This installment of Legendary Games‘ science-fantasy/Iron Gods-plug-in-series clocks in at 32 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 3 pages introduction/how to use the book, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 21 pages of content, though it should be noted that, as always for LG-books, there is quite a lot of content within these pages, courtesy of the consumer-friendly layout.
Now, as far as supplements are concerned, this book makes, obviously, use of Technology Guide’s engine and also provides new options for occult classes, core classes and offers some ACG love.
Today, I’d champion mention moving through the content from the back of the book, where the 7 new feats can be found. Technopath would be the first feat worth mentioning: This one is amazing and something I’d offer for solo-stealth missions as a bonus feat: The feat requires a means to use the ability to detect thoughts or mindlink and lets you expend such uses to cause erratic functions in computers etc., tightly codifying shutting down power etc. More important would be that, while it’s short range, it blends magic and tech in a cool way and has a very distinct, cool, espionage angle. This is really a more than rewarding one, which comes with a follow-up: Said follow-up feat, building on Technopath, allows you to use your mind to interface with computers in close range. This is pretty iconic and something I definitely liked to see here. Two really iconic winners here. Welker in Rust is a feat that is particularly suited for metal elementalists or urban druids, allowing for the use of a palm-sized metal object as arcane bonded object – minor complaint: For non-arcane casters, the “arcane” may seems slightly confusing here. Anyways, that’s nitpicking. The feat allows you to spontaneously convert summon spells into ones that call a distinct array of junk golems. Minor complaint: It’d have been nice to see the reference to Small sized junk golems sport more than just the HP modification. Similarly, no suggested burn cost for use in conjunction with the Necrotech (see below) material’s included. The object noted can btw. also be used in conjunction with shield guardians, if any, adding a cosmetic rust theme and a stored rusting grasp to the array.
Now, 4 of the new feats within deal with Necrotech: The Adept feat lets you use Charisma instead of Constitution to determine Fort-saves, but to make up for this power increase, you lower Constitution by 2. The feat must be taken at first level and influences the ability to take the Necrotech master archetype. Necrotech Genius also lowers your Con, but nets you a save-buff based on the Burn you currently possess. Necrotech Leader lets you accept burn to enslave undead nearby, which is a cool angle for necro-themes kineticists. Necrotech Transformation, finally, changes your type to undead. Since the feat requires a new archetype herein, the interactions are actually clear here.
Now, I already mentioned the necrotech master, so let’s start with this kineticist archetype, shall we? The archetype must be a construct or corporeal undead (or have the aforementioned Necrotech Adept feat) and is is locked into machine as primary element. The archetype does note that it makes use of Charisma instead of Constitution for the purpose of kineticist abilities, concentration for wild talents etc. The archetype takes a -1 penalty to Fort-saves per point of burn accepted, rather than taking lethal damage, with 3 + Cha-mod acting as the cap for the ability. This radically changes how the archetype plays, as opposed to the base class: The fragility of hit point dearth is replaced with a susceptibility for what we associate with those dabbling in necromancy – being sickly, easily subject to poisons and the like. This makes sense to me and also emphasizes these often somewhat overlooked components. Particularly for less experienced players that have an issue with the increasing fragility of the kineticist will welcome this rock-paper-scissors-y approach. The second tweak that enforces this notion, would be the unholy union ability: If the character is a construct, he gets + Cha-mod hit points per level, while undead necrotech masters gain fixed bonus hit points as though they were constructs. They are treated as both construct or undead when the like would be beneficial. They are only destroyed upon being reduced to Cha mod + class level hit points. These bonus hit points and type-based defenses replace the basic kinesis utility talents gained by selecting an elemental focus and defense. 4th level allows for the taking of machine’s elemental defense as a utility wild talent instead. Starting at 3rd level, the necrotech master may choose to gain a profane bonus to Charisma in place of a size bonus to a physical ability score, replacing elemental overflow.
Instead of 6th level’s utility wild talent, the archetype is locked into taking the construct creator utility wild talent, and may use the ability as though it was animat dead. Constructs created thus as treated as undead for the purposes of desecrate. Also at this level, the archetype may accept 1 point of burn to select a creature created or controlled (undead + constructs only) to grant them a single machine defense or utility wild talent with a burn cost of 0 or –; The level of the ability granted must be lower than class level, and the recipient creature is treated as though its HD were kineticist levels for the purpose of effects, using Cha instead of Con as governing attribute. Targets thus buffed may not accept burn. At 11th level and 16th level, the archetype may grant additional talents for increased burn costs; only one creature at a given time may be buffed thus, though. This replaces internal buffer. 7th level locks the archetype into void as expanded element and negative blast for simple blast. Undead or constructs created gain the aforementioned unholy union ability, with 15th level locking the archetype into machine as expanded element, and into void blast composite blast as composite blast, regardless of prerequisites. 8th level locks into construct hacker, and 9th level adds a negative level to living targets hit by a kinetic blast, replacing metakinesis (maximize); 12th level nets forced reboot, allowing the archetype to revive undead, causing them to return as undead – pretty sure the first reference should refer to “constructs or undead” instead. 14th level provides the means to use the Turing computation utility wild talent, as well as the ability to use it on undead.
Okay, so it only makes organically sense to move on to the new kineticist element while we’re at it, right? Machine nets Disable Device and Knowledge (engineering) as class skills, and basic technokinesis allows you to power machines via Burn and use mending on machines, constructs, etc. Junk blast would be the simple blast, and it sports all 3 physical damage types and is, no surprise there, a physical blast. (As an aside: Personally, I prefer damage mode changes, but that’s personal aesthetics.) As noted before, Diesel heart would be the defense wild talent, and it nets scaling DR, with accepted burn for machine talents temporarily increasing that. The talent also allows you to gain scaling percentile chances to ignore crits and sneak attack, based on burn accepted. I enjoy this one! The composite blasts provided and their options make sense and are, theme-wise, rather neat and make sense regarding damage types etc. 5 infusion wild talents are included, which feature causing Con damage via Bloodrust (damn cool name!), nanite-based sunder, soaking foes in oil, etc. – I really enjoyed these. Beyond the already noted basic utility wild talent, we get basically 30 utility wild talents to choose from; the aforementioned Turing computation awakens constructs, and similarly, the focus of quite a few of them, is on crafting and hacking constructs, on blindisght to note them (or metalsense…), on quicker repairs to keep them viable in battle (including tricks to use burn for a better action economy when doing so), on using nanites to duplicate ability score buffs on allies, a surge like auto-buff, a burn-based overclocking that hastes you and enhances your blast damage, subdermal plating…oh, and grafting weapons and upgrading grafts in 3 steps! It should be noted that the rather potent initiative buff twitch reflexes is associated with a cool elemental saturation.
…okay, I’ll say it right now: This is one of my favorite kineticist elements EVER. It really changes up playstyles and makes kineticists that take it go places where other elements don’t. This is inspired and may well be worth the asking price on its lonesome. Huge kudos!!
What do we have herein beyond kineticist options? Well, what about the robot fighter ranger, who replaces Knowledge (nature) + (geography) with Disable Device and Knowledge (engineering) and gets +1/2 class level to Perception and Disable Device checks to find and disarm traps, making the archetype, chassis-wise, a good rogue-substitute? Combat Style is replaced with basically a gunslinger lite array, while Endurance is swapped out with technologist. The first two favored terrains are locked and the archetype comes with a modified spell-list and must select a non-animal companion. Higher levels provide hardness ignoring and higher DCs to resist being stunned by crits, free movement through rubble and ruins and higher levels include swift action discharge or, at even higher levels, rebuke technology. Spell sacrifice for electromagnetic pulses and the ability to bypass sensors, penetrate force fields and the like further complement the archetype, culminating in an insta-construct-destruction trick. I’m generally not a big fan of nemesis-classes, but this one at least has its own array of tricks that make it play differently from the base class.
The Penumbral arcanist replaces 1st level’s exploit with the option to reduce illumination levels; exploits provided are shadow-themed, including adding new spells or granting creatures shadow fading. The archetype gets a custom capstone….and honestly, I don’t particularly like it. There’s nothing really wrong with it, but compared to Lost Spheres Publishing’s superb Shadow Weaver, it feels bland, and it also kinda feels like an odd man out in the supplement. Not very magitech-y.
Thankfully, the nanotech infuser sorcerer does fit: Loss of Bluff and Intimidate in favor of Disable Device and Knowledge (engineering), at-will mending and a touch that damages constructs at touch a limited amount of time, bypassing defenses. Higher levels see the nanites replace parts of the body, making the sorcerer automatically stabilize and take less damage from bleed and blood drain, but at the cost of becoming more inhuman. This transition further improves at 19th level. Cool: At 13th level, we have a nanovirus, which deals Wisdom and Con-damage, and which may make those that succumb to it rise as a nanite zombies.
The Astrologer mesmerist replaces consummate liar with skill bonuses related to the profession and benefits from the guiding star under the night sky, Adding Charisma in addition to Wisdom modifier to the checks of Wis-based checks, as well as 1/night free metamagic-modified tricks. This is theme-wise pretty cool. Higher levels provide the option to substitute components with less than 1K costs with astrolabe/telescope use – I Like this flavor-wise. Moment of prescience, which a target may benefit 1/week from, is cool, and getting a satellite of forceful hand that can work as clenched fist is similarly cool. These abilities tend to be used, resource-wise, via mesmerist tricks, and the capstone nets interplanetary teleport. I like the flavor here, but I can’t really see why this fellow is jammed on the mesmerist chassis. It does not interact in a meaningful way with the base-chassis and feels more like an option that’d make sense for the medium or psychic class.
The delver wizard replaces Blind-Fight with Scribe Scroll, and replaces arcane bond with favored terrain and at 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter providing one of 9 talent-like abilities, which include tremorsense, Craft Technological Items, squeezing, etc. – the archetype basically represents the delving wizard…which is nice, but I wished the focus on tech would be slightly more pronounced. 10th level provides better divination below ground and also a nice, modified summon monster list.
The final archetype within would be the engram channeler spiritualist. Oddly, the ability headers here, throughout the whole class option haven’t been properly bolded, representing one of the couple of minor formatting glitches through out the pdf. The archetype comes with a modified spell list. Instead of a phantom, the archetype calls forth an engram, which can’t manifest in ectroplasmic form and is a construct, rather than an outsider, sporting concise modifications of the base engine here. Cool: The engram gets an intellectual, rather than an emotional focus, and sports different special abilities – I really like this, but wished we got more intellectual focuses to choose from. This feels, somewhat, cut-down by word-count. Anyway, taking 10 on Knowledge checks (and 1/day taking 20), at-will technomancy and tech-interacting abilities complement this archetype. This may be me just being a huge fan of Bruce R. Cordell’s 3.X-book “When the Sky Falls”, but I wished this one had had more room to shine; the concept is stronger than the space that it allotted to it.
Editing and formatting, for the most part, are VERY good on a rules-language and formal level; however, there are slightly more guffaws here than usual for Legendary Games, though these tend to be cosmetic. Layout adheres to the smooth two-column full-color standard of the iron Gods plug-ins and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Artworks should mostly be familiar for fans of legendary Games.
Jason Nelson, N. Jolly, Loren Sieg, Jeff Lee and Clinton J. Boomer provide an amazing book…when it actually focuses on the magitech/science-fantasy promise. It’s really odd – I even liked the nemesis-style ranger, and the tech-y options are inspired; Particularly if you’re enjoying the kineticist, this is a no-brainer book. The machine element is pure amazing. At the same time, there are three archetypes herein that have, at best, a somewhat tangential connection to magitech – the general themes of science-fantasy are kind of there, but feel a bit more like an afterthought; don’t get me wrong – they *are* cool, but ultimately, this means that the book is pretty strongly geared towards occult, in particular, kineticist, content. Now, I am very much happy with that, but if you expected a broader focus, you may end up slightly disappointed. Still, what *does* click, does so with the panache and experience we expect from Legendary Games! Kineticist fans in particular should consider this to be an absolute must-own tome – that part of the book is absolute genius and 5 star + seal material; as noted, ranking among my favorite kineticist options ever.
However, I have to rate the entirety of the book, and while never bland or mediocre, a few of the options fell slightly short of the promise of the rest. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down.
You can get this cool book here on OBS!