Into the Breach: The Magus (PFRPG) PDF

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“Into the Breach” is a series of “crunch-focused” books intended to expand the options available to the “Base Classes” (the alchemist, cavalier, gunslinger, inquisitor, magus, oracle, summoner, and witch).

This book expands on Pathfinder’s answer to the gish: The Magus. Within this guide you’ll find 11 new archetypes, 7 new arcanas, 7 new feats, 8 new spells, and 1 new magus friendly prestige class.

New Archetypes

  • Agony Drinker
  • Arcane Artillerist
  • Arcane Hurler
  • Arcane Tactician
  • Bare-Knuckler
  • Blood Mage
  • Echo Blade
  • Lodestone Blade
  • Personifier
  • Primalist

Prestige Class

  • Ki Magus

New Arcana

  • Arcane Sunder (Su)
  • Attract Item (Su)
  • Bloody Edge (Su)
  • Clot (Su)
  • Hemorrhage (Ex)
  • Magnetic Shield (Ex)
  • Transfusion (Su)

New Spells

  • Charge Breaker
  • Primal Curse of Flames
  • Primal Curse of Ice
  • Primal Curse of Stone
  • Primal Curse of Thorns
  • Primal Curse of Wood
  • Time Shift
  • Thunder Shift

New Feats

  • Arcane Pool Strike (Combat)
  • Concentration Spell (Metamagic +2)
  • Finishing Blow (Combat)
  • Grapple Caster (Combat)
  • Metamagic Adaptability (Metamagic)
  • Reckless Spell Fortification (Combat)
  • Reflexive Caster (Combat)
  • Teleportation Stow-Away (General)
  • Teleportation Tracking (General)

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Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

2/5

This pdf by d20pfsrd.com publishing/flying pincushion is 29 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 24 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

We kick off this pdf with 11 different archetypes for the Magus, first of which would be the Agony Drinker - this is essentially a pain/negative-energy themed magus. They add properties like vicious etc. to their arsenal. The class gain negative energy affinity, which, for good groups, is a very strong detriment, whereas in evil groups, it tends to be very strong -usually, you only see that one in powerful races as a mitigating, balancing factor. However, the archetype does have its way of healing itself - by expending arcane pool points in conjunction with melee/inflict-spells, they may heal limited Hp. Which may be good and fine, but the wording here could be a tad more concise. While it's obvious the intention is to allow for 1 point per target per healing to be upgraded via consecutive attacks, as written, action economy could be a tad more concise, emphasizing that the additional expenditure is part of the initial swift action. The ability also remains silent as to the issue of attacks/spells and their combination, making this one not broken, but less concise than it ought to be. Problematic: They may draw runes from the blood of the vanquished to grant themselves temporary DR. All right, useable 1+Int-mod times per day is a nice limit - but the ability does not put not rules-terms what "fresh, still warm blood". Would heating it keep it fresh? What about vanquished undead like vampires, do they count? Also: Always take your trusty bag o ' kittens along for instant-runes! Yes, fails the bag-o'-kittens test. Now do you know what 1/2 class level + int mod (full class level at level 7+) healing and these runes replace? Knowledge pool and Spell Recall, arguably two of the most versatile, powerful class features of the magus class. Yeah. Doesn't work.

Add to that the fact that improved spell recall goes and is replaced with a weaker scent and we have an archetype in need of help. Same goes for the capstone, which has blood spurting negative energy damage based on foe HD in range. Problem: No action type is given. I *assume* swift action since it's powered by arcane pool points, but I'm not sure. Also, the ability fails to specify whether the damage also applies to the creature reduced below 0 HP, potentially killing it or not. All in all, interesting imagery and concept, but wonky rules and very weak abilities make this a subpar option at best, unless used in tandem with undead PCs and similarly negative energy affine creatures. Viable as an NPC, but not as a PC.

All right, next up would be the arcane artillerist, who could be summed up as a ranged magus - instead of melee, focused on crossbows and bows....Yeah, that's not a typo and means we're talking bows. Why? Because without class-benefits enhancing them, crossbows are just worse than bows. Better yet - they are the only choices here, with abilities referring exclusively to the ammunition types. Slingstones? Rocks thrown? Nope. And yes, I'm aware I look like a prick here, but reloading action economy could use some balancing help here...and the class glosses over all firearms, all thrown weapons...javelins? Tough luck. Also problematic from a nitpicker's position - at 7th level, ranged weapons wielded count as melee weapons for the purpose of threatening AoOs and provoking them. Got that. But do e.g. oversized ranged weapons get reach? What reach (not range, but the area in which they threaten AoOs) do regular ranged weapons (or oversized ones)have? What about e.g. bladed bows etc.? This class feature sounds nice, but honestly, you can, kind of, already have that sans an archetype.

Worse: Aforementioned spellstrike fails to include the caveat that limits the regular spellstrike to working with only touch attacks -while it is inferred in the following sentence, as written, the ability would still allow for non-touch spells to be delivered thus. The level 14 ability is also confusing, stating: "At 14th level, the arcane artillerist may make a single ranged weapon attack to deliver a spell from the magus spell list as a ranged touch attack, this attack deals full weapon damage and spell damage." Ähem. Ranged spellstrike already does that at level 2. Full weapon and spell damage. Nothing halved anywhere. Here rules-editing is very wonky...also with regards to melee weapons enhancements being replaced with ranged weapons enhancements. Where's the list? What enhancements? That's not proper rules language. At 16th level, the archetype gets the ability to execute AoOs against all spells cast in range. Yes, range. However, the AoO does not disrupt the casting. This is just incredibly clunky as it breaks how AoOs work in the first place. Also, what about concentration-dependant effects? No check? What about delivering persistent damage? No hampering? Do spell-like abilities count? They follow the same format as spells, but aren't spells per se... As written, completely unusable.

Okay, those throwing specialists glanced over in the previous archetype also get one, the arcane hurler. This one gets diminished spellcasting, but more arcane pool (alongside more ways of using the latter) and gets the ranged spellstrike wording right. Additionally, the archetype learns to imbue thrown weapons to add +1d6 untyped magic damage to the weapon, with 1 point of arcane pool cost per d6, up to a maximum of 1/2 class level. Additionally, the imbued energy damages the thrown weapon. What's weird here is that the "target's spell resistance applies" - probably, this refers only to the bonus damage, but a clarification whether the regular weapon damage can be negated would be in order. Also, one of the arcane pool abilities allows you to spend a point to negate the damage arcane imbuement does to the weapon - but does that one count into the class-level-based cap or not? I *assume* the latter, but as written, I'm not sure. Also, arcane imbuement lasts 1 min per class level (as it better should, taking a full-round action), but can multiple imbuements be in effect at a given time? I assume so, but again. not sure. At 7th level, foes adjacent to the primary target get magical whiplash with a ref-save to halve - which is a very reliable way to disrupt casters. Why? Damage is untyped. Not even force, UNTYPED. No means to negate, ever. Not sure whether that's intended, but the lack of means of countering this is problematic in my book. This becomes worse when bursts and automatic, non-negated 1/2 damage on the following round enter the fray. The latter is nasty, the former could be considered problematic with big foes. All in all, this doesn't sound so bad and the hurler is better than the artillerist, but still is broken - mostly due to the ability to convert a vast array of energy damage into an invented new type that has no means of being negated by anything. As written, I wouldn't allows this anywhere near my table before the wording had been cleaned up alongside the damage-type.

All right, next up would be the Arcane Tactician - and whoever of the team of authors wrote this - you have my gratitude. This is one of the few archetypes I've seen that takes the brains it takes to be a magus seriously - essentially, the archetype allows you to wildcard teamwork feats instead of spells and temporarily share them with allies. While at the cost of knowledge pool and spell recall, this one makes for a fine addition to the game - especially since it also learns to force five-foot steps (but not into difficult terrain) and gains a kind of omni-sentient battle-commander trance of exquisite coolness at 11th level. Seriously one awesome archetype here and one of my favorite archetypes for the class in any supplement. Yes, that cool! Oh, also: The wording in this one is really good, so kudos to the author! MY one gripe with this one would be that I would have liked to see it expanded further - and that's a good thing indeed!

The Bare-Knuckler is an unarmed magus who gets improved unarmed strike, applies arcane pool damage-dealing enhancements to unarmed attacks and grapple, +1/2 class level (full at level 14, none as a capstone) to concentration while grappling and gets the grapple-feat tree, but neither spell combat, nor spellstrike. This archetype is terrible. Not its wording, mind you - it's balance. This archetype is ridiculously weak. 3/4 BAB-grappler with two feats benefit, plus requirement to spend points in character creation on Int? No bonus to grappling? Make a barbarian/fighter -> Crush puny melee magus -> ???? -> Profit. Seriously, this archetype needs some signature trick as well as a significant power upgrade. As written, it just is a VERY poor choice and fails even against other NPC-builds...don't get me started on monsters, giants et al.

The Blood Mage Magus increases HD to d10, uses con instead of int for the arcane pool, treats self-healing spells as empowered and may fast heal himself for arcane pool points. At 13th level, he gets the ability to make a melee attack a touch attack and only has to sacrifice a 5th level spell for it - oh and the archetype loses medium and heavy armor proficiency - great deal isn't it? *sarcasm off* Sorry, couldn't help myself there - the deal of the class is that it's sturdier than a regular magus. This is negated by having to spend feats on armor proficiencies and the level 13 ability is ridiculously weak and can be duplicated earlier via arcana. Once again, broken archetype, no reason to play one.

Echo-blade magi get diminished sellcasting and may sacrifice spell-slots to replenish arcane pool points. They get silent spell (for no particular reason) as a bonus feat and their whole catch is that they may add new weapon enhancements (thundering and the new echoing and greater echoing, +3/+4 respectively) to their list. These deal 1/2 or full damage again at the end of the round. Which screams munchkin the hell out of me. Seriously: Charges, spells, lances, vital strikes, smites - you name it: This enchantment DEMANDS you try to find at least ONE way, if more to abuse the hell out of this one. I wouldn't allow the enchantment in my game and the archetype doesn't look like fun, unless you're in for the "how many damage effects can I stack on ONE attack fire/forget"-type of gameplay that results in powerful hit or suck one-trick-ponies.

The Lodestone Blade archetype gets diminished spellcasting and a minor AC-boosting magnetic aura that helps with deflection-bonuses versus metal weapons. They also know the presence of any ferrous metals in 30 ft - permanent know direction + scent. Only...that's not how scent works. Scent can be blocked. Scent is modified by winds. This probably (or is it?) is not - making it, against the vast majority of adversaries, very effective. If it truly does work like scent, how are magnetic fields influenced by winds? Yes, solar winds, I get that, but a downwind breeze? They also get deflect arrows and decrease ac and increase max dex for armor. This is the epitome of a filler-archetype - no interesting abilities whatsoever and a cool concept, squandered in mechanically mostly irrelevant and boring ways. No attraction? Better disarming? Dragging/pushing? Come on! Think Magneto as a knight - the concept is so cool, but the execution...urgh. Bland.

The Personifier replaces spellstrike with one of the most ambitious concepts herein - essentially, these guys can morph spells into...things. For example, into weapons. The forming of spells into weaponry, unfortunately, is rather weak, making only sense if you want a specific elemental damage type to hurt foes with weaknesses. At 3rd level, things become more interesting, with armor entering the fray (including potentially resistance) and generally, that's nice - but since you can't wear two armors, why bother? get one good armor and be done with it - then you don't have to sacrifice your resources. Oo

At 4th level, they may even shape creatures up to a CR of 1/2 level. These creatures increase in prowess and list-availability in multiple steps. All in all, rather evocative and cool - I do have an issue, though: The ability specifies that the creatures essentially retain the type of the spell they're crafted from -with fire spells resulting in fire wolves. So far, so awesome. They also get a weakness to the opposing element, if applicable. Again, cool! And if a vulnerability wouldn't deal damage, we also get a concise formula to create damage. Nice. However, as per the examples, a sonic longsword would take damage from a silence-spell. Emm...how much? Silence doesn't do damage per se. Damage-type less spells/force spells etc. count as damage and are "vulnerable to dispel magic" - so does that mean they take damage or that they can be dispelled? Can be more easily dismissed? Vulnerability usually means taking more damage, is this included in the general formula at the end? This ability is pretty close...but botches big time. Why? No progression for the respective spells-turned animals. Yeah. They suck. No increased HD, no better saves, nothing. This is the most expensive, ineffective way of summoning creatures I've seen in ages. It's fluffy idea is GREAT, but it is just not viable AT ALL. So at 8th level, I can waste my precious spells to create ONE creature per spell from the improved familiar list with a CR of 1/2 my class level that can't use any spell-like abilities or spells? Where do I sign? Seriously, going Fahrenheit 451 on those spells would only be slightly less inefficient. Which sucks, for the ability to create a BEAR MADE OF ACID is awesome - but as written, it doesn't work. Translating spell -> Creature would require a balanced HD-increase/spell-level correlation and potentially a bunch of simple templates to apply.

A similar glitch unfortunately haunts the next ability as well, wherein a personification can be discharged, i.e. triggered to do the spell's work - once again, high concept and awesome, but the wording fails to mention what happens with spells that have a range of touch or require an attack roll, rendering it unusable as written. So much potential, but damn does this need another pass.

The Primalist Magus has a modified spell-list, nature's bond and a bite attack, which fails to specify whether it's a primary or secondary natural weapon. Once again, filler-archetype, nothing interesting here.

Next up would be the 5-level Ki-Magus PrC, , who gets 3/4 BAB-progression, good fort and will-saves, 2+Int skills per level, d8 and full spellcasting progression. Essentially, this PrC may use arcane pool points as ki points and vice versa and ki magus levels stack for purpose of calculating ki points. They may also spellstrike flurry - which does exactly nothing as written. Spellstrike has no per-round limit. Also: Flurry of Blows and Spell Combat are both full-round actions, meaning they don't work n concert. They may also duplicate greater invisibility for one point, which isn't too shabby. Since players don't often make use of sp's like that and since one prereq-class is non-casting, I'd still suggest for clarity's sake a caster level/duration clarification here. The capstone Strike the chakra is also a bit weird - on a crit, you may apply the extra damage to a ki/arcane pool. I *assume* that means just deal regular damage and the rest to the pool? If so, this is a one-hit empty-blast. Not a fan of the design. Speaking of which - even if it's a capstone - gaining two swift actions for a point of a pool looks like a whole bunch of trouble/invitation to game the ability.

Part II of the review in the product discussion.


Into the Breach!!!! Is coolcoolcool!

5/5

I am currently playing my first magus. My first response: "Wow, this class can kick up some major dust! Then I picked up Into the Breach: The Magus. Now I have a problem. You see, this books gives you sooooo many awesome, flavorful and just plain fun options that I want to play about a dozen different kinds of magus! I can hear my DM now, "Okay, we have a cleric, fighter, rogue and Eddie's 13 man Magus platoon!" LOL Really though, get this book.


Webstore Gninja Minion

Now available!

The Exchange

Thanks Liz!

The Exchange

Note!

If you post a review either on Paizo, RPGNow, or the d20pfsrd.com store before January 31 2014, you will receive a coupon for the purchase price of this product at the d20pfsrd.com store.

All you have to do is be honest in your review and let us know where you posted the review (along with an email address to hook you up with the coupon)!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Bump in case you missed this fine offer because of the outage


d20pfsrd.com wrote:

Note!

If you post a review either on Paizo, RPGNow, or the d20pfsrd.com store before January 31 2014, you will receive a coupon for the purchase price of this product at the d20pfsrd.com store.

All you have to do is be honest in your review and let us know where you posted the review (along with an email address to hook you up with the coupon)!

So essentially you get refunded for a review?

Anyway, $7 for this content seems way too expensive.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Have you read it? At $6.99 you are paying roughly $0.24 a page for 29 pages mostly reusable crunch...

I know we're a 3PP but that doesn't necessarily mean we suck. Here
s our 1 review thus far It is on summoners

We took the feedback on layout and artwork and immediately applied it to our second release 2 weeks later. Even the difference in the covers is clear. We got high marks for our content and now it is basically free as long as someone is willing to take the time to review it.


No Frank I have not read it. Primarily because the I'm not uninterested in the subject matter AND the price is very high for a comparable class related PDF.

Also, nowhere have I asserted that you or d20PFSRD "suck". I was merely asking a question and expressing an opinion.

The Exchange

We've gotten our first review for this book. Check it out!

"Final Thoughts (4.5 out of 5)

It is clear that the creators of the Into the Breach series has come leaps and bounds in terms of their design, and has maintained a great level of creativity for the content of the books.

I eagerly await the next book in this series and highly suggest anyone that wants to expand the magus use in their game to definitely acquire this book."

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

You kind of stepped into an internal debate about pricing. We intend to release some of the content on d20srd as a free sample somewhat soon. We also will ultimately consider bundling the products together as they age.

Pricing the products is tricky. Many products that are more inexpensive are a bit older and few are comparable in page count. Take class acts for an example, it's $0.99 which seems cheaper but the content itself is 2 pages making a 49.5 cent price point. Kobold press' Summoner Circle is more recent but contains only feats is 19 pages and runs 21 cents a page which is admittedly a bit lower then our price point from a more established brand so you may have a point.

That said if a buyer wanted a comprehensive package of those 3 products and say Eidolons unbound they merely need to buy ours first, then write a review and get all of that for under $7... One could easily do the same with the Magus.

We're making this offer because we know that buying a 3PP and a new one to boot represents a risk. It's basically free for your opinion because we want folk to try us and we're confident that if they do they will come back for more. We're also clear that we want honest reviews (which means we will likely take a hit on the look of our first book.)

Gaming budgets are tight in this economy I'll take the price point objection under consideration after the 31st, hopefully we'll have some reviews telling us if it was worth the money...

TL:DR Yes the store credit offer is essentially a refund if your write a review.


Summoner'S Circle is younger than Class Acts: Summoner. Just because I'm OCD with things like that.

For what it's worth - as long as crunch and production values are superb, pricing can still be justified at this point -see e.g. Legendary Games.

The Exchange

AS GM_Solspiral (Frank) said, the pricing was really just a quick decision based on looking at similar products with similar page counts. We felt we can always reduce it a bit if there is significant push-back on it but by the same token we want to make sure we're in the same ballpark with other products of similar size and scope. For a comparison, the latest d20pfsrd.com Publishing product, Mind over Matter: Psion and Soulknife is just $4.99 due to lower page count. We'll likely jiggle these prices around a bit to find the right level and do appreciate feedback on it.

Also, End, we'll be sending you copies of all of the new products today. Hopefully you can fit reviews of them into your obviously already busy reviews schedule :D

Edit: Oh and yes, we plan to release pieces on d20pfsrd.com soon, and then to place it all on d20pfsrd.com after a bit longer, just as we try to do with most 3pp products.

The Exchange

Woot! We got our first review over at RPGNow by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]

"The Magus is a fun class to play anyway, but here is a whole bunch of options to explore to make it even more interesting.

The bulk of the book is taken up with a collection of new archetypes. Each one comes with a description, notes on any changes to a regular Magus build and an array of special abilities to amend the class features appropriately for the archetype in question. There's an illustration of the archetype in action as well, which gives an indication of possible styles of play. The different archetypes explore various aspects of the balance between arcane power and martial skill, often giving a specific focus for the character to specialise in. Some are fun to play, others are best left for NPCs, often adversaries - unless, of course, your campaign allows the party to explore the depths of the dark side.

Many of the class features are original inventions, all with notes on their use and all necessary game mechanics. Some replace named elements of the class as originally published, others add options which may be chosen at appropriate levels alongside existing ones.

Next comes a Prestige Class, the ki magus. He blurs arcane power with his inner ki and often delivers a spell with a blow or strike. It's quite an interesting idea and could work well in conjunction with monk unarmed combat abilities.

This is followed by a selection of extra arcana and new spells, and a bunch of new feats rounds the book off. Overall, if you like the Magus class and want to add to its range and capabilities, you will find plenty of material worth considering here.

Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!]"

*happy dance*


While reading 'Into the Breach: The Magus' I ran into a few perceived glitches and criticisms. I'll list them divided by archetype/section;

Agony Drinker:

Sanguine Anointing requires 'still hot blood' to draw runes. Does the creature have to be recently dead or still alive? I have no metric to judge in game terms. Can I use blood from my weapon that has struck a creature recently?

Arcane Artillerist:

The arcane pool ability replaces melee weapon enhancements with ranged weapon enhancements. I have no idea what this means in game terms. Does this mean I can use ANY weapon enhancement that can apply to ranged weapons with my arcane pool? Also by the wording I can still apply these to melee weapons (as weapon enhancements often overlap in what they can be applied to. In the next archetype, the Arcane Hurler, this is spelled out what weapon enhancements can applies and how) and also is worded that it modifies, as opposed to replaces the arcane pool, so by RAW the Arcane Artillerist takes away the arcane pool.

Ranged Spellstrike is worded in a way that makes it confusing as to how it interacts with spells as it does not have the normal 'touch spell' limit that is normally associated with Magus. Especially in regards to spells with multiple touch attacks and spells like Shield. Again the Arcane Hurler words it to retain the limit of spells with the range of touch. Honestly it feels like the Artillerist could be folded into Hurler without many problems. As worded Precise Ranged Spellstrike grants an ability that Ranged Spellstrike already grants.

Artillerists Counterstrike does not force a caster to make a concentration check when struck while casting a spell. Not that it doesn't work, just seems to negate a rule.

Bare-Knuckler:

This Archetype doesn't have problems it's just kind of terrible. Was hoping for a spell puncher but got a 3/4 BAB grappler. He's going to be next to useless at mid levels considering he gets relatively weak boosts to CMB checks and grappling can already be pretty weak when encountering monsters.

Blood Mage:

The hit die change seems blasphemous but not really a problem.

Lifeblood strike is beyond terrible. A magus can already choose a 9th level arcana that, for the price of two arcane points, can resolve all his weapon attacks as touch attacks for one round. To do the same thing a Blood Mage can do this at the cost of a 5th level spell (and heavy armor proficiency) but only for one attack and once a day and at 13th level. Related: this ability can only be used once per encounter but earlier the ability says that it can only be used once a day. 'encounter' means nothing in pathfinder game terms so I'm forced to assume that once per day is the limit, either way the ability is strictly much worse than a 9th level arcana.

Personifier:

I just hate this one.
At 2nd level he can sacrifice spells to conjure weapons that has a lower enhancement rate than Arcane pool enhancements, an ability he already has. Everything that a 'personified' weapon does is done better with an ability the personifier already has.
At 3rd level the personifier can conjure armor, which is more useful but not better than the tons of ways a magus can beef AC with 1st level spells. For example I'm playing a lvl 12 dex magus for an Adventure Path. I have no armor but my average AC is 33.
At 4th level the personifier can conjure creatures. These have to be from the animal companion list without any notes on animal companion progression so it's at best a CR 1/2, yet there is a restriction that it has to be half the personifier's level. At 8th level these creatures can be from the improved familiar list, which isn't much better than an animal that doesn't have animal companion advancements. Finally at 12 level a personifier can create apparently any lvl 1 animal companion who's CR is 6 or lower that get no spells or spell-like abilities that they didn't have in the first place.

This is all just terrible. RAW this means that this guy gives up spell strike to get abilities that he already has only at a steeper cost and the ability to conjure creatures from lists that only describe stats for low CR creatures. They come with some buffs/nerfs depending on what you spend to conjure them but none of that equals spell strike.

What gets to me is that there's already a means for casters to conjure creatures with spells called Summon Monster. the easier way for this to be done is to allow the magus to spontaneously cast Summon monster and spend arcane pool points to enhance them/cast through them/explode them into spells. Mechanically it would be identical to what's going on with the Personifier only not convoluted.

Nullify Personification's wording does not account for spells with the range of Touch.

Primalist:

Is the 5th level bite attack a primary or secondary attack?

Ki Magus:

Spellstrike flurry doesn't do anything. Spellstrike can already happen more than once in a round if the user has multiple touch attack charges and multiple attacks. Spells like Elemental Touch achieve this. Even if it didnt', spellstriking more than once is useless unless you cast multiple spells or are holding a charge from last round, attack, and cast a spell (thus gaining the free touch attack given by the touch spell and delivering it via spellstrike as a melee attack.)

Strike the Chakra seems very situational.

Expanded Arcana:

Clot uses 'per encounter' which means nothing in pathfinder game terms.

Magnetic Shield does not have a duration.

Grand Lodge Contributor

Malwing wrote:
While reading 'Into the Breach: The Magus' I ran into a few perceived glitches and criticisms. I'll list them divided by archetype/section...

I was one of the authors for this book, and I'd like to thank you for your feedback. Though it seems a bit harsh, this sort of feedback can be invaluable for preventing future miss-steps.

Since you obviously have a very good grasp of the rules and mechanics of Pathfinder, would you be willing to share your thoughts on some of the other components of the book? What parts did you like best?

The archetypes you have yet to review are:
Arcane Tactician
Echo Blade
Lodestone Blade

I'm also curious if there were any arcanas or spells you particularly thought were interesting.


Naturally it was harsh. It was exclusively problems I found.

The parts I liked best:

Arcane Tactician looks like fun. There are a few archetypes and classes that deal with teamwork feats directly but so far they feel more at home here and opens a side of Magus closer to the many fighters in military flavor without discarding magic and in some ways looks like it plays how I'd expect a martial magician to work. (as opposed to default Magus)

Regardless of whether or not it succeeded I think ranged magi are necessary and should be done in one way or another. I've seen very few products try to cover this. Arcane Hurler feels like it succeeds the most in this.

Personifier is one of those things that I wish worked because of the base idea. A spell turns into a creature and can at any moment explode into a spell. Being able to morph your spells into something and then make it a spell again is clever but in this case doesn't quite work well. I hope that the dream lives on in some incarnation.

Lodestone Blade and Echo Mage were not bad or non-functioning, but while I dig their flavor in my head I imagined Sound Powers and Magneto and the crunch didn't deliver that, so I had no real comment beyond them being mechanically sound to my knowledge. I can see myself playing them but not for the Sound or lodestone flavor.

The Arcana, Attracet Item, I've seen before and enjoyed it before.

I like the Transfusion arcana.

I like Charge Breaker. I would prepare it.

The Curse spells are interesting (curse of thorns' duration is written differently than other spells of the same duration) (also noticed some of the saving throws on the spells don't make sense because it would normally be spelled out in the spell's description.) I'd cast most of them.

Time Shift I have mixed feelings on. It's somewhat better than the magus arcana 'Hasted Assault' because you get it way earlier, but I like Hasted Assault so I can go for it.

I really really like Thunder Shift though. I like it when Magus gets spells that allow him to get multiple touch attacks (Frostbit) and damaging movement spells (bladed dash), Thunder Shift falls into the latter and is my favorite spell of the bunch.

Teleportation Stow-away is the only feat that really jumped out at me. I wouldn't take it, but it's fun that it exists. I'd more likely take Arcane pool strike, not because I agree with it existing but that it can be really strong and breakable.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

I address each comment- wall of text.:
Malwing wrote:


Agony Drinker:
Sanguine Anointing requires 'still hot blood' to draw runes. Does the creature have to be recently dead or still alive? I have no metric to judge in game terms. Can I use blood from my weapon that has struck a creature recently?

I think one can infer that this mechanic is meant to prevent someone from say filling a portable hole with blood indefinitely, but I'll let the author address that in more detail. Perhaps in errata we will specify within 5 minutes which is meaningless within a combat but prevents rules abuses.

Quote:

Arcane Artillerist:

The arcane pool ability replaces melee weapon enhancements with ranged weapon enhancements. I have no idea what this means in game terms. Does this mean I can use ANY weapon enhancement that can apply to ranged weapons with my arcane pool? Also by the wording I can still apply these to melee weapons (as weapon enhancements often overlap in what they can be applied to.

To the former, yeah we should have caught that in editing and spelled out applicable ranged enhancements appropriate to a bow. I'll draft an errata doc sometime over the weekend and this will be addressed. To the latter, no you can't. You're demonstrating a high enough level of reading comprehension where I think you could infer rules as intended.

Quote:
In the next archetype, the Arcane Hurler, this is spelled out what weapon enhancements can applies and how) and also is worded that it modifies, as opposed to replaces the arcane pool, so by RAW the Arcane Artillerist takes away the arcane pool.

Arcane hurler has a different author. Modifies not replaces, it spells out what it modifies. If we were writing a computer program, I agree that this might cause some confusion. I'll add it to the errata.

Quote:

Ranged Spellstrike is worded in a way that makes it confusing as to how it interacts with spells as it does not have the normal 'touch spell' limit that is normally associated with Magus. Especially in regards to spells with multiple touch attacks and spells like Shield. Again the Arcane Hurler words it to retain the limit of spells with the range of touch. Honestly it feels like the Artillerist could be folded into Hurler without many problems. As worded Precise Ranged Spellstrike grants an ability that Ranged Spellstrike already grants.

Artillerists Counterstrike does not force a caster to make a concentration check when struck while casting a spell. Not that it doesn't work, just seems to negate a rule.

When calling for entries for magus I actually got 3 ranged magus submissions and 6 unarmed variants. It was clear the market demanded archetypes to address those builds. I considered folding the 2 ranged ones into one another but for logistic purposes decided to let them stand alone.

Ranged Spellstrike- I'll errata back in the touch spell limit. IT does specify attack spells so shield would be out.

Artillerist Counterstrike- I'll let the author speak to it but if memory serves this was intentional given the closer range of throwing weapons.

Quote:

Bare-Knuckler:

This Archetype doesn't have problems it's just kind of terrible. Was hoping for a spell puncher but got a 3/4 BAB grappler. He's going to be next to useless at mid levels considering he gets relatively weak boosts to CMB checks and grappling can already be pretty pretty weak when encountering monsters.

I get where you're coming from on grappling vs monsters but some campaigns aren't monster heavy either. You're entitled to your opinion but I felt it had a place.

Quote:

Blood Mage:

The hit die change seems blasphemous but not really a problem.

Lifeblood strike is beyond terrible. A magus can already choose a 9th level arcana that, for the price of two arcane points, can resolve all his weapon attacks as touch attacks for one round. To do the same thing a Blood Mage can do this at the cost of a 5th level spell (and heavy armor proficiency) but only for one attack and once a day and at 13th level. Related: this ability can only be used once per encounter but earlier the ability says that it can only be used once a day. 'encounter' means nothing in pathfinder game terms so I'm forced to assume that once per day is the limit, either way the ability is strictly much worse than a 9th level arcana.

Good point, it'll get an errata, likely adding additional uses. We at The Flying Pincushion hired a balance editor to catch this kind of thing after your review of summoners. We also changed our editing process which is why you haven't seen a release for awhile.

Quote:

Personifier:

I just hate this one.
At 2nd level he can sacrifice spells to conjure weapons that has a lower enhancement rate than Arcane pool enhancements, an ability he already has. Everything that a 'personified' weapon does is done better with an ability the personifier already has.
At 3rd level the personifier can conjure armor, which is more useful but not better than the tons of ways a magus can beef AC with 1st level spells. For example I'm playing a lvl 12 dex magus for an Adventure Path. I have no armor but my average AC is 33.
At 4th level the personifier can conjure creatures. These have to be from the animal companion list without any notes on animal companion progression so it's at best a CR 1/2, yet there is a restriction that it has to be half the personifier's level. At 8th level these creatures can be from the improved familiar list, which isn't much better than an animal that doesn't have animal companion advancements. Finally at 12 level a personifier can create apparently any lvl 1 animal companion who's CR is 6 or lower that get no spells or spell-like abilities that they didn't have in the first place.

This is all just terrible. RAW this means that this guy gives up spell strike to get abilities that he already has only at a steeper cost and the ability to conjure creatures from lists that only describe stats for low CR creatures. They come with some buffs/nerfs depending on what you spend to conjure them but none of that equals spell strike.

What gets to me is that there's already a means for casters to conjure creatures with spells called Summon Monster. the easier way for this to be done is to allow the magus to spontaneously cast Summon monster and spend arcane pool points to enhance them/cast through them/explode them into spells. Mechanically it would be identical to what's going on with the Personifier only not convoluted.

Nullify Personification's wording does not account for spells with the range of Touch.

Reshaping your spells into weapons, armor, and creatures is just plain cool. It may have been nerfed a little, it may be a little complex, and it can be a little gonzo but I LOVE that one. It has also been called out positively in another review.

The armor can stack with some of those other options and Summon Monster is not on the Magus spell list. The last comment is another "please spell it out for me" comment. I get it, we'll work on that moving forward, but we'd hardly be the first set of designers to put out an errata, look at some of the entries for Paizo stuff on d20.

Quote:

Primalist:

Is the 5th level bite attack a primary or secondary attack?

Primary per Universal monster rules.

Quote:

Ki Magus:

Spellstrike flurry doesn't do anything. Spellstrike can already happen more than once in a round if the user has multiple touch attack charges and multiple attacks. Spells like Elemental Touch achieve this. Even if it didnt', spellstriking more than once is useless unless you cast multiple spells or are holding a charge from last round, attack, and cast a spell (thus gaining the free touch attack given by the touch spell and delivering it via spellstrike as a melee attack.)

Strike the Chakra seems very situational.

Spellstrike Flurry- Partially a good point. This is a little niche, but you can in fact get a quicken metamagic rod and cast 2 spells in a round and flurry using both. The errata on spellstrike does not cover if you cast more then 1 touch range spell in a round.

Strike the Chakra- niche design happens.

Quote:

Expanded Arcana:

Clot uses 'per encounter' which means nothing in pathfinder game terms.

Magnetic Shield does not have a duration.

Clot- will address to per day in errata.

Magnetic Shield- will get errata specifying 2/rds per level of magus.

Overall- Thank you for the constructive elements of your feedback. As a 3PP The Flying Pincushion published under d20srd for our first couple releases. We learned a few things and made some changes to our editing process which will pay dividends in our next release.

Game design isn't a perfect process, I find errors in WotC releases and Pathfinder releases on a fairly regular basis. Its a special editor that can balance rules, catch grammar mistakes, and comb for stat block errors. Which is why in our newer releases 3 editors and an additional 6+ sets of eyes have been across every design element.

We think this will pay off.

Edit- rereading this, it can be interpreted as snarky. Not the intent, I'm happy to address anyone's questions on any product I'm associated with. It's about 2am and I just got home from work which is how snark babies are born.


In regards to Agony Drinker: I don't mind the limit to how fresh the blood needs to be I just need the ability to be quantifiable in game terms.

In regards to Arcane Artillerist/Arcane Hurler: It's kind of obvious that these archetypes had different authors. They both have similar concepts but from a pure gamist point of view Arcane Hurler has superior writing. It does bring up one problem of inconsistency since the abilities are very similar.

As a side note, Rules As Intended means less to me when it comes to useability. It is a point where I'm potentially more nit-picky than I need to be but with player oriented content I value material that I can hand to me players and they can use without much oversight or questions for me.(I don't want to do more work) If enough of a product doesn't function as written, even if RAI is relatively clear I simply don't use it at all.

In regards to Bare-Knuckler: My main concern is more about how the loss of Spellstrike means that it can no longer 'punch' spells meaning that it's pure grappler. The fact that it is a grappler is less important than it having 3/4 BAB and no inherent means to be a better grappler. (beyond it's enhancement bonuses and Improved Grapple.) So as far as I can tell it's a worse grappler than vanilla monk by a fairly large margin making it a fairly unreliable grappler even towards other 3/4 BAB targets, let alone full BAB targets and creatures without class levels. (who's HD scales faster than CR)

In regards to Personifier: I like Personifier in concept but I think it still needs different rules to do what it's trying to do. As it stands:
1)I would never use it to conjure weapons because it retains Arcane Pool and so it's functionally worse than simply enhancing the weapon. For example, to get a +3 personified weapon you need a level 6 spell, a standard action (assuming that your spell is a standard action) and one arcane point. To get a +3 weapon normally you spend 3 arcane points and a swift action. Also you can spell combat to actually just cast said 6th level spell and make all your attacks.
2) The armor ability is arguably useful. Since you don't actually lose the spell after 4th level and assuming you are a STR Magus you can use a first level spell that can give you a better bonus than Mage Armor. At early levels it's a money saver but not all that useful at around 5-6th level.
3) The thing that hurts the creature personification is really that the list is limited to 1st level animal companions, familiars and Improved Familiars. Without some sort of advancement these things are effectively canned spells that move around and can easily die before being discharged. I'd more recommend that the creature personification mimic creatures from the summon monster list (of equivolent SM level), without spells or Sp abilities, have them deal damage according to the spell's descriptor, if any, rather than weapon damage and allow them to 'cast themselves' as spell like ability which destroys them. (saving magus action economy.) Probably also tie them to the spell slot so that the magus can't keep them around for 25 hours and effectively have extra spells per day. Also having them 'cast' themselves allows them to carry out touch attacks as well.

In regards to Spellstrike Flurry: Spellstrike Flurry still doesn't do anything that spellstrike doesn't as spellstrike does not have a per round limit.

Side note: I need to look this up more but I don't think Spell Combat and Flurry of Blows work at the same time considering that they are both their own specific full round action. I don't know how much of an issue this is.

Side note: The Ki Magus does not give a caster level or duration (I think only one or the other is needed) for the Greater Vanishing Trick.

Overall I don't mind changes or errata after initial release. I don't use it until I can hand it to players with few problems, but streamlining is considerably more desirable than a product that doesn't eventually fix itself. These are still very early releases so some kind of growing pains is expected and even then mistakes can still show up, so I'm less interested in putting those mistakes against you guys and more interested in pointing them out when I see them.

[HUGELY OPINIONATED, PERHAPS INVALID COMMENTS AHEAD]

So far I've bought and taken a look at Into the Breach: Magus, Into the Breach: Summoner, and Blood and Steel: The Fighter. To comment on them as a whole;

To some extent each of those had sort of had the feel of 'too many chefs in the kitchen'. This is mostly because of things like similar abilities having drastically different language and the high concept archetypes adhering to different language standards. On a related note, with some archetypes the game language and logic is more consistent with the standard presented in Paizo's products and other third party products while others have a more 'conversational' voice that lacks some of the rules grammar (as opposed to normal grammar) needed for the rules as intended to be translated to rules as written.

I personally recommend that whoever is checking your products for rules balance and language consistency actively tries to break the game and build characters for mock-playtests. Or just outright playtest as if you were a robot rather than an organic creature that can assume RAI. If you need to reboot yourself, then the rule does not work. (In the case of Arcane Artillerist, I replace all melee weapon enhancements, which don't technically exist in the magus class features, with ranged weapon enhancements. No target designated so add all that apply. Therefore I have a 'file not found' error and instructions to download everything so I have to reboot myself due to freezing and crashing.)

I'm a bit harsh in this aspect for two reasons. First, my wife is an editor/writer and for the past decade I've been hearing a ton on tone and internal logic in regards to writing so I'll always think in those terms when judging the consistency of third party (and first party) products. Secondly, I'm a Magic: the Gathering player where rules-lawyering is a requirement for even semi-competitive play.

Grand Lodge Contributor

I'll reply to the elements that I designed; lucky for me they're generally pieces that you enjoyed.

Malwing wrote:
Arcane Tactician looks like fun. There are a few archetypes and classes that deal with teamwork feats directly but so far they feel more at home here and opens a side of Magus closer to the many fighters in military flavor without discarding magic and in some ways looks like it plays how I'd expect a martial magician to work. (as opposed to default Magus)

I agree, I figured that wizards are very intelligent and would probably make excellent military strategists. Since most wizards focus on blasting or summoning, I thought a commander/strategist would work out nicely.

Malwing wrote:
I like Charge Breaker. I would prepare it.

Thanks! I think it would be very situational, but if you're a "stand out front" magus with an AC of 33 without armor... then you'll probably create situations to use it in.

Malwing wrote:
Time Shift I have mixed feelings on. It's somewhat better than the magus arcana 'Hasted Assault' because you get it way earlier, but I like Hasted Assault so I can go for it.

That was a concern of mine as well, but considering it contends with shocking grasp for a spell slot, I figured it was "balanced enough."

Malwing wrote:
I really really like Thunder Shift though. I like it when Magus gets spells that allow him to get multiple touch attacks (Frostbit) and damaging movement spells (bladed dash), Thunder Shift falls into the latter and is my favorite spell of the bunch.

This is one of my favorites as well. I must admit that I was heavily inspired by Mass Effect's "biotic charge" power where you teleport through the air and explode pure energy at the bad guys while you land right next to them. I thought that a teleporting charge ability would be a ton of fun. One of the downsides is that it mimics dimension door so your turn will end when you cast the spell (unless you have the Dimensional Agility feat). This is intended.

Malwing wrote:
Teleportation Stow-away is the only feat that really jumped out at me. I wouldn't take it, but it's fun that it exists. I'd more likely take Arcane pool strike, not because I agree with it existing but that it can be really strong and breakable.

Yeah, I thought using Step-Up through a greater teleport could be fun... and dangerous. You really don't know what you're stepping into... but if you REALLY want to follow that succubus...

I've got a few ideas I'm working on for the Cavalier book we're doing, so I hope you'll pick that up. Hopefully you'll enjoy them.


Magus typically plays like a typical clobberer. I feel like Arcane Tactician is the first time I can actually 'feel' that high INT working.

I think Time Shift feels weird is that gaining haste for one round essentially means that the magus can burst a lot of attacks in one round very early.

For example; at level 2 I can cast a spell like frostbite as spell combat, and cast time shift as a swift action. Assuming 18 str, and a scimitar I'd get 1 attack plus my touch attack from casting Frostbite, and one attack from haste. Like a good magus I keened my blade the round beforehand so I'd be swinging with 3 attacks at 1d6+4+(1d6+2nonlethal.) Best case scenario is 3d6+12+(3d6+6nonlethal). Nightmare scenario it's 6d6+24+(6d6+12nonlethal). Even though a lot of it is nonlethal if I allow this spell I'm opening the slight possibility of dealing 12d6+36 damage in one round at level 2. Even if I'm not thinking of terrible abuse I'd still be allowing three attacks and a spell effect in one round at level 2.

Granted I'm sensitive to that because for the past half year I've been playing a magus that specifically abused haste/hasted assault to pile on as many iterative attacks and iterative touch charges (also keen) do silly things. (I used Frostbite as an example which isn't a good spell on the surface but if it's not immune to cold or non-lethal it's an easy way to abuse extra attacks because knocked out with nonlethal is still coup de gras-able.)

TL;DR: in retrospect Time Shift is really really good. I'm not sure if too good but it might be.

The Exchange

To give somewhat of a behind the scenes on the development of the various d20pfsrd.com Publishing products...

Into the Breach: The Summoner
First book and had multiple writers. This is the first in a potential series of collaborations between d20pfsrd.com Publishing and The Flying Pincushion. The editing was kind of haphazard as we tried to sort out an ideal process. There was me at the top, then Frank below me. We both had to approve content before release, and we had multiple people reading over the content as it was developed via shared Google Docs. We had many tweaks and edits along the way. We got dinged in a review for the layout and so it was updated with new layout and new cover done by me (John).

Into the Breach: The Magus
This was the second collaboration between d20pfsrd.com Publishing and The Flying Pincushion. I did the layout and cover, and also did minor development and editing. My level of editing was more for making sure the content matched established Paizo standards vs. editing for mechanical broke/not broke type of editing. Frank did mechanical editing, a couple other guys did editing for grammar/punctuation on a volunteer basis. This is the last collaboration as The Flying Pincushion plans to take over the Into the Breach series from here.

Mind over Matter: Psion and Soulknife
This is the first solo d20pfsrd.com Publishing product. It had one writer, and me as developer/editor. It had playtesting done by volunteers, and playtest feedback was incorporated into it. I did layout and cover.

Mind over Matter: Psychic Warrior, Aegis & Vitalist
This is the second solo d20pfsrd.com Publishing product. It had one writer (same as previous book), and me as developer/editor. It had playtesting done by volunteers, and playtest feedback was incorporated into it. I did layout and cover.

Blood & Steel, Book 1 - The Fighter
This is the third solo d20pfsrd.com Publishing product. It had one primary writer (different from the psionics books, but one of the writers from the Into the Breach series, Taylor), with some additional content by me (the really bad bonus content stuff) and one other writer (the highborn fighter archetype.) I once again served as developer/editor. I did layout and cover.

Learning Experiences:

1) Too many cooks is a real and seriously challenging problem, one which I've corrected.

2) Be sure to include time for playtesting plus time to incorporate the playtest feedback before releasing.

3) Don't let me write custom content. Or rather, don't let me rush it in without reading it carefully. That was seriously my bad. I was anxious to get this one out and didn't do a good job on that section. The book would have been better off leaving the "bonus" content out.


This does explain why the fighter book was different. Aside from Highborn and the bonus content, it was more consistent with itself and game language, so the 'too many cooks' scenario is very likely a thing.

I think I said this before but the second version of the summoner was much better for being consistent with the magus book in layout.

I have not seen the psionic stuff because of money and the fact that I only just got ultimate psionics and haven't used it yet, so I can't say how much of a difference play testing makes but I imagine a lot.

The Exchange

@Malwing: Email jreyst@gmail.com and I'll hook you up with coupon codes for free copies of both of the psionic books we've released so far.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

The changes The Flying Pincushion have made to address the too many cooks issue...

1) We have a balance editor, 2 copy editors, a concept shot caller and everyone pitches in comments.

2) In the past we compiled the books then went into editing- reader fatigue accounted for many of our misses. To address this we edit by submission before compiling. It produces much more consistent results.

3) Everyone leveled at their respective jobs. We pushed these out fast and quality suffered slightly. I'd say Magus was an improvement over summoner v1 and Oracle (in layout) is even better. Witch is by far my favorite so far and Gunslinger is in Editing and looking good.

I'll grant that multiple authors is a lot of work from an editing standpoint. It creates some challenges but I also think that the disadvantages of standard 1 design books is the tunnel vision effect. Gamers approach the game very differently and have different things that appeal to them.


Having multiple sources of rules and input is a bit different from having multiple writers. From a tone standpoint a singular writer to interpret the rules onto paper makes it more likely to generate a consistent voice. I don't know how the ideas go from contribution to PDF but if multiple people are writing with their own game language/tone things become inconsistent unless there is a specific standard on how to write rules. Biggest example being the Artillerist vs Hurler where there are very similar abilities but on simply doesn't work due to not adhering to Pathfinder's rules logic and language. (Related programming joke: I told my dog "fetch". He started to fetch everything and wouldn't stop so I had to reboot the dog.)

Did any of the Into the Breach stuff go into play testing?

I have not seen Oracle or Witch.

The Exchange

The Into the Breach books released so far did not under go "real" playtesting so much as "theory" testing by multiple readers. That's certainly not the same as actual playtesting but still better than nothing :D

Oracle and Witch are not out yet, but those are not planned to be d20pfsrd.com Publishing products. They will be released under the Flying Pincushion banner.


I talked to my wife (an editor), she mentioned that shared Google docs can present problems if there are multiple editors. Basically any situation where editing/tweaking is concurrent across multiple editors rather than sequential.

No offense but if multiple copy editors were involved I'd like to know their process because the voice and rules language shift between Artillerist and Hurler is too big and obvious to miss, especially with them being such similar concepts and practically side by side. My wife isn't very rules savvy and still asked why they were different.

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

I am one of the editors for Flying Pincushion, but I am pretty sure I didn't edit this one. In fact it wasn't until after the yet to be released Oracle book that I really became involved with editing and the systems used to do editing with Flying Pincushion changed to what I discuss below.

Either way, when I am editing I try to do two passes. The first is to give heavy notes with few actual direct edits. The second is heavy direct edits and with few notes. I try to cover clarity, format, voice, layout, and all the other standard stuff for copy editing. I am pretty new at freelance editing, but I have enjoyed it to the point of seeking out blogs and resources to expand my skills. I particularly like Ryan Macklin's blog.

The Flying Pincushion currently has a system in place where the docs needing to be edited are in the same folder and many people have access to them. However, only the writer and four members of the team (the head designers of flying pincushion, the mechanics editor, and the copy editor,) and the writer themselves are allowed direct edits. Everyone else is asked to leave notes highlighting issues they may have. The doc only moves out of the editing folder once three of the four senior staff sign off on it. There is frequent discussion on each piece, with good back and forth that leads to a tighter piece.

In the upcoming Witch book you should start to see a more unified voice. It was there that we started making major changes to our systems.


Towards d20pfsrd.com publishing I'd say whatever happened with the Blood and Steel: the Fighter should happen again. Highborn, Berserker, and Holy Warrior were misses but it seems like those were foreign bodies than an actual part of the book.

Towards Flying Pincushion; if it works it works so I'll have to see what happens in the Witch book. (Since I feel committed now)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

We've come a long way with our first solo release here and our Witch book will be coming out very soon (it is in the release queue.)

The content has been improving with each release and thus far our lowest review (that hasn't been later revised) is a 4 star review. The overwhelming consencious has been positive. Summoner had 9 reviews that I am aware of with 3 being 4 star and 6 being 5 star reviews, Magus has 5 I am aware of a 4 star a 4.5 star and 2 five star reviews, Oracle has 2 4 star reviews and I suspect once people see the Witch it will be a lot of 5 stars.

Admittedly moving to our own entity meant finding new pros in the art and layout department but I'm very pleaqed with the overall result.


Has there been any clarification on Greater Vanishing Trick? All it currently states is a concept without any mechanical definitions attached to it regarding point cost, caster level, or duration.

I would really love to use Ki Magus with Rite Publishing's Primagus and Ninja to make the uber Arcane Trickster. However, it's hard to do so in its current state.

Sczarni RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

As the writer of Blood and Steel: I agree. More of those should be written. And for the record I didn't write the Highborn, Berzerker, or the Holy Warrior.


Part II of my review:

We also get 7 new arcana, which include limited ranged disarms (does it still provoke an AoO from adjacent foes? Interaction with improved/greater feats?), arcane sundering, a lame bonus to intimidate, coup-de-grace as a standard action - per se okay. One arcana uses per-encounter, which is flawed design in PFRPG. And no, not gonna repeat my numerous rants against it. The Magnetic Shield arcana may be nice, with its 50% miss chance etc. - but it could use a duration, analogue to spell shield and similar non-instantaneous arcana. Transfusion allows a criting magus to steal hit-points - 1d4+int-mod PER ARCANA POINT. No save, no cap - oh, and the HP are gained as temporary hit points sans duration. Can I hear "Bag o' kittens?" Yeah! Kill till you crit, then blast those points away for mass temp Hp. -.-

The charge breaker-immediate action-spell is nice, though -force-shield hit/trip attackers rules! The primal curse of fire touch attack-spells are slightly too strong for level 3, dealing fireball-level damage and on a failed save half of that again on the following round sans save. For a level 2 spell, Primal Curse of Thorns is also very strong -up to 5d6 points of damage, fort halves, every time the creature makes a move action, attacks or attempts a ref-save? That's INSANE. No chance to negate? Do you have any idea how fast you can rack up damage via this one? Time Shift, a lesser, fast haste and the thundershift spell, which teleports you and lets you enter with a force burst are okay in my book and actually spells I like, though I'd be careful when to hand them out.

The pdf closes with 9 feats, one offering scaling benefits for the expenditure of arcane pool points for atk/damage. Another feat allows you to add +10 to concentration for 2 spell levels. Metamagic Adaptability, which allows you to spontaneously change metamagic feats applied to spells, is interesting, though its caveat for spontaneous casters makes no sense. Want yet another example on utterly thrashing action economy? Reflexive caster. Cast a spell with a casting of standard action as an immediate action in lieu of an AoO. Yeah, it's AoO-chain territory, can break the max amount of casts per round...or can it? Immediate actions are restricted to one per round, AoOs aren't. Still, chain territory and as such not that elegant, if not broken per se. It is not clear whether the cast counts as an AoO or not for purposes of determining max AoOs per round, though. Now teleport tracking and stepping up through teleport effects...now those options are downright awesome in 3 kinds of ways!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are in the upper echelons, but I did notice a couple of minor glitches. Layout adheres to a one-column (two-column for feats/arcana) full-color standard. Layout generally shows some unfortunate choices - for example an ability's name on one page, with all text of the ability on the next page. Additionally, there's A LOT of blank space at the end of archetypes, chapters etc. Combined with the broad columns and a lot of blank space between the abilities, the pdf somewhat elicited an impression of trying to expand the page-count. I'm rather positive that sans these, the pdf would lose at least 5 pages. Artwork does not adhere to a unifying style and ranges from stock-art I've seen before to neat artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and hyperlinked for your convenience. No complaints there.

A lot of authors worked on this one and it is my joy to report that there's some real talent here - Frank Gori, Andrew Hoskins, Jeff Harris, Kiel Howell, Kyle O'Hara, Scott Bingham, Scott Hall and Taylor Hubler - some of you guys can be proud indeed. Why? Because I love the arcane tactician TO DEATH. I'm not kidding when I say it's one of my favorite pieces for the magus ever made. Not too strong, but flavor-wise oh so awesome. Some spells and two feats also are downright brilliant and on 5 star + seal of approval level. Alas, these pieces are the minority. Now don't get me wrong, I am aware that this is harsh - but the rest of the pdf...oh boy! There are so many imprecise wordings (that have NO PLACE in crunch), subpar balanced archetypes, nonsensical options etc. herein, it hurts - especially since (apart from obvious filler material) more often than not, the ideas here are high concept and fun - but the ability to perfectly execute these ambitious options more often than not seems to not have been up to par.

Now I don't usually comment on price-points that much, unless a product is a steal or overpriced, mostly because I think the race to the bottom is a bad tendency. That being said, for the page count, with the very blank-space happy layout AND with the amount of glitches, I do consider this to be overpriced.

This pdf has quite a few cool ideas, but since the execution is so flawed in quite a few cases that many of the abilities don't work as intended (or make no sense), I can't unanimously recommend it - indeed, I was getting ready to thrash the hell out of this pdf, but the good pieces of content are simply so cool, I figured it does have some reason to exist. Hence, I'll settle on a final verdict of 1.5 stars, rounded up to 2 stars for the gems that can be found herein if you're willing to wade through all the problems.

Reviewed first on Endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here and on d20pfsrd.com's shop.

Endzeitgeist out.


I'm glad End reviewed this. When I first saw Into The Breach I was all on board because I like archetype expansions and have since commented on most of the d20pfsrd.com Publishing and Flying Pincushion stuff that I've come across. However in the case of chunks of Into the Breach I worry that I come off as picking on the crews by being really rules language nitpicky, especially when I see some of the other reviews that that don't have the same problems.

I feel a little less nitpicky seeing that Endzeitgeist had almost all the problems I had and plus some in addition to also liking the Tactician archetype.

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@Endzeitgeist

In all honesty I agree with most of your review. We improve with each book but Magus and Summoner were under the d20srdpf banner and quite honestly I'll not be revisiting those 2 pdfs as we parted ways with our partners there earlier in the year. This was my second book and I put it together pretty much in 2 weeks before I fully knew what I was doing as a developer.

In response I'll touch on a few things.

Regarding price- John pretty much gives these books away as a gift with purchase like 85% of the time in the d20 store so really price tends to be free with other products.

Regarding layout- John got better at it Magus was his first effort and it was FAR better then the first version of Summoner. Flying Pincushion Games hired a different layout guy post split reflected form Oracle on.

Rules language and Content editing- Oracle saw a change in process that improved things somewhat. Witch was the first book I have a full on balance editor which likely helped. With oracle there's a few minor nitpicks still in their and Warlock can be very powerful. With witch I think you'll find our execution rose to the standard of the core concepts.

For the record, Flying Pincushion games will return to Summoner and Magus at some point and revisit the classes in our newer format with our improved design process.


@Malwing: Unless you're actively looking for stuff to dislike (Which you don't seem to do), being nitpicky and critical helps the designers more than writing an "OMG, diz iz teh awesum!"-review, so don't ever be afraid of voicing constructive criticism.

@GM_Solspiral:
First of all, thanks for being professional. FPG's layout did indeed improve massively in the other products.

Expect to see oracle and witch very soon as well, btw. - they are very high on my priority-list.

Also: Great to hear that you'll revise ItB: Magus at some point - as mentioned in the review, there are some glorious gems in here and talent *does* show. :)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Endzeitgeist wrote:
Also: Great to hear that you'll revise ItB: Magus at some point - as mentioned in the review, there are some glorious gems in here and talent *does* show. :)

I'm sorry as I stated in the first part of my response, I will not be redoing those 2 pdfs... they simply aren't mine anymore. We will be revisiting those classes eventually as Flying Pincushion Games, they will be called Into the Breach: The Magus/Summoner revisited or something similar.

The initial response to Summoner was so positive we kind of rushed this book and to someone with a strong eye for detail it shows. When we first starting getting less glowing reviews and more genuine criticism we adjusted our process and it did make us generate better products.

The result: d20 decided to work with single author books, I decided to start my own company and reinvent our process. Oracle is halfway to there, Witch was the first full effort with our new process. Summoner and Magus were compiled and edited by one person then sent to a second for further editing.

In Oracle we started leaving the submissions separate before compiling and used google docs allowing open comments and edits. By Witch we added focused members of senior staff to handle specific types of editing (concept, grammar, and balance) in addition to letting creators collaborate. We also added a few guys from this year's crop of RPG Superstar to our roster that genuinely knock our socks off. One was a top 4 contestant.

Know this, on a rainy day or when I overhear an Adelle song I will likely wistfully recall some of these concepts and have a moment of regret that they aren't mine to fix. But like any other regret you simply have to move on.

For me, with magus my personal regret is Lodestone Blade. My desire was not to make a magneto ripoff but to make a magic/dexterity based skirmisher that could sunder like a boss. I liked the idea of reinforcing metal with sheer magical will power to make it harder and sharper. Had I an opportunity to do it over again I'd basically make an improved sunder that scales with the character and focus on the blade rather then the magnetic aspect. I rushed that out and it failed to meet the ideal in my head.

C'est la vie.

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I'll likely offer a deal or freebie to anyone with a confirmed full price purchase of these two books when I write the new ones. I would never want a fan to feel cheated.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

For the record, you're a fan of Andrew Hoskins


Ah, sorry for misunderstanding! Got you!

The Exchange

GM_Solspiral wrote:
...d20pfsrd.com Publishing decided to work with single author books...

To clarify a bit, I intend to usually work with single authors on a book, unless the desired word count is especially high, or the subject matter allows it. In the former, really it's anything of a size much larger than the books I've released thus far, and in the latter, it's any subject matter where the contents don't intermingle much, such that differing styles won't be quite so evident. I just got to a point working with a crowd that I couldn't keep track of who was doing what, when, where, or why. It seems Frank's got that part better nailed down with TFP vs. when I was the lead. Good on Frank! I wasn't quite as successful- oh well.

One of my next books (which is in playtest now) is significantly larger than anything released thus far and it had two authors.

GM_Solspiral wrote:
Know this, on a rainy day or when I overhear an Adelle song I will likely wistfully recall some of these concepts and have a moment of regret that they aren't mine to fix. But like any other regret you simply have to move on.

Just so we're clear, I'm sure we can work something out if there are desired edits to formerly d20pfsrd/TFP collaboration books. Contact me direct and we can hash out details if you want.

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