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Strategists & Tacticians (PFRPG)

****½ (based on 6 ratings)
4WF100E

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"There sure are a lot of things out there that want to kill you."
—Flynn Dielle

How do you handle everything from an aasimar to a horde of zombies without carrying enough gear to sink in a swamp? Sometimes adventuring isn’t so much what you can do, as knowing when to do it.

No adventurer can be prepared for every challenge they might face. The clever ones just know how to face the challenges they can’t prepare for. These farsighted strategists and cunning tacticians calculate their odds as they swing their swords and loose their spells. They base decisions on the likelihood of events, aiming to be ready for the inevitable, able to deal with the unlikely, and ready with a backup plan for the impossible.

Strategists & Tacticians can make any character more versatile with variant class features for all the core classes, a dozen new prestige classes, spells for a variety of spellcasters, and over fifty feats that unlock new abilities and improve existing ones. New combat maneuvers allow you to throat hostages, sever limbs, choke your enemies, or take advantage of a free off-hand. Give characters a multiclass flavor from 1st level with the Apprentice, a special new one-level base class. All this and more in the Definitive Guide to Clever Warriors.

Follow resident schemer Flynn Dielle’s advice on preparedness, improvisation, and survival, and you could be the next adventurer to save a village from a dragon using a young cow, two rubber trees, and a bag of holding. It’s like Flynn always says: “Even a pug can beat an orc wardog if he bites him where it hurts.”

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4WF100


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Product Reviews (6)
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Average product rating:

****½ (based on 6 ratings)

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****( )

I've reviewed this on RPGGeek.com.

You can read it here.


Awesome book of options for your martial class

****( )

This pdf is 82 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisements, 1 page blank inside back cover and 1 page back cover, leaving 74 pages of content.

The pdf kicks off by 2 pages of introduction on both the book and the nature of violence, which are both a good read and a nice overview of the topic at hand.

After a short overview of strategy and the cultures of the standard races is followed by alternate class features for the different classes: We get serene barbarians (a great concept!), a tree of violent performances for bards, clerics can change domains for extra energyslots, druids can exchange trackless step for creating a trapped path, fighters can gain bonded animals, monks a climb speed, paladins can get spell-like abilities, rangers orisons, rogues can exchange evasion for spell-resistance. Sorcerors and Wizards get the only alternate features I'm not totally into - Essentially, you can play a sorceror that is a bit more wizardy for a sacrifice of their bloodline and you can play a more soceror-like wizard if you sacrifice arcane school. I didn't like these choices, because they undo the additional distinctive quality of the classes, but if you were bugged by these innovations in PFRPG, go ahead, here are the options. (6 pages)

Then, we're right into class variants and the part kicks off with a bang: The one-level modular apprentice-class for "multiclass"-characters just KICKS ASS. Seriously, this class with its selection of abilities depending on the aspired class combo is just brilliant. Due to being released before the APG, we unfortunately don't get support for these classes, though. I'd love an update or a treatment of them in a potential sequel. *Nudge nudge* Bards FINALLY get some love in this section: We get the schooled bard variant class, which is nice, and 5 cool wholly new bardic schools: Mesmerizing, Minstrel, Rousing, Sentry, Warchant. (10 pages)

Next on the platter are PrCs:

-Armor Bonded: d10, good BAB, medium Fort save, 2+Int skills: This class fuses with its armor, losing some part of its humanity. Cool concept, balanced class.

-Blood Caster: d6, bad BAB, medium Will save, 2+Int skills: This class can sacrifice Hp to gain blood points and use them to power spells. I love the concept of blood magic and thus know a versions of the sanguine caster, but this one, while mechanically solid, didn't excite me.

-Butcher: d8, medium BAB, medium Fort save, 4+Int skills: A class focused on the new severing limbs-mechanic. More on this later.

-Crowd Displeaser: d8, medium BAB, medium Ref and Will saves, 6+ Int skills: Cool class focused on annoying enemies. Nice class to piss PCs or NPCs off.

-Daredevil: d8, medium BAB, medium Fort and Ref saves, 4+Int skills: Unarmed, fast combatant, can choose from 7 special maneuvers. Nice class, but I would have loved to see more maneuvers.

-Expert Fighter: d10, good BAB, medium Fort save, 2+ Int skills: This 3 level class is restricted to people with only combat feats and grants a bonus feat per level.

-Holy Striker: d8, medium BAB, medium Fort and Will save, 2 +Int skills: Cleric/Fighter-like class focused on praying etc.

-Ioun Angel: d6, medium BAB, medium Will save, 4+Int skills: Cool catser-class that can use additional Ioun Stones to circle aroun body parts, granting bonuses to abilities depending on the body part.

-Jinx: d8, medium BAB, medium Will save, 3 levels of the 10 don't get spell-advancement, 4+ Int skills: One of the coolest PrCs I've seen in quite a while: This class gets an aura of bad luck, their curse getting stronger with the levels and later even a certain person immune to the curse. This class is rife with roleplaying potential and is just plain awesome.

-Land Shark: d10, good BAB, medium Fort and Will saves, 4+Int skills: A VERY niche class, this one gets an air-breathing shark as an animal companion and several shark-abilities and even Wild shape. No spell-progression, though, making this class more suitable for Rangers/Fighters/etc. than for Druids.

-Monster Within: d6, bad BAB, medium Fort and Will saves, one level does not gain spellcasting progression, 2+Int skills: This class is a great twist on the Jekyll/Hyde-trope with the transformation being triggered by casting magic. Depending on the level cast, the transformation becomes more powerful. While this class is dependent on book-keeping, I love it.

-Pikeman: d10, good BAB, medium Fort save, 2+ Int skills: A great class for the underrepresented spear-fighter - I love it and it made me immediately want to play one.

-Righteous Rager: d10, good BAB, medium Fort and Will saves, full casting progression, 4+Int skills: Barbarian/Cleric-combi class.

-Roughhouse: d10, good BAB, medium Fort save, 4+ Int skills: An expert bar fighter class. Cool one for the one dirty fighter who kicks out the drunks, the legend in the seedy bars etc. I wouldn't play this in a campaign not focused on urban adventuring, though. It comes with a table for improvised weapons, which is nice.
This section takes up 27 pages.

Chapter 3 contains 56 new feats, some of which expand upon new combat
maneuvers presented in a later chapter. Others expand upon spellcasting (improving range at the expense of caster levels etc.), one lets you treat your levels for the purpose of one spell as spell-casting levels. My favorites, though, are the ones that expand on fighting styles: Want to headbutt enemies? Twist the knives in your enemies, fire bows while wielding melee weapons, also attack with your off-hand weapon as a standard action etc. The feats are all well-balanced, cool and fit some niche. I've rarely seen such a big collection of feats in which I didn't at least consider one over-or underpowered. Nice work!

We also get 21 new spells, of which several are centered on the severing limbs mechanic. In contrast to the feats, though, the spells didn't really make me yell with excitement. Perhaps due to being pampered by RiP's 101-series. The whole chapter 3 is 14 pages long.

Chapter 4 (6 pages) introduces new tactical maneuvers:

-Choking Strike: Choke enemies. Nice maneuver.

-Sever: I have a lot of problems with this one. The save to avoid losing the limb in question is the CMB-roll, which is HIGH. Additionally, the attack DEALS NO DAMAGE. Yep. Severing limbs DEALS NO DAMAGE. That's just wrong. While I get the mechanical balance reasons for this decisions, I think it's a) too easy to sever limbs and b) not dealing damage is just wrong. While I love the idea of the maneuver (I'm all for gritty play-styles after all!), this one just doesn't do it for me. Thus, also the feats, the PrC and the spells using this mechanic just don't do it for me.

-Throat Threat: A blade to the throat, the fantasy-equivalent of the Mexican stand-off, this maneuver rocks.

8 kinds of Off-hand tactics, special maneuvers for when you have one hand free, are also presented. i loved them and would love to see more of these minor maneuvers.

Finally, this chapter includes all the information for the penalties when you lose a limb. Great and useful information, even if you don't use the sever mechanics.

The final chapter contains the narrator of this book, Flynn Dielle (fighter 10, bard 5 CR 14) as well as a reprint of the prosthetics-section from 4-Winds Luven Lightfinger's book. (9 pages)

Conclusion in the product discussion.


Chock full of (balanced) goodness

*****

I finally got to read Strategists & Tacticians on the plane ride to PaizoCon, and was extremely impressed. I am usually very hesitant/conservative about adding too many new options, wary of balance issues, etc. This one put my fears at ease.

S&T is very well put together, with solid B&W art from several solid artists -- kudos to art director Hugo Solis -- and more content than you'd ever expect from an 80 page book.

The Class options are all well balanced, including the "Schooled Bard" which looks over the top, but just works so nicely. Prestige Classes are fascinating and go in some truly new directions. The new Combat Maneuvers are well-designed; while I'll admit I still shy back from limb-severing as an option, the option itself is handled nicely.

All in all, a great addition.


A Clever Book

*****

I have always thought that 4 Winds has put out quality Pathfinder products. And this is no expcetion. In fact, I feel this is the best tome they have put out.

The first chapter deals with the base classes including alternate class features for all original 11 classes. These are basically hit and miss. Instead, the highlight of this section is the two new classes. We have the apprentice which basically gives you a little flavor of two base classes (a little skill monkeyish and a little healer for example).

We also get the schooled bard which is my favorite bard. Ever. And its very patherfindery. Basically, its the usual bard but you can put skill ranks in different schools (like ministrel or sentry) and gains powers as you do so.

Next we have a slew of prestige classes which for the most part are a lot of fun. I like the land shark (a druid who runs around with a flying shark companion) and the Pikeman (a spear specialist). But there are many to choose from. My only complaint here (and its minor) is that most are 10 level classes and I like a little more variety in that respect.

The book contains a bunch of feats most of which are useful and, at least at first glance, balanced. Very well done. The spells are, well, OK.

The book then goes into tactical mauevers. Some are fine. I am not a fan of the sever manuever. I fail to see how severing a limb causes no damage. I realize its an attempt to balance the manuever but it doesn't seem logical. At least, its gives the authors a chance to give us some fun prosthetics in the next chapter.

Overall, I give the book 5 stars. Its a great read and it really delivers on its purpose- clever warfare. And it does it with the typical 4 Winds whimsy. Plus, it has the best art 4 Winds has delivered yet.


Another good addition from 4 Wind Fantasy

****( )

As always my review did not fit in the space given. So posting it below as a forum post.


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