Blackfire Adept

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RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16. Goblin Squad Member. RPG Superstar 7 Season Star Voter. Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber. ** Venture-Captain, Online—ACG 6,040 posts (19,808 including aliases). 9 reviews. 4 lists. 2 wishlists. 68 Organized Play characters. 59 aliases.



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A very good (though not perfect) supplement for those who enjoy weird races

4/5

Hi all!

I picked this PDF up on a whim, and I’ve got to say that I’m glad I did. It’s a good supplement, and hits on a few things that I feel people expected to see in Paizo’s recent Bastards of Golarion supplement but were disappointed to find were not included.

Overall rating (TL;DR): Racial Guide 2.5 isn’t perfect, but it has a lot of good things inside, and overall I’d recommend it for anyone who enjoys playing uncommon or just plain weird races! I give this supplement 3.5/5 stars.

I’m going to include details here about my rating of this PDF, so if you’re interested in learning more about what’s inside, here you go!

Racial Guide 2.5: Half-Breeds and Hybrids is 52 pages long, with five of those pages being non-content (cover, OGL page, etc.).

The first chapter of the PDF describes how to create new half-races. This is a useful and relatively straightforward system, allowing players and GMs to combine these rules with those detailed in the Advanced Race Guide. They give suggested trade-outs for specific half races, which seem to work well. The short section on humans and breeding is fun if not terribly scientifically sound (“resilience of human genetics”? As a geneticist, this made me cringe, but obviously I’m biased).

Chapter 2 is obviously the meat and potatoes of the book, with 30 new half-breed races fully described and statted out. Overall, this section of the book is well done, though I would have liked to see more art (I think only 2 or 3 of them have any art at all). I’d like to note here that there are several races mentioned in this section that I have never heard of before (probably from Little Red Goblin Games’ own racial supplements) so when I come to a reference to one of these, I won’t be rating that half-breed. The other thing I would like to point out is that these races don’t come with a race point total, which I feel like was a serious missed opportunity for the writers to tie this book in more strongly with Paizo’s Advanced Race Guide.

Alfars (Dwarf/Elf): This is a racial combination that many people feel should have always existed, as it feels like at some point an elf and a dwarf must have fallen in love in a fantasy world, right?
The Good: I like the inclusion of Great Destiny, which fits the flavor text very well.
The Bad: A few minor grammar mistakes,
Overall: I calculate a total of 11 race points on this race, so it’s well-balanced with its parent races. I give this race 5/5 stars.

Barghob (Hobgoblin/Barghest): This combination is tough to do because you’re combining two types (humanoid and outsider) without much mention of how these interact in this specific case. There are several missteps here that make this one suffer overall. I would have liked to see a bit more descriptive text instead of a mostly blank left side of the page.
The Good: The ability score modifiers given here make sense, and I like the chosen spell-like abilities and Stealth bonus.
The Bad: This race’s ability score modifiers don’t actually match up to any specific set of bonuses/penalties from the Advanced Race Guide, so that makes it tough to come up with a total on race points. Mixed blood doesn’t work the way it was intended here because hobgoblins and barghests are different base types, so the description should have been longer and more detailed. Sin eater is an EXTREMELY powerful ability… immunity to all spells with the evil descriptor is just insane, and is not balanced enough by the -4 penalty against good descriptor spells. This could have been better balanced by instead giving spell resistance against evil descriptor spells.
Overall: I can’t even calculate a total of race points on this one because Sin Eater is just too strange… if I had to guess I would give that ability alone a cost of 6 race points, making this a very strong race. 3/5 stars on this one.

Connives (Ratfolk/Halfling): I LOVE this racial combination, as it makes perfect sense that halflings and ratfolk would find themselves alone together in the gutters of big cities and make ugly little babies. I especially enjoy the description of their quick gestation times and the possibility of multiple pregnancies at once.
The Good: Ability score modifiers are spot-on. Carrier is a super crazy awesome ability that fits perfectly with the description of the race.
The Bad: The Mixed Blood ability should reference halflings, not humans. The Scummy ability gives +2 bonuses to three skills, which is worth a lot of race points, so it could use a slight scaling back when combined with the Skulk ability’s bonus to Stealth as well.
Overall: I calculate a total of 15 race points here, which might a tiny bit high. Despite a few hiccups, I love this race. 4/5 stars

Dareogs (Orc/Dwarf): The allusion to rape in the descriptive text made me squirm a little bit, but it’s fairly standard when talking about orcs, so I’ll let it go. This is obviously a slave race, so they’re hitting two warning lights for me in the descriptive text.
The Good: I like the Better World ability, giving these seemingly pathetic creatures a way to rise up against their oppressors.
The Bad: Lockjaw just doesn’t make make thematic sense unless the dareog is biting the opponent’s leg, so I have trouble with it.
Overall: I calculate around 12 race points here, so they’re just fine. Even though I’m not a fan of the descriptive text, this race gets a 4/5 from me.

Davi (Elf/Tiefling): This is a cool combination of races, though I was surprised to not see Elf/Celestial as well.
The Good: The racial ability modifiers make sense (though there theoretically could be a bunch of different combinations that would make sense thanks to alternate racial backgrounds for tieflings). I love the mindslip ability, and I could see this making for an excellent spy-type character.
The Bad: The Elven Blood ability doesn’t work… when can Davi choose to count as outsiders? All the time? Only when it’s good for them? At character creation? The wording definitely needs fixed here. They should also have gotten Infernal or Abyssal as a free language option, in my opinion.
Overall: This is a good race that would definitely be used in my games. 5/5 stars

Deepbrood (Aboleth/Gillmen): This race is another tough one because of the combination of creature types, but the authors have decided to just count them as humanoids, which is smart. This is another slave race, but it makes sense based on the description, so it’s cool.
The Good: The racial ability modifiers are great. I also like the slow land speed but normal swim speed. The Reactant Tentacles ability is flavorful and awesome. I like the inclusion of the alternate racial trait here, though dropping Reactant Tentacles for it seems harsh.
The Bad: The tentacle natural attack description should have specified whether these tentacles can manipulate objects like hands, or if they’re JUST attacks (probably the latter). The mucus could is pretty cool, but 3 hours is a LONG time for it to last. What happens if your allies come in contact with it and then you need to leave the water? I would have said that this would last only 1 hour and can be suppressed by the deepbrood. The aboleth language should have been included instead of “aquatic” (which I assume should say aquan).
Overall: This is a fun race, with only a couple little flaws. 4/5 stars

Egrets (Strix/Tengu): Two birdlike humanoids mating makes all of the sense. A bit more detail on what they look like would have been nice though.
The Good: Good racial modifiers. I like the morale bonus to Ref and Will saves when flying.
The Bad: Powerful Flyer is way overpowered… no penalties at all on Fly checks from encumbrance or armor is too much. I would have said they could wear medium armor and have a medium load without penalties, but heavy load/heavy armor should still have a severe penalty, if not cause flying to fail completely.
Overall: This one is fine, but nothing amazing. 3/5 stars

Fair Orcs (Orc/Elf): This race is another one with allusions to rape and slavery, so that makes me feel squicky inside. They’re stated to be very rare, though, and I can imagine a strange beauty in the offspring of such a union.
The Good: Honestly, not a lot. This one could have used some more thought. The ability score modifiers are kinda fun, I suppose.
The Bad: There’s nothing new here! Tossing Orc Ferocity and Keen senses onto an otherwise featureless race is BORING.
Overall: The authors had a chance to do so much more with this race, but their description severely outstrips their stats., as I’m only seeing at most 6 race points here. 2/5 stars

Fakelings (Doppleganger/Human): I like the idea of part-doppleganger offspring being dropped off to unknowingly infiltrate a settlement, and the description of what happens to them when they’re old is pretty sweet.
The Good: A change-able ability score modifier? Really cool idea! Changing subtypes? Wow, also really cool idea! The bonus to Disguise makes perfect sense as well.
The Bad: I’m worried that changing both the ability bonus and the character’s subtype is overpowered, but otherwise this is a great race.
Overall: Seriously, whoever wrote this one up, great job. I love the adaptability of the race and all of the abilities make sense. I have no idea how to calculate racial points here, but this is probably my favorite half-race yet. 5/5 stars!

Fangborn (Elf/Vampire): This race is obviously meant to be a half-vampire vampire-hunter (wonder where they got that idea?? LOL) and it works well at that role.
The Good: Bloodborne Frenzy is cool, giving the race a minor rage-like power that isn’t a morale bonus, so it will actually stack with Barbarian rage. The Vampire Senses ability is also very flavorful and cool.
The Bad: Not much, actually. This one is well-done, though having negative energy affinity might have been a good inclusion.
Overall: My first thought when I saw Blood Bound was “OP!!” but then I realized that you’ve got to be bleeding to get the fast healing, so it really just ends up being a minor resistance to bleed damage in the end. It also only works on the first round that you BEGIN bleeding, so actually it’s probably a bit underpowered. This is a well-written race that I would probably make use of. 4/5 stars

Galvani (Human/Thunderbird): I have no idea what a thunderbird is, so I can’t rate this one.

Half-Gnoll (Gnoll/Human): This one was an obvious choise, and would fit well in Katapesh or similar parts of non-Golarion worlds.
The Good: Pack Hunter makes thematic sense, and since it’s just a +1 damage bonus isn’t OP. The chuckle ability is brilliant, and would be awesome on an Intimidate or debuff build. I also like the Drifter ability allowing them to make Kn. (local) checks untrained with a +2 bonus. The Manic and Savage alternate racial traits are also both excellent.
The Bad: I’m not a huge fan of the wording on Team Player, but otherwise this one’s flawless.
Overall: Seriously great job on writing up this race. I absolutely love it! 5/5 stars!

Half-Trolls (Human/Troll): I really liked the description of this race until I saw that they essentially have no discernable gender… this means they can’t reproduce! Oh well.
The Good: Limited Regeneration is a good ability and isn’t a overpowered as a true fast healing would be. Fire Vulnerability is super painful for the character but makes perfect sense. The bonus to identify giants is also excellent.
The Bad: I’m not a fan of the Genderless ability, because this would (as far as science is concerned) mean that they must be sterile. I suppose magic trumps all, but I have trouble with this race existing as a race of its own if there are no genders.
Overall: This is a good one, with only minor issues. 4/5 stars

Hellwrit (Tiefling/Flail Snail): I… what? A snail… mixing with a Tiefling? What? I just… what? LOL
The Good: The racial ability modifiers fit the description well. Getting IUS as a bonus feat is a cool choice. Abjurant Force is really flavorful and a strong ability without being overpowered. Optimistic is also cool.
The Bad: This is another time when Mixed Blood just doesn’t work… if they’re outsiders, they can’t also count as magical beasts.
Overall: Though I have trouble with this race conceptually, if you can get past that it’s well-written and has fun abilities. I’ll give this one a 4/5 stars rating

Honegs (Elf/Mercane[Platonic]): No idea what Mercane are, so I can’t rate this one.

Humanzee (Human/Chimpanzee): Nope. Just nope. We’ve already got a monkey-based humanoid race in Pathfinder (the Vanara) and having a race that’s half humanoid and half unintelligent animal just brings up too many questions that shouldn’t be answered. 0/5 stars. Period.

Imperial Elves (Fey/Elf): This combination makes perfect sense, and the description makes sense. I like that they’re ageless creatures, so you could imagine an Imperial Elf rising to become the ruler of any given society over thousands of years, especially a society of elves.
The Good: I like the Ageless feature, but it’s the only feature that is unique to them, so there could have been more interesting things done here.
The Bad: The penalty to Charisma doesn’t make sense to me based on the description. I would have given them a penalty to Int instead. Mixed blood doesn’t work as written, just like in a few other of these races. Elven Immunities and Fey Magic are too similar to standard elf abilities… they could have used something more unique.
Overall: The lack of uniqueness in this race’s abilities can be overlooked… this is a pretty good entry overall. 3/5 stars

Luxa (Elf/Merane [Hateful]): Again, don’t know what Mercane are.

Molemen (Buggane/Dwarf): Oh man, I love this. What Dwarf would mess around with one of these things? The picture on this page is excellent as well.
The Good:Good ability modifiers, great choice including a burrow speed and a core attack, blindness is really tough but a fair option. All three alternate racial traits are also excellent.
The Bad: I’ve got nothing. This one is flavorful and well-written. (I found a single spelling error in the Claws entry, but that doesn’t reduce the score).
Overall: Great job on this one! 5/5 stars!

Mules (Human/Dwarf): Mules? Really? I absolutely hate this name for this race. It’s way too derogatory. It’s also another slave race, which I’ve voiced my concerns about previously.
The Good: Good racial modifiers, good choice on the speed, and hardy makes sense. I like the mechanical bonus from Manual Labor but would have preferred it not be tied to slavery.
The Bad: Dull and Manual Labor abilities are just too tied to the enslavement of this race. Boo!
Overall: Can’t give this one a very high score… it’s just too tied to enslavement and leaves no room for character development in my opinion. 2/5 stars

Nacritoi (Oread/Rakshasa): Another backstory tied to slavery! However, at least this race has escaped their tormenters. I like the idea of earth genie and rakshasa traits coming together.
The Good: Good choices on the ability score modifiers. Having them count as a type of tiefling makes sense, though I would have liked to see them also counted as oreads. I like slipshape, though an at-will ability might be too much power. The other racial abilities seem good, as well.
The Bad: Slipshape is probably too powerful. 3 times per day would be a good limit.
Overall: This is a well-written race with just a hint of overpowered-ness. 3.5/5 stars

[Continued on the discussion forum]


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The best of both worlds!

5/5

I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of Munchkin Pathfinder at GenCon this past weekend, and after reading through all of the cards and playing a couple games, I have to say it's a real treat to play. I love the Munchkin brand, I love the Pathfinder brand, and seeing the mashup of them is just amazing.

There are four Classes and four Factions in the game (Factions sort of taking the place of Races in this set, though if you mix it with regular Munchkin you'd have both). I thought I'd say a few lines about each one.

Classes:
Alchemist: The alchemist does exactly what I expected... usable once only items count double in combat. Along with that, when you sell items for levels, each item counts as a minimum of 300 gold pieces. This means that you can stock up on low-cost items, selling them for levels when you can and using relatively weak potions to have a significant impact on combat!
Necromancer: This is a cool one. I was wondering how they would do a magic user like the Sorcerer when the Wizard already exists in the basic Munchkin set, and this is what they went with. The Necromancer can discard three cards during combat to add the top monster from the discards to the combat and make it Undead. Alongside that, if you kill an Undead monster, you get to draw an extra face-down door. This gives your Necromancer the option to throw away some less-than-useful cards to pull out a low-level Undead creature from the discards and add it to your own combat to get an extra level and a door.
Summoner: The Summoner obviously summons monsters. You can play a monster from your hand during any combat as a one-shot bonus equal to double that monster's treasures. To get those monsters into your hand, you can discard a card from your hand once per turn to take the top monster from the Door discards into your hand. This is a great combo, and if you end up with a Super Munchkin card, you can also combine these abilities with the next Class, the Witch!
Witch: The Witch in the Pathfinder RPG uses Hexes to debuff her enemies, and this version of the Witch does the same thing. You can play a monster from your hand to cause that monster's Bad Stuff to happen to another player as if it were a Curse (though it doesn't work for death). Your familiar also protects you from Curses found when you Kick Open the Door, so you also have a bit of your own Curse protection.

Factions:
Eagle Knight: The Eagle Knight's power is exactly like that of the generic Warrior class, with a slight penalty built in also. You can discard up to three cards to give yourself a +2 to your combat check for each one, but you take a -1 to Run Away for each discarded card also.
Hellknight: The Hellknight's ability is Hellknight Armor, which gives you a +5 in combat, taking up your Armor and Headgear slots at all times. This is the first Class-type card I've ever seen that gives you a direct combat bonus, and it's a very interesting idea.
Pathfinder: The power for the Pathfinder lets you look ahead at the next two Door cards before you Kick Open the Door, choosing one of those cards to leave on top of the deck, and discarding the other one. Very cool, and very thematic.
Red Mantis Assassin: You get a +1 to Run Away from your Stealth ability. Along with that, when you Look for Trouble, you can discard up to three cards to get a +2 bonus against the monster for each one.

Alright, so now that I've told you about each of the Classes and Factions, let's get into the other cards. First of all, the pictures, all drawn by John Kovalic, are awesome! His version of Goblins are just excellent, and I love that you can add more Goblins to combats involving them just like Undead. My very favorite card in the whole set is the Hobbes Goblin, which looks like Calvin and Hobbes, and the Bad Stuff is that the tiger eats you. It's just plain awesome.

Other cards of note:
Chelish, which is a +10 Monster Enhancer, and has a devilish-looking Goblin printed on it.
Bloatmage, which is a Level 10 monster, and takes a -3 against Necromancers because they're used to the sight of blood.
Lamashtu, the Mother of Monsters, who is a Level 20 monster which lets other monsters join her in combat. The animation is pretty amazing, too.
Shield of Aroden, which looks awesome and is usable by Eagle Knights only.
Finally, a simple card like "Find the Path -- Go Up A Level" is all it takes to make my day.

One thing I've thought a bit about is the idea of mixing this set with the standard Munchkin game. Mixing with the plain base set should work out perfectly, but I feel like the Gnome class from Munchkin 2 and 3 will probably step on the toes of the Summoner. My plan is to mix this set with my Munchkin Legends set.

One last thing: the purple dice that comes with this and has the Goblin face on it looks AMAZING. Seriously.


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Complicated but extremely flavorful new base class

4/5

Disclaimer: I helped with review of this base class during concept stages, but this is the first time I've seen the PDF.

First thing's first: The cover art is simple but artistic, and though I made a face upon first glance, I think I appreciate it more after reading through the PDF.

This is a 20-page PDF, so there's a LOT of content for just $3.99. The overall layout of the PDF is good, though the page numbers at the bottom are too fancy to actually read in some cases.

The content of the PDF is one full base class, favored class options for several races, three archetypes, 17 new feats, a new spell, and two resource sheets.

I definitely feel that the author tries too hard in some cases to use intricate and complex wordplay when describing the Direlock. Simpler language makes your content easier to digest, in my experience.

As far as the Direlock's role, it's essentially a combination of the Magus and the Witch, in that it is focused almost exclusively on debuffs, but instead of having full casting and staying out of melee, the debuffs happen when the Direlock comes up and smacks you in the face. It's a good concept, and could make a devastating big-bad-evil-guy in a campaign.

The Dire Pool is very similar to the Magus's Arcane pool, and that was a good choice for this class. I like that the Direlock needs to keep a point in her Dire Pool to use most of her other abilities (this was first introduced with the Gunslinger's Grit ability, AFAIK).

The dire weapon ability is fine, though this means that the Direlock is pretty much crippled if her weapon is lost. I like that you can counterspell using the weapon, though the way the dispelling happens is a little confusing to me... do you have to prepare an action to dispel a spell, or can you do it as an immediate action any time a spell is cast within your dire zone?

I feel like the Fell Regalia ability really limits your character, meaning you NEED to have super crazy armor on, which some players won't want to do.

The Inimica mechanic is excellent, though it does lend toward a one-level dip allowing you to get your Charisma mod worth of Inimica with no other investment. This is why the Magus's Arcana and the Alchemist's Discoveries come in at 2nd level.

I don't really get why Dire Sense exists... this class to me isn't really a Dexterity-based class, so Deflect Arrows doesn't fit for me. I would've preferred something more Fort-based. I do like the prevention of flanking bonuses that you get later on, though.

Transferring negative abilities with Fearsome Slough is an excellent mechanic, though it doesn't list an action type required here... I suppose it's just "no action"?

The Dire Mantle ability includes this phrase, which perplexes me: "A direlock may not attempt to absorb a spell
greater than 3rd level, one that exceeds her Charisma
modifier or her remaining storage capacity."
Does this mean you can't absorb a spell that has a level higher than your Charisma mod? If so, that's fine, but it was worded strangely.

I feel like the Dire Mantle ability might have too many options, but that's just because this is already a pretty complex class.

Incunabula is a terrible name for a class ability. There, I said it. I really really dislike the name, it's just too complicated-sounding. However, the feature gives you the option of either a feat or a feat-like power, and I think that's excellent. We're probably running into the problem of the class being a little too complex again, but that doesn't bother me that much.

I don't really understand why the Grimoire isn't just called a spellbook... it's a spellbook, after all.

Eldritch Tendrils is a complicated mechanic that could have just been done like a Paladin's Mercies instead. I'm not a huge fan of the Tendrils as a whole.

Ravening Strike is fine, though we're still adding to the complexity of the class here....

Dire Conduit builds on the Eldritch Tendrils, which I'm still not a fan of. Transferring damage to enemies without another save seems to powerful to me, but other than that it seems okay.

Dire Presense is sort of a weaker version of Paladin's divine grace, which is fine, but might be a little weak to gain this late in the game.

Dire Inimica is VERY powerful if you choose the right Inimica, so I'm not sure I'm a fan of that either.

The spell list looks good, it's very limiting but I think it probably should be in this case.

I'm not a fan of the Half-Elf favored class bonus, because there's no mention of how to round your extra range on the dire zone... i'd assume this would have no effect at all until 10th level, when you'd gain 5 feet of zone.

The Banelock archetype is nice, though I feel like Diminished Spellcasting doesn't do much as far as weakening the power level, since we're dealing with Paladin-style casting anyway.

I'm not a fan of the Dreadmasque, because again you're limiting what your character can wear... you HAVE to wear a huge creepy mask. I wouldn't want to play it, personally.

I LOVE the Fear Eater archetype, and I think this is the one I would definitely play if I were to play a Direlock in any campaign. The idea of getting power from the fear of your enemies is just too awesome.

There are too many feats here for me to go over, but suffice it to say that everything you could think of for a feat for the Direlock has been covered here. This is a LOT of feats.

I like the accumulating error spell, but I think it should have been opened up to more classes!

I can definitely understand why the reference sheets at the end were created, because this is an EXTREMELY complicated class. That being said, I feel like it's been well-made, but it could have been pared down into just a few ability types as opposed to the five different types of interchangable abilities that are there now.

Overall, I like the Direlock, and I hope I have a chance to play one, but it'll have to be a very specific type of campaign for it to work well, in my opinion. The flavor makes the Direlock seem very evil, which means that some campaign settings just won't work for you.


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A well-thought-out concept, but grossly overpowered.

3/5

The Aspect is a new base class for the Pathfinder RPG. The PDF is 17 pages including the class itself, description of a new class feature called a "divine companion", one feat, one archetype, and and 2 1/2 pages of information about how an Aspect might interact with others and the world around him.

The Aspect's abilities all stem from being a direct part of his or her deity. This is a full spontaneous casting class, but with a more limited number of spells cast per day (max of 3 per spell level). The Aspect doesn't get to choose his or her spells from the overall cleric/oracle spell list, but instead gains the domain spells from up to five(!) domains as his spells known.

The Aspect also gains a class feature (conveniently called Aspect), which allows him to "take on the form" of his deity for 1 minute per use, a maximum of 5 times per day. This is most similar to a Druid's wild shape ability, though much more limited at first, granting +1 to attack, damgage, saves, AC, and ability and skill checks. Later on, you get the opportunity to add more abilities to your aspect through Boons, which are chosen at 3rd level and every 5 levels thereafter.

The Domains class feature allows you to choose 3 domains at first level, gaining all the domain powers from them, and learning all the domain spells listed. I found it a bit odd that you don't need to choose all domains that are in your deity's portfolio. I also think that 3 sets of domain powers could unbalance your leveling a bit, especially since domain powers are all gained at the same level, so you're getting a huge power boost at 3rd level and 8th level, instead of spreading your power increase across multiple levels. Later on you get to learn the spells (but not powers) from two more domains, to increase your spellcasting repertoire.

The Godly Bond class feature is the one that I worry makes this class too powerful. It comes in one of two forms, a "godly icon" which is almost exactly the same as a Wizard's arcane bond with an item, or a "divine companion". The Divine Companion follows the progression of a Summoner's eidolon, gaining evolutions just like an eidolon. With the martial abilities granted directly to the Aspect, along with essentially an eidolon to kick butt right beside him, this class has massive damage potential, much more than a full caster ever should.

There's also a class feature called Endowment that doesn't really mesh with the rest of the class concept, allowing you to give sacred or profane bonuses to allies, including ability score bonuses, bonuses to saving throws, dodge bonuses to AC, or bonuses to caster level. I get that you're granting abilities to allies because you're part of your god, but with the martial ability of the class itself, and full spellcasting, I don't think you need to add in extra buffs... plus these can be used on your divine companion/eidolon, making it even stronger than before.

The Boons that you get every 5 levels after 3rd are good, for the most part. Some of them add new spells to your spells known list, while some give you new abilities when you're using your Aspect class feature. You can gain channel energy as a cleric, or gain domain powers from one of your last two domains, which don't normally grant powers.

One Boon that I think is grossly overpowered is "Diminutive Aspect", which allows you to become Diminutive size when using your aspect. There are very few spells in the game that even let you become smaller than Tiny size, and that's for good reason... you get a HUGE Size bonus to AC from becoming so small. Even though this specific boon requires that you also choose the Tiny Aspect boon, it's still probably too powerful in my opinion, and could be combined with other Boons such as the Summon boon (which lets you add all summon monster spells to your spell list) to make for some really powerful combinations (a diminutive creature hiding behind a much larger teammate, casting summons, while his divine companion tears up the battlefield, is just crazy strong.)

The Paragon class feature is really cool and flavorful, allowing the Aspect to grant spells to a cleric, but it comes in WAY too early at 7th level. It also grants him the Leadership feat, which many GMs ban instantly.

At 13th level, you get to have a permanent demiplane of your own that is CONNECTED TO YOUR GOD'S PLANE WITH A PERMANENT PORTAL!! WHAT? That is WAY too powerful for a 13th level character, seriously. You can even have dead creatures that were devoted to you hang out in your demiplane and do your bidding! Wowza.

The 17th level Tap Divinity ability is fine, letting you ignore age penalties and speak with any living creature. That's flavorful and not overly powerful.

The capstone power is essentially that you become a true Demigod, which is also flavorful, though I don't like the "you can be communicated with over any distance by prayer" aspect... telepathic communication across any length and through any magical barrier irks me.

The new feat is "Extra Boon", and honestly I can imagine an Aspect taking this feat at every level because the Boons are generally more powerful than a feat. This one should have been limited to taking it a certain number of times per character level.

Then, there's the Demigod archetype. This archetype lets you drop the Aspect class feature to instead gain BOTH a divine icon AND a divine companion, AND you get Boons every 3 levels instead of every 5. So this is just straight-up better in every way than the main class, and very much overpowered.

Alright, so basically my final thoughts come down to this... if you're playing a mythic campaign, this class could work very well all on its own next to players who have class levels and mythic ranks. It's a VERY powerful class, moreso than any other base class in the Pathfinder game, and therefore it should have been balanced more, no doubt.

That being said, I absolutely love the idea of the class, and feel that with a few tweaks (such as just removing the divine companion completely) this could be a fun and interesting class for a player to try out. With a little help from a GM who is willing to adjust the class, I would probably try playing an Aspect in the future.


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Some of Paizo's best work in months

5/5

I was really looking forward to the release of this book, and I was NOT disappointed! There is a lot of quality content in this book, including magic item slot options for all your pets, a few interesting archetypes for classes that normally don't get animal companions to pick them up, several useful magic items, new companion and familiar options, and new feats and archetypes for the creatures themselves.

I would like to point out that there are a few little mistakes in here, specifically when it comes to the animal archetypes. A cavalier's animal companion can't technically take the Charger archetype, even though it was obviously written for just that type of companion, because it replaces share spells, which cavalier companions don't get. There's a similar issue with the familiar archetypes and many Improved familiars. However, the writers are already working on an errata for these small issues, and they really don't detract from the overall quality of the work.

This book includes some of the best writing I've seen come out of Paizo in months, and I HIGHLY recommend picking it up!


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I'm incredibly impressed

5/5

This coming from someone who has always loved Prestige classes and what they represent, Paizo really hit the nail on the head this time. I wish this was part of the Pathfinder Core Rules series instead of a Campaign Setting, because these PrCs are worthy of every single player who enjoys this game to check out.

There are thirty Prestige classes in this book, and each one of them is full of flavor and has at least one unique and interesting ability that will make players drool. Whether it be the Mammoth Rider whose animal companion or bonded mount becomes a Huge creature, or the Aspis Agent who uses cunning and guile to interfere with the Pathfinder Society's plans, these classes are all excellent.

There are very few abilities that could be "cheesed" by power gamers, which is refreshing and represents excellent writing on the part of the authors of this book. I especially enjoyed how two of the classes, the Blackfire Adept and the Riftwardens, are specifically listed as being antitheses of each other, opposing each other at every turn and essentially holding a quiet war between their two schools of thought.

Every base class in the game is represented with at least one Prestige class that they can qualify for, and usually several for each class. I am extremely happy that this book is out, and I'm eagerly looking forward to which PrCs are pronounced as legal for Pathfinder Society play.


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Not bad, but has some major flaws that could be easily fixed.

4/5

Grimoire Viperian is a bit of a misnomer for this book, though I might only think so because of other "Grimoire" third-party books that I've seen on paizo.com that are usually a book of spells with a common theme. This book doesn't really have a true common theme, though there are several snake-related PrCs and abilities, and all of the monsters in the back are snake-related.

The book starts off with two base classes, the Shapeshifter and the Pyro. As you can expect from the Shapeshifter, the class's abilities are all about changing shapes and using those new shapes in battle. I would have liked this class to be a little bit more focused on a certain type of creature as opposed to just changing into essentially anything, because this really just comes off as a Druid with no spellcasting. That said, the abilities seem relatively balanced and it would probably be just fine to throw into your current game.

When I first looked at the Pyro, I thought it was a joke class, because it's essentially a guy waving a torch at you. The class's main abilities revolve around using torches as melee weapons, and that seems a little dumb at first, but the abilities given actually do seem pretty fun. Many of these center around "special torch attacks" that usually inflict some negative condition on the target. Overall, this class would be fun to play in a lighthearted game, and is well-written enough to stand up even in a more gritty game if roleplayed correctly.

Next, there are a bunch of new prestige classes. I'll tell you right off the bat, I have an issue with the way the prerequisites for these classes were handled. Instead of following the standard Paizo PrC formula for prerequisites (some amount of BAB, a class feature, a number of skill ranks in a specific skill, etc), the authors have decided to require levels in specific classes as prerequisites. For example, the Bear Clan Warchief requires ALL of the following:
"Class: 5 levels of barbarian
Alignment: any non-lawful
Strength: 17+
Constitution: 14+
Skills: Handle Animal: 3 ranks, Knowledge (Nature): 3 ranks,
Survival: 3 ranks
Feats: Power Attack and either Toughness or Iron Will
Special: Must have been a member of a barbarian tribe that
venerates bears."
Now, instead of requiring 5 levels of barbarian, they should have written it as "BAB +5, rage power class feature". This would all but require a barbarian of significant levels, but wouldn't preclude a barb 2/fighter 3 or something like that. That's the way Paizo does it, and that's how they should probably have done it.

I digress. There are several "Something Clan Warchief" PrCs in this book, so I'm not going to describe each one in detail. I think they probably could have made these a single PrC with a choice of which animal to use, but that's fine. The Bear Clan Warchief's abilities are of course all bear themed, and they strongly complement a barbarian's melee abilities, as expected. I found the abilities a little bit lackluster, and could have done with something more flavorful.

The next PrC is the Black Lord. This one requires 4 levels of wizard or sorcerer and 3 levels of fighter. Why you couldn't start off as an Antipaladin or a Summoner/Fighter or any other martial/spellcaster combination, I have no clue. The abilities are darkness-themed, and probably could have been thought out more clearly. They seem weak for a martial/spellcaster PrC, overall. I DO like that the spell list, instead of being specific spells (which then would not be updated when more books are published) are listed as things like "all sorcerer/wizard Necromancy and [Darkness] spells" plus a few specific ones. This was a great call on the part of the authors, because it gives the player and the DM more flexibility on what spells can be used.

Next up, the Champion of Light. This PrC is essentially the antithesis of the Black Lord, but requires no specific class levels, which is a good thing. This one seems made for Paladins who have a smattering of another class and no spellcasting yet, as it has its own spellcasting progression instead of adding to a previous class's. The abilities listed are decent, and they've given the Paladin spell list essentially as the spells available (though they also included all first-level cleric spells, which is strange to me.)

Next is the Cobra Master, a monk focusing on, surprise surprise, very quick unarmed attacks. The Cobra Strike ability lets the Cobra Master deny his opponent their Dex mod to AC a limited number of times per day, which is fine. The abilities go on to cause fear conditions, poisonous strikes, and for some reason a single dice of sneak attack at 10th level. Overall, not too bad, though I would have liked to see a much more interesting capstone ability than a 1st-level rogue ability.

The Dread Crusher is essentially a higher-level version of the Breaker Barbarian archetype, and doesn't really hold water on its own, because of that. It could have been left out.

Next we have another Warchief, this time Eagle Clan. This one is all about getting heightened senses and using them to avoid attacks, and he gets an interesting ability at 7th level to deal an auto-crit, which could be used in conjunction with Critical feats to royally mess up enemies. This one's not bad.

The Earth Lord requires sorcerer/wizard or fighter levels, and is all about using earth magic. It's strange to me, though, because it seems to not have a clear, defined role, which PrCs usually do. This one gives you some physical abilities like bull's strength as a spell-like ability, but then everything else is about commanding earth elementals and casting earth-based spells. In addition, the spell list is just messed up. "All 0-level arcane spells, except air relates spells". This means all cantrips for every arcane class. No. Just no. The strangest thing here is that there even IS a spell list, when the class just continues the spellcasting of the previous class. Instead, this list should have been a few earth-based spells to be ADDED to your current arcane spellcasting list.

The Faceted Conjurer... I don't really know what to say here. It's an arcane spellcaster PrC, it focuses on enchantments and illusions, but somehow they also tie into something about gems and exotic minerals. I'm... confused. Anyway, the abilities are interesting, especially the "conjure Ioun stone" ability, which lets you create ioun stones for a few hours at a time. This could be infinitely valuable for a caster who knows how to use it. The next class ability lets you conjure figurines of wondrous power, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me since the figurines of wondrous power themselves are used to conjure cretures based on their shape, at least that's the way I always thought of it. At 9th level, he can use a precious stone as a focus to cast one of the prismatic spells once per week. Overall this is a flavorful class that might actually be really useful to a player who knows spellcasting very well, so I'd say this one gets a thumbs-up from me.

The Fire Lord is another one that requires both sor/wiz and fighter levels, which I'm still not a fan of. It's also got some VERY STEEP ability score requirements. Most of this class's abilities let him cast fire spells as if he were a few levels higher, and honestly that's not a good way to build a PrC, especially since a gnome can already take Pyromaniac as a racial trait to raise their caster level for fire spells by 1. Again we've got a spell list for a class that doesn't grant its own spells. This one gets my thumbs-down.

Horse Clan Warchief, more of the same with the Warchiefs. The class gives you horse-like powers, lets you run fast and makes you REALLY good at riding horses. To this one, I say "meh".

The Knight Heretic is essentially a reskinned Blackguard. The abilities are overdone and I'm not a fan. Sorry, evil players.

The Knight Inexorable... is just a Cavalier. Maybe a few new abilities, but honestly they're just playing off of others' ideas at this point. Boo.

Knight of the Black Glade. Finally some flavor here! This one's for a druid/ranger, and that's fine with me. The flavor text describes how this is essentially a Knight of the forest. Cool. First level ability... wait, what? "Horse Animal Companion Advancement". So, if your AC is not a horse, you're SOL. Why? Why couldn't it be a tiger, if this is all about the forest? Sigh. Most of the other abilities are great, especially the "metal armor acclimation" which lets him start using metal armor and still cast druid spells. This makes a lot of sense for a Knight of the Forest. I like it. At higher levels, he gets some forest-based spell-like abilities that are all flavorful. Get rid of the horse requirement, and this is a well-done PrC.

Next come... 4 more Knight-based prestige classes. I'm not going to go into each one, because I'm honestly getting sleepy. They're all fine, for the most part.

Master of the Hand Axe.... really? A PrC COMPLETELY FOCUSED ON THE HANDAXE? Sorry, I'm not even reading it.

Ok so there are a bunch more prestige classes, a lot of them dealing with snakes now. When I started writing this review, I was really going to review every single class, but I don't think I can handle it. Suffice it to say that the authors had a lot of PrC ideas, some of them worked well and other really didn't.

The next section of the book has several NPCs based on the new classes, and they're well-put-together. I wouldn't hesitate to use one of them as an NPC in one of my games, most likely.

Next, Eldritch Path Feats. These are interesting, because they're feats that take a spellcaster deeper into a certain type of magic, giving some spell-like abilities based on the spells that they prefer to cast. I would almost liken these feats to cleric domains, as each one gives several per-day and per-week abilities. The only problem I have with them is that you get all the abilities at once, so really each one is worth way more than a single feat. This is partially mitigated by the fact that the abilities are applied to spells of differing spell levels, but it's still probably a little much for a feat.

Next up is a short chapter of equipment and magic items. Nothing here is super exciting or anything, from what I can tell. Seems fine.

Next, there are a TON of new spells, though many of them are specifically for the new prestige classes. Having so many new prestige class spell lists definitely makes things complicated, but that goes back to a fundamental problem with the way they wrote up the PrCs in this book. Overall, the spells are pretty cool, and none of them was glaringly overpowered to me, at least on a cursory glance. The art in the spells section is quite good, which I was happy to see.

Supernatural Signs... are kind of confusing. I guess it boils down to "a character with one of these was destined for greatness, and so they get some powers". This steps on the toes of Sorcerer bloodlines, in my opinion, so I'm not a fan of these. They are essentially templates, so the only way I would see myself using them is on enemies to give them some flavor, which is actually suggested as one way to use them in the flavor text. Overall, the abilities conferred by these are equivalent to a level or two in a player base class, so it might be tough to decide how any of these would affect a given creature as far as CR goes. Final verdict on these: Not a huge fan.

Finally, we've got a huge list of new monsters and templates. Again, I just don't have time to go through all of them, but some of these are pretty cool. I especially like that the authors took the time to tell what summoning and shapechanging spells their new creatures work with. Points for that. Most of the creatures shown here are variant snakes, and all of them have some interesting ability that make them worthy of a look.
The templates are ALL snake-themed, and might have value in some campaigns.

Alright... that's a lot of material. Overall, I was happy with this book for the price. There's a ton of material, and most of it is pretty good. I really would like to see the authors adjust their PrC prerequisites to match more closely with Paizo's style, because the prereqs just seem strange as they are now. I also think they could have left a few of the non-snake-themed PrCs out of the book, and focused this book solely on snakes (which is what the monsters and templates section does).

Is this PDF worth throwing $10 at? I would say yes, on the condition that you're a GM who knows how to tweak things for your players. Change the prereqs of the prestige classes to be more reasonable, then use some of the new rules and monsters in your campaign to mess those players up. For players, this book is too big and complex, go read the Advanced Players Guide instead.


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Solid product, awesome for the price

4/5

I'm happy with this download. Let's start with the basics:

The PDF is 4 pages long, two of which are the cover and OGL pages, respectively. On the two pages of content, there are a full 32 new Arcane Discoveries, which for a <$1 product is fabulous. I'll give a quick yay-or-nay on each discovery below:

Animator - boost to animate objects; very situational but well-written. (yay)

Arcane Signet - use your arcane mark to impress spellcasters (yay)

Artificial Conduit - drain magic from a magic item on your person to power a staff; I'd never use this one, personally, but a cool idea (yay)

Dedicated Familiar - use your character level instead of your arcane spellcaster level for determining your familiar's abilities and whether you can take Improved Familiar; possibly creeps on the Boon Companion feat, but otherwise solid (yay)

Dual Slot - prepare two spells in one slot but the slot is expended if you cast either - a good way for a wizard to get a little bit more versatility. The only thing I'd change is to specify that this ability can only be chosen once. (yay)

Endow Wand - spend time to give your wand an extra temporary charge; this is probably a little overpowered since there seems to be no penalty at all, and there's no level limit (if it was only wands of spells up to 2nd level, I'd say fine). (nay)

Forceful Counterspell - cause nonlethal damage to the caster when you sucessfully counterspell; sounds fun (yay)

Illimitable Power - more uses of a single arcane school power; this one is probably a little overpowered since it uses your level to determine the number of uses per day, I would say this should be a static 4 more uses per day or something like that, especially since some favored class options would give even more uses per day. (nay)

Imperious Familiar - your familiar gains dominate animal as a spell-like, but only can use it on animals of its kind; this might be a little bit OP since it's 3 times daily, though it's balanced by requiring the same kind of animal (would this mean that your cat familiar couldn't use this on a tiger?) cool concept though. (yay)

Insightful Preparation - Okay this one needs a little work. Essentially, each time you prepare your spells you get a boost, based on the arcane school you choose. These benefits seemingly last 24 hours. Some of them are really weak (+4 to Spellcraft checks), and some are insanely strong (+4 armor bonus!!). The +4 armor bonus essentially means you'd never need mage armor again, so I think that one would have to go. (nay)

Ioun Bond - you can attach ioun stones to your bonded object instead of them floating around your head. your bonded object gets 2 temp HP. I like this one a lot, but it needs to be limited to a single ioun stone (or maybe a certain number based on your wizard level). (yay)

Living Spellbook - your spellbook becomes an intelligent item; cool concept, though I'm not sure what you'd gain from it. (yay)

Mind Over Matter - Use your Int score to determine negative hit point total at which you die; no issues here, situational but could come in very handy that one time an Ogre decides to focus on you. (yay)

None Dare Speak His Name - VOLDEMORT! You know when someone says your name; very cool, though it requires 20th level so it won't be available in 90% of games. (yay)

Obfuscation - bonus to Spellcraft DC to identify your spells; meh, it works (yay)

Permanent Magic - permanency spells work way better for you; requires 20th level so again, it won't be important in many games. (yay)

Power Staff - magical staffs you wield gain a +1 enhancement bonus to attack and damage; by the time you qualify for this (5th level) you'll be able to enhance weapons to make them way better than this (nay)

Read Magic - read magic spell as at-will spell-like ability; one less cantrip to memorize each day (yay)

Reservoir Familiar - store one spell per day in your familiar, touch it to memorize the spell on the fly; I think this mechanic is flawed, since you theoretically don't have a free spell slot to cast the spell with. Could use a little work. (nay)

Scholar's Shorthand - write spells in your spellbook using up less pages, -25% cost; soild (yay)

Sense Artifacts - does what the name says, you sense artifacts within 100 miles; super situational, and requires 20th level, but fine (yay)
Spell Battery - use up charges of a wand or staff AND cause it to gain the broken condition to recall a spell that you've already cast today; I can see this being used to cheesily recall spells using 0th-level wands, since it doesn't specify a required spell level of wand or staff, so I'm gonna say no to this one (nay)

Spell Thesis - auto-identify one spell, gain +2 on concentration checks pertaining to that spell, etc.; this one's solid. (yay)

Stately Spellcraft - use a longer casting time to increase the duration and range of a spell; very situational, but fine (yay)

Symbol Mastery - boost DCs to locate or remove "symbol" spells you cast; pretty cool, could be fun in conjunction with the arcane mark discovery from earlier (yay)

Trace Bond - locate your familiar or bonded object at will; I'd never choose this one, but it's fine (yay)

Voice of Reason - use Int instead of Cha for Diplomacy checks, it's always a class skill for you; Super awesome, I'd pick it in an RP-heavy game (yay)

Wand Transfer - transfer charges between wands of equal or lesser spell levels; This could be really useful for random loot that you'd never use: "oh, that wand of alter winds we found back there? Hand it here. Mmkay, now I have more charges in my mage armor wand. *tosses wand of alter winds in trash* (yay)

Wizard's Tricks - prestidigitation and ventriloquism become duration 1 hour/level; meh, I wouldn't choose this one, but if you like those spells, awesome (yay)

Wizard's Whispers - comprehend languages and message become duration 1 hour/level; this one's a little better than Wizard's Tricks (yay)

Wrest Summons - lets you steal control of a summoned creature if you have a sufficient summon spell prepared; pretty cool, though they need to specify that the duration is 1 minute or the length of the effect whichever is shorter (yay)

So, only 6 out of 32 that I think are bad ideas, and most of those could be fixed with a short phrase. Overall, this is a good product, without much creep potential (probably less than a lot of Paizo-sanctioned products from recent times), and I'd recommend it for your wizard if your DM approves.

I'd also like to say that for a first foray into sourcebooks, Abandoned Arts has done an excellent job!


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Honestly I'm extremely disappointed...

2/5

So let me start by saying that I normally don't write reviews, because most of the time someone with more knowledge than I has already written a great one before I even see the product. This time, however, I feel like I have a unique perspective on the product, as I've been working on a somewhat-similar project.

Let me start with the basics. It's 17 pages, with the first page being artwork, the second being a table of contents, and the last two being the OGL statement and a commercial for their other products.

The general idea of the feats presented here is to give a multiclassed character a way to continue the progression of one or more of their class features from their "marginalized" class. And as far as the mechanics of the game are concerned, the feats presented here can do that. The issue I have with this product is how specific the requirements are for some of these feats, yet how general the benefits are.

I'll give an example: The Duplex feat called "Illusionary Savant" requires 3 levels in Wizard with the Illusion school as its focused school, 2 levels of Rogue, and three ranks in the Bluff skill. That sounds like a great set of requirements for a multiclassed Rogue/Wizard who focuses on Illusions, right? The problem is that the flavor of the Illusion focus is completely lost in the feat benefits. Despite the requirements and the name of the feat being Illusion-focused, the benefits of the feat are incredibly generic. You get to add levels in Wizard and Rogue for the purposes of your school abilities. You gain a level worth of spells per day and +1 caster level in the Wizard class at every even level of the Rogue class. That's it. There is no mention of the Illusion school anywhere.

If they had also added some flavorful abilities, like "your save DCs for Illusion spells increase by 1 per two Rogue levels" or "when you cast an Illusion spell, you have a 15% chance of causing the opponent to be flat-footed against your next attack, allowing you to use sneak attack", then this would be an AWESOME product!

On top of the generic nature of the feat benefits, most of the feats have arbitrary special conditions involving how many class levels of each of your classes you need to have for the feat's effect to continue. Here's an excerpt sentence from the Illusionary Savant feat that I was just describing: "If you have a difference of more than three class levels between the classes named in the prerequisites for this feat, or your number of Rogue class levels is ever greater than your number of Wizard class levels, this feat is suspended."

To me, this requirement seems arbitrary, and again doesn't address the flavor aspect of multiclassing. WHY should your classes need to be within 3 levels of each other? Is this just to discourage dipping? If so, they've already done so by requiring multiple levels in each base class. I would think that a rogue could dabble in magic a lot (take 7 levels of Wizard), or a little (take 3 levels of Wizard), and still should get to benefit from this feat for his full 20-level progression.

This type of issue is rampant throughout the entire product, all the way to the Racial and NPC-based Duplex feats toward the end of the pdf. Overall, I believe that these feats are mechanically sound, and therefore if you chose to use them in your game it should be fine. Nothing will break. BUT, the requirements, special requirements, and lack of flavor really make this a bad read, and I would personally never use these feats in their current forms.