If you are looking for royals, akasha, or witchcraft you have come to the right place!
Within these pages you will find character options that relate to rulership or mystical authority as a theme. Blended with this is a touch of witchcraft and the creative force of akasha. The cornerstone and exemplar of this melding of themes and forces is the Fisherking hybrid class, which combines elements of the Witch from the Advanced Player’s Guide and the Vizier from Dreamscarred Press’ Akashic Mysteries.
Accompanying the Fisherking are a host of archetypes and options for itself, its parent classes, the Rajah, the Shaman, and more. The basic rules for akasha and veilweaving are included for convenience. Any other content needed to make use of this material can be found on the d20pfsrd.com website.
Note: This review was too long to be accepted by our reviews application so it is copied and pasted here (with only some minor typos corrected or minor edits to ease reading/reduce wall of textitus!
Long live the (Fisher) King!
DISCLAIMER: This review is based on a free PDF provided by the author and the publisher, which in no way had an influence on the final score.
As I was writing more stuff for my akashic character thread, I got the news that many books were out with akashic content, but not from the author of Akashic Mysteries. Having already read and reviewed The Stormbound and being in the middle of writing a review for Spheres of Akasha, I contacted the author of The Fisherking, a book focused on akashic content, and here we are.
32 pages of content (not counting covers, ads etc.) for 5 bucks (nice), which include:
The Fisherking hybrid class: The Fisherking is presented as a hybrid of the Vizier akashic class and the Witch, but really has little in common with its parents classes (not a bad thing). It has a “caster” chassis (d6 HD/low BAB), but has 2 good saves (Fort and Will), proficiency in simple weapons and light armor plus bucklers. It sports a more generous 4 skill points per level (which makes senses since the parents need high intelligence), and has a list of 16 class skills, with a “face” and “scholar” builds possible, including the best ones from its parents classes. From the Witch, the Fisherking gets 6 choose-able hexes, with the possibility of choosing up to 3 major and 1 grand ones, AND having a couple of exclusive-ones that complement the “face” role of the Fisherking, plus the possibility of taking the Extra Hex feat; here I would have preferred a shorter, more appropriate list of hexes, since while I can get over a cackling ruler with a Fisherking with the Cackle hex, I can’t envision one with the Swamp Hag hex. From the Vizier, the Fisherking inherits their veil list (except for Ring ones), as well as the 10 standard Chakra Binds, AND 1 special veil slot, the Voice chakra (that can house and bind two veils later, like the Vizier’s Ring chakra), plus the increased essence capacity common to all akashic classes (the full 3 in this case). One of the Fisherking’s veils must be in the Voice slot, which if we follow the convention of the only other akashic class with a similar restriction, would have looked more elegant and serve as a remainder as a #+1, like the Daevic. HOWEVER, they have to divide those 12 slots with only 8 veils gained during their careers (but they can nonetheless use the empty slots, see below), AND power them with the Guru’s essence progression, which is also used to empower the Fisherking unique abilities. Speaking of which, the Fisherking starts with three and gains a couple more over their careers:
- Arcane Presence let’s a Fisherking take hex-related feats, and count Fisherking levels as spellcaster ones for things like feat requirement and staff-using, and use Charisma instead of Intelligence for Spellcraft check made as part of item creation.
- Blessed Land is a 30-ft radius active-able aura that has two modes. One is a buff aura that increases one save and the speed of allies, which increase further at 5th and 13th levels. The other mode is a debuff that decreases one save and imposes a penalty to acrobatic and fly checks, said penalty doubled when trying to avoid attacks of opportunity; both penalties increase at the same levels as the buff aura. The mode chosen, as well as the save affected, are set as part of the time of shaping the day’s veils. The Fisherking can invest essence to increase the radius, and for every 2 points invested, the bonus/penalty increases. At 9th, and again at 17th, the aura increases the radius by another 30 ft. At 9th, however, the Fisherking can change the range of Hexes (except touch ones, good catch) to that of the aura.
- Royal Attendants is a very unusual ability that lets the Fisherking surround himself with a number of “unseen servants” (as the spell) equal to his veilweaver modifier (Charisma normally), a number that can be increased by investing essence. They vary in some ways to a standard US, looking like a spectral if colorful court. IMHO, limiting the number of servants with class level (up to modifier, increasable with essence) would have made this ability progress more organically, since right now a 1 level dip in the class is tempting. By paying the price of a feat or hex, the Fisherking can improve the servants, granting them special and even spell-like abilities, the latter’s uses shared between all servants (which prevents essence investment cycling, nice catch there). This ability is really intriguing and I can’t wait to see what expert players and GM can do with it.
- Peerless hex is gained at 3rd, and is a really cool way of implementing another class’ feature, in this case Hex, within the veilweaver framework. Under the veilweaving of the Fisherking mentioned above, I mentioned they had basically 12 slots for 8 veils, but using Peerless Hex, you manifest the Hex in the shape of a veil! Crowns, scepters, fancy sneakers worth their weight in GP, you name it, as long as it “goes” in the slot. Manifesting these “hexveils” have two effects: they can invest essence in them to make them even more powerful, and since they are manifested as veils, can be sundered and even suppressed. Also, at 7th level, they can even BIND these Peerless Veils, getting an ability depending on the power of the chakra, corresponding to the Low (feet, hand and head, can affect targets more often with special essence burn that recovers after an hour), Middle (headband, shoulder, voice and wrist, functions at higher effective level for all purposes except DC, which is already increased with essence) and High binds (belt, body and chest; basically, the poor sod gets “disadvantage” on saves against these hexes, having to succeed on their save twice). There is an omission here, though: the Voice slot is mentioned, but not the neck one. Since the Voice slot is their "special toy”, I would exchange the neck slot for the voice one for this ability’s options.
- Regal Presence is gained at 7th, and you can choose one interaction skill (Bluff, Diplomacy or Intimidate) to be enhanced by half your class level, improved even more with essence invested. Cool ability that sadly gives an untyped bonus. I would give it either the competence or insight type. As part of the ability the Fisherking can use the spell “Telempathic Projection” as a spell-like ability 3 times per day, with an increased DC if the target has been affected by one of the Fisherking’s Hex within a day. At 9th level they get to bind a Voice veil to their special Voice slot, and they get the ability to shape and bind two veils in the Voice slot at 15th. This is not obligatory like the first Voice veil, but if you do, at 20th level you get 2 of your 8 veils in the voice slot, 6 occupying the normal 10 slots, leaving you with 4 slots for your “veilhexes”. This is intriguing! Do I occupy my strongest slots for veils, giving me the most powerful abilities available to a veilshaper? Or do I concentrate my power in my Peerles Hexes, making them very difficult to resist?
- 10 Favored Class Bonuses: we get 2 for any race (1/4 of an essence point or 1/6 of an akashic feat), plus one for each core race plus the orc, and they are very varied. I would have liked bonuses for at least the aasimar, but with the open ones I’m cool.
All-in-all an intriguing take on the mystical ruler that gets away from standard spellcasting, but giving a player a lot of options to invest essence in. The Fisherking is not the only content presented herein, we also have 6 new archetypes:
- Besom Witch is an akashic archetype for, well, the witch; it gets a reduced option for patrons and is a kind of nature protector, can’t be evil, and exchanges its familiar for a specific veil, the Witch’s Broom, and lose some Hexes for some thematic abilities. Nice one! The Curate is the second archetype for Witches, and is a kind of cultist for the chosen patron; in a deviation from almost all (to my knowledge) other intelligence-based casters, a Curate’s abilities are treated as Divine in origin; they get some extra spells, the Divine Mandate voice veil, a weaker version of the Fisherking’s Blessed Land class ability and lose some Hexes. Both Witch archetypes get a list of Hexes that complement their themes (nice!).
- The May King is a druid-y archetype for the Fisherking, changing proficiencies and skills, using Wisdom instead of Charisma as their veilweaver modifier, and losing Royal Attendants for a Leshy familiar. They also can shape a physical Verdant Veil (normal or peerless) that they can share with an ally in their Blessed Land aura. All in all an intriguing option to the Fisherking. The Regnant Magister is an archetype for Viziers, who lose 2 veils, access to the Ring slot but gaining the Voice slot, and gain a limited, intelligence-based spellcasting ability, chosen from either wizard/sorcerer, cleric/oracle or psychic spell list, and treat their spellcasting accordingly. While they get spells known in a way similar to a sorcerer, they don’t get spell slots. Instead, they have to BIND essence in their spell casting (an important decision!), gaining 1 spell slot of their highest spell known for each odd number of essence points bound, reminding me somewhat to 5e D&D Warlock’s spellcasting. Finally, they get an arcane bond. Note that, while they don’t cast really that much, having access to a spell list gives them the possibility to use more items. A powerful hack of the Vizier, if a bit weird.
- The Senator is an archetype for the Rajah, a veilweaver and initiator class that uses the Path of War system. They exchange Royal Mandate for bardic performance, get access to one Voice veil and later can even bind it to the Voice slot, at the cost of two Heraldries; speaking of which, they can take a bonus feat from a specific list instead of a Heraldry.
- Finally, the Warden is a very campaign-dependent archetype for the Fisherking. They lose Blessed Land, Royal Attendants, and 4 hexes (!), leaving the Warden with only 2 Hexes gained by normal progression. They get a debuffing Containment Field that can entangle escaping foes and even prevent teleportation and such, some spell-like abilities to protect places, an Oracle’s curse (with a full, if slower progression), and the ability to create Jailer and Prisoner’s Dungeon Rings, and as a cap get a nifty ability to imprison a foe. Another great hack of the base class.
- 2 class expansions: Since the Fisherking uses Hexes, here we have the Akashic Records spirit for the Shaman class, which not only ties them with the occult but also to Akashic magic. We also get the Path of the Hexweaver for Viziers, gaining access to some intriguing abilities that AFAIK are not available to either the Witch or the Fisherking. Very cool!
- 4 Feats: Malefic Essence gives you an excuse to use an Akashic race with the Witch class, enabling you to invest essence in hexes. Merciful Veils permits you to design the damage of one or more veils as nonlethal. Regency gives you the ability to bind veils to the Voice slot, which you should have gotten from another source like multiclassing (not a fan of giving the unique toys of a class to others, but ok), or by taking the next feat. Viceroy gives you access to one Voice veil.
- 2 Traits: Akashic Customization lets you disguise your veils easier-ly, and Regal Bearing makes you better at socializing with nobles.
- 4 Hexes: Akashic Patronage gives you a bonus Akashic Feat. Sanctum lets you use a modified “fairy-ring retreat” (as the spell). Faithful Servant Unbound lets your familiar stay powerful when you die, and Malignant Token curses one of your magical items when you die. Amazing and iconic!
- 9 general veils: Before the veils we get an introduction to veilweaving. This is ok, but it doesn’t include the ability to suppress veils; this information is found in Akashic Trinity under “Ongoing effects and unconsciousness”. Not a glaring omission but it is worth noting, since the updated rules for weapon-like veils ARE included. We have two sets of veils, tailored for the Fisherking but available to many classes, including “non-core” ones like the Stormbound or the Helmsman.
- Enchantress’s Accoutrements includes 5 veils. Eldest Fey’s Diadem can give you a raven familiar, which can be exchanged for improved familiar when bound to the head chakra; however, when bound to the headband chakra you instead get “wall of thorns” as a spell-like ability (a bit disconnected to the main veil’s effect but ok). Pact Binder’s Pendant gives you a bonus on Linguistics checks and can use Linguistics when bargaining for goods, and when bound to the Neck can use the “conditional favor” spell but also applying it to psionic powers and veils. Frostweave increases the DC and damage of cold attacks, but BOTH are increased by 1 for each essence invested! I know that this equates to the Circlet of Brass veil, but in both cases I would give a DC increase for every 2 points of essence; there is another thing worth mentioning: the Frostbite Halo veil already increases cold damage AND also decreases cold resistance. While I like ability combos like this, I’m not sure about double cold damage increase. Binding the veil to the chest lets you “control weather” by taking essence burn, but you always treat the season as winter/late winter, and binding it to the Body gives you “polar midnight” as a spell-like ability once per day, but it still requires essence burn. Vain Queen’s Hand Mirror gives you the awesome ability to summon a hand mirror that also functions like a light mace! It also gives you the ability to cast “augury”, and by investing essence you increase the number of damage dice it deals. Binding it to the hands gives it an enhancement bonus (no choose-able abilities) up to +5, and if bound to the wrists it lets you summon a CR 2 hawk-like true neutral outsider called an Argent. Cool, but the damage dice should be mentioned as bonus damage dice, since some players could argue that they increase the BASE damage, an important difference wince base damage is multiplied on a crit, and not so with bonus dice. Finally, the Witch’s Broom veil functions as a quarterstaff that gives you a sacred bonus to AC but only when casting/fighting, which can be increased with essence invested, and if enough essence is invested you can cast “sacred space”. Binding it to the hands nets you enhancement for the staff, and thankfully the “defending” ability is not included; binding it to the feet lets you fly, but you need at least one hand free to wield it. I know this is a design necessity, but I would have loved to surf on the broom. For some reason, this feet bind ability only mentions the Vizier and not the Fisherking; weird, since Fisherkings can bind veils to their feet chakra, just like Viziers.
The second veil set is the Royal Trappings. Adamant Crown nets you 10-ft range telepathy, and is a must if you want to use Voice veils with creatures that don’t share a language with you. Investing essence increases the range, binding it to the head protects you against illusion and mind-affecting effects, and binding it to the headband makes your own mind-affecting abilities stronger. King’s Keys doubles as both a sap and a kind of “thieves’ tools” for Disable Devices that gives you a bonus, and investing essence gives you a bonus plus if enough essence is invested, the bonus applies to Perception checks to detect traps. Binding it to the hands enhances the sap and lets you use “arcane lock” as a spell-like ability, and if bound to the belt, apart from giving you the hands abilities, lets you use more magic to get easier entry to places. My favorite general veil! Royal Treasury gives you a badass royal cape that gives you an Appraise bonus and a discount when buying goods and services where having a royal title applies, both increasing with essence; binding it to your shoulder chakra gives you a Slithering Pit to store your possessions AND maybe your enemies as well (!). We end the general veil section with the Sword of Kingship, available to many classes as well as the Fisherking, but strangely enough not the Vizier. It is a powerful longsword that ignores some damage reduction and hardness, more with essence, and if bound to the hands it can be enhanced with pluses or a small selection of abilities (no keen? bummer), and if bound to the wrists it lets you share veils! No need for the Share Veil feat, with in this case is OK IMHO. Those bestowed with such veils have to be within a short range, can’t bind them to a chakra, but they CAN invest essence in them! Another winner here!
9 Voice veils. This type of veil share some things in common. The veilweaver of such a veil has to be able to speak (or shape the Adamant Crown veil, no mention of telepathy gained from other sources). Almost all bonus are morale, even when conventional veils use insight (which make them feel unique, so a plus in my opinion). Any spell-like ability gained by a Voice veil is treated as having the verbal component even if the original spell didn’t have it. Finally, each of the 9 Voice veils has a special effect when used in a position of leadership and using the kingdom building rules (great!).
Annexation lets you reposition foes at range, or teleport them if bound. Declaration of War gives you and a couple of your allies bonuses to attack and weapon damage rolls, and the ability to summon a variant Hell Hound, or more with enough essence (the variant is different enough to warrant its own stat block in my opinion). Diplomatic Overture gives you a bonus… to diplomacy (go figure LOL) and Kn. (Nobility) checks, and a “sanctuary” ability when bound.
Divine Mandate (I’m grinning just by typing it) gives you a sacred/profane bonus and a “command” ability, and the inquisitor’s judgment ability when bound, albeit at a somewhat reduced efficiency (great!). Interdiction protects the Fisherking and the party with bonuses to AC and saves against a specific creature, and the “forbid action” and “greater forbid action” abilities when bound.
Invigorating Oration is a healing ranged ability that can only be activated when a creature is at ¼ health or lower (useless at low levels), essence increasing the healing and range, and when bound… makes a creature healed by this veil during the last 24 hours, to basically stay alive and ignore damage for a couple of rounds. This ability can’t be cheated but is too strong when enough essence is invested (5), since it lets the creature continue fighting.
Rebuke lets you chastise lesser folk with your words, dealing kind of untyped damage that is emotion, mind-affecting, and needs a target with an Intelligence score (cool), and when bound you can tell off more people at once, and even shake them if they fail too bad (my fave Voice veil!). Royal Patent gives you access to a Title veil from the Rajah class, and finally Stay of Execution makes you better at not killing, but disabling, your foes.
5 magic items: Azoth Scabbard can potentially save your veilweaver’s life, functioning as a kind of belt slot for a weapon-like veil that can cast Breath of Life under certain conditions. Indigo Merkaba is an Ioun stone that enhances 1 particular veil; Lady’s Favor is an iconic trope made-magical item, where a noble lady gives a memento to a knight to inspire him. Sovereign Blade is like the Sword of Kingship veil made real, and the Torc of Righteous Command improves essence invested in the Voice slot.
Of Note: The book looks nice, having some appropriate pictures and the special font used of titles feels Middle-Eastern, even if the material feels more European fantasy. And the concept of the Fisherking! I would never have expected a hybrid of the Vizier with the Witch, even less with a ruler motif, so it took me by surprise! And some of the new veils are awesome! Also, I have to say that the bibliography is huge, since the Fisherking pulls abilities from a lot of books and showing the author’s deep system knowledge. Luckily, we don’t have to own that many books, having great websites out there like d20pfsrd.com!
Anything wrong? The book is not without its (small) faults, but nothing deal-breaking. It also felt short, even when it is half the size of Akashic Mysteries. Some more traits would have been nice, as well as flaws for nobles (I was just imagining one with a Skin so delicate it gets harmed easily). There are also some veils that I think are missing a descriptor (like Eldest Fey’s Diadem and others that create creatures not having the a proper descriptor) But all in all I was very satisfied with the content.
What I want To play one now! I would also have liked an akashic angel, devil, or something similar with some Fisherking stuff thrown in.
What cool things did this inspire? A May Queen changeling that is the “dirty secret” of a king, and comes to reclaim her rightful throne. An evil tyrant that believes himself good, using the Rebuke Voice veil with the Merciful Veil feat. A female desire Daevic in full-plate armor wielding the Vain Queen’s Hand Mirror is a wonderful sight. A rogue archetype tentatively called “King of Thieves” that focuses on mastering the King’s Keys veil, and a Cavalier one tentatively called “Blade of the King”, that focuses on wielding the Sword of Kingship. You know you are reading a good book when every page is a wellspring of inspiration.
Do I recommend it? To be frank, I was blown away by this PDF. I can fully recommend it to all Akashic Magic fans. Following a 1 to 5 score, I think it deserves a 4.5 because of the few errors I mentioned, but the quality and inspiration of the material easily takes it to the full 5 stars. Kudos to everyone involved!