Secrets of Magic Review: Paizo RPG Pathfinder

The Pathfinder 2nd Edition is a game system that I have been playing for over three years. The game has published several books in the last few years, and they are all of high quality. The latest book, Secrets of Magic, introduces two new magical classes: a magnus and summoner, as well as bringing in two hundred new spells, over one hundred fifty new magical items, and a dozen options to existing classes. This feels like an essential purchase because it adds so much content to the game. Even if you don’t play magic user characters or spellcasters this book will be worth your time because of how many other character types can use these rules too!

In this article, I review the “Pathfinder RPG Secrets of Magic” expansion for Pathfinder 2E. Is it worth a purchase? Does your game need even more magical goodness? Read on to see what I think!


Pazio Does the Impossible

I have been playing Pathfinder second edition since the play tests and I love the system. 👍

I think Paizo has done something almost impossible: Completely remodeling a complicated and beloved ruleset, keeping it simple, while also preserving the ability create complex and unique characters. As a player and game master (GM) this has been delightful and astonishing!

Game time!

In the past few years, Pazio have published a core rulebook, a player guide, a game master guide, and three bestiaries. And, those are just the essential rulebooks listed. I did not even mention the world books that discuss Paizo’s world setting: Golarion. They have produced so much quality content at a truly breakneck pace.

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The Book at a Glance: First Impressions

  • Secrets of Magic is an amazing book that expands on Pathfinder 2E
  • The content feels fresh with tons of new spells, options, and classes
  • Includes a modern way to design spells and items
  • Provides gamers with more flexibility when they want to create their favorite character

With the latest rulebook and the first “optional expansion” as they describe it, Secrets of Magic continues to astound. Introducing two new magical classes, two hundred new spells, over one hundred fifty new magical items, and a dozen new options for existing classes, I argue that this feels essential. Secrets of Magic also includes “metafictional primary source documents” that remind me of the work that Games-Workshop does for their rulebooks and codexes. It is very cool.

This one is for those of you who still believe in the power of a wizard-warrior. For those of you who can’t help but want to unleash your inner mage, this guide has the spells and lore that will get your engines running. And if there’s anything we know about magic, it’s that it never hurts to have some extra choices on hand…

Unlock New Hero Classes: Magnus and Summoner!

Something that has always impressed me with Paizo is the amount of character options they provide for their players. It made them stand out back in first edition. Back in that edition they designed forty classes in ten years.

Within three years since second edition release players that made the leap over can already play eighteen (soon to be twenty when Guns and Gears releases later this year) of those classes. And I can’t forget to mention the dozens of subclass and archetypes available to supplement these 20 classes.

Secrets of Magic reintroduces the Magus and Summoner classes. These new casters operate differently than the casters introduced in the core rulebook and advanced player’s guide. The magnus and summoner have less spell slots per day and less spells total than the other casters, and in exchange they receive more intense and unique class abilities.

The Magus

The Magus is the quintessential hybrid spell caster-martial class. Players no longer need to cobble together a Frankenstein combination of Wizard/ Fighter class/archetype balance (unless you really want to). The feats that the magus comes with are unique and fun enough to support interest in exclusively building a character with this class.

The class is clearly designed to be a damage dealer. Spellstrike will allow clever players to get the most of the three action economy. And the addition of the Arcane Cascade stance will make a magus feel useful in a fight, long after they expend their spell slots.

A Magus is a master of all trades, but legend in none. This may disappoint some players, however I think this a balanced design. If it truly bothers some players they can always take the Magus archetype rules and apply it to whatever martial they like!

The magnus class in a nutshell:

  • Dynamic, fun class that is suitable for a variety of playstyles
  • Expansive customization options, tailor the class to your needs
  • Evocative and powerful magus abilities give you an edge in combat
  • Flexible archetypes allow flexibility with any martial skill

The Summoner

A dog is man’s best friend on planet Earth. In Golarion (or your homebrew universe), you ain’t ever had a friend like the Eidolon and their Summoner. This class takes the minion rules for familiar and animal companion to a whole different level. An Eidolon takes the best versions of familiars and companions and combines them into one super being.

To accomplish this, they had to sacrifice somethings for the sake of balance, but this does not detract from the summoner class at all. In fact it rewards players for choosing one or the other.

The most glaring difference is that unlike other classes (like ranger or druid) that can take familiars and animal companions, a summoner can’t start with a shared four action turn. A summoner and eidolon share their three actions along with a lot of other things like health and modifiers for certain abilities.

An eidolon has more options and utility in and out of combat that your typical minion as well. However, I suppose if this bothers you, with archetype rules you could build a character with that one of each, an eidolon, familiar and animal companion (that just broke my brain, nor am I sure if that is worth it…but it sounds cool and therefore fun).

The summoner class in a nutshell:

  • A fantastic class that takes the best of both worlds
  • Have combat pet and an intelligent familiar simultaneously
  • Choosing one or the other is rewarded with unique abilities
  • Provides you with more options and utility in and out of combat

New Spells

There are two hundred new spells. I can not possibly review them all. What I can say is that the new options fill some of the holes from existing books. Characters have new options to transform themselves into all sorts of creatures.

One thing I noticed is that some of the new spells (not including the focus spells) seemed to fit these two new classes like a glove. This is a good call by Paizo because of the dramatic departure that these new casters take from the traditional casters we have already seen.

With less spell slots available to the summoner and magus having spells that call towards their play style makes it a lot easier to design spell lists for them.

New Items

One of the best feelings a player can get is a TTRPG is getting a shiny new toy. An equally nice feeling for a GM is being able to reward your players with shiny new toys–after players pry them out of the cold dead hands of the bad guys first, of course.

In my opinion, The biggest highlight in the item chapter are new rules for building your own custom staff. A lot of my players love to have characters good at crafting magical items. The personal staves rule as an option, they get to really feel like they are designing a completely unique item.

Expand Your Options with New Subclasses and Archetypes

The last thing I am going to talk about that is featured in Secrets of Magic is the section titled Book of Unlimited Magic. With in this chapter Paizo introduces new and exciting options for the classes or monsters featured in the core rulebook, the three bestiaries and advanced player’s guide.

The section introduces rules for wellspring magic (or wild magic table for those more used to D&D 5e) ideal for oracles and sorcerers, and rules on how to build your own Wizard Thassilonian Runelord.

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They also feature rules on how to build a crafter of soul forged weapons ideal for Champions. Shadow and the Elemental magic also receive brand new options and expansions of their very own. These additional rules will make your pre-existing characters even more special!

Conclusion: A Highly-Recommended Book

I hope that this Secrets of Magic review has helped you to make a more educated decision about whether this book is right for you. The new summoner class and spells are worth the price alone, in addition to these there are plenty of other great options as well!

Image Summary Price
secrets-of-magic-cover Make Pathfinder characters powerful and unique with more magic, new spells, and character options. The content feels fresh with tons of inspiration for gamers to keep the game feeling fun. Loved by players who want an easy-to-use system that will make their games come alive! Check Price

Whether it’s tips on how to use your familiars or animal companions better, or advice on how best utilize those two actions per round–this guide will help any player get started with their own unique character build. If you want to expand your options and fun at the table Secrets of Magic is a must buy.

Do you have any questions about this book? Want to know more? Leave a comment below!

About the Author

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Jared Emanuel

Jared Emanuel is a hobby enthusiast that loves high fantasy, science fiction, and everything in between.

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