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Class Acts: Ranger Archetypes $1.50
Publisher: Fat Goblin Games
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/19/2012 02:42:55

This pdf is 4 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving 2 pages of content for 3 new ranger archetypes, so let's check this one out!

The first archetype for the ranger presented herein would be the Grim Huntsman, who removes spellcraft from his class skills, can't influence magical beasts with wild empathy, but is rather trap-based: The ranger traps the huntsman learns are improved via favored enemy-bonuses to DCs and he may choose the "Learn Ranger Trap"-feat multiple times. Furthermore, he learns to add detrimental effects to his traps, temporarily staggering and at 20th level even paralyzing his prey. The archetype also gets the "Lame 3" bonus feats: Enduracne (though this is useful), Toughness (the most useless feat EVER) and Diehard (moderately useful). The intention behind the archetype is obviously to make a spell-less ranger (as the huntsman can't cast) that is focused on traps. Well enough, my only gripe is that Marc Radle's Spell-less Ranger from Open Design is simply the class that is more interesting, since it takes the concept and devotes MUCH more time to it. The improved traps just don't make up in versatility and usability for the loss of spellcasting and the uninspired bonus feats don't help either.

The second archetype in the fray is the Houndmaster, a highly specialized ranger who may only take dogs (or goblin dogs, if a goblin) as animal companions, but gets multiple dogs as companions over the levels, with up to 4 dogs at level 13. His effective druid level for the purpose of said companions, though, would be his ranger level -4 and later, his ranger level -6 to offset the boon that are additional actions per round. He still may push only one animal companion with handle animal per round, introducing another balancing factor, at least until he reaches 9th level, when he may issue one command to push all his dogs with the same action. He also develops a keen understanding of hs animals, allowing him to communicate with his dogs as if they shared a language and thus also issue more complex commands, which can be understood by all instead of one dog per round at higher levels. Starting at 11th level, the archetype may also provide his quarry-bonuses to his hounds and later even the improved quarry bonuses. I was rather skeptic regarding this archetype, seeing that additional actions are perhaps the most valuable asset in combat, but since the limitation to dogs, the reduced level and the fact that the houndmaster loses his spells as well as evasion and improved evasion etc. all are mitigating factors that may make this archetype work. Personally, I'm not a too big fan of multiple animal companions/summoned beings, since they tend to bog down game-play, but as far as I can tell, the class handles the benefits well. DMs allowing the archetype should insist upon the player swiftly handling the dog's actions, though.

The final new archetype introduced herein is the Wise Warden, who loses medium armor proficiency, but gain access to Knowledge (local), Knowledge (history) and Sense Motive as class skills. The class also offers the option to use a modified animal empathy which adds the option to add spell-like effects to creatures subjected to successful checks that change a creature's attitude. Among the possible effects are calm animal, animal messenger and even animal growth. At 5th and 15th level, the Wise Warden also gets a permanent +2 bonus to Wis and apply his Wisdom score to Knowledge and spellcraft skills and at higher levels, even to AC, attack and damage, with a capstone that enables him to add his wis-mod to any skill check he makes. Nice take on the wise hunter and made me think a bit of Yoda.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, though some wordings could have been more precise. Layout adheres to a no-frills 2-column standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length. This pdf was a mixed bag for me - from the rather bland Grim Huntsman to the Houndmaster, which may prove to be problematic in certain contexts, but which works well and balanced as far as I could tell to the cool, wise warden, the pdf for me ran the gamut of emotions. All in all, I felt that this installment of Class Acts is a solid addition to a game, though not necessarily a must-buy and hence I will settle for a final verdict of 3.5 stars, rounding up due to the low price for 4 stars for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Class Acts: Ranger Archetypes
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