By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Dreamscarred Press is 33 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving a whopping 30 pages of content, so let’s dive in!
After the by-now obligatory introduction to the series and basic concepts, we are introduced to the new base-class, the Tactician. The class gets d8, 4+Int skills per level, medium BAB, good will-save, up to 343 PSP and access to 20 powers of up to 9th level. The Tactician utilizes a similar mechanic as the Vitalist in that the class designates members of a collective who then benefit from the abilities and powers of the class. Where the vitalist focused primarily on healing/support, the tactician’s focus is on coordinating allies, granting them bonuses and providing help with so-called strategies, which essentially are talents for the class. 12 strategies are provided. That’s not where the lass stops, though: Much like the Inquisitor, 6th-level tacticians get a teamwork feat and are better at using it. However, they can essentially change their teamwork feats via a paltry hour of meditation – all of them, not just the latest. While he does not get solo-tactics, this ability essentially grants him a multiple selection of ALL Teamwork-feats in one.
I don’t like that. One bit. The most interesting ability of the Tactician, though, at least for me, is that starting at 8th level, they may echo spells and powers cast on members of their collective for a cost in PSP. If you’re already thinking about how broken this ability is by my description, fret not, for actually there are a number of restrictions on this supernatural ability that make it actually work at the table without unhinging your game.
Following the format of the Psionics Expanded pdfs, this one also features more crunchy bits for the psionic base-classes, to be precise the Insight and Jaunting disciplines for the psion and the new Gladiator Psychic Warrior path. Especially the latter is rather bland, though. To make up for that minor shortcoming, psychic warriors gain the new Traceur-archetype, a fighter centered on agility, movement and acrobatics. A valid and interesting choice for those of you who would love to make a swashbuckling psychic warrior…after all, up the walls is twice as cool when you use it to run up to a chandelier and let it crash down.
8 feats are included in the deal, most of which expand upon the collective. There are some overlaps with the other Psionics Expanded-books here. The new powers are prefaced by a complete powers-list for the Tactician, as well as lists that denote the place of the new powers on the grid for the psionic core-classes. If I haven’t miscounted, you’ll get 33 new powers from this pdf, including, again, some overlap with “Mind over Body” – “brutalize wounds”, one of my favorites, is included in this pdf as well. It should also be noted that there’s a variety of “Distract” included in the count and some others like “Conceal thoughts” as well, which have been modified. It should be noted that there are several powers included that share the [Network]-descriptor, just like for the vitalist. The tactician offers the more compelling usages of [Network]-powers, though – via combinations of character strengths and weaknesses, plain old buffs and repositioning allies, the powers and class offer a neat array of options to strategically help your allies and pool their strengths.
In contrast to the first two PE-pdfs, this one also includes favored racial class options for the tactician-class for both the PU-races and the core-races.
This installment’s PrC is the sighted seeker, who gets d8, 6+Int skills per level, medium BAB, medium ref-and will-saves and minor (up to 86) PSP, access to powers of up to 4th level and can learn 12 powers from the sighted seeker powers-list…which is now part of the deal. This is very good, as the PrC ROCKS incredibly hard – essentially, the sighted seeker is an urban ranger with clairsentient powers and superhuman analyzing abilities. The only way that could have made this PrC even cooler, would be synergy with SGG’s stellar Investigator-class (which admittedly had not yet been released when this pdf came out).
Finally, we get a headband that can mindlink a bunch of people.
Editing and formatting are very good – while I did not notice any major glitches. Layout adheres to the two-column standard and the full-color artworks are, for the first time in PE, consistent in quality and rock. Their unified style lends a sense of wholeness to the installment that has been absent from the first two. The pdf comes fully bookmarked.
In contrast to the first two PE-books, I have nothing major to complain about with regards to the base-class apart from it being slightly more linear in its abilities than I personally prefer. However, the overlapping of content is a minor downer. Content-wise, this is my favourite of the first 3 PE-books, but in execution I’ll have to detract stars for the lack of bookmarks and the missing list as well as for some balancing concerns. I’m also not entirely sure how the class holds up when directly compared to Tactical Archetypes, the War Master from SGG or similar classes and soon will know more about that, as a player of mine wants to play a tactician. I’ll keep you updated. In the end, I’ll settle for a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4.
Psionics Expanded: Pawns and Powers is available from:
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So what do you think?