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Gypsy (PFRPG)

**½( )( ) (based on 2 ratings)
Gypsy (PFRPG)

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Meet the gypsy!

This spellcasting scoundrel is the perfect base class for players with a wild streak. Combining elements of casters and thieves, the gypsy breathes fresh air into your game by introducing deck building mechanics. The Deck of Divination isn't the only trick up the gypsy's sleeve; premonitions, second sight and wanderlust round out a robust list of immersive and engaging class features.

This class is dripping with flavor and has been thoroughly playtested.

Design Goals:

  • Introduce a deck building mechanic to be layered on top of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
  • Hybridize mages and rogues in an effective, playable way.
  • Bring the gypsy archetype to life! Flavor, flavor, flavor.
  • Provide several means to manipulate the deck to stimulate active gameplay.

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Product Reviews (2)

Average product rating:

**½( )( ) (based on 2 ratings)

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Good ideas swamped by major issues

**( )( )( )

Note: I was...less than impressed by the gentleman in charge of the company. While recently discussing the issue with my wife regarding the racial issues of the character class name, he made it exceptionally clear that he didn’t care about whether it was an insult to the Roma, as he feels it is only an insult in Britain and therefore doesn’t matter to his American based company.

A Romani American living in Dallas wrote:

There's an old saying, "the truth hurts", and in this case, it's accurate. The truth about the lives Romani people have been forced to lead is not a glamorous one. It isn't all tambourines, fortune telling and magic spells. In fact, Romani history is quite depressing. While it may be easy for the western world to ignore all of that and just concentrate on the fantasy, it does irreparable damage to the cause of raising awareness, and without awareness, the prejudice and persecution of our people will never end.

I have been told by some who refuse to let go of their perception of gypsies that western culture has formed a 'new meaning' to the word and that the Romani people need to recognize that. What these people do not realize is that it is just as offensive, if not more so, when it is used in this manner, because their usage of it like this (to signify a lifestyle) essentially discounts all the suffering attached to the word. That is what I mean when I say that these folks do not have the right to say whether or not that word is offensive - they claim they have only 'positive feelings' about the word and towards my people, yet they needn't be calling me a 'filthy gypsy' in order for the word to be offensive. It's offensive because they use it to refer to a lifestyle, instead of a race of people.

Read the rest here

So, yes, I’m somewhat irritated by the attitude presented by the company, a fact I’m sure could have a negative impact on my review. I will, however, attempt to be as unbiased as I can be, but feel that anyone reading this should know...about both my issues and those of Dreadfox Games.

So without any more pre-amble...the class in question is a full progression spellcaster with access to the lists of other classes, rather than building one of their own. They gain spells, and cast them, as a spontaneous caster such as a Sorcerer, so although they can choose any spell they wish they have a limited selection each day.

Where they truly differ from a Sorcerer, however, is that there magic is based around cards rather than simply casting spells. This does have a few advantages, such as cards with a material component need only have that material component paid for once when the card is created - that spell is free from then on. And they get access to spells at whatever the lowest level is, so they can access Paladin and Ranger spells at level one.

It’s a concept I’ve seen a few times before, but usually doesn’t work that well as they are either too powerful, without a balancing factor to balance or have something that makes the class ineffective to make sure it isn’t broken. Dreadfox has gone for the non effective option, sadly.
Your deck of spell cards is randomized each day. If you draw a card you don’t want in that situation, discard it. You can’t cast that spell that day. And you are only allowed one of each spell in your deck - if you need that Remove Curse you’re outta luck. There are some abilities that can help built into the class, but they equally come at the cost of discarded spell cards - one, which I think was called Manifest Destiny (not a great name when dealing with a race that the Nazi’s thought was concentration camp material, guys) required you to sacrifice half your deck to get the specific card you need. Not so bad at the end of the day, but early on...not an option.

The class also gets Premonitions, a nice feature if the GM can get into the swing of things enough to give you a few ideas about what might happen the next day. Of course, you might tick off any local Clerics of Pharasma, but that’s part of the fun...and the RP opportunity.

An interesting thing to note is that you can use heavier armour with this class, as they are a Wisdom based divine caster. However, they were obviously not meant to be played this way - another feature allows greater move speed so long as they stick to light armour. The choice, however, is there.

All told, this class does offer some interesting bits and pieces, and the packaging it comes in is lovely. The PDF is extremely nice to look at and very well done. However, the biggest gripe people have about the sorcerer is that it doesn’t have the diversity of spells a wizard has, and this class lets you change that somewhat...but at the cost of making those spells very, very difficult to actually use. You have to theme your deck of cards very strongly in one direction or another if you want to have a reasonable chance of getting a useful card - and at high levels you have an equal chance of pulling Cure Light Wounds as you do of getting Mass Cure Critical Wounds.

Essentially, where as every other caster gets stronger with each new set of spells they add, this one gets both stronger and weaker - they have access to more power, but it becomes harder to actually get at it.

It might have been a better idea, rather than making it totally random as to which spell you got, to have you draw a card with the spell and apply a random effect (which might be a positive or a negative) to add the card drawing element and randomness to the class without killing it’s usefulness. As it stands, your party is likely to murder you after the fifth time that day you've not drawn the card you need to be actually useful.

If you want the flavour of the Varisians/Roma, I suggest looking at things like the Kapenia Dancer Magus or the Harrower Prestige Class. If you want the ability to loot from all spell lists, Super Genius Games offer the Magister which has a much more solid, and usable, set of mechanics. A Magister/Harrower would cover a lot of what this class does, in fact, and would be a lot more playable.

In conclusion...I really can’t advise you leave this class alone enough. It lacks content compared to other third party products especially for the price charged, it’s main mechanics make it exceptionally frustrating to play...and it’s basically a racist slur against the Roma people - if you have any interest in their culture, you’ll have seen the great pains Paizo has gone to with the Varisian race on Golarion to avoid the stereotypes that Dreadfox games has chosen to slap into their product. It is worth noting that the ‘thieves and scoundrels’ line does only appear to be in the promotional material, not in the class itself, but...

Dreadfox need to change the name, description and overhaul the spellcasting system for the class. The seed of a good, fun class is there...but until it’s fixed you’re better off looking elsewhere.


Edit:3.5 stars - Interesting, rather random class

***( )( )

This pdf is 13 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving 10 pages of content for the new Gypsy base-class, so let's check out the first offering of Dreadfox Games!

I'm not going to get into any political correctness discussions, as this is a supplement for a fantasy game. We have individuals with pointy ears and tusks in our game. That being said, in irl, I'm rather intrigued by e.g. the Sinti and Roma and their rich tradition of unconventional folklore - if you're looking for some inspiration, their legends and fairy-tales offer a rich backdrop of potential hooks. That being said, in game I've been in love with mysterious gypsy-characters ever since the vistana of Ravenloft.

That out of the way, I was looking forward to this base-class, which gets d6, 6+Int skills per level, simple and some light bladed weapon proficiency and light armor proficiency, bad BAB, good ref and will-saves and full spellcasting progression. It is also this spellcasting that makes for the most interesting aspect of the gypsy-class - they cast via a so-called deck of divinations, i.e. a stack of Tarot-like special cards that expands over the levels.
The gypsy chooses a spell from ANY spell-list and makes a card of this spell. Only one version of each spell may be kept in the deck, no metamagic feats maybe applied, all spells are considered divine and there's another catch to offset the supreme access to spell-lists: Every day, the deck is shuffled and put face down. As a swift action, the Gypsy may draw the top-most card and then activate the spell depicted by the card via standard casting time or discard it to the discard pile, thus forfeiting usage of the spell until resting and reshuffling the deck. More interesting, starting at 2nd level and every even level after that, the Gypsy can create an augury-card selected from 20 auguries. These special cards are shuffled as well into the deck and provide supernatural bonuses and are mostly (though not all) designed after classic motives of the Tarot-deck - The hanged Man, for example, when drawn, grants the gypsy's entire party (defined as PCs & cohorts) fast healing equal to the gypsy's class-level for half of her class levels. If anyone of the recipients takes a standard or full-round action, the effect ends. If the effect runs for the whole duration, everyone is targeted by a single restoration spell and at higher levels, even a greater restoration. A cool balance of a massively useful effect with a strict limitation to ensure balance. Starting at 12th level, a gypsy may also select one of 10 greater auguries instead, even more powerful cards for inclusion into the deck. At higher levels, you can thus also gain the option of drawing from the deck, discarding spells and abilities until an aforementioned card is drawn or even include two versions of a given card within your deck, which still count against your card maximum, though.

The gypsy also gains visions via the Premonition abilities and let me tell you: I LOVE this ability - essentially, the base-chance is 70%+1% per gypsy-level and I had a half-vistani character in my game once that had a similar ability and it's story-writing/roleplaying GOLD. As a DM, you can easily foreshadow deadly ambushes, clues, hints etc. and the ability is just plain awesome and can be used more often at higher levels. Very cool fluffy ability.

The pdf also includes a page of faces and one of backs for decks of divination you can print out and glue to cardboard if you want to make your very own deck of divination and apart from some tips, Dreadfox Games has also released an extra pdf of tips for using this uncommon class.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are top-notch and I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to a 2-column standard with sepia background and a thorny black border and features a beautiful full-color artwork of the Gypsy by Jeff Hill as well as a b/w-sketch of a gypsy.
The pdf has no bookmarks. First of all, let me say that I applaud Dreadfox Games' guts in making this class, for the gypsy is completely different from any other class released for PFRPG and oozes flavor. However, that's also one of the drawbacks of this pdf: The deck of divination provides ultimate spell access, but at the price of being controllable. If you're looking for an optimized character, the gypsy might not be for you and a given party has to be aware of the unreliable nature of all of the gypsy's significant effects, from spellcasting to the exciting augury-cards. A draw in combat could deliver just what you're looking for, or provide just a wasted spell. Due to the inability to apply metamagic feats to the spells, modification of the effects is not possible in any significant amount and much of the gypsy's utility is up to chance. While this limitation is by design, a given group should be aware of it and practice lenience, especially when the player seeks to draw a particular card and just doesn't manage to draw it.
Seeing that the gypsy suffers from bad BAB and HD, combat utility can be considered at the lower end of the spectrum due to its unreliability. That being said, the gypsy might still be a cool addition for your game and will find its way into my home-game, albeit only as a NPC-class and with at least some modicum of control. A feat or similar ways to at least partially draw the cards you're looking for, accessible at low levels, would have gone a long way of improving the gypsy, as would archetypes.

However, there is more to be aware of: If you're like me and allow access to A LOT of books, more spells might mean more power and a daunting task of spell-selection indeed - add RiP's 1001 spells, 330 Spell Variants by SGG etc. and you get a wide, wide array of potential, which might work in favor or against the class. Some advice for DMs on how to expand the options for deck in-game would have been appreciated.
The second gripe I have is the pricing of the class. The gypsy, while professionally done, costs $4.99, which is about the price you for example pay for a Frog God Games adventure. While SGG and RiP don't have the one piece of full color artwork, their class-supplements are much cheaper: RiP's excellent Luckbringer costs $2.99, as does SGG's Godling or Time Thief. SGG's Anachronistic Adventurer "the Investigator" provides 21 1/3 pages of raw content versus the gypsy's 10 pages, including excellent research rules and excellent archetypes for $4.99. The poor gypsy-class does not gain alternate class options, feats, archetypes or any other form of bonus content, which is a pity, for not all of the cards of Tarot are covered by auguries and greater auguries. This lack of content hurts the pdf and makes me downgrade my final verdict by another star.
In the end, one has to acknowledge that the class is not for everyone - while I liked several of the ideas, I didn't feel the urge to play the gypsy as a player or to yell eureka - while the deck is imaginative and players who love waving rods of wonders around in climactic battles will love the more controlled game of chance the gypsy provides, but nevertheless a nagging sense of not reliably adequately filling any role in an adventure group remains. If you're only in it for the fluff and consider the unreliability fun, this class might be 3.5 stars for you. If you, however, want archetypes, feats, or even the whole tarot-deck covered via auguries, you'll be disappointed. And then there's the pricing. While we do get a professionally presented book, the amount of content is far below what similar products from other 3pps offer, without having an edge over them in quality that would justify the price-point. Dreadfox Games offers a subscription as a way to somewhat alleviate costs, but paying for a subscription of a relatively new company without an extensive track-record of quality is not something I'll do.

EDIT: Dreadfox Games have updated the Gypsy-class to enable her to get access to Use Magic Device and even grant her a neat, specific and massive bonus to the skill. Seeing that as a result, the Gypsy is now much more fun than before once the deck's been emptied. This additional balancing makes me update teh verdict on the class by 1 star, up to 3.5 stars, rounding down to 3 - I look forward to seeing the new content due in October!

Endzeitgeist out.



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