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Letters from the Flaming Crab: Winged Cavalry $2.99
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Letters from the Flaming Crab: Winged Cavalry
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Letters from the Flaming Crab: Winged Cavalry
Publisher: Flaming Crab Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/27/2016 02:30:07

An Endzeitgeist.com review

The first of the installments of Flaming Crab Games' series of experimental pdfs clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 9 pages of content, so let's take a look!

We begin this pdf with a well-written letter sent by Molly Shell, captain of the UCs Flaming Crab, which, thanks to the cooperation of Einstein and Tesla, has obviously managed to transcend the borders of an alotopia of our world - and ended up in a storm, which brought it to J Gray's house...

Flavor-wise, we begin well here. The pdf begins with the Wind Warden, a class that gets full BAB-progression, good Fort-saves, d10, 4+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple and martial weapons and all armors and shields (excluding tower shields). At 1st level, they get Challenge (+1/day at 4th level and every 3 levels thereafter) and they gain a mount animal companion at full druid level., with light armor proficiency, but sans share spells. Similarly, at 1st level, the wind warden chooses an order. Now where things become interesting is with Winged cavalry - which explicitly states that a mount may now fly in medium armor and it may carry the warden, even if it usually wouldn't be able to, provided it has fly speed - so yes, the two most commonly stumbled over pits in the basic assisted flying rules are addressed - kudos. Instead of Ride-bonuses, we get Fly-bonuses and 1st, 9th and 17th level, the mount receives a bonus feat. Better charging, 1/2 class level to Ride and better attacks versus flying targets are solid. 6th level and every 6th level provide a teamwork feat to warden and mount. All in all, a solid cavalier variant for aerial combat!

The pdf goes on to present a total of 5 orders, all particularly suited for the wind warden - the first one would be the order of the feather, mostly known for the pegasus mounts. Their challenge allows the knight to still perceive the target in darkness, blur and similar trickery, negating concealment thus granted- unique! 2nd level provides an ability for heroes: Nonlethal damage sans penalty and targets of challenges thus damages must save or be shaken. Damn cool and distinct. 8th level provides constant at-will SP detect evil that also allows the warden to increase damage versus targets confirmed as evil a limited amount of times per day...cool, though I think the ability should be SP as the text says, not SU (as the ability header) for spell-level and magic interaction purposes. If the target is detected as evil, high level wardens may basically get a kind of pseudo-smiting benefit: + Cha-mod to atk, with increased potency versus evil outsiders and the other usual suspects.

The order of the hunt rides pteranodons into battle and gets scaling Perception and Sense Motive boosts versus the targets of their challenges. Order ability-wise, they get better tracking, nonlethal damage and +Wis-mod to CMB versus targets of their challenge as well as attack/grapple synergy with the mount.

The order of the spire grants allies scaling deflection bonuses to AC when issuing a challenge and gets less distance penalties to Perception as well as a 1/hour speed burst. 8th level provides bonus precision damage that scales when charging foes from above (or astride the mount) and finally, the order grants an increasing luck bonus to rider and mount. Speaking of which: Know what's awesome here? THE MOUNT. You see, these guys ride magic carpets. CR 3 construct stats provided,a s well as the mount-stats. Awesome.

The order of the sting can apply challenge bonus to melee and ranged attacks, gets poison use, at 8th level sneak attack at 1/2 level and at high levels, a victim to the warden's poison (or that of the mount) is considered flat-footed against the warden - ouch! These guys ride giant wasps, btw..

The order of talon and mane provides scaling bonuses to atk and saves versus fear to nearby allies and gains Bodyguard - however, here's the interesting thing: Using this feat extends the duration of the bonus granted to allies by 1 round. Cool idea! Similarly, In Harm's Way is granted and may double the bonus granted to allies and at high levels, the mount gets unlimited access to Mighty Charge and Wind Warden's Charge. These guys ride griffons.

This is not where the pdf ends, though: The final page of this book provides a VERY useful Fly/Ride-cheat-sheet, including sudden dies, barrel rolls, etc. and a variant suggestion to consolidate Fly and Ride.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no significant issues. Layout adheres to Flaming Crab Games' two-column full-column standard and the pdf sports a great full-color artwork and a no less awesome b/w-piece. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and sports a second, printer-friendly version.

J Gray's take on Winged Cavalry is concise and well-written - the variant aerial cavalier, while not too unique on its own, streamlines the crucial issues for first level assisted flight - kudos for being one of the few designers who get that right. The orders themselves all sport awesome mounts and these alone may be well worth the asking price. For the most part, the respective orders are also creative and feature some nice ideas, with pegasus and spire being the most interesting, at least to me.

So is this good? Well, if you're planning to run a campaign sporting a lot of assisted flight/aerial combat, there is still no way past the superb "Companions of the Firmament"-tome, which I suggest just about everyone to get. HOWEVER, if you want an inexpensive, fun take on the aerial knight...then this will certainly do it and it actually can be used to complement CotF! All in all, this is a very promising start for the series, with me arriving at a final verdict of 4 stars for a good little pdf.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Letters from the Flaming Crab: Winged Cavalry
Publisher: Flaming Crab Games
by Troy D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/04/2015 13:31:04

Hello all! Flying mounts have always been a favorite of mine regardless of gaming system so when I had the chance to review Letters from the Flaming Crab, Winged Cavalry I could not pass up the opportunity.

Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF) – If you like any type of flying mounts, or flying items for that matter and especially if you have a Cavalier, then this is something you probably should pick up.

Construction: 13 pages with a cover, Contents and Writers, and 2 pages of OGL at the end give us nine total pages of content. Let’s take a look shall we?

First off, apparently Letters from the Flaming Crab (LftFC) is a monthly feature from Flaming Crab Games. Each month they touch on a new subject all from the view point of a vagabond sky-ship thrown into the planar void due to an experiment by two people we all know well. A Mister Einstein and Sir Tesla. LftFC follows an alternate history that quite honestly fascinates me. I am looking forward to getting to know these people right from the start as I read the letter the captain of the ship writes to “The Honorable Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Lord-President of the United Commonwealths of America.”

All of that, and we are only through the first page of the content. Intrigued we move on.

Ultimately, this book contains an intriguing premise, a new alternate class of cavalier, the Wind Warden, 5 Knightly Orders, and a breakdown of aerial mounted combat for the newly initiated knights.

The Wind Warden – Evocative text starts out the description of this interesting addition to the classes of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Basically what we have here is the flying cavalier, with all of the bells and whistles that you would expect to come with such a class. They are the undisputed masters of the skies and have special advantages when flying and using their unique mounts in aerial combat.

Combat Mounts – There is a list of mounts that are suggested for the Wind Warden, and I was surprised (and pleased) to see not only regular flying beasts such as the Pegasus, but dinosaurs and even the option for a magic carpet as a possible “mount”. There were interesting choices here but some of the names I did not recognize and there were no references as to where to find them. I LIKED the choices, don’t get me wrong, but for the odd ones I think that a pointer in the direction of the reference would have been nice.

There are lots of neat abilities that come with being a higher level Wind Warder including Soft Landing, Air Superiority, and of course the Wind Warden Charge. It was also nice to see the seldom used Teamwork feats being incorporated into a class.

The Orders – Honestly here is where the book starts to really shine. The Wind Warden was cool unto itself, but as we all know a cavalier has to belong to an order, and we have plenty to choose from.

The unique thing about each of the orders is that each one is based upon a different type of flying beast and take on a bit of the mystery and persona of the creature in doing so.

A good example is the Order of the Feather, devoted to the amazing Pegasus. Goodly knights charging across the skies on their winged steeds as staunch defenders against evil. Interesting abilities such as Eyes of the Pegasus and Smiting Challenge are just some of the powers that this Order is known for.

Each of the other orders fall into the same line, putting a beast and its attitude/reputation out as the driving force for the Order. Bounty Hunters riding fearsome pteranodon’s while pious knights flit about on flying carpets protecting holy sites and churches.

All in all, the five provided Orders each give a great theme, and lots of role playing potential should the Wind Warden choose them. Well done with all of them.

The Magic Carpet – I was pleasantly surprised to discover the existence of a construct in this book, the Magic Carpet. Reading through the description of this incredibly cool item I could not help but wonder whose twisted mind decided to throw basic sentience into a rug. Whoever it was I have to congratulate them on a well-made creature that is not overly powered, and have to ask them where I can get one for my ranger.

Aerial Mounted Combat – I searched and searched, thinking that this might have been a reprint of the rules, however I was mistaken. Although there are rules for flying combat, there are not clear ones for aerial mounted combat. Taking the flying combat rules and trying to apply the Ride feat (and all of the other mounted combat feats) to them would be crazy.

Unless of course, you had this book.

Printed on the last page is a brief, yet very detailed rules system for aerial mounted combat. Everything from barrel-rolls to loops in the sky is covered in this rules brief. Basic DCs are also provided so that checks can be made as combat occurs. This is amazingly well done for such a short brief and I applaud the author of this section for taking lots of other rules and making simple, easy to follow rules for a part of the game that does not get explored overmuch.

Conclusions:

+1 Buy it for the last page if you don’t want to buy it for anything else. A one page aerial mounted combat brief is worth it in my book.

+1 Buy it for the very neat variant to the cavalier class, the Wind Warden

+1 I liked the orders, and how the orders were based upon the attitudes and mysteries surrounding the beast. 5 knightly orders are a great addition to any campaign, especially ones that are as fleshed out as these are.

+1 The suggestion that the knightly orders could be used by other classes, mainly samurai or other cavaliers was inspired. Neat idea that I could see easily implemented.

-1 What I thought was missing was equipment or perhaps an interesting magical item designed around the concept of a flying cavalier. Special saddles (almost a requirement for a flying beast), amazing lances, or entangling weapons to snare wings and cause your opponent to plummet would have all been welcome additions to this.

Overall though, I give it a 4 out of 5 stars. The look of the book is excellent and the art is nicely done as well. Kudos to the staff that put this together. I am looking forward to seeing how the adventures of the Captain and her crew go next month when they talk about Cooking.

Take care, and good gaming. Troy Daniels 147822

Reviewers Caveat – I was given a complimentary copy of this book to review. I was not compensated in any way to do this review nor was I beaten, tortured, overfed with gummi bears or otherwise coerced. I did the review because the book is worth reviewing, for better or worse.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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