Zephyrus Base Class
This base class clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 3 pages of SRD, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 5 pages of content, so let’s take a look!
The zephyrus base class has a full BAB, gets d10 HD, 4 + Int modifier skills per level, and sports good Fortitude and Reflex saves. The class gets proficiency with simple weapons as well as all polearms and spears and all armors and shields, excluding tower shields. Being clearly inspired by Final fantasy’s dragoons (if the cover artwork wasn’t ample clue), the class begins play with leaping charge, the option to use a full-round action to charge and inflict +1d8 damage with it, increasing said damage by a further +1d8 at every two levels. This is noted in the class table as well for your convenience. The zephyrus adds class level to Acrobatics and always counts as having a running jump. At 3rd level, when the zephyrus uses the charge action, he may move through the spaces of allies unimpeded; at 5th level, the class gets up to one 90 degree turn while charging; 9th level nets the ability to ignore difficult terrain while charging and 13th level unlocks the ability to charge through the zephyrus opponent’s spaces, though this does provoke AoOs. Starting at 17th level, the charges of the zephyrus no longer provoke AoOs form leaving the square the zephyrus charges from.
At 3rd level, the class reduces armor check penalty by 1 (minimum 0) and increases the maximum Dexterity bonus allowed by the armor by 1, increasing this by a further 1 (properly worded!) for both every 4 levels thereafter. This culminates at 19th level, when the zephyrus reduces armor check penalty to 0, may always use full Dex-mod, and when in light armor or no armor, he gets improved evasion; in heavier armor “just” evasion. Potent, but at 19th level, justified.
Also at third level, we get leap attack, which is a standard action attack versus a foe threatened for +1d8 damage, which increases by a further +1d8 at 7th level and every 4 levels thereafter. This would be as well a place as any to note that this is once more noted in the table (nice) and that both bonus damage abilities come with precise verbiage regarding critical hit interaction. 4th level nets fast charge (+10 ft. speed when running or charging, +5 ft. for every 2 levels thereafter), again, noting the distance on the class table. Starting at 4th level, the class also progressively reduces falling damage incurred. The capstone is cool: When you hit with a leaping charge (that’s the first level charge attack), the foe gets a save (DC 10 +1/2 class level + Strength modifier) and take 20d8 bonus damage on a success (!!). What happens on a failure? Well, to nitpick – it’s not properly stated, but the flavor mentions dying, so yeah…not ideal, but it kinda works. Thankfully, the ability has a witch-caveat that prevents you hitting a target more than once per day with this brutal attack.
The class also sports customization options in the form of lancets. These are somewhat akin to bloodlines and orders in that they provide a set array of tricks that unlocks over the levels. 5 lancets are provided, and each comes with a basic ability: These include free bull rush, dirty trick or trip attempts at -2, +4 to atk instead of +2 when charging, instead gaining a bonus to damage (at a slightly increased AC penalty), swift action Acrobatics after a charge (cool!) or penalty-less leaping charges. Beyond these, the lancets also add ½ class level to skill checks. (Skills have not ben properly capitalized.) Beyond these, each lancet features four ability-progressions: 2nd level nets a bonus feat (not capitalized properly), and the second of these set feats is gained at 10th level. The other abilities are gained at 8th and 15th level. For 8th level abilities, we have e.g. better maneuvers for the maneuver-based lancet 8gets rid of the -2 penalty for the maneuver added to the leaping charge), while another provides a tightly codified cleave-like bonus attack at the cost of AC penalty; better Power Attack charging, taking 10 when using Acrobatics to move to a new position after a charge, getting a dodge bonus – these basically build on the respective lancet themes. Same goes for the 15th level abilities, making the lancets feel like distinct ability-progressions that make sense.
Editing is good on a formal and rules-language level; on the formatting side, we have quite a few deviations from the standard, but no deal-breakers per se. Layout adheres to the two-column b/w-standard of ARMR Studios, and the pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length. The hand-drawn b/w-artworks are nice.
I’m horribly nostalgic for the old Final Fantasy titles; it’s one of the very few things that manages to tug at my heart’s strings. Heck, I grinded out all of FF V’s jobs, including the mimic. Thus, the zephyrus hits a kind of sweet spot for. The class is not exactly the pinnacle of excitement, and I probably wouldn’t want to play one for a prolonged amount of time, as it’s very much a charge-based class, though one lancet does allow you to be pretty decent at setting up flanks/skirmishing, so that’s a plus. Then again, this class does come as PWYW, and it imho is worth a donation – or, well if you want to make a dragoon NPC (curse the inevitable betrayal!), then this has you covered without requiring much work, so there’s that. Usually, this would be a 2.5 to 3 stars-type of class, but taking the PWYW-nature into account, I will round up from my final verdict of 3.5 stars. It’s worth taking a look to save time.
You can get this class here on OBS!