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Bow Before the DaevicSeifus —
Out of all of the Akashic Mysteries classes that have been released, this is the one that I have been looking forward to the most and it does not disappoint. I have always been a fan of the martial classes, such as the Fighter, Paladin, and Swashbuckler being my favorites out of the official Pathfinder material and the Warder and Warlord from Dreamscarred Press’ “Path of War”, as I have a Sword and Sorcery mindset when it comes to classes, as I like to earn my victories rather than have multiple ‘I win’ buttons like many of the full casters have.
The Daevic Class: I love the fluff of this class as it drives home the fact that you are a passionate, driven warrior with a nascent daeva bound to you that enhances your greatest, dual-natured passion whether it is desire either in material wealth or love and lust in equal measure, to dominate the world as either a benevolent ruler or a tyrannical despot, or to be a wrathful being that that tempers their wrath with a sense of mercy in order to be a bringer of justice or throw themselves into the role of destroyer and be a force of vengeance. Since you are going to be throwing yourself into the thick of things, the class has proficiencies in all simple and martial weapons, all armors, all shields except for tower, a d10 HD, full BAB, and good fortitude and reflex saves, but not will saves.
The class may have less skills than the guru, it does have 4+Int per level for the ones it does have, and many of those skills give it enough out-of-combat utility to where they’re not standing around guarding the goods while everyone else does…well, everything (a common fate of the fighter sadly.) They also gain more skills depending on which passion they took (will cover that later). Around 5th level, the daevic gains bonuses to saves against enchantment spells and effects, which helps their poor will save as enchantments are one the most common way to trigger will saves. By the time they hit 20, they become a native outsider, no longer need to eat and drink, and gain darkvision (or improve it if they already have it), no longer needing to rest to re-shape their veils, and can spend an hour re-assigning them.
Passione, er… I mean Passions: The key feature of the Daevic is their passions. By picking their passion, they determine what abilities and passion veils they have. Now passion veils act like normal veils except that if a Daevic invests x amount of points into one of their passion veils, then all of the passion veils they have shaped receive the same amount. However, passion veils cannot be affected by veil-specific feats or effects.
Now the daevic must pick one of three passions at first level. The first is the Desire passion, making the daevic someone who pursues physical pleasures. This passion grants the daevic the Appraise, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth skills. By third level the Daevic gains the Precise Shot and the PDF exclusive Willful Throw, making the Desire Daevic the Ranged Throwing Master of the group as well as being able to supplement their Charisma in place of INT and WIS for feat requirements and the Appraise skill. At 6th level, the Desire Daevic must either choose between a relatively strong companion or having returning or called properties on any weapon that’s been in their possession for at least 24 hours. I just realized that if you give the Desire Daevic the ability to stop time then this would be the Dio Brando class.
If you wish to make your daevic sword and board, then go with the Domination Passion. You gain the Diplomacy, Handle Animal, and Knowledge (Nobility) skills as well as the Two Weapon Fighting, Improved Shield Bash, and Shield master at 3rd, 5th, and 8th levels respectively. At 6th level, the Domination Daevice must choose whether to be able to share teamwork feats with others or to be better at intimidation for those intimidation builds.
Last but not least is the Wrath Passion. Here the Daevic gains the Heal, Survival, and Knowledge (Martial) from Path of War skills. At 3rd level, the Daevic becomes better at bull-rush and overrun maneuvers and can spend an attack of opportunity to make a free attack against an opponent the first time they’ve successfully bull-rushed or overrun an opponent. At 6th level, the Wrath Daevic must choose between making a full attack with natural weapons in place of that AOO, or gain and use the Vital Strike feat tree. Before you ask, yes the Daevic has access to veils that give natural attacks.
Feats: This PDF contains many of the feats that are included in the Vizier and Guru PDFs, as well a couple of new ones that I do like such as the Powerful Throw feat that allows players to use their Strength instead of Dex when using thrown weapons as well as using Power Attack with Thrown Weapons. Overall, I like these feats as they are good without being game breaking or useless.
Veils: Now the Daevic is not as good at veilweaving as the Vizier and the Guru. However, I feel that it is a point in its favor as you can easily pick out the veils that fit your character concept and not have to worry about changing them. As befitting its fluff, the casting attribute that the Daevic uses is Charisma. Now thie passion determines which veils are passion veils but this does not prevent the Daevic from using non-passion veils. They can also bind veils to slots depending on their level for additional powers. Yet, the biggest veil feature that the Daevic has over the other two classes is its unique Blood slot, which allows the daevic to equip its own Blood veils or any non-blood veil to any slot that is not covered by leveling, though by binding non-blood veils to this slot the Daevic suffers damage depending on how much essence is invested in that veil. The one blood veil that I like is one that is listed on all of the lists for passion veils and that is the Daevic Aspect. What bonuses you get when you invest essence and bind it to the blood slot depends on your passion, such as Desire being better at range and enchantment and being able to fly, Dominion being essentially a stone wall, shrugging off many enchantment effects as well as better AC and Temp HP, and the Wrath being a better killing machine as well as a constant aura of fire damage to all adjacent creature. Looking at the veils, I can’t think of one that won’t get used.
Conclusion: This is my favorite class out of the Akashic Mysteries. Any fan of martial characters should check this class out; they will not be disappointed.
Super Kami GuruSeifus —
The Guru, Now Available in Tier 3: Right from the outset, the author tells us that of his aims for the Guru class, which to be a good, solid class like alchemists, bards, and inquisitors (not the Bioware, Monty Python, or Mel Brooks kind). In other words, a class that is covers many areas and is competent in them but not to the extent of overshadowing them, a la the wizard, but not being dependent on others either, like the Core Monk and Rogue. Though the fluff does pretty much suggest that most gurus are good-aligned, the author does say that it is perfectly possible to play an evil guru. While I will go into detail about the class I will say that looking at the guru, it is the Simon Breckenridge class, the ultimate support character that if utilized well will make any Henderson situation a game is having exponentially worse.
Class Features: While it is not as adept in veilweaving as the vizier due to having a lot less veil slots and essence to fool around with, the guru does have better BAB, skill selection and points, and hit dice, as well as more proficiencies depending on the philosophy (more on that in a moment). Their key attribute is wisdom as it factors into many of their class abilities such as their gentle touch, which adds damage based on Wis modifier and essence invested, though that damage is non-lethal. Which means it’s perfect if you need someone alive but know that the throatcutters in the party will be a little too stab happy. They also gain Stunning Fist as a bonus feat, which they can use with their weapons if they have Gentle Touch active. They also gain abilities that can end ongoing magic on their targets, inflict debilitating conditions and penalties, be better at sundering items, and have a couple of abilities that heal them, giving them more survivability in combat.
Philosophies: This is the core of the guru as it determines additional abilities and proficiencies for the guru to use. They can be divided by using the powers of the light, the sins of others, and the winds. All of these philosophies have different ways of dealing with attacks and damage to the guru, and they are: create temporary hitpoints (light/akasin), reduce damage (sineater), and create attack penalties (wind/vayist). Each philosophy can be devastating if played right. For instance Akasin gurus being able to ignore armor and hardness, revive dead players, and can eventually teleport between light sources. Sineater gurus, however, suffer from a bit due to their 16th level ability being no more than being an unarmed whirlwind attack. Perhaps if it also inflicted conditions onto any targets then it would be more appropriate as a 16th level ability. Vayist gurus can hit hard from any distance can pretty much sing ‘I’ve Got No Strings’ due to the amount of movement abilities that they get. In sum: they are all good and are each worth taking a look when making your guru.
Feats: No change from the last update other than a feat that allows evil veilweavers to use good-aligned veils and hide their alignment.
In Conclusion: The Guru Class update is a worthy addition to the Akashic Mysteries line up. All that is left is the Daevic and based on what I’ve seen I should have no worries about its quality.
So Far, So GoodSeifus —
So far as of the time of this review (10/28/14) this PDF has only one class, the Vizier, the Akasha feats, and its veils that give that class its power, but even at this moment this class is fun to play with. Be warned though that you almost need a tactical and/or strategic mind in order to get the most out of the Vizier.
About the Vizier: No, you do not have to be evil to play the Vizier (though tempting given the amount of veils with the ‘Evil’ descriptor, but Good aligned characters can take the Tainted Chakra feat to use those). The vizier is essentially the arcane wizard of the group due to its hit dice, poor BAB, primary attribute being Intelligence, and class features that help it be more effective at its veilweaving. Also, the vizier starts off weak with only a small number of slots to use veils and barely any essence to empower those veils, but as the class levels up they gain more essence and veils to equip that will help increase its versatility and power, as well as being able to re-equip veils certain amounts of time per day before having to rest for 8 hours. The vizier had three paths to choose from at first level, which are essentially crafting, talking/subjugation, and, the one that think will get the most use, battle commander by investing essence into your comrades in order to give them team work feats.
Veils: There are 38 veils in this PDF and vizier has access to all of them. They all have powerful effects whether it is direct damage, mitigating damage, buffing, or debuffing, the vizier can use them all. They also gain more powerful effects if there is essence invested in them, which is limited by character level, and if they are bound to a certain slot as though they are magical items. Which slots are available depends on which levels in a veilweaving class you have or certain feats that allow you to gain access to those feats. Remember when I said that the vizier required a tactical mind? That’s because that even though the vizier has access to all of their veils, they can only have a maximum of 11 at twentieth level. As such, you have to be Akashic Batman to get the most out of your veils by figuring out what situation you’re going into, what veils are best equipped for that situation, and how much essence you should invest and slots to bind which veils. You can essentially force a creature to make multiple will saves to prevent a whole lot of nasty effects with the right veils are equipped. Do note however, that you can easily reallocate devoted essence by using a swift action. Thus you can switch essence from your AC boosting veil to a ranged damage veil, and vice-versa, depending if you need more damage or more AC. Because of that I propose a rule for DMs: if your player says “Diverting power to (chosen veil)/forward engines,” feel free to make them eat their character sheet.
Feats: A lot of feats that all classes can take, though some require certain feats, skills, and/or class abilities before you can select them. Most of these feats give a point of essence if you select them, and some effect the veils you use, such as being to equip two veils in a slot or adding an additional point of essence to veils in a certain slot. One of my favorites is gaining hitpoints based on how large your essence pool is, which is better than toughness as you gain twice the amount of hp per point of essence, something that increases as you gain more essence. Think that’s ‘meh?’ Let me say that the Vizier has 30 points of essence minimum at twentieth level, which translated to 60 extra hitpoints, which means more survivability. It also can be used as a prerequisites for feats that require toughness.
Fluff: For the moment there isn’t much, but little there is does invoke the feeling that his is indeed ancient magic, and though seen as crude by other spellcasters, is something that is indeed formidable.
Conclusion: I am looking forward to seeing what else is in store for this product, especially the Daevic as I am a big fan of the more martial classes, but the Vizier is fun and can be devastating in the right hands. I am also curious to how the archetypes that use this system will affect the existing classes; something very fun no doubt. Right now, this product gets 5 stars out of me and a grand seal of approval.
Getting More Bang Out of Your BraverySeifus —
The fighter has always been one of my favorite classes, but admittedly they are not as shiny or as effective in certain situations like many of the other martial classes such as the barbarian and the paladin. There is also the fact that their bravery class feature is situationally useful at best. Thanks to these feats, bravery goes from 'meh' to 'awesome!'
To start with, this pdf is 10 pages long and contains 24 feats, but those feats are solidly written and balanced. Want to be the face of the party but can't spend the skill points? No problem, just take Fearsome Reputation and become a charismatic/intimidating warrior. Want to be the mage slayer of the group? Take Eldritch Parry, Into the Void, and Severe Weave and become a spell caster's nightmare. Better reflex saves against AOEs? There's a feat for that. Don't' have the requisite Int needed for some combat feats? Take Undaunted Assault to meet those prerequisites as well as any feats that require Power Attack. Want to be better at resisting mind-affecting effects? This PDF has you covered. The only downside is that there is so many good feats that you can't take them all, although having the Martial Master Archetype along with the fact that some of these feats are also combat feats does help alleviate that.
Conclusion: This PDF is definitely worth the purchase to the point where you wonder how you made fighters without it. Pick it up and put your Bravery to good use.