Grimoire Cognitas (PFRPG)

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Grimoire Cognitas (PFRPG)

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Grimoire Cognitas awaits you!

Long has this grimoire been watching, holding fast its secrets until you were ready for the 77 divination spells within. See the consequences of an action before you take it, lend resolve to a future self in need and cross over into more favorable realities.

These spells facilitate storytelling rather than disrupt it and have been thoroughly playtested.

Design Goals:

  • Offer means for diviners and dungeon masters to cooperate.
  • Enhance the roleplay and immersion of investigation.
  • Reward players for thoughtful actions.
  • Encourage participation from all members of the party.

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Solid selection of divinations


This installment of the Grimoire-series is 32 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 29 pages of content, so let's check out Dreadfox Games' take of Divination-spells!

After 7 pages of spell-lists by class, we immediately dive into the new spells, so what exactly do we get? Well, one of the first spells we get, Cartograph, is rather cool in concept: Not only does it allow you to immediately escape a maze-spell, it also creates a detailed map of your surroundings, allowing for a good reason for the DM to hand out maps. However, I do have one gripe with the spell: While it specifies that it does not show non-stationary terrain or doors, the limits of the spell are hard to judge: A manmade complex with doors for example wouldn't show doors, but potentially secret rooms. Or would it? There also are spells herein that allow the caster to attack a foe with a touch attack, temporarily emulating the senses of the being touched. Collective currents makes for an interesting divination spell that can be very helpful regarding investigations and plots: Coming in 3 variant effects, the spell can either determine the most knowledgeable subject in sight, in a large radius or on your plane regarding a specific topic. Among the detect spells, detect word makes for a truly interesting spell since it allows you to determine a word and hear the word as well as the subsequent 20 words uttered by someone in the radius. Now, this might seem broken and destined to ruin any mystery - but it doesn't. If the word is uttered in too rapid a succession, the echoes might stun you or send you into unconsciousness, requiring careful deliberation on behalf of players to properly use the spell.

Among the more common spells, we also get some that allow targets a bonus to linguistics and knowledge-checks - ok, I guess, but not particularly exciting. Foretell Destiny is a problematic spell in my book, determining the aura of an unborn, predicting whether an unborn will become good or evil. The whole nurture vs. nature-discussion immediately springs to mind and while the spell is supposed to be hard to interpret, the problem here is that the spell lacks a comprehensive list of aura-color, relegating this spell down to essentially a DM-fiat. Good design is something different. On the other hand, hypothetical vision is cool, essentially allowing you "Sherlock Holmes"-vision, i.e. a mental simulation of a creature's reaction to something you do/say etc. It's also rather cool to see that the spell can be used in conversation since its verbal component is rather subtle. Read Intentions does something very similar, but on a much higher level and more generally and needs a competing skill-check to work - slightly repetitive. On the unpleasant side, the Insightful Sacrament-spell is for example a spell that enchants a liquid and allows those that partake in it to see auras as per both detect evil and detect good. Both base-spells are lame and a combination of both is no better, even with the liquid-fluff. Now there also are some spells herein that should be considered interesting like the witch spell "Map of Fetishes" which allows you to attune objects and a map. The creature to last touch the object can be tracked on the map - cool. For each such cool spell, though, we also get ones that are rather bland like momentary discovery/favored ranger, which temporarily grant access to the respective class abilities.

Rules-wise, there also are multiple spells that hit a minor pet-peeve of mine: Multiple d20-rolls. Navigate Realities (and its greater version) allow you to roll 3d20 (or 5d20s) respectively and substitute checks you make subsequently with the predetermined results. Per se ok for 6th and 9th level, but the spell allows you to influence ANY d20-roll within 30 feet of you thus. Even with the drawback of staggering you, the spells feel rather powerful to me, but, as mentioned, that's a pet-peeve of mine and something I felt the need to address, but not something that will adversely influence my final verdict. I mentioned the Sherlock Holmes-style prescience and there's also a combat-centric spell doing something like this: Perceptive Deflection allows you to add your perception skill modifier to AC for one attack. Speaking of senses: Summoners and eidolons may now also merge their senses, granting supernatural senses depending on combined perception modifiers. Perfect Recall and its mass version work somehow like the recalling ability of the modify memory spell, making the powers feel like lesser versions of said spell.

There also are weird Planar Sweep-spells for aberrations, animals and outsiders, which allow the caster to look for a respective being and subsequently summon it via the respective monster spells. The spells require a minimum skill rank to work respectively. What's weird, though, is that their text always refers to "Planar Vision" instead of "Planar Sweep". There is also a spell granting a druid the option to add half your wis-modifier to your physical attributes when wildshaping. There are also 3 interconnected spells that I really consider interesting mechanics-wise. Prophetic Trace allows the caster to create a glyph that can then be used with the prophetic call-spell to make a prophetic encounter (a 3rd spell), which essentially is an incorporeal outline of the subject that can communicate with the callers. Nice!

Also rather cool (to find keys, for example), is Scavenger's Dweomer, which alerts you to the presence of a specified object. And then there's a spell I'd consider utterly, completely broken: Spellsight allows you to discern ALL limited use spells and spell-like abilities with a DC lower than your Spellcraft-check. Worse, the subject can only impose a -10 penalty and exclude 3 on a failed save and there's not even a spell-resistance. This spell sucks. It makes concealed and disguised people obvious, while giving the players a massive advantage and since there are evil spells, the spell may also wreck a LOT of plots. Never gonna happen in my game, especially not at the paltry spell level of 3. There's also yet another teleport tracing spell - lame. On the cool side, Transcendent Luck is rather interesting: It negates a hit or critical hit, but when attacked by the same foe within 3 rounds, the next hit is an automatic critical hit. There also are two variant true seeing spells, which land on my "lame"-list, while waking dreams rocks hard: The spell allows you to invade a target's perception while sleeping, though the creature may pass your perception on to other willing creatures. Druids may now also use winds to communicate at 60 mph and even draw wind maps in the sand - again, neat!

Editing and formatting are good, though not perfect - I noticed some minor glitches and here and there, some clarification regarding how spells work are in order. Layout adheres to Dreadfox Games' 2-column thorn-lined standard and comes sans artworks. The pdf does have extensive bookmarks, though. Divinations are my favorite spells. Divinations are my most hated spells. Why? Because adventure-writers often have a bad grasp of what can be done with divinations and fail to address their impact on mysteries and investigations. When used properly, they can greatly enhance awesome plots and prevent dead-ends. But e.g. detect spells tend to be annoying, especially when not properly limited. That being said, divination may not be flashy, but in my opinion can be absolutely mind-bogglingly cool.

Unfortunately, though, this installment of the Grimoire-series falls slightly short of this potential: There are quite a bunch of boring filler-spells herein as well as spells that need clarification, have been done before. Generally, when compared to other installments of the Grimoire-series, the rules herein are just not that innovative, instead mostly relying on types of spells that, while cool, fail to evoke the sense of wonder evoked by Mutamateria or Illusionatus. Dreadfox Games' spells are best when they are pushing the boundaries of how spells work and what to do with them and this pdf simply failed to truly surprise me with any of its component spells. The ideas are not bad, in fact, there are some great spells here, but overall, the grimoire feels slightly uninspired and filled with more filler-spells, variants of existing ones etc. The pdf is also not exactly cheap for the amount of content provided. In the end, this pdf feels like one of the weakest installments of the series so far: Yes, it has something to offer for you, but I can't really pronounce an all-out recommendation for this pdf. My final verdict will thus be 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.


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Detect Word:

Detect Word
School divination; Level bard 2, cleric 3, inquisitor 2, sorcerer/wizard 3
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level)*
Area 1-mile-radius spread*
Duration 1 day/level
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

Choose one word. Anytime that word is spoken within the area, you hear it plus the next 20 words spoken by the same creature. This spell is neither language- nor context-specific; anytime the chosen sound is spoken, you hear it. This effect reveals a vague cardinal direction from whence the word was spoken, but the exact direction and distance from whence it was spoken remain unknown. There is a 50% chance that you recognize the speaker’s voice the next time you hear it. This spell ends once it relays a total of 100 words per caster level.

You may choose to make the range of this spell personal. If you do, its area becomes a 500-foot-radius emanation centered on you.

If a creature within range repeats the chosen word at least 3 times in a row, the echo forces you to make a DC 16 Fortitude save to avoid becoming stunned for 1d4 rounds. If a creature within range repeats the chosen word at least 10 times in a row, the echo forces you to make a DC 20 Fortitude save to avoid falling unconscious for 1d4 rounds.

Divine Endowment:

Divine Endowment
School divination; Level cleric 2, druid 3
Casting Time 1 hour
Components V, S, DF, M* (incense worth 500 gp)
Range personal
Target you
Duration 1 hour/level*

You gain the benefits of a single feat that requires the channel energy or wild shape class feature. You must meet any prerequisites of the feat as normal.

The component cost of this spell is reduced to 100 gp and the duration is increased to 1 day/level if you do not posses any feats that require the channel energy or wild shape class feature.

This spell does not stack with itself; you may not benefit from two divine endowment spells at the same time. If you cast this spell while still under the effects of a previously cast divine endowment, the first spell is dispelled and you gain the benefits of the second spell.

This spell cannot be dispelled by any means other than casting it a second time or perversely offending the deity invoked.

Hypothetical Vision:

Hypothetical Vision
School divination; Level antipaladin 2, bard 2, cleric 2, paladin 2, sorcerer/wizard 2
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components S
Range personal
Effect vision of one creature’s reaction to one action
Duration instantaneous

You close your eyes and picture yourself performing a single action. You see a specified creature’s most likely reaction to that action. If the creature is an NPC, the GM describes the creature’s reaction. If the creature is a PC, the player describes the creature’s reaction. The creature’s actual reaction may very well be different than their hypothetical reaction due to the unpredictable nature of circumstance.

The somatic component of this spell is so subtle that it does not belie the fact that you are casting a spell.

Infiltrator's Touch:

Infiltrator's Touch
School divination; Level bard 0, inquisitor 0, magus 0, sorcerer/wizard 0
Casting Time 1 swift action
Components S
Range touch
Target creature touched
Duration 1 hour/level
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes

Your touch imparts a portion of the subject’s muscle memory to you. You may perform any secret handshakes, dances or similarly structured physical displays as if your mastery of them were equal to the subject’s. This skill very rarely translates into skill bonuses and you are generally considered to pass any checks related to performing the gestures imparted. If a skill check becomes necessary, you use the subject’s ranks in the appropriate skill but apply your own ability score modifier to the roll.

You do not choose whether or not to perform these gestures; you perform them involuntarily under any circumstance that would prompt the subject to perform them. You have no recollection of performing the gestures and you do not know them well enough to teach them to other creatures.

The somatic component of this spell is so subtle that it does not belie the fact that you are casting a spell.


School divination; Level sorcerer/wizard 2, witch 2
Casting Time see text
Components S
Range personal
Target you
Duration instantaneous

Casting this spell does not require an action. You may cast it even while you are flat-footed.

Reroll an initiative check you just rolled. You must use the second result. You may not change or reroll the second result by any means.

Having this spell available through natural means (i.e. not through a scroll, staff, etc.) grants you a +1 insight bonus to initiative checks, provided you have not cast a spell with the word prescience in its name within the past 24 hours.

How to navigate the PDF:

Click the name of a spell to travel to that spell's description.
Click a class to travel to that class's spell list.

I have the highest anticipations for this one!

@Dreadfox, I think you mean "betray," not "belie."

Either that, or I have no idea what the last sentence of the subtle spells above is supposed to mean.

Dark Archive

Endzeitgeist wrote:
I have the highest anticipations for this one!

So where's your review?

Honestly, I haven't bought this one. My budget for August is spent and I don't get review copies from DFG, os this will have to wait alongside Tempestus till next month.

bstern wrote:
@Dreadfox, I think you mean "betray," not "belie.

Nice catch, bstern.

All spells containing that line will be updated to read, "The somatic component of this spell is so subtle that it belies the fact that you are casting a spell."

I don't think it's possible to update that on the messageboards, but it will be updated in every grimoire.

And reviewed here, on DTRPG and sent to GMS magazine. Cheers!

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