EZG reviews In the Company of Tengu
This (now revised) pdf is 31 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 5 pages advertisement, 1 page back cover and 2 pages SRD, leaving 20 pages for the Tengu, so let’s check them out!
In tradition with the series, the pdf kicks off with three tales that illustrate the mindset via 3 tales – I really enjoyed the read and the minor editing glitches of V1 have been taken care of. After that, we get the concisely-written and compelling IC-narrated origin myth of the Tengu race as well as a great introduction to the unique, enlightenment-seeking nature of the race as well as its concept of honor. The Tengu society and their relationships with other races (including the Kappa, Hengeyokai and Korobokkuru) and we also get discussions on alignment and religion, languages (including their love of poetry), discussion of their adventurers and nomenclature. It should be noted that the IC-narrative is consistent and consequently used and thus makes this a very enjoyable read.
After that, we get the racial traits of the Tengu: They get +2 Dex, -2 Con, +2 Wis, low-light vision, a natural bite attack, get two additional skills as class skills, +2 to Stealth and Perception (here is a blank line too much in the block), +4 to linguistics and learn more languages and proficiency in swords. Alternate racial traits are also provided, in case you want your Tengu to use axes or spears instead of swords, a tengu proficient with riding and handling animals, Tengu born in forests or mountains, especially gifted poets or brown especially fierce Kite Tengu. We also get an Age, Height & Weight table and an extensive discussion (including the Japanese terms) of the Tengu’s take on all classes. Following RiP’s excessively detailed and customizable standard, we get 9 favored class options covering the base classes as well as one for the summoner and one for the cavalier – nice!
Speaking of the cavalier: The Tengu get new archetypes and the cavalier gets one of the most kick-ass takes on the class imaginable.. I’ve got 4 words for you.
Dire-boar Tengu cavalry. HOW AWESOME IS THAT???
I’m a jaded cynic, but this just blew my mind!
And the mechanical execution rocks, too, providing you with mount stats and an extensively detailed order. Believe me, this one ROCKS! The next archetype is less awesome, but still nice, offering a valid take on a dexterous fighter. Their very own paladin-archetype, focusing on interaction with nature and kami and awakening the spirit within one’s blade is nice.
Magus-friends rejoice, for RiP has added the archetype of Tengukensei, an awesome and very iconic take on our favorite arcane fighter in the revised pdf – this quite frankly goes above and beyond what almost any company out there does and once agin proves RiP’s commitment to offeing the very best to its fans as well as heeding the criticism they receive. Awesome!
After these, we get the Hishoken, the 20-level Tengu racial paragon class. The class gets full BAB, good fort and ref-saves, 4+Int skills per level and d10, being a fighting class focusing on agile attacks, lightning fast strikes and finally can become weightless (standing on e.g. thin branches) and even getting limited flight and the ability to temporarily transform into elementals.
After this rather cool class, we get a short discussion on the Daitengu, the legendary Tengu-sages of their respective mountains. The pdf closes with 10 new, Tengu-related feats, centering on improving their flight and swordsmanship. Mechanically, I didn’t have a problem with any of the feats, all seemed balanced and like reasonable picks.
Editing is top-notch, I noticed no more glitches, all the old ones have been taken care of. Layout is full-color and adheres to the beautiful, bamboo-lined Kaidan-standard. The artworks are mostly ok, but the b/w-artwork depicting the Tengu simply kicks ass – kudos to Mark Hyzer, I love this piece! The pdf is extensively book-marked and I’ll come right out and say it: It’s my favorite book of the “In the Company”-series to this date. I have no complaints regarding the racial class and the archetypes rock hard. I love the mindset of the Tengu and where “In the Company of Kappa” sometimes felt a bit confused with regards to IC-narrative/crunch, this book, like the wind and the mountains that gave birth to the Tengu, creates a concise and serenely beautiful work that makes for a great read while providing you with the tools to use the Tengu. Even better, V.2.0 offers more content (Magus-archetype), features no glitches and quite frankly is one of the most kick-ass reads for a asian-themed race/class. It offers an excellent bang-for-buck-ratio and you quite frankly have no reason not to pick this up. The new and improved “In the Company of Tengu” gets my highest verdict of 5 stars with the Endzeitgeist-seal of approval.
Check it out here!