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The Avowed: April 2017 Edition
by Atman K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/19/2020 18:27:13

My experience with the Avowed has been simply amazing! It takes the 3.5 Warlock and updates it to Pathfinder, and improves all the things I've had gripes about since I started playing Warlocks back in the day...

The team did a stupindus job!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Avowed: April 2017 Edition
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Spellburst Savant
by Donald G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/24/2016 10:04:56

The Spellburst Savant is a very well done class. Below I'll go over all the aspects of the class.

Basic Chassis The class starts with the regular medium BAB chassis, with high reflex and will saves, has 4 skill points a level, and gets a boost by having all martial, simple weapons, and medium armor with shields. But it deviates to a slower spell progression than say Bards or Magus, and ultimately it caps out at 5th level spells. This put me off for a moment, but not after I read through it.

Class Features Spells known is interesting. Spellburst Savants get access to ANY wizard/sorcerer spell when they go to memorize the spells they're going to use that day. The mechanism for memorizing and casting is like that for the Arcanist, except you don't need a spellbook. You just pick the ones you want from the large wizard/sorcerer list. I'm going to offer to my group we houserule this to be any spell my character encounters, and successfully uses spellcraft to ID, or any spell he has an example of in some way (wand, scroll, staff, etc). This means recordkeeping on my part, but I'm down with that.

Arcane Bond of either familiar or an item is sensible and adds flavor to the class. And the change to the item based arcane bond adds INCREDIBLE flexibility. Being able to pull any ANY spell from your list when that list is the entire Wizard/Sorcerer spell list (up to spell levels you can cast) is awesome. I could see this being used in clutch moments. IE: When you round a corner and see a small army of skeletal archers ... you could throw Protection from Arrorws: Communal on the party with your Arcane Bond, even though you've not memorized it that day. I don't know if I'd ever be able to talk myself into taking a familiar with this class. Arcane bonded items are that good.

Deconstruct Components is neat. You get to decide to skip somatic components if you're in armor, and instead make them emotion components, or verbal. You get to mix and match all you like here. Silenced? Make that verbal component into emotion, and finish casting your spell! Grappled? Do the same with your somatic component! This builds flexibility into what was inflexible. Nice perk.

Fundamentals are wild! I like these quite a bit. There is battlefield control, single target damage, mental effects, magus-like additions to attacks, AoE damage, etc. Essentially you cast a spell, and a fundamental associated with whatever that spell did can be used the following round. It extends your utility and your resources quite a bit. I'm a spreadsheet fan, so I put a spot on my spell list for what fundamental works for the spells I chose. It'll make things speedy during play for me. I could see things bogging down initially, when there's flipping back and forth to try and figure out which fundamental applies to which spells. But that's handled if you do your homework before.

Intuitive Understanding goes some way to making the class less MAD. It makes wisdom king for you in terms of your important skills, and you can use it instead of dex on disable device, or on craft/knowledge arcana checks, or instead of charisma for UMD. It also allows you to find magical traps. There's no bonus to finding or disabling them, like a rogue. But with your naturally high wisdom you probably won't need one.

Nova Spell is where it's at. This is probably the defining ability of a Spellburst Savant, and more than makes up for the slower spell progression. This class ability allows the Spellburst Savant to pour additional power into their spells through metamagical feats (you have to have the feat to use it!) but Nova Spell allows the Savant to ignore the regular requirement to add casting time, and to cast spells at a higher level. The Nova itself is powering the additional energy required to add on the metamagic. For example: My wyvaran spellburst adept is 8th level. His nova spell rank is 3. He casts scorching ray, and wants to really make it sting. He decides to maximize the ray, so his damage is 24 fire damage for each of the two rays at this level. This is all done in one standard action, and with a second level spell slot. Yeouch!

Bonus feats are gained at every even level. These can be item creation or metamagic feats. This is sexy. I am going to fill up with metamagic feats, since Nova Spell is so great. It already occurred to me that I could take scribe scroll, and become a library for my fellow arcane casters. But ... that feels a little abusive, and I will avoid it. Resources still need to be used up to do this, but still ... having the ability to make any scroll on the sorcerer/wizard spell list feels a little too good.

Extracurricular Study is a way for the Savant to expand his spell list to include spells of other classes. You need an item to study, but after you do you know how it works, and can use any spell that went into its creation. So if you want to be a strange off healer, you could grab a cure light wounds scroll and then you can cast CLW as one of your own spells. You must retain the item if you want to keep the spell available. You can eventually do this with one item per spell level you can cast. More flexibility!

First Strike adds your nova spell rank to your initiative. This eventually gets to be impressive. You'll be going first a lot. Which, if you like AoE spells, you'll come to appreciate.

Spellsense is flavorful. Constant detect magic as a supernatural ability.

Absorb Spell is a great defensive ability. It's just like it sounds. You suck up magic that hits you if you make a will save, and cancel the original magical effect. This charges up your own magic by giving you spell slots. IE: That fireball the mean ole Wizard cast on you? Well, it's gone, and suddenly you feel like you can cast another acid arrow at his face.

Deconstruct Energy is another one that makes me giggle. You can shift the energy types of your spells around, by using up your Nova Spell ranks. This means you won't as many of them to spend on metamagic, but the trade off could be worth it. IE: You're fighting a horde of undead, and your party melee is in the thick of it. Cast burning hands as positive energy. Heal your friends, and burn the undead with positive energy goodness. Mmmm ...

Nova Counter is an immediate action to negate spell casting directred at you. You have to burn spellslots to do it though. But that's the only limitation. If you don't want to get hit by magic, you can burn through your slots to prevent it from happening. It's like dispel magic, using the "counter spell" rules. Another great defensive ability.

Aura Sense is blindsense for spellcasters and manifesters. Flavorful, and useful.

Deconstruct Intention is one that piggybacks on deconstruct energy. It's more spell tinkering, for the cost of a metamagic adjustment. You can take any AoE and turn it into various other kinds of AoEs. IE: Lightning bolt will be nice vs those onrushing robots, but none are in a line? Spend a nova rank and make it into a 30' cone instead! Even more flexibility!

Deconstruct Effect is FANTASTIC. It allows you to mess with the required saves for your spells for the price of a metamagic adjustment. IE: You're fighting a bunch of rogues, with great reflex saves and evasion, but you only have AoE blasting spells memorized? Well ... now they all have to make will saves instead of reflex! Eat a fireball that burns your soul skippy!

Truesight is true seeing at all times. It comes online late enough to not be broken, and yet be relevant for the rest of your advancement.

Deconstruct Ownership is the capstone, and it's a hell of one. A numbe of times equal to your wisdom bonus, you make a will save vs a spell cast within 100', even if it doesn't normally allow one (like a summoning spell). If you do, suddenly you have control over all aspects of that spell. You decide all aspects of the spell at that point. IE: An enemy Arcanist just hit the party with mass confusion. You make your will save, and can stop it from effecting your party at all. Instead you decide it's centered on the Arcanist, and he along with his friends have to make their own saves. Nice job Savant.

Overall, the class is extremely competent vs other spellcasters, and a little less so vs non magical classes. I think it balances out in the end and is worth a try. Toss a few bucks at the creator and take your own character for a spin.

Happy gaming!

  • Don

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Spellburst Savant
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Spellburst Savant
by N. J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/23/2016 03:51:44

Hey there, checking out the spellburst savant from the new Forrest Fire Studios, let's see what we have inside!

What I liked

-The little blurb about the development was amusing, and gives the product a bit of charm.

-Very detailed bookmarks make for a great product, full stop.

-The art in this book is also very solid, definitely a perk for me.

-Deconstruct components is an interesting way of getting around arcane spell failure, making this a fun subversion of normal mechanics while still being new and fresh.

-Fundamentals are slightly clunky to read and the vague associated spells aren’t amazing, but the versatility they add to this class is done in a VERY cool way. For a 5th level caster, these help give a lot of longevity to the class for it’s average number of spells per day, as well as making for a caster who feels more unique than others. It feels like it has shades of the kineticist in its design, but I really like how these are done more, making for a more enjoyable character overall.

-Nova spell is the other big feature to this class, and while others would probably cry ‘OP’ on reflex (metamagic manipulation is a touchy subject), but considering this is a 5th level caster, I think this hits a sweet spot where it’s not TOO powerful while still adding a lot of style to the class (the caveat against dazing spell shows a good deal of savvy as to the designer’s awareness). Really, a lot of the description is wisely placed caveats about how it interacts with metamagic and other things that could cause issues like magical lineage.

The interaction between nova spell and fundamentals does feel somewhat messy, retracting from the cool factor a bit with possible conversations about it, but it doesn’t detract from a very clever use of metamagic manipulation.

-Spellsense is a small bonus but a flavorful one, and one that I think helps fill out the class well. This continues into aura sense, which is the progression of this ability. I almost wanna say truesight comes out of nowhere, but really, it’s a nice final progression here.

-Deconstruct Energy is a great ability that helps us fill up our metamagic jonsing and helps make damage more competitive, something I appreciate. It also helps you keep an elemental caster theme, and that’s always a good thing to me. Deconstruct Intent is another solid metamagic sink, giving us even more fun options here.

-Nova Counter gives us yet another thing to use our spell slots on and more uses for our swift/immediate action. Overall a fine addition to the package, one that feels natural.

-Deconstruct ownership is a fitting capstone and fitting with the theme. It’s powerful, but not too much so, leaving us with a great capstone.

-Spellburst Meditant is the monk archetype, and it has everything it needs even if I’d like it to have scaling damage. But it does what it should, and it does it well, which is something I really like.

-Class substitutions are like mini archetypes, and their inclusion is pretty cool. These often interact with other systems (akashic/psionics/etc), making it better for people who have access to those products, but there’s enough that it’s not entirely a subsystem swap.

-The new metamagic feats are interesting and catastrophic is just silly and fun, as are the metamagic rods that contain it.

What I wasn't sure about

-Not the biggest fan of spells per day being placed with spells known off in a different section, that’s normally in the main class’s table. It’s not a problem, it’s just a little off.

-Intuitive Understanding feels slightly out of place, but not to a point where it’s a big problem.

-Straight up personal preference here; absorb spell is a fine ability, it works as intended, but the limit on how often it can be used makes this less than idea. Goes into not sure since even with the additional uses later, it just isn’t something that I would use since I’m a resource hoarder.

-Gun witch is just cool, and it makes guns cool. I’m not sure of the duration of shooting star cartridge though, making the limited use abilities more confusing. Shooting star cartridges also doesn’t list what it replaces, although I’m assuming it’s the alteration to nova spells. I do like it, but it has some issues.

-Magpie mage has both an interesting name and mechanic; stealing spells. I panned this with extracurricular, but I like it more as a base for a class (again, personal preference). Spell mimicry still doesn’t list what it trades out though. Spell versatility feels like it could have been in the base class and is cool, but will just wreck your spells per day, and still doesn’t list what’s exchanged...Instant imitation does state what it replaces and it’s a fair trade for absorb spells even if it’s limited in uses in the same way.

What I didn't like

-I’m not in love with Extracurricular Studies, it just feels like it could lead to issues with power levels and feels like it encourages people to pouch from spell lists like the ranger/paladin/etc.

-First Strike is just too large of a bonus to me. I’d rather it be lower, rather than ending as a +9 to initiative checks which could also have every other method of initiative boosting added to it.

-Including a FCB section and only having 2 options that weren’t divided up at all makes it feel like this shouldn’t have been included.

-Spellburst Scholar isn’t an archetype which I can get behind. Another pretty complex trade at first that took me a few reads to understand without listing what it trades out and doesn’t feel as fun as the other archetypes represented.

Final Thoughts

Wow, this review went a LOT longer than I expected it to, but I wanted to be thorough with this first review. What I see here is a product with a lot of potential for cool things, and a great way for people who want to play with metamagic to do just that. There’s a lot of creativity here in using blasting spells, a lot of room for clever players to dominate in battle, and a solid product overall. I did have some issues with vagueness and some things being a bit too wordy, and some sections aren’t as tight as I would have liked them to be, possibly leading to table discussions about how certain things work.

Part of me wants to grade it lower, but I think for an initial offering that it’s very solid. I also know that the writer, Forrest Heck, is willing to make changes to a doc for issues that they can, so because of those considerations, I’m giving this a 4.5 rounding up to 5 here. My issues aren’t enough to make me not want to recommend this, and I think this is a great first book from an up and comer that will only continue to get better as she continues writing.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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