By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Super Genius Games is 7 pages long, 2/3 page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving 5 1/3 pages of content for more arcane-options for the magus-class, let’s check them out!
The new arcana options (and there are 31 if I didn’t miscount) are interesting: For those of you irked by the Magus being focused on one-handed weapons, the 3 enrune dagger/great weapon/shield arcanas and their greater successors enable you to temporarily carve a rune on said weapons, enabling you to cast spells with somatic components while wielding the respective piece of equipment. This opens up a whole plethora of new fighting styles and options, which is of course, nice. Warding and enduring warding enable the Magus to somewhat lessen his fragile nature and spontaneously grant his armour temporary boosts in AC and armour qualities. There was one arcane I has a problem with, that being Wand Lord: It lets you add +2 to a wand’s caster-level per point of arcane used, up to a maximum of the Magus’ level. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize the potential of this ability to be horribly abused or even impede the fun of The Magus-player: After all, it might be wise to conserve all the arcane for one deadly blast that is almost guaranteed to overcome SR… It’s kind of nice to use arcane to scavenge spells from the bard and the witch, though: These blending arcanas were nice ideas.
The second part of the pdf offers us 4 new archetypes for the Magus: The Arcana Lord can cannibalize spells into arcane pool points. The Cabalist learns spells as a bard and gets access to bloodline powers at higher levels. The Magavan is supposed to be a court-based Magus who can sense surface thoughts by striking foes. I didn’t care for this particular archetype, as the one signature ability is rather bland and offers only surface thoughts. The most interesting one of the archetypes, the Tovenaar, sacrifices the spellcasting of the magus for an access to inquisitions, but unfortunately his signature ability is just plain over-powered: Mystic Combat enables him to make a full attack and use a supernatural or spell-like ability from an inquisition in the same round. This is so wide open for abuse, I don’t even know where to start and another fine example of Magus-related power-creep that should be carefully monitored. Thus, as written, I consider the Tovenaar broken, which is a pity: Replace this plain-op ability with more, but less powerful abilities and we would have been in for a treat. Oh well.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the 3-column full-colour SGG standard. There are no bookmarks. While I didn’t have any problems with most of the arcanas, I wasn’t blown out of the water either by any of them. Not once did I yell “Eureka” and while the humble arcanas are nice, they lack the spark of genius. The archetypes are hit and miss: The Arcana Lord and the Cabalist felt balanced and cool to me, but the Magavan is just a very bland archetype and feels like boring filler, offering 1 quite bland ability and selling it as an archetype. The Tovenaar, as I’ve just elaborated upon, will not feature in my game, as full attack+magic is broken in my book and by far too wide open for abuse. Don’t get me wrong, this pdf is not bad per se, but all in all, I was rather underwhelmed and not once was surprised or blown away.
My final verdict due to the subpar 2 archetypes and the rather bland arcanas, 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3 for the purpose of this platform.
Horrors of the GOW is available from: