After reviewing some rather big files, I needed a break from huge reviews and thus, today I'm going to present to you the two installments of the Advanced Feats series (apart from Cavalier's Creed, which I already reviewed here) that I consider good additions to any given campaign, I.e.:
This pdf is 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving 11 pages of content.
The pdf, as all advanced feat books, opens with a introduction and discussion of the class.
After this short discussion, we get the meat of the book, 30 new feats for Witches.
The feats are:
Ability Damage Resistance: Reduce all ability damage by 2 points
Counterspell Feedback: Damage casters when countering their spells
Craft Magic Tattoo: Tattoo yourself and others with spell effects
Delay Spell: Delay the effect of a spell
Discriminating Spell: Alter a spell to affect or not affect a chosen race or creature type
Dispel Mastery: +3 bonus to dispel checks
Expert Healing: Heal 1d4 damage using a healer’s kit
Extra Familiar: Summon an additional familiar
Familiar Concentration: Familiar can maintain spell concentration
Familiar Development: Familiar gains abilities as if 2 levels higher
Familiar Feat: Familiar learns a feat
Familiar Focus: Familiar’s abilities are based on your character level
Familiar Range Extension: Familiar’s range extends to 100 miles
Familiar Reincarnation: New familiars know the spells of former familiars
Familiar Training: Familiar can utilize your feats
Guarded Casting: Fight defensively while casting spells and activating magic items
Hexing Familiar: Familiar performs hexes
Improved Caster Level: Increase CL by 4, up to character level
Infer Spell: Learn spells from spell trigger or spell completion magic items
Linked Resistance: Gain your familiars spell resistance for 1d4 rounds
Mass Effect Spell: Single target spells affect multiple targets
Opportunity Counterspell: Counterspell without a readied action
Potent Hex: +1 to hex DC
Rememorize: Change a prepared spell in 1 hour
Robust Health: +4 to saves against poison and disease
Seduction: Gain bonus to Bluff, Diplomacy, and Charm spells
Serve Two Masters: Gain a second set of patron spells
Signature Focus: Create an expensive item that replaces costly spell components
Soul Mate: Sense when your soul mate is in danger and gain a bonus to skill checks used on them
Touch Mastery: Use spellcasting ability score on touch attacks
Usurp Spell: Gain benefits of spell countered
Comments on select feats:
Ability Damage Resistance: Ok, why does this not have a prerequisite? 2 points ability damage less? That's a godsend at lower levels! Why doesn't it explain how this resistance comes about? A little fluff-blurb would have gone a long way to make this feat feel less metagamey.
Counterspell Feedback: Cool idea, neat balancing. I would take it.
Delay Spell: Another very good and strategic idea I like. Players will LOVE this.
Discriminating Spell: Another feat I like, as I use the mechanic already in my rather dark and grim home-campaign, where I've substituted alignment-based attacks with character belief-based ones. Neat.
Expert Healing: A godsend for low-magic campaigns that don't feature your med-kit cleric/druid at every corner.
Familiar Development feats: I liked them, as they make the witch feel more unique and her familiar different from e.g. the Wizard's one. It also forces hard choices on the PC: Use the familiar and risk it being hurt? Etc.
Infer Spell: While I like the idea, I somewhat have a mild disdain for the execution - learning spells from any items with one check seems wrong to me, but that is just my personal preference.
Mass-Effect Spell: Gold for buff/debuff casters and a nice alternative to all the mass X spells.
Opportunity Counterspell: Steep requirements, cool payoff. Never build your high-level caster without it.
Rememorize: Nice feat if you don't use the alternative rules of replacing spells in 15 minutes.
Robust Health: Great idea to help against poisons etc without conferring immunity.
Seduction: Just up my alley, this is a roleplaying feat as in opposed to roll-playing. Plus: I like some potentially adult themes in my games. Nice.
Serve Two Masters: This feat screams "character backstory"-development. I like it.
Usurp Spell: Complimentary to "Parry Spell", this feat is a good idea.
The pdf also has three sample builds, the Arch Witch, the White Witch and the Wicked Witch.
Editing and layout are top-notch, gone is the parchment-like printer-unfriendly layout of "Secrets of the Alchemist". I didn't notice any typos. The cover artwork is the only one in the file and nice, although it didn't impress me either. All in all, I felt that this installment of Advanced Feats is superior to the one on the alchemist, mainly because I didn't find any feats I considered unsalvageable/broken. While "Rememorize" collides with the alternative rules I use and while "Ability Damage Reduction" still feels plain wrong to me, my overall impression is that this book focuses more on the Witch and making the class more unique, make her stand out more etc - i.e., it is more focused. Due to this focus and the overall improvement of both content and layout, I'll settle for a final verdict of 4 Rudii. While not perfect or as good as "Cavalier's Creed", this is a worthy addition to any Witches arsenal.
The second installment I really enjoyed, was:
This pdf is 17 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisements.
As all pdfs from the advanced feats series, this book beginns with a hort discussion/introduction to the class in question.
After that, we get the meat of the book, the 30 new feats:
Armed Touch Casting: Deliver touch spells using a melee weapon
Battlecaster: Cast spells as part of a full attack
Charmed: Add +5 bonus to a single dice roll
Concentration Spell: Extend the duration of your spells through concentration
Conditional Curse: Curse class feature Your curse hinders you only about half of the time
Divine Resistance: Gain resistance to divine magic
Dormant Spell: Cast helpful spells that remain dormant until activated
Elemental Boost: Spells of your chosen element are infused with extra power
Extra use: Use any class ability an extra 1/day
Magic Sense: Sense magic energies and identify spells you save against
Meta Spell: Learn metamagic versions of spells
Mystic Retribution: Zap enemies who interrupt your spellcasting using residual magic
Penetrating Spell: Your spells overcome energy resistance
Potent Ability: Add +1 bonus to the DC of your supernatural and spell-like abilities
Potent Divination: Your detection spells are faster and stronger than normal
Preserve Scroll: Cast a spell from a scroll without destroying it
Prophetic Dreamer: Your dreams sometimes echo the future
Quick Healing: Provide first aid and treat wounds and poison as a move action
Savage Critical: Your critical hits strike harder on a natural 20
Scroll Mastery: Gain a +4 bonus to CL and Use Magic Device checks to activate scrolls
Scroll Metamagic: Add metamagic effects to spells read from scrolls
Somatic Weapon: Satisfy somatic components using a chosen weapon
Spell Retention: Never lose your spell when interrupted
Spiritual Armaments: Create spectral equipment when you summon or animate the dead
Strange Revelation: Learn a revelation from a mystery other than your own
Tactical Spellcasting: Move before and after spellcasting
Touch Spell Control: You are less restricted in how you hold a charge from touch spells
Transfer Spell: Change the range of a spell from personal to touch
Two Wand Technique: Activate one wand in each hand as a single action
Wand Casting: Cast spells with a wand in your hand, augmenting spells of the same school
Comments on the feats:
Armed Touch Casting/Battlecaster: Nice options to give the Oracle some Gish-like qualities.
Charmed: 1/day +5 to a single die roll after it is made. This ranks among the most simple, generic feats possible, but in contrast to e.g. +1 to all saves, I can see PCs clambering towards this feat. It's elegant, simple and useable in many a situation without unbalancing the game.
Concentration Spell: Feat that enables the caster to use the iconic Gandalf self-sacrifice à la "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!", among others. Iconic and cool.
Conditional Curse: Makes your curse condition-specific. I don't like this feat at all, as the curse is, at least in my opinion, what defines an Oracle just as much as all the abilities. Allowing a player to weasel out of it, at least under certain conditions, detracts from the feeling of the class. I guess it's a nice feat for power-gamers.
Dormant Spell: A minor version of a contingency, this is gold for tacticians and coercing PCs into the service of dubious oracles.
Extra Use: Use a class ability one additional time per day. While generic, I think this feat might be abused in e.g. level-10-PrC-abilities etc. It's ok, I guess, but COULD potentially detract from the appeal of some signature abilities. On the other hand, PCs could actually use these abilities more often, making their choices matter more. I guess it evens out and works.
Magic Sense: God, I hate this feat. 30 ft. range of sense to identify items that are magical and spells in effect, plus, if you succeed a save, it lets you know what happens if you had failed a save. While the range is not too large, it does not specify whether e.g. doors or walls block the magic sense and makes detect magic as well as some plot-driven usages of magic almost completely obsolete. And don't get me started on NPC-items/non-violent meetings with potential villains/magically disguised/polymorphed enemies. If this had been restricted to blind oracles, I could have lived with that, but as written, I'd ban this feat.
Meta Spell: lets a spontaneous caster learn metamagic spells at their modified level without enhancing the casting time. Unfortunately, e.g. the empowered spell counts as a regular learned spell, rendering this feat useless for spells your character already knows.
Mystic Retribution: If your spellcasting is interrupted, the enemy is zapped via a touch attack. Damage scales with the spell-level lost. Now we're talking! This is both iconic, cool and balanced. Plus: It scales with the level, being useful at all levels. An excellent feat.
Preserve Scroll: Sacrifice spell levels to preserve scrolls. Great idea, balanced mechanics, nothing to complain about.
Prophetic Dreamer: This is a roleplaying feat that is very rules-light and I love it. I've been using a similar feat in my homebrew campaign for years and it has opened whole new venues for me as a DM to tell stories, create pressure and/or give PCs a fighting chance against terrible ambushes etc. I'd love a book with just feats like that.
Quick healing: First aid, treat wound, treat poison as a move action. Another feat that is a boon for non-magical healers/low-magic campaigns that actually do care about non-magical healing. Two thumbs up!
Somatic Weapon: Use a weapon to satisfy somatic spellcasting needs. Why hasn't this been done before?
Tactical Spellcasting: "Shot on the run" for spells with casting time "Standard action" - iconic and cool, this feat enables you to run from cover to cover while casting. Another instance of "Why hasn't this been done before?"
Two Wand Technique: Use a wand in each hand. While the feat per se requires some actions to get the wands into your hands, I can already see the wandslinger builds springing up. Not my cup of tea, but if you're so inclined, go ahead. However: If you also have the Wandcasting feat, enabling you to use somatic components with your wands, this feat quickly becomes danderously powerful and I'd disallow the combination.
After that, we get 3 sample Oracle builds, the Visionary Healer, The Phoenix and the Savage Seer.
Editing is once again top-notch, I didn't notice any typos. Formatting and Layout are at the peak of the series so far - especially the layout is a beauty to behold. The same goes for the extremely cool cover illustration that somewhat disturbed me - great work! With regards to the crunch presented herein, I have to say that I'm a bit skeptic towards some feats (Two Wand Technique...) and I utterly HATE Magic Sense. However, the plethora of the material presented herein is actually quality-wise at the top and more than once I thought "that's it!" while reading the feats. A gripe I had with e.g. the Summoner-book and the Alchemist-book, the fact that they didn't feel as geared to the class as they could have been is not present herein - while many of the feats may also be of use to other classes, most have a definite "Oracleish" feeling to them and/or are storytelling/style gold. Due to the minor problems I have with some feats, I'll settle for a very solid 4.5 Rudii for this installment of advanced feats.
All right, that's it from me for now, next time, you'll hopefully get another big one.
As always, thank you for reading my ramblings,