Welcome back to the continuation of the Advanced Player’s Guide special review blog! If you missed the beginning, you can find it here! We looked at new options for alchemist through monk yesterday. Today we tackle the rest of the core classes, animal companions, and familiars!
Chapter 2 – Classes (cont’d)
It has been an interesting ride with rangers over the years. They have magic, they don’t have magic … in 2e they were much more tuned for the huntsman style of play, relying on their skill and wits. Well, now your ranger can get some of that magic back, if you were missing it. These two pages introduce a number of feats that let your ranger learn Warden Spells (that’s just what they are calling focus spells for rangers). (Other feats prior to now have referenced focus spells, meaning to get into detail, you had to jump to the back of the book. I had been mostly ignoring that, but since only 3 of 17 feats are about warden spells, you don’t get the mechanics of these feats without page hopping.) There are a couple of healing options available in Heal Companion (1st; heals companion) and Soothing Mist (4th; heal, stop burn or bleed). There are a couple snare options with Snare Hopping (2nd; move your snare) and Impossible Snares (20th; craft snares 1/minute). You can even Enlarge Companion (8th) or magically teleport a short distance with Terrain Transposition (10th).
- Eldritch Trickster
Ok, now these pages I like, but then, I do enjoy playing rogues. The addition of two new rackets shouldn’t have been a surprise. Eldritch trickster has kind of always been a thing, and mastermind makes a lot of sense with the addition of the investigator. I do like that the eldritch tricker’s core gimmick isn’t a new mechanic but just a free multiclass at 1st and earlier access to another feat. It keeps it clean and simple. Plant Evidence (1st; opposite of Pickpocket) is just fun (although I could argue using Pickpocket for this action). A number of feats pull from or are inspired by the previously mentioned mixing of Investigator to create the Mastermind with feats like Predictable! (4th; yes, it has an exclamation!; gain AC based on Perception), Analyze Weakness (6th; after Recall Knowledge to Id, extra precision), Inspired Stratagem (8th; preplanning to give ally fortune) and Reconstruct the Scene (16th). The trickster has fun with magic using Loaner Spell (8th; borrow spell to cast from ally) and Steal Spell (16th; Steal spell from somebody and cast it). Ricochet Stance (8th) from Fighter is back, along with some feats to expand it, as are the Predictive Purchase (8th) and Implausible Purchase (18th) feats from Investigator. There are plenty more fun options I haven’t mentioned, so get in there and read em … I know I can’t wait to use em!
- Bloodline (tradition; skills)
- Genie (Arcane; Arcana, Deception)
- Nymph (Primal; Diplomacy, Nature)
- Psychopomp (Divine; Intimidation, Religion)
- Shadow (Occult; Occultism, Stealth)
- Genie (Arcane; Arcana, Deception)
As mentioned before, more options for a class is always better, and here we have four more bloodlines for sorcerers to choose from. In addition to setting the magic tradition and providing skills, each bloodline does provide granted spells, bloodline spells, and blood magic (as all bloodlines do) … but the Genie entry has varying sets of granted spells based on the specific genie you choose. I am really excited about trying out some of these feats. I have a sorcerer in PFS that really could have used some of these options when I first built him … so I will either be looking at that free rebuild or simply building a new sorcerer. Ancestral Blood Magic (1st; gain blood magic effect from innate spell) is a nice bridge between ancestry and bloodline. Anoint Ally (2nd; give ally blood magic effect) can be handy with certain bloodlines. Split Shot (4th; split ranged spell attack) is nice to see and I am in love with Spell Relay (6th; reaction to be point of origin of ally’s spell). These options are going to see a lot of use, and I hope to make use of Echoing Spell (18th; one action before casting a 4th or lower spell to recast it next turn w/o slots).
- Arcane Thesis
- Staff Nexus – Start with a staff that has a cantrip and 1st-level spell. Can craft it into other staves later and expend more spells to add charges.
It’s kinda funny, my next Groundbreaking blog is supposed to be about Staves v Wands and Wizards v Sorcerers … the Staff Nexus is just what I needed and will help me with wands … moving on. While I love playing wizards, and these feats are handy … I am let down just a bit after loving all the Sorcerer options. Call Bonded Item (4th; teleport your item to you) is always nice, as is Split Slot (6th; prep two spells in one slot) and Spell Mastery (20th; always have 4 specific spells prepared). Don’t get me wrong, I can see uses for all the feats, but I was just so pumped after Sorcerer that these more mundane options weren’t up to the hype.
What is not to love about getting more animal companions? In this two page spread we get an Ape that can frighten, an uncommon Arboreal Sapling (GROOT) that can create difficult terrain and throw rocks, a Bat that can lower enemy attack rolls and also attack multiple foes. There is a Boar that can strike and cause bleed, as well as charge. The Crocodile can grab foes making it harder to escape, and ultimately do a death roll. Another uncommon joins the line-up, this time a Riding Drake that can breath fire. Rounding out the new additions are the Scorpion with poison and the Shark that damages foes you hit. I think every one of these companions will find a home and I already have ideas for many of them.
We can’t talk about animal companions and not familiars, right? I think I like all of the new familiar and master abilities, and I certainly might use Independant (one action even without Command) and Partner in Crime (a reaction to Aid Deception or Thievery and auto success) and Toolbearer (can carry a set of tools) … but I think we established my love of rogues, casters, and by proxy eldritch trickster. The real magic in this section is Specific Familiars. By choosing a specific set of familiar and master abilities, you are able to choose specialized and more powerful familiars, such as faerie dragons, imps, and spellslimes!
Ok, this has been a review, and it isn’t over yet … tune in tomorrow as I start looking at archetypes!
And, as always, please join us at our Discord server https://discord.gg/Rt79BAj to let me know what you think or simply have a chat!