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Legendary Classes: The Rook [PFRPG] $2.52 $2.51
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Legendary Classes: The Rook [PFRPG]
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Legendary Classes: The Rook [PFRPG]
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Kenneth A. C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/31/2012 09:35:12

Before reading my review, you should probably know that I've been collaborating with the great guys at Purple Duck Games on several projects and that I received a free copy of this product. However, I have nothing invested in this product and feel that I can speak freely.

I love new classes, and the idea of a mix between a mage and a rogue sounds really good, but does the Rook work?

The Rook has spells (up to 6th level) and gains talents much like the rogue, but what really sets the class apart from the sorcerer and rogue is something called schisms. These are unique philosophies that enables the Rook to walk different paths. Some of these seem a little weak and single-minded, like the Necrotist schisms (which seems heavily focused on hit points), but also includes a schism like the Schade, which brings something entirely new to the gametable... the Silhouette. This is just that, a silhouette of the Rook that he can control and use in battle, but it just has a much different feel than the shadow of the shadowdancer. These seem pretty useful outside combat as well and would make great spies for the PCs. The Rook has a choice between 4 schisms. I can only hope that the purple ducks will make new schisms available in the future.

The pdf also includes a really nice section for making spells available to the Rook, from other 3pp sources, which is pretty cool. This section is written in a very useful way that certainly makes the GMs life easier, but also makes the Rook more useful to the players.

Overall, you get a lot of content for your money (a base class, a 1st level NPC, favored class options, 2 rook feats, 2 magic items and 10 new spells) and the Rook seems pretty balanced. I found only a couple of powers that seemed either too powerful (like the Schade's Shadow Siphon talent) or too weak (like the Schade's Soul Shift power at 20th level). Unfortunately, the Schade is also my absolute favorite among the schisms. I hope to find some use for this class in upcoming campaigns... and who knows, maybe I am wrong on those few balancing issues.

I think this product deserves 3.5 stars, but since that isn't possible here, I am going to round up, seeing as the low price makes this a steal.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Classes: The Rook [PFRPG]
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/15/2011 10:13:40

This pdf is 20 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 3.5 pages of SRD, leaving 14.5 pages of content for the new Rook-class, so let's check it out, shall we?

The Rook is a new 20-level base-class that focuses on combat control and honestly, I wasn't too keen on reading through it. But more on that later. For now, let's examine the class:

The Rook gets d8, 6+Int skills per level., spontaneous spellcasting of up to 6th level, 3/4 BAB, good ref and will saves and proficiency in simple weapons and light armor, but not shields. The rook gets eschew materials as a bonus feat at first levels, by the way. Like rogues or similar classes from e.g. SGG, the rook gets special talents at 2nd level and every 3rd level after that. The talents range from the ability to find magical traps and being able to disable them like a rogue to replacing bluff or intimidate with diplomacy, move camouflaged at full speed sans penalty, quicker disguises etc. We get 10 Rook talents. To complement them at higher levels, 7 additional advanced talents available starting 11th level are included in the package as well, the coolest being the skill to sow rumors and even one that lets you exchange your save with the one of one of your allies. So far, so unremarkable.

The true heart of the rook is choosing a schism at 1st level, which can be seen as a kind of specialization not unlike an oracle mystery or a bloodline: Class skills are added, bonus spells become available and each schism comes with a specific minor boon and several special schism powers that are unlocked as the character progresses in the class. It should also be noted that each schism features 3 talents exclusive to that schism in addition to the general rook talents. The first schism is the Demagogue, a perfect orator that can demoralize foes, negotiate in combat and at 20th level, make his decrees become reality by force of personality alone. The Glamerspex schism introduces two new and useful minor conditions that are related to confusion: Befuddled and beguiled, both of which relate to its parent condition somewhat similar as fatigued, exhausted and unconscious relate to another. Neat piece of crunch there. The most iconic ability of the Glamerspex is unlocked at 9th level, where the Glamerspex can create a mirror duplicate and execute actions from his/her position as well as from the one of the double. When compared to that, the Necrotist (who can make movement painful) is rather bland, as it's a typical "Ascend to undeath"-class, but that may just be me. The Schade on the other hand, is a prime example of a very cool design: The Schade can summon one (later more) silhouettes that can be commanded as free actions. He can spy through them and use all his senses. When further than 100ft. away, they have only 1 HP, which prevents them from being overpowering in their reconnaissance potential. At higher levels, he can even swap places with silhouettes and finally, even his soul.

After introducing us to these schisms, we get the whole spell-selection of the rook as well as advice on integrating new spells into their spell-list. the pdf does not end there, though: Next up is a lvl 1 sample tengu rook character and races and their take on the rook-class, covering not only the basics, but also dark folk, half-medusas and similar far-out races. We also get 2 new feats, one to let you choose a schism power from another schism and one that nets you limited access to divine spells. The two new magic items we also get serve nicely to supplement the signature abilities of the schade and the necrotist. The pdf closes by providing 10 new spells which all work nice for the class.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, though not perfect: I stumbled across some I/o-typos and similar distracting glitches. Layout adheres to the purple/b/w-two-column standard and the one piece of full-color artwork is nice. The pdf comes with extensive bookmarks. It should be noted that the pdf is mb-wise small enough to be carried on a e-reader. I have to come clear on this one: I fully expected to hate the Rook. I'm not a big fan of controller-classes, mainly because they often rely on counting squares etc. and I'm not usually using battlemats. Thankfully, the rook does not feature this annoying square-counting and offers some nice innovations: The two new conditions and the Glamerspex and Schade especially caught my fancy with their smart signature abilities. I was really excited about these two and started scheming immediately. Unfortunately, the exciting diminished somewhat when I realized that each Schism is very specialized and in spite of the selection of talents, feels a bit one-trick-ponyish to me.

More versatility within the schisms would have made the experience of playing a rook more exciting in my opinion, as taking a feat to wilder in the other schism's powers only goes so far. Some way of choosing powers within the schisms, perhaps similar to the oracle's revelations, would have made the class far more enticing. That being said, I do like the deign and will use the class for my NPCs and while I think that players can make memorable characters with this class, 2-3 additional pages to grant them more versatility would have made the class possibly even a 5-star-file. As written, due to this lack of versatility within the schisms and the editing glitches, I'll settle for a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3.

Endzeitgeist out.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Classes: The Rook [PFRPG]
Publisher: Purple Duck Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/01/2011 07:24:22

Without ado, this work dives into a description of the Rook, a new base class that revolves around the use of trickery and subterfuge both magical and mundane. Suggested roles are anything from con-man to diplomat... and any budding politician might fancy this class too!

Rooks are spellcasters, with their own spell list from which any known spell can be cast without the need for prior study (after all, many tricks and scams rely on quick wits and instantaneous reactions), and they get the Eschew Materials feat as a bonus at first level. Their primary characteristic is Charisma.

To enable some measure of customisation, each rook has a distinctive outlook on life - and how to manipulate it to their advantage, of course! - called a schism. Specific bonus abilities and spells can be gained as the rook rises in level, based on the schism chosen. They can also select from a collection of 'rook talents' as they gain experience, many of these involve subterfuge, disguise and abilities to gather or manipulate information.

The schisms described are quite interesting. The Demagogue, for example, attracts a loyal and devoted following who hang on his every word and do his bidding. A Glamerspex is talented at altering perceptions and confusing those whom he meets... to the extent that two new status conditions are introduced to cope with his victims: befuddled and beguiled. The Necrotist deals with the darker side of things, skirting the margins between life and death, whilst the Schade is the arch-manipulator, rarely leaving the shadows but sending minions made of shadow itself to do his bidding.

An example rook, a tengu glamorspex, is detailed in full - as example or for use as character or NPC as you desire. There are also notes on how well - or not - various races do at being rooks, spell lists (mainly drawn from existing published spells, but including advice on what new spells will be suitable for adding to those available to rooks in the future), and a selection of new feats, gear and indeed spells.

It's an intriguing class, best suited to an urban, intrigue-filled environment, and perhaps better as an NPC than as a player-character... but I am sure there are devious players out there who will leap upon the chance! Whilst weak in combat, the class is neat and original, and should do well in campaigns where interaction and intrigue feature.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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