Welcome back to the continuation of the Secrets of Magic special review blog! If you missed the beginning, you can find it here! Yesterday, I highlighted some of the new spells. Today, we look at the new magic items and types.
This new type of consumable magic item represents little paper charms that are affixed to something other than weapons, armor or shields. Golarion canon places their origins in Tian Xia and there is a nice little sidebar/snippet about their real world origins in Daoist traditions. There are also fulus with the talisman trait that can be affixed to those as well. Because they are made of paper, they are easily destroyed by water or fire, but simply removing them also destroys their magic. Some fulus are actually a group of them, and affixing fulus always takes an action for each of the individual items you must affix. For instance, the Fulus of Concealment (6th) are four fulus (each representing a cardinal direction) that each must be put in place (4 separate actions) before the magic conceals those inside against a type of creature/trait (as invisibility sphere). A Fulu of Fire Suppression (3rd) is a single fulu (thus single action) that slows the spread of fire within 30 ft and, if it catches fire, showers a fire in a 30 ft cone of water to put it out. In addition this section introduces Fu Water (made with burnt fu ashes) that can act as holy water when thrown or imbibed to counteract ailments and the Fulu Compendium that can be used to identify and authenticate fulu (and also activated to combat undead). Other notable fulus:
- Matchmaker Fulu (3rd) provides a bonus to Make an Impression and bumps a crit failure to a failure
- Restful Sleep Fulu (6th) burns like incense and allows you to heal double the HP from a full rest
- Stormbreaker Fulu (16th) gain resistance 15 to cold, electricity, and sonic and ignore difficult terrain from wind and weather, and you can’t be forcibly moved or teleported
- Tracking Fulu (5th) twin fulus; one is attached to a target and the other will float/flutter/fly to the first
These powerful tomes are more than just spellbooks, they have absorbed the magic written within them, granted them magical powers of their own. When you prepare your spells for the day using one, some give you an ability you can activate (usually once per day). Also, transferring spells from your spellbook to a grimoire takes only a 1 minute ritual … causing the spells to disappear from the spellbook and appear in the grimoire. Most grimoires have 100 pages (per spellbook norm) and you can only benefit from one a day and only one person can benefit from a particular grimoire a day. Some notable grimoires:
- Book of Lingering Blaze (10th) you can activate to allow a fire spell to bypass 10 fire resistance
- Codex of Unimpeded Sight (6th+) after a divination you can get a free Seek or Recall Knowledge; 12th-level is usable once per hour.
- Endless Grimoire (6th+) bonus to Learn a Spell, and gain an extra 1st spell slot per day (3rd at 10th, 5th at 14th, 7th at 18th)
- Storyteller’s Opus (6th) if a creature disbelieves an illusion of yours, you can use Deception to make em think it is still real
Tattoos are back! (get it? see the art) I really like that this section calls out the different reasons for getting tattoos, as well as the relationship between the artist and the canvas. The second page includes a full length sidebar on Golarion Cultural Tattoos referencing: Shoanti, Varisians, Thassilonians, Varki, Seafarers, and Orcs. There is also a reference to the other tattoo related feats from other LO Character Guide. In addition to all of this knowledge, background, and some new tattoos, there is even a Tattoo Artist 2nd level skill feat. Magic Tattoos have the invested trait as they do count towards magic items you can invest. The new tattoos included are:
- Familiar Tattoo (3rd) An image or the name of your familiar, it allows your familiar to meld into the tattoo
- Rune of Sin (12th) A glyph representing Thassilonian runes of sin, when you cast a spell of the matching school you briefly gain resistance to spells
- Warding Tattoo (5+) Gain a daily reaction to increase defense/resistance against an attack or hazard. Variants include Trail Warding, Wave Warding (which includes air bubble), and Fiend Warding
These are the items that I play the game for. (For those of you not following along at home, I love arcane casters.) This outlines the rules to make your own staff, and keeps the restrictions and cost a bit higher than other staves are you likely to find in the game as a trade off for this versatility. Staff levels start at 5th (for 1st level spells) and increase their level by 2 for each new spell level you add (5/7/9/11/etc for 1/2/3/4/etc). All personal staves have only 1 cantrip, but has 2 spells for each spell level it can cast. All spells must share a trait that defines the staff (which has the same trait), and the trait must be more narrow than a tradition or arcane school, for example an energy or alignment trait. There are more restrictions, naturally, but this is a good summary. I think my favorite part is that you don’t have to be able to craft staves, as long as you are present the entire time it is being done so that you can attune to it. Upon completion, it has the following traits:
- Magical; although if all the spells are from a single tradition you can replace Magical with that Tradition
- Arcane School; you pick a school that best represents the staff, generally the one most spells have
- Theme; this is the trait that outlines the theme, that all of the spells have
These are consumable items with the catalyst trait that alter spells as they are cast. They add or augment the materials needed for a spell, are drawn as part of Casting the Spell (I would assume they are kept in your component pouch or a bandolier or such). Some require you to add more actions to a Cast a Spell activity. These items fall into that category of item that I, as a player, would likely never spend my money on … I would however gladly jump at a chance to complete a minor side quest to get one as a reward. Anything that adds flavor to spells, especially for as little work as including them in your casting, adds an extra dimension to a caster and their arsenal. Of the 10 catalysts included here, I was drawn to:
- Dimensional Knot (7th) lets you bring a willing creature through a dimension door
- Force Tiles (13th) increase the height and length of a wall of force and damages those that touch it
- Shimmering Dust (5th) causes those exposed by glitterdust to also shed light while effected
- Thunderbird Tuft (1st+) lets you retain a charge from a shocking grasp spell that discharges when you are attacked
- Waterproofing Wax (3rd) lets you split a grease spell into 3 5 ft squares that need not be touching
These new items are essentially powered up talismans. In fact, they count as talismans in regards to not having more than one talisman affixed to an item. Side Note: As fulu taslismans also have the talisman trait, they also fall into that category of only one of these per item. The difference with spellhearts is that they are permanent, they don’t get used up like talismans do, but they are also not invested items either, and they have different effects based on what you affix them too (armor or weapon). Each spellheart provides you the ability to cast a specific cantrip, and higher level versions contain higher level spells. This should give you an idea of what all they do:
Grim Sandglass (3rd+)
3rd – chill touch; armor – gain resistance 2 negative; weapon – after activating to cast necromacy, strikes do additional 1d4 negative damage; spell DCs 17
8th – 2nd level heal/harm 1/day; armor – resist 5; weapon – 1d6; spell DCs 24
12th – 4th level heal/harm 1/day; armor – resist 10; weapon – 1d8; spell DCs 29
For further example without the layout, the Flaming Star spellheart that is essentially the same, but with produce flame, fireball, and wall of fire.
This category of magic item is not new to us, so I thought I would just share a few that stuck out to me.
Dragonbone Arrowhead (4th) – This is affixed to a melee or thrown weapon and, when activated, gives the weapon the thrown 20 ft trait and also returns the weapon to your hand after the Strike.
Ghostly Portal Paint (9th) – Create a 5 ft x 10 ft x 10 ft incorporeal tunnel for 10 minutes. Oh, and as incorporeal, no force effects nor ghosts can pass! This is such a cool item and plot device.
Phoenix Flask (12th) – This potion gives you phoenix wings and Fly 40 for a minute. During your first fly action a round, burning feathers rain down in a 10 ft emanation for 3d4 fire. This is the kind of thing I would love to have as a signature move/potion as an alchemist.
Resonating Ammunition (11th) – Maybe it is because of my current archer character, but this is an item I want to get ahold of. A tuning fork arrow/bolt that hits and builds up resonance from the attack to do 5d10 sonic damage to all within 10 ft of impact.
Shortbread Spy (6th) – This uncommon humanoid shaped cookie animates to travel half a mile and return. Upon eating it, you can see what it saw. This. This is good. Just, mind the gumdrop buttons, wouldya?
This section ends with a page that is (essentially) two sidebars. One on Materiality and Magic discusses some rare ingredients and materials used in magic item creation from different places on Golarion, specifically Osirion (Elemental Lacquers and Solar Gold), the Minata Archipelago (Bamboo and Rattan), and the Successor States of Tian Xia (peach wood in place of darkwood). The other, titled Pleasantly Consumable, discusses magical fruit and salted fish and meat as replacements for potions … too bad they didn’t mention my powdered potions from Groundbreaking (j/k).
Again, this category of magic item is not new, so will just share a few of my favorites.
Archivist’s Gaze (18th; apex) – Of all the apex items, I enjoyed the idea of wearing these glasses/spectacles and hearing whispering voices tell you things about what you see. +3 Occultism (GM can change) and you are always Investigating (in addition to another activity) in Exploration mode. Plus, as apex, you bump your Intelligence (to 18 or +2). Once per hour, by “pushing the glasses up your nose and asking for help” the entity in the glasses will cast their choice of comprehend language or true seeing. I love the flavor and GM fiat there.
Blade of Four Energies (13th+) – a +2 greater striking shifting shortsword that you can change the element rune on once per round as a free action. You can also use that element to case a spell once per day. While this is a fairly straight forward magic item, I really like the versatility of the element choice.
Buzzsaw Axe (11th+) – Who doesn’t love a +2 striking battle axe that you can throw in a 120 ft line? Sure, it is only once per hour, but each creature in that line has to Reflex to avoid the damage. That’s some big “fodder clearing to make a path to the boss” energy right there. That’s the kind of item that makes me consider fighter or barbarian builds.
Cantrip Deck (1st) – This is great. Cantrip booster packs? Sign me up. 5 gp for 5 uses of a single cantrip, or 20 gp for 1 use of each CRB cantrip (24). The cost seems high at first, but for mid to late levels, I would gladly pay these prices to have access to all my cantrips at any given time.
Codebreaker’s Parchment (3rd+) – This is another item that I like because of the potential for it to be used by the characters, against the characters, as a plot hook or a macguffin. You write on it and it scrambles the words, requiring a command word to unscramble. Oh, and you clear it for reuse by burning it (which only burns off the words). My rogue characters love this already.
Collar of the Eternal Bond (7th) – This collar, which shifts to make sense for your eidolon, allows you and your eidolon to be 150 ft apart (instead of the base 100) and it can also activate the collar to give it 5 minutes where you do not have that 150 ft limitation at all. I see this as a likely must have for a lot of summoners.
I really like sidebar describing The Old Mage Deck and its art throughout Golarion.
Gloaming Shard (11th) – The flavor for this +2 striking returning dagger is solid, as is the art for it. Once per hour you can use 2 actions to activate it, throwing the dagger at a target in 60 ft. Rather than returning to you, it pulls you into your shadow and along the thread of shadow that connects its shadow to yours, acting as a dimension door where you catch the dagger adjacent to the target.
Invisible Chain Shirt (13th) – This chain shirt is invisible! And has comfort trait instead of noisy! Once per minute you can use 2 actions to activate it to become concealed. I dunno why I like this so much, but it is likely because I never wear chain armor simply due to the noise involved.
Rebounding Breastplate (20th) – This is a level 20 armor, eh? +3 greater resilient fortification breastplate that builds up a charge of the damage it blocks (via resistance to B/P/S and Force). Once it has 30 damage charged up, it explodes in a 30 ft emanation for 10d6 force! That is some epic fantasy / MCU / anime stuff right there.
Staff-Storing Shield (7th+) – This shield stores a staff in it (an image of which is on the face) and you can switch between the two with an action. This is perfect for the magus on the go with an eye towards defense!
This wraps up my look at the new magic item categories and those items I felt the need to call out. I had a hard time picking some over others, these items are all so good, flavorful, and full of story potential. Thanks for reading along … tune in tomorrow as I read Chapter 5: Book of Unlimited Magic. 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!