Dragon Tiger Ox: Wuxia/Wushu Sourcebook (PFRPG) PDF

****½ (based on 3 ratings)

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An ancient China/wuxia source book for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

In distant lands, the sun rises on an awesome world where dragons bring rain, deities are under every stone, and the will of mortals cuts deeper than the sharpest sword.

Under the rule of the Enlightened Emperor, gods grace the earth and heroes rise to the heavens! Witness the awesome power of righteous martial arts!

Feel the wrath of oni and fiends who hunger for the blood and souls of mortals! Live the life of a hero in a land where swords clash like thunderbolts in the skies!

Included:

  • New rules for Unarmed Combat, High-Flying Acrobatics, and Martial Arts Styles!
  • New Styles of Combat, Including Forbidden and Mythic Martial Arts!
  • Over 130 New Feats!
  • Full Mythic Adventures Support, From Feats to Mythic Paths to Artifact-Level Weapons!
  • Martial Clans and Families Fighting for the Emperor's Favor!
  • Fantastic Races, from the Monstrous Guiwu to the Protective Shishi!
  • Exciting Encounters, from Tests of Prowess in an Ancient Temple to a Fighting Tournament!
  • A Slew of Magical Items ranging from Ornate Jade Masks to Fire-Spewing Gourds!
  • Breathtaking Original Artwork by Jack Holiday!

Pages: 166 (1 cover, 1 credit, 1.5 OGL, 162.5 pages of content)
Bookmarked?: Yes
Optimized for: PDF/Print

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Fulfilled immediately.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

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****½ (based on 3 ratings)

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

****( )

This massive book by Little Red Goblin Games clocks in at 172 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 7 pages of SRD (with some pages duplicating text from the adventure at the end of the book), leaving us with 163 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Now if you've been following my reviews, you'll know that I usually take apart crunch for races and classes in a pretty detailed manner. The problem with a book of this size and my approach is evident -were I to do that here, the review would bloat beyond compare. Hence, I'll be somewhat less detailed than usual in this review, picking out the cherries and the less than awesome components and highlighting them. Got that? Great!

So after a short introduction to the topics and tropes of WuXia/Wushu and the implied setting of Dragon Tiger Ox, we delve into the basic supplemental pieces of information. A basic introduction to a third alignment axis in the guise of honor can be found here, as can be new uses for knowledge skills to identify styles. Unlike in a standard assumption of a setting, each character receives a favored style through which they progress, counting their class level as BAB-prerequisites for the purpose of taking these feats. A similar terminology is established for ki-level - that means it class levels in a ki pool gaining class.

Additionally, a new combat maneuver may be used to disrupt styles, canceling their benefits and allowing the maneuver's executor to increase the amount of time entering a style takes. While not particularly effective in itself, the maneuver lends itself to a versatile array of possibilities to follow up on. What rather impressed me with its simplicity and yet, genius, would be the diversified martial arts - headbutts, kicks etc. all get their own damage-columns and bonuses - kicks tend to do more damage, but inflict the new off-balance condition on a character executing them. This system not only immediately makes flurry of blows actually interesting, it turned out to work in a rather balanced and cool manner when I tried it out. These alternate rules indeed are glorious and should be deemed a nigh must to make monks and martial artists in general a more interesting playing experience.

Now if you want to go for full-blown WireFu WuXia à la "Hero" and similar movies, an array of solid rules to achieve just that would be provided as well. On the downside, the suggestion to default gestalt as monks with other classes makes sense and fits the tone, but the lack of advice regarding power-levels of characters and adversaries when implementing these rules make them feel more like an afterthought. And yes, gestalting is explained in x guides online, but I maintain that introducing a suggestion like this should also be accompanied by a thorough examination of its ramifications.

Now for the more light-hearted among us, the bad dubbing rules that have you pantomime what your character means and another player say the words might not suit my tastes for a prolonged and serious campaign, mostly due to me trying to explore questions of ethics and psychology as well in my games, but for a fun evening with sake or beer, I can guarantee that the results can be utterly hilarious.

Now race-wise, aasimars and vanaras may choose new alternate racial traits (including a draconic breath weapon). The Guaiwu, one of the new races herein, would imho be just a tiny bit too strong with both darkvision and low light vision, though not by much - still a good example why the RP-rules from the ARG don't work as smoothly as they ought to and by no means broken. That being said, one could nitpick a bit here and there. The second race, the Samebito can be rather overpowered in any aquatic campaign - gaining fast healing in saltwater, these guys are per se a cool race, but one DMs should be a bit wary of in the context of nautically-inclined campaigns. Shishi are awakened from statues of foo lions/dogs and are celestial guardians - and here, I have not even the slightest gripe. On another note - the Guaiwu remain the only race that specifies its RP-cost, in case you were wondering.

A total of 11 racial feats allow half-breeds to have two favored styles, Gaiwu to shoot elemental blasts (with a VERY high range), gain blindsense under water, wield larger weapons etc. -especially the Gaiwu gain the brunt of cool tricks here, with one-handing two-handed weapons and gaining regeneration temporarily for eating oni-flesh being two examples that skirt what is balanced and what is cool. Generally, I do like the feats on their own, but the concentration of awesome tricks for the Gaiwu and relative lack of coolness for other races bespeaks a kind of favoritism here. Seeing how the race already is powerful when compared to the base races, the damn cool and iconic toys might push them over the edge for *some* DMs, so please read this one carefully. The good news would be that the options provided by themselves are not broken.

A short primer on languages had the linguist in me excited, though the level of detail of e.g. Necropunk's supplements is not reached herein. Beyond a new wildblooded draconic bloodline for sorcerors to represent the eastern dragon's flavor and a new one for ki-centric sorcerors that helps them not suck at ki-tricks/unarmed tricks - at least not as much. The ki/metamagic synergy gained at higher levels also makes for an interesting design choice here. We also receive the ki domain, whose ki-powered channel and the potentially extreme increase of radius for it can easily break the balance when taken in combination with variant channeling or simply a powerful channeling specialist, so take that one with a grain of caution.

Next up would be the 3 new prestige classes – in all brevity, 2 are full BAB-progression classes, the third a ¾ BAB-progression. The Shifu would be a master of one style on the verge of developing his own style – hence, the PrC receives a secondary pool, so-called prowess points, to modify his strikes with. In an interesting take, some of the class abilities depend on the base-class used to class into this PrC. If you happen to know the movie tropes – these guys learn the hardcore martial arts – dealing the same damage as last round via mirror palm (explicitly working with vital strike!) and elemental blasts make for iconic techniques that are powerful, but limited by daily uses. Beyond these, the PrC also receives a disintegration-style killer strike and an insta-death attack – especially the latter is not something I’m generally a fan of in classes that are not the assassin. Yeah, it exists in the literature and movies, but still.

The second PrC herein would be the Jade Warrior, which can be summed up best as a kind of holy warrior that strives to become a balanced paragon of stoic virtues, a kind of anti-dishonor-paladin, if you will – though one powered by ki with quite a few more unique abilities than I would have expected – I particularly liked that their wounds inflicted on dishonorable targets resist magical healing and may leave jade green scars unless treated by restoration.

The third PrC herein would be the Wolong – a hardcore strategist martial artist that learns tactician and similar tricks. While I am not a fan of the general option of a mechanic that allows for counter-strikes and ties the mechanic to initiative (d20 vs. d20 minus 5 – too much variance), I do like the ability – for while I don’t enjoy this component of it, the option to pick their turn apart and e.g. take move actions at a different initiative than standard actions etc. makes for some very interesting changes in tactics. The ability to command allies pales in comparison and has been done in more interesting ways in other classes. However, with the very strong and iconic round-break-up, more would have been unbalancing. That being said – NOT a fan of adding int to damage, even with a max class level caveat – stacking up multiple attributes to base damage is too easy to game.

A couple of rage powers and rogue talents allow for the parrying of unarmed attacks via blades and even monk-style tricks for barbarians, just before we delve into the meat of the setting information with a general overview of the celestial bureaucracy under the emperor. An assortment of suggested deities and heroes is presented, alongside a massive chapter on the diverse sample of clans, orders and schools. If you have access to LRGG’s Heroes of the East-series, you’ll also notice some synergy with the styles established therein, allowing you to easier weave a tangled web of diverse martial traditions and ideologies competing for supremacy.

Of course, no such book would be complete without a new chapter on feats and Dragon Tiger Ox surely delivers in that regard with a massive chapter and MANY, many feats. Rather weirdly, the necessary index-table shows up after the first couple of feats, but that is admittedly a nitpick. The feats themselves, as befitting of the theme, make ample use of ki and allow non-ki-classes to wilder in this territory; It should also be mentioned that these feats have been built with regards to a kind of compatibility regarding the “Heroes of the East”-series, which generally is rather neat. The fact that the exceedingly cool upgrade to Ki Cannon does not feature the prereq-feat from the HotE-series may gall some people, though. Beyond a significant array of regular feats, we are also introduced to so-called Forbidden Feats – these feats come with significant benefits, usually in the guise of significant damage to the character, even attribute damage, but allow the respective character to regain ki-points. Surprisingly, I have found no easy way to cheese these feats – while it *is* possible, it would require some deep digging and uncommon race/ability combinations not usually available t PCs, so…well done. On another note – it is a bit weird that follow-up feats to Forbidden feats not necessarily are forbidden feats themselves – there seems o be some minor thematic inconsistency going on here, but once again, that’s a nitpick.

As a nice nod towards the glorious Ultimate Campaign supplement, we also receive some thematically appropriate story feats that let you prove that YOUR style is the best…or that your school should be considered supreme to your rivals. Another array of new feats would be introduced herein – qinggong-feats, which essentially represent spell-like abilities that are unlocked via taking the feats. These abilities, while powerful, are tied to ki and burn quite a lot of this resource. The dispelling strikes that allow you to counter magic via ki deserve special mentioning, though I consider the forbidden technique that allows you to convert incoming spells into ki a perpetuum mobile of a finite resource that does require careful oversight. And yes, THAT one can be cheesed, but only at high levels. So yeah, no significant issue.

A total of 5 new styles can also be found within these pages – from the elven Drambor that rewards tumbling through and over foes to the leg irons using Rattling Chain, the styles are one thing – unique. They breathe a kind of inspiration absent from quite a few published styles out there. Now personally, I consider the Sacred Lotus Style’s option to substitute caster level for BAB for the purpose of delivering touch spells to be rather nasty – while it allows for certain builds to actually work rather well, it also has the potential to go rather awry and become OP depending on the resources you allow as a DM – essentially, as soon as you have a touch attack based class like the warlock-variants (e.g. Interjection Games’ superb Ethermancer), you may wish to think VERY hard before allowing this style. It should be noted that this remains the exception in an array that is otherwise rather interesting – rope-darts, ki-draining – generally, this chapter deserves accolades!

Now the styles have been ample clue here – yes, there also is quite an array of new equipment herein, namely cool stuff like Bond-style throwing hats, flying guillotines etc. – the latter would constitute the one totally broken weapon herein – not only does it have an x5 multiplier (as if x4 wasn’t bad enough…), it also has a damage dice upgrade when used in conjunction with Throw Anything. And yes, it does require a swift action to retract, but still…I don’t see the fun in luck being rewarded this much. Other than that, Umbrella Spears etc. make for interesting options that even allow for some unique tactics.

Where there are mundane items, there are magical ones and this book does deliver in this regard as well – beyond jade and peach wood as materials, an array of ki-powered jade masks, fans with the powers of the wind, wooden oxen figurines, leadening weights, enchanted gourds – quite a diverse array, often with primary passive benefits and additional, active ones that require the expenditure of ki. New magical armor and weapon properties as well as advice on the pricing of these items can be found within this chapter as well.

Now remember those forbidden feats I mentioned? Well, there also are the immortal clans and styles – taught directly by the immortals, theses styles are very powerful, but have significant, story-based drawbacks that really have a massive oomph – from slowly turning into a tree to becoming utterly reckless, these styles work exceedingly well -why? Because they use the ROLEPLAYING aspect to codify drawbacks in rather unique ways that can enhance the game rather than only relying on sheer numbers. These are feats for mature groups, yes, but damn fine ones – powerful, narrative gold here!

Becoming immortals would also be a distinct possibility and perhaps, most appropriate when going Mythic anyways – yes, this also provides advice on mythic adventures in the cosmos of DTO – From Universal to path-specific abilities, a vast array of mythic versions of feats etc. mean that there indeed is *A LOT* of mythic content herein to use. That being said, the balance, even within the context of mythic rules, has been stretched very thin by some of these options – being treated as always having 1 ki point and adding yet another way of regaining ki can be combined with these abilities to make some truly fearsome combos – now don’t get me wrong; I don’t necessarily consider this inappropriate in the context of Mythic Adventures – but the options herein are powerful indeed and may be considered too much for some DMs not going balls to the wall-crazy with mythic adventures.

A total of 4 different mythic-exclusive styles further increase the fantasy-factor here – clad, for example, in righteous flames, delivering negative levels by the attack – the mythic styles are extremely lethal, but also risky – more so even than the regular immortal styles. Once again, the caveat that they’re intended for the higher power-levels of gaming applies, though these provide less potential for abuse than the vast assortment of path abilities due to story-based limitations of their accessibility.

The final pages of this book are devoted to different ready-made encounters, which, among others, feature the challenge of a 36-chamber pagoda – and generally, I do enjoy these encounters. Alas, the statblocks provided here are rather opaque and the one time the layout failed – no bolding, no clearly distinguished attack/defense-sections – mind you, the words are there, but presentation-wise, the statblocks feel jumbled when they’re not – a good example that layout *is* important.

For the conclusion, see Post #13 of the product discussion.


Dragon Tiger Rocks

*****

LRGG has proven themselves to be one of the best companies to take advantage of style feats and Wuxia themes in their products, and DTO is no exception.

Pros:
-Flavor is top notch and oozes throughout the product
-Many, many options are present and serve generally as expansions rather than totally new subsystems; the product's developments coexist and make use of existing frameworks
-Honorable/Dishonorable as alignment is a nice touch
-Extremely cool presentation of "Forbidden feats" in a way that makes them appealing without being broken, provides appropriate drawbacks without being crippling, and provides a great mechanic for characters wishing to go just a little further than they should. This, while relatively minor in the scheme of the total product, is probably the first d20 ability that manages to sit at the balance between absurd brokenness and unusably bad.
-The wolong offers a great representation of the archetypical tactician, and is fresh and innovative, if a bit difficult to use.
-Style support is awesome.

Cons:
-The Shifu class is [edited: slightly!] unbalanced due to the master's inspiration mechanic. I did like that it is a roundly resource, and can be shared among a party, but a lot of the shifu techniques are pretty nuts for only a few levels of investment.
-The jade warrior class seems needless. While I like the effort put into "eastern prestige paladin," I'd have preferred a flavor swap than a whole new class.
-Lots of references to previous content with respect to prerequisites, without listing the feat again in DTO or indicating where the feat can be found in another product.

Despite the flaws, this product is SUPERB for anyone running a Wuxia setting, playing a monk, or just trying to get a whole bunch of awesome content. On a bang per buck basis, DTO is easily the best third party product I've purchased.


*****

Let's see if I can break this down into a few segments.

-Setting and Races
-Additional Rules and Equipment
-Classes
-Feats

Setting:

I'll be honest, going in I wasn't really looking for (or expecting) an actual setting for a game, even a framework. I thought this was going to be at most a bunch of guidelines for converting any existing setting into a Wuxia type setting (though that would be a good short supplement *hint hint nudge nudge*).

So I was pleasantly surprised when what I got was a flavorful, steeped in Asian (especially Chinese) myth analogues slice of fantasy. The gods feel like they could be real (and in some cases, unless I'm mistaken, ARE Chinese gods by any other name), the restricted races actually add to the setting more than it takes away (which is the usual in my experience), and the lower level of technology leads overall lends itself perfectly, and actually INCREASES variety in some ways (Jade weaponry is pretty cool, and wouldn't make much sense in even a "modern medieval" setting like Golarion).

The races are all very cool and seem like options people would actually want to play, which is great. Samebito are very cool, whether you picture them as actual shark men ala a Were-Shark or as Kisame-esque man-sharks.

Vanara get a much needed flavor overhaul. Wasn't a big fan of them as the default but this nudges them into being an interesting race with the regional divides.

Celestials I can honestly take or leave, the dynamic of them being revered by many because of their heritage is a neat switch from Aasimar, but otherwise, they're just Aasimar. Which I know is kinda the point, and is sorta what the Vanara are too, but it just doesn't do as much for me.

Guaiwu fill an interesting space in the game. Thematically, they're kinda like Orcs, but without the "Always Chaotic Evil" baggage, and mechanically they're an odd (but neat) fusion of Orc and Dwarf, and make for a great playable Half-Giant type race to any game, especially with their racial Feats that let them wield big weapons and such (my mind sings with the possibilities of a Guaiwu Titan Mauler).

Shishi are definitely the most unique of the bunch. I'm torn on whether to like them or be cold on them. On the one hand, they really do make it easy for GMs to introduce new characters mid campaign. Their appearance is cool, and mechanically they work well. However, I've never been a huge fan of a character who essentially has no future...with a lifespan of about 30 years a long term campaign is pretty much impossible, and so is "carry over" (using teh character in anotehr campaign down the line). Basically it bums me out that there's no possibility for a time-skip or anything of the sort where Shishi are involved, since their lifespan is about 1/3 of the other "short-lived" (read: Human lifespan) races. I understand that's kinda the point, but it still makes me a bit sad. Same with Salarians in the Mass Effect universe.

Additional Rules and Equipment:

The Wuxia code and Honor/Dishonor changes are interesting, but I waffled back and forth on whether I liked them or not. It's basically a Code of Conduct that makes sense, which is great, and I like that you can have a "good" character who is Dishonorable (the loveable Rogue being the example used, I think), because I'm not a big fan of alignment myself. I ended up saying "I like it" but every now and then something I can't quite put my finger on niggles at me about it, which may be that killing someone is almost always considered dishonorable, which seems odd to me.

Gestalting everything with a Monk is awesome. Always has been, always will be. Can't really give credit to you guys for coming up with it, but I can say you're cool for reprinting it, so there. =)

Bad dubbing is very silly indeed. Very silly. You should be ashamed for even coming up with it as a rule.

Thank you for adding it.

Alternate unarmed damage...wasn't the biggest fan at first until I read how all the Feats and other things interacted with it, especially the new Off-Balance condition.

I will say, I don't like that headbutting Sickens you. Headbutting is supposed to make you look like a badass, not be realistic, darn it.

The Wire Fu rules are really the star of the show here, however. That mechanic just MAKES it. It works well and kinda ties the whole thing together from a visual standpoint, instead of just a philosophical one as most everything else has to this point.

Favored Style...honestly not a fan of Favored Style as a restrictive mechanic, especially since it kinda pisses in the Master of Many Styles' cheerios to an extent (especially after the Fuse Styles Feat was added).

The rules for Mastering a Style, and what that thematically (and mechanically in the form of Feats and PrCs) entails are quite nice though.

New skill uses are always great, especially these ones for identifying techniques and Styles. Skilled fighters should always know what's about to hit them, in my opinion, and this makes that a possibility.

"Watch out, he's using Snake Style, and will be very hard to hit!" is something a martial artist should be able to recognize.

New item materials and magic weapon properties are great, but some seem a bit overpriced. A +2 bonus for something that siphons off Ki on hit seems a bit much from a player perspective, since it's kinda like poison...it really only works for crippling your opponent in future battles that day, which is not what PCs will generally care about.

Classes and Feats:

The new (well, one new and one new-ish) Sorcerer Bloodlines are great, though a bit odd. I'm not very familiar with Chinese dragons (or the Imperial Dragons presented in the Bestiary) so stuff like "Piercing breath weapon" seems off to me, though I'm guessing that's how they were presented?

Ki Bloodline is pretty cool. It works kinda like a Monk variant I came up with that works as a 6th level caster with Ki points. Definitely want to see how that works with Sacred Lotus Style.

Speaking of, new Style Feats are always welcome. Drambor seems thematically really cool with all teh flipping, and mechanically pretty good too. Gives a sort of pseudo-pounce-ish mechanic since if you can get next to your opponent with the free movement on Initiative you're gold.

Rattling Chain style is just awesome sounding.

A few gripes on the new Styles though, and some of the stuff in general, I noticed that the book seems to rely a bit on the reader having some of your other books which was sadly not the case on my end. I was waiting for Ninjitsu and Karate Styles to be presented among the Feats (since they were in among the Schools and Clans as favored styles) and was sadly disappointed when they were not. I assume this is because they were in another of your books, as is stated about some things.

Forbidden Techniques are great, especially the one that lets you "Push to the limit" and use Ki abilities after you run out at a cost.

But the real star of the Feats, I think, is the Qinggong casting and Metamagic Feats. Definitely worth it for someone who wants to be a "Caster who is not a caster", something like a Qinggong/Ki Mystic or Sensei.

Finally, the Prestige Classes.

Sifu is GREAT, besides one HUGE gripe I have about it...it only has 2+Int skills a level. Come on, this guy is supposed to be the Martial arts master, the old Mister Miyagi, Shifu (Kung Fu Panda) kinda guy...and he only has as many skills as the common Fighter? 4+Int seems like it'd be a must for something that is kinda like Monk+.

Jade Warrior is pretty much the greatest Paladin replacement ever made. This is the class that kinda sold me on the Honor/Dishonor instead of Good/Evil thing. I have a lot of problems with the Paladin. This class pretty much eliminates all of the,. Mechanically similar, thematically similar, but with a bit of Hellknight mixed in and a Code of Conduct that isn't back asswards. Kudos.

Wolong is a swing and a miss for me. It has some cool ideas (like the "Can take actions any time he wants" ability), but it just seems like something that people will rarely take, mostly because it doesn't give all that MUCH for a 10 level investment. Tactician (which you can get from Cavalier), some Exotic Weapon Proficiencies (mostly pointless since you'll rarely need more than one), only 3/4 BaB (when you'll probably only ever want it as a Samurai/Cavalier PrC anyway), AGAIN with the 2+Int skills (which is REALLY odd on a martial class with an ability like "Intelligence Behind The Blade").

The one dud in an overall amazing book, I'm sad to say.

Overall, 5/5 book. I'll definitely be utilizing most of this stuff in a future campaign. If I overlooked anything important, sorry, there's just so much crammed into this book I wasn't sure how to mention it all without just being "Yeah i like that".


Webstore Gninja Minion

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Now available!


thanks rynjin for the 5 star review!


So anyone want to share their own custom quigong feats? I may have a few in my back pocket.

Sczarni

Quick question, do the mythic martial arts make use of the mythic adventures rules? (I know it seems as thou the answer were obvious, but you never know)


Thanks for all the reviews guys!

@Frerezar
Yes. They require the mythic adventures ruleset. The rest of the book does not however.

@Neverwillibreak
Thanks SO much for your fantastic review! We love the wolong too!
Of note thought, the Shifu must select one class for it's class feature as listed in the book.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I am interested in this product, but am wondering if i could get a list of which other products are used/referenced in it as mentioned in Rynjin's review?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The main books are those of our Heroe's of the East line (I, II, and III). We have recently produced a Heroes of the East IV, but it was not conceived prior to us embarking on the development cycle of Dragon Tiger Ox. If you do not have those books, you will still get a lot out of it. I believe they are only referenced as styles that certain clans favor. The intro to the chapter on classes also suggests replacing existing classes with proxies from those book. The tao, found in HoE I, just got an update. HoE3, which has the yamabushi and shinshoku, is getting an update (mostly pertaining to the shinshoku) this coming week.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

That's what i was wanting to know product wise, thank you very much.

Sovereign Court

Dude, despite my minor gripes this is an incredible product. Are you guys considering a compiled/revised version of HotE? Tangentially, where are the judo style feats located? It's briefly referenced in HotE 2, but I can't seem to find it. (I promise not to go offtopic again...anyone who's reading this, seriously consider DTO).


HoE 1-3 is in a discount bundle on DriveThru and I think we will keep them separate. We constantly roll out revision for our products (HoE is up currently but Necropunk has gotten 6 or 7 revisions since launch for example).


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I just wanna say you should at least pick up HoE 4 for the bancho, greatest prc ever!!


It seriously is.


Conclusion of my review:

Conclusion:

Editing can be considered very good; I noticed no significant glitches that would have impeded my ability to understand the content; formatting is less impressive, though – I did notice a bunch of glitches especially in the formatting department: From feat names at the bottom of the page, with the rest of the text on the next page to flawed paragraphs and the aforementioned statblock-presentation, this component is simply not that impressive. Which is especially surprising considering the layout – DTO features a beautiful, elegant full-color 2-column standard that manages to still be printer-friendly. However, the book also sports rather broad borders, which means there’s less text per page. Additionally, many a page sports quite a bit of blank space – some optimization there would have probably spared me quite a few pages when I printed this out. The artworks deserve special mentioning – especially the character art throughout the book is drop-dead gorgeous and on par with the awesome cover. The pdf comes with massive, nested bookmarks that allow for easy navigation.

Designers Dayton Johnson, Scott Gladstein, Caleb Alysworth, Jeremiah Zerby, Ian Sisson and Mike Myler have provided a massive, interesting book here – the love for the genre breathes from the pages and the fluff inherent in quite a few of these options remains compelling and cool. Now don’t expect a campaign setting here – this is a crunch-book with some setting-hints; If you’re looking for a setting, then this might not be for you. Continue reading, though.

Why? Because this massive book is essentially, for better and for worse, a huge grab-bag. Here and there, LRGG devises an alternate rule for something already codified by mainstream Pathfinder in another way, so an awareness and weariness of overlaps and stacking is required of prospective DMs. If you’re willing to approach Dragon Tiger Ox under this premise, though, you’ll be rewarded – unlike many books that feature complaints like the ones I fielded in the above paragraphs, Dragon Tiger Ox breathes the spirit of a true labor of love. In fact, rereading this review, it may even seem less positive than I intended it to be. Yes, there are potentially problematic options in here – but there is also a veritable treasure trove of options to scavenge, allow and use in your campaigns. From the iconic styles to the uncommon items, to the nice codification of ki that opens these tricks for a plethora of builds, Dragon Tiger Ox can be considered a great achievement and most importantly, a fun book.

Is it perfect? No. Do I consider all in this book good or balanced? No. Can I see myself using the vast majority of content herein? Heck yes! While not perfect, I do encourage any fan of WuXia or those wishing to run eastern campaigns to check this book out – it makes for a nice resource to have and its price is rather fair as well. Hence, in spite of some rough edges and the formatting glitches, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars with the caveat that a system-savvy DM should carefully contemplate the content herein prior to using it – some pieces might be inappropriate for some campaigns/rule-book combinations.

Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek, GMS magazine, posted on Lou Agresta's RPGaggression, then posted on OBS and here.

Endzeitgeist out.

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