Caster Prestige Archetypes: Demoniac
This installment of the Caster Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 8 pages, 1 page front cover, 1.75 pages of SRD, leaving us with slightly more than 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
So, what are these? In case you are not familiar with the concept, a prestige archetype represents a way to not have to take a prestige class; after 3.X’s flood, many players and GMs were justifiably tired of the concept…something that is also represented within the design of some PrCs out there. Worse in my opinion, the 3.X flood killed the “prestige”-aspect – the PrCs felt more like kits that could only be taken later, to use a 2nd edition analogue. PFRPG has partially inherited this issue – while there now are significantly more PrCs that emphasize “prestige”, we still have ample of concepts that do not have to be represented by a PrC. The massive amount of excellent assassin-fixes out there would be just one example that not all PrCs should be PrCs. Enter this series.
Prestige Archetypes translate Prestige Classes and all their unique tricks into basically an archetype and combine that with a base class, moving everything around. The result, hence, is closer to a hybrid class than you’d expect and it has to be – after all, minimum PrC-level-requirements mean that PrC-options not necessarily cover all levels or are appropriate for every level. Thus, in each such pdf, we get basically a class that makes it possible to pursue a PrC from level 1, all the way to 20th level.
Something new for this series as opposed to the earlier ones: We begin with a massive list of alternate favored class options that cover the core races, advanced races, featured races and also extend to several of the unique and evocative Porphyran races like the Zendiqi. These alternate favored class options are generic in that they are not tied to a specific class, but that is not to say that they are boring – they tie in very well with the respective races, featuring, among other options, increased limited daily use racial abilities and the like. So yes, these can be considered to be a fun, balanced array that manages to tie in well with the racial concepts.
That out of the way, let us take a look at the class herein, with is built on the chassis of wizard and the demoniac, with d6 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, with d6 HD, 2 + Int skills per level, full spellcasting progression, good Will-saves and 1/2 BAB-progression. Proficiency-wise, they only get simple weapons and their patron’s favored weapon. They must be chaotic evil.
Demoniacs begin play with a chaotic evil cleric’s aura may spend a demonic favor to gain a wizard bonus feat. These guys may lose a prepared spell to lose a prepared spell in favor of summon monster (not properly italicized), and at 2nd level the demoniac gains an obedience – which can be found in the Demon Lords of Porphyra supplement – color me stoked for obediences, but be aware that as per the writing of this review, these had not yet been released, but if the ones from the Inner Sea Guide are emulated, I’m looking forward to seeing them!
The same goes for the demonic boons – the first is gained on 8th level, with 12th and 16th level providing the follow-up second and third boon. These are also governed by the respective demon lord, so not sure yet how they turned out.
4th level yields nets the demoniac a demonic brand that shows his abyssal allegiance while also acting as a divine focus. 1day, this mark may be invoked as part of casting a spell, adding the chaotic and evil descriptors to the spell…and said spell is not expended upon being cast!
At 3rd level, 7th level and every 3 levels after that, the demoniac receives a demonic favor – this ability can provide a bonus feat, a familiar, energy resistance or a saving throw bonus versus one type of effect chosen from a list, allowing for some nice defensive customizations. Starting at 6th level, the demoniac is damned and thus harder to retrieve from the bowels of the abyss, should he perish.
10th level provides the energumen ability, which 1/day, allows a demonic spirit to possess the demoniac for a total number of rounds equal to his class level. This possession yields a +2 profane bonus to an ability score of the demoniac’s choice, increasing to +4 at 14th level, while also granting electricity resistance 10 and +4 to saves versus poison, These bonuses further increase to +6 and immunities at 18th level. However, after this burst of demonic power, the demoniac must succeed a Will-save or be confused for a number of rounds…which can end up badly indeed. Kudos: The pdf acknowledges the possession effect as such and properly codifies the rules governing it.
The capstone, how could it be any different, would be a demonic apotheosis; however, even here we get a bit of player agenda, with a component of the form being up to the player to choose from. The pdf also covers demoniacs that stray from their destructive path and their means of atonement.
As per the tradition of this new series, we receive information on using arcanist, cleric, oracle, psychic, sacerdote, sorceror and witch as alternate chassis-bases, so if you wanted to play a demoniac based on one of those classes, you’re in luck. The prestige archetype does include a significant array of class-specific favored class options for core races and some of the stars of the Porphyran races.
Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no glaring glitches apart from minor, non-rules-relevant inconsistencies in presentations. Layout adheres to a 2-column full-color standard with PDG’s signature purple highlights and is pretty printer-friendly. Huge kudos: The pdf comes, in spite of its brevity, with full, nested bookmarks, making navigation extremely user-friendly!
Carl Cramér’s demoniac is hard to judge in its general potency due to boons and obediences being not included in this pdf. However, since these would not be part of the pdf anyways, I will judge the prestige archetype for what it is as a chassis and reserve obediences etc. for the file that will contain them. As a class, the demoniac, from what I can see, works pretty well. Now granted, the base PrC could be more interesting as far as I’m concerned, but the pdf does a solid job at translating the class into a proper base class. While it does not reach the universal appeal of some other Prestige Archetypes, it represents a nice installment in the series, well worth a tentative verdict of 4 stars – as mentioned, I still need to pick apart those demon lords, but chassis-wise, I don’t see inherent issues in this prestige archetype.
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