Ultimate Options: Grit and Gunslingers (PFRPG) PDF (based on
Rogue Genius Games
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The gunslinger is the archetypical hero of the west, a lone warrior who pits his skill-at-arms and mettle against threats ranging from challengers desiring a shootout at high noon and bandits threatening to destroy the livelihood of towns and whole territories, to hostile natives and packs of wild animals. In many ways the gunslinger is a natural evolution of the heroes of older eras, a direct outgrowth of the black knight, highwayman, and wandering martial artist.
To expand on the range of gunslinger options we provide 19 new deeds ranging from 1st to 19th level, and 14 new grit feats, allowing gunslingers to become more versatile, customizable characters. A selection of new gunslinger gear is also provided, including new alchemical cartridges and bandoliers.
To make grit itself more flexible we also provide a wide range of new options for alternate uses of grit, including applying deeds to different categories of weapons, and alternate forms of grit such as guile and panache. An alternate gunslinger class, the fusilier, is provided to show how these rules work in practice, and to give an option for having dashing Three Musketeers-type characters with less explicit Old West flavor. This allows the grit rules, deeds, and magic items from Ultimate Combat become a more useful part of a wider range of campaign styles, including games with no firearms at all.
What can I say, out of all the classes Paizo released from the Advanced Players Guide, Ultimate Magic, and Ultimate Combat the one I liked the most was the Gunslinger. So when The Geniuses released the Grit and Gunslingers book I was a happy customer.
The grit abilities, feats, alternates to the grit mechanic, archetypes I got so much I had to double check the amount I was paying for it. This book is plain awesome, it even included ways to use a gunslinger even when the GM does not want Guns in his campaign.
Like most of my reviews I won't pick it apart and talk about each item Dark Mistress and Endzeitgeist do that much better than I. What I can do is tell you that this product is a good buy at double the price.
It well done, adds a lot to the Gunslinger has options for games with no gunpowder, gives lots of options for players and GM's alike. The rules crunch is balanced and fun.
This pdf is 16 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page credits/SRD, leaving 14 1/3 pages of content for the pistol-wielding heroes, so let's give them a closer look!
The pdf starts by providing a new selection of 19 deeds as well as several new approaches to make the PCs choose said deeds from the now expanded list: Essentially, you could restrict access via the number of deeds gained or allow the option of feats granting access or even a combination thereof. The ideas presented reminded me of the advanced options-title that expanded upon the inquisitor's options, which is quite nice. A complete list of all deeds now available is provided for convenience's sake, which is just the amount of comfort I enjoy in a pdf. The deeds per se are balanced in the way we've come to expect from Super Genius Games and offer us a neat plethora of new options that range from trick shots over the ability to entertain/cow others via marksmanship to the ability to deliver devastating fusillades. I considered none of the deeds over-powered or useless and especially "Will to Kill", which lets you ignore e.g. domination long enough to get through one shot just blew me away in its iconicity.
Next up are new grit-feats, 14 to be precise and what can I say, I LOVE them - from the ability to put hexes into your ammunition to a pistol-wielding inquisitor's ability to use judgments to offset misfires, the combo-class feats ROCK and are open to both multiclassed characters and amateur gunslingers. Have I mentioned the feat that lets wild-shaped druids use firearms while wild-shaped? Bears with guns strapped to them? Yes, please! Especially aforementioned inquisitor feat and the Grenadier-feat that enhances the alchemist's bomb-throwing rock. Gaining additional deeds and improving close-quarter capabilities also feature among the new options. Once again, the options are well-balanced, ooze style and make for valid options.
The pdf does not stop there, though, and offers us rules to provide for characters that use Int and Cha instead of Wis for their Grit-like abilities. Going one step beyond, we get lists as well as 2 deeds that make it possible to use the grit-mechanic with weapons that are not firearms - most astoundingly, once again crunch-mastermind Owen K.C. Stephens manages to walk the line of coolness/usability and game-balance by restricting the usage without making the system too selective.
Should you, like yours truly, have a home-game that is closer to renaissance than to the medieval ages, the new Fusilier variant of the Gunslinger-class might be interesting - while you don't get a blackpowder weapon at first level, you instead also get some access to martial weapon training, making for an interesting variant of the gunslinger in a class that is very appropriate for settings in which blackpowder weapons are rather rare and expensive, hearkening back to the 3 musketeers and similar cloak and dagger classics.
Finally, the pdf offers 4 types of new ammunition, better cartridges and rules for bandoliers - these items are just the icing on the cake and make for easily integrated additional options that should find their place in just about any campaign setting.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the full color, 3-column-standard and the artworks rocks. The pdf unfortunately has no bookmarks, but at this length that's still ok.
I'll come right out and say it - I'm a sucker for Gunslingers. I love the class. Having reviewed RiP's Gunslinger book, I feared that there would be some space covered by both books, but mostly they do feel different enough to make them valid and fun options in just about any campaign. I really liked SGG's approach and while it does not ooze as much style as some of the options from Rite Publishing's Secrets of the Gunslinger, the pdf has supreme support for multiclass characters.
The alternate grit-rules and system to apply the mechanic to other weapons and the alternate class - every option herein just begs to be used in your campaign. This pdf ups the ante, even for the excellent quality of SGG's pdfs, being a prime example of extremely concise and balanced writing. Thus, my final verdict will be 5 stars and the Endzeitgeist seal of approval - any fan of gunslingers should own this pdf as well. Excellent work!
This product really raises the bar, even for SGG. From alternate uses of Grit, to variations of Grit, to a swashbuckler like alternate class, you can't go wrong with this book.
Alternate uses for Grit allows for deeds to used for weapons other than firearms. This is a great option for GMs that do not want to have firearms in their campaigns. If you used this option, I would consider retooling the fighter to get Grit & Deeds instead of the various training options.
Want to reflavor Grit? Now you can get variations of Grit that rely on different stats. This can alter the feel of a gunslinger immensely.
My favorite part of this is the alternate class, the Fusilier. This is a firearm using class more appropriate to the renaissance eras & feels like playing one of the 3 Musketeers.
I really like this book and can't recommend it enough to anybody that wants to put more flavor into firearms & firearm users in their campaign.
Grit and Gunslingers, the latest in Super Genius Games Ultimate Options line presents new options for anyone who wants to make use with the firearm rules from Ultimate Combat. At 16 pages long, approximately 14 and ½ of those pages filled with game content (the other page and a half going to the great cover art by Gabriel Verdon, the credits and the prerequisite licence text.
Grit and Gunslingers opens with Alternative Deeds and a discussion on how to incorporate them into a game. The simplest is to let a gunslinger choose from a list when they would normally get new deeds (similar to witches and hexes), allowing for more customization. While an interesting idea, I wonder just how well this would integrate with some of the archetypes, which already replace some deeds and could lend to some wonky combinations if the GM isn’t careful. The text also has two other options though, so this isn’t really that much of a problem. The addition of a level based deeds list (with deeds from the base gunslinger class, not its archetypes, listed and indicated as such) makes it much easier to figure out what is available to the player and when.
There are 19 deeds presented, such as Close quarters Shot, which gives grappled gunslingers a boost if they find themselves grappled, Exhibition Shot, which enables a gunslinger to let his firearm do the talking, and the frightening Enfilade, which lets the gunslinger blast a line of enemies. The deeds are interesting and flavourful, though one or two seem very situational in their use, such as Retributive Shot (you can make one free attack if you’ve taken enough damage to drop you to 0 or below, even if the damage would kill you) and Benchrest Shot (which gives a minor bonus for spending a full round aiming but having a list of events that cannot occur between that round and your next shot or the bonus is lost). The only real rule issue I found was whether or not the two Ricochet deeds required the use of an additional shot of ammunition and if the added attack suffered a chance of a misfire.*
Next comes the new Grit feats. There are 14 new ones and include a reprinting of Amateur Gunslinger and Extra Grit with added text to incorporate alternate grit (see below). The feats give other classes extra options if they choose to use firearms (which is always a plus), and also contains the Guts feat, which allows anyone who takes it to get another deed they qualify for but didn’t know. I particularly like Divine Forbearance, which lets inquisitors reroll a misfire and get a bonus to the new roll (and not have to worry about it misfiring), and Accursed Ammunition, which can deliver a hex with a normal damaging shot.
This is followed by alternate grit rules, which introduce the concepts of Guile and Panache. They work exactly like grit except they work off intelligence and charisma respectively, and lean less towards a western feel and more towards swashbuckling.
There are rules for using Grit (and thus Guile and Panache) with weapons other than firearms, and include 2 new deeds specifically for this, along with lists of deeds that are available if you are using a bow, throwing weapon or sling, a burly weapon or a finesse weapon. This gives options to players and GMs who like the idea of Grit and Deeds but feel that a flintlock pistol has no place in fantasy.
The book finishes off with an alternate class of the gunslinger called the Fusilier (hint, it’s the guy on the cover) and some new equipment. The Fusilier is more of a swashbuckler than western gunslinger. He uses Panache instead of Grit, is able to use his deeds with firearms or finesse weapons, and can add slowly add his Charisma modifier to his armour class. All in all, an interesting class.
The new equipment consists of 5 new types of bullets, such as the object destroying knock bullet or the extra dangerous sovereign alchemical cartridge, and a bandolier which makes it easier to carry ammo and safer to reload in combat. It also details a new kind of non-magical quality that can be added in creating a gun (the way you can make armour reinforced) to let it handle the sovereign cartridges better.
Now, I liked the gun rules in Ultimate Combat to begin with, so I was thrilled to see this product. Having gone through it, I found that it was full of flavour and good ideas, and was well executed. The cover art is great, though I found one or two pieces a little strange. Two or three deeds could have used a little polishing to ensure they dealt with all of the implications of the firearm rules, but they are still perfectly fine to use as written. The same can be said for the bandolier, which doesn’t mention if it protects the ammo it carries from water or fire.** Finally, the rules for using grit and deeds with other types of weapons makes this product useful for people who don’t like firearms.
Overall, I give Grit and Gunslingers 4.5 out of 5 stars. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to incorporate it into my game.
*Owen was good enough to errata this on the Product Discussion board and said that they don’t use up extra ammo or suffer from mishaps.
**Owen also clarified this on the Product Discussion board. It doesn’t.