Introduction: I think it has been years since Interjection Games released the Master of Forms and its expansion. This book adds ANOTHER element, and this one is… weird. But, is it a worthy addition? Read on!
7 pages of content for less than two bucks, which include:
-The Wood Element. Right of the bat we get the wood stance, which cryptically teases the subsystem of the element, mentioning you can add a “growth point” to one of your floral allies… wait, what? Yes, the wood element gets floral allies, but this is not a pet class. Again, read on.
After the stance. We have 2 Wood Secret Arts, one which empties your focus pool and lets you grow the 3 kind of floral allies (Buried Wildthorn, Shieldroot and Tilling Broadleaf), and gets animation charges. By spending them the master can grant an extra action per round to a floral ally. The other secret art lets you use one of three maneuvers as a free action, which is especial since you normally can’t use maneuvers during a secret art.
Next we have the core of the subsystem. When you learn your first wood form, you also learn how to plant 3 different kinds of floral allies. Normally, you can only have one floral ally planted at a time, but learning 4 wood forms and then 8 increases the limit to a maximum of 3, and you can only have one of each kind of floral allies planted at a time (so no spamming). Each plant is formatted like a form (and all have a focus change of 0), and using one builds up the wood stance, but since they are freebies they don’t count for planting extra floral allies. Each plant can be planted within a range of 30 ft., and the plants themselves can use their abilities at a range of 30 ft.; another common thing between the allies is that they can build a growth pool (with a maximum of half your master level) that unlocks more potent abilities at each even number of points. Floral allies can’t move and can be hit for free in melee (and at range hitting AC 9), have a hardness equal to your Cha modifier, and have triple your master level in hit points.
Buried Wildthorn would be the attacking ally, able to lash out to enemies, and the growth pool unlocks area damage, bleed, metal damage reduction bypassing and the capstone self-destructs in a shower of needles and piercing damage. Shieldroot would be the protecting plant, giving you or an ally temporary HP for one round, the growth pool unlocking AC and saves bonuses, damage reduction and as a capstone the shield root explodes in a hefty shower of temporary HP that persist for 2 rounds. Tilling Broadleaf would be the controlling plant. The plant can dazzle and create difficult terrain; here, the growth pool unlocks grease-like sap, entangling vines, temporary focus for the master, and even a wall of vegetation, with the capstone able to produce 2 effects.
Now, the forms themselves are 15 (like all the standard elements). Unlike others, wood forms really build upon themselves, rewarding specialization in the element. There are three forms that enhance the base forms of the element (changing the focus from 0 to +1 and using them as move actions). Another batch of three require the enhanced version, and give you an ability that also
feeds the floral ally. A couple more give your floral allies some mobility (either piggybacking the plant as a bonsai, or teleporting the plant). But not all forms build on the allies. One gives you a kind of safeguard when you are killed, and another one basically composts a living enemy and dealing tons of damage, but it is greatly reduced on a successful save.
-2 Feats: This section include a feat that lets you build the growth pool of allies faster a couple of times per day, while the other lets you use the enhanced enhanced (not a typo) form when an associated floral ally is killed.
Of Note: The concept of another element that shies away from the martial arts and enter into a more druid-y territory is weird, but awesome. I can’t wait to build a delicious ghoran master of wood. The broadening of a master of forms repertoire by taking some or many wood forms is outstanding if we consider all the possible builds with the base system alone. If you want to get some visuals for the element, just watch Poison Ivy in the Injustice fighting games or that new villain in MK11 (forgot her name).
Anything wrong?: First, Earth already had some plant-y stuff. Also, the element is not fully integrated within the rules. The Overflowing Elements feat is not mentioned (just add piercing damage when in a wood stance and call it a day), the Elemental Partisan archetype and the opposing element wheel is not taken into account (I guess wood is unopposed, like shadow, so no Partisan of Wood), neither is the Unbalanced Master archetype, which can choose shadow (HERE I would have liked some love). But all of that is spoilerbratism of the highest caliber.
What I want: Support! What about a “Fur” element? That way we would have flora and fauna. Magic items, like elemental robes (activated while in a stance), element-specific weapons, element-specific ioun stones that store focus, master belts, scrolls that teach forms… But I’m happy with having a brand new element!
What cool things did this inspire?: Wood can be the anarchic, black sheep element, one seen in a bad light since it uses the world itself as a weapon, instead of channeling it like the rest of the elements. That could create roleplaying scenes, like when a master bans a student that learned a wood form, or a PC that wins a tournament by default when an opponent wins the fight “by cheating” with wood but is disqualified, leaving a sour taste but opening the door to a new way of fighting. While darkness might be seen as the anti-element, it is anathema and non-compatible with the rest of the elements, while wood is still open to any master of forms, so knowing a little “dirty move” would be a nasty surprise.
Do I recommend it?: I can’t NOT recommend it. The floral ally engine is worthy enough to be used by itself, and adding some forms from other elements just increases the fun. Five poisonus star-shaped flowers from me!