Ongoing Investigations: Character Options for Investigators (PFRPG) PDF

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The Game is Afoot!

Do you love the investigator class from the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Advanced Class Guide, but find yourself wishing that there were a few more options available for investigator characters? Perhaps you’d have liked to have seen some archetypes that were tailor-made for popular character types from mystery novels, movies, and television, such as corrupt detectives, investigators with drug habits, or cold and detached crime scene analysts? Maybe you wish that there was a version of the investigator that cast real spells, instead of using alchemy, and who might have unusual abilities to solve magical crimes? If so, then this book is for you, because it has all that and more!

Inside this tome you’ll find nine detailed new investigator archetypes spanning eight pages, fifteen new investigator talents, plus sixteen new feats and sixteen new spells, which benefit not only investigators, but characters of any class who are interested in finding clues, making deductions, and generally solving mysteries. An added benefit, the book also contains a section with helpful tips and tricks for constructing and running a mystery-focused adventure, which has obvious uses if you’re the GM of your party, but also serves any player interested in playing such a game with a convenient way to hint to their GMs on the subject, while also providing those GMs with useful advice on how to make those desires come true.

Whether you just want to give your existing an investigator an extra edge, or are looking to start up an entire mystery game from the beginning, or anywhere in between, this book has something for anyone with a love of mystery, crime, or investigators.

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Great stuff for Investigators


This is a review for 'Ongoing Investigantions: Character Options for Investigators', a supplement by Alex Riggs and Joshua Zaback of Necromancers of the Northwest. I'm not a native speaker (I'm German), so I may have fumbled my language skill checks from time to time. Give me a note if I wrote something wrong and I'll try to make myself more clear.

Ongoing Investigations has two parts, one with new archtypes, talents, feats and spell with about 18 pages, and a second part about how to create and run a mystery game with about 9 pages. so you'll get about 27 pages of information with five very nice pics, a few of them in color (and a cover, table of content and so).

The supplements starts with 9 Archtypes, one where I'm on the fence, four good ones and four great Archtypes, which is exceptional.
- We first get the Addicted Inspector who is very able when on drugs. It's a great class I'll want to play myself, and it comes with 7 archtype-specific talents, all of them tated good or great. For instance, Narcotic Genius allows the use of two additional talents as long as the Investigator is drugged, and other talents are giving the Investigator dodge boni due to erratic movements or more intimidate or perception as long as he is stoned. Very flavorful, very thought out.
- Next is the Analyst, a slow and focused, very able if he has time at hand, but not to be rushed. Imagine an old professor as role model. A great class again.
- The Arcane Investigator, a good class who is better with spells then the base class, for he gets all the wizard spells as fomulae. Failsaves are here, of course, since it ends at level 6 and there are no more spells a day than usual. If you are going to investigate a magic mystery, he's your character of choice.
- The Corrupt Detective is another good class, useable for PCs also despite the name, and focused on being quick (and dirty).
- Next is the Dogged Investigator, a great class. Think of Alex Mahone in Prison Break 2. He focuses on hunting his one mark and nothing else. His Once and for All ability is very strong, but it comes with a price and again I have to praise the authors for having everything well balanced.
- The Gentleman Detective is a good class, well thougt of but a bit limited because he shines in society, which is not that common in adventures. He's for those players who prefer talkers to fighters. When he fights, he uses his fists. Imagine the Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey Junior.
- The Reactionists is the archtypes which changes the most of the base class, its a big swing and a big hit in my eyes. For instance Inspiration, the core feature of the Investigator, is gone. Instead we get lots of nice things to do with potions and acid, including damage over time with his studied strike variant, called Caustic Reaction. A mad scientist anyone?
- The Stealth Sleuth strikes from the shadows and caues sneak damage when doing so, a nice concept but more a ninja type as an investigator.
- The Truth Seeker is the final archtype, a good class and even good in a true detective adventure. This may sound odd, but sometimes you have to ban spells like ESP if you are trying to play those kind of adventures else they are solved in a moment. The Truth Seeker shines here without making everything a cake walk. I especially like his Vengeful Studied Strike, which forces the victim in a fight to answer truthfully or take lots of damage. Very iconic!
All in all, thumbs up for the archtypes!

Next we do get 15 new Investigator talents, all in addition to the 7 for the Addicted Investigator archtype. Out of these, none are bad, three are okay (Athletic Inspiration, Disabling Strike and Get the Point Across), 9 are good and three are great (Engineering Secret, History Lesson and Studied Redirection). There is a good variety here, some of the talents specialising the Investigator for the wilderness or the dungeon, playing with the knowledge skills in innovative ways, some of them do both. All of them add to the roleplaying and the flavor of the character. Fighting skills aren't advanced much, but there are helpful talents here also, as in Studied Redirection which sacrifices three inspirations to redirect an attack on you toward a different adjacend target.
All in all, thumbs up for the talents!

16 Feats are presented in the next part. Here we get a mixed bag. I don't like four of the feats, Follow Up is bland, Detective Agency is a Leadership variant (and I don't like the original), and Gut Instinct and Gut Reaction give boni if you have a 'hunch', but there is no mechanic with this name in the supplement or in the base class. Next we have 3 so-so feats which are a bit bland (Detective's eye and Rumor Monger) or very cornercase (See Right Through it).
Black Market Contacts and Underworld Contacts do have nice flavor for Investigators and are useful too. I think I have seen these two feats before, maybe they are reprints. Get on in Nature, Lay of the Land and Know Spirit specialices the Investigator for certain environments or situations in a nice way. But the winners in the cathegories are the feats I call nerd-feats and who have been judged 'great' by me if not for the cooperation needed by the GM, who'll have to invent lots of things on the fly when he has to talk about the inventor of a certain lock or stuff like that. It can be very flavorful, it can be annoying, so talk to your GM about it. Think of Ducky in NCIS if he has his moments of lecturing. The Nerd-Feats are Footprint Savant, Hallmarks, Identify Traps and Object Study. Thats 9 good feats all in all, the nerds included. No feat is really great in my eyes.

16 spells do follow, most are useable by many classes, but they truely shine when an Investigator is using them. I don't like 6 spells, Deciphering Eyes, both Instant Recollection (thats the job of the players or done by a hint, not a spell tax), Tunnel Vision is cornercase and Investigative Insight and Psychic Footprintare both are too much and can topple your mystery adventure. Instant Intuition has the 'hunch' mechanic in it again. The other 9 spells are all good, nothing great, nothing on the fence. But you'll get great variety out of those spells, they add flavor and can help specify your Investigator.

The Mystery
The Second Part, Running a Mystery Game, is great theory and should be read by every GM who plans on writing or preparing a mystery adventure.

Ongoing Investigations gives you lots of stuff for your money, While there are elements I didn't like, mostly some of the spells, and there is the problem with the 'hunch'-mechanic in two feats and one spell, but this is to be expected with the pure volume this supplement contains. In general the material is very flavorful and very thought out, and I'm especially impressed with the good failsafes against abusing some of the powers. The supplements focuses on enhancing your role-playing experience, but doesn't overlook the roll-playing aspects of the game. If you are even remotely into the Investigator as a class, this is the supplement you'll want to have. All in all its 5 stars out of five, just barely not getting the elusive Crown reserved for my best of the best. Great job, Necromancers!

Have fun!

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Have fun!

That's a great review, Oliver! I think you just sold me this thing :-) (Gotta check out the Addicted Inspector for my Samsaran investigator who abuses the hallucinogenic function of polypurpose panacea...)

I'll definitely but this.
I expect that the Addicted Inspector would function greatly as a Drunken Inspector as well (someone said Commander Vimes?). I'm trying so hard to make a good Drunken Alchemist for years now, and maybe this could be a good example to copy.

It's definitly worth buying. Glad I could be of help!

Thanks for the review, Oliver! We're glad to hear you liked it.

Since you brought up the references in a couple of feats to "hunches," we thought we'd clarify, in case others had similar issues, that this refers to the use of the Sense Motive skill that allows a character to get a hunch. It's not a class feature or feat, it's just part of the skill. We apologize if the book wasn't clear enough on that point.

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