Anachronistic Adventurers (Enforcer, Investigator, Daredevil, Tough)

 

If you’re like me, you once in a while have a craving for a different kind of fantasy, namely the one where the protagonist is from our world and stranded in a fantasy world. Thankfully, Super Genius Games provides us with just the pdfs we need!

 

Anachronistic Adventurers: The Enforcer

 

This pdf is 19 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page SRD and editorial, leaving 17 1/3 pages of content for adventurers out of time, so let’s check the enforcer out!

 

The enforcer is a new base-class representing a cherished and yet unrepresented trope of fantasy literature in PFRPG: The modern-day warrior, who, by time travel or magic was whisked away to another world/land/time to combat foes in a traditional setting via wits and his knowledge. Harking back to the classic planetary romance novels of old, I have a soft spot, but also high expectations for this new line by SGG. Let’s start with the mechanics:

The Enforcer gets 3+ Int skills per level, can choose two skills freely to act as class-skills, d10, full BAB, a good fort-save and up to 5 enforcer talents and can choose a archetype. An archetype? Yep, at first level, the enforcer, representing a huge plethora of possible roles, is customized via one of 4 archetypes that range from the mafia’s bone-breaker and prize fighter to the World War’s Devil Dogs and SWAT combatants. Each archetype lends itself to quite different styles of play, while a selection of 14 enforcer talents help to further customize your modern PC stranded in a very strange place, indeed!

 

Of course, when we’re talking about anachronistic adventurers, we also have to take their equipment into account, namely modern firearms ranging from cowboy six-shooters to assault rifles and sniper rifles with laser-scopes. 13 weapons, special ammo and 2 sights are included. Modern firearms work different from classic firearms as e.g. employed by the gunslinger – Ballistic critical firearm rules, unload and burst fire combat maneuvers, capacity and even the kick weapons have get their rules-representations and, even better, master of crunch Owen K.C. Stephens manages to keep the rules compatible with the basic rules of weapon usage. If your campaign setting sees more interlopers from our modern world, you’ll also have the GP-values to judge the relative power of the weapons and/or have the players buy more.

There’s another problem that is also addressed by this pdf – most warriors from our world don’t wear armor and thus, we get a new avoidance-feat-tree, which lets you add a bonus to your dexterity-bonus equal to half your BAB from  a maximum of +4 to +12 to your AC – a godsend for unarmored combatants, but granted, one that has to be carefully looked after, even though I don’t consider them op. Burst fire can also be improved via feats.

 

Finally, there’s the concept of “getting used to” a new world and its required skill-sets and the final portion of the pdf, detailing progress levels and respective proficiencies serves as a great way to handle different eras in play.

 

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the 3-column b/w-SGG standard and the artworks are nice. The pdf has no bookmarks. I personally enjoy the planetary romances and the plethora of sideboxes do an awesome job of providing explanations of the new rules – from the base-class, the equipment with its distinct approach the serves complementary to the classic firearms rules without being overpowered and the cool introduction of progress levels, I don’t have much to complain apart from the fact that I would have loved a finer grading of progress levels – as written, there are only 8 and 3 of them are in the future. When all is said and done, you get a lot of very high quality content, a cool class and reliable, neat rules. Barring anything negative to say, I’ll rate this 5 stars and look forward to seeing more releases from this line.

 

 

This is how it all began and lo!, my wish was granted!

 

Anachronistic Adventurers: The Investigator

 

This pdf is 23 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving 21 1/3 pages of content for the second class in SGG’s Anachronistic Adventurers-line, so let’s check this out!

The Investigator is a new base-class for men of our world stranded in a medieval fantasy setting. It gets 3/4 BAB, d8, 7+Int skills per level and a good fort-save. Apart from these basics, though, the class gets access to so-called investigator talents and an archetype at first level, i.e. a sub-section of the class that offers some abilities and makes sure that the base-class is more like a conglomerate of classes.

The investigators can choose from a vast selection of 31 different investigator talents that range from rather mundane “Get proficiency in weapon-class” and use INT instead of stat X to truly awesome ideas – Essentially granting the investigator the ability to track enemies, analyze crime scenes to deduce clues about the killer etc. – all while keeping the DM in control and providing simply STELLAR ways for both player and DM to cooperate to keep an adventure from running into a dead-end.

Now, if you want to go full-blown Sherlock Holmes on your foes, the Great Detective archetype (with 6 special talents) is just what you’ve been looking for, as it provides smooth ways for investigative leaps of brilliant deduction. Need a Watson for your Holmes? The medical examiner (with 7 exclusive talents) is the stellar healer or the insane doctor – Even better, the class lends itself in excellent ways to campaigns without divine healing. Awesome! The final archetype gets no exclusive talents, but comes with awesome rules – the inventor can create items that go beyond what would usually be possible in a given time-period. The complex and yet easy to understand rules for inventions balance them with costs etc. and make for an excellent example of SGG’s mastery of rules.

Due to the problems often encountered when running investigations in e.g. PFRPG or CoC (Trail of Cthulhu does it great!), the pdf also covers a LOT of useful advice for running investigations and…provides research rules! GOOD research rules. Essentially, Knowledge checks correspond to a complexity DC and a depth. The complexity check is lower than the knowledge check and for every point by which you surpass the complexity DC, you detract the same amount from the depth. Once the depth-score is gone, you get your results as if you had found the answer via other ways. I really love the way in which these simple, yet concise and versatile rules enable you to create suspenseful scenarios in which the PCs are browsing tomes! We also get sample statblocks for 5 different libraries, rules for advanced forensic kits and a short discussion of different progress levels.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to the 3-column standard by SGG and the b/w-artworks are neat. The pdf comes with no bookmarks, which is a minor downer. That’s it. All the criticism I can muster of this pdf – basically, the pdf has been made for me, featuring great rules for bringing investigators to your PFRPG-game and adding detective-elements to your story. The class is excellent and surpasses even the enforcer and if you add to that the stellar investigation-rules, you get… my very favorite SGG-class. Yep. I prefer this one over the Time Thief. This class might be my personal benchmark for the ultimate fusion of hard crunch and fluff-based abilities, marrying concise rules with genius ideas and cool research-rules. I’m a Cthulhu-fanboy and have run a lot of CoC and ToC-modules and this pdf makes some of the ideas that make these scenarios more versatile/different from dungeon-crawling work in PFRPG and open thus a whole world of scenarios to scavenge ideas and convert modules from. Class: A+. Additional rules: A+. Customizable Anachronistic Archetypes: A+: Final verdict: 5 stars, Endzeitgeist seal of approval – Both SGG and RiP have opened 2012 with stellar pdfs that have a very good chance of ending up on my top-10-2012-list. If the idea of an investigator even remotely intrigues you, check this out – Owen K.C. Stephens has surpassed his usual excellent quality in this one!

 

 

Anachronistic Adventurers: The Daredevil

 

This installment of the Anachronistic Adventurers-line is 15 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving 13 1/3 pages of content, so let’s check this out!

The third of the Anachronistic Adventurers-classes is the Daredevil, who gets d8, 7+Int skills, medium BAB, good ref-saves and thus is probably closest to the skill-monkey classes like the rogue. In contrast to the rogue, bard, etc., the focus of the daredevil is acting under stress and influencing actions when it counts. The signature ability dauntless surge, which can be used a couple of times per day and continuously improves over the levels of the class, enables daredevils to add a flexible, dice-based bonus to their throws, especially when it counts. The ability to use dauntless surge can be used further via the usage of up to 5 daredevil talents as well as 4 so-called limited talents – both kinds of talents can be chosen from a list of 32 talents, some of which can’t be taken via limited talents, though. This vast selection of available talents ensures that the daredevil can fit a rogue’s feet, disable and spring traps etc.pp., but still remain true to the distinct thrill-seeker, to the man who walks away from explosions without looking back – perhaps because they have literally done it too many times.

Of course, the class stays true to the AA-line and also uses anachronistic archetypes, which are completely exchangeable with those from the two predecessor-files. This time, the new archetypes once again are rather interesting: If you ever wanted to play a Houdini-type of acrobatic character, the Escapist will suit your needs. For fans of James Bond and similar agents, the Secret Agent-archetype is what you’ve been looking for. Even better, the Masked Adventurer, a being like the Phantom, Bruce Wayne or masked wrestlers, who truly counts as different personas when wearing his or her mask and comes with 7 special talents. The final archetype includes once again a kind of crunchy masterpiece on par with the research-rules for the Investigator: The Occultist comes with working ritual magic rules. Essentially, it is possible to cast any spell as a ritual, but each ritual costs money, needs skill and each casting of the ritual has to be tailored towards the individual circumstances. These rules are simple, entwined slightly with the research rules and make it possible to finally run gritty, Conan-style campaigns while using the Pathfinder-rules and opens a whole new approach to magic. And the rules fit on approximately 2 pages.

The pdf also includes 4 new anachronistic feats (three of which deal with ritual magic) and information on progress levels with which you might already be familiar with.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. The layout adheres to SGG’S 3-column standard and the B/w-artworks are fitting and nice, hearkening back to both comic classics and pulpy illustrations. The pdf has no bookmarks. This class and pdf has a terribly high expectation to fulfill on my side, seeing that the Investigator is my favorite PFRPG-class out there and that I loved the research-rules. The Daredevil surprisingly manages to fulfill my expectations in its presentation of iconic archetypes and a talent-focused class that oozes style and flavor. I do have some minor gripes, namely that I would have loved for the escapist and secret agent to get their exclusive talents like the masked adventurer. The ritual-rules, though, at least for me, come close in brilliance to the research-rules (though not completely reaching their level of abject awesomeness) and make up for this very minor shortcoming. All in all, I’m complaining here on the highest level possible, as this line has continuously baffled me with its brilliant ideas and while I did not like the daredevil just as much as the investigator, I still consider this pdf a stellar example of design. Thus, my final verdict will be 5 stars and the Endzeitgeist seal of approval.

 

 

Anachronistic Adventurers: The Tough

 

This pdf is 24 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving 22 1/3 pages of content, so let’s check this out!

The latest new class in SGG’s critically acclaimed series, which has provided us with one of my favorite PFRPG-classes ever, introduces us to the Tough: d12, 3+Int skills per level, full BAB, good fort-saves, no spellcasting. The tough gets a tough talent at 3rd level and every 4 levels after that and, as all classes in the anachronistic adventurer-line, can choose an anachronistic archetype. But before I get into the talents, I feel the need to address a basic part of the tough’s concept: Representing the hard as nails survivor that just doesn’t know when to call it quits, the tough has several abilities that depend on the new battered condition: Essentially, if you’ve played 4th Ed, when he’s bloodied, i.e. at less than 50% maximum HP. He e.g. always gets an improving bonus to atk, AC, damage and saves when thus damaged. The talents presented are a total of 15 and include getting the back to the wall-bonus to skill checks, being able to act longer when almost dropped to death, enhanced power when subjected to detrimental conditions and even becoming immune against mind-affecting spells and effects while battered at the cost of being unable to use certain skills. The snarling juggernaut that is almost impossible to put down culminates in the capstone ability that lets the tough save to prevent taking dying via a save once per round -neat!
On to the archetypes: Monster Smashers focus on destroying monsters and can impede their supernatural and spell-like abilities temporarily with their hits, but thankfully only a limited number of times per day. They also exhibit a kind of instinctual knowledge on how to put down supernatural beasties and learns to specifically work against monsters with specific abilities. Furthermore, the archetype gets access to a selection of 4 special talents that let them combat larger beasts effectively or even take on certain characteristics of their adversaries, like a bite attack, being amphibious etc.

The second archetype herein, the Outrider, is something I’ve been waiting for: Using the relative positioning and vehicle rules from Ultimate combat, the outrider can specialize is a type of vehicle in which they are even better than usual, learn VERY fast on how to operate them and a total of 8 different talents enable the outrider to e.g. repair a vehicle as a swift action (with the aptly-named Come on, Baby!), excel at dogfight maneuvers and make her machines temporarily faster. I LOVE this archetype. Seriously! Finally we have a functioning pilot archetype for Pathfinder – for all those flying ships, chariots, golem-bikes, power-armors and even for time-distorting snail-powered mechs (yeah, I once had those in my game). Two thumbs up!

The Master of Arms is more conventional, I suppose: Selecting a weapon group, they improve the damage capabilities by the chosen group of weapons rather drastically, setting e.g. a minimum dice-type that the weapons deal damage-wise and adding additional benefits: Flails e.g. can ignore shield-bonuses to AC, while firearms enable the master of arms to demoralize foes. The archetype also comes with 5 different talents, of course also focused on martial prowess with their chosen field of expertise.

The final archetype we are introduced to would be the Wise Guy, a tough guy who would make for an excellent godfather or leader of an unpleasant organization, being able to intimidate allies and minions by calmness, instilling competence via fear and the ability to strike extremely hard and devastating when striking.

The pdf then goes on to explain the relative positioning and distance interval-rules, lead vehicle loci and environmental loci as well as how to cover encounters with multiple loci before going into vehicle maneuvers, the vehicle template (wanted to create that Tarrasque-tank? There you go!) and 3 sample vehicles based on monsters – great ways of reskinning these beings! Before we get on to the short run-down of progression-levels as is by now obligatory in the series, we are introduced to the vehicle golem feat, which becomes a permanent fixture and magical vehicle for you. It also contains the exceedingly rare SGG-typo, speaking of “GN”s.

Conclusion:

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Editing and formatting are very good, though not as perfect as I’m accustomed to by SGG – the bonus feat-section has a blank line, which looks weird and there is the typo – not enough to rate the pdf down, but worth mentioning. Layout adheres to SGG’s 3-column standard and the pdf features some cool, classic and flavorful pieces of artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, and honestly, by now I think that every pdf apart from Bullet Point-length ones should have them, so that’s a detracting factor.

The Tough is a cool class, fitting seamlessly into the grand concepts of this series and providing a modular line. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the battered condition, as it has a rather significant potential for metagaming, but that’s a personal thing – I have to admit that creating a character à la Rocky Balboa works very well with this class. Design-wise, I’m a huge fan of the Outrider, though that one will probably be not for all campaigns, it would also work well for a regular NPC-cohort to represent the trusted pilot. I love it. What does that leave us with, rating-wise? Apart from the lack of bookmarks, I have nothing to complain about and thus, my final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform due to otherwise great, balanced content.

 

As always, thanks for reading!

 

Endzeitgeist out. 

 

 

 

 

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Reviewer without a cause