Incantations from the Other Side: Spirit Magic (PFRPG) PDF

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Incantations give an exciting twist to magic and are accessible to any character. Be warned, though, for the incantations in this book are not for the weak of heart. They tempt with great power but bring only ruin to the unwary.

    In this book, you’ll discover…
  • The intensity of Voodoo, a bridge between the mundane and divine
  • The wonder of an idyllic Old World folklore, an animistic celebration of nature and Slavic fairy tale
  • The madness of the Arcanum, a supplication to mind-blasting terror

This magic is mysterious and powerful. It is not something to be played with and can quickly consume the careless. This is magic with a price, and it demands your respect. This is an unpredictable, living, breathing magic.

Incantations from the Other Side: Spirit Magic is a perfect resource for players wanting to add a little danger to their characters or for game masters needing that extra something for their game world. This 38-page, high-quality, full-color, web-optimized pdf is compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and contains 20 dangerous new incantations, 36 new spirits, a sample arcane lodge, and a new disease.

Written by Scott Gable, Uri Kurlianchik, and Clinton Boomer

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***** (based on 2 ratings)

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Incantations should be added to the standard rules - This book ROCKS!

*****

This pdf is 39 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page containing both SRD and Index. That leaves 35 pages of content.

Incantations kicks off with an introduction to the spirit world, explaining how spirit magic and incantations are neither truly divine nor arcane, how they represent a primal power that can be tapped via rituals by anyone who knows how to do so, but may exact a price. (2 pages)
The first chapter describes Incantations from the general area of Vodou. It introduces the concepts of rado, petro and guede Loa which are not bluntly described as the traditional alignments but rather differences in the temperament of the more or less amoral Loa. We get 7 Rada Loa, 5 Petro Loa and 8 Guede Loa in this chapter. Apart from several nice incantations we also get a new disease in this chapter. My favorite incantation makes it possible to literally shed ones skin and temporarily become a incorporeal form, including attacks etc. (12 pages)

The second chapter details the so-called Middle World, inspired by Slavic mythology. We get 6 spirits and a sidebox with two great ideas spawned from mythology about spirits and 8 incantations. They have a completely different feeling from the first chapter and make EXCELLENT additions to e.g. a "Tales of the Old Margreve" or otherwise Slavic-inspired setting.(12 pages)

The final chapter details the Arcanum and its utterly alien, slightly Lovecraftian patrons from beyond the stars and contains 4 quite complex incantations as well as a sample lodge and 5 sample patrons.(9 pages)

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch, the pdf comes in full color and is a beauty to behold, complete with nice artwork and its own distinct style. However, it will test the mettle of your printer and a printer-friendly version would have been very much appreciated. With regards to the content, I can only say: WOW. I've always somehow disliked the fact that magic has become a more or less predictable commodity in RPGs and, while I always understood the necessity of predictable systems, this little file adds one stable of fantasy literature and mythology I always missed: The powerful, cool rituals and negotiations with other entities, the underdog non-caster somehow cursing his opponent. The wise woman beseeching the spirits of nature etc. - without being druids, mages etc., has too long been absent from our favorite systems and these incantations are not only expertly written, make great hooks for adventures and put the awe and unpredictability back into magic, they are also plain fun, creepy and/or cool to read. If this pdf does not inspire you to write an adventure, I don't know what will. The system is elegant, concise and should be included in the standard PFRPG-canon. My only two gripes are: I want a sequel, a whole book of incantations and I want a printer-friendly version. Content-wise, this is a straight 5-star-file, but be aware of the lack of a printer-friendly version. If that's a problem for you, subtract a star. My final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5.


Wow! Magic independent of anything else in your world and chock full of flavor!

*****

Incantations from the Other Side: Spirit magic is a great subsystem for adding theurgy-- or the magic of summoning spirits in order to compel or barter with them to cast magic for the summoner-- to your game. This book could be slipped into a d20/Pathfinder modern or grim and gritty game, providing a magic option or easily incorporated into a standard or high fantasy game as an alternative or indigenous magic option. (Rituals from the Other Side is the 4E version of this book.)

The book-- and I refer to one book, because while the mechanics of each version are appropriate to the system, the flavor and descriptive text is largely identical. The landscape layout is great for online reading, the intended format for this product. It helps with the flow of the material and lends itself well to fullscreen mode. The art is a combination of old black and white, strange diagrams, and solid color pieces. With the exception of one large, blocky symbol, they all flowed quite well, adding to the theme and mood of the material. There's even a short index, which seems to be a rarity in shorter supplements lately. This one's sorted by diseases, spell s, groups, and spirits-- a very intuitive manner.

After a short introduction to spirit magic, the voudou section is the first mechanical system presented. This is a great starting point, because these are the most friendly, most social magic. presented as a possible pseudo-religion or cult addition. There's a strong performance aspect which has the added benefit of giving a bit more punch to bardic casters or socially oriented villains who often require a sorcerous secondary. This portion also introduces us to both the costs for simply summoning the spirits (a possible adventure in itself) and for failing to summon them *well enough.* For added flavor, there are two varieties of spirits to choose from, one decidedly more dangerous and a bit more powerful than the other.

The nature spirits constitute the second section. Drawn heavily from slavic and russian mythology, this chapter provides the classic fairy tale source for those groups looking to commune with nature or seek "the wisdom of the land." There are options for establishing a tribal totemic hero or unleashing a furious spirit of destruction against an encroaching horde. These spirits have less of a "performance" aspect and more of a "beseeching" tone. Don't be fooled, though. These spirits still demand a price from their summoners, but there are ways to soften the blow.

Finally, there are the spirits from beyond-- the madness-inducing inscrutable beings capable of granting fantastic powers and knowledge. This part of the book is a great way to incorporate those Lovecraftian cults we all love to emulate in games. The methods used to invoke the presence of these strange creatures are great and full of flavor, presenting a fitting third option for this supplement. Clinton Boomer's handiwork is quite evident, in the vivid descriptions and outstandingly appropriate names.

Overall, I think this book is a great purchase. It has material that players will be tempted to use (if given access), exotic and unusual magic to spice up settings and stories, and great magic that works great for villains or heroes without some kind of alignment bias. Even better than that, this material is functional in worlds where magic should be nonexistant or very weak-- because the characters are never responsible for the effects, all the magical power comes from the summoned spirits. You want to put a little lost magic in a d20 Modern or Future game without unbalancing the world or adding a whole set of mechanics? This book provides a great way to do so and keep your setting in balance.

Great art, good material and mechanics, interesting flavor, and a professional implementation earn Rituals/Incantations a 5-star rating! You'll be glad you picked this up!



Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

For those interested, I've posted my review of this book.

Short version: I liked it. A lot.

Dark Archive

I have been seriously considering this. Maybe in August when I should have some spare cash I can check it out.


Dark_Mistress wrote:
I have been seriously considering this. Maybe in August when I should have some spare cash I can check it out.

I posted my review of it, as well. This is totally worth it if you want to put a system of magic in your game that everyone can utilize. ZSP did a great job of providing three flavors of incantations to work with here.

I'm looking to post a review of their latest pdf sometime this week.

-Ben.


I love incantations, and it was well written, but at the same time, I almost felt that there was some too specific information in some of the write ups that made me feel a bit more compelled to either adopt conceits into my campaign to work with the concepts or to work on how to "genericize" the more specific content.

That and it does move a bit away from the original concept of "do something in ritual form to create something similar to an existing spell effect" to performing rituals that do stuff that don't map to existing spell effects exactly, which, while cool, makes it harder to judge how well something like this will fit the flavor of a campaign.

I don't want to sound negative, because its actually really well written, and maybe if I was creating a campaign world from the ground up I'd use this as part of the groundwork, but I'm not sure I want to try and make it fit into my Golarion campaign, for example, and I would have felt the same way back in my days of running Forgotten Realms.


How many pages is this?

Dark Archive

Twin Agate Dragons wrote:
How many pages is this?
product wrote:
Incantations from the Other Side: Spirit Magic is a perfect resource for players wanting to add a little danger to their characters or for game masters needing that extra something for their game world. This 38-page, high-quality, full-color, web-optimized pdf is compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and contains 20 dangerous new incantations, 36 new spirits, a sample arcane lodge, and a new disease.

*points*

Zombie Sky Press

Jared Rascher wrote:

I love incantations, and it was well written, but at the same time, I almost felt that there was some too specific information in some of the write ups that made me feel a bit more compelled to either adopt conceits into my campaign to work with the concepts or to work on how to "genericize" the more specific content.

Let me help! :)

The text assumes the presence of a "spirit world," but as provided, that world was built into a "black box" as much as possible, so there's minimal interaction with your chosen game world. At its base level, there's no "in" or "out" of it without your, the GM's, say so. The only interaction with it is through the incantations (unless you choose otherwise). This was intentional so as to have a minimal impact on everything else.

That said, if you are uncomfortable with the idea of a "spirit world" in your world or if it really doesn't fit, what can you do? So I gave it some thought...

Vodou: Pared down, the loa are merely "messengers of the gods." As an alternative to what's presented in Incantations from the Other Side, the loa could be a new race of outsiders or a specialized station of angels/devils/et al. that function as heralds to the gods, conduits to divinity. They don't typically leave their own god's homeplane (or perhaps they all live in a centralized plane/city call Lavilokan, mentioned in the text), and the incantations are then similar to more specialized contact other plane spells.

Middle World: As presented, this is really just a re-imagining of the fey. These incantations could simply be pacts made with actual fey, hiding in the corners of the Material Plane or just across the thin barrier to whatever version of Otherworld or Faerie Realms you're using.

Arcanum: The starry patrons could be various "lords of abomination" currently blocked off from direct contact because they're locked within distant Lovecraftian realms of madness or they exist in galaxies on the other side of the universe. What is witnessed within the summoning circle is merely their dark projection. (But now they know of your existence and on on their way for real!)

Hope that helps give you some ideas on how this material can be used in your own game!


Is this a stand alone product? Do I need "Incantations in Theory/Practice" to use this?

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

You don't need it, but it is an awesome pairing. You'll want to get In Theory and Practice after getting this one as it goes into more detail about incantations and even gives guidelines for making up your own. Plus it has awesome artwork by the mighty James Keegan.


How similar/different is this from "Secrets of Pact Magic" and the Binder from Tome of Magic?

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

Kadeity wrote:
How similar/different is this from "Secrets of Pact Magic" and the Binder from Tome of Magic?

I'm not familiar with either of those products, but this book (and the other incantation book from Zombie Sky Press) deals exclusively with incantations. Incantations were first described in the 3.5e Unearthed Arcana, and these two products update the rules to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and expand on them in extremely flavorful ways.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

This is absolutely nothing like Secrets of Pact Magic/the Tome of Magic binder.

Both of those introduced new classes with abilities that allowed for them to, as a class-based effect, bind with a spirit - granting them specific effects depending on what spirit they chose.

Incantations from the Other Side deals with incantations; ritual magic that requires a series of successful skill checks to cast, and can be thus cast by anyone, regardless of class.

Sovereign Court Contributor

Alzrius wrote:

This is absolutely nothing like Secrets of Pact Magic/the Tome of Magic binder.

Both of those introduced new classes with abilities that allowed for them to, as a class-based effect, bind with a spirit - granting them specific effects depending on what spirit they chose.

Incantations from the Other Side deals with incantations; ritual magic that requires a series of successful skill checks to cast, and can be thus cast by anyone, regardless of class.

Got a review you may find useful over here: RPG Aggression


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Louis Agresta wrote:
Alzrius wrote:

This is absolutely nothing like Secrets of Pact Magic/the Tome of Magic binder.

Both of those introduced new classes with abilities that allowed for them to, as a class-based effect, bind with a spirit - granting them specific effects depending on what spirit they chose.

Incantations from the Other Side deals with incantations; ritual magic that requires a series of successful skill checks to cast, and can be thus cast by anyone, regardless of class.

Got a review you may find useful over here: RPG Aggression

Thanks, but I've got my own over here: RPGNow.

;)

Zombie Sky Press

IronDesk wrote:
Is this a stand alone product? Do I need "Incantations in Theory/Practice" to use this?

If you're already familiar with what incantations are from 3.5E, then this is stand-alone. If you're not, you can easily get up to speed by checking them out in the 3.5E SRD. Or you can pick up Incantations in Theory and Practice.

Incantations in Theory and Practice just smooths out the edges of the system, making it fully compatible with Pathfinder (and incantations nearly were 100% compatible already)--although it does expand how they can be used. However, those new rules were not used in Incantations from the Other Side.

Zombie Sky Press

Kadeity wrote:
How similar/different is this from "Secrets of Pact Magic" and the Binder from Tome of Magic?

As others have said, this material has nothing to do with the binder class or pact magic. Though Incantations from the Other Side talks about "pacts," it is not a reference to the "pact magic" of the binder class. This book uses a different mechanic--incantations, which are potentially available to any class.

That said, there is a level of thematic similarity. Just as the binder makes pacts with "vestiges" as a class ability, the incantations in this book allow characters to make pacts with "spirits." Vestiges and spirits are thematically very similar. In fact, I think these incantations would make a very interesting addition to any binder. They would greatly expand the ways that a binder could interact with the spirits/vestiges without interrupting the class's own mechanic. And other characters could help out and interact with the binder's world. Through the binder's normal pact use, the character may form a special bond with those spirits/vestiges of a given "type"--for instance, the Vodou, Middle Word, or Arcanum systems presented in the book--or the character may even have the ability to interact with more than one.

In short, I think there's a ton of potential in blending these incantations with the binder class. I may have to try that in my own game.


Thanks to Scott sending me a coupon, this review can now also be found on DTRPG!


Has anyone used this with the new Pat Magic book from Radiance House? It seems from the description that these would work well together.

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