Sunday, August 12, 2012

Reviews - Abandoned Arts Class Acts Archetype series

Review finalized

Here we go with another set of stuff from Abandoned Arts. These guys are producing faster than rabbits it seems! (Again I will be returning to this thread as I complete the reviews)

This new series of supplements focuses on, one of my favorite aspects that Pathfinder introduced, archetypes. The reason I enjoy archetypes so much is that they allow tweaking of the classes without creating an entirely new class. The first four the guys sent to me for review are the core classes:


Four Page supplement that has 1-2/3 pages of crunch. Page 1 is the cover, first 1/3 of page 2 is the description of an archetype, the rest is the Miracle Worker. Page 3 is the Voodoo Priest, and page 4 is the OGL.
Two new archetypes, The Miracle Worker and the Voodoo Priest.

The Miracle Worker strays from traditional archetypes a bit, but that's what archetypes can be, unique. The miracle worker is complex, as it gives up channeling for the ability to add secondary spell effects when certain conditions are met. Such as adding a prepared shatter spell to a 5th level or higher spell cast with the air or sound descriptor as a swift action. Interesting, and very complex. It's complex enough that I can't really go into it without reprinting the entire description.

The Voodoo Priest is great. I think it captures the essence of the Voodoo priest very well.  The class gives up medium armor, shield and has a very limited selection of weapons. The channeling works differently as they channel loa, rather than a god's power, making it very useful for NPCs and not as useful as a character class. They gain a Loa Patron instead of a deity, which grants them two sets of domain choices, however they don't gain domain powers, just the spell slots, which makes them similar to a divine witch.

I think I would only use the Voodoo priest personally, it would make an interesting PF Goblin Spiritual Leader. I think the Miracle Worker is more player oriented, but the loss of Channeling is very painful to a small party, as a secondary healer, awesome. (Though it might have been a better Oracle). Ruinous Belief is a powerful ability, allowing the priest to add meta-magic feats to their spells which can only be cast on those previously scared by either a priests' spell (shaken, panicked or frightened), or intimidated by the priest (aka give your NPC Voodoo priests high intimidation skills.) Finally the Voodoo Priest gain Voodoo Poppet, to create Voodoo dolls, oh yeah, awesome.

Overall it's a unique, well-written supplement with two archetypes of limited use.
16 of 20

Three archetypes are presented, The Lasher (perfect Golarion gnoll archetype), The Sentinel and The Soldier.
The Lasher - This is a master of chain and whip, giving up heavier armor and tower shield for mastery of a brutal combat style. A Gnoll packmaster might be one of these brutal combatants, or perhaps a nasty addition to a Kyton. This is a brilliant archetype, well written, not over-powered and full of flavorful abilities. I really like punishing lash, which allows the lasher to suppress beneficial morale bonuses after a successful intimidate check.

The Sentinel - A bodyguard style archetype. It's already been done, but always nice to have a different take on it, especially for a non-dwarf. With only 3 abilities, this is a good fit as a defensive archetype, though it loses weapon mastery 1-4, but gains the Bodyguard feat in lieu of Armor Training 1. It will be a good class archtype for defending that goblin voodoo priest.

The Soldier - The soldier has an issue with its first level fighter bonus feat, I think the must take a teamwork feat was overwritten by the Trained Fighter ability which replaces the Fighter's 1st level bonus feat. Loyalty is a very weak class feature, replacing armor 1, but only granting minor bonus to Will saves versus charm/compulsion, don't get me wrong, it's good to have more will for a fighter, but its limited. Disciplined defense is nice, granting a +1 attack bonus (evolving), on AoOs.  Heroic beyond death replacing the normal fighter capstone, is better for people who knew the fighter before his death (probably caused by no Weapon Mastery).

17 of 20

Four Archetypes: Hoodwink, Lookout, Urban Stalker, and The Wormtongue.
(I think sometime I'll create a rogue's Guild that contains at least 1 of every archetype, it would make for a unique, albeit, complicated guild-crawl...heh)

Hoodwink -  The hoodwink is a slippery sneak with an uncanny ability to stay one step ahead of stronger or more powerful opponents. This tricky scoundrel excels at frustrating and harrying opponents with assorted tricks and traps. It consists of 2 class abilities, Bag of Tricks (ex), and Addling attack (ex). Bag of Tricks is about bonuses to bluff, craft(traps) and disguise as well as caltrop attacks, giving up trapfinding. Addling attack switches out sneak attack damage for rounds of confusion, with a Will save. Great archetype.

Lookout - Lookouts are wary rogues with an emphasis on scouting, keeping watch, identifying danger, and taking point positions. Truly an asset to any team of adventurers or dungeon-delvers, the lookout’s job is simple: to keep his allies alive in the field. This archetype also swaps out 2 abilities, gaining Eye for Danger and Nose for Trouble for 4th and 8th level rogue talents. Good archetype for possibly thwarting enemy rogues.

Urban Stalker - Urban predators and serial murderers, these deranged and deadly rogues earn a deservedly-fearsome reputation. A gruesome breed of sadistic killers, the urban stalker takes perverse pleasure in the fear he inspires and the pain he inflicts.  This is the archeytpe you want if you're wanting to create a brutal antagonist, Infamous Deeds, Urban Predator, Bloody Senak Attack, and Heartless capture the feeling of the homocidal serial killer.

Wormtongue - Truly a master of deception, the wormtongue is a consummate liar and a manipulator without peer. Blending subtle magic with expert skills and slippery social graces, the wormtongue is a dangerously skilled schemer. This archetype is the polar opposite of the Urban Stalker, the silvertongued manipulator. Five abilities make this a very different feel. Web of Lies (ex) makes them amazing liars. Betrayer (ex) grants a feat in place of evasion, minor enchantments (ex) is nice because it lets the rogue select minor and major magic multiple times with enchantment spells, while Talented Enchanter (ex) makes those same enchantments harder to resist. The final ability, Sow Dissent (su) lets the wormtongue influence enemies with great effectiveness. My favorite archetype in this supplement.

17 of 20...+1 for GMs looking for some great archetypes to throw their players off-balance.

Again, Two archetypes: The Animist, and the Guild Scholar.
Saved the best for last in this series of reviews...

The Animist studies an arcane art long since lost to most wizardly schools and practices – the strange and wondrous ability to bestow the inanimate with a semblance of life! I think perhaps should be called the Animator, however that's the only issue I have with this product. (Animist is more about all objects having souls than about animating said objects, which is what this archetype is about.) These are the transmuters which are masters of animating objects, even their own weaponry, gaining Hand of the Animist, at first level which is identical to Hand of the apprentice, replacing telekinetic fist. Object Familiar (su) replaces Arcane Bond, and provides an animated object as a familiar, which is built using 1 Construction Point utilizing the Animate object rules in ultimate magic. Replacing the Shape Change ability is the Empower Familiar class ability, which allows an increasing of the animated object (including additional Construction Pts.)  The Final ability replaces the 10th and 20th level bonus feats, but grants animate object and the ability to swap construction points for special attacks with the objects. This ONE archetype is worth the price of admission. amazing NPC diviner is also added.

The Guild Scholar - Promising arcane academics sometimes pursue a unique training program that emphasizes research and study, both mundane and divinatory, and delves deep into the arcane sciences of glyphs, symbols, and other runic spells.
It fills an oft overlooked archetypical gap, that of a guild trained wizard researcher. While it's not a great PC archetype, I love the flavor of it, from the Bonded spellbook, to erase (simple but very flavorful to the class), Guild Runic (granting special powers when modifying scrolls and symbols. Guild researcher is perfect for representing the NPC Sage that you go to to look for answers to the hardest questions at breakfast, and then come back at tea time for your answer. Finally, the Capstone, the Guild scholar becomes an intelligent magic item book...a VERY intelligent one. Amazing way to pass down your old character's legacy to a new one, or as a piece of crucial treasure. Great for an NPC, decent for a player.

It's a Solid 19 of 20, almost as good as it gets.