Feb 272018
 

Adepts of the Inward Eye

This supplement clocks in at 31 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 27 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

 

So, the theme of this pdf, in a nutshell, would be gestalting and theurgy – i.e. the combination of different casting traditions. In the case of this pdf, these would be predominantly Dreamscarred Press’ much beloved Ultimate Psionics as well as Paizo’s psychic magic. Furthermore, we have class options for Path of War as well, making use of Path of War Expanded.

 

The options provided follow the format of PrCs, the first of which would be the phrenic channeler. This would be a 10-level PrC, requiring the ability to manifest 2nd level powers and cast 2nd level psychic spells, with skill prereqs being only a moderate 3 ranks in two skills. The PrC gets d6 HD, ½ BAB-progression, 2 + Int skills, as well as ½ Will-save progression. The class gets full progression of psychic spells as well as power points and new psionic powers as though the character advances one level in the respective class, but not any other class features that would be attained. The first level option would be call power: 1/day as a free action, the phrenic channeler may expend a psychic spell slot gaining a number of power points equal to twice the expended spell slot -1, but these power points only last for a single round. At 4th level, manifester level is increased by +1 on a round the ability is used, with 7th and 10th level providing further +1 ML-increases, respectively.

 

At 2nd level, we get Ex Interna, which allows the character to spend power points to augment psychic spells, with 1 + CL – twice the level of the spell as a cap of the number of points that may be spent to augment the spell. For every 2 power points spent, the DC increases by 1. By expending twice the spell’s spell slot in power points, the spell is not expended upon being cast. Finally, by expending 2 power points, the phrenic channeler may augment a psychic spell with higher level versions to a higher version. At 5th level, the ability is expanded to include 3 additional options: By expending psionic focus, psychic spells may be cast sans requiring thought or emotional components. By expending psionic focus and power points equal to those required by a metapsionic feat, the character can add the metapsionic feat to a spell. Finally, for every 2 power points spent as part of another augmentation, the spell’s effective level (excluding DC!) is boosted by 1. At 8th level, we get 3 further options: For every power point spent, CL increases by 1 to a maximum of 5 until the end of the next turn (BRUTAL!); for every power point spent, the spell deals +1d6 points of damage. Okay, this is problematic. Damage is untyped, which it shouldn’t be. Also: How does this interact with non-damaging spells? AoE? This needs precision. Finally, for every 3 additional power points spent, the phrenic channeler gets to add an additional target with a spell. Okay, so this needs clarification. It should only apply to spells with a limited number of targets greater than one, should exclude personal spells, etc. The 10th level ability allows the phrenic channeler to ignore spell or power resistance and may use psychic spells and psionic powers in antimagic or null psionics fields with successful concentration checks. Yes, always on. No, not getting anywhere near my games. I liked this PrC for the most part, but the high-level options suddenly become a bit sloppy and thus, alas, also OP.

 

The second PrC would be the empathic armsmaster, who needs to qualify for 5 ranks in one, 3 ranks in two other skills and needs to have the Empath feat as well as the ability to cast 2nd level psychic spells and initiate 2nd level maneuvers, including at least 1 stance. The PrC gets 4+ Int skills per level, d8 HD, full BAB-progression, ½ Will-save progression and 8/10ths spellcasting progression. Obviously, it covers 10 levels as well. 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter, the class gets a new shattered mirror or veiled moon maneuver (or one from any discipline he had previously access to). 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter yields an additional maneuver readied and 2nd level and every 3 levels thereafter allows for the exchange of a known maneuver for another one. Stances are gained at 3rd and 8th level. Starting at 1st level, when using the Empath feat to study emotion auras in combat as a full-round action, the character gains no penalty to saves and regains a maneuver known, which is a cool blending of tropes. Cool: The character also gets a +2 insight bonus to atk and skill checks versus creatures whose emotions have been read thus, as well as a +2 insight bonus to AC, with duration of 1 minute.

 

Psychic discipline, mental focus, hypnotic stare, spirits, spirit powers, animus, armiger’s mark, dark claim, ki pool, mission and warleader treat PrC levels as class levels for the purpose of their progression. Beginning at 2nd level, the armsmaster may ignore the emotions component of psychic spells. Furthermore, when using a full-round action to read emotions, the character may read initiation modifier creatures within 30 ft. Alternatively, he may only read a single creature as a swift action, but does not regain a maneuver when doing so. Starting at 4th level, we get blindsight 30 ft., but only versus creatures whose emotions the armsmaster has read within the last minute. 5th level provides a potent combo: When initiating a strike (not a boost etc.!), he may, as a swift action, cast a psychic spell of on equal or lower level. 6th level expends the emotion-reading duration benefits to 1 hour and also knows the location of a creature thus read within 1 mile per class level. He may also read that creature’s aura as a free action…and may target the creature with a psychic spell while it’s in that range. That is ridiculously OP. It abolishes line of sight/effect in favor of a multiple-mile range. WTF. 7th level provides empathic affliction, which is pretty neat: When you strike a foe whose emotions you’ve read with a martial strike, you inflict an additional effect depending on the creature’s prominent emotional state, with a save vs. 10 + maneuver level + initiating modifier to negate. 12 effects are provided and honestly, I’d have loved them to scale benefits and instead be unlocked sooner. At 8th level, we get the option to abandon a stance as a swift action to enter the stance of perfect focus, which allows for the automatic success of all concentration checks (!!) as well as for the maintenance of concentration as a swift action. The capstone makes emotional reading automatic within 30 ft. and doubles the bonus for studying versus all targets within 30 ft. I really want to like this one. The line of sight/effect breaking needs to die in a fiery death, though – even in Path of War-power-level games, that one is ridiculously exploitable. Automatic concentration success is also somewhat ludicrous, though it at least prevents combos with other stances.

 

The third PrC would be the ocular enlightener, who needs BAB +4, 5 ranks Perception and Third Eye. The class gets d10 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, ½ Will-save progression, full BAB-progression and 8/10th spellcasting progression. The class may keep the 3rd eye open at all times, is no longer fatigued upon closing it, and it may read auras as a swift action. 2nd level provides uncanny dodge (improved uncanny dodge, if the character already has it), a bonus to Sense Motive equal to class level, as well as all-around vision. 3rd level nets blindsense 10 ft., which upgrades to blindsight 30 ft. at 6th level, to 60 ft. at 9th level. Furthermore, at 9th level, this range can be increased by +30 ft. for every round of full-round concentration, with range reverting to normal once concentration ceases. And we have another WTF-moment here. There is no maximum for the range-increase. Theoretically, you could encompass a vast prairie or desert thus. This is bitter, for I actually like the idea here. Still, needs a cap. Beginning at 4th level, the PrC suffers no miss chance from concealment or from incorporeal targets. The latter is a 3.5ism. In PFRPG, incorporeal creatures do not have a miss chance.

 

5th level provides immunity to being surprised and opponents do not gain benefits versus the enlightener for not being seen. Additionally, we get improved uncanny dodge and 7th level yields autosuccess on Will-saves and Perception-checks to see an illusion for what it is, rendering any shadow caster utterly obsolete. 8th level nets constant true seeing while the third eye is open. 10th level sports another “nowhere near my game” ability: While the third eye is open, the character ignores ALL DR and ignores ANY MAGICAL effect that would increase the AC. Remember: The eye will be ALWAYS OPEN. Magical effects include items. WTF.

 

Next up is the Godmind, who must have 3 ranks in two skills and be capable of casting 2nd level divine spells and as well capable of manifesting 2nd level powers. The class gets d6 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, ½ BAB-progression and ½ Will-save progression. The table has a minor, aesthetic glitch in the final row. The PRC also gets full spell-progression, but does not sport the usual spells per day/manifesting line, which can make spontaneous use a bit tougher. The first class feature of the godmind would be Deus Ex Cerebra, gained at 1st level, which allows the godmind to spend power points to cast prepared divine spells sans expending them; metapsionic feats may be added to the spells thus cast and even already expended spells qualify. At 3rd level and every odd level thereafter, the ability extends to a higher spell level, with costs increasing by +2 power points per spell level beyond 1st. Cap here is level 5, obviously. I like this one. It’s potent, but elegant and unique. At 2nd level, we get channel divinity: When casting divine spell, the godmind chooses one benefit to apply to all psionic powers manifested before the end of the next turn: Doubled duration or no AoO-provoking are potent from the get-go. 4th level also unlocks the option to ignore range for a power while a target is affected by a divine spell cast by the godmind. Which is not bad per se…but this includes explicitly powers with a range of personal. Nope. Nopenopenope.

 

Speaking of which, the second option is: “All of the godmind’s powers deal untyped holy damage rather than their normal type of damage until the end of his next turn.” There is no holy damage in vanilla PFRPG; Path of War introduced that damage type in a dubious design decision, yes, but even with the benefit of the doubt, I have no idea what “untyped holy damage” is supposed to be. Is it Path of War’s holy damage? Yes or no? 6th level provides x1.5 damage of a chosen alignment, half versus creatures of the opposite alignment. And no, we’re not talking about LG or the like, but about chaotic, lawful, good or evil. The second enhancement available increases numerical bonuses by powers manifested by +1. I assume that to be total and not per die/static bonus. 8th level is ridiculous: Until the end of the godmind’s next turn, ML increases by spell level. Yes, SPELL LEVEL. The second option reduces power point cost of powers manifested by spell level…which is similarly ouch-inducing. This whole ability complex needs to be bashed around the block with the nerfbat. At least twice. Remember, these benefits kick in with EVERY DAMN DIVINE SPELL CAST. The capstone, comparatively, is meek: We may spend +2 power points when using Deus Ex Cerebra to cast a non-prepared spell, which needs to be on the spells known list.

 

Okay, the reverend dreamer is another PrC that needs to be able to cast 2nd level divine spells, but also needs to be able to cast psychic spells. 2 skills with 3 ranks. The class gets d6 HD, 2 + Int-mod skills per level, ½ BAB-progression, ½ Will-save progression, full caster-progression. The signature ability of this fellow would by mystic invocation, which yields limited spell-slot transparency: The character may e.g. cast divine spells via psychic spell slots, but at +1 spell level. First, only 1st level spells, with every odd level thereafter increasing the maximum spell level that benefits from this by +1. Kudos: Spontaneous spellcasting interaction is noted. Apart from this, we get a capstone, enlightened faith, which lets the character substitute a divine focus for somatic, emotion, thought or verbal components. Potentially problematic: Up to 10K (!!) of material components can also be substituted thus. The consequences are pretty obvious. While this one needs a limitation, the PrC otherwise is interesting.

 

The esoteric scholar needs access to 2nd level psychic and arcane spells and, bingo, 3 ranks in 2 skills. The class gets d6 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, ½ BAB-progression and 1/2 Will-save-progression as well as well as full spellcasting progression in both parent classes. Harmonic arcana acts as an arcane substitute of the reverend dreamer’s mystic invocation – replace divine with arcane, there you go. The capstone provides +4 CL for all spellcasting classes and lets the character increase “spell’s effective level” of a spell cast by 1 or 2; uncommon, but the intention is explained.

 

The combat wonderworker needs 15 ranks Spellcraft, BAB +10 and the ability to cast 3rd level spells or manifest 3rd level powers. The PrC gets d10 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, ½ Fort- and Will-save progression and full BAB as well as spellcasting/manifesting progression. It also only spans 5 levels. Additionally, the PrC gains proficiency with all simple and martial weapons as well as all armors and shields. At 1st level, combat wonderworkers may manifest one power or cast one spell with a casting/manifesting duration of no more than a full-round action as part of a full-attack action. Okay, AoO? Hands required for spells? The ability may be used in conjunction with spellstrike or martial power, but seriously needs additional notes on how it exactly is supposed to work. RAW, it is guesswork. At 2nd level, the character can expend a prepared spell slot of at least 3rd level or 5 power points to gain a single combat feat for CL/ML rounds as a standard action. Additional power points/higher spell levels increase the duration. 4th level allows the character to use the ability as a swift action. 3rd level provides a “+20 divine bonus” to concentration checks made to cast spells or manifest powers. Yes, at least it’s not a flat-out auto-success. However. Including BAB, inherent, etc., PFRPG has 20 bonus types. “Divine” is NOT one of them. Come on. 5th level makes the character’s abilities not be suppressed by the antimagic/null psionics fields and they cannot be dispelled. Äh. What? The abilities of the fellow are supernatural, and as such usually not dispelled. “A supernatural ability’s effect cannot be dispelled and is not subject to counterspells.” It is suppressed by such fields yes, but that does not mean dispelling. Or is that supposed to apply to spells? If so, then thank the pantheon for the wording not catching that, for that would have been utterly broken, even at the high levels the PrC requires.

 

The twofold sage has the prerequisites of, bingo, two skills with 3 ranks and the ability to cast spells or manifest powers from two classes in the same category – for example wilder/psion, cleric/oracle, etc. – you get the idea. The PrC gets d6 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, ½ BAB-progression and Will-save progression and full spellcasting progression in both classes the character qualifies for. The PrC once more gets a scaling spell slot transparency ability that increases every odd level, with the usual +1 spell level, scaling of up to 5th spell level. Additionally, 2nd level and every even level thereafter nets a sage’s gift, which basically constitute the talents of the PrC. These include a variety of options, with a total of 16 such gifts provided. Aggressive conversion is weird: You can cast/manifest an additional power/spell as part of the same action. The second spell does not take effect, but converts the spell or power’s damage type to that of the second spell. However, this is no energy substitution, as base damage is not modified. I assume the base damage here to be the non-scaling component. While functional, the verbiage could be slightly cleaner. Treating a spell known on both spell lists as one level lower (to a minimum of 1st) is interesting; similarly, better metapsionics/magic, more spell slots or power points and the like can be found. Complaint here: The spell slot gain lacks a caveat that it should not be capable of granting a spell slot of a level the character has no access to. Also highly problematic: Two psionic focuses. The capstone lets you add CLs/MLs together, but thankfully caps at character level.

 

The final PrC would be the Grand Unifier, which needs 3 skills with 13 ranks and Compatible Arcana or Mind of Magic as well as the ability to cast spells/manifest powers with at least 2 different classes, one of which must provide access to at least 5th level spellcasting/manifesting. The PrC nets d6 HD, 2 + Int skills,1/2 BAB- and Will-save progression and full spellcasting progression in two of the classes chosen. One Form builds on the spell transparency abilities featured within several of the PrCs within, increasing the maximum level of spell/power that benefits from them by +1, for a further +1 every odd level thereafter – so yeah, with these fellows, you get spell slot transparency of up to 9th level. 2nd level yields form blending, which allows the character to apply class features or special abilities that pertain to only spells or powers to all of the resources, making the interaction field wide open there. Suffice to say, this needs careful oversight. 4th level yields form fluidity, which allows for the interchanging of components and displays – which is a really brutal boost. 6th level eliminates all components and displays save for expensive material components and foci (define expensive) from the requirements, as well as allowing the character to ignore inhibiting effects targeted at a specific form of magic/powers.

 

The pdf also contains Gestalt feats, like Abnormal origin (whose table erroneously refers to psychic magic as psionics), allowing you to switch magic. The components are converted…but, you know, there’s an issue here: Why ever take anything that’s not divine magic? You can freely cast it in armor…Yeah, that’s a glaring oversight. On the cool side, Arcane Chemyst lets you modify extracts with metamagic, use them to qualify for arcane spellcasting, etc. Armored Matrix is Another one of the feats where you have to shake your head: Equip up to AC-bonus unslotted magic items into your armor. Wandslinger, anyone? They are treated as being held in hands, btw. Urgh. On the plus-side, there are a couple of feasible multiclassing options here that are pretty intriguing.

 

The pdf closes with a brief one-page guideline to make gestalt characters.

 

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting on a formal level are good; I noticed a couple of typo-level glitches, but nothing too serious. On a rules-language level, the pdf is inconsistent; for the most parts, it is surprisingly precise and to the point, only to basically shrug and wave hands in some cases where further definition would have been required. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard and interior artwork is solid color stock images. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

 

Matthew Daley’s Adepts are a pdf I really wanted to like; I actually enjoy theurge-style tricks and gestalt gaming – not all the time, but it makes for a nice change of pace. And indeed, the author’s PrCs show, as a whole, a firm grasp of how a theurgy-style class chassis can be constructed. The fact that, while there are similarities between the classes, there still are distinct differences, is another plus. That being said, at the same time, this pdf misses the mark, big time.

 

Even if you prefer the increased power-level championed by Path of War, you’ll have a couple of abilities that simply lack the required precision. And, even in these high power-levels, there are a few tricks that simply should not be done. Taking, for example, all limiting factors away from spellcasting. Like line of sight/effect, range, delimiting Personal effects, making spells more potent, adding ridiculous CL-boosts to the fray…The list goes on. You won’t even have to try to be ridiculously strong with these. Several options that usually would be 1/day at best, are common always-on tricks herein. From ignoring SR/PR and all magical boosts to AC, always, mind you, to worse – this pdf’s options are the most OP components I’ve seen in a long, long time.

 

And honestly, it’s somewhat puzzling to me – for, for the most part, the basics in the design are solid, and indeed, there are components in every class that are interesting and more down to earth…only to have one or more overkill abilities that will make even the strongest psionics or Path of War characters blush with shame, thrown into the mix.

 

If you’re looking for theurge options for anything but the most high-powered, “screw balance”-sort of gameplay, then give this a pass. And it’s a shame, really, because the pdf does not NEED these overkill “I’m moar imba than you”-abilities; the dual spellcasting is potent and the supplemental abilities, where more subdued, are interesting. With one strict and capable rules-dev to whack the OP aspects into shape (or at least, adjust them to the high power-level of Path of War), this could have been a truly stellar reference book for gestalting options.

 

As written, though, I can’t even wholeheartedly recommend it to fans of Path of War, as it relentlessly slaughters the few checks and balances it retained, as well as further enhancing spellcasting supremacy.

 

Ultimately, I wanted to love this book, I really did, and I wished that it had received some tighter controls regarding the mechanical integrity and basic balancing. As written, in spite of the gems and ideas and the solid framework, I can’t go higher than 2.5 stars. And I can’t round up for this one.

 

You can get this pdf here on OBS!

 

Endzeitgeist out.

 

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