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An excellent resource, but color choice negatively impacted readabilityZeuy —
Complete Gear is a 3.5 supplement designed to remove wealth from character power. It is able to be used alone or in conjunction with the other books in the [Complete[/i] series. While specifically written for the 3.5 system, it is easily adapted for "any game that uses gold pieces to define both character wealth and item purchases regardless of how character design occurs."
The book opens with a preface explaining the purpose of the book. Then it goes into the rules of "influences," which are how characters temporarily empower items with their essence instead of the more permanent process of "infusion" laid out in the standard rules. After the ground rules are laid out, it discusses possible variants which allow for a different method of handling special materials, rules for cursed items, and suggestions for combining influence points with gold piece based item acquisition. Finally, a sample character utilizing these rules is listed.
As a supplement meant to expand options for 3.5 players and complement Complete Control, it is an excellent book. The rules are easy to understand and apply, the artwork is of an acceptable quality, and I had an easy time adapting it for my Pathfinder game. However, the text is squished together in several places and the contrasting colors used for the headings and borders combine together to make it somewhat difficult to read. Also, if the variant and sample character sections had been separated by a page gap, it may have improved readability. When I printed it out in black and white though, the color issue vanished; the book is easy on the ink levels. For anyone seeking to divorce character wealth from character power, this is an incredibly handy book.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: GameMastery Guide (OGL)Paizo Inc.
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4.5 Stars: A Wonderful BuyZeuy —
The only problem with the book was minor editing issues. :D
1 Star: Beautiful Artwork.
1 Star: Wonderfully useful tables ranging from items to npcs to location ideas.
1 Star: New rules for various settings such as settlements and addictions.
1 Star: Wide range of topics, each receiving a detailed examination and doling out handy advice for new and experienced DMs alike.
1/2 Star: Like so many of Paizo's hardcovers, the book is a very comfortable size for easy carrying.
-1/2 Star: Typos. Get used to typos from the first print run or two of Paizo products.
5 Stars total. I rounded up because the typos really were a minor distraction while reading this wonderful book.
This is the only RPG book that I have ever returnedZeuy —
If I could give this book 0 stars, I would have. Other then the artwork, there was very little in this book that I would use without heavily homebrewing it first.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Combat (OGL)Paizo Inc.
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A severe disappointmentZeuy —
There is not much here that I would use. The new classes and many of the archtypes were disappointing. Gunslinger needs serious work, mainly the weapons themselves. Thousands of gp for a gun, but they magically get one free? The samurai is a poor version of the cavalier, and the ninja is a rogue on steroids. Why didn't they simply upgrade the rogue to this level in the FIRST place?
Several of the feats were lackluster; I despise teamwork feats with a passion. The style feats might be worthwhile. A lot of the feats look like traps for inexperienced players.
Too many spells for a "Combat" book in my opinion. Especially since so little was given to martial classes in Ultimate Magic. And still, too many of these spells are either bad or simply "mass" versions of Core Rulebook spells.
Most of the alternate rules are a waste of space other than the alternate materials for weapons and armor, at least in my opinion. Still, this seems like the most valuable section of the book. There are many things that people could find of value in here like the "Called Shots" section.
Did I mention the typos? TONS of typos pop out with only a cursory glance. GET IT TOGETHER PAIZO! Your poor copy editing is ridiculous.
Still, at the very least this book deserves one star for the few good parts. Definitely a book to avoid though.
Edit: 2.5 Stars: Reevaluated After a Year of UseZeuy —
One star for the excellent craftsmanship. This should prove to be far more durable than my previous GM screens.
One star for the pleasing artwork. It isn't distracting or hard on the eyes.
One star for the neat layout and easy readability.
Minus 1/2 star because the 4th page tables, Experience Point Awards & Treasure Values per Encounter, are not really all that useful in a typical game.
Minus 1/2 star because the table listing actions during combat would have been useful.
Edit: After using this screen for a year-and-a-half, I wanted to add some notes.
I really enjoyed using the Skills section. Some of the skills listed were very useful such as the movement and interaction skills. However, I did notice the lack of appraise, intimidate, sense motive, sleight of hand, & use magic device. While space constraints are understandable, I still wish there were more skills and that the tables had been redesigned with a GM Screen in mind.
The "Common Conditions" section is annoyingly incomplete and redundant in relation to some of the other tables, but including every condition would take too much room. I would suggest using the "Gamemastery Condition Cards," but those too are incomplete and overlap with the GM Screen. Remove "Common Conditions" for the "Actions in Combat" table, but modify the table to consolidate space such as by removing some of the footnoes.
Also, the combat maneuvers chart was useful for some such as bull rush, but useless for grapple. Instead of listing CMB/CMD, have a list of sub-actions for grapple and include feint or put feint in the bluff section.
The attack roll modifiers & armor class modifiers tables should have been adjusted for the screen instead of being copy and pasted from the rulebook. Remove the conditions and list concealment/invisible percentages.
Also, remove the Two-Weapon Fighting Penalties chart. It wasn't that useful since my players and I always prepare TWF before hand and usually don't spontaneously decide to TWF otherwise. However, the Hardness and Hit Point tables have proven incredibly useful!
Finally, this screen has proven to be incredibly durable! Bravo on not only lasting a whole year, but still being in AMAZING condition. However, the artwork got a little old. Having a unique piece to show off would have made this much more interesting.