?Neo Rangers: The Spider King? is The Le Games? follow-up to their fantastic ?Neo Paladins: The Martyr,? and as such, has some high expectations to live up to, especially since ?The Spider King? is written by The Le himself. Fortunately, these expectations are met as ?The Spider King? is much more than just another Unorthodox ranger variant. In fact, this character class, while obviously a ranger ?type,? stands on its own as an individual character option, and is highly recommended.
This supplement contains a full-color, fully bookmarked .pdf ready for instant use, as well as a less color-intensive/more printer-friendly version of the document. Additionally, you?ll find .rtf documents of the entire spider king class and the original ranger class from Wizards of the Coasts? System Reference Document. For review purposes, I evaluated the printer-friendly version of the .pdf.
?The Spider King? is presented as a fully-playable, fully-fleshed out character class. Writer The Le also handled the layout chores of this product, and he presents the spider king in the style consistent with the core player classes from the Dungeons & Dragons ?Player?s Handbook.? The formatting is tight and easy to read, making the spider king a class that can effortlessly be inserted into your D&D game.
The main difference between the spider king and the standard ranger is that instead of following the path of nature and its animals, the spider king, as its name implies, follows a more ?spider-ly? approach, viewing the spider as its link to nature. It?s not that much of a stretch, really, but this simple shift in focus makes the spider king an attractive player class.
The spider king retains the favored enemy bonus, and its hit dice and saving throw progressions are similar to the standard ranger, but instead of pursuing one of the ranger?s standard combat styles, the spider king gains Arachnid Style Combat. When a spider king is using this style of combat (it must be declared at the beginning of the combat round), the character receives a +1 dodge bonus to his or her AC. However, as the spider king is fighting in a much more defensive manner, he or she is penalized ?2 to all attack rolls and ?2 to all damage rolls.
Another unique class feature is the spider king?s Sixth Sense. Whenever an opponent of the spider king makes a successful melee or ranged attack roll that would normally hit the Neo Ranger, the spider king gains a 10% chance to avoid the attack outright as long as he or she retains his or her Dexterity bonus. When the spider king is using Arachnid Style Combat, the Sixth Sense increases by 5%.
Both the Arachnid Style Combat and Sixth Sense increase as the spider king progresses in level. Also, the spider king has a much more limited animal companion list and its spell list is more unique and includes a few spells not on the standard ranger?s spell list. At 8th level, the spider king gains the ability to make an Arachnid Strike, which not only deals hit point damage, but also Constitution damage. And it?s almost a given that this class gains the ability to cast ?spider climb? as the spell as it progresses in level.
The spider king is a fully-formed character class that will fit nicely into your standard D&D game or campaign. As a player (with your DM?s approval, of course), this class provides a different look at the ranger by focusing its attention on something other than the animals of the natural world. As a DM, this class could provide interesting opponents or allies for your players. Either way, this supplement is well worth the price and the downloading time (both of which are quite manageable).
LIKED: This is a unique character class that is well-balanced and well-presented. It's much more than just a variant ranger; 'The Spider King' stands on its own as a character class option. This supplement is easy to use, and includes three appendixes for additional information about the class. (The class description isn't interrupted with the injection of a description of the Eveasion feat; instead this, as well as a description of the 'spider climb' spell, is all tucked away unobtrusively in the appendixes. This is a much-preferred layout choice.)
DISLIKED: The spider king is such a unique character class that I can't imagine a character created using this material would look like a typical ranger. 'Neo Rangers: The Spider King' uses some artwork of spiders themselves, but there is still some of the more typical Elmore-ian fantasy artwork throughout the supplement. This doesn't necessarily detract from the product overall, but it would have been nice to see more consistency in the art choices. (I'm still giving this product five stars, however!)
VALUE: Very Satisfied