Ultimate Awesome

Thursday, May 15, 2014

I feel a certain need to preface the following review by saying that I am currently employed as a freelance writer by Dreamscarred Press working on their Akashic Mysteries project, a re-imagining of the 3.5 Dungeons & Dragons subsystem introduced in the book Magic of Incarnum.

That being said...

I recently acquired my very own hardcover copy of Dreamscarred Press' new book, Ultimate Psionics.
It is he culmination of a wildly successful Kickstarter and years of writing and development on the psionics subsystem of mental magics first introduced in D&D 3.5 (technically psionics has been around a lot longer than that, but the incarnation we're talking about is the one aligned with the aforementioned edition). Ultimate Psionics presents a wide array of races, classes, feats, powers, prestige classes, and expanded rules for adding psionics to your Pathfinder game. Some of these are refined materials from earlier Dreamscarred Press products, and much of the material is entirely new, created specifically as part of the recent Kickstarter that funded the production of this hardcover.

The cover is, of course, the "first impression", and it makes a good one. Wayne Reynolds, whose art graces the cover and or pages of virtually every Pathfinder core book, did the cover of this sourcebook as well, featuring a team of psionic heroes battling a crystal monstrosity. It practically oozes awesome, and has the added benefit of showcasing several of the weapons, classes, and races you'll find within the book's pages.

Andreas Ronnqvist and Jeremy Smith, the founders, publishers, and primary writers for Dreamscarred Press, uphold their usual standards of excellence with superb editing, though with one unfortunate typo. If there's ever any question in your mind after purchasing a copy of this book as to whether you got one of the first editions or a later run, check the spine. You'll notice an extra "s" at the end of the publishing accreditation. Don't let this throw you off though, thus far that's the only editing error I've seen in the 451 page tome.

There's a little too much material for me to discuss at length, so instead I'll just go over a quick "highlight reel" of my favorite pieces.

The new psionic class, the Marksman, is an archery focused psionic character who uses the powers of their mind to sense and manipulate the wind and their ammunition to supplement their skill with the bow. They gain Combat Styles and Mantras that allow the character to explore different types of battlefield specializations, like the Finesse Style which focuses more on thrown blades, or the Sniper Style for characters that want to specialize in single, long range, devastating bow attacks. It may be my personal penchant for archer type characters, but this is one of my favorite classes.

The prestige class, the Dark Tempest, presents the mechanics for the Sith-like character on the cover wielding a double-bladed purple crystal sword somewhat reminiscent of a lightsaber. Designed to supplement and support characters who want to combine the Soulknife class, who specializes in creating his own weapons, and classes like the Psion or Wilder who utilize the more advanced mental powers, the Dark Tempest is basically your gateway into playing a fantasy version of a dark Jedi. Their weapon strikes are enhanced and every level of the prestige class also advances the manifesting level of one of your entry classes (basically you gain more powers and uses as though you were a psion while simultaneously advancing your combat capabilities).

This leads me into the last item I'll touch on. The book presents a series of Legendary Items, items designed to progress along with their wielder. As the character levels up, the items gain in power as well, allowing you to have a kind of "signature" weapon or item. One of these items, the Tempest's Blade, is a double-bladed crystal weapon designed to amplify the wielder's facility for creating psionic weapons. It's a solid and thematic weapon that meshes well with pretty much any variant of the Soulknife class, as well as a limited selection of the psychic warrior's options.

Anyways, I could go on about all of the cool stuff in this book, but instead I'm just going to wrap up by saying this is an amazing publication from a company with a history of amazing publications. Check it out.