Any idiot with a staff or a wand can sling a fireball. For seriously indomitable power, try being an earth mage. Billy Gibbs returns with a review of Super Genius Games’ Genius Guide to Earth Magic for the Pathfinder system.
Ok, as Robot Viking’s new semiofficial Pathfinder writer, I’m going to be taking a look at some of the third party content that has been made for use in the Pathfinder Role-Playing Game. There’s a lot of it out there, so hopefully this will help separate the wheat from the chaff.
First off let’s begin with the Genius Guide to Earth Magic. Produced by Super Genius Games, this supplement contains 21 spells, a cleric domain, a sorcerer bloodline, and a couple new templates all relating to earth elementaly stuff. You might expect an earth aligned sorcerer’s repertoire to begin and end with lots of walls of assorted sizes and flavors, but there’s a noticeable effort to avoid making this The Genius Guide to Walls. This is most visible with the use of the acid subtype and their creation of the stone subtype. “Wait!” I hear you cry “Acid? Earth? What is the correlation?” Technically not much as many of the substances used in the earth acid spells are actually bases, though they will still burn you big time. My favorite of these caustic spells is Lye Field, which will serious damage to your opponents’ feet in an area of three 10 ft squares per level. Anything that tries to get through the field of lye caltrops takes 1d6 damage every 5 ft. and has to make a fortitude save or else have its movement speed reduced by half for the next 24 hours. Mix this with levitation and you’ve got good times. Of course, it’s a level 3 spell so, so it’s this or Fireball. I’d take this, but I like the crazy effects more than pure pyrotechnics.
The other new keyword that they introduce is stone. Stone spells are earth spells that strike as weapon damage instead of magic damage, with all the advantages and disadvantages thereof. So use Stone attacks to get around magic resistance, but not on the guys with heavy damage reduction.
The problem with reviewing spell compilations like this one is that the best way to evaluate them is spell by spell, and we don’t really have the space for that. I like quite a few spells in this book, but there are a few that seem too narrow in scope, like Dessicate. Sounds like an awesome dehydrating spell, right? It is, but it only works on oozes, and only makes them vulnerable to critical hits and precision damage. It’s a great tool if you fight a lot of oozes, but it won’t do anything against goblins, or Godlings. Woops, that last part may have been a bit of foreshadowing.
The wacky awesome spell of the day award goes to Petrify! It turns non-stone inanimate objects into stone that retains the same properties as the original substance. Great for waterproofing your spellbook. Wizards everywhere should look into this gem of a spell. Clerics, Druids, divine spellcasters in general, feeling a bit left out? Sorry, I nearly forgot your new domain. The Cold Iron Domain presents an anti-magic domain, granting weapons the ability to strike as though they were cold iron, and count as masterwork for one minute per cleric level. Combine that with domain spells full of protection and antimagic and you have just become every mage’s nightmare.
Speaking of mages, there’s a stone sorcerer bloodline. This allows the sorcerer to turn any spell they cast into a Stone spell, at the cost of any other types the spell might have had. This is pretty sweet to be able to dodge magic resistance at will, even if it has the downsides of normal weapon damage. As if petrifying your spells wasn’t enough, you can also throw stones at glass houses, or any houses, or pretty much anything. Stone Sorcerers are able to make sling attacks without having a sling. You do, however, need something to throw. At third level you get what might be my favorite named enhancement so far, Ironguts. Your amazing gut gives you +1 to natural armor and Fortitude saves. Gotta love that ridiculous tolerance for fast food. At high levels you get bonuses to constitution that get a bit ridiculous, but at level 17, what’s +6 constitution between friends? At fifteen every earth type creature you summon brings a friend along too, and you get to turn into an earth elemental for ten minutes per level. Not a bad bloodline, in my opinion. The wizard specialty gives you earth type spells regardless of their school, but the catch is it’s only earth type spells, though getting a +1 bonus to attack and damage when both you and your target are on the ground is pretty cool. The other
benefits come into play at higher levels and give you eschew materials and acid resistance. There’s also the cold iron elemental template which lets you create a monster to cut through Magic, a total shutout against an all-magic team.
If anyone has any questions or comments, comment, I’ll be there eventually.