Anachronistic Adventurers: The Enforcer (PFRPG) PDF (based on
Super Genius Games
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"That I have taken moments to write down a part of what occurred as that blow fell does not signify that I remained inactive for any such length of time. I think I must have sensed something of what was coming, for I realize now that I was crouched as for a spring as I saw the blow aimed at her beautiful, upturned, pleading face, and ere the hand descended I was halfway across the hall. "
-Edgar Rice Burroughs, A Princess of Mars
The enforcer is the epitome of the modern fighting combatant, from professional soldier to citizen militia, mercenary-of-fortune to experienced insurgent, and from ultimate martial-arts television contestant to mob button man and even police SWAT. The enforcer is trained and skilled at using force to take control of dangerous situations, remain calm under fire, follow a set of rules of engagement, and within those rules adapt and overcome unforeseen obstacles as necessary to achieve victory. The enforcer represents the infantryman, marine, and special forces of the era of modern firearms, and is as adept with tools of personal combat as most modern folk are with a television remote. The weapons used by such warriors vary, depending on the era an enforcer comes from, and they might be as primitive as single-action revolvers and bolt-action rifles, or as complex as assault rifles with laser targeting sights.
And sometimes they end up in fantasy lands, where they are attacked by orcs and need to defend themselves with spears.
The "modern" combatant being stuck in a more primitive, fantasy-themed world is a common trope in a great deal of adventure fiction, especially the "planetary romances" more common in the early part of the 20th century than today, but still very popular with a wide range of gamers (and game writers). The enforcer is the first in a line of Anachronistic Adventurers products designed to provide rules for running modern (or near-modern) heroes in a typical fantasy roleplaying game setting. While it's impossible to address every possible issue that might arise for such characters (does a wish spell restore the function of a cell phone?), each product in the line will look at one area where the modern and fantasy realms are most likely to overlap and give guidance for running heroic anachronisms. We also discuss the idea of Progress Levels (PL), a simple way to determine the general technological advancement of a campaign (and outlined in more detail at the end of this product).
This pdf is 19 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page SRD and editorial, leaving 17 1/3 pages of content for adventurers out of time, so let's check the enforcer out!
The enforcer is a new base-class representing a cherished and yet unrepresented trope of fantasy literature in PFRPG: The modern-day warrior, who, by time travel or magic was whisked away to another world/land/time to combat foes in a traditional setting via wits and his knowledge.
Harking back to the classic planetary romance novels of old, I have a soft spot, but also high expectations for this new line by SGG. Let's start with the mechanics:
The Enforcer gets 3+ Int skills per level, can choose two skills freely to act as class-skills, d10, full BAB, a good fort-save and up to 5 enforcer talents and can choose a archetype. An archetype? Yep, at first level, the enforcer, representing a huge plethora of possible roles, is customized via one of 4 archetypes that range from the mafia's bone-breaker and prize fighter to the World War's Devil Dogs and SWAT combatants. Each archetype lends itself to quite different styles of play, while a selection of 14 enforcer talents help to further customize your modern PC stranded in a very strange place, indeed!
Of course, when we're talking about anachronistic adventurers, we also have to take their equipment into account, namely modern firearms ranging from cowboy six-shooters to assault rifles and sniper rifles with laser-scopes. 13 weapons, special ammo and 2 sights are included. Modern firearms work different from classic firearms as e.g. employed by the gunslinger - Ballistic critical firearm rules, unload and burst fire combat maneuvers, capacity and even the kick weapons have get their rules-representations and, even better, master of crunch Owen K.C. Stephens manages to keep the rules compatible with the basic rules of weapon usage. If your campaign setting sees more interlopers from our modern world, you'll also have the GP-values to judge the relative power of the weapons and/or have the players buy more.
There's another problem that is also addressed by this pdf - most warriors from our world don't wear armor and thus, we get a new avoidance-feat-tree, which lets you add a bonus to your dexterity-bonus equal to half your BAB from a maximum of +4 to +12 to your AC - a godsend for unarmored combatants, but granted, one that has to be carefully looked after, even though I don't consider them op. Burst fire can also be improved via feats.
Finally, there's the concept of "getting used to" a new world and its required skill-sets and the final portion of the pdf, detailing progress levels and respective proficiencies serves as a great way to handle different eras in play.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the 3-column b/w-SGG standard and the artworks are nice. The pdf has no bookmarks. I personally enjoy the planetary romances and the plethora of sideboxes do an awesome job of providing explanations of the new rules - from the base-class, the equipment with its distinct approach the serves complementary to the classic firearms rules without being overpowered and the cool introduction of progress levels, I don't have much to complain apart from the fact that I would have loved a finer grading of progress levels - as written, there are only 8 and 3 of them are in the future. When all is said and done, you get a lot of very high quality content, a cool class and reliable, neat rules. Barring anything negative to say, I'll rate this 5 stars and look forward to seeing more releases from this line.
These three words seem to sum up SGG's approach to all their new classes, and the Enforcer turns that 'up to eleven'.
Providing gaming groups with a framework for creating an array of modern combatants who find themselves in 'primitive' surroundings, complete with rules and guidelines for modern firearms, sidebars that explain SGG's reasons for some of the creative choices, and a small selection of feats to support the 'no armour? No problem!' aesthetic of the old pulps, the Enforcer class is admirably flexible. With equal facility, a character can be based on gunslinging Old West lawmen like Wyatt Earp, or a werewolf-hunting Federal agent with the best of modern training; a hardened soldier like Audie Murphy or John Carter; a professional prize-fighter like Mike Tyson or Brock Lesnar; a club bouncer, a Mob 'collector', or a two-fisted archaeologist.
SGG's twin trademarks - use of a concept rich in RP potential, coupled with KISS-principle mechanics aimed at minimising complications and delays in gameplay - make for another class that promotes interesting play-concepts and is simply saturated in opportunities for rewarding gaming experiences.
Top-shelf quality at a highly reasonable price is always a good combination, and for my money, SGG's "Enforcer" is simply superb.
Everyone sometimes wonders how a 'modern' person would get along in the fantasy setting of their choice, here is a character class that lets you find out without all that tedious modification (says she who took a bunch of Dark Conspiracy characters and dropped them into an AD&D 2e world based on the Conan stories!). The 'Enforcer' is defined as that individual who is trained and accustomed to use brute force to impose his will on those around him, whether at behest of the state or a mob boss... SWAT team member, elite soldier, even a mixed martial artist.
Naturally, our Enforcer is assumed to have been raised and trained in the modern world, before he ended up in a fantasy one. To reflect this, an additional two skills can be taken as class skills, and the character gets 3 +Int bonus skills ranks per level. Depending on background, the character may or may not have access to skills like Spellcraft or Use Magical Device. They can also choose an 'archetype' and have access to a range of appropriate talents - being able to duck, to shake off the effects of adverse conditions (dazed or confused and so on) or focus on producing an extreme effort. And should an enforcer reach 20th level he gains the quality of Enforcement, the ability to be so calm in combat that he can take 10 on an attack roll or CMB check - talk about presence of mind!
The Archetypes enable you to customise your Enforcer to suit the background and role that you have in mind. Some - like the Devil Dog - are aimed at a particular type of combatant, perhaps with reference to the historical time period in which he operated, whilst others are more generic. The Knee-Breaker is for those who serve mob bosses as 'muscle' and the Prize Fighter serves to model anyone who fights for his living and others' entertainment, irrespective of what style he uses. It can also be used in the creation of any professional-level athlete or the 'augmented' soldier trained and perhaps modified to the ultimate.
Next, a glance at Anachronistic Equipment. Given the concept of transporting the Enforcer from his modern world to a fantasy one, you will have to account for any weapons or other equipment that he brought with him (especially if your concept includes the ability to commute between the two settings). Even if restocking is not possible, an Enforcer with basic gunsmithing and hand-loading skills will be able to keep a firearm operating in a fantasy setting, even before enlisting the help of wizards and alchemists for more fantastical solutions. There is also a new take on rules for using firearms, designed to reflect the use of MODERN firearms in a fantasy world, rather than the alchemical and primitive ones envisioned in such as Pathfinder's Gunslinger class. This is optional, and it would be perfectly possible to run an Enforcer without them. The two sets of rules can even be run in tandem if you wish to highlight the difference between a modern firearm and the sort developed in the fantasy world itself.
There are also some new Feats designed with the Enforcer in mind, some of which could be useful for any combat-honed characters. Then comes a discussion of Progress Level, which is being introduced to explain what a character from a particular setting is familiar with and is able to use. It cuts both ways, of course, the average fantasy wizard is as inept with a modern TV remote control as a modern person might be with the use of a sunrod. It's not impossible, but the item in question is not something you're used to so you need to be told or shown how to make use of it. To use the system, determine the Progress Level where the character was raised and with which he's most familiar. Whenever that character levels and might take a new weapon proficiency, he can choose to instead take a Progress Level proficiency in the use of everyday items (including weapons) appropriate to the Progress Level in which he is now operating. An interesting and elegant solution, which should go some way to modelling how a character will, over time and with experience, become familiar with the things around him in the new setting in which he finds himself.
This is a well-presented piece, going beyond the mere new class itself to look how to deal with some of the issues that arise with the underlying concept of taking someone out of their own time. All the discussions are presented thoughtfully, so that in understanding how the designer reached his conclusions, you can decide if you want to use them or provides a basis on which, if you're so minded, you can modify them to suit your own needs.
Anachronistic Adventurers: The Enforcer is an amazing product from the creative geniuses at Super Genius Games. Weighing in at 19 pages, with the last page taken up by the OGL, this book is packed with some nice options for anybody wanting to run a classic campaign trope of a modern hero stuck in a fantasy world. The class is flavorful and pretty dynamic. It can easily be used to represent a gunfighter from the Dodge City, or a leatherneck from Iwo Jima. There are valuable rules for modern firearms, as well as how to handle what is a simple & martial weapon, based on the character’s original era. This product looks to be some of the work that most likely started with SGG’s aborted P20 Modern system. It is nice to see that some of their ideas are not going to waste. Maybe we will finally get to see that system, even if it is just a little bit at a time.