New Paths #4: The Expanded Battle Scion (PFRPG) PDF

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Lethal with Blade and Blast!

For years, Pathfinder Roleplaying Game fans have lamented the absence of an 'arcane paladin' type of class—one with full base attack bonus, limited spell access (to arcane spells instead of divine) and a small set of interesting, flavorful special abilities.

Lament no longer! The Expanded Battle Scion is just such a class!

Designer Marc Radle builds on his battle scion class to create the combat caster you’ve been craving. The Expanded Battle Scion includes:

  • Force Blaster and Bonded Scion archetypes
  • 5 new feats including Awakened Arcane Bond, which imbues your arcane bond object with intelligence and will
  • A Prepared Spell Tracking Sheet, usable by any prepared spell caster
  • New rules for legendary magic items, and 3 new items: the legendary shield, sword and armor of the first battle scion
If you dream of scattering your enemies with a powerful force attack before finishing them off with lethal bladework, New Paths #4: The Expanded Battle Scion is for you!

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An RPG Resource Review

*****

This variant base class describes what might be thought of as an 'arcane paladin' - someone who has combat and spell-casting skills but who wields arcane rather than divine power. One particular neat ability they have is to loose a 'force blast' - a bolt of pure arcane power - at their foes. Acting a bit like a magic missile, the strength of the blast increases as the Battle Scion rises in level, although the number of times a day he can fire one remains constant.

Full details are provided to enable you to create and play a Battle Scion character. There is also a couple of archetypes - the Force Blaster (who specialises in using his force blast to effect) and the Bonded Scion (who bases his abilities on his link with a bonded weapon) - and some new feats and new magic items with which to equip your Battle Scion. Of particular interest are three items said to have belonged to a legendary Battle Scion, one Gax (who is the hero of the bit of flavour fiction at the beginning of this work) - his armour, shield and sword are there awaiting a new hero.

Finally there's a Prepared Spell Tracking Sheet to help you keep your spells in order, another neat idea. (I used to use index cards, one per spell, which I'd lay out on my table when I chose spells, but that was a long time ago...)

This is a rather nice base class which provides a good role for someone who wants to mix powerful fighting skills with appropriate battle magic, but who doesn't want to be lawful good or committed to the service of a specific deity. Well worth a look...


An Arcane Paladin with a Force Smite... Revised and Awesome!

*****

As mentioned in pretty much every review so far, Kobold Press's Battle Scion opens its description with the phrase "arcane paladin" as an apt and accurate description of the class presented herein. So, the following review will take pains to compare the class with its divine counterpart. The similarity toward 3.5's attempt at a full-BAB arcane caster class, the Hexblade, is also too prevalent to ignore, so I'll be examining how this measures up against what was considered one of the least effective caster classes of the 3.5 era.

At the basics, there's very little visible difference. The Battle Scion is a d10, full-BAB class with two good saves (Fortitude and Will, same as Paladin), access to all armors, all non-tower shields, and simple and martial weapons, which puts it squarely on par with Paladin and well ahead of the light-armor-only Hexblade. For obvious reasons it lacks the latters' alignment requirements and has no prerequisites to play. It has a broad array of available class skills, but in turn only 2+INT skill points per level, an unfortunate choice in my opinion that's slightly mitigated by the fact that, unlike both the Paladin and the Hexblade, the Battle Scion is an INT-based caster class, and thus will probably have little issue with the shortage of skill points. (Being a skill junkie, however, I still stand beside my dislike of 2+INT classes on principle.) ;)

Now we get into the meat of the class - the signature abilities. There's really three that make up the core of the class: the force blast, the dweomered weapon, and spell tactician. Force Blast is the first and most noticeable of these abilities, a scaling damage attack starting at 2d4 force damage a few times per day based on the INT of the Scion. This is clearly the class's most notable ability and the best thing to compare it to in its two counterparts would be the Paladin's Smite Evil and the Hexblade's Curse. Frankly, it blows the latter out of the water and gives the former a good run for its money. The recent revision to the class has changed the automatic successful hit, as per magic missile, to instead a ray with a ranged touch attack roll, both allowing for the opportunity to miss (as unlikely as it may be, as a touch attack on a class with Full BAB) as well as inflict a critical hit. As a force effect it's fully effective on incorporeal enemies, and it's available a large amount of times per day - 3+INT, meaning possibly as much as six or seven with a moderately high point buy or a sufficiently stat-focused character. While this doesn't sound like much at first, it's well above the 1/day of both the signature abilities of the other two counterparts: a Paladin doesn't reach seven smites per day until level 19! For drawbacks, the damage is about on par, if a little higher than Smite at low levels and a little lower at high. In addition, Force Blast is an (SP) ability, meaning it will still need to content with Spell Resistance should it arise. Still, compared to the prior auto-hit mechanism, this is a grand improvement.

Enough on the Force Blast for now though. Dweomer Weapon is the next trick the Scion has up its sleeve, and it's a fun one. The Hexblade had nothing that compares to this, but the Paladin has his Bonded Weapon option and the similarities to the Magus's abilities are visible enough not to ignore. Simply put, this is the same style of trick: the Scion gains a free +1 to their weapon's enhancement, which scales up by level, and a selection of weapon bonuses that they can place in exchange for a portion of that enhancement cost. Other than one really notable typo - the parenthetical explaining enhancement costs for the extra abilities mistakenly says "in the Pathfinder RPG" and leaves the sentence hanging, where I believe it's supposed to say "in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook" - this section is pretty much verbatim from the Paladin and Magus abilities of the same style, with a few alterations to the list of available enhancements, and the ability is clean, simple, and effective. As the Scion levels, he gains the ability to apply dweomered bonuses more quickly, topping out at 15th level as a swift action. A nice little bonus for those last-second "oh I need THIS against the X!" moments.

Last but certainly not least is Spell Tactician. The ability starts off sounding boring, merely adding first +2 then +4 to the Scion's bonus Combat Casting feat. While perhaps boring, it's immensely practical - Concentration checks can be a beast in Pathfinder, especially with the Scion's reduced Caster Level (class level -3, no different than its two counterparts or the Ranger), and the extra boost will be considered quite helpful to a class designed to cast in melee. However, at 9th level, it ceases to be boring. It first grants the ability to, 3+INT per day, cast a personal spell as a swift action. True strike, anyone? That's where my mind went at first. I'll compare this one to the Paladin's Lay on Hands - which, when applied to the self, is likewise a swift effect - and say it pretty much comes out even.

At 11th, the Scion adds his INT to his DEX for attack rolls with rays and other ranged touch attacks, likewise 3+INT/day. While not especially necessary - touch attacks at that level are almost always a given - it's a nice little ability and might come in handy a time or two when the roll is low or the enemy's evasive capabilities unusually high. And since the Scion is likely running about in plate, his DEX is probably not too impressive. At 13th, once per day the Scion gets a free Metamagic without affecting the spell's level - a nice bonus, especially for Metamagics that would push the spell above the Scion's 4th-level cap, enough to make actually taking Metamagic Feats in this class even considered. (Until I saw this ability, I'd just assumed they wouldn't be worth it - have YOU ever seen a Paladin with a Metamagic feat?) This gains a few more uses as he levels, topping out at 4/day at level 19.

The class is rounded out with the Arcane Aura - which started as a scaling Deflection bonus that really does very little except free up a hand from a ring of deflection +X, but with the latest revision now also grants a scaling bonus to hit with the Force Blast. Not really necessary, but cool to have, and it makes the Arcane Aura feel less like it simply exists to free up an item slot. As well, the Scion gains handful of bonus feats, fighter training, Armor Training (as per Fighter), and a capstone that pulls his caster level and Fighter Training up to 20th automatically and gives the ability to expend a spell as a free action on a critical hit. This is a correction from my previous review, which specified "melee critical hit", but neither the old nor new versions of the Scion document specified melee. Meaning that a crit with the Force Blast or even another spell could indeed trigger this capstone ability. Awesome.

That sums up the class itself in a rather long-winded nutshell... but the game's not up yet. There's two archetypes conveniently included: the Force Blaster, which focuses on amping up the Force Blast to 11, and the Bonded Scion, who turns his weapon of choice into a bonded item as per wizard and gains some expanded uses of the item. The Bonded Scion is interesting, exchanging a few of the class abilities for some more focus on their weapon and a few extra abilities on top of Dweomer Weapon. The Force Blaster, though, takes the singular balance issue I have with this class - the basic Force Blast - and shoots for the sky with it. The Force Blaster can use their Force Blast more often, deal more damage with it, throw two blasts at once, and reduce the use time to move then eventually swift action. With the revisions to the Force Blast, this is still a powerful damage-dealing archetype - on par with a well-built Evoker, if more limited in resources - but less viciously broken.

The last of the document provides a selection of feats that, while obviously available for Scion use, has a couple with the above-and-beyond benefit of being useful, available, and interesting for non-Scion classes. Granted all of them are caster-friendly, you won't be getting anything for your Fighter in here, but I can see a Magus or a Wizard getting some use out of one or two of these things just as well as a Scion.

The PDF closes with a trio of scaling magical items belonging to the character Gax, who I guess is our de-facto Iconic Battle Scion. The items' prerequisites pretty much demand they be used for an arcane warrior type class, but none of them are so limiting that you couldn't pick them up with a Magus or Eldritch Knight, and they're not bad low- to mid-level items even without the scaling bonuses so even a party who doesn't have a character who meets the items' desires could still make use of their basic, if uninteresting, abilities until they find a worthy buyer or new party member.

All in all, it's an interesting, efficient class that, thanks to the latest revision, has ceased to be beyond the expected curve of power for its intent. Turning Force Blast into a ranged touch attack goes a long way toward balancing it, just on its own - the opportunity to miss, even if low, would reduce the sheer improbability of the class's core ability being all but infallible. And it makes a nice synch with later abilities by allowing Spell Tactician to function with it, since it does specify it works on spell-like abilities, along with the change to Arcane Aura. The class has been just what a lot of people are looking for: a heavily armored arcane caster with a small array of spells (chosen at will or scribed from scrolls from the sorcerer/wizard list and cast by memorization from a spellbook, but only up to 4th level, and a very limited amount per day - no different from Paladin/Ranger) who mixes it up in melee but isn't as much of a glass cannon as the Magus or as slacking behind in interesting, useful class abilities as the Hexblade (which, if you really want a curse-slinging spell-swordsman, check out the Hexcrafter Magus archetype - it's right up your alley). The Battle Scion is a worthy inheritor to this desire; the class is solid overall.

A definite recommend, and I'll be making sure use of this in the future.

Thanks again to Kobold Press for the review opportunity, and especially for your willingness to work with your fans and their feedback and make revisions based on their recommendations. Five stars.


Interesting take on the fighter mage concept

*****

There have been quite a few 3rd party attempts at a fighter/caster combination in pathfinder. Not many have made me think they would do the job better or as well as the Magus. The battle scion definately makes me consider it.

It is a full bab d10 HD, 4th level spell max caster that is very similar in style and performance to the paladin. It is a prepared caster that primarily relies on martial abilities with a few defensive buffs, and a couple strong burst damage/attack abilities. Where the paladin has smite evil and divine bond, the Battle Scion has Force blast and deowmer weapon. Deowmer weapon functions almost identically to the weapon version of divine bond, with different potential enhancements. Force blast, is, well exactly what it sounds like. A blast of force spell like ability that the battle scion can use 3+int times per day that scales as you level.

2d4 damage (which does up as you level) isnt really impressive then you realize the battle scion could easily be swining a great sword for 2d6+6 + power attack and weapon specialization (since they count as fighters at level-3 for qualifying for feats) but since it works like a magic missile it makes for a versatile tool. Battle Scions are intelligent, and consequently can be selective about their targets. This makes them fairly dangerous enemies to use as npcs.

Minor Rise of the Runelords Spoilter:

I used a goblin Force Blaster Battle Scion to lead the attack on the swallow tail festival in the opening of the Rise of the Runelords campaign I ran this past weekend.

Blast was an interesting contrast with the comical and mostly crazy behavior of the normal goblins. He was smart, and was selective about his targets, putting some real fear into my party's cocky conjuration wizard when he was hit with a couple force blasts. 2d4 doesnt seam like all that much unless you are a 1st level wizard with a d6 hit die.

It worked out quite well and I think using the Battle Scion added something to the encounter that might not have been there otherwise. It was interesting to see the assumptions my players made as the 'mage' was both throwing bolts of force, and going after people with a horse chopper.

Overall I really like the class, and I think it does something that is different then those that have come before. I particularly like the Force blaster archetype, which focuses even more on the force blast ability then the normal battle scion.

I think the only thing I'd change is a persona preference thing, where I would make it charisma based and alter the skills some, but that is just my own pet peeve about the lack of charisma based character classes in the game, and not a failing of the battle scion itself. If you want a good Fighter/magic user (big F little mu) the battle scion is a good choice.


An Endzeitgeist.com review of the revised edition

****( )

This pdf is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let's take a look!

So. Another gish-class. I can't say I'm too excited by the prospect, but author Marc Radle has already created the revised Vanguard, which ranks among my favorite takes on the concept, so let's take a look: The Battle Scion gets d10, full BAB-progression, good fort-and will-saves, 2+Int skills per level, proficiency in light, medium and heavy armor, shields and simple and martial weapons AND may cast spells while in armor from the very first level without arcane spell-failure chance - thankfully still specifying regular spell failure chances for spells granted by other classes. Starting at 4th level, Battle Scions get access to arcane spells of up to 4th level, which they cast as a prepared caster via Int at caster level battle scion level-3. Furthermore, starting at 4th level, they also count as fighter of battle scion level -3 for the purpose of qualifying for fighter-only feats. They are very much advertised, and correctly so, as a kind of arcane paladin-style class.

Thankfully, though, the class also gets some signature tricks to pull off - namely a deflection aura (that now also nets an additional scaling bonus to hit with force blasts) and more notably, the power to throw so-called forceblasts: Usable 3+Int times per day, these are essentially big singular magic missiles that automatically hit for 2d4 damage, scaling up to 8d4 at 19th level, making this essentially a warlock-style, force-damage slinging class. And here, the revision sets in, fixing the broken fact that force blasts were once automatic hits - they now require touch attacks - still powerful, but not overpowered. Two thumbs up!

Of course enhancing one's weapon via an array of magical qualities as a standard action is also part of the deal and makes for melee versatility as one would expect from an arcane/fighter-class.

The pdf also comes with an archetype called Force Blaster, which enhances said blasts - for once, the archetype delivers +2 uses via a bonus feat and also allows the blaster to do unique things with the blasts: First of all, the class may use move actions instead of standard actions to fie these blasts and at higher levels, fire two of the blasts simultaneously and even fire them as swift actions at level 11 and above. Finally, the force-blaster can deliver push and trip combat maneuvers via their blasts - and while now the force blasts have been nerfed to the point where I'd allow this archetype, ranged combat maneuvers still leave a slightly sour taste in my mouth. Still, the payoff is there and I hereby renounce my complaints about the archetype.

The second archetype is the bonded scion, who makes his weapon an arcane bonded item and may enhance his bonded weapon, later even using his blasts to enhance his weapon to make it especially lethal against incorporeal foes. Where the blaster feels a bit on the strong side, the bonded scion feels a bit weak - especially the weapon-enhancement could have used some added versatility in my opinion.

We also get 5 new feats that range from extra blasts to enhancing arcane strike, the arcane aura and the arcane bond and make it even possible to awaken arcane bonds. The two rather complex feats that scale and add to the arcane bonded item's prowess are nice indeed and after that, we get what I consider a great additional offering: Legendary items, i.e. magical items that get stronger over the levels: The regalia of Gax the Great ( an homage to Gary Gygax?), the first Battle Scion: His armor, shield and longsword are depicted and allow the owner to e.g. expend spells for additional melee damage, dispel foes when striking them etc. - I'm a big fan of legendary items and the inclusion of them is, at least for me, a great benefit and should make this particular section also relevant for characters of other gish-classes.

The pdf closes with a handy prepared spell tracking sheet, though honestly, I don't consider said sheet to be too useful - a column for range, targets etc. would have gone a long way there.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, since the only glitches I found have since been ironed out. Layout adheres to a 2-column, full-color standard with original artworks (which are nice to look at, though not mind-boggling) and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

So...is this pdf worth its asking price? It ultimately depends. The battle scion is the third prepared gish-class I've read and its design-goal of delivering an arcane paladin can be considered accomplished. Though whether that's enough depends on the person you'll ask. The magus is essentially more on the casting-side than the martial side, whereas the battle-scion is the other way round - a fighting class with an array of arcane spells. And honestly, that's where I'm not 100% sold. To me the magus is a kind of paper-tiger - deadly, but also relatively fragile in melee, whereas the battle scion is much sturdier - and the battle scion may learn ALL spells from the sorceror/wizard-list. Only up to 4th level, granted, but still, that's quite a bit of flexibility when compared to non-gish martial classes. The closest analogue would probably be that the magus is a razor, the battle-scion (especially the blaster!) being more of a sledge-hammer.

The Battle Scion is intended as an arcane paladin and since the force blasts still are powerful, but no longer guaranteed damage with their required touch attacks, I consider this particular mission of the class accomplished. So yeah - great job by designer Marc Radle - and worth 1.5 stars, since the class no longer breaks the game at low levels, resulting in a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 for the purpose of this platform since for the 5, I feel the class could have used some unique powers akin to mercies or do something more imaginative with its aura - that's complaining at a high level, though - this is the arcane paladin class of choice.

Endzeitgeist out.


The Battle Scion

****( )

I recently got my hands on this material and poured over it several times. It is a fantastic class with supporting archetypes, feats, and equipment.

The class itself, the Battle Scion, is a hybrid class in the same vein as the paladin and ranger, but the class focuses on arcane casting. The signature ability of the class is its force blast, which starts as basically a 2d4 magic missile and increases to 8d4. I was a bit underwhelmed by the damage at first, but it is an automatic force damage application. The class ends up getting access to fighter feats, abilities that improved the use of its spells and spell like mechanics, and caps with the character having an effective fighter and wizard level of 17.

The two archetypes that are presented focus around increasing the power and versatility of the force blast (the Force Blaster), or a much improved upon arcane bonded weapon (the Bonded Scion). Both add a very interesting twist to the base class and allow the character to focus on a role more in line with a blaster or melee powerhouse, respectively.

The feats section adds some interesting options for specializing in certain aspects of the class, and while they don't seem too overtly powerful, they certainly help refine the potential of this powerful class. The legendary weapons and armor of the Battle Scion are very flavorful and scale in power with level progression, adding just that more to what could be an epic player experience.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the read, and the way the class is put together, but must warn potential players and DMs that this class may be a bit powerful in the grand scene of gameplay with other core and base classes. But don't let that scare you! I highly recommend giving it a try! Great job Kobold Press and Marc Radle!


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The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Yep, this is the coolest combat caster since Wayfinder #5. Oh, wait, this is an expanded, corrected, and updated version of the Battle Scion from WF #5.

Looking forward to people's comments on this one!


Bought it.


Called it :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I am intrigued. I will have to purchase it. It may tide me over while I wait for the Geomancer.

-Kcinlive

Contributor

Oh, you wound me, Kcinlive. ::Shakes head in shame:: It's still in the works. I have one KP project ahead of it, but it will be done! :)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Christina Stiles wrote:
Oh, you wound me, Kcinlive. ::Shakes head in shame:: It's still in the works. I have one KP project ahead of it, but it will be done! :)

lol! Well wounding you was not my intent. Teasing was the worst I intended. :]

In truth, I'm just really looking forward to it.

-Kcinlive

Liberty's Edge

Hey, Christine is a busy lady!

Now, back to the Battle Scion!!! :)

Contributor

Marc, I can't wait to get a copy. You always do good work. :)


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I really like the force blaster archetype. I have a couple questions though:

1. With the powerful blast ability: Can it be modified by feats or abilities that modify trip or bullrush combat maneuvers?

2. With Multiple blasts, it says 'At 10th level, the blaster may fire
two bolts per force blast instead of one each round.'

But the Rapid Blast Ability already allows you to fire a force blast as a move action, which presumably means you could already fire 2 blasts per round. Was there something other then it normally being a standard action preventing you from using more then one force blast per round?

3. Given 13 of the 20 levels of the force blaster's ability chart are occupied by something related to force blast, do you think 3+int is sufficient in terms of blasts per day? Its certainly seems like the focus of the class becomes those force blasts, and even with the extra blast at 6th level making it 5+int, that isnt a whole lot of blasts unless the force blaster takes extra force blast with all or most of his feats.

4, Does the bonus to hit granted by Improved Arcane Strike scale with caster level like the bonus to damage from arcane strike?

Liberty's Edge

Kolokotroni wrote:

I really like the force blaster archetype. I have a couple questions though:

1. With the powerful blast ability: Can it be modified by feats or abilities that modify trip or bullrush combat maneuvers?

2. With Multiple blasts, it says 'At 10th level, the blaster may fire
two bolts per force blast instead of one each round.'

But the Rapid Blast Ability already allows you to fire a force blast as a move action, which presumably means you could already fire 2 blasts per round. Was there something other then it normally being a standard action preventing you from using more then one force blast per round?

3. Given 13 of the 20 levels of the force blaster's ability chart are occupied by something related to force blast, do you think 3+int is sufficient in terms of blasts per day? Its certainly seems like the focus of the class becomes those force blasts, and even with the extra blast at 6th level making it 5+int, that isnt a whole lot of blasts unless the force blaster takes extra force blast with all or most of his feats.

4, Does the bonus to hit granted by Improved Arcane Strike scale with caster level like the bonus to damage from arcane strike?

Hey Kolokotroni - good questions!

1. I would say it's up the the GM if the powerful blast ability can be modified by feats or abilities that modify trip or bullrush combat maneuvers. Personally, though, as long as the GM is OK with it and the player is willing to invest the feats ... sure, I don't see any reason why not.

2. Multiple blasts basically allows a 10th level blaster battle scion to fire two bolts from his hand every time he uses his Force Blast ability, instead instead of only one.

As you point out, Rapid Blast allows the blaster battle scion to fire his force blasts as move actions, so if he wanted to use two move actions in a round and fire a Force Blast for each move action, he would get a total of 4 bolts (2 per blast)

The 'instead of one each round' is a bit misleading and probably should get nixed!

3. I see your point, however I absolutely think 3+int is a sufficient and balanced base number of blasts per day. Most battle scion's are going to have a decent Intelligence bonus, particularly a blaster, so we can safely assume a +5 INT bonus. That's 8 Force Blasts a day. Then, as you point out, the blaster gets the Extra Blast feat for free at 6th level, so that's now 10 Force Blasts. If the blaster really wants to have lots of blasts, he can always try to bump his INT up more and the Extra Blasts feat can be taken more than once. Also, don't forget that, as a blaster battle scion gets into higher levels, each of those blasts fires two bolts (see above). Last, keep in mind that, even though the blaster focuses more on his Force Blasts than a standard battle scion, he is still a battle scion, which is, first and foremost, a fully armored, heavily armed warrior who wants to get in there and hit stuff! :)

4. Yes, the bonus to hit granted by Improved Arcane Strike does scale with caster level like the bonus to damage from arcane strike


Kcinlive wrote:
Christina Stiles wrote:
Oh, you wound me, Kcinlive. ::Shakes head in shame:: It's still in the works. I have one KP project ahead of it, but it will be done! :)

lol! Well wounding you was not my intent. Teasing was the worst I intended. :]

In truth, I'm just really looking forward to it.

-Kcinlive

wait, wait, what's this about my favorite prc of all time?!

Liberty's Edge

Christina Stiles wrote:
Marc, I can't wait to get a copy. You always do good work. :)

Thanks Christina! That's very nice of you to say :)

I mentioned this in another forum, but it's worth repeating here ... the nice thing about this installment of New Paths is that there is plenty for everyone, even if you don’t end up playing a Battle Scion! The prepared spell tracking sheet is of use to wizards, clerics, druids ... pretty much any prepared spell caster. The feats can be used by just about anyone (wizard PCs will *definitely* want to check out the Improved Arcane Bond and Awakened Arcane Bond feats!

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

There appears to be a cut and paste error from the Elven Archer in the table. Or at least I presume the Battle Scion doesn't suddenly get Precision +2d6 for no reason at 9th level.
Also Fighter Training isn't mentioned in the sumamry table and, from a personal point of view, I'd prefer Spell Tactician to be split up as it's abilities are quite distinct and don't really follow a progression. Plus it means lesss apparently dead levels on the table.

These are fairly trivial points, however. Spell Tactician question, though. When the archetypes replace the 11th level Spell Tactician ability, do they get that ability at 13th level rather than the noraml 13th level ability or do they just lose the 11th ability and get the normal 13th level ability at 13th level? Also, do they lose the increased bonus to Combat Casting?

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Thank you, Paul!

The table error you spotted has, fortunately, already been fixed in the revised version submitted to Paizo yesterday. You should see the revision in your downloads on Monday.

I leave the second question to Marc.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Paul Watson wrote:

There appears to be a cut and paste error from the Elven Archer in the table. Or at least I presume the Battle Scion doesn't suddenly get Precision +2d6 for no reason at 9th level.

Also Fighter Training isn't mentioned in the sumamry table and, from a personal point of view, I'd prefer Spell Tactician to be split up as it's abilities are quite distinct and don't really follow a progression. Plus it means lesss apparently dead levels on the table.

These are fairly trivial points, however. Spell Tactician question, though. When the archetypes replace the 11th level Spell Tactician ability, do they get that ability at 13th level rather than the noraml 13th level ability or do they just lose the 11th ability and get the normal 13th level ability at 13th level? Also, do they lose the increased bonus to Combat Casting?

Hey Paul!

As Wolfgang pointed out, the Kobolds are already on that nagging copy/paste snafu!

Regarding your other comments, these are not bad ideas. Fighter Training was one of the last things to be added to the class, and it unfortunately did not make it into the table. And, although certainly not required, listing Spell Tactician on the table at each level it is received might not be a bad thing as well

I'll see what I can do about getting the table updated :)

Oh, and a BIG THANKS to everyone who has purchased The Expanded Battle Scion so far (and if you haven't yet - what are you waiting for? ;) It cracked Paizo's Top Ten List for the week, which is pretty cool considering it just released a week ago! :)


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Marc Radle wrote:

[

3. I see your point, however I absolutely think 3+int is a sufficient and balanced base number of blasts per day. Most battle scion's are going to have a decent Intelligence bonus, particularly a blaster, so we can safely assume a +5 INT bonus. That's 8 Force Blasts a day. Then, as you point out, the blaster gets the Extra Blast feat for free at 6th level, so that's now 10 Force Blasts. If the blaster really wants to have lots of blasts, he can always try to bump his INT up more and the Extra Blasts feat can be taken more than once. Also, don't forget that, as a blaster battle scion gets into higher levels, each of those blasts fires two bolts (see above). Last, keep in mind that, even though the blaster focuses more on his Force Blasts than a standard battle scion, he is still a battle scion, which is, first and foremost, a fully armored, heavily armed warrior who wants to get in there and hit stuff! :)

I get what you are saying, though I am not sure how a fighter/magic mixed character is going to swing a 20 in their casting stat unless you have extremely generous stat generation (certainly not with the standard assumption of a 15 point buy), I think +2 or +3 int is far more likely. Particularly since as you say, they are primarily a martial character so their highest stat will likely be within their means of attack.

I dont know if its a problem per say, it just seems to me that there are alot of class abilities that go into the force blast, and that is something the character is only going to be doing 5-7 or maybe as many as 10 times per day even at very high levels when usually key per day abilities come in great abundance.

That said, I really like the class, except for maybe wishing it was charisma based instead of int based, but that is a personal quible really.

Liberty's Edge

Thanks, I'm glad you like the class!

I see your point about the blaster and number of Force Blasts per day, but to my mind (and in play test) the current number feels right. If the number gets increased in your home game though, I would not be too offended :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I picked this up yesterday and I have to say it's a pretty good class. It looks like a good alternative to the Magus. It seems quite a bit simpler then the Magus, in a good way. The class does have more of a martial bent then the Magus. There's less emphasis on spell casting, more on weapon attacks. The class is very much the Arcane Paladin.

I really like the Improved Arcane Bond and Awakened Arcane Bond feats. I like the idea of an Improved Arcane Bond feat to be the counterpart to the Improved Familiar feat. However, Improved Arcane Bond seems really powerful, at least for a feat. You get a bonus to overcoming spell resistance, a resistance bonus that goes up per level, an additional spell per day, and spell resistance that improves per level. Granted you don't get get them all at once, but it seems quit potent. One feat is reproducing the powers of several magic items.

Conversely, Awakened Arcane Bond, while flavorful, seems underpowered. It lets you make your arcane bonded item sentient. However, you still have to enchant it and pay for it yourself. Plus I don't think there's anything in the rules that would prohibit making your bonded item intelligent in the first place. Though maybe I'm wrong. It seems like the only thing the feat gives you is that the enchantment is only 50% of the normal cost. While nice, it doesn't seem to be all that.

Just my 3cents.

-Kcinlive

Liberty's Edge

Hey Kcinlive - really glad you like the class! I think describing the Battle Scion as a good, yet simpler, more combat-oriented alternative to the Magus is very accurate. An 'arcane paladin' indeed :)

Regarding the Improved Arcane Bond feat - it was indeed designed as the analog to Improved Familiar. I agree it IS a cool, powerful feat, but I don't think it's overpowered. It's intended to make having an arcane bond more appealing (since many seem to feel having an arcane bond is more of a liability than a benefit). And, since it is sort of the counterpart to Improved Familiar, which allows a wizard to get something like a quasit (with its various cool spell-like abilities, additional action(s) each round for its master, simply because it is a separate creature at the master's disposal ... etc), I'd say this feat is powerful, no argument there, but still balanced. And, as you point out, the various abilities come over the course of MANY levels ... and even helps to reduce the 'dreaded dependence on multiple magic item problem' to boot! Also, keep in mind that, unlike most other feats, a PC with Improved Arcane Bond only gets the benefits of the feat when in contact with his arcane bond ...

As for Awakened Arcane Bond being under powered, I think a lot depends on your GM and the campaign. If your GM/campaign allows you to buy more or less any magic item you can afford at Ye Olde Magic Shoppe, including intelligent magic items, then this feat might not be a huge advantage (although causing your arcane bond to become instantly sentient yourself, without having to involve other people, being able to choose exactly what abilities it has AND only paying half the normal cost is STILL nothing to sneeze at!)

If, however, your GM/campaign is much more 'stingy' (in a good way :) about allowing PCs to acquire magic items in general, and intelligent magic items in particular, then this feat become even MORE worthwhile :)

Liberty's Edge

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Kind of a funny story ... we are currently playing in the Rise of the Runelords Anniversary edition and I'm playing a 12th level paladin of Iomidae/cavalier (order of the star) whom I REALLY like ... I mean, a LOT! It looks like he is going to be taking over a certain ... location

Rise of the Runelords spoiler:
Fort Rannick

so I took the Leadership feat and plan to use the followers to man said 'location' (I have this cool idea of these loyal followers becoming elite Knights of Iomidae under my command who are mostly stationed there)

Anyway ... as the cohort I get from Leadership, I thought it would be fun to make a lawful good Battle Scion. The trouble is, he turned out to be so awesome, it turns out I now kind of want to play him MORE than my beloved paladin/cavalier! I'm already thinking in the dark corners of my mind that if my paladin should happen to get killed in battle, it wouldn't be the worst thing ever ... since I then could take over my Battle Scion cohort as my new character :)

Who knows? My paladin just might be a bit more reckless than normal in battle during this weekend's game ...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Valid points. Like a lot of balance issues there's probably a lot of personal opinion and person situation involved. I have seen feats that were "overpowered" but weren't because the situation where said feat would be used rarely came up, and I've seen the reverse.

I'm still a bit leery about Improved Arcane Bond. Don't get me wrong I think it's a great feat that's way overdo. I still just think it might be overpowered. I guess I'll have to see it in action before I cement my opinion. But you are right, a quasit from Improved Familiar can be a quite powerful option too. So I'm on the fence.

I will say this is the first time I've really considered using Arcane Bond as an option. I was never really impressed with it before. So you've definitely succeeded in that respect.

As for your character problem, your Paladin/Cavalier might want to take some time off from adventuring to manage the property as it were. :]

-Kcinlive


Pardon my asking, but what's the page count on this?

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

About 13 pages. As a heavily martial class, it's a little shorter than, say, the Shaman.

Liberty's Edge

Kcinlive wrote:

Valid points. Like a lot of balance issues there's probably a lot of personal opinion and person situation involved. I have seen feats that were "overpowered" but weren't because the situation where said feat would be used rarely came up, and I've seen the reverse.

I'm still a bit leery about Improved Arcane Bond. Don't get me wrong I think it's a great feat that's way overdo. I still just think it might be overpowered. I guess I'll have to see it in action before I cement my opinion. But you are right, a quasit from Improved Familiar can be a quite powerful option too. So I'm on the fence.

I will say this is the first time I've really considered using Arcane Bond as an option. I was never really impressed with it before. So you've definitely succeeded in that respect.

As for your character problem, your Paladin/Cavalier might want to take some time off from adventuring to manage the property as it were. :]

-Kcinlive

Fair enough - I'd love to hear how it goes for you in actual play!

And ... good point about my Paladin/Cavalier ... :)


Wolfgang Baur wrote:
About 13 pages. As a heavily martial class, it's a little shorter than, say, the Shaman.

Ah, thanks for that. Sounds like just enough pages to go into detail without unnecessary padding.

Liberty's Edge

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Eric Hinkle wrote:
Wolfgang Baur wrote:
About 13 pages. As a heavily martial class, it's a little shorter than, say, the Shaman.
Sounds like just enough pages to go into detail without unnecessary padding.

A perfect way to put it!

Oh, and the Expanded Battle Scion jumped up to the number 5 spot on Paizo's Top Ten 3PP downloads for this past week - up 5 spots from where it debuted at number 10 when it first came out the week before! So, THANKS SO MUCH to everyone who has downloaded it so far!!!

dumb, random thought:
Man, I think I channeled Kasey Kasem a little just now :)

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

How the heck did I not know that Casey Kasem was the voice of Shaggy in the Scooby Doo cartoons?

Liberty's Edge

Thanks for taking the time to do such a thorough review Feros!

Wolfgang - that was the main thing that him so cool! :)

Liberty's Edge

Paul Watson wrote:

When the archetypes replace the 11th level Spell Tactician ability, do they get that ability at 13th level rather than the noraml 13th level ability or do they just lose the 11th ability and get the normal 13th level ability at 13th level? Also, do they lose the increased bonus to Combat Casting?

Hey there Paul - my apologies! I just noticed I missed one of your questions!

When one of the Battle Scion archetypes replaces the 11th level Spell Tactician ability, they simply lose the 11th Spell Tactician ability and get the specified archetype ability in its place. The Battle Scion then gets the 13th level Spell Tactician ability as normal at 13th level.

The bonus to Combat Casting is unaffected and continues to increase as normal.

Hope that helps!

Liberty's Edge

[In my best Casey Kasem voice :) ]

...Up from the number 5 spot last week, the Expanded Battle Scion comes in at #2 on the Top Ten Best Sellers list for this week!

Thanks again to everyone who has dowloaded this!

(And if you haven't yet, what the heck are you waiting for?!? LOL :)


Review us up. Marc, my friend, this was an excellent addition to the New Paths series. Well Done!!!

Liberty's Edge

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Thanks so much for taking the time to do the review Mr. Fish! Really glad you liked the class. (I also really like the Force Blaster archetype :)

Oh, and you are dead on regarding the trio of legendary magic items which once belonged to Gax the Great ... he is absolutely my little tribute to the great Gary Gygax :)


You know that with 4 under the belt now, I am going to be really anxious to see if the White Necromancer shows up in this series.....just saying ....might be a cookie included....little bribery :)

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
KTFish7 wrote:

You know that with 4 under the belt now, I am going to be really anxious to see if the White Necromancer shows up in this series.....just saying ....might be a cookie included....little bribery :)

Ha! Well, there is actually no cookies or bribery needed ...

a) because I'm not really a cookie or sweets kind of guy (give my chips and onion dip or nachos with jalapenos and extra cheese any day :)

and

b) the aforementioned Expanded White Necromancer is already done and finishing up in editing as we speak! :) I'm quite happy with how it came out - new feats, new spells and a couple new archetypes I think people will really find interesting ... *cough* undead companion that scales up as you do *cough*

But enough about that! Back to the Battle Scion! Let's see if we can get it up to the #1 Most Downloaded spot this week! :)

Liberty's Edge

Thanks so much for the well thought out review, Byrdology - really thrilled you liked the class!


Here is a LINK for a new archetype of the Battle Scion: the Vanguard. Hope you all enjoy! It was a pleasure to review your product, thanks Marc!

Liberty's Edge

Thank you sir! Your archetype looks very interesting!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Also support the Cha idea.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Also sorry for the pocket posts too!

Liberty's Edge

Hey there Jack Rift!

Not sure I understand, well ... either of your posts :(

Liberty's Edge

Thanks everyone!!!

Just saw this week's list from Paizo ... The Battle Scion is on the Top Ten Third Party list again this week!!!

Woo hoo! :)

The Exchange Contributor; Publisher, Kobold Press; RPG Superstar Judge

Yes, it seems to be finding real favor with players. Me, I'm going to make one a villain.


Reviewed first on Endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here and on OBS.

Liberty's Edge

Thanks for the review Thilo!

Needless to say, I don't agree with a few of the things you mention in your review ... HOWEVER, I respect you as a reviewer and welcome any input! If you don't mind, I'd like to address a few of those points:

Regarding the Battle Scion's Force Blast ability: respectfully, I just don't see it as being overpowered at low levels like you do :) A 1st level Battle Scion will only have around 4 -6 Force Blasts per day tops, and each one does an average of 4 hp's of damage per blast. At 4th level, the Battle Scion most likely still only has the same number per day (maybe 1 or 2 more) and is now only doing an average of 6 hp's of damage per blast. Sure, those couple Force Blasts automatically hit, but they still only do a relatively small amount of damage and he only gets a handful of them for the entire day. If the class had a much larger number of Force Blasts per day, I could see an issue, but only getting 4 - 6 such blasts total for the entire day ... I'm just not seeing the same overpowered issue you are. That's OK though! I just wanted to be sure I got that off my chest :)

Regarding your thoughts that there will be "disgruntled martial characters and sorcerers at low levels when allowing the class beside them. I know my players would have taken severe issue when outclassed in their hometurf by a mixed class." Interestingly, when playtested, most of the groups consisted of a Battle Scion, a Sorcerer or Wizard, a Rogue and then either a Fighter, or a Ranger (or, in one group, a Paladin), there simply was none of the power or balance issue you are concerned with. Every group is different of course, so your mileage may certainly vary! :)

Regarding your comments about the Spell Tracking Sheet: I actually intentionally did not add a column for range, targets etc. because I wanted the sheet to be as versatile as possible for players with different wants and needs. In the instructions, it does say "jot down any notes about individual spells (effects, duration, damage etc)." This is where you would list range, targets etc. I didn't include specific columns for things like range, targets because some players may not want or need them (at all, or just not for certain spells). Having a 'generic' Notes column allows the player to list whatever info he needs for each spell.

Oh, and by the way - I LOVED your comment that "The closest analogue would probably be that the magus is a razor, the battle-scion (especially the blaster!) being more of a sledge-hammer." I think that's a pretty accurate assessment! :)

Just to reiterate, I appreciate (as always) the great work you do as a reviewer, even if I occasionally don't agree 100% with you!

Keep up the great work!


Hej Marc!

I always appreciate your insightful comments, civil nature and mostly great design. Part of the reason why this review took so long was because I wanted to try out the BS in playtest on 1st level - and while, if your group is high-powered, it might not be an issue, for some groups outblasting the sorc with almost guaranteed damage, at least at low levels, is a massive issue - at least in my group high-AC bosses were WIPED by the battle scion alone, when usually multiple front-line warriors would have had a tough fight - and that, to me is a balance-concern.

Not for every group, but for some. Hence my verdict.

Thanks for all your kind words and keep up the great design - I'm still extremely stoked for Sunken Pyramid! :D

Cheers!


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Endzeitgeist, I am curious if you could provide a little more detail on the encounters that were thrown off by the battle scions force blast. I assume it was a force blaster? Does 4d4 damage a round for 3 or so rounds a day really throw off your encounters?

Also has anyone at your table ever played a vanguard with improved vangard blast? It seems to me it would have a similar effect to the force blasters multiple blasts at low levels at least.


Kolokotroni - it's 6 (3+Int-mod) rounds, for 2d4 assuming Int 16 - slower, but more. And it's reliable damage that can't be saved/ACed against. While it does not destroy encounters, e.g. traditional low level bosses like shadows (incorporeal!) and high AC bandit lords (or just guys using smart concealment/terrain - I actually did playtest that one...) get blasted - which wouldn't be bad, after all, it rewards the class for conserving resources. What made me consider this class broken at low levels is that the Battle Scion can blast RELIABLE damage better than sorc, wizards and witches (which have already a tough time shining in battle at low levels) AND fight almost on par with regular martial classes. At ~level 5-6, the class works just fine and the problem disappears and hence I didn't want to give an impression of the Battle Scion being bad, but, at least to me, this is overpowered in a certain level-range.

And yes, I've had a Revised (I didn't have the original Vanguard class)Vanguard - but in contrast to the Battle Scion, one could simply disarm her/steal the weapon etc. and bam - no more blasting. Additionally, the Vanguard doesn't get full BAB, but 3/4 BAB-progression and no heavy armor proficiency at first level...so yeah. The Vanguard could be defused - not easily, but it is possible and the Vanguard doesn't shine as much in the martial side - send a disarm/high AC-opponent versus a Vanguard and watch the character weep - do the same versus a Battle Scion and get an unerring force blast in your face and after that, face a full BAB-combatant in good armor... The Battle Scion can't be defused, there is no Achilles heel to exploit/serve as a minor balancing factor.

And no, I was referring to a regular Battle Scion - I will NEVER allow an archetype that can deal almost unnegatable damage AND pull off combat maneuvers without fear of repercussion anywhere near my table - the Forceblaster won't be seeing any action on the player-side - and as a DM, I don't know - only if I'm feeling particularly cheap.

Hope that helps making my reasoning clear! Cheers!

Liberty's Edge

Endzeitgeist wrote:

Hej Marc!

Thanks for all your kind words and keep up the great design - I'm still extremely stoked for Sunken Pyramid! :D

Cheers!

No problem End - Thanks!

Off Topic Sunken Pyramid Stuff :):
Thanks, I'm really excited for The Sunken Pyramid to come out! The official release date for this mega-adventure for both the PDF and print version is June 29th, but some teaser material will be available leading up to the release, beginning on June 11th :)


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Endzeitgeist wrote:
Kolokotroni - it's 6 (3+Int-mod) rounds, for 2d4 assuming Int 16 - slower, but more. And it's reliable damage that can't be saved/ACed against. While it does not destroy encounters, e.g. traditional low level bosses like shadows (incorporeal!) and high AC bandit lords (or just guys using smart concealment/terrain - I actually did playtest that one...) get blasted - which wouldn't be bad, after all, it rewards the class for conserving resources. What made me consider this class broken at low levels is that the Battle Scion can blast RELIABLE damage better than sorc, wizards and witches (which have already a tough time shining in battle at low levels) AND fight almost on par with regular martial classes. At ~level 5-6, the class works just fine and the problem disappears and hence I didn't want to give an impression of the Battle Scion being bad, but, at least to me, this is overpowered in a certain level-range.

Fair enough. I get your reasoning even if I dont agree. Though at my table low level casters generally dont shine by blasting (except in emergencies like with swarms or incorporials) but by debuffing, buffing and cotrolling. A playstyle issue is guess, because a solid blaster (to me) wouldnt step on the toes of any of the normal casting classes. In fact I am still waiting for a real dedicated blasting class to come out ala the 3.5 warmage.

Quote:

And yes, I've had a Revised (I didn't have the original Vanguard class)Vanguard - but in contrast to the Battle Scion, one could simply disarm her/steal the weapon etc. and bam - no more blasting. Additionally, the Vanguard doesn't get full BAB, but 3/4 BAB-progression and no heavy armor proficiency at first level...so yeah. The Vanguard could be defused - not easily, but it is possible and the Vanguard doesn't shine as much in the martial side - send a disarm/high AC-opponent versus a Vanguard and watch the character weep - do the same versus a Battle Scion and get an unerring force blast in your face and after that, face a full BAB-combatant in good armor... The Battle Scion can't be defused, there is no Achilles heel to exploit/serve as a minor balancing factor.

I can see where it might be a problem, but I think given how much more casting the vanguard gets as opposed to the battle scion the bab and armor is a wash. Though I probably would have prefered if it was a ranged touch attack instead of an auto hit, maybe even with a few more a day but you had to make an attack roll.

Anyway thanks for the explanation, my table is very different from yours and it will probably be helpful in the future when reading reviews to keep that in mind for balance considerations.


I've been playing with a bonded magus for a little while now, and as some martialists have noted previously ... they can be complex to play.

So I'm intrigued by the expanded Battle Scion, especially the Force Blaster.

Is this playable for PFS society play??

Thanks!

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