Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2014/01/17/tabletop-review-spell-themes-fog-pathfinder/
I remember well my days with AD&D, Second Edition. With the help of a single first level, rarely used spell, I managed to stymie many a fon, stump several DMs and get some extra experience points for creativity with it. That spell? Little old Wall of Fog. I was able to do the same thing with Obscurement when I played a Cleric, but that would wait until I could cast second level spells. I have so many fond memories of fog based spells and how they’ve kept my characters alive even when my dice had turned against me, so it’s no wonder that I picked up Spell Themes: Fog, the second in the Spell Themes series by gannet games. Yes, they put their name in all lower case; I’m just following their lead.
For only a dollar, you get seven pages of mechanics involving fog. The other four pages are the two covers, the OLG and a cover page. There are new spells, new feats and new takes on old favorites that didn’t necessarily make the jump from TSR/WOTC to Paizo. I’m actually shocked at how much content is crammed into this piece. You get a whopping TEN feats and TWENTY new fog based spells. That’s right, all in just seven pages. There are no pictures aside from the front cover, just tiny text so that everything can fit into this one PDF. The layout is a bit odd as they have one feat, Fog Mastery, then the spells and then the rest of the feats. I think this was to highlight the aforementioned core feat, but the piece would have flown better had it been all spells and then feats or vice versa. It’s also a disappointment that the spells are Wizard/Sorcerer only, as several of them feel like they should be Druid spells as well. Still, these are minor quibbles on an otherwise amazing job.
Let’s talk about feats first. Fog Mastery lets you switch out a spell for a fog based one similar to a Cleric’s quick healing ability. Dismissible Fog lets you end your fog spells early. Energy Fog lets your fog do damage. Hollow Fog allows for a clear area in the mess, giving your side a tactical advantage. Moveable Fog is self-explanatory. Resilient Fog makes your fog spells hard to dispel. Curtailing Fog makes your fog spells harder to traverse through. Sickening Fog adds the sickened condition to any fog spell, making them all quasi Stinking Cloud spells. Finally, Sparkling Fog turns those that walk through it into a Mormon Vampire (Okay it hampers vision). These are all pretty interesting. Most of these require a specialization in Conjuration (Old school D&D in me save Evocation/Invocation or Alteration) or to have the feat Spell Focus (Conujuration). A caster’s Spell Level must be between 3rd and 5th as well, meaning these are out of reach for the lower level casters that live or die by fog spells. Now that doesn’t mean you still won’t use these feats once you have access to them, just that many gamers tend to go for the more damage dealing feats at that point.
Spells in this supplement are: Asphyxiating Fog (3rd Level), Choking Cloud (4th Level), Clinging Fog (3rd Level), Cutting Fog (4th Level), Dampening Fog (3rd Level), Expanding Fog (3rd Level), Fog Burst (0 Level), Fog Shape (0 Level), Following Fog (2nd Level), Greasy Fog (6th Level), Guided Fog (3rd Level), Hanging Fog (2nd Level), Intoxicating Fog (4th Level), Irritating Fog (3rd Level), Restraining Fog (5th Level), Rolling Fog (4th Level), Rusting Fog (6th Level), Shadowing Fog (3rd Level), Tenuous Fog (1st Level), and Wall of Fog (2nd Level).
Again, all of the above spells are a lot of fun and a very defensive or clever gamer can make great use of these. It’s also great to see Wall of Fog back, but it is a bit disappointing to see it at second level instead of first where I am used to it. Ah well, that’s why I’ll play 2e instead of Pathfinder, eh? The spells suffer from the same minor problem that the feats have and that’s that once a character is powerful enough to cast them, their eye is more on crazy damage or spells with more lethal effects. The 3rd level spells especially suffer from that since it’s the time you get everything like Fireball, Lighting Bolt, Vampiric Touch, Fly Haste and so on. That’s not a flaw with the spells in and of themselves – just a note at how most gamers tend to play their wizards.
Overall, Spell Themes: Fog is fantastic and the fact it only costs a buck means that any Pathfinder gamer worth their salt should download this. It will give you a ton of great options for a more defensive or trickier based wizard and more a DM, some of these spells will drive your players crazy. Big recommendation here.