So, I was asked what my favorite 3pp classes are – and answering this question proved to be surprisingly hard.
This has many reasons, first of all being that I like complexity, options and player agenda and so do my players – meaningful choices have always been of the utmost importance. The original intention of the EZG Essentials-series was to provide books I always require my players to know; The indispensable systems and kits, so to speak. Hence, the EZG Essential-tab is reserved for exclusives that fulfill this criteria. At the same time, I’m aware that some of you may want to know which classes have changed my game for the better and why.
So here we go – while none of these classes is strictly required and thus an EZG Essential-candidate as per the definition of the category, on a very personal level, *I* consider them indispensable. It should be noted that I am consciously excluding the Akashic Mysteries-classes here since they are WiP as per the writing of this post. The akashic classes may still end up with a proper EZG Essential-tag.
One more caveat: This post is devoted to single classes, NOT subsystems. This means you won’t find the psionic classes from ultimate Psionics, The Occultist from Pact Magic Unbound or all the Strange Magic-classes here – why? Because they *do* have my EZG Essential-tag and as such would take up most of the slots. ;P
So without further ado, here are the classes I consider “essential” without being strictly required, the classes I, as a person, not as a reviewer, really like. Note that while not all classes here may be perfect, they are all capital letters FUN to play. I present to you, in no particular order, 20 (21 if you count Time Thief and Warden as separate classes) great 3pp-classes:
Technician by Radiance House (in Age of Electrotech)
Why it’s great: Complex, yet easy to grasp and highly modular, the sheer array of awesome customization options of this class and the wonderful ideas render this an absolute star among classes. Rewarding to build and play, a total, absolute blast.
Tinker by Interjection Games
Why it’s great: This is a class for the PROS. Go customizable or go home, this brutal beast of a class requires some getting used to; Once you do, though, its copious amounts of support allow for vast combos, building of mechas, Ironman suits and so much more. Rewarding to play and highly complex, this is a class for the discerning tinker. Get those expansions (use the tinker-tag here) and never stop cackling!
Swordmaster by Dreadfox Games
Why it’s great: This is the best Dex-based melee class I’ve seen for any iteration of d20. With an intriguing concept of moves that build on one another, the swordmaster features heavily in my campaigns, to the point where I have written quite a few expansions. While Dreadfox Games is dormant right now, there also are some archetypes by Rite Publishing, should you require them. And yes, I actually saw this guy work as a low-CON elven bodyguard tank. My group’s tank had, due to abysmal luck, less HP than the witch and still worked. Love this class!
Masquerade Reveler by Rite Publishing
Why it’s great: Yes, I know – this is an archetype of the barbarian. It’s also perhaps the best barbarian archetype I ever saw, extremely modular, flavorful, extremely awesome and changes so much of the base class, it lost most semblance of it. Oh, and it’s intelligent and easy to grasp. Superb.
Time Thief & Time Warden by Rogue Genius Games
Why they’re great: They may not be the most powerful of classes, but what can I say? For one, I’ve been a fanboy of Prince of Persia since the original game and loved the reboot, Warrior Within and its harsh difficulty and Conan-esque aesthetics in particular. These are the classes for just this feeling of time-control. Adore them, love them – just be careful with the expansion.
Link for Time Thief: OBS
Link for Time Warden: OBS
Luckbringer by Rite Publishing
Why it’s great: Great fluff, the chassis of the time thief modified and a theme of insane luck. This class is FUN. Especially coming up with weird new ways of making improbable accidents and happenstances.
Spell-less Ranger by Kobold Press (in New Paths Compendium)
Why it’s great: Aragorn doesn’t cast spells. ‘Nuff said.
Medium by Purple Duck Games (in Legendary Classes: Covenant Magic)
Why it’s great: A complex class with player agenda high on the list, the class can be easily combined with Pact Magic and is simply interesting to play. Still the reason I’m annoyed by other classes being called medium. It also sports two great expansions!
Illuminatus by Purple Duck Games (in Legendary Classes: Illuminatus)
Why it’s great: Quite frankly the best take on the Chaos Mage (as opposed to only spells/a school that works like it) I’ve seen. Random, yet controlled and all awesome.
Magpie by Little Red Goblin Games (in Necropunk Campaign Setting)
Why it’s great: A class of guys who can see and manipulate the flow of fate due to a strange parasite they willingly ingested? Heck yeah! It should be noted that you’ll need to do some conversion work to make it gel with vanilla-PFRPG, though, since its Necropunk-specific rules need some modification.
Direlock by Forest Guardian Press
Why it’s great: Mechanically innovative, with an awesome fluff, this is hands down my favorite gish-class for PFRPG, blowing all others, including the magus, out of the water for me. Yes, i loved these sinister guys!
Savage by Forest Guardian Press:
Why it’s great: This is a glorious hybrid of monk and barbarian. It also represents what I wanted to see from the ACG. This class has made me perceive the failure that the ACG is to me in the sharpest of possible contrasts.
Nightblade by Ascension Games (in Path of Shadows):
Why it’s great: Because this class takes the shadow-themed secret agent/shadow-caster trope and beautifully uses it. While I’m not sold on all design-decisions, generally, this is an absolutely awesome, flavorful addition to one’s game.
General by Legendary Games (in Ultimate Commander):
Why it’s great: Because this pet class not only provides easy rules for having your own unit, it also bridges the gap between kingdom building, mass combat and regular adventuring.
Battle Lord by Amora Game (in Liber Influxus Communis)
Why it’s great: The Battle Lord is essentially the personal commander of the PCS and best take on the balanced front-line buffer/smart fighter I’ve seen in PFRPG.
Demiurge by Amora Game (in Liber Influxus Communis)
Why it’s great: It’s a philosophy-themed class, highly complex and has utterly unique mechanics while making a great leader! I adore this class, even though there is one particular component that needs a bit of nerfing (see my review of LIC).
Survivor by Amora Game (in Liber Influxus Communis)
Why it’s great: Where the spell-less ranger is Aragorn, this is the survivalist, Rambo, however you’d want to call him. Also, it’s pretty rare that I like a simpler class to this extent.
Malefactor by TPK Games
Why it’s great: One word – Schadenfreude. It also doesn’t hurt that this class really helped a player of mine with abysmal luck enjoy the game again.
The Assassin: A Modular Momentum Maneuvers Base Class by Interjection Games
Why it’s great: Because it *FINALLY* makes an assassin that is fun to play, has a TON of unique options, gets balancing right and, as a whole, just flat-out annihilates in awesomeness pretty much all classes/options that tried to fill the trope. I’ve seen a ton of d20-assassins. This makes ALL of them look like boring rogue-ripoffs. Must-friggin-have!
All right, so there you have it – a huge bunch of classes for everyone who’s tired of the same old mechanics being recombined, with cool, oddball ways of handling things. These classes have enriched my game and I firmly believe they can do the same for you.
I’ll be back off to reviewing now, and yes, I will further expand this type of lists once I’ve reviewed new classes worthy of the praise!