Everyman Minis: Dynastic Spells
This Everyman Mini clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
On the introduction-page, we have a new metamagic feat, the Double-Crossing Spell: At +2 level adjustment and a requirement of 1 rank Bluff. The spell gets the ruse descriptor and you get to choose a spell you’ve prepared (prepared casters) or know (spontaneous casters) from the same class (as an aside – it might have been prudent to refer to the spell list instead…) and Bluff vs. the target’s Sense Motive. If you succeed, you cast the chosen spell on the target (who foregoes a save – that should probably only apply to certain spells), expending the spell or spell slot as normal. Then, as a standard action, you can end that effect and cause the target to be affected by the true spell. (Here, also, somewhat confusingly, referred to once more as “chosen” spell.) Such a spell can btw. only affect a single target. Otherwise, the feat is codified in a more precise manner, but yeah, bit rough.
Onwards to the spells, which btw. account for ACG and Occult Adventures classes. For kitsune, we have three spells: At 4th level for bard, medium, psychic, shaman, sorc/wiz, spiritualists and witches, swap appearance alter selfs you and the target, swapping physical ability scores, age categories, etc. Nice. Swear to secrecy is 2nd level for bard and mesmerist, 3rd for psychic and sorcerer/wizard as well as witch, requires a 1 minute casting time and makes all swear to a service all carry out, an activity to undertake or avoid, and get a ring focus component. These rings go off when the condition is violated. LOVE this. Pure storytelling gold. Unremarkable mien is second level for bard and mesmerist, 3rd for psychic and sorcerer/wizard makes it hard for creatures to recall you with identifying information.
The pdf has 3 nagaji spells – crushing coils is 3rd level at sorcerer/wizard and psychic, 2nd level bloodrager, magus and spiritualist, and manifests writhing, crushing serpents that inflict force damage around a single target, with Escape Artist as a means to escape. At 6th level for magi and spiritualists, 7th level for full casters, we have a mass version…which is obtuse. “In addition, the coils deal 4d6 force damage on a failed Reflex save or Escape Artist check. Okay, so is that in addition to the base spell’s damage? The base spell has Reflex negates, then only the means to escape via Escape Artist – should the base spell allow for Reflex saves to end it? If not, why can the mass version suddenly be ended by Reflex saves? Submission clocks in at 4th level for mesmerist and bard, 5th for shaman, sorcerer/wizard and witch, and is a mighty compulsion that uses a diamond studded collar that renders the target your charmed friend – sans the usual means wherein danger can end the effect pretty quickly, and instead focusing on the collar as the center of magic. Like it.
Samsarans get two new spells – Gainsay death is 1st level for bard, cleric, druid, inquisitor, medium, spiritualist and witch, and provides a +2 morale bonus to saves vs. death and associated attacks. This extends to the “special abilities of undead” – which is a wobbly, but I’ll play. Here’s the issue: When the subject is under the influence of one or more such effects, the spell suppresses these. It is evident that this should be fashioned after death ward (reference not properly italicized), but as written, it could be read to offset blood drain, a lich’s paralyzing touch, etc. *sigh* Timely recollection is a 2nd level spell for bard, medium, mesmerist and psychic – it’s an immediate action spell that allows you to add ½ caster level to a skill check you’d fail, drawing upon old lives or teachers.
The pdf also features two spells designated for the wayang: Dark oubliette is a 4th level spell for cleric, psychic, shaman, sorcerer/wizard and witch, and is basically a save-or-suck spell that puts you in a dark, extraplanar hole on a failed Will-save. No, you can’t Int-check your behind out of it, which makes this level 4 spell, if the target fails the save (maze, in contrast, has none) better than maze in all but duration, which is only 1/round per level. Fun fact: The oubliette actually conceals you from divination, so now, your wizard buddy can’t plane shift you simply back out. Yeah, I consider this to be a) not fun, and b) OP. Steal shadow is 6th level for clerics, shamans, sorcerer/wizard, witch, 5th for the occultist and magus, and 4th for the medium. Ranged touch attack, Charisma damage. After that, for one round per level, the target must save when casting spells, using supernatural or spell-like abilities or have them fail; this save is penalized by -4 if the attempted actions have the shadow descriptor. Which supernatural abilities can’t have, but that’s a nitpick.
Editing and formatting are still good on a formal level; on a rules-language level, the pdf is a bit less refined than what I’m accustomed to seeing from Everyman gaming. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf has a nice artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, but doesn’t need any at this length.
So, Matt Morris’ dynastic spells did not impress me for the most part; Submission and swear to secrecy are nice, but having seen as many spells as I have over the years, I wasn’t too blown away by any of the other spells within, and at this brevity, the spells needed to rock. Some also have some hiccups in the rules-language, making this, overall, an okay little booklet. That being said, competition among spell books is fierce, and there are a ton of truly excellent ones out there, and in comparison, this feels a bit underwhelming. Hence, my final verdict can’t exceed 2.5 stars, rounded up due to in dubio pro reo.
You can get these spells here on OBS.