Pathfinder Player Companion: Dirty Tactics Toolbox (PFRPG)

****½ (based on 5 ratings)
Pathfinder Player Companion: Dirty Tactics Toolbox (PFRPG)
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There are those who fight and die honorably, and there are those with pockets full of dirty tricks who live to brawl another day. Embrace the subversive with Dirty Tactics Toolbox, a player-focused manual filled with loads of deliciously devious tips, tricks, and rules options to ensure that your character never has to face a fair fight. Delve into the art of the ambush, research new poisons, and discover ways to enhance your sneak attacks and dirty trick combat maneuvers. And if none of that suits your sly sensibilities, arm yourself with magic that targets your enemy's jugular or turns her sword into an angry snake. Dirty Tactics Toolbox contains everything you need to gain the upper hand and then exploit the advantage mercilessly. Inside this book, you'll find:

  • Tips for using all manner of poisons, including feats that empower envenomed weapons and infuse magic with toxins, plus details on a bevy of new poisons.
  • General and specific tactics for using sneak attacks, plus new feats for characters who specialize in dealing precision damage.
  • Expanded ideas for using the dirty trick combat maneuver, plus ways to combine combat maneuvers with guile and a new combat style for those who admire the cunning kitsune.
  • Options for characters who worship trickster gods, such as manipulative Asmodeus and chaotic Calistria, plus a wasp familiar for the faithful of the Savored Sting.
  • A wide range of new equipment tricks, including novel uses for boots, cloaks, nets, thieves' tools, and wondrous items, plus new equipment, magic armor and weapons, and spells for your crooked arsenal.

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.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-763-5

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

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****½ (based on 5 ratings)

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Good, but not spectacular

***( )( )

Read my full review on Of Dice and Pen.

Dirty Tactics Toolbox follows in the vein of its predecessor “Toolbox” books: Ranged Tactics Toolbox and Melee Tactics Toolbox. And much like those two other books, I have the same basic issues with it. While it’s a perfectly functional book, there’s not a lot in it that really stands out and is memorable when compared with the vast amount of other options already available in the game. That said, I do think it edges out the previous two books by a small margin by having a few more things that did catch my attention and a few more instances of nicely integrated world flavour.


Tactics Toolbox series keeps getting better

*****

It started with Melee Tactics Toolbox, then Ranged Tactics Toolbox, now Dirty Tactics Toolbox makes a excellent line turn STELLAR.

When a Player Companion has feat/archetypes/spells that make you want to start a new character JUST TO USE THE OPTIONS, then it is a great one indeed.

A few stand-outs are the Poison spells (a category of spell I thought was previously lacking), Accomplished Sneak Attacker feat (the Boon Companion feat for multiclass rogues and single class slayers), Dirty Fighting feat (as mentioned everywhere, a long waited for alternative to Combat Expertise) and the Monk of the Mantis archetype (monk with sneak attack PLUS options to work with Unchained Monk? Yes Please!!).

And there are a great number of other gems in here (for example the Sapping weapon property and sniping feat of which I forget the exact name).

The only downside is now my expectations for the next Tactics Toolbox are sky high.


A grand success!

*****

This player companion is to-date my favorite player companion yet. The new format and the new methodology really paid off with this winning design.

The content walks a fine line between too much crunch and too much fluff by having a ton of both and making sure that the fluff options are still good options! The feats and archetypes are rich with character building ideas, setting lore and still great, viable archetypes that stand up well.

Overall, I don't have much to say other than buy this book! Its not just for Rogues, there are plenty of character options for anyone willing to fight a little dirty.


One of the best Player Companions yet

*****

While I don't want to go into too many details prior to a broader release, the entirety of this book seems designed to enable builds and approaches that have been conventionally undersupported in the Pathfinder ruleset, and it accomplishes its goal admirably. I think this is one of the best purchases I've made in this line, and strongly suggest it for anyone considering playing a character following one of the concepts it focuses on: poison, sniping and sneak attack, dirty tricks, and ambush/surprise rounds.

I'm particularly fond of the additional sniping support, which has been direly needed for some time. The Dirty Fighting combat feat has the potential to steal the show, though, and may become a staple of various combat maneuver builds for years to come. Like most of the options in this book, it's probably not going to be overpowered; it just makes a previously hard-to-build concept be more effective and efficient.


Wily Options for Everyone

*****

(I'll be intentionally vague on specific items, feats, and spells until the release date)

With Dirty Tactics Toolbox, Paizo has redeemed a number of design choices that arbitrarily limit those who favor stealthy, indirect, or clever approaches over more traditional "hit it with a big sword/spell" tactics. Dirty Tactics has options for virtually everyone, and a lot of the feats, spells, and abilities are less about power creep and more about bringing the less viable options into parity with the default "tetori monk, ragelancepouncebarian, archery ranger" tropes.

Not surprisingly, The book spends significant page count on the Dirty Trick combat maneuver, providing options to make it significantly more viable and interesting. There's even a feat for Swashbucklers (and Amateur Swashbucklers) that makes Dirty Trick pretty good starting from level 1.

Additional attention and love is given to poisoners - casters and mundanes alike - and all are given options to make poisioning... well, less bad. I still think Paizo's unreasonably concerned about making poisoning a valid tactic, but at least now there are a number of options that make poisoning an acceptable, if not optimized choice.

Stealth options are also present in the book, with feats that give rogues a reason to want to crit on their sneak attacks as well as making sniping a more viable strategy.

There are several creative and interesting spells as well. Nothing's too spectacular or "OMG Overpowered", but a number of options continue the book's general theme of making some less-viable character concepts more viable.

As a penultimate note, one particular feat solves a whole host of commonly brought up issues with combat maneuvers. Without getting too detailed, it satisfies many of the more silly prerequisites for combat maneuver feats, as well as lessens the penalty for being untrained in a given combat maneuver. Love the feat, hoping this gets made PFS legal.

Finally, I'd like to call out the Equipment Trick section for providing some genuinely useful equipment tricks - looking at you, Cape and Thieves' Tools. The existing equipment tricks were nothing to write home about, but these you could easily incorporate into any character that would fit the theme.

I heartily recommend this book to anyone who loves making stealth checks, ambushes, combat maneuvers, or who enjoys casting subtle spells. Get this book and help win the table focus back from the boring two-handed strength based types!


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Webstore Gninja Minion

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Announced! Product image and description are not final.

Grand Lodge

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber

Interesting...

Silver Crusade

19 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Finally concise rules for threatening the final boss of an Adventure Path by taking their grandmother hostage.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

nice! new options for my CAD Fighter. :)


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

Oooo...


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I'll love reading this one just for the rules on poisons. Heck, I'd get a Player Companion that got all the various rules for poisons and poisoners together in one place.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

Kinda interesting.


much more interested in this than the other "tactics" books


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hmm... One of my not so, shall we say, honorable players will be very interested! I can hear the mad cackling already...


Awww man, JULY?!?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Oooo, I hope that this book finally gives spellcasters a way to officially hide their spellcasting without obscure bard feats or mythic powers. :D


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Oh yeah!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hopefully this has lots of options for slayers and the like.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I sure hope it has six or eight bits of crunch that are highly situational, loaded with feat taxes and dubiously edited.

Oh yes, and full of extraneous, unnecessary, unwanted and redundant adjectives to fill up page count without adding worthwhile content.

*sigh* Of course I'm going to buy it.

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

8 people marked this as a favorite.
ZenithTN wrote:

I sure hope it has six or eight bits of crunch that are highly situational, loaded with feat taxes and dubiously edited.

Oh yes, and full of extraneous, unnecessary, unwanted and redundant adjectives to fill up page count without adding worthwhile content.

*sigh* Of course I'm going to buy it.

For the curious, this will be the first Player Companion that I outline, assign, and develop.

Obviously different people want different things from player companions. Some are most interested in context for existing rules or concepts to help mesh them smoothly with Golarion.
Others want brand-new rule frameworks in categories that don't already exist.
And some want feats, spells, and magic items.

While I doubt I can make everyone equally happy, I've read a lot of feedback, and done a lot of analysis, prior to outlining my first Companion. And I'll be interested in folk's feedback when it comes out.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Haha! How did I miss this? This looks really cool!

When I saw the title, I thought- "How did someone sneak a joke thread into the product discussion forum?"

I love dirty trick types of characters, and have one in particular that would really benefit from this. Can't wait!

Lucky designers that get to work on this.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
ZenithTN wrote:

I sure hope it has six or eight bits of crunch that are highly situational, loaded with feat taxes and dubiously edited.

Oh yes, and full of extraneous, unnecessary, unwanted and redundant adjectives to fill up page count without adding worthwhile content.

*sigh* Of course I'm going to buy it.

For the curious, this will be the first Player Companion that I outline, assign, and develop.

Obviously different people want different things from player companions. Some are most interested in context for existing rules or concepts to help mesh them smoothly with Golarion.
Others want brand-new rule frameworks in categories that don't already exist.
And some want feats, spells, and magic items.

While I doubt I can make everyone equally happy, I've read a lot of feedback, and done a lot of analysis, prior to outlining my first Companion. And I'll be interested in folk's feedback when it comes out.

You designing it actually made me want to buy it.

I know I'm not alone in the opinion that you are probably the most skilled designer at Paizo HQ.

Paizo Employee Modules Overlord

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Insain Dragoon wrote:
You designing it actually made me want to buy it.

Well like most Player Companions, most of it is being written by freelancers. I outlined it, I assigned it, I'll work with the freelancers as they work on concepts for the sections and themes I assigned them, and I'll develop their turnovers to form a cohesive, interesting, exciting, blanched book (or at least that's what my job description says). But I'll actually write only a little of the final book text itself.

Insain Dragoon wrote:
I know I'm not alone in the opinion that you are probably the most skilled designer at Paizo HQ.

That's very flattering. That said, I don't think I am the most skilled developer or designer at Paizo. In fact, one of the reasons I wanted to come work here is I think this building has some of the greatest game designers, developers, and editors in the world, and I want to learn from them.

But I do appreciate the vote of confidence!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Taking it as a vote of confidance is more than enough :) I really like what you write and your eye for game balance.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

If Skiver isn't in this book I will be disappoint.


I hope this isn't filled with things that are just going to be a headache for the GM, especially GMs that have to run scenarios as-written. Players want to be able to feel clever, but giving the players too many dirty tricks starts to make it difficult for the scenario writers to anticipate and counter player tactics in ways essential to the plot.


Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

But pity us non-PFS players with creative GMs who will read and use this book...

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

I've several bards and a slayer who will love this.

And GMs who won't ;-)


I hope we get to see new archetypes (especially for antipaladin, ninja, or samurai).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Duskblade wrote:
I hope we get to see new archetypes (especially for antipaladin, ninja, or samurai).

Well, for Antipaladins & Ninja this would certainly be the place. Samurai...

not so much.


Slayer archetype would be nice, maybe half-orcs stuff as well.


Eric Hinkle wrote:
I'll love reading this one just for the rules on poisons. Heck, I'd get a Player Companion that got all the various rules for poisons and poisoners together in one place.

Will this book use the information on poisons from Pathfinder Unchained?

Dark Archive

Many klingons believe nothing is more "honerable" than winning.


The Ranged and Melee versions have been some of my all time favourite Player Companions. I enjoy getting "sets" of books. (Blood of XXX, XXX of the Inner Sea etc). And this is shaping up to be the first "set" that is consistently good across the board. (After Heroes of the Wild, I also have fingers crossed for Heroes of the Streets).

Anyway, can't wait to see the final product. Or at least get the final updated product blurb.


Duskblade wrote:
I hope we get to see new archetypes (especially for antipaladin, ninja, or samurai).

Just saying, you will never see archetypes for ninja or samurai, because they are extended archetypes.

Liberty's Edge

Ashram wrote:
Duskblade wrote:
I hope we get to see new archetypes (especially for antipaladin, ninja, or samurai).
Just saying, you will never see archetypes for ninja or samurai, because they are extended archetypes.

Just saying, there is already one archetype for the Samurai.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
graywulfe wrote:
Ashram wrote:
Duskblade wrote:
I hope we get to see new archetypes (especially for antipaladin, ninja, or samurai).
Just saying, you will never see archetypes for ninja or samurai, because they are extended archetypes.
Just saying, there is already one archetype for the Samurai.

Well, kind of. ^_^

Sovereign Court

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Ashram wrote:
Duskblade wrote:
I hope we get to see new archetypes (especially for antipaladin, ninja, or samurai).
Just saying, you will never see archetypes for ninja or samurai, because they are extended archetypes.

Technically, antipaladin is just as much of an "extended archetype", and it has, like, five. ^_^

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Hoping for swashbuckler or gunslinger stuff

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

of course my Rick Flair expy is level 9 when this gets announced. :(


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Is it bad that I am much more excited about this book now that I've seen that the advertisement for it on the back of the Monster Summoner's Handbook has a two-tailed kitsune? It does make sense that kitsune would get mentioned (or at least get a picture) in a Dirty Tactics book, I'm just surprised that Paizo is actually bothering to acknowledge a Dragon Empires race.

I have a feeling that this is Alexander Augunas' doing ;)

Shadow Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Dirty deeds done for $14.99


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Dirty deeds done for $14.99

Why, that's DIRT CHEAP!!!

-Doomn

Paizo Employee Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Matrix Dragon wrote:

Is it bad that I am much more excited about this book now that I've seen that the advertisement for it on the back of the Monster Summoner's Handbook has a two-tailed kitsune? It does make sense that kitsune would get mentioned (or at least get a picture) in a Dirty Tactics book, I'm just surprised that Paizo is actually bothering to acknowledge a Dragon Empires race.

I have a feeling that this is Alexander Augunas' doing ;)

That depends on what you mean by "Alexander Augunas' doing." It was my idea to include some Kitsune stuff, along with a few other "trickster races." But it was absolutely Alex Augunas I contacted as a freelancer to get it written...

We really do pay attention. :)

Paizo Employee Developer

knightnday wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:
I'll love reading this one just for the rules on poisons. Heck, I'd get a Player Companion that got all the various rules for poisons and poisoners together in one place.
Will this book use the information on poisons from Pathfinder Unchained?

No, which kinda makes me sad but I only have so much room. In most cases, the rules from Pathfinder Unchained are optional rules that just don't play well with the rules they replace so, like the words of power from Ultimate Magic, we provide them for GMs who want to play with the feel and style of their campaigns — but we don't have space to present supplemental material for both the existing rules and the optional rules.

There are some exceptions. The Unchained classes are generally pretty close to the standard classes, so even when something doesn't work perfectly for both versions it seems to just take a quick note to make a new option compatible for both. I have an outline for a future book that mentions the stamina rules as a special case. But sadly there's just not space to cover every possibly implication of ever Unchained rule. It's a toolbox, so you should still be able to use its tool, but it'll take some elbow grease.

Contributor

2 people marked this as a favorite.

My participation (as well as the topics that I wrote about) have been SO unbelievably hard to sit on!

But don't worry! If you think that I'm weird for liking foxes as much as I claim to, I think you're still going to ultimately walk away from this particular product feeing more than a bit satisfied. ;-)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Yay! Glad to see some additional Kitsune stuff is coming out and I'm looking forward to trying to use some of the new options on my current one. Not that I wasn't already looking forward to seeing more stuff for my sneakier characters. ;)

It is cool to see the non-core races getting mentioned though. It often seems like a race will only come up in the book that it is introduced in, and then maybe a compilation book, and then never again. XD


I have a player who loves Roguish characters. He is playing one now, and is happy to see a double doze of Roguish material coming (this book and Heroes of the Streets).

If only "Ultimate Intrigue" were coming soon. He would have made a Vigilante character with the one he has currently but that's the con of TTRPGs...the ever long wait for the materials you need.

Community Manager

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Barachiel Shina wrote:

I have a player who loves Roguish characters. He is playing one now, and is happy to see a double doze of Roguish material coming (this book and Heroes of the Streets).

If only "Ultimate Intrigue" were coming soon. He would have made a Vigilante character with the one he has currently but that's the con of TTRPGs...the ever long wait for the materials you need.

If only there might be a way for players and GMs everywhere to have a chance to look at the vigilante class...

Contributor

Liz Courts wrote:
Barachiel Shina wrote:

I have a player who loves Roguish characters. He is playing one now, and is happy to see a double doze of Roguish material coming (this book and Heroes of the Streets).

If only "Ultimate Intrigue" were coming soon. He would have made a Vigilante character with the one he has currently but that's the con of TTRPGs...the ever long wait for the materials you need.

If only there might be a way for players and GMs everywhere to have a chance to look at the vigilante class...

Pretty sneaky, sis.

Contributor

donato wrote:
Liz Courts wrote:
Barachiel Shina wrote:

I have a player who loves Roguish characters. He is playing one now, and is happy to see a double doze of Roguish material coming (this book and Heroes of the Streets).

If only "Ultimate Intrigue" were coming soon. He would have made a Vigilante character with the one he has currently but that's the con of TTRPGs...the ever long wait for the materials you need.

If only there might be a way for players and GMs everywhere to have a chance to look at the vigilante class...
Pretty sneaky, sis.

Who are you talking to, Luis? Looks around the empty room.


Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:
knightnday wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:
I'll love reading this one just for the rules on poisons. Heck, I'd get a Player Companion that got all the various rules for poisons and poisoners together in one place.
Will this book use the information on poisons from Pathfinder Unchained?

No, which kinda makes me sad but I only have so much room. In most cases, the rules from Pathfinder Unchained are optional rules that just don't play well with the rules they replace so, like the words of power from Ultimate Magic, we provide them for GMs who want to play with the feel and style of their campaigns — but we don't have space to present supplemental material for both the existing rules and the optional rules.

There are some exceptions. The Unchained classes are generally pretty close to the standard classes, so even when something doesn't work perfectly for both versions it seems to just take a quick note to make a new option compatible for both. I have an outline for a future book that mentions the stamina rules as a special case. But sadly there's just not space to cover every possibly implication of ever Unchained rule. It's a toolbox, so you should still be able to use its tool, but it'll take some elbow grease.

Ah well, so long as we get some more information on how to use and make poisons useful, I will be very happy.

The news about the kitsune information pleases me as well.


Has this been pushed back from July to August?

If so, will it come out in the same month as Heroes of the Streets?

Community Manager

Mythraine wrote:

Has this been pushed back from July to August?

If so, will it come out in the same month as Heroes of the Streets?

That is currently the schedule, yes.


This is cruel, to get me salivating for some dirty tricks in July and then push it back to August.

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