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Pathfinder Player Companion: Weapon Master's Handbook (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
When all you have is a hammer, SMASH SMASH SMASHMechalibur —
Have you ever wanted to ricochet a hammer across the skulls of 3 orcs? Are you intrigued by the idea of lockpicking with a crossbow? Do you ever just want to punch a disintegration ray out of your way with a gauntlet while smugly proclaiming "Not today, buddy!" All this, plus more is possible in the Weapon Master's Handbook. Paizo is pushing the limits of what martial characters can achieve in the Pathfinder ruleset, and I freaking love every bit of it.
Highlights from the book include:
Alternate bonuses fighters can take at each tier of weapon mastery, such as adding bravery to all will saves, applying weapon finesse to any weapon group, proficiency with all exotic weapons, replacing skill requirements with BAB, and more.
New style feats. Who says they have to be restricted to monks? These include a style that specializes in whacking people with bows/guns, one that specializes in 5-foot steps and lunges, and a style that turns spears into double weapons.
Butt loads of other feats. What I love about them is just how usable they are. In Ultimate Combat, maybe 10-25% of the feats seemed usable, but in here, I can find uses and potential build ideas for most of the ones in this book. Some of my favorites are Spellcut (substitute base saves with BAB against magic), Smash from the Air (knock away magic attacks and freaking boulders), and Cayden Cailean's Blade and Tankard, which specializes in using a tankard as an off-hand weapon!
The only potential downside I can see to this book, is that a lot of the features are specific to fighters, or require weapon mastery as a class feature to qualify. That being said, I was disappointed by their lack of inclusion in Pathfinder Unchained, so I feel they were overdue for some love.
I really hope Paizo continues in this direction for fun, flavorful, and most importantly, useful combat options. This is probably my favorite player companion of all time, and I can't wait to try out all these new builds swimming around in my head.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #63: The Asylum Stone (Shattered Star 3 of 6)Paizo Inc.
Interesting dungeon, but could use some more glueMechalibur —
The Asylum Stone contains three different dungeons, each one with its own unique theme. All three of these are paced well, and the last two have a good mixture of mysterious and magical. The creatures found within the dungeons are varied, and quite a few of them can find themselves in rooms other than their starting locations, really giving the DM a number of options for challenging their PCs. Since the actual encounters are the majority of the adventure (and were done superbly), the flaws I'm about to list only took off a star from my overall rating
So the dungeons and enemies are all great, but the problem in this adventure comes with the number of assumptions it makes about what the PCs will do. It included two largely unnecesary encounters on the way to Kaer-Maga (If there's only going to be one encounter in a day, it isn't worth unless sufficiently challenging/epic), and assumes that the players are going to get a guide (isn't their mission kind of private?) and that it's going to be Gav, and that they'll tell him exactly what they're looking for. The only two ways to advance the story is to either inquire with the Augers, or check out the Therassic spare, and if the PCs do the latter first, they skip around the first third of the adventure.
The support articles aren't fantastic either. I was really hoping the Gangs of Kaer Maga article would talk about the groups that weren't already talked about in the adventure, and the Missions in Magnimar article didn't really add anything to the world, which is what I normally look for in the support articles. The bestiary, at least, was interesting, though there were only four monsters.
Sutter also makes a lot references to his own works, including City of Strangers (duh), Distant Worlds, and oddly enough his fiction in AP #3. The latter was extremely unnecesary, but I suppose it didn't really take anything away from the adventure.
So overall the adventure itself was fun and enjoyable, though I had a bit of problem with the details. My group enjoyed playing through it, but I had to adapt a bit to get them to actually go into the dungeons.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #62: Curse of the Lady's Light (Shattered Star 2 of 6) (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
Brilliant Dungeon - Fun EnemiesMechalibur —
Curse of the Lady's Light follows in the steps of Shards of Sin, presenting an adventure mostly comprising of one big dungeon crawl. Like Shards of Sin, it suceeds in presenting an interesting array of characters, encounters, and tricks. If the players are paying attention, they can gradually begin to uncover the truth behind the dungeon's denizens and leader, using her real identity to their advantage in what should be a climactic and entertaining final encounter.
The NPCs have all been fun to interact with, and they all truly feel like they belong in the Lady's Light. Clever PCs can find clever ways to bypass encounters, especially if they make use of a particularly devious trap early in the dungeon.
Overall, this has been a pleasure to run, and possibly the best dungeon I've ever seen in an adventure path. I hope Mike Shell is here to stay as an AP author.
Pathfinder Adventure Path #61: Shards of Sin (Shattered Star 1 of 6) (PFRPG)Paizo Inc.
Surprisingly Engaging Dungeon CrawlMechalibur —
From start to finish, Shards of Sin displays excellent pacing, a variety of encounter types, as well as plenty of social and puzzle encounters to test out your players' mental muscles. Even though the adventure is dominated by a single dungeon, it managed to keep my players' attention, and occassionally throw a few curve balls to keep them on their feet.
The support article provides useful background information about Xin, and details the artifacts your players will encounter, as well as descriptions and statistics for the seven skymetals, which were quite unique. The bestiary monsters are also interesting, especially the Bishop Agathian and Melfesh Monster.
All in all, an excellent adventure, showing that dungeon crawls don't have to be boring or repetetive.