|Jason Nelson Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games|
Ah, time for the dev post about this project:
So I'm actually starting slightly before the book because an interesting note here was that this was a book that I had a poll on deciding. I'd asked the community what class they most thought required a rebuild, and cavalier was the clear winner. Let it never be said that Legendary Games and I don't listen to what you want and work to create content that's in demand :D
Legendary Cavaliers basics
So in a lot of ways, the legendary cavalier is a large departure from the base class. In legendary class rebuilds, I generally attempt to keep a class close to its base form, accentuating the positive while filling in gaps to help create a more fulfilling experience. With Legendary Cavalier though...
...that wasn't how things played out. Cavalier has an identity crisis in that it's like the fighter that the fluff just does not match the reality of playing the class. It didn't do what it said it did, and the majority of the class features didn't even play into the idea of nobility, instead possessing mostly combat focused class features and some paltry social ones. So I decided to rebuild far more than others.
This is also the first project on which I've taken an apprentice writer to help me out, which was David Nelson. Their help was very much needed to fill in class gaps and give a better sense of what we both wanted to accomplish here.
Legendary Cavaliers specifics
As stated, there was a lot under the hood that was changed, and quite a bit of it had to do with making the mount more viable. Now there's class features which buff its attack roles, make it able to travel across far more terrain than before, and even squeeze into smaller spaces so that tight dungeon corridors are no longer the wall that they once were. Making a mount that felt vital was a large goal here, and one the team and I worked on a lot.
On the social side of things, cavaliers didn't have a lot going for themselves. That's where things like skilled diplomat, knight's renown, and courtly skill come into play. These new class features work towards not only making a Legendary Cavalier a beast on the field of battle, but also a powerful player in the games of courtly intrigue. Charisma is an important stat for the class, and we wanted to make things play out more fluidly for those who wanted to play a refined knight.
Speaking of fulfilling a leadership role, the Legendary Cavalier introduces powerful commander's auras which allow them to take on a far more dedicated leadership role in combat. Allowing for them to grant bonuses like additional damage, skills, movement speed, and other benefits, a Legendary Cavalier is going to feel like someone who is meant to be followed, to be respected, and to be feared.
The remaining class features are ones you would expect, including returning ways to make charging more powerful and everything else that you would expect from the class. Orders and banners make a return, but in a more background role considering everything else that's given.
Favored Class Bonuses
With a new class comes new favored class bonuses, and Legendary Cavalier has tons. Not only that, but none of them are race locked, presenting even more ways for players to customize their experience. The idea of racially gating off content was always something the team felt iffy on, so we just threw it out!
Alternative Class Features
Since some people wanted more customization in the class, the Legendary Cavalier also comes with an idea borrowed from Legendary Barbarians (spoiler alert), alternative class features. These are like smaller archetypes which allow single or related class features to be traded out for other listed class features, further allowing players to design the Legendary Cavalier in their own way. From swapping commander's aura for weapon training and even regaining the old cavalier's challenge mechanic, the Legendary Cavalier ends up being versatile in a way unique to the Legendary Classes line.
Keeping with the spirit of alteration, the draconic avenger archetype allows a player to gain a drake companion, while also fixing many of the issues of the original drake. By 5th level it can be ridden by a medium sized character, possessing even more natural attacks, and other small tweaks, it's designed to play in a way that will make the thrill of riding a dragon easily reached even at early levels.
If you know me, you know I love guns, and a firearm based cavalier was always going to happen. Replacing charge features for firearm proficiency and skill, the firearm soldier plays differently enough to make it a unique experience (and even more so if you use the firearm modifications from Legendary Gunslingers).
An old favorite of mine, the houndmaster trades in a horse for a pair of loyal hunting hounds which share an attack and magic item slots. Increasing in level allows for cool team up attacks from them, eventually allowing the pair to literally rip a creature limb from limb (with associated rules for dismemberment).
In the topic of things I like, punching is on them. If you're looking to play a General Armstrong style character, Iron General is the one. An archetype that focuses on hard punches, charges, dashes, and blowing things away with a single blow, this is definitely what you'd want.
A smaller archetype for those with a more dramatic flair, the masked traveler further embraces the vigilante feel of the class at the cost of charging based offense, allowing them to act in a daring fashion while still maintaining a courtly facade.
And this is a first for Legendary Games, as it is the first time that a Spheres of Might compatible archetype has been included. The Mounted Champion gives an adept's progression of sphere talents, integrating it into the normal progression at the cost of commander's aura. It's definitely an archetype which will help new players dip into this unique system, and give experienced players an entirely new resource to explore.
So horses are boring, dragons are aggressive, but pegasi? Those are some regal creatures! An archetype intended to take to the sky, the Pegasus Knight gives unique rules for a non-magical pegasus which can be obtained at 1st level as well as giving all the tools needed for aerial combat to be a key point in their offensive routine.
A few new feats are provided to help with archetypes which lost commander's aura and others which simply want a few new tricks.
New Magic Items
And of course, there's easier ways to ride your mount, bringing it back to life, and even sharing its damage. Obviously, there's lots of new magic stuff to bolt to your horse.
Asra Verain is our newest member to the cannon, a young hot shot with few friends but his horse and his unrequited love. Search the Free City of Goldhaven, he's easily a friend or foe, but probably insufferable regardless.
Legendary Cavaliers was not a project on which I thought I'd be working, and there were some rough spots in the middle (like moving during the playtest), but as a whole, I think it's a bold step in how class rebuilds could take shape in the future. With the recently announced new classes, I can tell you that at least one of them will also break the mold in this fashion. Thanks to everyone who assisted on this project, and hope everyone reading this enjoys it as much as I do.
|Dave A. Nelson|
Oh, hey, my very first dev post! N. Jolly was kind enough to invite me onto this project from the start, so I'll comment on what I had a hand in.
Legendary Cavalier Features
While cavalier had a large issue with its fantasy being fulfilled, it also had the problem of mounted combat being... difficult in a lot of environments. To that end, I wrote Measured Gait to allow the mount to cross difficult terrain more easily and Risky Lunge so a cavalier could charge in tight spaces. Added to that was a concept I used in a home campaign a while ago, Steed Parry. Now you can use your Ride skill to have the mount take the hit for you, avoiding the worst of the damage.
Additionally I threw in some unique uses for the Commander's Aura, like Chivalry's Call that can remind your barbarian friend to stop smashing using the sheer force of your honor.
Not gonna lie, this is my favorite piece that I did. The Dreadnaught is an armored titan of the battlefield, neglecting a mount all together. The hulking weight of their armor and massive weapons control space around them and they can interpose themselves between allies and enemies, like a living shield. The downside to making the base class more mount focused is you need to replace so much more for a mountless archetype!
I knew I was going to make this as soon as I saw Commander's Aura. This rider of an undead mount exudes a Thanatopic Aura, exchanging ally bonuses for penalties to foes. Ever wanted to emulate a death knight without actually needing to be undead or evil, just creepy? Wish granted.
Given who I was working with, I knew the gun archetype would not be written by me, but there was room for a different type of ranged cavalier. The Steppe Rider gets a lot of mobility options, running circles around targets while pinning them with arrows. Eventually your pin cushion of an enemy can't move and you can even shoot their limbs off, Princess Mononoke style. I had started to move it in a more supernatural direction, but eased back on that. I'm glad I did.
All in all, this would not have been my first choice for classes to work on, but it was a great learning experience and I think it turned out great. The failings of the original cavalier have been corrected and the archetypes cover pretty much everything one can think of. My thanks again to N. Jolly for letting me assist, I'm glad I was able to contribute in a meaningful way.
Wasn't expecting this one to come out so fast!
Hey there folks, I am Hal aka Mairn, and I did a bunch of editing/balance/ideas work on this (as well as writing the Undead Companion archetype).
I had a bit of a hand in most things in the book, but I can't take full credit for any of them. I mostly did balance tweaks, or wrote/rewrote small parts of an ability for clarity or ease of use (as well as part of the more boring editing stuff). I also wrote a few small abilities that are spread throughout the book. Hopefully everything is super easy to understand and play with, since that was my major goal with most of my additions and edits.
As far as the book itself goes, I had the most fun helping create the Iron General. Getting a class to work using large single unarmed strikes was difficult, and hopefully we did a good enough job that it competes well alongside the other options in the book! I can't wait to play it myself whenever I get the chance.
I had a lot of fun working with the amazing team involved in this book, and can't wait to work with them on future projects as well.
Part II of my review:
Editing and formatting are still very good as a whole; the book generally tackles complex concepts with pinpoint precision, avoiding the usual oversights we’ve come to dread. Anti-abuse caveats, smart notes on statting, ability classification – this gets almost all right…excluding the odd tripling glitch, which does negatively impact in a minor way one of the feats and some intended customization options. It’s not hard to salvage this, mind you, but it’s a bit of a downside. There are also slightly more typos/aesthetic formatting glitches here than usual for Legendary Games, though these still number less than in the vast majority of comparable publications. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the pdf features a variety of new and classic full-color artworks. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
Sooo…the legendary cavalier’s base engine is a resounding frickin’ success of epic proportions. There. I said it. Sure, a couple of the archetypes are the obligatory engine tweaks, but we also get several intriguing and well-wrought complex options. The lancer realizes an alternate take on the concept, suitable for more historic/medieval-themed settings…but seriously, for me, the base class is the unmitigated star.
The vanilla cavalier had an identity crisis, was boring to play, did not have much customization options or agenda in combat. The Legendary cavalier is not the most customizable class ever – you can still hand this to a novice without much issue. However, the awesome aura-engine means that you have viable, interesting combat options. The departure from the challenge focus means that you don’t have to rest all the damn time for that one class feature…and I could go on. Is this formally perfect? Nope, and I do have to account for that.
More important, though: Does this finally do the cavalier justice? Make him a non-magic knight that is badass and cool to play? That does something else than charge every damn turn?
Heck yeah. N. Jolly, Dave Nelson, Jason Nelson, Hal Kenette and Blake Morton rocked this class hardcore. I don’t even have to think for a second – this guy replaces all cavaliers in my games, and should be considered to be an EZG Essential for all games that feature the cavalier class.
It’s a straight, vast improvement that finally makes the cavalier feel like it should be. My final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 (because the few glitches are excusable), and this gets my seal of approval. Make your cavaliers actually matter and be fun. Get this one!
Reviewed first on endzeitgeist.com, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS, etc.
|Jason Nelson Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games|