This installment of the Underworld Classes-series clocks in at 23 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 18 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
So what is the psilocybist? Well, the first and easiest answer would be: A Prestige Class. To be more precise, one has to be aware of perhaps the coolest domain I’ve read all year, AAW Games’ mushroom domain, as also shown in the Underworld Races: Funglet-pdf. Since I went into detail there, here’s the brief run-down – the domain sports explosive shuriken-style shroom caps, the option to partially transform into a jumping shroom/man hybrid and the means to conjure forth man-eating maushrooms. It is terribly fun and fully represented herein as well, meaning that people who have both pdfs will see some overlap there.
Now Psilocybists expand the exploding shrooms and go balls to the wall crazy with them. The 10-level PrC receives d8, 2+Int skills per level, no new proficiencies, 3/4 BAB-progression, 1/2 Will-progression, 7/10 spellcasting progression and full progression for the purposes of determining the effects of the mushroom domain. Now with a flick of the wrist, these fellows can cause mushrooms of increasing rarity to grow (later even including large ones!), which is a nice synergy with the mushroom domain’s spells (and e.g. Rise of the Drow’s extensive primer on shrooms) – but this component of the class is pretty much cosmetic. At first level, the psilocybist also receives the Trickery (deception) domain and at 2nd level, the class receives the fungal flurry, allowing you to bombard adversaries with the deadly fungal caps. Additionally, psilocybists may consume such caps to enter a psychoactive trance, wherein CL, DCs and checks to overcome SR are enhanced, but at the same time, the psilocybist takes penalties to initiative and select skill checks.
Now here, one has to remark one rather serious glitch – there is quite a bit of discrepancy between the table of the class and its text – the table has an entry for flurry at first level, where the class simply has no access to it. Imbue Cap is supposed to be first level according to the table, whereas the text specifies that it is gained at 2nd level. Glitches like this detract from the functionality of the class and can be considered rather significant.
Now I mentioned imbued caps – these allow the psilocybist to imbue area spells within their caps and throw them as part of the casting. The added flexibility thus gained is further enhanced by one significant bonus – targets hit count as if they had failed their save, though SR still applies. Yes, this is powerful and nasty, but also cool! (Oh, and yes, counterspelling et al is part of the deal.) Over the progression of the PrC, more caps per day, poison resistance, added illusion spells – all possible. At 5th level, these guys may imbue one cap with up to two spells, but only a limited amount of times per day. Clarification on whether the PrC still needs to expend the casting time of both spells to be imbued would be required here, though. As a capstone, 1/day, the psilocybist may conjure forth dread mushroom golems, the rather nasty CR 10 creature also sported in these pages.
Now if you are not excited about the caps not dealing extra damage on critical hits – well, the solution for that is exactly one feat away.
Editing and formatting are unfortunately not perfect – especially the glitches in table vs. text are pretty nasty and must be considered a significant detriment. Layout adheres to AAW Games’ beautiful two-column full-color standard and the pdf sports *A LOT* of gorgeous full color art. Some, you may know from Rise of the Drow/UR: Funglets, but the majority is fresh – kudos for one gorgeous pdf. The pdf also comes with pretty rudimentary bookmarks – not enough to make the pdf truly comfortable to use.
Mike Myler and Julian Neale’s Psilocybist is downright awesome in concept and makes perhaps the coolest domain I’ve read all year even more awesome by providing a striking, unique specialist pathway for divine casters. That being said, it also unfortunately sports some glitches that detract from its awesome concept. On the one hand, I want to recommend this in glowing praise…on the other, I can’t. If you already have the mushroom domain, the glitches with the PrC weigh even more heavily. Now I am not going to say that this is too expensive, mainly because I don’t think it is – the concepts herein are gorgeous and the presentation beautiful. But it does not reach the level of concise crunch that would allow for a full-blown recommendation. My final verdict will hence clock in at 3.5 stars – whether you round up or down depends mainly on whether you emphasize concise crunch or the imaginative concept and whether you already have the mushroom domain. For the purposes of this platform, as much as it pains me to, I’ll have to round down – there are simply too many small issues with the abilities.
You can get this iconic PrC here on OBS!