Legendary Hybrids: Yakuza (PFRPG)

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Tattoos, Triads, and Treachery

Legendary Hybrids: Yakuza is the latest volume in our series of class-focused player supplements, introducing a new series of hybrid classes like those in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Advanced Class Guide that blend the core elements of two different base classes into a unique synergy all their own. The yakuza is a 20-level hybrid class that combines sneakiness and skullduggery with the power of teamwork and organization, bringing together the tactically minded and charismatic cavalier with the shadow-stepping ninja to produce a deadly combination of secret societies and smuggling, wielding the power of their gangs to rule the black markets with equal parts backstabbing and bravado. In addition to the yakuza class and 5 gangs like the Blood Tong and Jade Triad, you'll also find 8 incredible archetypes from the gun runner and tattooed one to junk pirate and flying tiger, plus favored class bonuses, yakuza feats, and a ready-to-use sample yakuza gang boss, Shinsuke Tatsu of the Dragon Lords! Grab this 30-page Pathfinder class supplement and Make Your Game Legendary!

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An Endzeitgeist.com review

5/5

This Hybrid Class clocks in at 26 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 19 pages of content, which, as always for Legendary Games, are chock-full with text – so yeah, there’s more content herein that the page-count might lead you to believe,

All right, so the yakuza is a hybrid of the unchained monk…Wait. It’s NOT? WTF? So yeah, the yakuza’s parent classes are actually something completely different: Cavalier and ninja. I know, right?

So, the yakuza gets ¾ BAB-progression, good Ref- and Will-saves and d8 HD as well as 6 + Int skills per level. Proficiency-wise, we get proficiency with simple weapons, kama, katana, kusarigama (HECK YEAH!), kyoketsu shoge, nunchaku, sai, shortbow, short sword, shuriken, siangham and wakizashi as well as light armor, but not shields. The class begins play with a teamwork feat, for which he must meet the prerequisites. As a standard action, the yakuza can grant this feat to all allies within 30 ft that can see and hear the yakuza. This feat is retained for 3 rounds + 1 round for every 2 class levels the yakuza possesses. These allies don’t have to meet the prerequisites. This ability may be used 1/day, + an additional time per day at 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter and is treated as the tactician class feature for the purpose of prerequisites and archetypes, etc. Additionally, all members of the yakuza gang are treated as having the teamwork feat for the purpose of determining bonuses granted by the yakuza’s teamwork feats. 9th level and 18th level provide more choices here regarding feats and improve action economy and allow for the sharing, in the latter case, of more teamwork feats at once.

Now, pretty cool: The Yakuza begins play with a contact and gains an additional one at 3rd level and every 3 levels thereafter. They also get +2 to Diplomacy to procure services from contacts. If the contact is part of the same yakuza gang, the Trust level will be increased by 1. However, violating the tenets of the gang will result in a general reduction of Trust level by 1, by 2 for members of the respective gang. Gang? Yep, the equivalent of the cavalier’s orders is chosen at 1st level. Adherence to a gang’s ideals and what constitutes a violation thereof is within the realms of GM interpretation and changing gangs first strips you of the former gang’s abilities and requires a process of re-dedication.

The pdf provides a total of 5 such sample gangs. Each gang modifies the character by granting a boost to sneak attack and skills at first level; the skill boosts provide their benefit to one use of a given skill, like e.g. influencing a creature’s attitude. Formula-wise, the bonuses granted are +1/3 class level, minimum +1. Beyond those, 2nd, 8th and 15th level provide gang abilities. What do the gangs do? The black rain gang grants a +2 bonus to atk versus foes that are unaware of the presence of the character (or consider him an ally) when sneak attacking; 2nd level is treated as having concealment versus such targets and 8th level allows for a Cha-governed, supernatural, ki-powered suggestion. 15th level allows for the maximizing of sneak attack damage when attacking unaware or friendly targets.

The blood tong gains a +2 bonus versus foes that damaged him; skill-boost is applied to brokering a deal. The 2nd level ability nets a bonus versus targets that broke an oath with the yakuza or the blood tong. 8th level nets the option to use ki to make a deal a blood pact, which bestows a curse upon those that dare break it. The 15th level option allows the yakuza to shift obligations of blood oaths to other characters and treats the blood oath as geas/quest. The dragon lords chooses a ranger’s favored enemy and applies a +2 atk to sneak attacks versus that type. Skill-boost-wise, we get the bonus to Bluff non-dragon lord yakuza. 2nd level allows for aid another as a swift action and 8th level has something cool: 1/day when using aid another, the aided character also gets a move action. This may be used an additional time at 12th level and every 4 levels thereafter, 15th level allows for the expenditure of two uses of this ability to grant a standard action.

The Jade Triad gets the sneak boost versus demoralized foes, the skill boost to demoralize targets. 2nd level allows for swift action demoralizing when hitting a target with a sneak attack. 8th level upgrades demoralization to cause the target to be frightened 1/day. For ki expenditure, he may even bypass fear immunity. 12th level and every 4 levels thereafter yield another daily use. The 15th level ability allows for sneak attack damage dice rerolls versus demoralized targets: All that come up as 1 may be rerolled once. For 1 ki expenditure, the dice that come up as 1s and 2s may be rerolled, and they may be rerolled until they all come up as 3+. Finally, the white tigers gain their sneak boost versus targets threatened by more allies and apply their skill boost to shift attitudes of friends and foes via Diplomacy. 2nd level provides a 5-ft.-speed reduction (I assume, all movement rates are affected) accompanying sneak attack, for Cha-mod rounds, min 1. 8th and 16th level increase that speed reduction by 5 ft., respectively. 8th level provides the ability to expend a point of ki when successfully sneak attacking a target; if the yakuza does, the target may not use withdraw or 5-ft-steps for Cha-mod rounds, min 1. The 15th level ability allows for the expenditure of ki when damaging a foe with sneak attack, setting their speed to 0 and inflicting the staggered condition on a failed Ref-save. Minor complaint here – no save DC is given. While it is pretty obvious that the DC should be 10 + ½ class level + Cha-mod, analogue to other gang abilities, that can be a bit confusing at first.

2nd level nets a ki pool equal to ½ class level + Cha-mod. This nets them two hadou techniques: By spending 1 ki point, the yakuza can grant himself a +1d6 bonus on a skill check or save, or to atk versus a target who is denied Dex-mod to AC or flanked. Additionally, for spending one ki, the yakuza can grant himself an additional 5-foot-step of a +20 ft. speed enhancement for 1 round. Finally, 1 ki may be spent to grant the yakuza the option to open/close a door or draw/sheathe a weapon when using Sleight of Hand to conceal. These are activated as a swift action. Minor complaint: The save boost probably should have been activated as an immediate action instead; otherwise, it’s pretty useless. Cool: The ability covers interaction with other ki-based classes. 2nd level also yields sneak attack, which increases in die-pool-size by +1d6 every 3 levels after 2nd.

At 3rd level, the yakuza gains no trace who not only provide a bonus to Disguise and opposed Stealth checks, it also makes tracking them, particularly if they lay low, increasingly harder. This level also nets home turf, , which means that he treats all urban terrain as favored terrain, gaining Knowledge (local) instead of Knowledge (geography), boost-wise. The bonus begins at +2 and improved by +2 every 5 levels thereafter. Cool: The yakuza is not automatically familiar with a new city – it takes a bit of studying, represented rather well in the engine. He may only have one home turf, though. Even cooler: The bonus actually is not simply passive: The yakuza actually may use ki in such familiar terrains to increase his AC and is not impeded by crowds! REALLY cool representation of the concept.

4th level yields uncanny dodge and 7th level, improved uncanny dodge. 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter yield a ninja trick, with 12th level unlocking master tricks. At 5th level, the yakuza gains the right to wear the elaborate tattoos that we associate with the concept. These provide a +1 moral bonus to saves versus fear effects for all allies within 30 ft., which increases to +2 for gang members and further scales up by +1 every 5 levels thereafter. Additionally, the yakuza gains Dazzling Display, with a +2 to Intimidate versus targets that can see his tattoos. This bonus similarly scales. 6th level nets Black marketer, which nets Black Market Dealings as a bonus feat. Any team lead by the yakuza gets +2 to all Cha-based social skills (Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate) related to black markets. 10th level yields uncanny flanker, treating class level as 4 higher for the purpose of determining flanking capabilities regarding improved uncanny dodge. Additionally, the yakuza may spend 1 point of ki as a swift action to determine any adjacent square as her position for setting up flanking positions. COOL!

At 11th level, we get druglord, basically providing poison use and gets +1/2 class level to Craft checks to make drugs and poisons as well as +4 to saves to resist poison, drugs and alcohol, including recovery from intoxication or addiction. Knowingly ingesting a poison, the yakuza can delay the onset of its effects via ki expenditure. “Sure, this wine is totally not laced with black lotus. See, I’ll take the first sip…” Damn cool. Additionally, via ki, the yakuza can combine poisons and drugs, though such combined materials are short-lived, preventing the creation of ridiculous mega-drugs/poisons. Well done.

At 13th level, gambler nets the option to spend ki to roll twice when gambling (or guessing riddles). Also, whenever the yakuza rolls a natural 1, he can expend 1 ki for a reroll with +1d6 luck bonus – but if the reroll is still a failure, he takes -1 to all d20-rolls and can’t use the ability for 1 minute. Nice one. 19th level eliminates the autofail of atk, saves and some skill checks on a natural 1 and the capstone prevents dying from old age as well as providing immunity to death effects, diseases and poisons. Any accrued age-related penalties may be suppressed via ki expenditure. Cool one!

Now, I already mentioned one of the new feats herein, Black Market Dealings: This one nets +4 to Diplomacy to access it and eliminates the gp-cost to do so as well as the consequences for failing to the check by 10 or more. Additionally, and that is pretty damn cool, you can attempt to find merchants with deeper pockets by increasing the access DC, with a settlement’s crime modifier as a bonus. I really liked this and its concise rules. Mind Trick lets you select one Dex-based class skill, which may then be used as governed by Cha, ignoring armor check penalty for it. Additionally, when using aid another with the skill, you add Cha-mod to the boost granted, which can be brutal, but fits. Overflowing Ki makes you count as always having at least 1 ki for the purpose of abilities that require that you have at least 1 point. Additionally, you can meditate for 1 hour to regain 1 point of ki. The class also comes with favored class options for the core races as well as aasimar, catfolk, dhampir, drow, fetchling, goblin, hobgoblin, ifrit, kobold, orc, oread, ratfolk, sylph, tengu, tuefling and undine. In an uncharacteristic glitch, three favored class options lack their numerical values: Orc and half-orc deal “+ damage on sneak attacks”, which probably should be +1; goblins and humans get “+ of a ninja trick”, which probably should be 1/6, analogue to the rogue FCO.

A total of 8 different archetypes are included in the pdf: The Absent bansho replaces the teamwork sharing and contacts features with the vigilante’s dual identity and seamless guise; the teamwork sharing abilities are delayed to 5th and 13th level and yakuza-levels are treated as 4 lower for the purpose of these benefits. To make up for this, the gang abilities are replaces with a vigilante talent at 2nd, 8th and 15th level, assuming the stalker specialization. The flying tiger does not gain light armor proficiency and replaces the teamwork sharing with Improved Unarmed Strike and monk-like damage scaling. They also begin play with Tiger Style and get Tiger Claws at 4th, Tiger Pounce at 8th level, replacing the ninja tricks at these levels. Contacts are delayed to 6th level and are treated as -5 levels. Instead of 2nd level’s sneak attack, the character gains rain of star, +1 attack in a full-attack, +2 attacks at 11th level; for +1 ki, another attack may be added, though all such attacks must be executed with shuriken. Sneak attack is delayed to 4th level and gained at -2 yakuza levels and 3rd level yields slow fall and 6th level, high jump. Starting at 12th level, the character may choose style feats or monk bonus feats instead of ninja tricks. Instead of uncanny dodge, we get evasion at 4th level and 7th level nets swoop, which is really cool: As a sift or immediate action, you can spend 1 ki during a jump or fall to turn up to 90 degrees and move ½ slow fall distance in any direction, including up. Yes, it’s double-jumping/swooshing as seen in Wuxia-media, games like Devil May Cry, etc. Love it. Also: This movement has a dodge bonus to AC based on Cha associated with it...or you may forfeit the bonus, to end the changed movement with an unarmed strike.

At 10th level, this ability can be further enhanced and allows you to drag foes –love this part of the engine. 11th level nets improved evasion and 13th level nets flight for class level minutes per day, with the option to increase duration via ki-expenditure. And yes, sports proper interaction with the swooping ricks. A real winner here. Love this archetype.

The gun runner is proficient with all firearms, excluding siege engines and replaces contracts with Gunsmithing. 2nd level nets Amateur Gunslinger as a bonus feat, using ki as a grit-substitute. While he has at least 1 ki, he gains + Dex-mod to damage with firearms, capping, thankfully, at yakuza level, though. 2nd level increases reload speed by one step, stacking with Rapid Reload (note here – it would have been convenient to get the actions listed, but that is only the slightest comfort detriment); 8th level lets you spend a ki point to double the first range increment of a firearm wielded for Cha-mod rounds. I *assume* the action to be swift here, in line with other swift action ability uses, though the Su may point otherwise. Clarification would be neat here. 15th level upgrades this to also adding +Cha-mod damage, but only until the next round.

The junk pirate loses light armor proficiency and delays contacts gained to 6th level, treating his class level as 5 lower for it. However, they gain +2 to Sleight of Hand to conceal small objects, as well as to Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Linguistics and Profession checks to come off as a regular businessman. At 3rd level, they can spend 1 ki to force targets to roll at basically disadvantage (taking the worse result) when opposing these skills with Perception or Sense Motive, with a Cha-governed Will-save to negate. No trace is replaces with scaling skill boosts to Swim as well as Climb and Acrobatics atop a ship and in aquatic terrain. Home turf is replaced with favored terrain (aquatic) and the ninja tricks are replaced with deep sea pirate tricks. 4th level nets a familiar at ½ level, which also helps prevent being flanked while in the vicinity. 7th level nets the option to cut sneak attack damage in half for a free reposition as well as the option to move to a square thus freed as a swift action, sans AoO and in addition to other movement, mind you. Instead of gambling, we get ki-based curses, which improve at 15th level.

Part II of my review can be found here!


Highest quality 3rd party product I've read.

5/5

Comprehensive, balanced, flavourful, beautifully illustrated... I want to play one right away!

The Tattooed One especially; spiritual successor to 3.x's tattooed monks, with a dirty yakuza flavour. Would love to know if the summoning available via shadow conjuration is intended to be usable with feats that augment summoning.

My only criticism is a couple of favoured class bonuses are missing numerical values. Human and half-orc. Presumably they're the same as the similar ones for other races?


Yakuza, or how to be a Smooth Criminal (TM)

5/5

DISCLAIMER: This review is based on a free PDF provided by the author and the publisher, which in no way had an influence on the final score.

Legendary Hybrids: Yakuza is Legendary Game’s hybrid for the Cavalier and Ninja classes. It includes a new base class with supporting material.

What’s inside?
19 pages of content, which include:

-Yakuza hybrid class: Yakuza get medium BAB and a d8 HD, with good Ref and Will saves and sporting a nice 6 skillpoints per level, with a vast enough class skill list to cover different roles. Their gang choice supposedly increases this, but no gang offers additional ones (not needed anyway). They get proficiency in all simple weapons and light armor, with a short list of martial and exotic weapons. Here I would have preferred the option for the game master or player to choose, or maybe that the weapons were dictated by their gang.

They start getting access to new game tech, in the form of contacts from Ultimate Campaign, which may or may not be from the same gang. The choice of gang is similar to how cavaliers become members of an order, with the option of changing gangs which is, in the case of a criminal organization, much more dangerous. Also like cavaliers, Yakuza get free teamwork feats that they can share with their allies. From their ninja class parentage, they get a charisma-based ki pool but with different, more appropriate benefits; they also gain sneak attack a slower rate than ninjas. Later they get access to ninja tricks, which is a good decision instead of making their own list of poached class talents and also increasing the options for yakuzas for every other ninja class book available!

Unique to the Yakuza, they treat “urban” as a ranger favored terrain; get tattoos which make them fearsome and fearless; are adept at dealing with black markets and get one of the new feats from this book for free; are better at flanking (which makes a lot of sense since they are going to deal with a lot of other classes with Uncanny Dodge); later, they become very good at using their ki to enhance poisons, drugs and alcohol. As master gamblers, they are better not only at that but at luck in general. As a cool capstone, age doesn’t affect them anymore and can even become “younger” using ki!

-5 Yakuza Gangs,which are formatted in a similar manner to cavalier orders, having edicts, situational bonuses to sneak attacks (similar to challenge bonuses), situational bonuses to skills, and three specific abilities gained at 2nd, 8th and 15th levels. These include the Black Rain, information specialists adept at metaphorical backstabbing; the Blood Tong, “honorable” loansharks who are devilishly able at making deals, getting mystical abilities to ensure getting their end of the deal; the Dragon Lords, loyal as Hell (or Nirvana?) and better at fighting with their gang brothers/sisters; the Jade Triad, terrorists supreme and masters of intimidation; and the White Tigers, which are the only gang that have abilities with one theme (pack hunting, immobilizing) while having a completely different outlook (gang above all), which is not a bad thing in itself.

-8 archetypes: the Absent Bansho is the solo Yakuza, who get the dual identity and other toys of vigilantes in exchange of all gang abilities, especially nice for adventurers. Flying Tigers are wuxia criminals who fight both unarmored and unarmed (well, mostly), getting many monkish abilities; this one is especially suited to characters who want to play a non-standard, un-sneaky, flashy criminal. Gun Runners fuel their poached gun-slinging abilities with ki, and lose their gang’s special techniques in favor of being better shots; sadly, they don’t get shot on the run for free (they are called Gun Runners after all). Junk Pirates are especially good at smuggling and fighting on board, and even gain a pet! This archetype changes a lot of the base class and sports one of the funniest names out there (junk being, you know, a type of old Asian vessel); Pack Rats are those funny rogues who have a pet trained for larceny; Serpent Chemists are the poisoners of the yakuza world, getting even mystical abilities to help them with making and administering drugs, poison and alcohol; Tatooed Ones get help from the magical tattoos they wear, getting the ability to summon illusionary allies, this one is cool but maybe too fantastic for some games. Triad Enforcers are strong at demoralizing, even denying morale bonuses and uses of resolve (a samurai ability), getting a resolve ability of their own.

-Favored Class Bonuses for the Core and Featured races

-3 Feats, including Black Market Dealings (you are able to buy more goods from a settlement when you get access to their underworld market), Mind Trick (which give charismatic characters an edge at finesse activities) and Overflowing Ki (perfect for any character with a Ki Pool).

-1 NPC: Shinsuke Tatsu, an 8th level human tattooed yakuza. This fellow has ties to another NPC from the book Legendary Villains: Vigilantes, who is the murderer of his lover. One thing I really liked is that the sex of the lover is left vague and Japanese names can sometimes be given to both sexes, so if you are OK with gay relationships in your games, you can go that route. If not, simply rule that the lover was female and end of the story. Unlike some other NPCs in the series, you can use Shinsuke just as he is as an emergency PC, story an all, since he has a reason to adventure!

Of Note: Wow, what is there not to like? All the gangs and archetypes are really flavorful and present many opportunities to play criminals. My favorite archetype being the Flying Tiger, Tatooed One and Triad Enforcer. They are just plain cool!

Anything wrong?: While I appreciate the Pack Rat, it is the weakest archetype, specially next to the Junk Pirate since both get a pet. It is, however, not a bad archetype. Also, as I mentioned under the class entry, the weapon proficiency is a missed opportunity. Finally, I would have appreciated an archetype that changed your ki pool for panache, grit or luck, especially for non-Asian campaigns. Maybe more archetype for other classes belonging to gangs, but that is beyond the scope of a brand-new class’ book.

What cool things did this inspire?: I was just planning on running a fantasy campaign in modern Mexico, and this class is perfect for some of the villains I had in mind, being Maras Salvatruchas (Google them if you dare, they are scary). Apart from that, I’m planning on adding to the gangs, with a Geisha-ish, female only sisterhood coming out of the top of my head.

Do I recommend it? Yes, especially for grittier, down-to-earth campaigns even in a fantasy context. The underworld can be a difficult topic to run for some gamers, while being pure gold for intrigue-heavy campaigns. Don’t get fooled by the Japanese name, Yakuza can just as easily represent triads, mafia, narcos, hashashin, and hooligans! The unique roleplaying opportunities separate this hybrid class from both of its parents, and in some cases being better representations of ninjas than, well, the ninja class. So, my veredict is 5 poisoned shuriken of death!

Trivia: The Yakuza have been part of D&D since the Old Oriental Adventures, where it was a bit different that your base thief. It had a ki power where you could halve any damage a few times per day (which suspiciously sounds like certain rogue talent). You could also be a ninja at the same time, since any human character of any class in the old OA could be a ninja (it was sort of a multiclass).

As someone native of a country with another type of glorified criminals (narcos), I really appreciate adventurers that are part of a “criminal” organization. These type of characters are humans, and they can represent some of the most complex characters out there. Recently, criminals started giving away free gasoline, which of course was stolen, to the common citizen, as a result of the government suddenly increasing the price. But then you cannot trust them, since they stole it in the first place so…


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

I, for one, welcome our new yakuza overlords!


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Most interesting!
Will definately give this a try.

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

Hayato Ken wrote:

Most interesting!

Will definately give this a try.

Glad to hear it. Let us know how you like it!


I'll have to give this one a look. I like the description of it being a sort-of cross between the cavalier and ninja when one considers the (supposed) original of the real-life Yakuza.


Hey, Jason. Just picked this up. Have yet to get into the meat of it, but imagine my glee when I read of "a woman dressed in red with a hellish grin across her face." I sent N. Jolly a PM a couple weeks ago asking about the write-up of Nitha that was promised, but have yet to hear back from him. I'm sure he is busy with Spheres and his other work. Anyway, love what you've been doing with the Legendary-verse lately. I might grab the Asian Spell Compendium, but I am more interested in Archetypes Magical.

Silver Crusade

Fellfire wrote:
Hey, Jason. Just picked this up. Have yet to get into the meat of it, but imagine my glee when I read of "a woman dressed in red with a hellish grin across her face." I sent N. Jolly a PM a couple weeks ago asking about the write-up of Nitha that was promised, but have yet to hear back from him. I'm sure he is busy with Spheres and his other work. Anyway, love what you've been doing with the Legendary-verse lately. I might grab the Asian Spell Compendium, but I am more interested in Archetypes Magical.

I can answer this; Nitha's write up is in Intrigue Archetypes, which is coming out soon. I'm not sure when soon is, but that's about the best I can do on a date.

And I'm glad the little meta plot I have working between everything is working for people. Every LK book I've been involved in with a sample character is a part of a larger arch for this plot, although I'd like to expand on Mindfang's side of it with LK 2.


Yeah, I was slightly disappointed not to see this continued in L. Monks. If I have a complaint, I guess it would be a lack of consistency in the Legendary books, particularly Magic Items and Sample Characters. That may be difficult with multiple authors across multiple projects, but a sense of continuity throughout the line would be nice. Thanks for the update, N.


Oh, one other thing. [U]Please[/u] stop recycling so much art. You have been using some of this for what, a half-dozen books? C'mon.

Silver Crusade

Fellfire wrote:
Yeah, I was slightly disappointed not to see this continued in L. Monks. If I have a complaint, I guess it would be a lack of consistency in the Legendary books, particularly Magic Items and Sample Characters. That may be difficult with multiple authors across multiple projects, but a sense of continuity throughout the line would be nice. Thanks for the update, N.

I'l admit I'm annoyed I didn't think to add a sample character to L. Monks, but that's life sometimes and plus I wasn't on that product which makes it harder to work around using someone else's content for something like that. We're working to keep things more uniform, but as far as LG canon goes, I think I'm the only one who's attempted to do some kind of meta plot in this sense. It's mostly because I find it fun and amusing, and I think it helps give our products a sense of continuity.

As far as the repeated art, that's more of an issue of the cost of art, especially for the quality of art that LG uses. As far as I'm aware, LG has its own backlog of stock art made by some very talented artist, and generally only a single piece of new art is made for each book, adding to the list of stock art for LG. There are efforts made to vary it as much as possible, but sometimes a piece is just too perfect not to use in a situation, which is among the reasons some of it seems to pop up more often than people would wish.

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

Exactly what goes into a Legendary Heroes/Hybrids book depends on the author, and different authors like to do different things. In some cases, there's a ground-up redesign of the class (Rogues, Swashbucklers), where in others it's more built around new options for the existing class (Monks, Paladins, Kineticists, Vigilantes). We usually include a prestige class as well, though I don't think we did in Monks.

The number and balance of archetypes vs. feats vs. new class features vs. new uses for existing class features likewise varies depending on what the authors find most interesting. So far the paladin is the only true spellcasting class we've done, so it's the only one that has gotten new spells, though other classes have had a sprinkling of magic items and other magical options (like psychic qinggong monk spells in Legendary Monks). Jolly has created sample characters for books he's worked on, while other authors haven't.

Long story short, we don't have a specific formula for each book. It's more like a general structure, and it will continue to vary in the specific details with each issue.

As for the art - we usually have a few new pieces in each book (it's either 2 or 3 new ones in Yakuza; I'd have to go back and check to make sure), but art is expensive, and if we have a piece that feels like it'd be suitable for more than one thing we may use it that way. We do generally avoid reusing an art piece within the same product line (so, for instance, an art piece that originally appeared in the Far East product line might reappear in Legendary Heroes, or something from Legendary Planet might reappear in the Red Queen product line).

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

N. Jolly wrote:
Fellfire wrote:
Hey, Jason. Just picked this up. Have yet to get into the meat of it, but imagine my glee when I read of "a woman dressed in red with a hellish grin across her face." I sent N. Jolly a PM a couple weeks ago asking about the write-up of Nitha that was promised, but have yet to hear back from him. I'm sure he is busy with Spheres and his other work. Anyway, love what you've been doing with the Legendary-verse lately. I might grab the Asian Spell Compendium, but I am more interested in Archetypes Magical.

I can answer this; Nitha's write up is in Intrigue Archetypes, which is coming out soon. I'm not sure when soon is, but that's about the best I can do on a date.

And I'm glad the little meta plot I have working between everything is working for people. Every LK book I've been involved in with a sample character is a part of a larger arch for this plot, although I'd like to expand on Mindfang's side of it with LK 2.

Intrigue Archetypes is scheduled to go live this Friday!


Word. That is even better than Magical Archetypes.

*runs off to check the Legendary website for a preview*


*slinks back disappointed*

N. Jolly wrote:


I'l admit I'm annoyed I didn't think to add a sample character to L. Monks, but that's life sometimes and plus I wasn't on that product which makes it harder to work around using someone else's content for something like that. We're working to keep things more uniform, but as far as LG canon goes, I think I'm the only one who's attempted to do some kind of meta plot in this sense. It's mostly because I find it fun and amusing, and I think it helps give our products a sense of continuity.

Continuity and identity. I have little to no interest in the Kineticist, but I will probly pick up LK2 anyway just for the continuation of the Mindfang saga. Her brother, perhaps? I know I am just a single voice, I mean it as constructive criticism. I will keep my eyes peeled. Thanks guys.

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

Fellfire wrote:

Word. That is even better than Magical Archetypes.

*runs off to check the Legendary website for a preview*

Hey, I'm ALMOST done with Asian Archetypes: Magical too! Should be heading off to layout by the end of the week. I'll be posting a preview soon.


Wait, is it Asian Archetypes: Intrigue? Couldn't find anything on your site.

Edit: oh, nonono. Red Queen, Red Queen. Can you share anything?

Silver Crusade

Fellfire wrote:
Continuity and identity. I have little to no interest in the Kineticist, but I will probly pick up LK2 anyway just for the continuation of the Mindfang saga. Her brother, perhaps? I know I am just a single voice, I mean it as constructive criticism. I will keep my eyes peeled. Thanks guys.

What I can say about LK 2 is that this one will follow an aeromancer onslaught blaster by the name of Trueno, an associate of Mindfangs as well as the yet to be covered Black Chains, a villain I hope to touch in another product (I have a few in mind, although Black Chains was made solely for this story, which means they'll be getting their own archetype written around them in a future product).

I'll admit I didn't ever really plan on having an Ehnverse as it was, my PDG stuff doesn't have an internal continuity, although a character from one of Jeff Lee's books nearly made it into my continuity when I wasn't sure on how Legendary Vigilantes would pan out. Personally, I'd love to talk with more authors from LG and talk about planning out a more cohesive 'meta-verse' for our content, although really that's just me liking to have an overarching narrative for things that don't really need one because I find the idea fun and engaging. I'll talk with Jason about doing sample characters for books on which I'm not participating to try to expand things in that respect.

Fellfire wrote:

Wait, is it Asian Archetypes: Intrigue? Couldn't find anything on your site.

Edit: oh, nonono. Red Queen, Red Queen. Can you share anything?

As far as I'm aware, this is just Intrigue Archetypes; which will include 3 archetypes from the Vigilante playtest (inquisitive detective, talented tactician, and trickshot hood, the last of which is Nitha's class), as well as Nitha herself and a bit of back story on her and her place in the Red Love series of events.

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

Two separate products - Intrigue Archetypes will be out this Friday (perhaps along with Magitech Archetypes), and Asian Archetypes: Magical which is finishing up with the writing stage this week and will be heading to layout after that.


Black Chains, eh? You tease. Now I must have it. Paizo is going to be annoyed I am expending my entire, albeit limited, RPG budget on your products. I know the playtest just wrapped, but is there an ETA on LK2?

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

Jolly's got some development time and we have some new art in process, then layout. Best guess on a "street date" would be somewhere in mid to late February.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Treated myself to this and have to say on first look seems quite nice.
Surprisingly interesting products here lately. Might say more after deeper readings and some playing around.

How about writing some decent adventures? Crunch without end is nothing if there´s no adequate playground :P


Jason, are you lurking at this godforsaken hour? I know you often are. Your website won't take my money.


Your website is terrible, to the point of unusability. Completely broken. Not as bad as this one was the other night, perhaps, but bad enough.

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

Fellfire wrote:
Your website is terrible, to the point of unusability. Completely broken. Not as bad as this one was the other night, perhaps, but bad enough.

Hi Fellfire - I just checked the site and everything seems to be working fine from everything I can see.

Are you in the UK, by any chance? That is the one country where customers sometimes have problems. It's hit and miss with UK customers - sometimes they have problems and sometimes they don't, and I have no idea why that is. If they *always* had the same problem it would make sense, but it seems to crop up at random for reasons we haven't been able to track down.

You can always just do a direct order with me by email at makeyourgamelegendary@gmail.com - tell me what you want to order and I'll let you know how much to send via Paypal and send your products to you directly.


Bombs away, Jason. Thanks.

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

Hey, our customer service is always Legendary!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I can confirm this. Extremely helpful. Timely too.


N. Jolly wrote:


As far as I'm aware, this is just Intrigue Archetypes; which will include 3 archetypes from the Vigilante playtest (inquisitive detective, talented tactician, and trickshot hood, the last of which is Nitha's class), as well as Nitha herself and a bit of back story on her and her place in the Red Love series of events.

Wild Card. Hey, it's Gambit. Nice.

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

Fellfire wrote:
N. Jolly wrote:


As far as I'm aware, this is just Intrigue Archetypes; which will include 3 archetypes from the Vigilante playtest (inquisitive detective, talented tactician, and trickshot hood, the last of which is Nitha's class), as well as Nitha herself and a bit of back story on her and her place in the Red Love series of events.
Wild Card. Hey, it's Gambit. Nice.

Truth! It's fun creating comic book character analogues that you can use for your characters. It's not the first and it won't be the last. :)


I like it. I have moved my comments over to the Intrigue Archetypes scroll, but I like this one too. I have concluded that it is Ehn's work lately that has drawn me towards your products. Curiously though, his work for PDG and others just did not touch my medula where I like it. Something, maybe, about the Legendary symmetry attracts my dollars. Ravings from a madman, when my body is screaming at me for sleep, I resist. I read and consider.

Silver Crusade

Fellfire wrote:
I like it. I have moved my comments over to the Intrigue Archetypes scroll, but I like this one too. I have concluded that it is Ehn's work lately that has drawn me towards your products. Curiously though, his work for PDG and others just did not touch my medula where I like it. Something, maybe, about the Legendary symmetry attracts my dollars. Ravings from a madman, when my body is screaming at me for sleep, I resist. I read and consider.

Personally, I think something about the LG set up really resonates with my work; Jason does his hardest to help me shine and in response I put up 110% whenever I put up something for LG, helping make the end result better than the sum of its parts. I have a deep respect for Jason which also helps; I'm just glad that the two of us teaming up (as we did in this project) jives with you.


I guess it is some kind of serendipity when your creative mojo interfaces with the commercial aspect that gets it out to the popular masses. A good recipe for success. I have already commented upon how I would never even have considered buying certain projects, but with the Legendary label and your name upon them, I give it a hard second thought. I hate to sound like some fawning sycophant, but, please, keep it rolling. In that vein, what can you tell me about Magitech?

Silver Crusade

Fellfire wrote:
I guess it is some kind of serendipity when your creative mojo interfaces with the commercial aspect that gets it out to the popular masses. A good recipe for success. I have already commented upon how I would never even have considered buying certain projects, but with the Legendary label and your name upon them, I give it a hard second thought. I hate to sound like some fawning sycophant, but, please, keep it rolling. In that vein, what can you tell me about Magitech?

Magitech was an interesting one, as I came in as a pinch hitter here. A friend of mine, Loren Sieg, was working on the Machine Element after I kinda had to brush it aside for other stuff I was doing at the time. But as the date came closer, her and I ended up working together on it to make sure it was up to snuff. If you've checked out the vigilante archetype I did in Wayfinder #16, the machine element is like that, but more expansive.

I also did the Necrometal Master, which is basically necrotech. Generally necrotech is only open to undead/constructs, but this archetype gradually turns you into one (well the feats do, but whatever), helping to make a very cool undead machine hybrid.


Reviewed here and on Drivethrough, not in Amazon because it isn't there (or I couldn't find it?)

Excellent job to all who had a hand in this one!

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

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the xiao wrote:

Reviewed here and on Drivethrough, not in Amazon because it isn't there (or I couldn't find it?)

Excellent job to all who had a hand in this one!

The file kept glitching at CreateSpace for whatever reason and multiple attempts were not able to resolve it, so at a certain point we just said "fine, no Amazon for this one" rather than doing a page-one rebuild in layout.

Thanks for the review and sharing it to DTRPG!

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.

A note here, author intent is that both Yoshi and Shinsuke are male, as both are named for famous wrestlers Shinsuke Nakamura and Yoshi Tatsu respectively.

Silver Crusade

Thanks for the review, Kerrandrax! We'll get back to you on the favored class stuff.


N. Jolly wrote:
A note here, author intent is that both Yoshi and Shinsuke are male, as both are named for famous wrestlers Shinsuke Nakamura and Yoshi Tatsu respectively.

Wow! cool to know, especially since Paizo has always been very including (is that a word in English? LOL). But as I said in my review, the way they are written and the fact that gender pronouns are never used, adding the fact about Japanese names, makes it perfectly viable for game masters who don't want to run gay relationships in their games.


Whatever happened with the glitchy Favored Class bonus? Also the Tattoed One yakuza archetype mentions something about sneak attack, then later it mentions that an ability replaces sneack attack. Which is correct?


Part II of my review:

The pack rat is only proficient with simple weapons and light armor and gets either Catch off-Guard or Throw Anything at first weapon. He replaces the gang-based ability with a scaling crazy-prepared ability – 100 gp per class level. While the ability has a maximum item value and weight caveat, it does not have a no-specific-items caveat, which is a somewhat annoying oversight. The archetype also is treated as +4 Str for the purpose of carrying capacity if he properly packs his stuff and gains +4 to Sleight of Hand to conceal small objects. 3rd level allows the character to attempt Profession untrained, as well as getting +1 to trained Craft and Profession checks. Also at 3rd level, we get the option to use ki to feint as a response to being attacked by a higher CR foe; on a success, the foe must save or deem the pack rat harmless, focusing on other targets. A target thus bluffed can be attacked by the packrat as though flat-footed for one round. Nice: The ability has a caveat to avoid spamming it or use the trick on those that witness it, with a hex-like cooldown. 4th level nets a pack animal animal companion or familiar. No trace is delayed to 6th level and 7th level nets the gang war teamwork sharing ability, but only pertaining the companion. 11th level lets the archetype use dirty tricks in conjunction with improvised weaponry or unarmed strikes versus targets that are denied Dex mod.

The serpent chemist loses proficiency with light armor and delays contacts to 6th level, but gains druglord at 1st level. 3rd level nets swift poisoner. The archetype gets poison-related tricks to choose from, including some SPs in conjunction with drugs/poison or select some alchemical extracts. 9th level has an Int-governed option to create more doses, with Master Alchemist synergy provided as well. 10th level nets DC increases based on sneak attack damage dice foregoing as well as ki-based swift action poisoning. 11th level nets the option to use ki to reroll saves versus alcohol, poison or drugs immediately, taking the better result, which may also, as a full-round action, be extended to an ally. Minor complaint: The ability has no range and it probably should – 30 ft. or adjacent. The ability also allows the chemist to mitigate ability score drain and damage an ally has suffered from such toxins. 13th level allows for super-fast toxin creation.

The tattooed one replaces contacts with better Intimidate versus non-yakuza, better Diplomacy for yakuza. Additionally, fear effect DCs are increased by 1- 2nd level allows the yakuza to use prestidigitation at-will via his magical tattoos and higher levels net ki-based illusions, with 10th level and higher unlocking shadow illusions. These are btw. considered to be parts of the gang. Sneak attack is delayed to 4th level and 3rd level allows the tattoos to dance to fascinate targets, with ki to power the ability and 8th and 13th level improving the action economy of the ability. 8th level allows for the use of ki to double the range. Instead of uncanny dodge, we get the option to shake off nauseated, sickened, fatigued and exhausted conditions on subsequent rounds or halve the duration of save-less conditions. The conditions to which this applies are expanded by dazed, frightened, shaken and stunned at 7th level. Instead of black marketeer, the archetype can mark targets with tattoos, duplicate some cantrips and use ki for tattoo-based unseen servants. 9th level provides more ki-powered SP-like tattoo-animation.

Finally, the triad enforcer gets Enforcer at 1st level and replaces home turf and no trace with a samurai’s resolve. Cool: They can use their own resolve or ki to break that of other creatures! They can also cause Wis-damage (save to negate) with demoralizations, but for a cost of ki. Gang war is delayed to 5th level and 6th level nets a bonus to Bluff and Intimidate. Cool: This one has honor point system synergy, taking only half the penalty for dishonorable actions. 7th level nets dirty fighting, which helps with improvised weapons and CMB-checks as well as allowing the character to forego critical bonus damage for debuff effects. 11th level lets you add, as a swift action, another attack when reducing a target to 0 hp, at +character level damage. 13th level nets fear immunity as wellas the option to spend ki to affect creatures usually immune to fear, but only if they are no more than one size larger than the enforcer.

Finally, the pdf sports a detailed and lavishly-illustrated sample NPC, Shinsuke Tatsu a CR 7 tattooed one yakuza, whose story ties in with the deadly NPC from Legendary Villains: Vigilantes. It should be noted that the name of the character’s lost lover is Yoshi, which usually denotes a male in Japanese. Personally, I applaud the integration of a well-rounded, gay badass here. It should be noted that the NPC comes with a full boon-write-up as well, ending the pdf on a high note.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good for the main class; the supplemental material sports a few more glitches in the details than usual for Legendary games, though – none of them are grievous, but they slightly tarnish this otherwise inspired book. Layout adheres to Legendary Games’ two-column full-color standard. Weird: The pdf has no bookmarks, which constitutes a comfort detriment. The full-color artworks are a blend of artworks LG has used before and the new, cool class piece.

Okay, so first things first: I frickin’ LOVE Jason Nelson and N. Jolly’s Yakuza. This is a hybrid class done right. It plays differently from both of its parent classes; the abilities do an AMAZING job of reflecting the flavor of the yakuza and the tropes associated with them. The archetypes, even the engine-tweaks, are all meaningful modifications of the chassis and the abilities of the class manage to marry fluff and crunch in precise and flavorful ways. If only all hybrid classes were this good…

Now, the base class is great and expertly balanced – it should not provide issues in even low-powered, gritty games and I adore the vast majority of this pdf…but unfortunately, the minor hiccups here and there do need to be represented in some way in the final verdict. Hence, I will rate this as 5 stars, but omit my seal of approval. If the minor gripes I noted don’t faze you, then get this hybrid asap!

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

Endzeitgeist out.

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