Welcome back to the continuation of the Advanced Player’s Guide special review blog! If you missed the beginning, you can find it here! We covered the Swashbuckler and the Witch classes yesterday. Today we start looking into the new options for the core classes!
Chapter 2 – Classes (cont’d)
- Research Field
The new Research Field Toxicologist provides improved poison use and creation, as well as ultimately giving the ability to use multiple poisons at the same time. Accordingly, there are a number of feats geared towards poison use, such as the nifty Subtle Delivery (1st; injury poison via blowgun even if you deal no damage due to resistance). Although folks love their poisons, I feel like we are going to see more characters with Demolition Charge (2nd; rib a bomb on an object as a hazard) and Healing Bomb (4th; turn a healing elixir into a projectile).
The new Superstition Instinct allows you to rage against magic users in a whole new way. By refusing to accept magic, you are stronger and ultimately able to resist magic and even do more damage to magic users. With four pages of feats, there are quite a few new options and abilities for barbarians to master. A series of feats improve and expand upon scent abilities. There are also a couple feats for throwing large things, including allies! Flavor-wise, I really like simple visual of Bashing Charge (2nd; two strides and break a door anywhere during moves) and the outlandish DBZ style trope of Impressive Landing (10th; cause damage and create difficult terrain when landing after a jump or fall).
Taking the Warrior as your Muse provides you with the Martial Performance class feat and adds fear to your repertoire. I think I counted a total of 7 class feats specific to the new muse, which is less than half the feats found here. Of note, or just interest to me, are the Hymn of Healing (1st; healing composition spell) for those that like to heal as well as support, the knowledge feats that mimic the Assurance chain (for all your skills), and the feats that allow your allies to join your chants/performances to extend or gain benefits. Each of them brings to mind various stories and tropes I have seen over the years and sound like they would be fun to try at the table. While I am not sure how useful it would actually be in practice, I really like the idea of the new capstone Ultimate Polymath (20th; polymath; all spells are signature spells).
- Tyrant (Lawful Evil)
- Desecrator (Neutral Evil)
- Antipaladin (Chaotic Evil)
Well now … evil champions. I wasn’t expecting to see this so soon. It is nice to see it here for those that enjoy a darker game, or are trying out a conversion of Hells Vengeance, and certainly helpful for GMs that want to properly represent an evil foe for their campaign, but I have way too many non-evil builds on my list to be looking to use these options this soon into 2e. All of their champion’s reactions involve damaging somebody that damaged them, nothing really special to note there. I counted up the feats and found the following breakdown (I rushed, so might be off by 1 or 2): Total 32, Evil 18, Any 7, Good 7. Some evil options were just evil versions of existing Good options, such as Greater Cruelty (8th), Sense Good (8th), Fiendish Form (18th), and Fiendish Mount (20th), while others were new and unique to evil characters. There were oath options for good, evil, and all, and there were more options for using or modifying your devotion spell (usually distinct for good/evil).
The cleric section was short and sweet. 15 feats ranging from 1st to 18th. There were two sets of feats that gave you a reaction with the lower level entry and allowed you to share with allies with the higher level entry. The two feats were designed around seeing your allies reach 0 hit points intrigued me with Rapid Response (2nd; reaction to stride toward fallen ally) being my favorite over Surging Focus (8th; 1/day free action gain 1 focus point when ally falls). Ebb and Flow (14th; use a heal or harm on two targets, one to take damage and the other to heal) sounds like it could be very interesting tactically and Miraculous Possibility (18th; leave a spell slot open to use to cast any spell) seems to live up to the name it was given.
Compared to clerics, druids only get 8 feats, but boy are these feats fun. Verdant Weapon (1st) allows you to spend 10 minutes to create a seed that can turn into a weapon with a single interact action. It can have runes, talismans, and even functioning as cold iron and silver with the Pristine Weapon (10th) feat. Elemental summons and resistances await, as do special leshy familiar options! You can even use a reaction to wild shape into a form that can help save you from various triggering events with Reaction Transformation (14th) or turn a spell into a trapped seed with Sow Spell (14th)!
At first glance there isn’t much to write home about … but I think that is mostly from the perspective that I haven’t played a fighter in 2e yet, and usually don’t play fighters. Dragging Strike (2nd; strike that can move enemy) makes them flat-footed on a failure. Parting Shot (4th; Step and ranged Strike) makes them flat-footed against the attack. Ricochet Stance (6th; stance making thrown weapons return) can replace runes. Cut from the Air (10th; reaction +4 AC to ranged attack) is situational but handy and leads to Smash from the Air (18th; bonus v ranged spell attacks). Ultimate Flexibility (20th; upgrades combat flexibility and improved flexibility) deserves a mention for allowing an 8th, 14th, and 18th level feat and swapping out with an hour of training.
I have yet to play a monk, but I built a couple of monks at different levels awhile back and have some really fun ideas. The additional stances (6 by my count) are welcome, as more stances provide more styles of combat and flavor to distinguish monk builds. The archery feats were a very welcome sight, personally, as I had a zen archer in 1e and would like to test it out again one day. Mechanically, I didn’t really see anything that jumped out as needing to be called out, but I think a lot of folks are going to enjoy the names of some of these feats, like One-Inch Punch (6th) and One-Millimeter Punch (16th).
Well, that’s all I have today … tune in tomorrow as I finish up Chapter 2!
And, as always, please join us at our Discord server https://discord.gg/Rt79BAj to let me know what you think or simply have a chat!