EZG reviews Class Expansions: Love for the Universalist
This pdf is 4 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
The Universalist Wizard has always been problematic – they have gotten the short end of the stick for quite a long time and this pdf seeks to remedy that via 4 options, all of which come with a short fluffy introduction before getting into the crunchy bits.
The first new option would be the Arcane Researcher: Replacing Hand of the apprentice with the ability to research spells much faster makes for a nice first ability – especially if you e.g. feature categories of spells that require research because they simply are not openly available. Metamagic mastery is replaced with a rather AWESOME ability that will provide a godsend for some wizards – spells the arcane researcher has researched himself can be prepared by him/her without having access to a spellbook. Some nasty surprise for authorities/slavers who thought that keeping the spellbook away would be enough to neutralize the caster… Finally, at 13th level, they get +1 DC for their researched spells.
The Beastbonded Arcanist can inscribe a limited amount of spells on to the hide of his/her familiar, making the familiar a type of backup spellbook. Beyond that, the familiar can aid you for +4 instead of the regular bonus and at higher levels automatically succeed at helping you. At the higher levels, as long as your familiar are with 30 foot and conscious, neither you or your familiar can be flanked/flat-footed. Neat one!
The Bookbonded Arcanist gains a spellbook that never runs out of blank pages as a bonded item, but requires bonus spells you have to be inscribed in the pages of the book and not some other spellbook. Furthermore, the bookbonded arcanist may ignore the cost of sepia snake sigil when casting it on the book and the book ignores damage caused by runes on the book itself, rendering it impervious to the deadly security measures you may wish to implement. At higher levels, the arcanist may even teleport the bonded spellbook to the hands of the arcanist – awesome!
The final new option would be the Spellweaver – nimble fingers allow the spellweaver to add his dex-modifier to Spellcraft DCs, increase the casting time to also increase the caster level a limited amount of times per day and later even the DC of your spells.
Editing and formatting are very good, though there’s an instance (Aforementioned Sepia Snake Sigil) of a spell not being properly italicized in the text. Layout adheres to Interjection Games’ elegant 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length. The artworks included are thematically fitting stock-art.
This pdf is interesting in that it FINALLY offers some unique options for universalist wizards – all too long we had no cool distinct options for them and this pdf remedies this short-coming rather well, with especially the Bookbonded Arcanist and the Arcane Researcher feeling VERY wizard-like in style, marrying great crunch with good ideas – and the former WILL be popular at my table, since I’m one of the bastard-DMs that like to target Wizard spellbooks – and drench them, burn them, cut them to pieces – you get the idea. The only one of the options that slightly falls behind its potential is imho the slightly unfortunately named Spellweaver (there’s already a skill-based casting-class by Misfit Studios…) – while solid in its approach and featuring an elegant, easy to grasp mechanic, this one feels like it could have used an additional ability, something slightly more distinct.
Since this is complaining at a high level and since this pdf comes with a very fair price-point, I’ll settle on a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform.