#30 Manuals of Improvement (PFRPG) PDF

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"It’s a bit more than a self-help book!"

More than knowledge lies within these pages, waiting within lies talent.

Within you will find grimoires such a “Break Anything!” that can imbue a gift for sabotage; “Drawing from the Divine” a book that enhances one’s ability to channel energy; and “Fistful of Power” teaches you the arts of unarmed combat.

Get more than just information, go beyond your limitations with #30 Manuals of Improvement!

Author: Mike Welham (Pathfinder Module: Doom Comes to Dustpawn)
Pages: 10

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

4/5

This pdf is 30 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 10 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Manuals - from bonuses to attributes to unique abilities, they are an often coveted item - and yet one that is not that represented among supplements. This pdf aims to change that - framed by the trademark, nice narration we've come to expect from Rite Publishing supplements, this pdf provides us with new manuals to grant permanent benefits to the readers - but only once per manual.

The respective manuals feature the market prices, requirements for constructing the respective books as well as a short description how the respective book looks like. Now, beyond offering 30 manuals, we actually get 3 variants for the respective manuals, totaling 90 manuals - elementary, advanced and expert versions, all with different results. Each manual requires a set amount of hours of study over the course of a limited amount of days to gain the respective book's benefits.
It should furthermore be mentioned, that the respective manuals offer sometimes multiple benefits: Take for example the rather basic "Being Comfortable in your Armor"-series of manuals: Studying the book nets you light, medium or heavy armor proficiency respectively. If, however, you already are proficient with the respective class of armor covered by the manual, you'll increase your max dex bonus by +1 (light armor)to +3 (heavy armor) reduce armor check penalty by 1 to 3 to a minimum of -1 as well as decrease arcane spell failure chance for the respective class of armors by 5% per class of manual - the one on heavy armor reduces the spell failure chance in heavy armor by 15%.

Not all books are linear progressions of benefits, though: Oracles may want to study "Answers to Universal Enigmas" - the book requires you to have a certain amount of oracle-levels. The elementary version nets you 1 skill rank in two skills of the oracle's mystery-list, whereas the advanced version of the manual makes the oracle count as +1 level with regards to two of his/her revelations. The expert version of the book grants an additional revelation and the option to cast 2 spells from his/her bonus spell list 1/day.

Channeling energy, knowledge, weapon proficiencies, bombs, favored enemies, disguising, raging, unarmed strikes, diplomacy, acrobatics, perception, wizardly spellcasting, improved summoning, stealth and bardic performance, sleight of hand, movement rate, teamwork, domain powers, druidic casting & knowledge nature, improvised weapons, sorceror bloodlines, witch hexes, sneak attack, survival and using magical devices make up the topics for the other manuals herein, just to give you an impression whether the topics relevant to your interests are covered.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are very good, I didn't notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to RiP's 2-column b/w rune-covered standard and the pdf features stock-b/w-artwork that does its job. The pdf is fully bookmarked.
Mike Welham delivers a great, useful little supplement and one that begs for a sequel - after all magi, gunslingers, samurai, ninjas or renegade classes could benefit as well from manuals like this. That being said, one minor gripe I have with this pdf would be that here and there the writing could be slightly more concise: Take aforementioned example of armor-proficiency granting manuals, which includes the sentence "If the character already has this feat, he increases his maximum Dex bonus by 1, reduces his armor check penalty by 1 (to a minimum of -1), and reduces his spell failure chance by 5% when wearing light armor." (pg. 3) While it is clear that the maximum dex-bonus allowed by the armor is meant, it could be misread as granting a +1 to dex-bonuses in general. Nitpicky, yes, but I I encountered minor ambiguities like this here and there, which remains my only true gripe with this pdf - content-wise and rules-wise, this supplement is solid and thus, I will settle for a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.


Webstore Gninja Minion

Now available!


Thanks liz

Free full-sized preview

RPG Superstar 2012

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Woo hoo! Thanks, Liz!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Look forward to reading this, Mike.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Cool!


This book is exactly what I was looking for. Fistful of Power and Running for Health and Survival will be making an appearance in my home campaign, hell I'll be putting most of these into my game. I've been tinkering with the idea of books that bestow feats and skill bonuses for a while and this fills that void. I tried my hand at it a while back, it was called the Grapplers Manual, works the same as your ideas just not as sexy. I'm going to redo it to conform to the standards you set with this book. Can't wait for part 2. Good work on this one.

RPG Superstar 2012

Wow! Thank you so much for the kind words, Arkady! Steve Russell does a great job at motivating his freelancers to explore untouched design space, and I always thought there should be more beneficial manuals and tomes beyond the stat-enhancers. I'm glad I found something you were also interested in doing, and, more than that, I did it in a way that turned out to be extremely useful to you.

I'd be interested to see your revised manual, and I'll talk to Steve about a sequel. :)


Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, sent to GMS magazine, Nerdtrek and posted it on dtrpg. Cheers!

RPG Superstar 2012

Thank you very much for the review, End!

I will talk to Steve about a sequel. :)

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Endzeitgeist wrote:
Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, sent to GMS magazine, Nerdtrek and posted it on dtrpg. Cheers!

Looks very interesting, Mike!

Completely Off Topic for End:
End, I shot you a PM - just wanted to make sure you saw it :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Good job on this. I hope you make more in the future.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Would it be too much if there was a set of manuals that taught you a martial atrs style feat chain? I'm thinking about introducing a manual that teaches snapping turtle style for one of my players.
I just want to see what the consensus is on this subject.

RPG Superstar 2012

That's a very cool idea, and the three-feat chain for styles is an appropriate match for the three-tier manual setup.


I've been thinking of this idea for a while now and this book gave me the blueprint. If anyone else has ideas for manuals I'd like to hear about them.

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Just bought this pdf. Looking forward to diving into it! :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

It's worth it. I'm going to recommend this book to everybody.


I have a question: if a monk reads Fistful of Power, at 20th level how mush is his unarmed damage?

RPG Superstar 2012

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Great question!

It would follow a similar progression to a monk who improved from 1d10 to 2d6, so the 20th-level monk would improve to 4d6 (and then 4d8, if the monk read both the advanced and expert books).


Excellent, thanks for the prompt answer. That's exactly what I was hoping for.


Is there a sequel in the works for this yet? Because if there is I'm buying it.

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

Maybe...

:)


I'm in, just tell me when and I'm buying it.

Just out of curiousity, do guys ever use fan ideas in your products?


Yay! One guaranteed sale! :)

Steve Russell will have to answer your other question. I think submitting material to Pathways is one way to get fan material out there.


As a policy I don't comment on projects until I have a finished manuscript in hand as it avoids the problem of vaporware.

The #30 series is avilable for open submission pitches, as is Adventure Quarterly (paid) and Pathways ezine is available for open submissions (unpaid).

Grand Lodge

Got a question about the "Being Comfortable in Your Armor" manual. Do they all stack with each other? Like, if you read the elementary, advanced, and expert, and already have the proficiencies, would you have +3 to your Dex max bonus, -6 to armor check penalties, and -30% to spell failure?

Edit: Same question, but with regards to "Drawing From the Divine" and the 'treated as having a Charisma 2 points higher' for the elementary and expert manuals.

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

kevin_video wrote:

Got a question about the "Being Comfortable in Your Armor" manual. Do they all stack with each other? Like, if you read the elementary, advanced, and expert, and already have the proficiencies, would you have +3 to your Dex max bonus, -6 to armor check penalties, and -30% to spell failure?

Edit: Same question, but with regards to "Drawing From the Divine" and the 'treated as having a Charisma 2 points higher' for the elementary and expert manuals.

The books do stack with each other. However, in the first example, if someone were to read all three books, then the +3 increase to max Dex bonus would apply to light armor only (+2 for medium, and +1 for heavy), and likewise for the other benefits, since the elementary book only provides its bonuses for light armors, the advanced book provides its bonuses for light and medium armors, and the expert book works for all armors.

For "Drawing from the Divine," a reader of both manuals would have a Charimsa score 4 points higher for purposes of channelling energy.

I hope that helps!


What kind of flavoring do the manuals get? Who are the purported authors, in-universe?

Grand Lodge

Mike Welham wrote:
kevin_video wrote:

Got a question about the "Being Comfortable in Your Armor" manual. Do they all stack with each other? Like, if you read the elementary, advanced, and expert, and already have the proficiencies, would you have +3 to your Dex max bonus, -6 to armor check penalties, and -30% to spell failure?

Edit: Same question, but with regards to "Drawing From the Divine" and the 'treated as having a Charisma 2 points higher' for the elementary and expert manuals.

The books do stack with each other. However, in the first example, if someone were to read all three books, then the +3 increase to max Dex bonus would apply to light armor only (+2 for medium, and +1 for heavy), and likewise for the other benefits, since the elementary book only provides its bonuses for light armors, the advanced book provides its bonuses for light and medium armors, and the expert book works for all armors.

For "Drawing from the Divine," a reader of both manuals would have a Charimsa score 4 points higher for purposes of channelling energy.

I hope that helps!

It does, but that's unfortunate about the heavy armor not having more of a bonus for Dex. For 12k gold, you're better off paying 9k for mithral for +2 Dex and negating 3 ACP.

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

1 person marked this as a favorite.
kevin_video wrote:
Mike Welham wrote:
kevin_video wrote:

Got a question about the "Being Comfortable in Your Armor" manual. Do they all stack with each other? Like, if you read the elementary, advanced, and expert, and already have the proficiencies, would you have +3 to your Dex max bonus, -6 to armor check penalties, and -30% to spell failure?

Edit: Same question, but with regards to "Drawing From the Divine" and the 'treated as having a Charisma 2 points higher' for the elementary and expert manuals.

The books do stack with each other. However, in the first example, if someone were to read all three books, then the +3 increase to max Dex bonus would apply to light armor only (+2 for medium, and +1 for heavy), and likewise for the other benefits, since the elementary book only provides its bonuses for light armors, the advanced book provides its bonuses for light and medium armors, and the expert book works for all armors.

For "Drawing from the Divine," a reader of both manuals would have a Charimsa score 4 points higher for purposes of channelling energy.

I hope that helps!

It does, but that's unfortunate about the heavy armor not having more of a bonus for Dex. For 12k gold, you're better off paying 9k for mithral for +2 Dex and negating 3 ACP.

Yeah, sometimes it's really hard to balance the costs of these. If you're going to keep the mithral armor for the life of your character, then it would be much more cost effective to do that. If you lose that armor for some reason (and, no, I'm not threatening you ;) ), then it would be more cost effective to use the book. Also, keep in mind that the benefits from the book and the mithral armor work together, which would reduce the ACP and increase the maximum Dex allowed even more.

If your campaign's expectations allow for your character to retain his or her armor throughout his or her career, then I see no problem with house-ruling the bonuses to stack from the previous books for the heavier armors.

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

RJGrady wrote:
What kind of flavoring do the manuals get? Who are the purported authors, in-universe?

The manuals have a brief description of the book's cover and contents (usually two-three sentences).

The authors were left vague in the supplement (and, since each book has a construction section, it could be your character). Personally, I see the original authors as a race of powerful, but non-interfering, elders (who use their version of the Prime Directive) who want to encourage humanoid-kind to develop and grow into powerful beings themselves. Of course, a schism had developed among the elder race, so peaceful as well as martial books have made it out into the world, despite the initial goal of peaceful growth.


I was curious because items sometimes have descriptions that don't fit their costs, like a 12k gp staff that is described as often being given to apprentices.

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

1 person marked this as a favorite.
RJGrady wrote:
I was curious because items sometimes have descriptions that don't fit their costs, like a 12k gp staff that is described as often being given to apprentices.

I tried to avoid that, since the books are all uniformly expensive magic items (even the "elementary" books are fairly pricey for low-level characters).

Grand Lodge

A little bit of curiosity, but regarding the "Teamwork!" manual, how would one increase the maximum from 6 people to 7 or higher? How much more gold? I guess you could spend double the cost for two teams, but they technically weren't working together during that time, but in separate teams.

Liberty's Edge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

1 person marked this as a favorite.
kevin_video wrote:
A little bit of curiosity, but regarding the "Teamwork!" manual, how would one increase the maximum from 6 people to 7 or higher? How much more gold? I guess you could spend double the cost for two teams, but they technically weren't working together during that time, but in separate teams.

I recommend a 20% increase over the base cost for each person over 6 (up to a maximum of 5 extra people at 100%). This would make two books more cost-effective for two 6-person teams (or even a 6-person and 5-person team), but it would be less expensive for just-larger-than-6-person teams.

Grand Lodge

Appreciate the info.

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