Seize the initiative and chop your foes to pieces with this exhaustive guide to the art of martial combat in this exciting new rulebook for the smash-hit Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, suitable for players and Game Masters alike!
This comprehensive 256-page hardcover reference reveals the martial secrets of the Pathfinder RPG rules like never before! Tons of new tricks and techniques for combat-oriented character classes put a sharp edge on your weapons and a sure step in your tactics, ranging from new barbarian rage powers, new cavalier orders, tons of new rogue talents, and more than 60 new archetypes for nearly every Pathfinder RPG character class, including spellcasters like wizards and clerics.
Ultimate Combat also introduces three new Pathfinder RPG classes: the ninja, samurai, and gunslinger! The ninja blends the subterfuge of the rogue with high-flying martial arts and assassination techniques. The samurai is an unstoppable armored warrior who lives by a strong code of honor—with or without a master. The gunslinger combines the fighter’s martial prowess with a new grit mechanic that allows her to pull off fantastic acts with a pistol or rifle. All this plus tons of new armor and weapons, a complete treatment of firearms in the Pathfinder RPG, a vast array of martial arts, finishing moves, vehicle combat, duels, and new combat-oriented spells for every spellcasting class in the game!
Ultimate Combat includes:
New player character options for 14 Pathfinder RPG base classes, including alchemist discoveries, barbarian rage powers, cavalier orders, combat-cleric archetypes, animal shaman druids, new fighter archetypes like gladiator and armor master, inquisitor archetypes like witch-hunter or spellbreaker, combat-themed magus arcana, monk archetypes based on mastery of martial arts, new paladin archetypes like angelic warrior, ranger archetypes like big game hunter and trapper, new rogue tricks, and wizard archetypes like the gunmage
The ninja, samurai, and gunslinger, brand-new 20-level alternate classes specially designed to get the most out of combat
Hundreds of new combat-oriented feats including martial arts feat trees, finishing moves, and combination feats
In-depth overviews on a variety of combat-related topics, such as armor, Asian weapons, duels, fighting schools, guns, siege weapons, and more
A complete system covering vehicle combat, including wagons, boats, airships, and more
Tons of optional combat rules like called shots, armor as damage reduction, and new ways to track character health
Raise your hand if you play or run melee classes. Barbarians, Fighters, Monks, Rogues, Paladins, pretty much anything without 9 levels of spells. Is your hand raised?
Now look around. Does the person next to you NOT have their hand raised? No they don't? Quickly! Use your raised hand to smack them in the face! Ha! Now you've shown the pansy finger wigglers the power of combat characters. Now make them go away so you can read your reviews in peace.
Ultimate Combat serves some great functions in the scope of the PF:RPG.
It helps bring non-casters a little more in line with the potential power of casters in the metagame by adding a slew of new feats and archtypes directly relevant to them. How much milage you get from these may vary, but lest you think they're all just blow off concepts, I know for certainty at least 1 Magus, 1 Monk, and 1 Inquistor archtype from this book that are definitely considered competative for 'best build to get the most out of this class' in the guides and discussions I've read on the Paizo forums, and they added some Bard ones that are just interestingly different (Try the archeologist bard if you want to play a bard/rogue cross. Try to resist the temptation to use a whip... or don't. ;) )
The spells section brings about some new toys for all casters but it did try and keep a combat focus, that was nice for the 4 and 6 spell level casters. If you're a Paladin or Inquisitor look into the new Litany line you'll probably find something you like, as will most other classes.
The Gunslinger is an interesting addition to the core classes and I think a positive one because it adds a new dynamic to how combat can work, and does a good job putting firearms in a magical setting that could allow them. If they're not your cup of tea it's easy to just dissallow them in your campaign or keep their rarity higher, but if you're playing in PFS/Golarion it's good to have in case you want to travel to regions they're thematic for.
The Asian inspired new classes, the Samurai and Ninja, are also positive additions. Some debate arises with the Ninja, it truly does do what the Rogue does only some solid arguements can be made it does it better, I know several players who now build "Rogues" using the Ninja class. However looking at the current metagame of Pathfinder Rogues were often much malagined as one of the least powerful classes, I'm not going to fault Paizo for offering a potential alterantive that rocks!
Rounding out the book it offers some rules and stats on siege weapons and warfare, and expanded vehicle rules and vehicle combat rules, along with dozens of new weapons and armor. The first two can really assist a GM, and the last gives you options from different places (asian themed) and times (stone age, bronze age, for example).
I can't give this book 5 stars, Ultimate Magic was a bit better, and it's not on par with what the APG did, but in the end what is it? It's a solid 4. Unless you play just casters and only casters you probably won't be dissappointed, because it's a solid book that does what you want it to do, and you'll feel like the money was worth it 9 times out of 10.
Neither of the words in the title really apply to this book. Ultimate Monk or Piecemail Combat fit much better. Overall, this book is about as good as Ultimate Magic. A lot of material that is useless (or unfinished/untested) that only applies to a class or two, and there is a lot of material that seems artificially injected to fill space, but really only further highlights the Ultimate Combat material that is not present.
All Classes will find something in this book, mostly poor, but there are a few gems. Sadly, I think that the writers forgot that this was suppossed to be a Combat themed book. Monk gets about 500% more than everyone else (combined?) Many of the Archtypes are pretty good, solid options, but still some classes get a lot and some get a few, and it tends to be the same Classes that get few and the same Classes that get many.
A lot of good spells, (that makes Ultimate Magic even more worthless), but I' starting to really question Paizo's ideas of balance and understanding the lines between Arcane/Divine, amongst other things. A lot of Magus and Paladin love, as well as Monks (yes Monks), but not too much for Combat focused Clerics, Wizards, Sorcerers, and Oracles.
If there where a 0 Stars option, I would pick that, simply because this is the absolute wrong way to go with a Hardcover "core" book. If they would drop the Asian themed stuff, and maybe the Monk-Onlyish Feats, this would have been a nice little softcover book, and maybe worth the price.
In the interest of full disclosure: Though I'm outspoken against what I consider rules bloat, I'll try to keep my personal bias out of my rating...which is particularly hard in this case, as UC represents the worst Pathfinder rules expansion to date.
* Art and layout -- In typical Paizo fashion, this is a beautiful book.
* As with the APG, many of the spells are gems -- though most of these probably should have been in Ultimate Magic.
* Editing. Take the infamous Prone Shooter feat, which in its original form did...absolutely nothing.
* Conceptual redundancy. Ninja? That's a rogue. Samurai? Try Cavalier...or better yet, fighter.
* Lack of balance. Ninjas are just better than rogues. Snap Shot? Improved Snap Shot? AoOs with ranged weapons -- because Pathfinder archers weren't already too good before UC?
But there is a bigger problem with this book: The Asian theme. It's not bad that such a book exists -- to each their own -- but that this stuff doesn't belong in a book called Ultimate Combat. Unless you're looking for Oriental Adventures for Pathfinder...pass. Even if you are, be very careful with the balance.