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Stole my breath away.Rubber Block —
I’ll be honest with you, I’m of the camp that the base Rouge has little to none going for it in Pathfinder. Besides a small damage multiplier in Sneak Attack, it gets to choose from mediocre options and is generally outclassed any time Paizo releases a splatbook that can give someone Trapfinding. So whenever I see “different” types of Rogues with extra abilities, it always makes me happy. The latest version I’m looking at is the Abstract Thief by the new publishing Team Quasar Knight Enterprise.
The Abstract Thief is a 21 page PDF, with a 1 page front cover, 4 pages of OGL, 1 page of Commercial Art License, and 1 back cover, leaving 13 pages of content. It covers the 20 level base class, the Abstract Thief. The Abstract Thief is a 20 level base class with a medium BAB, D8 Hit Die, one good save (Will) and 6 skill points (+INT) per level. It gets 6 levels of spellcasting, with its own spell list (Points just for that!), and prepares its spells each day. The spell list consists of spells like Disguise Self, Invisibility and Silence, so you can figure out what you’re supposed to do with them (spoiler alert, get in there, take everything that isn’t nailed to the ground, and get out). It gains proficiency with the same weapons as a Rogue (Hand Crossbow, Rapier, Shortsword, Sap and Simple weapons) and Light armor Proficiency; however it does NOT reduce Arcane Spell Failure in Light Armor (Unless that’s an editing Error).
For Class features, at first level it gains an ability called steal the abstract, which is a Pool equal to half the classes’ level + it’s INT mod. It can use that to give itself a bonus to Bluff, Disable Device, Disguise, Escape Artist, Sleight of Hand, or Stealth checks, and later on at 4th level, gains the ability to use it to make a Combat Maneuver as a swift action using its INT mod in place of its STR, anywhere within 30 feet, having an invisible magical force sweep someone from under their legs, send their weapon flying or even better. The other thing it can use those pool points for are its signature abilities, Abstractions. Abstractions allow the class to steal certain things from enemies, including their weapon/armor proficiencies (Watching someone in Full Plate lose the ability to wear it is a joy that is not witnessed enough), Stat points, and eventually their life! While the latter sounds strong, it is only a save or die effect that you get at 9th level, when the Wizard has been doing that whole shtick for a while.
Further down we have favored class bonuses for all of the base races and the Drow, except for Half Elves and Elves (Unless Drow Elves meant it’s the same for Drow/Elves), which are all fine. After that we get to one of my favorite parts, which are the feats. My personal favorite of the feats from there is Be Quiet and Follow Me, which allows others to use your stealth rolls (but with the highest penalty to size added in the group), so that when you’re sneaking by, the guy in heavy armor doesn’t give you away. Another good one is Card Sharp, which lets you throw Tarot cards, and use Dex to damage instead of STR with them. Additionally, you can use the deck to cast Augury once per day. The last two pages before credits/OGL are some fluff dealing with Abstract Thieves in in the world, and is worth a read.
All in All, aside from a few unclear things (Drow Elves and the arcane spell failure in armor), this class is pretty boss. It’s very well designed, has the thief flavor with a nice arcane splattering in it, and isn’t overpowered or broken in the slightest. 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5.
Edit: All the aforementioned errors are fixed, bumping it up to 5 stars (which it was anyways so...)
Worth an Arm and a Leg.Rubber Block —
So this is an older product, but I definitely think this needs more recognition, as it's quite the goodie. I've got a lot of respect for classes that are willing to break the rules and change things up, and this definitely does so in a way that's not broken or outlandish, and provides a role parties seldom take for granted, a good tank.
The Genius Guide to the Armiger is an 11 page PDF. It has a d12 hd, a medium BAB, and a good fort/will save. It get's 4 + int mod skill points, and is proficient with all simple weapons, martial melee weapons, the heavy/light repeating crossbow, all types of armors, and all types of shields (including the exotic ones added). The classes starting wealth is where it starts to get interesting. It starts out with 5d6x10 gp.... or a suit of splint mail and 2d3x10 gp. Being able to start out with a ton of AC is nice, though they instantly become a burden when they are hobbling around at 15 feet of movement.
Oh, I suppose I should get into the other feature of it that "breaks the rules". At every level, it rolls a d12 for hitpoints.... but anything below a 6 counts as a 6, so you're averaging out pretty high. "BUT OP OP OP", which I say to that... no, not really. This is a tanking class, and tanking it does. When something breaks the rules like that, it should have a good reason... and this totally does. Starting out with splintmail, a whole boatload of hitpoints and all that good stuff, we're kind of in for a wild ride... or a very safe one if you're the squishy in the back.
The class gets a scaling bonus to AC, and DR which is absolutely awesome. It gets an ability called reflect, which is basically heavy armor only evasion, which is also pretty cool, along with the ability to don it's armor much quicker, and even take an attack for an ally. All of these abilities are very much in the classes MO, and make it so that it does the role it's suppose to do even better.
Also, every few levels it gains an Armiger talent, allowing it to gain or give temporary hit points, act as full cover rather then soft, have uncanny dodge (cleverly named uncanny block), gaining energy resistance and even getting better at bull rushing/overrunning. At 10th you can pick up some advanced talents, letting you even pick up some abjuration spells from the the Cleric or Wizard spell list.
The Capstone pretty much makes it so that the stonewall it was before, it's even better. If there's anything that could lower it's AC, it gets a special fort save to just completely ignore it. Oh, in addition to the fact that it ignores crits and sneak attacks, it gets that multiple times per day. Again, nothing groundbreaking, but makes the class do what it does.
Right before the end it has a few feats that anyone can take, allowing extra AO's that would stack with Combat Reflexes, or the ability to ignore some of the armor penalty. Ending it has some exotic shields that the Armiger is proficient with, but other classes need to pick up the proficiency for, having a shield that you can place some stuff in, a shield that's better against disarming, and even a shield that's got a nice little crit range.
So as an older product, it's a bit hard to get angry at it for not having favored class bonuses or anything like that, as this is getting close to 4 years old, and they didn't have anything like that back then. As a PC class, as much as I like the fact that it's able to subtly change the rules, it's probably not the most fun thing to do, but if you can keep people on you, everyone will think you're the biggest boss around. All in all, a pretty unflawed, if a bit dated class. There has been content released to keep it somewhat up to date, but for the most part looks a little forgotten. Back in the day and even today, really, it's got some out there ideas, and breaking the rules and being a little too powerful so you can nerf it is much easier to fix then having something be too weak. 5 out of 5 stars for the purpose of this review.
I can’t even think of a lame joke for this, just buy it.Rubber Block —
Path of War is a series of PDFs inspired by the 3.5 book the Tome of Nine Swords. For those who don't know, the Tome of Nine Swords was a book released late in 3.5's tenure, that had a new set of abilities (plus classes that could use said abilities) called Maneuvers. Essentially, Maneuvers were mechanically spells that martial classes could cast that do awesome things, such as Jumping Slashes, and all sorts of cool stuff like that. The draw to them is that they are more dynamic (you could use them as counters to abilities, and as additional effects to your attacks), and give the party beef more options than just "get in full attack move on". Paizo's tried things like that with the style feats and has had some success with it (The Panther/Snake chain in specific makes things super fun and interactive), but some of the styles have some oppressive prerequisites, or are so specific that only very certain types of characters will appreciate (eg Monks).
The first PDF in this series covers the Stalker base class, information about a new skill that's used for the Maneuvers, feats for all sorts of classes, including on how to add the maneuvers to base classes, and 5 schools of maneuvers, Broken Blade, Solar Wind, Steel Serpent, Thrashing Dragon and Veiled Moon. This information spans 52 pages of content, with 1 page for a cover, 1 page of credits, 1 intro and ending with 1 page of OGL.
Starting with the Stalker base class, it's a medium BAB martial class with a d8 hd, a +2 bonus on its will saves and a scaling dodge bonus that comes with it. It starts out with the same wealth and age as a cleric, and has 6 skill points per level. One thing I've immediately noticed before I jumped right into this class was that it gave suggestions on how to build it, what roles it will serve in combat, and where you'd want to place your stats, something that's a small touch, but helps a lot. It's proficient with all simple/martial weapons, and with light armor, but not shields or any heavier armor. It also receives a scaling dodge bonus that it gets when it levels up, along with an ability called Deadly Strike. Deadly Strike is basically a sneak attack style ability that scales slower, but will apply on each attack if you critically hit, which is very nice, and gives you an idea of what kind of weapons and style you'd want to be taking in combat. However... if you use weapon with a higher crit multiplier, you'll be doing d8's instead of d6's on damage, and if you're insane and want to bring a scythe out, you'll be doing d10's. I like the balance in risk reward with that kind of thing, allowing you change how often you're doing the deeps vs how much it's going to hurt occasionally. The class itself uses wisdom for its manuevers and it also gains a ki pool (that admittedly isn't as versatile as a monks) at first level, which it can use to make it better at sense motive checks/perception checks, eventually gaining the ability to bolster a save, or even gain some manuevers back. At 2nd level, it gains an ability called combat insight, which allows it to add its wisdom to reflex saves and init, eventually giving it the uncanny dodge ability and finally acting like a supercharged critical focus, and even giving you blindsense all the way at level 18. At 3rd level and every few levels after you gain a stalker art, which allows you to take a talent that range from stuff that gives you Improved Unarmed Strike, to the ability to hit Deadly strikes on flatfooted targets and even the ability to take a rogue talent. Thankfully it stops you from taking Ninja tricks, otherwise we'd have Stalkers with vanishing trick running around and ruining our day, haha.
The Class itself is very very interesting. It works as a nice martial striker, without stepping on any other roles toes, except maybe the Rogue/Ninja. I’m almost a little sad this is the first class they brought out for this, as it’s a medium BAB style class as opposed to the full BAB stuff most people think of when they mention the Tome of Nine Swords, but I can’t complain too much. As far as the class itself it seems fine, it doesn’t get any bonus feats unless you wanna burn your stalker arts on it which are a little limited so you’re pretty much going to either be sticking to something like TWF or Ranged, and not much else.
The new skill it has is called Knowledge: Martial, which allows you to identify maneuvers being done, and the history of maneuvers. It also helps you know about the maneuvers that are popular in said region, and if you can hit a high enough DC, what maneuvers that someone is capable of. I’d almost wish it applied to Style feats, but I can only dream, haha.
The Feats it adds are interesting, ranging from something that can allow you to enter a maneuver stance and a style feat at the same time, to something that will allow you to add your dex to damage on all finesse weapons, or even lowering the penalty for using double weapons. Last but not least, it allows you to tack on maneuvers to any class so long as you have the BAB/Skill ranks for it, allowing Fighters/even stuff like Magus’ in on the fun. Deadly Agility (which lets you add DEX to damage) is a little scary, but you could practically already do that with no trouble with Dervish dance, and allows for more builds, is something I’m okay with. Breaking rules makes it so certain builds are possible, and every monk doesn’t have to hang itself when it has to do a 15 point buy.
All that only covers the first 11 pages of this PDF, where the bulk of it is mostly covering (with good reason, mind you) the new maneuver system. Maneuvers are set up into 4 different types, Boosts, which allow you to add something to an attack. Counters are another type that are used in response to certain abilities, such as getting hit and such. Strikes basically act as normal attacks with additional effects, to put them very lightly, and last but not least Stances change how your characters basics are going to react. Each of them take different actions to enter, such as Boosts usually being swift actions, counters being immediate, strikes ranging from full round to standard and stances being swift.
You know a set number of stances and always have those, but at the beginning of each day you get to prepare the maneuvers you know, much like how a wizard prepares his spells, so any class that can do maneuvers isn’t stuck packing up camp as the wizard decides what he wants to do for today. These abilities are per encounter abilities, so you can safely go all out, and still have resources for the rest of the day. Also; there are ways to recover maneuvers in combat as well, which differ class by class, but I believe they can all get some back as a standard action.
Starting from the top, the school of Broken Blade is all about being unarmed, and focuses on jumping around, snatching weapons out of enemy’s hands or snatching the enemies themselves. All in all, very brawly styles, being for those that prefer to do their own dirty work with their hands.
Solar Wind is next up, being the only ranged school introduced in this book. Only working with Bows, Crossbows and Thrown weapons, this style integrates some supernatural abilities into it, allowing you to shoot (or hurl) flaming arrows (or chakrams!) into the fray, multiple some precious ammo, or even do some awesome trick shots.
Next is Steel Serpent, allowing you to supernaturally add poison effects to weapons, and use your knowledge of the body to the enemy’s disadvantage. You can only do it with piercing or slashing weapons, with unarmed strikes being the exception to the rule. A dirty style, fit for Stalkers that want to play more like assassins.
Thrashing Dragon is my personal favorite from this set, using two weapons (or one weapon and a fist) turning you into a whirling dervish of death. Much like a dragon, you’re able to deal great amounts of damage with this, and you get all sorts of cool tricks alongside that.
Last but certainly not least is Veiled Moon style, which has you tapping into the power of the Ethereal plane, allowing you to hit ghosts, and eventually pop around the astral realm and turn you into a pseudo Nightcrawler, along with debuffing the enemy. Another Supernatural style, with the added side effect of being unable to use any abilities that mention the Ethereal plane when you’re somewhere that can’t access it.
There are quite a few editing errors which at this point I’ve realized is par for the course on anything based on the OGL (a few styles aren’t bolded, in the Art of the Blade section it mentions initiator level as manifester level, sometimes calls styles powers.), but the gist of it is still understood. As far as power concerns, I think this stuff is totally fine. If you’re playing in a groups that average class is a monk that will take weapon focus fist and quarterstaff just because you might run into some fire elementals, you might end up with some power concerns, otherwise this is VERY in line with most things, and requires a bit more thought.
All in all, this product basically makes melee combat more dynamic. Using all of your actions to make cool stuff happen is awesome, not to mention makes it more interactive. Some of the feats in here might have a bit more juice then you’re used to, but nothing game breaking, and certainly nothing that can’t be caught beforehand. Dreamscarred Press always continues to wow me, with not only their innovations onto the awesome old mechanisms that Paizo either left on the wayside or doesn’t want to do, and kicks it to 11 with adding some awesome to it… and it’s all well within balance. Don’t just buy this class, subscribe to the whole series, and never look back. 5/5 Stars, easy.
Kobold's in the shadows with something for everyoneRubber Block —
During a specific one-shot, I ended up playing an Umbral Kobold, and the character intrigued me for one reason in specific: I was playing a kobold that was competent! I’ve always hated the fact that kobolds were mostly just cannon fodder to launch at your players—if you wanted to play one, have fun jury rigging something! A new type of Kobold that isn’t just awful was very appealing to me ahead of time.
Returning to the review, Shadowsfall: Guide to Umbral Kobolds is a 16 page PDF with a front and back cover, a one page table of contents and another page with an ad and OGL, leaving 12 pages of content. It is a full color PDF, with full color images and art. It uses a 2 column page layout, very similar to how official pathfinder books do it, which I like a lot.
Another thing I’ve noticed is the great attention to fluff. They cover the design notes on WHY they designed umbral kobolds in the way they did, and afterward have an exquisite in-character story from an umbral kobold. I rarely review fluff, but this was not something I could overlook.
Gone are the days when to make a kobold build that actually did damage you had to make a Dervish Dance build. Umbral Kobolds are a small race that has a +2 to INT and Dex, and a -2 to STR, with a land speed of 30 feet. They have dark vision and light sensitivity, additional natural armor, and a bonus to crafting traps, perception and mining. All and all, fairly standard and nothing too ground breaking….
Or is it? Some of their alternate racial traits get to add very specific abilities. As an example, you can trade out their inherent stealth to become a garish albino, able to see in light just fine, or get a dirty, poisonous spit. Most interesting is how one of their traits adds a +1 to dex, and +2 to stealth, but removes the built in +1 natural armor. It changes how you’d point buy your character if you pick that, and feels like a pretty interesting balance in that it makes you choose between one definite (+1 AC) or the potential extra dex, and a free bonus to a skill.
Next up are traits and archetypes. The traits are all good. You are either a bit skittish (a little faster to react and dodge), or you’re an observer of the shadows (knowledge of planes as a class skill with a small bonus to it). However, archetypes are the treat. They are two archetypes, one for the rogue and one for the alchemist.
Dangerous to the core, the mad bomber archetype makes them lose their mutagens and poison for even stronger bombs. Tired of provoking while throwing? That’s not there anymore. Sick of people making saves on the bombs' splash damage? It is 3/4ths + int mod + level instead of the usual half. Tired that by the time you have your extra attack, you can’t get an extra bomb in? You can get bomb related discoveries earlier. All in all, a great way to show how kobold alchemists would really fight.
Eliminating enemies stealthily is the rogue’s specialty, and the Shadowsneak cranks that to 11—they get better at crafting traps and moving around. To give you a good idea of the play style you’d want, trap up a lair of yours, wait for your enemies to spring in, and then stop them before they even make noise. Iconic and delightful. They lose trapfinding for it, which is a little weird, however.
Moving on, we have racial feats, and from removing the built-in fumble rules in guns, to making a gang of kobolds immune to being intimidated and pushed around, they are all flavorful, but not always the “THIS FEAT IS OP MUST TAKE”. Also, built-in shadowdancing dimension door is wayyy too cool to not take :P
After that we have equipment, which covers some alchemical items and magic items. If you’re tired of being an albino, you can buy some scale stain to dye yourself, or you can get your hands on a weapon that unerringly kills the undead. There are also Deities, domains, and spells, the spells being especially cool as they are illusion blast spells.
Next, we have the list of Kobold communities, with different clans and groups and suggestions of certain leaders in it. Pretty cool, and if you’re trying to implant them in your setting, easy enough. We end with a CR11 NPC, a Kobold Rogue with the shadowsneak archetype. All and all, cool fluff, and a decent NPC.
Decidedly, this is a better try at a balanced kobold race. The fluff, while made for one setting, could easily be changed, and as a player race, you don’t feel like you got the short end of the small monstrous humanoid stick. The only complaint I have is that favored class bonuses aren’t listed, but I believe in the Shadowsfall guide they have that so… 4.5 stars out of 5, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of the review.
If someone were to make a Strix Talented Monk, would it be a Talonted Monk?Rubber Block —
The Genius Guide to the Talented Monk is the latest in the “Talented Class” line by Super Genius Games. For those of you who don’t know, the product line gets the class features from the classes and sets them up into groups of talents, allowing you to pick and choose what you’d like from a class to fit an exact concept instead of having to straight jacket your character to an archetype or a specific build.
The Monk as it stands, is a class that suffers from being forced into concepts and archetypes a lot, as some class features such as Tongue of Sun and Moon, or silly things like Still Mind. Ontop of that, it also has the weirdness of Flurry of Blows giving it a technical higher BAB, and being really, really, REALLY Multi-Ability Score dependent, making it hard for the Monk to pay for some feat taxes (like the 13 int required for Combat Expertise, but that’s another review for another time), makes it so that most monk builds are very hodge-podge mixes of features, hoping to get something right.
The PDF itself is a 27 Page PDF, with a Half Page Cover, One page of credits and OGL, and Three Pages covering an organization chart of the talents/edges, and the ability to allow monks/rogues/fighters to share talents., leaving 22.5 pages of content. It’s a full color PDF with full color art.
The Talented Monk itself is a d8 HD Class with a medium BAB, having every save as good saves, 4+ int mod skills per level, and its own set of weapon proficiencies. It has an alignment restriction of Lawful, but some talents allow it to be a different alignment as well. It also has a “Specialty attack bonus”, which follows regular BAB progression, when attacking with a Fighting Style or Chosen Weapon. What are those exactly? Those are Edges and talents, respectively.
Monks edges this time around are really cool, giving you proficiency with a whole group of weapons and allowing you to use your specialty bonus with them, or even allowing you to use light and medium armor. Of course, if you want to build a classic monk, with the Unarmed Strike and the usual fast movement, you can still take those options. The ability to Flurry is another option you can pick up as well, essentially allowing you to Flurry using your specialized attack bonus.
Talents are also sufficiently awesome, from giving you the ability to hit so fast your shadows can’t catch up (thus making DR on an enemy less useful), being able to sense creatures around you with blind sense, or even letting it steal ki from other people. Or, if you don’t feel like being the aesthetic warrior, you can forgo all Ki powers and be a martial artist, or indulge deeply and become a drunken monk, letting you find inner peace right at the bottom of the bottle. At 10th level onward you’re able to take advanced talents, and at 20th you get an additional edge and capstone talent choice, which are really cool.
I also like some of the ideas presented, especially the weapon groups that you get from the Fighting Style edge, in that you gain proficiency with all of the weapons in them, since they are similar enough to use, and I also like how flurry is an option, if you just want to full attack normally (see; If you’re a two handed monk and you want your STR.5 bonus), you can.
Aside from a few text errors (Trick shot is listed as a normal talent when it should be an advanced), and a few questionable choices for balance (Uncanny Initiative is available at 10th level?), this PDF is great. It allows you to choose certain choices that wouldn’t be viable or even choose able at certain levels (being able to get Pounce at 10th with Animal Aspect is <3), this is great. The only thing I could ask for is sample builds for newer players with suggestions to branch them out (which if I was Gming I’d do anyways) and more talents/edges. If I’m making a Ki-less monk, I feel my options are a little less compared to one that uses ki, but besides that this is a great product. 5 stars, can’t wait until they release more talents for it so that I can finally make that unarmored martial artist that I’ve always wanted to make.
I am 4 Ninja(Archetypes)sRubber Block —
Heroes of the East 3 is a whopping 30 page PDF, filled to the brim with Archetypes, Prestige Classes, Base Classes, Feats, Weapons and Magic items. There is about 3/4ths of a page of OGL, Two Cover pages, leaving 27.25 (wow that’s an awkward number) pages worth of content. For the integrity of the review, I have to mention that I received this copy for free, but for 4.99, there’s something for everyone in this book.
Starting off we have the Yamabushi, one of the first base clases. The Yamabushi is a d10 HD Full BAB Class with a good Fort and Will Save. All Yamabushi have to be Non-Chaotic and they have proficiency with all simple and Monk Weapons, plus the Katana, Naginata, and Wakizashi, and proficient with Light and Medium armor, but not shields. 2+ Int mod skills per level, with a skill set similar to other classes of the type it is (beefy with a few knowledge skills). It gets an AC bonus like a Monk has, and Resolve like a Samurai. It eventually casts spells like a Ranger using the Ranger Spell list, and a bonus to damage against Chaotic Outsiders, Oni and Chaotic dragons. Eventually it can treat all attacks around it made by allies as lawful, and few things dealing with True Names. Its capstone is pretty boring, adding its wisdom to all saves, and allowing it to take 20 on all knowledge checks relating to Kami. My honest opinion? Yawnbushi. It’s not really ground breaking or does anything cool, it’s just good against Chaotic things, and has a few knowledge skills related to Kami. Nothing’s wrong with it (Except the Smite Chaos Listed at level 4 which I’m assuming is a text error), and it’s well designed and balanced, it just doesn’t pop out to me. It’s the kind of thing you’d have to be into.
The next class listed is the Shinshoku. The Shinshoku is a d8 HD Half BAB divine spell caster with an alignment restriction of Non-Evil. It has all knowledge skills among other things as class skills, and 2+ int mod skills per level. It’s proficient with all simple weapons and light armor, and can cast in it just fine (since it’s light armor). It casts both Arcane and Divine Spells, and uses the same progression as a Wizard/Cleric, and casts from both spell lists. It doesn’t have a spell book, so it’s just shackled by spells known. It uses Charisma to cast, and can get bonus spells per level based on having a good CHA mod. How it prepares it’s spell is interesting, as it sends the Kami into the Spirit world, and allows it to get spells in a certain amount of time (1d4-1 rounds for Arcane, 1d6-1 for Divine), allowing it to not use all of its slots in a day. Oh, I guess I should mention its Kami. The Kami it gets is roughly an animal companion like a druids, except it’s treated as an outsider (and gets all good things about that), and has a D10 HD and a Full BAB, and is immune to bleed, mind affecting effects, petrification effects and Polymorph effects as well, along with getting 6+ int mod skills per level. This Class seems very powerful, and I’m wondering what it was balanced against. Being able to not only get all the spells you want, but prepare them in a jiffy, and even leave some open in case of certain situations sounds like it would lead to disaster. I’d be weary allowing one in a game, but it’s certainly there.
Moving past the base classes, we have the archetypes. The first Archetype is kind of boring, as in it just changes the Yamabushi a little, making it lose its spell casting/AC bonus to get proficiency with Heavy armor, and martial weapon proficiency. I’m assuming it’s a glitch in that it says it’s HD turns to d10 as it already has a d10, and maybe it’d go to a d12? A little clarification is needed.
The next archetype really tickles my pickle, which is the Kuji Kiri Ninja, or the Sorcerous Ninja. They need to have one hand open to do the motions required, but they are gain 6 levels of spellcasting, allowing it to be a half caster like a Bard. It uses the Divination, Illusion and Enchantment School for its pool of spells, and trades a little more than half of its Ninja tricks for it. Again, really cool Archetype, super flavorful and I could see myself playing one.
The Oniwaban it’s the next archetype for the Ninja, allowing it to fool a lot of spells, and even turn into the other person out of study. It can study people 2 hours per HD, and can store 1 Persona per 4 level + CHA mod, eventually being able to tell everything about the character it’s copied. This makes for great NPCs, and possibly even greater PCs. Being able to exactly clone someone is really cool, and it’s super evocative.
The Honorable Shinobi loses his Sneak attack most of his Ninja tricks to be able to deal more consistent damage, and even adjust his weapons with magical abilities. Instead of Sneak attack, he gets +2 damage on attacks that would count as sneak attack, going up by plus +2 on every odd level. At 4th, he can use Ki to add abilities to his weapons, much like a Magus can use his Arcane pool to Augment it. As someone who curses his dice often, it’s great to see a more consistent way to deal sneak attack damage without having to take wonky talents.
The Iga Ninja instead is more of smart, less sneaky ninja. His Ki Pool is based on his INT instead of his CHA, and he gets bombs instead of sneak attack, following the bomb progression of an Alchemist. Eventually he’s able to take discoveries at certain levels. I kinda wish him getting the Discoveries were at any level, and just let him take them instead of Ninja Tricks instead of getting discoveries for free, but eh, it’s fine otherwise, if a little bit powerful.
The Street Fighter is the next archetype, which is for the Monk. Instead of a Ki Pool, you get a Grit pool, and you’ve got to take style feats instead of the usual monk bonus feats. It can use Grit for a few things that replace regular monk abilities, but can restore it by doing cool things (as per grit), but also getting it while using people who have signature fighting styles, Such as a Ranger using a feat from his Combat Style, someone with Weapon Specialization or Greater Weapon Focus. Since his Grit pool is smaller than a Ki Pool would usually be, he can gain multiple points of grit per round, and can restore them (as opposed to Ki). As a huge fan of 2d fighters, this is the kinda monk I like seeing, as opposed to the traditional aesthetic kind.
The Onna-Bugeisha is an Archetype for female only samurai that specialize in using the Naginata, being able to strike from Close and Far with it, and based on the actual history of how females in Japan preferred that weapon. It eventually threatens 5 feet along with the usual 10, and gets a bonus to crit on it that actually stacks with Keen, which is a rare ability that doesn’t see as much use. Very cool, though I don’t see myself playing a female samurai any time soon, haha.
The Hwarang is another archetype for the Samurai, based on the actual Hwarang, known as “Flower Knights”. They get a different set of class skills (Mostly ones that deal with social and courtly affairs), a different selection of weapons and eventually a ki pool. It’s choice of weapons is based more on the Korean history ones instead of the usual Japanese (Which makes sense since they are based on Korean History). At 4th level they get a ki pool allowing them to do the usual things (Make an extra attack, Get extra movement speed and a +4 Dodge bonus). At 6th they get the ability to… apply makeup? To get a bonus on intimidate checks? This is a little bit of a weird ability but it works, I guess. It’s not very useful but ehhh… Eventually it gets Evasion so long as it has Ki in its Ki Pool, and upgrading to improved evasion eventually. It’s an interesting class, but I wish the Make Up ability was a little bit better.
The Sikh Warrior is a Fighter Archetype that’s for Good Fighters only. It’s based on the actual Sikh’s and doesn’t do them justice, sadly. Having a code of Conduct and it’s dodge bonus only applying a certain number of things, and it’s stuck using a very specific set of weapons might make for interesting NPCs, but very boring PCs.
Last but not Least is the Khan archetype for the Barbarian. A Mounted ranged archetype for the barbarian is weird, but totally fits the Khans. They get a mount like a druid replacing their fast movement and trapsense, mounted combat as a bonus feat instead of a rage power and a lowered penalty while doing mounted archery.
Starting off on the Prestige Classes, you have the Dervish, a double weapon wielding quick dex style fighter. It has a d10 HD and a Full BAB, with good Reflex saves. Needing Whirlwind attack, and proficiency with a double weapon to get in, there is some feat tax (since Whirlwind Attack is so intensive to get in), but otherwise pretty easy. Two levels in gets you dex on damage whenever you’re two weapon fighting with a double weapon, and you get stuff like the ability to make a whirlwind attack after your full movement. All and all, very well balanced, and seems fun enough.
The Youxia is a prestige class requiring a BAB of 10 to get into, or 7 levels of monk and proficiency with an exotic weapon. With a d10 HD and a Full BAB, and a good Fort and Ref save, it’s definitely up in the frey. It gets a Ki pool, but if another class gives it one, its levels stack with it. It’s the equivalent of a Sword Saint, being able to go into a Trance that costs 1 ki point a round, that gives him bonuses based on the level of Youxia he is. It’s kind of similar to Rage, in that he ends up fatigued at the end of it. Staying in the Trance isn’t that worth it until you hit 4th level of Youxia, where he’s autohasted, and once you hit 10th, all of your attacks are treated like you have truestrike up (so long as you have 7 or more Ki points in your pool) He’s also able to charge his weapon with Ki, to add his Wisdom to Damage, Reroll a miss or Crit confirmation, or even add an extra 1d6 of damage. Eventually they a free bonus to hit/damage with their chosen weapon, and they eventually are able to meditate to get some of their Ki back. It’s a nice little melee style class that can eventually nova out, pretty cool.
The final prestige class is Wukong, which is for Vanera only. Based on the Legend of Son Wukong, many Vanera decide to follow that path. I’m slightly curious as to how to get one without using an archetype as you need to be Non-Lawful and have a Ki Pool. I guess you can use a ninja, but it’s a little blargh, but that’s more the fault of the monk, and not the Wukong. Wielding Quarter staves, and being able to Enlarge and reduce them is pretty awesome and evocative, and very relative to the legend itself. Eventually it’s able to make clones (aka mirror images) out of hairs, use true seeing, and true to legend, become unable to die. If he does die, they are eventually reborn from stone. I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to this archetype because I normally dislike Vanera, but I’m pleasantly surprised.
Finally we get to the Style feats, which have fighting styles based on Ninjutsu, Scorpion Style, Wudang and Jeet Kun Do. Ninjutsu is pretty cool, allowing you to sidestep, reposition, or even get a better chance to crit on opponents who miss you.
Scorpion style is interesting, as the original Pathfinder Scorpion style is really really bad. This one makes you a little slower, but harder to hit, and gives you bonuses to hitting enemies who miss you, eventually allowing you to get AO’s on people who miss you, and the feat lets you make an attack that’ll autocrit if it hits, and makes them more susceptible to actual poision, pretty cool if a bit impractical.
“Jyoti Kun Do” is a fighting style from a Jyoti, an Avian Creature from the Positive Energy Plane that learned how fly even after losing its wings in a fight with a master martial artist. Training under the “Ip Meng”, the Jyoti developed its own style. Cheesy story and thinly veiled references aside, JKD is a style all about countering other styles. People with Weapon Focus/Specialization don’t get that benefit against you while you’re using the style, and people using style feats are even worse against you. Eventually you can nullify feats themselves, and even get the legendary 1 inch punch. JKD is a fun style that’s a great throwback to a great martial artist.
Wudang is based on using a Jian in one hand, and having a free hand for a fist, eventually letting you make free attacks with the Jian and fist, or letting your unarmed strikes use the profile as a Jian. And what is a Jian, you might ask? Fret not Gentle reader, as we’ll get into it in the next section.
Some of the new weapons are basically reskins of others, but there are a few new ones, such as the Guan Dao, which is a titan of a weapon weighing in at 22 pounds. The Jian is interesting, in that it acts as a Rapier along with its unique profile. All of them seem fine, though it’s a little disappoint that the Guan Dao is 22 pounds but is only a d10 in damage. I’d expect it to have a bit of a heavier hit.
All and all, there’s a lot to like and dislike in this PDF. It’s defiantly worth the purchase, as there will be something you will like. Bar none. I’m not a huge fan of the base classes in it, but the Prestige classes, and about 3/4ths of the archetypes are really cool. The only editing error I noticed was on the Yamabushi, but otherwise it’s pretty clean in that regard. 3.5 stars, pushed up to 4 for the purpose of this Review. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll probably be making a Kuji-Kiri Ninja, and casting my way to victory.
The Monk spent a few episodes leveling upRubber Block —
So the Monk is always an interesting subject in conversation, coming up as a half handed joke, or someone’s pet class, or even as preferred option by many people. However, it’s almost universally panned as rather mediocre. As a d8 Hitdie class, that has zero to no synergy in its kit, wanting it to do a bunch of different things, being overly team reliant or even useless, it’s laughed at quite a bit. Tripod Machine’s first release in a LONG time (the last product I believe was last updated in ’09!) looks to change this.
Adventuring Classes: Monk Reborn by Tripod Machine is a 26 page PDF, with 2 pages of Front Cover, 2 Pages of back cover and 1 page of OGL, leaving 21 pages worth of content. The PDF contains 4 pages of Feats, 3 pages on additional races, 6 pages on the Lore of eastern weapons and two pages of designer notes, with the class itself taking up about 8.5 pages.
It is a D10 hitdie full bab class, with all good saves, Unarmed strike progression equal to a Monk, an AC bonus equal to a Monk, and fast movement equal to a Monk. It gets 4 + int mod skills per level, with the same skills as a Monk, and the same starting gold as a Monk. It gets no armor proficiencies, and the usual Monk weapons, along with one martial weapon proficiency.
At first glance this is VERY scary, compared to the normal monk. It’s obviously MUCH better, being able to get a pseudo flurry through one of the many bonus feats listed, and various other things. Is it more powerful then AM BARBARIAN BUILDS? Doubtful, but there’s still more we get into.
It gets Monk abilities, like Slow Fall (yawn), High Jump (snore) and Fast Movement (grumble), but eventually it gets to choose from Monk Tantras. At 6th level, it gets to choose its first Tantra, which are essentially talents. They range from the flavorful more roleplaying useful ones, like Tongue of Sun and Moon which is the same as the base monk ability (You can speak to anything… ever), or one that allows you to gain all knowledge skills as class skills, using wisdom as your modifier for them. There of course, are more combat related ones, from allowing you to take certain feats without paying silly feat tax (Spring Attack), or some much earlier (Improved Critial) to the something that’s Basically Arcane Strike (Swift action to give yourself a +1 to damage/CMD/Attack rolls, though it caps out at +4, and is a competence bonus), or even allowing you to use your Ki to make your unarmed strikes at a range, using DEX to hit instead.
Again, this all depends on your view, if your table norm is AM BARBARIAN builds, it isn’t so bad, allowing itself to jump through certain hoops to get things earlier, which may or may not be to people’s likes. I don’t think that getting built in keen that early is that strong, but your mileage may vary.
Some of the feats are the scary part, allowing you to take a pseudo flurry, or improving weapon damage dice, or even giving yourself a built in armor bonus, going up to a +8 armor bonus. For Armorless classes, it’s a good way to not have to spend the gold on Braces of Armor, or having to pester your Wizard to give you mage armor every day.
The races listed are the Vanera, the Hanyou, and the Zhu Xiong. Starting with the Vanera, they are the basic pathfinder Vanera, monkey people with a +2 bonus to Wisdom and Dex, with a -2 to Charisma, with Low Light vision, and a prehensile tail. We’ve all seen the Vanera though, so it’s nothing new.
However, the Hanyou, or more specifically the Forest Hanyou is the first of the new races. Hanyou are basically the Planetouched races, being Oreads, Janni, and Tieflings. However there’s never a real “nature” inspired plane touched, just the basic elements, and such. If you want something that’s foresty, there’s only fae, until the Forest Hanyou at least. Looking slightly oakish, with the smell of a dew covered meadow, The Forest Hanyou has a +2 Dex and +2 Wis, with a -2 to Constitiution. Sorcerers of the race can cast spells in the Verdant bloodline better, and have dark vision as most of the Planetouched have. With a built in woodland stride and better stealth in forests, this all and all is a nice little race.
The Last race is the Zhu Xiong, which is going to hit a soft spot with a lot of people, is a Humanoid Panda like race. A docile race that keeps mostly to them self, and eats mostly bamboo, but on occasion fresh fruit and fish, plucks at the heartstrings of many. The race itself has a +2 STR and +2 WIS with a -2 to Con. I feel like that doesn’t make too much sense, as when I think of a Panda I don’t really think less hardy, but that’s more a flavor concern. It gets slow and steady like a dwarf, so it’s never slowed down by armor, and has natural armor due to its thick hide, and it’s thick hide also protects it from the elements, allowing it to not have to worry about cold elements, and giving it a bonus to saves in cold. Aside from the flavor misnomer in my opinion (I’d rather give this a minus to dex, but I guess it makes them worse monks, which this book is actually about), a decent race with flaws and benefits.
The weapons are mostly just flavor reswaps to fit settings better, such as a Dao being Scimitar in essence or the Wind and Fire Wheels are basically star knives. It covers some weapons that have been covered in Pathfinder already (Wakizashi or Katana, as an example) but allows them to be more balanced as they are basically the same thing as the core weapons, instead of giving a Ninja a strictly better weapon to duel wield over the short sword. The new weapons added are rather lackluster, nothing that catches my eye and makes me say I WANT TO USE IT, but nothing that makes me thing “wow they actually printed this.”
So this is a very interesting product to rate, as for the price, the price is DEFINITELY right. 1.99 for all this content is insane, and it’s a decent enough product. Balance concerns ARE there for some of the feats/the Reborn Monk, but with a good GM/eye, it’s easy enough to squash those. I’d allow the class at a table if I ever was GMing albeit tentatively, and this makes it so that I wanna do a Monk that isn’t just a Zen Archer. It’s probably able to have some wacky builds, but nothing to the effect that isn’t allowed in core material only as well (Amy Alchemist/AM BARBARIAN). For the purpose of this review, it’d normally be a 3 star product, but the price kicks it up a whole star, to a total of 4 stars.
Gishes DelightRubber Block —
Tome of Spell and Sword is a 27 Page PDF, with a one page cover and one page of OGL, leaving 25 pages of content, covering 2 base classes, one prestige class, feats AND magic items. It’s full color, with full color art. Your mileage may vary on your opinion of the art, most of it is passable, but some of it is kind of ehh, in regards to the cover, I do enjoy some of the art of the Dimensional Knight Goblin, knocking another one through the portal, so again it’s all a matter of taste.
Starting off we have the Dimensional Knight class, a d8 HD, Medium BAB with a good will save. They get 4+INT mod skill points per level, with a similar skill list to the Magus. It starts out with 3d6x10 gp per level, and it has proficiency with all Martial and Simple Weapons, and Light armor, but not shields. Also; it seems to still have Arcane spell failure while casting spells. I’m unsure if that’s left there on purpose, but it’s there. It casts spells using INT as its main casting stat, and casting spontaneously.
It gets an Arcane Pool similar to the Magus but instead of using his arcane pool to enhance his martial ability, he can use it to use a dimensional door like ability as a swift action, taking his full attacks afterwards as well. Another thing he can do is, as a standard action is push someone with it, up to 5 feet per Dimensional Knight level. Interesting but the dimensional door ability is very strong at first level, being able to make it so that they can break out of prison and stuff like that easy, something for GM’s to be wary about.
It can also make Portals that it can move through, attack through and all that good stuff. The Range is close range (30 + 5 feet per 2 Dimensional Knight level), and basically link the two spaces. Scary Chasm? No more! Archers ruining your day? I’m right next to them, making them provoke AOs. It’s an interesting ability, adding a lot more dimension (lol) to combat, but it can make encounters very different. Only Medium and smaller creatures can go through them, and large has to squeeze.
Eventually the class gets the ability to add stuff to their portals, from making them invisible, to using them to bomb enemies, to even doing it as an immediate action. You’re finally the thing that makes Wiley Coyote fall off the cliff. It’s a very interesting concept, but something the DM HAS to think about. Like Rogue Talents that affect sneak attack, you can only have one thing that adjusts portals going on at once.
They also gets more creative ways to affect the portals, making it so that larger creatures can go through, you can attack each thing coming out of each portal and all that good stuff. At higher levels you can even hijack teleportation spells, or for your capstone, teleport your weapon into someone, hoping to instantly kill them.
This is an interesting class because it’s mechanically very very cool, but has the potential to break a lot of adventures and situations. I wish it covered some rules (since spaces are linked, can I cast a close range AOE in one square, making it go into others?) about them a little more indepth. GM’s should be wary of this because while a cool class again, the whole “save the princess from the dragon’s lair” is much easier when you teleport past him, then set up a portal away from him to drag her through.
The Next class in this PDF is the Prestige class, the Spell Slinger. To get into this class you need a BAB of +4, 6 Ranks of Spellcraft, the ability to cast 1st level arcane spells and a grit pool. It has a d8 HD, a full BAB and good Fort and Will saves. It gets 7 levels of spell progression, losing out on 3 levels of it. It lets you change your Grit pool to primary casting stat, so if you’re a wizard with low wisdom, don’t worry, you’ll be able to be just as gritty. You can also imbue spells into the bullets itself with your caster bullets, allowing you to add a bit of extra oomph or possibly an AoE into your spell. Shoot someone then a field of black tentacles pops up? Pretty awesome. You can hand them off to a friend as well if they use guns, but it counts as spell of yours used per day.
You get your own set of deeds as well, allowing you to pierce through spell resistance, or avoiding an AO while casting due to just baring the hit or even shooting so quick you fire out a cone of bullets, very fitting of grit abilities for a caster, continuing the “do cool stuff” to getting grit.
You can shoot rays out of your gun as well, eventually being able to sacrifice spells to use as pure elemental damage, adding your guns enhancement bonus to hit, so rewarding you for having that badass magical gun.
It’s capstone again is pretty cool, you get the ability to counter a spell by shooting out of the enemies hand, using either a spell or grit. All in all, a great way to get that “magical gunman” in, without it being overpowered, or completely a joke (hi ultimate combat spellslinger).
Finally, the last (but definitely not least) class, is the Thunder Chief. The Thunder Chief is a d10 HD Full BAB Martial class, with good Reflex and Will Saves. It has martial and simple weapon proficiencies, and is proficient with all shields/armors (excluding tower shields). It starts out with 4d6x10 worth of gold, and has 4+int mod skills per level. It doesn’t get spell casting until 4th level (where it gets 0 spells so unless it has a positive mod it can’t cast), so it’s not really a gish but…
At first level, it can make a weapon of electricity in his hand as move action. It can be any melee weapon he’s proficient with, but it deals electricity and is stronger against people who are wearing metal. That’s right, it’s a Divine Soul Knife. For someone who likes the Psionic’s Unleashed Soul Knife, you’re gonna be in for a treat.
Storm aspects, are basically talents you can take to affect your Storm Blade and give you usages for storm tokens. You can make your blade a biting gale, and allow dealing slashing damage possibly and give you DR, or an Ice blade, allowing you to be more resistant to ice. Another one you can take allows you to add enhancements to it, or even split it into two weapons. Great ways to differentiate each one, and a way to get around that pesky electric resistance.
It’s capstone basically turns it into pure lightning itself, giving itself immunity to Lightning and a perfect fly speed. A very flavorful capstone and actually pretty strong for a martial class. All and all, I’m a HUGE fan of this class, as someone who’s a fan of the Soul Knife, but not wanting to open the can of worms that is magic/psionic transparency, this fills that niche perfectly.
Some of the feats here are for the classes, taking extra dimensional abilities to your portals, or extra storm extracts. There is one Metamagic feat that’s kind of scary to me, which is Reliable spell. It allows you to reroll “any variable of a spell twice and take the better result”. With something like evocation spells, that’s huge. I’d be wary of players using that, but if it was left open as an option, I’d totally use it. Others are styles of spell mastery, requiring you to take Spell focus all the way down the line to get cool abilities, such as being stronger against people you scry’d on, or even letting you treat all 1s as 2s on evocation spells.
There are a ton of new spells, allowing you to affect gravity, make huge columns of movable fire, or even make it so that people have to travel way more for movement. Very interesting battlefield control spells without them being ridiculous.
Finally, it has some magical enhancements for weapons, which range from a final ability in the “flaming/burst” kind of chain, to making them better at poisoning and all the way at allowing armor and weapons to be spell charged.
This PDF has a lot of bang for its buck. There are text errors abound (It calls the Thunder Chief the Storm King quite a few times, and the Dimensional Knight the Portal Knight), but those are to be expected at this point. A few of the things DM’s will have to take a lot of discretion on, but all and all, this is a 5 star product. Very well done, and I’m definitely going to be rolling up a Thunder Chief soon.
Diet-InquisicolaRubber Block —
To most people, when you mention the Inquisitor, they’ll give you the nitty gritty of what it is, but mechanically, deep down, it fills the “Divine Bard” kind of role. The Apostle takes that one further… and is actually a divine bard, with singing hymns and prayers with all of the bells and whistles.
I haven’t read any of the Shadows over Vathak setting, so I’m just going to assume any of the setting specific stuff is just setting neutral, so there isn’t any alignment restriction for them and that all of the True God stuff would be fitting, it would have been nice to have a conversion guide.
CLASSifieds: The Apostle is a 14 page PDF with a One page cover and a One page credits, leaving 12 pages of content. It includes info about the Apostle Class, an Archetype for it, Some spells for the Inquisitor/Apostle class, and 3 feats for the class. The art ranges from Full color, to black and white. There are various typographical errors about, namely leaving some info in about spontaneously casting (from the cleric I’m guessing), but those seem more par for the course instead of anything at this point.
The Apostle is a D8 HD, Half Caster (from Wisdom) with a good Fort and Will save. He is proficient with all Martial and Simple Weapons, Light Armor, Medium armor and shields. He only gets 2 (!) skill points, plus int mod per level. His starting gold isn’t listed, but I’m assuming it’d be the same as the Inquisitors. It seems a little silly for them to start with so few skill points, but I digress. They aren’t going to be having int, so don’t expect them to fill the skill monkey role at all.
For the Hymn feature of the class, it’s basically the same as bardic performance, except with a divine flair, Some of them mimicking bard abilities such as Inspire Competence, or doing such things like improving healing. All of these abilities seem reasonable and not overpowered, and would be nice buffs to have in the party. He gets 3+ CHA mod uses per day, and adding an additional usage per level.
The other unique feature of the Apostle is the Prayers. They are essentially a different set of spells, with different usages per day, being able to choose from them. He’s able to give himself DR with some for a single attack, AC bonuses for hours at times, to CHA to damage. Some of the later prayers give Stone Skin style effects, or even the ability to raise dead with them. Being able to have more choices is always nice, and you can prepare them like clerics prepare their spells.
Segueing nicely from their pseudo spellcasting, comes their actual spellcasting. They cast using the Inquisitor list, using Wisdom as their main casting stat. They also get domains, though it’s a little unclear on what domains are available to them, since there is the fluff from the Shadow’s over Vathak. They get domain spells and domain abilities as a cleric, which is pretty interesting as well. The fact that they cast from wisdom and all of their other class features are based on charisma feels almost like an error, but people DO use Multi Ability Score Dependant as a balancer so…
It’s capstone while flavorful, is that they get a Oracles Final Revelation, nothing too special, but kind of boring all things considered.
The Archetype for it is the Doomsayer, being the one that instead of getting the crowds riled up, instead looks to incite them and put fear into their hearts. Kind of a cool archetype, with the mechanics all fitting in fairly well.
The spells they added are all pretty interesting, giving the abilities to spread rumors, or even add madness to your channeling energy for evil clerics. Flavorful and not mechanically overpowered, but you can see yourself using them in situations.
Finally this PDF ends with 3 feats for Apostles, being able to give a +2 bonus to allies once per day for one round (Yawn), Reducing DR e for a number of rounds equal to half your apostle level (Kind of nice) once per day, and the ability to treat your weapons and good aligned.
Really this class is interesting, as it has some interesting potential power, but suffers from horrible, horrible MAD. The party role it could fufill is the same as the bard, the support caster, however if you’re planning to be the skill monkey, look elsewhere. A few of the fixes could be easily applied, and maybe a small supplement to help import this class to other settings could be helpful, too.
3.25 stars out of 5, rounded down to 3 for the purpose of the review.
The Genius Guide to the Talented Fighter (PFRPG) PDFRogue Genius Games
Our Price: $3.99Add to Cart
Fight the good fight.Rubber Block —
The Talented Fighter by Super Genius Games is a 14 page PDF, with a half page of cover, and One Page of OGL/Credits, leaving about 12.5 pages of content. It is a remake of the core fighter class and its archetypes, with a twist. Instead of getting them at certain levels, you can pick them out as talents, giving you a HUGE range of customizability on whatever you want to make.
Let me preface this review by saying that I’m not a huuuge fan of the original fighter. It’s a class that touts itself as the “Master of All Arms and Fighting Styles” while any class with Martial proficiency can do that, and besides certain class features that either A: Don’t make sense for concepts (Armor training for a lightly armored fighter), B: Are nice, but pale in comparison to other features (Weapon Training is awesome… but more so then something like Rage?) or C: Completely and utterly laughable (EVERY FIGHTER IS BRAVE EVER).
Aside from concept reasons, the other feature it gets (Bonus feats) are something all classes have, and a bunch of other classes have the ability to get its exclusive bonus feats. Archetypes alleviate this issue somewhat by removing things, but besides the Gladiator Archetype, you can’t really combine any, making it hard to get a concept you want, leaving you either specialized in something you don’t want, or as a Buffet of a class, you’ve got just a little of everything on the grill… but it’s all really really mediocre, and maybe even a little over/under cooked.
The Talented Fighter himself starts out as a d10 HD class, touting a full BAB, with a good Fort Save, and starting gold of 5d6x10 GP (sound familiar?). It gets 2 + INT mod skills per level, and is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, and all armors and shields, including Tower shields. At every level it gets a Fighter Talent, which I’ll get into below. At 10th and above, it’s able to take an Advanced Talent, and at 20th it’s able to choose a Grand Talent as it’s capstone.
Super Genius Games has taken the work to turn almost every fighter feature from just about every core rulebook archetype to some of the specific player companions/primers, and made them into talents. Since you’ll be getting the ability to get a talent every level, you’ll be able to pick and choose exactly what you want, including a bonus feat, incase you for some reason missed them!
Of course, they added some of their own, both giving you bonus on certain skills and letting you reroll twice on them, or even getting an extra 5 skill points to make you able to do more then just acrobatics. My favorite however is Vital Combat, allowing you to add your vital strike extra dice on your first of your iterative attacks with a single weapon.
As far as power is concerned, this if ANYTHING, pushes the Fighter more to the viability scale. Power wise, at most if a fighter takes only bonus feats as his talent… he’ll end up with 1 more feat total, losing out on… Class features and capstones. Not to mention they are only combat feats, too, so a Drow Fighter won’t be able to jump up on his Drow Nobility chain any quicker then any other class.
The PDF ends with some ideas on how to make your own Fighter talents, including some products that will just about fit right in for fighter talents, using the Armiger, the Witch Hunter and the #1 Bullets with a point as suggestions.
I’m quite surprised at how much I like this. Normally, again, I’ve never really been a huge fan of the core fighter, but this is how it’s done, SGG basically cut out parts that didn’t make sense, and gives you the ability to say “Hey, you want to do that heavily armored close range archery fighter? Go right ahead!”. The ONLY thing bringing this down has been mentioned before, and it’s the Layout follows the Paizo official alphabetical order, while grouping the talents from the same archetype would make it a little easier to actually reference because this is a little tougher since you have to scour a bit to find what you need.
This gets a 4.5 out of 5, rounded up to 5 for the sake of the review. All and all, probably the best Fighter replacement that keeps its flavor since the Warblade from 3.5, so Bravo. Can’t wait to see additions to this product :)
Cat's definately got my tongue.Rubber Block —
Fehr’s Ecology: Qit'ar is a 11 page PDF by Purple Duck Games. It has 1 Cover Page, 1 Full art page, 1 Page of OGL and 3 pages of advertisements leaving 6 pages of content. The Full art is a very evocative image of the Qit'ar, showing one holding a sword, ready for battle.
The Qit'ar is a Psionic Catfolk race with a +2 mod to STR, +2 to save against mind effecting effects and poison, they are naturally psionic and as such can take a power point at each level for favored class, a natural attack (that can’t be used with other attacks, but eventually gets iterative attacks with it, slightly unique), and exotic weapon proficiency with either a one handed, light weapon or a ranged weapon. Most uniquely, it can talk to other Qit'ar telepathically within 100 feet. However, if it gets hit with an electric attack, it’d really feel it, taking an extra 50% damage.
Right off the bat it triggers my OCD with being a race with just a +2 mod to STR and nothing else, but that’s hardly an issue of mechanics other then it not really fitting that well. From a perspective of everything else, this is a well balanced race, considering it’s weakness to electricity. I don’t think giving it a +2 to another stat and a -2 to another would be too flavor reducing but that’s just to appease the inner OCD as no official races do a static +2 bonus to a stat.
The Fluff for the Qit'ar is pretty cool, in the regard that since they’ve got no real reason to speak with other races outside of Telepathy, they don’t really have names, so they end up taking local names, leading to funny situations like Males taking Female names. Alyssa mad, Alyssa smash! It also covers which classes they are most likely to be, and how’d they react to others of those classes.
It has it’s own set of 4 unique race traits, one being the runt of the litter and being better while it’s in a bigger party and stealthier, or one that has the ability of autohypnosis. Or they can be the leader of the litter and have a bonus to intimidating and leadership. Finally, the last one gives you the ability to be better to hit with any D8 hitdie weapon, which is a nice little trait, almost as good as the old Heirloom weapon.
It has its own set of Racial Traits (or as this PDF calls them Characteristics), that it can swap out for certain abilities. A Half-Catfolk Qit'ar gets a +2 bonus to dex as well as str, plus low light vision, but loses out on it’s PSI like abilities and the free Psionic feats it gets. Or losing your plus to saves to get cold resistance 5, having pale white fur.
There is one racial trait to worry about, and that’s the one called Remember. The Qit'ar were apparently developed to be better at killing humans, and as such can gain a +4 dodge bonus against them and a +1 bonus on hitting them. That seems kind of big, especially in an urban setting, or somewhere that humans are the majority race. I am unsure if it’s that dangerous in actuality, but if I were a DM, I’d be a little weary.
There are racial specific traits it can take, that range from being able to dodge better in a bigger party due to pack mentality, to when traveling with more of it’s race, getting a +1 bonus on saving throws and CMD checks. Another one is a Diehard without a prerequisite, which is pretty cool. They can also take some specific Orc Racial traits, giving a feel for how resilient they are.
The favored class bonuses for the Qit'ar are covered as well, which can take bonuses for the Anti-Paladin, Barbarian, Dread, Fighter, Marksman, Monk, Psychic Warrior, Ranger, Soulknife and Tactician. None of those seem overly powerful or must takes, which is nice. Lastly it covers a Male Qit'ar Ranger (Named Jennifer), at 1st level, with a very simple stat block, nothing too special.
All and all this is an interesting race, that nails the flavor of psionics right on the head, familiar to a point but slightly weird. A few ticks on my OCD plus some possible balance concerns hinder this otherwise good race. It’s easily adaptable for any setting that has psionics (and probably catfolk), and it seems like a boatload of fun to roleplay one. 3.5 stars rounded up to a 4 for the purpose of the review.
So What's The Gist of This, Anyways?Rubber Block —
So What’s It Called, Anyways? By Raging Swan Press is a 15 page PDF that has 1 cover page, 1 blank page, 1 title page, 1 credit/OGL page, 1 table of contents, 2 Advertisement pages (A small page about So What’s for Sale, Anyways and a Checklist of Raging Swan products) and 1 Back cover, leaving 7 pages of content. Not that this would change my review of this product at all, for integrity’s sake I must mention that I was offered a free copy to review.
The PDF itself follows Raging Swan Presses’ standard format, completely black and white with some nice little black and white artwork here and there. I don’t see any editing errors, and it has bookmarks/a table of contents for those of you who enjoy using pdf readers.
As mostly a player, when I’m on the other side of the table, for the most part I’m unsure how much my GM is coming up with stuff on the spot, and how much he’s actually prepared the name of the Inn/Shop/Organization we’ll either encounter or go into. With something like a chart like this, this isn’t just Pathfinder exclusive, so go wild and use this for 4th Edition or any other medieval setting. Don’t use it for Sci-fi settings though, that would be weird.
It has 5 different charts of 100 names, covering Creatures, Adjectives, People, Objects and other various happenstances. There doesn’t seem to be any typos in the names and they all follow the medieval fantasy name setting that’s been going on for awhile now.
It also has another 5 charts of different names that have pre-made names already, when you’re really on a time budget. Again, all of these places sound iconic enough, a place like The Shadowed Glen evoking a certain feeling when the name is mentioned, or possibly seeing your players react a certain way you mention the famous Black Wyvern Company.
The usage you’d get out of this PDF really all depends on how little you plan your adventures/areas and if you’ve got a lack of internet/can’t find a good fantasy name generator anywhere. While the names are certainly evocative and cool, and you’ve got potential for amazing names (My personal favorite is The Salty Otyugh when I rolled around with it), its worth is all how much you’d get based on it. If you’re full of creativity, but short on time (and you can’t get to a web generator), this product is perfect. If you’re short on both and haven’t had anything planned out, this isn’t going to help you too much.
All and all for the purpose of this review, it’s a 5 star product. Its usage is greatly improved if you’re not allowed to use Laptops at the table you’re GMing or there isn’t an internet connection and you’ve already managed to print this bad boy out. If you’ve had an internet connection or you’ve already planned every possible path, this will be wayyy less useful then you. If you’re very freeform and awful with names, it’d be much better
Tao this is a pretty good classRubber Block —
Heroes of the East is a 19 page PDF by Little Red Goblin Games. It has 2 cover pages, one page of OGL and one Page of the Tao Scale (we'll get into that when we get into the Tao), leaving 15 pages. The PDF has a new Class, the Tao, the Street Samurai archetype for the Samurai, The Warrior Poet alternate class for the Bard and a bunch of new style feats that represent real life fighting styles.
As far as the PDF itself, it's fairly nice looking. There is some black and white art in it, and charts for most of the archetypes. Various text errors are around, but nothing too large (In class features for the Tao it calls it the "standard Bearer", It says add 1/4th of your ki pool for the favored class bonus of the tao? Every level you get a whole 4th of a bonus would be very strong, haha, A weird space inbetween the letters fo and r in the street samurai's description are the ones that stand out). Other then those, the PDF seems fine, though I'm guessing it doesn't have any cover art? either that or it's missing.
Starting off very strong they start off with the completely new class, the Tao. He's got a d8 HD, 3/4 BAB, 6 levels of spellcasting, and Unarmed Strike progression as a Monk/improved unarmed strike, but as a caveat, only when dealing nonlethal damage. The most interesting feature about it, of course, is it's casting pool/abilities. It casts via Ki, very similar to a psionics. They cast spontaneously so they don't need to worry about anything to that effect of preparing spells, however it doesn't list how many spells known it has, leaving me to assume it has it's full spell list at all times (well what it can cast of that level), which could be dangerous. It has two spell lists, a Yin Spell list, focusing on Inflict spells, Lawful Spells and Offensive Buffing and a Yang spell list, Focusing on Cure spells, Chaotic spells and Defensive buffing.
Each time it casts an Yin or Yang Spell, it moves a step on the Tao scale, giving it a token in respective part (Yin or Yang). The Tao scale is a 10 scale going from 5 in Yin and 5 in Yang. The more steps it makes into either Yin or Yang, the stronger they'd be, up to +2 CL on Yin or Yang depending on how far they've gone. If they go too far into either of them, their alignment changes and they are forced to spend 1-7 days atoneing. A good way to balance out people and make them make different choices in what they are doing in combat.
It can remove Yin or Yang tokens by casting spells that are opposite (casting a yang spell removes a yin token and visa versa) or at 6th level it can cast Dispel Magic removing a token as well, eventually upgrading to greater dispel at 12th. Staying in Yin or Yang provides bonuses as a you can do more damage with your centering strike, or possibly have always active detect law/chaos on.
The Martial aspect of the Tao is also explored upon with it's nonlethal strikes. Eventually they start debuffing with their natural attacks, using their Ki to do that. They also get Trigrams, which are similar to stances (but you can have them up with stances as well), getting fists that will reduce DR, longer ranged fist strikes, or more attacks. A very cool way to customize your Tao, and a really really good reason to stay balanced. Eventually they get quivering palm just like a monk.
For their capstone they are unable to age, and get nindan strikes, which give him the ability to age people with his fists, a very flavorful if mechanically not so useful ability.
All in all they seem pretty balanced, though their spell list being around at all times could be problematic, it has the ability to balance itself out by not going too far in one direction. It basically will fill the same slot a bard does in a party, being a supportive caster/frontliner.
The next thing up is the Street Samurai. When I downloaded the PDF, it didn't include the "clean" version of it. I could understand it was a nice experiment to try for an archetype, but as it stands, this archetype feels more like a Vanilla Ice album then a street samurai. Maybe a blurb would be nice, but eh... I guess I was expect more Mugen from Samurai Champloo then Justin Beiber's rap album.
The Warrior Poet is a bard alternate class that basically acts as a main BSF type while bolstering the rest of it's allies like a bard would. It gives up spellcasting and some skills per level for a full bab, a better hitdie, better armor/weapon proficiency and some different performances. All and all, a snazzy fit especially if the Cavalier isn't your fit for a leader styled warrior.
Last and certainly not least, there are new fighting style feats that are based on real life fighting styles. Always imagined your monk as more of a Boxer, using strong blows over many quick ones? Totally got that covered. Nothing TOO out of line with them, just good fair feats.
All and all, it's strange to see a publisher with such professional products with a low number of reviews. Not counting the issue with the Street Samurai (since there IS a clean pdf somewhere), this rounds out at a 3.5, up to a 4.
Beautiful Mini, possibly the best in the setRubber Block —
On a whim, I ended up buying a booster pack and received this mini. After seeing the preview (and reading about it), I was impressed at the preview, but it doesn't even compare in person. The mini has at least 5 separate transparent parts, and an adorable little brain in a jar. Your mileage may vary on the paint jobs as with all WizKids minis, but for the plastics/molds themselves are absolutely gorgeous.
A hell of a gishRubber Block —
I had said I would have made a new review on this bad boy, and I'm a man of my word. My original review should be in my first post in the discussion tab, and will be only there for posterity's sake. (I will however be copying some of the old review, namely the technical's :P )
The Hellion is Super Genius Games latest class, designed by Owen KC Stephens. The PDF that contains it spans 11 pages, with a 2 column per page. It contains a cover page, a credits page and an OGL License leaving about 9.5 pages for content. There are little no to editing errors, and a bunch of black and white art. The fluff is great for this, covering the archetypical "Messed around with Dark arts by accident/possibly on purpose" youth, which isn't covered by any of the core classes.
The Hellion is a D8 Hit Die class with a 3/4th's BAB and a good Will and Fort save. It has medium spell casting progression, very similar to the Bard/Inquisitor/Magus, it has 4 skills + int mod per level, a general wizard-esq pool of class skills and starts out with 5d6 worth of gold. It has it's own set of weapons it's proficient with, containing all simple weapons, the hand axe, flail, sap, scimitar, short sword, trident and whip, which is a very interesting and flavorful weapon set, seeming very brutal. It is proficient with light armor and doesn't incur the normal arcane spell failure in it.
For features this this, let's start with my absolute favorite feature in it, which would be the Bonded Object. I have to tip my hat to Super Genius Games, usually people just see bonded objects as a burden, but this makes it's a boon. Making your bonded object as a weapon will make it hit harder and more often, or making it a ring will let you make a shield of force every round as a swift action. Want to more of a casting style one? Take a Wand and you're casting an extra spell off of it. A staff? Have a spell from a completely different list. Beautiful evolution of a a mechanic that's can end up being a scary drawback.
It gets the same spell list as the Witch, except only the first 6 levels of it. It's a little aggravating as it doesn't get any juicer spells later on, but with more stuff coming out for the witch, it's spell list would be upgraded a bit more. I do feel it could have some Hellion specific spells, but yeah. It also gets Patrons (again, similar to a Witch), with a cut down list to only contain 6th level spells. It uses CHA to cast, which is very fitting, since someone who didn't realize what they were getting into wouldn't be casting from INT, and definitely not WIS
It gets hexes like a Witch, eventually getting Major hexes. It has access to all of the witches hexes that don't deal with covens or familiars. It also has a few hexes of it's own (and of course the more content you own for hexes, the more they'll have, the beauty of OGL), such as being able to breathe diseases on others, curse them, or even positive effects like lighting up allies weapons, giving them an extra d6 of fire damage. Sadly some of these fall flat due to the fact that they sometimes quite under powered. I absolutely LOVE the idea of Pyre Blade, but unless you're going to be using it on someone else, it only lasts one round, eventually going up. Some of the other Patron hexes, like the Blood Shield are really cool, but again fall flat in the regard that they are a little weak. The Hellion uses INT to judge the DC's of it's hexes, make it it slightly Multi-Ability Score Dependent (Shorted down to MAD), where it wouldn't exactly need to be. I'm also not a huge fan of the fact that it can never upgrade to Grand Hexes and get's major hexes wayyy late (16th level).
It also get's abilities called Hellion talents. They come at every third level after second. They are usually passive, sometimes active abilities that can either augment your hexes or martial abilities. Some of these are REALLY cool, like the ability to have your hexes as a swift action per day equal to cha mod, or trying a failed hex on someone else.... but having a chance for it to effect yourself. The ability to play with fire like that REALLY contributes to the flavor of the class.
Its Capstone is Hellex, which says whenever anyone fails a spell's saving throw that they cast, the Hellion can add a hex onto it that they automatically fail. Really cool ability, that does stack up against other capstones. There are new curses listed in the PDF as well, for GM's or particularly devious Hellion's to use (or visa versa!). My favorite being either Obscene Utterances or Filchers Curse.
The role I see this class fitting in, of course, is the support caster role. It's very interesting to see where it fits in its specific role, that being it's not only able to go melee if the situation calls for it, but instead of bolstering the party purely, or novaing, it finds ways to make the enemy squirm, to the point of a lack of usefulness, then buffing it's allies to finishing them off.
I am very in between with the Hellion. I like the class and the flavor of it alot, and it's obviously a well made class. I feel like it could use a touch of buffs here and there, but all and all, this is a well designed class. It has some very very sexy parts, specifically the Hellion Talents and the Bonded Object it can get. I love the original content that was thrown in, and it's a very fun class to play from a roleplaying perspective.
This Class get's 3.5 stars, rounded up to a 4 for this.