Monstrous Bloodlines for Sorcerers II
By Thilo Graf
The second installment of Monstrous Bloodlines is 9 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page ToC/editorial, 1 page (and a bit) SRD, leaving us with 6 pages of content, so let’s check out these new bloodlines!
This time, the bloodlines are WEIRD with a capital “W” – the first being the Couatl-bloodline that nets access to minor divine magic, a weak poison, telepathy and rainbow-hued wings. Nice!
The second bloodline is the eidolon-bloodline (who may not multiclass as summoners) and, let me spell this out: This is the COOLEST bloodline I’ve read so far for PFRPG. The bloodline nets you access to evolution points – you may spend these points and maintain these evolutions for 1/2 character + cha-mod rounds. Versatile, smart and glorious – and well worth the low asking price for this one alone. We also get a nice list of available evolutions for convenience’s sake.
And then we get another supremely cool bloodline I never thought I’d see – the poets of the underworld, Flail-Snail-blooded sorcerers that come with a VERY interesting ability: Spell specifically targeted at the sorcerer has a 10% + 5% chance per level to be warped. Spell failures and rebounds are possible – for beneficent and hostile magic, making the ability change the overall playing experience, which is interesting indeed. You may also exude sticky or slimy slime to modify terrain and entangle foes etc. AWESOME! What author Perry Fehr has done with this one is GLORIOUS.
The Flumph-bloodline is also interesting, featuring a cool, interesting background to explain the origin of the bloodline. Ability-wise, sorcerers get access to a spray of stench, acidic flesh and the ability to fly slow, but with perfect manoeuvrability, culminating in interesting high-level abilities to combat aberrant threats. Nice!
The Phoenix-bloodline is more conventional/what you’d expect – fire-touches, flame resistance, and flaming wings. These feature a minor issue: Attackers with natural or melee weapons suffer 1d6 damage while they are manifested – the damage is untyped, though, and I gather from the description it should be fire damage.
The Pugwampi-bloodline is also interesting: At first level, they may force foes to roll twice a d20 and take the lesser result. The ability does not work for characters that have a luck bonus, but unfortunately this bloodline does not specify what kind of action this unlucky attack is/how it is handled. Touch attack? Ranged touch attack? Automatic? A Pity, for the overall bloodline is cool, in spite of e.g. slashes missing from DRs the bloodline gets.
The final bloodline is the Time bloodline and its abilities are unconventional: These sorcerors may shunt targeted creatures into the future, taking them temporarily with touch attacks (that thankfully allow saves) into the future and thus out of the combat for some seconds. The bloodline also gets a more powerful mirror image that always is hit instead of the sorcerer – powerful, yes, but also damn cool and something no other bloodline has done. Nice! The final abilities are not that exciting, though the option to negate damage done by a single foe slain by you is cool! This bastard has killed all of your adventuring companions? As long as you manage to defeat the adversary, you may unravel him from time and get them all back. Also: Can you see the narrative potential not only for this, but also for the repercussions of the foe being unravelled from time? NICE!
Editing and formatting are this pdf’s weak spot -while not every bloodline is subject to glitches, I noticed more than I’d usually let slide for such a short pdf – especially since they impede the utility of two bloodlines for me. Layout adheres to PDG’s no-frills two-column standard and the cover-artwork (the only one) makes flumphs actually look hard-core. Nice. The pdf is fully bookmarked, a neat feature at this length.
If I didn’t know any better, I wouldn’t believe that the same author that did the imho rather mediocre first book also made this second Monstrous Bloodline-pdf. Perry Fehr has REALLY found a stride in this pdf – NONE of the bloodlines are boring, every one features at least one, often more unique and smart signature abilities. The Eidolon, Flail-Snail and Flumph-bloodlines are just awesome and the Time bloodline also rocks hard. In fact, I consider these bloodlines to rank among the best released by ANY publisher out there. Yes. They are that good. It is a double shame, then, that the pdf’s superb content is somewhat marred by the editing glitches. Mind you, I still wholeheartedly encourage you to check this out, for it is, as mentioned, perhaps the best bloodline-supplement I’ve read – in spite of the glitches that unfortunately impede the usability for some of the abilities. Hence, I’ll have to settle for a final verdict of 4 stars plus seal of approval – at least as long as the glitches persist. Once/If they’ve been taken care of, I’ll gladly upgrade my review to 5 stars.
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