Sunday, July 31, 2011

Augury - DragonCyclopedia: The Mage

Before starting this review I must inform you that I’m completely in love with Glen R. Taylor’s lite products for Pathfinder. While this augury is about only one of his ebooks – DragonCyclopedia: The Mage – after reading it I quickly bought other two products (that I’ll be also the target of new auguries at this humble tower).

In this small PDF (just 21 pages), Glen introduces a new arcane spellcasting class: the mage. Visually, the product is very simple: pages resembling an old scroll with Public Domain art. Thematically, it’s a very interesting and original base class for Pathfinder.

Glen’s proposal is to find new ways for dealing with resources and mechanics like spellcasting. The Mage is just an excuse to present a new slot-based spellcasting system. This arcane caster isn’t limited by daily allotment of spells, but he must prepare individually each spell he’s about to cast. For example: A 1st level mage can, theoretically, cast an unlimited number of 1st level spells per day. However, before casting each spell he must spend a full-round action preparing it. Another catch: a mage can only have one prepared spell each time. High-level mages can prepare spells more quickly, the exact time varying by spell level and class level. More examples: a 5th level mages can cast wizard/sorcerer spells from 1st to 3rd level; he needs of a full-round action to prepare any 2nd or 3rd level spell, but only a standard action to prepare a 1st level dweomer.

The idea is simple and very interesting and I’m not sure of it’s properly balanced, although I really enjoyed reading a new approach to spellcasting that isn’t just a disguised spell point system. A high-level mage seems to me be very powerful and amazingly versatile – a 15th level mage can prepare 1st/2nd spells a swift action and 3rd/4th spells with a move action. Outside of combat, these characters will clearly be superior to standard spellcasters.

Mages learn new spells by gaining new levels or by studying, which requires time and money. The class – following Pathfinder design – has a number of talents, allowing some customization. Some of these are almost obligatory, like Additional Prepared Spell, which let the mage prepare a second spell.

Mages have Colleges of Magery, which are the class’s equivalent to the wizard’s arcane schools. Each colleges grant additional talents.

DragonCyclopedia: The Mage also give some insights and suggestions for playing the new class, besides 2 new magic items. The PDF costs just 1 dollar and it’s an excellent acquisition for Gamemasters interested in new mechanical approaches for their Pathfinder games.