EZG reviews The Innovator: A Martial Tinker Pretige Class
This pdf is 6 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 4 pages for the PrC for the Tinker-class, so let’s take a look!
Rules-wise, the requirements for the PrC are neither too steep, nor too easy to qualify for: 3rd level inventions, 8 ranks in Craft (weapons) and exotic weapon proficiency. The class gets 1/2 fort and ref-save progression and full BAB-progression as well as 5 levels of invention-progression over 10 levels. The PrC gets 4+Int skills per level, d10 and no additional armor and weapon proficiencies. With regards to his/her automaton’s and alpha’s HD and ability scores, the innovator’s class levels fully stack.
So what’s the deal with this class? Remember a certain gnomish illusionist/rogue in Baldur’s Gate 2 and his crossbow that no one but him could use due to being insanely complex? Yeah. This essentially lets you make your own signature weapon – so insanely complex that “even magic gives up” when trying to grant proficiency in it to others. Said weapon also gets weapon focus, specialization, greater weapon focus/greater weapon specialization over the levels.
At 1st level and every 2 levels after that, the Innovator gets so-called breakthroughs, which belong to one of 3 different categories: If you want to go into a category, you get the lowest tier of that category and the categories are alchemical, construct and magic. The alchemical category allows you to add dazzling flash powder to your weapon attacks. Here is a weird typo “Unlicing creatures” – are immune to flash powder. Neither thesaurus nor dictionary-searches turned up something for that one, so I assume “unblinking” or something similar was meant – or I’m just not cool enough to know the proper slang. At tier 3, the weapon may lob alchemical goods at foes within 60 ft. Tier 4 finally adds more capacity for alchemical items and adds fire to the weapon.
The construct category nets access to an added miniature crossbow that adds +1d4 damage to your weapon’s damage, reload after each shot and add said damage to any attack (yes, that means to any hit by e.g. the flamers…) with the weapon, add a robotic arm to the weapon (which can wield weapons, shields and impede foes) and even a second arm – yes, your weapon can wield two-handed swords or even a tower shield (though the latter makes using the signature weapon impossible as long as the shield is held).
The magic breakthroughs allow you to add wands of progressively higher power and integrate them into the weapon. The class also gets to choose between not one, not two, but 7 (!!!) capstone abilities and they are glorious: Launch automatons via signature weapons, reduce BP-cost of one invention, increase the bonus of robotic arm-held shields and weapons, get infinite flame-enhancements, infinite acid for the lobber or infinite magic missile-spamming capacity – though I REALLY don’t like that one. Any kind of auto-hit, even if it’s only a magic missile, should NEVER be available without restriction.
The pdf also includes a small FAQ that explains how the breakthroughs stack.
Editing and formatting are good, though not top-notch – the “unlicing” had me stumble a bit, but that’s honestly a little glitch that can be neglected. Layout adheres to Interjection games’ two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with unobtrusive, thematically fitting stock-art. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none at this length.
All right, let’s get this out of the way: This PrC is damn cool. The weapon-customization is an idea that could carry a whole alternate class and honestly, I found myself wishing for a full-blown martial tinker-alternative instead of a PrC. Why? Because the automatons move into the background when compared to the weapon and due to, apart from one capstone, do not really feature in the PrC’s unique options. This is all about the new weapon and due to the weapon getting 5 out of 12 breakthroughs over the 10 levels, I would have enjoyed to see more of them, even though the potential for combinations makes me grin my vile DM-grin.
So is this worth your money? Yes, it is – if modifying an exotic weapon to unknown heights of complexity, making it weird or if a certain gnomish scoundrel from a popular Bioware-game was one of your go-to-characters – then take a look, for this pdf indeed offers a neat PrC. While I can’t help but wish it provided a tad bit more on the breakthrough-side, I still consider this a well-crafted option for the Tinker-class and hence will settle on a final verdict of 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform due to the low price.