Classes of NeoExodus: Mythic Machinesmith
This pdf clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 7 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?
The machinesmith class is a deservedly beloved addition NeoExodus has contributed to many a group beyond the scope of its own campaign setting – and here we get the material needed to run these guys in a mythic context, so how do they hold up?
We begin this pdf with the 10-tier Futurist mythic path – which already provides imho a basic issue: Is it a path for just the machinesmith class? The answer, thankfully, is NO. The path nets 4 hit points per tier and a path ability at every tier, with first tier granting one of 3 futurist revelations: Surprise grenade allows you to expend a swift action and mythic power to draw and throw an alchemical item, thrown weapon or grenade, suffering a penalty to saves equal to your tier. per se cool, but why lock alchemist bombs out of the equation? As written, bombs are not covered, which remains my one gripe in an otherwise nice ability. The second revelation would be the energy shot, which allows you to attack with a ranged weapon as a swift action for the expenditure of mythic power, increasing the attack’s damage by + tier and changing the damage-type for this attack to force. An issue here would be the omission of specification at what BAB the attack is executed – while the default, obviously, is full BAB, this still constitutes a minor blemish in rules-precision. The third option would be to use mythic power as a substitute for uses of extracts, prototypes or wands without expending a slot or charge, forcing non-mythic creatures to roll twice. This ability has two issues: Can one mythic power act as fuel for an ability or effect that would require the expenditure of multiple slots or charges? Would it instead decrease the number of charges by 1 or can’t it be used? Secondly, what action does this require? Swift? immediate? Free? Part of the activation? While not rendering the ability unusable, it does constitute an issue.
As always, you can select more of these revelations as path abilities, but you may want to think carefully here – why? because the path abilities are pretty much unique: What about making all damage your vehicle does (including all attached weapons) ignore ALL DR? Yes, this is damn cool, but I very much wished it was not automatic and had a scaling mechanism that progressively unlocked DR-ignoring at higher tiers – as written, it means low level futurists can pretty much mow down legions of golems beyond their levels. Disarming traps and opening locks as move action sans provoking AoOs kind of works, though, once again, I wished it had a scaling-mechanism tied to the tier.
On the nice-side, this does provide full-blown support for the Technology Guide, sporting a means to offset glitches and firearm mishaps, an integration I also hope to see in the compiled machinesmith. Less charge-consumption for such items due to mythic power is also an intriguing option that adds a nice level of versatility. A humble and yet cool path ability allows you to wield firearms one size larger than you without penalty – though I’d definitely prevent large PC-races from taking this ability. On a design-aesthetic perspective, I am not a fan of an ability that allows you to return any single-target arcane spell or spell-like ability back to its originator when you save or SR against it for one mythic power – while limited by mythic power – there ought to be a discrepancy here between non-mythic and mythic magic. This is baffling since the similar ability for divine spells has just that caveat – though here, it pertains to the duration of short-term STUNNING – without save to resist, mind you.
A nice ability that takes the DiY into account would be Force Armor, which allows you to add AC bonuses of any armors you craft to touch AC, but only when wearing them yourself. I am also pretty much a fan of an ability that allows you to reverse-engineer spells from magic items to add them to your spellbook. Now while the spellbook does imply a sense of limited usefulness, I would have preferred a more open wording to allow non-spellbook-using prepared casters to benefit from this path ability. What about doubling any AoE spell or effect via the expenditure of mythic power, while also increasing the damage output AND knocking non-mythic targets prone? That one is incredibly broken -stack that with metamagic and/or class abilities get HUGE blasts – not gonna happen in my group.
On the plus-side, upgrading weapons in a flexible manner to higher technology tiers on the other hand is pretty much awesome! Class-specific options can be found inside as well – greatworks that are not the mechanus can provide a mythic power-based buff to allies upon activation. Nice! Cybertech implantation can also be found alongside the option to add metamagic to spell trigger or spell completion items. I also enjoy particularly the option to UMD past magical traps without triggering them, potentially allowing you and your allies to turn a deathtrap dungeon against its inhabitants.
Among the 3rd tier abilities, scaling DR 1/epic that improves by 1 for each implant and using mythic power to make one drone-spell or prototype permanent (and only one at a given time) is a neat idea, as is firing through foes. Among the 6th tier abilities, construct-apotheosis and turning non-magic items into universal crafting material grey goo also is nice, though perhaps a bit high up the tier-scale. Merging magic items for slot-convenience also constitutes an interesting design-choice. Awakening constructs and mythic power-based rerolls can also be found within these pages. As a capstone, the path allows for the creation of technological items in one day and for the purposes of cybertech, your capacity is vastly enhanced.
A feat nets you +1 machinesmith trick and we also get 8 new mythic versions of feats – which include, obviously, rules from the technology guide – from Craft Technological Arms and Armor to quicker crafting of Pharmaceuticals, these feats generally make sense and do a good job at integrating technology and mythic. We also get a total of 6 mythic versions of drone-spells that include unlimited ranges for exterminator drones – which is awesome. I am VERY weary of mythic moebius converters – why? Because it can be used to restore mythic power IN ADDITION to spells, extracts or prototypes – seeing how mythic power can be used to power these, this regeneration of mythic power as the most powerful resource available is something usually avoided – and for a good reason.
The pdf also provides a CR 10/MR 5 Mythic Ironforged.
Editing and formatting generally are very good, I noticed no significant issues regarding the formal language, though rules-language could be more precise. Layout adheres to LPJr Design’s gorgeous two-column full-color standard and includes some beautiful artworks you may know from other NeoExodus-supplements. The pdf has no bookmarks, which constitutes a slight comfort detriment. The pdf comes with a second, no less beautiful, but more printer-friendly version.
Mythic Rules are VERY hard to get right, not only because balancing them is exceedingly peculiar and hard, but also because the intricacies of rules-language are amplified by the inclusion of new terms and components. Worse, the balancing of mythic, as peculiar and fragile as it is, very much requires a lot of knowledge of abstract, implicit rules-decisions and it is this component that this pdf, alas, flaunts in quite a few instances – essentially, mythic is, at least in lower tiers, not about absolutes, but about enabling a distinction to operate on the power-level of heroes like wonder woman or superman instead of on those of batman or green arrow – you get some tools on the superman-level that are extremely efficient versus mere mortals, but you don’t yet get to walk right over them – that comes at higher tiers. While not per se bad, this pdf gets exactly this component wrong in quite a few instances. Author Jonathan Palmer has grasped the basic concepts on how to write and use the syntax and semantics of the mythic rules – you can see that he gets the grand picture and delivers something functional. At the same time, it is apparent to me that the interaction and way things work diverge from the base mythic standards – and this constitutes an issue in a system this fragile.
At the same time, this pdf juggles another component, namely the Technology Guide-sub-system and it does this rather well – as problematic as some decisions in the path are, as awesome is the blending of both systems. I also pretty much like how you could mash this and Legendary Games’ genius-path together without that much overlap.
On the one hand, and there is no denying this, we have here an example of a flawed pdf. At the same time, though, universally, the issues can be caught by a capable DM and yes, ironed out with a minimum of effort – fixing the balance-issues that are herein pretty much would probably amount to about 2 hours and that’s it – if you do that, you’ll have a functional and fun pdf for a more than fair price at your hands. This has the potential for full 5 stars +seal of approval, but as long as the issues persist, I cannot rate this higher than 3 stars.