Meditations of the Imperial Mystics
By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Legendary Games is 21 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page How-to-use AP-plug-ins, 1 page author-bios, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 14 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
Pioneered in Legendary Games’ “Tomes of Arcane Knowledge”, this book contains new items, which, akin to grimoires, allow for the learning and access of new feats, spells and the like as well as coming with interesting forms and backgrounds. Taking from their “The Way of Ki”-book, they also offer a very interesting feat for WuXia-style campaigns: Ki Meditation allows you to gain a point of ki, even if your class usually has no access to ki. Also, you choose one skill, for which you gain a +2 insight bonus while thus having the ki-point and the option to spend said point for a bonus of +4. Ki determined by non-wis-mod sources are covered as well. This is vital for the book, since many of the items herein grant access/use ki-abilities – but onwards to the respective items!
“Body outside Body” a tome of vellum, loosely bound by sinew and twine with jade bookmark is the first of the books herein and yes. Yes. The writing of t5he fluff made me salivate a little. Let me give you a short excerpt, if I may:
” This text within is an exploratory narrative plumbing
the auras that permeate the silent twilight sea between heart and mind,
both the mystic emptiness within each individual’s spiritual space as well as
the conjoined communion that links dreamers and the dream of reality itself.”(MotIM landscape version, pg 7)
If all rpg-prose was written in such an evocative, eloquent manner, I could retire from checking fluff ever again. And yes, the writing remains consistently on this level. But back to the book: In contrast to other books, this one grants access to the option to learn new ki-feats beyond the benefits that having it in one’s possession entails. These ki-feats are not simple reprints of Legendary Games’ “Way of Ki”-supplement, instead being completely original: Absorb Aura allows you a degree of protection versus alignment-based spells and effects and allows you to infect other with alignment-auras as well as providing a way to use ki to break curses or reverse magical alignment change. Dream-Travel allows you to enter a dream-state and take others with you on your journeys through the realm of dream in a modification of shadow walking: Better yet, upon reaching your destination, wherever that may be, your bodies fade to come out where your dream-selves have gone to. Especially awesome when also combined with dream-plane-supplements like Rite Publishing’s Coliseum Morpheuon/Tarnished Souk-series. Mindlink allows you to make connections between people and keep track of them as per status and if you like that idea, take Fatelink: Expanding on the mechanics of mindlink, fatelink allows for shield other to be used, even on unwilling targets, and also allow the participants to absorb e.g. the other’s ability drain, poisons etc. VERY cool and a worthy “rare” fate to make questing for this grimoire a worthwhile endeavour! Object reading, detecting thoughts, modified arcane sights – the feats in this book make it interesting, fit in a thematically concise way together and make for a great read to further expand your ki-options. There are also 2 new spells, especially the latter, Paradox, which allows you to rewind one round of your actions, should make this even more desirable for any character really to get his/her/its hands/claws/pseudopods on.
The necromantic instructions of Yin-blood allow the user to gain the option to cast certain spells via using ki – if you pay the price in permanent ki or the sacrifice of sentient life.When turned upside-down, this scroll instead becomes the Instructions of Thundering Yang, which works in an analogue version, but themed for different elements, granting access to other spells, feats and abilities. Glorious idea and nice to see duality and un-dichotomous morality being used this way.
The Prayer of Empty Flesh and Undying Ki is a banned, heretical text that not only allows you access to a variety of different, otherwise restricted class options, the stalwart defender prestige class, new uses for ki and even 4 rare clerical spells – I you can avoid succumbing to the suicidal addiction that studying this prayer wheel. Again, a gloriously uncommon grimoire.
The final item makes up the cover and represents probably the most uncommon of “tomes” herein – the 7 Ghost Needles, is a tome that requires acupuncture needles to properly benefit from its contents, enhancing your heal-skill as well as granting access to 8 special ki-feats that include the option to temporarily disable ki-abilities of foes, heal faster (or cause pain), gaining enhanced senses (deathwatch and blindsense) in a limited fashion, reduce ability scores via touch attacks, delay the onset of a couple of negative conditions, restore the blockage of ki-flow and exhibit a mastery over death and life: Finish or save, heal and restore or bleed out – the choice is yours. There also is a feat that allows you to centre into 3 different ways, making you resistant and less susceptible to different classes of attacks/spells.
Editing and formatting are very good, though not perfect. I did notice a minor typo/punctuation glitch here and there, but nothing serious and still on Paizo-comparable levels. Layout adheres to Legendary Games’ drop-dead-gorgeous 2-column landscape presentation and the pdf comes with extensive bookmarks. It should be noted that people who don’t like the landscape-format may opt to purchase portrait instead. I happen to have both versions and they both are of an equal quality. Frank Hessefort’s STELLAR artworks are on Paizo-level, perhaps even beyond a couple of their offerings, so art-aficionados: Each grimoire gets a tantalizingly-awesome rendition. Two thumbs up!
I’ve never made a secret out of my love for Legendary games’ stellar idea of introducing grimoires to PFRPG, that is books that do something beyond teaching spells and which are characters, objects of legend of their own. This book now blends these cool concepts with their vastly expanded ki-options for an offering that should turn out to be extremely useful for any type of class, with new options, adventure- and dare I say, campaign hooks, galore. These meditations should be required and the questing goal of many an enlightened scholar and once I run Jade Regent or send my players to the lands of Heroes of the Jade Oath or Kaidan, they’ll encounter at least one, probably all of these – for weal and woe.
My final verdict will be yet another at this point unsurprising final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval for the all-star-team of Legendary Games.
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