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Encyclopaedia Arcane Chronomancy
Publisher: Mongoose
by gerald h. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/31/2016 02:51:59

I'd really thought that Demonology had to be the lowpoint of the Encyclopaedia Arcane series, until I read the Chronomancy installment.

Basically the entire book revolves around the Chronomancer feat. It requires 5 ranks in Knowledge: Continuum (inclass Bards & Wizards only until you take the feat.), spell casting, and for you to pick two of five listed metamagic feats. Three of which aren't in either the core rulebook or this one. No idea if they even exist. One of the required is Quicken Spell, which you won't be able to use for several levels if you're getting it Chronomancer as quickly as possible. Which you'll probably need to, since all acquisitions are preceded by going insane.

You're a fighter who has learned too much about the continuum & paradox because Chronomancy is a thing? Congratulations, you're insane. And going to be completely insane, increasingly homicidal, and overall handled like a bad npc until you pick up 5-6 levels of Wizard. So you can take the chronomancer feat and pick up a quirk. Most of which are badly written potential death sentences. No you don't get a choice on how YOUR character responds to the knowledge, the book has spoken.

Oh, and you get to track multiple types of paradox and run them through the clunky rules to determine how it's going to affect every type of roll on your character sheet. Doesn't this sound fun?

Then there's ritual chronomancy which allows you to complicatedly, but quickly, perform things that would actually be fun if you did them the hard way. Also, it massively increases paradox, which will wipe you out of existence eventually. Or give you more quirks. Yay.

You also have two prestige classes, one of which requires you to be an 8th level wiz/sorc then give up spellcasting for a bunch of abilities that mostly only work against chronomancers. It also requires multiclassing to pick up the six required feats. The other requires basically every feat or skillpoint on your character sheet for ten levels to qualify for. Don't worry, it doesn't include Concentration. You didn't need that right?

Chronomancers are supposed to be lonely hermits according to the book, which makes them a bad choice for a PC in general. Especially since the only way it really seems like this book would work for a party is if everyone was a wizard aiming for the same prestige class.

Frequent, bizarre death (Paranoia) and insanity caused by an insane universe (Call of Cthulhu) can work just fine, and even be part of the appeal, in a game. However, those all have strong thematic reasons and everything works towards it. That leads to fun role play. AE Chronomancy combines clunky mechanics with hamfisted railroading to lead to annoying roll play instead.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Encyclopaedia Arcane Chronomancy
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The Modern Path - Heroes of the Modern World 2.0 [PFRPG]
Publisher: Game Room Creations
by gerald h. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/21/2015 00:04:58

It does a decent job for the most part of providing rules for playing a modern era pathfinder campaign. While the talent system creates almost as much flexibility as point buy systems, and is a lot of fun, there are some serious problems with the Modern Hero class. This is a problem since Modern Hero Class is the bulk of the book, and is supposed to be a viable class even with the traditionals running around.

Day Job & Perform: Incorporates the day job rolls from Pathfinder Society, but requires them to be profession only. PFS ends at twelfth level, whereas this is supposed to go up to twentieth so the table really should have been extended. Moves all the creative stuff ot Perform, which seems odd. Doesn't provide any reference for using Perform or Craft in the age of the internet. Is the internet just a prosperous city? If you take perform writing, how would you sell your stuff? Presumably the day job check could cover this, but using Perform skills isn't allowed for that by RAW.

Modern Hero (Human Only): Only humans can take it as a favorite class, because the other races hold onto the old ways. So if you stop being human, you lose the ability to have a favored class at all. Similarly a half-elf/half-orc/tiefling/aasimar who is raised purely by humans is holding onto the old ways of people they've never even met? Then there's the question of variant or mutated humans counting as human enough. Not a rule that makes a lot of sense, even if it is just a favored class bonus.

Modern Hero(Broken paths): Put bluntly three of the six paths listed serve no purpose. Strong and Tough hero are identical, except that tough hero gets a bigger hp die. Smart, Dedicated, and Charming all get the same saves, attacks etc. But smart gets 2 more skill points per level. So Strong, Dedicated, and Charming have no reason to exist mechanically. Only difference between Fast and Smart is which save is their one good one. There isn't a limitation on archetypes or talents by path (sort of with mystic. see below) so they won't be getting used. I think cribbing the CoC d20 assortment might have worked out better, and will probably try it in the future.

Modern Hero (Multiclassing is mandatory): Each Modern Hero gets 6 class skills, and can improve the number by two each time they waste a talent. This means not only does a Smart hero have more skill points than skills, they have fewer class skills than a fighter. Kind defeats the greater versatility due to modern living they talk about. So expect most skill oriented heroes (Fast or Smart) to dip into Aristocrat, Bard, Wizard or one of the other classes with a massive skill list.

Almost every melee modern is going to dip into Fighter, and vice versa. Why? Because only one archetype gets all martial weapons, and none of them get armor. Much faster to boost Fort Save, get a massive increase in weapons armor and shield along with an extra feat. Fighters will dip because Extra Talent is a feat and they can boost BAB, AC or Melee damage by +1 if they take it. Yeah most combat classes will do, but the effect here is extra nice.

I personally don't have much of a problem with multiclassing, but pathfinder seems to push the philosophy that a well designed class shouldn't require it to be playable.

Modern Hero (The Mystic): Oh God, the mystic. Suggests that the character's spellcasting attribute should be the same as the chosen path, but never actually tells you that you have to pick one of the back three for your path. Also the only archetype that limits paths, and I think that actually contradicts other rules.Can cast Arcane, Divine, or both. Might have a spell failure chance with arcane, it's never mentioned. Spontaneous caster that maxes out at four slots per level vice six. The only full progression caster whose cantrips aren't at will usage. Gains special powers by taking Oracle curses, which is actually kind of cool. Requires two training at a minimum to accomplish any spellcasting, since you initially get the progression and universal spells only, so plan accordingly. Other than the cantrips, so far so good.

Two fastest ways to add to your spell list are to take a curse then use advanced training for either the Oracle or Witch spell list, or pick an arcane school as a regular training. Arcane school lets you pick both arcane and divine spells of that school. You'll have to figure out how that interacts with spell completion and spell trigger items. You can do all three if you want.

You can add a domain for a training/feat, including the domain abilities, which seems overpowered. You'd think the domain ability would require another investment. Says you get bonus spells, but not whether that's bonus spells known or the cleric domain slot. You can take this multiple times, but there's no mention of how they interact.

Further, picking up a mystery is available as an advanced training. Despite listing how saves for the revelations work in the training description, it looks like you have to take an additional advanced training (and curse number 3!) to pick up a single revelation. The other advanced training is to take a curse and gain a hex which is even dumber. Really seems overpriced when the cost of a mystery is compared to a domain.

There's a few more things for the mystic, and the idea isn't a bad one. However, the actual rules are a badly written mess and most GMs are going to rewrite it prior to use.

Overall: If you're doing a modern, low magic campaign without the core classes the modern hero class is actually really neat. However, if you're using it as intended expect a lot of multi classing or a high probability of players sticking with the core/base classes beyond a dip. Retrofitting the archetypes to core classes has a section at the back of the book, and isn't a bad idea.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
The Modern Path - Heroes of the Modern World 2.0 [PFRPG]
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Nobility and Eros: The Noble Succubus
Publisher: Skortched Urf' Studios
by gerald h. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/12/2013 05:50:01

This is a fun, and quite original race. There is good flavor & background provided; the reproductive cycle is unique. Tantric pool is unlike anything I've seen on another Pathfinder race. Makes them a little hard to rank, but mechanically they're probably in the lower half of the Advanced race bracket.

There's a large assortment of traits provided for Noble Succubae, and they seem pretty fun also. Also provided are guidelines for using the race in Skortched Urf's Otherverse settings. They seem like they'd be an entertaining option there.

Unfortunately, the space dedicated to Otherverse probably caused the most aggravating thing about the product. There aren't any Favored Class options, Archetypes or Racial Feats. They probably need a Sorcerer bloodline also, since they're neither Abyssal nor in any way connected to Celestials.

The other Native Outsiders are almost worth playing just for their Racial Feats. Instead of a chance to further develop supernatural otherness, the Noble Succubus get one general feat as a virtual. There aren't any Alternate Racial Traits or Subtypes either, but I'm not convinced they're necessary for this particular race. Not sure if the intention was to put out another book later with all the options, but they are sorely missed in the product.

There are also some parts that are vague or confusingly worded. None worse than their language description.

"Noble Succubi speak a strange dialect of Infernal and Common. Their dialect is almost incomprehensible to other Infernal speakers; true Succubi especially have been known to disembowel anyone speaking this ‘vile and offensive tongue’."

So what does this actually mean: they speak neither Common nor Infernal--and can't learn them as bonus languages-- instead only speaking their unnamed creole/pidgin (which is what it says); they speak both Common and Infernal, but have an excruciating accent and code switch more than anyone else can follow; they speak Common, Infernal, and their own (possibly secret) Common influenced Creole Infernalis? For that matter, why Infernal and not Abyssal? We are talking about Succubae here. How well do Common speakers understand them?

Overall, I love the race and think they'd be a good addition to a campaign. A Noble Succubus as a Summoner would be a strong power-build (they can refill their Tantric pool by making their Eidolon's night), and they'd also make great Oracles and Magisters.

However, there may be more work required to initially integrate them as a PC race than some DMs would like. Still at $1.99, it's a good buy despite the issues I've mentioned, and homebrew friendly groups should find a nice opportunity for further development.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Nobility and Eros: The Noble Succubus
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