Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Intrigue (PFRPG)

3.30/5 (based on 18 ratings)
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Intrigue (PFRPG)
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Words Cut Deep

In the right setting, a single scathing word can prove deadlier than a poisoned dagger. Behind the scenes of heroic battles and magical realms lies a seething underbelly of danger and deception. This world of intrigue holds endless possibilities for adventure, as heroes duel with words instead of steel, plot daring heists, and engage in battles of wills against relentless nemeses. A high-stakes game of shadows and secrets is yours to master—if you have the wits!

Whether the heroes are taming the blood-soaked back alleys of their favorite metropolis or jockeying for the queen's favor alongside highborn nobles, Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Intrigue is an invaluable companion to the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. This imaginative tabletop game builds upon more than 10 years of system development and an Open Playtest featuring more than 50,000 gamers to create a cutting-edge RPG experience that brings the all-time best-selling set of fantasy rules into a new era.

Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Intrigue includes:

  • The vigilante, a new character class that lives two lives—that of an unassuming member of the community, and a cloaked crusader with his own agenda!
  • New archetypes for alchemists, bards, druids, hunters, inquisitors, investigators, mesmerists, rangers, rogues, slayers, spiritualists, and more!
  • New feats and magic items for characters of all sorts, granting mastery of street-smart combat, impenetrable disguises, and misdirection.
  • Dozens of spells to manipulate tense social settings, whether to reveal adversaries' secrets or hide the truth.
  • A complete system of influence, providing new goals and rewards to challenge players and link their fortunes to nonplayer characters and organizations.
  • Systems and advice to help Game Masters introduce a variety of new encounters into their games­—daring heists, extended pursuits, and tense searches for buried secrets.
  • Rules for social combat and verbal duels, allowing characters to use words as weapons to sway hearts and humiliate foes.
  • ... and much, much more!

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-826-7

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Rulebook Subscription.

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3.30/5 (based on 18 ratings)

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1/5

Don't get me wrong I love Paizo books, I love their work, and I'm proud to own almost all of their publications.

However, Ultimate Intrigue is the one book I regret buying. It's even more than that, it's the one book i regret they ever published.

We need rules and systems, ok. We need a magic system because magic isn't a real thing. We need a combat system otherwise playing with your grilfriend become home abuse. But we don't need a social system because it's a ROLEPLAYING game. Either you want intrigue heavy campaign and you roleplay them, or you want to dungeon crawl or investigate (that's fine too) and you don't play intrigues. You can even do both and it's great.

Aside from that massive problem, the book suffers from "a turn normal actions into feats/class ability" syndrome. I can't count the number of time where players made me fighters to wizards or rogues with a dual identity. We didn't need the Vigilante, and still don't. And I loved when wizard use to get clever and ask for linguistics/bluff roll to blend a spell into a phrase. Now you need a feat for it. Thanks, Ultimate Intrigue. If that was not enough, some of these nonsense feat are built in feat tax chains.

But the one thing I hate the most about this book is the stupid FAQ it bestowed upon us to promote itself (https://paizo.com/paizo/faq/v5748nruor1fm#v5748eaic9tza). That makes a whole school of magic (illusion) utterly useless, and destroys a lot of others (enchantment).

Now I know I can just refuse to use it. But i use to love pathfinder for the clarity and perfect sense with out need to houserule much.

Now it's gone.


I'm tired of paizo trying to stuff this book down our face

1/5

If I was playing a home campaign this book might be more fitting,

For society play this verbal debate and other ideas for this book really bog down the game play. I like social aspect of games and role playing but as I said society play it slows the game way down to try and get people up to snuff on the mechanics


An amazing new class in a hit and miss supplement

4/5

So, Ultimate Intrigue took a long time for me to come to a complete opinion on.

The Vigilante class introduced in this book is, in my opinion, easily the best non-spellcasting class Paizo has ever created. It breaks up its social options and combat options in such a way that you have a great character able to participate in all areas of the game without having to choose whether you want to be competent in combat or in the myriad other facets of the game like exploration, social encounters, etc. It has deep and well-designed talents that allow you to pick any of a variety of different ways to participate in combat, with or without weapons, and numerous tools for allowing players to influence the story with safe houses, contacts, and more.

At PAX Prime 2016 I had the opportunity to visit Paizo's Pathfinder demo area and play their pregenerated vigilante character. I honestly didn't expect it to go terribly well; after all, the vigilante is a class built around balancing two identities and moving between different social strata, so you'd think that this would require a more controlled environment where you know the other players in advance and have time to plan out how your character fits into the game world with your GM ahead of time, right? Turns out, I was wrong. The vigilante class is well-crafted enough that even while playing a 1st level pregen I was able to easily deal with situations in and out of combat, and it took me about 60 seconds of conversation to establish with the group that I had a secret identity they were privy to and might need them to cover for my character from time to time if he needed to swap identities. It didn't hurt matters that the only downside to anyone learning a vigilante's secret identity is that, well, they know his or her secret identity. You can go all Tony Stark if you want, announce that you are Iron Man, and carry on as normal. Very few of the vigilante's abilities actually require you to maintain truly secret identities, and the only real hit you take is that you're a bit easier to find by magical means (though even this can be addressed with clever use of the Safe House Social Talent).

The book also elaborates on the intent behind numerous spells that often prove problematic for GMs in games where they want to have a focus on gritty investigation of mystery, such as the various detect spells, speak with dead, etc.

I think my biggest disappointments with the book, and the reason I can't give it 5 stars, lie in the feats and archetypes. I'll start with the feats, and a bit about why I see most of them as representative of missed opportunities.

To start with, Pathfinder's skill system is heavily dated. When Paizo brought it over from 3.5, they combined a few extraneous skills, but otherwise did little to update things, meaning the core area of the rules covering everything in the game that isn't casting spells or hitting things is now well over a decade old and out of date. Several skills don't even actually work, or work well, as written, have interactions you're just supposed to kind of assume or make up (Ride and Handle Animal are a mess, Stealth requires one to check out FAQs and blog posts online to use as intended, Bluff and Diplomacy have more than a few vague areas and inconsistencies, etc.), so what better book to address, update, and expand these core components of the game than a book about playing skill and intrigue heavy campaigns? Unfortunately, Paizo chose not to go that route, instead relying on feats to stretch skills over their gaps and issues, leading to many of the feats in the this book providing skill uses that I've seen GMs at hundreds of tables houserule as basic functions of those skills to begin with. Instead of formalizing intuitive uses of existing skills into their basic function, they added a feat tax to allow characters to do things many people already thought they could do. While there is a section in the book going over several of the vague areas in a few key skills, these are primarily common sense clarifications instead of the full address the skills could have used.

The archetypes, like many Paizo hardcovers, are all over the place. Some of them are interesting and dynamic, like the Masked Performer bard archetype, some show an attempt at embodying a cool and modern concept but fail to achieve that concept in the actual execution, like the Magical Child vigilante archetype, and some are just plain bad, so obviously terribly designed that you almost wonder if the person who wrote them has ever actually played Pathfinder, like the Brute vigilante archetype.

Now, don't let the above wall of negativity mislead you; there is a lot of great stuff in this book, including perhaps the most inspired and well-crafted class Paizo has ever produced, a class that introduces really interesting design concepts, plays with components of the class chassis we haven't seen classes treat as quite so malleable before, and is a genuinely fun and interesting class to play in and of itself. Despite many of the feats ranging from useless to frustrating, there are still quite a few that are interesting and viable, and while the archetypes are very hit or miss, that's generally true of Paizo books in general and probably shouldn't be held against this one in particular.

My final verdict on Ultimate Intrigue is 4 stars, and a strong recommendation to pick it up, if for no other reason than to add the Vigilante class to your game (though there definitely are other reasons to add this book to your collection).


Pathfinder presents Batman!

4/5

No seriously. The vigilante class is freaking batman. Look at the art for chapter one and for the character. HE'S BATMAN. Of course they also have archetypes if you want to make Hulk, Sailor Moon, even He-Man. With the archetypes from other books the list goes on.
My favorite part, and I cannot wait to test this properly in a game, is the social combat. It works a lot like playing craps or roulette. You get a pool of Determination points which you use to place a bet then you roll off with your social skills check! Seriously it sounds like lots of fun!


Some good, some bad

3/5

There is really a good amount of cool things in here like the vigilante evne thought i dont like the dual identity system. it feels like a better fighter, which is something i've wanted for a while. but the problem is there's too many rules for things that didnt really need them, so it kind of drags down everything because of it. Some clarification is okay, but this was too much of putting rules on things that didn't need it for me.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Coffee Demon wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
Maybe, just maybe, this will have a feat that grants extra skill points.
What's wrong with the Feats from the core rulebook that do this? Adding anything different than Skill Focus and others would over/underpower either the existing feats or the new one(s).

No, there are no feats that grant extra skill points in the Core Rulebook -- just feats that give bonuses to particular skills.

Dragon78 is inquiring about feats like the D&D 3.5 feat Open Minded from Complete Adventurer, which simply gives you five skill points. That feat is useless for improving a skill that you have already put maximum ranks into, but in D&D 3.5 it was a useful way to gain ranks in skills that you have not yet maxed out (since the standard Pathfinder way of simply gaining a permanent boost to your intelligence would not have worked because of the whole skill points not being retroactive deal in the older D&D rules).


I would love a feat that is a toughness equivalent for skill points or at least gives 5 extra skill points


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
I would love a feat that is a toughness equivalent for skill points or at least gives 5 extra skill points

There is at least one 3rd party Pathfinder product with a feat that does that. I think the product is called something like "Forgotten Core Feats".

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

On the topic of the new vigilante iconic, the red raven... I hope it had rules for how you might be perceived by different groups in a society, or even by the society itself. One groups hero could be a menace or even a threat to another. Galts common people love the red ravens take on justice. A cheilexian nobles or one of galts impoverished mobility have more than likely very different views on that caped crusader.


Dragon78 wrote:
I would love a feat that is a toughness equivalent for skill points or at least gives 5 extra skill points

It'd have to be a toughness equivalent, I mean +1 skill point & +1 hit point are equal in value according to FCB.


Gorbacz wrote:
zergtitan wrote:
*Vigilante has a magical girl archetype with a transformation sequence,
Sold.

My warlock is literally a magical girl. I'm so down with this.


Just a little more then a week to go.

Dark Archive

Dragon78 wrote:
Just a little more then a week to go.

Unfortunately the march products have been pushed back a week.

But you are still lucky. As a subscriber you should be able to download the pdf on march 14th.

People like me have to wait till march 30th. ;-)


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Pushed back?! Wow, am I glad I subscribed! I debated whether or not I wanted to pay full price+shipping or full price+tax (Paizo vs. Local Gamestore) or wait and get it discounted (Amazon). However, I have become rather impatient in my 'old age'(according to my sons) and want it NOW! The fact that I get an electronic version (PDF) and sooner than anyone will get the hardbound just sealed the deal.


Yeah, I noticed that they will start sending subscriptions on the 14th instead of next week like I originally thought. Well at least this gives us more time for previews.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Fourshadow wrote:
Pushed back?! Wow, am I glad I subscribed! I debated whether or not I wanted to pay full price+shipping or full price+tax (Paizo vs. Local Gamestore) or wait and get it discounted (Amazon). However, I have become rather impatient in my 'old age'(according to my sons) and want it NOW! The fact that I get an electronic version (PDF) and sooner than anyone will get the hardbound just sealed the deal.

Ditto. I haven't been quite this excited for a hardcover in recent memory. Don't know if I'll keep the subscription past this book, but I need the vigilante in my life as soon as humanly possible. :D


While I am not sold on the vigilante class, I am interested in the magical girl archetype for it.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:

While I am not sold on the vigilante class, I am interested in the magical girl archetype for it.

I believe it will be excellent, and I'm looking forward to playing one. ^_^


I hope the magical archetype gets holy smite and dispel evil.


Anyone care to explain what all this "magical girl" reference is about ?


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
nighttree wrote:
Anyone care to explain what all this "magical girl" reference is about ?

Anime


Magical Girl.

Though for Pathfinder, probably more specific to Magical Girl Warrior.


There is a archetype in the book called magical child wich is based on various magical girl anime.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
There is a archetype in the book called magical child wich is based on various magical girl anime.

Though it's entirely possible to play a male magical child(kind of a magical knight/magical boy character).

I just want to have access to this so some potential cross dressing/trans-gender characters could be created and explored. Imagine if a boy got the power of the sailor scouts? You suddenly have a boy that has all the trappings of a magical girl, without being a girl.


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PASSION ORACLE MYSTERY! PASSION ORACLE MYSTERY! PLEASE PRETTY PLEASE PAIZO? (bats cute puppy dog eyes)


Mark Seifter wrote:

The Social Conflict system (it's called Social Conflict, not Social Combat, due to the fact that the nature allows it to be much broader than just a single encounter) is written in such a way that I think both players and GMs like Barachiel and players and GMs like John will get use out of it, since it presents a framework to make your life easier in games with lots of social intrigue, rival factions, and mixed loyalties, regardless of how you choose to resolve each social situation, then presents you with various alternatives and options to use; more tools in your toolbox are good no matter whether you like alternatives with lots of skill checks or alternatives with lots of in-character back-and-forth. As you might predict based on this framework, that means you can use all the feats, spells, and archetypes no matter what your preference is for Social Conflicts.

One of our key goals for this book was to make sure that everything stands on its own if you don't use subsystems while also including plenty of tie-ins if you do use them. So for instance, consider the hypothetical "Influencer" archetype. It would have at least one ability that ties into the influence system, but that ability would also do something else that is helpful even if you never use the influence system.

Where was this book 15 years ago when I was running a campaign based on noble intrigue?


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ErisAcolyte-Chaos jester wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
There is a archetype in the book called magical child wich is based on various magical girl anime.

Though it's entirely possible to play a male magical child(kind of a magical knight/magical boy character).

I just want to have access to this so some potential cross dressing/trans-gender characters could be created and explored. Imagine if a boy got the power of the sailor scouts? You suddenly have a boy that has all the trappings of a magical girl, without being a girl.

obligatory


I thought this was an April release!? It got pushed UP!? SWEET!


Barachiel Shina wrote:
I thought this was an April release!? It got pushed UP!? SWEET!

It was pushed back, iirc it was originally slated for release on 12th of march.

Paizo Employee Designer

Milo v3 wrote:
Barachiel Shina wrote:
I thought this was an April release!? It got pushed UP!? SWEET!
It was pushed back, iirc it was originally slated for release on 12th of march.

If I recall, it was originally slated vaguely for April, then it got pushed forward to, I want to say March 23rd (it was for sure a Wednesday because I was comparing it to the possible blog schedule and the fact that a Thursday blog for that week would come out after the book did), then back to the 30th. Either way, I hope the teasers from my post and then from the Secrets of Pathfinder segment on twitch have helped whet your appetites!


I wonder where I got 12 from then...


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Mark Seifter wrote:
Milo v3 wrote:
Barachiel Shina wrote:
I thought this was an April release!? It got pushed UP!? SWEET!
It was pushed back, iirc it was originally slated for release on 12th of march.
If I recall, it was originally slated vaguely for April, then it got pushed forward to, I want to say March 23rd (it was for sure a Wednesday because I was comparing it to the possible blog schedule and the fact that a Thursday blog for that week would come out after the book did), then back to the 30th. Either way, I hope the teasers from my post and then from the Secrets of Pathfinder segment on twitch have helped whet your appetites!

If I tell you they didn't whet my appetite, would you keep releasing teasers until they do? ;)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Probably talk from those that have a subscription about when they will be getting access to the PDF files. They tend to receive them before non-subscribers. Not that it's a bad thing. We get to learn what kind of content is in the book from them.

Dark Archive

Ya know, I just realized I will be really disappointed if this doesn't contain at least one ninja archetype

I mean, real ninjas are all about intrigue and stuff instead of "Mystic assassins" xD

Dark Archive

3 people marked this as a favorite.

A ninja archetype who 'reaps reputations' (more of a 'character assassin' than an assassin of player characters), destroying someone's life and reputation and social standing and leaving them friendless and on the run from the law, but alive and breathing, could be funky, and thematically suitable for Golarion.

Or maybe I just want an Archetype with a class ability called 'Calumny.'


So close, yet so far away.


I desperately want some teasers, I want to remake Seelah as a Tyrant for the Design Challenge.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
the Secrets of Pathfinder segment on twitch have helped whet your appetites!

Does anyone have a link to this segment? Would like to listen to it.

Paizo Employee Designer

The link should be somewhere on my fan page post about it on that day, 2/23.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Interesting I want to know more. Hopefully my subscription PDF isn't delayed passed what happened already.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
FedoraFerret wrote:
I desperately want some teasers, I want to remake Seelah as a Tyrant for the Design Challenge.

I also want to have Access to the to Tyrant as well. My campaign set in a world of dreams has a married couple of a paladin and an Antipaladin archetype running a city as the joint hands of the law. The paladin is the gentle hand of the city that helps nurture the city in accordance with the laws. The Antipaladin Archetype, is the hand that punishes those that break the law, often to brutal and violent effect.

A tyrant would really fit that area well.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
ErisAcolyte-Chaos jester wrote:
My campaign set in a world of dreams has a married couple of a paladin and an Antipaladin archetype running a city as the joint hands of the law. The paladin is the gentle hand of the city that helps nurture the city in accordance with the laws. The Antipaladin Archetype, is the hand that punishes those that break the law, often to brutal and violent effect.

Do they both worship a LN god? If not, how do they make it work?


Quote:
My campaign set in a world of dreams has a married couple of a paladin and an Antipaladin archetype running a city as the joint hands of the law.

Then your paladin has already broken her oath as a paladin for not trying to redeem his or hers "significant other" or bring them to justice (either the justice of the courts or the justice of the gods).

Quote:
The Antipaladin Archetype, is the hand that punishes those that break the law, often to brutal and violent effect.

Uh, I thought the Antipaladin an archetype of a CE monster devoted to sowing misery and death upon the land and it's people? I think an Antipaladin would just as likely brutally kill the law enforcers as well the law breakers (and then probably desecrate their remains and/or raise them as undead to boot).


CorvusMask wrote:

Ya know, I just realized I will be really disappointed if this doesn't contain at least one ninja archetype

I mean, real ninjas are all about intrigue and stuff instead of "Mystic assassins" xD

Hmmm...Kunoichi perhaps (aka female ninja who specialize in the art of seduction)?


Evan Tarlton wrote:
Do they both worship a LN god? If not, how do they make it work?

I'd assume they don't get their powers from a god, since paladin/antipaladin doesn't require it in the rules.

Quote:
Uh, I thought the Antipaladin was a CE monster devoted to sowing misery and death upon the land and it's people?

Well for one they said the Tyrant (which would make it LE) would be great for that character. And CE doesn't mean they cannot follow laws, especially if those laws = them sowing misery and death upon the land and it's people.


I'm running a Zealot Vigilante through Hell's Rebels and have a player who might what to use the tyrant in Hell's Vengeance. So add me to the list of people chomping at the bit for this book.


Wait, there's a Lawful Evil version of the Antipaladin archetype? If so, what Pathfinder book is it in?


Berselius wrote:
Wait, there's a Lawful Evil version of the Antipaladin archetype? If so, what Pathfinder book is it in?

This one!

… but if you need something a little sooner, I recommend checking out the Insinuator for your choice of evil alignments and a more flexible code.


Now if we could just get a CG archetype for the Paladin. Maybe something fey/first world themed.


Dragon78 wrote:
Now if we could just get a CG archetype for the Paladin. Maybe something fey/first world themed.

3.5's Unearthed Arcana introduced the idea of paladins being the "corner" alignment class while druids were the "cross". While it was mechanically uninspired changes to the class (mostly just spell lists and what they could smite), the idea of having paladins of slaughter, tyranny, freedom and order was something I liked. I think Paizo could make the idea work with more unique changes that would make them feel different but the same.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

If anyone (such as Davic) is interested in more mechanically complex paladins of all nine alignments, I recommend tracking down Dragon Magazine #310-#312. Paladins of all nine alignments were published there; while they were 3.5 (and thus will need a little updating) they were far-and-away more interesting than the four in Unearthed Arcana. ^_^

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm wondering if they are getting the Research Combat system from Hell Unleashed and Mummy's Mask reprinted in here?


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I hope there is other "villain" archetypes aside from the LE antipaladin. Also more "shenanigan-worthy" stuff like the matchmaker spell.


Maybe there will be more skill feats that grant +2(+4 with 10 ranks) to two skills like alertness or stealthy.

Paizo Employee Designer

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Let there be blogs!

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