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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Magic [Hardcover]

Jason Bulmahn , Tim Hitchcock , Colin McComb , Rob McCreary , Jason Nelson
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 7 2011 Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
This comprehensive hardcover reference unveils the magical secrets of the Pathfinder rules like never before. Tons of new tricks and techniques for every spellcasting class in the game fill the book, ranging from arcane secrets uncovered by studious wizards to dazzling ki-tricks performed by canny monks to new mutagens for alchemists, new oracle mysteries, specialized channel energy options for clerics, and more. Ultimate Magic also introduces the latest Pathfinder RPG base class: the magus. Combining arcane spells with practiced martial skill, the magus incorporates elements of the warrior and wizard to walk a path balanced between two deadly efficient extremes. All this, plus more than 100 new spells for all spellcasting classes, an innovative new "words of power" spellcasting system, a complete system for 1-on-1 spell duels, and more.

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Magic + Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Combat + Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Equipment
Price For All Three: CDN$ 82.38

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Casters be praised! July 29 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Ok, not a must, but if you intend on playing any class that can cast spells, or want to have your regular non-magical character posess some mystical flavor to it, this book is for you. Lots of new rules that are nice like the mage duel, word of powers or spell-blight.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Caster Heaven Sept. 2 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I wanted this book to help expand upon my caster classes that I loved to play. This book added new spells, new archetypes and ways of using those classes. Also one of my favourite parts was creating your own balanced spells for use in game.
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5.0 out of 5 stars So full of spells and special abilities Jan. 10 2012
By runebeo
A must have for any group. So many great things to use or if your GM deems too powerful great for NPCs & enemies. Endless adventures thanks to so many new options!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Standard Pathfinder May 8 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Overall a nice layout and nice artwork as well. Much like your typical Wizards of the Coast manuals for D&D Pathfinder does not stray far from the formula. Great layout and introduction of new and fantastic spells to really add depth to any spell casting class your players may play. Best of all not a fourth edition product.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  31 reviews
64 of 77 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book with a few problems June 1 2011
By Jakub Jaraczewski - Published on Amazon.com
Here comes the second PFRPG splatbook after APG, this time focused on magic-using classes. First thing that leads to me knocking a star off right away - 4 classes (Fighter, Rogue, Barbarian, Cavalier) are out of luck here, as no material for them appears in UM (barring a few feats). That wouldn't be that bad if it wasn't for the news that Ultimate Combat will feature new stuff for ALL classes, meaning that martials get a bit shafted. Nothing major, but had to get that off the chest.

So, the book itself. Here it goes:

CHAPTER 1: Spellcasters

Opens up with Magus, the new base class. Magus is a med-BAB bard spell progression class which matches melee combat with offensive spellcasting. I'm pleased to say that it is very well written. Suggestions from open playtest were included and refined. The class is solid, and even features a few new archetypes (including Bladebound for all Elric fans out there).

Right next are new options for existing classes:

Alchemists made it out like bandits with new discoveries and archetypes. The class was solid in APG and goes firmly better in UM. Tumour familiar and parasitic twin are creepily cool.

Bards get Masterpieces, which are somewhat underwhelming power-wise, and a few new archetypes. Wish they got more, Bards have great potential.

Clerics get variant channelling, which is great if you want to replace the standard healing/damaging for something more flavorful. Several archetypes are present, including the much-demanded Cloistered Cleric. No new domains, sadly.

Druids are in for a treat. New domains, new animal companion and a big bunch of archetypes. Dragon Shamans ahoy! And now yes you can have a Spider companion. Yuck.

Inquisitors have now an option of swapping out the domain for a new feature called, surprise, Inquisitions. They also have a few new archetypes. Solid work here.

Monks get vows which are ... disappointing to say at least. Ironically enough, the book includes a PF version of vow of poverty which, honestly, sucks. The other vows aren't that much better. Monks get only one archetype which is quite good, but not enough to make Monk players happy.

Oracles have five new mysteries and a couple archetypes. No new curses. I'd really love more mysteries, I still lack a few concepts here.

Paladins can now take the Oathbound archetype, which gives them access to several thematic oaths.

Rangers get the Trapper archetype, which is not all that great sadly. Nothing else besides, another class that should rather be looking forward to Ultimate Combat.

Sorcerers - new bloodlines and two archetypes that deal with bloodline mechanics. Nothing dramatic here.

Summoners are another class which went to town for shopping. New base form for Eidolon, new evolutions and new archetypes, including the oft-requested "mass summoner" and my personal fave, the Synthesist. Guyver time!

Witches get a complete package - new hexes, new patrons and new archetypes. Solid expansion of APG material.

Finally, Wizards. Wizards get a single archetype and 2 elemental wizard schools, but the party is at Arcane Discoveries which may replace bonus feats. Some of those are really powerful.

CHAPTER 2: Mastering Magic

Contains new and variant rules. Spellblights are magic-related afflictions which can hinder a spellcaster in new ways. Spell Duels chapter details just that, spellcaster duels. The next section focuses on binding outsiders, another feature that's underdeveloped in core rules. New rules for construct creation and customization are REALLY cool. New familiars are always welcome. Coming up next are sample spellbooks, which are amazingly useful but mired by editing errors that left several spells "orphaned". Finally, the section on spell design offers some insight into just that. Not my cup of tea, but fans of poking inside designer's minds will be happy.

CHAPTER 3: Feats

The compulsory feats chapter is quite large and includes dozens of new ways to customize your character. The feats are mostly in line with Core and APG, a few are somewhat underpowered and a single one (Antagonize) clearly needs better number crunching. A feat called "Die For Your Master" made me chuckle.

CHAPTER 4: Words of Power

This chapter describes the new, alternate magic system based around customized spells made up of power words. I'd love to elaborate on this, but since the concept itself doesn't really interest me, I didn't give this chapter a honest read. You might find it useful if you like experimenting, tho.

CHAPTER 5: Spells

Another obvious addition: new spells. Scores of them, of course. There are several really fun, innovative and clever spells here and I found this chapter a refreshing read. A spell called mad monkeys wins the day for me, nothing beats summoning a swarm of crazed gibbons against your foes.


This is a solid splatbook. Much broader than WotC "Complete" splats, with several thematic ideas that draw upon mythology, history and pop culture to liven up your PF game. Yet, three things contribute to knocking off one star:

- the aforementioned lack of love for non-caster classes. I realize the book is called Ultimate Magic, but the caster-martial divide in D&D is well known and one could hope for something to help bridge it.

- quality control is worse than in Core and APG. I don't mind typos, but a couple of things are either badly written (Antagonize), poorly thought out (Monk vows) or victims of editing/development errors (Spellbooks). It's not bad enough to cause discomfort, but it is visible enough to request more tight supervision of future books.

- purely optional content. I'm not a fan of stuff which I will, objectively, never get to use. An entire chapter of UM - Words of Power - is pretty much lost on me and I would much prefer for it to sit in an "Unearthed Arcana" type of book. The spell design chapter is also slightly guilty of this.

I recommend this book, you'll have lots of fun from it and it will enrich your experience no matter if you are a player or GM. But I also recommend Paizo to step up and maintain their quality standards found in other books.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ultimate Magic Sept. 3 2011
By James Crabtree - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Ultimate Magic sourcebook for Pathfinder RPG was a surprisingly valuable and intriguing addition to the game. One of the strongest additions Pathfinder has over D&D 3.5 is the well-designed customization for characters, and the new abilities and archetypes add even more to that. Most role-players have tried to make a character their own, often focusing on a specific facet of a class to the exclusion of others, and archetypes help you build in a variety of directions. Your cleric, for example, might focus on necromancy and become an "Undead Lore" or a "Cloistered Cleric" with extra skills and knowledge (and a few related abilities), but fewer spells and less armor. Every class capable of casting spells gets new toys and tricks to play with, so long as they're willing to trade away some of the base abilities from their class. Monks are the exception, in that you don't have to give up any class abilities to take a vow. Be careful about their drawbacks, though. While obviously designed for game balance, some can be a bit silly (a monk who's taken a vow of celibacy, for example, couldn't receive healing spells because they involve "pleasurable touch"). I particularly enjoyed the new witch hexes "find children" followed by "cook people".

There's also a new Magus class that blends figher and mage abilities, with some fun abilities that, at least on paper, make the character into more than just a multi-class and likely far more what the player envisions when creating such a thing. Unlike the new classes in the Ultimate Combat book, the Magus will fit into any campaign. Also, be sure to check out the Staff Magus archetype. That one just sings to me, and I'll have to play one sometime.

There are also, predictably, new feats. Most are to support the new abilities, so they'll only be useful to you if you make some of the tradeoffs offered.

The words of power section, on the other hand, was a bit disappointing. In reading the early description, this sounds like an exiting way to allow for player creativity in spellcasting. Their character knows certain magic words that have various effects, and you combine them in fun and interesting ways. The actual execution, however, is much less exciting. You end up with the exact same spells you've always had, just describing them differently.

The final section is new spells. Nothing truly jumped out at me here, but greater variety is always a plus.

Overall, I strongly recommend this book to Pathfinder players, with one caveat: a large chunk of the material is for classes introduced in the Advanced Player's Guide, so if you don't own that one, you'll get a lot less out of this book.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome supplement to an awesome game system. Sept. 12 2011
By Joey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I love Pathfinder. I quit playing D&D around 2007, just as 3.5 was beginning to give way to 4E. I had been watching the progress of 4E, and as the years went on I kept in touch with my gamer friends that were starting up 4E games. I wasn't very pleased with what I heard about 4E. Then finally last year I decided to try out 4E. It wasn't as bad as people were telling me, but it definitely had a different feel than I was used to. Then I found Pathfinder.

Pathfinder takes what I feel are the best elements of 3.5, and some of the ideas from 4E and puts them together in a perfectly executed system. The Pathfinder system rekindled my love for pen & paper roleplaying.

The only thing that I miss from the authentic D&D system executed by Wizards is a steady flow of supplemental books. I was thrilled when Ultimate Magic came out. Finally, some new stuff in addition to the Core book and Advanced Player's Guide.

The star of the show is the new base class, the Magus. The Magus is a good riff off 3.5's Duskblade. A glass cannon that is extremely flexible in combat situations, without losing those knowledge skills that make spellcasters so rad in roleplaying. I am playing a variant Magus (bladebound) that is presented in Ultimate Magic and have had a lot of fun with it. The other players have marveled at the amount of damage I can output, but my low AC and lack of maneuverability in combat has helped to keep me in balance with the existing classes.

Beyond the Magus, there's lots of new spells, feats, and class variants that make the game more fun for any class. Ultimate Magic has become a regular fixture both in the Pathfinder game that I run, and in the Pathfinder game I currently play in.

It's rad.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Again - masterful - a brief review June 1 2011
By M. Romanowski - Published on Amazon.com
Once again Paizo has done an excellent job of expanding its already wonderful Pathfinder universe. This book contains new classes, archetypes, spells and Feats for Pathfinder RPG play. I am very pleased with this book and intend to use it extensively in my own Pathfinder RPG campaigns.

Included is a new 20-level base class: the Magus - a fusion of mage and warrior, the magus is basically a version of the Eldritch Knight prestige class that you can take at first level, but with interesting new powers and abilities added. Personally I am not entirely sure another base class is necessary, but it does seem well thought out and balanced. Already some of my players are clamoring for a chance to play this new class, so I'm sure it will be well represented in many sessions to come!

All in all, very well done. Now, back to the game!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good times, nothing epic, but worthwhile June 17 2011
By Zhenn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you're reading this, you already like Pathfinder, likely, so I'll skip any of that stuff. This book expands on magic for the game and it does a pretty good job of it. There's plenty of material of varying types, from new class stuff, prestige classes, feats, items, spells, and all the usual stuff you'd expect from a book like this. I won't go point to point and critique everything on a point to point basis. It expands on what is already there, even giving guidelines to creating your own spells. Its a nice addition to your games, especially if you like magic heavy games as there are a lot of options and such in the book. I've browsed it quite a bit but haven't read through the entirety of it, but my impression is that you get your money's worth, especially at Amazon's price. Paizo has put out another nice book that logically expands on their material and gives lots of what you're looking for. Its not perfect, its not a giant dictionary of stuff, but its pretty thick for a supplement and has useful content. That's more than can be said of a lot of supplemental books, so I have to say I'm pretty happy with owning this one and look forward to the other supplements of this type.
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