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The Genius Guide to 110 Spell Variants $3.99
Average Rating:4.3 / 5
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The Genius Guide to 110 Spell Variants
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The Genius Guide to 110 Spell Variants
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/19/2011 12:52:11
Magic is a science in Pathfinder, with spells creating very specific effects without any possibility of variation. If you want to change any aspect of a spell you’re casting, you’re generally out of luck, unless there’s a metamagic feat for it. Otherwise, you need another spell entirely. This can be frustrating if you only want a minor change, because it’s likely that another such spell will be more radically different than what you want. In this case, you just need a spell variant…and here, Super Genius Games have produced 110 such variants.

The book provides a quick introduction, outlining how these variants are formatted. Organized alphabetically by spell level, after the variant spell name, we’re given what level the spell is for what variant class (note that APG classes are included – disappointingly, other Super Genius Games classes are not listed here), and how the variant differs from a specific spell, something that usually takes only a sentence or two. Of course, there are also different stat listings if the variant spell has them (e.g. this variant has an expensive focus where the original does not), but this is comparatively rare.

It should be noted that while simple, these variants are never obvious. The introduction says that they eschewed making something like an Iceball spell that’s a Fireball that deals cold damage. Instead, what you have here are spells like Detect Enemy, which is like Detect Undead but for one of a ranger’s favored enemies; Scry Trap, which is an Alarm spell with a built-in Scry spell when the alarm is set off; and Analogue, which is a Clone spell that is active as per a Simulacrum spell until you die and it resurrects you in its body.

Needless to say, these examples should show you that the variants herein are exceptionally innovative without being complex. Just changing a few things, without having those things be mechanical alterations to basics like damage type, and you have fascinating new spells on your hands. It’s easy to see here how a little bit can go a long way. Pick up 110 Spell Variants and discover brand new spells that you’ve known all along.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Genius Guide to 110 Spell Variants
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/15/2011 06:18:30
The Genius Guide to 110 Spell Variants is a clever little product that takes existing spells from the main Pathfinder RPG products and reskins them in new ways to create similar but often very different spell effects. The concept of changing a spell in small ways is not new, but this product, I think, takes everything a step further and really does a neat job of showing the potential of the idea of changing existing spells. Inside this 10 page product are a 110 new spell variants, some very simple but others quite ingenious. The product is excellently presented, with top quality layout, art, writing and indeed design of the mechanical material.

I have to admit that when I saw this product I wasn't sure that the concept would work that well. Changing a fireball into an iceball just simply changes the damage type and there's nothing terribly clever about that. However, I'll eat my hat on this one and say that they've pulled off a rather nice product that doesn't just make simple changes but rather clever and unexpected ones. Some examples include Baleful Shield, which effectively attempts to prevent other characters from healing a wounded character (an anti-shield if you like), and Scry Trap which functions like the Alarm spell but with a Scry component added. This combination of spells to create new and novel effects is scattered liberally throughout the product, providing lots of good ideas and useful spells.

This is a surprising little product in many ways and thoroughly enjoyable to read through. While many spells are as I suspected they would be, plenty more take you off in unexpected and novel directions. Some really handy additions to any spellcaster's arsenal, and any class will find a number of useful spells in this product. Overall, very pleasantly surprised by this product, and well worth a look at for the spells, or simply to see how the variants are created so that you can apply the same techniques and principles to other spells. Good product.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Genius Guide to 110 Spell Variants
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/01/2011 22:11:36
Not happy with the selection of spells? This work will give you even more magics to play with (and idea on how to create more). But the Pathfinder Advance Player’s Guide is required to get full use from this work.

The Genius Guide to: 110 Spell Variants is a 10-page PDF (9 pages if you remove the credits/OGL page) for the Pathfinder RPG written by Owen K. C. Stephens and published by Super Genius Game. This is part of Super Genius Games’ Genius Guide line.

The layout is a screen-friendly landscape design, with lovely cover art and 1-column on the first page and three columns on the rest. The art is full color throughout and excellent.

The product is a set of spell variants, it opens with a brief discussion of what the spell variants are and how they are laid out and organized. The long and the short of it is that spell variants take the core of an existing spell and change it to create a new spell (the example used is changing a fireball into an iceball by making it cold damage).

The 110 spells cover the full range from zero level spells all the way up to 9th level spells. Many are quite clever and evocative such as Aspect of the Dragon, Molten Glass Bolt, and Prismatic Blade. However, several of the spells variants are based on spells from the Advanced Player’s Guide, so without that book this product will not be as useful. My only complaint is that there is no descriptive text which would have gone a long way toward making the spells even more interesting.

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.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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