Into the Breach: The Cavalier (PFRPG) PDF

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Into the Breach is a series of crunch-focused books intended to expand the options available to the base classes (the alchemist, cavalier, gunslinger, inquisitor, magus, oracle, summoner, and witch).

For the sixth book in our Into the Breach line we are focusing on the Cavalier. Pathfinder's answer to the knight has melee hit power, a mount, and a penchant for being a good team player. What makes an ideal warrior with a code can verry widely and we;ve expanded your options here.

With 11 new archetypes, 1 alternate base class, 3 prestige classes, 1 new order, and new gear items you will have a wealth of new choices. Here is a sampling of what you'll find...

New Archetypes:

  • Airborne Knight- Rule the skies astride a beat that flys! This includes mount stats for 4 flying mounts.
  • Briar Knight- Forgo a mount for a symbiont armor of thorns and vines.
  • Charioteer- Fight like a Hittie, using one of the worlds oldest and most iconic forms of troop transport.
  • Clockwork Knight- Why train a mount when you can build one?
  • Crudis Domitor- We always give you a villainous option, this is a knight that feeds on fear and slaughter.
  • Formation Rider- The strength of many combines to elevate beyond what once can do alone.
  • Lord/Lady in Burlap- Nobility is not the sole province of the aristocracy, these peasant knights lead the masses.
  • Mounted Brigand- Less a knight and more an outlaw, these are the rogues of the countryside or perhaps savage raiders form another land.
  • Oath Bound Protector- There's a strength in pledging another's life above your own.
  • Shield Maiden- Tank like a legendary Valkyrie.
  • Spirirt Rider- Ride a Spirit into battle.

New Alternate Class

  • Sword-Sworn Troubedore- The strength of a martial class with the teamwork of a bard combine to represent the drummers and musicians that have served in militaries of antiquity.

New Prestige Classes

  • Fey Warden- Serve as the mortal champion of the otherworldly Fey.
  • Obsidian Knight- Some knights are as immobile and resilient as the stone of a mountain..
  • Rime Reaver- Cold savage lands forge the people that live there into something savage and strong.

Plus Order of the Bow and new gear!

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An review


This latest installment of the Into the Breach-series clocks in at 31 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, leaving us with a massive 26 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This review was moved up on my list of queued products at the request of my patreons.

As always, we kick off with archetypes galore, the first of which replaces tactician and its follow-ups and mount...with an airborne mount. If you expect me to start complaining now - I won't. Assisted flight is possible via the base rules, though primarily for small druids, so yes, I am okay with that. Hippogriff, giant wasp, pegasus, pteranodon, roc and wyvern are provided as mount-choices with stat-modifications and advancement (all 4th level but the wyvern, which has to wait until 7th level until it gains poison) provided. As a base-line, they are treated as animal companions with class level as effective druid level. As a friendly suggestion - if you go with this archetype, invest the bucks into the STELLAR Companions of the Firmament-book. Why? Because it is the ultimate assisted flying-book and covers all the rules, provides alternatives, etc.. Did you for example know that flying mounts need to be able to carry their riders without transcending light load? So yeah, the archetype works well, even better with this book and there is no overlap here. Kudos!

The second archetype would be a more complex one, the Briar Knight - which is quite frankly a reason this took relatively long to get done. So, the concept is far-out and awesome: You get a crawling vine plant companion with full class level as effective druid level. This companion, however, can act as an armor - it begins play granting a +5 bonus to AC when acting as armor and increases this by +2 every three levels - now if that sounds massive, bear in mind that you cannot enchant this armor - and you can damage it as armor while worn, as a creature while it's separate. The armor may execute a single attack or disarm/grapple-maneuver, with the latter separating it from the briar knight. The ability even covers the instance if the armor is slain while being worn. I do see an issue here, though - the ability does not specify the action-economy for transforming from armor to creature and vice versa. Becoming a creature can obviously happen as part of initiating a grapple, but I have no idea how long "donning" the armor takes. Since the vine acts as a companion, does it require handling/tricks to be told to let itself be donned? Granted, these are relatively minor oversights, but they deserve addressing - the armor is very powerful, so tying the maneuvers and donning to such checks may provide for a delightfully uncommon balancing mechanism. At 3rd level, Briar Knights may, as a standard action, emit 15 ft.-tendrils for low-range disarm or trip combat maneuvers, increasing his CMB for this special attack by his armor's AC-bonus - which is excessive. I'd suggest a significantly more conservative bonus-scaling here. 4th level not only nets the vine constrict, it also allows the briar knight to generate a detonation of thorns in a 10-ft burst, dealing 1d6 piercing damage per 2 briar knight levels, with a scaling save. COOL! At higher levels, Briar Knights can be sustained by photosynthesis and receive fast healing while in daylight. I would have appreciated a note whether the spell of the same name does qualify for triggering photosynthesis or not - I think magical daylight should not trigger fast healing. At 11th level, briar knights can root themselves in the floor for class level minutes, slightly reducing speed, but granting tremorsense as well as providing significant defenses versus several combat maneuvers. The capstone provides a plat apotheosis. The Briar Knight, as you can see above, has some issues to address - but it also tackles a highly complex concept and manages to get this mostly right - as provided, the archetype is functional with some DM-calls. More than anything else, it is absolutely awesome - this archetype can easily be reskinned as Spiderman's Venom, the archetype and the basic framework is neat indeed. The massive AC-bonus may be nasty, yes, but I do not consider it in itself an issue. Tanglevine strike does require a heavy whack with the nerf-bat, though. Conceptually absolutely awesome, I sincerely hope this archetype gets some minor polish to make it live up to its absolutely awesome premise.

The Charioteer gets a chariot and light horse at first level and replaces mount with driving stunts, with one new stunt granted every level. All right, I'm going to come clear here - I adore vehicle combat. While I have reduced the excessive DCs of driving checks in my home game, that's about it -other than that, my players have loved vehicle combat ever since. And these driving stunts - well, they add a massive, cool dimension to this: Flinging allies from the chariot, better ramming maneuvers. As a nitpick - a stunt that should allow for limited, quicker acceleration/braking forgot to include the braking option obviously intended by the ability's name in the wording. 1/day 1d4 HP repairs to the chariot do feel a bit...minor - especially since 4th level nets a superior chariot repairs. Some scaling mechanism for more daily uses for the minor repairs would be in order here. Oh, have I mentioned the option to get a flying (or swimming!) chariot if you have flying mounts? Yes, awesome. Using driving checks to negate incoming attacks is also part of the deal. While there are some minor rough edges and while this one is pretty dependant on the campaign, it is awesome in my book. Why? Because the stunts also add the one thing to the charioteer the cavalier class lacks - player agenda. The stunts provide meaningful choices every level, so yeah - overall, a well-crafted archetype.

Next up would be the clockwork knight. Instead of a mount, this one can repair clockwork constructs via his Craft (clockwork) and a mount is only gained at 4th level, at druid level equal to class level -3. This mount is pretty loud and gains DR 5/adamantine. Does not sound too impressive so far? You would be right - at low levels, this archetype does not sport too many impressive tricks. At 6th level and every 6 levels thereafter, the knight may upgrade his mount with a selection of upgrades that is continuously increased - at 12th and 18th level, the choices essentially increase significantly. Now the archetype does not explicitly state that the mount receives the traits of the clockwork-subtype, which can be kind of irritating since e.g. getting rid of vulnerability to electricity constitutes one of the possible upgrades, so a more explicit stating of this component would have rendered the archetype slightly more user-friendly. On the plus-side, the upgrades do provide some utterly awesome options - from size-increase to a new movement mode, adding injectors to the mount (for delivering poison or acid or the like) to yes, a friggin turret, the options are interesting -especially seeing how the archetype receives siege engine proficiency and can mount ballistae or catapults on huge mounts. This per se is awesome, though I wished the catapults sported proper interaction with minimum crew-size - as written, the non-light-ballista siege-weapons would require a larger crew of 2 for light catapults, for example. While yes, this does not render the siege weapon inoperable, I think that an increased action economy would have helped this cool option. As a cool design decision, several of the upgrades add further benefits if other upgrades are present - mithral bodies can e.g. increase maneuverability for flying mounts. At the same time, interaction between these upgrades is not always perfect: Take Darkwood body and mithral body: Darkwood body can be taken at 6th level and increases DR to DR 10/adamantine and replaces vulnerability to electricity with vulnerability to fire. At 12th level, mithril bodies would increase DR to 15/adamantine, add +10 movement rate and make the natural attacks of the mount count as silver. So what if you choose darkwood first, mithral second? The only net benefit from darkwood would be the changed vulnerability. Including a mini-tree of required prior choices or the like would have probably helped here. This btw. extends to a couple of other upgrades wherein the higher-level choices invalidate the lower level ones. The archetype is okay, I guess, but falls flat of its concept.

Crudus Domitor would be an archetype for the evil - with Dazzling Display and Demoralizing Lash as bonus feats, though the latter is modified to work with non-whip weapons. These guys can also smell fear and get a Blood Pact Mount, which does not gain animal companion benefits, but instead receives upgrades in the form of templates at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter. Whenever the archetype causes fear for the first time in a target creature, he temporarily adds a bonus to Str and the ominous weapon quality to his weapon. Trampling and improved speed when trying to run down foes are nice and I also like the imagery of using freshly slain foes of sufficient power (non kitten-able, btw.!) to increase the AC of the crudus domitor. At higher levels, worsened fear-effects and panic-inducing criticals are solid. Overall, no problems here. Solid, evil archetype.

The Formation Rider, alas, has some issues: The base ability, formation, simply does not work. "At 1st level, the formation rider knows how to lead formations of mounted soldiers. When the formation rider and his allies are riding in a line the formation rider can use a full-round action to lead a charge. He and all allies in the line may immediately move and attack as if with a standard charge and then move again (continuing the straight line of the charge). The total movement for the charge can’t exceed double their mounted speed. The formation rider, his mount, and his allies do not provoke an attack of opportunity from the opponent that they attack. Each ally may choose to attack the same target as the formation rider or a different one but everyone must end their charge in a line with all allies in the formation. The formation rider can use this ability once per day." For one, does this change initiative? What if mounts have different movement rates/modes? What is "a line" in game terms? How many allies can be affected? How can they attack the same target as the formation rider, even though they do not need to be within range regarding their weapons? The upgrades further improve that and while I like the concept, the execution, as provided, does not work.

The Lord (or Lady) in Burlap constitutes a folk hero archetype that can fight particularly well with farm tools and can make weapons stuck that they have disarmed. Unseating mounted foes and similar, thematically-fitting options round out a conceptually awesome, befittingly humble archetype I thoroughly enjoyed. The Mounted Brigand would constitute a cavalier/rogue crossover that gets sneak attack, but has less stringent requirements for his order and delays order ability gains. Interesting would be the fact that these guys can execute terrible charges that also deal sneak attack damage. All in all, a lethal, solid archetype.

The Oath-bound Protector swears to protect a single, living creature, granting AC-bonuses when adjacent to said ward at the cost of their own defense. Now where this archetype becomes awesome is with the modified order abilities: Each of the orders gets a modified version, including ronins/knight errants. Damn cool ones, in fact. While not all are perfect in their wording, they are functional - so all in all, a solid option! The next archetype is right up my alley - the shieldmaiden. With Cha-mod times Deathwatch, counter shield bashes, making the shield count as a banner and similar shield-themed benefits, we have another solid archetype here, though one I wished that delved deeper into the obviously nordic source-material.

Spirit Riders get an ethereal mount that cannot make attacks or be attacked - yes, this is a significant deviation from how etherealness works, but in campaigns with bastard DMs like yours truly that slay mounts, this archetype makes more than a bit of sense. At 5th level, spirit riders can cha-mod times per day grant their weapons the ghost touch ability, with higher levels granting scaling bonuses as well as a limited array of weapon special abilities. Once again,a solid archetype.

The Steadfast Challenger replaces tactician-tricks with several abilities that allow for better movement around the battlefield and the more relentless pursuit of adversaries, with better movement and means to mitigate escape regarding the targets of their challenges. Once again, a nice archetype.

The alternate class provided in this book would be the Sword-sworn troubadour, with d10, full BAB-progression, good ref- and will-saves, 4+Int skills per level and proficiency with simple and martial weapons and light armor.1st level troubadours not only get an instrument they can play while wielding a weapon (with an audible range of 100 ft.), they can also make a perform check versus a target's will-save - if the troubadour wins, the target creature is flat-footed for 1 round. This is a pretty powerful option and it uses opposing rolls as opposed to PFRPG's standard of d20-roll vs. fixed value. Flat-foot-locking is thankfully not possible, though. 1/day, a troubadour can sing a battle hymn, +1/day use at 3rd level and every 2 levels thereafter. Initiating a battle hymn is a full-round action and the duration depends on the hymn in question, but often clocks in at 3 rounds, 1 minute. Hymns can be deciphered with Linguistics, which makes it possible for opponents to also benefit from the hymn - that's a nasty drawback! That being said, some of the battle hymns are NASTY: Double the range of any spell cast by an allied spellcaster within 100 ft. for double the casting time is problematic not only regarding balancing, but also regarding how concentration for spellcasters works in such a context. Relaying message to all allies in a one-mile radius would be another option, though one significantly weaker than the others. While not bad per se, the overall array of battle hymns could have imho used a tighter balancing or level-scaling among themselves. Bonus feats are granted at 2nd level and every 4 levels thereafter, teamwork feats are granted at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter. The capstone allows for two battle hymns to be in effect at the same time. All in all, a solid, if not perfect alternate class.

The first PrC herein would be the Feywarden, who gets d8, 4+Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression, 1/2 fort- and will-save progressions, full animal companion-progression, 9/10 spellcasting progression. Requiring non-lawful alignment, 2nd level divine spellcasting etc., the PrC also gets access to the unique order of the fey - which is a bit odd in that it is presented as part of the PrC, but obviously refers to total character levels - with nature's fury referring to 15th level, I am not sure whether the order abilities for 2nd and 8th level are referring to character levels or PrC-levels and the table, alas, does not help here either. Clarification would be appreciated. The PrC getting an order also makes me wonder whether/how that would interact with the cavalier base-class and rders gained from that class. The PrC also has the option to conjure forth armors and gets cha-mod defensive capabilities as well as DR/Cold iron and even butterfly wings, culminating in a fey apotheosis.

Part II of my review is in the product discussion. See you there!

Flying mounts, symbiotic armour, and more


Into the Breach: The Cavalier has 26 pages of content, and manages to pack in a surprising amount of awesome options for these mounted warriors. From the 11 archetypes to the new magic weapon property, you're bound to find something worthwhile. If that's not convincing enough, read on for a few more details!

The book opens up with 11 new archetypes, and the Airborne Knight immediately sets the 'rule of cool' bar high. Ever wanted to play a cavalier with a flying mount - at 1st level? If you're happy to give up the Tactician abilities, you can take your pick of griffon, wyvern, giant wasp, or four more options! It continues strong with the Briar Knight, who doesn't get a mount, but a plant companion that he can wear as armour. At higher levels, he gains the ability to trip opponents with his vines, root himself to the ground, heal and sustain himself through photosynthesis, and more! Can I break the review tone for a moment to stress how much I adore this archetype?

Unfortunately, the Charioteer doesn't inspire new ideas for me like the others. He begins play with a horse and chariot, which he can replace at any time without penalty, and gains a new driving stunt at every level, the ability to quickly repair his chariot, and the ability to ram other vehicles without falling prone. Admittedly, I'm ambivalent to this one as I've never read nor used the vehicle rules - perhaps with more knowledge and the right campaign, I could say a lot more about it.

The Clockwork Knight doesn't get a mount until fourth level, at which point he builds his own mechanical companion and can upgrade it at higher levels, increasing its size, granting it intelligence, integrating a crossbow, or more - perfect for a steampunk game, or an Alkenstar marshal. Available only to evil cavaliers, the Crudus Domitor gains thematic templates for his mount, and a cool suite of abilities based around terrifying his enemies and chasing them down when they try to flee. The Formation Rider seems a bit of an NPC archetype, being based around mounted charging as a group, but may see some use in Lastwall, or possibly a Wrath of the Righteous or Kingmaker campaign.

The Lord in Burlap is a super-fun archetype based around the call of the common folk. Fighting alongside farm animals, wielding farming equipment as improvised weapons without penalty, disarming opponents and sticking their weapons in the ground - the peasants are revolting, and it looks like fun! On the flip-side, the Mounted Brigand will fit right in with your Kingmaker campaign, gaining, among other things, the ability to apply his own stealth checks to his mount, sneak attack, and a brilliant variant on his order that needs to be read - its not very often a class feature makes me laugh out loud, but this one did. Kudos to the designer!

Onward to the Oath-Bound Protector, who devotes himself to protecting a specific ward, granting them bonuses based on his order when he issues a challenge, and gaming the ability carry them on his mount without penalty. The female-only Shieldmaiden doesn't gain a mount, but acquires several nifty shield-based abilities, such as countering missed melee attacks with a shield bash, using the shield as her banner, and applying its bonus to her saves as well as her AC. Next up, the Spirit Rider, who gains an ethereal mount that takes up no space (handy for you dungeon-crawlers!), and a bonded spiritual weapon which he can enhance with special abilities. The last archetype is the Steadfast Defender, made to cut across the battlefield quickly and take down an enemy leader, able to move at full speed in medium or heavy armour, apply these bonuses to his mount, and make attacks of opportunity against those moving into his threatened area.

The alternate class presented is the Sword-Sworn Troubadour. I'm going to be honest here: I want to like this. I really do. But his battle hymns take a full round to activate, have a short duration, and he gains a total of five combat feats with no way to share them. Cool as an NPC class, or a cohort, but a bit boring for a PC.

The prestige classes presented each cover a different theme, starting with the Fey Warden, who can progress divine spellcasting, reduce his size as reduce person, and grow wings. He also gains a new order, the ability to use wild empathy on fey, and can speak to plants or animals at will. Another cavalier/divine casting prestige class, the Obsidian Knight, can weigh down enemies wearing metal armour, call forth walls of earth and stone, and rupture the earth to bull rush enemies at a distance!

The Rime Rider seems to be made for Irrisen, requiring a cavalier's order and the boreal sorcerer bloodline. I'm going to break my tone again here to point out that they can have a large-sized polar bear mount and adamantine ice weapons. The PDF closes out with the Order of the Bow, based around mounted archery; the pummeling weapon and shield property; and a handful of mundane items like the jousting lance tip and standing saddle stirrups.

I'm not going to lie - I'm thrilled that this product exists. Cavaliers are one of my personal favorite classes, and Into the Breach: The Cavalier gives them a slew of new toys to play with. Flying mounts? Symbiotic armour? Less-than-honorable riders? All magnificent bits of design. There's a lot in here I can't wait to play with, and while some of it strikes me as lacking, it's an overall solid product well worth the asking price. Four out of five stars, and I'll be using plenty!

Into the Breach: The Cavalier


This PDF covers the oddly-ignored cavalier class. It has 31 pages, of which 26 are devoted to the crunch, so here goes. It is primarily a collection of new archetypes, alternate classes, and prestige classes for the cavalier, and it certainly does provide on that score, with eleven archetypes, one alternate class, three prestige classes, some new orders, and some new magical item properties and mundane gear.

Please do note that I was given a free copy of the PDF in exchange for a review that is, I hope, both honest and useful to other potential buyers.

First of the new archetypes is the Airborne Knight, whose main change is getting a flying mount in exchange for some armor proficiencies, the normal mount and all tactician abilities. You can choose from several creatures, ranging from the 'normal' hippogriff, pegasus, and wyvern, to oddities like the giant wasp and roc. Stats and their by-level improvements are listed for all mounts save the giant wasp, pteranodon, and roc. I admit, I've always been iffy about flying mounts. That and to me, the cavalier works best as an armored melee fighter and leader. That said the archetype seems rather balanced and folks who just have to have a flying mount from first level on will be delighted.

Next is the rather odd Briar Knight, who gives up their mount in exchange for living plant armor(!). Said armor gets better over time, becoming able to reach 15 feet with vines for trip and disarm attacks, hurl razor-sharp thorns, and advance as the crawling vine plant companion from ]i]Ultimate Magic[/i]. The Briar Knight can also gain photosynthesis for fast healing, root fast to the ground, and eventually become of the plant type. Let me say, this one is bizarre and strikingly different from the usual cavalier, but at the same time very flavorful. I love it just for its weirdness. My main concern is that the plant armor starts off providing +5 armor and then adds +2 every three levels. That seems like it might be an awful high armor class at the higher levels. But still -- you're a knight wearing armor made from a living plant that can go crawling off to attack your enemies! This is a wild idea like the ones that turned me on to fantasy RPGs way back when in the first place, and I really like it.

Next is the Charioteer, who gives up a mount but gets, well, a chariot as well as a new trick to work with it every level to make it more useful. Maybe it's the weirdness preceding and following it, but this one just seems kind of blah to me. Then again players running a Bronze Age campaign would love it.

Next is the Clockwork Knight, which is almost as wild as the Briar Knight. This guy gets to make their very own clockwork steed, and to upgrade it over time. They have some very cool ideas for this, involving everything from making it bigger to granting it intelligence to rebuilding its body from darkwood, mithral, or adamantine. Truly an awesome idea, and it would fit in well in any steampunk campaign, or one set near a fallen spaceship or the like.

The Crudus Domitor is a dark knight of evil who can terrify enemies and gain strength from their fear, literally, as well as get a mount that once it has been offered a blood sacrifice become more potent over time and eventually turns undead. He also can create ever-worse states of fear in enemies and inflict more damage on them. And he can chase fleeing and frightened enemies down as well as use fallen foes to heighten his defenses. Nasty piece of work, but might go best as an NPC enemy.

The Formation Rider sacrifices his Tactician abilities in exchange for making better charges when leading a group of cavalry. Again, this seems like an archetype better suited to NPCs unless you're running a mass combat heavy campaign. But in that it would work very well.

The Lord (or Lady) in Burlap is basically a peasant knight, using simple weapons, especially the staff, and farm animals to defeat high and mighty enemies. Rather a potent archetype and well suited to anyone who wants to play a peasant hero of legend and folklore.

Mounted Brigands are robber knights, getting some rogue talents and a sneak attack that they can use in a mounted charge against the target of the challenge. They also get their normal Order abilities at a slower rate than more honest cavaliers. Oath-Bound Protectors take an oath to defend one particular being and in exchange get a modified version of their Orders normal challenge (and yes, they list this information for EVERY Order in official Pathfinder material as well as this PDF).

Shieldmaidens can gain the power to use deathwatch and heightened skill with their shield and lose their mount. She can eventually block any one attack per round, use the shield's base bonus on her saves, and gains other talents with it. The Spirit Rider learns how to enchant his weapon temporarily and can summon a ghostly steed that can eventually walk on water, air, and fly. Steadfast Challengers refuse to let anything get between them and their challenged enemy, and will plow across a battlefield after him with improved movement, a better chance of avoiding attacks, and more.

After this we move on to the new alternate base class, the Sword Sworn Troubadour. This is basically a Cavalier/Bard who's more of a fighter when compared to the Barbarian/Bard Skald. He also doesn't get bardic performance but rather Battle Hymns that can provide any of a number of advantages to allies. To me it seems lacking when compared to the ACG's Skald, but if you want a warrior-bard that's more of a fighter and not a spellcaster, you'll love this. It also provides for a lot of teamwork feats. That said unlike the base cavalier it gives no way to share these with others even briefly, so better make sure the other PCs take a few of the feats.

The Fey Warden is the first Prestige Class. It looks to be best suited to multi-class Cavalier/Druids or Cavalier/Hunters, as it requires spellcasting abilities along with an Order and wild empathy. In exchange you get a new order, the Order of the Fey, learn fey magic over time, and can even sprout butterfly wings (but the barbarian will be laughing at you). You also get Unearthly Grace and can add your Charisma modifier on your saves and your AC, which can be rather potent. Really a great PrC for Faerie Knights, though.

If the elves and fey get their knights then it's only fair for the dwarfs to get one, and they do in the Obsidian Knight. Mainly multi-class cavalier/clerics, they can literally control the ground under their opponents' feet. Dwarf fans may like this one. That said, none of the usual cavalier class abilities (mount, challenge, order, or tactician) are aided at all here as compared to the Fey Warden. It might work as well as a straight divine PrC.

The Rime Reaver requires a multi-class cavalier/boreal bloodline sorcerer. It allows you to take a polar bear as a mount (thus we finally get that Large bear animal companion) and increases the powers of your Boreal bloodline much like the Dragon Disciple. It also allows you to make weapons of ice as hard as adamantine and that can entangle with frozen rime. Lastly at tenth level your mount/companion gets the Mythical Animal template, and I'd like to know just what and where it is.

The new Order of the Bow makes your cavalier into a better mounted archer. The Pummeling magical weapon property makes bludgeoning weapons and shields better at trip and sunder maneuvers. They're both okay. Last comes a few bits of gear like an alchemical weapon to frighten mounts and special tip for jousting lances that makes them do nonlethal damage, among other things.

There's a lot in this PDF, and it's hard to see how you can't find something you can use and even love (like the Briar Knight and Clockwork Knight, at least for me). And even those who don't will probably be happy to see so much attention given to the cavalier class. I'll go with four stars and a recommendation just for the wonderfully weird Briar and Clockwork Knight archetypes.


Oh god. I wrote an incredibly long review that the site ate. Here's the short version.

Bottom-line, five stars. There are a lot of good archetypes, a good alternate class, and other options that inspire new characters for me and is well worth the price.

Some of the archetypes pull Cavalier from being a mundane class.

I'm wary of the Briar Knight because I see it's Tanglevine Strike as insanely powerful especially since he apparently gets armor that doesn't appear to give an armor check penalty or reduce speed and grants up to a +17 armor bonus but that's arguably powerful since it can't be enchanted.

I'm unsure as to what's going on with the Formation Rider's ability.

Other than that I saw no real glitches. Nothing terribly weak or overpowered. Granting it five stars.

Webstore Gninja Minion

Now available!

Thanks Liz.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

This is our most intensely edited effort and we actually took a little more time with some quick play tests as well.

Thanks for the review, Mal. Sorry the site ate the original one!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Thanks for the review

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Woo! Thanks Mal! Looking forward to hearing more about this one!

Grand Lodge Contributor

Very excited for this piece to hit the public. Thanks for the outstanding review, Mal!

Huh, the site tried eating my review, too. Anyway, there 'tis, and I hope it encourages some sales. The Briar and Clockwork Knights are really inventive archetypes!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Thanks for the review Eric!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

@ Eric thanks for the review. Briar Knight was me taking the idea of a Green Knight over the top... The Rime Reaver was an attempt to give another bloodline something akin to dragon disciple. We ended up doing more of that with later books and actually I'm likely to add to that pile soonish. -cr-2-tohc it's a 3PP template but in my opinion balanced. Necromancer Games became Frog God Games and even Paizo references their Tome of Horrors stuff time to time.

Okay, thanks for the heads-up on where to go to find that template.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

It just occurred to me that the feeling I get as I keep checking for new reviews (sent about 5 free copies for this purpose) is the exact same one I used to get waiting for a call back list or for a grade back on an important project.

You know you did your best so it's just a matter of waiting for confirmation.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Thanks for the review El Ronza, glad you enjoyed.

GM_Solspiral wrote:
Thanks for the review El Ronza, glad you enjoyed.

No problem! There's a lot of great stuff in here, some of which actually made me laugh in wicked glee, so of course I enjoyed it :-)

That's a great review, El Ronza.

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Part II of my review:

The second PrC is the Obsidian Knight gets full BAB-progression, medium fort-and will-saves, 7/10th spellcasting progression, d10, 2+Int skills per level and require both 2nd level divine spellcasting and a cavalier's order as prerequisites. They do not gain any weapon or armor proficiencies. Obsidian knights receive elemental channel as a bonus feat, affecting all types of elementals, usable 3+Cha-mod times per day. If you already have channel energy, instead add +3 uses of channel energy instead. The PrC also can use this to generate an aura that increases the weight of metal armor etc. to make the targets suffer heavy encumbrance for Cha-mod rounds. The obsidian knight can also use this to conjure forth thin walls of earth that work as stationary tower shields and his weapons can receive obsidian-based benefits to weapon enhancement as well as the ability to react to being hit by elemental spells by adding the appropriate weapon quality temporarily. Bull rushes in a straight line, very lethal caltropy shard-fields and a potentially ray-deflecting shield complement this PrC further. Guess what - I really, really like this earth-related PrC. Kudos!

The Rime Reaver gets d10, 2+Int skills, no new proficiencies, full BAB-progression, 1/2 fort and will-save progression, 7/10th spellcasting progression. At 2nd level, the rime reaver gets cold resistance 5, which increases by +5 every two levels thereafter, stacking with the bloodline power. Jup, this is intended to work as a conjunction of sorceror and cavalier. The PrC replaces the companion with a polar bear and stacks class levels with sorc levels for purposes of bloodline powers. 3rd level nets a weapon of ice that is treated as adamantine, dealing half damage as cold damage and as a capstone, the companion becomes mythic. Once again, a solid PrC with some cool imagery.

The pdf also provides a new order for cavaliers, the order of the bow. members of this order may apply challenge benefits to ranged attacks when mounted and attacking someone within 30 ft. and obviously, is a ranged specialist. At high levels, they may shoot targets of charges of allies as immediate actions. A nice order.

The pdf also sports a +2 equivalent enchantment that enhances trip and disarm and adds free trip to crits. The pdf also provides stats for jousting lance tips, better tethers and an alchemical goo that frightens mounts. Resting saddles and standing saddle stirrups also provide for nice items.


Editing and formatting are good, though I noticed some instances of minor flaws in punctuation and missing spell-italicization. Layout adheres to Flying Pincushion Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf provides some solid full-color artworks, ranging from neat to stock. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

The cavalier has a troubled history in my games - while I love the concept of the class, there is no other base-class that has this bad a ratio for player agenda - you choose mount and order and that's about it. Not particularly compelling as a chassis to work from. That being said, this pdf manages to provide some form of flexibility with several of the options provided herein and enhance the base-class with several distinctly fun and high-concept archetypes and class options, widening the limited scope of the base class.

Frank Gori, Jeff Harris, Taylor Hubbler, Jason Linker, Andrew Hoskins, Kiel Howell, Jacob Michaels, Richard Litzkow, Mikko Kallio, Mark Nordheim - congratulations! Why? Because this is one review I very much enjoyed writing. The "Into the Breach"-series took a bad beating from yours truly with some of the installments, but this here is a huge step forward. Where before, even simple rules-language sported issues here and there, this one feels infinitely more refined. Indeed, if there are glitches to be found herein, they often can be mitigated by a capable DM and/or stem from daring to tackle some rather complex options. Now, as you can glean from the above, this pdf is certainly not perfect, but it works much, much better than any book in the series I've read so far. To the point where both charioteer and briar knight (though the letter with nerfed tanglevine strike and some finetuning) will make appearances in my campaign. The majority of the content herein is solid and there are glimmers of brilliance here and there that make me confident in Flying Pincushion Games further improving to become truly awesome. While not perfect, I value the high concepts higher than the problems and consider this pdf a fun addition to one's games and thus will settle on a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.

Reviewed first on, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and's shop.

Endzeitgeist out.

It's now in my cart. Will review it tonight.

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Hi EndZ,

Thanks for the review.

Gaming minutia:

Re: Briar Knight- tanglevine strike was based off a sorc bloodline power but I see your point about it scaling a little harsh. I guess I didn't see it as much of a problem in a world where a magus can use truestrike to be pretty much guaranteed any maneuver at first level. Donning and removing would be a Full round action for the Plant and a Move action for the bearer. That's how we handled it in playtest but for some reason that never made the book.

Re: Clockwork mount- yeah you have to pick one special material and live with that choice. It prolly can use some more mods which we'll prolly at one point add to the blog as a freebie just like we did with gungineer. As a developer I like to have as many options as I can fit into a reasonable amount of space so sometimes we don't quite go as far as the authors would like because devoting too much space to one idea results in cutting or reducing the space for another.

Re: Formation rider- ouch, not sure how that got past editing. We'll fix that at some point. (Working on Witch and Oracle fixes still.)

Re: Shieldmaiden- The Norsiest Norse Cavalier-
Be a Human for the extra feat- take 9 levels of shieldmaiden picking up Eldritch heritage Boreal blooded and Animal Ally go with a wolf and boon companion, now 1 level of Skald, Now 10 levels of Rime Reaver!

Re: Fewarden- Yep good catch that should be character level. Adding to the fix it list.

Re: Sword Sworn Troubidore- was almost cut because the skald fills a similar role and though this was written first the author almost withdrew it as a result. I think it's unique enough and fictional despite a few problems. Not a class for a rookie player though.

Glad to see you liked this one. We've been putting a lot more work into our books to improve quality and Cavalier got a lot of sweat and tears. Today should see Alchemist drop which was a tough nut but also delivers on some high concepts.

We take design risks as a company and try to deliver the kind of crunch that inspires new ideas. Sometimes that means an idea will come out flawed because the mechanics don't quite match the vision. I'm ok with that as long as what we put out is exciting.

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Endz, I'm thrilled you liked the charioteer (even if I'm kicking myself over braking being omitted from that stunt). It's actually the first archetype I ever wrote, and I was really excited to get a chance to publish it.

I'd love to hear how it goes over in your game.

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@Frank: Indeed, it shows - I'll take high-concepts over perfection any day and this one is VERY close to working perfectly, so kudos!

Okay, so the charioteer saw use last session in my main-campaign, when a PC's charioteer cohort took to the field during a massive incursion of over 1000 Undead suffused by necrotic flames sought to burn a northern frontier town (AAW Games' Rybalka) to the ground. The PCs had 2 hours to prepare for the onslaught and made the whole village essentially one gigantic death trap - they had the people erect haphazard barricades, sniper nests on the roofs and created impromptu traps galore - all went pretty well for the PCs until I unleashed 4 massive, unique and templated undead elementals as well as a stamped of blackfire mammoths on the barricades, whereupon they collapsed like cinder and the retreating battle began.

The charioteer was exceedingly awesome in providing PC mobility - beyond trampling the lesser undead and cleaving paths through the horde, hard veering brakes that catapulted the paladin/swordmaster hybrid right into the face of a mammoth, had him, Smite-crit the beast and then, run from the collapsing carcass to jump right at the 18 ft. Gravestone-infused Earth-elemental while the charioteer crashed into its legs would probably constitute the high points of this archetype's use during the combat. :)

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Endzeitgeist wrote:
The charioteer was exceedingly awesome in providing PC mobility - beyond trampling the lesser undead and cleaving paths through the horde, hard veering brakes that catapulted the paladin/swordmaster hybrid right into the face of a mammoth, had him, Smite-crit the beast and then, run from the collapsing carcass to jump right at the 18 ft. Gravestone-infused Earth-elemental while the charioteer crashed into its legs would probably constitute the high points of this archetype's use during the combat. :)

What's awesome about that is that this is exactly how the historical charioteer was used on the battlefield... It was primarily a troop transport and (against footmen) terror weapon.

Kudos to an awesome sounding gaming group.

Endzeitgeist wrote:

@Frank: Indeed, it shows - I'll take high-concepts over perfection any day and this one is VERY close to working perfectly, so kudos!

Okay, so the charioteer saw use last session in my main-campaign, when a PC's charioteer cohort took to the field during a massive incursion of over 1000 Undead suffused by necrotic flames sought to burn a northern frontier town (AAW Games' Rybalka) to the ground. The PCs had 2 hours to prepare for the onslaught and made the whole village essentially one gigantic death trap - they had the people erect haphazard barricades, sniper nests on the roofs and created impromptu traps galore - all went pretty well for the PCs until I unleashed 4 massive, unique and templated undead elementals as well as a stamped of blackfire mammoths on the barricades, whereupon they collapsed like cinder and the retreating battle began.

The charioteer was exceedingly awesome in providing PC mobility - beyond trampling the lesser undead and cleaving paths through the horde, hard veering brakes that catapulted the paladin/swordmaster hybrid right into the face of a mammoth, had him, Smite-crit the beast and then, run from the collapsing carcass to jump right at the 18 ft. Gravestone-infused Earth-elemental while the charioteer crashed into its legs would probably constitute the high points of this archetype's use during the combat. :)

Just that description of the charioteer reminds me of some very old art I once saw of Cu Chulainn riding through the armies of Connacht mowing men down left and right. You have one heck of a game, End!

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Yeah, I love the concept of the chariot/charioteer and what it could do in a battle.

I've long wanted to find some way to get it into a game organically, but I'm afraid I've never had a group that's been as fond of the vehicle rules as yours seems to be.

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Thanks for the kind words - and yes, my group loves the vehicle rules. I did modify the DCs to be less restrictive, though - DC 10+ seems to work reasonably well.

And it all depends regarding vehicles - my group was hesitant until they got a hollowed-out bullette-tank with a cannon in the mouth. Chases on cliff-sides and through the air did wonders to endear the concept to them: Picture the tank running on a steep cliff, while the archer is hanging by a rope outside of the hatch and snipes the opposition below. They were never so angry as when I finally managed to destroy the tank...

Gold...pure gold...sounds like SO much FUN!

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