By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Super Genius Games is 11 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1page editorial and SRD, leaving 9 1/3 pages of content for the new runic feats, so do they hold up to the first instalment?
The feats herein generally belong to either the runic or the runebound kind – runic feats are limited with regards to the amount you can take as well as the number of runic feats that are simultaneously active while runebound feats do not increase in power, but not how many are actively drafted. Retraining and learning these runes are covered in this pdf as well and the rules are clear and concisely presented and interaction with the rune domain is also covered. The content is stand-alone, but uses the same mechanic as the first runic feats book and is thus compatible with its predecessor.
We get 6 runic feats, 16 runebound feats and two general ones – one of enables you to have an additional rune active while the other increases the amount of times you can draft runes per day.
Where do I start? I have a problem with this pdf. In fact, I have several. The first would be that the feats feel unbalanced, even with their limited rune-uses per day. On a fluff-perspective, the first pdf on runic feats always felt…well…runic. This one presents mechanics, but while they do work, the benefits don’t feel like they belong to said runes – there’s a disconnection going on there. Take the archmage runic feat (Prereq 17 in casting attribute, caster level 9) that lets you cast two spells with casting time 1 standard action or less simultaneously, though at the cost in caster-level strength. Wait, wut?
Yep, you read right. While the decrease in caster level is ok, casting 2 spells simultaneously still is a capstone ability in my opinion, not something to be gained by a petty feat. The Chakra-feat(s) are more prime examples of design that can easily be exploited, as you can take it multiple times, choose a chakra, and wear two items simultaneously, enabling you to e.g. wear two belts, magic lenses AND goggles, etc. Absolutely prone to being abused and…well, doesn’t feel runic. Unfortunately, from increased caster levels to the ability to initiate combat manoeuvres sans AoO or via spells, the runes are ok, but don’t feel like they are runes, but rather like they were just another set of magical feats. Gone are the unique design choices of the predecessor, the reliance on bad stats and capitalization of these stats as roleplaying catalysts with at least minor advantages.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the three-column SGG-standard and the artwork is fair. The pdf sports no bookmarks. I’m not entirely sure how to rate this pdf – on the one hand, I do have balance-concerns for several of the feats and I do think they lend themselves to abuse. On the other hand, none of them are op as written. On the one hand, there is nothing explicitly wrong with these new options as feats. On the other, though, they just don’t feel like runic feats. The pdf has somewhat lost focus and try as I might, I can’t put the benefits of the feats and them being runes into a valid correlation. What made them unique in the predecessor, unfortunately, is gone and the lack of fluff (which I surprisingly seldom miss)in most SGG-books works detrimental in this instance, robbing the feats of the one way in which a sense of coherence apart from pure mechanics could have been evoked as a theme. When all is said and done, I have to admit I was sorely disappointed by this pdf. If you’re just out for some X uses per day, powerful feats, this pdf might be 3 stars for you – be sure to know your players and scan through it to prevent abuse, though. If you, however, like me, loved the first pdf and want more of the same style, you’ll unfortunately be sorely disappointed. My final verdict will thus be 2.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.
The Genius Guide to Feats of Runic Might II: Runebinding is available from: