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Battle Lord - Inspired and Inspiring

5/5

The battle lord is a full base attack bonus class with d10 hit die, 4 + Intelligence modifier skill points per level, and Good Fortitude and Reflex saves. Its primary class features are Drills, Auras, and combat Specialties, and it also gains Bravery like a fighter. I will talk about each of those features below.

The battle lord's Drills and Auras share a set of general rules, including the radius they can affect, which starts at 10 feet and scales up to 55 feet. 55 is an odd number to end on, but it makes sense with the level progression of the class.

Drills are the battle lord's main combat ability, and the battle lord will learn six of them by 20th level. A first level battle lord can have one Drill active at a time, but at eighth and sixteenth level she gains the ability to have an additional Drill active, so that by sixteenth level she can have three drills running concurrently. Drills work by giving the battle lord and every ally within their radius who has spent an hour training with the battle lord access to a teamwork feat and a buff. For example, the Blademaster's Drill gives everyone affected a +2 morale bonus to damage rolls and the Precise Strike feat. Bonuses granted by Drills increase at fourth level and every four levels after that. Starting at twelfth level you get access to Greater Combat Drills, which work just like the Drills you could pick up before but are more powerful.

Auras work much like Drills but are usually options for out of combat, like the Diplomat's Aura, which gives the battle lord and her allies a bonus to Diplomacy checks and causes creatures who enter the Aura's area to make a Will save or have their attitude towards the battle lord improved by one step. At fifteenth level you can choose Imperial Auras, which are more powerful than the lesser Auras and often grant options that seem more magical or supernatural in their effects.

Specialties are one of the big ways you get to customize your battle lord, giving her a back up role or special set of combat options. The Specialties available are Artillerist, Medic, Scout, and Soldier. Artillerists gain proficiency with firearms, a Grit pool that uses Intelligence instead of Wisdom like a Gunslinger, and feats and abilities to make her better at leading a siege crew. Medics gain new uses for the Heal skill, such as repeatable hit point healing, and the ability to remove negative effects like poison, disease, ability damage, blindness, curses, and eventually she can even resuscitate an ally who has died within the last round. Scouts gain special Stealth bonuses and abilities, Ranger traps, and evasion. Soldiers learn how to apply their Intelligence bonus to CMB and CMD for various combat maneuvers, their Armor Class when using Combat Expertise, and their Fortitude and Will saves.

The battle lord's Bravery class feature seems to fit better on the class then it does on the fighter. Since the battle lord has a good Will save, it is more likely to make a difference. I also used some of the Bravery feats from Rogue Genius Games Genius Guide to Bravery Feats, which was written by the same author, and it made the class seem even more well rounded and interesting to play, adding on useful bonuses and abilities. I used the Blood-Slicked Terrain and Risky Feint feats on my battle lord to add on some fun and cinematic combat options like opening myself up to a potential attack to feint as a swift action adding my Bravery bonus to the attempt, or make enemies I tripped slip and slide on their own blood.

Ultimate Battle Lord also includes five archetypes, the Cavalryman, Dual Specialist, Eldritch Chevalier, Marine, Warchief, and Zealot. The Cavalryman must choose the Artillerist specialty, but trades out some of his aura increases and some of the Artillerist options for a mount and the ability to two weapon fight with a sword and pistol. The Dual Specialist get to choose two specialties but loses some of their strength as a party buffer. The Eldritch Chevalier does not get a Specialty, instead learning spellcasting that goes up to fifth level spells, and gaining the ability to cast spells while wearing armor, trade out Drills for additional spell slots, and share buffing spells with allies affected by his Drills. The Marine is an aquatic option for the battle lord who is strong in aquatic environments and good with a harpoon. The Warchief is a chaotic battle lord who shares barbarian Rage powers instead of using normal Drills. The Zealot is a battle lord who uses Wisdom instead of Intelligence, can use Channel Energy, and can blind and nauseate enemies with the Channel Smite feat.

There are also twelve new feats, nine of which are new teamwork feats and three which work allow anyone to learn some of a battle lord's Specialty abilities, like the Eldritch Heritage feats allow a character to get Bloodline abilities.

There are a few typos and odd choices for rules language here and there. There was a "do" instead of "due", and the language for the Cavalry Drill was convoluted but still decipherable. The .pdf is very affordable though, so I don't count these small typos against it.

The battle lord is a very fun and interesting class that allows you to play a military leader who uses wits and tactics to supplement his brawn, and I like that it performs well at all levels of play. The battle lord may very well be my new favorite class.


All Day Magic

5/5

Cross-posted from the vizier.

I don't normally post to this forum, but I was over checking things out on another product I was interested in and thought I'd come weigh in on the vizier. I love the Dreamscarred Press stuff and I think our group probably uses something from them in every game we play. I've played the dread and the soulknife from their psionic books, and the stalker from Path of War.
The vizier uses life energy called essence to power up magic devices called veils. The veils range from cloaks that let you breathe fire and fly like a dragon, to rings that let you summon and control undead. He also gets abilities called paths that let him craft items, share teamwork feats, or gain an oppressive aura that lowers enemies saves.
I'm generally not a big fan of casting classes, but I liked that the vizier felt almost more like a superhero, where I picked my powers for the day and just kept doing those things. It made it a lot easier to play a character who acted as the party wizard but where I didn't have to keep track of spell slots, durations, and all the small fiddly bits that distract from just getting in and playing the game.

I will try and update this as the additional classes are released.


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More stuff, but not all stuff I care about

3/5

Advanced Class Guide Origins is more material for the new classes from the Advanced Class Guide, but with more Golarion fluff mixed in. I was sad to see that their expansion of the Slayer didn't include more talents, and there wasn't a lot here I cared about. Their Osirion themed Hunter archetype traded away the base Focuses for desert focuses, but unless you're trying to build something really specific these seem almost universally weaker. While there was some cool stuff sprinkled throughout and they provided some guidance on where everything fits in the Golarion world, nothing here really excited me.


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All day magic

5/5

I don't normally post to this forum, but I was over checking things out on another product I was interested in and thought I'd come weigh in on the vizier. I love the Dreamscarred Press stuff and I think our group probably uses something from them in every game we play. I've played the dread and the soulknife from their psionic books, and the stalker from Path of War.
The vizier uses life energy called essence to power up magic devices called veils. The veils range from cloaks that let you breathe fire and fly like a dragon, to rings that let you summon and control undead. He also gets abilities called paths that let him craft items, share teamwork feats, or gain an oppressive aura that lowers enemies saves.
I'm generally not a big fan of casting classes, but I liked that the vizier felt almost more like a superhero, where I picked my powers for the day and just kept doing those things. It made it a lot easier to play a character who acted as the party wizard but where I didn't have to keep track of spell slots, durations, and all the small fiddly bits that distract from just getting in and playing the game.