Supporting Roles: Tinker Class
By Thilo Graf
This pdf is the freshman offering of Amora Game and 17 pages long, 1 page front cover, 2 pages editorial, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving us with 12 pages of content, so let’s check this out!
The pdf begins with two short narratives displaying different types of tinkers, before we are introduced to the new class, which gets d8, 4+Int skills, proficiency with simple weapons, hammers and picks, light armours and shields and when the emulate spells in light armour, they do not incur a spell failure chance. They get 3/4 BAB as well as good fort-saves and the ability to coat magic weapons and armour with substances to temporarily enchant them with a scaling bonus and later emulate weapon and armour special qualities for a limited amount of time: Neat!
Being masters of demolition and able to recognize the structural weaknesses of objects, the tinkers get improved sunder as a feat at first level as well as access to edifice recognition, which deals +1d6 damage on sunder attempts and improves every odd level by +1d6 to a maximum of +10d6, making sunder attempts by the tinker truly fearsome to behold. At 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter, the Tinker may also choose a so-called design, which could be likened to rouge talents.
Where the first iteration of the class had half-baked spell-casting implementation that followed weird and (to me) unfathomable rules, the latest version of the tinker not only got rid of this feature, but it also had added new designs. Another nice piece of comfort when using the class is an inclusion of a table of all the designs, which provides a nice overview of what the tinker can do. A total of 34 designs are provided and grant the tinker access to e.g. the Disruptive or Skill Focus-feats without meeting the prerequisites.
More interesting designs include “Chink in the Armour”, which, after a successful sunder attack against an opponent’s armour, enables a tinker to follow up with a called shot at -2 as a standard melee action instead of a full action. Generally I applaud this decision to change the ability, but the design unfortunately fails to specify whether this -2 penalty replaces the usual called shot penalty (which might be up to -20) or is in addition to it. Also, called shots have different effects depending on where they are aimed and the design nowhere specifies to which region this called shot is aimed. Can a tinker freely chose the region of his called shot? This change is definitely preferable to how the design worked earlier, but it still can use some minor clarification. Formerly, 8 of the designs were devoted to enhance the tinker’s crafting of respective item-classes and now all of these have been changed and roped in into one design. Some parts of the space so saved has been devoted to something utterly awesome: The demolitions-expert tinker-class can now go full-blown sapper on their enemies by gaining access to alchemist’s bombs and even some bomb discoveries if you choose to take the respective design – kudos and two thumbs up for these new designs. On the cool side of abilities, tinkers may now also ruin scrolls to deliver a burst of deadly energy – neat! On the iconic side of abilities is “Scrap it”, a power that allows a tinker to use a shield to absorb the fullness of an incoming blow, but at the cost of netting the item the broken condition and breaking it on a second such attempt. The shield can’t be repaired via “make whole”-spells when ruined thusly. Nice!
Since they are masters of demolitions, tinkers may also stun constructs by imparting the new stalled condition (i.e. stun for constructs) when specializing in the dismantling of constructs and damaging them via their edifice recognition.
The Tinker also is a master of using his crafting prowess in the field, starting at 6th level counting as always having his/her workshop ready. As capstone abilities, tinkers may either choose to take 20 when creating magic items or gain a special attack that destroys items rather easily.
The pdf also provides additional material in the form of 5 new feats (granting extra designs, extra emulates and the capability to cleave and greater cleave items when sundering and the option to sunder with ranged weapons).
There is also a new PrC for the Tinker, which has been revised as well:
The Breaker gets d10, 2+Int skills per level, full BAB-progression and 1/2 fort and ref-saves. The class’s idea is that of a more melee-focused tinker and its deign shows, providing a controlled form of rage similar to the one of the barbarian. They may also use intimidating boasts and single out opponents, which they may charge dealing additional damage. As a cool synergy of abilities, foes targeted by their intimidating boasts cannot execute AoOs versus the Breaker. The Backswing Push-ability, which allows the breaker to make an additional attack at his/her highest BAB to push foes 5 ft. (10 on a crit) without said movement enforcing AoOs. The Hit and Run-feature is also interesting, allowing the breaker as a full round action to move up to his speed and make “a number of melee attacks that is determined by his base attack bonus without provoking attacks of opportunity from the targets of his attack”, even being allowed to move both before and after the attacks. While a cool ability, the wording could be slightly clearer. I gather the ability handles iterative attacks the usual way (-5,-10 etc.), but as worded I first thought the ability granted attacks = to BAB, which would have been utterly broken. Where in the first iteration of the PrC the bonus feats granted made no sense, the revision of the PrC actually makes sense.
Editing and formatting have massively improved, exhibiting now the (mostly)properly-used vocabulary of PFRPG. While there are still some instances of slightly ambiguous wordings, the respective offenders can be solved by an application of common sense, which, while still constituting a minor blemish, is a vast improvement over the first version. Layout per se is nice to look at and comes in a 2-column standard that includes full-color as well as b/w-stock art. The lack of bookmarks is another detrimental factor for this pdf, as it makes navigation harder than it ought to be and something Amora Games should consider implementing in future releases.
Amora Games have taken a class that was completely broken in its first iteration and, much like a tinker after sundering his foe’s equipment, taken up the scrap to build them into something useful.
While the result, much like a jury-rigged weapon, still has flaws and might not necessarily be beautiful, the result yet works and may grow to one’s heart. Another 3pp has recently released a craft-based class, Drop Dead Studio’s Artisan. Crafting-wise, the Artisan is the superior of the two classes, but the tinker does have a niche with this revision, making for a superb representation of a type of soldier that as of yet had no good representation via classes: The sapper, the (surprise) tinker. The guy that takes things first apart, bombs through structures and objects and takes apart foes by destroying their tools and later making something new from them. In its own humble way, the new tinker-class actually feels like it does belong and has a reason to exist in a campaign, even one that already has the Artisan-class. While still suffering from some minor glitches, the class still makes for a valid purchase in the latest iteration, especially for the low price and people who want to include some Malazan Book of The Fallen-style sappers in their military. My final verdict will thus clock in slightly below the Artisan for a respectable 3 stars and a “Kudos” to the guys and gals of Amora Games for salvaging the class. If they manage to include bookmarks and get rid of the rare ambiguities in future releases, all the better! The tendency and learning curve is there!
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