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Book of Experimental Might II: Bloody, Bold, and Resolute $16.00 $9.00
Average Rating:4.3 / 5
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Book of Experimental Might II: Bloody, Bold, and Resolute
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Book of Experimental Might II: Bloody, Bold, and Resolute
Publisher: Malhavoc Press
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/23/2008 14:37:16
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.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Experimental Might II: Bloody, Bold, and Resolute
Publisher: Malhavoc Press
by Peter M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/09/2008 20:59:47
This is nothing short of brilliant. It pretty much completely obviates the need for things like the Tome of Battle. The original BoXM may or may not have worked for the average game, but this belongs on every d20 fantasy table.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Book of Experimental Might II: Bloody, Bold, and Resolute
Publisher: Malhavoc Press
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/07/2008 08:37:17
I think I am realizing I am a fanboy of Monte Cook. It is an embarrassing admission of a reviewer. I see his name on a title and I expect greatness, the way that I do when Magic Johnson used to touch a ball. Most of the time I am satisfied with the outcome though I have to admit, I have seen both flub a few times as well.

The first Experimental MIght book, was phenomenal, even with its extreme change to the nature of D&D 3.5. Despite being a 5 star book many stated that it was a bit difficult to integrate into an ongoing campaign. Thus I wondered what type of monumental change would take place with Monte’s redesign of fighter classes.

And once again Monte surprises me with the Book of Experimental Might II: Bloody, Bold and Resolute, as it supersedes the original by bringing simplicity to the project and a strong not so monumental change.

In the first book, Monte introduced a concept of every feat a level. With this one, he simply introduces fighter domains, which break down old and new fighter feats into categories such as Domain of Ranged Weapons or Domain of Leadership. Each Domain comes with a basic power and a bonus power that you receive once you obtain 8 feats in that area. Another ability of selecting a Feat Domain is that it allows you to swap out one feat for another provided a day of training. From a mechanical point of view it is a nice touch, however, forgetting abilities always makes little sense to me from a role playing point of view.

Though the system works stronger with the every class gets a feat per level introduced in the first book, it still flows very well with the traditional 3.5 rules. The book introduces many new fighter feats to round out any type of fighter you were hoping to build. From military battlefield leaders to swashbucklers there are enough additional “strong” feats to bring that aspect out in any fighter. They really unvanilla the fighter. Might II also introduces three new kinds of feat in the Double Feat and the Uberfeat. The Double Feat takes two feat slots but are usually far more powerful than two or three feats combined. Uberfeats are extraordinary feats that can be picked only when a player has gained 8 feats within a domain. This uberfeat usually replaces a few of the feats you have already selected. Obalation Feats require a bit more book keeping from the players, asking them to keep a running tally of the damage they have done. In return players may spend this damage to increase or activate abilities of the feat.

But all of these new options are not just restricted to the Fighter. There are quick integration rules for paladins, barbarians, rangers and rogues to use them as well.

For the Player: If you have been playing D&D as long as I have, the fighter may come off as pretty bland. Oh, there is power attack again or oh there is Cleave again. Now you are able to make that rangerish Archer or that Monkish Streetfighter without being locked into a class. The other day, I was statting characters for an event I am running at Gencon that called for a bunch of rangers, well instead I used the Domain of Ranged Weapon feats and the build came out a bit stronger than the ranger. I had a tribe of warriors that were able to do some neat tricks with the bow and yet still go toe to toe in melee.

For the DM:
The fighter is one of the easiest classes to work with in terms of flexibility and a book of new and innovative feats really gives a lot more options. I especially like the double and uberfeats as they eliminate the clutter of having too many feats by combining and rolling feat abilities cohesively into each other.

The Iron Word
The Book of Experimental Might II: Bloody, Bold and Resolute is a great followup to hash out melee characters. With both books of Experimental Might, you have a complete system that shows a distinct evolution in dungeons and dragons without sacrificing traditions or adding pointless mechanics.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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