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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Intrigue (PFRPG)

***½( ) (based on 17 ratings)
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Intrigue (PFRPG)
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Words Cut Deep

In the right setting, a single scathing word can prove deadlier than a poisoned dagger. Behind the scenes of heroic battles and magical realms lies a seething underbelly of danger and deception. This world of intrigue holds endless possibilities for adventure, as heroes duel with words instead of steel, plot daring heists, and engage in battles of wills against relentless nemeses. A high-stakes game of shadows and secrets is yours to master—if you have the wits!

Whether the heroes are taming the blood-soaked back alleys of their favorite metropolis or jockeying for the queen's favor alongside highborn nobles, Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Intrigue is an invaluable companion to the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. This imaginative tabletop game builds upon more than 10 years of system development and an Open Playtest featuring more than 50,000 gamers to create a cutting-edge RPG experience that brings the all-time best-selling set of fantasy rules into a new era.

Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Intrigue includes:

  • The vigilante, a new character class that lives two lives—that of an unassuming member of the community, and a cloaked crusader with his own agenda!
  • New archetypes for alchemists, bards, druids, hunters, inquisitors, investigators, mesmerists, rangers, rogues, slayers, spiritualists, and more!
  • New feats and magic items for characters of all sorts, granting mastery of street-smart combat, impenetrable disguises, and misdirection.
  • Dozens of spells to manipulate tense social settings, whether to reveal adversaries' secrets or hide the truth.
  • A complete system of influence, providing new goals and rewards to challenge players and link their fortunes to nonplayer characters and organizations.
  • Systems and advice to help Game Masters introduce a variety of new encounters into their games­—daring heists, extended pursuits, and tense searches for buried secrets.
  • Rules for social combat and verbal duels, allowing characters to use words as weapons to sway hearts and humiliate foes.
  • ... and much, much more!

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-826-7

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscription.

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PDF: Will be added to your My Downloads Page immediately upon purchase of PDF.

Non-Mint: Unavailable This product is non-mint. Refunds are not available for non-mint products. The standard version of this product can be found here.

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Average product rating:

***½( ) (based on 17 ratings)

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I'm tired of paizo trying to stuff this book down our face

*( )( )( )( )

If I was playing a home campaign this book might be more fitting,

For society play this verbal debate and other ideas for this book really bog down the game play. I like social aspect of games and role playing but as I said society play it slows the game way down to try and get people up to snuff on the mechanics

An amazing new class in a hit and miss supplement

****( )

So, Ultimate Intrigue took a long time for me to come to a complete opinion on.

The Vigilante class introduced in this book is, in my opinion, easily the best non-spellcasting class Paizo has ever created. It breaks up its social options and combat options in such a way that you have a great character able to participate in all areas of the game without having to choose whether you want to be competent in combat or in the myriad other facets of the game like exploration, social encounters, etc. It has deep and well-designed talents that allow you to pick any of a variety of different ways to participate in combat, with or without weapons, and numerous tools for allowing players to influence the story with safe houses, contacts, and more.

At PAX Prime 2016 I had the opportunity to visit Paizo's Pathfinder demo area and play their pregenerated vigilante character. I honestly didn't expect it to go terribly well; after all, the vigilante is a class built around balancing two identities and moving between different social strata, so you'd think that this would require a more controlled environment where you know the other players in advance and have time to plan out how your character fits into the game world with your GM ahead of time, right? Turns out, I was wrong. The vigilante class is well-crafted enough that even while playing a 1st level pregen I was able to easily deal with situations in and out of combat, and it took me about 60 seconds of conversation to establish with the group that I had a secret identity they were privy to and might need them to cover for my character from time to time if he needed to swap identities. It didn't hurt matters that the only downside to anyone learning a vigilante's secret identity is that, well, they know his or her secret identity. You can go all Tony Stark if you want, announce that you are Iron Man, and carry on as normal. Very few of the vigilante's abilities actually require you to maintain truly secret identities, and the only real hit you take is that you're a bit easier to find by magical means (though even this can be addressed with clever use of the Safe House Social Talent).

The book also elaborates on the intent behind numerous spells that often prove problematic for GMs in games where they want to have a focus on gritty investigation of mystery, such as the various detect spells, speak with dead, etc.

I think my biggest disappointments with the book, and the reason I can't give it 5 stars, lie in the feats and archetypes. I'll start with the feats, and a bit about why I see most of them as representative of missed opportunities.

To start with, Pathfinder's skill system is heavily dated. When Paizo brought it over from 3.5, they combined a few extraneous skills, but otherwise did little to update things, meaning the core area of the rules covering everything in the game that isn't casting spells or hitting things is now well over a decade old and out of date. Several skills don't even actually work, or work well, as written, have interactions you're just supposed to kind of assume or make up (Ride and Handle Animal are a mess, Stealth requires one to check out FAQs and blog posts online to use as intended, Bluff and Diplomacy have more than a few vague areas and inconsistencies, etc.), so what better book to address, update, and expand these core components of the game than a book about playing skill and intrigue heavy campaigns? Unfortunately, Paizo chose not to go that route, instead relying on feats to stretch skills over their gaps and issues, leading to many of the feats in the this book providing skill uses that I've seen GMs at hundreds of tables houserule as basic functions of those skills to begin with. Instead of formalizing intuitive uses of existing skills into their basic function, they added a feat tax to allow characters to do things many people already thought they could do. While there is a section in the book going over several of the vague areas in a few key skills, these are primarily common sense clarifications instead of the full address the skills could have used.

The archetypes, like many Paizo hardcovers, are all over the place. Some of them are interesting and dynamic, like the Masked Performer bard archetype, some show an attempt at embodying a cool and modern concept but fail to achieve that concept in the actual execution, like the Magical Child vigilante archetype, and some are just plain bad, so obviously terribly designed that you almost wonder if the person who wrote them has ever actually played Pathfinder, like the Brute vigilante archetype.

Now, don't let the above wall of negativity mislead you; there is a lot of great stuff in this book, including perhaps the most inspired and well-crafted class Paizo has ever produced, a class that introduces really interesting design concepts, plays with components of the class chassis we haven't seen classes treat as quite so malleable before, and is a genuinely fun and interesting class to play in and of itself. Despite many of the feats ranging from useless to frustrating, there are still quite a few that are interesting and viable, and while the archetypes are very hit or miss, that's generally true of Paizo books in general and probably shouldn't be held against this one in particular.

My final verdict on Ultimate Intrigue is 4 stars, and a strong recommendation to pick it up, if for no other reason than to add the Vigilante class to your game (though there definitely are other reasons to add this book to your collection).

Pathfinder presents Batman!

****( )

No seriously. The vigilante class is freaking batman. Look at the art for chapter one and for the character. HE'S BATMAN. Of course they also have archetypes if you want to make Hulk, Sailor Moon, even He-Man. With the archetypes from other books the list goes on.
My favorite part, and I cannot wait to test this properly in a game, is the social combat. It works a lot like playing craps or roulette. You get a pool of Determination points which you use to place a bet then you roll off with your social skills check! Seriously it sounds like lots of fun!

Some good, some bad

***( )( )

There is really a good amount of cool things in here like the vigilante evne thought i dont like the dual identity system. it feels like a better fighter, which is something i've wanted for a while. but the problem is there's too many rules for things that didnt really need them, so it kind of drags down everything because of it. Some clarification is okay, but this was too much of putting rules on things that didn't need it for me.

Good, but not great

***( )( )

The best portions of this book are hands down the Class chapter followed by feats, spells, and items (pretty much in order). I thoroughly enjoyed vigilante as a class during the playtest and love it just as much now. I know that this class is not a good option in any sense for normal adventuring; however, for certain adventures vigilante comes out swinging.

Feats are mixed for me. Some run into the problem of feat taxes while a couple feats seem to be a different approach to a previously released feat.

Spells and items were mostly a gloss-over for me. Each spell and item aides players in different aspects as expected. There were not really anything in these sections that screamed to me a "must have" for my next character. Some spells also come off as being able to ruin a GMs plan. Not because they are powerful. Rather these few spells are like skipping a few chapters ahead in a book because your need to know outways your interest in the story. With spoilers about the latest shows and movies posted EVERYWHERE, spells like greater detect magic are a painful reminder.

Finally, the new mechanics presented within this book are... okay. They serve as nice suggestions and advice for experienced GMs and players. A new GM trying to implement the expanded mechanics found in chapters 3 and 4 might struggle to assign DCs and putting together an appropriate challenge. I think these sections could have included fuller examples at the very least for new GMs; just something to model after.

The book scores about average for me (65 out of 100 points). This is definitely the weakest book in the Ultimate line, but still worth adding to a collection (at least in pdf form).

For a full review and how I determined my score: Ultimate Intrigue Product Review.

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