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UNORTHODOX Fighters $3.50
Average Rating:3.3 / 5
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UNORTHODOX Fighters
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UNORTHODOX Fighters
Publisher: The Le Games
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/29/2011 16:14:25
More variations on the fighter archetype from The Le Games.
If you like fighters and want to do something new with them then this is a good book.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
UNORTHODOX Fighters
Publisher: The Le Games
by Andrew B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/20/2006 00:00:00
Unorthodox Fighters presents five core classes intended to serve as variants from the standard fighter class. Each one is presented using the same format used in the Player's Handbook. There are a lot of good ideas here, and the layout and presentation is well done, but the rules implementation is often lacking.

Of the classes, I liked the Bastion and the Second Son the most. The former is a defensive fighter who prefers the use of heavy armor and massive shields. The latter is a noble that, because of his place in the birth order, does not stand to gain a significant inheritance and cannot rely too heavily on his family name to make his way in the world. Other classes include the Bully, the Dogfighter, and the Legend Seeker.

There are a lot of neat ideas in this book, and the flavor text is, for the most part, fairly sound. The writing suffers whenever Unorthodox Fighters turns to rules. Too often, the author uses wordy, confusing descriptions where simple explanations would have sufficed. Consider, for example, the following from the Bully class: ?The Bully is considered to be armed and is not an attack of opportunity when attacking with his fists.? Why not just say that the Bully gains the Improved Unarmed Strike feat? And the phrase ?is not an attack of opportunity? is the author's way of saying that an attack does not draw an attack of opportunity. That phrase is used several times in this book and, even though I know what they mean, I find it very jarring.

Other rules require even more deciphering. The Bastion's Improved Steadfast Stance says that it increases his ?zone of control? to 10ft, effectively giving him reach. What if the Bastion already has reach by virtue of his race or his weapons? Your guess is as good as mine.

When the rules aren't just being vague, they're being overpowered. The majority of these classes at some point grant the ability to take attacks of opportunity against opponents that wouldn't normally draw them. Whether they take a withdraw action, a five foot step, or an action that doesn't normally ever draw an attack...they take one anyway. I pity the poor wizard that tries to cast defensively within reach of a Bastion. If this doesn't seem too potent to you, how about the Legend Seeker's +2 bonus to hit and damage when wielding his chosen weapon, a 1st level class ability that's better than Weapon Specialization.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have the largely underpowered Dogfighter. The concept behind this class is a clever one: a fighter from the wrong side of the tracks that gains the services of a faithful canine animal companion. While he and his dog gain lots of feats and special attacks when fighting together, the dog itself never gets any tougher. Even at low levels, a standard dog (CR 1/3, 6 hp) is probably more of a liability than anything else. Later, the Dogfighter gains additional canine companions, but not until 14th level. I'm not sure two ordinary dogs are really going to make a big difference at that point in a character's career.


LIKED: Unorthodox Fighters inspires me to take its neat ideas and rewrite them for balance and clarity. Each of the five classes presented here represents a clever and original idea that fits well in the D&D milleau. D20 books traditionally handle niche classes of this nature through prestige classes, so its a refreshing change of pace to see a company achieve the same ends via 20 level core classes.

DISLIKED: While the product looks very professional, the rules are either unclear, unbalanced, or both. My final score is two and a half stars, mostly for effort and inspiration. With clearer rules descriptions and more thorough design work, Unorthodox Fighters could have been a four star product.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
UNORTHODOX Fighters
Publisher: The Le Games
by Derek K. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/27/2006 00:00:00
The bastion, the bully, the dogfighter, the legend seeker and the second son are the five core classes presented in The Le Games? ?Unorthodox Fighters.? Each is treated as a fully-playable fighter-type class for use in your standard d20 game. This is a difficult and thin line to walk; the fighter can be the most customizable of the classes presented in the core rules of the D&D game. Fortunately, ?Unorthodox Fighters? doesn?t simply present classes that could have been created by adding just the right feat or a certain number of skill points. Writer Doug Kilmer?s five classes all stand out, and still manage to fill the melee-niche most fighters represent in a Dungeons & Dragons game.

Each class listing provides enough suggested background material that both beginning and experienced players can find inspiration in these unorthodox classes. Rather than just putting together a handful of special abilities and coupling them with good saves or attack bonuses, real in-game reasons for the character design choices are given. The second son wants to bring honor to his or her family, and isn?t afraid to work for it. The legend seeker strives for glory. The bastion makes lasting stands not necessarily because it is the (paladin-like) right thing to do, but simply because he or she can.

Both the bully and the dogfighter stand out the most here, but unfortunately not for the same reasons. The bully is a class designed around, as one could guess, being a bully. The ultimate in the chaotic neutral stereotype (no alignment restriction is given, but it?s made clear that the bully?s tendency is toward either neutrality or chaos), this class doesn?t seem like it would fit in well with a group of other player characters. It actually feels like it would be better suited as an NPC, so DMs may take a look at this supplement for an idea or two for a mid-level encounter for their group.

Whereas the bully seems best suited to one-up any other (player-)characters, the dogfighter might shun others because he or she would rather associate with a loyal canine companion. The connection a dogfighter has with his or her dog is much more personal than that of a ranger and an animal companion, and while the dogfighter may also shun being part of a group, the reasons are a bit more well-rounded and better suited for long-term play. Allowing this class at the game table may cause just a little more work for the DM due to the added element of the dog companion, the flavor and feel of the class more than balances out this extra bit of work.

This supplement comes both as a landscape version and a printer-friendly edition, as well as an appendix including feats and spells an unorthodox fighter might need. In the landscape version, a character portrait is provided, and while an odd choice is made in showing the dogfighter as having birds flock around and on him (instead of dogs surrounding him), the interior artwork is consistent. The cover art doesn?t match the integrity of the included text, however.

?Unorthodox Fighters? is a well though-out supplement, and is a solid addition to the game.


LIKED: These are well-defined, well-designed classes. Most players and DMs will have no trouble integrating some of them into their game. Of the classes, the dogfighter stands out as the best. It is a great concept, and great care has obviously been taken to make this a "classic" character without duplicating any of the standard core classes or their class features. Even though the bully seems ill-suited for player use, it could definitely be used as an interesting NPC class. Also, the added appendix is a nice touch.

DISLIKED: The cover art doesn't live up to the promise of these five unorthodox classes, and as mentioned before, the bully is a poor choice for a player class in a game that features teamwork and cooperation.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
UNORTHODOX Fighters
Publisher: The Le Games
by David W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/21/2006 00:00:00
I especially like the variety that the five fighter subtypes gives to both players and referees (in the form of detailed, interesting NPCs). In game universes that include many civilizations, such variety is essential.


LIKED: Well presented and very interesting, I have not been disappointed by any of their products.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
UNORTHODOX Fighters
Publisher: The Le Games
by James S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/06/2005 00:00:00
This won't be of use to everyone, but for a few neat ways to spice things up this is well worth the price.

QUALITY: Acceptable

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
UNORTHODOX Fighters
Publisher: The Le Games
by A. F. Y. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/30/2004 00:00:00
I like the choises that are given. I know I want to play a few of them and I got it for my players :)

LIKED: I like that it was well writen and well done.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
UNORTHODOX Fighters
Publisher: The Le Games
by James S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/27/2004 00:00:00
This is good but could have seriously benefited from another editing pass or two. It also has several classes that I felt would have been more appropriate as roleplaying opportunities rather than to try to represent them mechanically (such as Second Son or Legend Seeker).

Still, its worth $2 but just barely. I'd certainly recommend one of the other "unorthodox" books instead.




Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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