101 Forest Spells (PFRPG) PDF

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You can't grow two trees next to each other without someone enchanting them.

101 Forest Spells enhances the range of spellcasting options for players and gives GMs exciting new ways to challenge the forest-exploring adventurers in their campaigns.

Want to take on the shape of a golden gorger? Any interest in calling a hamadryad to aid you? Want more ways to enjoy creatures from bears to unicorns?

Entirely compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, 101 Forest Spells is brought to you by the same folks that brought you 1001 Spells, and expands the spell lists of casters in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook, the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Advanced Player’s GuidePathfinder Roleplaying Game Ultimate Magic, and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Advanced Class Guide.

Author: Dave Paul
Cover Artist: Leksa Lexa
Pages: 37

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Worth every penny for games spending time in the forest...maybe those that don't

5/5

Why did I buy this? What did I actually get?
I have been growing a bit tired of Vancian magic for a while, even at the point when I bought this, but it seemed like it would have something interesting to offer. And it did... I had no idea.

Have I used this, or will I use this?
I have not yet implemented this in game, but come tomorrow, I imagine at least one of my players will be getting a Friend of the Forest tattoo from an allied tribe of werewolves...and there's nowhere to go but up from there.

How is the fluff?
Not a lot of 'independent' fluff to speak of in this book, but there's definitely cool imagery invoked in the spells, and in the way they tie to the mechanics. As a simple example, Winter Hag Form says that you have an urge to worshipped, and eat warm raw flesh (especially that of children); if you're actively pursuing these goals, you get a hefty bonus to a number of skills. Many of the spells work on this 'mechanics-meets-narrative' platform, and it's utterly refreshing.

How are the mechanics?
Nothing in this PDF jumped out to me as OP or out-of-control; especially when you factor in an introductory paragraph, explaining that a lot of these spells will be very powerful within to forest, but may be useless outside of it, and therefore may be better suited towards NPCs. But there are many cool categories of spells featured here in - many Aspect of the <blank> or <specific creature> Form polymorph spells, altered core spells in the form of Mass Barkskin, Leaf on the Wind (a Feather Fall variant) or Bones & Branches, a lower level version of Animate Dead that creates weaker undead through the substitution of natural materials - dirt, sticks, leaves, etc. The aforementioned Friends of the Forest spell is a cantrip that leaves a simple magical tattoo on an ally - where this gets cool is the OTHER spells that work off of it: Friends Defend the Forest gives marked creatures combat bonuses, whereas Gather Friends teleports those creatures to your side from anywhere on the same plane. And I always appreciate useful cantrips, like Gather Kindling - everything in this PDF just looks like FUN, rather than work, which is how I've started to view more traditional Vancian spells (though Occult Adventures did something right with Explode Head).

How's the art?
It adds a lot. Rite Publishing products often include cool, evocative art, but it doesn't always seem like it fits. That is not true in this case; I don't worry too much about art outside of monster books, but this would absolutely be a lesser PDF if any piece were absent.

How’s readability?
As per usual, Rite Publishing has some great editing, a simple, easy to read layout, and a practical font. No problems here.

Was the price fair?
I was hesitant to drop $5.99 at the time, not sure I wanted to pore through more spells under the Vancian system. But I'm glad I did - it was more than worth the cost. If you're not sure you'd ever see use of this in your game, go look at others in the series that might match up with your game better. Or maybe you're like me, and even if it never sees the table, you have fun reading cool mechanics and ideas; if so, I also cannot recommend this enough.

Favorite part?
Like DaVinci, the Wright Brothers, and other inventors of old, the sky captures my imagination, but I'll never know it like a bird does. Wait, Host of Sparrows lets me do exactly that, AND take my friends with? Sold.

Least favorite part?
Unicorn's Prowess is a cool idea for a spell... but I don't know if I need to spend 10 minutes casting a combat-focused spell that lasts for 1 round/level, even if I'm at least 13th level before I gain.


An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

The second of Dave Paul's massive 101-spell books centered on terrain-specific spells clocks in at a whopping 42 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisement, leaving us with 37 pages of content, so let's take a look!

We begin this pdf with spell-by-level-lists, containing, btw. also the ACG bloodrager and shaman - and then, we're right at the spells. I'm not going to go through the spells one by one, instead trying to provide a showcase of the best and worst of the bunch - so let's dive in!

At low levels, better options to forage for food and water can be found - but thing become interesting pretty immediately after that - let's take a cloak of acidic mist: In a 5-ft.-radius around you, you generate acidic mist that moves with you -and it lingers, decreasing its damage by two dice per round - the issue becomes pretty much apparent for all spell-designers - in order to move, you'd have to pass your own acidic cloak's first 5-ft.-AoE, thus dealing damage to you when you move. Know what? the wording manages to elegantly fix this rules-language conundrum. And yes, I consciously do not say how here - I won't you folks to take a look at this. Much like in the predecessor book, casting the spells herein in the correct, wooden environment, obviously increases the spell's prowess - which may translate to numerical increases of the spell's parameters. But the pdf actually goes one step beyond that - you see, there are several different forests (D'UHHH) - and quite a few spells herein have different effects when cast in e.g. cold or temperate or warm forests. This would be pretty much "going the extra mile" as far as I'm concerned.

Indeed, this adds a strategic component to the pdf I did not expect to see in such a pronounced manner - the spells here, in short, manage to tie the aspect of magic and the world in which it is cast even tighter together than the previous book. Beyond terrain variants, there also would be spells that allow you to emulate different aspects of trees, thus granting the type of buff you require in a given situation. Another component I enjoy about the spells herein would be that they act as a kind of roleplaiyng catalyst in quite a few of the cases - buffing yourself to become an aurumvorax may have nice imagery, yes. But the spell becomes cool when it states that this prompts a powerful drive to act alone...and rewards you when you go solitary on your scouting rounds. See, that's how you make spells that enhance roleplaying by granting tangible benefits, providing a unity between crunch and fluff.

Calling bear guardians to perform either tasks or be on guard duty is interesting due to the LONG duration of the service - and if you're like me, you immediately looked for the obvious army of bears-exploit - guess what? The spell has a caveat that prevents it. Purging the undead, outsiders and constructed from the area may sound okay - until you realize how hard this spell is - with variable alignments and the option to purge them in large areas of the caster's home, one pretty much immediately realizes that the rules-language here is not something any designer could have crafted - beyond that, though - the spell also manages to represent pretty neatly the trope of home-advantage, of the requirement to get the powerful druid back in time to halt the encroaching horde - Love it!

Druids cultivating flower-based plant-guardians will appreciate the cantrip that allows them to bloom faster. We also know the trope of undead, held together by plant-matter - well, the spell's in here for the root-suffused undead. High-level druids may actually call a powerful hamadryad to their aid.

On the iconic image side, what about bards conjuring forth a chorus of nonlethal damage-dealing, deafening cicada chorus - oh, and if there actually are cicadas around, you'll definitely enjoy the proper power-increase. What about conjuring forth a variant of solid fog that deals damage...and is particularly nasty versus cold iron-susceptible creatures while ALSO acting as a combo-set-up for certain damage-types? Yes, that would be an interesting terrain-control spell! Conjuring forth curtains of swirling, autumnal leaves, dropping branches on your foes, summoning rot grub swarms - the spells range from absolutely glorious to intriguing.

Declawing temporarily animals, reducing the efficiency of their claws, is pretty cool. Psychological warfare via eyes in the dark and a series of interesting fey form-spells further supplement this obvious thematic connection - speaking of fairytales - what about a compulsion that takes grains of a fine material and compels the targets to count them? Yes, this resonates with our real world mythology perfectly and puts it into concise game terms.

The pdf also continues the absolutely awesome innovation utilized in the first such book - there are spells which allow you to designate a target creature as a friend of the forest - hereafter, you can call such beings to your aid via other spells. Once again, this type of magic ultimately allows not only for interesting tactical options - it provides an in-game rationale for terrain superiority of a certain group of beings and has roleplaying potential, friendships and the like, all rolled up in its frame. Love it!

You and your allies may also transform into sparrows (great for reconnaissance), gain a slightly more flexible form of feather fall (at an appropriate level, btw.), render forests truly labyrinthine for those succumbing to your magic. What about coating allies in acidic repellant? Sounds okay? Well, it is. It goes that extra mile by featuring information on how it can be dissolved and countered - it's these small bits, not necessarily required though they may be, that add this sense of magical realism to the spell-books, that make them feel like they're part of a concise setting.

There also is an interesting terrain-control variant of healing - create a gorgeous, glowing garden - each square traversed heals(or harms the undead) - when fighting the living dead, this definitely is intriguing - and it may free the healer to do other, awesome things - interesting indeed! There also would be quite a few spells that let you duplicate some of the iconic tricks of various fey and there also would be the powerful 9th-level ritual that renaturalizes 10 miles of land - reverting the natural order in the area - whether at the PCs or NPC's hands, this is an adventure on its own. Need to conceal the rather anti-stealthy, clunking Joe Platemail-Fighter? The Spell's in this book. If you're on the less scrupulous side, summoning a moonflower may offer a rather creepy ally. Oh...and you can temporarily make a tree. With full stats, hardness and everything. need a tree? Cast Tree! You may be stumped as to why I consider this awesome, but the sheer plethora of things you can do with this spell if you're creative is pretty impressive - if you need some ideas, drop me a line! Another star should be mentioned: There is a spell that allows a creature to bound itself to a forest in exhange for more power - spells like this make the trope of creatures with their own domains and stalling feuds between terrains and dominions so much more believable!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Rite Publishing's two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience by spell-level, spell list AND individual spell! The pdf sports numerous absolutely gorgeous full-color artworks.

Dave Paul's first terrain spell-book came at a time when I was quite frankly burned out on new spells. I had seen too many and, with Deep Magic, to me, being a deeply frustrating book, I was not excited to read it. Well, I should have. Right when I thought I had seen everything, he singlehandedly changed my opinion - this is due to various factors:

1) His rules language is precise, even when tackling highly complex spell-effects.

2)The general power-balance of the spells is well-reasoned and so far, I felt no need to complain about any spell being OP.

3) The spells go above and beyond in tying their effects to terrain by rewarding players for planning and making them feel unique and magical.

4) The spells feature unique visuals from our shared mythologies and put them into concise rules.

5) They do so in actually innovative interesting ways that emphasize player-agenda, while showing his experience in academia and teaching - even complex concepts are conveyed in concise and easy to grasp ways.

One great spell book is an occurrence - two are a tendency. This is pretty much a textbook example of what a spell-book should be - inspiring, intriguing, exciting. Here, the crunch actually makes you come up with storylines, plots and enhances narrative options rather than limiting. This is a great example of Rite Publishing's key-strengths of evocative concepts married with neat crunch and well worth a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval, given without hesitation - I consider not a single spell herein problematic. Not one. Get this!

Endzeitgeist out.


Transformations, confusion and confounding spells. Drop logs on your enemies!

5/5

What you want in a spell book, is a lot of spells. This definitely provides and they range across the levels and classes. Even paladins, bards, witches and summoners get new spells.

Now are they any good, are they interesting, are they unusual and worth the purchase. Yes, yes and indeed yes. These spells are not all violent or offensive, some are about sensing or passive powers, the alchemist transformation spells into forest troll and mandragora really fit (and makes you think they should be in the base game). There are spells for many classes here, and a lot of thought has gone into them. I like the bard spells like Korred’s beard (entangling), the fey obsession spell forcing a target to count grains of salt is deliciously cruel, and labyrinthine forest proves that the focus isn’t solely on damage, but bafflement and confusion.

The cleric and oracle spells gain such intriguing possibilities as creating undead out of branches (very Blair witch, but they can fight for you), which I will be using next game for a evil forest cleric. As I said before, some really feel like they should have always been in Pathfinder, like Deadwood drop for dropping trees on people and mass barkskin.

I like the Magus spells (satyr form here I come), but what is central to take away from this excellent book is that any spellcaster from a forest origin or fighting the players within a forest is going to be much stronger and memorable in the unusual, atypical spells they can unleash.

Otherwise, the art is very good and fitting. The design is very light and green and quite calming actually.

Get it, and make forest encounters more interesting. The players won’t know what hit them (then probably offer them the new spells over time).


Community Manager

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A lot of really nice spells. Can't wait to use them on my players. :D


One other thing to note, the powerful druid spell "restore nature" would allow a high level druid to start to take back many miles of territory and force back civilisation. I just noticed it now, but it effects a lot of square miles.

I smell a really delicious plot hook.


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DM Under The Bridge wrote:
I smell a really delicious plot hook.

Excellent! I spend considerable time and effort thinking of ways to give GMs options with these spells. I hope this works for you.


Just picked this up. I'll review it over the weekend. Initial glance looks good.


I found a couple of editing errors last night. The spell list have a reference to the spell, Wooden Dragon, which does not appear in the spell section. Also several spell reference greensight, which is not in the PDF.

Overall, I am pleased by the quality and balance of the spells. The concept introduced in 101 Swamp Spells of being able to define your allies and summon them to you has been artfully introduced to a forest setting.

I'll keep reading.


Saint Bernard wrote:

I found a couple of editing errors last night. The spell list have a reference to the spell, Wooden Dragon, which does not appear in the spell section. Also several spell reference greensight, which is not in the PDF.

Overall, I am pleased by the quality and balance of the spells. The concept introduced in 101 Swamp Spells of being able to define your allies and summon them to you has been artfully introduced to a forest setting.

I'll keep reading.

Thank you for the catch of the editing error. I'll flog my editor with the appropriate device.

:)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

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


I have 101 Swamp Spells, 101 Forest Spells, and the underground one. What's next?


Saint Bernard wrote:
I have 101 Swamp Spells, 101 Forest Spells, and the underground one. What's next?

101 Shadow and Darkness spells has just recently been released.

I'm about 75 spells deep into my 5th book and about 35 spells deep into my 6th (I find it easier to work on several at once as the idea fairy sometimes won't cooperate and work on the same project that I want to work on).


Vrecknidj wrote:
the idea fairy

Ooh, ooh! Is that an announcement for the upcoming 101 Fey Spells?!?


I have all 4 of the related 101 Spells supplements (Swamp, Forest, Shadow/Darkness and Subterranean). I can't emphasize enough how much I love these Rite spell PDFs. They're my favorites! And that's saying a lot seeing as how I'm voraciously collecting as many Rite titles as my budget allows me.

I hope there's a whole bunch of additional thematic additions to this series.

If I might suggest, the thought of 101 Urban Spells (or 101 City Spells) would make me deliriously happy.


I also would like to see 101 Urban Spells.


Crai wrote:

I have all 4 of the related 101 Spells supplements (Swamp, Forest, Shadow/Darkness and Subterranean). I can't emphasize enough how much I love these Rite spell PDFs. They're my favorites! And that's saying a lot seeing as how I'm voraciously collecting as many Rite titles as my budget allows me.

I hope there's a whole bunch of additional thematic additions to this series.

If I might suggest, the thought of 101 Urban Spells (or 101 City Spells) would make me deliriously happy.

On my "To Do" list is making customers happy. We'll see what happens.


Maneuvermoose wrote:
Vrecknidj wrote:
the idea fairy
Ooh, ooh! Is that an announcement for the upcoming 101 Fey Spells?!?

It wasn't an announcement. That said, I have already written a couple dozen spells (counting Swamp, Forest, Subterranean, Shadows and Darkness, and two upcoming books) that focus on fey in some way or another. Heck, by the time I've finished this rampage of new spells, I might have created 101 spells associated with fey.

Fey are some of my favorite critters.


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