By Thilo Graf
This first installment of Abandoned Arts’ new product line is 4 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, two pages of content, so let’s take a look!
Each of the issues is focused on a different race and this one provides us with 3 traits – +1 to saves vs. traps and environmental hazards, 1 skill point and one trait that grants +1 to deceive or request favors, the bonus doubled to +2 when dealing with humanoids. Humans may now also opt to replace their skilled racial trait with +2 to cha-based skills when interacting with indifferent, friendly or helpful creatures or alternatively, treat profession as a class skill with a bonus of +4 to skill checks. The latter seems slightly too high for my conservative tastes, but seeing how Craft is generally more useful than profession, I’m still fine with it.
Beyond these, we also get 5 new feats exclusively available to humans:
- Diligent professional: Roll twice when using craft or profession to earn money and take 10 to answer basic questions related to your chosen field of expertise.
- Human Spirit: Based on Defiant Luck and Surge of Success, this lets you recover all daily uses of defiant luck (and inexplicable luck, if you also have it) when rolling a natural 20 on a roll modified by Surge of Success. Since surge of success is already based on good luck, this feat offers powerful benefits – but at a very specific circumstance – 2 crits or 2 natural 20s in one round. A feat for gamblers, I guess, but none I particularly care about.
- Mortal Pride: You don’t take a penalty to atk, saving throws and skill or ability-checks for being shaken, but without becoming immune to it.
- Skillful Study: +2 skill points. Boring.
- Who, me?- +4 on saves versus alignment-depending effects and spells. Slightly too powerful for my tastes.
The second page of the pdf features the Siegemaster-archetype for the fighter-class and I LOVE it – the archetype replaces weapon and armour training and bravery with a slew of abilities that makes sure he is a master of siege weapons and that his crew is more efficient. Leadership via Int instead of Cha also makes this more interesting – Great to see the, in my opinion, much neglected siege weapons/warfare components feature more prominently, especially with the announced mass combat rules by Paizo making the option to run war-campaigns a much more distinct possibility.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any significant glitches. Layout adheres to a 2-column, no-frills standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.
Honestly, the traits and feats of this installment left me personally rather cold, being a tad bit too specific or not falling 100% within my comfort-zone regarding their benefits – but the Siegemaster is a great idea and something that simply hasn’t been done by anyone so far. (Though I’d allow the archetype for dwarves as well…) All in all – this was a mixed bag for me, though one that, at its fair price point, is a solid addition to one’s array. Hence I’ll settle for a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform UNLESS you plan a war-style campaign – then the siegemaster would make me round up for you.
Amazing Races: Humans! is available from: