This little expansion for Strange Magic clocks in at 6 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 4 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
The ethercoustic theurge is a new 5-level PrC who gains up to +2 BAB-, Fort- and Ref-progression and +3 Will-save progression. The class gains 4+Int skills per level, no new proficiencies and has d6 HD. To qualify, you must have 7 ranks in Knowledge(Arcana) and Perform (Conducting) to show for as well as the ability to cast etherspells with 2nd level manifestations and prepare scores with at least two melodies.
This being a theurge-PrC for combining composition and ethermagic,, the levels of the class stack with composition class levels for the purposes of compositions gained, effective composer level, total number of scores and number of melodies per score; in the case of the harmonicist, this also influences the number of scores that can be conducted simultaneously. Additionally, the ethercoustic theurge’s class levels stack with ethermagic-using class levels for purposes of CL, manifestations known, acquisition of new etherhearts, ether pool size and EP regeneration rate. In the case of belonging to multiple classes of either half of the equation (breakdancer/maestro or etherslinger/ethermancer, for example), the class for which the benefits apply is chosen upon taking the PrC.
At 1st level, the class gains etheric drone, which is a score that contains a sinmgle melody, uses the harmonicist effect language and may only target the theurge; as such, only melodies that can be learned by the harmonicist may be added to an etheric drone score. This drone cannot be used via composition; instead, whenever the theurge casts an alteration etherspell, the theurge may lower her maximum EP by 2 for the etherspell’s duration, looping the etherspell. While the etherspell is thus looped, the theurge may begin conducting an etheric drone as a swift action that provokes AoOs, persisting for 10 + Perform (conducting) ranks rounds. This drone requires no conducting to maintain and cannot be willingly ended. This can be done 1/day, +1/day at 5th level.
Starting at 2nd level, the PrC can reduce her EP maximum by 2 to generate a summon instrument (which should be italicized in the pdf) voidhorn with a CL equal to composer level and CHarisma as key ability modifier. The voidhorn is masterwork and permanent until dismissed. 2nd level also nets the musical paradox ability: Such a paradox is a 1.minute ritual using a non-conducting perform-check (though conducting can be substituted at a penalty) – upon completion, she chooses a paradox that is inactive until triggered as a free action or when replenishing the daily allotment of conduct composition. The higher the skill-check result, the higher the bonus; while skill checks can potentially be boosted pretty high, the effects of the paradoxes are really interesting and consist in reflexive DR or bypassing, SP or spell modification, tactical movement benefits, initiative boosts and resistances. The ability is kept in check by requiring different Perform checks for different effects and daily uses…and has a ton of cool tactical options.
At 3rd level, we get singing goop. Yes, this is glorious: When modifying a lesser etherblast with them, you lob them at allies (or foes) and instead of causing damage, they either allow you to name a score and be treated as though they were within 30 ft. of the caster for the score’s purpose or render targets valid for the purpose of harmonicist scores, regardless of distance. LOVE IT!
As a 5th level capstone, the PrC gains temporary Ep equal to a score’s base number of melodies when conducting a score. (And no, melody-increasing abilities do not increase this amount.) The PrC also comes with 4 feats: +1 drone per day, affect two creatures with paradoxes, increase the paradox’s benefits and a 5th-level-prereq feat that unlocks the multiverse-famous song apotheosis as a bonus when reaching 20th level, providing the cool capstone you’d otherwise miss out due to multi/prestige-classing…though at a slightly decreased potency.
Editing and formatting are very good – apart from a missing italicization, noticed no real issues. Layout adheres to Interjection games’ two-column b/w-standard and the pdf features fitting stock art. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.
From my own experience: There certainly are easier systems to work with than the intricate created and cool magic systems Bradley Crouch has designed. It takes a serious level of precision, commitment and math-skills to get right. Author Bennett Selchow has jumped in the deep end of the design-pool here; the one with endzeitgeist-shaped sharks waiting to take a bite out of the poor designer… Kidding aside – this is the first pdf by the author I’ve read and, spoilers, I certainly hope it won’t be the last. Making theurge classes it hard. making theurge classes for spellcasting systems that are this complex and unique is even harder. Making sure that the result isn’t boring? See, that is REALLY hard.
The author has succeeded at every one of these tasks: The ethercosuic theurge is flavorful, cool, has unique tricks and mechanics, feels different, maintains wide compatibility with the constituent systems. More than just two systems slapped together, the class has its distinct identity and as a fan of drone doom and similar music styles, I’ll certainly reappropriate the damn cool drone mechanic beyond the confines of this PrC. You see, both drone and paradoxes could carry, concept-wise, their own archetypes or classes and my one regret herein is that this is not even longer. What we have here, in a nut-shell, is one damn inspired prestige class that fans of Strange Magic should consider a must-own pdf. My congratulations to the author alongside a verdict of well-deserved 5 stars + seal of approval.
You can get this cool PrC here on OBS!