Supplement Review: Advanced Feats: Might of the Magus by Sigfried Trent and Open Design

Confession time. Though we played through part of the Second Darkness adventure path for the Pathfinder RPG in my last group, I haven’t actually dived into what makes PFRPG so fantastic. To be fair, the giant hardbound book (or huge PDF) scares me a little. It represents not only an investment in money, but an investment in time I just don’t have right now (being a working geek dad with a wife and two beautiful girls all obsessed with soccer fills my time with practices, games, and tournaments regularly). That said, I’ve been quite intrigued by some of what I have managed to glean online at the Patfhinder SRD site (thank you oh Wiki gods!)…

So let me say I had to do some reading about the Magus class before I could review Sigfried Trent’s latest book in the Advanced Feats series from Open Design – Might of the Magus. But now I want to play one of these wizardly warriors. Who wouldn’t want to reach out with a sword for a touch attack (i.e. a “Spellstrike”)? Plus, the female magus on the cover with a magically-enhanced whip would not be a character I’d want to face on a battlefield. Great cover art from Chrisophe Swal!

Trent opens the book with an overview of the magus class, covering available spells, the use of the arcane pool as a mechanic, and various combat options. It comes across as well-designed and balanced as to not overshadow other fighters or wizards (light armor and weapons only, with limits on spell levels and casting). But I have to say once you get past the basic overview, it’s the discussion of offensive and defensive potential. To spend time describing the pluses and minuses of the class for players considering it for a PC is awesome. And I tend to agree with Trent that this class is definitely an offensive machine and not a character type who would be happy in a support role at the back of the party.

Like in the previous Advanced Feats books, the little breakout boxes offer opinions on topics like “Mithral Bucklers” (every little bit helps to beef up a magus’ defense since they’re so combat-focused), “Feat Balance,” “The Joys of Armor Spikes,” and more. These provide the input of someone with detailed knowledge of game design, which is invaluable to players seeking informed opinions on which to base their own decisions.

Movie poster for Batman Returns (1992) featuri...

Image via Wikipedia

But you’re probably interested in the feats themselves. This book collects 30 different feats mostly designed for spellcasters though several of them could be useful to other classes. “Arcana Thief” is like “Vampire Touch” for a magus, stealing a point for their arcane pool any time they attack and disrupt spell casting or counterspell or dispel a spell. “Whip Mastery” is what Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) used in Batman Returns to reach out and touch someone…

I think of all of the feats, the concept of the “Black Blade Spellbook” is the most interesting. Not only can your magus replace an actual book of spells with their sword (with no limit to the number of spells it can hold), but you could go all Elric on an opponent and have your sword learn new spells if they kill or critical hit an enemy (“Spelldrinker”). There are all sorts of character concepts I can come up with around this idea, not the least of which simply copying some of Elric’s tricks and going a bit crazy with a sword.

In addition to the 30 feats, you get three different character builds – Avenos Morningstar – “The Fae Blade,” Zorea Shepherd – “Lady of the Lash,” and Moradus Lawgiver – “The Rune Fist.” Avenos is probably the closest to the Elric mold – an elven swordmaster built around doing as many attacks and as many criticals as possible. Zorea is the mistress on the cover I’m guessing, and that whip offers a heck of a reach for touch attacks. And Morandus is a dwarven monk/magus who likes to reach out and touch his opponents. I think Zorea has the most reach, but I wouldn’t want to mess with any of them in a dark alley. I’d be mincemeat!

As per usual, Trent and Open Design have pulled together another great Advanced Feats book. And now I’m excited about the potential of exploring the Might of the Magus during a game. Let’s hope I get an opportunity to play soon! Check out Might of the Magus at RPGnow, the Kobold Quarterly Store, or the Paizo store.

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