The first Uncommon Calling book clocks in at 23 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1page SRD, leaving us with 20 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
We begin this collection of archetypes with the wild shot brawler, whose unarmed strike damage does not increase beyond 4th level; instead, he begins play with training in either a hand crossbow or a one-handed firearm, The former nets +1 to attack rolls with the weapon, the latter Gunsmithing as well as a battered pistol as the gunslinger – both obviously also net the respective proficiencies. This replaces shield proficiency. If hand crossbows are chosen, 1st level lets the wild shot pay 1 martial flexibility as a free action to resolve all hand crossbow attack against targets within 30 ft as touch attacks. At 4th level, the archetype may expend one use of martial flexibility to halve the Stealth penalty on sniping for one round. If one-handed firearms are chosen instead, he gains quick clear powered by either 1 daily use of martial flexibility (standard action) or 2 (move action). 4th level provides a martial flexibility-powered utility shot. Regardless of the choice made, 10th level allows for the expenditure of 1 daily use of martial flexibility to perform a ranged dirty trick or disarms maneuver or gain Improved Precise Shot for 1 minute, though it counts towards the maximum amount of feats you can gain through martial flexibility.
At 2nd level, the archetype receives desperado’s flurry, which allows for the use of the respective firearm in conjunction with brawler’s flurry, provided the target’s within 30 ft – and reloading is still a thing, which means that Rapid Reload or a similar ability is pretty much a must. Also at this level, the wild shot no longer provokes AoOs for attacks with said firearms from foes if she also threatens them with a melee weapon and starting at 5th level, reloading doesn’t provoke AoOs anymore. Nice: The archetype may reload sans a free hand, provided she is holding a monk or close fighter weapon group type of weapon. At 15th level, aforementioned flurry’s range restriction may be ignored when spending one daily use of martial flexibility. The archetype pay for all of this with two bonus feats as well as martial training and knockout.
3rd level nets +1 to damage with the chosen weapon type, which is doubled within 30 ft. The bonus increases by +1 at 7th level and every 4 levels thereafter. At 4th level, weapon mastery is replaced with Opening Volley, but in addition to the feat’s regular benefits, when a melee attack benefits from it, the wild shot adds x 1.5 Str-mod to damage, provided it was made with a close or monk weapon. Nice: If you already have the feat, you get to choose an alternative. This replaces weapon mastery. The archetype comes with a unique favored class option that increases critical confirmation rolls
Next up would be the cavalier order of the veil, who may never voluntarily divulge the identity of his masters and basically is a shadowy info-broker. The challenge ability provides a +1 morale bonus to damage versus the target, increasing by +1 per 4 class levels attained. The damage is doubled versus flat-footed opponents and those denied their Dex to AC. Skill-wise, they gain linguistics and Stealth as class skills and add 1/2 class level to Bluff checks to pass hidden messages and Linguistics. 2nd level’s ability provides a +2 bonus to saves vs. mind-reading and to feint checks, which increases by +1 at 6th level and every 4 levels after that. Additionally, the cavalier is treated as having Int 13 and Combat Expertise for the purpose of qualifying for Improved Feint and TWF and all feats based on those two, which is nice. 8th level allows the cavalier to produce a hypnotizing stare as a full-round action, focused on a creature within 30 ft. The target forgets most details about the cavalier on a failed Will-save. Cool: If the cavalier does this multiple times, the DC gets higher and the ability knows degrees of failure: The more significant the failure, the more pieces of misinformation the cavalier may plant. The ability can be used 2 + Cha-mod times per day, minimum 1. 15th level provides a constant mind blank that he can suppress or resume as a standard action. The order also gets a nice FCO. All in all damn cool order. I’d play that!
Next up would be the Lurking Predator hunter, who gains proficiency with bolas, brutal bolas, boomerangs, harpoons and nets and does not gain any spellcasting, caster level or ability to use spell trigger/completion items. Instead, he begins play with a pool of ferocity equal to his Wisdom modifier, minimum 1. When the lurking predator or his animal companion reduce a creature to 0 or fewer hit points in combat, he regains 1 point of ferocity. And yes, before you ask: Kitten-proof. Nice! The lurking predator’s animal companion has as much ferocity as the lurking predator and access to all deeds – basically, the two share a ferocity pool. At 1st level, the lurking predator may expend ferocity to get move, standard and swift action in a surprise round (or a full-round action) and also spend a swift action in a surprise round for + class level weapon damage.
Additionally, +10 ft. land speed and no running start required for jumps and a bonus of 1/2 class level to Acrobatics is gained as long as he has ferocity. Said bonus may be doubled by spending a ferocity point, but only for 1 minute. At 4th level, the lurking predator’s allies are treated as having the same teamwork feats for determining the bonus they convey, but only while he has at least one ferocity. Additionally, he may spend 1 point of ferocity as an immediate action to make foes that 5-foot step or withdraw still provoke an AoO or not provoke an AoO for using or reloading ranged weapons in melee, but effects lasting for one round, just fyi.
Starting at 8th level, as long as he has at least 1 ferocity and is within 30 feet of the animal companion, command the animal to attack, granting it an AoO versus a foe it threatens. For one ferocity, the deed may be used as a move action instead. the animal companion may also make use of this, in which case it is the ferocious predator that receives the AoO. Interesting duality-tricks here! Also at 8th level, the lurking predator may spend 1 ferocity as a standard action while under the effects of a harmful effect that was prompted by a Fort- or Will-save, ending his turn, but also suppressing it for a number of rounds equal to his class level. Best take on the mettle concept I’ve seen so far.
At 12th level, the archetype gains +1/2 class level to Stealth while he has at least 1 ferocity and may expend 1 ferocity to move at full speed while using Stealth sans incurring the usual penalty. This effect lasts 1 minute. Similarly, he may spend 1 ferocity to gain 30 ft climb and swim speed and + 8 racial bonus to Climb and Swim checks for 1 minute. If the lurking predator would be reduced below 0 hit points, he may spend 2 ferocity to gain 2 x class level temporary hit points for one minute…and no, they cannot be maintained indefinitely…uncheesable. Kudos!
16th level allows the archetype to take 10 in all hunt/nature-associated skills while he has at least one ferocity and also receives ferocity-powered quarry. 17th level allows both lurking predator and companion to use Stealth sans cover or concealment, replacing one with nature. Again, nice FCO included.
Up next would be some support for the amazing occultist class – the vault raider. This guy replaces Diplomacy with Escape Artist and Stealth and begins play with 1 implement and the Delving implement: These usually are bracers, keychains, padlocks, pistons, watches, etc. As a resonant power, the implement provides a +1 bonus to Ref saves and initiative per 2 mental focus invested, with a maximum of 1 + 1 per 3 class levels. Once the bonus reaches +4, evasion is gained and at +6, you’re in for improved evasion. The base focus power would allow for the expenditure of 1 mental focus as a free action to deal +1d6 damage versus flat-footed or Dex-denied targets, increasing by +1d6 for every two levels after the first and otherwise works pretty much like sneak attack. The focus powers provided allow for the expenditure of 1 mental focus for the gaining of the vault raider’s class level as a bonus to Stealth…but as a nice twist, starting at 4th level, this also deceives scent and at 7th level, allows the character to bypass tremorsense and vibration-based blindsense…VERY cool!
Alternatively, the occultist may lay a supernatural version of a ranger trap as a full-round action. Also for one point of mental focus, he may inflict or heal 1d8 +1 per two caster levels to a construct, object or the like, bypassing even magic immunity. As a standard action and also for 1 point of mental focus, he may grant himself +1/2 class level to Disable Device and Perception and also disarm magical traps; starting at 8th level, he may even take 10 with these skills. The effect, fyi, lasts for class level minutes. For 2 points of mental focus he, may scry and receive an impression of the 40 ft.-radius, which increases by 20 ft. at 11th and 15th level…and NOW you know how to justify handing your PCs that dungeon map AND make them feel good about it! The spell selection, just fyi, is nice and similarly thematically fitting.
At 5th level, vault raiders may expend 1 point of mental focus to receive the benefits of detect secret doors as an extraordinary ability, with the immediate benefits of 2 rounds of concentration and a duration of 1 round per class level. Additionally, he may determine whether an object is locked or unlocked simply by looking at it…which can prove very handy in that long corridor with 100 fake doors and a big Indy boulder rolling your way…Alas, he does lose aura sight for this. 8th level nets the Quick Disable and Trap Spotter rogue talents, 12th level Cunning Trigger and Quick Trapsmith and 16th Defensive Roll and Frugal trapsmith, replacing magic circles and outside contact…and, as a whole this archetype is amazing! Oh, and yep, FCO included.
The brigand is the next archetype, intended for the unchained rogue class. The archetype receives 6 + Int skills and receives a modified proficiency list: Simple weapons, greatclubs, light hammers, longswords, shortswords and warhammers as well as light and medium armors. At 1st level, they replace finesse training with basically 5 ft. movement added after detracting the medium armor’s movement penalty. Additionally, either a Strength or Dexterity-based skill checks ignore armor check penalty, with 3rd level, 7th, 9th, 11th and 19th unlocking another skill to ignore ACP. 2nd level locks the brigand into Strong Impression and also adds free Intimidate to foes subjected to sneak attack instead of evasion. 4th level adds + class level damage to sneak attack versus foes suffering from any of the fear-based conditions (yep, including cowering). 8th level nets +2 to atks that qualify for sneak attack, +3 with two-handed weapons. Master strike is modified to have the DC modified by Strength rather than Dex. The archetype does pay for the increased sneak prowess with uncanny dodge and its improved brother. Once again, an FCO is provided. Decent one, but my least favorite in the book so far.
The torrent duelist fighter gets a modified class skill list and gains Combat Expertise at 1st level, increasing the AC by +1 dodge bonus when using it, increasing this by a further +1 at 4th level and every 4 levels after that. If he already has it, he may choose another feat and the archetype is treated as Int 13 for feats based on Combat Expertise. Instead of 1st level’s bonus feat, he receives Weapon Finesse with all weapons, but if wearing an armor, he receives the armor’s arcane spell failure chance as a miss chance – not that is a creative use of mechanics! Love it! 3rd level decreases voluntarily placed penalties to atk (such as through Combat Expertise et al.) by 1, with 7th level and every 4 thereafter decreasing it by a further 1. Instead of weapon training, he may choose advanced weapon training in lieu of any bonus feat starting at 5th level and 9th level nets advanced weapon training instead of another group. 7th level nets uncanny dodge and a choice: One-handed torrent duelists calculate their damage as though wielding a two-handed weapon; two-handed duelists further decrease the penalty reduction mentioned before. TWF torrent duelists may treat one-handed weapons as light. This replaces armor training II and 11th level nets evasion. 15th level unlocks the option to accept -2 to atk to combine a move action with a full-attack action as a full-round action. 19th level nets Stalwart and the archetype nets a nice FCO. Archetypes like this are hard…and it remains mathematically solid…kudos.
The eye collector slayer only has proficiency with light armor and selects a number of exotic slashing/piercing weapons equal to Int-mod at first level, gaining proficiency in them. 2nd level allows the option to perform rend brow attacks, which inflict 1/2 class level bleed as well as the dazzled condition, with a save to negate. This can be done class level times per day, replacing 2nd level’s slayer talent. 8th level nets an upgrade that may blind foes. At 10th level, the eye collector may remove eyes from corpses and if the enemy has rolled a natural 1 one the save versus rend brow, he similarly loses his eyes. Delightful: Putting the eyes against his face, the eye collector gains a significant bonus to impersonate the adversary. The archetype gets 3 advanced slayer talents: One lets her Disguise at -10 instead of saving versus a mind-affecting effect. The next combines main hand and off-hand attack as a standard action or as part of a charge and the third nets a bonus to Heal and increased DCs as well as eye-stealing synergy with assassinate. Damn cool and horrific and yep, FCO’s part of the deal.
The shawled viper swashbuckler receives Stealth as a class skill and begins play with poison use instead of derring-do. The archetype also has a modified deed list: At 3rd level, while she has at least one panache, she can use a poisoned light or one-handed piercing weapon to increase the save DC and spend a panache to increase the damage dealt. Targeted Strike lets the archetype target arteries/veins, making onset immediate of poisons and increasing the range increments. 16th level lets them Perform /dance) versus CMD to use Targeted Strike or Perfect thrust as part of a charge.
Instead of charmed life, the archetype receives deadly arts, which include poison application as part of panache spending, Master Alchemist at 5th level using Cha instead of Int, Deadly Cocktail at 10th level and at 14th level, use Craft (alchemy) to create poisons in one round, including unstable toxins that quickly deteriorate, but cost less. 18th level provides immunity to curses, poisons and diseases as well as take 20 for poison creation. Nice, more flexible take on the swashbuckler, supplemented with a neat FCO.
The final archetype herein would be the Studied Theosophist, a cleric archetype. This fellow uses Intelligence rather than Wisdom as governing attribute for all class features, extending to spells etc.1st level nets all Knowledge skills as class skills and instead of domains, he may 1/day while preparing spells select a domain associated with the deity and choose it, gaining, its benefits until another domain is chosen. Also at 1st level, he receives a metaphysic pool equal to 1/2 class level (min 1) + Int-mod. These points may be used in a variety of ways: He may spend any number of points to cast a domain spell of a level equal to or less than the number of points expended. I assume that to only work for the domain chosen, as per the example, but I am not sure- this represents pretty much the one instance where the rules are not mega-precise. Secondly, any number may be expended to spontaneously cast a cleric spell of equal or lower level than the points spent. Thirdly, the theosophist may lose a prepared spell and spend an amount of metaphysic points equal to the spell level to spontaneously cast any cleric spell of that level. All of these abilities do follow spontaneous spellcasting rules and if this looks powerful, it’s because it is…however, the archetype loses spontaneous casting and channel energy. And yes, once again, an FCO’s provided.
Editing and formatting are excellent on both a formal and rules-language levels – apart from one nitpick, no complaints. Layout adheres to Forest Guardian Press’ two-column standard and is pretty neat, with numerous of the evocative and well-made paper-cut-style artworks providing a unique sense of identity on a visual level. As a minor complaint, the ends of archetypes tend to leave a bit of blank space on the pages. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience and also with a second, more printer-friendly version – kudos for going the extra-mile here.
The author has penned this under the nom de plume of “Secret Wizard” – and frankly, dear lady or gentleman out there, let me thank you: I read A LOT of uninspired, bland archetypes. This is the anathema to that. Each and every single one of these archetypes is meticulously balanced; additionally, and more importantly perhaps, in spite of some hybrid-y themes, each of the archetypes herein features not one but multiple unique tricks that set it apart and make it more than the sum…wait, scratch that. This is not the “Let’s cobble stuff together”-school of design, this is “Blend two concepts and make them UNIQUE.” This pdf manages to actually make me excited about some classes I am not the biggest fan of. Oh, and it does so with rock solid rules operations I HAVE NEVER SEEN BEFORE. It’s actually creative as well!
In short: This is one massive all killer, no filler file for an amazing price point. Well worth 5 stars + seal of approval, given sans the slightest bit of hesitation. Get this gem!
You can get these evocative, well-made and creative archetypes here on OBS!