Star Log.EM: Stalwart Defender (SFRPG)
This installment of the Star Log.EM-series clocks in at 7 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 2 pages of SRD, leaving us with 3 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
As always, we begin this pdf with an introductory page that contextualizes the material within the narrative frame of the Xa-Osoro system before diving into the nit and grit of the material, which, this time around, would be the stalwart defender archetype.
The first ability, defender’s objective, may be chosen at 2nd, 4th or 6th level, and once you do, you may gain stalwart powers at the next interval – in the instance of taking it at 6th level, you gain stalwart powers at 9th level as a choice. But what does this base ability do? Choose one character, object or location as a standard action, establishing it as the objective. Whenever you’re within 30 ft. of the objective and fight defensively or total defense, you may choose to accept a penalty to your movement to increase the AC bonuses granted by +1 or +2, respectively. This does not stack with similar abilities. When resting to regain Stamina, you may refresh this ability and further guidelines and restrictions are codified with pinpoint precision.
As hinted at, stalwart powers may be chosen after the objective, and 12th as well as 18th level also allow them to be taken as alternate class features. As soon as 4th level, you can choose a bonus feat from a list or an envoy improvisation, though the latter is limited in selection and tied to proximity to the objective. Halting strike is an upgrade for Stand Still and allows for really good hits to also inflict damage. Immovable enhances your Acrobatics to prevent being moved; unshakeable similarly fortifies you versus demoralize and feint attempts, while shrug off the pain nets you either DR or energy resistance (you have to chosoe the type). At 9th level, rapid defense is unlocked as an option, which allows you to use Resolve to establish a new objective sans requiring rest. It should be noted that this is still a standard action, as per the base ability. The implementation of a fortification ability similar to force field armor groups, with percentile chances to make critical hits regular ones, is impressive as well.
The pdf includes 3 feats: Brace Yourself lets you use total defense as a reaction, but staggers you until the end of your next turn. To use it again, you have to spend 1 Resolve while resting, and it has an anti-abuse caveat. Final Stand lets you, when reduced to 0 HP and less than ¼ Resolve, expend all Resolve for a final stand lasting 2 + Will save bonus rounds. You heal 1 Hit Point and regain level times Resolve spent Stamina; you also get +1 to all d20 checks and rolls and undead immunities, but may not use patience or concentration requiring checks. At the end of the stand, all stamina is lost and you die. EPIC. Stalwart Bodyguard enhances Bodguard and makes the bonus last until the start of the next turn.
Editing and formatting re top-notch, I noticed no glitches on a formal or rules-language level. Layout adheres to the series’ two-column full-color standard, and the artwork provided is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.
Alexander Augunas delivers. I usually hate the implementation of the tank concept in d20-based games, particularly because they are boring to play and the stalwart defender in particular has a history of being lame. Much to my pleasant surprise, the author has actually managed to make this one thoroughly cool. We have agenda, meaningful choice, various choices and potent benefits that serve to make the stalwart defender herein more than any iteration of the concept has managed to be before: Something I’d genuinely like to play, something I will use in my builds. My final verdict will be 5 stars + seal of approval, easily the best of Alexander Augunas’ treatments of legacy concepts so far.
You can get this cool supplement here on OBS!