This installment of Legendary Games’ class-centric support books clocks in at 46 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 3 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 34 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
We begin this pdf with what many people would consider to be a star of this pdf, namely the artistic summoner kineticist, who is locked into either wood or water as elemental focus and their blasts are refluffed as ink if water’s chosen, paper when wood is chosen and may apply the oil infusion to it. Latter infusion is gained, fyi, also at 1st level and has its burn cost reduced by 1 – to a total of 0. Oil basically allows for th drenching of foes and the better alight-setting of them and features a concise duration/mechanics-array. The archetype replaces the basic utility wild talent gained upon taking elemental focus as well as the regular 1st level infusion with that, but to make up for it, the respective sculptor/shape wood etc. are treated as universal wild talents for the archetype.
Things get really interesting at 2nd level, where the utility wild talent alongside that gained at 8th and 14th as well as the expanded element gained at 7th and 15th are replaced with a Constitution-governed variant of the summoner’s summon monster ability, as based upon conjuring forth creatures from drawings etc. 7th level nets the blast they did not gain at 1st level. More importantly, they may expend uses of the summon monster ability as a swift action to fluidly apply the benefits of the oil infusion for free to it AND classifying the square attacked as a target area for the summoning of the monster. This replaces 7th level’s infusion. 10th level replaces the wild talent usually gained with expanded element for either wood or water, but minus the simple blast and 11th level, finally, allows for a unique composite blast at burn cost 2: Sculpture Blast, which lets you generate duplicates of the target hit that follow the rules of lesser simulacra, but may be generated with, the right talents provided, from more than ink or paper, but also from fire, gravity, etc. This archetype not only has amazing visuals, it also rewards NOT spamming all your summon monster uses and manages to walk the tight rope of retaining balance. Really impressive.
The awakened bloodrager would basically be a kineticist/bloodrager hybrid, whose spells incur no arcane spell failure in light armor only, replacing their bloodline with an element, simple kinetic blast as well as a basic utility wild talent, but these are only available while bloodraging. They also may choose either extended range or kinetic blade as a bonus wild talent that has burn cost reduced to 0. Nice catch: The one not chosen can later be learned at full burn cost, explicitly stated by the pdf. Nice to see such precision. Blast damage output increases by +1d6 at 4th level and every 3rd level thereafter, with 4th level and ever 4 levels thereafter granting an infusion wild talent. Finally, 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter net either a utility wild talent, a barbarian rage power or a feat with kineticist level prerequisites, using their class level as kineticist levels. Finally, the ability manages to cover multiclassing interaction.
Cool: The bloodrage rules-language operation manages to avoid a nasty exploitation caveat, allowing only for the proper SPs and SUs to be used in conjunction with it. Utility wild talents only affect the awakened and the respective character may expend rounds of bloodrage instead to pay off burn accepted, with a scaling maximum preventing gross nova-abuse. Similarly, elemental defense is only active while bloodraging and may not be increased by accepting burn, instead gaining an interesting, level-dependant scaling mechanism. These abilities do restrict fast movement to only being applicable in light armor, though, delay uncanny dodge to 5th level and replace improved uncanny dodge. Starting at 4th level, basic utility wild talents may now be used beyond the confines of a bloodrage, and within a bloodrage, they may employ gather charge and may lace manufactured weapon-enhancing spells into their blasts while bloodraging. 7th level reduced burn cost of multiple infusions added to a blast by a total of 1, with every 3 levels thereafter further reducing this by 1. 11th and 20th level provide the expanded element benefits, alongside simple or composite blasts, wild talents et al.
I have to briefly talk about one of the new wild talents first, before we go further: Cantikinesis. At burn 0, you make an instrument that can deliver your kinetic blasts. If your Performance doesn’t suck, at increased potency. I LOVE THIS. This is so frickin’ METAL. (Or trumpet of Jericho, or dias de las muertos brass) – you blast with instruments. Brütal Legend, anyone? Damn, I need to play a guy with an electric guitar blasting foes to shreds…boy, of boy…Ahem…where was I?
The Evoker Minstrel reduced skills gained per level to 4 + Int mod, but does use Int to govern spellcasting and instead of bardic knowledge, they receive cantikinesis and improved cantikinesis wild talents, being treated as 172 class level (min 1) kinteicist for their purposes. Yep, Int also governs that one. The archetype also adds 1/2 class level several knowledge checks and UMD and replaces the suggestion and mass suggestion bardic performances with an increased damage bonus when employing cantikinesis during bardic performances. The distraction bardic performance is moved to 6th level, but the soundweaver’s fitting scenery is gained at 1st level. 18th level nets “The Consequence of Harmonious Convergence.” 2nd level provides the defense wild talent of the same element as the cantikinesis-chosen blast and they may spend 2 minutes + rounds of bardic performance to make that count as though they had accepted 1 point of burn., with further expenditure being possible quicker for increased benefits. This eliminates well-versed. 10th level allows for soundweaver bardic masterpiece selection.
Wait, what? Soundweaver? Yeah, that would be the next one: A Charisma-based kineticist with 6 + Int skills per level and good Ref- and Will-saves. They begin play with cantikinesis and the improved and greater brethren and may use it to enhance their attacks. However, they do lose the basic utility wild talent gained from elemental focus, elemental overflow as well as the 1st level infusion. If the Cha-component made you furrow your brow, rest assured that the gain class level times Cha-mod as a kind of burn buffer, but only for burn accepted via the use of cantikinesis or a defense wild talent: Nice: Does not forget the nonlethal-immunity caveat. 3rd level nets a substance and form infusion, and again at 7th and 15th level, while 6th and every 3 levels thereafter allow for the retraining of infusions. 5th level nets access to bardic performance at -4 class levels, enhancing the damage output via cantikinesis while performing. The performances allow for minor AoE-damage etc. and 10th level rewards you from using multiple instruments in a kinetic concert. Wait, what? Yep starting 8th (and again at 16th) you gain additional instruments for cantikinesis, allowing for the increase of damage with multiple instruments manifested. Additionally, when choosing elemental focus as an expanded element, bonus wild talents thus gained may be foregone in order to add even more instruments to the fray. 11th and 19th level unlock bardic masterpieces, while the capstone unlocks kinetic blast reducing gather power as a swift action while in a kinetic concert as well as a masterpiece that allows you to grant allies temporarily kineticist powers! Yeah, pretty cool!
Better yet – we receive no less than 6 bardic masterpieces specifically designed for the soundweaver , including the sharing of defense wild talents, attuning nearby allies as possible origins for blasts of attuned elements, increasing the aforementioned AoE-performance damage output, etc. – these are interesting and provide sufficiently unique benefits. Oh, and their costs etc. make them viable choices in combat.
The surge fist unchained monk archetype employ their class levels as kineticist levels for feat prerequisite purposes and selects an element, gaining a simple blast; unlike a kineticist blast, the attack is unarmed and targets regular AC and uses Wis instead of Str for attribute-governing purposes. And yes, untyped damage is converted to a more palatable damage type…though force still is nasty. This fist-based blast is treated as a monk weapon for flurry purposes. They use ki instead of burn to add universal substance infusions or substance infusions of the chosen element to the surge fist and may learn additional substance infusions in lieu of ki powers and a various assortment of tricks allows for diverse and pretty fun options, including powerful full-round single strike attacks. Yes, it does retain style synergy.
In order to talk about the next archetype, we need to talk about the new element, namely mind. Practitioners are called neurokineticists and add Knowledge (history) (not capitalized properly) and Sense Motive to their class skills, gaining basic neurokinesis as basic manipulation, mental blast as a simple blast wild talent. That one would deliver untyped damage (yuck), but there is an intriguing component to this as an interesting balancing component: All wild talents are mind-influencing effects unless otherwise stated. Basic neurokinesis, just fyi, nets you extremely short range telepathy and the option to self-grant yourself a minor bonus to Int-based checks.
The elemental defense of the element would be numbness, which allows for the conversion of lethal damage to nonlethal damage and slowly escalating levels of fortification versus critical hits and sneak attack et al. The defense also nets +1/2 Con-modifier as a bonus to Will-saves when accepting burn, though Will-saves, once again, wasn’t capitalized properly. There is also a formatting hiccup that makes the header of encephalon blast, one of the composite blasts, instead read “Composite Blast” in the header, Cerebral Empowerment below that – cosmetic, sure, but uncharacteristic for Legendary Games. Now the mind infusions are interesting -from eliminating one or more rounds from the foe’s memory to temporarily controlling foes and inciting unnatural lust in them, the infusions provided are pretty cool and include affecting foes around the respective adversary via empathic surges. Oh, and what about making your infused blast a gaze attack (at reduced potency for balance’s sake)? Yeah, there is some seriously cool stuff to be done here, including short-term enforced pacifism and the ability to establish a mental connection to affect foes hit with wild talents.
There also is a significant array of utility wild talents to choose from: Oh, that damage you took? Perhaps it’s all in your head! (You may disbelieve…but at the same time, that can make for a killer…ahem…kineticist killer…) Implanting memories, full-blown mental manipulation, turning foes, permanently enslaving others – fans of telepaths and similar classes will have an alternate means of fulfilling many of the more unique tricks associated with the field, including the granting of sentience, forcing creatures to lie and establishing a hivemind. Implanting dreams is cool, mesmerizing suggestions are awesome: What about implanting mesmerist tricks? Yeah…neat! many of these have built-in combo-potential and e.g. disarming spellcasters as immediate actions, negating their spells is a great idea AND execution that blends well with some requirements of my own game. Several bosses will get that…just because I’m an evil, evil man. 😉
The True Psychic kineticist treats both aether and mind as primary elements and must select either telekinetic or mind blast, replacing 1st level’s infusion. They are locked into either force ward or numbness at 2nd level and 7th level nets transparency between telekinetic and mind blast infusions and gains the blast not chosen at 1st level, with 8th level providing mindscape architect with some added benefits, while 9th level unlocks force and encephalon blast instead of metakinesis (maximize). The mindscape trickery is further enhanced at 15th and 20th level, respectively…including, in the capstone’s case, the ability to maintain multiple mindscapes at once.
Finally, there would be the war kineticist, who may accept Con-mod burn per day. At 3rd level, these guys may accept battle burn, which does not inflict nonlethal damage and can be accepted in conjunction with the use of infusion or utility wild talents measured in rounds greater than 1., though that reduces duration to 5 minutes or the respective duration, whichever is lower. 9th and 15th level allow for the acceptance of +1 point of battle burn. Battle burn is treated as burn for activating elemental overflow and said ability +1 is gained at 6th level, +1 for every 6 levels thereafter. The internal buffer is twice as big as that of the regular kineticist, but can only be used for composite blasts, metakinesis and infusions. Wild talent burn thus prevented are treated as battle burn. I should hate this class and its easily regained (brief rest) battle burn. I don’t. Why? Because I like the emphasis on careful resource-management this one requires. So yeah – kudos!
Now the pdf offers a selection of several new general infusions, which range from arbitrament-duplication, better crits with bludgeoning damage and blasts that deal no damage, but increase the save DC. The latter has some seriously cool tactical options, mind you. An improved follow-up of mobile blast. There also would be one that allows you to get rid of multiple physical damage types…I liked all of them and they often allow for REALLY cool tricks.
The pdf does also feature a broad array of unique wild talents that allow for new tricks – like better sniping while telekinetically invisible, AC that improves with your burn, making your composite blasts more versatile via infusions of constituting blasts…really cool. There is also a nod to Dark Sun here: One talent lets you make land permanently infertile…while and other sequence nets you an aura of plant growth you may manipulate with follow-up talents. The somewhat maligned wood element would be a pretty big winner this time around, with some seriously cool tricks.
The feat-section would go beyond the range of the usual class feature enhancements for the new archetypes, allowing e.g. the kinetic chirurgeon to actually gain access to burn-powered cure-spells. Playing an overwhelming soul? +1/2 Cha-mod mental prowess should be worth considering… Once again, a nice section, particularly considering the feat support some of the slightly less supported kineticist options receive.
The pdf also features 4 magic items, which includes a tattoo that allows you to fire blasts from your eyes (free hands!), a crossbow that can fire snake infusion blasts and an armor property that allows for the gaining of temporary hit points when affected by a wild talent as an immediate action…which is nice. We should, frankly, have more such defensive tricks, considering the glass-cannon-y aspect that many a kineticist tends to assume. (At least in my games…)
Now, the pdf also offers a cool elemental saturation, i.e. a place of power that offers a risk, but also the option to gain a unique min utility wild talent that lets you end mind-affecting effects as swift or immediate actions, but for 1 burn and being dazed for 1 round. Neat and evocative! The pdf concludes with Mindfang, a CR 11 neurokineticist – Hannah, as her true name is, is a slaver with a nasty reputation and a dark and tragic past, wanting to reclaim her love Teresa from the clutches of her (most assuredly) even less scrupulous brother. I was positively surprised by this character, as she makes for a multi-facetted, interesting NPC that can be both foil and ally at the same time. And yes, she does come with a boon if the PCs befriend her.
Editing and formatting are very good, though not as nigh-perfect as in most Legendary Games-books. There are a couple of minor, cosmetic hiccups in formatting. Ruls-language-wise, there is, in spite of the significant complexity of the subject matter, nothing to complain about. Layout adheres to Legendary Games’ two-column full-color standard and the pdf offers a blend of original full-color pieces and some stock art I have seen before. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
N. Jolly, with additional design by OnyxTanuki, seems to have it in for me. I mean, do you know how much work goes into analyzing these intricately-woven books?? Kidding aside, I was absolutely positive surprised by a LOT I saw within this book. Being the 4th (!!!) kineticist book by his pen, I figured he’d have to run out of steam at some point. Quite the contrary. In stark contrast to the supremely amazing, yet also potentially problematic dimensional rift creating apex of his craft so far, this book provides a diverse and captivating conglomerate of unique options. In the hands of a lesser designer, a kinetic summoner would have been a train wreck, awesome visuals notwithstanding. Here, it’s just cool. Even the hybrid-archetypes reach a level of complexity that goes beyond simple excellent craftsmanship and reaches the level of artistry, making them better than quite a few full-blown hybrid classes I read. Now, let’s talk about the new element. It has me a bit divided.
I know that untyped damage for kineticists is by now established…yaddayaddayadda…but I’m still not that comfortable with it. That being said, the mind-affecting angle is SMART. As a huge fan of telepaths and psionics, I considered the new element to have a bit much overlap with that field…but at the same time, there are quite a few unique tricks herein that simply can’t be pulled off via other systems. More importantly, the neurokineticist actually PLAYS radically different from DSP’s classes, which means that there is more than enough space for both to exist in the same universe.
Neuros, to me, feel more like the super-hero-y ones, the Psyclockes and the like, whereas other master of mental manipulation come closer to the shadowy mastermind/Charles Xavier-type. So yeah, I will actually continue to use this. Add to that the cool defensive armor (we need more tricks like that!), the feats that enhance neglected archetypes and OH MY GOD ELECTRIC GUITAR OF DEATH. DRUM OF DOOM. TRUMPET OF TORNADOES. Cantakinesis is a stroke of genius. Similarly, gaining Cyclops-like gaze-blasts is amazing…and implanting/memory manipulation has always been one of my favorite tricks as a GM. Yeah, I’m evil. I know.
Suffice to say, there is a TON of material herein, and I love a LOT of it. This is pretty much the epitome of a high-density, high-complexity, well-crafted book of evocative crunch. 5 stars + seal of approval, given sans hesitation.
You can get this amazing supplement here on OBS!