Mysteries of the Tengu Road: Yamabushi, the Sublime Transmuter (PFRPG) PDF

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Love transmutation magic? Interested in playing a character dedicated to only one school of magic?

Even more specialized than a specialist wizard, the yamabushi can only ever cast transmutation spells. But they can cast any transmutation spell, whether arcane or divine. Choose from five paths to follow: razor wind, starry eye, primal dream, trying steel, or maker’s hand. Each path presents a different approach to transmutation magic.

Yamabushi seek nothing short of perfection—in both body and soul. They seek to transmute themselves into an ideal, to realize their truest potential, to unlock the secrets buried within, to understand themselves. They learn to control their bodies through intense training that incorporates spiritual discipline and mystic knowledge. They learn to channel transmutation magic—both arcane and divine—through their mastery of themselves. The precise nature of their devotion can differ, hence the different paths, but their quest for change is paramount.

More than just the class, a new PC race is presented that is deeply tied to the yamabushi. The daitengu are the fey cousins of the kotengu (or tengu) you all know and love. Play a daitengu yamabushi today!

In this book, you’ll find...

  • Yamabushi base class, focused on transmutation magic
  • 5 paths to choose from for your yamabushi
  • More than 40 contemplations/revelations for use with yamabushi and oracles
  • Daitengu PC race: fly on raven wings!
  • Stats for the iconic daitengu yamabushi (complete with a new weapon)

Mysteries of the Tengu Road brings you a new character class. One devoted to transmutation magic. Choose your path and the unique special abilities that come with each. Adapted from the oracle class, the yamabushi’s contemplations are interchangeable with the oracles revelations, giving you more than 40 new abilities to give either your yamabushi or oracle.

Mysteries of the Tengu Road: Yamabushi, the Sublime Transmuter is a high quality, full-color, web-optimized, 16-page pdf from Zombie Sky Press bundled with a stripped-down, printer-friendly version. It uses the Open Game License and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatibility License. It is compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and standard 3.5E fantasy RPGs.

Design by Scott Gable; Illustration by Crystal Frasier and Ashton Sperry; Editing by Micheal McArtor.

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Specialist, versatile Transmuter-class with far-out abilities


This pdf is 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 1/3 page credits, ½ page SRD, leaving 14 1/6 pages of content, so let’s check out this offering of ZSP!

What actually do we get here? Well, the new 20-levels yamabushi base-class kicks the pdf off. The class is focusd on a perfection of both mind and body through transmutation magic. The class has d8, 4+ Int skills, bad BAB, good fort saves and access to full spontaneous spellcasting, restricted to the transmutation schools, be it divine or arcane. The associated attribute is Cha and you can ignore the divine focus component in divine spells, but both arcane and divine spells suffer from arcane spell failure chance if you cast them. Additionally, you’ll select a path that will determine some of the central aspects of the class, i.e. privileged spells that are always active on you, meditations, contemplations and the final lvl 20-realization. A side-box also explains the similarities between the yamabushi and the oracle and elaborates on revelations the yamabushi might take instead of his own contemplations.

The paths you get to choose from are:

- Path of the Razor Wind: This path focuses on wind-like spells, mobility and the ability to use attacks at range. The final ability is keeping all privileged spells active at once.
- Path of the Starry Eyes: This rather interesting path focuses on dimensional shifts, duplication and manipulation of perception and reality – nice for a rather cthulhoid/Himalayan-style yamabushi. The final ability is keeping all privileged spells active at once. I LOVE this path!
- Path of the Primal Dream: The shapechanger path enables the practicing yamabushi, enabling you to take extraordinary abilities and even use abilities from other creature they can polymorph into, possibly combining e.g. the extraordinary abilities of creature A with creature B. While a cool idea, I think it’s almost impossible to calculate the repercussions some combinations might enable the PCs to pull off. I’m not sure I’d allow this one in my game. The final ability is fats healing 5.
- Path of the Trying Steel: A path focused on melee, somewhat similar to battle oracle builds that can use special attacks to inflict bleed, reduce movement rates etc. The Revelation once again enables you to have all your privileged spells active at once. I liked this path.
-Path of the Maker’s Hand: The smith-path among the available ones and focuses on enhancing your equipment and forging magic items without knowing the spells necessary to craft the items as well as elemental powers and creatures. Again, the final ability enables you to to have all privileged spells active at once. This path somehow felt inconsistent to me – between elemental power, crafting and buffing I missed the clean line.
We also get additional information: The Daitengu race, a shapechanger-take on the Tengu as a playable race and the new yokai subtype. Unfortunately, while a nice bonus, the race suffers from the direct comparison with Rite Publishing’s excellent “In the Company of Tengu”. There are also two feats to change your known and privileged spells, which I liked in their elegant and simple design. A new weapon and weapon quality are also presented, but both are nothing to write home about. There are also three new spells, lesser beast shape, selective gravity and subjective time. The spells are surprisingly well-designed and imaginative. For your convenience, a list of all transmutation spells from core, APG and UM is also included.
The pdf concludes with the statblock of an iconic yamabushi.

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. The pdf is extensively bookmarked and thankfully comes in both a screen- and a printer-friendly version. Layout adheres to the three-column standard and is clean, concise and well-presented. The artwork is very comic-style and not my cup of coffee – it feels a bit childish and does not really serve to enhance the flair that well. The yamabushi-class itself is modular and well-written, though I’m still rather cautious of the Path of the Primal Dream. While I love the quirky, whacky feel of the class as a truly specialist caster with some weaponfocused abilities and its enlightenment/weird abilities, I think it fell short of its own potential in a key regard, namely its capstone abilities: With one exception, they are all the same. While I like the ability to have the privileged spells active at once and due to the different spell-lists, they still feel different, I would have nevertheless liked some more diversity there.

The Daitengu race didn’t wow me either – probably due to RiP already having done the excellent Tengu race-book. The additional material is of varying quality – the weapon and weapon quality and race didn’t wow me, but the feats, spells and spell-list rock. The book’s mechanics are sound, but between the artwork not being the best, the varying quality of the additional material, the potentially unbalancing path I still have a strange gut-feeling and after some careful pondering, I realized that, while I love the general idea of the class, there is something missing. Yamabushi somehow fall short of what they could have been – with some more ideas like in the Starry Eyes Path, some more of these excellent unique spells, I could have ignored the sub-par parts. As it stands, the pdf is an interesting purchase for the low price for those who are intrigued by the specialist caster approach, though not one I can unanimously recommend. Thus, my final verdict will be 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

An awesome buy


This product presents the sublime transmuter, which can be thought of as a transmutation specialist wizard squared. This class is based off of the Oracle (and you can even take some of the Oracle Revelations too!), and presents 5 "paths" (analogous to Mysteries) to travel upon in your journey of self perfection.

Other than the class, there are two new feats (related to the class), 1 new player race (Daitengu) and 1 subtype, 3 new spells (Lesser Beast Shape, Selective Gravity, Subjective Time), and a new weapon.

The art work is great, and the cover looks incredible. I really enjoy the art style of the iconic Yamabushi.

On to the crunch!

d8, 3/4ths BAB. 9 levels of spells.

Each path has a set of contemplations (revelations), as well as Privileged Spells. Privileged Spells are spells that are always on. You can choose from the list of spells given in the path (as long as you can cast it), and you can change this every day.

You get to choose a total of 5 contemplations.

They get all transmutation spells from all spell lists.

Some Paths give weapon proficiencies, and all of them modify the class skill list somehow. Each path also has a "Mediation", which are akin to the Sorcerer's Bloodline Arcana. For example, the Path of the Trying Steel gives the Vital Strike feat chain as you progress in levels. These abilities are the cornerstones of your path, and so are generally more powerful than the Bloodline Arcanas.

Here are the Paths. Not that I'm not listing all the contemplations of a Path:

Path of the Razor Wind - Mediation gives a Monk's fast movement, as well as being able to take 10 on Acrobatics whenever you want. This is based on mobility and ranged weaponry, specifically thrown weapons. One contemplation gives you Throw Anything and Improvised Weapon Mastery for free which opens up all sorts of character concepts.

Path of the Starry Eye - This path is hard to explain. It focuses on manipulation, both socially and sensory, and controlling gravity and other things (they get Telekinesis as a Privileged Spell!). They can confuse people with a touch, shoot force bolts, or change how gravity affects a creature. This Path seems a bit unfocused, but perhaps there's a method I'm just not grasping to this madness.

Path of the Primal Dream - Shapeshifter. This path's abilities focus on the shifting powers of the class. One contemplation allows you to take on the Supernatural abilities of the creatures you shift into, and another gives access to a few Extraordinary abilities too. It's like a limited Druidzilla!

Path of the Trying Steel - Heavily inspired by the Battle Oracle. This can get Stand Still and Step Up feats for free, can sacrifice spells to get BAB = HD as a free action, reduce an enemy's movement speed to 5', and can move through enemy squares, damaging them 1d4 per class level. Oh, and at level 20 they can get all their Privileged spells up at once, which includes Righteous Might, Giant Form I, and Divine Vessel. Ouch!

Path of the Maker's Hand - This Path focuses on Elemental powers, crafting, and equipment buffing. You can take a contemplation to not take a penalty for not knowing a spell when crafting an item, can Knock as the spell your charisma modifier number of times per day, and power up the weapon or armor you're using.

While some of the paths worry me a bit about balance (Primal Dream and Trying Steel specifically. They bring back bad memories of CoDzilla.), I am sure the extreme specialization of only transmutation spells balances these out.

This is a very interesting class, and I really like the modular aspect of it. All together, I think it's fairly balanced. There are some ways to make them extremely powerful, but they still won't surpass a Wizard at high levels.

I hope there are more classes based solely on a magic school on the way, as this offering is a great start!


Now available!


Zombie Sky Press

Thanks for getting this live, Liz!

Players, the Mysteries of... line is for you. Several new classes coming and a few other things as well.

This first release, Mysteries of the Tengu Road give you a new class, a new PC race, and more.

Transmutation magic for the win!

Zombie Sky Press

BTW, if you own a copy, please consider reviewing it, whether you love it or hate it (or feel somewhere in between). This helps us improve the products. That's why, for instance, there's a second printer-friendly PDF included this time.

Follow us on Facebook to find out what we're up to.

I ran into an issue when writing the review. Is the privileged spell always on? Can you have multiple of these up at once?

For example, will a Maker's Hand Path sublime transmuter always have Barkskin and Magic Weapon up, as long as he knows them for the day?

Zombie Sky Press

You can only have one privileged spell active at a time--until the highest levels. You choose one from your privileged list each day (when you're high enough level to get each) and that spell is always on (at will).

So in your example, assuming the yamabushi was high enough level that both spells were on his privileged list, he would choose either barkskin or magic weapon to be at will. He could change this each day (or faster with one of the new feats).

Scarab Sages

This has oracle revelations as well? I could buy this & use it strictly for an oracle? Or they separate from this class's abilities or the same?
Thank you, I'm just curious before I buy, & without any reviews I don't know yet

Zombie Sky Press

Hey, Zabei! For the yamabushi, they're called contemplations, but they are mechanically equivalent to oracle revelations. There's a sidebar in the PDF that helps to figure out what oracle mystery each would fit into.

So yes, each is usable by both yamabushi and oracles. Hope that helps!

zabei wrote:

This has oracle revelations as well? I could buy this & use it strictly for an oracle? Or they separate from this class's abilities or the same?

Thank you, I'm just curious before I buy, & without any reviews I don't know yet

Check the reviews again!

Zombie Sky Press

BTW, I encourage anyone with playtest results for the yamabushi to post them here. These will help determine the need for any revisions and make the class that much more balanced.

Scarab Sages

Thank you for responses, & yay a review!

Reviewed here and sent to GMS magazine. Should pop also up on DTRPG via GMS. Cheers!

Dark Archive

Nice review End. I see you have been busy again.

Yeah, I might have a minor health-related hiatus, so I thought I'd provide some first. :)

Dark Archive

Endzeitgeist wrote:
Yeah, I might have a minor health-related hiatus, so I thought I'd provide some first. :)

That sucks, hopefully all will be well soon.

Zombie Sky Press

Thanks for the review, End! :D

I wish you a speedy recovery and hope to see you back soon.

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