This collection of bloodrager and sorcerer bloodlines intended for Asian settings clocks in at 28 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 2/3 pages of SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 18 1/3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
Okay, so structure-wise, a few of the bloodlines herein make use of spells from the Asian Spell Compendium – these have been reprinted here for your convenience. (Kudos!) The pdf first proceeds to present bloodrager bloodlines, then sorcerer bloodlines. The respective ones have been properly tailored to the two classes, while retaining concise leitmotifs.
Let me demonstrate with the first bloodline, the imperial dragons, who choose a lineage corresponding to the 5 imperial dragon types. This influenced the shape of the breath weapon as well of the associated energy type. The imperial dragon bloodlines presented are based on the core draconic bloodlines, with 12th level adding an increased threat range to them. The dragon resistances at 4th level represents a natural AC bonus and DR 5/bludgeoning or slashing, with the AC scaling at higher levels. Breath weapons of imperial sea dragons can alternatively be executed as a 60 ft.-line and the draconic movement is adjusted for each of the lineages chosen and tweaked in unique ways – for example, forest dragon scions get the abilities trackless step and woodland stride in forests as well as freedom of movement as well as the high-level option to see through natural obstacles in forests: Vines etc. offer no concealment. That is damn cool and allows for some really nasty tactical options. You can see how the respective draconic options here work well for the bloodrager. The sorcerer version of the bloodline gets enhanced piercing damage spells as bloodline arcana as well as a focus on better damage output for e.g. animated objects chiefly made of earth, stone, mud, etc. The sorcerer option has less direct adjustments than the bloodrager option, but it still is distinct from it.
Now the imperious bloodline so far had no bloodrager equivalent, a fact that hereby changes, as the imperious bloodrager provides a decrease of length required to use Bluff, Diplomacy, Knowledge versus humans to one round while bloodraging, as well as a bonus to Intimidate versus those affected by your spells. Really cool: Executing good hope/suggestion as part of entering bloodrage! Even cooler, there is actually a caveat that prevents abuse by bloodrage-cycling. At higher levels, we have the option for immediate action demoralizing of targets as a response to being targeted by spells, SUs, etc. 12th level nets inspired rage raging song via spell slot expenditure, with spell levels denoting the duration. The higher level options provide 1/day adding geas/quest or vengeful outrage to Intimidate, while the capstone nets immunity to death effects and energy drain and cease to age or require drink/sleep. The bloodline is really cool, as it focuses on a leader bloodrager, a trope we only rarely see catered to. Nice!
Both bloodrager and sorcerer get the kami bloodline. For the bloodrager, this begins with a VERY potent skirmishing trick – ignoring difficult terrain while bloodraging. I’d complain here, were it not for the limitation by bloodrage. This would only be the first ability, though, and the bloodline frankly moves on to provide a thoroughly awesome rendition of the concept underlying the notion of kami: The bloodline allows for the use of bloodrage rounds to animate objects with kamis, with progressively better animations. Similarly, melding into the ground, spirit sight and designating a ward make this one a truly cool and unique bloodline that allows for meaningful changes of the playing experience. I love it! The sorcerer version of the bloodline is similar, but instead of the unbound chaos of animated objects, we get the options to make origami shikigami! Yeah, amazing, right? Spells and bloodline arcana also represent rather well a different take on the concept that feels much more sorcerer-y while retaining its familiar ties with the bloodrager bloodline.
The kappa bloodline provided for both classes nets defensive options, including no arcane spell failure in heavy armor and when using tower shields for the bloodrager, as well as sight through mists and kappa-transformation when entering bloodrage. The bloodrager can also short-range teleport in mists etc. with spell-slot expenditure, with higher levels providing grabbing claws as well as dragon turtle bloodrage and an antimagic shell that nets SR. Once more, a rules-relevant and interesting modification of the bloodrager-experience that I applaud. The sorcerer bloodline, alas, is less interesting – we get scaling defenses, resistances and the like, but nothing that really screams “unique”, though the option to change fire-damage spells to ones that cause cold damage at +1 damage per die rolled is a nice bloodline arcana.
The next bloodline would be the kitsune bloodline – the sorcerer bloodline makes the saves versus interacting with your illusions tougher if the targets are friendly or better and you can generate fox fire, which are dancing lights that add an option to be fired as fiery globes. Cool! Unsurprisingly, we get a focus on shapechanging that scales, as well as more persistent illusions that persist after your concentration breaks. Really cool: Polymorphing into targets you have magic jar’d and the capstone swift action illusion maintenance. At this level, we can also expend spell slots to enhance the shapechanging tricks. The passion and design is evident – Alexander Augunas has obviously designed this one. It has his style written all over it. The bloodrager version of the bloodline is damn cool as well and goes a thoroughly different route: We get Kumiho transformation when bloodraging as well as 4th level full spellcasting while in kumiho form, which btw. also makes your spells harder to identify. The bloodline then proceeds to provide further upgrades for this fearsome form, including the option to execute heart strikes, which, at higher levels, can become instantly fatal, but require set-up. I love how different a route this one takes, yet how it remains distinctly kitsune. There is also a cool kyubi mutated bloodline that gets a ki pool governed by Charisma, which comes with some unique enhancers to spellcasting. It also makes for really cool synergies with different ki-tricks of other classes and options from e.g. The Way of Ki or the numerous WuXia-themed options out there. This one replaces potent illusions.
Next up would be the naga bloodline: For the bloodrager, this one nets a properly codified bite attack that scales with levels and later nets you poison with it. Scaling AC-bonuses and naga shape III, a capstone immunity to mind-reading and permanent see invisibility as well as at-will detect thoughts and a +2 bonus to saves versus mind-influencing effects. The naga bloodline for sorcerers nets limited invisibility, better enchantment DCs and saves vs. mind-influencing effects and poisons, casting sans hands and a capstone, at-will naga shape III plus immunity to charm, mind-reading and poison. We also get two mutated bloodlines, with the guardian naga adding an AC-buff when fortifying yourself with transmutations. There is a somewhat hilarious cut-copy-paste glitch here that mentions them deriving their power from the kyubi, but it does not influence rules-integrity. Instead of vanishing, guardian nagas can spit poison a limited number of times, ensnaring eyes are replaced with bonuses to mind-influencing effects and the bloodline nets a few cleric spells added to the spell-list. The second mutated bloodline would be the spirit naga, who can squeeze through tighter spaces and gets +2 to Escape Artist as well as to escape from grapples and to saves versus entangling/restricting conditions. This replaces naga resistances and 9th level nets a fascinating gaze that replaces ensnaring eyes.
The oni bloodline nets a touch that inflicts scaling nonlethal damage (cool!) a limited amount of times, with altered self gained at 3rd level and 17th level unlimiting the ability. We also get gaseous form and 15th level nets you oni regeneration, which kicks in once you’re reduced below 0 hit points. A limit prevents the cheesing of the ability via Hp-transfer tricks – kudos! A lesser designer would have stumbled over this one. The capstone nets a giant shape I-based alternate form as well as SR and +2 to DCs for charm and compulsion. There is a mutated bloodline for the oni, the nogitsune, which lets you see past sight-obscuring spells (cool!!) and replaces the gaseous form ability with additional target/increased area of effects for charm and compulsion spells. The bloodrager iteration of the bloodline, which nets you a gore attack, whose damage is properly codified. (Type must be defaulted, but it’s gore, so yeah, no big issue.) The alter self/gaseous form options are retained, though oni regeneration is tweaked and instead uses a maximum daily cap, but may be activated as a swift or immediate action, which makes sense for the class. The high-level options, we get the giant form I-based trick, with a further enlarge person as part of bloodrage and SR added as well; if already in giant form I, it upgrades to II. Neat one.
The rakshasa bloodline is another nice bloodrager option that makes sense for faces – +5 to Bluff to lie and characters attempting to force the truth out of the fellow require a CL-check. We also get a well-made claw attack in bloodrage (properly codified) and limited, instant detect thoughts sans the 3-round concentration requirement, which is cool. Nondetection/misdirection becomes available at 12th level, and 16th level nets a save versus divine spells and channel energy/domain powers as well as DR 5/good and piercing , which increases at 20th level. The capstone nets you an unlimited, alternate raksaha form. The sorcerer version comes with the same cool silver tongue ability at first level, the same detect thoughts…but makes nondetection permanent and also yields unlimited alter self into any humanoid. The capstone nets outsider apotheosis as well as DR 10/piercing, though it should be noted that it explicitly does not come with the usual outsider-apotheosis returning-from-death-restrictions.
The final bloodline provided herein would be the tengu. The Sorcerer version nets +1 to attack with spells that create slashing weapons as well as +1 to the DC of language-dependent effects. The bloodline powers begin limited gliding/feather fall via gliding wings – really cool! 3rd level nets swordtraining and thus, a massively-enhanced proficiency-list, as well as sorcerer level as BAB for the purpose of feat-qualification. This also nets Weapon Focus and qualifies for Weapon Specialization later. 9th level nets scent, which is particularly efficient versus undead. The higher level options include being able to avoid the limitations of language-dependent spells and effects a limited amount of times per day, as well as full spellcasting functionality in bird form. The capstone nets you a tengu shape as well as the option to negate an attack by becoming a cloud of feathers that also makes you effectively benefit from gaseous form, nets you concealment and allows for the follow-up beast shape II assuming of a crow shape. Neat one! The bloodrager variant of the bloodline nets you a beak, which acts a s a secondary natural weapon (damage type not codified); attacks with it are enhanced when wielding a sword and 4th level provides bonded blade, which may be quickly drawn…and comes with a parry mechanic based on opposed attack rolls. Here’s the thing: Action, rounds of bloodrage and AoOs as resources to fuel it make it actually tactical. While I’ll never be a fan of them, this is pretty much one of the best iterations of a parry mechanic I know. Even cooler: You can expend spell slots to temporarily render the bonded even more potent, adding bonuses or special qualities. Minor complaint: The bloodline nets Style feats, and while the base Style feat is available all the time, the 12th and 16th levels net +1 such feat, with the wording implying that these could be follow-up feats from a Style’s feat-chain. Here’s the issue: Only the FIRST feat in a Style-feat chain is a Style-feat. Style feats are limited and those that build on them usually are combat feats. So yeah, this one is a tad bit more wonky than I’m accustomed to see from LG. 12th level nets your flight in bloodrage; 16th provides Deflect Arrows while in bloodrage and the capstone nets auto-confirms for crits and an increased multiplier as well as immunity to being disarmed.
Editing and formatting are very good on both a formal and rules-language level, with only one, harmless, formal typo and very minor hiccups in the rules. Layout adheres to Legendary Games’ two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes with nice full-color artworks, though fans of LG will be familiar with them. The pdf comes fully bookmarked.
Jason Nelson, Alexander Augunas and David N. Ross are all veteran designers that deliver a ton of first-class products. Their names are almost always a really good indicator that the book will be at least good, quite probably amazing. Now, let me be frank: I’m rather burned out on the concept of bloodlines. I have analyzed and read so many of them, that this review took me longer than it should have. That being said, this book frankly clocks in as one of the best books for sorcerers and bloodragers that you can possibly get for PFRPG, with only Interjection games’ Big Book of Bloodlines sporting bloodlines this distinct. While I wasn’t utterly blown away by all bloodlines herein, there are quite a bunch that rather radically change the playing experience of the respective base class, and that is an amazing thing to achieve. This is a really compelling, well-written supplement that provides a LOT of information and quality-rules in its pages. Well worth a final verdict of 5 stars!
You can get these cool bloodlines here on OBS!