Lost Paths: Voltaic (PFRPG) PDF

5.00/5 (based on 1 rating)

Our Price: $7.99

Add to Cart
Facebook Twitter Email

A new ally enters the fray to serve the City! Enter... the Voltaic!

Cover of Lost Spheres: Voltaic by Dionisis Milonas

Experience the spark of battle!

The Lost Paths series will further explore the martial initiator classes introduced for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game by Dreamscarred Press. While possessing those products will expand the experience of playing with this product they are not required. Marrying the power of martial maneuvers with the Stamina mechanics introduced in Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Pathfinder Unchained the Voltaic and Sparking subsystem brings exciting combat action to your table!

Included are:

  • The Voltaic - A new base class that gains maneuvers in the heat of battle through moments of inspiration!
  • The Sparking subsystems and advice on how to incorporate it into your game as an alternate rule.
  • The Spark of Battle — A new discipline of maneuvers specifically inspired by the voltaic and rules introduced in this book.
  • 3 Archetypes for other classes to make use of the Sparking system.
  • NPCs of the City of 7 Seraphs setting that might prove mentors or enemies to the PCs.
  • Reference to allow a greater range of playability to those who don't have martial initiator products.

Thank you for your continued support of Lost Spheres and the City!

Product Availability

Fulfilled immediately.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

LSPLP01E


See Also:

Average product rating:

5.00/5 (based on 1 rating)

Sign in to create or edit a product review.

A different approach

5/5

DISCLAIMER: This review is based on a free PDF provided by the author and the publisher, which in no way had an influence on the final score.

The Voltaic is a classbook by Lost Spheres Publishing, written by some of the authors of the City of Seven Seraphs. While it builds on materials from other books, namely the Path of War initiator system by Dreamscarred Press fueled by the Stamina rules from Pathfinder Unchained, it presents a different approach to combat but, is it any good? Read on!

Before going to the contents of the book, I have to mention that I come from The Tome of Battle, the D&D 3.5 predecessor of the Path of War. I have both books, but have no experience neither playing nor mastering a Pathfinder initiator. Also, while I have experience with some parts of Pathfinder Unchained, the Stamina system is not one of them. I, however, have the Beyond Monks 3.5 books, which used stunning fist as a kind of currency to power special attacks, so the idea is the same. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, Tome of Battle/Path of War present a special maneuver system similar to spells, but for martials; in short, it is a way to give cool toys for warriors so they don’t full attack all the time. The Stamina system is similar, giving old feats combat tricks empowered by stamina points, thus presenting more options for warriors in general but specifically for fighters.

What’s inside?
40 pages of content for x, which include:

-The Voltaic base class. This class looks like a Frankenstein monster on paper, having the Martial Flexibility of Brawlers, the maneuvers of initiators, and the Stamina rules intended for Fighters, but they strangely blend really well with the theme of the class, a sum greater than its parts. Like all initiators, it has a powerful chassis, having d10 HD, good BAB, 4 skill points per level, 2 good saves, and the proficiencies of a fighter, including tower shields. Strangely enough, the Path of War includes a new Knowledge specialty, martial, which is not a class skill of Voltaics.

They gain Stamina via the free Spark of Inspiration new feat, which not only gives them a free Eye of the Storm stance from the new discipline, but also a Stamina pool and the ability to “spark”, which I will cover later. There is a slight glitch here, since under the bonus feat it is mentioned that you cannot take Voltaic levels if you don’t meet the prerequisites, but the feat has a +1 BAB as one of them, so RAW it means you have to have a +1 BAB to take a Voltaic level.

Speaking of stances, the Voltaic gets some free ones over their careers, 5 over the free Eye of the Storm. They also get to add some electricity damage to their attacks, which goes up from 1d4 to 1d12 over the levels and stacks with shocking enhancement and the like, and also can add the first roll to their AC and even their saves at very high levels. Finally, they get a built-in archetype called Path of the Storm, which covers 4 archetypical warrior roles for a variety of builds and dictates the class’ capstone. Overall, a very powerful, versatile class when compared to a vanilla Fighter, but in the context of the Path of War it feels balanced.

After the class there are several favored class bonuses for a couple of races, some core, some from the Co7S and one from Akashic Realms 2. Unlike other books where Michael Sayre has worked on, this one doesn’t include the role of the class within the race’ society (bummer).

-8 NPCs. Following FCBs, we get a whole page dedicated to Co7S Voltaic NPCs, 8 to be precise, with enough information to build them and customize them for your games. My favorite are the mirrorkin whose names are palindromes.

-The Sparking System (variant initiation). The star of the book, sparking is a cool, innovative way to learn martial maneuvers. Sparkers have, like all initiators, maneuvers known (Initiator ability modifier + lvl) and maneuvers readied (2+½ lvl). However, you start your career with 0 maneuvers, and when you roll a 20 in an attack roll or a skill check in combat, or a foe fails with a 1, you get a chance to “spark”. What is that? When you spark, you learn a maneuver from a level you have access to and get it readied, coming to you as a flash of inspiration. If you would like to learn a new maneuver, you will have to leave some of your readied maneuvers empty. The other difference is that, unlike standard initiators, your maneuvers are never spent; instead of spending maneuvers, you power them by using Stamina points (1 per maneuver level), which you get from the Spark of Initiation.

This approach addresses one of my least liked parts of the Initiation system, which is the lack of tactical differentiation of using your highest level maneuver instead of a lower one. Do I start with the big guns and risk running low of steam? Or do I use my low level tricks over and over to always have something cool to do? This replaces the highest maneuver cycling that I saw happening in my Tome of Battle days (100 fire damage? again?). This system also works better as a story telling device, giving plenty of options for a good Game Master to describe why John the Voltaic learned X maneuver when Z happened. Heck, maybe Voltaics are the first initiators, inventing maneuvers from circumstances, which later could be codified and taught to more traditional initiators.

There are a couple of things I don’t agree with, though. One, is that there is no mention of what disciplines can Voltaics or other Sparkers can learn maneuvers from, and second, Stamina gauge starts full; something I really like from other systems where you use your most powerful maneuvers to close a fight after building up some kind of gauge or pool, which could be easily house ruled by having the Stamina pool start at half and then letting users get an extra point or two every round by doing or not doing certain actions.
EDIT: There is, in fact, rules for disciplines accessible. Basically, uf you can leaen a maneuver from any discipline associated with the weapon wielded.

-3 Spark Feats: Two are the foundations of the Sparking system (free for Voltaics), while the other expands upon it. Perfect to dip in the system or jump on the boat for existing characters. However, the base Spark of Inspiration feat, in the context of what a feat gives you access to, is really powerful and game changing. Any kind of access to the feat should be considered beforehand.

-3 archetypes, covering the fighter, the rogue and the unchained monk, all of them “sparkers” who get Spark of Inspiration as a bonus feat. The Unlimited Warrior archetype for the fighter gets more skillpoints, an ability to prevent a deadly attack with Stamina points, and can spark at will and piggyback a combat maneuver when sparking with a strike. Deathseeker rogues have a kind of meta-sneak attack, where they can change the damage to do cool things like changing d6s for d4s to ghost touch, or d6s to d10s but dealing mind-affecting damage. Finally, Volt Dancer monks seem pulled out straightly from a Manhua (Chinese comic), being able to deal stormy damage (cold, electricity or sonic) with their attacks instead of physical, and can even fly!

-The Spark of Battle martial discipline. It is associated with the Acrobatics skill, and with close weapons and heavy and light blades. Apart from that, Initiators who have the Spark of Inspiration feat can spend Stamina on some maneuvers to empower them! How cool is that? Anyway, it has 33 maneuvers, and I will cover the lowest and highest level stance, plus one maneuver of each type. Eye of the Storm is the 1st level stance and it just let you “spark” easier, plus it is a freebie when you get the Spark of Inspiration feat. Stance of Storms let you “airwalk”, with the possibility to spend Stamina to walk faster (airjog?).

Electric Slide is the lowest boost, letting you move through an occupied space, making an opposed Acrobatics check against your opponent’s CMD to knock him down, with Stamina increasing the movement. Volt Dance is one of the few counters this discipline has (4 I think?), of 3rd level, which lets you teleport to the origin of an electrical attack if within 60 ft., and giving you a free attack if within 30 ft., doubling both distances with the expenditure of a Stamina point. Stigmata of Storm is the highest maneuver in the discipline, a 9th level strike, that gives you five attacks, beginning at full and adding a -2 to each subsequent attack. Each successful attack does normal weapon dmg plus 5d6 sonic AND 5d6 electricity damage, plus extra effects depending on the number of successful attacks, including bleed damage, blindness, deafness, and these two can be permanent… AND you can spend an extra Stamina point (why wouldn’t you if you are already spending 9?) to change the bonus damage dice from d6 to d10. Woe to the one at the receiving end of this one LOL. To be fair, we are talking about 18th level adventuring and you would be spending a lot of resources, which takes us back to my preferences of “sparking” over normal Initiation because of maneuver cycling.

In Tome of Battle some of the higher level maneuver had pre-requisites, normally a certain number of maneuvers from the same discipline, but I noticed none here, and I don’t know about Path of War, but that will let the cherry picking of maneuvers via feats.

We also get references to the Initiating system for people who don’t own any of those books, including everything you have to know to play initiators, including 3 other disciplines, being Eternal Guardian, Thrashing Dragon and Solar Wind. The formatting of these 3 disciplines’ maneuvers’ lists differ, as do the presentation of the maneuvers themselves compared to how Spark of Battle presents them alphabetically while the other three are by level. While it’s mostly a cosmetic difference, in the lists each maneuver includes its type (stance, boost, strike or counter), which is very handy.

Of Note: The Voltaic is an interesting class, as is the Spark of Battle discipline, but the real gem of the book is the sparking system as I mentioned.

Anything wrong?: The formatting differences of the disciplines is a bit grating, but not too bad. Also, the power and fantasy level of martials is going way up, which may not be suitable for some tables.

What I want: While I’m not the biggest fan of the Path of War, I would like a system that works like the Momentum engine which slowly fills a pool; so, do you rock now? Or do you own later? I mentioned an option before, so I may fiddle with that to fine-tune Sparking to my personal tastes.

What cool things did this inspire?: As always, great design inspires great stories and characters. I will try to convince my group to try Path of War in PF but with sparkers, to avoid the old 9th level maneuver cycling. The storytelling possibilities of Sparking and its unstable nature will surely be game changer.

Do I recommend it?: IMHO, this book is for people who want to add more oomph and mysticism to martials, or want to introduce the Path of War in a different way, or for users of PoW that want to try new things. If you are in one of those groups, I can recommend it 100%. I would give this book 4 and a half electrical stars, because of the things I mentioned; however, this book has really, really good art and layout and the maneuvers visuals are just plain cool, so I will add half a star to that, for the full 5.


Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

Why, hello there!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hello... REVIEWED!

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
the xiao wrote:
Hello... REVIEWED!

Thank you for the review!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yes, thanks for the review, as someone who has noticed this book, the extra detail was most welcome.

I saw your comment about combat stamina.

Well I can't help you there, but I am aware of a book with limit break options that would be usable with this class.

Feats of Legend Limit Break has feats that are available to classes with martial flexibility when they are down to their last quarter of hit points or less.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
the xiao wrote:
Hello... REVIEWED!

Just wanted to mention one thing from the review:

the xiao wrote:
There are a couple of things I don’t agree with, though. One, is that there is no mention of what disciplines can Voltaics or other Sparkers can learn maneuvers from [...]

That bit is in the sparking rules themselves.

"[...] If this check is successful, they may learn a single martial strike or boost they qualify for from any discipline that counts the weapon they scored the critical threat with as a discipline weapon."

Since sparking has more limitations than standard initiating and it's about coming up with a move based on the moment, voltaics and other sparkers don't have additional limitations on the disciplines they can access.


Michael Sayre wrote:
the xiao wrote:
Hello... REVIEWED!

Just wanted to mention one thing from the review:

the xiao wrote:
There are a couple of things I don’t agree with, though. One, is that there is no mention of what disciplines can Voltaics or other Sparkers can learn maneuvers from [...]

That bit is in the sparking rules themselves.

"[...] If this check is successful, they may learn a single martial strike or boost they qualify for from any discipline that counts the weapon they scored the critical threat with as a discipline weapon."

Since sparking has more limitations than standard initiating and it's about coming up with a move based on the moment, voltaics and other sparkers don't have additional limitations on the disciplines they can access.

Noted. I edited my review and rating accordingly. Thanks for pointing it out!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
StSword wrote:

Yes, thanks for the review, as someone who has noticed this book, the extra detail was most welcome.

I saw your comment about combat stamina.

Well I can't help you there, but I am aware of a book with limit break options that would be usable with this class.

Feats of Legend Limit Break has feats that are available to classes with martial flexibility when they are down to their last quarter of hit points or less.

Thanks for the recomendation!

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

the xiao wrote:


Noted. I edited my review and rating accordingly. Thanks for pointing it out!

Thank you for the review and update!

Community / Forums / Paizo / Product Discussion / Lost Paths: Voltaic (PFRPG) PDF All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.