I chanced to buy this particular PDF—the very first published by the relatively brand new Dreadfox Games—just yesterday for full price at $4.99, and to be brutally honest, I probably could have done myself a favor and saved a couple bucks by instead waiting a few months, subscribing to their website, and taking advantage of that very subscription by using it to buy this document at a mere $2.99 along with whatever other supplements the company might have produced at that time for whatever discount prices that they, too, would have been marked down to. This holds especially true when considering that $4.99 is a little on the steep side, at least in my opinion, for a PDF that’s only thirteen pages long and that only eight of those pages are dedicated to actual content. To be fair, though, as I’ve said before, I blame only myself for making such a purchase in the first place and not fully researching my options beforehand, and to be fair, this supplement is still a rather impressive one, even though I still think that this, Dreadfox’s first PFRPG-compatible base class, can still be expanded on in a way that I hope Dreadfox will consider for future revisions, if there are to be any at all.
Though I can very well nitpick Dreadfox’s Gypsy to death if I felt it necessary, I’d be lying through my teeth if I were to flat out speak ill of it, particularly when it comes to the document’s layout and formatting. Very rarely do e-book publishers publish their works in such a way so that the reader can view two pages side-by-side at 64.8% magnification and comfortably read the text on both pages (Charke Publishing is the only other RPG e-publisher that comes to mind for me in this respect.), but that is exactly what Dreadfox has managed to do here. This might be a minor trait to some e-book purchasers, but for me, being able to read two pages at once is a plus in that it helps cut down the time that I’d otherwise spend scrolling through the document to read whatever information I’d be trying to research in a given document. This is especially beneficial when it comes to documents that have few to no bookmarks, which unfortunately is the case with this supplement, even though it still has thumbnails. Finally, there’s the artwork, which includes an impressively rendered “leather-bound tome” cover along with a nice very fetching and stylish border on each page of content—including the final page, which contains the OGL/copyright information—that helps these pages pop and draw the reader’s attention to the words upon them. On a similar note, the gypsy sketch on page 7 is remarkably well-portioned and shaded, as is the full-color illustration of the gypsy on page 4 (which is, in fact, the same illustration from the cover), and both pictures do a fantastic job in further showcasing the very nature of the e-book in which they are featured. All in all, Dreadfox definitely receives my praise when it comes to the overall design of this final product.
However, the question remains as to whether or not the content stands up to the expectations that the design establishes. First off, how unique is this base class, and how well does it characterize the gypsy archetype that at least most of us become accustomed to? Well, to begin with, the Gypsy is essentially a hybrid between the Bard and the Sorcerer from the Pathfinder SRD, albeit that he/she is a divine rather than an arcane spellcaster and has specific background-appropriate class features that reflect upon his/her far-from-stationary lifestyle as well as his/her penchant for predicting and even altering the future. Such traits include Wanderlust, where he/she gains the Fleet feat for free at first level and is rewarded an additional five-foot base speed increase for every additional gypsy, bard, or rogue in his/her party (so long as he/she is wearing light armor at most and is carrying no more than a light load, of course); Premonition, which allows him/her to have query-related symbolic visions that may cause damage to him/her, should he/she fail his/her check while using this trait; Augury, which allows him/her to manipulate fate via unique, specifically designed tarot cards, the powers of which function like supernatural abilities rather than spells; and The Sight, which enhances his/her mundane senses by offering a +1 bonus to all Perception and Sense Motive checks the more this class feature is gained. However, the one class feature that most profoundly defines this base class is the Deck of Divination—a spell system that involves the Gypsy drawing his/her spells at random (and from any spell list at that) from a deck of cards and, if managed creatively, can be every bit as practical as it is illustrative of the randomness of the Gypsy’s powers. Not only that, but the provided option of using an actual deck of cards (preferably a tarot deck) only enhances the role-playing experience that much more, including whatever house rules a certain gaming group institutes concerning such occurrences as the drawing of upside-down cards. Plus, many of the Auguries, regular (levels 2 through 10) and Greater (levels 12 through 20) alike, have been given the names of actual tarot cards (e.g., Queen of Wands, Two of Cups, The Hanged Man, The Fool, Strength, The Emperor, The Tower, and Death), which further enhances the authenticity of this class’s origins and uniqueness. It’s just a shame, though, that the Dreadfox team couldn’t come up with even more Augury options based on the remaining tarot face (translation: Major Arcana) cards to both further expand this base class as well as enhance its thematic nature even further. Speaking of cards, this PDF even has a couple of pages that have full-color printouts that the player can use as pats of a template for his/her own Gypsy character’s Deck of Divination as well as an entire page that goes into detail about how to design his/her own DoD cards. In short, this supplement has just enough substance to complement its style, which is always something to commend when it comes to any kind of RPG supplement.
In short, I can’t really complain all that much about Dreadfox Games’s Gypsy. In fact, I’m actually quite happy to see such a high-quality PFRPG supplement available for sale, seeing at the base class it presents is every bit as fresh, fun, and innovative to play as the e-book itself is enjoyable to read. Reid Stewart and company have made a smart decision in making this their first offering to the PFRPG fan base and presenting it to us as a mere sample of what they are capable of as a publisher of RPG PDFs. The only gripe I have, then, really, is—as I’ve mentioned before—the price. Again, $4.99 is a little steep for a thirteen-page document with only eight pages dedicated to actual content, especially when compared to Headless Hydra Games’s PFRPG base class offering from October 20 of this year, The Clockworker, which is twenty pages long (nineteen of which have at least some bit of content on them, including the Clockworker’s spell list, new spells for the Clockworker base class, and information on the Clockworker’s drones and servitor), has bookmarks as well as thumbnails, and only cost $3.99 the last time I checked. I thus encourage Dreadfox to be more competitive with its pricing in the future to keep the competition on its toes. Otherwise, gang, great job!