By Thilo Graf
This pdf from Super Genius Games is 16 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page credits/SRD, leaving 14 1/3 pages of content for the pistol-wielding heroes, so let’s give them a closer look!
The pdf starts by providing a new selection of 19 deeds as well as several new approaches to make the PCs choose said deeds from the now expanded list: Essentially, you could restrict access via the number of deeds gained or allow the option of feats granting access or even a combination thereof. The ideas presented reminded me of the advanced options-title that expanded upon the inquisitor’s options, which is quite nice. A complete list of all deeds now available is provided for convenience’s sake, which is just the amount of comfort I enjoy in a pdf. The deeds per se are balanced in the way we’ve come to expect from Super Genius Games and offer us a neat plethora of new options that range from trick shots over the ability to entertain/cow others via marksmanship to the ability to deliver devastating fusillades. I considered none of the deeds over-powered or useless and especially “Will to Kill”, which lets you ignore e.g. domination long enough to get through one shot just blew me away in its iconicity.
Next up are new grit-feats, 14 to be precise and what can I say, I LOVE them – from the ability to put hexes into your ammunition to a pistol-wielding inquisitor’s ability to use judgments to offset misfires, the combo-class feats ROCK and are open to both multiclass characters and amateur gunslingers. Have I mentioned the feat that lets wild-shaped druids use firearms while wild-shaped? Bears with guns strapped to them? Yes, please! Especially aforementioned inquisitor feat and the Grenadier-feat that enhances the alchemist’s bomb-throwing rock. Gaining additional deeds and improving close-quarter capabilities also feature among the new options. Once again, the options are well-balanced, ooze style and make for valid options.
The pdf does not stop there, though, and offers us rules to provide for characters that use Int and Cha instead of Wis for their Grit-like abilities. Going one step beyond, we get lists as well as 2 deeds that make it possible to use the grit-mechanic with weapons that are not firearms – most astoundingly, once again crunch-mastermind Owen K.C. Stephens manages to walk the line of coolness/usability and game-balance by restricting the usage without making the system too selective.
Should you, like yours truly, have a home-game that is closer to renaissance than to the medieval ages, the new Fusilier variant of the Gunslinger-class might be interesting – while you don’t get a blackpowder weapon at first level, you instead also get some access to martial weapon training, making for an interesting variant of the gunslinger in a class that is very appropriate for settings in which blackpowder weapons are rather rare and expensive, hearkening back to the 3 musketeers and similar cloak and dagger classics.
Finally, the pdf offers 4 types of new ammunition, better cartridges and rules for bandoliers – these items are just the icing on the cake and make for easily integrated additional options that should find their place in just about any campaign setting.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the full color, 3-column-standard and the artworks rocks. The pdf unfortunately has no bookmarks, but at this length that’s still ok.
I’ll come right out and say it – I’m a sucker for Gunslingers. I love the class. Having reviewed RiP’s Gunslinger book, I feared that there would be some space covered by both books, but mostly they do feel different enough to make them valid and fun options in just about any campaign. I really liked SGG’s approach and while it does not ooze as much style as some of the options from Rite Publishing’s Secrets of the Gunslinger, the pdf has supreme support for multiclass characters. The alternate grit-rules and system to apply the mechanic to other weapons and the alternate class – every option herein just begs to be used in your campaign. This pdf ups the ante, even for the excellent quality of SGG’s pdfs, being a prime example of extremely concise and balanced writing. Thus, my final verdict will be 5 stars and the Endzeitgeist seal of approval – any fan of gunslingers should own this pdf as well. Excellent work!
Villains III is available from: