In The Company of Henge (PFRPG) PDF

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We are the children of mountain and wood.

We are shapechangers, walking where we will, dwelling at once in two worlds. We are the hengeyokai.

Ours are the gifts of men and ours are the gifts of the wild. Who has been blessed as we have? And yet, is it not our very gifts which so cause the simple to turn on us? It was not always thus. Once we were honored by men. Now we dwell apart from them, feared and fearing. Yet we continue in the old ways, the right ways. Listen now and I will teach you better who we are...

Author: Jonathan Roberts
Cover Artist: Michael Tumey
Pages: 21

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4.80/5 (based on 4 ratings)

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5/5

A while ago I wanted to run a japanese campaign that was populated by Henge-yokai and other japanese monster races. I was stuck refluffing Catfolk, Ratfolk and others as well as making new races with the race builder. Then I came across In the Company of Henge and decided to try my luck.

Like other Rite's race products it starts with a lot of fluff text before getting to the crunch. The fluff, as always, is very nice but the crunch is what sells it to me. Henge are kind of a multi-race. One race with numerous sub categories that represent what kind of animal-folk you are. They also have a list of shared traits. There is a small list of alternate racial trait that can trade some of these out.

The product also comes with favored class options, several archetypes, a paragon class and racial feats.

Now I had to switch out shapechanging for a bonus feat because my homebrew setting had no core races but henge have been a blast to use. The fluff is more useful that I gave it credit for above and really brings the race to life. As with other race products from Rite Publishing you get more than just a race a some options you get tools to make the race really scream it's flavor. In the Company of Henge is now a staple for my Japanese-themed homebrew and if you want to go Kaiden or any other Japanese setting I highly reccomend this. Five Stars.


Worth picking up, especially for those that like animal races.

4/5

In The Company of Henge by Rite Publishing

This product is 26 pages long. It starts with a cover, ToC, and credits. (3 pages)

Hengeyokai (15 pages)
It starts off with a creation myth, a history, culture and then the clans of the hengeyokai. Each clan is based on a different animal. The clans are, each one has it's own set of skill bonuses and racial stat bonuses. The rest of their bonuses are the same for all the clans.
Dog Clan
Badger Clan
Cat Clan
Rat Clan
Monkey Clan
Raccon-Dog Clan
Hare Clan

After this it this it gets into their relationship with other races, religion, alignment, languages and name advice. Next we get height and weight for the clans, plus 5 racial traits, following that is information about the classes and new favored class options for the Barbarian, Bard, Druid, Monk, Mushakemono, Ranger, Rogue, Witch, and Wizard. New Archetypes for this, we get a new archetype for Barbarian (which uses their animal natural attacks), Druid (a shrine guardian), and Ranger (bonded to a forest).

A racial paragon class the Mushakemono is present next. D8, 6 skills, medium BaB, one good save(there is a error on saves where will save suddenly jumps up but I think that is a editing error), the classes special abilities is a bit of a ranger rogue combo. With a few special tricks of their own and some abilities that use their shapechanging ability. It ends with 9 new feats for the new race.

It ends with a OGL, back cover, and ads. (8 pages)

Closing thoughts. The art work is a mix black and white and color, it ranges from fair to ok. Editing and format are very good, I only noticed a single error, even if it was a pretty major one. I did like the new race, especially the clans and how while they was all similar in many ways they was also different beyond just how they look. So in many ways you 7 new races instead of one in this book. The traits and favored class options where pretty cool. The archetypes I thought was a mixed bag. The barbarian one I thought was very cool, the range one was ok and the druid one kinda meh. The paragon class is pretty well done and fits the race well. I do have one critic, I know this was made before Ultimate Combat book came out, but I really hope they go back and add in the Samurai and Ninja to the favored class and maybe throw in a archetype or two. I really think that would help put this product over the top. That and fix the one major editing glitch. So what's my rating? Well beyond the one editing glitch it is well done. Not great, a lot of potential and very good but not great. So for now I am going to settle on a 4 star and hope they come back to add some of the new stuff and fix the one error.

Trust me, I'm a Succubus.


New version sans glitches

5/5

This pdf is 26 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 5 pages of advertisement and 1 page back cover, leaving 15 pages for the Hengeyokai, so let's take a look at them!

As has become tradition in the high-quality supplements of the ItC-series, the pdf kicks off with an extensive and aptly-written IC-narrated origin myth and a thorough discussion of the respective clans of Hengeyokai. Wait, clans? Yep, Hengeyokai are actually quite variable, being shapechangers in Japanese mythology that significantly differ from Western mythology in several key aspects: First of all, they are rather cultivated tricksters and not savage beasts. Secondly, while being shapechangers, their appearance in both human, bestial and true form (humanoid with an animal's head) are constant and not variable. 7 sample clans (dog, badger, cat, rat, monkey, raccoon-dog, hare) that differ in personality as well as racial abilities and preferred alignments are presented, essentially offering 7 distinct basic sets of abilities to choose from - neat!

Apart from these modifiers, the hengeyokai get survival and stealth as class-skill, keen senses, low-light vision and the ability to change into aforementioned shapes. They also can choose two favored classes instead of one and additionally, they are susceptible to cold iron, being forced into their true forms and receiving minor additional damage from them.

True to RiP's formula of extensive coverage, we also get full details of their stance on religion, height, weight and age tables, 5 alternate racial traits to customize your hengeyokai and details on hengeyokai of the adventuring professions. All classes from the core-rules and APG get their own little paragraph as well as specific name to make them more appropriate for an Asian setting like Kaidan, but Magus, Gunslinger, Samurai and Ninja from UM and UC are not covered. 9 new favored class options are provided, though, as well as 3 new class archetypes:

The Henge Emishi (Barbarian) who gets a bite attack and focuses on fast movement, the Henge-Kannushi (Druid) who gains a bond with a shrine and the Kami of the land - a quite cool take on druids in general. The final archetype is the Henge Matagi, a ranger-archetype who bonds not with animals, but with forests in general, gleaning knowledge from the leaves and branches.

Of course, we also get a new 20-level-racial paragon class, the Mushakemono: The Mushakemono gets d8, 6+Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB, good ref and will (?) saves, proficiency with simple and martial weapons, light and medium armor and up to +4d6 sneak attack, classifying him as a skirmisher.

While at first glance, the parallels to the rogue-class are evident, the array of henge tricks (9 available) you get to choose from as well as the advanced henge tricks (6 are provided) make for a distinct playing experience beyond the traditional rogue: From improvements of shapechanging and stealth to the ability to mask objects in invisibility to the supremely cool ability to duplicate one's self, the tricks provide options for very cool ideas and strategies. The class also offers useful survivalist abilities that hearken to the ranger like evasion and favored terrain, emphasizing the Henge's connection to land and kami. The capstone ability, transcendence to shapechanger, though, is a bit bland.

The pdf closes with 10 feats for Hengeyokai that e.g. enable you to talk to all animals, talk in all forms, use the forest as a cover etc. The rather bland two shrine-keeper feats from In the Company of Kappa also make a return, though.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are good, but aforementioned glitch in the saving throws is rather unpleasant. Layout adheres to the beautiful, bamboo-lined full-color 2-column Kaidan standard and the artworks, though mostly stock, are very appropriate and serve to underline the overall appeal of the pdf. Mechanics-wise and fluff-wise, we get an excellent offering of the ItC-series, however, In the Company of Henge suffers a bit in comparison to the Tengu-installment - there simply is not such a cool archetype like a special Tengu cavalier herein. That being said, the trickster-shapechangers nevertheless fare quite well and offer a plethora of neat ideas, concise writing and a sufficiently unique-feeling racial paragon-class that captures the spirit of the tricky shapechanger quite well without being op. In the end, due to the rather severe glitch in the table and the fact that I was not utterly blown away, I'll settle for a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5.

Endzeitgeist out.


The Shapshifters of the Orient

5/5

Here again as with the supplement In the Company of Tengu by Rite Publishing, we have a fully-fleshed society of beings for the use of both players and game masters. Rather than being a single identifiable anthropomorphic creature, as with the Raven-like Tengu, the Henge are a collection of beings. They are spirits and legends from ancient Japan outfitted for use in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. The Henge exist in clans divided by their association with and resemblance to certain animals. These clans (Batsu), the Dog (Inu), Badger (Mujina), Cat (Neko), Rat (Nezumi), Monkey (Saru), and Raccoon-Dog (Tanuki), all form the greater society of Hengeyokai. This book gives a full, in-character dissertation on the ways and beliefs of the Henge. The descriptive prose felt like the voice of one of the Henge actually speaking to me. It had a believable resonance. It reminded me of the Hopi elder I once heard speak on the Hopi Mesas of Arizona. This is the kind of material any good GM wants to have at his or her disposal, something that adds depth and verisimilitude to the campaign.

In addition to detailing each of the different clans, this supplement also details relationships with other races, alignment, religion, and languages. Next follows a description of the Hengeyokai who might become adventurers, the types who either become PCs or encounter them. Full notes on how to create Hengeyokai characters along with ability adjustments, racial traits, alternate traits, notes on age, height and weight, and a comprehensive set of notes on the different classes and whether or not they would be appropriate as Henge, and other important details.

It is important to note that Henge are a race of shape shifters. This is a curious aspect and it is absolutely not considered to be a curse, unlike the were-creatures of Western tradition. Henge can take three forms. Their true form is that of a humanoid with the face of an animal. A Henge may also appear as a human or in the natural shape of the animal of his or her clan.

Favored Class options are provided as well as class archetypes for the Barbarian, the Druid and the Ranger. As with the Tengu, the Henge have a Racial Paragon class, which I found most useful in the book on Tengu for creation of the NPC leader or other important individual. There is a full, class write-up for the Mushakemono, the Henge Warrior Racial Paragon. At the end a list of feats provides interesting possibilities for a Henge character.

Whether you are a GM who wants something unique to use in your campaign or you are a player in a campaign that allows or encourages different and interesting character options, you will want to take a look at the Henge. If you intend to run an oriental-based campaign, you will need this book. Even if you are just interested in different character books or like reading about different societies, there is something in here for you. Like the others of the Kaidan series, typical bamboo borders and neat two-column layout is sprinkled with appropriate art, some of which is obviously taken from ancient Japanese open domain sources, and some in color as well. I find this book to meet the high standards set in the other Kaidan supplements and well worth the price. I rate this at 5 of 5 stars.


Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber

At last!

This book was actually done (by me) before In the Company of Tengu, so its been a while in coming. The task of creating a playable race of shapeshifters was a fun challenge and I hope people enjoy how it turned out.


Wow, In the Company of Henge has only been released for a day, and its #11 on the top 100 products sold on DriveThruRPG.com - I wonder where all the attention is coming from??!! Sounds exciting!

GP


Reviewed.


Thanks, Dawn - nice review.

GP

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber

Thanks very much for the review!


Reviewed here. Will post it on DTRPG and send it to GMS magazine as soon as I know wether the saving throws are intentional or the bug has been fixed.

Cheers!

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber

Thanks End for the review. Much appreciated.

Looking at my original draft, the fault in the class stat-block is mine; though I'm not quite sure what happened as I was typing it out. The Will save is supposed to be poor, representing the whimsical nature of the creatures, as portrayed in much fiction. I'll see if I can't get Michael to correct it. Thanks for the catch.

Dark Archive

reviewed


Nice review, D_M!

Dark Archive

thanks though I barely just posted it before you comment. :)


I'm a fast reader and you posting it coincided with me posting some of my reviews. :)

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber

Thanks for the Review D_M!


The Saving throw problem has been corrected, its just a matter of when Steve gets it uploaded again. But saving throw shouldn't jump from 5 to 11, rather just 6 for the last 3 levels.

Thanks for the reviews, anyway.

Michael


Now also posted on DTRPG and sent to GMS magazine. Cheers!


Updated my review here and on DTRPG. Cheers!


Of course, as DM and EZ mentioned in their reviews, that UC classes are missing from the roster - yes, this book was created before April 2011, so they are indeed missing. Though this was released after ItC of Tengu, it was created before Tengu - just got lost in the editing schedule. I would like to include references to UC Samurai and Ninja, as well as UM Magus, at least in regards to favored classes.

Perhaps the Shrine feats could be improved (worth looking at anyway), as well as additional feats made available.

While normally, one wouldn't want to suggest a later compilation, the ItC books, the soon to be released faction books, legacy items and other supplements we plan for Kaidan is really geared towards making a Kaidan Setting Guide, which would encompass everything released and those coming soon. The missing favored classes and possible new archetypes for the UM/UC classes should be added in when we do the Setting Handbook.

It wouldn't just be a compilation, however, as I plan add content regarding the climate, history, political atmosphere, the provinces, the noble lords, society, government, economics and more regarding Kaidan itself, as part of the GM's information in the second half of the book. I'm hoping to include some gazetteer content as well. (I'm seeing this like the PF Core front half player guide, with back half as GM's guide).

So while I do plan a compilation, it will definitely be a lot more than pre-released material - plus we can add in the missing content from the racial archetypes for the new PF classes that weren't included originally.

Those are my thoughts anyway.


Expansive/expanded Kaidan campaign setting? Hell yeah! Want! :)

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber
Endzeitgeist wrote:
Expansive/expanded Kaidan campaign setting? Hell yeah! Want! :)

I think you are going to like the yakuza book. At least, I liked the way it turned out.


I'm looking through this right now and have noticed a couple of minor issues.

1. The Henge Emishi archetype has an ability called "Henge Emishi Fast Movement (Ex)". I'm guessing this is meant to replace the normal barbarian fast movement feature, but the ability does not explicitly say so, which means that it would stack with the normal barbarian fast movement.

2. Henge Rage (Ex) has the same issue, in that it does not explicitly replace the normal Rage (Ex) ability.

To clarify, I'm guessing that 1. should replace "Fast Movement (Ex)" and 2. should replace "Rage (Ex)".


Yes, those are replacements.


Are the Shrine-Keeper and Master Shrine-Keeper feats intended to be selectable by any Druid or only the Henge-Kannushi and Kappa-Kannushi archetypes?


Any druid and cleric - not just kappa nor henge. Yokinto (a Shinto analog for Kaidan) was founded by the yokai, but was taught to humans for worship as well.


In that case, you may want to clarify the pre-requesites slightly. You use the same name for both the archetype and the main class several times.

Also, while I'm nitpicking: there are repeated references to the hengeyokai racial shapechanging ability. However, the ability is actually called "Shapechanger". It's typically good to make sure all your keywords line up or you run the risk of unintentionally limiting or expanding mechanics.


We really like this PDF!

I had some questions for the author:
1) On page 4, top right paragraph, you mention that the shapechanging is "at will", but really it isn't, as the technical description talks about 1/2 level per day. My question is: Was it supposed to be 1/2 level per day per alternate form (i.e., to human, and to animal) or 1/2 level per day for all forms in total? The latter seems extremely restrictive; for the first 3 levels, one could only change into a human or an animal once per day. My DM has houseruled it as the former (i.e., once to human, once to animal) but it would be nice to have an official response.
2) If I read correctly, Henge Matagi Fast Movement would be +10' at 4th level ("increases by +5 feet and by an additional +5 feet every 4 levels") and +'15 feet at 8th level, etc. Correct?
3) Mushakemono - Drowsy Slumber - is the effect a minimum of two rounds, or is this meant to be a waste for a Henge with Cha 11 or less?
4) Mushakemono - Hidden Object - I have interpreted the "or" statement as "So long as the object is on the Mushakemono's person, the invisibility is effectively permanent. Once the object is no longer on her person, the effect wears off in (class level) minutes." Correct?
5) Mushakemono -Favoured Terrain. Chart says +2 at 6th, and another +2 every 6 levels. Text says +3 at 6th, another +2 every 6 levels. Generally text trumps chart, but I wanted to make sure.

Thanks!!

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber

Glad you like it Ultrann!

The "at will" on page 4 is an in-character narration but does not trump the actual mechanics. The power is meant to be 1/2 per level per day for all forms other than the natural and is meant to be somewhat restrictive to keep it from being too overpowered; as shapechanging can be a potentially game-breaking ability at low levels. However, if you find that the other way works for you and your group, keep with it by all means. I am interested to hear how the rules work when used in other people's games, so I am very interested in hearing your opinions on which one actually seems better, game balance wise, to your group.

The fast movement should read +5 feet at fourth level and then again every 4 levels after that, so that it is +5 feet at 4th, +10 at 8th, etc.

Drowsy slumber, I think I would say, should have a minimum of 1 round and if I was re-editing it, that's what I would add in.

Hidden object: that seems a fair interpretation, especially as its an at will power.

Favoured terrain - the chart is correct. The +3 appears to be a typo that did not get caught. It should be in increments of +2 same as the ranger.


No Fox hengeyokai. I am dissapoint.


Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
No Fox hengeyokai. I am dissapoint.

We opted not to do a fox henge, as we are including a kitsune, which is a different kind of yokai altogether from henge.

In fact Kaidan's kitsune is not much like the PF kitsune at all. The kitsune of Kaidan are foxes to begin with and not humanoids. Overtime after studying a particular species, kitsune can shapechange to that form. But their true form is as a quadrupedal fox. While our henge in hybrid form is their true form.

We didn't want to cause a confusion between henge and kitsune, so did not create a fox henge for this reason.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Card Game, Rulebook Subscriber

If you want a look at the Kaidan Kitsune, check out this particular kickstarter update.


Thanks for your quick response! I appreciate it!


Hi again Wicht/Jonathan! I have a few more questions from the Henge material:

(1) Bestial Warrior (p.13) - does this power have to be used in one chunk, or can it be used in one-minute intervals, as is common among many Pathfinder supernatural abilities? Also, I'm assuming that because it is a Supernatural ability, it takes a standard action to activate? Finally, are they proficient in the bite attack, and is it a primary or secondary natural attack?

(2)Elemental Child (p.14): Is the level effect based on character level or class level?

(3) Dire Beast (p14/15) - I assume your answers to (1) above also apply to this one.

Thanks again!

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