After reading the early reviews for this product, my expectation for this product was middling to low. Perhaps this is why I find myself loving this book! (And contrasting that to the very high expectation of the early reviewers expecting another Weapon Master's Handbook and then feeling let down).
I find a ton of options that make a previously niche build much more usable.
Want to use the cover feature of a tower shield more economically (and generally make the tower shield a very usable option)? Get Mobile Bulwark Style and Tower Shield Specialist. This is looking very good for the Castellan Cavalier Archetype
Want to get Spring Attack without Dodge and Mobility? Get Defended Movement
Want access to improved combat maneuver feats without Power Attack at STR 13 (for all those swashbucklers out there)? Get Guarded Charge
Want to make Overrun a cool ability that you might actually use and specialize in? Get Bulette Charge Style
And my personal favourite I've been waiting years for ... Want to be the Greek Phalanx Fighter from antiquity without need one niche fighter archetype? Get Shield Brace.
I also love the Advanced Armor Training options. Not as powerful as Advanced Weapon Training, but armor training was not as good as weapon training, so it balances.
And finally, continuing to add stamina options to other combat feats outside the core rule book line is magnificent. I'll keep hope that this continues and one day I'll see a stamina option for Phalanx Formation.
A note up front: I have not run this module, only read it.
Also SPOILERS FOLLOW ...
I was very surprised and pleased with the unique roleplaying encounters in the AP. Though, with Richard Pett's name attached, I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
The point system associated with both banquets the PC's attend was amazing. How the final points accrued in the second banquet will affect the next adventure was deliciously enticing. This subsystem is the main reason I thought this adventure will go down as one of the best AP issues to date. It provides many options for non-charisma, non-diplomacy based PC's to still shine in roleplaying situations, and gives those that are focused in CHA-based skills new takes on how to use them.
The NPC's are great. The added explanation of how Jilia's current state wholely prevents divination attempts to find her is a very interesting twist on thwarting divination that I have never thought of myself before. Kudos!
Finally, there are still enough cinematic battle scenes to keep even the most strident of dungeon-crawlers happy.
The back matter is also great. I particularly liked Mr. Schneider's words on Mahathallah (as the only non-celestial of the pre-exodus Whore Queens, she has always been the most intriguing to me).
A fantastic product all round and has me counting down the days until the might issue 100!
It started with Melee Tactics Toolbox, then Ranged Tactics Toolbox, now Dirty Tactics Toolbox makes a excellent line turn STELLAR.
When a Player Companion has feat/archetypes/spells that make you want to start a new character JUST TO USE THE OPTIONS, then it is a great one indeed.
A few stand-outs are the Poison spells (a category of spell I thought was previously lacking), Accomplished Sneak Attacker feat (the Boon Companion feat for multiclass rogues and single class slayers), Dirty Fighting feat (as mentioned everywhere, a long waited for alternative to Combat Expertise) and the Monk of the Mantis archetype (monk with sneak attack PLUS options to work with Unchained Monk? Yes Please!!).
And there are a great number of other gems in here (for example the Sapping weapon property and sniping feat of which I forget the exact name).
The only downside is now my expectations for the next Tactics Toolbox are sky high.