Monday, June 27, 2011

Auguries - Alleys of Zobeck and Might of the Magus

Open Design apparently is releasing more books in more time than I can read them (damn, I guess that mean I’m getting old). And talking about Open Design, Wolfgang is bringing more Planescape goodness – now for the Midgard setting – with the new patronage project Dark Roads and Golden Hells.

Introductions made, here are two more auguries for Pathfinder.

Alleys of Zobeck is a complement to the adventure anthology of Streets of Zobeck. Actually, this excellent priced PDF is a nice compilation of extra material, including small set-piece scenarios to spice some encounters of the later.
Alleys of Zobeck has a scattering of new rules, like an alternate Lust Domain (more appropriate to the adventure’s rogish and noir flavor), an infernally-possessed template, a new animal companion (dire weasel), a feat tree around the new feat Cheap Shot (with the excellent Low Blow feat, perfect for Streets of Zobeck), new traits, a new magic items (clockwork hand is going to be success, at least for style), gear and even a new incantations that enable you to play with memories (and pastry, an important detail).

For the GM, beside the extra encounters, there’re two new NPCs (including Goldscale, the kobold paladin) and a set of very useful tables for picking up “Small Treasures” (almost worth the PDF’s price alone).

There’re also three new locations (one of them mobile – the Blackeye’s Carriage) and ideas for hooks with locations from Streets of Zobeck.

Alleys of Zobeck is priced at $2.95 and requires Streets of Zobeck (or you risking finding this PDF of limited utility).

I didn’t expect a new sourcebook from Sigfriend Trent so soon… does this man ever sleeps? Is he really a humanoid (after all, outsiders, undeads and other creature don’t require sleep). Anyway…
New base classes mean new Advanced Feats books: now it’s magus class (from Ultimate Magic). Advanced Feats: Might of the Magus is all about Pathfinder’s fighter/mage class. While the author gives us a close examination of the class’ role and abilities and provides three full progressions (the Fae Blade, the Lady of the Slash and the Rune Fist) what we really want to see here is feats… tons of feats.
Might of Magus bring 30 new feats, each followed by “behind-the-scene” comments of the author. Due to the magus’ role as a martial class, many of the new feats are perfect for fighters, barbarians and other melee-inclined classes.
Right away, we get Adrenaline Surge, that gives bonus to attacks and damage rolls when your character is below ½ his total hit points (a feat thematically perfect for the barbarian, if you ask me).
Arcana Thief is one of my favorite approaches to feat design. Instead of just granting bonuses, it rewards specific actions. In this case, the magus gains extra Arcana Pool points if he successfully dispel, counterspell or disrupt spellcasting – a perfect blend of flavor and mechanic.
There a number of feats that expands on the idea of a “magic warrior”, enabling the magus to use magic while cleaving or executing attacks of opportunity. Other feats improve class features like spell combat, enabling the magus, for example, to cast spells while using two-handed weapons or even ranged weapons.
As usual, Trent “hides” many core feats in his Advanced Feats line. By “core” I mean feats that change basic structures from Pathfinder. For example, Hobbyist grants you full rank at one skill, while Unorthodox Training let you exchange saving throw progressions. Both are nice additions to Pathfinder.
Back on the combat department Might of the Magus has a number of feats that make excellent companions to basic abilities like Power Attack, Combat Expertise and Cleave. For example, we have now Reckless Attack, Parrying Defense and Precise Attack.
A clever feat: Warding Touch Spell is a metamagic feat that allows you to place a normal touch spell on yourself. The next target that hits you on melee combat is affected as if you had touched him.
A cool feat: Spelldrinker let you learn a new spell  (from your spell list) every time you score a critical or kills an enemy. The fact that it requires the Black Blade class feature should provide ample hints from its inspiration.
Might of the Magus keep’s Advanced Feats standards and manages to increase it. It has excellent (almost obligatory) feats for all types of melee-based classes, not counting increasing the magus’ versatility by enabling members of this class to specialize in two-handed weapons, ranged weapons, among other tricks. I thoroughly recommend it.