Classes of the Lost Spheres: Zodiac (PFRPG) PDF

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"My allies are the stars!"

Enter the Zodiac… an akashic summoner wielding the memories of the stars themselves. Match your playstyle to the Orbit that best suits you. Play as an aggressive stellar warrior with the Solar Zodiac, maximizing the power of your starborn weapons and charging beside your champion allies. Or take the reins of the mysterious Lunar Zodiac, arming your champions and supporting them with an array of akashic veils.

Expanding on the principles of akashic power introduced in Dreamscarred Press’ Akashic Mysteries and expanded in the City of 7 Seraphs: Akashic Trinity, the Zodiac is a powerful new way to interface with the essence and veilweaving system. Neither Akashic Mysteries or City of 7 Seraphs: Akashic Trinity is required to use the Classes of the Lost Spheres: Zodiac supplement.

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This installment of the Classes of the Lost Spheres-series clocks in at 42 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page blank, 1 page back cover, and 5 pages of SRD, though it should be noted that a part of one statblock can be found on the first SRD-page. This leaves us with 32 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

The zodiac class gets, chassis-wise, d8 HD, 4 + Int skills per level, proficiency with light and medium armor and shields, except tower shields. They get ¾ BAB-progression as well as good Fort- and Will-saves, and their essence improves in a linear fashion over the levels, starting with 1 essence at first level, and increasing that to 20 at 20th level.

The zodiac is an akashic class, using veilweaving to form unique magical benefits. At this time, I have presented how akasha works in detail not only once, but twice: Once in Dreamscarred Press’ “Akashic Mysteries” and once in Lost Spheres Publishing’s “Akashic Trinity.” Both of these present really cool classes, and akasha, as a subsystem for magic, is super-interesting to me. I assume familiarity with the system in this review. It should be noted that this is a stand-alone supplement – you do not require Akashic Mysteries or Akashic Trinity to make use of the class: The basic rules of akasha, how veilweaving, shaped veils etc. work is explained within.

The zodiac handles the akashic engine in a couple of unique ways, but more on that later. At 1st level, the zodiac gains the ability to tap into the so-called constellations. Constellations can be manifested as either forms of equipment (in which case they occupy the appropriate slots), or as champions, but not as both at a given time; a given constellation may only be manifested once at any given time by a zodiac. Champions called forth by the zodiac are always the same and retain feats, skills etc., and they are capable of understanding the zodiac. In case of the zodiac being unable to command them, they use their best judgment. Most champions gain levels and improve as animal companions, with zodiac levels being substituted for druid levels to determine progression. The manifestation of a constellation is a standard action that imposes essence burn, depending on the precise manifestation chosen, on the zodiac. While the manifestation is ongoing, this essence burn may not be recovered. If the zodiac loses consciousness, manifestations are automatically dismissed, but otherwise, they have no set duration. Reducing a manifestation’s hit points to 0 does dismiss it, and if it is then called upon once more, it manifests with only 1 hit point and all conditions previously in place and not yet elapsed, if any - unless 24 hours have passed, in which case, the manifestation is fully restored. Manifestations may be healed or repaired as usual. Manifestations also act as essence receptacle, with unique benefits for having essence invested in them.

A total of 12 such constellations are provided, though there is a cosmetic snafu among the bookmarks, which erroneously puts 7 of them under the “champions”-header. (The other 5 also have champions, so I figure that this stems from a previous version.) Each of the constellations has an element associated with it, and constellations of an element opposed to one currently in place by the constellation in effect cost more essence to manifest. Each constellation comes with a bit of flavor text in all-caps introducing it, and then proceeds to list element in question and manifestations granted in their own lines. Below these, the respective manifestations are listed, with essence costs in brackets. As a minor complaint, the formatting of the subheaders of the respective manifestations sports two cosmetic glitches on page 11: Once, champion is underlined instead of bolded, and once it’s not bolded. These are cosmetic, though. Each of the manifestations of a given constellation furthermore has an essence-invested line, which allows, as noted before, for further modification. It should also be noted that the essence cost required for a given manifestation acts as a kind of limiting factor for the options granted by the zodiac: The costs to manifest a champion, for example, span the gamut from 4 to a whopping 12, which imposes some strict limitations on the potent abilities granted. The other manifestations, i.e. armor, equipment and weaponry, are significantly less costly.

To give you a couple of examples: The archer constellation can, for 5 essence, manifest a hunter’s bond-using elven ranger with archery style that also has a scaling magical bow or crossbow; for essence invested, CMD versus disarm and trip as well as base movement speed increases. The champion granted by the bull constellation would be a war bull animal companion with a starting Intelligence of 6, who, unsurprisingly, receives boosts to CMB and CMD pertaining bull rush and overrun attempts. Sometimes, you get to choose: Fish, for example, lets you choose between dolphin and shark, and e.g. the sea goat’s champion would be a Capricorn that improves at zodiac level 4 and every level thereafter. Twin nets a scaling rogue – you get the idea. Now, if that sounds like a lot of work for players and/or GM, depending on who usually builds cohorts, let it be known that the pdf does note that only prepared companions should be options that can be called forth. The different essence values and use of a couple of already pretty much done companions also speed up the process. Finally, the discrepancy regarding essence cost and thus, minimum levels required, also means that this task is, thankfully, spread over the progression and makes handling this aspect comparatively quick and painless, considering what it does.

As far as equipment is concerned, one example would be a wooden mask that allows for wild empathy use as though class levels equaled druid levels, and also yields speak with animals as a constant effect. Essence invested in this example would yield bonuses to Handle Animal and wild empathy checks. Manifesting the ram’s equipment nets a properly (type and damage type! YEAH!) codified primary natural gore attack, courtesy of the ram helm (Small and Large zodiac damage values included as well!) that scales, with essence invested enhancing charge attacks – fitting, right? Interesting would be the item granted by the scales: It’s a rod, which allows the wielder to channel the forces of balance: When the wielder is hit, the rod gains healing power (with a cap), and when healed, the wielder can choose to forego healing and charge the rod with damage. Damage and healing, as well as the complex action economy situation here are properly codified, and, in an impressive feat of design prowess, these rules also prevent any form of cheesing I could think of regarding the stored healing etc. Once essence is invested, damage healed/dealt by using the rod is increased by +2 per point of essence invested.

Let’s take a brief overview of what the different armor manifestations, if any, can do, shall we? Here, we get scaling armors and weapons, with e.g. hide armor granted by Lion, and Crab providing one the wearer is proficient with. The archer can yield a ranged weapon (no firearms, and composite bow Strength ratings are taken into account), while the druid nets clubs. It should be noted that essence-investment is taken into account and used to differentiate between the constellations. For convenience’s sake, let us list the respective options by element, shall we?

Air: Armors 0; Champions 2 (Druid, Twin); Equipment 3 (Druid, Scales, Twin); Weapons 2 (Druid, Scales).

Earth: Armors 0; Champions 3 (Bull, Sea Goat, Scorpion); Equipment 3 (Bull, Sea Goat, Scorpion); Weapons 1 (Scorpion)

Fire: Armors 1 (Lion); Champions 3 (Archer, Lion, Ram); Equipment 1 (Ram); Weapons 2 (Archer, Lion).

Water: Armors 1 (Crab); Champions 3 (Crab, Fish, Water Bearer); Equipment 2 (Fish, Water Bearer); Weapons 0.

From this, you’ll note a few distinct oddities – not every element gets an armor or a weapon, and water end up one manifestation short of the others – however, it should be noted that water gets the strongest champion manifestation, so that may have been intended. It also should be noted that this tends to be no real issue, considering that the zodiac gets automatic access to ALL of these manifestations and constellations. This HUGE amount of options is hardcoded right into the class, allowing for a TON of player agenda at any given point. Speaking of which, there is one very important choice at first level: The orbit.

Essentially, the zodiac is two classes in one: If you choose a lunar orbit, you focus on enhancing your champion: You reduce the cost of champion manifestation by 1 to a minimum of 1 and gain an additional point of essence at 1st level, 2nd level and every even level thereafter. This makes the class, unless I am sorely mistaken, eclipse even the vizier regarding essence, which *may* be slightly overkill. At 4th and 6th level, the lunar zodiac gets Access Low Chakra (Head, Feet or Hands) as a bonus feat; 10th and 12th level provide Access Middle Chakra Slot (Wrists, Headband or Shoulders), and 14th and 16th provide Access Higher Chakra Slot (Neck, Belts). These feats, included within, basically double as a free-form way for characters to gain access to chakra binds to the respective item slot – an option that vastly enhances the flexibility of this system. For the purpose of the zodiac, the chakra bind choices add player agenda into what previously was a linear progression in the akashic context – something I definitely applaud. Something one may easily overlook here in power-comparison would be that the lunar zodiac is missing a couple of the chakra-binds that the vizier can get, for example. The highest level ones (chest, body) won’t be unlocked by the zodiac, and each category only unlocks two of the bind slots, not all three. But let us return to look at the rest of the lunar orbit’s engine, shall we? Lunar zodiacs use Charisma as their governing veilweaving key ability modifier and may shape two veils per day, plus an additional one at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter. They may reallocate essence as a swift action.

The second orbit available would be Solar. These zodiacs gain access to proficiency with heavy armor and all martial weapons. They use class level instead of BAB when wielding the weapon manifestations of their constellations and for the purpose of feat effects based on BAB. The solar zodiac also gets a bonus feat on 2nd level and every even level thereafter, chosen from akashic, combat and teamwork feats. Shape Veil is also on this list. It should be noted that for these, the class uses zodiac level as BAB-prerequisite instead. If solar zodiacs take Shape Veil, they use Charisma as veilweaving key ability modifier. So yeah, the solar orbit is basically a veil-less akashic class! Interesting!

At 3rd level and every 6 levels thereafter, the zodiac’s essence capacity for all essence receptacles increases by 1. 5th level further reduces the cost of manifesting opposed element constellation manifestations, from 3 to 2. Additionally, for each constellation of a matching element manifested, the zodiac and his champion inflict +2 damage with weapon attacks and veils shaped that deal hit point damage, with the element governing the energy type as per convention – air adds electricity damage, earth acid – you get the drift. At 11th level, the essence penalty for opposing element constellation manifestations is further reduced by 1, and complimentary elements (fire and air, or earth and water) may now be treated as the same element for the purpose of determining the benefits of the bonus damage: With one earth and water manifestation in place, he’d for example deal +2 acid and +2 cold damage. 17th level gets rid of the essence penalty completely, and having a weapon or armor manifested renders the zodiac immune to the energy type of the corresponding constellation’s element. A manifested champion gains immunity versus their constellation’s energy, but manifesting a champion does NOT bestow the immunity on the zodiac.

7th level provides ½ class level uses of stargazing: An immediate action 1d6 surge to an attack, save or skill check. This must be rolled after rolling the check, but before results are made known. 13th and 19th level increase the die size of this surge to d8 and d10, respectively. At 20th level, we have different capstones, depending on orbit: The lunar orbit zodiac may bind to the body slot and make manifested champions take half damage incurred, and the zodiac may have half damage of a champion apply to another champion instead. The solar orbit zodiac gets immunity to death effects and ability drain, as well as twice the recovery of ability damage. Additionally, manifested armor or weapon cannot be disarmed or sundered. The class comes with a veil-list and 11 favored class options: Cool here: Each gets their own flavor-text. Less cool: The undine FCO does RAW nothing, as it only applies its benefits to water weaponry – and there is none. The animal companion stats for champions have btw. been included for your convenience, which is a huge plus, and same goes for the statblocks required – you won’t need to flip books.

Now, I have already noted a couple of feats, so here goes: The pdf contains 12 feats, of which 5 are, at least to my knowledge, reprints. The new feats include 2 feats that allow for dabbling in the constellation engine. Expanded Veilweaving is SUPER-important: At 11th veilweaving level, it allows you to increase the maximum veils shaped by one. This ALSO applies if you use Shape Veils and have no veilweaving class level, which is REALLY smart. Definite winner there. Stellar Strike is an akashic combat feat that allows you to enhance the damage caused by your constellation weapons via essence investiture, and there are 3 chess-themed feats: Queen’s Knight (enhance loyalty between you and champion, preventing compulsions etc.); King’s Castle (allows you to intercept attacks on allies; great for tank-y characters) and Pawn’s Sacrifice (use Sense Motive to redirect the attack to a veil companion or champion). The latter is a bit iffy, due to how easily Sense Motive can and will be boosted through the roof, but since it is no attack negation, but rather a redirect, I’m pretty good with it. I’d feel better about a hard-cap of uses or a cool-down, though. 4 neat traits are included in the deal as well.

There are three archetypes included: Albedo fighters gain Perihelion pauldrons and reflect rays; knights that are literally, clad n light. The celestial knight cavalier uses a quadruped champion as mount (essence cost 4 or less, until 8th level) and later gains the weapon, armor or equipment options of a constellation. The prism mage wizard archetype is based on the Aurora lenses veil, and basically represents a cool concept of the spellcaster who also happens to dabble in magical lenses.

Part II of my review can be found here!


SAINT SEIYA!

4/5

Apart from being a roleplayer and like many gamers, I’m an avid fan of Anime, and one of my favorites is Saint Seiya, known in my country as Knights of the Zodiac, so when I heard the author of Akashic Mysteries and Akashic Trinity was working on a new akashic class inspired by the Zodiac, I was intrigued. But how was the result? Read on!

What’s inside?
32 pages of beautifully illustrated raw content for 8 bucks, which include:

-The Zodiac base Class, with the BAB, HD and STs and proficiencies of a cleric but with 4 skill points, and the Essence progressions of a Guru (that is, 1 point per level). The class’ main ability is Constellations, a suite of abilities that lets the Zodiac summon something based on one of the twelve Greek zodiac signs by getting unrecoverable essence burn (of course, as long as the summon exists). Each constellation has at least two forms from four: Armor (a suit of armor that is auto-enhanced by a +1 bonus per each even level that can be changed), Champion (an actual summoned creature), Equipment (an actual temporary magical item that, unlike veils, does use up the slot) or Weapon (again, auto-enhanced). The signs are divided in 4 elemental groups, each group allied and opposed to another element, and the Zodiac gains a bonus the more summons of one element (later allied too) he has. Oh, and every summon can be enhanced as an essence receptacle too!

Apart from this special akashic abilities, the Zodiac comes in two very, very different flavors. At first level, the Zodiac has to choose between being a mystical Lunar, specialized in summoning Champions and getting potent veilweaving abilities (with a non-standard chakra bind progression, getting the up to six feats from the Access Chakra line, two from each tier) plus enough extra essence to surpass even the Vizier!, or a warlike Solar, who gets improved proficiencies (heavy armor plus martial weapons), and gets to use its class level as BAB for attacks using their Constellation arms and for feat prerequisites, plus getting enough bonus feats (one every even level from the Combat, Akashic and Teamwork feats) to make the Fighter jealous.

Apart from these abilities, the Zodiac gets improved essence capacity like every other akashic class, improved synergy when summoning Constellations from the same elements (plus allied later), an ability similar to an action point from the old d20 Modern systems (damn, Modern has become the new old), adding a 1d6 to a roll after rolling but before learning the result, improving the die to d8 and later to d10. Finally, each specialty has its own powerful capstone.

-Twelve Constellations based on the Greek zodiac. As I mentioned, there are 12 signs divided in 4 elemental groups, with each having 3 signs. Each sign has 2 or 3 possible forms of summoning, each element but water getting 2 signs with 2 abilities, and Air, Earth and Fire getting one sign with 3 abilities. All signs but The Scales have a Champion Form, 9 have an Equipment form, 5 a Weapon form and only 2 an Armor form, giving a grand total of 27 different abilities, all accessible to all Zodiac. However, the Zodiac has to pay in Essence burn, with the Champion form of the Waterbearer being the most expensive, using a whopping 12 Essence!

-17 veils, with many repeated from Akashic Mysteries, counting 7 new veils and most with an elemental or stellar feel.

-3 archetypes, one for Fighters specialized in the new Perihelion Pauldrons, one for Cavaliers that mount champions of the Constellations and later can summon their other forms, and finally one for Wizards, who replaces School and all bonus feats for mastery of energy types and the Aurora Lenses.

-12 Feats, of which 7 are brand-new and 5 are reprints. From the new, we get 2 Astrologist feats to dabble in Constellations, 3 that offer more combat options, each one inspired by Chess, a Expanded Veilweaving for those that want to manifest more than one veil when dabbling into akasha and a combat feat that depends on the first and second section.

-4 akashic traits, being equipment, combat, magic or social the categories of each.

-11 favored class bonus for the core and plane-touched races. In a by-now typical Sayre fashion, this includes the role of Zodiacs in the communities along the mechanical bonus.

-Stats for 10 of the champions, excluding only the elven ranger champion of The Archer constellation, which is really, really handy!

Of Note: The class itself is really inspired! The two flavors of Zodiac are very different and make me wonder if a third is possible. The whole idea of an akashic class sans veils is something that has intrigued me since the Incarnum days, and with the Solar Zodiac, my wish has been fulfilled. And the Lunar makes for a wonderful summoner replacement in an akashic-only campaign.

Anything wrong?: The class feels a tad strong. Lunars get more essence than Viziers, and Solars get almost as many bonus feats as fighters, on top of the possibility of having powerful custom weapons and armor, changeable on a daily basis! Also, the Constellations feel a bit unbalanced among the elements:
-Fire has 1 armor, 2 weapons, 1 equipment and 3 champions
-Earth has 1 weapon, 3 champions and 3 equipment, but no armor
-Water has 1 armor, 2 equipment, and3 champions, but no weapon and getting only six abilities!
-Air has 2 weapons, 3 equipment and 2 champions, but again no armor!

Having no water weapons is especially grating, since under the Undine FCB section it mentions, and I quote: “Add 1 point of cold damage with the weapon form of a water element constellation…”

Only Fire has both weapon and armor, feeling the best element for Solar Zodiacs. I wouldn’t mind, but man, Earth has no armor? I would change one of the equipment of earth for an armor, and just plainly add a weapon to one of the water constellations. I would have loved if each element specialized in one of the summoned forms, maybe fire for weapons, earth for armors, air for equipment and water for champions, and being weaker in their opposed specialty. This way, fire wouldn’t have armors etc. This are just random thoughts, however, but please, at least add one weapon to the water constellations (an harpoon for the fish? Or maybe a net or trident, or both?), or change the FCB entry for poor Undines LOL! Speaking of favored bonuses, Orcs get a full +1 damage when using constellation weapons, which not only tops all the elemental races’ FCB, it tops other classes’ abilities, like the Swashbuckler, but as a FCB! If a FCB is supposed to be 1/6 of a feat, weapon specialization gives you +2, so I would tone it down to 1/3 of damage, maybe ½ since the base constellation weapons are not that strong.

Finally, there are many white spaces, and for some strange reason the License section at the end of the book is HUGE, like 4 pages! For a “40” page release, this is not what I expected. This, on top of the repeated material, really lowers the bang for your bucks. I mean, why do they mention the Cave Fisher or the Axe Beak from the Tome of Horrors? Don’t want to sound rude but, something tells me there was a problem with this section that no one saw, maybe copy paste? The last Akashic release had only one page for all this info! This is disheartening because the book’s art and layout is effing gorgeous!

What I want: a high level feat that gives you access to the 13th constellation, the snake, who may have the four types of summon and might be counted as allied to all the elements but opposed to none, with maybe sonic damage as its bonus... but I’m rambling. Apart from this, a wholly Eastern themed Zodiac with the Chinese signs as their constellations, using wisdom and monk weapons instead of charisma and martial… I have to get this idea to the lab like, right now!

What cool things did this inspire?: A SOLAR ZODIAC DRESSED IN THE FULL PLATE ARMOR OF THE CRAB, ARMED WITH THE FLAIL OF THE SCALES, AND YELLING SPECIAL ATTACKS ANIME-STYLE. Well, I’m a big fan of Saint Seiya after all. And the ability to dabble in constellations is really nice for other akashic users, and I will surely take some of this feats to have a champion fight at my side.

Do I recommend it?: Well… If you don’t have any of the Akashic material out there yes. If you are a huge fan of Akashic magic and don’t mind some repeated material then HELL YES! If you are lukewarm and on the fence, especially for the repeated material, then I have to say “maybe”. I will give this book 4 stars, because even if I really liked the new material and consider it 5 stars material, I have to take one off because of the problems I mentioned. If the white spaces were filled with more constellation goodness (at least a water weapon LOL) or even a sample character, I would forget the problem and give the full 5 stars plus a high 5 to the authors.


Scarab Sages Webstore Coordinator

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Now Available!

Paizo Employee

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Yay, it's here! I was really hoping this would the site ahead of PaizoCon since I'll be including the iconic Solar zodiac and the iconic Lunar zodiac as pregens in my lottery games.


So I'm not quite clear on how this class works: Is it kind of like an akashic Summoner (in that the summon is the one usually doing the work, or, at least, combat)? Or is it supposed to do its own fighting and the summon is there for backup (as I've imagined the Hunter class is)?

Or possibly "both, depending on choice"?

Paizo Employee

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SilvercatMoonpaw wrote:

So I'm not quite clear on how this class works: Is it kind of like an akashic Summoner (in that the summon is the one usually doing the work, or, at least, combat)? Or is it supposed to do its own fighting and the summon is there for backup (as I've imagined the Hunter class is)?

Or possibly "both, depending on choice"?

The latter. A Solar Zodiac is going to favor loading up on constellations in their weapon/armor/equipment forms and maybe only having one actual champion (if any) so they can take advantage of their bonus feats and improved proficiencies to fight from the front. The Lunar gets reduced conjuring costs for champion constellations, additional essence, and veilweaving with a strong support list, so they're incentivized to act as more of a summoner with the champion doing the fighting and the zodiac hanging back to heal and buff (or fight from range with a veil like Shooting Stars if you want to be more aggressive).

The class is intended to support a pretty wide variety of playstyles, with the Solar Orbit leaning towards a "stellar knight" type build that's a little more friendly to newer players or players who don't want to actively juggle essence as much, while the Lunar gives you the full akashic summoner experience along with the complexity that that entails.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Aaaand, purchased here so I never have to wonder "where the heck is that download?"


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I'm a fan of all things akashic. I think it's a very good system, and a lot of fun to play. So I may be biased.

I think the Zodiac is a good addition. It's a good class and does a good job of being the "akashic summoner". Plus you don't have to summon creatures or companions at all if you don't want to. You can use your summoning to summon weapons, armor, and equipment.

Personally I don't think I'm likely to play this class myself. Vizier is by first akashic love. However, there are feats to grab constellations for other akashic classes. That I defiantly have to look into. Plus new veils are always welcome.

Overall I'm pleased.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Kcinlive wrote:

I'm a fan of all things akashic. I think it's a very good system, and a lot of fun to play. So I may be biased.

I think the Zodiac is a good addition. It's a good class and does a good job of being the "akashic summoner". Plus you don't have to summon creatures or companions at all if you don't want to. You can use your summoning to summon weapons, armor, and equipment.

Personally I don't think I'm likely to play this class myself. Vizier is by first akashic love. However, there are feats to grab constellations for other akashic classes. That I defiantly have to look into. Plus new veils are always welcome.

Overall I'm pleased.

Not sure how deep you've dug in yet, but if you're a big fan of the vizier, the new Aurora Lenses veil is pretty sweet for adding some counterspelling options for a more "wizardy" feel. I've really been making a point of ensuring that every akashic class is getting some love and support with each new release.

I've actually really been wanting to play a vizier in a normal, non-playtest game using a bunch of the new Zodiac and Akashic Trinity veils, but my opportunities to be a player are few and far between, so I've been saving the vizier for when City of 7 Seraphs finally releases. Not only does it have a new mystic attunement I really want to use, I've got a GM who's really psyched to run a game using the setting :)


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Nice! I've read thorough the pdf but haven't had a chance to really digest it. Sadly I've only gotten a chance to play a Vizier very briefly. I tend to GM more then play.

I'm really looking forward to the Co7S setting. And more Akashic anything is always good!

One of the things I like most about it is that even if I'm playing the same class, with all the different veils there's enough customization that it's not going to play the same. Heck, you can change up the veils and it won't play the same the next day if you want!


aaaand,reviewed. Great work, amazing artwork and layout!

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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the xiao wrote:
aaaand,reviewed. Great work, amazing artwork and layout!

Thanks for the review!

I'm actually going to touch base with Christen and see if it's possible to add a weapon to the Fish as an update. I feel really silly because the elements had all been balanced out and then we decided that it might be weird from a player perspective that the "Water Bearer" is actually an air sign, so we did a late-in-the-game element juggle that ended up making the Scorpion (normally a Water sign) an Earth sign, which threw off the overall elemental balance a teensy bit by removing the only Water weapon. Mea culpa and all that.

Reprints we felt were really necessary for ease of use and accessibility, particularly since those feats are directly used by the Zodiac in their class progression. When we say "You don't need Akashic Mysteries to use this book" we want it to be true, and it gave me a chance to go in and perform some needed updates to some of those veils and feats (as well as properly codifying a few AM orphan veils into full thematic sets). So from that angle it's definitely more of a "feature, not bug" situation.


It would have been weird... Virgo as the Druid is cool but then it resonates with earth, and the Seagoat is an earth sign so... You had it tough, but in the end I think you organized them correctly.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Michael Sayre wrote:
I'm actually going to touch base with Christen and see if it's possible to add a weapon to the Fish as an update.

If you're doing revisions, the veils are missing the customary "this bind happens for this class at level X" details. I went and reverse-engineered them all before printing my cards, but others might not want to.

Paizo Employee

Anguish wrote:
Michael Sayre wrote:
I'm actually going to touch base with Christen and see if it's possible to add a weapon to the Fish as an update.
If you're doing revisions, the veils are missing the customary "this bind happens for this class at level X" details. I went and reverse-engineered them all before printing my cards, but others might not want to.

Less "missing" and more "cut because now that I'm supporting 7 classes it's really hideous from a layout perspective to include the tags on all the binds", really. I'm hoping that with the expanded veil lists we'll be including in Co7S and the new organizational structure we'll be able to skip the tags on every bind.


Anguish wrote:


If you're doing revisions, the veils are missing the customary "this bind happens for this class at level X" details. I went and reverse-engineered them all before printing my cards, but others might not want to.

And the Lunar Zodiac doesn't gain chakra binds, they get the feat so their's are variable.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
the xiao wrote:
Anguish wrote:


If you're doing revisions, the veils are missing the customary "this bind happens for this class at level X" details. I went and reverse-engineered them all before printing my cards, but others might not want to.
And the Lunar Zodiac doesn't gain chakra binds, they get the feat so their's are variable.

Correct, which I admit took me a while to figure out, and required me looking up when they get the feats, which in turn gives us the actual answer.


Anguish wrote:


Correct, which I admit took me a while to figure out, and required me looking up when they get the feats, which in turn gives us the actual answer.

Not really, since some Zodiacs won't get access to all chakaras. Least chakra for example has 3 binds, but you only get the bonus feat twice. There is an earlist level to get access, twice, so there is that.


Here is a tread to share your akashic characters, so feel free to share!


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

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Endzeitgeist wrote:
Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.

Thank you for the review!

Contributor

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Thank you for the review! <3


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Thank you for the amazing work poured into this, Michael and Liz! The design and layout are both really inspiring! :D


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Part II of my review (it was cut off once more...):

The pdf follows the trend established in Akashic Trinity, in that the new veils presented within are grouped by theme, providing leitmotifs that help contextualize the veils. Three such themes are provided: Starry Elements, Priestly Raiments and Apparel of the Merchant Prince. This, at least to me, makes these more interesting, exciting. You get the idea. A couple of these are reprints, though we do get new ones here. It should also be noted that the traditional one –letter code for the veil chakra-binds for the classes has been omitted this time around. Personally, I welcome this: A concise table for each class simply makes more sense and, as this is the 7th veilweaving class, things would become cluttered, fast. These veils are of the excellent quality we’ve come to expect from the author. EDIT: I was asked to state what I think about them, so there goes: Aurora Lenses are a godsend; these lenses allow for counterspelling of spells and psionic powers for veilweavers. The Mask of Elemental Adaptation is a means to convert energy damage taken to a chosen type, with sensible caps. Perihelion pauldrons allow you to retaliate with energy when assaulted in melee. Shooting Stars let you fire those, with the bind adding them to be used as basically a weapon. Star Metal Bracers allow for energy type change. While Stellar Stompers can generate energy bursts and, provided sufficient essence is invested, even propel you forward. I really liked these veils!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good on a formal and rules-language level. Considering the depth and complexity of the subject matter at hand, it is pretty impressive to see such a tight pdf here. Layout is GORGEOUS and adheres to a 2-column full-color standard (Liz Courts did the graphic design – no surprise it looks this damn good!) that is enhanced by absolutely stunning, original full-color artworks by Bryan Syme. This pdf is beautiful indeed! Look at the cover – yep, that’s the same artwork quality as inside. The pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks for your convenience.

Michael Sayre’s Zodiac is a super-impressive class; From a design perspective, it manages to portray a pet-class that feels and plays radically different from pretty much any other pet-class out there. This does not play like a summoner, spiritualist, tinker, etc., and the distinction is not solely based, as one would assume, on akasha access. Instead, the zodiac embraces player choice and freedom to a degree that is almost baroque in its splendor, in a good way. The immediate access to the totality of constellations, to what a lazier designer would have made a bloodline-like fire and forget choice, renders the zodiac very flexible and interesting in its overall themes and options – from level 1, you will have quite an assortment of tricks.

And then, there would be the orbit class feature.

Most designers would have made two classes instead, or made this an archetype – here, it is part of the core design paradigm and as such, it is something that should be applauded. That being said, it also represents the one component of the base class where I am a bit weary. You see, the uneven nature of manifestations among constellations, as noted above, isn’t as relevant for the lunar zodiac as for the solar one. The solar zodiac indeed has some choices among constellations that are frankly better than others. My own design experience tells me that this likely stemmed from a shifting of elements associated with constellations, but I’m not sure. Either way, I do think that a few tweaks to the constellation abilities could make this a tad bit more “even.” The solar zodiac, in case you were wondering, performs approximately on the level of the better martial classes – so better than the fighter (but who doesn’t these days…), for example, but not on a level that would present an issue in most games.

How to rate this? Oh boy, this is where things become difficult for me. You see, this sense of an inequality between the elements of constellations and their respective power is something I find hard to ignore; there are a few cosmetic hiccups as well…and yet. And yet, I honestly believe that the zodiac is one damn cool class. I can see myself actually choosing to play, wanting to play these fellows, and considering the vast wealth of class choices at my disposal, this is something. The class could work, courtesy of champions, wonders for a 1-on-1 game with only one player; the champions could offer a ton of roleplaying potential. And the design is daring. Whenever there is one way to do things in a safe and bland way, the pdf instead goes on and does things in a creative, harder, but also more interesting way.

So yeah…what to do? Well, first of all, I can’t rate this 5 stars – the aforementioned hiccups and the uneven elemental distribution regarding constellation manifestations makes that impossible. However, at the same time, I don’t feel justified rounding down, as this does not present anything broken, as the craftsmanship of what’s here is simply too precise. Hence, I will round up. I also really love the wondrous ways the akashic engine was tweaked and modified here; the constellation engine is a bountiful ground for further design choices, and the means to expand upon the options presented by Shape Veil should let a sigh of relief escape from more than one dabbler in the akashic arts. As such, and due to me really enjoying the wonderful flexibility the class offers, I will also add my seal of approval to this file.

Endzeitgeist out.


Something that I forgot to add in my review: The Solar Zodiac has/gives indirect support with/to the Spheres of Might system with some reverse-engineering. You can exchange a lot of your normal feat for access to adept or proficient progression, But I bet any DM worth his salt, and owns Spheres of Might, will let a Solar exchange 5 or 8 of the bonus combat feats the class gets for such a progression, or maybe all and then some of the normal feats for the expert one.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

the xiao wrote:
Something that I forgot to add in my review: The Solar Zodiac has/gives indirect support with/to the Spheres of Might system with some reverse-engineering. You can exchange a lot of your normal feat for access to adept or proficient progression, But I bet any DM worth his salt, and owns Spheres of Might, will let a Solar exchange 5 or 8 of the bonus combat feats the class gets for such a progression, or maybe all and then some of the normal feats for the expert one.

I've also used Spheres of Might with Lunar Zodiacs; my version of the Archer constellation had a martial tradition along with the Barrage and Sniper spheres :)


the xiao wrote:
Something that I forgot to add in my review: The Solar Zodiac has/gives indirect support with/to the Spheres of Might system with some reverse-engineering. You can exchange a lot of your normal feat for access to adept or proficient progression, But I bet any DM worth his salt, and owns Spheres of Might, will let a Solar exchange 5 or 8 of the bonus combat feats the class gets for such a progression, or maybe all and then some of the normal feats for the expert one.

Solar Zodiacs have up to 10 extra feats as a class feature, combat feats being one of the available options.

Extra combat talent is a combat feat, so essentially the Zodiac already has a built in combat talent progression if the player so desires.

Or the player could just use the regular feat exchange and then take advantage of those extra ten feats.

A Zodiac could switch out 8 feats for 15 combat talents, and still come out ahead with two extra feats, or sacrifice five feats to get 10 combat talents and still enjoy five extra feats.

Or spend those ten feats to get up to 25 combat talents under their belt.

So I have to say I'd think the Zodiac is pretty adequate on the whole "let a player play a SoM version" front.

Although sadly it doesn't qualify for a martial tradition.


For what it's worth, Spheres of Might has an exception for classes with a sufficiently martial background, even if they don't provide something like training in all martial weapons.

...

Also, Solar Zodiacs get proficiency in all martial weapons, qualifying them for a Martial Tradition in SoM. So there's that.


GM Rednal wrote:


Also, Solar Zodiacs get proficiency in all martial weapons, qualifying them for a Martial Tradition in SoM. So there's that.

Huh, I was just looking at the Zodiac because of this discussion and somehow I missed that last bit.

Good to know.

Although this discussion was making me think what a SoM archetype for this class would be like, and I was thinking something like Shirou from Fate Stay/Night who can not only conjure weapons but the skills that go with that.

So instead of summoning champions or just summoning weapons, a Zodiac who transforms into their own champion, giving them access to appropriate combat talents to go with the weapons they manifest.

So like Barrage and Sniper to go with Archer, Athletics and Brute for Bull, Equipment to go with Crab, etc.

Something like Brawler Martial Flexibility, basically.

No idea what class feature(s) to suggest that replaces so it doesn't come out as cheese or weak sauce, though, I have no talent in that regard, alas.

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StSword wrote:
GM Rednal wrote:


Also, Solar Zodiacs get proficiency in all martial weapons, qualifying them for a Martial Tradition in SoM. So there's that.

Huh, I was just looking at the Zodiac because of this discussion and somehow I missed that last bit.

Good to know.

Although this discussion was making me think what a SoM archetype for this class would be like, and I was thinking something like Shirou from Fate Stay/Night who can not only conjure weapons but the skills that go with that.

So instead of summoning champions or just summoning weapons, a Zodiac who transforms into their own champion, giving them access to appropriate combat talents to go with the weapons they manifest.

So like Barrage and Sniper to go with Archer, Athletics and Brute for Bull, Equipment to go with Crab, etc.

Something like Brawler Martial Flexibility, basically.

No idea what class feature(s) to suggest that replaces so it doesn't come out as cheese or weak sauce, though, I have no talent in that regard, alas.

There are some pros and cons to a zodiac archetype like that, the biggest being that I'm hesitant to create a zodiac who's a better armorist than the armorist and/or a better armiger than the armiger. Right now it scales better than the armorist but lacks the armorist's build versatility, aand it and the armiger are each kind of doing their own thing.

Not that it's not doable, it's just a surprisingly crowded design space, and I don't believe there's anything stopping an Armiger/Zodiac from assigning their constellations as their customized weapons.

Hmmm.... Well, once I call it a wrap on work for the day I might have to build a couple armiger/zodiacs and see where the gaps are, figure out whether it makes more sense for a zodiac archetype to borrow some armiger features or create a totally new option/ability that lets you go "full sentai knight complete with special moves".

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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 an entire new set of constellations for the zodiac, adding a whole new set of options for both lunar and solar zodiacs, including constellations like The Dragon, which can appear in the form of a set of potent scale mail, a mighty soveriegn dragon, or a pair of spiked gauntlets that rend your enemies while protecting you from harm!

Akashic Realms also includes new planar rules, stats, and NPCs for locations like Valhalla, where mighty einherjar prepare for Ragnarok.

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