Pathfinder Player Companion: Martial Arts Handbook

****½ (based on 3 ratings)
Pathfinder Player Companion: Martial Arts Handbook

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Combat is a way of life on Golarion—warriors across the world are constantly in search of the next fight, powerful technique, or weapon in order to improve their skills. Pathfinder Player Companion: Martial Arts Handbook offers new archetypes, feats, and equipment for adventurers of all kinds who rely on their physical prowess in combat, whether they turn themselves into living weapons with their punches and kicks or unleash their mastery with nunchaku and swords.

Inside this book you'll find:

  • Fighting styles from across Golarion, including battle dancers, who use impressive maneuvers to dance around foes, and the black powder vaulters of Alkenstar, who use acrobatics to leap across the battlefield!
  • Dozens of new feats for all kinds of martial artists, including feats to improve combat maneuvers and improvised combat, combination feats, and style feats like the high-flying dragonfly style!
  • New abilities that draw upon the innate power of the body, including ki abilities for both qinggong monks and unchained monks, ninja tricks, and kineticist talents!

This Pathfinder Player Companion is intended for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the Pathfinder Campaign Setting, but it can easily be incorporated into any fantasy world.

ISBN-13: 978-1-64078-092-7

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Player Companion Subscription.

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****½ (based on 3 ratings)

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Everyone's Kung Fu Fighting

***( )( )

Good solid book with some useful stuff but I am disappointed in the lack of unarmored AC options. Also the kineticist wild talents have ridiculous requirements. I could have thought of wild talents that that fit the martial art theme and didn't need to have multi-class, archetypes, feats, etc.


More than Monks

*****

Honestly, I had low expectations for this book. I mean, with the Brawler and the Monk and a plethora of unarmed options for other classes already existent, where could they go from here?

Boy was I wrong.

This book is A+ material, not only opening up martial arts to even more classes but providing all sorts of truly inspiring character options.
Never before have I given serious thought to being a luchador...


One of the best martial player companions

*****

This book adds a plethora of new martial options for quite a number of classes, even unusual ones. From Occultist and Medium, to the good old Monk and Brawler, 12 classes get new and interesting archetypes to choose from.

Even more exciting is the new feats that add something more important than simply +1 to hit or an increase in damage dice, they add options. Options make combat exciting and let your imagination have a field day envisioning a halfling monk grappling and slamming a dragon into the ground so hard that it scares everyone else nearby. There are new actions you can take for nearly all the core maneuvers that allow for specialists to have quite a few different tools under their belt that are more than simply succeeding at their maneuver check.

In addition, the UnMonk (monk compatible) gets its first grappling focused archetype that lets you literally throw enemies multiple feet away from you while still dealing damage. Combine this with a couple of feats and you'll make them shaken and staggered from the experience!

Want to use that fish-tank as a weapon? What about that loose brick on the ground? Disappointed that improvised weapons are sub-optimal and typically not able to be enchanted? Well this is the book for you! The occultist archetype is entirely based around picking up a frying pan and swinging it around while there are also feats and even a style chain that lets you wield any magical item as an enchanted improvised weapon while also treating them as many steps larger and giving them special weapon qualities.

Always wanted to do a Samurai skilled at the art of the blade and the fist? Pick this book up and become a true master of weaving the two together in a concert of two-weapon fighting destruction.

A new style feat chain allows you to take the simplest of weapons, a stick, and turn it into a deadly and versatile weapon, especially when fighting defensively.

New options also exist for people that just like to roll attack and damage rolls in the form of combination feats. Hitting someone with a piercing weapon? Lower their SR or resistances for each hit. Hitting someone with a blunt weapon? Lower their DR for each hit. Not quite as exciting as the options for maneuvers, but it does allow for some interesting riders on basic attacks.

When they said there were new Qinggong ki powers, they were not kidding. The number of options for Qinggong powers has essentially doubled with this book!

Anyone remember the Chakra system? Well Luis Loza does and boy did he rework the concept to be way more useful. Instead of opening your own chakras, how about you close your opponents and give them some extremely brutal penalties because of it. From removing a creatures flying speed to negating all healing for 1min, to finally making it roll 2d20 for all rolls and take the lowest.

Want your kinetic fist or elemental ascetic kineticist to go PLUS ULTRA!? Pick up Gather Might to buff all your physical ability scores instead of reducing burn cost. Take some new infusions to learn a style strike or some other various House of Perfection influenced abilities.

You might have noticed that this is, as far as I know, the first Paizo book that allows characters other than UnMonks to learn style strikes!

Finally, Unarmed characters have a new alternative to the Amulet of Mighty Fists and the Bodywrap of Mighty Strikes that we actually want. Handwraps. Let's be real, this has taken far too long, but I'm glad to finally see these. Basically, these are just brass knuckles that let you use your unarmed strikes damage dice. This is huge, monks before this item were better at using weapons than unarmed strikes because it costed half as much to enchant them even though you had the same number of attacks with either.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
Yeah, archetypes are the only redeeming feature of Core Monk next to uMonk.

And even that is only on an archetype per archetype basis.


Draco Bahamut wrote:
There is hope for non-asian martial arts ? Still have hope for a Luchador or a Capoeirist.

You realize that Paizo would just created their own martial arts styles like they have for the other sourcebooks ie Aldori Dueling Style is not like actual fencing. So if they make a style mimics real life martial arts there will be so much changes to it that it won't be the actual style. I have only seen one or two RPG's that had actual real life martial arts and used that actual names but none were fantasy games.


There have been at least 3 or 4 that did - including the 2e AD&D Ninja's Handbook - use real-world styles translated (however loosely) into game terms that are/were usable in fantasy games operating under the same rules system.

Dark Archive

Nice updated cover & description - Monk vs. Brawler & new Combat maneuver feats!


Brother Fen wrote:
So grab all the PF and 3.5 you can, as it becomes a closed system now and forever. Do with it what you will.

I'm fortunate enough to own all of the "generic brown cover" books for 3.5 and nearly all of the hardbacks for PF. There were a few, like the NPC Codex (was that its title? Anyway) that I didn't have use for. I'll be adding this to the list of PF Classic books as I have a player who ONLY plays monks and other unarmed fighters.


I keep wondering if there will be style feats that a paladin might get to use that aren't unarmed strike based...


That's a great cover, including the background detail. Love the dog, and looks like Gom-Gom's about to get involved, too...

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Black powder vaulters. sounds like we are getting the rocket jumpers option for battle/mobility.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Battle dancers...I wonder how long it would be when we finally got dance focused martial arts.

New kineticist talents...in a martial arts focused book...well it may not be the ones I am looking for but at least it will be interesting.

Not a bad cover but at least it has 6 iconics on it.


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Maybe with this book we can finally have everyone kung fu fighting;)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
Maybe with this book we can finally have everyone kung fu fighting;)

But will our kicks be fast as lightning? :)

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Feros wrote:
Dragon78 wrote:
Maybe with this book we can finally have everyone kung fu fighting;)
But will our kicks be fast as lightning? :)

It may be a little bit frightening... :D


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

I wonder if there will be any armor-less AC rules for any of the classes in this one?

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

A reprint of a less broken version of Ascetic Style would be cool as would options or feat options for what to do with someone you have in a grapple apart from deal damage, tie up, or drag. If anyone has read legendary vigilantes, the masked grappler has some really cool techniques they can preform against a grappled target like hurricana, suplex, etc.

Paizo Employee Developer

9 people marked this as a favorite.

Interesting grappling options was something I wanted to make absolutely sure made it into this book. The options that made it in are really fun and exciting, so look forward to them!

Liberty's Edge

Luis Loza wrote:
Interesting grappling options was something I wanted to make absolutely sure made it into this book. The options that made it in are really fun and exciting, so look forward to them!

Looks like my tetori will get to have some fun that isn't pin locking the boss. Thanks Luis Loza!

(P.S. Any chance monks might have gotten a more stackable archetype for changing their alignment restrictions? I love the monk, but I've never been a fan of alignment restrictions on classes.)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm just looking forward to seeing if they have some options for shifters that are less focused on animal forms and more on unique chi stuff or animal spirit powers. More like a shamanistic ninja or beast monk.


Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Shifter stuff is far more likely in Wilderness Origins in January than in this book.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
David knott 242 wrote:

Shifter stuff is far more likely in Wilderness Origins in January than in this book.

We got Shifter stuff in Planehopper's Handbook sooooo *shrugs*


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Some shifter stuff would be nice.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

will this be the day i update my Monk guide for the final time?

Dark Archive

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Dragon78 wrote:
Some shifter stuff would be nice.

There is a new Shifter archetype. Also 2 each for Brawlers and Monk/Unchained Monk, and one each for Gunslinger, Samurai, Vigilante, Occultist, Magus, Medium, Swashbuckler, and Fighter.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Cool, I am happy to hear that, thanks for the info Kvantum.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kvantum wrote:
There is a new Shifter archetype. Also 2 each for Brawlers and Monk/Unchained Monk, and one each for Gunslinger, Samurai, Vigilante, Occultist, Magus, Medium, Swashbuckler, and Fighter.

Oooooo..... :D


Pathfinder Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

What can you tell us about the battle dancer style?

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Oh my. Is the medium a channeler of past martial arts masters?

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
David knott 242 wrote:

What can you tell us about the battle dancer style?

Charismatic, they move a lot to dodge attacks and also inbetween every attack in their flurry, and can let flanking bonuses linger as they move, looks pretty fun.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
ErisAcolyte-Chaos jester wrote:
Oh my. Is the medium a channeler of past martial arts masters?

Yep, they even can channel different style strikes after a bit too. They can only channel Champion spirits though, but they look like a fun archetype.

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Kess, don't throw the fish tank. That's where the fishies live.

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Change of Heart is the most Shonen thing ever XD

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Combination Feats are neat, and Combat Rhythm is cool... on first reading. Reading it again it's sadly not any good, unless "voluntary penalties" covers the penalties from TWF, which is the only real reason to use the Feat as is due to the setup. If not then I don't see this Feat seeing much use as I don't think people regularly use TWF and Power Attack together, otherwise spending a Feat to maybe get a +1 on a third attack in a round just isn't worth it.


Rysky wrote:
Combination Feats are neat, and Combat Rhythm is cool... on first reading. Reading it again it's sadly not any good, unless "voluntary penalties" covers the penalties from TWF, which is the only real reason to use the Feat as is due to the setup. If not then I don't see this Feat seeing much use as I don't think people regularly use TWF and Power Attack together, otherwise spending a Feat to maybe get a +1 on a third attack in a round just isn't worth it.

looks like some has the book in her hands.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I liked the look of the Style Shifter and I look forward to some analysis on how well it works out. There are rewards both for mastering a particular Style and for diversifying your Style options.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

The pictures of the iconics stretching before martial arts training is both cool and hilarious (cat pose, brilliant!) :)

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

For Legend of the Five Rings fans, the samurai archetype provides a decent option for a Dragon samurai style character.

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