The Genius Guide to the Vanguard $3.99
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The Genius Guide to the Vanguard
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The Genius Guide to the Vanguard
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/17/2012 09:29:32

The introduction speaks of the common image of the fictional fantasy hero, capable of wielding both arcane might and a big sword in the course of his adventures, as opposed to the role-playing one who usually has to choose whether to be a magic-user or a fighter. The original Vangard - published before the Magus class was introduced in Ultimate Magic - is still a valuable addition to the options available, and has now been revised in the light of player feedback and ruleset developments over the nearly two years since it first emerged into the light of day.

The concept is simple. A vangard concentrates on but a single weapon, and hones his skill with it in harmony with the magic that he studies, his real strength being in his ability to use sword and spell together. They can hold their own in a pure physical brawl, and can hurl spells with the best, but neither of these modes of combat show them at their best. Part of his unique skillset is based on the development of an arcane bond between the vangard and his signature weapon. With high intelligence, battlefield awareness and mobility, the vangard is a useful asset.

Whilst the vangard is limited in the number of spell he can know, he has the advantage of not having to prepare them in advance, being able to cast any spell he knows until he has reached his daily limit. He's also able to cast when wearing light armour or carrying a shield without restrictions, although he does suffer penalties if in medium or heavy armour. Still, as they tend to specialise in fluid tactics, light armour is often preferred anyway. The vangard needs to have his bonded weapon in hand to cast a spell without need for a concentration check, but if he has it he has no need for material components and may make all the gestures he needs with the weapon itself, leaving his other hand free, and at higher levels may deliver a 'touch' spell to anything he can touch with the weapon rather than a hand. He also develops an energy strike attack, the vangard blast.

As well as providing the normal progression charts and a whole bunch of new special abilities to codify the particular combination of weapon and spell use that's the vangard's specialty, there is an array of new feats many of which can be used by anybody, not just vangards. There are also two new spells which allow the summoning of an arcane bonded item to the caster's hand - intended for a vangard and his weapon, other arcane casters may wish to experiment with other objects with which they have formed such a bond.

Overall this is a well thought out base class that is different enough from anything else to be an interesting option, whether you have a hero from fantasy fiction in mind or are ready to write your own legends in epic style as your vangard develops through play. Oh, and if you use HeroLab, the relevant material to administer a vangard character is included with your download. Neat!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Genius Guide to the Vanguard
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/16/2012 11:27:50

This pdf is 11 pages long, 2 /3 of a page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving 9 1/3 pages of content, so let's check this one out!

If you're a regular on these boards and to reviews, you might recall my first review of the Vanguard - which admitted to being unfair. The class came out before the Magus and I judged it in direct comparison to Paizo's class. Now, my verdict then was that the Archon is more interesting and that I didn't see a good reason for this class. Now, this is the REVISED edition and I wrote it in capital letters for a reason. The pdf has been given a major overhaul and thus I also reevaluate my take on the class.

For those of you new to the party: The Vanguard is a gish-class (arcane caster/fighter-hybrid) with 3/4 BAB, d8, 4+Int skills per level, good fort and will-saves, proficiency with light armors, shields and martial weapons and Cha-based spontaneous spellcasting of up to 6th level. The release of the magus-class has impacted the vanguard in more than one way - essentially, the abilities have been completely rewritten and expanded upon. But let me elaborate first: The Vanguard bonds with a specific weapon that essentially becomes the material component of his spellcasting and which can even be enchanted at higher levels.

The weapon being essential for a vanguard to work, this is both a strength and a weakness and thus destroying/disarming a vanguard is a hard feat to pull off, with abilities like iron grip etc. preventing it and the weapon actually "healing" damage. Of course, delivering touch attacks via the blade is an option and the vanguard becomes consecutively more adapt at channeling touch spells via his weapon of choice. The vanguard also gains access to vanguard tactics, which enable him to use his intelligence to the benefits of his allies via his tactics and then there's the vanguard blast - essentially a kind of unerring, magic missile style blast, the attack improves over the levels and may even deal elemental damage.

This reliable output of damage, coupled with tactical prowess and an arcane bond is neat. What's even better, though, is that the once linear progression of the class has been abolished in favor of more customizability: A total of 9 spell maneuvers, special abilities that range from the ability to block spells (dispel them) to the option to increase casting time for an added oomph are included. The ability to cast some spells as swift actions each day is retained in the new version.

A total of 10 feats (where formerly were only 3) are also part of the deal and let you expend spells for temporary protective magic auras, expand upon your bonded weapon's enhancements and even add a first-level sorceror bloodline power to your roster of tricks. Oh, and arcane smite can also be expanded: Arcane smite lets you expend spells to store damaging energy in your blade and discharge it upon unwilling foes - for painful results!
The pdf ends with 2 spells that summon an arcane bonded object and a box that elaborates on the usefulness of multiple gish-classes in one setting.

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn't notice any glitches. Layout adheres to SGG's 3-column standard. the artwork is stock and nothing truly exciting. The pdf comes without bookmarks, which is a minor bummer. Oh BOY! I complained about the linearity of the class - it's gone. In its place are options galore. I complained about a lack of signature abilities. Now we have multiple ones. I complained about a lack of feats. Now, the additional feats open up whole avenues of different character concepts. This new Vanguard is up to the times - smarter, better, cooler in every way and armed with a plethora of abilities that make it stand out from the Archon and the Magus, this revised edition is mind-boggling in the sheer amount of ways in which it is better than its predecessor. For this review, I sat down and compared the old and the new pdf and am happy indeed to pronounce: This revised edition is so far superior to the first one, it's not even funny. In fact, I'm extremely glad to see this - author Marc Radle has taken a class that had become outdated and infused it with a whole new spark of life, a complexity and a wealth of iconic options that make this revised edition truly stand its ground and make the class a great one. This is beyond an updated version. This is not simply an overhaul. It is one of the most expansive and well-made revisions I've yet to see of an rpg-product. Product support like this is scarce indeed and I'm still a bit baffled by the lengths to which this revision goes to make the class not only appealing, but an iconic one that makes you immediately want to try it. I am deeply impressed and since all my gripes have been taken care of and since this class now truly deserves it, I'm happy to revise my verdict and give the revised vanguard 5 stars plus the Endzeitgeist seal of approval.

Endzeitgeist out.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Genius Guide to the Vanguard
Publisher: Rogue Genius Games
by Dark M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/01/2010 01:14:49

The Genius Guide to: The Vanguard by Otherworld Creation

This product is 8 pages long. Opening page is cover and intro to the class.

Next it gets into the class description and table. (4 pages)
D8, 4 skills, medium BaB, 2 good saves, simple and martial weapons, light armor and shields. Level 1 spell casting ability that maxes out and 6th level spells. Cast spells like a Sorcerer, with the same progression. Though can cast fewer spells per day of each level.
Class Features
Arcane Bond – with there weapon, allowing them to cast with the weapon in hand. In fact it is hard for them to cast with out their bonded weapon. If it is lost it can be replaced by the same type of weapon.
Feats gain – Arcane Strike, Combat casting.
Bonus Feats at – 4th, 10th and 16th
Iron Grip – makes it hard to disarm the Vanguard
Weapon Channel – Cast touch based spells threw weapon, causing weapon damage and spell damage on a hit.
Vanguard Spell Penetration – add any to hit enhancements to the spell to overcome SR.
Swift Spell – Can cast a single spell as a swift action. Once per day, eventually getting 5 uses a day.
Spell Block – May attempt to block a spell cast at them like dispel magic. 3 + chr mod per day.
Arcane Smite – may expand a spell into their sword, causing there next attack to do 1d6 per level of spell used in extra magical damage.
Enhance Weapon Bond – Can enchant their weapon with magic effects. Defending, Flaming, Frost, Ghost Touch, Shock, or Thundering. May change it as a move action. Last a number or rounds per day equal to class level.
Spell Sunder – On a attack and hit, the vanguard may try and dispel any magic on the target just as if she had cast dispel magic.
Spell Grapple – On a successful spell block, instead of dispelling it, she stores it in her weapon and can then choose to cast the spell herself.
Bond Weapon Mastery – Automatically confirms crits with bonded weapon.

The next page has new feats and spells on it.
Extra Swift Spell
Improved Spell Block
Improved Weapon Channel

Summon Arcane Bonded Object
Summon Arcane Bonded Object, Greater

Final page is a OGL.

Closing Thoughts: The artwork is pretty good but a bit different. Reminds me a bit of water color art, not sure how else to describe it. I didn't notice any errors and the class seems well done. They also have a side bar talking about is the class needed with the Archon already existing. While both classes are magic/melee classes they are pretty different as well. I like this one better personally. My biggest nitpick is Enhance Weapon Bond at the level it is gained I think it could have been permanent and just only allowed them to switch the powers only so many times a day. They can bonded a magic weapon to them as well. This is one of the better magic/melee classes I have seen. Sort fills a similar roll as the Paladin only with arcane magic. Though I wouldn't have objected to them getting some bonuses to hit with their bonded weapon. Say a +1 every 5 levels so at level 20 they have a full BaB with their bonded weapon only. Going to give this a 4.5 star. Mostly because it is shorter than most of their products and it was missing the section on how to fit them into your campaign world etc.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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