New Paths Compendium: Expanded Edition (PFRPG)

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Choose Your Path!

Shadows are falling across the land: monstrous things stir in the depths, schemers spin their plots in the towers of the powerful, and unholy threats rise from the grave to menace the living. It’s an age of terrors and wonders…and heroes!

This expanded, hardcover edition of the New Paths Compendium gives you all-new options to create your new favorite character. You’ll find 12 new and expanded Pathfinder RPG classes from level 1 through 20—plus feats, spells, archetypes, and resources to build and play a character to challenge anything the GM throws at it!

The expanded New Paths Compendium includes:

  • All-new Warlock, Tinkerer, Priest, and Trickster base classes, with favored class options
  • Totally revamped Savant and Archer classes
  • Death feats, available to heroes who have been raised from the dead
  • New battle feats and new spells
  • And much more!

There’s a big world of adventure and peril out there – make a hero that it won’t soon forget!

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***** (based on 5 ratings)

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*****

This review is based on a PDF of New Paths Compendium: Expanded Edition, since shipping cost are prohibitive on getting the physical books to Europe, except via local gaming stores, but I would love to have this book on my shelf. It’s absolutely gorgeous and the art is excellent. If not in the same class as Paizo’s books, it’s a lot better than most of 3pp products out there.
There are 12 base classes represented in this book, as well as a number of archetypes for both official Paizo classes and those published in this book. Besides classes section, a section of this book is dedicated to feats and another one for spells.
Classes are mixed bag, to be honest. Spell-less Ranger is the best version of 3.x Ranger class that I have ever seen and pretty much how I envisioned the class. I love the concept of talents and in fact I built very similar class for my houseruled homebrew. In my opinion, SPR is the best developed class in this book and my absolute favorite, but than I’m biased. Ranger was always my favorite class, since 2nd Edition days, when I started playing. Anyway, the only issue I have with this class is the name. I understand the desire to explain the nature of the class simply and in a straightforward fashion, but the name itself is very disruptive to suspension of disbelief and world immersion. Your PC can’t say “I’m a Spell-less Ranger” to a NPC. It sounds jarring. Also, this is default ranger class in Pathfinder version of Midgard, so there aren’t rangers that cast spells. Anyway, I prefer the term Wildlander for this class and that’s the name I use. If we ever see a new take on this class for Pathfinder 2.0 or even Expanded Expanded New Paths, I would really love to see it under a new name. Otherwise, truly the best Pathfinder Ranger there is.
Skin-Changer is pretty much Spell-less Ranger alternate class. It’s done extremely well and I have a player running it and having a great time. It’s pretty much what Paizo’s Shifter should have been.
Mystic Archer is a take on ranged Magus and excellent one at that. Thematically, it fits great into elvish campaigns and the class was pretty much designed with elves in mind. In fact, in the non-expanded previous edition of this book, it was called Elven Archer.
Priest is another great edition to the game, especially to a world like Midgard, that has a lot of influences of real-world folklore, countries and old religions. The class has a feel of the old Cloistered Cleric and it’s much more appropriate for someone playing a servant of Hecate or Odin than a Cleric. I use it a lot for NPCs, especially from places that are on the fringes of civilization.
Theurge is second-best class in this book, in my opinion, of course. As the name suggests to old 3.5 players, this class combines the divine and arcane spell-caster into one complicated but potent package. It really is a great class, especially for the experienced players of spell-casters and my only issue with it is that I feel that it should have been more pronounced that this class is connected with the gods much like the Cleric or Paladin. There’s a tendency for players to play this class as a Wizard who can learn divine spells, which I believe is a mistake, especially for a world with active divine influence, such as Midgard.
Trickster is another class that outshines the class that serves as a base for it, the Rogue. Trickster provides more options to the player, albeit at the cost of slower progression of backstabbing, making up for it with Forte, the class ability that works much as archetypes in 5e work. Picking a Forte defines the class not simply mechanically; it provides a lot of clues for role-playing the character and even helps the Game Master to develop various organizations centered around specific Fortes. Which is what I did for a player of mine. I really recommend Trickster as more diverse and flavorful Rogue.
White Necromancer is the best take on this concept there is in Pathfinder, especially if we take into account an excellent Necrotic Healer archetype. I haven’t seen it in play, but on paper it seems very sound and in fact, I may introduce it into current campaign as a hireling.
I haven’t had any experience with the Spirit Shaman, Savant and Tinkerer classes, but the Savant seems to need a bit more work. Also, I have an issue with the name of the class. I suspect that the author wanted to invoke the Savant class from 3.5 days, but the Savant presented here seems more roguish in nature than scholarly. I feel that the class should be developed a bit more and expanded, and that the name should be changed to something like “Jack”, as in “Jack of All Trades”. In fact, that’s what I plan to do when I have the time, but I’m planning to that for years now, so…
Two “losers” of this book are Battle Scion and Warlock.
Battle Scion is envisioned as an Arcane Paladin/Blaster, and the Warlock as an alternate take on Magus, sort of a Fighter/Witch hybrid class. Battle Scion’s signature ability, Force Blast, is too weak to be effective and the class itself is frankly pretty bland thematically. It needs oomph in both crunch and fluff department and complete rework IMHO. There is a need for a concept like this, but I would suggest for the Battle Scion to be completely scrapped and new class devised from ground zero. And it should be called Arcane Paladin, why not. This even sounds cool, unlike the Spell-like Ranger, and it could scratch Paladin/Sorcerer/Eldritch knight itch. That I would like – and pay – to see.
Warlock is one of the classes added to this book that I was looking forward to the most. But I was disappointed in a way. Simply put, it tries to be too much, but in reality, it’s not enough. It wants to be old-school 3.5 Warlock, it wants to be Pathfinder Magus and manages neither in full. I would suggest reworking it so that the class loses spellcasting totally but gets Witch’s Hex ability and I would add some kind of channeling of Dread Blast ability through the Bonded Weapon.
Now, the feats.
If you play Pathfinder, you should buy this book just for the feats. Scaling Combat Feats are great and I was using something like them before they were presented in the previous edition of this book. New Leadership feats, including Beast Leadership, are excellent take on that problematic feat and Death Feats are treasures unto themselves. Large number of the feats presented here are designed to work with new base classes, but more than half of them are general feats that would work in any Pathfinder campaign.
There’s a number of archetypes in this book, the best one being for Spell-less Ranger and White Necromancer classes, but there are several archetypes for core and base classes published for Paizo. I can’t really fathom why are those included, but the archetypes for the classes presented here and previously published are excluded. Anyway, the archetypes section of this book could be a bit longer.

To conclude, this book is one of the best class books ever published for Pathfinder and it could proudly stand amongst Paizo’s Ultimate line. There is room for improvement of the classes presented here, and there is a need for additional support of these classes with feats, archetypes etc. But you should really have this book in your collection if you play Pathfinder even if you do not play it in Midgard Campaign Setting.
Five stars.


An Endzeitgeist.com review

****( )

This massive, crunchy hardcover clocks in at 170 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page introduction, 1 page ToC, 3 pages of advertisement, 1 page SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 161 pages of content, so let’s take a look!

This review was moved up in my reviewing queue due to me receiving the limited edition print version of this book. My review is mainly based on this version, though I have also contacted the pdf to ascertain the functionality of that version. It was also requested as a priority review.

Now, first of all: This review is a HUGE monster, intended to help you ascertain for yourself the content.

Wait, didn’t I already review the New Paths Compendium? Well yeah, I did. I also covered all previously released installments of the New Paths-series released since then and analyzed them in depth. However, this book not only represents a sort of final version for them, it also contains new content. Plus, Pathfinder has changed, often quite significantly, since the release of the initial releases, so revisiting the material and analyzing how it holds up will be one of the goals here. Now, I cannot go into the really deep level of detail for a book of this size sans bloating the review beyond any usefulness – I will focus more on the big components, i.e. on the classes and supplemental material that make up the majority of the book.

All right, so we begin with no less than 12 different new base classes. The first of these that I’d like to cover would be an oldie-but-goldie, the spell-less ranger. The spell-less ranger gets full BAB, d10 HD, 6+Int skills per level, good Fort- and Ref-saves, up to 5 favored enemies, up to 4 favored terrains and additionally stealth attack which is a terrain/favored enemy-based, weaker variant of sneak attack that is gained at 2nd level and scales up to +5d6, increasing by +1d6 every 4 levels thereafter. Hunter’s bond with allies or companion (from a limited list) is chosen at 4th level. Staples like track and wild empathy at 1st, combat style at 2nd level and endurance at 3rd level are provided. 5th level and 12th increase base movement rate in favored terrain by +10 ft. each and 7th level nets woodland stride, 8th swift tracker and 9th evasion. Quarry is gained at 11th level, camouflage at 12th, improved evasion at 16th, hide in plain sight at 17th and improved quarry at 19th level. The capstone nets full-speed following tracks as well as a standard action attack versus favored enemies that prompts a save-or-die. The death strike ability component may be used 1/day versus each favored enemy, but not more than once per target – this is important, since there may be overlaps. The class gets some unique tricks as well, with 3rd level providing the means to use Heal for expanded, medicinal purposes, and the class gets further customization tricks in the guise of ranger talents at 4th, 7th, 9th,11th,13th, 16th and 19th level. These include low-light vision, combat feats, treating difficult terrain in favored terrain as normal, +4 to confirmation rolls to confirm critical hits, ignoring concealment with a standard action ranged attack or gaining an additional animal companion. These are potent, but they have to be to make up for the loss of spellcasting.

The spell-less ranger features 3 archetypes: Companion-bound rangers do not suffer from the restrictions regarding companion choices of the regular spell-less ranger. However, to make up for this, the spell-less ranger only gets a single favored terrain, which limits the usefulness of some of the more potent talents and stealth attack. To avoid cheesing the better companion selection, the talent that nets an additional companion is expressively prohibited for the archetype. Instead of woodland stride, we get feat-based companion-enhancement and quarry and its improved version is modified to apply to the companion as well. Empathic link is gained at 12th level, The dual-style ranger only gets a single favored enemy, but gains, surprise, two styles. The shadow stalker replaces favored enemy with studied target and may combine it with stealth attack as an immediate action. Instead of wild empathy, we get poison use. 7th level replaces woodland stride with the option to study a target as a full-round action and then follow the studying with a potentially deadly attack, assassin style. This is very potent and may not be for all campaigns, as it makes the game a bit grittier and works well in a more savage/brutal type of fantasy. The reason why I’m not up in arms regarding this ability is that is it kept in check by only being able to target a given character 1/day – after that, it’s 24 hours immune to the attack. As an aside: This archetype makes for a really good solo-play class.

One of the other classes presented herein is very much akin to the spell-less ranger, to the point where it can be considered to be a variant class of it. This would be the skin-changer. The skin-changer begins play with minor animal shape, which duplicates beast shape I, usable as a standard action and lasting 10 minutes per class level. This upgrades at 4th level and unlocks new size categories at 6th and 8th level, with 6th level and every 2 levels thereafter yielding an additional daily use. 10th level unlocks healing whenever forms are changed, which similarly scales, and 12th level nets DR in animal form. Changing action economy also improves. 3rd level nets speak with animals at-will in favored terrain, and 2nd level nets animal combat, which translates to bonuses for natural attacks and damage, as well as initiative in animal form. These improve, and over the levels, the natural attacks also count as progressively better for bypassing DR, with 8th level yielding Critical Focus, 11th Bleeding Critical and 14th Improved Natural Attack. The class gets 4 favored terrains and stealth attack is gained at 6th level at +2d6, improving by +1d6 for every 4 levels thereafter. No hunter’s bond is gained and 15th level nets +3 natural armor in animal form, which increases by +2 at 17th and 19th level. It should also be noted that the capstone’s death attack is not tied to creature type, but is contingent on favored terrain and comes with a hard cap of 3/day. This is perhaps the easiest to use shifter-style class I know – it has merit in that regard. However, at the same time, I think that Interjection Games’ Animist and Everyman Gaming’s Shapechanger (from Paranormal Adventures) are the more interesting classes, though both require a higher degree of system mastery. If you’re looking for a no-frills shapechanger, though, then this fellow still holds up.

The spell-less ranger was a resounding success when it was first released, and it remains so to this date – the class is fun, straightforward and easy to grasp, and the archetypes and their exchanges are meaningful engine-tweaks. The class is fun and well-made and remains a true classic.

While we’re on the subject of nature-themed classes, let us talk about the shaman, now renamed spirit shaman following the release of Paizo’s ACG-class. The shaman is basically the oracle-like spontaneous caster variant to the prepared druid. The spirit shaman offers d8 HD, 4+Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB-progression, good Fort- and Will-saves, proficiency in light and medium armor and shields, but only non-metal ones and full spontaneous spellcasting from the druid's spell-list, governed by Charisma. The usual alignment-opposite restrictions apply and the class begins play with wild empathy as well as +2 to Knowledge (nature) and Heal. 2nd level nets woodland stride and 4th level provides wild shape, with elemental and plant shapes added at higher levels.

Important and more fun that one gets first: 3rd level nets shaman’s touch, which may be used Cha-mod times per day and duplicates scaling healing spells/dealing damage to the undead. 9th level provides spirit dance, which is basically a 3-round means to ritualistically modify spellcasting to improve the spellcasting for higher DCs and later, free metamagic addition (with a cap to prevent abuse) and better penetration of SR. 13th level nets class level rounds in spirit form, as per ethereal jaunt, with 17th level astral projection may be undertaken, with the added benefit of potentially providing legend lore benefits, representing a vision quest of sorts. The spirit shaman also gets totem spells depending on totem chosen. The spirit shaman also chooses a totem secret at 1st level, 3rd level and every 4 levels thereafter, allowing the class to e.g. spend time doing haruspex to see into the future,, become invisible, conjure forth protective spirits, etc. Nice: These scale and improve and include a super-potent trance that nets a massive +20 bonus to an Intelligence-based skill check. Seeing the incorporeal, better damage versus the incorporeal, etc. – these are nice. Now I am not a big fan of ability score substitution, so using Charisma instead or Dexterity for AC, Reflex-saves, etc. isn’t something I’m too keen on. Then again, that is my own bias and not something I’d penalize the pdf for. The capstone, however, is slightly problematic, as it renders the character functionally immortal in a way: After 7 days, the character returns from life as per true resurrection. The spirit shaman also gets infinite spirit dance uses.

Now, the class also gets a spirit guide, which is basically a modified form of animal companion that can deliver touch spells, act to deliver touch spells and become incorporeal at higher levels. The pdf contains 17 different sample companion stats, all with totem spells noted. Archetype-wise, we get 3 archetypes, the first of which would be the elemental shaman, who gets an elemental companion, which is clearly intended to replace the regular spirit guide, but doesn’t say so in a little oversight. Instead of woodland step, we get Elemental Spell as a bonus feat as well as a +2 increase to the DC of spells with element-related descriptors. Wild shape is relegated to 6th level and focus on elemental body improvement. The archetype sports companion stats, complete with totem spells, for the 4 classic elements. The second archetype is the primal shifter, who gets diminished spellcasting, but heals a bit of damage whenever the primal shifter changes form via his wild shape. The dance-mechanic is similarly changed, instead focusing on enhancement of physical and combat capacities. The third archetype is the witch doctor, who gets healing-themed bonus spells. These fellows replace wild empathy with spirit sense and replace woodland stride with Brew Potion. The archetype can use shaman’s touch class level + Cha-mod times per day, but at the cost of diminished wild shape capacity.

The spirit shaman is another class that holds up really well to this date – the spontaneous, very druid-y spirit guide/spirit shaman-trope is well-executed here and has seen quite a lot of use in my games. The class is easy to grasp, tight and neat. As a nitpick, I noticed one instance where the original “shaman”, sans the “spirit” remained, but this is an utter non-entity of an oversight here, as the context is readily evident.

While we’re on the subject of spirits and related mysticism, let’s talk a bit about a relatively recent addition to the product-line, let’s talk about the White Necromancer. White Necromancers get d6 HD, must be non-evil, get 2 + Int skills per level, as well as proficiency with simple weapons (no armors and shields - arcane spell failure), 1/2 BAB-progression and good Will-saves as well as full spellcasting of up to 9th level. Spellcasting is handled via Charisma and thus is spontaneous. The class gets Eschew Materials at first level and surprisingly, is not banned from casting evil necromancy spells, but the respective spells use two slots when being cast - interesting balancing there! This restriction is btw. removed at 4th level.

They also add their Wisdom-modifier to all Knowledge (religion)-checks pertaining death and the undead, burial rites etc. and receive +1/2 class level (minimum +1) to Heal skill checks. As low-level signature ability at 1st level, they also get the option to Rebuke Death as a standard action, which translates to healing living creatures by touching them for 1d4+1 per two class levels, usable 3+Cha-mod times per day. Nice...at least at low levels. At higher levels, a more rapid scaling of healing would very much be in order to make the class retain viability as a healer.

At 3rd level, the class may also Turn Undead 1 + Charisma-modifier times per day and the class is treated as having channel energy, but ONLY for the purpose of turning the undead. Adding on further channeling feats is also mentioned and covered regarding ability-interactions. The 4th level provides the ability that lends the class its name – white necromancy. Undead creation-spells cast by the White Necromancer no longer count as evil and the resulting undead are free-willed, if intelligent, and of the same alignment as the White Necromancer - and as a crucial difference to regular undead: They are not slaves. To make them perform a task (even mindless ones), requires a Diplomacy-check on behalf of the White Necromancer - and while I can hear some groans, I do think that's valid - interrupting someone's eternal rest should be no laughing matter and require some finesse. Intelligent undead have a friendly disposition towards the white necromancer, and as such checks to request tasks receive a +2 bonus.

At 5th level, the class gets perhaps one of its most iconic abilities with Life Bond, a supernatural ability. As a standard action, the White Necromancer may create a bond between her and one living creature within 90 ft. Each round at the White Necromancer's turn, each bonded creature (of which the White Necromancer may have up to her class level active at once) is healed by 5 hp if they've been damaged for more than 5 hp below their maximum hp, while the white necromancer siphons her life into them. Now this ability seems weaker on paper than in play - the tactical options it offers are significant and beyond that, the ability mirrors well the duality between life and death as well as lending itself to great potential for heroic sacrifice: We've all been there, the villain is almost vanquished, but it becomes readily apparent that she/he/it will take on PC down with it - with a solemn smile, the white necromancer can now make the conscious decision to give his/her life to give the PCs just that edge to survive. Any number of bonds may be ended as an immediate action, btw. This component of the engine is further enhanced at 7th level, with necrotic transfer, when the white necromancer may sacrifice up to 10+Constitution-score (NOT modifier!!)+class level hit points and transfer them via touch to an ally.

Part II of my review can be found [urlhttp://paizo.com/products/btpy9xj5/discuss&page=2?New-Paths-Compendium-Expanded-Edition#82]here![/url]


A Terrific Addition To Any Group's Table

*****

I’ve been meaning to write a review of the New Paths Compendium Expanded Edition a while now, but everything just keeps getting in the way. I have a little bit of time now so I’ll put some thoughts down. Megan and Feros have both written wonderful reviews of this book so just about anything I say here would be redundant; though I will jot down a few things I liked best about it.

The retooled Elven Archer, now the Mystic Archer and the totally overhauled Savant are terrific. The Savant is much easier to comprehend than before and its playability has been saved from doom. Of the five classes added since the original New Paths Compendium was released I have to say the Priest, the Trickster, and the Warlock are my favorites. I was very excited to see a retake on the Warlock, since the D&D 3.5 version seemed a little bland to me. I will say that this version treads a little too closely to the Blade Bound Magus archetype, but I think there are enough differences that the two could share a table without much trouble.

There are a host of new archetypes that will please a lot of players. It’s hard to pin down a favorite. I’m not very good at breaking down the mechanics of a class but there is a lot of flavor here. As a GM, it’s hard for me to choose one that I would use in a game. Of the 14 classes that have new archetypes offered five come from the Paizo camp and the rest are for the classes in the expanded edition of the Compendium. I have a munchkin-y love for one in particular though, the Force Blaster for the Battle Scion class. If I were a player, whipping out blast after blast of pure force would be just too much fun.

There are feats aplenty, too, most or all of them seem useful, fun and balanced for play. There are three subsections, Feats, Style Feats, and Alternate Feats, the last being the real stars of the feat selections. Death feats are really my favorites. Dying is traumatic enough, but to do so then be revived should be a special event for a character rather than a cash transaction between the group and a Cleric (or Priest from this book) and as such the player should have options to choose from when doing so.

The Scaling Combat feats are just that. Rather than adding links to a chain of feats, two or more are rolled into one heading and they improve with the character’s advancement. This *might* be something that could be abused, but it would be up to the GMs and their players if they wanted to work these into a game.

The Alternate feats see the Leadership feat broken down into two feats: Leadership (Cohort) and Leadership (Followers). I think it may be the solution to the question about whether or not the original Leadership feat is too powerful. These will be the default versions of Leadership in my campaign should anyone choose to go that route.

There’s a really nice selection of spells, nearly all of which have been seen before in the original New Class Compendium. There is a new option called Combat Divinations, which are spells that can be cast as swift or immediate actions to reflect a character’s extensive training and training in how to anticipate and respond to a foe’s attacks before they take place. I plan to offer this option to my spellcasting players to see how well they work out, should they choose to use them.

The section on gear is essentially the same as in the original Compendium. Not a great many items, but they are pretty interesting and some would definitely see use in my game, especially the Ever-Full Quiver from the magic item section of the Gear and Magic Item chapter.

The only thing I really had an issue with is the number of editing errors, which have been pointed out in various levels of irritation on the boards. Putting together a book is hard I know, but the number of errors gives the book a feeling of having been rushed to get it on the shelves and in the hands of players as quickly as possible. While the intent for doing so is good, it resulted in a bit of sloppiness showing through. These issues were addressed in the .pdf, so if you bought the hardcover with the downloadable you can track down the re-edits and sort them out. There is also a forthcoming errata release coming, I believe.

Aside from the editing problems I love this book. I won’t even count off for the editing issues because the usefulness and flavor of this book is too good to let those mar any thoughts I have on the new and improved Compendium. I give it 5 stars. Get this book and get to adventuring!


An RPG Resource Review

*****

But there already is a New Paths Compendium you may ask - and that was an excellent book which came out in 2013. In the Introduction to this 'expanded' version, the lead author tells about how, whilst pleased with the first book, had loads of ideas on how to improve it, and had also added two more individual classes to the New Paths line and dreamed up a few more that hadn't seen the light of day, so this volume is the result.

It does, of course, draw on the original. The first section presents classes old and new, some twelve of them. We revisit the spell-less ranger and the battle scion amongst others, but get to meet the tinkerer who has never before seen the light of day. Each one gets the full write-up you'd expect, complete with a dramatic picture and all the game mechanical details you need to create a character as well as plenty of flavour information to convince you that it would be fun to play. If you use Kobold Press's Midgard setting there are also notes on how each class fits in there. The fun thing about all of these is that they put disparate combinations together and make them work. If you are the sort of gamer who wonders what would happen if your rogue could also cast spells or your wizard was good with a rapier, this gives you a chance to try such ideas out without having to struggle with multi-classing - when you need to be at a considerably high overall character level before you see much benefit, and even then your character will be weaker than those who have stuck to a single class. These are more than mere combinations of classes, a bit from here and a bit from there, though. Each is built into a coherent class than stands in its own right.

This is followed by a vast collection of archetypes. These provide alternate paths for a given class to follow, presented for original classes as well as the new ones offered here. Each variant lets you put a different spin or emphasis on the class you've chosen, and there are so many that you'll probably have difficulty choosing which one to play! Some are hyper-specialist and may have limited use, others are tremendously versatile and able to adapt to many situations. It's always a good idea to check with the GM that the character you propse fits in with the adventures he's planning, but even more so with these.

The next couple of sections present new feats and new spells. Many are designed to make the most of the new abilities displayed by the new classes presented here, but many can be used to enhance existing characters or enable them to be tailored to fit your vision of what you want them to be able to do. Some are tied to a particular class, others are available to all comers, or at least those who meet the pre-requisites.

The fifth section deals with gear and magic items. It's not very long but there's an assortment of new weapons and some magical items including some legendary ones. You could write whole campaigns about those - questing for them perhaps. Finally, there's a rather useful collection of 'tracking sheets' for everything from your character's progression to how many arrows he still has.

If you like playing with novel concepts or have ever wondered what would happen if x character could also do y, this is something to delve into and experiment with. Yet, it is not an exercise in power-gaming. Each class and archetype is rounded and balanced, and their introduction will not make life difficult for those who are content with a core class character. Have fun!


Expanded, Improved, and all but Essential

*****

For an explanation of how I use the five star review method, see my entry on So What's the Riddle Like Anyway? HERE.

I reviewed the original New Paths Compendium when it first came out and loved it. This new expanded edition has an extra forty pages, but it actually has more new material than that: some of the classes from the original have been revamped and some of the options available in the first have been expunged. Add in new art and new material replacing that which was removed, and this is a brand-new beast in most respects.

The first chapter deals with classes. The original seven classes were the Battle Scion, Elven Archer, Savant, Shaman, Spell-less Ranger, Theurge, & White Necromancer. They are all back after a fashion; the one exception being the elven archer which has been replaced with a completely overhauled Mystic Archer, once the name of a single variant form of the elven archer class. It really is a whole new class effectively combining magic and archery.

The savant has been streamlined and simplified, making for a much easier to understand class. The class now picks up skills and abilities through observation rather than tale-telling (the original story based savant is still available as the raconteur archetype). The ability to pick up, adjust, and use new abilities is impressive and greatly improved over the old savant.

The shaman has been re-named the Spirit Shaman to keep from overlapping with the Shaman class from Paizo’s Advanced Class Guide. It is largely unchanged except for the addition of a 20th level capstone ability that makes the spirit shaman part spirit with several advantages.

In addition to these classes are added the following new classes: the Priest, a divine caster that resembles the arcanist both in spell casting and the extra abilities they gain, though obviously of a religious/divine nature. Their combat is like a wizard or sorcerer, but they get divine gifts that modify their powers and spells to make for a powerful caster. Really cool concept.

Skin-changers are closer to the shape-changing class that players were expecting with the Shifter from the new Ultimate Wilderness. It is the primary ability of the class, and it is a full BAB warrior to boot. Able to shift at first level is quite powerful, but until 4th level it is a very limited ability, so I don’t see significant power creep in the class overall.

The Tinkerer is a master of constructs and cool clockwork devices. It gains a clockwork companion much like a summoner’s eidolon, with “modifications” taking the place of evolutions. Outside of that, the tinkerer gets grenades to use in a fight and is the absolute master of traps, both in the finding and setting of them.

Tricksters are arcane/rogue combinations that uses the arcanist prepared spells/slots for use system. It only goes to 6th level, but uses the sorcerer/wizard list for versatility. An optional rule is suggested, removing evocation and necromancy spells to keep them from being too powerful. They also have sneak attack as well as the ability to apply spells to sneak attack damage. There is an area of specialization called a forte that each trickster can only take once; they may be acrobatic, a spell pilferer, good at sneaking, etc. Their chosen forte gives them special abilities related to their specialization beyond their normal faire. Probably the most intriguing ability is filch spell which allows the trickster to take control of a spell being cast by someone else. Love it!

The last new class is the Kobold Press take on the Warlock. Much like a witch version of the magus, it is a six-level spell-caster with a weapon he bonds to instead of a familiar. They get a dread bolt (read “eldritch blast” to all you 3.5 fans out there) and—like several of the spell-casting classes here—uses the arcanist prepare spells/number of slots to cast. This looks like a solid transfer from the old 3.5 class while really finding its own way. Nice!

The other classes are pretty much the same as before with a few editing and cosmetic changes. You can see my original review for those. Next, we get something that was lacking in the first compendium: favored class options. These are a very nice addition, but some of them are for races from KP’s Advanced Races Compendium and won’t be of much use without access to that tome.

Chapter two covers archetypes, and while a number from the original compendium made it over, not all did or have been adjusted a little. The absentees: Hellfire Preacher (cleric), Coilgunner (gunslinger), Monk of the Glorious Endeavor (monk), Monk of the Peerless Mountain (monk), Six Talismans Monk (monk), and Mist Stalker (ninja). Monk of the Compliant Style Rod is now called Iron Staff Monk.

Of more interesting note are the additional archetypes: Wild Scion (battle scion) which is a spontaneous casting arcane warrior, Chosen of Nature (priest) a druidic priest, Guarded Priest (priest) which swaps out divine gifts for a summoner’s eidolon, Raconteur (savant) which is closer in theme to the original savant with story avatars delivering abilities, Shadow Stalker (spell-less ranger) more assassin less woodsman, Dual-Forte Trickster (trickster) can take two fortes instead of one for reduced spellcasting, Forte Master Trickster (trickster) becomes extra capable with their forte for reduced spellcasting, Dimensional Traveller (warlock) that can teleport about the battlefield, and finally Death Warden (white necromancer).

This last archetype is a real pleasure to see. One thing I mentioned in my review of the original was the lack of a death focused archetype. The white necromancer is based around the necromantic triad: life, death, and undeath. The two original archetypes—Necrotic Healer and Grave-bound—covered life and undeath focused necromancers respectively. I saw this as an obvious hole in which something could be placed. The death warden is focused on making sure creatures that die stay dead. They are powerful combatants against undead with channel energy as a weapon and spell-like abilities designed to aid in the hunting and destruction of the undead. Well done!

Chapter three covers feats, and it has a few new feats which can work with some of the new classes like Delay Detonation which works with the Tinkerer’s grenade class feature and Powerful Channel for those with Improved Channel to do more at the cost of becoming fatigued. Gone are the feats that worked with the old savant—as one would expect—as well as a few other feats such as Ring the Bell and Savage Terrain Warrior. Space as a requirement for some cuts? Don’t know, but it doesn’t really affect the list much.

The next section covers alternate feats which are quite different. First up are Death Feats, feats that can only be taken by those who have died and been brought back to life. An interesting idea of adding flavour to an event that is sometimes glossed over in higher level games. I particularly like Reversal of Fortune which uses your successful defiance of fate to allow you to change a natural one into a natural twenty once a week. Makes dying almost a desirable event in the game. They come accompanied by Death Flaws, which the GM may require as an additional prerequisite for taking a Death Feat. This of course makes the Death Feat an entirely bonus feat outside of normal feat acquisition, and would be the rule as I am going to use it.

The scaling combat feats of the next section are from the original and are just as good as they were then. They dump the firearm traits from the original tome and instead give us a new optional split version of leadership which makes getting the cohort separate and necessary before picking up followers. Great for those interested in keeping a power balance steady and for those who really don’t want a whole lot of followers tagging along on adventures.

Chapter four covers spells, and reprints the ones from the first compendium with a few new ones that have some evocative imagery. I like claws of darkness for sorcerers, wizards, and witches. It’s only first level and not powerful, but it fits the warlock well with claws forming out of shadows on the hands to inflict cold damage. Low-level coolness!

A new section covers spells called Combat Divinations. These are divination spells ranging from level one to six that allow spell casters to gain combat advantages over foes as immediate actions. This is a neat tactical addition to the game, especially for battle scions, magi, and warlock characters. Obviously the usefulness of the spells increases with the level, with low-level spells like alter arrow’s fortune adding a small penalty to an upcoming ranged attack and higher-level spells like energy foreknowledge casts resist energy of the type just cast on your character or altering the energy type of whatever resistance has already been cast!

Chapter five covers gear and magic items and is essentially the same as the original compendium chapter, though better organized than the first. Chapter six includes the same tracking sheets as the first compendium, as useful as they have always been.

The presentation of the overall book is greatly improved over the original with new art and a far more polished style. The old artwork wasn’t bad at all, but it pales compared to the look of the new book. The old art looked much like coloured sketches; these are paintings.

One thing to note is some editing problems I encountered on reading through. On the table of contents, the Tinkerer Modifications are not indented so it has the same sort of heading as a class, and the Noble Shootist archetype for the Gunslinger is completely missing from the ToC. The Monk archetypes are missing, and the Ninja and its archetype are set like they are the monk archetypes. Minor quibbles, but noticeable. Also the Warlock archetypes didn’t get their own intro: it was the text from the white necromancer archetypes! This is a little more serious, but since it is only the intro, I’m going to let it slide.

Final Thoughts: The New Paths Compendium: Expanded Edition is an absolute joy to read. Marc Radle and the team at Kobold Press have tightened up the class presentations, strengthened the options and filled in some gaps. The changes don’t render the old compendium completely useless either; there are still classes and options within that book that were not transferred over, so the old volume still can have some value at the table. But where the two contradict, my advice is go with the new. The improved savant and addition of a death-focused white necromancer archetype would make me recommend this for the PDF, but the whole volume is worth purchasing in hard copy as it is a worthy addition to anyone’s table.

I gave the first compendium a four star as some of the elements might not be to everyone’s liking. While I stand by that review, this volume overwhelms those options with so much good material that concern is gone. This is a fantastic book and it will see play at my table. Five out of five stars.


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Liberty's Edge

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nightflier wrote:

... what's stopping you publishing for instance a pack of 10 ranger talents in one pdf under your own name, not under KP? Rogue Genius Games model is what I have in mind.

Of course, I'm fully aware that PF 1e will not be supported anymore. TBH, I'm afraid that even 2e will not go well against D&D 5e. It is what it is.

Heh, lack of hours in the day mainly! :)

I understand the move to Pathfinder 2E has been somewhat divisive for many, but I hope it does well for Paizo and I hope fans sticking with 1E continue to enjoy that version as well!

Back to the book ... once the Kobolds have had a chance to fully wrap thier heads around the new rule set, I’m sure there will be a Pathfinder 2E version of the New Paths Compendium. For folks sticking with 1E for now, this edition of the Compendium isn’t going anywhere!

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