Classes of the Lost Spheres: Echo
This pdf clocks in at 9 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
One note: This is an early offering of Lost Spheres Publishing, who went under my radar for far too long. The class was originally published way back in 2013, so that’s something to bear in mind.
All right, so, the echo gets d8 HD, 6 + Int skills per level, and may choose 8 skills to be the class skills of the class. (This *may* have been the first class to do this!) The echo has a ¾ BAB-progression, as well as good Reflex and Will-saves, and the echo is proficient with simple weapons. Proficiency, however, is covered by the mirror memory class feature: An echo is proficient in the use of any armor, weapon or shield they have seen used in the last 24 hours. Additionally, echos may activate any magic or psionic item they have seen activated in the last 24 hours, using class level as manifester/caster level, when relevant.
An echo begins play with a pool of reflections equal to 3 + echo class level. As long as they have at least one reflection left, they may maintain a psionic focus as though they had a power point reserve (good catch there!) and reflections are replenished after 8 hours of rest.
Reflections may be used in a variety of ways: An echo may spend a reflection as a free action to echo a feat, which, for one round, exchanges a feat for another that they have seen used within the last Charisma modifier rounds. Potential problem here: The prerequisite angle. RAW, the echo could gain access to feats that build upon others, but which aren’t necessarily used (such as in some of the more complex feat chains) this way. Depending on how you run your game, this may be considered to be a bug or a feature. The second use is echo familiarity, which lets the echo, for one round, gain a +2 circumstance bonus to a skull they’ve seen used. If the echo uses this ability to replicate a non-class skill, they add Charisma modifier to the roll. This is interesting, in that it may make the echo mirroring a skill actually better than the echo learning one. Regarding skills, btw.: 3rd level nets remembrance, which lets them choose a skill they used the base echo familiarity (see below) on; this skill is permanently added to the list of class skills, and another is gained at every odd level.
Now, Lost Spheres Publishing has codified power sources for magic in the Transcendent 10-series, introducing the notion of arcane, divine, entropic, temporal, psionic and primal power-sources, and the pdf does recap the basic information there. At 1st level, an echo chooses one such source of power. For one reflection, the echo can then replicate a single spell or power with that source that they witnessed within the past round, as a standard action. This fixed action economy can yield some strange results, and the ability suddenly speaks of reflection points, when previously, there was no “point” mentioned, but the ability thankfully does have limiters: The spell or power must have an effective level equal to no more than half the Echo’s level rounded up. Such mirrored spells or powers are resolved as spell-like or psi-like abilities at the caster or manifester level of the original caster/manifester or the echo, whichever is lower. Minor nitpick: PFRPG doesn’t have effective caster levels. Ignore that word. DCs are the originals, or 10 + the effect’s level + the echo’s Charisma modifier, whichever is lower. Kudos: This does NOT allow you to echo costly tricks – effects with material components of 100 gp + are exempt.
At 2nd level, the echo gains a deeper reflection, chosen from a list of 5: Cascade allows you to treat your own mirror power as a valid target for your own mirror power, allowing you to loop one action you mirrored. The deeper reflection may be taken additional times, with additional uses allowing you to mirror yourself anew. If you played Final fantasy VII back in the day, and remember the easy strategy to defeat Emerald Weapon, mimicking quadruple-summoned knights of the round, then mimic this with the mimic material, then you’ll know how this works: Each choice of cascade basically nets you one additional star in your mimic material. (If you’re one of the nerds who, like me, puzzled out how to kill the weapons before the advent of GameFAQs, consider yourself high-five’d!)
Facet of power,a s a choice, allows you to choose another power-source. Depth of Reflection increases the echo’s level by 1 for the purpose of determining which spells and powers may be replicated. Memory of power lets you select one spell or power the echo was personally affected by that is one level lower than the maximum level the echo can currently mimic. The echo is always considered to be capable of using that one. Finally, twin strikes lets the echo, when using a weapon of the same type as a target within Close range, resolve attacks with the target’s base attack bonus, provided the attacks are made within 1 round of witnessing the attack. (If you have Lasting Impression, which is gained at 5th level), you may do so for a number of rounds equal to twice that extended duration.
Lasting Impression extends the duration of the timeframe wherein an echo can mimic a power by 1 round, and the ability extends the timeframe further at 9th, 13th, 17th and 19th level. (This means that, e.g. twin strikes of an echo of 14th level would last for 6 rounds, as the lasting impression extension is equal to 3 rounds for spell/power-mimicking.)
Starting at 10th level, the class gets their advanced talents of sorts, the so-called dark reflections, which may be chosen instead of deeper reflections. One of these allows for the use of mirror power as a counterspell mechanic based on opposed caster level check. The second one allows you to choose one creature type, and then nets you the option to go blue mage and mirror supernatural abilities of the creature type, with class level equal to CR-2 being the maximum that prevents really ugly cheesy exploits. Such SUs must be triggered as a standard action, providing another important anti-abuse caveat. Another dark reflection allows for the echo DC to be substituted, and for the class to use its own caster/manifester level, if higher. At 10th level, this is a well-situated place for an ability/tweak to the core mechanics of the class. There is also a really complex counterecho-based ability that can be triggered as an immediate action, and that lets you mirror power after a counterecho. It misses a spell italicization, though, and only works if you have counterecho, so it should probably specify that as a prerequisite. Still, nice one! Another one nets the echo a shadow reflection pool equal to Charisma modifier that may only be used to power dark reflections. One of the dark reflections builds on this, and allows the echo to use a shadow reflection powered by that pool and a regular reflection in the same round. This allows for the use of two standard action reflections, though the use of the two does render this a full-round action. (Here, the prerequisite is properly noted) There is a talent that allows the change of the source of power to anther (with the GM having the final say).
At 19th level (not properly noted in the ability’s write-up), the echo gains Hall of Echoes. Or Hall of Reflections, as the class table calls it in an inconsistency. 1/day, the echo may, as a free action, select an effect valid for mirror power with a single target. For 2 reflections, this is resolved on ALL targets within Close range. No, they can’t choose to exclude friends or foes. The capstone lets the class, 1/day spend a reflection to perfectly replicate another character’s full round worth of actions, including spells, attacks, and the ability even takes items into account. The targets, suffice to say, may be designated by the echo.
The pdf also includes 8 different feats: Extra Reflection nets you +2 reflections; Deeper Reflection and Darker Reflection net you an additional deeper or darker reflection, respectively. Absorb Power lets you, as a standard action, spend a reflection to make a touch attack against a character that is eligible for your mirror power base ability. The target gets a Will-save (formatting here is a bit rough, but only aesthetically). On a success, the echo may act as though the target had just activated an eligible spell or power for purposes of the echo’s mirroring. On a failure, the target instead loses access to the spell or power for a number of rounds equal to the echo’s Charisma modifier, during which the echo may mirror it! COOL! Echo item requires 3 ranks in “UMD” – that should read Use Magic Device, and it lets you duplicate powers and spells generated by items, provided you have access to the power source and a facsimile. To duplicate a necklace’s power, a noose or string around the neck, for example. It’s a small touch, but the class has a couple of them, and they make the class feel more…alive? Anyways, Form of Echoes is a crossover feat for Rite Publishing’s Taskshaper. (Nice!)
The pdf also contains two different psionic zone feats: Reflective Resonance creates a 30-foot-zone, which nets psionic characters in the zone a circumstance bonus to ML equal to the number of rounds you have echoed one of their powers. This lasts for up to Charisma bonus rounds, and can be VERY brutal – but enemies do gain this benefit as well… Shattered Resistance does do the same for spells sourced from the same power source.
The pdf offers no favored class options or the like.
Editing and formatting on a formal level are a bit rough: There are a couple of aesthetic hiccups, nonstandard formatting stuff, etc. On a rules-language level, though? MUCH better than I dared to hope considering the high-level complexity of the subject matter. With a few minor snafus like an inconsistency in an ability name or a missing prerequisite, this class works smoothly. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard and is pretty printer-friendly. The class has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.
And sometimes, being a reviewer and somewhat OCD is awesome. When I was introduced to Lost Spheres Publishing, I duly started getting their material, and began working on it, as I’m wont to, from the back to the front of the catalog, also to get an idea of the evolution of the design. The Transcendent 10-series was, in quite a few instances, a positive surprise for me, but also sported quite a few rough ones. Considering the complexity of the concept of mimicking stuff, and the age of the class, I frankly expected this one to…well, let’s be frank…suck.
Now let me state this clearly: The rules language isn’t always perfect; it has a couple of remnant 3.X-isms, some formatting’s a bit off…but know what? I, for once, found that I don’t really care all that much. Why? Because this class has more ambition than 95% of hybrid classes released for PFRPG COMBINED. It takes a concept that is WIDE OPEN, that just begs to slap together an ill-conceived or too limited interpretation – and genuinely rocks it. The limitations imposed on the echo’s impressive flexibility, the clear intention of being a novel playing experience, the focus of the class – all of that is impressive as heck. This has the blend of ambition, vision, and some would claim madness, that characterizes truly novel and stand-out concepts, and while the formatting is not perfect, it does have the design-chops to make it actually WORK. Rated purely on a formal level, this would be, at best, a 3-star file; however, there is more to a RPG-product than formal criteria…and the functionality of this class, its GUTS, its AMBITION? They are AMAZING. As a person, I thoroughly love this class.
As a reviewer, I can’t rate this as highly as I’d like to. The supplemental material is barebones, and the class could have used a broader talent selection…but it is my honest belief that this hidden gem still holds up to this date! If you’re comfortable ignoring e.g. an “effective” her and there and want to see a great take on the mimic class concept, if you’re looking for something radically different, then this little gem delivers, big time. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up for the purpose of this platform. Oh, and yes, this gets my seal of approval. If you’re willing to look past a few cosmetic blemishes, you’ll be rewarded with a truly unique experience here.
You can get this rough, but really cool class here on OBS!