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Sky Dragon

Kvantum's page

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber. Pathfinder Society Member. 2,180 posts. 4 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 1 Pathfinder Society character.



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A very interesting new addition to tabletop combat

****( )

Strategists and Tacticians is a new book by Ryan Costello Jr. and published by 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming, dealing with combat and strategy, including new options for maneuvers. First off, I do want to start this review by noting a big improvement in this book over some of 4WFG's past books - the internal art is (other than a reused piece or two) finally what I expect to get out of a PDF that costs this much. It may all be B&W, but it's *well-done* black and white. The cover is a slight step down from their previous releases like the one on their overall excellent release Luven Lightfinger's Gear & Treasure Shop but it's still a decent looking piece.

Chapter 1 - Strategic Characters (18 pages)
It opens with a good but too brief section on combat strategies for each of the core races. Next comes variant class features for every core class, from Serene Barbarians and Violent Bards to Learned Sorcerers and Intuitive Wizards. Then there is the Apprentice class, a way of essentially achieving the same goals as the old 3.0 0-level character rules, a multiclassed character at first level, neither (for example) fighter nor mage but a little bit of both. The chapter finishes up with an alternate version of the Bard, a Schooled Bard, one that focuses on music's capacity to induce feelings and states of mind in others, in one of five schools of performance distinct from the core varities.

Chapter 2 - Prestige Classes (27 pages)
There are 14 prestige classes presented here, in varying degrees of quality, with a few unfortunate typos here and there
Armor Bonded - a warrior who really gets attached to his armor.
Blood Caster - an arcane caster who can use her own blood to power her spells
Butcher - an expert in severing limbs
Crowd Displeaser - a Bard who thrives on the angry roar of a disapproving audience
Daredevil - movie-style martial artists and Parkour enthusiasts
Expert Fighter - more fighter than a Fighter (?)
Holy Striker - a nice Fighter/Cleric hybrid that actually has flavorful class features at each level
Ioun Angel - an arcane spellcaster with a thing for Ioun Stones
Jinx - curse-oriented warrior/arcane caster hybrid
Land Shark - not bulette-related, but a druid with a strong facility for nature's eating machines... just walking around on land
Monster Within - Dr. Jekyll as an arcane spellcaster, basically.
Pikeman - a spear specialist with a touch of the Final Fantasy Dragoon
Righteous Rager - a Barbarian/Cleric hybrid
Roughhouse - a bar fighter and improvised weapons specialist

Chapter 3 - Options (24 pages)
New feats and spells. Unfortunately, for every good, balanced, and useful feat here, there are two or three ones that are either far too powerful or that no one would ever take. The new spells introduced here are as a whole pretty good in terms of flavor, balance, and usefulness, but GMs may not exactly want to allow their players complete free reign over them. ("I cast Autocannibalism on the king.")

Chapter 4 - Tactical Maneuvers (6 pages)
Here is the real meat of the whole book, the new combat options that some of us might have thought were missing from d20 combat all along. Choking Strike, Sever, Strangle, Throat Threats (holding your blade against a target's neck), and then Off-Hand Tactics, in other words, fighting dirty. The chapter then details the mechanical effects of losing body parts.

Chapter 5 - Flynn Dielle
More of an appendix than a true chapter, this is the statistical details of the book's narrator, including tips on how to incorporate him into a GM's campaign

Appendix - Prosthetics (7 pages)
This section is reprinted from 4 Winds' earlier release Luven Lightinger's, though I don't begrudge them the reprint here at all, as limb loss and limb replacements do tend to... err... go hand in hand.

All in all, this is an interesting book with many good ideas for combat, even with its problems. A good buy.


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An excellent book with a few debatable art choices

*****

Dark_Mistress's review goes into much more detail than mine will, but she said one thing that I agree with whole-heartedly - I really regret not buying the print release of this wonderful book, probably for the first time in years of buying almost exclusively PDFs.

Not being familiar with Everything and a 10' Pole, there's really only one book for me to compare this excellent new release to, an almost-twenty year old 2e release by the name of Aurora's Whole Realms Catalogue. Any older gamer will immediately perk up at mention of that classic, and they absolutely should. This is a excellent book, and any GM who's wanting a more detailed approach to their PCs' gear beyond "We go back into town and buy rations" needs to check this one out. Wonderful detail, even extravagant by some measures, but so familiar when one compares it to the classic Aurora's, and a welcome return to Pathfinder-era gaming.

The only real issue I have with the book is some of the art choices, particularly in chapter 1. The weapons and armor art looks more to me like the rough sketch of an idea that should be sent out to the artist as something to work from and improve, not finished, publishable work, to be honest. And I know the book has a lot of 2e nostalgia going for it, but Larry Elmore's style never felt "3e" to me at all, so to me it feels even more out of place for NPC portraits in a Pathfinder release.

The (relatively minor) art issues aside, this is a great book. Don't hesitate to pick it up if you want a more detailed, realistic approach to PC gear, or even just as a nicely detailed gear shop and inn/tavern for your PCs to make their home away from home.

EDIT: If you haven't noticed from the commentary on this product recently, there's now a 2nd edition of the PDF featuring new and improved art for the armor and weapons. You can ignore what I said above in my initial review about any art issues. They've all been fixed.

This is now exactly what I hoped it would be, the best 3rd party equipment guide for Pathfinder, period.


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Don't let initial impressions fool you...

*****

At first glance when I read through this PDF, I was underwhelmed. It seemed like a mediocre little book of modified core classes, just little meaningless tweaks to abilities here and there, swap this for that, blend these two classes together, etc.

Then I sat down and really worked with the material here. The eleven new classes, (or about 22 cents a class) are all non-magical, with the partial exception of some of the Scholar's abilities, and those are only if they are chosen, so this book makes for a great counter to those who feel the Advanced Player's Guide will go overboard with caster classes.

I can't give it the in-depth review it really needs here, because the genius in the classes only comes out with time spent working with them, statting out characters, seeing how they compare to core classes, and recognizing just how the changes all counter-balance one another and the new options they bring to the gaming table.

And did I mention it's only 2.39, people? Half the price of a latte, in other words. It's certainly worth 239 of your gaming pennies.


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A Good First Effort, and Much Promise for the Future

****( )

The first issue from Wolfgang Baur's Kobold Quarterly is a very interesting new offering in the D&D/d20 world. It has a good mix of articles, both fluffy and crunchy (although its comics are a bit flat, Stan! should lay off the old April issue of Dragon-style puns), and it shows a lot of promise for what it can turn into in the future.

Jiro the Grey Wyrm (the cover model and apparent mascot of the KQ) has a few things to work on here and there, true (editing and typo issues, but then again if we complain about that, we'd have to condemn just about every book WotC's released for the last five years), but the promise shown in articles like the continuation of the Ecology series (Derro) and the first of the Princes of Hell (Titivillus, the CR 24 prince of scribes) makes a subscription well worth any D&Der's $16, or the $6 for this first issue.

It's really a 4.5 star product, 4 for execution and 5 for promise of the future. Don't hesitate at all, folks. If you miss the Dragon, give a certain little Kobold a try. You won't regret it.



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