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The Deft Fighter
by amos w. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/13/2013 16:39:31
The Deft Fighter is a great addition to Dungeons and Dragons. It gives more options for fighting and the new feats are very fun.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Deft Fighter
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The Deft Fighter
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/23/2008 10:15:58
A lot has been said through the years about the fighter class of the revised OGL core rules. One of the complaints trumpeted by many is that the higher level fighter, and indeed to a certain extent the lower level fighter, spends most of his time locked in rather mundane and boring attack actions swinging his or her weapon. Many attempts have been made to correct for this, mostly focused on trying to spice up the fighter's options and tactical abilities in combat. In most cases, this has cantered around the use of the fighter class' bread and butter - feats. The Deft Fighter is Thomas W. Simpson's effort to create a more interesting combat and tactical fighter using a new feat, the Deft Fighter feat, and a large number of fighter tricks.

The Deft Fighter is a 24 page pdf and indeed the first product from new OGL publisher, Thomas W. Simpson. This product comes as a single pdf file, and is a well presented document with good single column layout, clear writing, attention to detail, and some good illustrations from artist William McAusland. There are no bookmarks in the product. The Deft Fighter is a presentable product from this new publisher.

The concept behind the product is the Deft Fighter feat which allows you to specialise in a number of fighter tricks and abilities that create a more interesting combat fighter. The concept has been attempted in numerous different ways by other publishers, so is generally nothing new, but this take provides a flexible option to expand the list of new fighter tricks, and even the associated additional feats for the deft fighter. Fighter tricks are special actions or manuevers that are performed in conjunction with a normal attack, and resolved using opposed skill checks. It's fairly easy to expand on the list of fighter tricks, making this a flexible system for the martial warrior.

There are 24 fighter tricks in this product, all of them non-magical tricks or abilities rather than supernatural or other magical abilities. Examples include Nowhere to Run, which allows the fighter to prevent an enemy escaping; Dastardly Dancer which allows the fighter to weave out of combat with skill, and Death from Below, a Gimli kind of manuever from The Two Towers. The naming of the various feats leaves something to be desired, but mostly these achieve what they set out to achieve - if you succeed at the skill check, you gain some additional advantage, whereas if you fail, you are unable to pull the manuever off, and suffer a penalty.

While this is an interesting idea and certainly opens up the possibilities for combat, the underlying mechanics are probably not as robust as ithey seem. Take the Heart Attack trick as an example. This trick is a Balance vs. Sense Motive skill check, success which paralyzes your opponent for 1d4 rounds. Firstly, not many fighters, let alone monsters, have any decent ranks in the Sense Motive skill, whereas a fair many characters use the Balance skill. It's fairly easy to envisage a character that specialises in Balance, thereby succeeding at this trick frequently, rendering pretty much any opponent helpless and hence open to easy coup de graces. The balance of the power is just not there in all instances, particularly where monsters are concerned. In addition, rogue/fighters are far more likely to excel at these tricks than pure fighters are due to improved skill points.

Overall, I think this idea has merit and there are several interesting ideas and concepts in the product. I think the implementation, though, in some cases requires a little more thought, particularly where the underlying mechanics are concerned. If you are planning to adopt material from this product, then most likely you'll need to bear it in mind when throwing enemies at your party, since you'll need to boost certain skills in most enemies. The Deft Fighter feat and its tricks is certainly useful though, placing more emphasis on skills for fighters, and adding some useful options for tactical combat to the table.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher Reply:
Thanks for the review! Remember with the "heart attack", it is anatomy dependent, and in many cases would likely suffer a DC increase in accordance to the opponents armor (with a discerning GM!). While I won't claim the underlying mechanic is perfect (none are, IMO), I think with a little play some of your worries may vanish. During play testing, one thing showed up all the time: unpredictability. Two EXTREME examples: a 4th level Fighter/2nd Level Rogue got his @ss handed to him by CR 1 kobolds because he failed a Trick THREE times when he was at a +12 and the kobolds were at a +0! Then at the OTHER end of the spectrum, a sixth level Fighter successfully staved off a Leonine Demon (Creature Collection II) until the party could catch up to him and help (without the Tricks, he'd have been toast). These are of course not the most common happenings, but I was pleased with the contrast. Sometimes its all about how the d20 rolls! I hope you enjoy it in your games! Thanks for the review, I really appreciate Staff reviews because I know a lot of customers take them pretty seriously. I hope you give my future products the same consideration!
The Coward
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 09/12/2008 09:53:59
There is a player in my weekly game group that plays some of the most creative characters I have had the privilege of witnessing. Whether it’s a cleric, fighter, rogue or paladin; his characters all share a common trait.

They are pretty much cowards.

In itself this seems a bit simple to pull off. Just run away from everything. However, this technique gets you nothing but yelled at by your party. Instead he portrays the characters as cowards and uses their abilities in cowardly, though effective ways. Usually for his own interests of escaping harm. We often talk about this guys characters years after he has played them. So good are his cowards I am often force to make them pop back up as NPCs in later campaigns.

When I read the marketing banter for The Coward, by writer Thomas W. Simpson, I said to myself, finally a class for that player. I eagerly downloaded hoping to find cool abilities that reeked of cowardly acts and yet are somewhat useful to a party. With tremendous disappointment I have to call shenanigans on this product.

It is a book of one class, so there is not much to expect in a 3 page PDF. I did expect to find a class that I would not find anywhere else and not simply a fighter class with suggested feats from the PHB. This class has nothing to do with coward other than the name and a brief description. The description does a great job describing what a cowards is and its role in a group. It is an awful shame the writer did not take the time to design a class worthy of it.

For the Player
The single ability designed by the writer is the susceptible to fear ability that gives a -4 to fear rolls. This is the only thing I can imagine taking from this and a player self applying it to his own character for role playing reasons.

The Iron Word
I can not believe that the writer assumed that writing a description and calling a fighter with some extra feats a new class was going to fly. Obviously this does not. Hopefully someone will come along one day and actually develop this idea.

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
The Coward
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Publisher Reply:
Thank you so much for the review. I appreciate you taking your time to review my product. Newer people on the scene can have a hard time getting reviews (good or bad). Your criticisms are very valid, and similar thoughts about not having enough "cowardly mechanics" crossed my mind many times before publishing. If you stick with the standard PHB too hard, it seems un-creative. If you deviate too much, you can muck up things in a hurry. There is a fine line, and you obviously feel I fell short. That is a fair complaint, and well received. Hopefully some folks looking for a skilled, thrown weapon fighter, without going PrC will feel differently. I'm sorry it wasn't your cuppa . . . hopefully I can change your mind on some of my upcoming products. I certainly hope you continue to give them a chance. Thanks for the feedback. Thomas W. Simpson
The Deft Fighter
by Tome J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/07/2008 20:17:05
I tried this supplement last week in our weekly 3.5 game and everyone was pleasantly surprised. The author seemed to put alot of thought into the implementation of this mechanic. It wasn't overpowering in any way. And presented the fighter role with many options other than just standing toe to toe swinging his weapon over and over again. Everyone had a awesome time playing with the fighter ticks. It's a great addition to my 3.5 collection.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Deft Fighter
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks so much! I've already had one request for a sequel! Not started on one yet (working on other projects), but who knows? I hope you keep giving my products a chance!
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