Showing posts with label Feiya. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Feiya. Show all posts

Friday, November 2, 2018

Seoni, Pathfinder Iconic Sorceress, B/X style

Seoni might arguably be the most popular of the Pathfinder iconic characters. She is certainly one of my favorites.  She might not exactly be a witch, but she is close enough.


A few things have come together over the last couple of weeks to make me want to do this post.
First,  there is the new Seoni statue Kickstarter that I posted about this morning.
Secondly, I have really been getting interested in B/X again (as if my interest ever waned) thanks in large part to Gavin Norman's B/X Essentials line which looks like so much fun.

With the Art & Arcana book out I went back to the cover of D&D Basic which was the inspiration for the Pathfinder Core Rules book cover that introduced us to Seoni in the first place.



I also did stats for Feiya so long ago, so it seems right to me to also convert Seoni as my "second favorite" Pathfinder Iconic.

The witches three. Larina, Feiya, and Seoni
So I thought it might be fun to see how Seoni converts to B/X era D&D.  Of course in Pathfinder she is a Sorceress a class that B/X doesn't have.  But they do have the Magic-User which the ancestor of the Sorcerer class.  But I am contractually obligated to provide Witch stats too! ;)

For fun, I will do the Magic-User stats using only Gavin Norman's B/X Essentials: Core RulesB/X Essentials: Classes and Equipment, and B/X Essentials: Cleric and Magic-User Spells.

For her witch stats, I will use D&D Basic and Expert with my Basic-era Witch book.

I took her ability scores from her 1st Level iconic version to represent her stats as "rolled" but will base these off of here 12th level iconic version.  In the case of her Magic-user stats I rearranged her Int, Wis, and Cha to better fit the magic-user rules.  For her Witch stats I left them as-is.
For her other items like equipment and feats I tried to convert or perserve those the best I can within the rules of B/X D&D.

Seoni
12th level Magic-User

Abilities
Strength: 10
Intelligence: 18
Wisdom: 10
Dexterity: 14
Constitution: 12
Charisma: 13

Saves
Death Ray or Poison:  9
Magic wand or devices: 10
Paralysis, Polymorph or Turn to Stone: 9
Dragon Breath: 12
Rods, Staffs and Spells: 11

Hit Points:  26
Alignment: Lawful (Lawful Neutral)
AC: 3 (unless using spells to protect herself more)
To Hit AC 0: 14

Familiar:  Blue Skink ("Dragon") (Basic Magic-users did not have a way of gaining a familiar. So this is a DM-fiat).

Spells
First (4): darkness (light, reversed) magic missile, read magic, shield
Second (4): continual darkness, detect invisible, invisibility, web
Third (3): fire ball, haste, lightning bolt
Fourth (3): charm monster, dimension door, wall of fire
Fifth (3): cloudkill, pass-wall, wall of stone
Sixth (2): control weather, death spell

Equipment: Amulet of Natural Armor +3, Ring of Protection +3, backpack, potions of cure wounds, scroll of fly, wand of magic missiles (32 charges, 7th level), staff of wizardry, dagger

So not exact copies of all the spells are found in the B/X era, but enough that I am fairly happy with this magic-user build.

Now. What if Seoni were a witch?  Valeros certainly thinks she is...

"I wonder about that witch and her schemes."
- Valeros, companion, friend and erstwhile lover of Seoni.

Seoni
12th level Witch, Dragon-blood Tradition* (Blue)

Abilities
Strength: 10
Intelligence: 10
Wisdom: 13
Dexterity: 14
Constitution: 12
Charisma: 18

Saves
Death Ray or Poison:  8
Magic wand or devices: 9
Paralysis, Polymorph or Turn to Stone: 8
Dragon Breath: 11
Rods, Staffs and Spells: 18

Hit Points: 26
Alignment: Lawful (Lawful Neutral)
AC: 3
To Hit AC 0: 14

Occult Powers (*the Dragon-blood tradition is something I have been playing around with for a couple of years now. Not ready for prime-time yet.)
Familiar:  Blue Skink ("Dragon")
Minor: Draconic Magic: Lightning Bolt (once per day Seoni can call on her draconic patron to cast Lightning Bolt).

Spells
Cantrips (6): dancing lights, detect curse, false glamor, flare, mend, spark,
First (4): burning hands, darkness, minor fighting prowess, spirit dart
Second (4): burning gaze, invisibility, produce flame, spell missile
Third (3): continual fire, dispel magic, fly,
Fourth (3): charm monster, intangible cloak of shadows, magic circle against evil 10'
Fifth (2): hold monster, primal scream, waves of fatigue
Sixth (2!): mass agony, wall of roses

Equipment: Amulet of Natural Armor +3, Ring of Protection +3, backpack, potions of cure wounds, scroll of fly, wand of magic missiles (32 charges, 7th level), dagger,  Staff of Enchantment

Witch-Seoni has a totally different feel to her than Magic-user-Seoni.  I would say that as a Dragon Witch her spells manifest in ways that remind one of a dragon.  Primal Scream, for example, would be the roar of a dragon. Produce Flame would be a spark of electricity that creates fire,  Mass Agony would come out as electricity like a blue dragon's breath, and so on.

I am pretty happy though with both builds.

Don't forget to check out the Seoni statue Kickstarter ending really soon.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Arts and Crafts Weekend, Part 1

I am on Spring Break!  So we spent the first part of my vacation working on various arts and crafts.  My wife painted a bunch of minis. I'll share what I did in the next post.


First up is a little Piasa Bird.



She did a Tiefling Necromancer and a gold skinned demoness.


She also worked on my witch Larina!




She looks great with other versions of her!




Larina and her daughter Taryn.






She also did Iggwilv for me!



Art imitates art!

Been a great time.  Love these little witches!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: Pathfinder Tales: Winter Witch

"Ellasif was the only witness to her infant sister's first breath. What followed was not a newborn's wail, but merry peals of laughter." 

Pathfinder Tales: Winter Witch by Elaine Cunningham and Dave Gross.

Gamer Fiction is a bit of an odd thing for me.  I admit I enjoy it and sometimes I find something good. But there is a tinge of guilt that I am "wasting my time" and not reading something better.  I guess this makes it the very definition of "guilty pleasures".

Winter Witch is no different.  Elaine Cunningham has been writing for years and has some notable titles under belt.   It will not be confused with great literature, but it is also not supposed to be. It is a fun little romp through a frozen world with a wizard turned forger and cshieldmaiden looking for her sister.  Ellasif, the aforementioned shieldmaiden is the hero of our tale and the most interesting. She obviously loves her sister Liv, but is also not a little afraid of her.
Her beginning story was very interesting.  I could not help but feel it was nice mix of Slavic, Saxon and Celtic myths all rolled into one. The story then shifts to the tale of a wizard (we later learn) and map maker forger Declan.  Declan was not as interesting to me to be honest though the mystery around him was.  These two unlikely heroes, grim Ellasif and urbane Declan,  set off to find Liv and take her from the clutches of the Witches of Irrisen, maybe even from the clutches of Baba Yaga herself!

The book was a fun, really quick read. Though I will admit there are parts of the ending I was not satisfied with. Unlike some game-related fiction, where you can practically hear the dice rolling in the background, this read much more like a novel.  I read this one soon after a few Forgotten Realm novels so the competing descriptions of some the same spells (for example Fireball) were very interesting.  I guess the question I ask myself is would I read another book by Elaine Cunningham? Yes, absolutely!  Would I read another book with these characters? Maybe, depends on what the book was about.

I was hoping that Feiya would make a cameo, but no such luck really. Maybe the iconics don't appear in books.

This was another Audiobook find and the reader, Daniel Thomas May, did a great job.

Elaine Cunningham can be found on the web here:
https://www.facebook.com/elaine.cunningham
and
http://www.elainecunningham.com/

2017 Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
2017 Witch & Witchcraft Reading Challenge
Books Read so far: 12
Level: Mother
Witches in this book: Many. All of Irrisen, Baba Yaga, Liv and Mareshka.
Are they Good Witches or Bad Witches: All the above. THough mostly they are Bad.
Best RPG to Emulate it: Well. It is a Pathfinder book. Pathfinder is the obvious choice here.
Use in WotWQ: Absolutely!  I can't say for sure what or who will appear, but Irrisen will absolutely feature into the War of the Witch Queens.  Expect to see Baba Yaga there too.


Don't forget. Today is Beltane!
Pick up a copy of the Warlock for Swords & Wizardry.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Review: The Wicked Cauldron

Troll Lords has been putting out some quality products since the 3.x/d20 boom days.  This includes not only their own "house" system, Castles and Crusades but also some 3.x material back in the day.
Well now they are dipping their toes into 5th edition and I could not more pleased.

This past Gen Con I picked up their 5th edition version of their adventure A3 The Wicked Cauldron. I already had the C&C version and I wanted to see how they compared.  Especially since D&D 5 really has a lot of ideas that C&C started with.


The Castles & Crusades version is 24 pages and designed for 3-5 characters of 3rd to 4th level.
The Dungeons & Dragons 5e version is 40 pages (larger font) and for 3-5 characters of 3rd to 5th level.

I am reviewing the print and pdf versions.

The premise is a fairly simple one.  There is a ruined ziggurat in the Barren Woods that is the home to many foul things. It also has a long and evil history and currently is home to one of the fabled Witch Queens.  The PCs must investigate and stop her.

The adventure itself is particularly original, but that doesn't make it less fun.  There is a good balance of overland and dungeon exploring, plenty of new monsters to fight, a threat of an ancient evil.  Given that this module is coded "A3" should give you an indication it is part of a larger series, and it is.  It can be played as part of Troll Lords "A" series that began with "Assault on Blacktooth Ridge" and "Slag Heap" and continues in other Airhde products and adventures.  But it can also be played as a stand-alone adventure.
The adventure is very reminiscent of the old Basic adventures of the early 80s, especially B2 and B4.  In fact, it is almost a perfect mix of these two classic adventures.  So in the nostalgia department, it gets a perfect score from me.

My biggest issue with the PDFs and the Print versions are the maps are fairly small.  I can redo them on my own and larger, but having something I can print out or read easier would be nice.

The 5th edition conversion is good and really, C&C is so close to D&D5 as to almost make the conversion unnecessary, but still I did enjoy looking through both to find the subtle differences.  The most interesting changes were to the Witch Queen herself.

The Witch Queen, Neb–Eprethat, is the central figure in this adventure and stopping her is the main goal.  In the C&C version, she is a Lawful Evil 5th level human cleric/wizard.  In the D&D 5 version, she is a Chaotic Evil 6th level human cleric.   In both cases, she could be better served as a witch.

There is no D&D5 witch class (yet) and I am not ready to publically reveal my C&C witch class.  But I can give her a try in my Basic-era Witch.  Though given that she supposedly worships and honors the "Horned One" she could be a D&D5 Warlock too.  In fact a warlock (as per D&D5) makes a lot of sense.


Neb–Eprethat - Witch Queen 
Chaotic Human Witch (Malefic Tradition), 6th level
The Witch stats

Strength: 11 Death Ray, Poison 11
Dexterity: 14 Magic Wands 12
Constitution: 12 Paralysis, Polymorph or Turn to Stone 11
Intelligence: 16 Dragon Breath 14
Wisdom: 14 Rods, Staffs, Spells 13
Charisma: 18

Hit Points: 20
Alignment: Chaotic
AC: 1
Dagger +4, Multiattack (allows 2 attacks per round)
To hit AC0: 18

Occult Powers
Familiar: Toad (multiple familiars)

Spells
Cantrips (7): Alarm Ward, Daze, Detect Curse, Object Reading, Open, Spark, Warm
First (3+2): Bewitch I, Cause Fear, Command, Minor Fighting Prowess, Sleep
Second (2+2): Biting Blade, Enthrall, Evil Eye, Hold Person,
Third (2+2): Bestow Curse, Continual Fire, Fly, Ghost Ward


She joins the ranks of the other Witch Queens that I have been gathering.

Can't wait to run this under my War of the Witch Queens campaign.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Class Struggles: The Faerie Witch

Still celebrating Mid-summer and all things faerie this week.  What better than to talk about the faerie witch for this weeks' Class Struggles.

The faerie witch is one of the easiest witches to use in a game because they most often fit the stereotype of the lone witch living in the woods.  It is a pervasive and well-established archetype of the witch.

The earliest witch classes did not split the class into traditions or covens, that is something that came later on, so it is hard to judge the merits of those classes as a faerie witch.  Certainly the Compleat Spellcaster Witch and the Dragon magazine witches had spells that would have made it possible to make a faerie witch, they were not overtly so.

I suppose I should really define what I mean by a faerie witch before I move on.  These are witches that are typically solitary, typically live in the woods alone, converse with various natural and supernatural animals.  They have practices that are similar to the druid, but certainly a reverence for nature. Often above and beyond their reverence for mortal lives.  They don't all have to be faerie-blooded or even elven, but sometimes they are.   The faerie witch also covers various hags and other witch-like creatures found living in natural environments.  To give you an idea of what I consider to be faeries witches here is a list of the characters I have built using the faerie witch tradition for various games:
The faerie witch was one of the first "Traditions" I ever wrote for the witch class along with the "Craft of the Wise", "Malefic" and "Tempenstarii" witches.  If you want a rough idea of what I was doing have a look at my Castles & Crusades version of the witch that included the faerie tradition.

So where did this come from?
There is a real-life witchcraft tradition known as "Fairy Wicca", but it would be a lie to say that is where this all came from for me.  Sure I read up on it a lot later on, but it wasn't what I was looking for.   This also me to the "Feri Tradition" as well. Looking back over my own notes over the last few days I can't tell where it came from originally except that I have a note on the back of a print out from my school's mainframe and the date on it is 1989.  The note just lists the Craft of the Wise, Faerie, Malefic and Tempenstarii traditions. Later, in a different color ink, I added Amazon, Veneficia and Voodoo.  But I know where those came from and that puts it closer to 1992.  On a side note it was interesting to delve into these paper archives. I could see the progression of technology as I flipped the pages. Mainframe printouts on white and green paper, my Tandy printer, moving on to a color Panasonic dot-matrix printer and then to the first HP Ink-jet that was the version complete version of my witch class.

Mayfair Witches
Around the same time, Mayfair rolled out it's Witches book by Nigel D. Findley for the Role-Aids line. This book was great and because of that I avoided it for years! It was published in 1990 and I saw it was doing something similar to me so I put it down.  I was deep into writing then and did not want to have my own class influenced.  I really didn't need to worry.  The "traditions" (which is a common word used to describe different kinds of witches) in this book were set up very differently than what I did.  In fact the relationship they had was more like Class and Sub-classes of the D&D 2nd edition type.  Mine had different powers, this one had different spells.  The spells really make it though and something I would like to try doing sometime.
The Mayfiar Faerie Witches (not to be confused with these witches) were more of a guardian of the forrests and friend to animals type.  Strong and fierce.  They were more Angelina Jolie "Maleficent" than the original Disney one.

The Witch & Eldritch Witchery
My faerie witch appeared in my 2nd edition and 3rd edition netbooks.  Their newest incarnations can be found in my "old school" books The Witch and Eldritch Witchery.  It is notable here because it is one of the very few traditions to appear in both books.  These witches have what I consider to be typical powers; summon familiars, talk to animals, lay devastating curses...you know the normal.  But also something that I have added to other versions in the past, assume a fey shape.  For evil faerie witches this would be a hag shape.  I have even toyed with the idea that hags might not be a separate race at all, but rather transformed witches.

ACKS
The witches in Adventurer Conqueror King System's Player's Companion also are divided by tradition and features a "Fairy Tradition" known as a "Sylvan Witch". This tradition (and all the ACKS Witch traditions) have a collection of bonus spells and powers.  I rather like these to be honest. It makes for an interesting middle point between my witches and the Mayfair witches.

D&D 4
Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition actually had two pretty good "faerie" witches; the fey-pact Warlock introduced in the Player's Handbook and the witch sub-class in Heroes of the Feywild.  The fey-pact warlock certainly represents the dealing with the powers of the fae in a darker, more sinister way.  The witch of Heroes of the Feywild is really more of "Sub-class" of the wizard (something similar to 2nd ed with the witch kit) with a lot of powers and spells that give the witch flavor.

On one level I didn't like this since the witch isn't really a type of wizard.  But in reading it I can get past it since the witch is only a type of wizard "mechanically", she uses the same rules as a wizard and thus all the same powers, feats, magic items, Paragon Paths and Epic Destinies the wizard can use.  In this respect it makes her more like what I have done in the past where wizards and witches are both a type of "magic-user".   It gives the witch a lot of power to choose from.

The witch has two builds or covens she can choose from, a Full Moon Coven and a Dark Moon Coven, or if you prefer a good witch and a bad witch.  The covens have some powers associated with them, but the witch is still free to choose powers as she sees fit.
Only Paragon Path is given, the Legendary Witch, and it focuses on the two covens.  It lacks any strong thematic element, but this is a complaint I have had of the Paragon Paths of the post-Essentials line.
The Epic Destiny, the Witch Queen, though is quite good.  I had done something similar as a Prestige Class for 3.5.  This one is different but there are some interesting powers and effects.

What sets this witch apart from another Wizard or a Warlock are her spells and powers.  The witch relies on her familiar to learn magic.  Something I have seen more and more of late in FRPG versions of the witch. Her magic has a distinct feel to it different than that of the warlock, even if there seems to be some overlap.  Witches do get a minor healing power from the Full Moon Coven, and her magics in general are more subtle. She does not for example have a fireball like spell, but she can change monsters into other animals and they take damage for it.  Heavy on the charms and transformations.  Lots of powers with the Psychic key-word.  Some are similar in theme to the Warlock; Horde of Puckish Sprites is not too different, save in level than Pixie War Band.

There is something of an iconic character here in the witch Rowena (pictured above).  I'd like to find out more about her and maybe stat her up.

D&D 5
D&D 5 does not have a Faerie Witch or even a witch per se.  It does have a Warlock that takes the best properties of the 3.5 and 4e warlocks and makes something that I can use.  The warlock does have a Fae patron which has a lot of flavor to it.  A Fae-Warlock taking the Pact of the Tome makes for a pretty good witch-like character for me to be honest.  In fact, that is the character I am playing now in my D&D5 game and it is very witch-like in play.

I am sure there are others out there.  The archetype is just too pervasive not to be.

Hope you are enjoying this Mid-Summer and Full Moon.  Very witchy that.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Witch Queens Gather...

They are getting along now, but is War in their future?

Larina, Feyia & Iggwilv

This fantastic art was created by +Jacob Blackmon who has done tons of great RPG art including a lot of the art in the upcoming Strange Brew, which features Larina quite a bit.

If you like his work then pop over to his DeviantArt page, his Patreon page, Facebook or Tsū pages.

I am thinking of making this the "unofficial" cover of my War of the Witch Queens campaign. Which is fine given it is something I am just planning on doing in my home game and not publish.

I just need to do something cool enough to live up to the awesome in that picture.

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Iconic Witches of D&D

No game this past weekend. I wasn't feeling great and my son was at a birthday party.

I was thinking about Friday's post on the witches of Rahasia and of Ravenloft and it occurs to me that D&D lacks in iconic witches.  There are great examples of Vampires, Liches, Wizards, Priests, Paladins, Rangers, enough Thieves to fill a guild, even Bards.

The witches in Rahasia are one thing, but the ones in Ravenloft don't even have proper names really.

Pathfinder does a good job with their iconics.  Feiya is a proper witch, but even the sorceress Seoni is often referred to as a witch.  Not to mention all the witches to be found in Irrisen like Queen Elvanna.

The witches three. Larina, Feiya and Seoni
I have my iconic, Larina.  But she appears mostly in my Pathfinder books.

Who do we have for D&D?

Well for starters and maybe the most iconic is Iggwilv, the Witch-Queen. We also have Elena the Fair, Witch Queen of Summer. Also, while not as a well know or even explicitly a witch is Skyla.

There is also one witch that both D&D and Pathfinder share, Baba Yaga.


There was also Koliada, the Winter Witch. a Level 26 Solo Skirmisher from the 4th ed era adventure "Winter of the Witch". But there is not a lot out there about her.  Interestingly Pathfinder also has a lot Winter and Cold related witches.

Dungeon Crawl Classics gives us Lady Kyleth, The Witch Queen.

Personally I'd love to see more.  There might be more, I just haven't found them all yet.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Feiya, Pathfinder Iconic Witch

I have been thinking and working a lot in Pathfinder for the last few weeks.  Gearing up for the release of Strange Brew.  I have been reading over all their witch material and that includes material on their iconic witch Feiya.

She certainly has an interesting background and one tailored to the Pathfinder/Golarian world.  But I have wondered, on a few occasions, on how she would fare in one of my worlds where witches have, how shall I say it,  a bit more freedom of expression.

So here is the Pathfinder Iconic Feiya as a Basic Witch.

In Pathfinder we have stats for her at 1st level, 7th level and 12th level.  Since I typically like to do stats at 1st, 7th and 13th level for witches this sounds good to me.

I am going to start with her 1st level stats and move out from there.  In the Basic Era abilities did not improve over time so they are locked in at 1st level.  I am going to swap her Intelligence and Charisma to reflect the different spell casting abilities.

Also given her background of being taught by Hags I am giving her the Faerie Tradition.


Feiya
Witch stats for the Witch for Basic Era Games
1st level Witch, Faerie (Hag) Tradition

Strength: 10
Dexterity: 14
Constitution: 12
Intelligence: 13
Wisdom: 10
Charisma: 18

Saves
Death Ray or Poison:  13
Magic wand or devices: 14
Paralysis, Polymorph or Turn to Stone: 13
Dragon Breath: 16
Rods, Staffs and Spells: 15

Hit Points: 3
Alignment: Neutral
AC: 7 (Leather Armor)

Occult Powers
Familiar:  Fox (+1 to Intelligence and Wisdom checks) "Daji"

Spells
Cantrips: Chill, Daze, Detect Curse, Object Reading, Open, Sound
First: Sickly

To hit AC 0: 20
Weapons: Dagger, Quaterstaff


Feiya
7th level Witch, Faerie (Hag) Tradition

Saves
Death Ray or Poison:  11
Magic wand or devices: 12
Paralysis, Polymorph or Turn to Stone: 11
Dragon Breath: 14
Rods, Staffs and Spells: 13

Hit Points: 19
Alignment: Neutral
AC: 6 (Leather Armor, Ring of Protection +1)

Occult Powers
Familiar:  Fox (+1 to Intelligence and Wisdom checks) "Daji"
Herb use
Lesser: Speak to Plants/Animals

Spells
Cantrips: Chill, Daze, Detect Curse, Object Reading, Open, Sound
First: Cause Fear, Charm Person, Sickly
Second: Levitate, Rose Garden
Third: Bestow Curse, Dispel Magic
Fourth: Emotion

To hit AC 0: 18

Feiya
13th level Witch, Faerie (Hag) Tradition

Saves
Death Ray or Poison:  9
Magic wand or devices: 10
Paralysis, Polymorph or Turn to Stone: 9
Dragon Breath: 12
Rods, Staffs and Spells: 11

Hit Points: 33
Alignment: Neutral
AC: 4 (Leather Armor, Ring of Protection +1, Bracers of defense +2 )

Occult Powers
Familiar:  Fox (+1 to Intelligence and Wisdom checks) "Daji"
Herb use
Lesser: Speak to Plants/Animals
Minor: Fae Shape (Hag)

Spells
Cantrips: Chill, Daze, Detect Curse, Object Reading, Open, Sound
First: Cause Fear, Charm Person, Chill Touch, Sickly
Second: Agony, Evil Eye, Levitate, Rose Garden
Third: Bestow Curse, Bewitch III, Dispel Magic
Fourth: Animal Growth, Emotion, Withering Touch
Fifth: Baleful Polymorph, Bull of Heaven
Sixth: Eye Bite, True Seeing
Seventh:Wave of Mutilation

To hit AC 0: 16


All in all similar powers but overall not as powerful.   But that is also part of the power growth between the Basic Era games and Pathfinder/3rd Era games.

But I really liked how she turned out.  I would love to use this character in a game someday.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Gen Con Haul, quick and dirty reviews, Part 1

Here are some of the things I got at Gen Con this year.

Ok, that is a small lie.  I actually didn't buy anything this year, but instead bought some on PDF before the Con and others afterwards.

First up Pathfinder, the big Ennie winner of 2010.

Pathfinder Advanced Player's Guide
OR "Bought it for the Witch, Stayed for the Paladin"
The one thing I see here is some serious influence on what I will call "new School" D&D.  Pathfinder and D&D4 took the same base idea (D&D 3.5) and then went in very different directions.  I think Pathfinder is exactly what we would have gotten in D&D 4 had the same team stayed at Wizards/Hasbro.  That is more evident with this book.
The race section is interesting, but I am not sure what I'll do with that all yet. Though I like the potential of what they have here.  I can see similar options for various countries or lands the characters grow up in.
I love the new classes.  The Alchemist, Oracle and the Witch are all kinds of awesome.  The cavalier is a nice throwback to the old UA.  The Witch Hunter Inquisitor is also quite cool.   The Oracle and the Witch are like Divine and Arcane versions of the same thing really.  That is how it should be.  A multiclassed Oracle/Witch (a Seer? A Sybil?) would be very cool if built properly.  I love all the archetypes (Mysteries, Orders and the like) really gives each class some style.  Speaking of the witch, I love how much she is reliant on her familiar. Something I think other witch classes for *D&D over the years has forgotten. Though I am not a fan of the witch needing a hag for a coven.  I don't mind that she can count as a hag, but I still think three witches should be able to form a coven on their own.
The section on expanding the existing base classes is equally as awesome.  Again, this book seems to deliver on the promise of the old Unearthed Arcana.  All sorts of new archetypes are detailed.  Think of what they did with the Sorcerer and bloodlines and now apply that to every class.  Sorcerers get new bloodlines, fighters get new fighting styles (which helps move them away from the Cavalier.  This is a good thing). Wizards get new schools (Earth, Wind and Fire...and Water.  Benders or 70's Soul.  You decide).
The Zen Archer Monk is cool beyond words.  In one of my Pathfinder games I am playing a Paladin, so I am looking at the various archetypes (Divine Defender, Hospitaler, Sacred Servant, Shining Knight, my faves Undead Scourge and Warrior of the Holy Light) really closely.  There is also an Antipaladin class, not a prestige class.
Plenty of new feats.  New equipment (no new polearms). Lots of new spells. And Prestige Classes.
While there is nothing here that screams witch or oracle, there are some neat ones for the cavalier, inquisitor and paladins.  The Holy Vindicator certainly looks fun. There are some new magic items, cursed items and artifacts.
There are some new rules, including Hero Points, which is nice and the whole section on Traits; which I am unsure if this is the same as what come out before or not.

All in all a really awesome book.  If you are playing Pathfinder then it really should be a must have.
The best comparison is of course to the old Unearthed Arcana of the 1st ed days (not the 3rd Ed one).  The rules here are designed to be added right into your game with a minimal of fuss.
As a publishing model I can see Pathfinder coming out with these every so often, like WotC and their Player's Handbook X model.  But the issue with that is there is so much in this book now and it adds so much flexibility that I am uncertain where they would want to go next.  Mind you I do have my own ideas, but would those support a line?

Other Random bits:
I like the witch. I like her a lot.  But there are things I would change about her to be honest.
I guess the Witch iconic character is named Feiya, but I have not seen her stated up yet, other than she is Chaotic Good and has white/blond hair like the iconic sorceress,  Seoni.

While the expanded races are neat, I think I would have liked to see something new too.  A new race really should not be out of the question given the races that both 3.x and 4e have given us.  Not a dragonborn or a wilden, but a demonic type like the Tiefling might be cool.

The three core Pathfinder books, the Core Rules, Bestiary and Advanced Player's Guide, use the same color on their bindings as the core D&D4 books.  Red, green and blue.  Granted these are the most common colors, but it bears mentioning.

With the release of this book would it be safe to call Pathfinder "Advanced D&D 3rd Edition" instead of D&D 3.75?  I personally like that better.  So once again you could say we have AD&D and D&D.

I mentioned it before, but the art is fantastic.  It is still the "dungeon punk" feel of 3.x, but updated to the D&D4 style a bit.

What is missing here I think and needed is some information on Pathfinder Epic level play.  I was never thrilled with the Epic Level Handbook from WotC and I also don't think it will work very well with this book. But I would like to see something.
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