982-0

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

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****½ (based on 11 ratings)

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Amok, Amok, Amok!


Rather enjoyed this product. The specific changeling heritages are both descriptive and varied, much like the “Blood of Angels/Fiends” books were, with an addition to unlock more of your hag-heritage!

Also, of note was an expansion on patrons, called ‘agendas’ – you can now have a patron that perhaps pays more attention to you than other witches, and include both boons and banes.

There is some material about hags and covens, but it doesn’t make the mistake Blood of the Night’s mistake with dedicating player options for vampires. Informative, but short.

Of the archetypes, the malice binder was very cool and interesting: a witch hunter that uses a specific magic to aid in battling their prey. It is an archetype that I would like to see have more options released in future products regarding one of its selectable class abilities (similar to new discoveries).


One of the best

*****

Strong archetypes, great changeling material, cool new spells and rituals. Even the magic items section is creative, useful, and even pretty funny.


Mama always said not to wander too deep into the woods

****( )

Blood of the Coven is a well-worth addition to the Pathfinder Library of both players and game masters.

This Player Companion begins by expanding on the Changelings, both in terms of rules mechanics and lore. It starts off by expanding on the lore presented in the Advanced Race Guide and Inner Sea Races, and moves on to a guideline for Changelings based on non humans, and a note that the Hags with the Outsider type can also create Changelings.

Changelings get some good options in this book. They received the treatment given to Aasimar, Tieflings and Skinwalkers, being given ten(!) optional varieties tied closely to the Changeling’s hag mother. Each lists a typical alignment (which is one variety of Neutral or another, except for Waker May, born from Dreamthief hag’s coven-mates, into whom the Dreamthief pours their fiendish soul). These variants also alter the racial ability modifiers of the changeling, though most have at least one or two modifiers in common with the non-speciality Changeling. Finally, the variants are each given a Hag Racial Trait, usefully collected from the various Bestiary entries of Hags, expanding the options from the Advanced Class Guide.

This section is excellent, and my only real disappointment is that Slag May, Annis-born Changelings retain a constitution penalty, the only mar on them making absolutely perfect Bloodragers. Why bloodragers? I’ll get to that, but it's by no means a deal breaker.

The next section covers Covens. Once more, Blood of the Covens does some very useful leg-work in collating information on hags, in this place, the specific spells which a given hag contributes to their coven spellcasting. Additionally, there are a few feats in this section: The shiner here to me is Enhanced Coven. Each changeling with the feat gains an additional 3 coven ‘slots’ per day.

Next up is a fairly long section on Witchcraft. Patrons receive a set of archetypes which left you graft some spells onto your patron spell list, and at the cost of a drawback, you get a bonus hex. The drawbacks by and large are either minor or quite flavourful: the Celestial Agenda wants you to not deceive or threaten people, the Green Whispers patron forbids metal armor and inflicts minor damage in contact with metal and those whose patron is Touched By The Outer Gods are easily confused.

This section also contacts three archetypes for witches, of which my favourite has to be the Hagbound. Hagbound Witches have to take the archetype as their first level, and must continue to take levels in hagbound witch until they can free themselves from the hold a hag has on their souls, slowly transforming them into a Hag, becoming an evil monstrous humanoid with several immunities and hefty spell resistance, unless she can remove the archetype with a miracle before you hit 20th level. The putrefactor gains an honorable mention for being ...thoroughly disgusting, but also an interesting take on a witch with a swarm familiar. The section tops off with three additional patrons, Jynx, Mercy and Rot.

The Witch Religions section provides an overview of the common deities that Witches worship, , and provides the Triadic Priest Cleric archetype, which forms a Triadic bond with exactly two allies, and gains bonuses for working cooperatively with them (I’m strongly considering this archetype if I ever get into a 3 player+GM game in the future)

Next up is a section on curses.slightly over a bag of spells all with the curse descriptor (surprise surprise) and a few feats. The standout feat is the Latent Curse metamagic feat. For a +1 spell level adjustment, you change the target line on a spell to object touched, but the object does not suffer the effect of the spell, oh no, the next creature to touch the object does. I think that this is a legitimately amazing feat with some creative, devious uses.

Hags and the Occult touches on Hagtouched implements and Hag or curse themed archetypes for the Kineticist and Spiritualist as well as a psychic discipline and hag-themed implements for Mediums, and the Arakineticist Archetype. I’m not as familiar as i should be with the occult classes, so I can’t really comment on these.

And then Ritual Magic. I love Ritual magic, and I love these Rituals! Five-Generation Curse is how you get lycanthropic families. Grand Coven lets a coven gain additional members, and gain powerful effects for more members,including wail of the banshee and greater create undead. Invoke the Nemesis is an amazingly thematic spell, I believe it’s a bit let down by being a seventh level ritual that summons a creature with a CR under 4.

Those who hunt is the penultimate section, and probably my favourite in the game, but then I favor martial characters. The Covenbane slayer could easily have been much too niche for consideration in many campaigns, but instead is, in my opinion a viable, strong archetype! The Covenbane slayer gains a supernatural ability to sense spellcasters, hags and creatures with SLAs, as well as recognise creatures disguised magically (“By the prickling of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes...”), Studied target expands to give bonuses against the entire coven after studying a single member, and later expands to include those bound by hive-minds or telepathic bond, an excellent extrapolation of the theme.

The Hagriven Bloodrager is also amazing, gain claws, the ability to sacrifice spell slots for enhancement bonuses to both claws that stack with other enhancement bonuses, and natural armor bonus, and a free floating critical feat, changeable each day. And the art supplied for it on the previous page is excellent. Despite the con penalty on Slag-May/Annis-born Changelings, they’ve risen high on my “Play this concept” list.

The Malice Binder Investigator is perhaps a step down from the un-archetyped Investigator, but contains a slew of interesting abilities, but is perhaps better suited to an NPC than a PC. (But would serve excellently in that role: Wrack is especially cool, and a fantastic way to create tension.

Blood of the Coven closes up with an item section. There’s nothing essential here, but the Pactseeker’s blade is very cool, dealing bonus damage to each of a struck creature’s allies that the creature shares an active spell effect with, and the Battlepot Cauldron, which is a giant spiky pot you can use as a magical heavy mace. Beyond that, you can put up to five potions into the battlepot as a standard action each. When you hit an enemy with the Battlepot, you can free action effect that creature with one of the potions (of your choice) in the pot, very fun, I think! Also, ‘battlepot’ is just a plain fun word.

This wasn’t a book I had any particular excitement for when I first saw it on the release schedule, but I thought I’d take a look, and I was very pleased with what I found. Some very cool archetypes, interesting rituals, a delightfully tricksome metamagic feat. In addition, Paizo has taken an opportunity to enshrine that while hag’s magical nature causes them to bear only female children, these children can express masculine identities or lack clearly defined sexual traits.

Development leads for this book were Crystal Frasier and Jessica Price. John Compton, Eleanor Ferron, Crystal Frasier, Lissa Guillet, Elisa Mader, Adrian Ng, Mark Seifter and Linda Zayas-Palmer are credited as authors. The cover art is by Setiawan Lie, and interior art is by Kent Hamilton, Alyssa McCarthy and Benjamin Widdowson.


Fair is foul, and foul is fair.

*****

As an enthusiast of all things hag-related, I waited with baited breath to acquire this gem.

The new options give a lot of customization to witches, changelings, and coven casters. Pleased to see changeling options for the outsider hags and finally (if not a little brief) new information on hag goddesses.

Interesting to see how different casters and psionics can touch upon the feats, spells, and items. Also pleased to see more classic hag homages, Curse of Dragonflies screams Spirited Away.

All of the Blood supplements have been useful, and Blood of the Coven especially so!


Worth the Wait!

*****

I've been looking forward to this book for months, as our current campaign has a changeling character in it, and we were hoping for more material to work with. Now that it's here I'm blown away by it; I think I can safely say this is my favorite book in the Player Companion line.

This book has great options and information for changelings, hags, and witches in Pathfinder, all in about equal measure. The contributions here go beyond the rule additions however; the book really expands on what we know about hag ecology, the lives of changelings, and the role a patron plays in a witch's spellcasting career. In the case of the patrons, I finally feel like a witch's patron is as active a participant in her character as a cleric's god, which is saying something!

Our game group is going to get a lot out of this book now and in the future. I'd recommend it as a steller expansion on both character options and in-game lore.


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Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Right, CRB Barbarian writeup using she doesn't mean men can't play bbns. :D

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

The pronoun used in Paizo published material is very much tied to the pronoun the iconic for the class uses.

Shadow Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:


Kileanna: Might it have something to do with swanmay and swanmaidens, perhaps tied into the First World?

No idea, just stabbing in the dark?

Not directly. But Baba Yaga is also linked to the fey, and the transformation of mortal maidens into swanmays through ritual, simular to the hag/changeling ritual would suggest a relation.


Is it just me, or did the Paizo editors let one slip their notice with the Vellemancer's "Expanded Wishgranter" ability? Ability boost spells are nice, "...but she may sacrifice any spell of 2nd level or LOWER to spontaneously cast one of these spells..."

Not the kind of thing 1st level slots are normally used for...

Dark Archive

I can't help by think that the Putrefactor was partially inspired by a certain image macro about centipedes in private places.

The Exchange

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kileanna wrote:

Thanks for answering my super stupid question! These are the kind of obvious things that a non native speaker finds confusing.

Well, thanks for asking that question, because now I don't have to :D

nighttree wrote:
It's very much a Gaelic/UK thing

Aaaah, you shouldn't have said that.

Spoiler:
Now I can't help about thinking about which kind of hag heritage would make for a good Theresa May.


I tried searching for it but couldnt find it, for the Hag-Touched Spiritualist, are they meant to suffer arcane spell failure for armor?

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
bewareoftom wrote:
I tried searching for it but couldnt find it, for the Hag-Touched Spiritualist, are they meant to suffer arcane spell failure for armor?

Nothing says they don’t, and since they’re arcane casters, they do.


bewareoftom wrote:
I tried searching for it but couldnt find it, for the Hag-Touched Spiritualist, are they meant to suffer arcane spell failure for armor?

Drat, I forgot about that. Wish the archetype either traded proficiency or granted ignore at least light armor's ASF.


Rysky wrote:
Nothing says they don’t, and since they’re arcane casters, they do.

That's what I assumed, but a lot of the companions have had rules missing/assumed but not work so I thought I'd ask if the author posted here about it (like the phantom blade spiritualist supposed to work with any weapon they are proficient in even ranged weapons, or work with spiritualist spells even though it says "as magus")


So I missed it if the book covered it and it's one of the things I wanted to (kind of needed to) know - When a changeling has a child, is it always the father's race? Is there a chance of it being a changeling? Is it an appropriate half-breed based on the child's father and the changeling's father's race?


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

They did say all Changlings are female, they did not address what Changling's children might be, though--IIRC.


Fourshadow wrote:
They did say all Changlings are female, they did not address what Changling's children might be, though--IIRC.

I imagine myself that it's perfectly possible for a male character to have a Changeling mother or grandmother.

While I'm here, just got the book, great piece of work and I love it. But two questions:

1) On page 12 with 'Customizing Hag Covens' and the new spells by hag type -- does a coven containing those hags get them automatically? Or must they trade out some of the usual coven spells for them?

2) With the Malice Binder investigator and their fetters, it says they replace the normal alchemy feature of the class. Does this also mean that the Malice Binder can't use extracts any more? I assume the answer is 'yes' but I'm not 100% sure.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Don't know the answer to #1, but the answer to #2 is yes. Any time it says a feature is replaced, then only that text applies. No mention of extracts means no extracts. Fetters instead.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thanks, Fourshadow.

In the book I also love the Battlepot cauldron. Part of me wants to make up a (non-magical) battle cauldron just so I can send them into the fray alongside the Gravedigger investigator with their trusty shovel and the Living Grimoire inquisitor and their iron-bound holy text. That's the kind of fun weird silly stuff that tabletop RPGs need more of.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Just got this book today and man I'm glad I picked the right time to play a changeling.

I'm especially happy about the artwork for the Hearth May (Ash-Born changeling); as someone with psoriasis its nice to have some artwork depicting it (and not in a negative light).

Shadow Lodge

Fourshadow wrote:
They did say all Changlings are female, they did not address what Changling's children might be, though--IIRC.

My reading of the race has always suggested that for "breeding purposes" changelings are effectively her father's race. So if a changeling's father were human, her children would default to human. If 'human' changeling had a child with an elf you would get a half elf.

That said, I would probably look at some racial traits and see if they couldn't be flavored to suggest hag ancestry. For example, a half elf with the mismatched trait from horror adventures would make sense.


Kerney wrote:
Fourshadow wrote:
They did say all Changlings are female, they did not address what Changling's children might be, though--IIRC.

My reading of the race has always suggested that for "breeding purposes" changelings are effectively her father's race. So if a changeling's father were human, her children would default to human. If 'human' changeling had a child with an elf you would get a half elf.

That said, I would probably look at some racial traits and see if they couldn't be flavored to suggest hag ancestry. For example, a half elf with the mismatched trait from horror adventures would make sense.

This is pretty much how I had been running it, but I was hoping for official word.

Edit: Though of course in my specific case it's complicated by the father being a Werebear anyway...

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Is it just me or is the Hag bloodline on page 27 missing it's 8th level bloodrager power?

Paizo Employee Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Eric Hinkle wrote:

While I'm here, just got the book, great piece of work and I love it. But two questions:

1) On page 12 with 'Customizing Hag Covens' and the new spells by hag type -- does a coven containing those hags get them automatically? Or must they trade out some of the usual coven spells for them?

As the author of this bit, it's very much up to the GM. Personally, I'd be inclined to flat-out add some or all of the spells as options if the hag is unusually powerful (such as if she has class levels). For a baseline hag, I'd probably trade out some of the existing spells for custom spells of their level or lower.


Richter Harding wrote:
Is it just me or is the Hag bloodline on page 27 missing it's 8th level bloodrager power?

Dang. No, it's not just you.

Maybe one of the authors will be kind enough to help us here?


Linda Zayas-Palmer wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:

While I'm here, just got the book, great piece of work and I love it. But two questions:

1) On page 12 with 'Customizing Hag Covens' and the new spells by hag type -- does a coven containing those hags get them automatically? Or must they trade out some of the usual coven spells for them?

As the author of this bit, it's very much up to the GM. Personally, I'd be inclined to flat-out add some or all of the spells as options if the hag is unusually powerful (such as if she has class levels). For a baseline hag, I'd probably trade out some of the existing spells for custom spells of their level or lower.

Thanks for answering my question. I like the suggestions you made here.


Got my copy and pretty good stuff ^_^

2 issues though:
1) Compared to Blood of Angels and Fiends, there is no backstory chapter about the changelings, their relation to other races and about which alignments and classes can work for them. Witches are popular and in line with their heritage, but there is no info about playing other classes.

2) 2 of the heritages are tied to hags that aren't in any of the Bestiaries... That can be hard to use. At beast, they could have added them as monsters at the end of the booklet. Ash and Mute Hags are from Golarion booklets.

Aside from that, pretty solid booklet ^_^


JiCi wrote:

Got my copy and pretty good stuff ^_^

2 issues though:
1) Compared to Blood of Angels and Fiends, there is no backstory chapter about the changelings, their relation to other races and about which alignments and classes can work for them. Witches are popular and in line with their heritage, but there is no info about playing other classes.

Aside from that, pretty solid booklet ^_^

They did give some notes on the character classes preferred by various changeling heritages in the subsections about them, but I will admit that a few more notes on how they interacted with various character classes would have been appreciated.


So... There is a spell in this book that literally makes the target Magically Delicious? :)

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