|Jason Nelson Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games|
Part II of my review
The pdf also contains a massive feat-section. The first of these would be Fairy Blessing, which nets you +2 to Diplomacy and Knowledge checks made with regard to fey. You also get +1 to saves vs. mind-affecting effects, +2 versus those sourced from fey. Sounds sucky? Well, there is a reason for that. This is basically a feat-tax feat that acts as a prerequisite for the (Faerie) feats that follow. Unless I have miscounted, there are 12 such feats herein. Doesn’t sound like much? Well, these are “Clinton Boomer”-feats. If you’re not familiar with Clinton’s long and storied work, these feats are MASSIVE, with most of them spanning about ½ a page. They also often are designed to allow for very specific character concepts and go, in power, often a step beyond what you expect from feats. Blazing Eyes & Mad Howls of the Jabberwock may be taken as a Dampened Versatility by the Elemental Annihilator, and may only be taken by Pyrokineticists with lawful alignments. The feat makes you draw energy from the First World and prohibits you from taking Reverse Shift; while in the woods, you’re considered to possess the Air element for purposes of infusions and wild talents, and all blasts get the [air] descriptor. You can choose to accept a point of Burn as a full-round action to execute a “burble” –a confusion-inducing 30 ft.-spread or create a sonic cone-blast. You can also shroud yourself in winds that can potentially blow targets away if they fail a Strength check. That’s not how repositioning usually works in PFRPG. You do start looking a bit jabberwocky-like and do count as other types for detrimental purposes. My aforementioned criticism regarding multiple types applies, obviously, here as well. The feat also makes you VERY paranoid of vorpal weaponry. Understandably. The feat nets you massive benefits, but also imposes massive Achilles’ heels that you otherwise wouldn’t have. While not suitable for every game, as a person, I really like it. (Though the Strength-based movement is replaced in my version of the feat.)
Frumious Quills of the Bandersnatch builds on this feat, which lets you accept Burn to increase damage output with[fire] or[air] kinetic blasts, and piercing blasts have quills stuck in targets on a failed save, which also accounts for degrees of failure. These quills sicken the targets and removing them is hazardous. Ridiculous: tripled damage on critical hits. A) This is not how Pathfinder handles critical hits. B) You can already do brutal amounts of damage with crits. The feat also allows for kineticist/rage/Bloodrage comboing. No, this one I’d definitely not allow. Not that it matters. Why? You can’t ever take it. The prerequisites list chaotic alignment, while the prerequisite Jabberwock feat is lawful only…so unless you rule that you can retain the former through an alignment change, this will never be available. Horrid Shrieks of the JubJub Bird has a similar issue and nets you reflexive energy resistance. This interacts with Frumious Quills, but…well. Yeah.
Cloak of Coiling Thorns requires being a Phytokineticist of 10th level or higher lets you leave walls of thorns behind you when withdrawing or running, and dimension door via Burn. (Not properly italicized.) Dark Chains Between the Trees builds on Shade of the Woodlands and nets you Unforged Arrow of the Wild as a Faith trait, rather than as a feat. This makes all kinetic blasts and wild talents and SPs gain the shadow descriptor, and blasts can be readied to counter [light] spells and effects. All abilities granted by this, and all wild talents, become divine as well, which makes them more susceptible to effects that resist it. Gaze of the Wilderness is a druid-exclusive that nets you an expanded spell list, and it lets you sacrifice living creatures to make spellcasting less costly. Cool and flavorful one. Shapeless and Primal Terror builds on Shade of the Woodlands and nets you thought/memory-related spells added to your druid spell list. Additionally, you get to expend wild shape uses to get benefits for 1 hour per druid level. There is an aura that causes 1d4 Wisdom damage and paralyze targets for 1 round. (Hex caveat, thankfully). Still, this is VERY nasty and should probably be limited use…or at least have a briefer duration. As always on, it’s super strong. Predator’s Cry (header, oddly, formatted differently than the previous use) nets you a scream that nets you a 60 ft-radius save or be panicked for 2d4 rounds effect. Finally, you get 100 ft telepathy at well while in dim light or darkness. None of these correctly specify activation actions.
The Cursed Cycle, Unending, has an epic idea: When you die, you leave with a nasty curse, and at higher levels, the curse becomes more potent. (Nitpick: Spell-reference not italicized once.) I love this persistent, nasty final sendoff – and yes, the curse can leap! True Child of the Forest makes you count as though you had the nature mystery and the revelation for the purpose or Extra Revelation (OUCH), get a couple of spells added to the spell list, but also need to consume a lot of drink to avoid thirst…even if you become undead. True Love’s Kiss is cool: You get to choose a true love: By kissing this character, and may kiss the true love to duplicate mythic break enchantment or mythic dispel magic, using character level = CL. Unforged Arrow of the Wild requires being a phytokineticist and a nets you a revelation from the nature mystery, and provides options to select certain feats via Dampened Versatility. You can also avoid Burn, instead gaining penalties to skills (Legendary Kineticist-style) and lose languages when doing so. Additionally, this sickens and staggers you while in urban environments – you become a creature of the wild. The feat does prohibit you from using metal armor. Walker Behind the Thorns nets you a withdraw/dimension door retreat that blends with leaving walls of thorns.
Finally, there would be the unicorn charger PrC, which requires BAB +6 or higher, Mounted Combat and 3 skills at 5 ranks. Only good characters that speak Sylvan may take it, and the character needs a bond that grants a horse or pony or similar companion. Of course, the character also needs contact with a unicorn. The PrC nets 172 Fort-progression and good BAB-progression, d10 HD and 2 + Int skills per level, and proficiency with lances and shields (excluding tower shields). 2nd level nets spells drawn from the paladin spell list. These can be cast spontaneously and range up to 4th level, capping at 2 at 1st and 2nd level, 1 at 3rd and 4th spell level. Charisma is governing attribute for spellcasting. The PrC gets its own spells known list, and an aura of good as well as the pala’s detect evil ability. The character gets a unicorn mount that gets +2 to one mental ability score of your choice at 3rd level and every 3 thereafter. Wild empathy is twice as effective with good magical beasts, and 2nd level nets poison resistance that improves at 5th and 8th level, with 10th level providing poison immunity. This level also nets woodland stride. 3rd level nets smite evil, save that it applies instead to plants, evil fey and similarly-themed adversaries, and the second ability gained at that level, lets the unicorn heal targets or rider via its horn a limited number of times per day, which is treated akin to lay on hands. 4th level provides an AC-penalty-less charge at +4 instead of the default bonus. 4th level nets Aura of courage, 8th aura of resolve.
5th level nets sanctuary (not italicized) versus non-evil animals, fey, etc., as well as a bonus to Diplomacy with such beings, based on class level. 6th level nets the option of healing diseases and poisons with the horn. 7th level provides dimension door 1/day, +1/day at 7th level. At this level, the pure heart is also gained, which makes the mount’s weaponry considered to be good, and certain spells may be cast spontaneously or by expending healing horn uses. 9th level provides a further upgrade for the horn, and 10th level nets a super charge attack with doubled threat range. Interaction with palas and ex-unicorn charges are covered.
Editing and formatting are good on both a formal and rules-language level. While I noticed a few formatting and editing glitches, some of which impact rules-integrity, the pdf still is, as a whole and considering the complexity, rather precise. Layout adheres to Legendary Games’ two-column full-color standard of the Kingmaker plug-ins. The pdf sports some rather nice full-color artworks and comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
Jason Nelson, Julian Neale, Clinton J. Boomer and N. Jolly provide a collection of cool archetypes with a definite frontier and fey vibe. I enjoyed the archetypes herein in that even the shorter ones offer a sense of a distinct identity. That being said, there are a couple of options that sport some hiccups in the details and there are a few instances where I definitely would draw the ban hammer or nerf bat – particularly the feats require that a GM really knows what they’re doing before allowing them in the game. The jabberwocky-sequence in particular, or the ones that just grant you revelation-access, are imho overkill. As a whole, this doesn’t sink the product, but it does cancel out a couple of the more inspired components, leveling out at being a good, if not perfect supplement. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.