Pathfinder Player Companion: Melee Tactics Toolbox (PFRPG)

3.80/5 (based on 8 ratings)
Pathfinder Player Companion: Melee Tactics Toolbox (PFRPG)
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Look Your Enemies in the Eye!

Get up close and personal with Melee Tactics Toolbox! The new tips, tricks, and tactics in this volume enable your Pathfinder Roleplaying Game character to perform a huge variety of daring deeds in hand-to-hand combat, whether you’re dashing around a foe to flank it by yourself or inspiring allies to hold the line on a castle wall.

Melee Tactics Toolbox is a player-focused manual that makes the most of in-your-face abilities, spells, and weapons, in addition to providing a plethora of new rules options to make you even more formidable in combat. Each Pathfinder Player Companion includes new options and tools for every Pathfinder RPG player. Inside this book, you’ll find:

  • Tips on how best to fight in melee, including suggestions for rules options that can give you an edge, as well as general tactics available to all characters.
  • Dozens of new kinds of magic armor and melee weapons, weapon special abilities, and wondrous items to hinder your foes or protect you from close-combat attackers.
  • Thirty new feats to bolster your staying power in close combat, including combat, style, and teamwork feats.
  • An illustrated guide comparing more than 20 different styles of swords, including the falchion, katana, and urumi.
  • Tons of new spells, equipment, weapons, class archetypes, and character options, including a new bardic masterpiece.
This Pathfinder Player Companion is intended for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the Pathfinder campaign setting, but can easily be incorporated into any fantasy world.

Written by Paris Crenshaw, Ron Lundeen, and David Schwartz.
Cover Art by Milivoj Ceran.

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.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-732-1

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Player Companion Subscription.

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3.80/5 (based on 8 ratings)

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Judge this book by its (awesome) cover


Visit A Gaymer's Quest to read the whole review.

Let's start with the obvious: there's a calikang on the cover of this module. I've loved this monster since I first saw it in the Inner Sea World Guide, so I'm always happy to see it getting some press. Sajan and Jirelle look like they will get the best of it. It's interesting that Sajan is holding a weapon. One of the book's later sections goes to great pains to remind us that unarmed combat is melee combat as well, so I would have liked to have seen him fighting unarmed. Calikangs don't have any damage resistance, so a good flurry of blows (unchained or core) would be a great attack on one of these beasts.

But that's imputing game design on art. Art's job is too look cool. And while I think it might have been fun to have Sajan flurrying away on the calikang, he and Jirelle (who I hope has some sneak attack damage coming, swashbuckler or no) look like the bad asses they are taking on this hulk. In fact, much of the book's art is really good. It's not an action scene, but page sixteen illustrates all the various swords that exist in the game. It's very cool and helpful--the best quality in a gaming aide. Page 27 also has a good picture of Lini holding what appears to be a spell siphoning sickle and ready to make trouble for anybody messing with her.

Visit A Gaymer's Quest to read the whole review.

The best Player Companion in years - A must have!


Very diverse - something for everyone:
-On the inside front cover you find 4 war colleges of the Inner Sea.
-The 4 types of melee and how to act best during them: 1 on 1, 1 vs. many, many vs. 1 and many vs. many.
-30 new feats some of which are awesome, for example "press against the wall" which allowes you to treat solid objects like walls and columns or trees as allies that flank with you - how awesome is this?
-An overview of 21 swords used in the Inner Sea region in comparison to one another.
-16 new melee weapons!
-12 new tool and equipment pieces!
-11 new magic armors/shields!
-11 new magic weapons!
-5 new armor special abilities!
-6 new weapon special abilities!
-11 new wondrous items!
-10 new melee spells!
-A combat options overview on the inside back cover!

Page 17 shows an axe, a mace and a sword and names their parts.

Nothing ugly here.

This book is recommended for EVERY character because it gives you all the options you have in every situation of melee combats!

generally okay, back inside cover is the best!


I only glanced over the main portion of the book, but the back inside cover glued my eyes to it. And it's perfect.

The detailed table and description of the different types of actions one can take during any given combat round on one page, easy to reference, and nice to see the differences.

Might update this review later on.

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2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pexx wrote:

So I just picked up the melee toolbox and here are my thoughts on it.

There are some more versatile options, good art woork, some new weapons and armor, a few new spells, and a pretty sweet diagram of weapons.

So I read through the book and all though I love getting more options big or small I just felt the book was hugely on the small side for me. There was nothing whiz bang about it imho.

And it made me feel some of the text in the book alluded, that martial classes are just there to let wizards kill things.
"Dedicated spellcasters and archers can appreciate the excitement of engaging an enemy and understand the virtues of a well-planned assault, but they often need someone else to force the foe into close combat to prevent such threats from reaching them." That's great if we playing a themed class of sit there and take damage class why everybody else kills it concept.

Also a lot of things in the book are based around the "teamwork" feats which imho is broken already and we usually disallow all together in our groups games. (More of a personal problem I know)

I was hoping for this book to be "the book" to bring martial classes maybe not on par with spell casters, but a bit more balanced. Cause past lvl 10 Skills and Combat Maneuvers don't mean a whole lot.

Sure there are certain builds to min/max damage or some crazy combo that's amazing for martial classes, but I don't want to go that route every time I play just to keep up. I just feel that martial classes need a boon of some kind.

The Unchained book is coming out next month and that may bring some stuff, but just seems like some other classes are getting the nerf bat and some more options that may or may not be impressive. Have to wait and see on that I could be totally off base.

What I am basically trying to say is can Martial Classes get a Companion or Handbook that makes them on par or close to with the Spell Casters?

I understand the mentality that casters should just get everything cause oooo magic. Just seems like a...

I can not agree with this enough. I have been a melee player in pen and paper RPGs going back to the mid 80's and to this day it still surprises me how much favoritism is given to magic or ranged classes. This thinking permeates both pen and paper RPGs and MMORPGs. I don't know why someone thinks it is "fair" to make melee classes live in a cubby hole of either meat shield or loldps that is outclassed by magic or ranged but is 2015. Can't we please break out of this stereotype?

So far I really like the magic armors in this book the most, cool items.

Anyone else page 25 blurry as all hell?

I am glad I am not the only that sees this as being next to useless for an actual melee fighter and not a quirky class like monk or INT using melee types. Where's the beef for the heavy armor sorts?

Dark Archive

BuzzardB wrote:

So far I really like the magic armors in this book the most, cool items.

Anyone else page 25 blurry as all hell?

Mine looks normal. Might be a problem with your copy.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Deadkitten wrote:

** spoiler omitted **

It makes me sad that this spell is not on the Bloodrager spell list.

Or the bard list. Arcane Duelists and the like would love this.

Shadow Lodge

Odd question about the Orc Skull Ram:

This weapon consists of a wooden log with a shoulder strap to carry some of the weight. The name comes from the orc tradition of making the ram’s head out of a large skull. On a successful critical hit with a skull ram, you can attempt a combat maneuver check to bull rush your opponent as a free action.

Because of the bit about the skull - would that suggest that an Orc Skull Ram could be "tipped" with a special material (aside from the obvious Darkwood or Greenwood or Wyroot)?

i.e. Could a (presumably bone) skull be replaced by an Adamantine cast of a skull?

I am 90% sure the answer is no, but since I believe some authors/developers follow this, I figured there was no harm in asking! Thanks very much!

PS - This Player Companion is probably the most popular one of all time amongst my local PFS lodge's players and GMs! Bravo to everyone who worked on this!


Harrying Partners (Combat, Teamwork)

Source Melee Tactics Toolbox pg. 10 (Amazon)
Your movements perfectly synchronize with your ally’s to greater effect.

Prerequisites: Any teamwork feat, base attack bonus +6.

Benefit: When you successfully use the aid another action to improve the Armor Class or attack roll of an ally who also has this feat, the benefit from aid another lasts until the beginning of your next turn.

Normal: The bonus granted by aid another either grants your ally a +2 bonus on her next attack roll against an opponent or grants your ally a +2 bonus to AC against that opponent’s next attack made before the beginning of your next turn.


Aid Another

In melee combat, you can help a friend attack or defend by distracting or interfering with an opponent. If you're in position to make a melee attack on an opponent that is engaging a friend in melee combat, you can attempt to aid your friend as a standard action. You make an attack roll against AC 10. If you succeed, your friend gains either a +2 bonus on his next attack roll against that opponent or a +2 bonus to AC against that opponent's next attack (your choice), as long as that attack comes before the beginning of your next turn. Multiple characters can aid the same friend, and similar bonuses stack.

You can also use this standard action to help a friend in other ways, such as when he is affected by a spell, or to assist another character's skill check.

Am I crazy or does this feat not do anything as written?

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Deadkitten - you're crazy :P

Aid Another = bonus to AC against that enemy's next attack (single)

Feat = bonus to AC against that enemy until the start of your next turn (i.e. would help vs. a full attack)

I'm not saying how strong of a feat this is, just that it does do something!

Not only full attack, but also multiple attackers full attacks.

And: It lasts through the aided partners turn and thus is helpful against AoO's as well.

Cyrad wrote:
David Neilson wrote:

Honestly I remember them, but I see Sword and Board as well as Reach as more subschools of TWF and THF, respectively. Arguably grapple might better be conceived as a subschool of combat maneuvers however.

I honestly do not think they will ever do a THF with still doing spell combat without a severe penalty. I have not played it, but I honestly think you can probably be fairly solid with a magus using a THF style build. You just need to focus on casting spells with more charges than shocking grasp.

Also it should be pointed out that still arcana and still metamagic let you mix in a style going for a big single hit. Which given this is a 3/4 Bab class is a somewhat viable option until level eight or so.

That said I would like some more stuff for the Magus, but honestly they have a really good tool kit already. Maybe, maybe an arcana or archetype that lets you open up some of the brawler options would be interesting, especially if it retained spell recall.

Also maybe a little clarification on the swashbuckling arcana.

I agree that THF magus is doable. However, people generally just want more options to encourage builds other than the boring scimitar business. I've seen GMs ban the magus class, not because they think it's overpowered, but because they're so sick of every magus having the same build.

My GM allowed me to use Bastard Sword as the basis for my magus build. Not that hullabaloo about casting a spell and swinging the sword TH because it was a free action, rather that if I used Monstrous Physique to turn into anything with more than two arms, I could use the extra hands for somatic and use two hands on the sword. Was this too broken? According to the only guy who had seen a Dervish Build he said it turned out about the same strength...

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