Advanced Arcana Volume VI (PFRPG)

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Advanced Arcana Volume VI (PFRPG)

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Master the Building Blocks of Magic!

Two wizards face off against one another, both attempting to cast the same spell. Their hands go through the complex motions as quickly as they can, racing to finish first while struggling not to let a single finger fall out of place. An apprentice attempts to cast a difficult spell for the first time, and stumbles to a halt halfway through—what was the next word? Ixos, or isox?—if he guesses wrong, the spell may go horribly awry. A kindly old hedge witch tells a desperate client that there is a spell that does what he wants, but in order to cast it properly, she will need a lily that bloomed on a grave.

These are the kinds of exciting and dramatic moments that spell components have the potential to provide, but it’s not something you see very often at the game table, where spell components are often glossed over as though they were nothing. Pathfinder Roleplaing Game: Occult Adventures introduced two new types of spell components, and this book takes that idea to the next level by introducing spells with several new kinds of components, including:

  • Intricate components, which take existing components like verbal and somatic to a dramatic new level in exchange for powerful returns.
  • Energy components, which draw on the caster’s own life force to cast.
  • Sacrifice components, which require a live, intelligent sacrifice to perform.
  • Soul components, where a captured soul is needed to power the spell (whose effect often depends on the soul’s quality).
  • Terrain components, found in powerful spells that can only be cast while in certain types of terrain.
  • …and a whole lot more!

Advanced Arcana Volume VI is more than just a collection of over 150 brand new, never-before-seen spells. It, like its critically-acclaimed predecessors, was specifically designed to challenge the status quo of the way that magic works in your game. But even above and beyond Advanced Arcana Volume VI’s numerous groundbreaking new spells that will have you rethinking what you thought you knew about magic, the book contains a number of expansive appendices on such topics as…

  • A selection of feats that allow casters to make the most of the new spell mechanics.
  • Several new and exotic familiars, including a brain in a jar, a magic mirror, and more.
  • A new archetype for each and every Paizo spellcasting class.
  • …and more!

If you’ve already experienced one of the previous installments of Advanced Arcana, you know that this book is not to be missed. Pick up your copy of Advanced Arcana Volume VI, and change the way that you think about magic today.

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An RPG Resource Review

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Opening as usual with a note to a student working his way through the Aubergrave Academy of Magecraft (how long is the course? He's been there six years now, maybe he's doing a PhD!), apparently the poor lad lost his mentor in rather tragic (if unspecified) circumstances and has had to apprentice to somebody else. It also appears that he now has to start assisting with teaching more junior students (all the more likely that he's doing a PhD as you often get a teaching assistant role at that point). Mention is also made of a new area of study, psychic magic, which is touched on within this tome. In a rare formatting error, the two pages of the letter are superimposed on what appears to be the Credits and Table of Contents pages, which fortunately appear in their own right, the Credits before the letter and the Table of Contents on the following page, so you do get to read them!

Next comes the Foreword by the compiler of the tome, Kabaz Anvitz, who is full of excitement at the discovery of an entire new branch of magic, the psychic magic mentioned in the letter. In previous volumes he's explored and questioned conventional magic, and here the study of psychic magic has led him on to examine spell components in detail. The theme of Advanced Arcana I was the 'cost' of a spell, so returning to that approach, can material components - and indeed the caster's gestures and words - also form part of the 'cost' of casting a spell? An interesting thought that leads him to the concept that it might be possible to cast a spell without the required material components by casting it at a higher level (i.e. using up more magical energy) than normal. Or increase the spell's effects by adding extra components... exciting stuff indeed!

We then move on to more detailed game mechanics to support these ideas. Psychic magic was introduced in Paizo Publishing's Occult Adventures rulebook for the Pathfinder RPG, where the concept of thought and emotion components joined the familiar verbal, somatic and material ones. It's all about the drama and excitement of spell-casting, words and gestures and other elements combining to bring about the effect the caster intends. So here we have intricate components - words or gestures so complex that skill checks are needed to get them right - and other components based on energy, alignment, sacrifice or even terrain. There's a lot to play with here! Detailed game mechanics are provided to help you get to grips with the ideas presented here and translate them into spellcasting within your game.

The actual spells themselves are presented first as spell lists by caster type and level, and then in an alphabetical collection of full descriptions of each one. Read, enjoy, imagine... some of these spells, however, are quite dark, evil even - after all, sacrifice of a sentient being merely to power a spell is rightly deemed an evil act, most of the time.

The appendices present new feats designed to aid interaction with the new game mechanics introduced in this book, new archetypes which mix up the way in which different types of spellcaster engage with their magic, a collection of new (sometimes bizarre) familiars, and finally biographic notes and game statistics of some of the legendary spellcasters who aided Kabaz Anvitz in researching this book - along with a further note from him about the process.

What can I say? These books just get better and better, casting new and interesting light on the study and practice of magic. Particularly appealing if you like to take an academic approach to magic, there is plenty for the more practical spellcaster too.


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