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RPG Superstar 2015

The Secrets of the Taskshaper (PFRPG) PDF

****½ (based on 4 ratings)

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Wanted: Players who wish to choose the feat, skill, or ability they want when they need it.

This new base class is designed for use by player characters at every level of play, allowing the character to emulate skills, feats, class abilities, and monstrous abilities. The taskshaper can also change shape from alter self to form of the dragon. The taskshaper can curse shapeshifters, trapping them in forms of the PC's choice, or with but a touch turn a foe into a music box playing the PC's theme song. This class can also be easily introduced into any new campaign with a simple plug-and-play first-person introduction.

The Secrets of the Taskshaper is brought to you by the same designer who crafted the hugely successful Book of Monster Templates and the best-selling Feats 101. In addition, the product is the third book in "The Secrets of" series, following The Secrets of Martial Mastery and The Secrets of Divine Channeling.

Author: Steven D. Russell
Cover Artist: Joe Calkins
Pages: 5

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Product Reviews (4)

Average product rating:

****½ (based on 4 ratings)

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I am the shapeshifter you are looking for.

*****

Shapeshifters seem to be a big desire among role players and I've never seen them done better than they are in this product. Taskshapers start with the ability to make minor shape changes to themselves granting themselves temporary abilities or bonuses but quickly progress into shapeshifting into other people, then into animals and even more exotic forms as they level.

But a taskshaper's control isn't limited to transforming himself into normal forms, they can do much, much, more. Imagine having the ability to control your body so well that you can (temporarily) ignore any condition, even death. (Just imagine, someone stabs you in the heart but your control of the body is so great that you can force the veins themselves to press blood on through thus keeping yourself alive for a short time.) Or if you want a creepy Cuthulhu esque shapeshifter their control lets them grow tentacles if you so desire, even while in other forms.

But they're not just shape shifters, they're taskshapers, the ultimate mimic. In fact one of their abilities is called just that, mimicry, and ensures that they can do just that. Need to use scrolls like a wizard? You can do that. Wield a weapon like a fighter? Ditto. Impersonate and replace someone important? Got that in spades.

So if you're looking for a shape shifting class, or if you just look back and remember Gogo of FFIII fondly, you should check out the taskshaper is definitely for you.


*****

The Secrets of the Taskshaper introduces to the game an interesting playable option for those players looking for the “every character”. I grew up on a steady diet of Marvel comics as a kid, and recognized what I can only assume is the influence of the character known as Taskmaster. Trust me, that's a good thing for those not in the know.

A slim 10 pages, with covers, OGL, and yadda yadda yadda....let's get to the goodies, shall we? Buy this book. Honestly....I could stop right there, as I know no better compliment to give this PDF, but I know that that would be construed as an opinion, and not a review, hence we shall continue, for the sake of those still reading.

The Taskshaper is a full 20 level playable class with a Moment of Change pool that they receive at level 1, and build in size throughout their progression. These moments of change allow for some fairly cool perks, with most of them being still on a small enough scale that the character is not insanely over balanced in regards to “How well does it play well with others?” The ability to swap feats for ones they've seen, flip flop skill ranks with each other, each with strict round limits. Gain a bonus to a dice roll by literally altering your body.....that's right, I said altering....Taskshapers are often mistaken for dopplegangers and changelings, due to a great many of their interesting abilities. But they are far more, and something different entirely. Imprint feats and class abilities, impersonate others, or change shape as per the spell. And folks, we're just getting started here, there are so many possible options for what one could do with this class, and those handy little moments of change...at the top of the level range you can imitate through Monstrous Adaptation almost any attack of any living creature you have been in contact with, or simply unmake anything you choose to touch....and by unmake, we're talking total devastation, think the spell disintegrate.

Now, does this class have the capacity to be abused into next week? Sure. Which is why it should only be played by a player who is not just looking for a way to destroy their GM's game, in short it belongs in the hands of a mature player who understands the power at their fingertips, and is willing to put in the book keeping required to keep track of the immense amount of imprints this class will pick up throughout a career simply by observing.

Art wise, I do believe everything here was stock art, but it's from Joe Calkins and Hugo Solis, so it's all of fairly good quality. I only noticed one editing mishap, and that was due to a bullet spacing issue, so it caused no concerns or problems in reading the material. As I said earlier, Buy this book....read it, absorb it, then re-read it. There's brilliance here in what can be done with this. Easily earned the 5 star rating.


Nifty changeling/shapechanger race/class

****( )

This pdf is 10 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 2 pages advertisements, leaving 5 pages for the new base class of the taskshaper, so let's dive in.

The pdf starts with the trademark quality prose I've come to expect of Rite Publishing books, an IC-told story about how Auberyon, Soltice king of the fey, abducted people and changed them, altered their memories even, to become taskshapers and how they escaped from their bonds.

The Taskshaper-class gets d8, 6+Int skills per level, can select 10 skills at character generation to be class skills, can use any weapons, armors and shields and can use any spell-trigger or spell completion item as if the spells were on her list. The Taskshaper also gets medium BAB, a good Fort and Ref save.
We're in for a jack-of-all-trades-like class, which becomes apparent when reading e.g. the Moment of Change ability: Starting at first level and improving each level, they get the ability to use change-points from their pool to change one of their feats for one round into a feat whose usage he has witnessed in-game. Mechanics to properly understand a feat for purpose of this ability are given. They can also use these pool points to gain minor plus 1 bonuses or temporarily change skills.
Furthermore, they can choose from a list of 9 shaped capacities that range from being better at emulating others over improved skill- and feat-changes to mimicing class abilities.

Later, they also get consecutively better at shapechanging, starting with alter self and culminating in the ability to use form of the dragon III and giant form III.

If that were not enough, his modularity is expanded upon by the option to select from 8 different so-called Ability Shifts that range from the possibility to negate one incoming attack via an opposed attack roll, over being very agile and fast to transformation attacks to be delivered via touch.

The taskshaper does not stop there, though: At 10th level, the taskshaper can choose from another set of 8 abilities that range from a chance to negate crits, doubling her range as well as the ability to change her mind as well into the person/creature she impersonates. Especially this ability, Become the Mask, has the potential to be roleplaying/storytelling gold.

Finally, the capstone ability is a devastating touch that may dissolve almost everything, befitting of level 20.
The pdf closes with a sidebox telling the DM to insist on PC-taskshaper bookkeeping.

Conclusion:
Oh boy. Doing the math to look for balance concerns for this class really made my brain hurt and I can only imagine how designing/balancing it must have been. Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any typos and formatting adheres to RiP's two-columns standard. Layout is ok, as is interior art. The cover is not one of my favorites, especially when compared to other RiP-covers. What to make of the class, then? Well, this is probably the most versatile class I've seen so far for PFRPG and an extremely ambitious design goal. While, as far as my math-skills go, I didn't notice any way to abuse the hell out of the taskshapers abilities, it should be noted that a DM willing to let a player play one HAS to enforce the perception-rules to use class abilities/feats and shapechanges and NOT handwave them. If a player who is known for shoddy book-keeping on his/her character sheet plans to play one of these guys, strongly discourage him/her. Bookkeeping is necessary to balance this class and due to the shapechanging abilities, some work is required on part of the player. The pay-off, though, should be worth it - this class features some very nice ideas and its other-worldly flair can lend a cool new experience to your game. On the downside, though, I think that the book might have profited from either even more abilities, racial feats or the like - alternative capstone abilities would also have rocked. Alternatively, I would have loved to see a section on their psychology and customs expanded, as they surely have some interesting RPG-potential. Or a critter who hunts the escaped taskshapers for Auberyon...something along those lines. Thus, while the taskshaper succeeds at its design goal, it left me wanting a bit more out of the pdf - not much, but I missed something. It just didn't feel as well-rounded as some ther race/class-books by RiP and thus, my final verdict will be a solid 4 stars.


A book about a new race/class of shapeshifters.

****( )

The Secrets of the Taskshaper by Rite Publishing

This product is 10 pages long. It starts with a cover and credits. (2 pages)

Next it jumps right into the new class/race, the Taskshaper. They are children stolen by the fey and changed into a new race. At one point many of them fled the fey realm back to the mortal realm. Now they are a new race/class open to PC's. (4 pages)
D8, 6 skills, medium BaB, all weapons and armor.
Class Abilities. They gain these abilities as they level. Some they get most they have to pick like rogue talents are done.
Moment of Change – 3 + caster level uses. Can be used to fuel special abilities.
Imprint Feat – trade a feat for any other feat for a single round.
Imprint Skill – Trade skill ranks from any str or dex based skill to another for a single round.
Modified Advantage – add a +1 to any D20 roll.
Impersonate - able to mimic someone they have touched. +5 to disguise checks.
Imprint Class Ability – Can mimic any class ability they have seen a class do, they do it as if they was half their level in said class. Such as backstab done by a 10th level Taskshaper, would be as if they was a 5th level rogue.
Improved Imprint Feat – as above but can do two feats at once.
Improved Imprint Skill – as above but with any skill.
Improved Modified Advantage – as above but at a +2.
Innate Armor – can gain natural armor for a short period of time.
Mimic Defense – gains a bonus to ref and fort saves for a short period of time.
Shaped Attack – gain a natural attack for your size. Higher level gain more attacks.
Shaped Resistance – Gain a energy resistance for a short period of time.
Change Shape – Starts like alter self, at higher level gain beast shape, elemental, plant, giant and eventually Dragon.
Perfect Copy – Makes themselves look exactly like someone else.

Ability Shift – more powerful abilities. Start with 1 point can eventually have 5.
Avoid Attack – Can make a contest melee attack to cause a attack to miss.
Dynamic Form – increase all mobility speed you posses.
Even More Changes – spend a ability shift point to get more Moment of Change points.
Shape Lock – Can tell another shape changer by touch, can force them to change shape.
Shift Condition – Can temporary ignore any one condition for a short while.
Touch of Change – functions similar to baleful polymorph.
Touch of Stone – functions similar to Stone to flesh spell.
Touch of Transformation – functions similar to polymorph any object.

Advanced Shapes – They cost two moment of change points.
Become Mask – Can mirror a touched persons personality.
Form Intention – gains a bonus to AC and saves for a short period against one creature.
Improved Imprint Class Ability – As above but equal to their level -3.
Master of Shapes – Allows the spending of two moments of change in one round.
Monstrous Adaption – Like imprint class ability but works on extraordinary and supernatural abilities of monsters.
Regenerate – gains natural regeneration for a short period of time.
Shaped Anatomy – Can possible avoid crits.
Stretch – can double their natural reach.

Unform – once per day can attempt to unform anything they touch works similar to disintegrate with high damage.

It ends with a OGL, 2 pages of ad and back cover. (4 pages)

Closing thoughts. The fluff for this race/class is pretty interesting. The art is fair to good. The class is a bit heavy on book keeping and the writers make note of that with a side bar. I honestly really have no idea if this class would be strong or weak. It is so different I think it would take a lot of play testing to be sure. My gut says it isn't and may even be a bit weak as it has limited number of powers per day. My impression is at times the class will dominate and at other times be a bit of a wall flower.

It is different and interesting, but it just didn't grab me as much as their previous race/class books did. I am not sure why, maybe it was all the book keeping. Or that it comes off as a jack of all trades at times while at other times it is a bit plain. I am just not sure, it just didn't grab me though like the In the Company of Giants and Gargoyles books did. So in the end I felt it was a neat idea that was done ok. So whats my rating? I ended up giving it a 3.5 star. I didn't feel it was good enough for a 4 but thought it was better than average which is a 3 to me.


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