Raise a Tome & Shielded Tome: As Useless as they Look?


Advice


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So, I have been looking at the Magus class quite a bit, and something that has been a sticking point for me is the Raise a Tome feat and the subsequent feat Shielded Tome.

Raise a Tome looks like a worse option compared to just picking up a cheap wooden shield, plus it has the possibility of creating an utterly devastating new player experience when a first-time player uses this with their spellbook and turns off their spellcasting by accident.

Shielded Tome... I don't even see how it's useful at all. It staples a book to a shield so you can use the stats of the shield while holding the book.

But there aren't any books that have an effect while you are holding them to my knowledge, so it's a feat that lets you turn a book into a real shield... instead of just using a shield in the first place!

Raise a Tome lets you gain a +1 to Recall Knowledge checks while holding the book, but is it *really* worth two class feats to get a situational +1 boost to a skill known to have balance issues?

My read on these feats is that they are trinket-text feats that seem to be designed to be thematic with little to no actual function beyond providing an aesthetic.

Can anyone here provide examples of how either of these feats might be useful? They seem to be utterly awful, and I feel like there *has* to be something more to them...

What am I missing?


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I agree. I'm not sure I'd use the feat even if free much less having to pay for it. But... I have heard others say they like, and in the playtest people wanted something like it because of PF1's similar ability.
IIRC that is.


Yes, they are almost useless mechanically talking.

It's like Quickened Casting and lvl 14 feats the recover 2 focus points and lvl 18 feats to recover 3 focus points both in 10 minutes. They are simply subpar if compared to other feats or even if you consider their real utility.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
YuriP wrote:

Yes, they are almost useless mechanically talking.

It's like Quickened Casting and lvl 14 feats the recover 2 focus points and lvl 18 feats to recover 3 focus points both in 10 minutes. They are simply subpar if compared to other feats or even if you consider their real utility.

These really don't belong in the same list. Being able to get more than one focus point back has real mechanical value if you have a focus spell that you'd like to use more than once per combat, for more than one combat per day.


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Uh...that extra Focus Point recovery provides a deep pool of power when one takes the stronger Focus Spells (which not all classes have access to, not even most casters, but they're out there). This assumes long adventuring days, which varies by table, so yes, they aren't a given, but I wouldn't compare them to the Tome feats or Quickened Casting (which inversely works well for short adventuring days, which some campaigns have in abundance).


When I talk them as useless feat is that they look more useful at first look but a further analysis they are just mee, specially for their levels or other requirements:

- Raise a Tome: Appear to be useful until you notice that there's only useful if you have a specific grimoire that give you activate action. But even having one you only use it to block if the damage is low but these books starts from level 5 so there's no such low dmg to allow you to block with the book. In the end it's only justified as Shielded Tome requirement when you use such books.
- Shielded Tome: If you plan to use some specific grimoire OK it's useful but to just receive +1 RK I have doubt if it's compensate the investment.

- Quickened Casting: A lvl 10 feat that allows a caster to metamagic cast a spell 2 levels lower only to diminishing 1-action once per day.
- Domain Focus/Conflux Focus/Primal Focus/Link Focus/Bloodline Focus/Hex Focus: Recover 2 focus points in 10 minutes. Only makes sense if you have 2 focus point also in almost all situations you have 10 minutes to refocus you probably have 20 minutes and if you don't have 20 minutes you probably don't have 10 minutes. Will you really use a lvl 12 focus in this?
- Domain Wellspring/Conflux Wellspring/Primal Wellspring/Link Wellspring/Bloodline Wellspring/Hex Wellspring: Same of above. You need 3 focus points to this make some sense and have a similar situation, if you have 10 minutes to waste you probably have 30, you don't have 30 you probably don't have time to refocus. Also this wastes a lvl 18 feat.


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YuriP wrote:


- Domain Focus/Conflux Focus/Primal Focus/Link Focus/Bloodline Focus/Hex Focus: Recover 2 focus points in 10 minutes. Only makes sense if you have 2 focus point also in almost all situations you have 10 minutes to refocus you probably have 20 minutes and if you don't have 20 minutes you probably don't have 10 minutes. Will you really use a lvl 12 focus in this?
- Domain Wellspring/Conflux Wellspring/Primal Wellspring/Link Wellspring/Bloodline Wellspring/Hex Wellspring: Same of above. You need 3 focus points to this make some sense and have a similar situation, if you have 10 minutes to waste you probably have 30, you don't have 30 you probably don't have time to refocus. Also this wastes a lvl 18 feat.

You can't refocus to regain more than one focus points without those feats.

As explained here
https://2e.aonprd.com/Actions.aspx?ID=71

Refocus:

Requirements You have a focus pool, and you have spent at least 1 Focus Point since you last regained any Focus Points.

You spend 10 minutes performing deeds to restore your magical connection. This restores 1 Focus Point to your focus pool. The deeds you need to perform are specified in the class or ability that gives you your focus spells. These deeds can usually overlap with other tasks that relate to the source of your focus spells. For instance, a cleric with focus spells from a good deity can usually Refocus while tending the wounds of their allies, and a wizard of the illusionist school might be able to Refocus while attempting to Identify Magic of the illusion school.

Common mistake, I did it too on my first campaign.

Liberty's Edge

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YuriP wrote:

When I talk them as useless feat is that they look more useful at first look but a further analysis they are just mee, specially for their levels or other requirements:

- Raise a Tome: Appear to be useful until you notice that there's only useful if you have a specific grimoire that give you activate action. But even having one you only use it to block if the damage is low but these books starts from level 5 so there's no such low dmg to allow you to block with the book. In the end it's only justified as Shielded Tome requirement when you use such books.
- Shielded Tome: If you plan to use some specific grimoire OK it's useful but to just receive +1 RK I have doubt if it's compensate the investment.

- Quickened Casting: A lvl 10 feat that allows a caster to metamagic cast a spell 2 levels lower only to diminishing 1-action once per day.
- Domain Focus/Conflux Focus/Primal Focus/Link Focus/Bloodline Focus/Hex Focus: Recover 2 focus points in 10 minutes. Only makes sense if you have 2 focus point also in almost all situations you have 10 minutes to refocus you probably have 20 minutes and if you don't have 20 minutes you probably don't have 10 minutes. Will you really use a lvl 12 focus in this?
- Domain Wellspring/Conflux Wellspring/Primal Wellspring/Link Wellspring/Bloodline Wellspring/Hex Wellspring: Same of above. You need 3 focus points to this make some sense and have a similar situation, if you have 10 minutes to waste you probably have 30, you don't have 30 you probably don't have time to refocus. Also this wastes a lvl 18 feat.

It's a tangent, so I'll keep it brief - the reason people are surprised by your opinion on the "recover 2/3 focus points at once" is because of the rules around refocusing:

CRB Pg 300 wrote:
Requirements You have a focus pool, and you have spent at least 1 Focus Point since you last regained any Focus Points.

You have to have spent at least one focus point to Refocus again - so if you don't take these feats, you can only ever regain a single focus point. Having a pool of 3 focus points, but not these feats, means you have two extra focus points to spend across the day - but these feats let you use 2 or 3 focus points every combat.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Raise a Tome is... I mean not the worst feat in the world, but Raise > Recall > ??? feels like a really weak turn, but if you aren't doing that then the feat isn't actually doing anything for you.

Shielded Tome feels really egregious because all it's doing is compensating for the downsides of using Raise a Tome, which feels kind of gross because you shouldn't have to take a second feat just to make the first feel less bad.

Sort of feels like someone saw a character who fights with a book in hand (Tactician from FE:Awakening comes to mind as having a similar aesthetic) and wanted to give someone an option to play that, but in the most bare minimum way possible so nobody would want the feat unless they really wanted to play into that specific archetype.


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Also for quickened casting you're assuming a full dungeon, in a campaign where you fight extreme encounters frequently but they're the only fight of the day (like kingmaker) the ability to novas your first round is very potent.

My bones Oracle in kingmaker frequently opens with divine wrath or level 3 fear followed by flame strike or spirit blast to devastating effects in first round.

This is compounded by the fact that all three casters (wizard, cleric and Oracle) have this, so on a lot of encounters first round ennemies reckon with 6 spells on then, it often just closed even extreme encounters on the first round.

Its niche, cause not all campaigns are like that, but DEFINITELY not in the same ballpark as raise tome.


AlastarOG wrote:
YuriP wrote:


- Domain Focus/Conflux Focus/Primal Focus/Link Focus/Bloodline Focus/Hex Focus: Recover 2 focus points in 10 minutes. Only makes sense if you have 2 focus point also in almost all situations you have 10 minutes to refocus you probably have 20 minutes and if you don't have 20 minutes you probably don't have 10 minutes. Will you really use a lvl 12 focus in this?
- Domain Wellspring/Conflux Wellspring/Primal Wellspring/Link Wellspring/Bloodline Wellspring/Hex Wellspring: Same of above. You need 3 focus points to this make some sense and have a similar situation, if you have 10 minutes to waste you probably have 30, you don't have 30 you probably don't have time to refocus. Also this wastes a lvl 18 feat.

You can't refocus to regain more than one focus points without those feats.

As explained here
https://2e.aonprd.com/Actions.aspx?ID=71

Refocus:

Requirements You have a focus pool, and you have spent at least 1 Focus Point since you last regained any Focus Points.

You spend 10 minutes performing deeds to restore your magical connection. This restores 1 Focus Point to your focus pool. The deeds you need to perform are specified in the class or ability that gives you your focus spells. These deeds can usually overlap with other tasks that relate to the source of your focus spells. For instance, a cleric with focus spells from a good deity can usually Refocus while tending the wounds of their allies, and a wizard of the illusionist school might be able to Refocus while attempting to Identify Magic of the illusion school.

Common mistake, I did it too on my first campaign.

You'r right. I don't know why I didn't notice this before.

In my mind was just "take 10 minutes to regain 1 focus point" and for some reason I didn't notice that you aren't allowed to regain 2 focus points in a line.


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FeudForThought wrote:

So, I have been looking at the Magus class quite a bit, and something that has been a sticking point for me is the Raise a Tome feat and the subsequent feat Shielded Tome.

Raise a Tome looks like a worse option compared to just picking up a cheap wooden shield, plus it has the possibility of creating an utterly devastating new player experience when a first-time player uses this with their spellbook and turns off their spellcasting by accident.

Shielded Tome... I don't even see how it's useful at all. It staples a book to a shield so you can use the stats of the shield while holding the book.

But there aren't any books that have an effect while you are holding them to my knowledge, so it's a feat that lets you turn a book into a real shield... instead of just using a shield in the first place!

Raise a Tome lets you gain a +1 to Recall Knowledge checks while holding the book, but is it *really* worth two class feats to get a situational +1 boost to a skill known to have balance issues?

My read on these feats is that they are trinket-text feats that seem to be designed to be thematic with little to no actual function beyond providing an aesthetic.

Can anyone here provide examples of how either of these feats might be useful? They seem to be utterly awful, and I feel like there *has* to be something more to them...

What am I missing?

It's even worse when you consider that a Magus actually has a Sparkling Targe specialization, which requires shields, which means feats like this don't actually work with the specialization. I mean, maybe Shielded Tome could work, but that still requires having a dead feat, for at least 2 levels, if not forever, and feats are supposed to do things that are meaningful for the character (otherwise they're not really feats). It might have made sense if either A. Shields actually had proficiency requirements (they did in the playtest) and Magi didn't have any, or B. Magi don't have a shield-oriented specialization. I mean, sure, the Sparkling Targe synergies would actually function with the Tome feats, but as you point out, there's no reason to use them compared to just an actual shield outside of the +1 bonus to Recall Knowledge.

In my opinion, these Tome feats would have been better spent working with the Shield cantrip in particular, such as by either counting as a separate source for the Shield cantrip, letting a Magus double-up on it, in a sense, or utilizing its effects for an actual pseudo-Shield "item," by giving it an artificial hardness when used in such a manner, instead of the garbage that it is now.

Those feats are probably almost on par with Armor Assist, Sow Rumors, and all those other little knickknacks that are almost pointless text: They're only as good as the table that would actually utilize them effectively. So, even if the feat(s) was/were "functional," if the table doesn't use the associated mechanics appropriately (or too well), that artificially improves or lowers the value of said feats.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

It's weird that they made Raise a Tome specifically work with Emergency Targe but not the Targe cascade feature.


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Squiggit wrote:
It's weird that they made Raise a Tome specifically work with Emergency Targe but not the Targe cascade feature.

Any weirder that Starlit Span having a mostly vestigial Arcane Cascade?


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There's a pretty easy fix for Raise a Tome I think; instead of providing the +1 to RK, it just lets you RK as part of raising your shield-tome. Combining actions is always valuable, especially for a class as action starved as the Magus.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
There's a pretty easy fix for Raise a Tome I think; instead of providing the +1 to RK, it just lets you RK as part of raising your shield-tome. Combining actions is always valuable, especially for a class as action starved as the Magus.

I like this. A simple and elegant suggestion


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That is what I do, I give both the +1 to RK and I make RK one action combined with raising the Shield Tome. Does not seem unbalanced, and is not an autopick.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Yes. They are almost useless for two feats. I gather people liked the idea in playtest, but they really needed to be made mechanically useful.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
There's a pretty easy fix for Raise a Tome I think; instead of providing the +1 to RK, it just lets you RK as part of raising your shield-tome. Combining actions is always valuable, especially for a class as action starved as the Magus.

Would definitely be awesome, but unlikely since Magus already gets a feat like Magus' Analysis, which is already good because it recharges spellstrike when succeeding on the check.

The worst part is Raise A Tome's shortened description talks of "expediting your studies," but then doesn't actually make your "studies" expedited by reducing actions required for your "studies."


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Being able to take a shielded tome into a situation where a shield would be suspect is not useless. Combine this with spirit sheath and your magus is fully prepared for combat while not appearing to be.


Fumarole wrote:
Being able to take a shielded tome into a situation where a shield would be suspect is not useless. Combine this with spirit sheath and your magus is fully prepared for combat while not appearing to be.

Hah, indeed. Don't forget your wand/scrolls of either Mage Armor or Instant Armor too.


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Fumarole wrote:
Being able to take a shielded tome into a situation where a shield would be suspect is not useless. Combine this with spirit sheath and your magus is fully prepared for combat while not appearing to be.

This is a pretty niche benefit and feels more like for GM tools than anything. Players aren't very likely to build towards always looking like they are helpless just to trick hapless fools or infiltrate neutral zones undetected.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Fumarole wrote:
Being able to take a shielded tome into a situation where a shield would be suspect is not useless. Combine this with spirit sheath and your magus is fully prepared for combat while not appearing to be.
This is a pretty niche benefit and feels more like for GM tools than anything. Players aren't very likely to build towards always looking like they are helpless just to trick hapless fools or infiltrate neutral zones undetected.

Unless that's the flavor of your adventure, or you get captured, that's a trope that happens a lot. Or your blending into a high society event, or trying to avoid suspicion, or doing a diplomatic mission, etc.

It might not be your groups kinda thing, but I always prefer my characters to either look threatening even without gear, or to look like a commoner who can Shazam.

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