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New Paths Compendium (Pathfinder RPG)
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New Paths Compendium (Pathfinder RPG)
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/07/2014 00:11:15

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This massive compilation of the New Paths-series, including quite a bunch of new content), clocks in at 130 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page SRD, 1 page advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 124 pages of content, so let's take a look, shall we?

So, from the get-go - I did reviews for the arcane paladin-class, the Battle Scion, the Spell-less Ranger, Shaman, White Necromancer, Monk/Ninja and Gunslinger-installments of the series, so if you're interested in a direct breakdown of these, please take a look at the respective reviews. I will, though, mention the new content or fixes. I also did not review the elven archer-pdf (simply because I don't have it), so that one will get its breakdown. Got that? Great!

So let's take a look at the elven archer, shall we? A racially restricted class (only elves and half-elves may apply), it gets d8, 6+Int skills, proficiency with simple and martial weapons, light armors, bucklers, full BAB-progression, good ref- and fort-saves, prepared divine spellcasting of up to 4th level with wis as governing attribute and track/wild empathy at first level. Beyond that, the class adds so-called precision-damage, +1d6, against foes denied their dex-bonus within 30 ft., increasing this by 1d6 damage every 5 class levels. This damage also applies when flanking with the bow, which becomes possible at 16th level.

Eleven archers are bow specialists and at 2nd level, get a bonus feat (another one every 3 levels) and count as fighter-levels -3 for purposes of feat qualification. They also get a creature type à la favored enemy at 3rd level and gets +2 to several skills pertaining them, as well as +2 to damage and atk against them. This bonus scales up to +6 - but choose wisely, for the archer may choose only one such target! Beyond that, these archers may hide in natural environment sans concealment, ignore specific difficult terrains, leaves no trails, can track faster and later even no longer provoke AoOs with the bow in melee. Beyond that, the elven archer at 9th level learns to temporarily enchant arrows and imbue them with special magical qualities. The class later also learns to deal more devastating shots against stationary targets by taking aim - though this only becomes available at 13th level. Now the class also comes with 3 alternatives for other races.

For example, the halfling sling master, who is rather similar to the elven archer, but instead of bonus feats, the alternate class gets a special trick to perform with the slingshot at 5th level and every 6 levels after that. Trick shots include ricochets and detrimental conditions that can be exchanged for precision damage - sans saves. OUCH. They also get rapid reload for slings. They also are more stealth-focused.

Dwarven Crossbowyer can ignore partially armor, shield and natural armor bonuses, carry more equipment, get a favored terrain and essentially get the elven archer's bonuses in forests instead in caves/earthen environments. The final variant, the mystic archer, has no race restrictions. They are rather similar to the eleven archers (minus the foresty/stealthy components), but at 5th and every 6 levels after that, they may choose from a special array of tricks. All in all, solid, if a bit conservative classes.

Next up would be a new class, the savant. The class gets a d8, 4+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons and light armor, 3/4 BAB-progression, good fort- and will-saves and they start game with 3 knacks and expand that up to 8 at 20th level. Savants may assume a persona for 3+cha-mod minutes per day. A persona is just the name for a given combination of knacks. Some of these are spell-like abilities that duplicate arcane or divine spells and follow the usual restrictions regarding these forms of magic, including DCs - in stark contrast to the regular DC, which clocks in at the expected 10+1/2 class level+cha-mod.. Embodying a persona is a full-round action that doesn't provoke AoOs. The knacks allow the savant to temporarily gain access to proficiencies, items, +4 (scaling up to +8) bonus to attributes, spells (limited in level by the savant class level), skills, racial tricks (like scent or swim speed) and even temporarily boost his BAB. Now as if this kind-of-jack of-all-trades-style ability wasn't enough, a savant also has a notebook - by observing certain happening, he may enter specifics on equipment, feats, races etc., gaining power literally as he observes and travels - much like the emulation of abilities in Rite Publishing's Taskshaper, this means a DM ought to tell the player in question in detail to very carefully keep the books regarding this notebook. Now another interesting thing here is that the savant needs to observe at least a minute and then get to noting this fast - and there's a daily limit on what he can jot down, so some planning involved as well.

Later, the savant also gets advanced knacks with natural attacks, healing (also negative conditions), apply metamagic etc. further increasing the options available. They also learn to conjure forth so-called avatars of legends - essentially cohorts with access to knacks that can be summoned, but which remain only as long as concentration si maintained - cool! The savant later also learns to combine knacks into a so-called hyperbole, , switch knacks etc. and finally, the savant may even share knacks with allies and as a capstone, maintain concentration on their avatars as a move action. All in all, the savant may be a book-keeping intensive class, but also a rather rewarding spinner of tall-tales jack-of-all-trades-style class - that is also sufficiently different from Drop Dead Studios' Dilettante! Kudos for a smart design here! We also get advice for playing the character, as well as a sample character and 3 sample avatars of legend - neat! All in all, one damn fine example of great design, an iconic idea properly realized. Kudos, two thumbs up, great work!

The Spell-less ranger also gets a variant class herein, the skin-changer - this one's interesting: Learning to change into the forms and animals and specializes in better natural attacks. No animal companion, though, and a different list of talents. The skin-changer also gets natural armor etc. - per se a concept none too complex in what it tries to do, but remains very evocative in its versatile options - the variant class remains one of the more iconic ones I've seen and makes for a great addition - once again - fine work indeed!

The next new class would be the theurge - d6, +Int skills per level, 1/2 BAB-progression, proficiency with simple weapons, good will-saves and prepared spellcasting -arcane spellcasting via Int and divine spellcasting via Wis - both from first level on. A Theurge gets a spellbook and a prayerbook and the latter requires the divine spells to be learned similar to arcane spells - from scrolls or levels. However, a theurge may wilder in e.g. druid or inquisitor spell-lists. Which leads me to a massive issue: Not all spells are available for all classes at the same level, making for possible cherry-picking (not only content, but also level-wise!) here, not to start with VERY powerful class-exclusive spells....Think Paladin, Inquisitor, Druid, Magus, Witch...ouch. Yes, there may be costs etc. While first, slots are distinct from another, starting at fourth level, arcane spells may be prepared via divine slots and vice versa, but at a penalty level-wise to the spell prepared, i.e. second level spells need to be prepared as third level spells etc. The capstone gets rid of this minor penalty, though. At 5th level, theurges may cast two spells at once - one arcane, one divine, both imposing a -4 penalty to saves 1/day +1/day 6 levels after that. They also learn to cast a select limited array of spells as SLs. So, I'll be frank here - this class is OP in my opinion. Being able to wilder in any classes spell-list, cherry-picking any exclusives sans penalties or limits is very powerful. A full caster that can cast both divine and arcane spells is a cool concept, but this class drops the ball hard regarding the balancing of spell-levels and spell-lists - there ought to be some kind restriction here.

And yes, the amount of spells cast (which never increases above 2 arcane + 2 divine per level (+ bonus spells via Int + Wis) is severely restricted. It means every spell needs to count. But for a class which may pick the best of the best of ANY casting class, with this amount of flexibility, that also means that every cast WILL count. Which brings me to another issue - I get that the general restriction on spells-slots is there for balance. I'm not sold, though, that it'll make for a particularly fun playing experience. Sure, once you hit out your crême de la crême spells, you'll own the game...but what about the other time? Unlike most other classes, the theurge has nothing but spellcasting. And you don't have enough spells for proper utility tricks, proper buffing, proper debuffing - essentially the class is geared very much toward being flashy super-spell nova-heavy. Which you may like, but personally, I think the class would have been more rewarding with more casts per day and a more restricted balancing via spells known. I was not sold on the class concept and playtesting it at level 4, 12 and 16 didn't help either - mainly due to 2 things - theurges at higher levels can be superb crafters - with access to ALL spells and the option to learn just about every spell, these guys can craft like crazy. They may also use just about every spell-in-a-can-item conceivable by virtue of their all-encompassing spell-lists, which means that theurges in game probably will resort quite a lot to wand/staff-slinging when not casting their flashy super-spells.

It's a glass pumpgun (also re buffs/debuffs) - two devastating shots and empty. Personally, I'd be not keen as a DM to structure my adventures to "empty" the super spell-arsenal of the theurge or to play one, trying to keep my super-ammo for the big bad boss. Now all of this sounds negative, but the class per se is not a bad design, it does have its niche in which it will excel superbly. While I'm not sold on the place in a regular adventuring group, I do think the theurge will work superbly in 1 on 1-adventures and small groups - especially if the DM modifies adventures accordingly, groups starved for players get essentially divine and arcane in one class without resorting to gestalting - so yeah, the theurge has its niche, though I maintain it could have been more versatile in its use.

Of course, we also get new archetypes - the elven archer gets the Royal Guardian, a more urban Night Watch-style archer and the Plains Rider, a mounted archer. Apart from that, all the archetypes you'd expect from the base-pdfs can be found herein. It should also be noted that the archetypes have been mostly cleaned up re typos in the originals etc. - nice to see.

In the next chapter, we get a whole slew of traits and feats - also fodder for the new classes, with feats to improve the savant's avatar of legend, leadership for animals - I've covered a lot of these in former reviews. Unfortunately, not all gripes I had with some have been fixed. Take Eagle Style: Upon a successful dirty trick, you can substitute making the target mute for your regular effect. Doesn't sound so bad? Well...no duration. The muteness is, as written, PERMANENT. Yes, this one was broken in the original and is still - but it should be noted that overall, cases like this remain the exception, rather than the rule. Generally, the feats herein can be considered worthwhile additions, with some of the more esoteric style-trees especially coming to mind.

Marc Radle's scaling combat feats from Gygax Magazine #1 are also included herein - and while I still consider them a good idea, I still think it would have been nice to have a note detailing handling the chain balance-wise - it's a slight shift - not a big one, but it exists. It should also be noted that, since the original inception of the idea, TPK Games have released two pdfs of scaling feats, covering the whole core-book and the APG, so if you plan on using scaling feats, make sure that it's clear which system you're going to use.

The spells herein provide rather iconic options - whether conjuring forth Rivers of Moonlight, weaving deadly magics into your arrows/bolts/sling-stones, cast cool bone-themed spells or rain fangs down upon your foes. All in all, a nice array of casting options. We also are introduced to a total of 7 weapon types, various pieces of equipment and magic items and also the 3 legendary items (the level-scaling variant, not the one from Mythic Adventures), depicting the regalia of Gax the Great.

The book concludes with sheets - for animal companions, arrow tracking sheets, favored enemies/terrain, prepared spell tracking sheets, spirit guide, summon monster-sheets and even a wildshape-sheet make for a massive array of neat sheets that will prove to be useful.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are very good - there are next to no glitches in this massive compilation, which is quite a feat at this length. The pdf comes with a relatively printer-friendly two-column full color standard and the artworks in full color are neat and numerous and original/former cover illustrations - all in all, a beautiful book. The pdf comes with massive, nested bookmarks, making the book easy to navigate. I can't comment on the physical book, since I only own the pdf.

Designers Marc Radle, Ryan Costello Jr., Crystal Frasier, John Ling Jr., Jerall Toi, Wolfgang Baur, Matt Blackie, Charles Lee Carrier, Chris Harris, Stu Logan, Nicholas Milasich, Mitch Radle, Vincent Colon Roine, Justin Sluder and Michael Timpe have crafted a massive crunchy book full of (mostly!) awesome classes, several of which had player characters in my current campaign. The Savant is a glorious class, the theurge - well, as you've read, I'm not 100% sold on it, but oh well. The archer-classes are nice, if a bit conservative and linear for my tastes. The other classes - well, check the respective reviews for those.

The supplemental information and crunch provided also falls within this spectrum - mostly, the content herein ranges from good to awesome, but here and there, we can find a piece of crunch that could have used some streamlining. On the downer-side, I REALLY expected favored class options, at least for the Midgard and Core-races herein for the new classes and their absence is a bit of a let-down.

How to rate this, then? The New Paths Compendium is a nice resource, if not a perfect one and while the book can be considered mostly awesomeness, the few rough edges standout all the clearer. In the end, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars - with e.g. savant and fixed typos etc. pointing towards the 5, theurge and the few flaws pointing towards the 4. In the end, I will round up due to the majority of the content being problem-free and the good outweighing the slightly problematic by quite a bit and my general maxim of in dubio pro reo.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
New Paths Compendium (Pathfinder RPG)
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Corey D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/04/2014 04:45:08

One thing I love most is that occasional 3rd party piece of material for my favorite role playing game to come out and sweep me off of my feet. Kobold Press has definitely made that happen with their latest book, New Paths Compendium. I myself have been following their New Path character releases for some time when I stumbled onto their Spell-less Ranger class they released a couple of years ago. While I myself may never play some of the written characters, that does not mean they are not well written or mechanically stable, it just different strokes for different folks people. However I must say that all of their classes to this date have impressed me nonetheless and offer a wide range of options. Since we are discussing the classes, I will go ahead and start breaking down my review chapter by chapter.

Chapter One of the book opens up with a full-page art depiction of each character along with their class descriptions and some flavor to boot. There are seven new classes in the book and they are as followed: Battle Scion, Elven Archer, Savant, Shaman, Spell-less Ranger, Theurge, and White Necromancer.

1) The Battle Scion or the “arcane paladin” as per Kobolds description is a neat mesh of Paizo’s Magus and Paladin classes. The Scion carries a full BAB with the ability to launch a Force Blast that grows in power with level, can enhance their weapon like the Magus, along with a few other nice abilities.

2) The Elven Archer is a class based on the iconic image of elves being read about in fantasy novels, which meant a forest dwelling, bow wielding elf. The class plays much like an archery Ranger with a long-range sneak attack ability that scales with level along with an arrow enhancement ability. Kobold has done a fine stand up job by not limiting us with having to actually be an elf if you do not want and can instead opt out by trying out their variant archer designs. These are the Halfling Slingmaster, Dwarven Crossbowyer, and Mystic Archer and they all play similar to the Elven Archer but they have their own unique ability and flavor.

3) The Savant easily has the greatest versatility to ever be laid out in a character. There has never been a truer form of a jack-of-all-trades character than the Savant. The Savant is a character who adopts various persona by using knacks written in their notebook. Knacks can range from weapon proficiencies, to spellcasting, to skill knowledge and come together in unique custom combinations to create the personae the Savant feels is necessary to meet any situation that encounter. This is a class that requires A LOT of prep time and recommends that you have multiple persona written out ahead of time so you will not slow the game down, making it harder on the GM. There really is so much to this class that I find it to really explain without giving away most of its details.

4) The Shaman in a nutshell is a Druid with healing powers. The Shaman bonds with the spirit of an animal that takes a physical form when summoned and acts as an animal companion. The Shaman is also a spontaneous caster using the druid spell list which gives a great option for those who enjoy spontaneous casting, because I know I do.

5) The Spell-less Ranger is easily my favorite class written by Kobold and it was the class that got me interested in the New Paths characters. This class takes all of those iconic Ranger characters such as Aragorn and Robin Hood and makes them playable because magic was not something those guys used…ever. The Ranger gains a few new toys in exchange for losing his spells but the important ones are Stealth Attack, which is essentially a Sneak Attack against favored foes or while in favored terrain, and Ranger Talents. Ranger Talents play much like Paizo’s Skirmisher archetype’s Talents, but these are actually worth losing spells for and are balanced well with a few particularly good choices. There is also a variant for this class that was released with this book called the Skin Changer and it is one that I have been wanting to try out so badly. This variant trades out the favored enemy, combat style, and animal companion of a Ranger with the ability to essentially wild shape into that animal instead that scales like a druid so it actually feels pretty balanced and a ton of fun if you are into playing a shifter without contracting a terrible were- disease.

6) The Theurge is an amazing spellcaster that allows you to cast divine and arcane spells right from the get go, without having to make that climb into Paizo’s Mystic Theurge prestige class which typically took at least 10 levels to get to and the character feels gimped the entire way there. Well fear no longer, because the Theurge can do that from level 1 and can even cast two spells at the same time given that one is arcane and one is divine. Their only downfall is how many spells per day they can actually pull off but then again, if they could cast all day like other classes, then it would be broken and probably banned from tables so I find it very balanced in that fact.

7) Finally to wrap up this chapter we have the White Necromancer, which is not bad per se, but it is probably my least favorite of the six. Essentially this class is a “good” necromancer that studies life and death instead of exploiting it for their own nefarious purposes. If necromancy is your cup of tea, then this class has a lot to offer. At first they cannot cast “evil” necromancy spells as well as a necromancer and this costs them two spell slots to do so which can make tough goings, but later down the road this is negated. They have a pretty decent spell list that consists of a mix of cleric and wizard/sorcerer which rounds out their arsenal.

Chapter Two contains the Archetypes section of the book. In it, eight classes are given new archetype options. Some of them are the New Path classes: Battle Scion, Elven Archer, Shaman, Spell-less Ranger and White Necromancer, while the other three, the Gunslinger, Monk, and Ninja, are some of Paizo’s own.

1) The Battle Scion features two new archetypes. The first is the Bonded Scion, which lets him take an Arcane Bond, though it must be a weapon, and improve it further. There are also a few sweet abilities that go along with it. The other one is called the Force Blaster and it does just that, removing the focus from mainly melee, and instead opting for a blaster type role that boosts the Scion’s force blast capabilities.

2) The Elven Archer got two new archetypes as well. First is the Royal Guardian, which removes the wilderness feel, the Elven Archer brought with him and instead incorporates him into a more societal class by taking on things such as social skills and useful urban environment abilities. Second is the Plains Rider, which is essentially an Elven Archer with a mount and some abilities to go along with it. Not a lot of crazy cool things going for it but it is more options, and that is never a bad thing.

3) The Gunslinger got quite a few new options in this book and scored seven new archetypes, and honestly they are some of my favorites in this book. First is the Black Hat, which carries a really fun “gun witch” feel. The archetype gets abilities that debuff opponents, cause mechanical malfunctions, and still pack the full wallop of toting a gun in PFRPG. Next is the Black Reaver, which is in fact a Barbarian archetype, but it being the only one, would have been a waste of space and ink for unnecessary text. This archetype gives a Barbarian the Amateur Gunslinger feat and various deeds that work with firearms. Really there is not much to say on this one. The next one though steps up it’s A game for sure. The Coilgunner is an archetype that drops the traditional firearm, and instead expands into the science and ancient artifacts side of guns. This archetype uses a coil gun rather than a standard firearm, which essentially can fire two types of ammunition. The first is the standard projectile like other guns can fire, but the classes deeds can change that up and allow a Coilgunner to overcharge their guns and hurl bolts of electricity instead. The only real problem with the class is it is dependent on a cooperative GM to gradually help you keep it upgraded by implementing other lost technologies into his/her campaign, otherwise I can see this archetype falling behind. The Futurist is a Witch archetype but totes firearms which are a really cool option. The Futurist can enchant their bullets with hexes thus causing the creature to take the effect of the hex along with the damage, which is awesome. They also give up their patron/familiar for some really cool effects. The Gunfighter is next on the list and is a Fighter archetype. This one like most Fighter archetypes, allow the Fighter to focus more on guns and thus gain additional abilities for them. If you like feats and guns then this option is for you. The Hellfire Preacher is a Cleric archetype and is full of broken faith flavor. This Cleric archetype is one who is on the edge of renouncement of their faith so in exchange for a weakened connection with their deity, they are granted firearm usage and a really nifty smite ability that looks to be pretty strong but is only applied to one attack. Finally in the Gunslinger department, we have the Noble Shootist and this one is a Gunslinger archetype. This is the personable Gunslinger with social skills to boot. This one seems pretty fun if you are into the whole bravado feel that a Gunslinger can have.

4) The Monk, like the Gunslinger got quite a few options to play with. First is the Beast-Soul Monk, and the first thing I thought when reading this was “Altered Beast” from the 90’s arcade games. This archetype scores the Monk and animal companion and allows them to later transform into their animal companion so it’s like a wild shaping monk with no spells. Next is the Clockwork Monk, which is a racial archetype for the Gearforged race. This is one of the only classes I cannot truly review just due to the face I have never really read up on the Gearforged class itself. But the archetype itself seems very strong. The Monk of the Compliant Style Rod is the bo staff monk that people enjoy playing. If you are a fan of the bo or quarterstaff then this option is for you. Next is one of my favorite Monk archetypes, and that is the Monk of the Glorious Endeavor. This archetype is all about focusing on one weapon of the users choosing and is given appropriate monk abilities that make that one weapon better. Personally I have always loved the flavor of the wandering swordsman in nothing but robes and a katana on his side and a ki pool attached to such a character just gives it so much flavor. It’s just a great archetype and even gets to use feats the affect unarmed attacks with their chosen weapon…Stunning Weapon!!! The Monk of the Peerless Mountain is the kicking monk. Finally an archetype that focuses solely on using their feet, and I must say, they can be quite effective. Focusing on the Cleave feats to deliver their main source of damage opens up new possibilities for Kobold to expand on other feats like this and expand them through a class. The Paper Drake Monk is next on the Monk’s archetype list. This is a monk whose martial arts style revolved around origami and the form the paper itself takes. All in all it is a pretty cool archetype. I feel like I saved the best for last, or I guess I should say Kobold Press did, but we have the really cool Six Talismans Monk. I feel like this is a monk archetype straight out of an anime. The Six Talismans Monk is an archetype that takes pieces of paper known as talismans, and attaches various effects such as exploding fire damage, hold person, and flesh to stone, and slaps them onto an opponent who then takes the damage or effect. If anyone is familiar with the anime Outlaw Star or even Naruto, it is easy to see there are semblances in place that are quite noticeable.

5) The Ninja got two new archetypes in this book and both are as follow. First is the Elemental Ninja, who essentially takes on an element like fire or water and they gain abilities like a wizard of their elemental school would. It’s a fun option that is there for sure. Secondly is the Mist Stalker who gets certain bonuses while standing in fogs, gases, or mists. This is almost a must if anyone wanted to focus on striking from forms of concealment. I hope in the future we get some more Ninja archetypes, because even though these are pretty cool, I have a strong appetite for more.

6) The Shaman is next on the list of classes with archetypes. First is the Elemental Shaman which allows the shaman to form a bond and wild shape with an elemental rather than an animal which is great since I typically prefer elementals to animals personally. The Primal Shifter is next on the list, and this archetype focuses more on the wild shaping factor. The Primal Shifter takes diminished spellcasting in exchange for extra wild shaping goodies. Later they perform a ritual dance that takes their wild shaping even further with really strong buffs that cannot be missed. Finally we have the Witch Doctor who takes diminished wild shaping in exchange for spells and abilities that focus on healing and the undead.

7) The Spell-less Ranger only has two options this time as well but both of those options are absolutely fantastic. First is the Dual Style Ranger who can only take a single Favored Enemy but in exchange can take up two combat styles and the Ranger gets free feats for both styles at the appropriate level. The other archetype is the Companion-Bound Ranger, and they only take a single Favored Terrain in exchange for a very strong animal companion. The companion comes from the Druid companion list and even levels with the Ranger like a Druid’s companion does. This leads to a very strong animal companion for a Ranger. I personally run a Spell-less Ranger in a campaign that has sadly halted due to life getting in the way but I must contest that this is easily my favorite 3rd party class I have ever toyed with and actually play using BOTH archetypes due to them stacking and I must say it was a blast while I was playing it.

8) The White Necromancer is the last of the classes to get archetypes. The first of two new archetype options is the Necrotic Healer. This archetype focuses more on the healing aspect rather than the summoning and controlling of the undead. The Necrotic Healer is seen as a “self-sacrificing” character that strives to ease the pain of others and divert it into them. The other archetype is the Grave-bound, and this one is pretty cool. The Grave-bound take on an undead companion that varies from ghosts and zombies to mummies and vampires and they gain new abilities as the Necromancer gets stronger. It’s a really cool aspect on companions that has not really been toyed with much and has earned my seal of approval.

Chapter Three is the Feats and Traits section of the book. Kobold has released a good 20 pages worth of feats and traits that should not be passed up on. There are plenty of options in the book that relate to a bunch of the new classes that have been introduced in this book. Feats and traits are not something one person can really review on since like any good food, game, or gadget, they are built for taste and not everyone will like every little thing detailed. One thing I can hit on however is at the end of the chapter, Kobold introduced scaling combat feats which essentially allow the user to take one feat such as Cleave at a higher prerequisite than normal and when the users BAB reaches a certain number, they then gain the effects of the next feat in the chain. This is great for those who do not want to take every feat in a chain to be effective and allows a character to expand and try other new feats. I know personally this is great because typically when I plan out my builds, the first 12-15 levels are planned out to a tee for maximum survivability and I never get to toy with other flavorful feats.

Chapter Four is the spells section. Like feats and traits, there is actually not a lot I can talk about without giving away information involving specifics, plus there is that whole certain spells are not for everybody thing. I can say this however, you will not be disappointed.

Chapter Five is the Magic Items and Gear section. Kobold added seven new monk weapons to the list and gave us some new arrow and bolt options which are pretty cool. We got five new magic items and for the most part they are pretty cool as well including a collar for your animal companion that acts as armor. Finally the last section talks about three legendary magic items and base rules for making your own legendary magic items. There is a write-up on those three particular items and the requirements to attune said items to a character of your very own. That section alone had me wanting Kobold Press to do another companion piece that focused on legendary items such as these and maybe included stories of how those owners reached legendary status. It was only two pages of the book, but I felt it was the most open ended section of the book that had me craving more.

Chapter Six is the final chapter of the book and it is the tracking sheet section. From animal companions to prepared spells tracking sheets, there are plenty of sheets for any character. Some of the positioning feels a bit weird on a few of the sheets, but they really are streamlined to minimize the number of sheets needed to run your character effectively.

So all in all my experience with Kobold Press’s New Paths Compendium is nothing but positive. This is easily the best 3rd party book to come out in the last little bit and I strongly recommend anyone interested in anything mentioned in this review to give this book a shot. You will not be disappointed at all. I cannot wait to read and hopefully review the next book produced by them. My hat is off to Marc Radle for leading this book to perfection and with the help of an amazing staff.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
New Paths Compendium (Pathfinder RPG)
Publisher: Kobold Press
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/05/2014 11:55:08

Whether or not you have been collecting the 'New Paths' series, if the idea of being something just that little bit different appeals this is well worth a look... and there is new content as well as an efficient reorganisation of the material to make this a very useful reference, be you a player looking for a novel character or the GM who has to handle him in play.

The first chapter looks at the new base classes introduced in this series: Battle Scion, Elven Archer, Savant, Shaman, Spell-less Ranger, Theurge and White Necromancer. Each comes with a dramatic full-page illustration of a member of that class and extensive game mechanical and flavour details about what it is like to follow this profession and all the rules you need to do so. As well as the Class Features and necessary tables, there are also notes on how best to play one, role-playing ideas to help you bring the character to life, and a sample character - use it straight off if you are in a hurry, or as a template to build your own.

The next section provides a whole bunch of archetypes for each of the new classes as well as for the existing ones. Excellent for those of you who like to plot each and every element of your advancement - and if some of my players are anything to go by, this is something that is growing in popularity. So even if you are not looking to play one of the new base classes, there are still plenty of ideas for new and fascinating directions in which to take your Gunslinger or Monk or... and of course, if you are willing to take levels in more than one class it can get even more interesting.

This is followed by a mammoth collection of new Feats and Traits - put it this way, the one-line summary chart runs to 3 pages before you even get to the detailed write-ups. Again, this is well worth looking over whatever class you play, there's bound to be something that will give that tailor-made twist to your character.

The next chapter has a selection of new spells. Many are referenced in the spell lists available to the new classes, but most can be used by anyone with the necessary casting abilities. Finally, there is a catalogue of new magic items and magic gear for anyone who has the shopping (or crafting) urge. The highest level group of my players has just started to get into magical item crafting big style - they even asked that I held off the next adventure for a couple of weeks game-time so that they could finish making what they wanted! - and this can be an exciting angle to develop as characters get to sufficiently high levels. Even if you are not so much into the magic, there are some new weapons and other items of equipment to consider.

OK, you now have all these exciting abilities at your disposal, so you may find the bunch of Tracking Sheets provided of use to, well, keep track of them - everything from tracking your arrow use to keeping a tab on what your summoned creatures are up to.

If you like pushing the limits and trying out new character concepts and ideas, this is recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
New Paths Compendium (Pathfinder RPG)
Publisher: Kobold Press
by David A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/17/2014 12:19:49

Well Worth the Price.

I've purchased various supplemental books for Pathfinder, and have always been impressed by the quality of Kobold Press's releases. This book, I believe, sets a new level of excellence for other third-party publishers to strive for.

Pros:

Intelligent and well thought out new classes. While I wouldn't necessarily be inclined to play some of them due to personal preference, there is no denying that they all seem remarkably well-balanced and well-designed. In particular, battle scion is (for me) a long awaited solution for the eternal Gish problem: creating a sword-and-spell base class that isn't over-powered, under-powered, or dull as mud. Theurge was a pleasant surprise as well. Savant looks to appeal to the DM who finds himself playing a PC again, and will likely keep people staying up all night creating persona and avatars (in the best of ways!). I think the greatest accomplishment of the book may be the spell-less ranger. I've never wanted to play a ranger with spells, and I've never been impressed by spell-less variants. This 1-20 class really nailed it on the head for me: options, flexibility, and more options.

The feats are a great mix of necessary tie-in feats for the new classes, and a range of other flavourful options. Having feats that makes using a sling a viable option in combat was definitely unexpected.

The archetypes were again very interesting and seemingly balanced.

The scaling combat feats are a great idea, something to slightly ease the feat-burden of melee and ranged fighting characters. The only issue I and my group had was with Two-Weapon Fighting, that seems to be perhaps too powerful a feat chain to be made a scaling single feat.

The book is very professionally done, excellent layout, and has attractive artwork.

Cons:

The Spells section was a little underwhelming. The spells themselves were not in anyway lacking, I was just hoping for more material.

There were very minor layout problems, in particular in the feats section. While it was mostly in alphabetical order, there were a few misplaced feats. This is a superficial nitpick more than anything else.

Conclusion: 100% this book is worth its price. The new classes are its main draw, and they alone are worth the price of the book in my opinion. You know you have a great product when you struggle to think of any negative elements to write about. I highly recommend this product, and hope to see more material of similar quality soon both from Kobold Press and other Third-Party publishers.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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