Good ol’ Monte. Even though he’s announced that each of his last several books would be his final RPG product, he just can’t seem to keep himself away. The experiment that was his most recent finale product – the eponymous Book of Experimental Might – turned out to be a resounding success. Or at least, it was in most respect. However, a dedicated minority pointed out that something was missing; that although the BoXM had a lot of great stuff, most of that stuff was for spellcasters, with the few non-casting classes being left out in the cold.
Well, Monte couldn’t let that stand, and his answer comes in the form of his (by my count) fourth final product: the Book of Experimental Might II. Aptly subtitled “Bloody, Bold, and Resolute,” this book is geared for Fighters (though sidebars and notes point out how other martial classes can use it also) to let them have great and devastating options also.
Weighing in at sixty-six pages, the book is just under three megabytes in size. It has full bookmarks, which is good to see. However, there’s no printer-friendly version available. While not too bad, it’s still a bit discouraging that one of the pioneers of the PDF RPG industry still hasn’t embraced the idea that some people like to print out their PDFs, and that giving them a graphics-free option can help a lot with that. In this case, while the book isn’t loaded down with illustrations, it still does have a fairly sizeable number of (very nice-looking) pictures throughout it, as well as scattered page borders.
The book is divided into three sections. The first presents the new option of fighting domains. Similarly to clerical domains, these fighting domains are meant to be taken by fighters, though other classes have options to take them also, granting them small powers, a list of domain-based (which the character may swap out for other feats on the list), and a bonus power gained when you’ve taken eight feats in the domain. It’s a pretty ingenious concept that helps to add a lot of versatility to the generally-bland fighter class.
The second section of the book is the meat of it. This chapter presents something close to two hundred-fifty feats (though some of them are tweaked feats from the PHB). Several new types of feats are given here as well. Uberfeats are the culmination of a fighting domain, and give unbelievable power to a character who takes them, but at a considerable cost (namely, requiring you to give up several other feats). Double feats are feats that cost two feat slots to take, meaning fighters have to spend their normal feat and fighter bonus feat to get them. Finally, oblation feats have you track the amount of damage you deal to activate their effect (e.g. if you’ve dealt out 197 points of damage over the course of combat, and your oblation feat costs 200 points to activate, you can activate the feat once you deal at least 3 more points of damage). As if that’s not enough, Monte also gives rules for “feat boosts” which can add greater effects to a feat so many times per day.
Of course, even if the book didn’t have all that, there are still over two hundred new feats here! Even if you don’t care much for the new feat types, or some of the variant rules (such as the grace and health points variant from the first BoXM – a few feats use that rule), then there’ll still be plenty here that you’ll get quite a kick out of.
The last section of the book is very short. Two pages are given to “very optional rules,” ideas Monte had that he’s tossed in here off-the-cuff, so to speak. Things like throwing a character that you’re grappling, or naturally being able to turn during a charge are all here.
At its core, the BoXM2 is a book of new feats. That’s not all it is, certainly, but when the table listing the new feats is eight pages long in a sixty-six page supplement, it’s pretty clear that that’s the main thrust of what you’re getting. These feats are indeed bloody, bold, and resolute, however, and combined with the other new options presented here, make fighters go from being a fairly standard, hum-drum class into varied dervishes of destruction with a large number of options at their disposal. Once again, Monte’s experiment is a clear success, and it’s the martial characters who are rewarded for that.