Star Log.EM: Envoy Improvisations (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!
All right, as you could glean from the title, this one features new improvisations for the envoy class, to be more precise, 4 new 2nd and 8th level improvisations, as well as 6 new 6th level improvisations. It should be noted that these come with the appropriate glyphs denoting language-based, mind-affecting etc. improvisations, which are also explained once more in a side-bar for your convenience.
Among the 2nd level improvisations, we find fantastic assist, which allows you to replace regular attacks in a full attack action with covering or harrying fire at a -4 penalty, maintaining consistency there. Kudos: This does interact properly with e.g. the onslaught type of full attack modifying tricks; as a minor nitpick, I do think that it would have made sense to explicitly state that greater penalties to atk as a result of such a combination override the penalty incurred from this improvisation. Polylinguist nets you envoy level additional languages, as well as +1 language per envoy level. Team Assist nets an ally within 30 ft. attempting a skill check an untyped +2 bonus as if you had used Aid Another (which is why I don’t complain about the bonus being untyped) – kudos: Can’t be cheesed by stacking aid another on top, and abilities that enhance aid another don’t increase this bonus. Telepathic Improvisation makes audible or visual-component sporting improvisations for allies or foes work via telepathy or limited telepathy. Cool.
Among the 6th level options, we have Antagonizing Mastermind works like Antagonize, but makes an ally the target required to offset the penalty, which is btw. off-target and -2 to skill checks, with duration scaling based on how you rock the skill check. Amazing Coordination lets you threaten opponents even when not wielding a weapon. As a move action, you can choose a threatened square to count as your square for the purpose of flanking bonuses. Neat. Avenge Me! is conceptually a nice one: When reduced to dead or dying, if you can target the offending creature with go get’em and spend 1 Resolve Point…as an immediate action. Which does not exist in SFRPG. That should be a reaction. The improvisation targets the creature with go get’em until the target dies, is reduced to 0 HP or below, or 24 hours elapse. If you have improved go get’em, you can apply that instead.
Catch! lets you use a standard action to choose one wielded grenade and attempt to Bluff an opponent, with the feint DC. (This is NOT a feint-check!) The grenade detonates at the end of the round, detonating on the corner of the target’s square, and if you made your check, the target takes a penalty to Ref-save. I am pretty sure that this should have an attack-like component. RAW, obstacles like forcefields etc. don’t hamper feints, when they’d clearly stop the grenade from ever reaching the target.
Inspiring Martyr is similar to the aforementioned “Avenge Me!”, but oddly gets the action economy right, being based on reactions. It allows you to immediately use a move and standard action to trigger up to two envoy improvisations. Language-dependent ones change to sense-dependent. Kudos: Verbiage prevents cheesing via stabilizing. Nice one! Play the Crowd is activated as a full action and lets you choose a 20-ft.-radius area within 30 ft. and attempt a social skill check. There need to be a bunch of noncombatants within 100 ft. Opponents within the area draw the ire of said crowd if you make your check, which can cause one of 3 different conditions. Cool!
Among the 8th level improvisations, we can find Amazing Assistant, which lets you roll your expertise die and substitute that for aid another, and also add the expertise die as part of covering/harrying fire, and affect that number of targets with the respective action. This is a really, really cool assist! Love it! Easy Now can be used as a reaction or sans action, the latter requiring the expenditure of 1 Resolve Point. If you do, you can grant an ally the option to take 10. In short: Become the guy that you really want on the other end of the line when your ally’s defusing the nova-bomb. Nice! Hysteric Inspiration is a standard action that can be used when an ally within 30 ft. is at 0 Stamina and less than half total Hit Points. This grants a whopping ½ Stamina Point total temporary Hit Points, as well as a +1 morale bonus to atk, and a morale bonus equal to the envoy’s Charisma bonus to damage rolls; these benefits last for expertise die result rounds, but afterwards, the ally becomes exhausted. An ally can only benefit once per day from this, and the envoy can’t target herself. Action economy seems to be odd, though: The ability states that, by spending 1 Resolve Point, you can use this ability as a reaction instead of a move action. But the ability is triggered as a standard action, not as a move action. Which is it?? Pass the Torch is another one that inspired allies when you fall to 0 HP or below and get the dead/dying condition. You can spend 1 Resolve Point to grant an ally within 30 ft. 1 Resolve Point. The ability may not be used again until you and the ally have recovered Resolve Points after an 8-hour rest. I…kinda like this, but there is an odd interaction here. If you’d force the envoy to grant all Resolve to targets (like e.g. space-kittens) and then cryo-sleep those kittens, the envoy would be stranded sans Resolve. Making the granted Resolve operate on a timer for the target would have been more elegant here.
Editing and formatting are good on a formal level and okay on a rules-language level, though I did notice a “cna’t”-typo and a couple of uncharacteristic hiccups. Layout adheres to a two-column full-color standard, and the artwork provided is nice. The pdf has no bookmarks, but needs none.
Alexander Augunas’ envoy improvisations are per se a cool array of unique benefits; while the “blaze of glory”/avenge me-angle is a bit dominant, I found myself liking all concepts herein. Unfortunately, the pdf is rather rushed. While none of the glitches truly wreck the rules language of the material herein, the pdf does sport a couple of indicators that point towards the fact that this could have used a bit more scrutiny regarding a few of its components. While it is functional as a whole, this does drag down the pdf from the accolades it’d otherwise get. My final verdict will clock in at 3.5 stars, rounded down.
You can get these improvisations here on OBS!