Pathfinder Player Companion: Knights of the Inner Sea (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Player Companion: Knights of the Inner Sea (PFRPG)
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Unleash righteous fury and vanquish those who oppose your noble call to arms! Join the forces of good or evil in your pursuit to spread the word of your liege, or dedicate yourself to a religious or personal code of knightly conduct. Whether you’re a muscle-bound weapon of faith bedecked in steel plate or a spellcaster devoted to the god of magic, this volume offers countless options to those who walk the elite path of knighthood.

Knights of the Inner Sea presents a player-focused, in-depth discussion of what it means to be a knight on the world of Golarion, where every day is a trial against forces that seek to enslave or obliterate humanity, and it’s up to a stalwart few to fight back against the elements of corruption for the betterment of all. Every Pathfinder Player Companion includes new options and tools for every Pathfinder RPG player.

    Inside this book, you’ll find:
  • An in-depth analysis of the various kinds of knights that roam the Inner Sea region, and roles that help define exactly what these diverse orders stand for.
  • New spells, magic items, character options, and traits to help knightly adventurers distinguish themselves as glorious champions of their causes.
  • A detailed dissection of a knight’s armaments and her horse’s barding, as well as an exploration of heraldry and its function throughout the Inner Sea.
  • New rules for mounts both monstrous and bestial, including descriptions and traits for some of the Inner Sea’s most prominent breeds.
  • Rules for acquiring a loyal squire to aid a knight in her noble endeavors, including new archetypes to further specialize these stalwart sidekicks.

This Pathfinder Player Companion is intended for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, but can easily be incorporated into any fantasy world.

Written by Dylan Birtolo, Gareth Hanrahan, Steve Kenson, Patrick Renie, Tork Shaw, and Jerome Virnich.

Each monthly 32-page Pathfinder Player Companion contains several player-focused articles exploring the volume’s theme as well as short articles with innovative new rules for all types of characters, as well as traits to better anchor the player to the campaign.

Note: Dylan Birtolo's name was inadvertently left off the credits page. Sorry about that, Dylan!

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-460-3

Other Resources: This product is also available on the following platforms:

Hero Lab Online
Archives of Nethys

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Cursory Introduction to Knights in Golarion

3/5

I love the cover to Knights of the Inner Sea--it’s a classic fantasy scene, beautifully drawn. Poster-worthy, in my opinion. In contrast, the internal artwork is pretty weak, and it’s clear many of the freelancers didn’t have much experience drawing armor (and a lot of the human proportions are off).

As the theme of the book is obvious from the title, we’ll get right into it. The inside front cover has details on four knightly families in the Inner Sea: the Darahans (Taldor), Graydons (Ustalav), Tilernos (Lastwall), and Khavortorovs (Brevoy). Along with the expected info (heraldry, motto, etc.), each has an associated combat trait—they’re strong, but the one for Graydon is a one-time-use only thing and that’s pretty limiting. The inside back cover is on mounts—several types of horses (like a “Lastwall Jasper” or a “Taldor Jennet”) and some more exotic ones, like an “Erutaki Husky”. Each type is given a Bestiary equivalent along with a special trait (taken in lieu of one of a PC’s two traits) that modifies the animal in a particular way. I think it works well for those who want to add a bit more impact to their choice of mount.

The book itself is divided into a series of two-page long entries on various topics. The only way out is through, so here we go!

• “For Your Character” has an index of the new rules options presented in the book and some stuff on what classes can benefit the most from it. I did like the funny little aside about the origin of the name “Knights of Ozem”.

• “Knights Overview” discusses different types of knights in Golarion and has some really good cross-references to other Pathfinder books that flesh some of the types out in more detail.

• “Eagle Knights” has a brief introduction to the group, two good new regional traits, and a “role” (essentially a suggested template) for how a knight of each of the group’s three orders could be built mechanically.

• “Hellknights” has a brief description of the seven orders within the organisation, two roles, and two regional traits that are pretty niche.

For both the Eagle Knights and the Hellknights, there’s a lot better material elsewhere, and the entries here are only the barest of introductions.

• “Knights of Ozem” has two new traits (both good), two roles, and a paragraph each on three of the order’s castles. I think it might be a bit trickier to come up with an explanation for why a Knight of Ozem has joined an adventuring band (since the group’s whole mission is Lastwall-focussed).

• “Mendevian Crusaders” has the usual stuff, but I like the theme of people of low-birth disguising themselves as aristocrats to better carry out the role of knight.

• “Other Knightly Orders” has a couple of paragraphs each on the Kortos Calvalry, Risen Guard, and Taldan Knights. This material is descriptive only, with no game mechanics.

• “Anatomy of the Knight” is an interesting visual primer on the equipment that (real-world) knights wore and carried, along with a couple of paragraphs on heraldry.

• “Knights and Religion” and “Knights and Race” are very brief sketches of how different religions and races in the game relate to the concept of knights.

• “Squires” is a potentially important addition to the game for knightly characters. By taking a feat (at fourth level), knight PCs can have what’s essentially a mini-Leadership feat providing a single Cohort--a squire. The entry gives four archetypes for the squire (Combat Healer, Gunner, Herald, and Weapon Bearer). Very useful in a one-PC game, but probably overpowered in a group game if all it costs is a single feat.

• “Mounts” essentially allows a PC to use the Leadership feat to take a monstrous mount like a giant owl or a unicorn as a Cohort.
For both squires and monstrous mounts, it’s good to have these as supplemental rules, but (just like the Leadership feat itself) I wouldn’t expect every GM to allow them in every game.

• “Cavalier Orders” adds three new Orders (a cavalier class feature) to the game: the Order of the Land (protecting rural areas), the Order of the Penitent (former criminals), and the Order of the Staff (aides to spellcasters). Interesting concepts, but the associated powers are pretty weak.

• “Knightly Codes and Traits” provides secular knights a nice role-playing counterpart to the idea of Paladin codes. The Codes include Freedom, Perseverance, Revolution, Valor, and Vigilance. Each has an associated social trait that the character gets if they maintain the code.

• “The Spells of Serren” is a collection of eight new spells ostensibly created by Serren, a half-elven magus who spent a lot of time associating with knights. I’ve actually seen a lot of these come up in games--carry companion, bed of iron, and especially the overpowered and problematic keep watch (allowing PCs to stay awake all night every night).

• “Magic Items” has what you would expect—nothing jumped out at me, and I haven’t noticed any of them being used or abused.

And that’s Knights of the Inner Sea. It covers a ton of ground, though much of the setting material seems incredibly cursory to someone familiar with Golarion. However, if given to a player new to the world that wants to play a knight PC, it could be a good entry point.


Some useful bits

3/5

There was some more interesting information, e.g. on heraldry, mounts and the names of equipment. There was also a roll call of the various groupings of knights in the campaign world. However, I never really got a sense of what made the Knights unique as a class, and they just seemed like fighters with a title. The art was gorgeous.


More crunch and stats needed

3/5

This book did a great job of getting me interested in the various Knight options, but left me frustrated and wanting more details about actually rolling up and playing some of the types presented in the book. It would have been perfect if all of the crunch, or class stats had been presented. If nothing else , an index listing each knight class / prestige class / archetype and the book and page number it could be found in would have been very helpful. Some of the class options do have the reference book listed, but this information is spread throughout the book and is very confusing or hard to find. This player companion would have been perfect if it had been expanded to include all of the stats and class information necesary to roll up a character or add a prestige class with this as the ultimate reference guide.


Worthy!

4/5

A fine little booklet. This one covers the primary Knightly orders of the Inner Sea, their organization, and motivations. Worth is alone for the wonderful 2 page art spread of the Cavalier iconic with a discection of all this gear and horse. Seriously, just a handy booklet. The info on the squire rules is great and the spells in the book are USEFUL! My only serious gripe is a lot of the Knightly orders this book covers are in the Inner Sea Guide and Paths of Prestige. Pick those up to get the full use out of this book.


Knights Galore!

5/5

When I first learned that Paizo was working on a book about knights in the Inner Sea region, I was thrilled beyond belief. As a fan of the Dragonlance setting, I've been using knights in my games pretty much since my first game as a GM and I still do, fascinated as I am by the notion of knightly orders and the wide variety of motivations that drive these knightly orders and the individual knights within them to excel.

Fast forward a few months and I've finally had a chance to actually read Knights of the Inner Sea. I'm pleased with the result and I'll tell you why.

LAYOUT
The book follows the new format introduced in Varisia: Birthplace of Legends. 32 pages jam packed with information to help gamers bring the subjects contained in the book to the gaming table. Each topic in the book is given 1 page (For Your Character, Rules Index, Knights and Religion, Knights and Race) or 2 pages (Knights Overview, Eagle Knights, Hellknights, Knights of Ozem, Mendevian Crusaders, Other Knightly Orders, Anatomy of the Knight, Squires, Mounts, Cavalier Orders, Knightly Codes and Traits, The Spells of Serren, Magic Items), providing a fast and furious pace to the information given.

This, of course, requires that the text is clear and well written, and I feel that's the case in Knights of the Inner Sea. The text is easy to understand and written in a way that certainly inspired me. I also like that each turn of the page presents a new topic relevant to knighthoods in the Inner Sea. In a product as short as the books in the Player Companion line are, you can't afford to spend too much time dwelling on a single topic.

Every inch of the book has been utilized, including the inside covers. The front inside cover provides an overview of 4 knightly heritages, showcasing the differences within knightly heritages from various regions in the Inner Sea. This overview is just that. It's not a detailed essay on the history and personalities of each house, but rather a few short nuggets of information to inspire players and GMs alike to explore the notion of noble houses and knighthood in their own games. This, I think, is what Paizo does best. They provide us gamers with nuggets that allow us to add depth to our games. The back inside cover is all about mounts, focusing on the mundane sort such as horses and hounds. Once again, the information is precise, providing a brief description, a reference to a relevant stat block and book, and a game mechanic associated with the mount.

Following the trend started by Varisia: Birthplace of Legends, Knights of the Inner Sea is all about making things easy for the players. From the sidebar Questions to Ask Your GM through the Rules Index to the centerfold providing a visual breakdown of a knight's armor and equipment (as well as that of his mount), Knights of the Inner Sea does its utmost to ensure that any player contemplating playing a knight has as much information as he needs to get started. I really like that. As a veteran player, I like to think I know my way around the game, but even so, the book makes my life much easier when it comes to knightly characters. For instance, before Knights of the Inner Sea, I didn't know the name of every single component of a typical knight's arms and armor. I do now. The Questions to Ask Your GM segment is just common sense. Don't create a mounted knight if your GM intends to run an all-Darklands campaign for your group, for instance.

The greatest thing about the layout in the new format is that it no longer follows a set formular with specific sections that have to be in each book (such as Social, Faith, etc.). The content and the way it's laid out is adjusted to the needs of the subject matter. Of course you'll still see certain things in each installment going forward, such as the centerfold, but this seems far less forced than was the case with the old layout for the Pathfinder Player Companion Line.

FLUFF
If you're looking for obscure knightly orders or even detailed essays on the major knightly orders of the setting, this is not the book for you. There are two reasons for this. First, this book isn't big enough for that kind of thing, considering the large topic the book tries to cover. Second, Paizo's strength when it comes to fluff lies in whetting the appetite. In planting countless sparks with which to ignite the creative fire.

So what can you expect from the fluff in this book? Knights of the Inner Sea discusses what it means to be a knight in the Inner Sea region, covering such topics as types of knights, how religion affects a knight, and racial differences. In addition, seven specific knightly orders are presented. All of this with enough detail to help a player create a knightly character. So somewhat basic, well-written information. If you're a living Golarion encyclopedia the amount of new fluff is limited but, considering the purpose of the book, that's not a bad thing.

My personal favorite part of the fluff in the book is the centerfold. I've mentioned this before but it deserves a second mention. The Anatomy of the Knight section is brilliant and it's something I'll be referencing a lot both as a player and as a GM.

CRUNCH
There are several interesting crunchy parts to this book. We get feats, traits, cavalier orders, spells, and magic items. But while these are, for the most part, cool and tailormade for knightly characters, I want to focus on roles, squires, and mounts.

Roles are a new feature that was premiered in Varisia: Birthplace of Legends. Some of you may not have access to that book so here's a brief description of what a role is. Basically, it's advice. Want to play a Gallowspire Warden (Knights of Ozem specializing in the patrolling of the Hungry Mountains and the prison of the Whispering Tyrant)? The Gallowspire Warden role lists options that help you build a fitting concept. Classes, archetypes, skill, feats, prestige classes, and equipment are suggested and the persona typical to Gallowspire Wardens is described.

Roles are clearly meant for new players and veteran players who don't have the time and/or the desire to go through the many books published for Pathfinder (the game AND the setting). As such, it's an invaluable resource, certainly for new players for whom the prospect of browsing through thousands of pages just to find the right game mechanics can be a daunting one.

The disadvantage, I think, that roles have is that, for a large portion of the player base, myself included, they fill a lot of real estate. Space that many will think could have been put to much better use either fleshing out some more fluff or presenting more new game mechanics. In the case of Knights of the Inner Sea, 4 pages have been dedicated to advice on how to build specific character concepts. I don't see myself using roles to create my characters and as such, I would have prefered something else. I realize, though, that I'm far from the only customer Paizo has to take into consideration, and roles serve their purpose quite well, I think.

Squires are handled via a feat. It's basically a minor version of the Leadership feat that allows you to gain a single cohort. When you reach seventh level, the Squire feat upgrades to Leadership. Pretty cool even if the prerequisite level seems a bit off. The really cool thing, though, is the addition of squire-specific archetypes that come along with the feat. While the archetypes can certainly be taken by any character of might qualify for them, they're intended to be taken by squires. The archetypes are Combat Healer Squire (paladin), Gunner Squire (gunslinger), Herald Squire (cavalier), and Weapon Bearer Squire (fighter). All in all a fun way of handling squires in the game.

Any self-respecting knight rides into battle on a war-trained steed and Knights of the Inner Sea has that aspect covered quite well, I think. The book divides mounts into two categories - Animal Mounts and Monstrous Mounts. We'll get to the animal mounts in a bit but first let's discuss the monstrous mounts. 13 monstrous mounts are featured in the book (blink dog, dragon horse, young dragon, dragonne, giant owl, griffon, hell hound, kirin, pegasus, shadow mastiff, sleipnir, unicorn, and worg). Although no new game mechanics dealing with monstrous mounts are introduced, the section does a nice job of describing how each monstrous mount might serve a knight. In addition, a page reference is given, allowing the reader to quickly look up the monster in the relevant book, and a Cohort Level is given. Very useful to any player contemplating getting a monstrous mount.

Animal mounts are featured on the inside back cover of the book. In all, 5 horses (chiadmar, Dort charger, fell pony, Lastwall jasper, and Taldor jennet) and 3 non-horse mounts (Chernasado riding elk, Erutaki husky, and Qadiran dromedary) are listed on the page. Each entry contains a short description, a page reference, and a trait. Not only do we get a bunch of Golarion-specific mounts to add some flavor to our knights (as opposed to the standard Core Rulebook heavy or light horse), but each mount comes with a trait. While this trait counts against a character's total traits, whenever you switch to a new type of mount (say, from Dort charger to Lastwall jasper), you also switch traits, losing the trait you with before and gaining the trait associated with the new type of mount. I absolutely love this, as it adds a nice bit of crunch to campaigns and adventures in which mounts make sense.

CONCLUSION
So how does this 32-page book on knights handle itself? Quite well as it turns out. The book's purpose is to provide players with enough material for them to be able to play knightly characters. It does that perfectly, I think. Knights of the Inner Sea provides details on some of the most popular knightly orders on Golarion, it contains rules for mounts and squires, it provides sample knightly heritages, it breaks down the importance of religion and how the different races approach the concept of knighthood, it visually describes a knight's arms and armor as well as that of his mount, it provides magic equipment and spells, it provides plenty of suggestions through roles, and overall it does so in a well-written and inspiring manner. If you expect the book to go deeper, providing material on more obscure knightly orders or game mechanics to really take your knight to the next level, you'll be disappointed. But if you expect this book to equip you with enough fluff and crunch to create that archetypical knight, this book has you covered.

My only two sour grapes are roles and some of the artwork. While roles work very well for what they're supposed to do, for me personally and the kind of gamer I am, its usefulness will be limited and it'll take up a lot of real estate that I might have wanted spent differently. Again, if you're new to Pathfinder or you're one of the MANY gamers who don't think it's particularly fun to browse through book after book after book to find the fitting game mechanics, roles will be a boon. As such, it's not something that'll detract from my overall impression of the book. Roles may not be useful to me personally but for a lot of gamers, they certainly will, and they work well.

The majority of the artwork in this book is quite decent. However, there are three pieces that did not sit well with me, specifically the artwork for the Hellknight, the Knight of Ozem, and the Mendevian Crusader. Artwork is a very subjective part of any roleplaying supplement, and for me those pieces did not do a good job at all visually describing typical representatives of the three orders. Other than those three pieces, the artwork in the book worked well enough, particularly the centerfold and the three panoramic pieces.

All in all, a very useful book that should help a lot of players realize their knightly character concepts. It's certainly inspired me.


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drumlord wrote:
Regarding the Squire feat, is it meant to have "Character level 4th" as a prerequisite? Unless I'm missing something, no character could take this feat until 5th level. Is it possible this is supposed to be classified as a combat feat so that those who get bonus combat feats at 4th level could take it?

Ah, good catch! The prerequisite character level for this feat should actually be 3rd, not 4th.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I just heard this product received a 1 star review and could not believe it. Read the review, then looked over the book. I wish I was able to completely disagree with Siren's Mask. I feel he is on the money for his analysis for crunch, but not for fluff. This book is more like 3 stars to me = average. The crunch is not that good, but the fluff is great.

I was looking forward to alot of new options. I feel this book would have been perfect for martial (cavalier, fighter, paladin, etc) academies, schools, and training grounds, which I have been wanting for a while. I am kind of upset the new squire received 4 archetypes and no other class did, the space spent on monstrous mounts without adding any new content, and the trait system for animal mounts requiring the character to give up a trait (for a mount which can't be brought everywhere and may be hard to replace upon death).

This book provides alot of fluff. I think it works well as a Golarion companion as it provides ways to fit your character in better with the world and add depth as well.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Yeah, the fluff > crunch ratio in this one is a bit out of whack. While I prefer Player Companions to be rather crunch light, this one went overboard with the idea.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Thomas LeBlanc wrote:

I just heard this product received a 1 star review and could not believe it. Read the review, then looked over the book. I wish I was able to completely disagree with Siren's Mask. I feel he is on the money for his analysis for crunch, but not for fluff. This book is more like 3 stars to me = average. The crunch is not that good, but the fluff is great.

I was looking forward to alot of new options. I feel this book would have been perfect for martial (cavalier, fighter, paladin, etc) academies, schools, and training grounds, which I have been wanting for a while. I am kind of upset the new squire received 4 archetypes and no other class did, the space spent on monstrous mounts without adding any new content, and the trait system for animal mounts requiring the character to give up a trait (for a mount which can't be brought everywhere and may be hard to replace upon death).

This book provides alot of fluff. I think it works well as a Golarion companion as it provides ways to fit your character in better with the world and add depth as well.

If you sincerely think the book deserves 3 stars, write a review. Otherwise people will only see the one star review.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Sigh. Glad to see the trend of people writing misinformed reviews based on mismanaged expectations hasn't stopped.

Honestly, on the one hand, I'm glad the internet has allowed average consumers the ability to review products instead of the days when we had to rely on the voice of "professional" critics alone. On the other hand, say what you want about critics and professional reviewers, at least they understood the concept of "Review".

Case in point, you can not (and should not) base any of your "stars" (or lack thereof) on misguided expectations. Period. You expected it to be more like Inner Sea Magic and ended up being massively disappointed. Too bad. Inner Sea Magic is a GM-focus Campaign Setting book. This is a Player's Companion. Of course they're going to have different formats. To expect differently was the (absolutely stunning) failure of the reader not the material.

As for the rest of the reviews points, while a bit better, it's not nearly as in-depth for what a One-star review should warrant. Anyone who wants to give a book a such a polarizing review better be prepared to back it up with big guns, be it a one-star review or five-star. Not a few shoddy paragraphs about "fluff" versus "crunch". Spare me. That sort of thing is entirely subjective.

Granted, if I'm going to talk the talk then I should walk the walk. I don't have my copy yet, still waiting on my FLGS, but once I've read it I'll post a review.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
The Block Knight wrote:

Sigh. Glad to see the trend of people writing misinformed reviews based on mismanaged expectations hasn't stopped.

Granted, if I'm going to talk the talk then I should walk the walk. I don't have my copy yet, still waiting on my FLGS, but once I've read it I'll post a review.

Normally when person attacks someone about their

"misinformation" they tend to have at least a little information themselves on the subject material. You sir are an exception, with your talking the talk and walking the walk, you would think you might start walking before you started talking.

If you had read the book, and were refuting my claim, I would have excepted your condemnation toward my review with a little weight.

On the other hand I think some clarity is in order. I did not write that review in a bout of "nerd rage" as a personal attack on Paizo (now settle down zealous fan-boys). I love Paizo, I own a great deal of their products and all of the inner sea related material.I have been constantly impressed with 4 and 5 star books, however I understand they can't always turn out a winner. Does this mean I am going to stop supporting Paizo? No, it does not. Does this mean I thought the quality of this one product was severely lacking? Yes. I wrote that review based not only on "crunch" and "fluff" ratio. I found barely any "crunch", and the "fluff" as I said in my review was not all that new, 6 paragraphs on the Knights of OZEM, and most of it rehashed or basic information you would know about Lastwall if you had the inner sea guide. The product in and of itself is sub-par, if you compare it with other inner sea and Golarion guides it is dismally apparent. For me the most interesting thing in the book was the origin of the knights of OZEM's name.

Now if you dislike my review,write your own. But do not write three paragraphs of self-righteous fan-boy drivel when you don't even have a basis for your claims.

P.s I will not be engaging in escalating back and forth arguments, I have said my peace. Thank you and good day.

Silver Crusade

The calls of fan-boy are counter to what this forum stands for. Bad form.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Siren's Mask wrote:
I did not write that review in a bout of "nerd rage" as a personal attack on Paizo (now settle down zealous fan-boys). I love Paizo, I own a great deal of their products and all of the inner sea related material.I have been constantly impressed with 4 and 5 star books, however I understand they can't always turn out a winner.

So, you are constantly impressed BUT you reach out for the keyboard and write your one and only 1-star review? Then you call people "fanboys" who write "drivel" because, I dunno, they dared to disagree with you on a *discussion* forum and in a true spirit of a *discussion* forum you exit stage left? Have you checked your blood pressure today? I'm seriously concerned for your health here.


I'm mostly in the same boat as Thomas LeBlanc. Siren's Mask brought up valid points in his review and while I disagree with the 1 star, I can certainly understand his point of view and reason for that. I was underwhelmed by the Player Options I've seen so far in this book, as most seemed to be traits. Even Inner Sea Magic, a campaign setting book as was pointed out above, seemed to have more player options than this does. I don't think it's too much to assume that the Player Companion line would have more player options than the campaign setting line. It's entirely possible that, by the numbers, this has more options for players. But with the large focus on traits, it seems so much less so.

In many ways, criticism is far more useful than praise, as the criticism will help you avoid mistakes in the future. I'm guessing that the first review of the product being a 1 Star grabbed far more attention than Yet Another 4-5 Star Review, and perhaps the ideas of the review will be taken to heart in future releases, far more than if the first review had just been praise. Perhaps due to the review and the sentiments found within we'll see more non-trait options, or less of a focus on one class going forward.

That said, I would ask people not to defensively rate this higher than they normally would to "counter" a 1 star review. I'm not accusing Joseph Wilson of doing this - I haven't even read his review yet! - and have been thinking of stating this since the 1 star review came out. Most of his complaints were valid ones.

Every company has its hits and misses and since most of the authors of this were industry vets, I'm sure they understand that not everything will be well received. Heck, even Gorbacz, our much-loved Paizo's Unofficial One-Man Marketing Team, panned the book.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Cheapy wrote:
Heck, even Gorbacz, our much-loved Paizo's Unofficial One-Man Marketing Team, panned the book.

Heck, I've panned several books. Memory of Darkness, City of Seven Spears and Adventurer's Armory all got less-than-stellar reviews from me. But I do try to review as much as I can, and make it visible that occasional bad books are exception to the norm of high quality.


Gorbacz wrote:


So, you are constantly impressed BUT you reach out for the keyboard and write your one and only 1-star review? Then you call people "fanboys" who write "drivel" because, I dunno, they dared to disagree with you on a *discussion* forum and in a true spirit of a *discussion* forum you exit stage left? Have you checked your blood pressure today? I'm seriously concerned for your health here.

Bit of a misunderstanding here, I said I will not engage in escalating arguments, I will have a discussion though. I did not call The Block Knight a "fan-boy" because he "dared to" disagree with me. I did it because he started a defensive argument by attacking my review without having looked at the product, there by having no basis for discussion except his "feelings". My review was "an absolute stunning failure", not because he disagreed with my points, or that he thought the book was amazing, but because he did not like that I gave it one star and needed to defend the product that he has not yet reviewed. The fact that this was my only review speaks for Paizo and their material, that all has been well and agreeable, because silence means consent. In regards to people disagreeing with me, I welcome that. If someone points out something that I missed that is noteworthy I will recant my statement and review.

Dark Archive

I just would like to say the the move to the "new format" for the players guides is not to my liking. I liked the old format much better, I do not know if its the case but they just seemed to have more info and more to offer.

The new format is prettier is about all I can say for it.

Shadow Lodge

I'm not really sure I care for it either. Especially the new "Roles" section irks me for some reason. I generally find the Player's Guides lacking, but the new format does seem ike it would be a good idea for more DM focused guides that are not really intended for players (like most of the area books are for both).


I must say i really liked the book..but its too small..these books should be 64 pages..i feels alittle like reading a over veiw of a larger work..love what there was..just not enough

Scarab Sages

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I like the new format, but I do have to admit an ambivalence to roles so far. I'd much rather have feats or spells than Roles.


Siren's Mask wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:


So, you are constantly impressed BUT you reach out for the keyboard and write your one and only 1-star review? Then you call people "fanboys" who write "drivel" because, I dunno, they dared to disagree with you on a *discussion* forum and in a true spirit of a *discussion* forum you exit stage left? Have you checked your blood pressure today? I'm seriously concerned for your health here.

Bit of a misunderstanding here, I said I will not engage in escalating arguments, I will have a discussion though. I did not call The Block Knight a "fan-boy" because he "dared to" disagree with me. I did it because he started a defensive argument by attacking my review without having looked at the product, there by having no basis for discussion except his "feelings". My review was "an absolute stunning failure", not because he disagreed with my points, or that he thought the book was amazing, but because he did not like that I gave it one star and needed to defend the product that he has not yet reviewed. The fact that this was my only review speaks for Paizo and their material, that all has been well and agreeable, because silence means consent. In regards to people disagreeing with me, I welcome that. If someone points out something that I missed that is noteworthy I will recant my statement and review.

Actually, you'll note that I didn't attack any of your points regarding the material in the book specifically because I don't yet have my copy. I actually said:

The Block Knight wrote:
As for the rest of the reviews points, while a bit better, it's not nearly as in-depth for what a One-star review should warrant.

The only two things I really disliked was the "fluff" vs. "Crunch" bit which has no place in a review (IMO) due to just how subjective it is. People have different standards regarding the perfect F vs. C ratio and such judgments have no bearing on the quality of the book (which is what the stars are supposed to represent).

And the mismanaged comparison to Inner Sea Magic which is in a completely different product line. This is the only place where I really accused you of having misinformation. If I'm a brand-new Paizo customer who knows very little about the different product lines and I see a one-star review that says "this should have been like Inner Sea Magic but wasn't," that's going to heavily influence me. Which is what a review is supposed to do, but it should influence based on appropriate comparisons.

Since the review was one-star I was hoping for something a bit more comprehensive in the review. Without it, the review's star rating comes across as being heavily influenced by those two points. I'm not critiquing your dislike of the book. I'm critiquing how you presented it.

Finally, you'll also note that I never once accused you of having written it during a bout of "Nerd-Rage". I didn't assume that. If you think clarity is in order, then the review needs clarity. Which is what I was saying.

I will be writing a review once I get a copy (which may not be for a week or two). It might be 2-stars. It might be 1, 3, or 5. The review will attempt to detail why those stars are warranted based on technical points and if the book achieved (or didn't) what it set out to do.

Apologies if I came off so strongly that you felt the need to respond with such aggressiveness. It was not my intent to imply you were battling "Nerd-Rage".

Cheers,
Tony

Shadow Lodge

Just got a chance to look at my friends copy of this and from what I've seen it's pretty awesome, love the breakdown of armor along with the heraldry's and the squire feat is just so full of potential that I can't wait to see you guys fiddle around with it more and make more feats in this vein.

That being said I have a few things.
1.) Is there a reason the cleric is not allowed as a squire? Was that intentional or just something that happened and there wouldn't happen to be any plans to change that?

2.) Sad at the common mounts that we got as the list was both very small (I was incredibly excited for this section of the book) with it occupying just the back cover, and the options for normal horses being mostly speedy light horses and none for really the larger draft horses and warhorses that some characters might be more interested in (like my cavalier).

3.) Am I reading this correctly that the special ability of the mount takes up one of MY trait slots?


doc the grey wrote:
1.) Is there a reason the cleric is not allowed as a squire? Was that intentional or just something that happened and there wouldn't happen to be any plans to change that?

Since all squires need to be of a class that grants martial weapon proficiency, clerics aren't allowed to be squires. That being said, if we happen to do an Acolyte (or whatever) feat down the line here that accomplishes something similar to the Squire feat, clerics will likely make it into the bunch (along with some other divine classes).

The thought process behind this is that since you're effectively gaining a huge benefit from the Leadership feat at a much earlier level, there needed to be some significant restrictions as well. Also, a knightly squire wouldn't be much help if he didn't know the difference between your broadsword and your glaive. The combat healer squire archetype might be up your alley if you're looking for a buddy to keep you going during the fray.

doc the grey wrote:
2.) Sad at the common mounts that we got as the list was both very small (I was incredibly excited for this section of the book) with it occupying just the back cover, and the options for normal horses being mostly speedy light horses and none for really the larger draft horses and warhorses that some characters might be more interested in (like my cavalier).

Worry not! Draft horses and a slew of other mounts and bestial companions will be landing on your doorstep with the upcoming Pathfinder Player Companion: Animal Archive.

doc the grey wrote:
3.) Am I reading this correctly that the special ability of the mount takes up one of MY trait slots?

Yep! You might offset this restriction with something like the Additional Traits feat from the Advanced Player's Guide.


So, um, I might be missing something here, and this is way zooming in, but I noticed that the Golden Legionnaire Role takes two classes, Cavalier (Emissary archetype) and Ranger. Preferred Prestige Class is Golden Legionnaire. Simple enough.

One problem: taking Golden Legionnaire requires heavy armor proficiency and the Emissary archetype takes that away from Cavaliers and Rangers don't get it with either suggested archetype. Doesn't suggest heavy armor proficiency as a preferred feat, sooooo... What's the point of using this role?

Have the Golden Legionnaire's prerequisites changed before/after this supplement or the Paths of Prestige book was finalized? Or is there some Pathfinder-world specifics that I'm missing? The words "woodland commando" and "heavy armor proficiency required" seem a little incongruous.

Shadow Lodge

doc the grey wrote:
1.) Is there a reason the cleric is not allowed as a squire? Was that intentional or just something that happened and there wouldn't happen to be any plans to change that?
Patrick Renie wrote:
Since all squires need to be of a class that grants martial weapon proficiency, clerics aren't allowed to be squires.

Just wanted to point out that practically any "knightly" Cleric IS going to have Martial Weapon Prof. Iomadae, Ragathiel, Torag, Eristel, Gorum, and Sarenrae.

Ones that do not are Asmodeus, and stretching it a bit Kurges and Milani.


Patrick Renie wrote:
doc the grey wrote:
1.) Is there a reason the cleric is not allowed as a squire? Was that intentional or just something that happened and there wouldn't happen to be any plans to change that?

Since all squires need to be of a class that grants martial weapon proficiency, clerics aren't allowed to be squires. That being said, if we happen to do an Acolyte (or whatever) feat down the line here that accomplishes something similar to the Squire feat, clerics will likely make it into the bunch (along with some other divine classes).

I have another question -- I was originally given the impression that Squire was a feat for 1st level. However, in the book it says that you have to be at least 4th level. I can see why this was done (giving the party a fighter-type NPC at the start is a bit much), but shouldn't that requirement read 'have to be at least 5th level'? Because unless you're a fighter (and even then Squire isn't a combat feat) don't you have to wait until 5th level to get that feat?

Also, when the Squire 'graduates', would it be okay to change not their class but their archetype to reflect them becoming 'their own man' rather than just the knight's servant?

I have to say, I enjoy the feat and the way it's done, but some clarification on my points of confusion would be appreciated.

Dark Archive

Patrick Renie wrote:
drumlord wrote:
Regarding the Squire feat, is it meant to have "Character level 4th" as a prerequisite? Unless I'm missing something, no character could take this feat until 5th level. Is it possible this is supposed to be classified as a combat feat so that those who get bonus combat feats at 4th level could take it?
Ah, good catch! The prerequisite character level for this feat should actually be 3rd, not 4th.

This.


bigkilla wrote:
Patrick Renie wrote:
drumlord wrote:
Regarding the Squire feat, is it meant to have "Character level 4th" as a prerequisite? Unless I'm missing something, no character could take this feat until 5th level. Is it possible this is supposed to be classified as a combat feat so that those who get bonus combat feats at 4th level could take it?
Ah, good catch! The prerequisite character level for this feat should actually be 3rd, not 4th.
This.

Whoops, sorry, I missed that one. Thanks for pointing it out.

Scarab Sages

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bigkilla wrote:
Patrick Renie wrote:
drumlord wrote:
Regarding the Squire feat, is it meant to have "Character level 4th" as a prerequisite? Unless I'm missing something, no character could take this feat until 5th level. Is it possible this is supposed to be classified as a combat feat so that those who get bonus combat feats at 4th level could take it?
Ah, good catch! The prerequisite character level for this feat should actually be 3rd, not 4th.
This.

Actually, I don't think that can be right. The rules for the squire feat say that the squire needs to be at least three levels lower than the PC, which is impossible before 4th level (unless the squire is 0-level?)

Knights of the Inner Sea wrote:

You determine your Leadership score according to the rules presented in the Leadership feat, but your squire

is always at least three or more levels lower than yourself.

Part of the point of the feat is that your squire doesn't become a full cohort (2 levels lower than the PC) until the PC has the Leadership feat proper. That seems to be the way the feat is supposed to work so I don't think you can take this feat at third level without an exception for when the squire is just starting out.

The Exchange

The book is great but abit to short. Being so short I am confused about the two pages of spells, we could have had info for knights fighting pirates / naval activity or some more info on the souther section of the inner sea or just more detail. But it does give me a lot of info I wanted on the campaign world, yay! More setting info please!

The art is mostly great, the jousting art is amazingly awesome.


Could someone list the 3 cavalier orders ?

Shadow Lodge

Order of the Land, which is about rustic community based knights.
Order of the Penitent, which are reformed theives and scoundrels.
Order of the Staff, which protect Wizards and Druids.


Do the orders kick a$$?

I wanna know about the Dragon Horse and Griffin Mounts.

Shadow Lodge

It's really up to your play style and character build focus.

What do you want to know? Dragon Horse (bestiary 2) is a Cohort Level 16 Mount that can do some planse shifting, and the Griffon (bestiary 1) is a Cohort Level 8 Mount. Both are going to fall under the Leadership Feat (or special Mount rules) and you need to be at least 2 levels higher to gain them.

Dark Archive

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bigkilla wrote:

I just would like to say the the move to the "new format" for the players guides is not to my liking. I liked the old format much better, I do not know if its the case but they just seemed to have more info and more to offer.

The new format is prettier is about all I can say for it.

Yeah also not much of a fan of the new format.

Shadow Lodge

I like parts of it, and not others. I lve that related parts are kept together, where as older books had items, feats, traits and whatever all over the place. The only exception is that certain groups get secific Trait options, which is fairly minor. I'd prefere them all together, but like I said, minor and not even a complaint really.

I don't like that all the pages are so colorful, or in this book the heavy use of blue stationary, even in greyscae, wates way too much ink). I don't like the table of contents and book breakdown set up at all. It looks really odd and a bit tacky to me, and sort of like a magazine. It reminds me a lot of the 4E Dragon articles, (not saying they are bad), that just does not sit well with me in their design.

I did like how most of the groups got a 2+page spread and that they do not flow into each other much, so if I just want to print out certain sections, it doesn't (sometimes) also contain a part of something else.

I hate the Roles, though. Maybe it's because I already have most other books and already know what I want to look at if I plan on building a character, maybe it's that I tend to half agree and half dsagree with what it presented, I honestly don't know. I don't like how they almost present something (opinion) useful, but don't actually explain how to use them for a concept or offer suggestions beyond a simple name and reference. I'm really not trying to be harsh here, I can't really place a fnger on what it is that I really dislike about them. I wish they where much more outside the box in offering suggestions. For example, if the Role is Nature survivalist/Outdoorsman, I'd want to see how to make EVERYTHING BUT a Barbaran, Druid, and Ranger into that Role, as those are common sense.


From the description I was hoping there'd be rules on barding and how you apply it. For instance, it full place barding exactly like the humanoid counterpart, but on a horse or due to it's design does it give a greater dex bonus as it's usually designed not to inhibit the movement of a horse.

unfortunatly I found nothing about that in the PDF, but there are a lot of nice fluff in there about various famous knights in Golarian.

Shadow Lodge

It should be in the Core Book. Off the top of my head, works just like armor of the same type except for cost and weight. So yes to AC bonus, Max Dex, Movement, and ACP.


"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
It should be in the Core Book. Off the top of my head, works just like armor of the same type except for cost and weight. So yes to AC bonus, Max Dex, Movement, and ACP.

thanks, I'll take a look.

Shadow Lodge

Basically, Barding is x4 the Cost, and x2 the weight for a Horse. Also, they are not proficient naturally, so would need to get that as a Feat or Trick somehow to avoid an Attack Penulty. If you hav a mount from a Class feature, that also may not be the case.


Been away awhile, but it seems that Paizo finally released this. Too bad they didn't combine the companion book in a hardback as suggested here last year Paizo needs a companion book

Silver Crusade

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Gotta add my opinion and say that I much prefer the new format. It's far more useful for the way I play.

Still digging into this one... :)

Contributor

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Hey guys, just wanted to chime in here. First off, thanks for all the feedback, it's really helpful and REALLY varied in this case, so I appreciate the range of food for thought.

Having seen four of these new Player Companions now (and outlined eight) I know I have a pretty unique perspective, but I'd encourage readers who aren't jazzed about the format quite yet to keep watching. (And for those that are jazzed to keep mentioning it, as we're not above a little ego stroking. :) ) Something that might not be obvious yet, though, is that two of the greatest strengths of this new design are versatility and flexibility. A lot changes every month, and we've got even wilder stuff on the horizon. So just because you've seen something once, or even twice, doesn't mean that's a new "thing." What we thought might work for Shoanti and Mendevian Crusaders might not work for dhampires or dungeoneers. So don't let your judgements set too deep, because there's a lot in this mixing pot.

We're also listening and there's a few things I've seen from threads like this that we'll definitely be keeping in mind for future Player Companions, but do remember that the publishing steamliner turns REAL slow, so the next thing I can make any adjustments to releases in January (because everything before that is already at the printer). So rest assured that we're keenly interested in feedback and will be constantly adjusting the mix to give folks what it should like they want.

I also plan to keep testing barriers with this line and present new weird rules sets and subsystems. Sometime they'll be flawless, sometimes they might need a tinker or two in post-op, but that's the nature of any new design. We'll always strive for perfection, but in the end GM arbitration is part of what makes this game so awesome, so thanks to all those GMs who finesse anything that might not be clear the first time through. Though, as always, if anyone ever needs any clarification on anything or needs anything sorted out, well, you can always get all your "WTFs" answered right here, straight from the source. My expectation is that some systems will totally fly and be awesome and eventually see inclusion in the Core Rulebook line. Others won't be as popular, but they're always worth the experiment and if it doesn't work for you, well, there will be something new and maybe more up your alley next month.

Additionally, I do want to make sure that everyone realizes that the audience we've really been targeting for this line is the player. That means I would much rather present an introduction to a broad topic with some neat additions and references on where to find more information, rather than a comprehensive article on a single topic. In 32-pages, the size these books will be every month, there's just not the space to go all the way down the rabbit hole on every topic we introduce--and fortunately we don't have to since we have the Campaign Setting and Adventure Path lines to explore nuances in. So, in general, do expect more overviews and touchstones rather than pages and pages on rarefied specifics. I really want these books to send players to their GMs asking for more. I know I've said it before and it's a bit crude, but while I know I can trust a GM to take a game book to bed with them and read the whole thing, I've got most players for about as long as a bathroom break takes. To that end, these companions hit a topic fast, try to drop a lot of information in a visually exciting way that draws in lots of cool world details, and then moves on to the next topic. That's probably not going to cut it for a GM who's already read all of our books. But if you're that GM, try kicking one of these to your players who aren't doing as much reading as you are and see how they like it.

All that said, we do want to make sure we've got the old fluff to crunch mix solid and rest assured we'll be tinkering with that endlessly. Knights might have erred more on the side of Golarion flavor, suggestions, backgrounds, organizational details, families, world-specific steeds, squires, magic items, setting tied spells, and codes for a wide variety of knightly types, details on what being a knight of a variety of races might look like, or a knight of various faiths rather than getting into details of real-world Eastern European warfare, armaments, chivalric practices, hierarchies, and the like. We can definitely provide more of a general context for that sort of thing if that's what people want to see more of. However, this book does in some ways favor the new knight as opposed to the existing knight, with several of the details focusing on starting traits, roles (builds) to use as character concepts, families or organizations to be a part of, and orders to choose early in your adventuring career. Along with spells and magic items, more tools for the veteran knight, like archetypes and feats, would be great fits--though I would DEFINITELY suggest such vets still consider the roles most like the characters they are, as they might direct you to options (especially in Ultimate Combat and Paths of Prestige) you might not have known about. But, if I'm hearing that folks want more feats and archetypes, yeah, we can do that. And you won't even have to wait that long to see now that this line is monthly!

So, overall, thanks for checking the Player Companions out, totally keep telling us what you like and don't like, keep pitching us your questions, and rest assured that we're listing and we've got quite a variety show lined up. I really feel like this line's renewal has been driven by the feedback we've gotten on these boards (all the way back to those "Player Companions: What do you Love/Less than Love" threads) so keep talking and we'll keep listening. Thanks again all!

Silver Crusade

Thanks for the extensive heads up, Wes.

Have you considered posting the far future rules updates (I.e. those you would still have the time to alter, if needed) to the boards as a sort of informal playtest process? That way you may be able to head some of the potential difficulties off at the pass, so to speak.

Contributor

Winter_Born wrote:

Thanks for the extensive heads up, Wes.

Have you considered posting the far future rules updates (I.e. those you would still have the time to alter, if needed) to the boards as a sort of informal playtest process? That way you may be able to head some of the potential difficulties off at the pass, so to speak.

Given all the time and development staff in the world... maybe? With the demands of a monthly line's development, though, it's just not feasible. I also really wouldn't want to disappoint folks by promising X and delivering Y, as so, so, so much changes from outlining to what an author writes and then from an author's work through development (you might be shocked). Sometimes we're tinkering literally up to the day things go to print.

But you know, we're not above revision and evolving our designs and rules sets.

For example, I really like how the squires in Knights turned out, so much so that we're going to take an upcoming opportunity to do something related for another book in this line (hint, it's the Dungeoneer's Handbook). But you can bet we're going to take what we learned here and use it that next thing.

Monthly product lines can totally be killers and lock us into an endless "Go, go, go!" pace, but they also mean that the next thing comes fast. It makes it easy--especially with a line as flexible as the Player Companion--to experiment. Things folks like can make it into upcoming outlines speedily, while things folks don't can be excised even faster.

So keep talking, folks. We're listening and it's our job to make these even better every time.

Contributor

watchmanx wrote:
I must say i really liked the book..but its too small..these books should be 64 pages..i feels alittle like reading a over veiw of a larger work..love what there was..just not enough

Daw! Thanks man! "It wasn't long enough" is always my favorite criticism!

Contributor

Bilbo Bang-Bang wrote:
Been away awhile, but it seems that Paizo finally released this. Too bad they didn't combine the companion book in a hardback as suggested here last year Paizo needs a companion book

"...Combine the companion book in a hardback..." I'm a little unclear on what you mean here, though you might want to check Player Companion: Animal Archive. That might be more up your alley!

Silver Crusade

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F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Winter_Born wrote:

Thanks for the extensive heads up, Wes.

Have you considered posting the far future rules updates (I.e. those you would still have the time to alter, if needed) to the boards as a sort of informal playtest process? That way you may be able to head some of the potential difficulties off at the pass, so to speak.

Given all the time and development staff in the world... maybe? With the demands of a monthly line's development, though, it's just not feasible. I also really wouldn't want to disappoint folks by promising X and delivering Y, as so, so, so much changes from outlining to what an author writes and then from an author's work through development (you might be shocked). Sometimes we're tinkering literally up to the day things go to print.

But you know, we're not above revision and evolving our designs and rules sets.

For example, I really like how the squires in Knights turned out, so much so that we're going to take an upcoming opportunity to do something related for another book in this line (hint, it's the Dungeoneer's Handbook). But you can bet we're going to take what we learned here and use it that next thing.

Monthly product lines can totally be killers and lock us into an endless "Go, go, go!" pace, but they also mean that the next thing comes fast. It makes it easy--especially with a line as flexible as the Player Companion--to experiment. Things folks like can make it into upcoming outlines speedily, while things folks don't can be excised even faster.

So keep talking, folks. We're listening and it's our job to make these even better every time.

Totally understandable, and when I asked I knew it was a bit Iike grabbing smoke.

But a question unasked, is an opportunity stillborn. :)


Can a Squire take levels in a class that gains "proficiency with all martial weapons as a class feature" only in an archetype if he takes that archetype (Sohei)?

Can a Squire take levels in a class AND take an archetype that loses "proficiency with all martial weapons as a class feature" (True Primitive)?

Can a Squire take levels in a class that gains "proficiency with all martial weapons" as an OPTIONAL class feature? Option at level 1 (Oracle of Battle or Metal)?

Is a Crusader's Tabard a standard action (per command word standards) to activate? It doesn't use the standard text for saying an item is such (and it seems rather counter intuitive with its ability).

Does an Order of the Staff Cavalier's Spell Aid ("whenever the cavalier uses the aid another action to assist one of his allies, the ally receives a +2 competence bonus on the next concentration check, dispel check, or caster level check she makes (whichever comes first).") get boosted by the "Helpful" trait ("Whenever you successfully perform an aid another action, you grant your ally a +4 bonus instead of the normal +2.") or other things that boost the result of aid another?

Does OotS's Arcane Vessel mean temporary HP gained from the ability, or temporary HP in general?

How does a Bridle of Tricks interact with maximum number of tricks known?

Will have to examine in more detail, but the crunch does seem to be worth at least considering (rather than the huge number of "situational +4 bonus once a day" stuff seen way too often).

Contributor

"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
I don't like that all the pages are so colorful, or in this book the heavy use of blue stationary, even in greyscae, wates way too much ink). I don't like the table of contents and book breakdown set up at all. It looks really odd and a bit tacky to me, and sort of like a magazine. It reminds me a lot of the 4E Dragon articles, (not saying they are bad), that just does not sit well with me in their design.

I'll ask our senior art director to chime in on the choice of color for the backgrounds, though if she'll allow me to channel her for a moment (and she's welcome to contradict me when she reads this) I suspect she'd say that near the top of her team's list of priorities is creating an appealing print publication that stands out in bookstores and pleases the eye. Doesn't tax one's ink cartridge when printed from a PDF is certainly a lower priority (not one they dismiss, but lower). That said, our tech team has been doing some awesome things with interactive PDFs recently. If this is a serious concern, I'd suggest starting a thread in our general forum asking if art-light or art-free PDFs might be feasible. I just don't know.

Matters of taste aside, "sort of like a magazine" is spot on. Making this line more like a magazine and less like a smaller variation of the Campaign Setting line was central to my design philosophy. Having been an editor on Dragon and having the visuals redesigned by Sarah Robinson, who was our art director on Dragon, I wouldn't be surprised if readers of the last couple of years of Dragon's printed life (aka, the Best People in the World) found a few things familiar. More recent articles, I'd be surprised, but ultimately don't know anything about.

But on the TOC and following "For Your Character" spread. Do you not like the look or do you not find it functional? I'm just trying to drill down here to see if this criticism is one of aesthetics or functionality.

"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
I did like how most of the groups got a 2+page spread and that they do not flow into each other much, so if I just want to print out certain sections, it doesn't (sometimes) also contain a part of something else.

Cool! Glad that's doing it for you. In fact, every spread is distinct. No topic goes beyond its allotted 2-page section, as restraining topics to spreads is more pleasing both visually and organizationally, but also so you can hand a distinctive section to a player and be like "Here. This is for you."

"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
I hate the Roles, though. Maybe it's because I already have most other books and already know what I want to look at if I plan on building a character, maybe it's that I tend to half agree and half dsagree with what it presented, I honestly don't know. I don't like how they almost present something (opinion) useful, but don't actually explain how to use them for a concept or offer suggestions beyond a simple name and reference. I'm really not trying to be harsh here, I can't really place a fnger on what it is that I really dislike about them. I wish they where much more outside the box in offering suggestions. For example, if the Role is Nature survivalist/Outdoorsman, I'd want to see how to make EVERYTHING BUT a Barbaran, Druid, and Ranger into that Role, as those are common sense.

Roles were designed for two reasons.

First. We wanted to let readers know how we would build members of certain iconic organizations, backgrounds, or adventuring paths distinctive to Golarion--like Hellknight signifers or Varisian harrowers. But we didn't want to be restrictive, we wanted to make these about presenting options and helping characters to build characters that are at once viable and feel like vibrant parts of the Pathfinder Campaign Setting. Hence, we presented roles as a way of saying in a concise way "If you want to play a member of this group, here's how you might do it and here's some elements to consider." For this purpose, I think the roleplaying elements at the end--that suggest personalities, equipment, deities, or other specifics (like gender or "be siblings with another character")--are my favorite part. If you want suggestions for creating a character that feels like a native of Golarion, roles in this aspect should serve you.

Second. The Pathfinder RPG rules cover several thousand pages. The details of the Pathfinder Campaign Setting and rules specific to that world expand that hefty reading load by an order of magnitude. Our rules offerings are vast and varied, but by the necessity of keeping campaign material separate from our rules, nowhere in our hardcovers do we ever say "This feat is great for Knights of Ozem" or "This archetype is frequently utilized by Shoanti Barbarians." Conversely, our Campaign Setting line is not focused on characters, it's focused on expanding the world of Golarion in a variety of GM friendly ways. As such, it rarely delves into character related nuances like, "These options are commonly employed by Hellknights" or "Mendev Crusaders favor these classes beyond those you might expect." I commend our readers who have an encyclopedic knowledge of our rules options. I also value highly (and often pay as freelancers) those who have a masterful understanding of Golarion and can bring that world to life using our rules options and other tools. But I think members of both of those parties would be quick to acknowledge themselves as exceptional in most game groups. It's for those who aren't familiar with every aspect of the Pathfinder RPG rules and the Pathfinder Campaign Setting that I created roles. Using these tools, a player who wants to be a part of the campaign setting, but who doesn't want to spend days making a character has a script to follow for character creation (or direction for existing characters) that directs them to choices perfect for their character. These are not meant to be limiting factors or the only choices, but good suggestions relevant to a specific Golarion themed character type including arrows to relevant points in a host of other products a casual player might not be familiar with. This is our opportunity to say, "So you want to play a member of this group? You could do this or this, you should know about this or this, and you should totally consider this and this." In this regard, they are not a feature meant to optimize characters, they are a way to cut down on page turning and the sometimes overwhelming task of hunting down that one perfectly relevant option. Secondarily, they are a place for us to unite our rules and campaign offerings in a way no other product can. If you want to know what options out of those thousands of pages of options are perfect for the character you're trying to build, this aspect of roles should serve you.

On the opposite side of this, roles were not created to show how to make druids or fighters. They are not optimization guides to specific classes. Additionally, they are not meant to show how to create generic fantasy archetypes--the Core Rulebook line is divorced from the Pathfinder Campaign Setting line exactly so you can retrofit such broad topics yourself (they use semi-generic flavor to encourage such use in the widest variety of settings; not just Golarion). As in your example, a survivalist/outdoors man is exactly the sort of thing we would NOT create a role for. A player’s options for such a broad character type abound in every section of a hardcover presenting new options for barbarians, druids, or rangers. Players don't need a role for that and creating one doesn't serve either of the reason roles were created (there's no specific Golarion tie and players already know where to look). That said, Nirmathi Survivalist is exactly the sort of thing we might do a role for (though I’d really be searching for a specifically named group). In such a case, we'd talk about what makes this sort of survivalist distinct from any old survivalist, suggest what options work especially well, and maybe include some that a casual reader might not think of--entirely based off of what campaign details we've published (or know in-house) about members of that group. If the group a role is built to serve suggests an unusual class or options, there's an in-world reason for that. It is not the purpose of a role to present rules counter to what is logical for its topic group simply to be surprising. (That said! If someone has a really cool idea for how you might create a character that works nicely as a member of a group using classes or options not presented by a role, I encourage them to bring them to threads just like this and get them out there for other interested readers to see! We're limited by word and page counts in these books, but you aren't here!)

So, that's the reasoning behind roles. I wouldn't call them an element meant for the hardest of hardcore players--quite the contrary. I'd consider these elements for that new player at your table who really wants to play, but is a little daunted by the familiarity of the people around him/her and a lot daunted by that 2-foot-tall stack of rulebooks. I'd consider these elements for players who want their interest in the Pathfinder Campaign Setting backed up by relevant rules options but who doesn’t want to pore through thousands of pages of rules. I'd consider these elements for characters who know they want to play "X" but want to make that character feel like "X from Golarion."

You might not fall within one of those groups, and if not, a thousand thanks for the days of reading you've spent with our rulebooks and campaign setting offerings--we seriously would not have been able to survive as a company without awesome readers like you. But these elements just might not be the right fit for you. As gamers, though, I think we all know the challenges of attracting new players and helping non-veterans feel welcome in our hobby, and with such in mind hopefully you'll see the value in this space's use. Fortunately, I can point to lots of other options that are probably more in line with your tastes. I can also promise everyone reading this that it will remain Patrick's, Sutter's, and my own personal goals to make sure there are tons of cool options in every Player Companion for characters of every stripe and players of every experience level.

And as always, if you have any questions or criticisms about any of that, we're always on these boards, we're always listening, and we're always refining. We built this line to be fast and to be adaptive, so keep throwing your feedback out there and we'll keep on tinkering.

Thanks for your critique, consideration, and kind attention.

Contributor

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Winter_Born wrote:

Totally understandable, and when I asked I knew it was a bit Iike grabbing smoke.

But a question unasked, is an opportunity stillborn. :)

Too true! And you never know! We are kind of crazy sometimes. ;)

Contributor

How I'd rule on each one of these...

deuxhero wrote:
Can a Squire take levels in a class that gains "proficiency with all martial weapons as a class feature" only in an archetype if he takes that archetype (Sohei)?

I'd say yes. Always consider intention, not just semantics. The intention here is to have a squire that has martial familiarity and feels like a good student to a martial character. A warrior-monk like a sohei would be a fine squire, especially for a samurai! Neat fit and a pretty cool option!

deuxhero wrote:
Can a Squire take levels in a class AND take an archetype that loses "proficiency with all martial weapons as a class feature" (True Primitive)?

I'd say no. Blatantly, once the class has that archetype applied it no longer meets the pre-reqs for this feat. More thematically, a primitive with no interest in martial training makes for a poor squire.

deuxhero wrote:
Can a Squire take levels in a class that gains "proficiency with all martial weapons" as an OPTIONAL class feature? Option at level 1 (Oracle of Battle or Metal)?

Totally, for the same reasons I think a sohei would make a neat but unusual option I think a pious squire like this would make for a really interesting option.

deuxhero wrote:
Is a Crusader's Tabard a standard action (per command word standards) to activate? It doesn't use the standard text for saying an item is such (and it seems rather counter intuitive with its ability).

It does say "command word," so I'd say it takes a standard action. So you say it to activate the item and then you have your other standard action. It'd be a poor choice to use the tabard's ability on that same turn (but not bad to prepare or position in some other fashion). On the next turn, now that you're tabard's charged up and you're all set, have at 'em!

deuxhero wrote:
Does an Order of the Staff Cavalier's Spell Aid ("whenever the cavalier uses the aid another action to assist one of his allies, the ally receives a +2 competence bonus on the next concentration check, dispel check, or caster level check she makes (whichever comes first).") get boosted by the "Helpful" trait ("Whenever you successfully perform an aid another action, you grant your ally a +4 bonus instead of the normal +2.") or other things that boost the result of aid another?

Ooooh, that's not bad. But at that point, the cavalier's spent a trait and an class ability to help another character using the restrictions of aid another. So I'd say yeah.

deuxhero wrote:
Does OotS*'s Arcane Vessel mean temporary HP gained from the ability, or temporary HP in general?

Do you mean counting toward the maximum amount? The second sentence says "Temporary hit points gained from this ability from different spells stack," it's not applying new qualifiers to the way temporary hit points from other sources work.

(*Least funny OotS reference EVAR!)

deuxhero wrote:
How does a Bridle of Tricks interact with maximum number of tricks known?

It allows a creature to exceed that number.

deuxhero wrote:

Will have to examine in more detail, but the crunch does seem to be worth at least considering (rather than the huge number of "situational +4 bonus once a day" stuff seen way too often).

Cool, thanks for reading and I hope this helps! (And yeah, we're REAL down on "+2" gimmicks on all fronts right now--especially on traits!)

Dark Archive

Random thoughts;

I think my favorite part was the front cover, with the heraldric devices (I loved those in the old Greyhawk gazetteer!) and the orders of knighthoods given a very brief overview. More of this, with a page page (and heraldry) for each order, would have been right up my alley.

Page 2 seemed like a total waste of a page.

I don't care for Roles. This is me, climbing on to the 'I don't much care for roles' bandwagon. They feel like more wasted pages to me. I'd much rather have Faction Guide style write-ups or Inner Sea Magic-style write-ups of the martial orders and 'fighter's academies' or whatever, than pages devoted to roles.

The Anatomy of the Knight was cool, as well as the brief primer on heraldry. Fluffy and crunch-free, and yet totally on-theme and useful for anyone who wants to develop their character, and be able to 'talk the talk.'

The Knights and Religion page had some interesting stuff. Knights of Nethys wouldn't have immediately occured to me! (Bone-Armored Grave Knights of Urgathoa sure would have, or 'Storm Knights' or 'Green Knights' of Gozreh, or undead-scourging Pearl Knights of Pharasma, or The Loyal Order of the Staggering Hound (knights of Cayden), 'cause I'm contrary like that.)

Squires. People not me love them some archetypes, and I do not begrudge them some wordcount devoted to that. Not every page has to be for me. :)

Kinda woulda liked to see the Mounts done up for classes that have a Mount / Companion feature (Cavaliers, Rangers, some Paladins), instead of as Cohorts, but, c'est la vie.

Like the inclusion of new Cavalier Orders. Exactly the sort of thing I'd expect to see in this book. If this were a more generic 'knights of Golarion' book, and not Inner-Sea-specific, a few orders that feel more Samurai-themed, than 'western knight-themed' would be welcome. But this is not the book for that, I s'pose.

Knightly Codes and related Traits were an interesting touch. I like that not every Knightly Code was necessarily nice... (Perseverence, for instance, seems like the Knightly Code of the Archdevil Mammon!)

I like that all of the spells listed were usable by some combination of paladins, rangers and magi/maguses/magoo, fitting the book's theme.

Mount Traits? Hm. Possibly interesting. Possibly nothing that I'd give up a +2 Initiative or 900 gp to have.


^^ Thanks for the answers.


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Pathfinder Card Game, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
If you want suggestions for creating a character that feels like a native of Golarion, roles in this aspect should serve you.

This is why I like Roles, in fact, this is the most important element of Player Companions, imo. A player should be able to pick up a player companion and get the feel for how to craft a character appropriate for that particular "area" of Golarion. I believe Roles contribute to that goal.

re: lore/rules ratio
I suppose there is a balance, but it feels like some of the heaviest criticizers want the Companions to be part of the Rules line, and or the Chronicles line (GM-focused), we already have lines for those.

The more new rules you place in a Companion the more a GM has to ensure it is appropriate for their game. In fact, I would prefer simply references to existing rules as appropriate for the feel/flavor that the Companion is trying to get across. There should only be new rules if they are needed for the feel/flavor.

Moreover, I think the Companions could go even further into the flavor of Golarion. These have started to move in that direction, but there is plenty of room to grow.

The guiding principle of this line should always be, what does a player need to create a character that feels like a native of Golarion.

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