By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Super Genius Games is 13 pages long, 1/3 page front cover, 1 page credits and SRD, leaving 11 2/3 pages of content for the new archetypes, so check them out!
Over the course of the first 6 pages, we are introduced to the concept of archetypes and sound advice on how to modify base-classes and design archetypes yourself. This section is comprehensively-written, smart and offers a slew of nice tools and warnings to heed when you work on them yourself. For the old-school gamers among you, archetypes are similar to 2nd edition kits, swapping class abilities with other ones, the SGG-take being general, i.e. each class can potentially take each archetype.
The new archetypes presented herein, of course, focus on ranged combat, the first of which already found his way into my campaign: The alchemical archer uses his trick arrows to impede and hamper the enemy and 5 kinds of extraordinary ammunition-types are also presented. If you want a general direction, think either Hawkeye or Green Arrow and you’ll know what to expect. Spellbows may imbue their ammunition with magic and magical qualities. The Tempest can get arrows in the air – a lot of them, resulting in a true hail of arrows raining down upon his foes and even ay a covering volley of arrows upon a field, threatening every area. The mechanics for this ability are so well-thought I’d use them on more occasions, e.g. when dealing with PCs marching through the cover-fire of an enemy regiment of elite-archers. The final archetype is the Zen-archer, an archetype who can use his highest attribute instead of his dex-mod to atk, up to his class-level. More importantly, though, is the ability of hitting targets based on intuition rather than sight and even shoot blindly or counterattacking via ranged attacks.
Next up are 5 feats (2 of which from the Genius Guide to feats of battle) that enhance your sniper’s capabilities by letting them fight with ammunition in melee, rerolling 1s on damage dice (rogues will love it), using INT instead of DEX and a defensive and offensive shots, the former negating AoOs and the latter sacrificing damage for improved accuracy.
The pdf closes with archetype packages for SGG-class guides.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice a single glitch. Layout adheres to the horizontal three-column standard by SGG and the artworks are ok. The pdf unfortunately has no bookmarks, but at this length, that’s ok and no reason to detract a star. Onwards to the content, then. This is, in fact, where the pdf truly shines: Each and every one of the 4 archetypes is elegant in its design, extremely easy to drop in just about any campaign setting and features a lot of potential for fun and cool ways to give the oomph back to archers without tipping the scales of game-balance. While the spellbow was slightly less imaginative than the other three, we still get some superbly-crafted pieces of crunch in this pdf. My only gripe with this guide is that I would have loved to see more special ammunition for the alchemical archer. Perhaps in a future installment that takes the APG-alchemist into account? MY final verdict will thus be 5 stars – a well done addition to any campaign!
A Necromancer’s Grimoire – Spirit Warriors is available from: