Review: PRPG Advanced Player's Guide Playtest  

Posted by Spenser Isdahl in ,

This past Monday, the third and final group of the much-anticipated Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player's Guide playtest base classes was released, leaving us with early versions of the Alchemist, Cavalier, Inquisitor, Oracle, Summoner, and Witch (all of which you can download for free here). There's definitely a lot to love about these new classes, but they're not without their flaws as well.

Round 1: Cavalier and Oracle

The cavalier, I admit, was the class I was least anticipating, and in that light, it was actually pretty impressive. Its Challenge ability has a lot of potential; there's a lot of whining going on in the Paizo forums about how vulnerable it makes cavaliers to rogues, but come on, taking risks is part of the fun of the game. Some of the oaths need work; Oath of Protection and Oath of Greed, for example, both suck, and the 'task' for Oath of Loyalty is trivial. Also, Demanding Challenge needs to require a minimum Int score in the target or it doesn't make in-game sense (can you really imagine an gelatinous cube being forced to "pay attention to the threat" the cavalier poses?). The Orders are really interesting, and I can see a lot of potential there for integrating the class into a homebrew world with only a little effort. Overall, this class could be cool or lame depending on how strict your DM is (that is, with the oaths and order edicts).

The oracle is a great idea, and reminds of the old Wu Jen except done in a way that catches my attention for more than five seconds. There was some confusion about what "oracle" means in this context, but if you can get past that it's a very cool class. My main complaints are that the Oracle's Curses, one of their central abilities, are pretty uneven, power-wise: Lame is pretty awful; Deaf, Tongues, and Wasting are all okay; Clouded Vision is good; Haunted is amazing (almost no downside and free spells known? Yes, please!). The revelations are also cool, basically domains on crack, and I'm assuming they'll release more in the final version (if not, get cracking boys).

Round 2: Summoner and Witch

I didn't really know what to expect from the summoner. Its main ability, Eidolon, is very reminiscent of Final Fantasy summoning; the whole class is centered around your one big glorified animal companion. The thing is, you also get a ton of free traditional summoning as well, meaning this class could extremely easily become a total clusterf@#$ if the summoner gets spooked a calls in for reinforcements. The class really hinges on how broken the "Evolutions" are at this point; these are the add-ons for your eidolon similar to 3.5 astral construct creation rules, but more complex. I can easily see a summoner outplaying the rest of his party, just by buffing his eidolon and using himself (via Life Link) as a piggy bank of hit points, standing back and summoning once or twice and letting the resulting army of outsiders duke it out with the enemy.

I really like the witch. This class has a lot of abilities that are both interesting in flavor and mechanics and that fit the archetype perfectly. For example, it has the only familiar ability that I've ever been even vaguely interested in. The hex abilities are all cool, and the major and grand hexes are even cooler. And they cackle. I rest my case. Seriously, I wish I had more to say, but this class did everything I would have wanted, and then some.

Round 3: Alchemist and Inquisitor

Okay, here's where it gets good.

I was pumped when I first heard about the alchemist before it came out, and I'm pretty impressed with what they did with the idea. Effectively, the alchemist's two main abilities consist of making a ton of potions that only he can use and throwing bombs (which are essentially better alchemical fires). They can also create mutagens, which give a nice physical boost, and are handy with poisons. A couple of the Discoveries might need tweaking (Eternal Potion, I'm looking at you), but overall it seems balanced enough. My only general complaint about the alchemist, if anything, is that it's unfocused; are they supposed to be spellcasters? Gishes? Melee support? You decide.

The inquisitor was a bit of a surprise for me. It's sort of a mix between paladin and ranger with bard spell progression, and looks cooler than any of those classes (well okay, maybe not ranger). Their 'thing' is that they get better as combat progresses based on their Judgment ability. It's not a terribly complex class, at least as far as its class abilities, but it still has a lot of options, even on a round-by-round basis, since you can switch your Judgment type as a swift action. The only thing I thought was weird about the inquisitor is that it sort of seems like Paizo just made up the new tactical feats* so that the inquisitor could be super awesome at them.

*Also, what gives, Paizo? 'Tactical feat' already means something, could you really not think of another descriptor to use for these feats?

This entry was posted on December 17, 2009 at Thursday, December 17, 2009 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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