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Transcendent 10 - Feats of the Lost - Figures Forlorn
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/16/2018 05:41:29

An Endzeitgeist.com review

So, Lost Spheres Publishing, back in the day, began with the Transcendent 10-series. While these represent the early works of the company, the company flew under my radar for a long while, so it’s high time we took a look at the series, right? It should be noted that the company has evolved since then – reviews of more current books will hit sites soon as well. But how do these early works hold up against the test of time? Let’s find out!

One thing I really enjoy about this series would be the designer’s commentary that is provided for each respective piece of design – they help a GM and player to properly contextualize the content, which is particularly helpful for folks who don’t have a veteran’s level of system mastery. The pdf predates the ACG and OA, and as such, I will not complain about a lack of representation of the classes from these books in the spell-lists.

Anyways, this pdf is 8 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Now, in Feats of Synergy – Heartbound Heroes, we introduced the Heartbound descriptor to denote a special bond between characters. However, the pdf was remarkably silent regarding the effects of the loss of one’s love. Well, this pdf is what addresses this component. While not exclusively for characters with heartbound feats, such characters may exchange them for Forlorn feats upon losing their partner. Forlorn feats represent an extreme trauma of grief, and as such should not be taken lightly. The forlorn feats are as follows:

-Alone, So Alone: After losing your loved partner, you no longer can benefit from Aid Another, instead gaining a penalty. However, you get to choose Constitution or Wisdom, and may use that attribute modifier times per day a swift action to grant yourself a +1 circumstance modifier to any d20, with the bonus increasing by +1 at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter. This imho shouldn’t apply to saves, but your mileage may vary here.

-Aura of Despair: This is a psionic feat For each forlorn feat you have, you may take a -1 penalty to morale bonuses to all d20s rolls; while you have your focus and thus suffer from the profound loss, creatures within 30 ft. also take this penalty, sans save. This should be classified as a mind-affecting emotion effect. Other than that, one of my favorite Aura-feats released in the series.

-Burn It All Down: For each forlorn feat you have, you may incur a -2 penalty to morale bonuses to hit; for each such penalty incurred you add +2 to damage, +4 to damage vs. objects. This should specify that it only applies to weapon damage, as the penalty is insignificant for some spells etc..

-Embers of the Fallen: Choose one spell per spell level that is not on your class list, but which was on the lost partner’s spell list. These spells may now be learned as spells of your character’s class, at the spell levels of the fallen love. Each spell cast this way imposes a penalty equal to the spell’s level to all saving throws and lasts for spell level rounds. Rules-verbiage is a bit rough here. Also problematic: While the verbiage prevents duplicating spells (once at 2nd or 3rd level due to different classes, for example), the new spells and their interaction with crafting becomes rough. Still, I like the notion of this feat, if not the precise implementation.

-Faces of the Forlorn: Bluff (not capitalized properly) at the start of combat to appear flat-footed, when you are not. The sequence is not 100% clear here; I assume this check to happen prior to initiative being rolled, but then, it can actually provide some issues with how surprise rounds are handled.

-Forlorn Spell (Metamagic): Unlike the heartbound equivalent, this one does have the Forlorn-descriptor. At 1 spell level higher, this is design-wise exciting: It tracks the stats of the creature affected. If it failed the save to the spell modified, it takes a penalty to all stats, skills, ability scores, attack rolls, etc. that isn’t 0 or a positive morale bonus. I like this idea. Problematic here would be that the feat fails to specify how it behaves regarding the penalties of dependent complexes. If both a skill and its governing attribute are penalized, does this translate to twice the penalty? Technically, it’s not the stacking of an effect with itself, but of two different effects of the same spell. This needs a bit of clarification, but represents an interesting “insult to injury” type of debuff.

-Heart of Winter and Spring: Lets you take both heartbound and forlorn feats and count them as each other for the purpose of benefits. Polyamorous may be exchanged for this one upon losing a heartbound partner.

-Sorrow’s Song: Basically inverts the benefits you’d usually grant to your allies via bardic performance and applies them as penalties to the same number of enemies. This is the type of verbiage that works well in houserules, but not in a finalized product, as debuffs should note range, effect type, saves, etc. and just flipping bonus to penalty can become really problematic really fast. I like what this attempts, but the execution is rough.

-Stilled Heart; Select Constitution or Wisdom; the chosen attribute times per day, as an immediate action, you may choose to ignore an effect that would result in a negative condition other than death on a failed Fort- or Will-save, postponing the effect for the chosen attribute modifier rounds. Nice.

-Wordless Pain: Communicate simple concepts sans language or the use of Diplomacy etc.

The pdf also sports a bonus psionic power, absolute loss, which is a mind-affecting telepathy of 4th level for dread, tactician and telepath. The power targets one creature in Medium range, with a Will save to negate. On a failed save, the target gets a Fort-save; if it succeeds this one, it takes untyped (boo!) damage and a penalty to all d20 rolls. On a failure of the second save, it falls to -1 hp and starts dying. The power may be augmented for more (+1d6) damage and penalties (one more) for one power point, or for 2 power points affect an additional target within 30 ft. of the first. This should definitely be a death effect, and is, for the chance of hit point ignoring mega-damage, too powerful. Would not allow it, in spite of the two different saves providing a decent chance to mitigate it.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are solid, if not perfect. There are some minor deviations in rules-verbiage and a few hiccups, but as a whole, I have considerably enjoyed this. Layout adheres to a 2-column standard with read highlights and a subdued border. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Christen N. Sowards’ feats are NOT boring. That is a pretty big plus in and of itself. While he has grown as a designer in leaps and bounds since the release of this supplement, there already is potential and ambition evident here. Indeed, this pdf is a good way to showcase the series’ pros and cons: The GM advice and designer’s commentary is useful and renders the pdf more user-friendly than it would otherwise be. Additionally, the very concept of the feats ties in with roleplaying, as opposed to just providing some crunch. This is a design-paradigm I’d very much love to see more often. Forlorn and heartbound feats, as a duality, are a compelling concept and one, which, while rough around the edges, can be a neat cornerstone of a character concept. Indeed, the concept itself is so prevalent in media, that it may well be worth contemplating revisiting at one point.

That being said, as much as I enjoy the ideas featured in the series, this pdf does feature some aspects where the lack of experience back then shows, regarding verbiage and some finer details of balancing the feats etc. As such, this must be considered to be a somewhat mixed bag that a GM should explain and modify prior to giving it carte blanche. With the material slightly less intriguing/refined than the heartbound file, my final verdict cannot exceed 3 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Transcendent 10 - Feats of the Lost - Figures Forlorn
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Transcendent 10 - Feats of Synergy - Heartbound Heroes
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/15/2018 05:33:33

An Endzeitgeist.com review

So, Lost Spheres Publishing, back in the day, began with the Transcendent 10-series. While these represent the early works of the company, the company flew under my radar for a long while, so it’s high time we took a look at the series, right? It should be noted that the company has evolved since then – reviews of more current books will hit sites soon as well. But how do these early works hold up against the test of time? Let’s find out!

One thing I really enjoy about this series would be the designer’s commentary that is provided for each respective piece of design – they help a GM and player to properly contextualize the content, which is particularly helpful for folks who don’t have a veteran’s level of system mastery. The pdf predates the ACG and OA, and as such, I will not complain about a lack of representation of the classes from these books in the spell-lists.

Anyways, this pdf is 8 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, ½ a page blank, leaving us with 3.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This installment of the series introduces a new feat-descriptor, with the eponymous (Heartbound) feats. Heartbound feats are akin to teamwork feats in that they require another character to work, but there is a crucial difference: The feats do NOT need to be the same. However, you do designate a Heartbound partner upon taking the feat, and said partner becomes important when it comes to triggering the effects of the feat.

All of the following feats are Heartbound feats, and as noted before, they come with design notes, elaborating the respective design decisions.

-All’s Fair: When you see your love harmed, which is defined as taking damage, ability damage (oddly, not drain) or incur a negative condition as part of the actions of an enemy, your attacks may target the foe as though he was flatfooted in the following round. This oversight regarding drain btw. extends to all feats that adhere to this formula of harm. The sneak attack prerequisite is nice, and I enjoy where this feat attempts to go. There are a few rough spots here, though: “The following round” is a weird duration for the trigger; “until the end of your next turn” would make more sense. Additionally, I think that the feat would make more sense when the “being treated as flatfooted” would only work in the context of sneak attacks to avoid cheesing. Other than that, this, idea-wise, represents a good idea to render sneak attack more feasible and enhance teamwork.

-Heart’s Vengeance: Upon seeing your love harmed, you increase (not gain – important distinction) morale bonuses to atk and damage by +1, which increases to +2 at 11th level. Compared to the first feat, this may well be a bit weak, as its utility partially depends on how you read the “increase” component. That being said, it is pretty evident that gaining the bonus if you don’t currently have a morale bonus, is what’s intended here, and the GM advice does clear up this minor ambiguity. Still, I’d have preferred that to be explicitly stated in the rules-text.

-Inspiring Glance: Aid another the partner as a swift action with a range of 30 ft., usable up to Cha-mod times per day. Here, the benefit should be increased to account for Pathfinder’s increased power-level since the release of the pdf.

-Love’s Resolve: This one is inspired. When witnessing your love come to harm and prevented from acting due to an ongoing effect from a failed save, you get an immediate action rereoll. Con be used Con- or Wis-mod times per day. This is so iconic, so present in media etc., that it frankly baffles me why it hasn’t been a more central part of the game. Definite winner here!

-Magic Entwined: Beneficial spell effects you cast on the partner are resolved at +4 CL. Potent, but cool. Other creatures get the regular spell effects.

-Polyamorous: May be taken more than once; lets you select +1 heartbound partner.

-Songs of the Heart: Morale bonuses you grant your partner are increased by +1 and last for 1 round longer, but only for the partner. Cool.

-Surge of Passion: Choose either Charisma or Constitution. That ability score modifier times per day, as an immediate action, you can grant yourself 4 temporary hit points er heartbound feat you possess, including this one.

-Wordless Bond: Nets you basically telepathy with your partner, with a range of 10 ft. per heartbound feat you have. Nice.

There is one feat herein, which is not a heartbound feat:

-Heartbinding Spell (Metamagic): Creatures affected by a mind-influencing spell with this feat added are considered to be Heartbound partners; cost +1 spell level. This one is really cool regarding its ramifications, etc..

The pdf also sports a new spell as bonus content: Heartbound call is a 1st level immediate action spell that lasts for days and conveys a general sense of direction for your partner to find you, as well as a bonus to Diplomacy, Sense Motive and Survival to find you. We also receive a new psionic power, call partner, which is basically the psionic version of the spell, with 2 augments, one for increased bonuses, and one for a 4 power point correspond.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are solid, if not perfect. There are some minor deviations in rules-verbiage and a few hiccups, but as a whole, I have considerably enjoyed this. Layout adheres to a 2-column standard with read highlights and a subdued border. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Christen N. Sowards’ heartbound feats are an enjoyable concept. The line of sight requirement is interesting, and the benefits are, in a couple of cases, significant enough to warrant taking these feats. Taking them also represents a roleplaying opportunity, and such blending of flavor and mechanics is something I generally really enjoy. Now, not all feats are gold or have aged too well, but the pdf still offers plenty of inspiring material that allows you to depict the behavior of power-couples throughout fantasy media at the table. This may not be a perfect offering, but if the concept intrigues you, it’s worth checking out. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, a mixed bag on the positive side of things, but I can’t round up for it.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Transcendent 10 - Feats of Synergy - Heartbound Heroes
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City of 7 Seraphs - Akashic Trinity
by Vladimir C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/09/2018 10:59:41

Trinity, my love (no, not The Matrix’)

Akashic Trinity is a kind of preview product for the Pathfinder planar campaign setting/add-on, the greatly expected The City of Seven Seraphs, both by Lost Spheres Publishing. As the name indicates, it is a follow-up product for the awesome Akashic Mysteries by Dream Scarred Press. Both were penned by Michael Sayre. It includes 3 new veil-shaping base classes plus tons of veils for both the new and old akashic adventurers.

What’s inside? Without counting cover, credits, intros and other stuff, we get 51 pages of akashic content for 12/10 bucks (It is on discount right now), which include:

-3 veil-shaping base classes, the roguish Eclipse, the warlockish Nexus, and the feyish, clerical Radiant. Like the other akashic classes, they have a high-fantasy feel and may not be very at home in low-magic or magic-less campaigns. They share a couple of things regarding their veil-shaping: they get increased essence limits and chakra binds, they get a veil class list, and include favored class bonus for races that make sense (not all core races are included for all classes for example).

The Eclipse would fill the role of the akashic rogue, a greatly-asked-for addition to the akashic subsystem. They get simple armor proficiency plus a couple of other rogue-like weapons, plus the buckler (no other armor proficiency), and have a d8 HD, medium BAB, 2 good saves (Fort and Ref), plus a nice rogue-like skill list paired with a generous 6 skill points per level. It is worth noting that their veil-shaping score is Intelligence, which more often than not will increases the skill repertoire of any Eclipse. They also can find traps at 2nd level, including magical ones. Here is where the mundane part of the class ends.

Like other akashic classes they are veilshapers. They get the least veils shaped (and bound) during their progression of any of the veil-shapers (but see Dark Intensity), although they gain essence at the same rate as Gurus, leaving plenty of points for some of their other essence receptacles. Apart from veilshaping, they get several wondrous abilities, the first one being the weirdest (and more awesome) of them all: Occultation. Basically, Eclipses can create a shadow clone of themselves next to them, who have all the stats of the Eclipse (except for consumables and limited use items), although only getting a single move action per turn and being destroyed with any successful attack, when failing a saving throw or getting to far from their creators. Eclipses can proxy their attacks and powers through their clones! (it must have been a nightmare to balance).

At 5th, the clone can be created farther, can fly, and can teleport in dark areas. At 11th, Eclipses can create 2 clones, each with all the abilities as normal, including having only a single move action, but Eclipses can now use their swift action to proxy their attacks and abilities, and I suppose they can still use their standard actions to proxy through their other clone (or act themselves), but it is not mentioned. Finally at 17th level, when a clone is destroyed it creates a very damaging blackhole. I don’t know if this part is balanced, since there is no limit on how many clones can be destroyed and create a blackhole, and I can think of one or two ways to cheap this ability.

When the clone is not in existence, Eclipses are shrouded by darkness and get an Armor bonus and a competence bonus to their Stealth score. At 7th level, this shroud gives them Hide in Plain Sight; at 13th, they can travel through darkened areas as if using Dimension Door, and also Shadow Walk (as the spell) one time per day (more at higher levels). Finally, at 19th level they can kind of “absorb” this shroud to cheat death, but this use prevents both the active and inactive use of occultations until the Eclipse can rest for 8th hours.

They also get a Darkvision ability that can be invested with essence to increase its range and power. They also gain and increased essence limit for this ability, apart from their general essence limit increase common to all veil-shapers, upping the cap for this ability to 8 essence. At 4 essence (usable at 8th level), Eclipses can see in magical darkness, and at 7 essence (usable at 14th level) they become immune to the blinded and dazzled condition and get a bonus to gaze attacks.

They also get a kind of offensive talent called Enigma, at every even level, from a list of 13. Some have level requirements. All Enigmas have a couple of things in common. First, they can only be used against foes that are flat-footed or flanked, have lost their Dexterity bonus to AC, or are unaware of the user. Second, they must be used as part of an attack or a targeted veil effect (if multitarget, only one target is affected). Finally, only one Enigma can be added per attack or veil effect, but there is no mention if you can change Enigmas for iterative attacks. Effects range from cold or negative energy damage, draining (be it ki, grit, spells, power points etc.), profane bonus to attack rolls etc.

At 10th level, Eclipses get to shape and bind two veils in either their feet or hands chakras, getting an extra ability on top of both veils (two weapon attack as a standard action or extra speed). This veil counts as normal for their maximum, and any essence invested in any of the two veils is done separately. If no double veil is shaped, Eclipses can treat either a veil shaped in their feet or hands as if invested with one extra point of essence.

As a capstone, Eclipses add all veils with the darkness descriptor to their lists, and are able to shape and bind them even if they can’t normally do so (because of a unique veil slot, like ring or blood). They cannot age and also don’t need to eat or breath. While in darkened areas, they become more powerful and get enhanced senses (true seeing and deathwatch).

The Nexus would be the akashic warlock/kineticist. They get all simple and martial weapon proficiencies, plus light and medium armor, along medium BAB and d8 HD, good Will and Fort saves, with 4 skill points and a skill list focused on interaction and scholarship. Their veilshaping is charisma-based, with one essence per level like Eclipses. They get 10 veils over their carrers, only behind Viziers, and get all 10 chakra binds, making them very powerful at shaping and binding veils.

Beyond their powerful veilshaping, they get two abilities, first of which would be Planar Detonation. This is very similar to a Kinetic Blast, but is a basic piercing attack that can be modified with their Convergences (see below). They can burn essential to double their damage output, and can as a full-round action (later standard), channel this blast through a weapon-like veil. I was going to rant about their damage output and how they can burn essence to amp it, but note that essence is what make veils and akashic feats more powerful, and it still regenerates at a rate of one point per minute, so while you could leave many points to blast away, you would leave other essential receptacles dry, which makes essential management a tactical decision for every Nexus.

Their second ability is called Convergence, which has a kind of planar bloodline flavor. Unlike bloodlines, you aren’t tied to one progression, instead being able to choose from 5 flavors (with 4 tiers each) for each instance of the ability, which is gained at 1st level and supposedly every multiple of four, but in the table level 20th doesn’t mention a new Convergence. The 5 flavors would be Heaven, Hell, Abyss, Elemental and Underworld, the last two representing Chaos and Law for some undisclosed reason.

Convergence tiers share some things in common. Tier one makes Nexus resistant to two, three or four types of energy, and get a new damage type (with an added effect) for their Planar Detonations. Tier two give Nexus a new area blast option when using their special damage type by burning essence. The (im)possibility of both increasing damage and using area attacks is not mentioned, so I suppose it is possible to do both. Tier three gives you an interactive ability with the plane in question, giving you different abilities like summoning demons, bind creatures in a devilish contract, and negotiating with the powers of death to return a creature to life! Finally, tier gives Nexus a powerful magical ability, from channeling a Balor’s vorpal sword for any slashing weapon wielded, to be able to Resurrect once per day when slayed by an evil creature.

Planar Attunement is their capstone, making them being treated as natives of the chosen plane, no longer aging, and gaining a magical ability to command devils or demons, summoning a planetar, getting treated as friendly by creatures of one of the elemental planes, or getting many psychopomp-y abilities. For some strange reason, this ability is independent of your Convergences, so you could potentially have Convergence tier 3 in both the Abyss and Hell and suddenly getting attuned with Heaven. I would at least require a Convergence tier of 3 (or even 2) in the planar attunement you want as a capstone.

The Radiant would be the akashic cleric/druid/vitalist (this last one from the psionic rules by Dream Scarred Press) that inherited many concepts from the Vedist, a long-awaited akashic healing class that the author teased not long after the . It has the most unusual flavor among the classes, since while light, nature, fey and life are common themes, all them together is not. They have a typical caster chassis: proficiency with simple weapons and light armor only, low BAB with d6 HD (but see Mind over Matter), ALL GOOD SAVES, and 4 skill points with a skill list focusing on nature and scholarship. Their veilshaping is Wisdom-based, getting lots of essence like Viziers, but not as many veils and chakara binds (topping at 8 veils and 6 chakra binds).

At first level they get Mind over Matter, a seemingly-random ability that adds their Wisdom bonus to their Fort saves, HP per level, and negative HP maximum (but see below).

Their main ability would be Akashic Bond, an ability that feels very similar to the psionic Collective. By investing essence in their allies, Radiants give their invested allies a slowly regenerating temporary hit point pool and a bonus to saves. A Radiant that has invested an ally that suffers from poison, disease or fatigue, can reclaim the invested essence and not only absorb the condition, but getting a NEW SAVE (if any). The list of conditions that can be absorbed increase with level progression, and some conditions are instantly cured at higher levels!

At every even level, Radiants learn a Vivification, an extra ability that can be granted to invested allies. One Vivification can be granted for each point of essence invested, with the option of choosing the same Vivification more than once to increase its effects! Abilities go from enhancements to ability scores, damage reduction, bonus to damage or skill checks, and ability damage healing.

While all this maybe gives the impression that Radiants are martyrs, at fourth level they can invest enemies with essence! This forced bond debuffs enemies and lets Radiant transfer any negative condition they can normally absorb to their foes!

At 19th level they get the ability to restore life by burning 6 essence points. As capstone they become immune to aging. They also gain immunity to death effects and share this immunity with invested allies.

-83 new veils. Each is available to at least one of the old classes and one of the new classes, and of course the vizier is among many of them. In the original Akashic Mysteries book, the only thing that somewhat grouped the veils was their descriptors, and perhaps the Daevic’s Passion Veil lists. Here, we have each veil belonging to a thematic list, which range in number from 4 to 10. It is important to mention that the 5 lists that have 10 veils occupy different chakra slots and correspond to each of the five Convergence flavors of the Nexus who, having a normal maximum of ten veils shaped (and bound), could potentially have all the veils from one list shaped and bound at the same time, making specialization in a Convergence possible. Also, some of the favored class bonuses reference these lists. This is design decision I applaud, since it makes choosing veils easier for both players and game masters.

As in Akashic Mysteries, the veils themselves cover a wide variety of effects, from energy attacks, defenses, summons, weapon-like creations, vehicles etc. I found quite a few that wowed me, like Reaper’s Scythe’s positive damage against undead and negative against the living, Duxandu’s Icy Gaze take the idea of giving a cold glare literally, Nymph’s Visage which gives Radiants and Viziers a reason not to dump Charisma (or Daevics and Nexus a reason to take the Shape Veil feat), and the Efreeti’s Scimitar critical effect when bound to the wrists.

There were some weird instances where a veil would be available to a certain class, but in the chakra bind description the class is not mentioned. And in some, ANOTHER class that is not mentioned in the class list of the veil IS mentioned in the chakra bind section. Hyandil’s Flowered Regalia, for example, is available to Guru, Nexus, Radiant and Vizier, but in the chakra bind section, it doesn’t mention Guru and include Daevic instead. At first I thought that maybe the D for daevic suggested the access to the veil via feats, but that would have to be included to all veils for all the classes that get that chakra bind. My best guess is that it’s a typo.

Of Note: Holy sheet of paper Batman! Just when I thought akashic magic went to the right direction of getting away from the alignment flavor of the original Incarnum system, here comes the Nexus and retakes that idea, but well done. The three classes have a very high-magic, distinct feel, and make the idea of an akashic party a reality. And the idea of grouping the veils by theme is just plain awesome!

Anything wrong?: While not bad, the three classes share the capstone of not aging, which takes away a little of the oomph that immunity normally gives. I thoughts that Radiants would get an ability to transfer their HP after reading their description texts and Mind over Matter ability, but if they want to heal they have to use essence and veils I suppose. Some abilities alert my spider-sense(TM), making me feel a bit uncomfortable because of their power level, like the blackhole created when Occultations are destroyed, Halo of Holy Light’s ability when bound to the headband chakra, Cloak of Darkness unlimited shadow conjurations (I don’t remember correctly if you can have more than one conjuration effect at the same time, but if you don’t, I would add this caveat to the ability). Also, tying Convergences to planes is cool, but unless there is a campaign-specific reason to tie the elemental planes to chaos (which sadly remind me of 4th edition “Maelstrom”) or the “underworld” to law, some people might have a problem with that, as will people using different planar cosmologies. That, and the possible typos in the class lists/bound lists of the veils mentioned above.

What I want: I don’t know if there are going to be feats in the final book, but the veil theme lists could/should/must be used beyond favored class bonuses. What about a feat that gives you something for every veil shaped from that list? This would reward a Nexus who shapes veils from their Convergences (maybe Convergences could count as a veil for this purpose?). Also, of course I have to mention it: I WANT CONVERGENCES FOR ALL THE PLANES WITH THEIR ACCOMPANYING 10 VEEEEILS! There, I said it and had to be said LOL. Apart from that, the original triad have a choose-able theme, be it Passion, Philosophy, or Path, so new archetypes were not as much needed as say, new of those options. Eclipses and Radiants, however, would really benefit from some archetypes. When I was reading the book, I kept imagining an Eclipse focused on Occultations or their dark shroud, and a Radiant focused in debuffing through their forced bond.

What cool things did this inspire?: I don’t know why but the Eclipse gives me a strong ninja feel, so a ninja-themed kitsune trickster is a must in my to-play list (or another imperial race, wayang maybe? hey, why do wayangs don’t have a favored class bonus?). Also, a dwarf Radiant NPC for one of those (all really) parties that forget to include a cleric who charges for every single service given LOL (and with their ability score bonuses dwarves make for very good Radiants).

Do I recommend it?: If you have Akashic Mysteries and liked it, then hell yeah! If you don’t, I would suggest buying that product first, get wowed (you will), and then return here. While technically you don’t need that book to use this one, you will lose on all the akashic supporting material like feats and races (and of course veils). Taking into account the pdf only includes the new classes and their veils, and that it doesn’t include all the akashic content of the full book, I consider it an incomplete stand alone, and will rate the existing material with 4.5 Radiant stars, rounded down because of the few things I mentioned before but will round up when they are polished. I hope the publisher adds the remaining content to this pdf when the full book is released but I doubt it; but this is a damned good expansion nonetheless.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
City of 7 Seraphs - Akashic Trinity
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Transcendent 10 - Psionics of Conflict - Zones of Power
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/09/2018 01:07:21

An Endzeitgeist.com review

So, Lost Spheres Publishing, back in the day, began with the Transcendent 10-series. While these represent the early works of the company, the company flew under my radar for a long while, so it’s high time we took a look at the series, right? It should be noted that the company has evolved since then – reviews of more current books will hit sites soon as well. But how do these early works hold up against the test of time? Let’s find out!

One thing I really enjoy about this series would be the designer’s commentary that is provided for each respective piece of design – they help a GM and player to properly contextualize the content, which is particularly helpful for folks who don’t have a veteran’s level of system mastery. This pdf was released after Dreamscarred Press had expanded the roster of psionic classes, but before the most current, occult psionic options and classes – as such, it is 100% Ultimate Psionics compatible.

Anyways, this pdf is 8 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1.5 pages of SRD, leaving us with 4.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

We begin with a definition of the eponymous zones of power: They have a visual display and are indiscriminate. They very palpably emanate from the character in question and they move with the manifester. Now, and this is important, zones do NOT allow for saving throws and, RAW, they ignore power resistance, which sends all my alarm bells into alert-mode. No save and no resistance can be rather brutal. But let’s see how they hold up! The first would be the battlefield manifestation zone, which is available as a 3rd level power for psion/wilder, cryptic, marksman, psychic warrior and tactician. All creatures in this zone except the manifester have cover, and movement is restricted as if by “hindering terrain” – that should be “difficult terrain.” For 2 power points, the zone can be extended by 30 ft., while 1 power point allows for the exclusion of one square, which is cool – but can this square be reassigned? Since the zone can move, this would make sense, but RAW, the hole thus created cannot be reassigned. This is particularly problematic since all the zones sport these two basic augments. There is another augment here, one for 4 power points. This augment makes a move action only amount to 5 ft. (WTF) and makes the zone grant total concealment. Yeah, that is utterly OP and should be handled with a movement penalty and minimum movement instead.

Dimensional interface zone is available for nomad and cryptic as a 6th level power and basically makes the zone behave as a plane, copying its planar traits. The augments have a 5-ft.-square exclusion for 1 power point, +30 ft. radius for 2 power points and for 4, you can extend the duration to 10 min/level. Empathic transfer zone is a 3rd level power for psychic warrior and vitalist (5 power points), 4th level for psion/wilder (7 power points) and 2nd level for dread (3 power points). When you take damage for the first time in a round, roll 1d6 – all targets in the zone take this much damage. The total of this rolled damage is then subtracted from any damage you would take. Broken as all 9 hells. Does someone have a bag of kittens to cheese the hell out of this one? Next.

Energy amplification zone costs 5 power points for psion/wilder and psychic warrior and clocks in as a 3rd level power for them, while kineticists (the psionic ones) can get it as a 2nd level power for 3 power points. Once more, we have the augment for +30 ft., for 5 ft.-square exclusion. The power adds +1d6 to all energy damage of a chosen type. This should specify the energy types available. (What about force, sonic, negative energy? Can it be used to enhance those?); For +2 power points, you can add a second energy or increase the damage by a further +1d6. Not a big fan of the number-escalation here. Lifeforce flare is available as a third level power for psion/wilder, psychic warrior and vitalist. The zone nets a 10 temporary hit points buffer that any creature within can use to decrease damage incurred. The usual shaping augments are included and for +1 power point, you get +10 temporary hit points. Okay, do these replenish each round or not? I like the idea, but the execution is rough.

Necrotic corruption zone is a third level power for psion/wilder, psychic warrior and vitalist, at 5 power point cost, 2nd level for dread at 3 power points cost. It can be shaped with the standard two shape augments for increased emanation radius and 5 ft.-holes. The zone adds +1d6 negative energy damage o each attack, +1 bleed and nets undead fast healing 1. OUCH. For +2 power points, the damage increases by +1d6, for one additional power point, you can increase the bleed incurred by 1.

Probability distortion zone, defensive clocks in at 3rd level for psion/wilder, psychic warrior and tactician, 2nd level for marksman and seer. It nets +1 insight bonus to AC and saves. For 3 power points, this increases by 1. Compared to the other zones, this is pretty weak. Probability distortion zone, hostile clocks in at 3rd level for psion/wilder, psychic warrior and tactician, 2nd level for dread and seer, with power point costs at 5 and 3, respectively. This one is the inverse of the previous zone and instead provides the penalty. Minor nitpick: Penalties in PFRPG are untyped. Probability manipulation zone clocks in at 4th level for cryptic, psion/wilder, psychic warrior, tactician, costing 7 power points. Seers get it as a 3rd level power for 5 power points. This…doesn’t really behave like a zone. Only the manifester has control over it. It nets an immediate action d20 reroll. +2 power points for an additional reroll before it discharges. Odd one.

Finally, warp strike zone clocks in at 3rd level for dread, nomad and psychic warrior, 4th level for the tactician, with 5 and 7 power points as base costs. Okay, this is another zone that needs to die in a fiery blaze. All targets in the zone are treated as eligible for touch attacks by the manifester. I kid you not. The augment for 4 points can even extend that to a 5 ft.-square to get this benefit. Yeah. No. Just no.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting shows, alas, that this is an early work – the later offerings by Lost Spheres Publishing are MUCH better. Bolding isn’t consistent and rules-language in the base chassis has problems. Layout adheres to a 2-column standard with red highlights and the pdf has no artwork apart from the cover.

Yeah, to be honest, this was what I kind of expected from early works in the series. The Transcendent 10-series has positively surprised me with its unique and complex concepts and honest gems that shine through the lack of experience the author had back then. (And rest assured, the new stuff is much more refined!) This extends, to a degree, to this offering. However, unfortunately, the very base engine of the zones is flawed. Moving zones are tricky in PFRPG – I should know, I’ve written a whole class based on the concept and have juggled the concept in more than one of my designs. The zones as defined herein are interesting per se and less problematic than I expected them to be; alas, they sport some seriously problematic exploits and a rather big flaw in the base engine. At the same time, the active zones for manifesters only at the end feel odd, almost like the author had run out of ideas for the base engine. They are, comparably, boring. While I maintain that the concept attempted here is cool and definitely worth pursuing, the execution here, alas, leaves quite a lot to be desired, requiring imho further design-work by the GM to streamline them and make them work properly. As such, my final verdict cannot exceed 2.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Transcendent 10 - Psionics of Conflict - Zones of Power
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Transcendent 10 - Spells of Synergy - Multiclass & Melee
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/05/2018 04:19:35

An Endzeitgeist.com review

So, Lost Spheres Publishing, back in the day, began with the Transcendent 10-series. While these represent the early works of the company, the company flew under my radar for a long while, so it’s high time we took a look at the series, right? It should be noted that the company has evolved since then – reviews of more current books will hit sites soon as well. But how do these early works hold up against the test of time? Let’s find out!

One thing I really enjoy about this series would be the designer’s commentary that is provided for each respective piece of design – they help a GM and player to properly contextualize the content, which is particularly helpful for folks who don’t have a veteran’s level of system mastery. The pdf predates the ACG and OA, and as such, I will not complain about a lack of representation of the classes from these books in the spell-lists.

Anyways, this pdf is 11 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1/2 page blank, leaving us with 7.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

We begin this pdf with a brief recap of what constitutes a bonded companion for the purpose of this pdf. It should also be noted that, unlike a few of the other entries in the series, the witch-class actually gets some new spell material herein. As before, formatting of spells is missing bolding, but otherwise is pretty tight.

Anyways, let’s move to the spells, the first of which, adduced mastery, clocks in at 2nd level for all classes.This spell lets you touch a ring or item; the caster then can gain a feat of the former owner of that item for the spell’s duration, though he still needs to qualify for it, which is an important measure to prevent abuse. The duration is pretty long and the pdf is smart enough to cover magic item slot-interaction in the context of the pdf. Armament of energy clocks in at 2nd level for all arcane casters apart from alchemist and witch and generates a weapon for which the caster must have proficiency. Attacks executed with the energy weapon substitute the casting ability modifier for Strength and are applied 1.5 if shaped as a two-handed weapon. Here’s the interesting thing: The weapon generates a pool of dice of energy damage chosen from the 4 basic elements (nitpick: It’s electricity damage, not electrical damage) that may be discharged with successful attacks. Now, personally, I think that there ought to be a cap on maximum discharge per hit to prevent nova-crits, for the energy damage multiplies fully, which can result in pretty ridiculous crits. That being said, apart from that, the spell does a lot right and even covers decreased damage die size for sonic damage.

Bond transpossession I is really interesting, in that it allows you to replace a bonded creature with one available from summon monster/nature’s ally, with the type of spell this is based on contingent on the spell list available to the class. This is really cool, at it allows you to have the “right” bonded companion available. It should also be noted that the pdf provides bonus spells for this one – bonded transpossession II – IX. This is important, since the spells, subject to GM approval, can also yield other forms beyond the list, balanced by CR. The follow-up spells properly and appropriately scale this.

Cry of blood can be cast as a swift action and is available for bard, sorc/wiz and cle/oracle. Its components…include 1 round of rage. An ally within earshot under the benefits of a morale bonus you created gains the benefits of rage and potentially rage powers you have and may end a rage-burst thus granted as a free action sans suffering fatigue. Interesting for multiclass characters currently not in rage/the option to cast in rage. Divine echoes is a level 1 spell for bards and the non-nature-themed divine classes and nets the recipients of your morale bonus granting “bard song” (not the proper term) the benefits of sacred bonuses you currently enjoy. It also lets you grant an ally affected smite, though you still have to activate it. Interesting one, though the bonus-sharing can become rather brutal. Eidolonic weapon is available for assassin, blackguard, cle/oracle, sorc/wiz, magus, pala…and wizard? That should be witch. It allows you to draw a weapon you’re proficient with from your eidolon, using its natural attacks as a template to determine its damage.

Sacred savagery is available for antipala, pala and cle/oracle at 2nd spell level and requires one use of channel energy as a component. It allows the character to used the channeled energy to either sustain a limited, morale bonus-granting ability for the duration (which is OP – this should be based on channel dice) or enhance the bonuses. Weird: Here, it is based on channel dice. Sanguine bond clocks in at 2nd level for alchemist, summoner, witch and sorc/wiz, 1st spell level for the ranger. The spell affects the caster and companion and allows the caster to imbibe potions, mutagen and spells and choose to split the duration evenly between caster and companion or have the companion instead be affected. Interesting! Shared instincts clocks in at level for most classes, level 3 for druids, and allows for the sharing of insight bonuses, “precision-based hit and damage bonuses” (what’s the hit bonus here? I know precision damage, but no such bonus exists…) and sneak attack dice (covered under precision, so redundant). This can be really brutal with the right build.

The final spell herein would be trance of divine precision, available for antipala and pala as well as cle/oracle. The spell consumes 1 use of channel energy as a material component. “For the duration

of this spell you add your dice of channeling damage to all critical hits, ranger favored enemy bonuses, and other precision based attacks (such as sneak attack).” Okay, does this mean the NUMBER of channeling dice? Or the actual dice? In the latter case, we have a ridiculous damage escalation in the right hands. The only reason I am not screaming bloody murder here is the multiclass requirement and the fact that casting another spell ends it prematurely. Still, I’d be weary of letting it fall into the hands of a good min-maxer.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are, on a formal level, good if you can look past the formatting convention deviations. On a rules-language level, the pdf attempts highly complex modifications and often succeeds rather admirably in conveying the intent. The verbiage is a bit rough, but considering that this is an early work, it is impressive. Layout adheres to the 2-column full-color standard of the series, is pretty printer-friendly, and we don’t get interior artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Christen N. Sowards’ early design-offerings frankly prove to be much more enjoyable than I thought they would; this Transcendent 10-installment is no different in that regard. There are some genuinely cool ideas and rules-operations here, and while Lost Spheres Publishing’s current releases are much more refined, this already has several components that I’d consider more interesting than whole spell-pdfs of thrice the size. In short, if you can live with the minor rough edges, then this has some creative and interesting design-work that can inspire and provide some cool tricks to develop, tweak, etc. For the low asking price, this is worth taking a look at. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, courtesy of the rough patches and age of the pdf. I will still round up due to in dubio pro reo, though, as this holds up better than it honestly has a right to after all this time. If anything, the Transcendent 10 spell installments are a great way to show what could have been done with spellcasting on a large scale, instead of just substituting a shape and energy type for the oomphteenth fireball clone. I really wish that the ambition and design-paradigms of the series find more traction. If anything, I hope that a few designers out there take a look and think about what spells could be.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Transcendent 10 - Spells of Synergy - Multiclass & Melee
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Transcendent 10 - Spells of Synergy - Elemental Exchanges
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/04/2018 05:47:13

An Endzeitgeist.com review

So, Lost Spheres Publishing, back in the day, began with the Transcendent 10-series. While these represent the early works of the company, the company flew under my radar for a long while, so it’s high time we took a look at the series, right? It should be noted that the company has evolved since then – reviews of more current books will hit sites soon as well. But how do these early works hold up against the test of time? Let’s find out!

One thing I really enjoy about this series would be the designer’s commentary that is provided for each respective piece of design – they help a GM and player to properly contextualize the content, which is particularly helpful for folks who don’t have a veteran’s level of system mastery. The pdf predates the ACG and OA, and as such, I will not complain about a lack of representation of the classes from these books in the spell-lists.

Anyways, this pdf is 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 /2 page blank, leaving us with 4.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Now, as before regarding the spell-centric installments of this series, we get an explanation of a core design tenet here, namely elemental balance. This should be no news for experienced players, but we do get a list of the 4 classic elements, with associated energy types and opposed elements and their energy types – so in the unlikely case that you are new to this, you’ll have the concept explained here. Once more witches don’t get these new spells.

All right, the first spell herein would be elemental duality, which clocks in at level 2 for alchemist, magus and sorc/wiz, level 3 for the druid. The spell allocates two opposing elements to two limbs: A limb may not share two such focal points. The caster may then launch energy (2d6, +1d6 for every 4 caster levels after 3rd, up to 5d6) as ranged touch attacks with Medium range , or add this damage to a melee attack executed with the limb chosen as the focus. Casting the spell includes executing an attack, btw. Okay, does this only work for unarmed/natural strikes? Or can it be combined with spellstrike? In the latter case, it represents a bit of an overkill, as far as I’m concerned. Elemental oscillation clocks in at 4th level for druid and summoner, 3rd for sorcerer and wizard and is interesting: You make a ranged touch attack: If you hit, the target suffers 1d6 per levels of the first element chosen, on the subsequent round the same amount from the opposing element. Breaking concentration or line of effect breaking ends this and the spell alternates between the damage types for its duration. This one is interesting: Damage is enough to make it viable, but not too high to make its added flexibility an issue. I like it.

The pdf proceeds to introduce us to Elemental reaction, which exists in two versions: The lesser one clocks in at level 5 for inqui/cle/oracle, 4 for druid/magus/sorc/wizard. It can be cast as an immediate action and allows you to basically copy a hostile (not healing cheesing) spell with an energy descriptor an enemy casts and target the enemy with it. While it specifies that the caster must be in the new area of effect of the spell (and thus covers touch etc.), the spell’s range could be misinterpreted as substituting that of the copied spell. In short, this could be a bit tighter in its rules. The spell can only affect spell levels of 3rd or lower…does that mean that you have to identify the spell being mimicked first or not? I assume no, but that makes casting it a bit of a guessing game. The greater version clocks in at level 9 for cleric/oracle and sorc/wizard, 8 for druids and 6 for magi/inquisitors; it can mimic spells of up to 7th level.

Oppositional echo is 3rd level for sorc/wizard and magus, 4th for the divine casters and is pretty cool: You copy an elemental spell of an allied caster and inverse the elements, targeting the same area/target. Like it! Opposition sheen is available at 4th spell level for cle/oracle, magus and sorc/wizard and represents an immediate action shield that can negate incoming elemental attacks – if you make your CL-check. This is dynamic, not 100% reliable AND also covers supernatural attacks…so yes, it can shield you, theoretically, versus that dragon breath…if you make the CL-check based on HD… I LOVE this. Even cooler, you get a short-lived defensive aura. Two thumbs up for this onne!

Reactive echo cascade clocks in at 9th spell level for the full casters. You copy a hostile elemental spell and rebuttal it with 3 versions of the same spell (!!) that use the other elements and energies. 5th level is, balance-wise, the maximum spell level you can affect thus. Really cool. Shared opposition clocks in at 3rd level for cle/oracle and magus, 2nd for druid and sorc/wiz. It requires a phyiscla bond with another spellcaster and assigns one element to each. Each spellcaster gets a reservoir of 2d6 energy damage dice, +1d6 per round. These may be used to enhance energy damage of the assigned element. Cool cooperative casting boost! Tormiand’s triad clocks in at 4th level for magi and sorc/wizards. This generates basically a triangle that can fire either fire, cold or electricity bolts as ranged touch attacks over 3 rounds, one bolt per round, or blast all of them at first round. Damage caps at 10d6 per bolt. While the spell is in effect, the caster suffers a penalty to Dex as well as minor energy resistance, depending on energy left. Interesting one. Tormiand’s tetrastrike would be the 6th level upgrade for the spell, instead covering all 4 base energy types and capping at 15d6 maximum damage per bolt.

The pdf also includes two new feats: Oppositional Might nets +1 DC when alternating between opposing elements with powers etc. Elemental Breach makes a target you hit with a melee attack that deals energy damage suffer a short-lived, minor penalty to saves versus that energy. Both feats are functional, but their rules-language could be tighter. It’s energy damage, not elemental damage, for example.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are okay – bolding, italicization and the like hasn't been implemented in a truly concise manner and there are a couple of instances where minor aspects or the rules-language are a bit wonky. However, at the same time, the pdf manages to get complex and difficult concepts represented in a tight manner, so yeah – flaws in the details, but the ambitious big picture stands., The pdf adheres to a 2-column full-color standard, has no interior artwork and no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Christen N. Sowards’ humble little book of elementalism spells is actually rather interesting and holds up pretty well. While not all spells are perfect, I found myself genuinely excited about some of them, and considering the amount of spells I’ve read, that means something. The formatting shortcomings are a tad bit grating, though. Still, while a bit rough around the edges, and while the bonus feats are somewhat sucky, this is still worth checking out. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Transcendent 10 - Spells of Synergy - Elemental Exchanges
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Transcendent 10 - Spells of Synergy - Magical Interactions
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/29/2018 04:52:55

An Endzeitgeist.com review

So, Lost Spheres Publishing, back in the day, began with the Transcendent 10-series. While these represent the early works of the company, the company flew under my radar for a long while, so it’s high time we took a look at the series, right? It should be noted that the company has evolved since then – reviews of more current books will hit sites soon as well. But how do these early works hold up against the test of time? Let’s find out!

One thing I really enjoy about this series would be the designer’s commentary that is provided for each respective piece of design – they help a GM and player to properly contextualize the content, which is particularly helpful for folks who don’t have a veteran’s level of system mastery. The pdf predates the ACG and OA, and as such, I will not complain about a lack of representation of the classes from these books in the spell-lists.

Anyways, this pdf is 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 /2 page blank, leaving us with 3.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Okay, we begin with a couple of rules-addendums for the purpose of this pdf regarding spellcasting. The book introduces a so-called “Source” – this is basically the type of magic and may include divine, arcane, etc.; The pdf mentions other sources as well, a few of which I haven’t seen so far. Not sure we needed that term. “Flow” denotes whether a spellcaster’s casting is spontaneous or prepared. Considering the evolution of the game, this dichotomy may not hold up so well in all circumstances. It also begs the question where e.g. spontaneous conversion and the like fit in here. This can be somewhat problematic once we evolve to the concept of “counterflow” – this denotes sharing a source, but not a flow: E.g. spontaneous vs. prepared arcane spellcasters.

The pdf then goes on to introduce the [Dual-Souled] subtype, which denotes a acreature bound to the life-force of another creature. This nets a +2 racial bonus to saves versus necromancy spells (but RAW, not versus such effects) and the creature may be considered its original type and that of the bound soul’s form. All right, that is fine and dandy…but how does this interact with spells and effects that have different benefits, based on type? Let’s say Xailaius the elf is dual-souled with an orc and ventures into a desolate battlefield of yore that buffs orcs and debuffs elves, what happens? The better result, the worse, both? This needs some clarification. When failing a save versus a death effect, dual-souled creatures can opt to lose the subtype instead of dying, acting as a failsafe extra life of sorts.

Okay, we’ll begin with three bond of magic spells. The lesser one has a Close range and ties two allied spellcasters together; it is cast as a swift action and clocks in at level 1. Both caster and ally may only cast with the permission of the other character, but gain +1 to CL checks. If a partner expends a standard action, the ally instead gains +2 to CL-checks and +1 to the DC of spells cast that round. The greater version targets 1 + 1/per 3 caster levels targets instead and clocks in at 5th level. Also at 5th level, we get the parasitic bond of magic, which only targets one creature, but lets the caster compel the target to grant this boost. Such a compelled boost does allow for a second save, though. I have a few issues with these spells. They should imho only be able to target allies. Otherwise, it’s save or suck for enemy casters – and mutual lockdown isn’t fun for the player of the caster either. The parasitic bond makes for a cool take on the master/apprentice-concept regarding black arts, but the compelling of boost should be classified as an enchantment (compulsion) effect to properly account for immunities/interactions. This would be as well a place as any to note that, strangely, none of the spells herein are available for the witch.

Counterflow negation targets another caster with the other spellcasting tradition and has a Close range, a Will save to negate and clocks in at 3rd level. It results in a mutual lockdown of casters. Inverse consumption clocks in at 5th level and is a 10-minute ritual that is permanent and targets 2 counterflow spellcasters, one of which must be disabled or dying. (Considering the casting time, dying is unlikely.) Upon completion, the disabled or dying caster perishes (and may not be brought back by any means) and the survivor gets the dual-souled subtype. The survivor also gets spells added from the deceased caster, but the rules-language here is slightly wonky – functional, mind you, but yeah. Interesting: Casting this multiple times is an evil act, as stuffing too many souls into you is really bad news for all souls. I am a bit confused whether this means that you could become triple-souled, or whether the benefits of subsequent castings only apply to spells gained. While the spell is permanent, I am also not sure if losing the Dual-Souled subtype ends the spell or not. If so, are the spells retained? Can the character cast it again without it being evil?

Mystic rebirth clocks in at 5th level for druids, 6th for inquis and oracles and also has a 10 minutes casting time. It can only be cast once on a creature and basically is an instant retrain from prepared to spontaneous caster and vice-versa – wizards become sorcerers, clerics become oracles, etc. Now I get the intent here, but the spell does not allow for attribute re-assignment, which means that the new class will probably suck. It also reduces these classes to spellcasting, which can be an issue. Where do you get a bloodline from? Oracles don’t have to have their deity’s alignment, having the option to be unwilling prophets, etc. Not a fan.

There also are two Zenith surge spells, with the lesser clocking in at level 5. This one targets a prepared spellcaster and allows them to change a prepared spell of 4th level or lower to cast a known spell of the same level or lower from the spell-list. The greater version is, oddly, available for oracle and sorcerer 8 as well as bard 8. Did I miss something there? ;) Anyways, it pretty much works like the lesser version, but goes up to spell level 7. I do like the exclusivity of these spells for sorcs and oracles, but as a whole, I don’t think prepared casters needed the flexibility these offer.

Finally, there would be the lesser and greater inverse versions of these, for prepared casters only, he 5th and 8th level Zenith web spells. These allow spontaneous casters to mimic spells successfully observed via Spellcraft (not capitalized properly), provided they show up on their spell list, by expending an appropriate spell slot. Thresholds are 4th and 7th spell-level, respectively.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting on a formal level are okay; on a rules-language level, the pdf manages to depict complex concepts, but suffers from the base chassis not being perfect. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard and the pdf has no interior artwork apart from the cover. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

Christen N. Sowards’ Transcendent 10-series had surprised me with how well it held up to the test of time; this can, alas, not be said about this pdf. The base concepts used by the spells are per se interesting, but can become problematic with the spellcasting modifications that have been released since the pdf’s release. Additionally, the spells, while not bad per se, have a few rough edges that make them less appealing, with quite a few of them boiling down to cheesy mutual casting lockdowns. Unlike the other T10-files I’ve covered so far, I did not find myself liking any of the spells herein particularly. There is some potential here, but the implementation of the spells requires more work than what I’d expect. My final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Transcendent 10 - Spells of Synergy - Magical Interactions
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Transcendent 10 - Spells of Synergy - Theurgic Interactions
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/23/2018 09:24:28

An Endzeitgeist.com review

So, Lost Spheres Publishing, back in the day, began with the Transcendent 10-series. While these represent the early works of the company, the company flew under my radar for a long while, so it’s high time we took a look at the series, right? It should be noted that the company has evolved since then – reviews of more current books will hit sites soon as well. But how do these early works hold up against the test of time? Let’s find out!

One thing I really enjoy about this series would be the designer’s commentary that is provided for each respective piece of design – they help a GM and player to properly contextualize the content, which is particularly helpful for folks who don’t have a veteran’s level of system mastery. The pdf predates the ACG and OA, and as such, I will not complain about a lack of representation of the classes from these books in the spell-lists.

Anyways, this pdf is 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, ½ a page blank, leaving us with 4.5 pages of content. A minor complaint will be evident from a formatting perspective from the get-go: The lines like “Range” etc. have not been bolded.

Design-wise, the spells herein focus on a reallocation of functions, with the stated and explicit design-goal of making multiclass options and theurgic interactions more viable. Also helpful for newer players, the pdf explains the term “ally” to also refer to the caster and what a bonded companion constitutes.

Now, let’s take a look at these spells, shall we?

-Anoint Mystic Bond (Cle/oracle 3, druid 3, inqui 2): This one is interesting, in that it targets an arcane caster and the bonded companion. Both master and companion get luck bonuses to atk, weapon damage and Str-based checks. Interesting: Smaller sized companions increase the bonus and both caster and companion get access to a combat or teamwork feat while the spell lasts, but the caster needs to have such a feat. Additionally, the companion must have an open headband or head magic item slot and item restrictions of eidolon/summoner are retained. The slot prevents the spell from being utterly OP for summoners and the size-caveat makes the option to send fragile familiars into the fray seem more rewarding. All in all, an interesting buff.

-Blood of the Gods (Cle/oracle 2, inqui 2, druid 3): This one can only target a spontaneous arcane spellcaster – here, we can see an effect of aging – the target-line should probably specify that the caster needs to have the bloodline class feature. You choose a domain and for the duration, the arcane caster can cast domain spells of the selected domain as though they were spells known, but loses access to the bloodline spells…but here’s the catch: Only while you maintain contact with the target! The story-implications of enslaved sorcerers are great and I found myself enjoying this one.

-Bridge of Life (bard/magus/sorc/wiz/witch 5): Can be cast as a swift action and targets a divine spellcaster and a wounded ally in close range, allowing the divine caster to cast healing spells at range to the target, though each cast decreases the duration of the spell. I LOVE this – the duration decrease is elegant; the action required is important and the spell-level appropriate.

-Deconstructive Infusion (bard/magus/Sorc/wiz 5): This is another really interesting spell, as it targets a spell effect and an allied positive energy channeler. The spell duplicates dispel magic (not italicized properly in the text) and grants bonus dice to channel energy uses of the channeler. If the granted bonus dice exceed the channel dice, the channeler may instead gain an additional channel energy use, which are retained, up to the maximum. Otherwise, these bonus dice must be used within 1 round/level. This is SO ELEGANT. The spell-level-based mechanic prevents cheesing via cantrips etc.

-Energy Channeling Lens (bard/magus/sorc/wiz 2): This one conjures a lens that can only be damaged by physical attacks. The lens may be moved by 30 feet per round, but does not specify an action for doing so. The lens may either be positive or negative energy and must be placed on one side of the cleric channeling energy. Positive energy lenses may be attuned to acid or fire, negative energy lenses to “lightning or cold” – that should be electricity. Every 1d6 channeled into the lens is converted into 2d6 of the chosen energy type, but before you complain here, the area of effect is modified: The lens generates a 5-foot wide line that is 10 ft. per channel die long. In spite of the minor hiccups, an inspired little spell.

-Resplendent Mercy (bard/wiz/sorc/witch 2): This targets a character with access to mercies and makes the next use not count to the daily maximum, with a further upgrade once the character reaches 10th CL.

-Sacred Censure (cle/oracle/inqui 2, druid 3): Mutual lockdown – target an arcane spellcaster; if he fails the save, neither he nor the divine caster may cast spells. And yes, the cleric may not use SPs or trigger spell-completion items either. I love this one. It’s really strong, but it is a godsend (haha) for grittier campaigns where “the church” is hunting those practitioners of black magic.

-Spell Sheathe (inqui/pala/ranger 2): Swift action cast targeting your weapon, you may ready the weapon to contain the power of the next spell an allied arcane caster casts while touching the weapon. This makes the weapon behave as spell storing sans level cap. Personally, I think that implementing a scaling mechanism regarding maximum spell levels here would have made sense.

-Unleashed Power (cler/oracle/inqui 2, druid 3): This one targets an allied prepared spellcaster, who gains the ability to 1/round, as a standard action, convert spells into rays that deal untyped damage – 2d6 per spell level. I am never a fan of untyped damage, but I do like that the converted spell level determines the range, which prevents mundane ranged weaponry from being outclassed.

-Vision of Glory (bard 3, sorc/wiz/witch 4): Targets caster and a divine spellcaster with at least one domain. Grasping the head of your ally, you open their eyes to the truths of deities/nature – the character gains access to a domain of his belief and prepared domain spells may be used to spontaneously cast spells from the revealed domain. Minor complaint here: This should specify that the spells need to have the same level. Domain powers exchange, including limited use tricks, is properly depicted, though. Passive abilities are not provided.

The final page contains two bonus feats:

-Eldritch Smite: When activating smite evil, you can, as a free action, sacrifice an arcane spell, which increases the damage of the first attack vs. the smite target by 2d6 per level of the spell sacrificed. This only affects evil targets. The arcane caster/pala-combo isn’t too strong, so I can live with the damage increase here.

-Focal Mage: While you have a channel energy use left and hold the divine focus/holy symbol, you gain +1 sacred bonus to CL for arcane spells. As a swift action, you may expend a channel energy use to gain a sacred bonus to CL equal to the channel dice, but only for the next arcane spell cast. This is pretty cool, but should NOT be used in conjunction with a regular theurgic class option – if you have full progression for both divine and arcane spells, this becomes very broken very fast.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good on a formal level – a few components are capitalized that shouldn’t be and I noticed similar minor hiccups like a doubled “range” word, but that’s about it. Rules-language deserves being applauded – the rules are, for the most part, extremely tight and precise, in spite of the high level of difficulty of the operations executed. The pdf has no bookmarks, but doesn’t need them.

Christen N. Sowards continues to impress here – I expected something much simpler and blander when opening this pdf. This humble pdf provides a quality of design you seldom get to see – the spells intricately weave teamwork options for the group to use, often tapping into truly innovative and intriguing ways in which they are balanced. While not all spells are perfect, those that are really excited me like few spells these days manage to do, making me want to integrate them into my campaign right away. Heck, some even actually managed to inspire some ideas for cults, traditions, etc. While the formal rough patches prevent me from rating this the full 5 stars, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down – and this is one of the rare cases where a pdf still gets my seal of approval, in spite of some formal hiccups. After having read literally thousands of spells, this still stands out. So yeah, very much recommended!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Transcendent 10 - Spells of Synergy - Theurgic Interactions
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Transcendent 10 - Feats of Synergy - Company of Dwarves
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/09/2018 05:08:24

An Endzeitgeist.com review

In this installment of the Transcendent 10-series, we take a look at feats made for dwarves. As before, we actually get notes on the usage/design rationale behind each feat, which is rather nice. The pdf clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

Helpful particularly for newer GMs: Since quite a few of these feats are based on morale and make use of this component, they often increase morale bonuses to avoid stacking issues. These increases do not necessarily presume there to be a previously existing bonus.

The feats are:

-Alloyed Courage: If the weakest member in the party attacks an enemy in combat, your morale bonus to attack and damage versus that target increase by +1, which increases to +2 at 11th level. Now, as a nice component, we actually do get guidelines to determine the currently weakest character, though a concise hierarchy would have been appreciated there. Still, from a design-perspective, I like this; as far as benefits go, not so much.

-Born of the Tireless Earth: Select an hour of birth; each day, on this hour, you regain daily powers and spells as though you had rested fully. However, rests at other times do NOT replenish spells, abilities etc. This is interesting in that it completely changes how dwarves behave on a foundational level when compared to other races. The legendary staying power can thus be represented by the boon and the retaining of fatigue/exhaustion means that they still have to rest. While this should never be combined with options to negate these two conditions, it is otherwise a feat I really, really like.

-Brother of Stone: For non-dwarves; gain +1 to Fort- or Will-saves and count as dwarf for the purpose of abilities etc. The feat also acts as Great Fortitude or Iron Will for prerequisite purposes. Kinda flavorful, but feels more like a trait for me.

-By No Other Hand: When casting a spell with a material component or focus you created or target a masterwork item you created, you increase CL by 2. I like this. Its benefits could be a bit more exciting, but the flavor fits.

-Fire in the Belly: Drink alcohol as a move action, or two doses as a full round action. Per dose, you gain one spirited point. Maximum for these points is Con-mod, and they last for Con-mod hours since the last drink. As a free action you can spend any of these points for a morale bonus to the next d20-roll; however, the roll after that takes an equal penalty. I like what was attempted here, be we know how this will be somewhat swingy, with players attempting to use the penalized d20-rolls for Perception or Knowledge. The penalty should pertain the same type of roll instead. Also: Penalties aren’t typed in PFRPG.

-Oath of Stone: Choose Con- or Wis-mod. A number of times (not per day – these pertain oaths and fulfilling them!) equal to the chosen modifier, you may choose to swear a sacred oath. You record the wording and roll a d20. A number of times per day equal to the chosen modifier, you may substitute the roll of the oath for saving throws, provided failing the save would interfere with the oath. Pretty cool – but can also be sucky if you have bad luck on the roll; I’d probably provide a bonus or minimum value (like 11 or 15) depending on how well the player RPs the oath.

-Pride of Craft: +1 to atk and damage when wielding a weapon you have crafted. When wearing armor or shield you made, gain +1 to AC instead. If fighting with both, you may choose to allocate the bonus anew to offense and defense each round. The bonus increases to +2 at 11th level. Provides a bit of choice and rewards making your own stuff. Solid, if not too exciting.

-Rhythm of the Forge: Okay, this one is problematic. As a free action, allied dwarves may go in your bardic performance; for each dwarf that joins in, your bard level is increased by 1, with a maximum of Cha bonus or ½ bard levels, rounded down. This is pretty circumstantial in its benefits and imho should have a maximum range.

-Warforge (Item Creation): You may Craft Magic Arms and Armor (not capitalized properly) as though you had the feat, using BAB as CL. Every odd level lets you choose a spell with a spell level up to equal half your level, allowing you to craft as though you knew it. Okay, this one is gold. While personally, I’d let the dwarf choose one spell per level, this is good representation of the traditional dwarven crafting angle.

-Will of Stone: Use Con for Will-saves instead of Wis-mod, but effects that decrease Fort-saves now also apply to Will. Kudos: No double affecting. I usually hate feats like this, but the potential double-edge makes me like it. Kudos.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting on a formal level are good. On a rules-language level, we have a couple of minor deviations, but none that impede the functionality of the content herein in a bad way. The pdf adheres to a 2-column full-color standard, is pretty printer-friendly and sports no interior artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none.

Christen N. Sowards’ feats for dwarves are somewhat less exciting that his caster feats, in that they provide ore down to earth (haha) benefits. That being said, this may well be one of the few pdfs where I’d actually champion an upgrade of potency regarding couple of the feats herein. You see, I like the ideas of pretty much every feat, and they range from brilliant (Born of the Tireless Earth) to somewhat underwhelming (Brother of Stone); however, all of them have a distinct identity, and that is worth something. I also liked that they attempt to do interesting things. While there are a couple of true gems herein, I ultimately consider the pdf to be a mixed bag, slightly on the positive side, for a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Transcendent 10 - Feats of Synergy - Company of Dwarves
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Transcendent 10 - Feats of Offense - Spellcasting & Metamagic
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/28/2018 04:20:45

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The first offering released by Lost Spheres Publishing back in the day, and first installment of this series, clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, ¾ of a page blank, leaving us with 2 ¼ pages of content, offering, as the name implies, 10 new feats.

It should be noted that there’s a nice difference here that sets this apart from other feat-books: We actually get notes on usage of the feats for each of them, which can be really helpful. Okay, without further ado:

-Cumulative Spell (Metamagic): +1 spell level; choose one spell you know; each time the spell has been cast within 1 round within range of another casting, its DC increases by +1, up to the governing casting attribute bonus. While the wording is a bit rough here, this can be a godsend for blaster specialists, though the feat RAW is tied to a specific spell, which is a bit odd. Still, I can see this work for some campaigns and the DC-cap prevents warfare abuse.

-Sundry Spell (Metamagic): +1 spell level; Choose one spell that allows for a save. For each spell of a different school (!!) you cast before casting the spell you gain a +1 to the spell’s save DC, up to a +7. Brutal? Kinda, but here’s the catch: You must alternate schools to stack up the DC. No, you can’t just oscillate between two build-up spells. And honestly, for the build-up, this is actually interesting. Kudos for a truly interesting design here.

-Life Burn: Choose a number ranging from 1 up to the casting ability bonus. You may choose to add that number to spellcasting DCs and CL-checks with the next spell you cast. Spells modified with metamagic or those with a casting time of a full-round action or longer get a further +1, while quickened spells or swift action casts decrease the boost by 1. After completion of the spellcasting thus modified, you take a number of negative levels equal to the bonus you’ve chosen. If this would make negative levels exceed your character level, you need to make a Fort-save (I assume the triggering spell level’s spell save DC here, but clarification would be nice). On a failure, you’re reduced to negative hit points equal to the modified spell’s spell level and start dying; on a success, you instead become unconscious and take 1 point of Con damage for every negative level in excess of your level. Negative levels incurred fade at a rate of 1 per hour and you may not heal them magically. The bonus may not be applied to harmless effects. Okay, I like this, actually: High risk/reward…but the feat should have an immunity-override caveat for negative levels and a Charisma-substitution caveat.

-Hidden Potential: Okay, here we have a feat with narrative potential: Chosoe one spell from a spell list your character has access to, but which is one spell level higher than what you could usually cast. 1/day, you can choose to cast this spell. If you do, you gain negative levels equal to the spell’s level and if these exceed your character level, you must make a Fort-save (I assume, against the spell’s spell level’s DC, but clarification would be nice); on a failure, you drop to the spell’s level in negative hit points, dying. On a success, you “only” drop unconscious and take the spell’s level in Con damage. The negative levels incurred by the feat fade at a rate of 1 per hour and may explicitly not be cured magically. When you reach the selected spell’s level, you must choose it as the first spell you take, and a new spell is selected. Okay, so what happens once you gain access to 9th spell level? Another oversight: RAW, nothing prevents Con-less creatures like undead or constructs from taking this one. The negative levels should have an immunity-override and a Charisma-substitution caveat…but know what? As a person, I really love this feat, in spite of it not being perfect.

-Thanatotic Instinct: This one requires Hidden Potential. If reduced to negative hit points, you may activate Hidden potential as a free action, even if you have already used it.This is basically a desperate parting shot, considering that a failed save means you’ll be pretty much dead. Slightly weird: Hidden Potential’s effects can leave you on a successful save at more negative HP than what you had before. It’s a minor thing and easily enough to remedy, but yeah. Still: Adore this parting shot.

-Void Casting: Choose one spell that you had prepared, but currently may not cast. You can cast this spell once more, but gain one negative level per spell level upon completion of the casting. We have the same chassis as Life Burn, Hidden Potential, etc. here, which, alas, also means that the caveats mentioned before are missing here as well.

-Insinuating Spell (Metamagic): +3 spell levels; Choose a Ref-save prompting, damage-dealing spell; you change its school to Transmutation and make the damage internal changing save type to Fortitude. Energy resistance (erroneously called “elemental” here) is halved against such spells, but immunity still applies.

-Phantasmal Spell (Metamagic): +2 spell levels: Works pretty much like Insinuating Spell, with the exception that it can be applied to damage-dealing spells that call for Fort- or Ref-saves and converts them into Illusions with the phantasm subtype and the mind-affecting descriptor. As such, they are resisted with Will instead and obviously, quite a few creatures are immune there. To make up for that, energy damage bypasses resistances and immunities and becomes untyped, which I am not a big fan of, but which makes sense from a payoff standpoint. Minor quibble: feat erroneously self-references as Psychic Spell.

-Thanatotic Spell (Metamagic): +3 spell levels. Works analogue to the previous two feats; you choose a Ref-save based spell that deals damage, convert its school to Necromancy, the save of the spell to Fortitude and the energy to negative energy…and yes, this explicitly covers undead being healed. That black fireball not only hurt, it also healed the undead legions…

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are pretty impressive, considering that this was the freshman offering of Lost Spheres Publishing. While I noticed a minor name-hiccup and while the rules-language provided a couple of non-standard verbiage-cases, the integrity is there for the most part, which is honestly more than I can say for a LOT of other supplements. Layout adheres to a basic 2-column standard with subdued lines on the borders. The pdf has no interior artworks or bookmarks, but needs none at this length.

You know, Christen N. Sowards’ Lost Spheres Publishing flew honestly under my radar for quite a while. I only “discovered” the company relatively recently…and if this pdf (and the amazing Shadow Weaver class I’ve covered at the request of my patreons) is any indicator, I am actually in for a treat for once. You see, this pdf may not be perfect and sports a couple of instances where anti-abuse caveats are required…but it still managed to genuinely impress me. Not one of the feats herein is boring. I have not seen one of them done before in that manner. Their design, complexity and ambition bespeak a deep knowledge of not only how complex concepts can be juggled, but of what is actually cool from a storytelling perspective.

I have read a metric ton of feats, to the point where I am bored by most of them, by endless accumulations of bonuses and numerical escalations. The feats herein, in contrast, all have strong leitmotifs and ideas and manage to pursue them in rather unique ways. Is this slightly rougher than what I’d like it to be? Yes. But it is also more fun than I had with a feat-book in quite a while. Considering the freshman bonus, my final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform. If you can live with the aforementioned imperfections this has, then check it out – these are actually feats worth taking, ones that are interesting.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Transcendent 10 - Feats of Offense - Spellcasting & Metamagic
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Classes of the Lost Spheres: Shadow Weaver
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/06/2017 06:21:13

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This pdf clocks in at 33 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC/Introduction, 6.5 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 22.5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was moved up in my review-queue as a non-prioritized review at the request of my patreons.

Okay, we begin this pdf with something I really applaud: The book notes all the cool shadow-themed 3pp-options (with hyperlinks – big kudos!!) out there as it states its mission: You see, the class depicted herein is distinct from the other shadow-themed options in a variety of ways, namely in its focus:

One look at the shadow weaver base class makes that clear if you skipped the intro: The class gets d6, 2 + Int skills per level, ½ BAB-progression and good Will-saves and proficiency with simple weapons and light armors. In short: This is actually a shadow-themed full caster! The shadow weaver uses Intelligence as the governing spellcasting attribute and is a prepared spellcaster. HOWEVER, unlike a wizard, the shadow weaver’s spells are NOT expended upon being cast – instead, the class consumes a spell slot of the appropriate level. Metamagic may be spontaneously applied and increases casting time if this is done – like a spontaneous spellcaster handles these. HOWEVER, at the same time, the shadow weaver can elect to prepare the spells in question in advance with metamagic applied – in this case, they do NOT increase their casting time. This increased flexibility means that the class, pretty much from the get-go, provides a bigger value for taking metamagic feats, making them more viable – a fact I generally applaud.

Now, as a medium for storing spells, the shadow weaver treats his shadow as a kind of spellbook – the shadow weaver’s shadow is also infused with shadowstuff, which allows him to cast spells with the [shadow] descriptor while not on the plane of shadow. Cool: Shadow weavers may study the shadows of spellcasters to transcribe these spells, provided the spells are on the class’s spell list. The shadow weaver is automatically cognizant when a creature succeeds a Will-save to disbelieve a shadow weaver’s illusion. This disbelief, though, infects the psyche of the shadow weaver – all observers of such an illusion automatically disbelieve it, which does not end the illusion, unless it is a phantasm. This is a REALLY smart balancing mechanic right there.

The shadow weaver gains an additional spell with the darkness or shadow descriptor at each spell level, gaining such a bonus spell at every odd-numbered level after 1st. Additionally, spells cast by the shadow weaver can superficially resemble other spells: Illusions can resemble any spell, but spells of other schools are limited to looking like other spells from the same school. This even fools detect magic (YES!), but can be noticed via greater arcane sight etc. Components, which would otherwise be a tell-tale sign, seem to vanish, btw. – identifying such a spell is hard; the ability increases the DC to identify it by the shadow weaver’s class level. Disbelieving one of the shadow weaver’s illusions does btw. NOT allow for automatic Will saves to disbelief the others – this ties in with the re-jigged illusion-balancing mentioned before. There is one more crucial component to the class’ spellcasting engine that needs to be mentioned: The shadow weaver’s spells are classified as umbral spells: They have thought components and emotion components, somewhat akin to psychic spells. Thought component spells have a concentration DC of +10 unless the shadow weaver previously spent a move action to center herself. Unlike psychic spells, umbral spells may be cast while under the effect of an emotion effect, though the base concentration DC is equal to the spell’s save DC + twice the spell’s level. Some umbral spells may be undercast, following rules analogue to those of psychic spells.

At 2nd level, the shadow weaver gains silhouette – an illusion stitched to her own shadow, which maintains a constant effect. The Will save to disbelieve the silhouette, if any, is equal to 10 + ½ class level + Int-mod. If an observer has successfully disbelieved a silhouette, he is immune to that shadow weaver’s particular silhouette’s effects for 24 hours. Only one silhouette may be in effect at a given time. There is no action given for the switching of silhouettes, which makes me believe that the switch is free. A new silhouette is gained at 7th level and every 5 levels thereafter. These sport some SERIOUSLY cool options: Like making someone who disbelieves your illusions believe that he may be disbelieving existence itself – on a failure of the save, the target refuses to disbelieve anything! This ability is great, as it can screw with the PC AND the player. Prolonging spell effects, anchoring illusions (swift action illusion maintenance) and equipment made of shadow – there are some seriously evocative tricks here and we can also find a Tiny shadow companion. Starting at 12th level, silhouette selection is expanded to include the greater silhouette choices, including e.g. the ability to gain the dread’s shadow twin, mirage arcane with 50% real false conjuration VI-effects – really creative, cool, complex tricks here!

Starting at 2nd level, the class gains weave reality, which is a second array of supernatural abilities – these have their saving throw DCs governed by Wisdom and 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter yield an additional daily use. Weave reality’s benefits are gained in a linear manner: At 2nd level, if a target is adjacent, enchanted or demoralized, the shadow weaver may force the creature via an immediate action Will-save against it to accept the illusions. 3rd level unlocks lighting control. At 8th level, the shadow weaver may channel hit points between two living or two undead targets. Starting at 10th level, the shadow weaver may unleash cones of energy, opposing energies witnessed last round – negative energy heals undead, positive the living and the elemental oppositions are concisely codified. Really cool! At 16th level, the shadow weaver may render a target creature quasi-real and at 18th level, the ability-suite nets the ability to polymorph any object serious amounts of matter.

Starting at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the shadow weaver adds one divination, enchantment or illusion spells from the cleric, druid, psychic, sorcerer/wizard, shaman, or witch spell list, storing it in the shadow. 4th level yields piercing glimpse: Basically, a sense-based option that ranges from constant aura sight to darkvision (or an upgrade thereof), a further bonus when gaining circumstance bonus to atk, saves or AC due to position etc., better Sense Motive, wild empathy – you get the idea. 9th level and every 5 levels thereafter yields another piercing glimpse and, if applicable, the governing attribute is Wisdom. 14th level enhances the selections available to include blindsense, etc. 14th level yields 3/day, maximum 1/round move action shadow step.

That’s not all, though: The class also has a bloodline-like ability-suite: Chosen at 1st level, this is called “Perspective” – each perspective modifies the spell-list of the shadow weaver is meaningful ways (and yes, e.g. the curiosity perspective allows for synergy with Purple Duck Games’ glorious illuminatus chaos mage’s wonder-engine!) and each perspective nets a 1st level ability, one that is gained at 6th level and determines the capstone. These abilities grant massive, meaningful tweaks to the engine: Take duality of probability: You gain 1 + Wisdom modifier luck points. When attacking, saving, using a skill or CL-check, you can choose to roll twice and take the lower result – if you do, you gain a probability point, which may then be used as an immediate action to roll twice the effects of a wonder, ability or attack, including an illusion’s full effect – this limit prevents cheesing. Increased reality and capstone full reality can be found in the same suite. A total of 7 such perspectives can be found herein and from mimicking spellcasting (with a limit) to using Wisdom or Charisma as governing recall and perfect recall to an animus companion or channel energy, the perspectives represent major, meaningful tweaks of the base engine of the class.

The pdf comes with a MASSIVE class spell list and false versions of abjuration, necromancy, etc. in 9 iterations each, allowing for maximum shadow spell flexibility. The pdf comes with 4 feats for quicker piercing glimpse change to extra silhouette and piercing glimpse. Another Perspective allows you to add spells of another perspective to your spell list at 1 level higher.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I noticed no serious hiccups. Layout adheres to a gorgeous two-column full-color standard and this pdf IS DENSE. There is a TON of text on each page – the margins are small. This sports a lot of content. The original artworks deserve special mention – a cool iconic that’s not rail-thin gets two thumbs up for me, diversity-wise, and the character looks badass, big time! The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Lost Spheres Publishing went completely under my radar until one of my patreons requested me taking a look at this file. If this class by David N. Ross is any indicator, then that is an oversight I need to remedy ASAP. I don’t know if developer Christen N. Sowards changed a lot, but the result that came out of design and development is utterly beautiful: We not only get player agenda and meaningful choices left and right; the class can be played in a wide variety of meaningful, different ways and the class is AMAZING, allowing for the flexible, rewarding use of illusions and shadow spells – this is, in short, my favorite full spellcaster class in AGES. The shadow weaver does a ton of unique and interesting things with the spellcasting engine and, from spellcasting to the abilities gained, it is a thoroughly rewarding, complex and fun class. While it doesn’t sport much supplemental material (FCOs etc.), that remains my only true gripe. The shadow weaver plays even better than it reads: The perspectives offer playing experiences so different from one another that most archetypes out there deliver less. Add to that the customization options and spells and we have a cornucopia of unique and cool tricks.

In short: This is the excellent full shadow caster we always wanted. Taking the top tier design difficulty into account and we have a major gem of a class here that deserves being added to your roster -5 stars + seal of approval, given without the slightest hesitation. The only reason this is not a candidate for my Top Ten of 2017 is that it doesn’t sport that much supplemental material – still, get this glorious gem!!

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Classes of the Lost Spheres: Shadow Weaver
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Lost Spells of Canthar - 10 Necromancies
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/28/2014 09:59:09

This is a neat selection of ten new spells from the School of Necromancy. The underlying story is of a lost ancient realn, Canthar, that was noted for the talents of its sorcerers... apparently in real life, this is a feature of the author's own campaign world, and it is a place where the brave and curious can discover new magicks. Now we too can share in them!

As befits necromantic spells, most of these are quite nasty. Some may even do harm to your alignment if you have aspirations to be good! Depending on the campaign, the GM may prefer to limit these - at least until a spellbook is found - to NPC necromancers.

One really nasty spell is Enfeeble - this reduces the target's strength and dexterity to such an extent that they can barely carry anything or even move, and requires significant healing magic to restore their abilities. Some of the spells enable the caster to either take over the body of an undead creature or to utilise its senses; while others create fear effects in their targets.

After reading this, you'll likely conclude that necromancers aren't very nice people... but you will also realise how potent they can be. A nice collection for your ever-growing spellbook.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Lost Spells of Canthar - 10 Necromancies
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Transcendent 10 - Feats of Synergy - Company of Dwarves
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/21/2013 12:32:39

Transcendent 10 - Feats of Synergy - Company of Dwarves from Lost Spheres Publishing provides ten new feats for dwarves, each with a short discussion about how it can be used which is interesting to see the designer's thoughts on such matters. It includes some supporting for crafting, including one feat that allows skilled dwarven craftsmen to make magic armor and weapons, and some solid group oriented feats and even a feat for dwarven bards! There is much to like here if you are using dwarves and good ideas to emphasize classical dwarven ideals.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Transcendent 10 - Feats of Synergy - Company of Dwarves
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Transcendent 10 - Feats of Synergy - Heartbound Heroes
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/13/2013 14:59:03

Transcendent 10 – Feats of Synergy – Heartbound Heroes from Lost Spheres Publishing draws upon the trope of finding resolve (and magic) in true love, providing feats for those who have found their one, called a ‘heartbound partner’ here, and it starts with a discussion about making sure that such stories have a place in your campaign and will fit with your players’ interests. Ten new feats, one new spell and a new psionic power are provided. The feats are a mix of combat and non-combat feats most (naturally) require that you are aiding or acting for your heartbound partner; the new feats including a metamagic one that allows your charm spells to create a simulated heartbound effect, which is rather clever, and one that allows wordless communication between a pair of true lovers (a classic). The spell and psionic power are both 1st level and are mirrors of the same ability, a call to your heartbound partner and aid for them in reaching you, quite thematic. If your campaign wishes to explore the boundaries of love and magic, this product is well worth a look.

Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Note: Read more reviews and other gaming articles at my journal https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Transcendent 10 - Feats of Synergy - Heartbound Heroes
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Classes of the Lost Spheres: Echo
by Craig B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/19/2013 19:39:28

Like much of Lost Sphere's work the Echo is a tasty addition for those who are looking for something that asks for a bit of attention and thought in our gaming experience.

In the Echo we have a class that does exactly that. He/She echoes whatever is going on around them. Slightly similar to the Taskshaper over at Rite Publishing but at the same time with fewer restrictions. And more. And therein is what I find so darn attractive here.

Tired of being completely outshone by your munchkin fellow players? Now you can keep up simply by being what you are. Or are you one of those unfortunates who feels guilty because regardless of what you play you make the rest of your party looks like simpletons? No longer, the Echo will have you playing at their level and not leaving them in the dust.

A simply designed class with great potential it also does something I really and truly enjoy that I've not seen done often enough in 3pp works; The Echo acknowledges other 3pp works and takes them into account within it's class abilities. Bravo.

And as with the recent update of the Transcendent Ten spell and feat offerings the Echo continues with some nice cover art and interesting layouts.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Classes of the Lost Spheres: Echo
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