the-enforcer[1]By Megan Robertson

An unusual concept to conjure with…

Publisher’s blurb: “Skilled at the use of force, calm under fire, and able to adapt and overcome, the enforcer is the epitome of the modern combatant: soldier, mercenary, SWAT operative, mafia hit man, or even martial arts champion. As adept with the tools of personal combat as most people are with the TV remote, the enforcer is comfortable with anything from an M1911 to a mini-gun.

“Or, when stranded in a primitive land and being rushed by orcs, a morningstar.

“The modern combatant stuck in a primitive, fantasy-themed world is a common trope in adventure fiction, especially the ‘planetary romances’ of early fantasy. Each volume in the Anachronistic Adventurers series examines a modern character type in relation to a typical fantasy setting, complete with classes, equipment, feats, and other relevant rules.”

The Review

Everyone sometimes wonders how a ‘modern’ person would get along in the fantasy setting of their choice, here is a character class that lets you find out without all that tedious modification (says she who took a bunch of Dark Conspiracy characters and dropped them into an AD&D 2e world based on the Conan stories!). The ‘Enforcer’ is defined as that individual who is trained and accustomed to use brute force to impose his will on those around him, whether at behest of the state or a mob boss… SWAT team member, elite soldier, even a mixed martial artist.

Naturally, our Enforcer is assumed to have been raised and trained in the modern world, before he ended up in a fantasy one. To reflect this, an additional two skills can be taken as class skills, and the character gets 3 +Int bonus skills ranks per level. Depending on background, the character may or may not have access to skills like Spellcraft or Use Magical Device. They can also choose an ‘archetype’ and have access to a range of appropriate talents – being able to duck, to shake off the effects of adverse conditions (dazed or confused and so on) or focus on producing an extreme effort. And should an enforcer reach 20th level he gains the quality of Enforcement, the ability to be so calm in combat that he can take 10 on an attack roll or CMB check – talk about presence of mind!

The Archetypes enable you to customise your Enforcer to suit the background and role that you have in mind. Some – like the Devil Dog – are aimed at a particular type of combatant, perhaps with reference to the historical time period in which he operated, whilst others are more generic. The Knee-Breaker is for those who serve mob bosses as ‘muscle’ and the Prize Fighter serves to model anyone who fights for his living and others’ entertainment, irrespective of what style he uses. It can also be used in the creation of any professional-level athlete or the ‘augmented’ soldier trained and perhaps modified to the ultimate.

Next, a glance at Anachronistic Equipment. Given the concept of transporting the Enforcer from his modern world to a fantasy one, you will have to account for any weapons or other equipment that he brought with him (especially if your concept includes the ability to commute between the two settings). Even if restocking is not possible, an Enforcer with basic gunsmithing and hand-loading skills will be able to keep a firearm operating in a fantasy setting, even before enlisting the help of wizards and alchemists for more fantastical solutions. There is also a new take on rules for using firearms, designed to reflect the use of MODERN firearms in a fantasy world, rather than the alchemical and primitive ones envisioned in such as Pathfinder’s Gunslinger class. This is optional, and it would be perfectly possible to run an Enforcer without them. The two sets of rules can even be run in tandem if you wish to highlight the difference between a modern firearm and the sort developed in the fantasy world itself.

There are also some new Feats designed with the Enforcer in mind, some of which could be useful for any combat-honed characters. Then comes a discussion of Progress Level, which is being introduced to explain what a character from a particular setting is familiar with and is able to use. It cuts both ways, of course, the average fantasy wizard is as inept with a modern TV remote control as a modern person might be with the use of a sunrod. It’s not impossible, but the item in question is not something you’re used to so you need to be told or shown how to make use of it. To use the system, determine the Progress Level where the character was raised and with which he’s most familiar. Whenever that character levels and might take a new weapon proficiency, he can choose to instead take a Progress Level proficiency in the use of everyday items (including weapons) appropriate to the Progress Level in which he is now operating. An interesting and elegant solution, which should go some way to modelling how a character will, over time and with experience, become familiar with the things around him in the new setting in which he finds himself.

This is a well-presented piece, going beyond the mere new class itself to look how to deal with some of the issues that arise with the underlying concept of taking someone out of their own time. All the discussions are presented thoughtfully, so that in understanding how the designer reached his conclusions, you can decide if you want to use them or provides a basis on which, if you’re so minded, you can modify them to suit your own needs.

Book Details:
Author: Owen K.C. Stephens
Publishers’ Reference: OWC5097
ISBN: n/a
PDF, 18 pages
Date: April 2011

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