Into The Breach: The Oracle (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).

For our third installment we tackle the mysterious oracle. We diverge from our normal focus on archetypes for this class because the versatility of oracles lies more in their mysteries and curses. You will still find quite a few options specifically for oracles, such as: four new archetypes, one oracle friendly prestige class, five new mysteries, and four new curses.

Perhaps most exciting for some we've provided a newer more Pathfinder oriented conversion of the Warlock and an alternate base class to Oracle.

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

1/5

This installment of the "Into the Breach"-series is 25 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 black page with a quote - nice to look at on-screen, very bad for the printer!), 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 20 pages of content, so let's take a look!

We kick off this pdf with a new archetype, the Karuna Sattva (which translates essentially to compassionate being) is a VERY interesting archetype - in lieu of a regular oracle's curse, these beings take the curse-eater trope and can actually use their class feature "Take Thy Burden" - with it, they may, with a touch, take a given affliction from a target and lift the target's affliction, instead temporarily getting one additional oracle curse depending on the affliction as well as increasing spell failure chances - problem is: Oracles usually don't incur spell failure unless they multiclass - so if that one was supposed to be a balancing factor, it doesn't work as written as soon as any arcane class-combo comes into play, since there are ways to cancel and mitigate arcane spell failure chances - how do they interact? Do they stack? Do reductions of arcane spell failure also work for this dissonance? Why is the table and phenomenon not called simply "spell casting dissonance" and presented à la: "This works like ASF, but extends to all spells the oracle casts, regardless of whether being divine, arcane or psionic [...]This does/does not stack with arcane spell failure chance and cannot be mitigated in the same way.."

Another issue would be that the ability does not explicitly specify the action it takes - yes, it mentions "touch", but does it require concentration? Can it be interrupted? Why I'm harping on this? As written, the archetype allows no save/has a "willing target/harmless-clause" - i.e., the oracle could take a beggar's handicap against said beggar's will, hampering his/her livelihood. Another issue - while RAW not explicitly stated, it is heavily implied (and handled like that in all games I know!) that an oracle's curse is the price they pay for their powers - in games with such a lore established/implied, taking away an oracle's curse would cripple them. But that is just fluff, nothing to fault the archetype for and hence will not influence the final verdict.

What I CAN fault the archetype for is that the afflictions cured contain insanities, addictions, haunts and even possessions - no scaling. Oh, only evil possessions, btw. - no angels merged with humans, lawful or chaotic creatures. The lower planes get the short end of the stick here, in spite of no good-alignment-restriction. King's possessed by a demon lord? One touch and gone he is! Plus, your oracle gets a free curse (which translates to more power!). Insanities, lycanthropy, addictions etc. often make plotdevices and just canceling them sans any check or the like is broken. "So you saw Great Cthulhu? WHO CARES! We have a Karuna Sattva!" Jekyll/Hide-scenario? Pff, solved with a touch. This ability NEEDS a scaling mechanism! And it needs balancing - curses tend to evolve into bonuses and even having two (been there, done that in my game!) translates to quite a power-gain. Having up to 5 (!!!), even with the spell failure, is problematic. And yes, while curse no 5. amps the latter up to 60%, 4 still means only 30% spell failure. A more strongly escalating spell failure chance would help balance here. Another issue here is that this WILL be exploited like all hell by players. "Hey, we need curse xyz's ability! Let's do nasty, nasty things to our bags of kittens and have our Karuna Sattva take care of it!" Massive fail of the bag of kittens test. (Picture it: PCs summoning demons into cute kittens to have them exorcized...*shudder*) Also: The extension of spell failure gained at 7th level fails to specify the type of action it takes to initiate. I assume standard action, but I'm not sure. I *love* the idea behind this archetype, but the execution is sloppy, prone to abuse and needs a much tighter wording to prevent excessive and potentially game-world-logic breaking ramifications. Also: Why can't the archetype mitigate diseases, poisons etc.? Why not tie the ability to DCs? Why not actually balance this? 2 abilities, much potential, none works as intended - not gonna happen anywhere near my table.

The second archetype would be the Diplomatique, available for exclusively good oracles. Their code of conduct specifies they lose all supernatural abilities upon reducing a living being's hp or affecting them with a harmful condition, subject to DM's approval. So this opens a huge can of worms - is e.g. paralysis, daze etc. harmful? Pathfinder has quite an array of conditions and a concise list (à la "non-permanent blinding of people, daze, stunned, paralyzed etc.) would have been easy to compile. Also, being allowed to only deal non-lethal damage is harsh, even though the archetype gets a feat to at least offset the -4 penalty to atk. Now the supernatural ability the archetype may lose would be pacification, which essentially is a permanent sanctuary, at-will suggestions and further increases of the defensive sanctuary. At 3rd level, the archetype learns to lay on hands as a paladin level -1, opening quite an array of possibilities there as well. I've said it once and I'll say it again - I LOVE the idea of heroes not killing everything. In my campaign, being "good" means NOT killing the bastards and instead incarcerating them etc. Mercenaries, neutral guys - those are the killers, the soldiers. So in theory, I do like this archetype. It essentially takes a basic concept from the book of exalted deeds and seeks to properly balance it - neat. BUT: Conditions need to be defined; Grappled is a condition, for example. Usually, violating a code of conduct results in all class abilities stripped, not just those of two class abilities. While understandable, this design decision there feels a bit inorganic to me. Additionally, the very strong restrictions imposed to balance the powerful abilities feel too rigid for my tastes - you can essentially make ONE type of diplomatique, there's no choice. Actually getting to choose from pacifications, i.e. a list of various abilities, would have been much more compelling. Not as problematic as the former archetype, but also no stroke of genius here.

The Enigma Warden would be next - the archetype gets silent spell as a bonus feat at first level and stops increasing the level when using this feat at 5th level. If the archetype speaks, s/he loses access to the supernatural abilities - the only one of which would be this silent spell and another one gained at 3rd level. Thing is - it's not clear whether the silent spell bonus feat is also lost? Generally, this restriction gets rid of the curse at low levels and breaking the vow doesn't even need an atonement, which means low level characters will be breaking it nonstop - after all, silent spell is next to useless until the 5th level upgrade comes - unless you're playing a very infiltration-heavy campaign. Now at 3rd level, things stop working - the oracle may choose from ANY revelation, as long as s/he has an equal amount of revelations from the secrets mystery, which is btw. obligatory for the archetype. Oh, and +2 revelations, for a total of 7. That means 3 freely chosen revelations, no penalty. If an oracle breaks the vow of silence, are these additional revelations lost? Do the other revelations still work? Do only revelations from the secrets mystery still work? I have no clue at all! This archetype needs some clarification and streamlining - cherry-picking revelations PLUS paltry drawbacks don't feel balanced.

The ordained scion replaces the mystery and revelations with a sorceror bloodline and its powers, skills and spells. Okay way to wilder in another spell-list and ability-set - nothing to complain here.

Next up would be an alternate base-class, the warlock. The Warlock gets d8, 4+Int skills per level, good will-saves, 3/4 BAB-progression, proficiency with simple weapons, light armor, shields (not tower shields) and no spells. At 2nd level, warlocks add their cha-mod to one save of their choice, +1 at 6th and 10th level. The ability is called luck, but doesn't specify the bonus-type - I assume, it's a luck bonus, but still. The main theme of the warlock, though, remains blasting foes - blasts start at 1d6 and scale up to 10d6, increasing by +1d6 at third level and every 2 levels after that.

So how does blasting work? Essentially, it is a ranged attack that provokes AoOs, is hampered by spell resistance and has a range of 60 ft. Two noteworthy things about blasts - the damage they deal is negative energy damage, rendering the warlock absolutely useless against undead and allowing next to no resistances, unlike other damage types. The text also specifies that these rays can be cast defensively via concentration, but no equivalent spell level is given, rendering a key tactic of blasting foes unusable as provided. Worse, the text fails to specify whether one concentration-check per blast or per round is in order - I assume the former, but I can't be sure from the text. Additionally, within 30 ft., the warlock may resolve these blasts as ranged touch attacks - which is very powerful. I'm not particularly sure the blast should remain a supernatural ability - while not duplicating a spell's effect, it shares more traits with spell-like abilities than with supernatural abilities. Furthermore, the blasts cannot be countered as written - a glaring oversight that ought to be rectified to at least offer SOME protection against the neverending array of blasts, especially since they offer no saves.

Why is this relevant? Because at every even-numbered level, the warlock gets access to a so-called blast evolution. These are grouped into essences and forms and start with least, unlocking lesser modifications at 8th level and greater modifications at 14th level. Now what do these do? Well, one, for example, deals positive energy damage and dazzles foes - while lacking the word "damage" at one point, it should be noted that I *assume* it's like with channel energy here - i.e. no healing, just damage. The other least blast essences reduce damage die from d6 to d4 and add the entangled condition, deal non-lethal fire damage and add the fatigued condition, increase damage to d8 or trail a fog-cloud-like effect. Duration tends to be one round per damage die of the blast - and none of the conditions have a save. While each blast can only be modified by one essence and one form, this looks just as strong on paper as it proved to be in playtesting - while not utterly crippling, the sheer unlimited amount of blasts is problematic at best, with touch attacks and no-save debuffs added for even worse overall balancing. "But the range is so limited!" Least Form: Dart increases the range to 180 ft (later even 360 ft; 60 ft. touch attack range).-Yeah. Suck on that, archer. The forms tend to be problematic - a cone allows for a ref-save (Good!), but doesn't specify whether additional effects are negated upon a successful save. The warlock may also make his/her blasts melee attacks that don't provoke AoOs or create a blast-glaive: These have reach, deal blast damage + cha-mod AND are resolved against touch attacks. COME AGAIN??? Remember, the blast counts as a weapon and as such may be modified with all the feats - you can essentially make those killer pole-arm builds should you so choose AND choose spontaneously between that and regular melee/ranged combat with blasts that allow no saves...oh and your melee attacks are resolved versus TOUCH. This is incredibly, terribly, horribly BROKEN.

Lesser essences allowing for ranged combat maneuvers (not a fan!), apply permanent sickened/nauseated or deafened conditions (no duration!) or deal the SAME damage minus one dice again next round - hello, vital strike and consorts. Urgh. Blast Chain is also problematic, allowing blasts to spring from target to target within 30 feet - at a cumulative minus 4 to atk and half damage (this one, strangely, not being cumulative!), yes, but this will devolve into a dice-rolling orgy that puts the game to a grinding halt akin to 3.X's handling of cleave. Furthermore, the ability has a line that has me utterly stumped: "Each target that is hit with an essence which has an effect that allows a saving throw is entitled to a separate save with a +4 bonus." In addition to any save? What constitutes a secondary effect? Negative conditions? Only those that allow for saves? Also those that usually don't allow saves? Now remember, this is a form, so all essences may be applied AND since it is an attack, theoretically, it can be combined with all the feats you'd like. Broken. The fireball-style blast grenade modification works wording-wise, so kudos - especially since this and some other forms make the blast a standard action instead. Now adding the blast to unarmed attacks is also a cool idea, but how does it interact with improved unarmed strike? I *assume* that unarmed damage and blast damage stack - which is broken even before adding in ki-tricks.

There are also blast essences that have wording issues - hurricane blast specifies: "The eldritch blast damage is changed from 1d6 damage at every odd-numbered level to 1d4 force damage and 1d6 cold damage at every odd numbered level." So does that mean +1d4 force damage or +level/d4 force damage? In the former case: Too weak, in the latter: Broken. Remember, that can be applied to e.g. the glaive form: At 14th level, a warlock could deal 7d6+14d4+cha-mod (this latter FORCE, one of the best damage types!) damage PER HIT - without even trying to game this and additional feat/equipment tricks to boost damage further - resolved as a TOUCH ATTACK ad infinitum. Insane.

Warlocks may also sheathe themselves as a standard action in an elemental shroud, granting them elemental resistance of 5, scaling up to 20, first for 1 round per warlock level, later up to 3 rounds per warlock level. Per se nice, but as written, it can be stacked, which should probably be noted as something to be fixed - warlocks with access to all elements via essences could sheathe themselves in the elemental + negative energy resistances. Also: The ability should specify the eligible damage types - as written, the class can net itself force resistance (since the blasts can deal force damage), depending on your reading.

Now while the central feature of the class is horribly broken in more than one instance, the warlock does have a nice treat -class-level + cha-mod antimagic points to counterspell spells, potentially even without identifying them (at least, that's how the ability's written, but I'm not sure that's intended...) by just wagering spell-level points; You need to spend more points than the spell's level. At higher level, weak micro blasts can accompany these counterspells and some spells can even be reflected on the caster.

Now that is NOT all - the warlock also gets one revelation PER LEVEL - of ANY mystery. In addition to the blasts. Yeah. take a GOOD look at what's out there. Yeah, ouch. This would be very strong even without the blasts being broken.

There's no way around it - the warlock, as written, needs to go back to the drawing board - it allows you to cherry-pick revelations at every level, has an insane damage output and doesn't even require any ingenious combination to break. Just a cursory GLANCE at revelations is enough to make this simply not work as intended. The blasting is too strong and requires at least some balancing. "But Endzeitgeist, a sorceror can blast better!" Yeah, but a sorceror has limited spells, which can be counterspelled, is fragile as all hell, can't wear armor etc. (yes, eldritch blasts don't have arcane spell failure - go figure!), doesn't have a weapon that dwarfs even the soulknife's flexibility in comparison (choose your blasts freely, every blast!), doesn't get 3/4 BAB-progression and sure as hell doesn't add the ONE attribute that counts for the class, cha to just about all saves.

*rant*

Part II in the product discussion.


Best Warlock I've Seen

5/5

Before jumping into the crunch of the bundle, I have to talk about the price. I bought this as part of the Oracle and Witch bundle, so the $2 savings did help sway my decision to pick these up sooner rather than later. Now, onto the good stuff...

ItB#3 The Oracle

Karuna Sattva(***): I really dig the faith healer spin of Carry thy Burden. I could foresee an evil Karuna Sattva cursing innocent people to then heal them to fuel their spell cancellation powers. Grab a Witch as a cohort if Leadership is allowed at your table for maximum effectiveness.

Diplomatique(****): This is a healing battery archetype that makes pacifism cool again. The addition of a reduced Lay on Hands gives it similar effectiveness as a typical OraDin build. This archetype would pair off really well with an Inquisitor for capturing and interrogating criminals as good cop/bad cop, with the Inquisitor doing the dirty work to keep the Diplomatique's hands clean according to the Code of Conduct.

Enigma Warden(***): Out of all of the archetypes and classes in these books, this is the one that has the most unique RP potential. For starters, I recommend that you only play this archetype with a group that you know has patience. You're going to be doing a lot of writing to communicate if you don't have some other means of communicating without talking. However, this archetype does lend itself nicely to the use of sign language and could be a useful means of practicing.

Ordained Scion(****): I really wanted to give this archetype 5 stars, but I feel that the exchange is completely balanced. From a numerical standpoint, a vanilla Oracle gets 7 revelations (including final) and an Ordained Scion gets 5 bloodline powers. I understand that getting a bunch of arcane spells as divine spells is a sizable boost worth at least a revelation. However, that would still leave the Ordained Scion one ability short, if you consider revelations and bloodline powers to be of equivalent value. I personally would've included the bloodline arcana in the trade, as most of them are no more powerful than the bloodline powers themselves. Otherwise, you have to give up one level of Oracle progression to take a Sorcerer dip to snag the bloodline arcana.

Warlock(*****): This class alone was worth the purchase. I could spend all 16,000 characters talking about the various builds you can come up with. Even without the smorgasbord of revelations at your disposal, the rest of the class gives it remarkable damage potential in both melee and ranged combat. Having the 3.5 concept of Invocations split into two separate sets of abilities, Blast Evolutions and Revelations, solved a major resource issue that the original Warlock had. Now every Warlock can have a customized Eldritch Blast without becoming a one-trick pony in combat. Antimagic Points gives the Warlock a nice means of shutting down casters. I really hope that this class gets further support with magic items, feats, favored class bonuses, and warlock-specific revelations.

Covenborn(****): I'll admit that it took me a couple of reads of this class to give it a fair shot as Warlockmania was running wild in my head when I first read it. That said, I can see where this class can be very useful. This is what you hand to a player who wants to play with a witch coven when no one else in the group does. Upon further examination, the double-dip on Coven hex/Accursed bloodline arcana is a fair trade for the SLAs gained, considering costly material components. I think what I like most about this class is that it's not limited to one kind of entry, although clearly written to take advantage of the Ordained Scion archetype for the bloodline. I think the 8/9/10 spell progression allows each Covenborn to pick a side to be focused on in terms of arcane/divine or find a balanced middle. When finished off with 5 levels of Mystic Theurge, the logical progression point for 16-20, a focused build (CasterA 4/CasterB 1) has CL of 18 and 13. The balanced build, CasterA 3/CasterB 2 and CasterB progression at Covernborn 7, will have CL 16 in both classes instead.

The new mysteries and curses add some new fun options to mix things up, but Wrath is the only one that really stands out with Obliteration and Gehenna. One thing that I really appreciate about all of these revelations is that they are Warlock-friendly.


Some good, Some bad.

3/5

Into the Breach: Oracle is the third installment of a series of pdfs covering new options revolving around paizo’s base classes. So far there has been one for Summoner and Magus.

First up are new archetypes. The Karuna Sattva gives up a relevation and a curse to gain the ability to remove afflictions in order to gain a curse. Additionally she can cast oracle’s burden as a spell-like ability. despite having a limit on how many she can have, the fact that the curses last for a week or more makes me think this ability is maybe too good but they do have downsides so I’d have to see it in action.

Then there’s the Diplomatique a pacifist archetype that gets defensive and healing abilities in exchange for not being able to harm anyone. There is also the Enigma warden Which I am pretty sure does not work until it gets 2nd level spell slots or hits 5th level, as it cannot speak without losing all it’s supernatural abilities (unclear if it’s Su abilities from other classes are also lost). Then the Ordained Scion, who gets a bloodline instead of a mystery.

An Oracle alternate class is introduced called the Warlock. At first glance, this thing is scary. It gets a scaling negative energy blasts as attacks (not standard actions), a revelation at each level (of any mystery), a pool of counterspell points, modifictions to it’s negative energy blasts every other level, charisma to one save, then two saves then at 10th level effectively has Divine Grace, and then even more abilities. I have no idea how this guy is not broken. He just does way too much. Good saves, can full attack scaling blasts, counterspell and do a bunch of revelation abilities on top of several other abilities.

The Prestige class The Covernborn looks equally powerful but requires three classes worth of abilities so may be balanced out purely by needing both INT and CHA.

After that are new Mysteries, which range from inspired to ok. A few glitches here and there but mostly functional and some I can see using.

The new Curses however, while interesting concepts don’t mechanically feel like curses to me. These are some very easily bypassed negative effects or sort of bypass themselves.

So would I play with this?
Two of the four archetypes and a few mysteries catch my attention but nothing else really strikes any tropes I really felt I couldn’t do before.

So would I allow this in my games.
While there are a few glitches they aren’t terribly bad and with the exception of Enigma Warden they are useable all the way through. I’d likely build and compare the Warlock because I am not convinced that it is balanced and it will likely be banned. After one easy ban and a clarification it’s a useable supplement that may catch the eye of my players more than it has for me so it amounts to just adding some options.

Overall I’d give it 3 out of 5. Not bad, but not great.


Awesome ideas with good execution

4/5

Let’s see Into the Breach: The oracle has 1 cover page a table of contents, and OGL page effectively giving us 19 pages of new content. It starts out with 4 new archetypes for the oracle.
The first new archetype is the Karunā Sattva. The Karunā Sattva has the ability to take status aliments from allies upon herself gaining them for a number of weeks equal to the spell level it would take to remove the affliction. For each infliction you gain the following Oracle curse. At 5th level you can share one negative effect with an enemy once per day. At 10th level this becomes 3+ Charisma modifier and finally at 15th level you can she more than one affliction for each use. A powerful ability and one that sounds really fun to use. One down side to having many afflictions is it causes all of your spells to suffer from arcane spell failure chance despite the source. The up side to this is a 7th level you can cause all spells cast in 30ft to suffer from this.

The Diplomatique is a really unique archetype in the fact you cannot willingly harm or cast a spell that does HP damage, or causes a negative effect. You have to be good and follow this code of conduct or you lose all supernatural class abilities until you atone for your misdeed. In that regard a Diplomatique gains proficiency in simple bludgeoning weapons and nonlethal damage. In that respect the Diplomatique gains the Pacification class feature which works as an at will sanctuary. At 5th level you may use the spell suggestion on a creature with in 30feet and line of sight. You cannot suggest the creature into attacking or harming its self in any way. At later levels enemies must make will saves to cast AoE spells at you and you can share all these effects with an adjacent ally. When selecting this archetype you also get locked into the Life mystery and gain lay on hands using your oracle level -1 to determine your usage. All in all a very interesting archetype that would make for a great healer and face of the party in most groups.

The Enigma Warden takes a vow of silence but gets the silence spell metamagic feat and cannot speak. At 5th level when you use silent spell your spell level does not increase. While this is an interesting mechanic and it gives the player the ability to be Wil. E. Coyote its nothing super special.

Finally the Ordained Scion swaps out mysteries for Sorcerer bloodlines.

Next we have the Warlock variant class. I personally love powerful blaster classes so I was really excited to read about this and it’s the first time I’m actually happy with a 3rd party blaster. Regardless then signature ability of the Warlock is the Eldritch Blast, a ray of negative energy that hits touch ac within 30 feet and regular ac in 60 it deals 1d6 going up every other level to 10d6 like the cleric’s channel energy. When you can make an attack you can make an Eldritch blast in its place. Every even level you gain a blast evolution that modifies your Eldritch blast. These Evolutions can modify the type of damage you deal, the shape of the blast and adds a bunch of unique effects. One allows you to empower your melee attacks while another allows you to make a magic glaive out of it. One evolution allows you to chain attacks together selecting other targets within 30 feet and taking a -4 on each subsequent attack roll. So -4 on the second target -8 on the third ect until one of the attacks misses. The warlock also gets a pool of antimagic points that allow him to dispel spells by sacrificing the same number of points as the spells level. The Warlock also gains a charisma bonus on a saving throw and eventually all of his saving throws.
At 4th level as a standard action you gain elemental resistance 5 to the type of energy damage you did to your last blast it starts at 5 energy resist and scales to 25. The other amazing thing about the Warlock is you gain a revelation from any mystery every level. The sheer amount of utility the Warlock has is priceless and at 20th level you can select any final revelation as long as you have one revelation in that mystery. This is what made the class a favorite.

In this Pdf is one prestige class and 5 new mysteries. The intoxicant, Sand, Secret, Volcano, Wrath mysteries all have a few new revelations one of which sand barrier is my personal favorite.

That being said, in some places a few key details are missing, like the warlock proficiencies. They are indeed the same as the Oracle. A few of the archetypes are fresh and will entrain veteran players, I feel like I will mainly enjoy playing the Diplomatique and the Warlock yet the Enigma Warden and the Karunā Sattva sound like good ideas that are not fully fleshed out. I also wish the Ordained Scion wasn’t just an oracle swapping out mysteries for bloodlines but, it will make for some interesting builds. Overall I was satisfied with the formatting and there were no grievous grammatical mistakes in the file. This by far is the best Into the breach I had read so far and the best 3rd party Blaster class besides the Pyromancer from Classified gaming. I’m going to have to give this supplement 4 out of 5 stars. I was satisfied with The Warlock variant class and the Diplomatique archetype. The Sand, Intoxicant and Wrath mysteries were also well done and offered some great revelations.


Into the Breach: the Oracle

4/5

Tom Morris May 15, 2014 at 1:48 PM (this review is simply copied from TFPC's blog, I have in no way edited or changed the words of Tom Morris, thank you, Jeffery B. Harris, TFPC co-owner.

Into the Breach the Oracle offers 4 archetypes, 1 alternate class, 1 prestige class, 5 mysteries, and 4 curses for the Pathfinder Oracle base class. Starting with archetypes we have the Karuna Sattva, the Diplomatique, the Enigma Wardern, and the Ordained Scion. The Karuna Sattva has the power to take Afflictions upon herself from others, such as blindness, deafened, even things like lycanthropy and haunts or missing limbs. Taking a affliction upon herself gives her a similar Oracle curse and a spell failure penalty, and later on she can force any affliction she suffers onto her foes as well as her spell failure penalty. At first glace it didn't seem too special but the more I look at this archetype the more I really begin to like it . The Diplomatique starts off with a code of conduct against harming living creatures and limits them down to simple bludgeoning weapons as well as only being able to choose the Life mystery. However the archetype drops the oracle curse, gives a Lay on Hands similar to a Paladin, a permanent version of sanctuary that gets better as you level, and the use of suggestion as a supernatural ability. It give some solid options to those looking to play the role of a healer. The Enigma Warden trades the oracle curse and speaking to have all spells she cast have the silent spell metamagic free. They must select the secrets mystery from the book, but can take revelations from other mysteries as long as they have an equal number of revelations from the secrets mystery. I like this archetypes ability to choose from multiple mysteries, it could make for some very fun builds. The Ordained Scion is a simple archetype switching out mystery class feature for bloodline powers. The new alternate class in this book is the Warlock. Starting out the Warlock gets Eldritch Blast similar to that of its 3.5 counterpart, along with Blast evolutions at every even level. It also has a Antimagic pool which it can attempt to counter spells of enemy's as an immediate action and at later levels the ability to send a eldritch blast at the caster or his own spell back at him. warlocks also receive the ability to give themselves a short lasting energy resistance. And last but my favorite part of the warlock is they receive a oracle revelation at every level from any mystery they choose. However the Warlock does not receive spell casting as the Oracle. Overall I really like some of the things they did with the warlock. Revelations are a interesting way to replace the 3.5 incantations, and not having to choose between a blast power or incantation is nice. The anti magic pool doesn't seem overpowered, which I feared it might be upon seeing it. The new prestige class is the Covenborn. The covenborn levels arcane and divine spellcasting as well as a large amount of spell like abilities and buffs for your familiar. This is a solid choice for those that are not too thrilled by the Mystic Theurge class. The new mysteries added are Intoxicant, Sand, Secrets, Volcano, and Wrath and they add 56 new revelations. The new Curses are Addled, Distracted, Madness, and Ominous. I'm not going to go into detail on them, but they do look mechanically sound and more importantly enjoyable. There are some error's in the book, and the way some things are worded leave me questioning, but overall I'd say this book rates a 4 out of 5.


Webstore Gninja Minion

Now available—and welcome Flying Pincushion Games!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Huzzah! Thanks Liz!

Dark Archive

Phenomenal!

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

Woot!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Good to see it up.


Would the Luck (Ex) ability for the warlock stack with the Sidestep revelation from the Lore Mystery ?


Go to Into The Breach: The Oracle .for a 10% discount

Dark Archive

Yes, Luck stacks with Sidestep Secret. Luck is not a typed bonus and Sidestep secret isn't actually a bonus, it uses Cha instead of Dex for AC and reflex saves.

Sorry for the delay in response. Day job has been super crazy and I haven't had enough time to check for these things. I also answered your PM.


I have a few questions about the Warlock variant class.

1. Are the weapon and armor proficiency the same as the oracle? Your content makes no mention of them.

2. Is Eldritch blast modified by any metamagic and should it be considered a spell since it uses all of the rules of spell casting, without calling it a spell. This is also another vague area.

Other than that this is an extremely fun class I love getting a revelation at every level.

Dark Archive

1. Same as the Oracle. This was an oversight on our part. We'll address it in our next version.

2. As a supernatural ability, it cannot be combined with metamagic.

I'm glad you're enjoying it! Please leave a review if you have a moment. 3PP publishers, especially new ones, rely on your review quite heavily!


Review has been posted you guys did a great job.

Dark Archive

Thank you very much for your review!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Thanks for the review! We have Into The Breach: The Witch coming out very soon (stores are reviewing the material and it is in queue.)

We will sell that individually and in a bundle pack with Oracle.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

@Malwing I wanted to address some stuff in your review. Thank you for taking the time to write one, even if it isn't 100% positive we appreciate the effort it takes to provide feedback.

The balance concerns:
Re: the Karuna Sattva- perhaps you missed that if they carry more then one curse at a time they suffer a spell failure chance. IT is a negligible amount for the 2nd curse but you get the bad with the good on curses and a GM can control what a person gets simply by limiting the afflictions available. It can be very powerful but also has seriosu drawbacks.

Re: Enigma Warden- I think maybe was in a product update, but specifies that you can use the silent metamagic (which you get for free) on orsons. Power wise it is likely on the underpowered side but the flavor was the point. You do not lose anything form other classes unless they require speaking.

Re: Warlock- you never saw the 3.5 warlock? You get a working eldritch blast, a very limited counterspell ability, and tons of revelations. On the balance scale he'd compete with any full caster but he gets no spells. He is a very good blaster but nothing you can't de better with a sorc. He can hit like a melee character but unless you pretty much dedicate the build toward it he can't tank quite as well. The summoner is more powerful particularly with some of the archetypes out there. The wizard has way more versatility, the sorc makes a better blaster, and cleric or oracle have better healing options. You can keep up but I think this is more balanced then you think.

Re: Curses- Yeah you can bipass them, you can bipass the lame curse, or the haunted curse too.

I hope that clarifies and addresses some of your concerns.


Karuna Sattva: didn't catch that, thanks.

Enigma Warden: It was apparent that you could silent spell orisons but which was far from appealing so seemed like an oversight than feature.

Warlock: My main concern is that the blast is an attack, and since it's a ray its also a weapon, making full attack and feat combinations full of abuse potential. Especially since it's spending no resources to do this. It can dish out damage as consistently as a fighter at a distance and sometimes touch AC for free. The amount of revelations was a minor concern but every level does look excessive. If compared to the 3.5 warlock it effectively gets 20 Invocations compared to the 3.5 warlock's 4 Invocations. Granted, revelations are often limited resources but even just getting the spell-like revelations by lvl 20 he essentially has 20 spells each with it's own resource pool and saves scale better than normal spells. Now it doesn't have any real means of enabling pure exploits like any 9 level caster can but it can absorb a ton of roles on it's own.

Curses: My views on the curses and some of the mysteries are more opinionated than my views on the rest of the product looking at how it makes me 'feel' more than rules so I didn't ding the bypassibility of the curses on my final score.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Malwing wrote:
Enigma Warden: It was apparent that you could silent spell orisons but which was far from appealing so seemed like an oversight than feature.

It is more flavor then spec and perhaps a bit underpowered admittedly.

Malwing wrote:


Warlock: My main concern is that the blast is an attack, and since it's a ray its also a weapon, making full attack and feat combinations full of abuse potential. Especially since it's spending no resources to do this. It can dish out damage as consistently as a fighter at a distance and sometimes touch AC for free. The amount of revelations was a minor concern but every level does look excessive. If compared to the 3.5 warlock it effectively gets 20 Invocations compared to the 3.5 warlock's 4 Invocations. Granted, revelations are often limited resources but even just getting the spell-like revelations by lvl 20 he essentially has 20 spells each with it's own resource pool and saves scale better than normal spells. Now it doesn't have any real means of enabling pure exploits like any 9 level caster can but it can absorb a ton of roles on it's own.

You sound a little like my balance editor who had many of the same concerns. I look at a gunslinger or Zen archer and see similar damage potential. Don't get me started on a blaster wizard with a dip in sorc.

You still have to pick targets, the aoe potential is very limited. Versatility is there but not as broken as you might expect. I've done roughly a dozen or so builds on it, the most broken one was a synthasist/edritch claw build but that was special for a number of reasons. Generally you end up with a guy that can dish melee and ranged fairly well and fairly consistently with a good sized bag of tricks. Not a great skill character and he can do a little healing but nothing crazy.

As an aside if you're balancing against fighter, everything is overpowered except maybe the rogue and the standard monk. As to higher levels in general all pathfinder classes can be optimized and broken at those levels and truly the CR system is more busted then anything else in the game. 1 guy 1 level above a party is considered an appropriate challenge for 4 characters near that level. That's also assuming NPC scaled gear vs PC scaled gear.

Games are about fun not balance, just my 2 pennies.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

In case you missed it we have a bundle deal with this and our witch book you can find here


Just a question on Covenborn... the requirements.. do you need all 3? and if so, what would be a typical entry for it ?

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Yes you do indeed need to meet all the requirements for the PRC. For Covenborn there's six.

The feat and the skill ranks are self explanitory.

Accursed Bloodline can be gained with the Eldritch Heritage Feat. I'd prolly go witch 4/oracle 1 take eldritch heritage for the bloodline. After 10 levels of covenborn I'd go into mystic Theurge for the last 5 levels.


GM_Solspiral wrote:

Yes you do indeed need to meet all the requirements for the PRC. For Covenborn there's six.

The feat and the skill ranks are self explanitory.

Accursed Bloodline can be gained with the Eldritch Heritage Feat. I'd prolly go witch 4/oracle 1 take eldritch heritage for the bloodline. After 10 levels of covenborn I'd go into mystic Theurge for the last 5 levels.

thanks


Part II of my review:

And don't start the whole "But casters dominate all encounters"-b%+#&~~$ with me. If you as a DM can't bleed casters dry and let the group rest after every encounter, then you're doing it wrong. I've been DMing for more than half my life and forcing casters to think when to unleash arcane destruction is a basic tactic that seems to be lost on quite a few number-crunching whiners that point to the paper and complain that casters are oh so much better.

*/rant*

What I'm getting at with this rant - the warlock has no resources for his/her primary attacks and as such needs to be compared to all other limited-resource-less classes - and instead of falling somewhere in line at the upper power echelon, it essentially boots even the casters out of the water.

Another gripe of a completely unrelated topic- during playtest, it turned out to be fun for one of my players, mainly because said player enjoyed wasting any CR-equivalent threat...but he badgered me to include in this review that he "got bored, fast, because there is no strategy here." You have your tools, you use them - that's it. Interjection Games' Ethermancer, with its unique buffs, spell pool mechanic and various modifications does everything this class tries to do infinitely more compelling and IS BALANCED and requires some forethought on how long your battle will wage, of when to buff and when not. It's not a perfect class, but it's not as OP as the warlock, it rewards tactical planning of the expenditure of etherpoints and still manages to portray the blast-all-day-long class without utterly breaking the game by offering sufficient drawbacks. It also tackles counterspelling and offers options beyond blasting everything to smithereens. The Ethermancer works, this does NOT. This class is BROKEN and needs a revision. I can't recommend this class even to utter n00bs entering a game of pro-number-crunchers, since the wording ambiguities make many an ability harder to understand than it ought to be. I've rarely seen a base class that can break a game this easily. Steer clear.

Next up would be a 10-level-PrC, the Covernborn. Coverborn get 1/" BAB-progression, 1/2 will-save progression, 2+Int skills per level and require class features from sorc, oracle and witches, namely accursed bloodline, coven hex and oracle's curse, requiring essentially one level sorc, witch and oracle - and the consumption of a hag's heart. Now essentially, this class is a theurge-like class, offering +1 level of spell-progression for both arcane and divine casting at all levels except 1st, 4th and 7th, where the class instead gets fixed divine or arcane progression or, in the case of level 7, has to choose which one to take. It should also be noted that the covenborn needs to choose which arcane class to progress - sorc or witch. The PrC also gets an array of hag/fey-themed spell-like abilities to choose from and may "choose between Fortitude and Will based saves for her spell-like abilities." That's not how spell-like abilities work. Also: Does that mean it's ONE choice or can the Covenborn choose for each individual ability? How can charm monster be based on FORT? Makes no sense to me. The capstone allows the covenborn to transform into a hag, complete with all spell-like abilities etc. - do they choose which save to use here as well? While I get the requirement to offset the dual casting progression, the kind of dead level of one of the arcane base-classes is a bit weird design-wise. An okay theurgish PrC, I guess, though not particularly compelling to take. It also has minor formatting issues like "3 a day" instead of 3/day, but that's just minor nitpicking.

Next up are 5 new mysteries - Intoxicant, Sand, Secrets, Volcano and Wrath, all coming with nice icons, though I don't get why some get a sample fluff-line, whereas other don't. The intoxicant mystery is actually rather cool - shrouding yourself in euphoria-inducing smoke, hallucinating items into existence - cool ideas here, though the wording of the latter is problematic - -"When under the effects of an intoxicant the oracle may make a DC 15 Will save to believe an item is real. If failed the item functions as normal but has no effect on other creatures."[sic!] I don't get it. Could the oracle hallucinate a key to a door and open it? A weapon? Could a weapon be made to attack an object, but not a person? Can the oracle opt to fail the save? Is the item generated upon a success or failure or either way? Why are there so many punctuation glitches here, rendering an already confused and imprecise ability even more confusing? Using blood to poison others with consumed intoxicants on the other hand is rather cool. I really, really like this mystery, but many of its revelations require some cleaning in at least formal criteria, partially also in wording. The Sand mystery lets you e.g. look through solid surfaces and over all can be considered solid, if not particularly strong - still: Kudos!

The Secrets mystery generally is about knowledge and secrets, with frightening, maddening effects and the like. It also has a very weird ability that replaces dex-mod with cha-mod to AC and ref and "Your armor's maximum Dexterity bonus applies to your Charisma instead of your Dexterity (see FAQ."[sic!] So, does that mean an armor can hamper bonus spells, DCs and the like? Where is the FAQ? Why isn't it included in this pdf? I'm NOT going to google the web for information required to run a particular pdf. One note to ALL designers: If your wording requires a FAQ, that's bad enough, but can't be avoided in some cases. Not including said information in your product and forcing your customers to search it and potentially bump site-hits is NOT a way to generate a faithful fanbase. If it's required to run your product, INCLUDE IT IN THE PDF or go back to the drawing board and make a better ability. Now apart from that gripe, the mystery per se is nice - somewhere between knowledge and dark tapestry in style. The volcano mystery allows you to conjure forth a 20 ft. x 20 ft. micro volcano that deals 2d6 non-scaling fire-damage, half on a failed save and +1d6 points of damage for 1d3 rounds after that. Solid per se, but a) why doesn't the damage scale? b) Do those who succeeded the save still take the damage on subsequent rounds? Is the conjured lava an instantaneous effect or does it remain as long as the +1d3 rounds take? Lava Fists also don't work as intended - the ability allows you to 3+cha-mod times per day make sunder attempts with your bare fists "at no penalty." But unarmed strikes AND sunder-attempts provoke AoOs sans respective feats. And unarmed attacks do a whopping 1d3 points of base damage! Usable 3+cha-mod times per day? Where can I sign on? /*sarcasm off* Seriously, needs power-upgrade...badly. The wrath mystery offers a nice adaptive aura, damage-dealing mist etc. It should be noted that an imprisonment effect sends targets off to Gehenna to be held and driven mad - slightly awkward if your game still features that plane from the 3.X days of old, but nothing to fault the author for. Overall, this one works somewhat better than most crunch herein, though wording also offers problems here - see Pillar of Salt: "You may call down a pillar of corrosive power as a full-round action. This pillar may target a group of enemies, no two of which are more than 30 feet apart." So... does the pillar hit all in a 30 ft. radius? can it zigzag from foe to foe if they're no more than 30 feet apart? Are these individual strikes? Define the amount of eligible targets? Utterly obtuse and incomprehensible. Also, it deals 4d8 acid damage +2 per oracle level - I assume the level-based bonus damage ought to be acid damage as well. Utterly insane: "Everyone with line of sight to the targets (note the plural here!) must make a ref-save or take 2d8 acid damage and be stricken blind for one round per class level. Required class level: 3. Now compare ANY damage spell from ANY list with that. It can be used cha-mod times per day; Too strong. Don't believe me? Open plains, flying, warfare - this revelation can blind whole armies! Broken!

The pdf also offer 4 new curses - The Addled curse is a nice take on the addiction curse. The distracted curse allows you to impart the shaken/later dazzled and at +1 save, confused) condition on ALL targets that fail a will-save against your spells. No duration given for the additional effect. Doesn't work/too strong. Madness allows you to somewhat mitigate confusion et al and can drive creatures psychotic, as per the new CR+1 template. The Ominous curse is all about intimidation, penalizing almost all other cha-based skills with -5, but netting +5 untyped bonus to intimidation - too big a penalty and too big a bonus for my tastes - you can already make demoralization monsters sans such a massive boost. Not broken per se, though.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting could have required another pass - next to no spell names are italicized, punctuation glitches abound and bolding and similar minor issues are partially inconsistent as well. Layout adheres to an easy to read 2-column full-color standard and sports much less blank space than the magus-installment of Into the Breach -good and kudos! The pdf comes fully bookmarked, with two dead bookmarks relics labeled "Bookmark 53 &54" respectively, but these don't impede usability.

Designers Frank Gori, John Belliston, Jeff Harris and Matt Medeiros have good ideas - the concepts behind the archetypes and e.g. the intoxicant mystery are solid and show a speck of brilliance here and there. A speck. I won't mince words here - this took me forever to get done and not due to page-count or the like, but due to the amount of issues. Balancing is completely all over the place - from ridiculously weak options to utterly overpowered ones, which constitute btw. the majority of this release, this feels like an alpha. How most of the content herein could get past any playtesting is beyond me. Several options will even be overpowered in the most high fantasy of games. The Warlock class needs to be scrapped and rebuild from scratch - it is the most broken class I've seen so far for PFRPG in any publication. The archetypes offer issues. The PrC is weird. Even mysteries and curses aren't flawless and sport the other crux of this pdf: Ambiguities. A LOT of them. If the balance-concerns you might have, that aren't even consistent within one mystery or archetype, don't break this pdf for you, the latter will. There are so many imprecise wordings and glitches in here, it's painful, partially taking cool concepts and rendering them unusable or unnecessarily obfuscating what exactly an ability is supposed to do. Scaling either exists and is OP or doesn't and makes for utterly ridiculously weak options. Crunch-writing is all about getting math, syntax and semantics right and this one doesn't for any even remotely consistent stretch of text.

And no, I did not complain about all glitches in this review. I hate dishing out verdicts like that, especially if good ideas are this present, but this pdf has nothing that would warrant any mercy, no mitigating, flawless gem at the bottom of this crackerjack box - 1 star.

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

Endzeitgeist out.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Endzeitgeist- thanks for your review, painful as it was to read (particularly since I wrote all the archetypes mentioned, the warlock, the Covenborn and contributed on the sand mystery) it was useful feedback.

Re: the archetypes- we'll get those fixed. I agree with most of what you have to say, and the clarity issues will be addressed.

Karuna Sattva- yeah the spell failure is regardless of spell type you're being nitpicky here but I will address it. As to the abuses see my response to bag of kitten.

Diplomatique- I'll adjust the code of conduct to mean lethal HP damage and ability damage. Oh and the language on code of conduct is pretty much a copy/paste/edit job from paladin, I suppose with all the 1k+ argument threads on that I should have known better.

The Enigma Warden- This archetype is pretty weak until 5th level, it then gets around its main restriction. If you examine most curses you'll find most of them effectively mitigate their curse by then. Not being able to speak means writing things down, signing, or spell taxing yourself in non-combat in combat this is actually a pretty surprisingly stringent restriction. I disagree with you on the balance of this one.

Re: Bag of kittens test- I'd argue that the bag of kittens test isn't really a designer test as it is a test of a GM. If you as a GM put up with that kind of crap from your players either get a backbone or get new players.

I get what you are saying about rules language and clarity and that's a solid piece of constructive criticism and will keep that in mind for future designs. That said, I think that anyone trying to pull shenanigans like this ruin everyone's fun and should maybe try to be better people.

Re: Covenborn- Eldritch heritage gets around the dead class issue, even if it didn't you could stack it with Theurge. As to the formatting issues and clarity I'll get on that soon. As to the SLAs there's a save to spell like abilities, for this PRC you get to choose that they be fort or will based. I'm aware that this is not how spell like abilities normally work, but that is how the spell-like-abilities work for this archetype. That said I'll clarify the language.

To answer your question on how charm monster could possibly be based on fort save... Use your imagination, there's definitely a biological element to emotions, maybe its a pheromone thing. It's a game mechanic not a religious text written in blood.

Re: Mysteries: After playtest I had the same notes on Volcano Mystery. The Secrets mystery might be missing a sidebar, I'll check it out. For now assume it simply was to clarify max dex bonus to AC applied to Cha as well. Again I see your point and we'll get at the rest of it.

Re: Warlock- Having recently run this as a player I realized the problems with the mechanics and will be fixing this shortly though I very much disagree this is a total scrap job.

For those who have purchased this consider this post an errata until I get a update out (and I will.)

1) It is a separate swift action to change the form or energy type of your eldritch blast. Thus to change from a smoking eldritch dart to a noxious eldritch glaive would require two swift actions.

2) Rider effects get a fort save DC = 10+Cha mod+1/2 warlock level

3) Forms that allow a save such as cone, deal half damage and negates rider effects.

4) Glaive is BROKEN at it's level and will be moved to a greater evolution.

5) Blast resistance requires the use of a blast attack action and persists 1 round per cha modifier or used for 1 round (i.e. it will reduce multiple sources of damage in the same round but will cease functioning the following round.)

As to the unlimited blasts and the complaint about the number of revelations...

1) Blasting is sub-optimal even with the riders and the abilities that allow multi targeting.

2) Blaster Sorcs do WAY more damage to WAY more targets at once, yes there's a save but an optimizer can make that a MOOT point. Wizards have nigh unlimited versatility and if prepared for the battle will PWN the warlock. Gunslinger is equally broken unless your GM keeps track of every bullet and powder which for most GMs I know of- no thanks forget all that extra paperwork. Playtest last night the gunslinger out damaged the warlock a good deal.

3) There's some surprising holes in the Warlock's game. I had no answer to invisibility for example. A black tentacles spell would have bi-passed my admittedly boss AC because I had crap for CMD.

4) Revelations come in 3 flavors: Useless in mid to high levels, strong but very limited use, passive and scaling. The passive and scaling ones are the most potent but mostly make you a badass melee character with perhaps an animal companion. When you take away glaive this makes the melee suboptimal at best. Going with a mix of the last two categories is perhaps strongest but you still aren't on the same field as a full caster.

OVERALL: You also have a bum copy of the Oracle. I can tell because we fixed the links issue and I suspect several of the spelling, formatting, and grammar errors you mention. A new proof reader (Bob Ross) gave us a list of like 35 errors that we went in and fixed with an update (including the links and the fact that the warlock didn't have weapon profs.) I must have missed updating Drivethru, will amend that issue shortly.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Side note: your timing sucks! I just noticed a few of the Warlock issues when playing it put last night. Designer lesson learned, playtesting as a GM vs playtesting as a player result in very different outcomes.

I have playtested most of our stuff but while running a game and keeping track of a ton of other things. You don't notice the minutia as much when you have more to keep track of. Since I was playing a gnome warlock with the pyromaniac alternate race trait I went heavy on fire and volcano mysteries for the fight. I noticed all the issues you mention with Volcano mystery in my playtest notes and I was rereading warlock looking for the save mechanic last night because I remembered there being one in play but could not find it in the doc...

Bear in mind profits from this book after costs was like $50 thus far. The profit margins of an indie 3PP are very small and take time if you even make a profit. I mention this because it is not like I can hire a staff of guys to playtest, we pretty much do everything in house and on the cheap.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Design notes:

Everything that transitioned from 3.5 to Pathfinder got a bump up in power scale. That needed to happen to make a viable Warlock. Rather than re-create a bunch of Invocations I worked with something that was very Pathfinder already: Revelations.

Balance is a matter of perspective. The classes have never been balanced pretty much from the days when dwarf and elf were classes. The fighting man who later become the fighter has always seemed to lag behind his chums. The most severe balance issue in my opinion is the CR system which is far more broken than anything Enzeitgeist noted today.

I'll fix the design issues I agree with; which include the errata above, the counterspell points (which I might scrap or simply alter the action economy on), and the luck mechanic will likely get spaced further out (it scales too quickly.)

I do still stand by the statement that this is the best Pathfinder Warlock I've seen. I acknowledge and I'm committed to fixing it's flaws. It is a fun character to build and play with, now it's just a matter of making some adjustments under the hood.

I also will restate that we are going to add more product support for this as well with an additional release that will be free for those that purchased our Oracle book.

@Enzeitgeist, don't give up on us yet.


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GM_Solspiral wrote:

1) Blasting is sub-optimal even with the riders and the abilities that allow multi targeting.

2) Blaster Sorcs do WAY more damage to WAY more targets at once, yes there's a save but an optimizer can make that a MOOT point. Wizards have nigh unlimited versatility and if prepared for the battle will PWN the warlock. Gunslinger is equally broken unless your GM keeps track of every bullet and powder which for most GMs I know of- no thanks forget all that extra paperwork. Playtest last night the gunslinger out damaged the warlock a good deal.

3) There's some surprising holes in the Warlock's game. I had no answer to invisibility for example. A black tentacles spell would have bi-passed my admittedly boss AC because I had crap for CMD.

4) Revelations come in 3 flavors: Useless in mid to high levels, strong but very limited use, passive and scaling. The passive and scaling ones are the most potent but mostly make you a badass melee character with perhaps an animal companion. When you take away glaive this makes the melee suboptimal at best. Going with a mix of the last two categories is perhaps strongest but you still aren't on the same field as a full caster.

1-2) Blasting is sub-optimal because it normally deals with a limited resource and standard actions. A warlock blasts as an attack so at 8th level he's probably pushing out 16d6 of damage per round. Without spending resources, probably against Touch AC, and not including the numerous other things buffs or essences that could be on him at that point. Some classes put out similar damage at lvl 8, but they're using really limited resources, magic items, action economy and buffs to do it. A gunslinger can get buffed and pull off an attack like that for a pound of gold per full attack and then has to reload it all and for the next couple of levels has to worry about his weapons exploding in his face. Warlock just does things and I have a hard time seeing what happens when he's buffed.

3) Against things like Combat Maneuvers or losing initiative to a caster a Warlock can get trumped but Magic: the Gathering players have a name for that, the 'Dies to Doom Blade Fallacy', which basically is that because it can be easily killed by something who's job is to easily kill things doesn't mean that it's not incredibly potent.

4) When goldfish building I found that making a melee Warlock took 2-3 revelations. But overall Revelations are as good or better than a feat so getting one at every level and being able to cherry pick from all lists is a lot. That and the DCs scale with your level so it gets better at a faster rate than spells normally would. Its not as good as full casting because spells do weird stuff like create demiplanes, but adding everything together and he does too many things and can potentially do more than that. Frankly if I was playing one without the blasts the revelations would be enough to do quite a lot.


Thank you very much for the extensive comment and for being professional! It's unfortunate that my review's timing was bad. I did re-download the latest version on OBS. :(

I agree the "bog of kitten"-test is a deliberate exaggeration, since I know no DM that would stand for it. But it also is rather crucial regarding good design - after all, if RAW does allow for this in theory, what if the PCs are burnt resource-wise and have to look for all possible advantages? Let's say a demon lord is conducting a ritual, your resources are spent - kill kittens for the greater good? Would you, as a DM, then say no? By being sloppy with abilities that can fail the kitten-test, you put DMs in a harsh spot that is simply unnecessary. I maintain that the kitten-test is valid and failing it a sign of bad design. Especially since there are abilities galore out there that you can use as a guideline to avoid failing the test. Even good players and good DMs can be tempted by the bag o' kittens.

Covenborn: I maintain cherry-picking saves and changing enchantments to other saves, making disease-like effects ref-based etc. is not a matter of imagination, but just utterly confusing design and upsets the in-game logic big time. YMMV.

Balance: I do not agree that balance is subjective. It is *partially* subjective, yes. Because campaigns and groups differ, because player capabilities differ, because intended power-levels differ. If you#re developing for the core-market and don't have the explicit goal of improving a class that's too weak (like Drop Dead Studios did for the Rogue), then there are the numbers. And numbers don't lie. So yeah, there is a subjective component and balance isn't a monolithic entity, but neither is it a completely subjective hocus-pocus.

Warlock:

Oh boy. I thought I was clear. The warlock is broken due to a vast plethora of reasons, some of which you have addressed. Others... let me rephrase.

Damage type = force. Best damage-type there is. No resistances, no DR, nothing to protect one from it. Plus: No penalties when attacking incorporeal targets. Broken.

Revelations: Revelations are better than feats. Getting one at every level is strong, being able to choose freely from ALL lists (which are limited and balanced among themselves for a reason!) is insane.

Blast-comparison: We have a couple of logical fallacies here in your reasoning. Wizards (at high levels) can pwn almost ANYTHING if they're prepared AND have the Spells AND don't get killed first. That comparison is moot. Sorcerors may be able to better blast areas - but the comparison with the warlock does not work. Most of their spells are corporeal, no benefit versus incorporeal targets. Their blasts use regular energy-type and thus are subject to immunities. Unlike force. And most importantly: They run out of juice. Warlocks NEVER run out of juice, their blasts are an INFINITE resource that is subject to next to no restrictions. Blasts scale fast and explode in damage-potential - compare the damage output of a blast with a comparable magic weapon. Then bear in mind that the magic item does require resources to get and can be destroyed, sundered, stolen, etc. You won't get anywhere close to base damage of a blast with any regular magic weapon, even with feats. Then add range.

CMD-hole argument: The Warlock's CMD isn't necessarily worse than that of any comparable class. It's not as good as the one of a melee fighter, courtesy of BAB-progression, but it's damn sure not crippling.

Invisibility-argument: Invalid, since by the same reasoning you could argue that no class that has neither blindsight, nor see invisibility et al has a response to it.

Gunslinger-comparison: Seriously? The warlock-player, sorry to say, obviously has no idea how to handle the class. I *LOVE* the gunslinger-class. I really, really do. But oh boy, is it crippled beyond believe. Bad range, high, constant costs for bullets (perhaps that's a German thing, btw., but ALL DMs I know track these!), etc. - ouclassing these dudes at their range-game isn't hard...at all. You don't even require broken/very powerful archetype-combos à la Synthetisist or Zen Archer.

That's an issue with playtesting - players have different abilities to maximize a class. Four of my players are superb min-maxers, the others are more focused on story, flair, etc.Handing the latter a class will yield no particularly evil builds, but giving such a class to the former...ouch. Another thing to be aware when doing in-house playtesting -be aware of your group's and world's agreed upon conventions and recall that other groups don't have these. You often *know* what a friend means, but codifying it in proper rules is hard. The Karuna Sattva is a candidate here, as is the Diplomatique. I'm *sure* you have an established code of conduct in your game; I assume that in your game, curses, insanities etc. don't feature as prominently. In other campaigns, they do. Netting a class an option to get rid of them sans level-scaling via DC can break many a game: Think of Gilgamesh and Enkidu, Greek or Norse mythology - curses, especially those handed down by the gods, can create adventures. Same goes for insanity and plagues. By taking away the option to have the affliction scale and the Karuna Sattva fail at taking a curse, many a story is ruined. In *your* game that may not be the case - in a pandemic-style campaign, it might be.

I do still stand by the statement that Interjection Games' Ethermancer is the vastly superior Warlock for PFRPG (or any d20-based game, for that matter).

And nope, I won't give up on you or your co-designers - you do have potential and ItB: Witch is a step in the right direction.

Hope that clarifies all the stuff and thanks for engaging in a civil discussion! (Also: Thanks, Malwing - I share all your observations.)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

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@Endzeitgeist

My initial reaction to your review was very much THIS but one must have a thick skin in this business. This book has been trouble from the start but it was also for a number of reasons a personal triumph for me so I perhaps am a little sensitive about it, but yeah I'm a professional too.

this is a long post about game design:
When I started this book I was expecting 9 to 11 authors. I was working with another group of guys on a blog project and they were fairly consistent there but not one of the 6 guys that responded with email that they would come up with something came through for this book. Not one of them will ever be invited to write for us again. With the guys that come thru and wrote something one had his life blow up and I had to half write one of his mysteries, the sand mystery suffered a little for this.

The original compiled book had no archetypes, just Warlock, Covenborn, the mysteries, and the curses. It didn't sit well with me and a week later while the book was with John for layout I pressed pause and in about 12 hours wrote all four archetypes after a rough nights sleep where my muse was being quite loud.

Karuna Sattva was inspired by the scene in Jesus Christ Superstar where Jesus gets mobbed by cripples and lepers. I extended it into curses and demon possession based on that- hindsight being 20/20 no power should ruin the plot of a game. I very rarely run pandemic type games, I will scale this becaus eI still think it has lots of cool potential.

Diplomatique was me wanting a pacifist that could stand apart form say the Healer class form the book of mini's in 3.5. I wanted something less violent for the rare player that doesn't want to be a total murderhobo!

Enigma Warden was basically a take on the real life monk Vow of Silence. When I tried to make that work for an oracle I thought of an espionage angle and liked the idea that the reward for keeping your mouth shut was secrets from other revelations. I stand by it's cool flavor, and yes espionage factors a little more heavy in my games.

Ordained Scion was mostly about my dislike of having to multiclass into a weaker BAB for the otherwise awesomely fun and flavorful Dragon Disciple. I figured someone else had to have that same desire.

Covenborn was me looking to do something that brought together Oracle and Witch because the two often filled similar roles in mythology.

Finally, Warlock was me missing the flavor and punch of a blaster class that was a little weak but always fun in 3.5 and trying to make it strong enough for Pathfinder.

After this came out we got a bad review for some editing issues with Summoner. I tried to change the process up to make the editing better (which was ultimately successful with Witch and beyond) but John R. just could work within the multi-authorship framework it stressed him out. We ultimately fixed that book enough for that reviewer to change their opinion, even if it could still use some work.

So despite losing 5-6 authors, my business partner at the time, and having to write roughly 60% of it myself I still managed to get this volume off the ground and get at least 2 positive reviews. I WILL FIX IT. If I have to sign a deal with Asmodeus himself, this book will not beat me.

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@Malwing

Your points are valid this will help make this a better product. Thank You.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Endzeitgeist wrote:
And nope, I won't give up on you or your co-designers - you do have potential and ItB: Witch is a step in the right direction.

Looking forward (well...with nervously bated breath) to seeing your thoughts on the Witch and Gunslinger books (and of course the rest). Thank you for taking the time to review these so in-depth so that we can better our products!

Ditto to you Malwing (and all our reviewers)!


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I brought this up in another thread but I think the Alternate classes are all good ideas even though I'm not a fan of one of them. I do wonder if they are worth revisiting as a whole since alternate classes seem to be a pattern. (I don't remember one from the magus book, and I'm ignoring the Summoner one for reasons)


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@GM_Solspiral: I totally get that reaction and the link me me laugh! It's good to be passionate about your creations, but keeping them in check and reacting as professional as you did, is the mark of a mature being. So yeah, thanks! (And I'm sure there are a lot of designers out there who could empathize with this post...)

That being said - thank you for the glimpse behind the curtain and, as mentioned - I've seen MUCH worse than what you guys deliver. Mostly, the issues can be fixed and a lot of the problems boil down to beginner's mistakes that can be fixed.

@theheadkase: ItB Witch is done and will hit my site some time next week.

Cheers!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Malwing wrote:
I brought this up in another thread but I think the Alternate classes are all good ideas even though I'm not a fan of one of them. I do wonder if they are worth revisiting as a whole since alternate classes seem to be a pattern. (I don't remember one from the magus book, and I'm ignoring the Summoner one for reasons)

Tribal Shaman was an adaptation of a monster template I wrote for Kobold Press that was very popular. I tried to fit it to Summoner as an archetype initially, changing that to an alt class was an editorial suggestion and my first attempt at doing so. The choice of summoner was driven by the summer spell list which is a really good choice for the Shaman mechanically. I found myself wanting a little semi-divine and kind of fell into a 2nd ed concept of spirit possession. Jason ran with a similar idea for Witch which was much more well executed. By then I had also built a more complete team to support the work and we got better form there.

There was no alternate class in Magus, I decided on one for Oracle because I wanted a warlock and I felt that the revelations mechanic felt like the perfect replacement for the 3.5s invocations. As a team the editors of FPC games decided every book needed an alternate class. We also decided at least one archetype needed to be for the evil players/gm.


GM_Solspiral wrote:
Malwing wrote:
I brought this up in another thread but I think the Alternate classes are all good ideas even though I'm not a fan of one of them. I do wonder if they are worth revisiting as a whole since alternate classes seem to be a pattern. (I don't remember one from the magus book, and I'm ignoring the Summoner one for reasons)

Tribal Shaman was an adaptation of a monster template I wrote for Kobold Press that was very popular. I tried to fit it to Summoner as an archetype initially, changing that to an alt class was an editorial suggestion and my first attempt at doing so. The choice of summoner was driven by the summer spell list which is a really good choice for the Shaman mechanically. I found myself wanting a little semi-divine and kind of fell into a 2nd ed concept of spirit possession. Jason ran with a similar idea for Witch which was much more well executed. By then I had also built a more complete team to support the work and we got better form there.

There was no alternate class in Magus, I decided on one for Oracle because I wanted a warlock and I felt that the revelations mechanic felt like the perfect replacement for the 3.5s invocations. As a team the editors of FPC games decided every book needed an alternate class. We also decided at least one archetype needed to be for the evil players/gm.

Yeah, one of the reasons was that the summoner alt class seemed too similar to the witch alt in general concept.

How did the decision to make the blasts attacks get into the warlock? I wasn't terribly active during 3.5 so I'm not all that familiar with the Warlock but the base Warlock and most Pathfinder Warlocks I've seen resolve it as a standard action. The exception is Dragoncyclopedia'a The Primalist (my personal favorite 'warlock') that has infinite 1d6 blasts and can only ramp it up by spending resources.

The blasts as attacks really does it for me in terms of seeting off my gm alarms. Well that and it gets divine grace.


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Endzeitgeist wrote:


You have your tools, you use them - that's it. Interjection Games' Ethermancer, with its unique buffs, spell pool mechanic and various modifications does everything this class tries to do

Just a spring off point for a discussion - There are players who like "low engagement" characters - where movement and "I blast it" are what they are interested in. I know Pathfinder doesn't exactly cater to them, but they are out there. Martials have always had that - it's easy to play a fighter that way, but historically that has never really been done with any of the magical classes.

This version of the Warlock fills that niche. It is overpowered - I agree with you there- but the simplicity of engagement is something strongly in it's favor that the Ethermancer (another class I love) doesn't do.

Can't want to see adjustments to the class.

Personally I'd put this class on par with a good gestalt combo. It would work well for solo adventuring.


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Good points, Lord Mhoram. I look forward to seeing a balanced Warlock. I just mentioned this bit, since my group's warlock-style-gaming fanboy wanted me to mention it. ^^


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Makes sense to me. With it being somewhat overpowered, I can see the "I just blast it" get boring, but if it were more in line, you still have a low engagement character, but find the issues your player did.

Personally I like that approach for a concept I ran a little in 3.x and would love to in pathfinder - Gestalt (we are always low on players so that is normally what we do) Monk/Warlock. Who needs weapons?

@GM_Solspiral - While I think it could use a little balancing, thematically and stylistically yours is my favorite Warlock that I've seen done for pathfinder.


I have some questions regarding the Alternate Base Class Warlock found in this book. Can anyone at flying pincushion answer them, sort of as a official ruling or point me into the direction of an Errata?

The class feature Blast Resistance as written in the book makes little sense to me with the wording given. It says "as a standard action, the warlock may create a sheath of energy around herself granting her energy resistance 5 to the type of energy of her blast. This sheath lasts 1 round per warlock level." So is it only ever Negative Energy Resistance? If so why not just say that, why make it sound like it's a customizable thing? If it is a customizable thing then the wording doesn't reflect that and the mechanic doesn't make since? Can as a free action I pick a blast energy type that I have and then use the standard action to create the new energy resistance based on that? Mind you selecting a essence and form is listed as a free action in the Blast Evolution class feature description.

Also counter curse is seems a little inconcise, what I mean is the feature says nothing about what happens if the next spell the enemy caster uses doesn't allow for saving throw, or if its a friendly spell they cast on themselves. it seems like a wasted feature since you can't possibly know if the next spell a enemy caster cast will in fact require a saving throw or be something that they'll cast at the party or you.

any help clarifying this would be appreciated.

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Hi Mako,

We are actually going to eventually do a print omnibus and tackle all the updating and errata then but I'm happy to field this.

RAI: You can use any of your Blast evolution damage types. I get that clarification in the rewrite would be appreciated but yes as long as you have the energy type form a blast evolution you cna use that type in your energy sheathe.

Regarding counter curse not all class features are created equal. It is indeed less powerful but adds a little utility to what is essentially mostly a blaster. You can make an argument counter-spelling is equally limited in it's utility as an option.


thank you for replying, i really like the class over all.


Hi

With regards to the reprint and the Warlock class.
There was a note separately before that the Warlock would get its own book. Is this still the case or will the updated version be included in these reprints.
On a side note, I really like the design of the class.

Kind Regards


@ Crios

What is going to occur is a complete overhaul of Into the Breach: the Oracle, including the warlock (everyone that bought a copy will get an updated copy from their purchase source site), and we will create a "class supplement". sort of like the old 3.5 class splats specifically to expand the options for the warlock. Likely we will produce a number of these to expand on some of our more popular class work.

Stay tuned for more!

Cheers,

Jeff Harris
Flying Pincushion Games


Hi Jeff

Thanx for the update.
I look forward to it.

Kind Regards


Anytime ol' bean :)


Is the overhaul for "Into the Breach: The Oracle" still on the cards?
Or is there another place I can go look at to get updates.


Aye, it is...just a few moving parts still need some oil, but it WILL happen.

Now where did I put that shock whip...gotta motivate the Freelancers :)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

That's my bad really. I'll take a crack at Warlock this weekend. Some of what we did got eaten by Paio's own design work moving forward for example we did a volcano mystery they later did almost the same.


That's awesome news, glad to hear it's still happening.
Look forward to seeing the new version.

Thanx for the update.

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Re-read the book and yeah this is going to need a massive overhaul. Time distance and experience have made me a better designer and my early byers deserve better.

Though the blast scaling is now quite similar to a kineticist


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All good.
I was going to use this class as a PC in a previous campaign.
However now I am the DM(still learning though) and my previous DM is now a PC, so will using this as an NPC at some point in the campaign.

What we did discuss though was(from what I can remember):
As he was fearful of it being too OP.

-Slowing down the revelations gained to 2 at 1st level, then 1 additional at every even numbered level, netting you 12 revelations vs the 20. We were also talking about limiting the amount of mysteries you could choose from, potentially gaining a new mystery to choose from ever few levels.

-Not making the blasts replace an attack and making it a standard action.

-Oracle Bones mystery Resist Life revelation, this makes you react to positive and negative energy as an undead, meaning you could blast yourself for health. Made it so that it cant be used to heal.

Regardless though, I am still a big fan of this implementation of a Warlock.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

I've sent 3 of you Playtest versions of my rebalance of Warlock via PM, once it has had some playtest time I'm going to re-release an updated version

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