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Disclaimer: I am a Patreon backer for the campaign to create these supplements, and I paid the full price for this product.
The Enhancer's Handbook is the fifth handbook for the Spheres of Power system, and focuses on the Enhancement sphere. This Sphere has always been... interesting. More to the point, I think it would be fair to say that Enhancement has always been one of the weaker Spheres. Its base power, for example, is giving Enhancement bonuses to weapons, armor, and shields... which don't stack with their existing bonuses. Given the most people will be getting permanent buffs as soon as they can, it's not particularly useful. The Talents are where it's at, and the book expands on them in some interesting ways.
The book opens with a section on Archetypes, offering five new choices to help make the most of this sphere. The first is the Herculean Scion, a Mageknight archetype who uses their internal divine might to power their various strengthening effects (and get a major bonus to their caster level when targeting themselves. The Eclectic Researcher is a Wizard archetype, with a special emphasis on crafting original spells. That's a whole subsystem in the original book, and requires some definite system mastery to get the most of. The Snake Oil Salesman is a Rogue archetype, and it's pretty much all about creating powerful but short-lived effects. They can also create effects in new forms (pills, powders, vials, etc.), and apply enhancements to weapons like they're poisons. This is actually useful, because there are some new debuff options later on. To round it out, there's a few new Rogue Talents that the archetype gets access to.
The next section gives us the new basic talents for this Sphere, and quite a few options are available. Remember, Enhancements can be both positive and negative - that's why you get stuff like enhancing poisons to make them deal bonus acid damage, crippling creatures to reduce their speed, or make enemy equipment fragile. There are quite a few poison-themed options (for the Snake Oil Salesman, really), and though this part is only two pages long, it does give users of this Sphere a much better selection of abilities to choose from. Most of these aren't powers I'd grab on a brand-new character, but many are worth considering once your caster level gets higher.
Following this section, we get a few more Advanced Talents and a couple of amusing incantations.
The real meat of this book is probably the Feats section, which introduces two new types. Drawback feats enhance Drawbacks from casting traditions in interesting ways, while Proxy feats all spring off of the Spell Proxy feat (and the many new feats related to it). Spell Proxy is about treating other creatures like they're part of Circle Casting, which I believe was in the original book. It normally requires them to have a Caster Level of 10th, but what happens is that characters in the circle provide a bonus to your Caster Level, and can share spells and such. The various feats drastically expand these options, allowing you to do things like use a Proxy as the origin point for a spell (potentially expanding its range or summoning something around them instead of yourself), let them benefit from powers targeting someone else, or allow you to reroll a saving throw. It's... fairly complicated, and a lot of feats, so doing this is something you'd probably build your entire character around. For a seriously dedicated support character, though, this has a lot of possibilities.
After the many feats in this book, we have some new stuff for casting traditions, including a bunch of Sphere-specific drawbacks, a few new general boons, and some actual traditions based on various themes. The bestiary adds a few new things on Animated Objects, and the book concludes with a section expanding the rules for those.
As it notes, animated objects are one of three major sources of magical minions in the Spherecasting system. The rules allow for things like objects made from special materials, things made from the elements, or even animating structural features. (Like, say, hitting people with a house! You can do that now.) Several new abilities and flaws are added to the base rules for animated objects, allowing further customization.
This book didn't 'wow' me in the way the Diviner's Handbook did (because seriously, who knew that Divination could become so awesome?), but it's a very solid addition to the Spheres system. It's not an absolute must-have, but support-focused characters will find a lot of valuable stuff in these pages. There are actually two versions of this book - the original release had a couple of serious formatting issues, but those were fixed within a few hours (and prior to its upload here on Paizo.com, I think - but the publisher really should have caught those the first time around). I wish this book had gone a little further than it had with basic talents, but it's still a very solid 4/5 overall. Enhancement isn't easy, but it's now better than it was, although you'll definitely need to understand how all of the various powers work and affect you before you can get the most from it.
This is a bundle product - and all of the contents are outstanding. XD For the individual reviews for each title, please see the pages for the Hero's Handbook, the Spell Compendium, and the Monster Manual.
One thing to note before you buy: The Mythic Monster Manual, part of this bundle, is a GM-only book (unless you're doing something very unusual with Mythic Monsters as PCs, anyway). If you're only a player, you won't need it... but you could always give it to your GM or something. XD Either way, this is a pretty good deal, and comes highly recommended as the ideal way to get the definitive expansions to the Mythic ruleset.
Disclaimer: I purchased this product here on Paizo.com, mostly because I thought it would make an interesting encounter for a few of my games.
The Godhand is one of the most chuuni classes I have ever seen. That's not a typo, and I'll explain - chuunibyou is something of a Japanese phenomenon, and the best way to think of it is kids going over the top with their fantasies and yelling about stuff like the dark power sealed in their right arm. Watch the first two minutes or so of this to get a better sense for it.
The Godhand is very much an over-the-top class, and I don't think I could possibly allow a player to take it in a serious game. XD If you really like hamming it up with your roleplay, though, then you might enjoy what's being offered here. I mean, one of its class powers is literally named God Mode (although, thankfully, this does not confer invincibility - it just gives you more magical arms, and combos with certain class picks to let you really let loose with a series of attacks).
This class is a Full BAB class, focused mainly around the use of an abnormal limb. This limb can do quite a few different things - and in its most basic form, it does unarmed damage, complete with the Improved Unarmed Strike feat as a bonus feat at 1st level. That's not the only way to go, though, and various class choices allow things like conjuring weapons to use, changing the shape and size of the arm, and so on.
However, this class is also a bit like the Kineticist in that it's something of a challenge to use, because the Divine Arm actively opposes being used and requires near-constant will checks in order to maintain control of it. (Seriously, this is so chuuni... XD Which isn't necessarily bad, of course, and in fact, it might be exactly what some people are looking for...) Failure to make these will saves can really disrupt what you're doing, but risk it can hobble you. Basically, it's strong but not totally reliable, and this is 100% intentional. You will probably start buffing your will save as soon as you can.
One archetype is included with this PDF - the Magehand, which focuses on binding a powerful item or source of magical energy. This is rather magus-like, turning them into a 6th Level Prepared Caster, albeit based on Charisma instead of Intelligence.
Unfortunately, I did notice a number of typos throughout the document. It was mostly small stuff - extra spaces where there shouldn't have been, spelling "angel" as "angle" (although the idea of binding "a very powerful angle" to one's arm is actually kind of funny), that sort of thing. Having another person carefully proofread this before release would have been a good move, and it's something I encourage Little Red Goblin Games to do in the future. There were also a couple of wording choices that likely didn't go as planned. The Titanic Hand ability, for example, says it grants an additional 5 feet of reach... which gives a medium-sized creature a reach of 5 feet. This is probably meant to read 10 feet, but as-written seems largely useless until taken twice. Stuff like that is pretty obviously something a house rule can fix, but that shouldn't be necessary, and I do have to knock off a star for the stuff like that. My final verdict is 3.5/5, rounded up to 4. It's DEFINITELY not for every group, but it's worth considering as a unique villain if you tweak it a little.
Disclaimer: I purchased a physical copy of this book from Frog God Games' website.
Borderland Provinces isn't quite a Campaign Setting book, and it's not quite an adventure - it's both. I learned something new when I was reading the introduction to this book, and it's that Frog God Games is making a deliberate effort to publish materials that work for different kinds of games. If Rappan Athuk is the ultimate dungeon tome (actually, that's not an "if", it definitely is), then this book is the ultimate 'wandering around in a politically disintegrating region' book, intended for the kind of adventurers who like to pick up a map and pick their next destination.
It's also a book that connects many of their other products, helping to explain where the adventures take place in relation to each other and what the area around them is like, should the players decide to go a little further afield. The main part of the book is separated into fifteen chapters. Thirteen of these detail locations in the Borderland Provinces (complete with lots of maps, including a very nice physical one inserted into the back of the book), one details a few things surrounding the Provinces, and the last is an introductory adventure designed to help PCs meet and interact with some of the (many) groups here.
At the back of the book are a number of appendices, covering everything from a random name generator to a series of over 100 encounters used throughout the rest of the book. Here, FGG did something I haven't seen before - risk levels. (Note: It probably has been done before, I just haven't seen it. It's not like I've read every RPG book ever published, and I'm not even done with FGG's own catalog yet. XD) Basically, different areas in the Borderland Provinces are safer or more risky than other areas. To match this, (most) of the random encounters have several risk levels so they can be used in more than one area. For example, Encounter #83 is "Shadows". In a low-risk area, it's listed as just 1 Shadow as an encounter (which is CR 3). A Medium Risk area has a 75% chance of 1d3 Shadows, otherwise it's 1d6, while a High Risk area is flat-out 1d6. An Extreme Risk area ups this to 1d10 Shadows. Many of the encounters are like this - it's not necessarily that the foes are stronger, but there can be a lot more of them, and as all GMs know, that's one of the best ways to truly make something more challenging.
This helps a lot with the variety, and with the sense that this is a more fluid area, rather than a series of pre-determined events. Despite the presence and usefulness of the Encounter Table, this is not a book for GMs who want everything pre-made for them and ready to run straight out of the book. In fact, it's more of a collection of ideas for GMs, who are largely expected to develop adventures based on where the PCs are going. There are tons of plot hooks for that very purpose, and even if you aren't running a game in the Lost Lands, there are so many scenarios and little adventure hooks that you could easily drag-and-drop them into your own campaign world whenever you need to.
Layout adheres to the standard two-column format. There are a few typos throughout the book, but that's kind of expected for a book this size (267 pages, and fairly dense in adventure text), and there aren't enough of those to be a problem. As with all FGG products, there isn't a whole lot of blank space. The book is black-and-white, but a color map is included with physical copies. Most of the maps for actual adventure areas come in two forms - a GM version and a Player Version (scrubbed of important details), which is a nice touch.
This book represents the quality I've come to expect from Frog God Games. As with all of their products, it's not necessarily for every sort of group (although it CAN be used in multiple ways, from planning a set route through the Borderland Provinces to letting them wander around and seeing what they get involved with), but the quality of this book can't be denied. I give this book a solid 5/5 stars, and an additional recommendation as a resource for anyone who needs lots of little adventure ideas (say, as emergency backups if you haven't been able to prepare anything else).
Disclaimer: I purchased a copy of this book with my own money.
As the name implies, this book is an expansion to the main tome of Rappan Athuk. Now, this is something I think is important for GMs to know - Rappan Athuk is not 'done', per se. The main book is HUGE in scope, and contains the entire 'main' dungeon line and enough side-material to keep your players busy for years. However, Rappan Athuk is still being added to, and that's what the Expansions series is all about.
This volume is actually dedicated to lower-level characters, based on feedback and a request for more ways to get new characters involved with the dungeon. From a ruined castle players can turn into a base to a village evil characters can call home to one of the creepier forest areas I've ever seen, there's a lot of content to go around. It's worth noting that each of these areas has a very distinct feel in the type of adventure they are, and you're probably not going to end up using all of them, not with the same group. (In fairness, this is true even of normal Rappan Athuk, given how big it is and how many ways players can approach the dungeon. It's not a BAD thing to do, precisely, but it's probably worth keeping in mind.) Of course, there are a few higher-level areas as well, involving newer locations deeper in the dungeon.
Also like the main book, many of these adventures and locations can be run as stand-alone quests in your own game world, should you choose to do so. If you really love Rappan Athuk and want even more of it, this book is a good expansion. If you're interested in the Dungeon of Graves but hesitate to pick up the full tome (which, despite its value-for-content, is both massive and fairly expensive), this is a good starter book to familiarize you with the setting. You won't understand every reference to the main book, but it is usable as a stand-alone supplement.
While the overall quality of the book is high, I did notice a few typos and formatting mistakes. That's not exactly unusual in a longer book, but I do think a few more of those could have been caught before printing (although, as someone who reads these books cover-to-cover, I realize how time-consuming a proofreading run can be).
My final verdict is 4.5/5, rounded up to 5.
The Lost Lands: Rappan Athuk—The Dungeon of Graves (PFRPG)Frog God Games
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Disclaimer: I purchased a physical copy of this book from Frog God Games.
Rappan Athuk is one of the largest and most complex adventures ever written. Clocking in a 672 pages - most of which is dungeon content - this is a tome that amply deserves the title "megadungeon". It is so large, in fact, that it has areas rightfully considered full-length dungeons in their own right as optional, easy-to-miss sidequests. In addition to the main dungeon itself, the book also details the areas around the dungeon, some of which are gargantuan in their own right.
Just going through this book took me nearly two weeks of dedicated reading every night, and now that I've read it cover-to-cover, I can confidently say that Rappan Athuk fully deserves its reputation. It's also an outstanding value for the price being charged - there is a seriously huge amount of content here, and the creators are right, you don't even have to use this as a megadungeon. If you need to whip out a level or two of a dungeon for any reason, chances are there's something in here that will fit!
If there's one thing to note, it's that Rappan Athuk doesn't have a plot, per se. This isn't an adventure path with a specific story for the player characters. There IS a story here (and reading the entirety of this tome has allowed me to appreciate the subtle complexity of it), but you may want to give your players a reason to try and conquer this place, and work in roleplaying with NPCs when you can. Some places, of course, make this easier than others.
Incidentally, this is an expensive book, but it more than justifies the price with the amount of content contained within. In all seriousness, you could probably run a game for years with just this book. All in all, it more than deserves its 5-star rating and my personal recommendation.
The Dragon's Hoard: Rings, Rods, and Staves (PFRPG) PDFFlaming Crab Games
Our Price: $2.99Add to Cart
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this PDF by posting in the discussion thread when free copies were being offered. As is my usual habit, I am now providing a review.
This is a 12 page PDF, with 1 cover page, a copyright information page, and an OGL page, leaving 9 pages of actual content.
Included are 20 magic rings (five of which are part of a scaling +1 to +5 set), twelve rods (one lesser and one greater, in one case), and ten magic staves. The theme of this book is items that might be found in a dragon's hoard - and that's actually kind of important to keep in mind. When players KNOW everything that can be crafted, there's less of a sense of surprise and discovery when they find a major pile of treasure, and more of a series of checkboxes. These are some items players almost certainly won't have access to, and there's enough variety here to make it easy to find something that suits someone in the party.
Unfortunately, while I usually appreciate Flaming Crab Games' stuff, I think some of the items here could have used review by another pair of eyes before publishing. For example, the Goo Shooter Ring seems vastly overpowered for a 4000 GP ring (Ranged Touch Attack as a Standard Action to inflict Blinded on one foe within 20 feet, no save), and that's the sort of thing that seems horrifically easy for an intelligent party to abuse. A simple 3/day limit would have gone a long ways on that item, and the price should probably be higher too.
Of course, it's not like every item in this book is bad. The Hive Ring seems appropriate for giving parties telepathic communication (and, somewhat amusingly, is worded in a way that would let enemies wearing rings into the conversation...), while the Rod of Dragon's Breath is a fun toy for anyone who likes breath attacks. (Which includes me. XD)
The art in the book (aside from the cover) is mostly black-and-white sketches, which is kind of expected for a product in this price range.
Overall, I think this product is an option worth considering if you want to add some surprising new finds to piles of treasure, but you'll also want to carefully read each item's description before you pass it out. (Actually, you should do that anyway, but it's more true than usual. XD) The formatting is fine, and the editing is generally good (although they forgot to change a note on the copyright page, and this book says it's actually a different product... *Coughs*). I'd personally rate this product a 3.5/5, rounded up to 4 - it's not a bad choice, but it's not a must-have product, either.
Note: This product had a lot of contributors, which may account for a few of the errors. Nevertheless, as the publisher, it's FCG's duty to check for such things before the product is published (I absolutely believe every publisher should try to make their offerings as fair and balanced as possible unless they're specifically intended to be broken, like the Horrifically Overpowered Feats line is). PDFs from 3PPs don't get updated that often, so my advice for future releases of this sort is to give it to a fresh pair of eyes for a quick balance and wording check before it's finalized. Had that been done here, I would probably have rated it higher.
Disclaimer: I purchased this product on another site.
Trapsmith, as described up above, is a book that combines a guide to setting and using traps with a list of brand new traps to supplement those found in the Core Rulebook and other useful tomes. Obviously, this book isn't for everyone - but if you're the kind of GM who enjoys setting creative new traps to surprise players, this book is an outstanding resource and well worth picking up. I'm particularly fond of the guide to Perception and Disable Device DCs (which helps you know whether or not your trap is appropriately challenging for its CR), and that's probably going to see a lot of use in my games.
Definitely Worth GettingRednal —
Disclaimer: I am a Patreon backer for the campaign funding these books and paid the full price for this product.
All right, we're on number four! Now, Divination is something new for these supplements, because unlike the previous three Spheres, this isn't something that's terribly useful in combat. As a very deliberate choice, detecting things in Spheres takes awhile, so it can't be used as an easy, instant foil to enemy disguises without a serious investment. This entire Sphere shows its true worth outside of combat, rewarding planning and intelligence. Let's take a look at the contents, shall we?
The first chapter adds a number of new Archetypes to the system, from the Psyforensic (a kind of psychic Investigator) to the Blind Swordsman (a Samurai option), all built around the idea of characters who are good at uncovering information. There's even a new archetype for Familiars that allows a Spherecaster to share Sense powers with them.
However, the real value of this book is in Chapter 3, which covers the expansion of the base talent and a number of new choices. With this book, every single Sphere in the game offers one or more Divination options that you get for free with the Base Divination talent. That might just have made Divination the most powerful one-talent dip in the entire system. Now, each type of alternate Divination you can perform is linked to what that Sphere is about. If you have Alteration, you can check for people who are shapechanged. If you have Destruction, you can watch for people getting hurt. If you have Enhancement, you can scan for the number and type of bonuses other creatures have.
Divination is all about getting information, and for a smart party, it's hard to overstate how powerful this can be. It's also nicely thematic - essentially, Divination helps make you better at knowing things you already know something about. If you want a particular alternate Divination but don't want to pick up that Sphere, there's a new talent that gives you three alternate scans. There's also an update to the original Fast Divination - by taking it twice, you can divine stuff as a full-round action instead.
The Advanced Talents are up next. I do have one nit to pick here - the See In Darkness ability of the Advanced Alternate Divinations is practically identical to one of the bonus divinations you get for knowing the Dark Sphere, except that it costs more. Definite candidate for errata, that, and the only real problem I noticed. Otherwise, there are a number of interesting choices, as well as a new Ritual and a new Incantation that further expand one's ability to divine stuff.
The rest of the book is miscellaneous extras - dowsing rods, a scaling Harrow deck, and a couple of Divination-using monsters to really help mess with players.
All-in-all, this book is an EXTREMELY solid supplement. Let's face it - Divination is harder to make work than something like Destruction, but they hit it out of the ballpark with this one. Whether you're dipping in to expand your abilities or focusing on gathering information, this is a Handbook worth getting.
It's Exactly What You'd Expect - That's A Good ThingRednal —
Note: I was gifted a copy of this product by one of my players, and did not purchase it myself. In keeping with my goal of reviewing every third-party product I get, however, I'm sharing my thoughts.
As the name implies, Path of War Expanded is an extension of the rules available in the original Path of War book. This tome is best used together with the first book, as well as Ultimate Psionics, since some things can't be used without them. The PDF clocks in at 180 pages, most of which is rules text.
The book opens with the introduction of three new classes. The Harbinger focuses on curses and mastering one particular combat discipline (later two), making them ideal for a specialist-style character. The Mystic is a slightly wild sort of character, based around the use of a recharging energy pool to enhance their various techniques. The Zealot is fierce, passionate character that taps into Psionic powers, and they're particularly good at supporting allies they bring into their Collective.
The next chapter focuses on Archetypes, with 1-3 options for every Initiator class and a few more for CRB and Psionic martial characters. On the heels of that, the book offers Class Templates (which are basically archetypes that can be taken by several different classes). It's a little too early for me to declare that certain archetypes are 'good' or 'bad' in comparison to the base class, but these are definitely worth a look.
The third chapter adds three prestige classes. In all honesty, I usually don't use Prestige Classes myself, but I'll describe them anyway. The Animus Adept is a 5-level Prestige Class that requires an Animus Pool to activate (possible via feat, though mainly meant for the Mystic class described above), and revolved around the creation and use of Martial Glyphs. These powers are mostly similar to spells and the Magus' normal Arcane Pool, and offer access to a variety of useful abilities. I don't know if it's strictly better than staying in the base class, but at the very least, this looks like it would be a solid choice for a Mystic character to consider.
The Landsknecht is a 10-level Prestige Class focused around using a one-handed weapon in one hand, and doing so gives it a boost to damage like it was being used two-handed. From there, it's something like a combination between Fighter and Monk with a splash of Rogue, eventually learning a martial maneuver that's very similar to Pummeling Style.
Finally, the Phoenix Champion is a 10-level Prestige Class for ranged attackers, and emphasizes using fire damage to take down enemies. All three of these Prestige Classes advance the user's knowledge of maneuvers, so you won't have to worry about totally abandoning your original class. As mentioned above, I've yet to really crunch the numbers, but my gut feeling is that all three Prestige Classes would be reasonably viable choices as long as you planned your progression out ahead of time.
That concludes the classes, and the book moves on to feats, with a large selection of normal feats and a good helping of style feats to top it off. These style feats are explicitly permitted to be used with any weapon, and there's one set for each Martial Discipline. The feats are essentially designed to support their respective disciplines, and Initiators will DEFINITELY want to look into taking these.
Chapter 5 is general expansion of the rules, including things like Favored Class Bonuses, exchanging Disciplines, and which new traditions are made available to the older classes. Anyone with an existing Initiator will probably want to read this part of the book right off the bat, since it gives faster access to their new choices.
Chapter 6 is the most important part of the book - nine new Disciplines, covering everything from the curse effects of the Cursed Razor style to the magical infusions of the Elemental Flux style. Not every discipline is appropriate for every character, of course - but each style does seem like it exists to support a different kind of character idea, and I'm always happy about content that says "yes" to ideas.
The last chapter of the book covers a number of Traditions, which are organizations that offer certain benefits to their members. These are entirely optional, but definitely help to establish the martial disciplines as something present in the world, not just a thing that one PC (and literally nobody else) knows.
In short, Path of War Expanded is precisely what it should be - a full expansion of the base system, with a variety of interesting new options to choose from. If you enjoyed the original book, you will enjoy this one. If you haven't used Path of War at all, you should get the main book first, then this one if you liked it. There aren't too many typos here (I did spot a few, but not enough to impact the rating), and overall I'd say this is an outstanding third-party supplement. Now that it's out of its (extremely thorough) playtesting period, I plan to allow it in most of the games I run.
The Adventure Truly BeginsRednal —
Ah, it's out! Let's take a deeper look into this, shall we?
To Worlds Unknown is the first main chapter in the Legendary Planet Adventure Path (out of seven adventures). It follows the events of The Assimilation Strain (the series' prologue), albeit indirectly - you can absolutely start here without playing that module first, although I'd recommend doing so both for the added story and because it's one of the best first-level adventures I've ever seen.
*This* adventure begins by thrusting the PCs straight into the heart of things, as they're tasked with figuring out where they are, what's going on, and how they're going to deal with it. There's a lot more going on than any of them will realize at the time, and having actually GM'd this for a group (as a Kickstarter backer, I received this adventure long before it was published here on Paizo), I rather enjoyed slowly turning up the pressure on the PCs. The first part of the adventure is a genuine challenge, and it's quite possible some PCs will die along the way - this isn't an easy-mode adventure where they have all the time in the world, and mistakes really could cost them.
Only after resolving this do they finally have a chance to catch their breath and start to explore their new surroundings... and there's a lot of exploring to do. They're not back home anymore.
If I have one regret, it's that To Worlds Unknown isn't quite as tight an adventure as The Assimilation Strain was, but I think that's inevitable when you're going from a module adventure to a full-on Adventure Path that's covering significantly more of the story. To Worlds Unknown is an outstanding adventure in its own right (with the pressure of the first part being particularly fun), so don't get me wrong - this adventure is absolutely worth picking up, and it's fully the equal of any Paizo AP in terms of quality. I have high expectations for the rest of this AP and no doubts that they'll be met.
In summary, I give this adventure five stars and my personal recommendation. If you're looking for an adventure to help bring back a sense of freshness and wonder, this is it - and you can bet the plan is for that to continue.
The Most Important Handbook YetRednal —
Disclaimer: As those who have seen my other reviews for this series already know, I'm a Patreon backer for these supplements. I paid the full price for this product.
To keep this reasonably brief, I've always considered the Destruction Sphere to be one of the most important Spheres in this magic system. Almost every character in the game wants to have SOME way of dealing damage to enemies, even if it's just a backup for when there's nothing else they want to do. It's one of the things the game sort of expects from you (unless your GM is running a VERY non-standard game, at least), and that makes offensive ability important on a more fundamental level than most other abilities in the game. A party can generally get by without teleporting or telekinesis - you're probably *not* going to get by if your party can't do damage.
What really makes this book shine is the way it encourages dealing the kind of damage you WANT to deal. In addition to a large selection of pre-formatted blast options (usually damage + effect), this handbook actually gives a system for creating your own destructive blasts and giving them any theme you want... while still being reasonably balanced when compared to other powers. Throwing thorned vines to entangle enemies? You can do that. A cloud of negative energy that nauseates those you catch in it? You can do that. Stab someone and drain their energy? You can do that, and I love it so much.
I'm pretty sure I've said this before, but as a system, Spheres of Power is about saying "yes" to your ideas. It asks you to imagine the kind of magical character you want to play, then gives you the tools to create that character. It's simple, intuitive, and a heck of a lot of fun.
Now, just so nobody misunderstands, I actually enjoy seeing creative, nonviolent solutions to problems. Sooner or later, though, combat's inevitable - and this book is about making combat significantly more enjoyable. Valuable for both GMs and players alike, this Handbook earns 5 Stars and a personal recommendation from me. Spheres of Power is a great system, and this book makes it even better.
A Very Flavorful Book For Playing Alternative RacesRednal —
Note: I backed the Kickstarter campaign for this book. As such, I not only paid for this product myself, but got it before it was released to the public. XD Hence this review being up before preorders here on Paizo.com.
The Advanced Races Compendium offers details on playing 21 non-Core races, plus additional details on four more (chosen by the backers). Attempting to review each race in detail would bloat this review to hideous length, so instead, I'm just going to cover what you're generally going to find.
Each race is given an introduction, explaining what their culture is like and how their society as a whole behaves. While this is generally tilted towards the Midgard Campaign Setting (which this is technically a book for), it's not hard to adapt most of the details to other worlds - and let's face it, if you're using this book in the first place, you're playing at a table that's open to somewhat more... unique... characters. XD
Following these writeups are the more mechanically useful parts - Traits, Feats, Spells, Equipment, and Magic Items all themed around the race and something they might plausibly have. Many races also have archetypes and other unique options. This is NOT the book you're using if you're about pure, 100% mechanical perfection on your character sheet. It is, however, an excellent tome for people who want to have powers and abilities that truly support their choice of race.
It's also a neat way for GMs to work in thematically-nice things. For example, a Wizard might find some scrolls of racial spells they could add to their spellbook, or racial equipment might be given as a reward early in the campaign. As a fan of well-roleplayed characters, these sorts of things are immensely appealing to me.
The full-color, full-page artwork opening each chapter doesn't hurt, either...
While this isn't a book that every table will want to use, it IS a valuable tome for anyone who plans to play any of the races included. Overall, it's an excellent addition to Kobold Press' line of supplements, and I expect I'll be making use of it in the very near future.
(Especially for Lamia. I always did want to play one of those, and failing that, I'll be using this book to make an NPC...)
Disclaimer: I am a Patreon backer for the campaign funding these supplements, and I paid the full price for this product. I have not been - and will not be - compensated for this review.
This book is the second release in Drop Dead Studio's supplements for the Spheres of Power system. As with all of the supplements in this series, the review below won't make a lot of sense unless you're familiar with the basic magic system. Go get that book first, THEN check these out.
Now, let's see how this book shapes up, shall we?
The Telekinetic's Handbook opens with four Archetypes for existing classes:
The Electrokinetic provides a new way to play the Elementalist (a basic SoP class), and focuses on combining the Destruction and Telekinesis spheres. Instead of feats, Electrokinetics can choose to take Stunts, Supernatural powers not available to other characters. These include things like forming blades from tiny grains of sand, gaining Blindsense to detect the electricity of other living things, and adding bonus damage to certain attacks.
The Hekatonkheires is a Symbiat archetype whose telekinesis manifests as lots of glowing arms floating in the air. These can manipulate objects and/or act as tentacle attacks, with more arms at higher levels.
The Soaring Blade is an Armorist archetype, focused on summoning equipment and then manipulating it with Telekinesis. Yes, you CAN launch giant weapons at your foes.
The Unseen Horror is a Thaumaturge archetype, and is basically what happens if you specialize in an Unseen Servant spell. Creepy unseen forces, go! Like the Electrokinetic, the Unseen Horror can swap out some of its bonus feats for thematic new abilities.
The next section focuses on player options. These include a new category of feats (Protokinesis - which is basically low-level telekinesis), as well as various ways to enhance the Telekinesis Sphere. You can walk on walls and ceilings as if they were "down", create items of force instead of matter, get an extra limb of force, or even create a telekinetic exoskeleton offering various bonuses. Very fun.
The section after this is Basic Magic, the main focus of the book - new Talents for the Telekinesis sphere that players can choose from. Options here include things like tossing items at foes faster, call objects to your hand, tether objects together, or even change the gravity of the area.
As with most Spheres abilities, the powers here offer a balance of utility and flavor.
Following the main draw is a section on Advanced Magic (Spheres' higher-level powers). As usual, this is shorter, but it does offer potent abilities like dispersing damage, suffocating targets, and pinning things in place so they can't move. There are also a number of Rituals and Incantations, offering various high-level effects for those who can manage to pull them off.
To wrap up the main section of the book, we've got a few new pieces of Equipment, including new special materials, new magical item properties, and a couple of new items.
The last part of the book is more of a commentary section than anything else, clarifying how Telekinesis is meant to work and offering rules notes for your GM to reference.
Overall, this is an invaluable supplement for anyone who wants to play a Telekinetic character in the Spheres of Power system. There's enough expansion material here to let you completely specialize in that sphere, or simply dip into it for a few more creative options. Either way, if you're going to use the Telekinesis sphere in a game, you're not going to regret picking this up.
Also, this is exactly what I like to see in a supplement - it gives creative new options and offers a little bit of everything for everyone while still having enough content to make the purchase worth it. I definitely see myself making use of this product in the near future.
An Outstanding Introductory AdventureRednal —
All right, a little bit of background before we begin - I was one of the Kickstarter backers for the Legendary Planet Adventure Path, so I got this adventure quite some time before the public release here. What you're looking at is an adventure serving as an introduction to the themes and stories of Legendary Planet, enough to bring characters to Level 2 (where the main adventure begins).
Of course, it's perfectly serviceable as an independent adventure - you don't need the full AP in order to run and enjoy this module.
At its core, The Assimilation Strain is a mystery - the PCs arrive in the aftermath of something going horribly wrong in a distant town, and with little information to go on, they have to investigate and try to find out what happened... and what might be coming next.
This is the kind of adventure I truly enjoy running. It's not just a series of fights from beginning to end - there are many different types of situations to challenge the players, so everyone has a chance to shine. In fact, this might even be a good adventure to run for new players (but experienced gamers probably won't be bored, either!).
All-in-all, The Assimilation Strain is an outstanding adventure. Whether it's for one night of fun or serving as the start of a much larger campaign, this is an adventure worth picking up.
An Invaluable Resource for the Legendary Planet APRednal —
I'll keep this brief - the Legendary Planet Adventure Path is not a Golarion-centric adventure. It has fundamentally different expectations - from the languages that will come in handy to the races you're likely to meet, this game is a little harder to prepare for than most.
This guide offers four new races suitable for the Legendary Planet AP (customizable half-construct Auttaine, living plant Chlorvians, four-armed philosophical Tretharri, and winged, reptilian Zvarr) as well as advice on equipment, skills, alignment, and even the deities characters might worship - Legendary Planet has a whole new pantheon of choices, and they're detailed more fully for GMs in To Worlds Unknown, the first part of the AP.
If you're a player, your GM may already have a copy of this. Either way, though, this is something you definitely want to read before making a character for this campaign.
Disclaimer: I'm backing the Patreon project supporting these new supplements for the Spheres of Power system - so, yes, I paid for this product.
Now, if you're not familiar with Spheres of Power, you really should go check out the main product first - because the rest of this review won't make much sense unless you're familiar with the basic system. As a brief summary, though, Spheres of Power breaks down magic into a number of different "Spheres", each of which has multiple talents and abilities associated with it.
This product is focused around the Nature sphere, allowing characters greater control of the world around them. Alongside a new choice for the Nature sphere (Metal), this booklet has archetypes, plenty of new talents, feats and traits, magic items... even a couple of monsters that GMs can throw at players. XD Some of which are actually rather friendly, and would make good allies for PCs.
Now, SoP has always strongly supported flavor - and many of the abilities in this book are flavorful indeed. From blasting flying enemies when you shake the ground to attacking enemies with metal you call from the ground (right before you start doing OTHER stuff with that metal...), the ideas within this book remain interesting and worth considering. Basically, you're buying a supplement that's fun enough (and rich enough in creative new content) to actually use.
This book is especially valuable if you're planning to play a Spherecaster focused on the Nature Sphere, but even if you're just planning to dip a little, it remains an excellent supplement offering more of what made the main book so good. There's a lot of good content here for just five bucks, and I strongly recommend it.
A Good Product With Some Room For ImprovementRednal —
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product for the purpose of this review. I have not been paid or otherwise compensated for writing this, and have no financial stake in the success of this product.
Tangible Taverns: Trio of Taverns is a 24-page PDF (counting the front and back covers), and to my knowledge only available in this format. At the time of this review, it was priced at $2.25 (not bad for a decent-length PDF), and as the name suggests, this product focuses on three different taverns.
Now, obviously, this is a GM-focused product, so you might be asking "why do I need a tavern in the first place?". That's a fair question - and going by the description of the product, this is a product designed to make stops at taverns interesting for the players. Rather than just saying "you stop for a drink and move on", you can actually use the taverns as a chance to legitimately relax, have people roleplay... maybe even distract the players while you work on what's coming up next.
Basically, this product isn't an absolute must for every GM - but it's not hard to imagine it being useful, and that makes it worth taking a look at. Let's see how good it is at accomplishing this goal.
THE ANGELIC IMP
This is the first tavern. The visual aspects of the tavern are introduced on the left-side column, while further details - food, rumors, and events - are on the right. This is an area where I think future products could be improved a bit - the introduction of the tavern is clearly meant to be read aloud, but some of the other material isn't. If you're in a hurry, you might read something aloud you weren't intending to. A little bit of a formatting change to improve the separation between "read to players" and "just you, GM" would be good here.
The description itself is quite nice, though, going into enough detail to help players get a good sense of what the tavern is like. Basically, this tavern is an upscale location, the kind people go for romantic dinners or respectable business meetings, and everything inside was designed accordingly.
The next page contains two tables - rumors and events, both involving dice rolls for randomness. Both are mainly used for jump-starting sidequests - the rumors explain what's going on, while the events leave it up to you and require either decent improvisation skills or writing out the adventures yourself.
Finally, there are two pages of NPCs - mostly description, though statblocks are provided for several of them.
The other two taverns follow in this fashion - introduction, rumors and events, and finally the people inside. Blackberry Bill's - the second tavern - is a simple stone building that works quite well for anywhere your characters might visit on the road (assuming you're not, y'know, in the middle of the desert or something), while the Pattering Platypus seems like it would work best as an inner-city location (or at least be on a trade route with lots of supplies).
As mentioned above, I think the main thing to fix with formatting is the separation between GM material and what players should be told. Another proofreading run wouldn't hurt, either - the Rumors section for the Pattering Platypus tells us "Taverns are both an excellent source of rumors.", and I'd like to know what else they're a good source of. Besides drunk NPCs, that is.
Despite my concerns with the formatting, Trio of Taverns is a fairly solid product for the price, and I think it does do what it set out to - provide you with some pre-generated buildings, complete with maps, that you can let your players have some fun with. The rumors and events are the true focus of the product - ways of livening up an otherwise forgettable evening the characters would be having - and with more than 30 of those spread across the taverns, you'll have enough sidequest ideas for quite some time. If you enjoy running your games this way, Trio of Taverns is worth considering.
Overall, I rate it about 4/5 - it's a good product with room for improvement.
An Excellent Supplement for Playing as a LycanthropeRednal —
Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this product by the publisher - Misfit Studios - for the purpose of writing this review. I have not been compensated in any other way for this review.
As you're probably guessed by the title, the Bite Me series is about playing Lycanthropes - and this review covers two products. The first is "The Gaming Guide to Lycanthropes", while the second is simply "Werewolves", focused entirely on the most iconic class. Both products came with printer-friendly versions.
The Gaming Guide to Lycanthropes (hereafter "Gaming Guide", or simply "Guide") comes in at 126 pages total in the PDF, almost all of which is content.
This is an IN-DEPTH review, so if all you want is the conclusion and whether or not it's worth buying, feel free to jump to the end.
The Gaming Guide opens with a brief forward, explaining the history and ideas that went into the creation of this book.
Chapter One: Playing Lycanthropes focuses on how to actually play a shapeshifting character in a game. The first major issue that comes up is the difference between Natural and Afflicted lycanthropes. Now, for those who don't already know, Pathfinder does feature two types of lycanthropes - Afflicted Lycanthropes follow the traditional "You're cursed and lose control" style (and is what player characters are most threatened with), while Natural Lycanthropes generally have full control of their powers (these are the type you might meet as, oh, the leader of a pack of werewolves out in the woods). The Gaming Guide promptly defines a number of terms as used in the book to help clarify all differences, and gives both rules and ideas for playing either type.
Following this bit is one of the most important sections for players - dealing with Lycanthropy, and more specifically, what happens when you get it (either as an affliction or as something you start the game with). The advice here is quite solid (and focuses on making sure everyone is still having fun, always an important consideration). If you really want to play a lycanthrope, then read this section in full - it'll help.
I was especially fond of the advice for roleplaying a lycanthrope - the most heavily-personalized characters tend to be the most interesting, and there's more than a few words on how to make a character you'll remember for a long time to come.
Following this is a section for GMs - how to run lycanthropes in games, make sure the players are all having fun, and generally keep things moving along. And let's face it, Lycanthropy IS one of the weirder things that can happen to a game (especially if it's Afflicted, and there are times when the players aren't in control of their own character). It's not just advice for the players, either - there's world-building advice, too, to make sure the rest of your game can react in a believable way.
Somewhat amusingly, this chapter even has a section on what to do if a player brings the book to you, asking to play a natural lycanthrope.
After this, we have a section on the different aspects of lycanthropes (animal type, spellcasting ability, speech, the scent power, and so on) and how they might affect the game. Advice is also given for the appearance of silver weapons and dealing with other things that might affect the character in different ways at different times. This is excellent material to be familiar with, and all of it is presented in a straightforward format for easy reference.
The section continues with a discussion of the differences in power between natural lycanthropes and afflicted ones. At this point, it's probably worth noting that there are three functional ways of becoming a lycanthrope: templates, racial classes, and race. As the book points out, nobody wants to use racial classes, and the templates aren't necessarily a good way of playing a lycanthrope. That leaves them as a racial option - for natural lycanthropes, at least, as afflicted generally remains a template - and the Gaming Guide strongly supports this method of balancing things.
Moving on, we have an in-depth section on playing natural lycanthropes as a race, complete with a broad selection of base animals (with varying statistic choices), background on community and social life, and a number of alternate racial traits, standard traits, favored class options, and even equipment that natural lycanthropes are likely to use. Supporting feats are also available, as are magical items (including an evil one that looks like a valuable Ring of Protection until the night of the full moon... muwahahahaha). This chapter closes out with some spells and a few samples of natural lycanthropes.
Chapter Two: Archetypes: It's exactly what it sounds like. People don't want racial classes, but archetypes for existing classes may be seen as far more favorable, and options exist for Alchemists, Barbarians, Bards, Cavaliers, Clerics, Druids, Fighters, Gunslingers (named, for some reason, 'Gunfighter' - typo?), Inquisitors, Magus, Monks, Oracles, Paladins, Rangers, Rogues, Sorcerers, Summoners, Witches, and Wizards.
So, basically, most of the classes in the game (except the newest). XD An Occult Adventures supplement might not be a bad idea. I'm not going to go into great detail on the overall balance or value of each option - if you're playing a Lycanthrope, you're probably doing it for flavor anyway, and all of these archetypes are about enhancing your ability to do that. It's an EXCELLENT addition to the book, and in my mind, one of the biggest points of value. You're not just "a Barbarian that happens to be a Werebear". Now you can actually integrate your class into your race properly, and I'd recommend doing so if you're going to play a lycanthrope at all. ...For your first time doing it, at least.
Chapter Three: Wereblooded This chapter presents another racial choice - Wereblooded, a 6 RP race (that's below humans, for those who aren't familiar with the system) based around the theme of being descended from lycanthropes. The guide notes that they're a lot like half-orcs, aasimar, and tieflings in that they're the scion of different ancestries, and the low RP cost means they should be easily balanced enough for any game you're running.
Basically, this section is for getting some of the flavor and power of lycanthropy without going full-on furry - lycanthropy lite, as it were. If you're not sure about whether or not to allow lycanthropes in your game, this can be a good compromise point that allows both the player and the GM to see how these characters feel. Sample Wereblooded are included.
Chapter Four: Minor Wereblooded is an expansion to the previous chapter, covering a number of less-common racial options. (The main Wereblooded are Cats, Wolves, and Bears - this chapter goes for things like Bats, Rats, Sharks, Mantises... stuff like that.)
Numerous examples - quite usable as NPCs, complete with plot ideas - are given.
Chapter Five: Skindancers This chapter presents a 12 RP race that lives alongside lycanthropic society, albeit in a somewhat horrifying fashion given their racial history. As with the other races in this book, enough information is presented for both players and GMs to figure out how the character should be played and how they'd fit into the world. Racial subtypes with alternate options, favored class options, and even race-specific archetypes are all included.
Chapter Six: The Duke's Tramp The book ends with a short story, and I don't think you'll have much trouble guessing what type of character it's about. XD
Conclusion: Together, the Bite Me books are extremely solid - if focused - additions for Pathfinder. Great thought was put into these books, with an emphasis on fairness, fun, and expanding player opportunities to play shapeshifting characters instead of limiting them to narrow concepts. If you really want to play lycanthropes - or introduce them as a significant part of your world - these books are worth picking up.
Lycanthropes aren't for every game, but if you're going to play them at all, then Bite Me will help you play them well.
This book is essentially a condensed version of the full Bite Me guide, and it focuses entirely on Werewolves as player characters - specifically, as a race (13 RP), with full rules and options for playing them as a variety of classes. Racial Archetypes are limited to Rangers and Oracles, but it does include a section on equipment, a number of feats, and several magical items to further expand your thematic options. If you want to play a werewolf, this is the only book you really need, and I highly recommend it.
Strange Magic: Ethermagic, Composition, and Truemagic (PFRPG) PDFInterjection Games
Our Price: $24.99Add to Cart
Strange Magic is an... INTERESTING... collection of classes and powers. While others (*Cough*EZG*Cough*) have done an excellent job explaining things in full, I'd just like to give my perspective on the three classes.
First of all, this book supports variety. It's not just one caster build that you'd ever be going for - there's 9 classes, 23 archetypes, and 5 prestige classes in this book, offering plenty of options for players even if two or more people are using the same system.
Second... this book supports variety. In a different way. Strange Magic is *flavorful*. From poking holes in reality to literally apologizing to the universe every morning because you keep messing with it, these classes and powers are packed with personality. Whether or not that's a good thing is largely a matter of personal opinion - but what it really boils down to is that you don't play a Strange Magic class because you're looking for the most optimized build imaginable, you play it because you thought something like "I want to play a Breakdancer who can dance enemies into submission." (That's a thing in this book.)
Strange Magic is NOT archetypal Tolkien-ish swords-and-fantasy. It's stranger than that, and best suited for high-magic worlds (or, for Truenaming, maybe just individual characters who are specifically rather rare/unique in the setting).
Basically, Strange Magic supports ideas, and the reason to buy this book is if the classes within actually sound fun to you. Now, not everyone will like these ideas or want to play them, and that's fine - but they are pretty fun, and I'm looking forward to using them in some of my own games.
Overall, I give the product a 4/5. I actually prefer a little bit less flavor in the abilities/mechanics of a class (I like to have players decide the fluff for themselves), but this remains a solid, interesting book for tables that permit 3PP material. By no means is it a bad book, but you SHOULD have an idea of how you're going to use it before you buy it, hence my rating. EZG's in-depth explanations of each subsystem are something you should definitely review prior to purchase.
-There are a few small errors in the book (although that's true for a tome of any size, and not a factor in my score above). For example, "Atrophy the Mind" is on the Blast Ethermagic description list, but doesn't seem to be explained in full. There's a Body equivalent that's easy enough to adapt, but that error should've been fixed somehow. The editing is fairly good on the whole, though - the text is easily readable and in two columns for most of the book, which is how it should be.
-The classes aren't difficult to learn, but you WILL need to actually read the class and understand how it works before you build your character. Strange Magic classes are definitely "plan ahead" types - which, if you enjoy theorycrafting your character, is a good thing! But seriously, know what your options are BEFORE you build.
-Iconics of various levels are included, and serve as an excellent reference for what a Strange Magic character with several levels under their belt might look like. They also serve as drag-and-drop NPCs that GMs can use to introduce the powers to the setting.
I Didn't Expect To Like It This MuchRednal —
All right, so I first heard about this little project called 'Spheres of Power' back when its initial Kickstarter campaign was running. I honestly didn't know what to expect, but the asking price was fairly low, and I thought it might be a good alternative option to consider when I was looking at plots and stories.
Then the first beta releases came out and... I ignored it. XD It was still being edited fairly heavily at that point in time, all right? So then I forgot about it... until recently, when the full version of Spheres of Power finally came out and I got to take a look at the end results.
And said results were actually much better than I was expecting. Spheres of Power is very theme-based - basically, you try to create the kind of caster you want to play, based on the assorted options contained within the book. Even so, nothing I've seen yet has felt particularly out-of-place or overpowered - indeed, a player's using it in a game I'm currently running, and I've had no trouble at all mixing it with combat.
It's definitely different, but different isn't always bad - and if you've ever had an idea for a caster type who just couldn't work under Vancian magic, Spheres of Power is definitely worth a look.
The Themes Are Strong With This OneRednal —
Plenty of other people have explained what this book is all about, and the description above is entirely adequate. That's why I'd like to focus on the part of this book I truly appreciate: Its collection of themes.
Pretty much every spell in this book is tied to one or more themes and ideas - Clockwork Magic, Gambling Magic, etc. - and these lists offer ways to give a character many casting options with a similar thematic feel.
This may not be an 'optimal' way of playing, but I've always preferred to build characters for flavor instead of perfectly calculated power, and Deep Magic supports a lot of different flavors. This is a great addition for games where 3PP content is allowed, and heartily recommended.
All the Feats. ALL of them.Rednal —
Unlike the Spell Compendium and the Monster Manual, the Hero's Handbook has many different sections, so let's go over each of them.
CHAPTER ONE: MYTHIC PATHS
This part of the book adds new abilities to the existing paths, and introduces three additional paths for characters:
The Genius path focuses on intellectual characters and using your mind instead of your muscle. It's a solid choice on its own, and while you CAN Dual Path, you probably don't need to - many excellent Archmage and Trickster abilities are available to the Genius.
The Living Saint path - originally from Deep Magic - focuses on characters who hold fast to a particular ideal and work to resist temptation while heading towards a specific goal. I do mean resisting temptation, by the way - that's an explicit part of the path, and dangling goodies in front of players to see what they're willing to do for power is a lot of fun. It's a great thing to give even characters who aren't following this path, especially if you like encouraging roleplay and forcing PCs to make tough decisions.
The Stranger path is ideal for gunslingers and anyone who feels like playing Batman - or the Man With No Name (and indeed, there's a list of suggested abilities for various themes). Honestly, I think this path is best suited to a roleplay-heavy game where you can really play up the flavor, though it would also work well in a superhero-themed game.
Chapter Two: Mythic Class Abilites:
This chapter offers another new set of abilities for many of the classes in the game, allowing you to get an improved version of your basic choices. For example, Mythic Channel Energy lets the cleric add their tier to the damage/healing that channeling does, while Paladins can use Mythic Divine Bond to get a Mythic (read: more survivable) steed.
Incidentally, this chapter also offers a new way to play mythic characters: Remove all path abilities and have them obtain the mythic versions of their class abilities instead. Unfortunately, this really only works with the basic versions of classes, as archetype abilities aren't covered. You'll have to write them on your own or wait for another book.
CHAPTER THREE: MYTHIC FEATS
When you get to this section, you're going to be like, "Ye gods, LOOK AT ALL THESE FEATS."
Anyway, this is one of the main draws of the book - allowing players to take the mythic versions of feats that match their build, without restricting them to the narrow list available in the basic mythic rulebook. As with the Spell Compendium, this draws from quite a few sources, from sinful feats (Lustful, anyone? Especially for succubi enemies...) to ki feats to all the popular choices that didn't make it into Mythic Adventures. Regardless of your build, you're probably going to find something here that you want to have.
CHAPTER FOUR: MYTHIC MAGIC ITEMS
New items are always nice - though whether or not they're needed is up to you. The Mythic Crafter path ability is a common requirement, and the expanded list of crafting choices makes that slightly more worthwhile as a choice now. On the other hand, given their nature, most of these may work better as rewards that the players complete quests to earn.
The book also gives new legendary item abilities. Sadly, it's not as long as I wanted - it was something of a late addition, put in after the original playtest draft that the Kickstarter backers got - and the limited selection here is my only real regret about the book. A good supplement for legendary items, really expanding what they could be (in a balanced and appropriate way, of course) would be a wonderful thing to have.
CHAPTER FIVE: MYTHIC PSIONICS
Oh, hey, another new path! Yes, Psionics now has a mythic path known as the 'Overmind', as well as many mythic powers to bring support for them into mythic games. All psionic stuff is contained in this chapter for ease of reference, rather than being spread out in the rest of the book, and I have to admit that this was a good design choice.
CHAPTER SIX: MYTHIC MISCELLANY
This section covers various other things, including house rule suggestions, mythic skills, mythic traps, and even mythic curses (for when you TRULY want to show someone the wrath of the gods). The section is relatively short, and the skills take up a lot of it, but they're worth considering as a way of surprising (and/or rewarding) players with an option they didn't expect.
Overall, this is the most player-friendly book (the Spell Compendium is limited to casters, whereas EVERY mythic character will find valuable choices in this book), and it adheres to the same formatting as the rest of the series - full color, two-column text, and frequent pictures to liven things up a little. This is the book most players will probably want to get their hands on, and along with the spell compendium, it's well worth the price for any group that loves using the mythic rules.
The Supplement Mythic Spellcasting NeedsRednal —
This book is exactly what it sounds like - a collection of mythic spells that pulls from various sources (beginning with basic Paizo products and branching out into 3PP material like Deep Magic) to expand the mythic spellcasting system as much as possible. Most material in the book is original, but it does repeat a number of mythic metamagic feats from the Hero's Handbook for easy reference.
Honestly, there's not much else to say about this tome. If you've ever wanted to do mythic spellcasting but use spells that weren't covered in Mythic Adventures, this is the book you want. It's also good for GMs, who can use the spells to give enemies a little extra oomph without going to the trouble of fully rebuilding them as mythic foes. Accordingly, this book is valuable for both players and GMs.
The PDF version is fully - and thoroughly - bookmarked, and while it doesn't have nearly as much art as the Monster Manual, this tome still managed to squeeze in some art every few pages. Layout adheres to a full-color two-column format, with black bars highlighting each spell's name to make the text easier to scan.