Fearsome Foes: Smiling Bastard (PFRPG) PDF

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Fearsome Foes is a series of short PDFs that each feature a single villain or villainous group to challenge the player characters in your Pathfinder Roleplaying Game or OGL campaigns. The villains presented are suitable to be used as either one-shot or recurring foes. In addition to the main villains each volume will contain enough supporting material that they should be ready to include in your game will little or no extra preparation.

In this volume:

  • Background on Sir Barthold Highchurch, the Smiling Bastard and his henchman Black Winston.
  • Sir Barthold Highchurch CR 9
  • Black Winston CR 7
  • Background on The Knights of the Wall
  • Order of the Wall Cavalier Order
  • Knight of the Wall NPC CR 1
  • Adventure Hooks
  • Dastardly Encounters

Author: Russ Brown
Artist: Keith Wood
Pages: 7

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

****( )

The second installment of the Fearsome Foes-series clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, ~1/2 a page SRD/editorial, leaving us with 5 1/2 pages of content, so let's take a look!

After a brief introduction, we learn about the Knights of the Wall, an ~500 members-strong order of knights that is supposed to defend civilization and the colossal wall that guards it. These beings may be members of a new cavalier order, the order of the wall, sworn to protect civilization from the agents of barbarism. Challenge-wise, the cavalier and all allies flanking the target of a challenge gain +1 morale bonus to AC, which increases by +1 for every 4 levels the cavalier possesses. The order adds Knowledge (local) and (history) to his class skills and gains 1/2 class levels to Knowledge (local) checks pertaining laws, customs, etc. At 2nd level, the order grants +1 teamwork feat they can grant to allies with the tactician ability. On a nitpicky side - does this ability work if the cavalier trades in the tactician ability? I assume it does, regarding the wording, but I'm not 100% sure. Starting at 8th level, when an ally within 30 ft. of the banner fails a save, the cavalier may spend an immediate action to allow the ally to reroll. This can be used 1/day, +1/day at 12th level and every 4 levels thereafter. At 15th level, as a move action, the cavalier can wave his banner, allowing all allies that can see the banner to move up to their speed towards the banner and take a standard action. This can be used 1/day, +1/day at 18th level. I assume that this does not change initiative order.

The pdf also covers a sample cavalier 2 and his warhorse...and then, there would be the eponymous Smiling Bastard, Sir Barthold Highchurch - a despicable con-man, who, build-wise, is a daring champion/low templar and clocks in at CR 9 - rather nice, just fyi: The fellow actually has fall-back plans and the means to potentially escape fights that do not turn out as planned and, as a whole, I can see him work as a recurring villain. He does have a right-hand man, Black Winston, a fighter (cad) level 8. His build is more straightforward, but still nice.

The pdf also sports 4 different, solid adventure-hooks that deal with the smiling bastard's dastardly schemes: Dressing ruffians up as orcs to force the local populace to sell their homes, for example. Yeah, he deservedly got his name. The pdf closes with 5 encounter combos to use the bastard and his fellows - these are just lists of creatures preconfigured for certain CRs.


Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant hiccups that would impede functionality. Layout adheres to Rusted Iron Games' two-column full-color standard and is relatively printer-friendly. The pdf sports an original artwork for the bastard, which is nice to see for a book this small. The pdf comes with excessive, nested bookmarks for your convenience.

Russ Brown's Smiling Bastard is a solid character; much like a villainous anti-Jon-Snow, he makes for a solid, fun adversary and his second-in-command/cohort makes for a good additional threat. The builds themselves are neat. All in all, the smiling bastard is a cool NPC for a more than fair price. Hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Community Manager

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1 person marked this as a favorite.

Gracias, Liz!

Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to NErdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.

Scarab Sages RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Thanks for the review EZG!

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