This installment of the Prestige Archetype-series clocks in at 13 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, ~1/2 a page of editorial, leaving us with 11 1/2 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
First question – what are prestige archetypes? Well, they are essentially a breakdown of a regular PrC into a full-blown 20-level spanning class – so no, these classes don’t necessarily mean that you’ll have a universal archetype (wouldn’t have worked in this context, I think), instead providing a retooled playing experience so you don’t have to work your way up to the PrC via classes you don’t want to play. So that’s definitely a pro-side. On the con-side, *personally*, I treat PrCs as very much tied to organizations etc., emphasizing the “prestige”-component as opposed to archetypes, which are more traditions in my game. I’m not the target audience of these books, but I will take a stab at them anyways.
This prestige archetype receives 3/4 BAB-progression, d8 HD, good ref- and will-saves, 8+Int skills per level, proficiency with traditional rogue weapons and light armors as well as shields (the latter two sans arcane3 spell failure), spontaneous spellcasting via cha from the bard-spell-list of up to 4th level (though the pdf has a very confusing typo, referring up to level 5!). The class also receives a variant of bardic performance of 4+ cha-mod rounds per day, +2 rounds per class level. At second level, a doom--like debuff is added with Grim Tales – yeah, the class abilities of the chonicler have been properly streamlined into one ability-group – kudos!
Alas, the crazy prepared ability Deep Pockets has not been fixed – RAW, the chronicler can still draw forth fitting keys for locks – a caveat to further prohibit the acquisition of items the chronicler cannot reasonably have foreseen when packing/shopping for unspecified items should be added here. Greater Epic Tales has been moved to the now appropriate 13th level and the overall dispersal of bardic/chronicler abilities is solid indeed.
As always, we also receive FCOs for the core races as well as sample characters for 1st, 5th, 10th and 15th level.
Editing and formatting are still good, though less tight than in most of the series, with slightly misleading glitches here and there. Layout adheres to Purple Duck Games printer-friendly two-column standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.
Carl Cramér’s take on the pathfinder chronicler is a more than solid revision of the original PrC – rewiring the abilities into the bardic-style performance is something overdue and the streamlining of the class works pretty well. That being said, this pdf is also not perfect – with the streamlining, interaction with feats and abilities that modify bardic performance, availability of bardic masterpieces etc. – there are quite a few rules-synergies that need to be addressed. Now I consider this installment one of the better in the series, mainly due to the pdf providing more proper advancement/revisions of the basic PrC, but at the same time, there are quite a bunch of different options that should be addressed for this rough diamond to truly shine -as written, this is a slightly more worldly/skill-focused bard than the regular bard, a solid take indeed, though not a perfect one. My final verdict hence will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded up by a margin to 4.
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