Did you just released a 1.2 version? what happened?
Zodiac got added to the Paizo site here (previously only available on DriveThruRPG and other OBS sites), and Christen pushed through some minor edit/formatting notes I sent him on the PDF, so I'm assuming one of those two things is what you're seeing.
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Part II of my review:
Starting at 4th level, the radiant may spend a standard action to attempt to invest essence into an unwilling target, risking essence burn if the target makes the save. Such targets then take a -1 penalty to atk and damage per point invested. Additionally, while an enemy has at least one point of essence invested in them, the radiant may attempt to redistribute a condition to this target instead of herself. This ties in with the linear martyr’s renewal ability-tree: At 3rd level and every 2 levels thereafter, the radiant learns to draw more negative conditions out of targets, and also is automatically cured of an ever-increasing array of conditions when drawing them out of her allies.
Starting at 2nd level and every even level thereafter, the radiant also gets a vivification, of which 10 are provided. These add further numerical bonuses to essence invested in allies. These include attribute bonuses, DR, damage boosts, ability damage healing (and drain to damage conversion), etc.
Oh, and if you’re concerned about HD-based fragility: The radiant adds Wisdom modifier to Constitution modifier for the purpose of determining Fort-saves and for determining hit points – but only when leveling in the radiant class! Nice catch to prevent dipping-abuse. Wisdom modifier is also used to determine the maximum number of negative hit points prior to dying. At 19th level, the radiant may return a fallen ally to life at maximum hit points as a standard action – this does cost 6 essence burn and requires that at least 50% of the body’s still there. The capstone makes the radiant and allies invested with essence immune to death effects while the radiant is conscious. Additionally, when an ally would be killed, the radiant may, as an immediate action, take essence burn to negate 10 points of damage per essence burned. The radiant also doesn’t die of old age anymore and is immune to age-modifying effects as a byproduct of this capstone. The favored class options encompass aasimar, elf, gathlain, ghoran, gnome, human, ifrit, oread, ratfolk, sylph and undine.
All right, so far so good! The second half of the book is devoted to a ton of new veils – though there is a difference here. These veils don’t just come as unrelated series of options – instead, they feature 12 different themes, like “Angelic Armaments” – this one alone does encompass 10 different veils! The total section included more than 80 (!!) veils, vastly expanding your options. And yes, the section does note not only the new classes: Viziers, gurus and daevics are mentioned in the respective lists. There are a few minor inconsistencies here. It should be noted that this pdf does a better job at descriptor-ing the respective veils. And yes, the veils do now, as you can glean from the alignment-themes, alignment-based descriptors. So yes, mechanically, I consider these to be neat: Ever wanted to have angelic wings, a halo, a flaming sword and vambraces inscribed with holy scripture? What about a halo? Yeah, I do want to go “avenging angel” on evil doers! There is a set of veils modeled after Charon – the feet-bind effect of boatman’s ferry lets you glide across liquid and makes you a deadly adversary, and there are inter-veil combos here! Charon’s five rivers amulet, for example, adds doom marks to those that dare attack you. The whole set’s veils have additional effects when vanquishing foes with doom marks on them! For maximum synergy effects, you may need to do some thinking, but that’s the beauty of the system – you can get basic functionality out of these, then discover the veil-combos (further enhanced by the set-leitmotifs) and then discover even more combos!
Vampiric healing, halting ongoing effects via partial stasis in time, shrouding yourself in a flowery regalia (though Daevic is missing from the list of classes that get the veil here, even though the class seems to be supposed to do so)…what about a cloak of thorns or the Heart of Yggdrasil, djinn-themed veils, ones that focus on the eternal darkness, blasting foes with light, become the lurker in light (which ENHANCES your Stealth in light!), attack foes with hellish pitchforks, manifest barbs…some pretty cool ones. There is one ability that could be used to cheese essence burn, demon lord’s hunger: While it requires 18th level to bind, the ability allows you to inhale souls, which boils down to save or die and minor essence regeneration. Granted, a target can only be affected once per 24 hours by it…but I have a whole bag full of delightfully fluffy kittens…On the plus side: Healing is tightly kept in check and in line, including other abilities like flight etc. – the ability-dispersal does speak of a firm grasp of not only overt, but also of covert design paradigms. An exception to this would be unicorn feathering’s neck chakra bind, which nets a burst-y heal whenever you or the unicorn allies called confirm a crit (18 -20/x3 due to the veil’s modifications). This should have a fixed cap. That being said, I’m calling these out since the material otherwise is really refined and diverse…and sports some awesome visuals. Oh, and it may be a small thing, but I like that every veil gets a small flavor-description.
Editing and formatting are very good – I noticed a few very minor formatting glitches and rules-oversights…but frankly, many public playtests fail to deliver such a concise and dense system at this level of quality. This is impressive. Layout adheres to a really nice two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks. The artworks within are full-color, original, and frickin’ fantastic. Inspiring, with their very own, internally-consistent style. This is a beautiful supplement.
Michael Sayre is one of the crunch-designers that doesn’t screw around. There is no blandness, no mediocrity here – just high-concept, complex, math-heavy design, clad in inspiring fluff. If you already own Akashic Mysteries, then you need to get this by virtue of the veils alone – they are worth the asking price on their own.
That being said, let’s discuss the classes: The radiant is a unique playing experience and has, chassis-wise, a ton to offer – the class can actually help party-tanking capability greatly and makes for a really unique defender-style character. The nexus also has its own niche: The class, once you know the akashic system, makes for a super-easy to make blaster. It doesn’t try to out-kineticist or out-ethermage the complex blaster list, instead representing a great beginner’s class: It’s viable from the get-go, even if you don’t yet understand the akashic system and is superbly noob-friendly. In short: It’s the warlock-y blaster that works for gritty games without being invalidated in high-power games. It also won’t bore experienced gamers, courtesy of the akashic engine. Your character died? Make one of these, start blasting away, and slowly get into the akashic system. Impressive. The eclipse is also inspired in its own way – while I am weary of two of its abilities (which should get a nerfbat-whack), it has its unique role: An akashic killer who does the disposable shadow-clone angle really well, and in a way that should even work for lower-powered games. In short, I consider all of these classes to be inspired in some way.
Now, there is one thing to note: Each class will leave you wanting more. More convergences, more vivifications, archetypes – it is within the nature of this pdf and its intent as a decoupling of classes from setting, but DAMN, did I want more! As far as rules-integrity is concerned, I can name a TON of files that do not attempt even remotely anything as complex as this one does, which do worse. Summa summarum, I came up with a grand total of 3 potentially problematic components, and none of them is a deal-breaker. While I do maintain that the essence burn-healing of eclipse and the veil should be limited, I still consider this to be an inspired file. And you get a LOT of really dense, high-difficulty rules for the price-point.
How to rate this? Well…here things get tricky. I really like the akashic system, and I like the classes herein more than the original 3 classes. I like the veils more…but at the same time, the very few minor blemishes do drag this down from the lofty praise I’d otherwise bestow upon it. I also found myself wishing we’d have gotten a single book for each class, with more options per class…but hey, there’ll be expansions in C7S, and perhaps we’ll get to see even more! Still, as a reviewer, I have to take these factors into account, and they are what drags this down to 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform. I will still add my seal of approval to this gem, though – If you like akasha or even remotely are interested in it, get this asap!
Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.
|Michael Sayre Organized Play Developer|
|Michael Sayre Organized Play Developer|
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Just as a heads up for anyone wondering if Lost Spheres was going to continue providing support for this product line in PF1...
The answer is yes! Akashic Realms Volume 1: Emperors and Einherjar is now available on DrivethruRPG and the Open Gaming Store! I expect we'll have it up for purchase here on Paizo sometime in the next week.
Akashic Realms: E&E includes a new Eclipse veil set forged on the umbral battlefields of the Dark Shogunate, the Asgardian Saga veil set allowing you to ride Sleipnir into battle while wielding the mighty spear Gungnir, and the Kingdom of the Five Emperors introduces an entire new set of constellations for the zodiac!