Pathfinder Player Companion: Martial Arts Handbook

****½ (based on 4 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 4 ratings)

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Website ate the review so you'll never ever know why I'm giving this 5 stars.

*****


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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Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Player Companion: Martial Artist's Handbook
Archetypes: The archetypes in the book are legal for play. Equipment: The equipment and magic items in this book are legal for play except handwraps, infested bandages, and split-blade sword. Feats: The feats in this book are legal for play except Change of Heart, Octopus Focus, Octopus Style, and Octopus Thrash. Misc.: The advanced ninja tricks, ki powers, kineticist infusions, ninja tricks, slayer talents, style strikes, and weapon tricks in this book are legal for play except prognostication, throat crush, and true prognostication.

Not surprised about the handwraps. I guess ki powers includes the qinggong ones as well, so that opens a lot of new ki options for either monk. Not sure what went wrong with Octopus Style, I guess it was too similar to improved uncanny dodge which is hard to get without being the appropriate class?

Most importantly, it's time to don the mask of the Luchador!

Dark Archive

Mikko Kallio wrote:

Just got my contributor copies; I wrote the Weapon Specialists section, which includes the black powder vaulter, brawling blademaster, Okayo corsair, spear fighter, stick-fighting feats, and weapon tricks.

It was a fun section to design. It was also my last PF1 assignment for Paizo, so this is the end of a chapter in my freelance career... and the beginning of a new one. :-)

Good job on Okayo Corsair, I really really like that archetype. Good luck to you in your future contribution assignments.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

One of the things that I really like about this book is that the style feats actually specify with which weapons the various styles can be used. Something which - IMO - is missing from the original introduction of style feats back in Ultimate Combat.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Zero the Nothing wrote:

Why didn't you take the chance to give rules for using Unchained Monk with older Monk archetypes in this book.

zer0darkfire wrote:

Likely a combination of word count limits, that being an entirely different book concept, and that there is already a 3pp version of that out there.

Ideally, if this were to happen it would simply be a free download from paizo for use to us. It requires you to have the original book that the archetype is from, but informs you how to convert to the unchained monk. Overall, I doubt paizo will ever do this, especially with 2e looming around the corner.

Which 3PP would that be? I'd be interested in looking at something like that.


Bellona wrote:

Which 3PP would that be? I'd be interested in looking at something like that.

Well there would be Purple Duck Games' Unchained Monk Archetypes and Everyman Gaming's Everyman Unchained: Monk Archetypes 1 and 2.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Just wanted to say I really like the Chu Ye Enforcer. Whomever wrote that, well done!

Dark Archive

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Belabras wrote:
Just wanted to say I really like the Chu Ye Enforcer. Whomever wrote that, well done!

Thanks! It was a fun one to write. So glad you like it!

Liberty's Edge

M Morris wrote:
Belabras wrote:
Just wanted to say I really like the Chu Ye Enforcer. Whomever wrote that, well done!
Thanks! It was a fun one to write. So glad you like it!

I think it's one of the better vigilante archetypes paizo currently has, although I think the combination of abilities is strange. Gaining abilities when not polymorphed only to gain the ability to polymorph feels kind of odd to me. Don't get me wrong though, it's definitely the best way to play an unarmed vigilante and has some cool stuff.

Scarab Sages

zer0darkfire wrote:
M Morris wrote:
Belabras wrote:
Just wanted to say I really like the Chu Ye Enforcer. Whomever wrote that, well done!
Thanks! It was a fun one to write. So glad you like it!
I think it's one of the better vigilante archetypes paizo currently has, although I think the combination of abilities is strange. Gaining abilities when not polymorphed only to gain the ability to polymorph feels kind of odd to me. Don't get me wrong though, it's definitely the best way to play an unarmed vigilante and has some cool stuff.

Because they are class abilities, they carry over into the polymorph form, so you never need to worry about which form you choose having darkvision so long as you have your oni mask on. I actually thought that was elegantly done.

Liberty's Edge

Belabras wrote:
zer0darkfire wrote:
M Morris wrote:
Belabras wrote:
Just wanted to say I really like the Chu Ye Enforcer. Whomever wrote that, well done!
Thanks! It was a fun one to write. So glad you like it!
I think it's one of the better vigilante archetypes paizo currently has, although I think the combination of abilities is strange. Gaining abilities when not polymorphed only to gain the ability to polymorph feels kind of odd to me. Don't get me wrong though, it's definitely the best way to play an unarmed vigilante and has some cool stuff.
Because they are class abilities, they carry over into the polymorph form, so you never need to worry about which form you choose having darkvision so long as you have your oni mask on. I actually thought that was elegantly done.

Nothing I'm referring to carries over in the polymorph forms. Improved Unarmed Strike with bonus damage, gore natural attack, and possibly even the eye beams are all abilities that you cannot use in your polymorphed forms.

Also, based on the rules for polymorph abilities, it seems you would actually lose your darkvision and low-light vision, but again, that's not what I was referring to and it seems like it might be a grey area. They key factor might be that you probably won't have your oni mask on while polymorphed because gear melds with you, so you'd have to take off your mask, drop it on the ground, then put it back on and hope it fits.

"While under the effects of a polymorph spell, you lose all extraordinary and supernatural abilities that depend on your original form (such as keen senses, scent, and darkvision), as well as any natural attacks and movement types possessed by your original form. You also lose any class features that depend upon form, but those that allow you to add features (such as sorcerers that can grow claws) still function."


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

The only polymorph spells granted by the Chu Ye Enforcer archetype are Alter Self and Giant Form. Neither of these cause equipment to merge into the new form.

Liberty's Edge

David knott 242 wrote:

The only polymorph spells granted by the Chu Ye Enforcer archetype are Alter Self and Giant Form. Neither of these cause equipment to merge into the new form.

That's true, so at the very least you'll keep your mask, which is great since the alternative is quite silly.

Scarab Sages

zer0darkfire wrote:

"While under the effects of a polymorph spell, you lose all extraordinary and supernatural abilities that depend on your original form (such as keen senses, scent, and darkvision), as well as any natural attacks and movement types possessed by your original form. You also lose any class features that depend upon form, but those that allow you to add features (such as sorcerers that can grow claws) still function."

They are class abilities that do not depend on form, only on being in your vigilante identity. So long as you have the mask, you have all the abilities.

Liberty's Edge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I suppose that means that you likely keep your gore attack while polymorphed, which actually makes the archetype even better than I thought since the only ability you sort of don't use while polymorphed is IUS, but that is not that bad since the humanoid forms could still use it and it gives you something to use while you're not polymorphed.

This honestly really makes this one of the best paizo vigilante archetypes in my opinion.


Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook Subscriber
The Mad Comrade wrote:
Fourshadow wrote:
If there ever is Capoeira, it should be open to Bards, IMO.

Acrobatics, Escape Artist and Perform (dance, percussion or stringed instruments) are all part and parcel of both culture and style around Capoeira. Funny part is the classification in game terms of the berimbau - is it a percussion instrument or a stringed instrument?

Martial Arts should not be class-exclusive. Not the styles and physical combat elements, at least.

I agree. I'm trying to find a bard archetype to apply to cover this aspect. The martial arts handbook has a cool idea but it focuses on the physical more than I would have liked.

Liberty's Edge

I will say that Janni Style was the original Capoeira in pathfinder.

Janni Style: This style, originating humbly from the folk traditions of disparate peoples, represents several similar unarmed fighting arts practiced around the world. Regardless of variations in technique, all practitioners have a fluid fighting stance that emphasizes rapid, powerful kicks. The style’s constant motion and graceful footwork lead many to mistakenly view practitioners as highly skilled dancers, a misconception that has allowed the technique to be taught in secret, the hidden weapon of the downtrodden and the oppressed. Openly martial versions of this style lose some of the dance-like qualities but retain the style’s extraordinary kicking techniques and agility.

Take IUS, Janni style, and inspire courage with dancing. I know it isn't as fun as a full mechanical archetype, but it definitely has a lot of the flavor if you think about it. You could even take dervish of dawn for that solo/double self inspire if you so desire.


It would seem that Multiclassing a Brawling Blademaster with a Monk is a great combo, but... when I am granted for the second time Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat, does this simply make me lose a feat, or can I retrain one of them?


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Bardess wrote:
It would seem that Multiclassing a Brawling Blademaster with a Monk is a great combo, but... when I am granted for the second time Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat, does this simply make me lose a feat, or can I retrain one of them?

You have a redundant feat, as in each case you receive the feat Improved Unarmed Strike (no choice to be made). If there were an archetype of either class that traded that feat in for something else, I would go for that.

It would be worth it if the damage between the two classes stacked, but unfortunately it doesn't.

Liberty's Edge

Zero the Nothing wrote:
Mikko Kallio wrote:

Just got my contributor copies; I wrote the Weapon Specialists section, which includes the black powder vaulter, brawling blademaster, Okayo corsair, spear fighter, stick-fighting feats, and weapon tricks.

It was a fun section to design. It was also my last PF1 assignment for Paizo, so this is the end of a chapter in my freelance career... and the beginning of a new one. :-)

Good job on Okayo Corsair, I really really like that archetype. Good luck to you in your future contribution assignments.

I also really like this one because I love parry and riposte, but it wasn't easy to do with unarmed attacks before this archetype came out. I do find it kind of strange that it doesn't actually give you improved unarmed strike for free, but it has some cool abilities and it is easy to make up for (brass knuckles or just taking the feat/multiclassing).

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