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Decent if niche book let down by the artMilo v3 —
The overall writing in this book is rather good if it's topic is something that interests you. It definitely isn't the sort of book I'd consider a must-buy because of it's narrow scope, but would normally be still something I would recommend.
Unfortunately I know I can't really recommend the pdf too heavily because of one of the great qualities of a paizo book is being immensely left down here. While the individual pieces of artwork in book look as though they were designed with the same level of skill as any other Paizo book, that something went wrong during the creation of this book that has lead to all of the art being compressed, giving all of the art a glitchy appearance.
With small pieces of art this is less noticable, but with any artwork of some size or detail it becomes rather unpleasant to look at. This is especially true with the chapter opening art and the artworks for the titular Ports. If Paizo went back and fixed this book, I would definitely be raising my rating, but as is I can't see myself giving above a 3 for a book that just has blurry messes for what would normally be gorgeous artworks if not for however they handled incorporating the artworks in this book.
From photos I've seen, it looks like the art might be fine in physical copies, but cannot confirm as I only have the pdf.
Amazing Lore, Some work needed on EvolutionistMilo v3 —
I am normally a person who doesn't read the lore of rpg settings over often, but the lore on display here is great for providing a solid baseline for your rp for so many species.
Only issue I have with the book is the Evolutionist lacking any utility abilities, which makes it feel like your character's whole shitck is just a combat thing. That you aren't a character who is always evolving or shifting, but more that "you're a character who in combat can do some weird stuff", which feels like a big mistep.
Has some neat things, but is let down by large parts of the bookMilo v3 —
Worth BuyingMilo v3 —
New class is good, has neat subclasses/talents/weapons.
Feels very constrained by page count. Especially the dynamic hacking, nanocyte faculties not really supporting many non-cloud playstyles, or how a decent amount of talents end up getting spent on vehicles to support that chapter.
Starfinder Adventure Path #32: The Starstone Blockade (The Devastation Ark 2 of 3)Paizo Inc.
Add Print Edition $22.99
Add PDF $19.99
Best SF AdventureMilo v3 —
This is without a doubt the best starfinder adventure I've read, and running it was wonderful.
Gives the players a feel of something like what we wanted out of the ending of mass effect 3.
Product Isn't PresentMilo v3 —
This isn't Everyman Minis - Deific Passengers, it's Everyman Minis -
Incarnum + Balance + Flavour - BlueMilo v3 —
Similar to Dreamscarred Presses Psionics ruleset, Akashic Mysteries takes something from 3.5e D&D and refines it. In this case, Dreamscarred Press is bringing Magic of Incarnum into Pathfinder. This conversion is not a direct copy though, no, this work has it's own identity and dodges the pitfalls that plagued the Incarnum system (and there isn't blue in every sentence). Fortunately, even if you never used (or if you never liked) the 3.5e Incarnum rules then this product is still just as useful.
Akashic Mysteries adds a new form of magic to the game known as veilweaving, which works by shaping your body's essence into semi-solid constructs which you wear for various buffs, movement modes, utility abilities, attacks forms, etc. These "veils" are basic at first and increase in power as you level up through a mechanic called binds, where certain types of veils unlock additional capabilities once you reach a certain level. In addition, each veilweaving character possesses a pool of energy called essence that you distribute between all the veils you have shaped at the current time, with more energy in a veil causing it to be more effective. If you've ever played FTL, it's sorta like distributing power into the different parts of your ship.
This system has four avenues for players to use it; new classes, archetypes, feats, and races.
The first of the new classes is the daevic, a martial character who has bonded with an entity formed from passion called a daeva, allowing the warrior to have the bonded daeva's body parts phase out of them as their veils. It has Full Base Attack Bonus, 1/3 veilweaving (though it starts at level one unlike 4th casting), and is charisma based. This class is rather expertly balanced, and the best martial class I have ever seen played, and it thankfully still "Feels" like a martial class (many supernatural martials I've seen felt more like casters in how they are actually played, but this avoided that so far). In addition, the class functions as a good intro to veilweaving, with it's class features allowing the player to only need to worry about a small number of choices of where to distribute their essence.
The second class is the skill monkey of the system, the Guru. The guru has medium base attack bonus, with 2/3 veilweaving, and use wisdom as their veilweaving stat. Their primary combat ability is to attack the chakras inside the enemy, with the primary form of this being that they can increase their damage but cause the attack to deal non-lethal damage (given a few levels this deals lethal damage against constructs and undead so don't worry if you plan on having undead or constructs as enemies in your campaign). They can also strike different parts of enemies as debuffs, like screwing the ki flow in an enemies legs to slow them down, or disrupt the magical buffs enemies have.
The final class is the "mage" of the veilweaving system, the vizier. Vizier's get half-base attack bonus, full veilweaving, and are intelligence based. The veils these guys get are very varied, but have a decent focus on battlefield control. These guys have abit of interaction with non-akashic systems, being able to select things like crafting feats, using staves as if they were casters and can invest their essence into wands to give them a few extra charges. My experience with these guys is a tad warped since I personally used my Vizier to make an Iron Man expy and didn't play around with it past that. But if you don't want to be crafter-based you can instead have abilities like weakening the minds of your enemies and make them more susceptible to manipulation (even if another party member is the one doing that manipulation) and buffing your allies with teamwork feats and speed boosts.
The archetypes cover a lot of different classes, including a small handful for DSP classes. There is even an archetype for animal companions. The feats allow anyone to dip their toe into akashic power, and provide a few tricks for individuals that are akashic (especially for combatants).
The races are pretty varied, though all are animalistic which I think fits the ancient thematics. Each has it's own tiny pool of essence, and a racial ability that can be buffed by investing essence into it, from putting your essence into your bite to increase it's strength to strengthening your wings until you can eventually fly.
Near the back of the book there are items and monsters for veilweaving. The items will definitely be useful for any player using the system, but to me the monsters are the real prize. One issue with a decent amount of new magic systems is that you cannot use them in a campaign outside of just giving the system to NPC's, but here we are given several akashic monsters including a very cool new form of True Dragon, and a new outsider subtype, the previously mentioned Daeva. The art of these monsters is also very nice and tie into the arabian/egyptian/indian inspiration that this book has very well.
This book is impeccably balanced, fun, and Michael Sayre (the author) has done some amazing work creating this out of the wonky-ness that was Magic of Incarnum. I cannot wait till more material is released for this system and will be watching out for Michael Sayre's work in the future. Admittedly there are currently some editing issues but those seem to be being remedied rather quickly.
One final note, while I personally love the arabian/egyptian/indian flavour of many of the elements of this book, it is known that that specific flavour isn't for everyone and the system is immensely adaptable and easily reflavoured without any problems.
Magic of Incarnum + Balance + Flavour - BlueMilo v3 —
Back in 3.5e there was a supplement called Magic of Incarnum that provided a new magic system that while cool in concept, failed in execution (and seriously overused synonyms for the colour blue). This book functions not only as an update/conversion of that book to Pathfinder, but it immensely improves upon the work.
Akashic Mysteries adds a new magic system where it's practitioners shape their essence into semi-solid constructs called veils which provide magical effects ranging from buffing the user (both in combat and out of combat), to granting you new methods of movement (everything from fly to burrowing, and even being Spiderman), allowing you to create minions, attacking enemies in a more standard casting manner, and many miscellaneous effects. These "veils" start with basic effects, but get more powerful the more energy you direct into them, and you can change where your energy is directed as a swift action.
Now, this system comes with three new base classes tied to this veilweaving system.
Daevic is the martial veilweaving class, with the flavour warriors who have bonded with an entity of living passion known as daevas. It uses this bond to form the veils, making the magical constructs from the daeva's semi-solid body parts sticking out of you (very cool visually). From my experience it has been the most balanced martial I have ever seen at my table, and Michael Sayre has done a brilliant job in making sure it still feels like a marital character rather than a caster (an issue I find in many supernatural martials). In addition, it functions as a good intro to akasha for players since it's mechanics take some of the load off the player when it comes to redirecting essence into their veils. For Magic of Incarnum fans, you can think of this sort of like a totemist.
Guru is the skill monkey, and in combat they are based around attacking the chakras of enemies which amplifies their damage but causes the attack to be non-lethal (given a few levels this non-lethal damage get's around the immunity to non-lethal damage that constructs and undead have by dealing lethal damage to them, so don't worry if your campaign is going to have undead or constructs as enemies), and they can attack different spots on the enemy to give them debuffs like screwing with the ki flow in their legs to slow them down. In addition to this, they get a few mechanics that allow them to "burn" their essence, giving them a temporary powerful ability at the cost of not being able to put that essence into your veils for a while.
Vizier is the "mage" of the system. It does things like being a caster, or sharing teamwork abilities throughout the party, and battlefield control. It can also swap around which veils it has much easier than other classes. My experience with this class is actually alittle warped since I used it as an Iron-Man expy and didn't do much experimenting with it past the fun of having an actual functional Iron-Man.
In addition to these, there are many archetypes for normal PF classes (and one of the PoW Warlord), so it's open to many concepts using the system. Later in the book is a few races that tie into the akasha mechanics, all of which currently have an animalistic bent. Personally I like these races, seem to tie in well with the more primal base feel of the magic (also elephant-people are pretty cool visually).
At the very end of the book is something that is a godsend to any GM interested in the system. Monsters. There are a small group of creatures that use the akashic system so you don't get the problem of dropping this system into the campaign and for some reason only the humanoids seem to notice the system exists. The art of these monsters is also brilliant and really fits the flavour.
One thing that should be noted is that this system has a "default" flavour of the silk road, having thematic elements from arabia, egypt, and india throughout it. While I personally love this, it is ridiculously easy to reflavour the elements of this book without any trouble so don't worry if that aesthetic is not to your tastes.
This bestiary has a great range of monsters; from original creatures, Egyptian, Indonesian, Inuit, Japanese, European, Sci-Fi, Greek, Abrahamic, Horror movies, Mesopotamian, Sumerian, and Irish origins in just the A's alone. This is something I love in bestiaries. It allows me to run so many more environments without having to resort to repeating the same creatures in every country.
Before I got this book, I was worried that it would just be high level creatures (a vibe I was getting from previous bestiaries increasing focus on higher levels), but most creatures are below 10 CR with the higher CR creatures nearly all having a level of prestige.
Outsiders are one of the things I focused on when I read this as my campaigns nearly always have a planar element. The aeons were interesting and actually got me thinking about potential plothooks. The angels now have Empyrean's, which seem ridiculously badass in mechanics, flavour and art (though Heed No Call seems like a minor editting issue, as some creatures further into the book simply have Calling in the immunity section). Archons are minimal as a result of copyfitting, but they are still rather cool with things like a Social Justice Archon. The (Y)azata are flavourful, though I would prefer if the gancanagh was more sexual. The devils are cool (love the apostate). Manasuptra are cool and I like their subjective form, though I'm not sure how I feel about the twilight's flavour. Sahkil are amazing and there is a lot of potential with this creepy faction, my players will likely regret the next time they cast See Invisibility.
Other highlights include the Shabti, Tulpa, Astomoi, Vilderavn, Boneship, Tsukumogami, and Fext.