Vargouille

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This makes the knight

5/5

WHAT I EXPECTED:
More of the same – new combat abilities, new knightly orders.

WHAT I GOT:
More of the same, intensified. RGG has included rules/guidelines for how to use the edges and talents with a core cavalier, which is I think a very nice touch. But there's so much more. You get the option to be a Dragon Knight, tying in to the Genius Guide to the Dragonrider; the ability to rally allies; abilities for running his lord's castle; naval officers; orders of PLANAR KNIGHTS.

WHAT I THINK:
It should be clear by now that I believe if you buy the main class book, you really need to pick up the “More Talents” companion. You can live without it, but why deny yourself? RGG has already done the hard work of setting things up so that they mesh together.

WHAT YOU SHOULD THINK:
If you want knighthood and intrigue across planar boundaries, officers who put honor of crown and country ahead of everything else, military commanders who shape battles by the force of their will – then you should look at this title and its parent title as must-haves.


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stepping outside my normal classes now

4/5

WHAT I EXPECTED:
Genius enough to make me want to use a class I know nothing about. In my Talented Fighter review, I said I'm not a fighter guy. I'm even less of a Cavalier guy. I don't know what book they are in. I know they are a dedicated mounted warrior and they belong to a knightly order. Why not expand Talented Fighter so that you could build a cavalier as a T/Ftr who specializes in mounted combat and gains talents based on what order he belongs to? The Talented Barbarian could be built as a decent horse-warrior and the T/Ftr even moreso...

WHAT I GOT:
So I started reading the Talented Cavalier and discovered they don't have to be mounted warriors. In fact, they don't even have to belong to an order, either. Diplomat, nobleman, knight, liege-sworn, military officer – huntsman, sheriff, emissary, samurai, explorer, conquistador. The T/Cav can be any – or several – of these. The hallmark of the class tends to be the T/Cav is someone who represents and speaks with authority, and the edges, talents, and orders support this. But they also support a great many other things, as well, opening up a host of diplomatic and political intrigue roleplaying opportunities. The T/Cav can belong to multiple – possibly conflicting – orders now, such as the order of the seal and the order of the cockatrice.

WHAT I THINK:
The Micronauts fan in me was sorely disappointed to see the T/Cav's mount is required to have a minimum of 4 legs, so no “dire emu” mounts! And I've already got an idea for an NPC patron who hires the PCs repeatedly, to take on various tasks that make no sense at all when they try to analyze them – because they are helping him further his objectives for multiple orders. But they don't know that. Or the campaign where a young nobleman from a family on the wrong side of a royal power struggle scrapes together an exploration voyage to carve a safe haven out on a foreign shore. Or an emissary who finds herself divested of her portfolio when her liege dies and his son, whose advances she'd rebuffed, takes the mantle and leaves her officially abandoned in a foreign land.

WHAT YOU SHOULD THINK:
If you want your games to have an element of duty to something other than empty purses, empty, bellies, and empty tankards – then I suggest you pick up Talented Cavalier. Give law and order a face, a purpose, and a draw for your players to respect.


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should be on every game-table!

5/5

WHAT I EXPECTED:
Honestly, more of the same.

WHAT I GOT:
Honestly, more of the same. Plus some. Plus A LOT, actually. The “Combat Training” talent allows a T/Ftr to take a “fighter bonus feat” as a talent – so this can be reversed, as well. Talents can be taken as fighter-only bonus feats by core fighters. There are options for taking rogue talents and cleric/oracle spells as spell-like abilities. There are talents for converting critical damage into other effects and for being part of a siege-engine crew. And there is … Situational Awareness.

WHAT I THINK:
Situational Awareness is worth the price of admission all on its own. I'm ready to build a crossbow sniper that uses this. I'm ready to start building Talented Fighters. This one pulled some surprises on me – and that makes me very happy.

WHAT YOU SHOULD THINK:
You should think this is the icing on the Talented Fighter cake – you could eat the cake plain, but having the icing makes it SOOO much better! You don't have to have cake, or cake with icing on it – but it is very, very enjoyable. If you want to take the core fighting-man, proficient with all simple and martial weapons, all armors, and all shields and build a gladiator, a sniper, a VIP protection detail specialist, a horseman … and, even better, someone who is really good at several different approaches … then you need this at your table.


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I'm not a fighter guy, buuuuut...

4/5

WHAT I EXPECTED:
Genius, of course.
Ability to replace class features like Armor Training, Bravery, or Weapon Training for other options like Fast Movement.

Honestly, I'm not a fighter guy. When I get to play, I always play something else that can fight, but never a dedicated fighter, so keep that in mind as you read my review and my expectations. I consider fighters to already be extremely diverse and thus expected Talented Fighter to be a difficult title to pull off. After looking at – and loving – the Talented Rogue and Barbarian titles, I found myself wondering just how much room there really is for change in the fighter.

WHAT I GOT:
No edges. After T/Rog and T/Brb, I was expecting to see “fighter edges” in the list. Maybe they aren't needed – it's just that the departure from the pattern is noticeable. Of course, T/Ftr came first and I looked at T/Rog first, so I'm going at this whole thing backwards, anyway...
No more bonus feats at even-numbered levels. That's now the “combat training” talent.
Talents at every level. Which means “fighter bonus feats” at every level, if you want to build one that way.

WHAT I THINK:

First off, I KNOW my kobold phalanx just got a lot more … interesting. But more on that later!

Owen starts off by explaining the idea behind ripping the class apart and laying out the abilities buffet-style for picking and choosing. Have I mentioned I really like this approach? This makes it easy to mix and match abilities from various fighter archetypes that have been published to achieve a unique character in both flavor and mechanics.

At first glance, it feels like fighters got the short-shaft treatment, getting just one talent per level and no edges, as compared to the T/Brb's bigger hit-die, more skill points, nearly identical skills-set, edge, talent, and primal reserve. However, a fighter's armor proficiencies with medium & heavy armor and shields are things a barbarian has to pay – and pay dearly – for. Fighters also start out with more cash for better weapons and armor. That's because the fighter's main purpose in life is to kill monsters and break their stuff. A barbarian is (quite) a bit more diverse in role than that.

Fighters have the ability to retrain talents, something I don't recall the other Talented classes having. I assume this is in addition to the new fighter talent gained at every level, although this is not explicitly stated one way or the other.

The talents offered are most definitely geared toward making the T/Ftr the best at killing monsters and breaking stuff, while avoiding being killed. Want to focus on VIP protection? You've got loads of options. Do you prefer to focus on your attacks rather than worrying about armor? Not a problem for the Talented Fighter. Prefer to define your shield specialization as being buckler-oriented? Or tower shield oriented? You can do it and do it with style. Turn your crossbowman into a crossbow sniper.

WHAT I THINK:
I had thought fighters were already a diverse class that really didn't need any tweaking or fiddling. I am now convinced I was totally wrong. I could now be enticed into playing a straight-up fighter. And, after looking at the book and comparing it to T/Rog and T/Brb, I honestly can't figure out where I would try to slide in edges for this class. (And if you want to see what Owen Stephens had to say about Talented Fighters and edges, check out his response to my very direct question on the Rogue Genius Games Facebook page.)

Even if this were the third entry in the series (since it is the third one I read), I would declare it to be a solid, credible entry into the series.

My players have new reason to fear kobolds now … the number of phalanx-fighting feats makes me want to go back and revisit/redesign those little buggers into a true fighting force!

WHAT YOU SHOULD THINK:

If your games include fighters, you should seriously consider adding this product to your library and replace the core fighter with the talented fighter. Especially if you pick up “More Fighter Talents,” as well. If your game includes fighters and you do NOT want to include the T/Ftr, you should STILL pick up this book, especially if you follow the guideline from “More Fighter Talents” about allowing the talents in these two books to be taken by a core fighter as a fighter-only feat. But you have to buy “MFT” to get the rules on that.


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Now I wanna play one... or seven...

5/5

What I expected:
Genius; “uncivilized” combat; primitive/primal attitudes; anti-magic superstitions; utter detonation & rebuilding of the core class concept; a 5-star product.

What I got:
All that and more! I got Conan, Fafhrd, Scorpion King, Spartacus, the Incredible Hulk – and the Celts, Vikings, Sioux, Navaho, Mongols, and Aztec. I got shamanic and totemic magic, skinwalker shapechanging, magic-eaters, hardy outdoorsmen undaunted by nature's furies, and beastmasters.

There's drunken rages, rage and the city, rage against the machine. There's some class gestalting with the oracle and with RGG's Talented Rogue. There's dipping into areas traditionally covered by the ranger and druid. There's rarely-seen territory – a rageless barbarian? A civilized barbarian?

Honestly, barbarians have always bothered me because – as Owen points out – the barbarian is “the only class named after a cultural designation.” Societies and cultures have tended to regard themselves as “truly civilized” and everyone else as “barbarians.” And, in gaming, barbarians seemed to end up being equated with Conan or the Incredible Hulk. But the Talented Barbarian presents gamers the tools to change all that.

What I'd like to get:
Reverse compatibility. Some of the T/Brb options allow you to pick up bits from the T/Rog, so why not introduce the reverse and allow the T/Rog to pull bits from the T/Brb? I do have some build ideas that would benefit from such. Maybe a “Multitalented” bullet-list one day?
Charts. I like the visual presentation of the base or prerequisite feat/edge/talent/power first with the progressively-stronger ones aligned below it.
More Barbarian Talents. Right, we know that's already in the works.
(none of these detract from the quality of this work in any way)

What I think:
Owen's body of work has convinced me he not only knows how to play the game, but he knows how to play WITH the game and enjoys doing so. His Talented Rogue sold me on the concept of the “Talented” titles, because it ripped open the class and gave you the tools to build the character you want to play rather than having to play the character you could build. Each “Talented” title seems to have been mined from this vein, resulting in pure WIN for enthusiasts of the covered classes, be they player or GM. I've never been really enthused by barbarians … until today.

What should you think:
MUST HAVE


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because every campaign needs Boba Fett

5/5

I went through this as soon as my brain had sufficiently recovered from Talented Rogue to process new information. Right off the bat? I found talents I needed to build Boba Fett. This product is not a necessity for Talented Rogue, but it does an excellent job of giving a player even more options for creating a rogue distinct from any other.

Mechanically and visually, it is a simple extension of the Talents and Advanced Talents sections of Talented Rogue - no new edges, no new Grand Talents. With so few Grand Talents in the main book, I would have liked to see some more here - but I can't tell you what I think is missing beyond the simple number of choices, so I can't claim that is a legitimate shortcoming of either product.

In short, buy this if you buy Talented Rogue. It won't hurt if you don't, but it will sit there and nag at the back of your brain forever, "I could have had more. I could have built Boba Fett." And that's good enough for me.


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What character creation *should* look like!

5/5

I just staggered my way through "The Genius Guide To The Talented Rogue" by Owen Stephens. There is not a lot of necessarily new material in this. What is staggering - in a very GOOD way - is the concept behind it and the presentation itself. Nothing is set in stone, now. Everything is an option and it will take an astronomical number of character before you start repeating them. In fact, as I was reading thru it, I was mentally designing James Bond, Indy, the A-Team, Aragorn, Stormshadow, & Snake-eyes. Yes, you totally can.

I say I staggered thru it. That's because this product and its "More Talents" follow-on will give you ideas for more characters than you could possibly play in a mighty long time. You can focus with laser-like intensity on a limited core concept and become *very* good at one thing. You can concentrate on being good a set of related abilities. You can spread out and be competent at a little bit of everything. My gaming group has often threatened to make an all-rogue party. Well, now they can, and can do it with NO overlap. Assassin, burglar, diplomat, scout - all doable from here.

THIS is the way character creation should look. It is familiar. It is straightforward. It is complex without being complicated.

It is genius.

(also reviewed on DTRPGNOW and Facebook)