EZG reviews the Genius Guide to the Talented Fighter
This pdf is 14 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover,1 page editorial/SRD, leaving 12 1/3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
I’ll come right out and say it: I don’t like the fighter-class. There. I get the appeal of many feats/the master-of-arms angle, but the base-class, since 2nd edition really, bored me terribly. Armor Training, weapon training, weapon specialization – I get their appeal and their mechanical raison d`être but personally, I always considered the class oh so boring. PrCs, archetypes and e.g. the revision of barbarian, ranger, paladin and monk classes, as well as the addition of inquisitors and cavaliers have made vanilla fighters all but non-existent in my game.
Now an issue, as the pdf acknowledges, is that fighters, to expand their options unlike other classes are often locked down to archetypes, which deprive the class to some extent of the flexibility at which they are supposed to excel at – enter the talented fighter as a proposed solution to this conundrum. The talented fighter gets full BAB, good fort-saves, d10, 2+Int-skills per level, proficiencies of simple and martial weapons as well as all armors and shields. The talented fighter gets a talent at every level, may select advanced talents at 10th level and grand talents at 20th level. Now if you do want to take bonus feats, rest assured that the pdf offers a talent that grants a bonus combat feat and armor training/weapon training, bravery etc. I.e., if you want the abilities associated with the base fighter, you can still go that way – only that now, you actually have much more options.
All in all, the pdf thus provides a vast array of talents and going through them would bloat this review to unpleasant lengths, so let me give you a run-down of what to expect: First of all, we have a lot of talents that essentially are scavenged from archetypes, breaking them down and allowing you to essentially cherry-pick e.g. abilities from the mobile fighter archetype, the tower shield specialist, the crossbowman or the roughrider – just to name a few. Feel free to look them up and think about whether picking a few of the archetype abilities wouldn’t make for a valid decision. Essentially, the talent-based approach allows the talented fighter more versatility in that it makes these exclusive abilities generally available. Now not all of the talents in here are based on archetypes and grand talents/advanced talents e.g. include capstone abilities of archetypes or talents that have multiple prerequisites.
The pdf also offers advice on how to utilize talents from e.g. the witch hunter or armiger-classes and alternate class features of SGG-classes as talents and increase the usability of this alternate fighter even further.
Editing and formatting of this latest revision are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to SGG’s 3-column full color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked with nested bookmarks that group the talents by letters. Whether you prefer the alphabetical array of talents or whether you would have enjoyed a grouping by styles/archetypes they’re derived from is ultimately a matter of taste, though I maintain that bookmarks would have served very well as an alternate means of grouping the talents – e.g. with a bookmark for crossbow-related talents and nested bookmarks beyond that one for the respective talents associated with that combat style.
How do you rate a pdf that is comparatively unimaginative in the bits and pieces it provides? Turns out, in this case, quite well – for the Talented Fighter is smart in that it does not aim to reinvent the wheel – it doesn’t have to. Instead, it takes existing concepts and streamlines them into a presentation that is thoroughly different from what you had associated with them into a form that is ultimately bigger than the sum of its parts.
The talented fighter takes my least favorite base-class and takes quite a bunch of archetypes/abilities to make the overall class simply more in line what I’d consider compelling class design, opening quite an array of formerly exclusive archetype abilities to the class and thus giving the fighter some exclusive toys to play with – a much overdue decision, at least in my opinion. Now is this the apex of originality? No. But is this a great way of breathing life and fun into the fighter class? To this question, my answer is a resounding “Yes!” Hence also the reason why I’ll gladly give this pdf a final verdict of 5 stars, omitting my seal of approval only since the alternate means of organizing the talents would have made for the superb icing on the cake. I strongly encourage you to check this out and make the fighter more singular and up to date.