The Transmuter: The Core Specialist Wizard
Author: Steven Trustrum
Page count: (landscape) 11 + OGL: (portrait) 9.5 + OGL
Price: $1.40 at RPGNow or $1.99 at DriveThru RPG.
The Transmuter: The Core Specialist Wizard (hereafter The Transmuter CSW) is another in a line of Misfit Studios products that attempts to flesh out the specialist D&D wizards into full 20-level core classes.
The Transmuter CSW begins with a selection of six new feats. These are actually quite useful feats, for Transmuters at least. They include reducing the use of raw materials when performing alchemy, increasing the utility of eschew materials, and one that allows the character to retain components when casting spells.
The Transmuter core class is the least-different-from-core-wizard that I've seen in this line. In terms of abilities, the Transmuter is practically the same as a standard wizard, gaining only the ability to substitute components (this could have been a feat), and at levels 10, 14, 17, and 20, he can select an ability from a list. Some of the available abilities are interesting, and allow for greater customization of a higher level Transmuter, but this is the only disappointing Core Specialist Wizard that I've read.
After the Transmuter core class is The Fury prestige class. The Fury is able to transform his hands into weapons. As he gains levels, his skill with these innate weapons and his potential damage output increases. Sunder attempts on the Fury's innate weapons can deal damage directly to the character. It's an interesting class.
Next is the Morph Mage prestige class. As the name implies, the character focuses on changing his form. He does this by burning spell slots. Initially, the Morph mage can use 0-level or higher Transmutation spells to change into a beast form. As he gains levels, he gains the ability to take other forms (for higher level spell slots), until at 10th level, he can assume a dragon form. The Morph mage could certainly be an interesting character to play, and quite useful in many parties. The only thing not clear is whether or not the character permanently sacrifices the spell slots for the ability to change into the given forms or if he burns them as if casting.
The Transmuter CSW includes two new magical items: a weapon and a wondrous item. These two items are both useful in specific ways, but I leave the details to the buyer.
Finishing The Transmuter CSW is a selection of five new alchemical items. I'm not a particular fan of the alchemical items in D&D, but these are well in line with those items, and could be fun to play with. I do like the shooting star, which is essentially a roman candle.
Layout and Style
Brown is the color of the Transmuter. Various shades of brown. The brown is actually not bad, and more subtle than some of the other color themes in this line.
The Transmuter CSW landscape version uses a two-column layout and is easy on the eyes. The brown works especially well on the tables, distinguishing rows while remaining easy to scan. The portrait version uses a similar two-column design, with an easy-to-read font and flow.
There are four works of art in The Transmuter CSW. The quality of the art is less than pleasant, especially the first picture. This picture is unusually large for these products and just not attractive. All of the art could be reduced in size and knocked a page of the count.
The Transmuter CSW has the standard Misfit Studios declaration – game mechanics, statistics and class names, subject to the PI, are open. Essentially, everything you would need to use this in another product is open.
The Transmuter CSW includes two files (both bookmarked) – a landscape file with heavy color and graphics for screen viewing, and a portrait file with less color for printing. The portrait version still includes the sizable pieces of art and table shading, so it could be much more printer-friendly. In fact, files that include both screen and print versions should have all the color and art stripped from the printer versions.
Sadly, The Transmuter CSW is locked – both the landscape and portrait versions. No copy to paste, no extracting or inserting of pages. Locked pdfs take a serious utility hit, since you're forced to retype any portions you would like to use in separate documents, like player handouts or campaign specific books.
The Transmuter core class is disappointing, and the locked file is annoying. The Morph Mage prestige class, the magic items, and the alchemical items make this a worthwhile product however. For the price, The Transmuter: The Core Specialist Wizard is still a good value, but it is the low point of this particular product line.