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Wicked Fantasy: The Reign of Men $5.00
Average Rating:3.8 / 5
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Wicked Fantasy: The Reign of Men
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Wicked Fantasy: The Reign of Men
Publisher: John Wick Presents
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/31/2012 06:39:58
This pdf is 32 pages long, 1 page editorial, 1 page cover, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving 28 pages of content, so let's check this out!

John Wick's Wicked Fantasy seeks to redefine the traditional races of fantasy and add new twists to the tired old tropes. So, what has been done with the humans?

Rules-wise, they get +2 to a physical and +2 to a mental attribute, +1 to will saves (and further +1 every 5 levels), humans count as having each member of their party having their teamwork feats, can choose a skill as an additional class skill, and gain advantages based on their hometown - both in skills and a +2 favored terrain (hometown). They can also rally their allies - when a human threatens a critical, they can grant rally bonuses to their allies - I think that these should be morale bonuses from their fluff.

There's a focus there on hometowns and that makes for the true central focus of this product: It introduces us to a nation, the Reign of Men. Essentially, the humans in this product stem from an unique cultural background inspired by ancient Greece and the Roman Empire - devoted to philosophy, the central force of will and the betterment of their whole species is the focus of this reimagined mankind. The cities of the reign are detailed in intriguing detail and several gazetteers out there should take at look at this: The cities not only influence the bonuses humans get from their race, but also make for an intriguing, cool setting. On the other hand, though, the entwinement of the race and its fluff also makes it somewhat harder than usual for such supplements.

The pdf also includes 9 new feats, 6 of which add effects/expand the rally ability, with one being a sufficiently powerful capstone feat. The feats per se are ok, but use some strange mechanics: Inspirational rally, for example, lets allies make a melee, ranged, touch or ranged touch attack against a foe if you succeed at a check. This action-granting by criticals is uncommon and VERY powerful and generally not exactly standard - its emphasis on luck of the player to make use of the feats and the new human's signature ability focus on luck is problematic in my book.

The pdf also includes two new archetypes: The Philosopher (cleric archetype) gets a modified skill-list, 5+Int skills per level and two new godless domains. The Palantine, a variant archetype of the paladin that gets an intelligent horse, reliefs instead of mercies and an aura granting bonuses to will-saves to allies. I really liked both archetypes and the twists they gave the old classes.

The pdf, however, also includes a list of "appropriate" classes for the Reign of Men - all classes from the APG, UM and UC but the cavalier are banned per default - that's lame. No new tools for cavaliers (though the an alternate archetype of the Palantine could have been easily inserted), no Inquisitors (WHY??? The new human almost SCREAMS Inquisitor to me...), no oracles in spite of the Greek/Roman fluff and its ease of tying in etc. That's just sad.

Conclusion:
Editing is rather good, I noticed only a couple of glitches. Formatting is somewhat non-standard - e.g. asterisks are used to represent multipliers, when usually, "X"s are used. Layout adheres to a used-parchment look and the 3 pieces of full color artwork are nice. The pdf comes fully bookmarked, but without a printer-friendly version, which is a minor bummer. This pdf is somewhat hard to rate - on the one hand, it's an awesome gazetteer of an alternate human realm that feels distinct and different from almost any other one. Its attention to detail is nice, its fully detailed system of government is awesome. Unfortunately, the crunch feels somewhat wonky in comparison, its focus on critical hits to make unique rallies is too reliant on luck/crit-range builds. The second signature ability, the hometown-based feats etc., are unfortunately very much tied to the respective hometowns, making integration into an ongoing campaign/ established campaign setting rather difficult. The new archetypes and the concept of a godless humanity, driven by its collective force of will and the ideal of human advancement is awesome and something I'd love to see expanded upon. On the other hand, though, the lack of support for APG, UM and UC is disappointing at best. As a racial supplement, the reign of men fell somewhat flat of my expectations, as a gazetteer of an unconventional nation, it works just fine. Mechanics-wise, I wasn't impressed by the pdf. In the end, the pros and cons mostly even out for a nice purchase, but not a stellar one. My final verdict will thus be 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3 for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Wicked Fantasy: The Reign of Men
Publisher: John Wick Presents
by David B. S. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 02/01/2012 23:17:55
Having been a "GM" for over 20 years, I have a habit of always wanting to "house rule" rpg supplements. It doesn't matter if it's a module, a campaign, or a creature. I just can't help myself! And I love nothing more than getting my hands on a product that goes "against the grain", turning a classic rpg idea or trope on it's head.

Wicked Fantasy's "The Reign of Men" does just that. This Pathfinder-compatable pdf's mission is to give a new or different twist to the role of mankind in a fantasy campaign. You see, Man is the "Old Race". We were here first. The other races came after. Elves are the new kids on the block. I like that.

We get an explanation of the history of Man and his outlook on life. Then from out of the blue, we are told a shocking truth. I won't spoil it for you, but it explains why man has the courage and the will to perform the amazing feats he does.

Next, we are given background that a GM can use as the backbone of his or her campaign. Political structure, a calendar, and a sketch of the 10 great city-states of Man. These cities are ripe for dropping a group of adventurers into them! Each city has just enough background info to get a GM's head swimming with adventure ideas. As an added treat, each city grants its citizens a related skill bonus of sorts. I must admit having done this with homebrew races and cultures, but never cities. Neat idea!

Then, human-centric Racial Traits and Feats are introduced, some of which are quite clever (see, the Hometown-related traits).

Lastly the Philosopher and Palantine Archetypes are presented; which are a twist on the Cleric and Paladin, respectively. Nothing mind-shattering here, but the archetypes fit the idea and concept that the author is trying to convey, so no foul-no harm.

The pdf itself is in full color, a surprising touch, especially for the fantastic price! Unfortunately there is no Table of Contents and no Index; but the pdf is nicely bookmarked- and for a 32 page pdf, that will do, I think.

Overall this is a really fun product that would be great to integrate somehow, someway into any fantasy campaign- Pathfinder or not. And hopefully, we will see other race-centric products pop up from the talented Gillian Fraser and Mr. Wick duo, although it's good to see the humans strut their stuff first, for a change! And they do it with style!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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