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Master at Arms: Cudgel Thug $1.75
Average Rating:4.0 / 5
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Master at Arms: Cudgel Thug
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Master at Arms: Cudgel Thug
Publisher: Blackdirge Publishing
by Rob M. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/30/2007 00:00:00
This 5 page PDF (8 with front & back cover & OGC declaration) details the Cudgel Thug Prestige Class. It also includes an NPC write-up of one Crawsmasher, Half-Orc Cudgel Thug, as well as a number of new feats and two new weapons, the Rungu and Shillelagh, both club variants. This PDF is interesting, as in addition to the historical overview of the club and class overview, the introduction also includes a brief set of designer notes. The designer here describes his vision for the class, as a strong-arm thug and enforcer that operates on a BTOTHATS (Bash Them Over The Head And Take Their Stuff) model, with the club as a weapon of choice. He makes both the club and the class interesting by adding interesting club based combat feats.

The Cudgel Thug is a five level Prestige Class. The entry requirements for the class include a Base Attack Bonus of +5, and weapon focus (club), as well as a Sneak Attack ability of +1d6. Thus fighter/rogue combos can qualify for the class most easily. The Cudgel Thug is a combat oriented class with a d8 hit-die. It is limited to Non-good alignments as it MO is incompatible with a Good alignment.

Class members gain a number of special Feats enhancing their use of the club. At first level the gain the Coldcock, Merciful Impact, and Subdual Master feats. Coldcock allows a character to, after studying his opponent 3 rounds, cause an opponent to make a Fortitude save against a DC of 10 plus the cudgel thugs level and strength modifier, if he successfully deals damage with his sneak attack. Subdual Master and Merciful Impact allows the character to make non-lethal attacks at no penalty to hit (it is usually -4) and allows him to add his Int or Wis modifier to any non-lethal damaged caused by a successful non-lethal attack, respectively. Additional Feats include Improvised Weapon and Incapacitating Critical which allow the character to use any appropriate item as a club and to require a Fortitude save by any opponent whom he has scored a critical hit against, or the opponent falls unconscious for 1d6+5 rounds, respectively. Also included is a 2 page right up of Crawsmasher, a CR 11 Male Half-Orc Rogue 4/Fighter 3/Cudgel Thug 5.

The PDF is laid out in a two columns with dense text in a smallish font with only bold text used to indicate section heads. The PDF has a small line-art header with two swords flanking the product title. The interior art is limited to one well-drawn ? page illustration of the Crawsmasher character, and a few clip-art decorations. The cover is a colorful affair, with the character illustration set against a gold (with lots of gradient goodness) frame with bars for flourishes. The Title text is in gold with some slick gold gradients and a stroke applied to it, with the sub-title in silver gradient goodness. It looks good.

Overall, this is a solid product, providing an interesting focus on a generally shunned weapon, as well as an under-represented Rogue archetype. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in some more brutal thievery in their game, why pick their pockets when you can knock them the hell out and rifle through their pockets at your leisure instead.



LIKED: Crawsmasher Character

DISLIKED: Text size/density

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Master at Arms: Cudgel Thug
Publisher: Blackdirge Publishing
by Peter I. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/27/2007 00:00:00
Master at Arms: Cudgel Thug is a short 8 page d20 pdf and the eighth product in Blackdirge Publishing's Master at Arms series of products. This series aims to provide players and DMs with prestige classes for the core Fighter class, all focused on using a specific weapon and often relying on history to construct realistic classes. This particular instalment, the Cudgel Thug, focuses on the club as weapon of choice, and on the concept of the thug as a heavy nonlethal bruiser in your game. This product is compatible with the revised core rules.

The product comes as a single pdf file consisting of a front cover with some lovely art by Jesse Mohn, a page detailing the credits, five pages of content and finally the OGL declarations. As part of a series, this product contains a similar style and layout to other products in the series. Layout and overall look of the product is good, very good if you consider the fact that it is such a short pdf. Editing and writing is good as well, and the mechanics is solid across the whole product. Some useful bookmarks are missing, but that's not such a big deal considering the length of the product. Overall, another good presentation job from Blackdirge Publishing.

Master at Arms: Cudgel Thug focuses on the club as its weapon of choice. The club is frequently not a weapon wielded by many PCs, and this product aims to redress that imbalance by providing a more flavorful detailing of the historical use of the weapon, and a prestige class that gives the weapon a proper place in the game. The product starts by providing a brief historical overview of the club, and its development through the ages to more sophisticated and advanced weapons such as the mace, even touching on the boomerang as a version of a 'thrown club'. Next the author details the prestige class, the Cudgel Thug, and provides some useful design notes that give some insight into the nature and rationalisation behind the prestige class' abilities.

The cudgel thug itself is a club-wielding bruiser, a thug that specialises in striking hard and quick, combining aspects of the rogue and fighter classes to create a remorseless thug. A brief overview of the class is provided, followed by the details of this five level prestige class. The prestige class gains a number of known abilities, such as sneak attack, but also a number of new and unique abilities that play to the class' strengths. These include the ability to knock foes unconscious or render them helpless, the use of improvised weapons, and special abilities that make the class a master a dealing nonlethal damage. The class maintains good balance and has enough flavor to make it interesting. It plays well to the strengths of the club as a weapon, and succeeds at presenting a class for creating that uncompromising thug in your game. Both player characters and NPCs will find good use for this class.

The pdf next details a new NPC, Crawsmasher, complete with mechanical statistics and an interesting background. This is a CR 11 NPC based on the cudgel thug prestige class, and illustrates nicely the strengths and concepts behind the class. Lastly, the pdf presents two new club-like weapons, the rungu, a throwing club, and the more familiar shillelagh. Both are extensions of the club that will be useful additions to any game.

Master at Arms: Cudgel Thug is another good pdf in the Master at Arms series. It provides a flavorful approach to the club as a weapon, highlighting its usefulness and areas of use. The Cudgel Thug is a decent prestige class with some interesting abilities, and is well designed around the concept of a brutal and quick bruiser. I generally found all the information in this pdf very applicable to any d20 gaming world, and it has a high utility for both players and DMs. Overall, another good product from Blackdirge Publishing.


LIKED: High utility of the material, good balance, good design of the product and the prestige class, and some interesting material in the cudgel thug prestige class.

DISLIKED: Nothing much. Generally a solid product.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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