The Genius Guide to the Shadow Warrior (PFRPG) PDF

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"I speak to the shadows ... and they speak back ..."

Not everyone can become a shadow warrior. More than just combatants, shadow warriors are students of styles of fighting they learn from the shadows themselves. Strange and dangerous; a killer with one foot in shadow, who prefers to fight with weapons that are as much about causing pain as they are felling enemies.

The shadow warrior is a new 20-level base class designed for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook (using some material from other hardback rules, especially the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Advanced Player’s Guide). It is a combat-oriented class, with an emphasis on fighting effectively with exotic weapons and drawing on the powers of shadow and darkness.

Author: Owen K.C. Stephens
Cover Artist: Jacob E. Blackmon and Bruno Balixa
Page Count: 13

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

4/5

This pdf clocks in at 14 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 11 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

Shadow Warriors are master of fighting with exotic weapons - beyond their proficiency in simple and martial weapons and light and medium armors and shields and in one exotic weapon of the shadow warrior's choice. The class also receives weapon focus in said exotic death-dealing implement and at 2nd level and every level thereafter, the shadow warrior may select an additional exotic weapon to master - and weapon focus applies to these as well, allowing you to easily play a master of an arsenal of weird weapons. Speaking of bonus feats - at 3rd level and every 3 thereafter, the class receives one.

Now beyond these, the class receives d10, 4+Int skills per level, full BAB-progression and good ref and will-saves - not fort-saves. Unusual decision, but personally...I like it. Speaking of which - to represent the "shadow" component, fighting in darkness via Blind Fight and scaling sensory benefits that even end in seeing across planar boundaries to the coexisting Plane of Shadow as a part of the capstone. This affinity also translates into a scaling bonus to skills and initiative in dim illuminations.

Of course, this would be no Rogue Genius Games-class sans a copious amount of talents - the shadow warrior receives one at 2nd level and every 3 levels thereafter, but before I give you a brief overview of these, let me mention Dread Tactics - at 4th level, shadow warriors using weapons for which they have weapon focus (i.e. exotic weapons, most likely) deal additional damage that scales from +1d6 to +4d6. Now some shadow talents replace the effect of this damage-increase - a total of 15 such talents are provided and range from passive benefits like evasion to dread tactics dice DR, dread tactics dice as bonus to AoOs and skill checks as a kind of even better mobility, etc. Low-light vision and darkvision, adding damage when using a weapon matching the executed combat maneuver and better two-handed weapon fighting - solid array.

Improved stealth even in broad daylight and better skills in the dark - solid. Starting 10th level, the class receives kind of supernatural tricks -shadow style. The first is granted at 10th level, the second at 19th and they tend to scale either by ability or by ability-type. The shadow styles include calling forth shadow servants, attacking touch attack AC when completely concealed from the target greater invisibility and similar darkness-themed spell-like effects to a small array of proper low level spells, firing str-damaging bolts of shadow or conjuring forth blades of shadow. The capstone allows the shadow warrior to ethereal jaunt or plane shift a limited amount of times per day.

Extensive advice for using these guys in one's game is provided, as are two archetypes - the deathstalker, who replaces the shadow warrior's bonus feats with a limited selection of inquisitions and receives a very limited array of death/necromancy/repose-themed spells of up to 4th level in lieu of dread tactics. The second archetype, the shadowsinger, receives more skills and can conjure forth the shadow of a perished skald to deliver bardic style performances - at the cost of all shadow talents - think of this one essentially as the shadow bard, as dread tactics are postponed to 14th level in favor of more bardic themed options.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant glitches. Layout adheres to Rogue Genius Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked and hyperlinked for your convenience. The pdf comes with thematically-fitting stock-art apart from the cover, though this time around the particular artworks have been used in a lot of 3pp publications. That does not make them bad, I just felt obliged to mention that.

Owen K.C. Stephens delivers an interesting take on the master of exotic weapons and his trademark genius does shine within these pages - the mechanics to make the exotic weapon focus work is awesome and tying mechanics to dread tactics makes for one damn cool design approach. I also enjoy the move away from the full-BAB-fort-save combination and the sample characters I made, went over well and efficient. But it felt like it was missing something. After some careful deliberation, I realized what that was - the class has all those cool design-decisions and then doesn't make that much of them - the respective talents more often than not come over as rather conservative, which is by no means a bad thing - but in a class that has these cool, intricate parts that could be tied closer together, they feel a bit like they belonged to a less inspired version of the class.

Now this will read more harsh on paper than it is intended, so I apologize in advance - but this class to me felt half experimental (in the best way), awesome, cool...and half bland. Now don't get me wrong, I *do* like many components here and I *love* what has been done with exotic weapons and dread tactics, but the class does feel a bit like it went half way, then opted for a more conservative, less awesome rest of material. This reads very much like two completely different design-philosophies had been blended and the result is slightly less than it could have been.

A capable DM willing to design additional talents will have a field day here, but those unwilling to add to the selections may make the class feel restricted - the 2 okay, but not particularly inspired multiclass-ish archetypes just don't fill the void that these cool design options have left open, especially since they take away/cripple the most iconic features of the class. Another oversight in my book would be the lack of synergy with the shadow assassin class, which could have yielded some damn cool combinations - focus/dread tactics? Yeah! What about allowing these guys to switch around weapon qualities? The ideas are lurking beneath the lines, but I can't rate the potential - which is exceedingly high. Hence, I can only settle on a final verdict of 4 stars. If you want to tinker with this, design yourself or don't mind more conservative designs that do not realize their full awesome potential, be sure to pick this up right now - for you, this scores even higher.

Endzeitgeist out.


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Quote:

When the

shadow warrior strikes an adjacent foe with an
unarmed attack or light melee weapon, he
gains a bonus to his AC and saving
throws against attacks, spells, and effects
from that foe.

I know what this is trying to say, but this parses in two grammatical ways :)


Gah must buy....next week. Quick to the time machine!!!


I like it so far. I'll need to think on it for a while, but one thing I really don't like is the departure from standard formatting, and making base class abilities italicized, and sub-choices of some of the abilities as bold. This threw me off many times, and I had to find myself going back to the table to figure out if it was a base ability or menu choice.

Also, for those wondering, this sort of takes cues from the rogue in that it doesn't get many bonuses to hit (no doubt intentional), but they do get a ton of bonus damage. Not as much as the rogue (obviously), but lots of steady damage, and also some very interesting things to do with that, like deal your weapon damage on successfully doing a certain Combat Maneuver.


I can see Zon-Kuthon having a lot of these guys serving him.


Cheapy wrote:
I like it so far. I'll need to think on it for a while, but one thing I really don't like is the departure from standard formatting, and making base class abilities italicized, and sub-choices of some of the abilities as bold. This threw me off many times, and I had to find myself going back to the table to figure out if it was a base ability or menu choice.

I had to do the exact same thing. Once I figured it out it was easy, but it was a tedious process.


Cheapy wrote:
I'll need to think on it for a while, but one thing I really don't like is the departure from standard formatting, and making base class abilities italicized, and sub-choices of some of the abilities as bold.

What the...

Huh. That is in fact the case. It's like that in my turnover, and layout did what I told them to. Weird. I have NO idea why my brained arranged things that way, after I've designed dozens of classes over the years without such an error.

I even went over this before it went up.

That's being corrected as we speak, and everyone will get the updated version free.

It'll be just like the rogue, where class features are bolded, and sub-choices (like talents) are italicized.

::begins washing egg off his face::


Owen KC Stephens wrote:
That's being corrected as we speak, and everyone will get the updated version free.

[Emphasis most certainly by me] Seeing as a purchased PDF that is updated is updated in one's downloads automatically, does this mean something else? ;)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
Owen KC Stephens wrote:
That's being corrected as we speak, and everyone will get the updated version free.

[Emphasis most certainly by me] Seeing as a purchased PDF that is updated is updated in one's downloads automatically, does this mean something else? ;)

No, it means exactly that. But some folks haven't had a purchased pdf be updated, and might be worried they should wait to buy this to make sure they get the update.

And they shouldn't. They should buy it now. :)


Got my update! Woot!


Does the Shadow Warrior Walk in Shadows ability stack with the Shadow Assassin Shadowmeld Stealth Bonus. Neither ability stacks with invisibility.


havoc xiii wrote:
Does the Shadow Warrior Walk in Shadows ability stack with the Shadow Assassin Shadowmeld Stealth Bonus. Neither ability stacks with invisibility.

I'd say yes, which may sound odd.

The only way to get both abilities is to multiclass, and both abilities represent an ability to blend into shadows that increases with level. For shadow assassins, it's +1/level which, at 20th level, gives a bonus similar to being invisible (+20 to Stealth). For shadow warriors its +1/2 levels, so it'd be +10 at 20th level.

Which means a shadow assassin 10/shadow warrior 10 would get a +15 bonus if they stacked, which is halfway between the two classes. In essence, since its the same bonus (different ability names, different details, same concept), and it improves with level, letting it stack represents the improvement gained from each class.

That's also the simplest RAW answer, since they are untyped bonuses.


Owen KC Stephens wrote:
Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
Owen KC Stephens wrote:
That's being corrected as we speak, and everyone will get the updated version free.

[Emphasis most certainly by me] Seeing as a purchased PDF that is updated is updated in one's downloads automatically, does this mean something else? ;)

No, it means exactly that. But some folks haven't had a purchased pdf be updated, and might be worried they should wait to buy this to make sure they get the update.

And they shouldn't. They should buy it now. :)

Yeah, that's one of my favorite things about buying PDFs from Paizo. But, it's good to see clarification for those that might not know how awesome Paizo is yet in regards to PDFs.

On a note about the actual product, how does this compare and contrast to the ninja (where by the way I am here asking this after I saw an ad on d20pfsrd's ninja page) in general terms?


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Hooray! Budget is tight, but I managed to get this last night and start devouring it tonight.

Badges Blood plasma? We don't need no stinking badges plasma!”


So are you guys moving away from the landscape formating?


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strongblade wrote:
So are you guys moving away from the landscape formating?

Yes, all of RGG's new products are done portrait format. I don't know if people have changed how they use our PDFs, or if the audience has changed, but when I started RGG I asked for feedback on how people would like our pdfs oriented. The response was overwhelmingly in favor of portrait, so we've gone all-portrait.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
AbsolutGrndZer0 wrote:
how does this compare and contrast to the ninja (where by the way I am here asking this after I saw an ad on d20pfsrd's ninja page) in general terms?

The shadow warrior is a fighting class. It has a full +1/level attack progression, all martial weapons (though a focus on and good reason to use exotic weapons), and some shadow powers. The shadow powers of a shadow warrior are more like a ranger's nature power or a cavalier's order -- they alter its flavor and focus, and in this case expand the class's Stealth utility, but it's still primarily a fighting class rather than a sneaky class.


Owen KC Stephens wrote:
AbsolutGrndZer0 wrote:
how does this compare and contrast to the ninja (where by the way I am here asking this after I saw an ad on d20pfsrd's ninja page) in general terms?
The shadow warrior is a fighting class. It has a full +1/level attack progression, all martial weapons (though a focus on and good reason to use exotic weapons), and some shadow powers. The shadow powers of a shadow warrior are more like a ranger's nature power or a cavalier's order -- they alter its flavor and focus, and in this case expand the class's Stealth utility, but it's still primarily a fighting class rather than a sneaky class.

Cool, thanks! Addding it to my wish list now then :D


Owen KC Stephens wrote:
strongblade wrote:
So are you guys moving away from the landscape formating?
Yes, all of RGG's new products are done portrait format. I don't know if people have changed how they use our PDFs, or if the audience has changed, but when I started RGG I asked for feedback on how people would like our pdfs oriented. The response was overwhelmingly in favor of portrait, so we've gone all-portrait.

I actually really don't like pdfs. I just got a tablet that's 10.5inch that's really nice. I like them more than I did but I really don't understand the focus on the two column format. One column I could just scroll down and read. Two I can only read half the page at a time and have to go up and down for the other half (assuming I don't want to squint). I find the web indexed stuff so much better from a format perspective that I avoid pdfs in general even if otherwise I might find the product otherwise interesting and pick it up. :(

*This is a general rant on pdfs in general and not your stuff but your note on formatting got me going :)


Mir wrote:
I actually really don't like pdfs. I just got a tablet that's 10.5inch that's really nice. I like them more than I did but I really don't understand the focus on the two column format. One column I could just scroll down and read. Two I can only read half the page at a time and have to go up and down for the other half (assuming I don't want to squint).

I suspect many people either use them on a full laptop, in which case two columns fits fine, or find a full page is wider than their device can handle, in which case without two columns they have to left-and-right scroll to read each line.

I feel your pain, and often there isn't a perfect answer. The current feedback we get is very much in favor of two-column products for our pdfs.

Mir wrote:
*This is a general rant on pdfs in general and not your stuff but your note on formatting got me going :)

No worries. :D It's useful data.


Okay, so I am confused about... all of the PDFs I have say "Super Genius Games" did you recently change your name and are just not updating the older PDFs, or what? Like for example, I just bought the Magus book which is listed as being by Rogue Genius, but the actual PDF says Super Genius. The reason I am posting this here, is this seems to be a newer book as the cover art on this page says "RG" on it, not the light bulb that the Magus book has?


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Super Genius Games is a company that was started by friends of mine, that I wrote for over a span of several years. Eventually I became part owner.
Last year Super Genius Games bought me out, and in that deal I got the rights to both most of its Pathfinder-compatible products and to start my own company with "Genius Games" in the title as long as it didn't also have "Super" in the title.
So Rogue Genius Games was born.
Through RGG I sell a lot of SGG pdfs. I also write and release new material. Sometimes we update old SGG products, in which case we'll update the logo, but that's a very slow process.
So yes, a lot of RGG's older pdfs say SGG, because that is who originally published them.


Owen KC Stephens wrote:

Super Genius Games is a company that was started by friends of mine, that I wrote for over a span of several years. Eventually I became part owner.

Last year Super Genius Games bought me out, and in that deal I got the rights to both most of its Pathfinder-compatible products and to start my own company with "Genius Games" in the title as long as it didn't also have "Super" in the title.
So Rogue Genius Games was born.
Through RGG I sell a lot of SGG pdfs. I also write and release new material. Sometimes we update old SGG products, in which case we'll update the logo, but that's a very slow process.
So yes, a lot of RGG's older pdfs say SGG, because that is who originally published them.

Aaah, okay thanks :D


Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and d20pfsrd.com's shop. Cheers!


As always End, thanks for the review!


My gestalt shadow assassin/shadow warrior game has been on hiatus so I haven't had a chance to really try anything yet but as soon as I do I plan on writing a review still. sigh GMs having their own lives what's up with that?


I look forward to it!

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