By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Rite Publishing is 21 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 2 pages of advertisement, leaving 16 pages of content for the new feats.
First of all, let me say that I LOVE the concept of this pdf. Providing support for some of the best 3pp-classes, regardless of who put them out, is a prime example of the Open Gaming spirit. The fact that Steven D. Russell managed to get the approval to provide the additional content from the respective creators and publishers not only is an example of a great cooperation between 3pps, but also a sign of class for anyone involved. On behalf of 3pp-fans out there – thank you!
Thankfully, I own most, but not all of the sourcebooks for which the feats are written, I hope to be sufficiently competent with regards to reviewing this. I’ll go through the contents class by class, starting with Super Genius Games’ Armiger.
The Armiger is an interesting class that takes some unique approaches in being a martial class that tries to be incredibly tough. While the strength of the class, its incredible toughness, make it seem rather powerful, I do like the concept of the class, though I still maintain that they have to be handled with care. 7 new feats for the armiger are herein, two of which are tactical gold: Counter Assault lets you, as a full-attack action cancel out all melee attacks of a foe for one round and prevent said foe from escaping, all with rock-solid mechanics. The ability to partially use a targeted redirection of effects that cause Ref-saves is another feat that is elegantly designed, well-written and makes for extremely iconic situations. The armiger class benefits quite a bit from these feats, adding some neat iconic stunts to pull off for the tanks.
Next up is Green Ronin’s Corsair-class from the Freeport Companion with 7 new feats. I’m a Freeport-fanboy. I own ALL the adventures. Even the rare bad ones. The Corsair is an excellent class and the feats capture the iconic feeling of playing a swashbuckling pirate. Many of the feats centre on interesting ways to use the Corsair’s Luck class feature – “Flesh Wound”, for example, lets you heal a limited amount of your own damage due to the wounds being only minor flesh-wounds, while “Better you the me” enables you to exchange places with an ally to make them take the hit for an attack/effect 3/day. Neat feats!
The Divine Channeler, one of my favourite 3pp-divine classes has seen a lot of support from its author Jonathan McAnulty in the different issues of Pathways and this book also offers some love for this great class and the 9 new feats..well, they are awesome. From the ability to sheathe yourself in negative or positive energy, it is 2 feats that really open new tactical options – the ability to delay a channelling effect by creating a node of energy and one to even imbue this energy in your allies as a kind of minor contingency – the options make for new and exciting tactical options.
The next class featured is Super Genius Games’ Dragon Rider, who gets 7 new feats. I have to come clear with regards to this class. I don’t own the Genius Guide to the Dragon Rider, primarily because I like my dragons as epic wyrms and personally don’t like the idea of having a PC with a dragon mount. And yeah, while I like villains with dragon mounts, I don’t enjoy heroes going this route. That being said, the feats, as far as I can glean, are interesting and could be salvaged for other companion/mount-centric classes. From the ability to shield other between rider and mount to the ability to instantly summon the mount to the iconic feat to short-way teleport and exchange positions with helpless creatures, the heroic aspect of diving to the rescue of others on your draconic ally are well-presented. The rider can even gain access to the dragon’s breath weapon, making these feats interesting choices as far as I can tell.
The second class I don’t have access to is 4 Wind Fantasy Gaming’s Gladiator from the Paths of Power book and I have to say that the feats made me VERY intrigued indeed in the class and the book. Taking inspiration from not only traditional gladiatorial sports, but also from the present’s equivalent, professional wrestling. There is a feat that lets you build up 2 personas and split reputations between them/have face and heel reputations, a feat that lets you determine the exact amounts of non-lethal damage you deal without penalty (GOLD) and even again devastating signature finishing moves. You know that feats are well-written when they make you anxious to check out the class they’re for.
Super Genius Games’ Godlings probably need no introduction for the most of you – for those who do not know, they are essentially mortals descended from gods in the style of e.g. Herakles and by now have 4 different base-class iterations. They also constitute one of my favourite SGG-classes out there in fluff and mechanics. The feats herein are interesting and add to the divine heritage of the godlings by providing the ability t grant minor bonuses to their allies, requiring less sleep, impart a fraction of their divinity in their allies and, coolest of all lets you gain a subdomain’s powers in addition to you lineage domain’s power. Excellent and could easily be modified to make a feat from to get access to an exalted domain instead. (Require the feat and substitute the domain’s lineage ability with the exalted domain’s ability.) Nice and makes an already awesome class more versatile. However, there is a reprint of the extra scion talent, which is a minor bummer.
0onegames is up next, to be precise, one of the classes from the ennie-award winning “Great City Player’s Guide” gets added support. And what kind of support! The glorious Guttermage gets some of the coolest feats herein – From the abilities to expand upon the signature Jinx-abilities to an ability to essentially deal additional barrage damage to foes under negative conditions, the feats rock. I especially loved a jinx that includes kissing and spitting at a foe (Stephen King’s Thinner, or similar movies, anyone?) to the ability to perceive magical traps and even grow poisonous pustules that you can pop to debilitate your foes, the Guttermage is disturbing, flavourful and cool.
Next up is one of my favourite classes from RiP, the Luckbringer, who gets 7 feats, mostly centring on gaining more moments of chance, nothing is written and improbable-uses, but also the ability to force rerolls of damage-dice from e.g. a fireball. My favourite feat, though, lets you use hazard to overcome the regeneration of a foe if you’re aware of what can overcome the regeneration. I’m a big fan of the luckbringer-class and would have liked to see some more feats to do more heavily modify luckbringer abilities.
The Taskshaper (also by RiP) gets similar feats to expand upon their respective class-ability uses, but personally, I consider their other feats to be a bit more enticing than the Luckbringer’s: We get a feat that lets you spend limit amounts of moment of change-usages per day to balefully polymorph your foes, one to make your reaction time faster and one that lets you destabilize your foes via moment of change and thus greatly impede their ability to function – nice and disturbing in its imagery.
The Time Thief by Super Genius Games, one of the prime examples of class-design and another favourite of mine gets some rather interesting new options as well – E.g. the ability to use bolt time via motes and not only aevum and even extend your bolt time over a whole round. The Time Thief also learns to heal her (and her allies) minor wounds via the controlled application of her motes of time. It should be noted that these feats are just as suitable for the equally excellent Time Warden class, enhancing their usability. When all’s said and done, though, I wasn’t completely blown out of the water by these.
Next up is the Vanguard, also by Super Genius Games, which gets 8 new feats. Those of you following my reviews might know that while I did like the Vanguard-class, I concluded it to be rather linear and more or less obsolete with the release of the Magus. Can these feats remedy that? Actually..yeah. At least they are a great start. Let me elaborate: One of my main gripes with the Vanguard, besides its linearity, was the fact that the class did not offer enough unique signature abilities that distinguish it from other classes. While there are “Improved”-style feats herein, the feats that let you do new stuff are what make me recommend this section in particular: We get a feat that lets you sacrifice spells for protective magical auras, one that grants you the ability to blast foes with unerring, magic missile-like projectiles and the specific fighting style that enables you to get attacks of opportunity to combat manoeuvres even though your foe not necessarily provokes them. Vanguard Tactics is a great feat idea, but in my humble opinion too strong as written: As a swift action, you grant all your allies a circumstance bonus equal to your Cha-modifier to crit confirmation checks, combat manoeuvres, initiative and reflex saves. You may also grant them access to a teamwork feat you know without them having to qualify for it. While these bonuses only last for 3 rounds and end when you get stunned, dazed, etc., the fact that there’s no limit to the amount of times this feat can be used per day makes it too powerful for my tastes. There is also a feat that is plain brilliant, though, as it solves the linearity of the Vanguard-class elegantly by providing access to sorcerer bloodline powers, enabling you to take the feat consecutive times to get access to higher-level bloodline powers as well and making the class much, much more distinct.
The next class by Super Genius Games is the War Master, who gets expanded uses of his tactical prowess, e.g. enabling his allies to share combat feats and even use your tactics faster. Especially when combined with Inquisitors, this class may make for very smart-fighting groups and foes indeed. I would have loved some feats centring on the interaction of battle tactics and teamwork feats, though.
The penultimate class, again by Super Genius Games, is the glorious Witch Hunter, one of my favourite tropes from dark fantasy literature, and another fine example of design, but how does the class benefit from this pdf? Quite a bit, actually! The Witch Hunter can now have an even better preternatural sense of witchcraft, enabling the hunter to determine the relative (but thankfully not exact!) strength of the foe she faces. Other feats expand the power of their devoted strikes. Mystical Reaper is also a neat feat, enabling you to use spellbane and curse-breaker in one attack. Shrewd Will is an interesting feat, though one I’m personally a bit leery of: Once you’ve taken this feat, you’re completely immune against reductions of your Wis-score from poison, disease, curses, spell-like or supernatural abilities. While this does not eliminate all potential sources of Wis-loss, it is rather powerful when compared to many other feats. Spell Anathema is a feat that also might be considered powerful, but fitting for the Witch Hunter: Each time you strike a foe with devoted strike, they potentially risk losing their highest level spell slot/spell-like ability for the day on a failed caster level check.
The final class is from the excellent Wayfinder magazine, the Wolf Shifter. The 7 feats herein logically expand upon the transformational powers of the shifter and can even learn to shift into different animals, greatly expanding the focus of the class and accounting for all kinds of weird shifters out there. The other feats for the class are logical expansions of the already existing class abilities.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to RiP’s two-column full-colour standard. The pdf comes without bookmarks, but the artworks are neat, several featuring the covers of their respective origin books.
I really like the concept of this pdf in that it offers a nice selection of feats to support some of the coolest classes out there. Even better, the feats herein make a damn good job at enticing you to buy the respective books for the originating classes you don’t yet own, they’re that good. If there were “feat-holes” for the classes like a lack of feats to e.g. expand upon moments of chance or ones to take more class-specific talents, this pdf remedies the respective minor shortcomings reliably. Even better, it enhances some of the best classes out there by providing a neat array of feat, which in some cases are downright awesome (Guttermage, baby!) or add iconicity to an existing class (Vanguard!). That being said, I did consider some feats a bit more powerful than I’m comfortable with, but me being a rather conservative DM with regards to PC-power, that is to be expected sometimes. There also are some feats that grant you access to e.g. more moments of change etc. and while they are valid choices and provide a nice addition to the feat-roster, they are not necessarily as awesome as I would have liked – useful to have, but not necessarily feats to get too excited about, which is especially evident when compared to some of the stellar feats herein. The overall quality of the write-ups and new options can convince you to check out classes you haven’t considered until now, which indicates a rather well done job. My final verdict will thus be 4.5 stars. If you want wholly original feats, round down. If you like to also have feats to close feat-holes like granting more uses to class abilities, round up.
101 Renegade Class Feats (PFRPG) is available from: