Psionics Augmented: Living Legend (PFRPG) PDF

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With the Psionics Augmented: Occult project, Dreamscarred Press is working to integrate the new psychic magic from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Occult Adventures into the psionics system from Ultimate Psionics and related products. Within the pages of these releases you'll find new feats, archetypes, items, and more, bringing psionic takes on psychic classes, psychic takes on psionic classes, and everything in-between.

This first release includes the Living Legend, a brand-new soulknife archetype that gains its power by using psionics to invoke aspects of stories. Similarly to the medium, it has a large variety of abilities based on the mythic paths, and chooses which to gain each day.

The release also includes information on playing Soulknives in high-psionics campaigns, and a new crystalline focus item, the crystal bookmark, specifically for Living Legends.

Written by Forrest Heck, with artwork by Christina Olszewski

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This pdf clocks in at 18 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, leaving us with 14 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The pdf begins with an interesting set of observations and fluff pertaining the interaction of psychic magic and psionics; it may seem odd, but to me, the two always felt radically different and the pdf points this out rather well: Psionic magic stems from internal forces, whereas psychic magic is gained from an external power - so yes, establishing distinct leitmotifs here males very much sense to me and is a nice lead-in for the first Occult/Psionic-crossover book. In case you haven't thought about the two systems in that way, the introductory section certainly helps generating a holistic perspective here.

But we're here for the eponymous living legend...which, in theory could be classified as a soulknife archetype. Well, in the same way you could call the psychic a wizard archetype. The living legend is a massive tweak of the engine, basically a whole new class. Let me reiterate: The archetype gains an extended class skill list, adding Linguistics, all Knowledge and Perform skills to the class skills available. They employ Intelligence instead of Wisdom as a key ability modifier. These beings are also the protagonists of their own legends . thus, each day, they can meditate to prepare themselves for a character archetype via a 1-hour séance. At the end of the séance, the living legend chooses two legendary spirits from a cadre of 7 to inhabit him for the day; a living legend can only hold these two roles per day, so choose wisely. One of the roles is active and one passive and they can be switched as a swift action (starting at 13th level, Int-mod times as a free action per day), but regardless of whether active or passive, the living legend is subject to the spirit's influence, taboos, etc. The active role conveys benefits: A lesser power at 1st level, intermediate power at 4th, greater at 10th and supreme power at 16th level. A living legend may choose to not be beholden to one of the roles' influences, but loses the benefit of the role's narrative for the day. Breaking a taboo nets a -2 to atk, damage, ability- and skill-checks, as well as saving throws for one hour. The penalty is not cumulative, but its duration extends on subsequent violations. This eliminates psychic strike and the blade skills gained at the respective power levels 4th, 10th and 16th.

The roles thus chosen also determine the precise mind blade and both the iteration for the active and passive role are available. Each of the mind blades the archetype has may be customized in their own ways.

Changing roles can automatically reshape the mind blade. Starting at 1st level, the living legend also receives the benefits of a feat as determined by the active role - for Archmage, that would be Precise Shot, for Marshal Lookout, etc. - and yes, if he has the feat, he may choose another appropriate for the archetype. Not all blade skills are available for the living legend, but instead, they can select some unique blade skills designated as legendary stunts. While tied to a role, they can be employed regardless of role and they have a minimum level of 6th; apart from that, they act like blade skills and compatibility with blade skill-based archetypes and prerequisites is maintained.

The tricks granted are interesting: For one, laying a psionic mark on foes, penalizing attacks versus all but the living legend, expending psionic focus to generate a crashing, conical wave of piercing/slashing blade fragments, adding the brand of the heretic as a debuff, hiding in shadows, putting a kind of psionic mine on foes...the basic array here is damn cool. But what does that have to do with the active role? Well, each of these tricks has an additional benefit when you're in the appropriate active role: Archmages can e.g. generate an energy blast cone instead of one based on physical damage. At 20th level, the living legend's stories allow the character to be brought back from the dead by just knowing the stories and casting the appropriate spells (which are not italicized), without needing a body. Oh, and immunity versus soul entrapment and the like. As a minor complaint - the ability end with "He does not gain" - a part of the sentence seems to be missing here.

Now, obviously, the class chassis stands and falls with the legendary roles based on the mythic paths - so what do we get? Well, for once, the authors understand the design paradigm of Occult Adventures. Utility beyond numerical bonuses, flavorful tricks, breadth and, more importantly, hard-wired, amazing roleplaying hooks. The archmage, to give you an example, may choose as a taboo either eschewing all faith in the divine, use magical/psionic solutions over mundane ones or be driven by vast curiosity. Each of the spirits comes with a favored location, notes on influences and sports a narrative - these would be appropriate bonuses, as mentioned before: In the archmage's case, that would be insight bonuses to Int and Int-based checks equal to the maximum enhancement bonus of the mind blade, which is a significant, but feasible bonus. As a mind blade modification, the archmage employs raw mystic might, which translates to a ranged weapon! The active powers granted allow for the use of spell trigger/completion items, a bonus versus creatures analyzed, adding a burst to mind blade attacks or 1/day poach a sorc/wiz spell. Pretty amazing!

The champion's narrative supports your Strength- and Strength-based checks and provides access to any mind blade shape but technological weaponry. The active powers provide significantly enhanced defenses versus spells and save-prompting tricks, allow you to add maneuvers to regular attacks, move up to your movement as a swift action (or even free action!) or generate, at the highest levels dead magic/null psionics fields. Guardians get enhances damage soaking, with better AC, DR/resistance and the option to interpose yourself between allies and assaults...and late in the game, even ignore an attack completely! Hierophants may inflict nonlethal damage, get narrative bonuses, unsurprisingly to Wis-based checks, receive limited channeling, etc. The marshall grants the expected teamwork/tactician/buffing tricks and the overmind is interesting - not how psychic strike's lost? Well, with this role, you can still have the blade count as charged, allowing for the combo tricks inherent in that mechanic. Oh, and telekinetic throw, mental detection of nearby get the idea. the trickster does just what you'd expect.

The pdf also features a new crystalline focus item class for the living legend, the crystal bookmark, which may be used to increase the enhancement bonus of a storied sword and thus is appropriately high priced in its 3 iterations. For our convenience, the feats employed by the class have been reprinted here (thank you - seriously, love the comfort here!) and the pdf does also offer notes on particularly high magic/psionics campaigns (using e.g. the Path of War power level) and notes on how to customize the archetype to work in such a context.


Editing and formatting are good on a formal level, though not perfect - the missing sentence fragment in the capstone is a bit jarring. On a rules-level, this is meticulously precise and well-crafted - highest level complexity wording, waterproof and airtight. Kudos! Layout adheres to an aesthetically pleasing evolution of Dreamscarred Press' two-column full-color standard and is nice. The artworks provided, with a pastel, somewhat anime-like aesthetic by Christina Olszweski are gorgeous and fit the theme well. The pdf comes with a second, more printer-friendly iteration - kudos for going the extra mile!

Psionics Augmented, as a series, has been a somewhat uneven experience for me; There are some aspects in the books that I had to nerf in my games, that point towards a higher-powered playstyle as the core target demographics of the books. It was always my contention that a good engine can carry either...but in the end, PA: Soulknives suckered me in. I should have bashed that one at least a bit, but couldn't bring myself to do it, because the playing experience was too cool. Still, I couldn't help but ramble on about suggested modifications etc. and expected, to some degree, to see that as a kind of leitmotif from now on.

I was wrong.

The Living Legend is one of the most compelling archetypes I have ever read. I completely rewires the soulknife, even beyond what PA: Soulknives offered...and goes one step further. It understands the design paradigm, the emphasis on ROLEplaying Occult Adventures championed and sacrifices nothing of Dreamscarred Press' crunch complexity or precision. The living legend, even in the hands of a novice, is a powerful, rewarding playing experience, though one that will not even break 15-pt-buy games while still working in high-powered high fantasy/psionics/point-buy environments. Beyond the system's complexity and rewarding nature, the expertly woven fluff of the archetype adds to the option immensely. I want to play this guy. In short: Excellent mastery of crunch and fluff, anathema to cookie-cutter, bland designs and wholly new concepts galore. If this is what we can expect of Dreamscarred Press taking on the Occult, consider me utterly stoked for more!

Congratulations to lead designer Forrest Heck and Kevin Ryan, Doug Haworth and Adam Boucher - this is one excellent supplement and the first Psionics Augmented-book I can unanimously recommend, sans any sense of hesitation. 5 stars + seal of approval...and just short of being a candidate for my Top Ten due to the scarce few minor hiccups.

Seriously, get this...and write the legends of your characters!

Endzeitgeist out.

A smug face for a reason


The Living Legend gives a lot, and it takes a lot. There's very little art, but the sitting image of the iconic in the middle is quite a good one - and also much less smug.

Fluffwise, some folks may love it or leave it; it's an 'occult' archetype, inviting basic concepts of "adventurers" into itself in the 'default' idea: Not as invested as a Den-O or the Spiritualist class, but easy to refluff as mimics, method-actors, charlatans, or someone who just can't pick their bloody class.

As an Archetype, the Living Legend leaves little unaffected; this unfortunately leaves it incompatible with the grand majority of other archetypes. Luckily it can hold its own out of the box, base soulknife this is not.

Important to note the 'High Psionics' sidebar: Soulknives are now generally assumed/recommended to get their 4th-level Gifted Blade manifester progression without the Psychic-Strike removal of the archetype.

Living Legends are an Intelligence-based Archetype, replacing wisdom in everything. The archetype offers seven roles; each with its own weapon to choose the enchantments of, and can pick any two every day. New bladeskills also make their appearance of course, and each role has one that -- while it does not require one to be in this role -- is greatly enhanced when used while in said role. Each Role is a very vague and generic 'type' of character, basically what you might get if you asked a bunch of commoners in a bar what they believe the role to be.

Quick Role Descriptions:

The Archmage is a ranged blaster with bonuses to Int skills, checks and extra boons from knowledge. Flashy booms, knows all the monsters, a better basic soulbolt, more or less.

The Champion is a melee combatant with a bit of combat maneuver boons, mobility, "hitting things dead" and bonuses to Strength skills and ability checks too.

Guardians have no Skill-boost, instead boasting a free pile of stackable Temporary HP they can replenish and reset whenever they refocus, improved reach (without a dead-zone), a shield bonus, DR, resistances, and a few ways of protecting or taking the hit for their allies.

Hierophants offer an amazing way of dealing nonlethal (only against things that it will work against!), wisdom-skill/check bonuses, channel energy, banishing at high levels, and a rather amazing ability: They pick a domain and get its powers (not spells). You can pick it every day. You can't *not* find something useful there.

Marshals require a bit more building around. The "teamwork feats" (and also charisma bonuses) role, if you don't have teamwork feats, or don't have a party really built to take advantage of them well, chances are you'll only switch to Marshals on date nights. Nevertheless, it offers several buffs and auras, and their capstone lets them bark out orders to resurrect.

The Overmind is another 'build-based' one: Most notably its own 'special bladeskill' can really make it shine. The Archetype regains Psychic Strike, item use as a psion, bigger better mindblades and some detection. Really it's not so much the minor telepathy and item-use as the boosted Psi-Likes their bladeskill gives them that really makes this an attractive choice; it's just so much less impressive without it.

Finally, Tricksters. Can you guess Dexterity? Of course. That said, they make a fine enough rogue in a way; they get magic-disarming like trapfinder gives, 'invisible' blades with improved feinting speeds (move, swift if already able to do it as a move), extra class skills with free ranks in them (again, you can pick!), sneak attack and spell-stealing.

Players are likely to want to focus on 2 or 3 of the various roles, though there's no reason not to switch to archmage on a crafting day or take advantage of some hierophant domains. Each role does offer a decent amount, and the utility and ability to simply change them out makes up for all those lost bladeskills and other compatibilities.

Overall the Living Legend's combat output can't really keep up with Warsouls or Psy-Armories. While a great improvement over the original, Living Legend is not a soulknife counterpart to lance-chargers and rageserkers, nor can it wipe out quite as much of the battlefield in one moment like a wizard or sorcerer that lowered themselves to "mere blasting". But if you want a better thief, some kind of "fifth man", or if you just want to be able to completely switch it up day in day out because it's that or rolling up new characters, there's enough potential power and design depth here for your Jack of all trades to be more somewhere between Queen and King.

All in all a solid pick.

Very interesting.


The Living Legend is an excellent example of what an archetype should be. A re-imagining of the base class rather than a very slight rules change.

It opens with a rather interesting treatise on the nature of magic systems both in and out of game that I found fascinating and well written, though others may wish to get straight to the archetype itself. Still, it shows a love for the idea and a lot of thought on it.

The Living Legend itself is a very interesting take on the Soulknife that hearkens back to the 3.5 Binder, though with it's own unique twist on it. Each of it's Roles are focused in a way that makes it quite easy to build towards that focus but the class itself gives enough options that it didn't feel limiting. I can very easily see this archetype filling any role that a group needs it to fill without much issue. The rules are longer for this than for most archetypes but do an excellent job of not feeling overwhelming and focus on what is needed to meld flavor and mechanics.

My sole concern is that the Passive Role feels like it don't do much when chosen. It would have been more interesting, I think, to get a little more ability-wise from the Passive role as well as the active. This does not, however, detract from the quality of the archetype.

Community Manager

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Publisher, Dreamscarred Press

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Thanks, Liz!

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Cool, especially liked reading the section on Power Sources.

Though I'm not sure I understand why some Mind Blade types say "can reshape your mind blade as a full-round action, as if you possessed the normal soulknife’s shape mind blade class feature." when on page four it says "As a full-round action, the living legend can reshape his mind blade to one of his current roles’ mind blades." on page four. Is there something I'm missing?

Publisher, Dreamscarred Press

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I'll ask Forrest for clarification on that one.

Glad you liked it!

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Milo v3 wrote:

Cool, especially liked reading the section on Power Sources.

Though I'm not sure I understand why some Mind Blade types say "can reshape your mind blade as a full-round action, as if you possessed the normal soulknife’s shape mind blade class feature." when on page four it says "As a full-round action, the living legend can reshape his mind blade to one of his current roles’ mind blades." on page four. Is there something I'm missing?

Each of the roles' mind blades is unique. If you're currently wielding the Mystic Might of the Archmage or Thousand Blades of the Champion, for example, you've got one setup, and that's it. As a full-round action, you can reshape it to your other role's mind blades.

The mind blade types that specify working like the Shape Mind Blade class feature are "generic" mind blades, and you can change their handedness/damage type as a full-round action, just like a normal soulknife.

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I already own Ultimate Psionics, and it's great. It's so great in fact that I have wholly skipped Occult Adventures because it was lacking in comparison. How in the world are you going to integrate those systems into your established psionics system? Are you tweaking them to make them more like yours, or just leaving them as a separate system?

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Akharus wrote:
I already own Ultimate Psionics, and it's great. It's so great in fact that I have wholly skipped Occult Adventures because it was lacking in comparison. How in the world are you going to integrate those systems into your established psionics system? Are you tweaking them to make them more like yours, or just leaving them as a separate system?

One of the sections in this book discusses how psionics and psychic magic are different from each other, and how having both in the same world or character make sense. Rather good section if you ask me.

I'll wait until it comes out as a book.

Akharus wrote:
I already own Ultimate Psionics, and it's great. It's so great in fact that I have wholly skipped Occult Adventures because it was lacking in comparison. How in the world are you going to integrate those systems into your established psionics system? Are you tweaking them to make them more like yours, or just leaving them as a separate system?

The same way DSP has integrated Arcane magic and Divine magic with psionics. Psychic magic isn't psionics, fluffwise or mechanically. There's some overlap, but there's strong overlap between every magic system.

If you look at the full-sized preview on DriveThruRPG, it's got the pages for the section elaborating on this.

Right on. Glad to hear it.

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

Endzeitgeist out.

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Wow. I normally eat up all of DSPs stuff, but have avoided most of the Occult Adventure's stuff. But, with that EZG review, I've bought this as well.
It looks like it has all the thematically best parts of the medium and soulknife that one would care to have. Excellent work, Mr. Heck.

Thank you for the trust, Kryzbyn - I am humbled my little review made you check out this gem!!
One other note: I'm trying an experiment with the living legend this month, namely use it in a one on one game. I am pretty positive it would make a great class for such a set-up, but didn't have the time to test that component for the review.

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Well earned praise, sir. You're welcome.

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