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The Manipulative Player's Guide to Sympathetic Magic
 
$0.99
Average Rating:3.6 / 5
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The Manipulative Player\'s Guide to Sympathetic Magic
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The Manipulative Player's Guide to Sympathetic Magic
Publisher: Bards and Sages
by Nadine S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/12/2008 14:09:26

Quirky little product. I actually like the ideas in this a lot, and the basic rules would work really well, particularly if you are running a modern game where a con artist could really thrive. For the typical fantasy fare, I don’t know how useful this would be. Written in a very conversational tone, as if you have a professional con artist giving a lesson to an apprentice. Pretty boring layout though. Worth picking up, however, particularly for a buck.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Manipulative Player's Guide to Sympathetic Magic
Publisher: Bards and Sages
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/29/2005 00:00:00

The Manipulative Player?s Guide to Sympathetic Magic is a short PDF based around the idea of faking casting spells in order to convince the target that you?ve ensorcelled them (sympathetic magic).

Characters need the Sympathetic Magic feat in order to try and fool someone in this manner. Once they have it, they can essentially try and get real effects from faking spellcasting. This is done in two parts: first with a successful Bluff check versus their Sense Motive check, and then by them failing a Will save. If both of these occur, you?ve successfully convinced someone you?ve cast a spell on them.

Of course, it?s not quite that easy. There are a host of limitations to what sort of magic you can pull off (and even to whom you can fool; it won?t work on people who know it?s bogus). Likewise, a series of circumstances are listed that could grant you bonuses to your Bluff check, and even more are listed for the target?s Sense Motive check.

Following this, two other sections are outlined: curses and exorcisms. Cursing someone is basically just an opposed Bluff check. For an exorcism, you and the possessing demon are both making Bluff checks versus the target?s Sense Motive. If you win three times, the demon is expelled (and likely very angry).

The Manipulative Player?s Guide to Sympathetic Magic presents itself in a very personal manner. The writing style has a strong personal voice, to the point where it?s more like a written transcript of the author actually speaking to you. Even in the sidebars outlining the bonuses and penalties to the various checks, the writing is in an informal style. This may put some readers off, as this may seem odd to how most other products rigidly segregate their fluff and crunch.

While I initially had some balance problems with these mechanics, I?ve since realized that there probably aren?t going to be any major problems here. While this would let a 3rd-level character try and cast a 5th-level spell, the odds of success are low. Further, since it seems likely that one?s adventuring comrades will likely know the person using this is a fraud, it won?t work on them.

The product has no table of contents nor bookmarks, but is short enough that it doesn?t need them. There is no printer-friendly version included; since this product has roughly three illustrations, and colored sidebars, and totals only seven pages, this likely won?t be much of an issue either.

All in all, the idea presented here is quite interesting, and opens up some intriguing possibilities. The major flaw of the product is how the narrative style works against casual skimming for information of exactly what can and cannot be done. While the sidebars on what grants modifiers to the various skill checks, it would also have been helpful to have a table outlining exactly what effects could and could not be replicated (and who they would and would not work on) using this feat. Altogether though, the book presents an idea that works quite nicely for the cost presented.

Editorial note: This is a revised review of the product, based on changes that were made to it shortly after the original review was posted.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: The idea presented here is intriguing and new.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The writing style seems too casual. It could have used a table to quickly summarize what spells the feat lets you mimic, and who you can fool.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thank you for the thoughtful review. I appreciate your concerns about game balance, particularly your concern regarding "Although the modifiers would be against him, there?s nothing to stop a 1st level character from faking a fifth level spell." The reality of gameplay, however, is that it would be almost impossible for a 1st level character to pull off a fake 5th level spell. With the -6 penalty to the bluff check, and considering that you can only put so many skill points into a skill at first level, it's highly likely the character is suffering a penalty on the check to begin with. The few times one of my players attempted to pull a stunt like that, they ended up blundering so badly it lead to serious altercations with NPCs! Ultimately, it depends on the DM if he feels he can keep the PCs in check.
The Manipulative Player's Guide to Sympathetic Magic
Publisher: Bards and Sages
by Mark C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/29/2005 00:00:00

Well hi, I'm the third staff member to review this product. It seems to have generated a lot of interest among us and this will give it a very solid three stars I'm sure.

This is a clever little system that basically expands the scope of the Bluff skill. This system is based on using Bluff to convince someone you are performing magic upon them. It is great for characters who want to perform faith healing or play mind tricks on others. It is a good skill for diplomats, performers, barbarians or even spellcasters who want to add a little smoke and mirrors to their arsenal.

At a shy seven pages, two and a quarter spent on license and advertising, this is the shortest product I have looked at. It is based on the Sympathetic Magic feat, which is never actually listed anywhere but if you read the whole article the requirements, benefit and special conditions are explained.

There is a very narrow field of effects with this system, discluding anything that has a visual effect, Will save, does damage and spells above 6th level or higher. Of course, at the cost of a single feat, there should be some significant limits. I see care has been included to prevent abuse. If you attempt to keep bluffing the same person over and over, they gain a cumulative bonus to their opposed check each time.

Product Revision: The addition of a little art and shaded text boxes really smarten up the product. The feat is now included as a feat. All of these features make the product easier to use and clearer.

<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: This really expands the Bluff skill which encourages social activities in a system mostly geared towards combat. Its good to see this kind of work being done. The revisions have made the book easier to read. <br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: There is a question and answer section which treats the reader as unknowledgeable.?Can I do this with sympathetic magic?? ?Haven?t you heard of such-and-such before!? It is meant to sound salesman-ish I am sure. - This was changed in the vision and reads much clearer now.

I would have liked to have seen a longer product. This is a great concept and could easily have been expanded into a Class or Prestige Class with a number of abilities. It could even be expanded into a variant magic system with new kinds of spells, feats and uses for other skills.

<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
We've actually been considering expanding on this with a more substantial supplement that would also include the Hearth Magic Skill we introduced in our Neiyar: Land of Heaven and the Abyss campaign setting. Thanks for the imput and the ideas!
The Manipulative Player's Guide to Sympathetic Magic
Publisher: Bards and Sages
by Josh B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/28/2005 00:00:00

With a name likely to set your group's resident munchkin to salivating, The Manipulative Player's Guide to Sympathetic Magic provides a new way for PCs to cause trouble.

This book presents rules for the use of a new form of "magic". Powered by the Sympathetic Magic feat, characters make use of the Bluff skill and the target's own willingness to believe in order to mimic spell effects. This makes a perfect addition for characters of all sorts.

A few possibilities include: A rogue who prefers to offer the townsfolk "miracles" in exchange for their gold, rather than go to all the work of cutting purses; the old woman who lives alone in a cottage, and makes soups and potions that always seem to clear up whatever ails you; a troublesome sidekick who really thinks he can perform feats of magic.

From voodoo dolls, to the mythical no-touch knockout of martial arts, the rules in this book let you manipulate your way to the top.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: A new skill use supported by well developed rules.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: There's really nothing to dislike about the content. The layout leaves a little something to be desired, and there are a few minor spelling errors; coupled with a few spots featuring tabs instead of spaces, but overall these are fairly minor issues.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Manipulative Player's Guide to Sympathetic Magic
Publisher: Bards and Sages
by Joseph B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/17/2005 00:00:00

I saw that this PDF was on sale today (July 17, 2005) for 50 cents, so I thought I'd comment.

For fifty cents, I say pick this up. It's a clever idea and d20 mechanic for using sympathetic "magic" in a campaign - non-magic users can "trick" others into thinking they have placed a curse on them or cast a spell. Great for rogues or campaigns where people believe in magic or witchcraft but they don't actually exist. It doesn't read like a rulebook either, more like a conversation with the author, which gives it a certain charm.

Definitely worth a look at this price. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Manipulative Player's Guide to Sympathetic Magic
Publisher: Bards and Sages
by Devon G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/14/2005 00:00:00

Take about taking mind over matter to another level. A very cool idea for a supplement. I'm surprised it hasn't already been done. This is a very playable system to allow PC's to fake casting spells. Sympathetic Magic is a perfect feat for any rogue or bard. Plenty of checks and balances to insure that cheesy PC's don't try to go to far.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Balanced, detailed explanation of how to use the system. Very easy to implement in a game.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Would have liked to see more concrete examples.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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