Asian Archetypes: Martial (PFRPG) PDF

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Warriors of the East Arise!

Asian Archetypes: Martial brings you an awesome assortment of new Pathfinder Roleplaying Game class options for characters drawing upon the classic tropes and traditions of Asian fantasy! You'll find a dozen amazing archetypes here, with heavily armored heroes like the dignified imperial unifier, the merciless silversword samurai, and the fearless kaiju hunter ranger. You'll find character options to use knowledge and connections like a weapon in the mandarin investigator alongside rough-housing rascals like the hyakusho fighter scavanging the battlefield just to make ends meet, or the wild and woolly kuma barbarian channeling the raw power of the bear to become a living weapon. Of course, you'll also find warriors of style, stealth, grace, and speed like the deadly contemplative iajutsu adept and the unearthly grace of the sky dancer swashbucklers, the subtle psychic swordplay of the kwa noninja, and the kinetic bladework of the sentai soldier and the matchless prowess of the mercurial duelist vigilantes. Sidebars explore additional feats, magic items, and vigilante talents to enhance these new character options, and you'll also find a fantastic sample hero, Kozue Kaburagi, the Silver Blossom, ready to use as a richly developed NPC to show off some of these new options in play. Whether you're playing a completely Asian campaign or just want to add a dash more Asian spice to the ninjas, samurai, and more in your game, you'll find a wealth of exciting new opportunities in Asian Archetypes: Martial! Grab this 28-page Pathfinder product today and Make Your Game Legendary!

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This collection of archetypes clocks in at 28 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 2 pages of editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 2 pages of advertisements, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 18 pages of content – it should be noted that these are tightly packed, though!

All righty, we’re starting with the bloodrider cavalier, but in order to understand it, I think it may be prudent to mention the mounted combat-follow-up feats that complement it: Mounted Skirmish lets your mount make a double movement and lets you perform a ranged or melee attack at one point during the movement, with the mount not provoking AoOs. As limitations, adjacent creatures at the start of the turn may not be attacked and you have to move at least 10 ft. before and after the attack. Basically, this is a variation of Ride-by Attack, one that emphasizes skirmishing – and personally, I like it better. The second feat, Mounted Sweep, builds on this and lets you perform a single standard action during the Mounted Skirmish. This unlocks a HUGE array of tactical options – and is something I wholeheartedly applaud.

Proficiency-wise, the bloodrider loses medium and heavy armor-proficiency and gains access to proficiency with the whip. They add Perception and Survival to their class skills and gain a morale bonus on saves vs. compulsions and fear and also gains +1 to AC for every 4 levels against the bloodrider’s challenge target. Personally, I’d have tied the AC-increase to class levels instead of levels, but oh well. The archetype learns, at 2nd level, to employ the whip to use drag and reposition combat maneuvers, with the option of using the better Strength modifier (mount/rider); At 8th level, this is upgraded action economy-wise and the character can make the mount make either AoO or immediate action attacks against targets dragged through its square. That is pretty damn amazing – why hasn’t this been done before? 5th level nets the option to charge with a single 90° or two 45° diagonal turns during a charge and boosted Ref-saves when doing so. This crooked charge is further upgraded at 14th level, allowing for free movement through allies’s spaces during the charge. 15th level nets a free charge attack during a charge, made against a target the blood rider is at some point of movement adjacent. Additionally, if the bloodrider’s charge provokes an AoO and it is taken, the bloodrider may retaliate with an AoO after the first AoO has been resolved. This is a really cool martial controller with some seriously unique and fun trick – though these are paid for with the order and banner abilities. Still, one of my favorite cavalier tricks and a really strong start!

Hyakusho fighters take the play of the beggar fighter and halve starting money, gaining broken weapons and no proficiency with heavy armor and tower shields. However, they gain ½ class level to Craft check made to repair and quicker repairs as well as an extended class skill list. They also get an array of monk-style feats that can be chosen as bonus feats and Catch Off-Guard at 3rd level. They are locked into light armor training, with maximum Dexterity bonus in them increasing by 1 for every 8 levels after 3rd. 5th level provides a scaling dodge bonus to AC, increasing at every 5 levels after 5th. 7th level yields black market connections and 11th provides either resolve or martial flexibility, with 19th level gaining flesh wounds. A thematically concise, nice archetype.

The iajutsu adept swashbuckler gains Quick Draw, but only with katanas, as well as +2 to critical hit confirmation rolls, instead of derring-do. They apply swashbuckler finesse to katanas. But not to other weapons and applied deeds that are usually limited to one-handed and finessable weapons to katans…and only katanas. Similarly, panache is regained upon criting/striking killing blows with the katana. So that’s the modification of the chassis: 2nd level provides iajutsu focus, adding Cha-mod to initiative as well as when trying to gage a foe’s martial training as if using Measure Foe. Upon drawing her blade and attacking as her next action, she may make a Charisma check, adding her class level as a bonus. The bonus damage the attack inflicts then scales with the result of this check -pretty elegant solution to the conundrum of the trope, and the bonus damage is properly codified. At 7th level, Charisma modifier is added to such attacks as a bonus to atk and damage. 3rd level doubles Nimble’s bonus when unarmed and sans shield and the bonus feat selection is modified. 5th level provides swashbuckler training benefits when 2-handing katans.11th level provides the option to execute two attacks as a standard action with her katana. 12th level always yields the option to act in a surprise round, but for a iajutsu attack only and 20th level makes initiative checks all natural 20s for the archetype. Swashbuckler weapon mastery only applies to 2-handed wielded katanas. Thematically concise, potent archetype – like the iteration of the concept!

The imperial unifier samurai loses Climb and Swim as class skills…and may use challenges in verbal duels! At 6th level, he gets a Leadership-proxy (or upgrade for the feat) and gains more fame/honor. Short, but sweet thematic option. Kaiju Hunter rangers gain proficiency in heavy armor and may use their combat style while in heavy armor. Favored enemy applies to all creatures of size Large and larger (ouch!) and he gets monster lore instead wild empathy, gaining bonuses the larger the creature is – and yes, the bonus is increased for kaiju. The “3rdd”[sic!] level allows the character to use Enrage Opponent as a move action, but only versus targets that are Large or larger , but he may affect dumb targets. He is locked into allies as hunter’s bond. He may use evasion and improved evasion versus the Ex and Su abilities of larger creatures at an increased efficiency and may do so while wearing medium or heavy armor or loads, but doesn’t gain them versus smaller targets. 7th level provides dodge bonuses versus AoOs provoked by movement or combat maneuvers, a bonus that increase with the size of the foe and the effortless movement through the monster’s space. 8th level provides Timely Coordination for herself and her bond’s allies. 12th level provides camouflage and 13th level find the weak spot. 17th level nets HiPS and 18th level defensive roll – with all abilities geared specifically towards tackling big adversaries.

The kuma barbarian is interesting, losing medium and heavy armor proficiency in favor of Improved Unarmed Strike and Improved Grapple, using the monk’s unarmed strike progression to determine damage caused via grappling. They are locked into animal fury as 2nd level’s rage power and 5th level provides Diehard. Additionally, they can remain conscious by expending rounds of rage as swift or immediate action. 7th level provides, surprise, the option to use beast shape to turn into a bear when entering a rage, improving the effectiveness at 10th and 13th level, respectively. Alternatively, 10 rounds of rage may be expended for a longer duration of the bear form. The smaller bear forms remain valid choices due to to scaling AC bonuses when choosing them. 10th level nets scent. Cool!

The kwa no ninja loses proficiency in light armor and gets graceful defense, adding Cha-mod, maximum level to AC and CMD as well as a scaling bonus to these that even applies versus touch attacks and while flat-footed. Instead of poison use, the archetype gains detect psychic significance at will. They can spend 1 ki as a move action to create a +1 punch dagger, sai or wakizashi that lasts for Charisma modifier, minimum 1, rounds – this blade deals half damage to mindless creatures, non to creatures immune to mind-affecting abilities, but at 9th level and every 3 levels thereafter, she gets additional customization options for this blade, not unlike a soulknife. 4th level provides access to a couple of unique ninja tricks usable in conjunction with this psi-blade for continuous damage for the purpose of concentration, detecting surface thoughts of those hit, better chances to hit those with concealment…pretty cool array!

6th level provides additional weapon choices for the blade and 8th level nets a bonus to initiative equal to Charisma modifier while she has at least 1 point of ki, as well as the option to spend ki to roll twice and take the better result…or spend more ki and treat the result as a natural 20. (This would be as well a place as any to note that these 20-initiative options can be VERY strong in mythic gameplay – not the archetype’s fault, mind you, just something for less experienced GMs to bear in mind!) 10th level provides basically the advanced talents for the archetype, including ki-theft, aligned attacks, temporary negative levels and the like – pretty damn cool. Cool here: At this level and 16th level, the character can learn more of these or regular archetype specific talents. 10th level allows for the taking of 2 of the standard talents of the archetype instead of one of the advanced ones, for example, while 16th level, 2 of the advanced talents may be chosen instead of a ninja trick – or 3 of the regular ones. (there is an errant “o” here in a sentence, but that as an aside. Additionally, the archetype gets a better ratio when using ki to power her assaults. The capstone yields automatic confirmations of crits and an increased crit multiplier for the blade. Interesting soulknife-y option.

The mandarin investigator gains diminished extracts, but does gain the paper rail ability of the major domo and can use inspiration to affects Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate and Sense Motive sans expending it (ouch!) and starting at 3rd level, the archetype gains official favors, gaining favors when engaging in kingdom building and downtime activities, with a maximum of 1 + ½ class level favors. These may be expended to call in favors with groups, with a concise, mathematically-consistent formula. Even cooler: The ability takes verbal duels etc. into account and the ability increases in its effectiveness at 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th and 18th level. Whiel the archetype loses trap sense, I absolutely adore this one…but then again, I’m a huge Judge Dee fanboy… ;)

The vigilante class is a definite winner here: The pdf sports a feat for the use of natural weapons as ancestral weapons, one that may be taken as a social talent, and an iaijutsu slash-enhancing scabbard as an item. The first archetype for the class would be the mercurial duelist, whose weapon proficiencies are modified to include all one-handed slashing weapons, estocs, rapiers and swordcanes. The archetype replaces vigilante specialization with iaijutsu slash (Yes: The two different ways to write this are intentional in the pdf to help differentiate between them!) – this allows for the use of full class level as BAB after Quick Draw-ing the blade and makes the attack count as 2-handed and he may freely sheathe the weapon after a slash. 6th level allows for the application of the Vital Strike feat-chain and increases of the Strength bonus applied, with 10th an 14th level providing the benefits of Improved and Greater Vital Strike, respectively. 1st level’s social talent is replaced with an ancestral weapon and gets to choose from a wide variety of exclusive vigilante talents – some feature the iaijutsu tag and only one of them may be applied to a given slash.

Those who have the Legendary Vigilantes/Legendary Villains: Vigilantes-pdfs will btw. be able to gain some synergy here, with one talent providing crossover tricks with the arsenal summoner’s anima union, for example. But even sans these pdfs, you’ll have enough fodder, with the special slashes, from scaling attribute-damage to AC-penalties and even concealed slashes that victims and onlookers may not understand/perceive as such (!!!), the tricks are locked behind sensible minimum level requirements and the talent selection spans more than 2 full pages Dispelling strikes, Dirty Tricks, fatiguing aattacks, bypassing some amount of DR/hardness, AoO-based parades (once per round, thankfully). What about generating a vacuum with a strike, pulling foes closer? Yeah, this one sports a lot of the iconic tzricks we know and love – though personally, I consider adding Cha-mod to damage inflicted, scaling, nonetheless, to be overkill, considering how the archetype’s base chassis already sports a rather solid damage output and enough benefits for numerical escalation.

At 3rd level, we have the choice between finesse or spiritual duelist. The former nets Dex to attack and damage and ignoring the Strength-prerequisites of Power Attack and for the purpose of the shield of blades talent. The latter option includes using Charisma instead of Dexterity for AC, initiative and Reflex saving throws, as well as for determining max bonus in armor. They even use Charisma for Combat Reflex-AoOs. And honestly…that is very, very strong. It completely replaces the base benefits of the whole Dexterity attribute; not circumstantially, but completely. I wouldn’t allow that in my game. 5th weapon lets the archetype use the ancestral weapon as though it was a sacred weapon; 11th level provides the option to apply two iaijutsu talents to one attack and 17th level upgrades that 3 – but only one that calls for a save may be applied per attack. 20th level auto-maximizes the damage of the iaijutsu slash. There also are three general vigilante talents for poaching the iaijutsu basics and gaining a panache pool/panache talents. It should be noted that RAW, no deeds are gained alongside panache.

The second archetype herein for the vigilante would be the sentai soldier, a reprint from Legendary Vigilantes. The sentai soldier archetype replaces vigilante specialization with burn, elemental focus and kinetic blast, but they can only accept up to Con-mod burn and don't take non-lethal damage from accepting burn. The archetype gets a transformation device that mirrors a magical child transformation in 5 rounds, potentially reduced to a standard action with quick change, immediate action via immediate change. Beyond this modification, we get the option to take an utility or infusion wild talent instead of a vigilante talent and the archetype also contains a variety of different talents: Battle Charge allows the character to spend a swift action to reduce the burn cost of the kinetic blade or fist infusion by 1, but not below 0. This can be further improved and the archetype can use these talents to gain composite blasts, elemental defense or metakinesis. 3rd level nets a fascination-inducing quick transformation and 4th level sentai soldiers that have accepted 1 burn or more gains an equal bonus to atk and damage with kinetic blasts, with the very necessary cap based on the class level. The archetype does lose 3 vigilante talents for that and at 5th level, the vigilante gains gather power - and yes, the archetype loses the appearance tree. 20th level yields access to metakinesis (twice).

Part II of my review can be found here! See you there!


Anime, Comics, Sentai, Chambara, Wuxia... you are in for a ride!

5/5

I have been a fan of all things Asian since I started karate when I was a kid. Later, I discovered Kung Fu cinema by way of the free Dragon Fist RPG by TSR and the internet back in the day. Where I come from, Kung Fu movies beyond Bruce Lee’s are unheard of.

When I started playing Pathfinder, I was completely dazed by the monk. As a matter of fact, my first 3rd edition character was also a monk. However, it wasn’t until much later that class option like archetypes or even new classes started to come out. Among the best 3rd party content, I found The Way of Ki. This was the beginning of a long distance, one sided, platonic love for Legendary Games. Their products are amazing: the crunch is top-notch and balanced, the fluff is evocative and the art is amazing, but such quality comes with a fair price that I simply cannot follow. Even then I have bought all the Far East adventure path plug-ins and not once have I been disappointed.

Enough preamble, So what do we have here? As the name aptly implies, AAM is a collection of 12 archetypes with an Eastern feel, accompanied by other class options like feats and talents, some items and even an NPC. While the PDF is 28 pages, if we take off all the ads, covers, legal info and stuff we have 17 pages of content left. But we are talking about LG, so we don’t find filler content. Before we start with the content itself, it’s worth mentioning that there are no monk or brawler archetypes and I applaud this decision, since the monk has one of the biggest number of archetypes out there and the brawler, with its class features, can dabble in a lot of style feats, so new content for these classes is not really needed.

We start with the Blood Rider cavalier archetype, which is an order-less, banner-less warrior with a Mongol feel, but instead of mounted archery, these guys control the battlefield with a whip! They can make some combat maneuvers with it while mounted, and move opponents along the battlefield. I don’t know you but I would love to play one of these guys, being a martial controller without spells. Get a flying mount and oh boy! The class also includes two feats: Mounted Skirmish, which is similar to Ride-by Attack but without the need to charge, Mounted Sweep, which basically let you do any standard action while moving on your mount.

Next in line we have the poor fighter archetype Hyakusho; no, the fighter is not a poor class, I mean, the archetype is poor, not in its design but in character. They start with half the gold and broken weapons and armor! Apart from this cool fluff, they can repair weapons and armor very efficiently, even able to use other discarded equipment instead of gold for repairs. In combat, they gravitate to light armor and have an expanded options for their bonus feats, including a couple of roguish ones, and can even ignore some of the requisites. This archetype is best used from level one, but all in all can be used as bruisers for a thieves’ guild or triad. A good option for dexterity-based fighters.

Iaijutsu Adepts are swashbucklers that focus on the art of drawing and hitting in the same motion. If you have ever seen Rurouni Kenshin or other samurai anime, you know what this is about. There is even a samurai archetype by Paizo with the same premise! Anyway, the archetypes have a very different feel since the swashbuckler class is more geared toward nimble, dexterous fighting. Any ability that depends on using light or one handed piercing weapons can only be used with a katana and only two-handed. Does this include when you draw? I mean, traditional iaijutsu uses two hands to draw, but since you use one hand to hold the scabbard and one to attack with the katana, is this treated as a one hand or two hand attack? And another nit-pick, there is no official way to get Dex to damage with a two-handed katana, and you don’t get free exotic weapon proficiency to wield it one-handed (and why would you when most abilities apply only when two-handing) so unless your GM lets you cheat with some of the requirements, maybe you don’t want to focus on Dex. I think the archetype should either give you the ability, or let you cheat the requirements. At the end of the day that feature is not needed but would come in handy, especially at low levels. The other abilities rock, you get better at reacting and gauging your opponents, dealing more damage with that first attack and become better with the katana. A cool, iconic eastern archetype that I think would benefit from a bit of polish.

The Imperial Unifier samurai is the shortest archetype, losing two physical class skills, being able to use one daily challenge to get an edge during a verbal duel, and losing their 6th level bonus feat for a weaker version of the Leadership feat that can be improved beyond the base feat by taking it. A nice little hack of the samurai class, perfect for those who like court intrigue but want to play a martial.

The Kaiju Hunter ranger is an archetype that really surprised me with its crazy concept. I mean, who hunts KAIJU!?!?!? But the name is a little deceiving, since they are tankier rangers (they get heavy armor proficiency and can use their class abilities in such) that battle large and bigger foes (the favored enemy bonus only work against big targets, as well as other abilities like evasion), perfect for any Adventure Path focused in fighting big things ;) They also dance with an inquisitor shoes, since they lose wild empathy for the Monster Lore ability of said class. They lose a lot of the nature-based abilities of the ranger to become better at fighting biggies. A crazy concept for an archetype but one that scales well with the foes one tends to encounter at every level.
The Kuma barbarians are Zangief’s students, being better at unarmed combat and grappling than their peers and they can even become bears. For a hefty cost of rage rounds, they can spend hours in bear form, and later get the scent ability. This archetype is perfect if your GM didn’t let you play a werebear or you want to changeshape but don’t like the druid.

The Kwa No are ninjas with a heavy Psylock (from the X-men) vibe. They get better unarmored defense similar to a monk’s but Charisma-based. They lose poison use but exchange it for the ability to cast psychic significance at-will and getting a small bonus to use psychic magical items. At third level they can make a powerful blade of thought by spending Ki, with later levels getting a more powerful blade. This blades takes the shape of a punch dagger, sai or wakisashi… why not one of those serrated Red antis Blades? I would call my character Psycho Mantis and Yell I CAN READ YOUR MIND! Ehem, this ability costs the Kwa No some sneak attack dice and the No Trace Ability. They can also learn special ninja tricks (called Ki slashes) that give them more options when attacking with their blade, and even more bigger and badder ones instead of master ninja tricks (called Ki thrusts). This archetype will rock your world if you are a Psylocke or Psycho Mantis fan, or want to play a soulknife but your GM doesn’t allow psionics.

The Mandarin investigator gives me a Judge Dee (see the movie of the same name) vibe, with alchemy replacing kung fu. The investigators are less adept at dungeoneering, losing all traps abilities and having less extracts per day, but instead of that they gain some useful social abilities for intrigue-heavy campaigns, specially the Favors ability. Since you are supposed to be a member of the bureaucracy, you gain favors among your peers by doing your job, which translates into some downtime activities. These guys rock if you like intriguing character concepts (sorry for the bad pun), but don’t use one in a dungeon-crawling game or you will regret it.
We continue with two archetypes for the vigilante, the first being the Mercurial Duelist. This beast of a class-hack replaces A LOT of the vigilante parts in exchange for A LOT of archetype-specific toys. They also focus on iaijutsu, but instead of Kenshin these guys are like Ukyo Tachibana from Samurai Shodown, drawing, striking and then sheathing their blade again, and some of their class abilities only work with a sheathed blade. They also get a Rokugani-inspired ancestral weapon, complete with the spending of money to enhance it without a wizard or feats. Also, since they lose vigilante specialization, they get a whole new category of Mercurial Talents which they can take along general vigilante’s. Three or so pages of such talents. These Duelist give me a feeling I would be playing with an armed One Punch Man since they can devastate with a single strike. I haven’t been able to playtest one but they feel very powerful. This section also includes some vigilante talents to dabble in the Mercurial arts and even in Swashbuckler’s panache and deeds!

The second vigilante archetype is a reprint from Legendary Vigilantes, but if you are like me and don’t have that book, the Sentai Soldier will leave you in awe. Yes, they are Power Rangers! (well, power vigilantes really). Basically, they are vigilantes that specialize in kinetic dabbling. But they are not a hybrid of vigilante and kineticist, they get their unique talents that have a crazy-loco sentai flavor with mechanics to match. Example? Your Powerful TransformationTM is so awesome that friend or foe who watches your transformation is fascinated for one minute! Don’t worry, it also comes with a way to maintain your secret identity, well, secret. This class is nuts and pushes the boundaries of what is OK in fantasy gaming, but if we have investigators and mesmerists why not a Sentai Soldier? You could even make a WHOLE PARTY if you convince your fellow players, there are enough kineticist toys out there for controlling, damaging, buffing and even healing!

The Silversword Samurai made me think of the similary-named X-men villain, but what we get is another social-focused samurai who instead of pledging loyalty to an order does it to his family, gaining free allies and enemies in the process. Like Imperial Unifiers, Silverswords can use thir challenge ability in non-combat situations, to the point where they can challenge themselves! Not gonna spoil how that works, though. On a minor nit-pick, they lose the Mount ability but in the text it mentions a cavalier, not a samurai, but oh well. The archetype then gives you the ability to again enchant your ancestral weapon in a way similar to the Mercurial Duelist, but later you also get to enchant an ancestral suit of armor. The Silversword also gains a Ki pool, which oddly enough mentions it replaces the mount ability, which was just mentioned as not gained a few paragraphs ago. You also gain the Unimpeachable Honor Feat, an ability to deflect arrows and later magical rays, and finally the ability to cut through dimensions, working as a ghost touch blade, dimension door or even a planeshift, all with different Ki costs. I have mixed feelings about this archetype, with the dimensional blade abilities now meshing well in my opinion with the rest of the archetype. I would have loved an Order of the Blood for the family aspects and then the ancestral sword, armor and dimensional cut as an archetype but well, that is my humble opinion.

To close the deal with fanfare, we end the archetype section with my favorite archetype, the Sky Dancer duelist. Not since playing a gestalt monk in 3rd edition have I had the opportunity to play a classic Wuxia swordsman! So instead of focusing on light piercing weapons, they focus on light monk weapons, not only gaining proficiency with all monk weapons but also able to use their swashbuckler features with them! They get some thematically-flavored deeds in exchange for others not appropriate to Wuxia swordsmen, and instead of charmed life they get leap of the clouds, which give them those crazy kung fu leaps and later they even can fly! The hack is not that big but even similar abilities get flavorful names. Have I mentioned they are my favorite archetype? No? Well, THEY ARE MY FAVORITE ARCHETYPE!

We finish this book with a Silver Blossom: a ninjaish 12th level Aasimar Mercurial Duelist vigilante with a detailed backstory and even a boon! With some changes to the backstory, you could even PLAY as her in the adventure path that deals with becoming the monarch. She is also the cover girl ;)

I was left exhausted after writing this review, but I’m happy I was able to do it. It was a worthwhile experience since each archetype gave me many ideas for both PCs and NPCs. I would recommend the book to anyone who wants some eastern and/or intrigue options for their campaign, since remember, some cosmetic changes and the samurai can be mamluks, ninja hashshashin etc., you won’t regret buying it! Even when I didn’t completely like all of the archetypes, this book offers enough variation to leave me without any complains. I will grade the book with a high 5 and would add ½ a star for the Sky Dancer alone, since it is my favorite archetype. I hope to play in my next campaign as, you guessed right, a SKY DANCER DUELIST!


Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Incredible new Far-East-flavored character options available now!


It sounds great. May we please get a few hints about what the Imperial Unifier archetype is like? I'm especially curious about that one I recently re-read some books on Japan's 'three unifiers' and wonder if it's meant as a sort-of warlord.


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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

The Imperial Unifier is a relatively minor variation to the standard Samurai. He loses Climb and Swim as class skills. He can use his challenge in verbal duels as well as in actual combat. Instead of the 6th level bonus feat, he gains a limited form of Leadership (followers at -3 penalty to Leadership score, with no cohort). If he gains the actual Leadership feat, that -3 penalty becomes a +3 bonus. Finally, he gains one extra point of Fame/Honor/etc. at the end of any week in which he gains any such points.

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

There's a wide variety in the length and complexity of the archetypes and options within the book, some being only a few hundred words and others being a few thousand! Each one has something fun and unique, though, that sets them apart.


David knott 242 wrote:

The Imperial Unifier is a relatively minor variation to the standard Samurai. He loses Climb and Swim as class skills. He can use his challenge in verbal duels as well as in actual combat. Instead of the 6th level bonus feat, he gains a limited form of Leadership (followers at -3 penalty to Leadership score, with no cohort). If he gains the actual Leadership feat, that -3 penalty becomes a +3 bonus. Finally, he gains one extra point of Fame/Honor/etc. at the end of any week in which he gains any such points.

Thanks for explaining that archetype.


will buy this and the follow-ups ASAP. If Legendary Games wanted to give a freebie in return for a detailed and honest review, well, you know... (no hurt in asking)

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

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Mayyyyybe... email me at makeyourgamelegendary@gmail.com

Silver Crusade

Jason Nelson wrote:
Mayyyyybe... email me at makeyourgamelegendary@gmail.com

Actually if you got the email I sent you about review copies; they should be on that list; they also did one for Legendary Kineticist.


I got this and looked it over. I liked what I saw for the most part, the stuff I didn't is individual preference related. The ninja archetypes were a welcome sight, as there are far too few of them.

Good job, again :)

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

Kryzbyn wrote:

I got this and looked it over. I liked what I saw for the most part, the stuff I didn't is individual preference related. The ninja archetypes were a welcome sight, as there are far too few of them.

Good job, again :)

Thanks, and thanks for picking it up!

If you could take a minute or two to write up a quick review, we would be ever so grateful!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Reviewed it after reading, so twice the reading... Luckily, I just finished the semester and was writing the review while my students did their final tests. It was a blast! Kudos to Legendary Games team for another amazing product. I haven't been dissapointed by the quality of any of their products. I am, however, left with a ghoulish hunger for more... damn and bless you at the same time!

Oh, and sorry for the wall of text!

Silver Crusade

the xiao wrote:

Reviewed it after reading, so twice the reading... Luckily, I just finished the semester and was writing the review while my students did their final tests. It was a blast! Kudos to Legendary Games team for another amazing product. I haven't been dissapointed by the quality of any of their products. I am, however, left with a ghoulish hunger for more... damn and bless you at the same time!

Oh, and sorry for the wall of text!

No problem, I'll never complain about a detailed review. I'm really glad you liked it, it was a lot of fun to be included in a project like this, and Kozue Kaburagi was a really interesting character to write up. I doubt anyone's going to get the reference behind her name though.


It remainds me of Sakuragi from Slanm Dunk but I doubt it. Is she the Ninjette?

Silver Crusade

the xiao wrote:
It remainds me of Sakuragi from Slanm Dunk but I doubt it. Is she the Ninjette?

She is in fact named after Ninjette, my current favorite ninja. I'd have made her a ninja princess too, but that might have been too obvious.


ninja princess? from the old game? My google-foo too stronk!

Silver Crusade

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the xiao wrote:
ninja princess? from the old game? My google-foo too stronk!

She's actually from a comic called Empowered, which is right now my favorite comic in print. It's totally worth checking out; I've used it as inspiration for quite a few things I've designed.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
N. Jolly wrote:
the xiao wrote:
ninja princess? from the old game? My google-foo too stronk!
She's actually from a comic called Empowered, which is right now my favorite comic in print. It's totally worth checking out; I've used it as inspiration for quite a few things I've designed.

We need that suit as a symbiote !!!

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

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Two more archetypes done on Asian Archetypes and Options: Magical, along with 85 spells!


when does it come out?

Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

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the xiao wrote:
when does it come out?

I've pushed the Asian Spell Compendium into its own separate product, now with 101 new spells for 20 different spellcasting classes. That product is done except for placing the art, and it's in the layout queue and should be available in early January. Several of the layout folks are traveling or otherwise having time off during the Christmas-New Year's week, so we'll see what gets done that week.

Asian Archetypes: Magical will now be a separate product like this one, with all archetypes (and similar class options, like bloodlines). Still writing on it, but should be done sometime next week and this will go in the queue then, so I'd guess ready to go public in late January.

Silver Crusade

Errata for Grit/Panache Pool
These vigilante talents also grant a deed (other than precise strike) upon selecting these vigilante talents as though they were a gunslinger/swashbuckler of their vigilante level. The vigilante’s level must be equal to or greater than the level at which a gunslinger would receive the deed they select.


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Part II of my review:

The silversword samurai pledges loyalty to a family above all else and gains Knowledge (history) and Knowledge (nobility) and may use them untrained. If he has ranks, he adds +1/2 class level to them. Really cool: The archetype interacts with organization rules and gains influence equal to Charisma modifier + level, but also suffers from negative influence with the enemies of his family. The archetype provides a scaling bonus to Intimidate versus targets of his challenge and gains the same bonus versus compulsions and fear effects. He may use challenge to determine the honorable behavior of himself and an ally, which makes for a really cool idea, and may use challenge in conjunction with social events, adding ½ (minum +1) class levels to the DC of influence checks made against him by the target, and adds the same bonus on influence checks made with other NPCs towards the goal of decreasing the influence of the challenged target. He does not gain a mount, but 2nmd level yields an ancestral blade, with a higher CMD with the blade (it’s also harder to steal) and gains a bonus versus rusting grasp et al. Higher levels yield the tools to enchant it and 4th level also provides an ancestral armor as well as a ki pool of a monk of equivalent level, which can be used to add additional attacks to full attack with the blade (yep, capped!) and the blade is treated as progressively better for the purpose of bypassing DR. 6th level replaces the bonus feat with Unimpeachable Honor and 8th level nets the option to deflect ranged attacks via resolve. 15th level, finally, makes the blade ghost touch and allows him to part space, duplicating dimension door and even plane shift. I ADORE this archetype. It is concise, thematically strong and extremely cool.

Finally, there would be the sky dancer swashbuckler – basically the wire-fu archetype for the class. The sky dancer gains proficiency with simple and monk weapons as well as light armor and a modified class skill list. The chassis of the swashbuckler’s panache etc. is triggered by the modified weapon proficiency’s list instead. He is treated as though he had Weapon Finesse with these and substitutes his Charisma score for his Intelligence score regarding combat feat prerequisites. The archetype loses menacing swordplay, superior feint, bleeding wound, swashbuckler’s edge and deadly stab with the option to deflect missiles sans requiring a free hand, getting the interaction with the classic feats right, and allow for the returning to sender of thrown weapons. Light steps, taking 10 in Acrobatics and Fly (and + Cha-mod to CMD versus bull rush, drag, reposition and trip), confusing strikes…pretty cool. Winds incarnate, alas, doesn’t really work. “At 19th level, as long as he has 1 panache point a sky dancer treats any CMD check to avoid being bull rushed, dragged, repositioned or tripped as if he had rolled a natural 20 on the die.” Did I miss a memo somewhere? Since when is there a CMD-check to avoid these maneuvers?? I have literally no idea how this is supposed to work. As an aside: Spell-reference not italicized. The archetype also provides a scaling atk and damage bonus with one of the archetype’s weapon roster as well as Improved Critical and numerical escalation and auto-confirms with it at 20th level. I like the idea of this one, representing the WuXia swordsman, but the capstone could be cooler. Also: The archetype, weirdly, sports a couple of formatting hiccups like non-capitalized feats and the like.

The pdf concludes with Kozue Kaburagi, aka Silver Blossom, a cool mercurial duelist aasimar with a neat background and a neat boon – kudos!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting, for the most part of the pdf, are top-notch and manage to juggle, both formally and on a rules-language level, really complex concepts. Layout adheres to Legendary Games’ elegant two-column full-color standard for the Jade Regent plug-ins, with artwork being a blend of new and previously used pieces. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

Jason Nelson, N. Jolly. Jesse Brenner and David N. Ross show how an archetype book ought to be: There is not a single boring or simple filler archetype in the whole book; even the engine tweaks do things that are novel and haven’t been done before. The pdf offers something for everybody: Do you like WuXia options? You’ll find them herein. Do you prefer grittier options or something like Kaidan? You’ll find those herein. Want Judge Dee-style intrigue? You’ll find that herein. Want balls to the wall, far-out sentai action? The pdf has you covered and the two different concepts of ia(i)jutsu offer cool options for all types of campaigns.

I wouldn’t use all archetypes herein in the same campaign, but I’d use a lot of them in ANY type of asian campaign I’d run – they all, in their individual ways, are brilliant and amazing. While there are a couple of minor hiccups, they don’t really tarnish this superb example of what an archetype book should provide in terms of design-difficulty, quality and concepts. In fact, this range as one of my favorite examples in that whole category of rules-supplements. That good. It only misses nomination as a top ten candidate due to the few minor glitches, but even taking them and the high standards among 3pps books into account, this can only have a final verdict of 5 stars + seal of approval. No matter the campaign style you’re looking for, this should be considered to be a must-own addition to your options.

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

Endzeitgeist out.


I love that review, End, not least for the mention of Judge Dee. You talking the one from the detective novels by van Gulik? Those are some amazing books!


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Hej Eric,

yes, I am. I adore the Judge Dee novels! As an aside: I was introduced to them via roleplaying - the German old-school RPG Midgard has a series of amazing detective modules set in their Asian nation KanThaiPan(Think: Infernal bureaucracy of mages won, Dee tries to operate within it...) that are directly influenced by Judge Dee and feature him as an official character! The parents of one of my players actually wrote the modules, so yeah, Dee has a very special place in my heart! :D (The movies are okay, but imho not as amazing as the books or adventures...)

Cheers!


A quick question regarding the mercurial duelist's 3rd level class feature, Way of the Blade. If you select the finesse duelist option of the Way of the Blade class feature, does the Dexterity modifier to weapon damage roll (with the appropriate weapon) increases similarly when making an Iaijutsu Slash (for mercurial duelist of at least 6th level)?

Thank you for any clarification on this.

CB


As I read this, way of the blade's finesse duelist option is a straight substitution of ability score modifiers when paired with the correct weapons. As such, it happens before iaijutsu slash comes into play; since the slash also has the same limitations of the finesse duelist option, I don't see any reason/instance where the rules would prohibit using the two in conjunction.

As such, the answer would be a "yes" - the two work together, and imho are intended to do so, as the overlap between their weapon type limitations heavily implies such. (Though, obviously, the authors are welcome to contradict!)


In the process of redoing a lot of the duelists in the Courts of the Shadow Fey with some of the classes from Asian Archetypes - Martial, I noticed that most of the Mercurial Talents that calls for a saving throw actually do not indicate what is the DC. Specifically, the following Mercurial Talents have no listed DC (I didn't see anything that states how to calculate the DC either but I could have missed it utterly):

Crippling Slash (calls for a Reflex save; not listed)
Crushing Slash (calls for a Reflex save; not listed)
Disemboweling Slash (calls for a Reflex save; not listed)
Disfiguring Slash (calls for a Reflex save; not listed)
Hindering Slash (calls for a Reflex save; not listed)
Lethargy Slash (calls for a Fortitude save; not listed)
Soul Slash (calls for a Reflex save; not listed)
Terrifying Slash (calls for a Will save; not listed)
Vacuum Slash (calls for a Reflex save; not listed)
Weakening Slash (calls for a Reflex save; not listed)

The only other Mercurial Talent that calls for the target to make any kind of roll is the Assassination Slash and that calls for a Perception DC, with a DC based on the attack roll of the Mercurial Duelist. I think it is fair to say that the saving throw DC for the other Mercurial Talents above should not be based on the attack roll of the Mercurial Duelist.

If I had to guess, I think the saving throws DC are calculated similarly to the Legendary Samurai's Iaijutsu Techniques (10 + 1/2 the Legendary Samurai's class level + Charisma modifier).

Until a designer presents a clarification on this, I'll just go with 10 + 1/2 Mercurial Duelist's class level + Charisma modifier.

Cheers,

CB


I can provide a definite answer here:

The mercurial duelist's slash talents are designated as vigilante talents, which means their DCs, unless otherwise stated, use the default formula for vigilante talents. (Which is "If a talent calls for a saving throw, the DC for that save is equal to 10 + 1/2 the vigilante’s level + the vigilante’s Charisma modifier, unless stated otherwise.")

Cheers! :D


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....Poop. I knew I forgotten something so basic there. Thanks for reminding me, Endy! :)

Kind of wish there was a talent for high level Mercurial Duelists that allowed them to use Iaijutsu Slash more frequently; for example, to combine Iaijutsu Slash with a Whirlwind Attack (still a full round action) or something along the lines of using it with Spring Attack.

At any rate, awesome job, Legendary Games with this product. I will be using the majority for my campaign - just right for a low-magic setting. :)

Cheers!

CB

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