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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/



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
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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/



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[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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Classes of the Lost Spheres: Echo
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/18/2013 10:31:30

This product presents a seriously weird character class, the Echo. Basically this class mimics, to perfection, selected aspects of other people's skills and abilities... something that could be profoundly disturbing or incredibly useful, probably both. It is, perhaps, a class to be deployed with caution. Not everyone will like having one around.

The layout is a bit odd too... 2 standard single pages then the rest in double spreads - not an attempt at landscape rather than portrait, which some people prefer for on-screen reading, these are 2 concatinated standard size pages. It makes it awkward to read on-screen and difficult to print out. In addition, the background is intrusive (quite a dark grey with ghosted images of lighter greys and white) which makes it difficult to make out all of the text, even when enlarged to a size that means you have to keep scrolling around to follow what is being said.

Peering at it, the Echo picks up on what he observes: weapon use, magic and psionic item use... provided the thing in question has been used in his presence within the last 24 hours. They also have a pool of 'reflection points' which can be spent to mimic any feat or skill that they have seen someone using, or to mirror the use of their chosen source of power (divine, arcane, psionic, etc). It's "Monkey See, Monkey Do" writ large, a character who doesn't develop their own abilities but gains short-term facility with those of other people through observation and mimicry.

It is an interesting concept, but one that might prove difficult for long-term use as a player-character. As an NPC it could prove entertaining, at least to the GM, whilst the characters try to determine just what this fellow they've met actually is!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Transcendent 10 - Spells of Synergy - Theurgic Interactions
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/09/2013 10:47:43

Thought-provoking magical theory worthy of the halls of any university...

This work begs the very question gnawing at the underpinnings of magic: is there really any difference between the spell-casting of a arcanist and a divine caster? OK. They get their magic from different sources, study in different ways, access different spell lists... but do they have to? The spells described here mix and match ideas from the divine and the arcane, and many are accessible to practitioners of the Art from both sides.

They need careful consideration - by both GM and player, and the character too - both before deciding whether to have such spells at all, whether to learn them and when (and how) to use them to greatest effect, but if your character aspires to be more than a by-the-book caster of magic, it is worth taking a look and seeing if they will suit what you are trying to do. They're not for everyone, some are subtle and maybe lack the 'flash-bang' of more mainstream spells, others do things in a decidedly odd way or are longer and harder ways of accomplishing something you may be able to just about do with more conventional spells.

A word on presentation: the cover's wonderful, but the inside has text presented on a too-dark background compounded by ghosted images that are too powerful - not easy to read. It is worth the peering, however. The odd mistake has sneaked past the proof-reader: 'effect' used when 'affect' was what was intended and "cleric splashed wizard" which I think was supposed to be "cleric/wizard" referring to a multiclassed character but which summons up some truly bizarre images...

But it conjures up interesting ideas, the sort of thing that might be discussed in the faculty lounge at the local College of Magic or even better at a university that trains both mages and clerics....



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Transcendent 10 - Spells of Synergy - Theurgic Interactions
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Transcendent 10 - Spells of Synergy - Multiclass & Melee
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/08/2013 03:58:56

Here is presented a selection of spells designed to enhance the capabilities of multiclassed characters by drawing on synergistic elements of the classes involved in the build. They are not the straightforward flash-bang and cause an effect things you might normally think of when you consider spells in your game, but used with care they can be quite potent.

They are intended to provide mechanistic support for class choices that may have been made with an eye to role-playing and story potential, rather than in an attempt to build the most powerful character possible, and as such work best for the thoughtful player who is prepared to spend some time considering how to use their skills and abilities to best effect.

An interesting feature is the attempt to provide resources for those who have some kind of 'bonded companion' - be it a familiar, an animal companion, an eidolon or a mount. It can seem that the mechanics for using them (especially in combat) are rather limited, so here are ways to take them beyond mere cannon-fodder or pure role-playing amusement.

OK, so what spells are here? There's Adduced Mastery, which enables you to use a single feat known by a previous owner of a ring or hand-held item. It's not clear, but once you have selected a feat, I imagine that you'd draw on the same one each time you cast this spell. Aside from having to meet the requirements for the feat, there are no limits as to what feat is used... but it does mean that some thought will need to go into who might have possessed that item in the past. GMs could have fun with their treasure hoards with this one... That's just one of the spells, but you can already see the approach: a spell to be considered in advance and used in a measured and deliberate way.

Other spells include Cry of Blood which allows the sharing of rage effects with allies, Divine Echoes which empowers a mingling of divine and bardic abilities within the medium of song/performance, and a whole series of Bond Transpossession spells of increasing potency which enable your bonded companion to take on aspects of a creature such as you might conjure up with a Monster Summoning spell, quite a fascinating concept.

If you like multiclassed characters and want innovative ways in which to use spellcasting capabilities to access synergistic effects between the classes in your build - and don't mind putting some effort into planning how you will use your spells in advance - this is well worth a look.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Transcendent 10 - Spells of Synergy - Multiclass & Melee
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Transcendent 10 - Feats of Synergy - Heartbound Heroes
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/31/2012 14:38:23

Love is like oxygen. Love is a many splendid thing. All you need is love…unless you’re a Pathfinder PC, in which case all you need is greed and bloodlust. To be sure, love can be a part of your game, but where’s the mechanical incentive for it? Purely role-playing rewards can be nice to, but they’re somehow less concrete than something that gives a numerical bonus. Love may be something that can’t be quantified, but that can certainly help.

It’s in that spirit that Lost Spheres Publishing presents Transcendent 10 – Feats of Synergy – Heartbound Heroes.

A short PDF at six pages long (with one page set aside for the title and credits, and another for the OGL), the book presents itself quite adeptly. While there are no bookmarks or table of contents, I can’t complain about that in a book with a half-dozen pages. Likewise, copy-and-paste is enabled, which is always pleasant.

The book has no artwork to speak of, but does have a simple-yet-stylish set of borders around every page. Between this and the red headers, it manages to avoid feeling entirely spartan presentation, something that’s usually difficult to pull off – props to the designers there.

The book gives us a brief introduction (which was slightly hard to follow; there’s an odd flow to the syntax), discussing the use of love as a motivator in your game (and warning to make sure that the group is interested and invested in doing so) before presenting ten new feats. Interestingly, these feats have a new descriptor: heartbound. A heartbound feat is a feat that grants you power based on the strength of your love for someone, hence the feat requirement you have a “partner” – a specific person who is the focus of the feat. What’s notable here is that the partner also needs to have a heartbound feat as well (suggesting that they genuinely do love you back), but it need not be the exact same feat; any heartbound feat will do.

It’s an intriguing mechanic, and certainly a more colorful one than simply giving us new feats with a mere thematic resemblance. The feats themselves are also slightly more expressive than you’d expect. Each one opens with a relevant quote (though the person making the quote seems to be a fictitious character, robbing this part of some of its impact), and after the usual feat presentation, has a paragraph of “GM Advice.” This “advice” is often the author explaining or expounding upon something rather than actual help in using the feat, but I still quite enjoyed the insights.

Many of the heartbound feats are surprisingly innovative. For example, the Heartbinding Spell feat makes it so that when you use a mind-affecting effect on someone, you enchant them so thoroughly that you feel some of those phantom feelings yourself, letting you use them as your “heartbound partner” (though I’d have appreciated a note here that this didn’t work for things like fear effects). Wordless Bond lets you and your partner share telepathy when close, and give vague sensory/emotional impressions further apart. All’s Fair lets you treat a target as flat-footed for a round (notably, this feat requires that you have sneak attack) if you’ve seen them harm your beloved. And of course, there’s a feat called Polyamorous, so that you can have more than one heartbound partner.

Of course, not all of these feats can be winners. Heart’s Vengeance is just like All’s Fair, save that it gives you a rather prosaic +1 BAB. Love’s Resolve seems somewhat too powerful, in that it lets you re-roll a failed save multiple times per day. Still, there are more hits than misses.

The book closes out with a new spell and a new psionic power. Interestingly, these are both essentially the same spell, with the latter being a psionic version; the spell allows you to quickly call out to your beloved, no matter where they are, and not only lets them know that you need them but gives them bonuses to track you down. It’s an interesting effect, though I’d have set the duration to “instantaneous” and noting that it lasts for so many days, rather than having an (easily-dispelled) duration of one day per level. Moreover, having a uniquely psionic version (which does take into account new Pathfinder-compatible classes like the tactician and the vitalist), with augmentations, is nice.

Overall, Heartbound Heroes does a good job of presenting feats that not only have a fairly substantial role-playing angle, but also present some interesting and balanced mechanical effects. There are some rough spots, but overall these feats can be a fun way to put your PCs’ love lives back into the forefront of the game…or at least, make them care about something other than gold and glory.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Transcendent 10 - Feats of Synergy - Heartbound Heroes
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Transcendent 10 - Feats of Synergy - Company of Dwarves
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/21/2012 08:10:53

In the customary thoughtful style of this product line, here are a collection of feats for dwarves designed to bring out the unique characteristics of this race. They are by no means merely short people with beards, underground homes, a facility with big axes and a fascination with gold!

Each feat reflects some aspect of what makes a dwarf a dwarf, and comes complete with notes on how to incorporate it into the very fabric of your game and your dwarf character's whole personality. For these are not your regular feats, merely providing some small mechanical bonus under set circumstances. These are embedded in what makes a dwarf a dwarf, distinctive and quite different from any other fantasy race.

One particular area that is explored to good effect is the special relationship often portrayed in fantasy fiction between dwarves and the forge. For example Rhythm of the Forge provides a bonus to dwarf bards performing in the company of other dwarves, while Warforge allows a good dwarf smith to forge enchanted weapons without recourse to spells or prayers by knowing the inherent properties of his materials and putting them to use through sheer craftsmanship alone. And there's more...

If you play dwarves, or want them to play a significant and distinctive role in your campaign world, this is well worth acquiring.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Transcendent 10 - Feats of Synergy - Company of Dwarves
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Transcendent 10 - Spells of Synergy - Elemental Exchanges
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/04/2012 10:07:53

This is the sort of thing that you might find when poking around in the dusty shelves of the local magic college's library, and if you enjoy a more thoughtful and theoretical approach to your magic this is as much of a gem as any tome that you might find amongst the bookstacks.

The core concept is based on the idea that the classical elements - air, earth, fire and water - underpin all magic. Nothing new there, you might say, people have been saying much the same ever since anyone thought about what makes magic work. What's of particular interest here is the idea that you can use the inbalance caused by the inherent opposition between them to drive your magic to new heights.

This theory is backed up with a selection of spells that you can use. These aren't 'fire and forget' ones, they will need careful preparation and planning to use them to good effect, but will repay the effort.

As you might expect, there is one to cast back at an enemy mage opposing the energies he is throwing at you with their opposite: but how about casting in harmony with an ally, combining opposing energies to pack an even greater punch?

Great potential here, perhaps a bit over-complex for a 'wham-bam' style wizard, but if you like to ponder the underlying theories of what you are doing, quite outstanding.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Transcendent 10 - Spells of Synergy - Elemental Exchanges
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