Posted on May 28, 2009 by Megan
The Introduction begins by discussing the true tools of a warrior: not so much his weapons and armour, but his skills and techniques. The best fighters may even be know for a particular style or manoeuvre that has become a trademark. This book is laid out so as to help you to develop such a character, one tailored to the style you wish him to have. Each of the martial character classes – fighter, ranger, rogue, and warlord – has a chapter dedicated to honing characters of that class, and the book rounds out with a massive listing of new feats which may be used to good effect. While some players may take the opportunity to build a new character from the bottom up using these resources, allowance has also been made for those who wish to revise existing martial characters in the light of what is written here.
Chapter 1 looks at the Fighter. There’s a wealth of ways to develop a fighter character, depending on the vision that you have for the sort of fighter you want him to be – a precise technician of war, a wild and frothing axe-wielding savage, or something in between. Firstly there are two new fighter builds – the battlerager and the tempest – which you can pick in place of those in the core rulebook. The battlerager thrives on the excitement of battle while the tempest specialises in two-weapon fighting. These builds are complemented by new class features and powers. While aimed at the builds, any fighter might find them of interest depending in the way in which he is to develop. Notes are scattered throughout with ideas for what you might do, some specific to a certain character race and others of more general application. The chapter ends with new paragon paths along which characters may develop.
Next, Chapter 2 addresses the ranger in much the same way. The new build allows for the ranger who wishes to work in close association with an animal: as partner, not pet or tamed creature. For those choosing this route of beastmaster, there are lots of additional resources, not to mention sample details of beasts with which you might partner.Not all the options are associated with the beastmaster role, so rangers who have chosen to specialize in archery or in melee combat will find plenty of material with which to work.
Chapter 3 is all about Rogues, who come in a great number of varieties, from street thugs who bully their way through life to cultured spies risking all in the service of their nation (or for love of the Great Game). Despite a tendency to view the rogue’s purpose to be an efficient killing machine, which is actually a minor part of most Rogue’s intentions, there are some interesting new options. New builds are the aerialist – who takes acrobatic feats to new heights – and the cutthroat, skilled at intimidation and threats. All manner of new powers serve to enhance the capabilities of any rogue, and there are new paragon paths to aspire to as well: the cloaked sniper and the death dealer well suited to those who might wish to add assassin to their range, and a daring acrobat suited to any top-story man, performer or spy (and useful if you fancy a ‘wire-fu’ fighting style as well). The true professional might prefer to aim for guildmaster thief, and there are others to choose from as well.
Chapter 4 turns attention to the Warlord. Their mastery in combat is that of leadership and tactics, and the new builds, class features and powers are aimed at empowering a number of different ways in which to achieve that mastery. Whether you like to lead from the front or plan combat carefully, there are again a lot of options to enable you to develop the style you want.
Finally, Chapter 5 looks at Martial Options – in the main, a wide selection of feats aimed at combat-focussed characters. It includes multiclass feats for those of other classes who want to add martial prowess to their other talents – and in such a combat-oriented ruleset that is well worth considering! – or for characters who wish to combine expertise from more than one of the martial classes explored in this book. The chapter ends with a collection of epic destinies to aim for as your character develops and rises in level.
Overall, this book brings a whole raft of new options to develop characters in precisely the direction that you intend, or perhaps to suggest new option that might not have occurred to you. Never say ‘Oh, he is just a fighter’ again, with this work you can customize heroes about whom legends will be written.
Review by Megan Robertson