The Malefactor....oh where does one begin. Do we open with the sheer deviousness of this class? The insanely cool artwork that will forever define for me what this class is all about? Or the equally wicked NPC presented herein to accompany that oh so awesome cover image? How about we touch on all of it, lol.
23 pages of deliciousness, with the obligatory cover/OGL/TOC page count, all centered on very interesting character class idea. The malefactor. But, what is a malefactor exactly? To strip it the basics, the class encompasses those who have taken the crap luck given them by the world and life in general, and have learned to harness it, focus it, and use it to affect those around them. Give me someone who has spent their life just ahead of the torches and pitchforks, and I shall give you a malefactor hellbent on revenge. Yeah, that kind of character. Now, that is not to say that they are instantly an evil aligned character, but they certainly lend themselves to the darker side of the tracks when it comes to their dealings with friend and foe alike.
With opening words from both Brian Berg (the man behind TPK games) and Gary McBride (Writer/Creator of Way of the Wicked...quite possibly the only successful evil story arc...ever), the theme is set for this book right off the bat. This class is not for flower loving, let's all sit around the fire and hug kind of players. The malefactor is not for those seeking shiny acknowledgment and accolades...this class is for those wishing to twist the fate of all those around them, whilst escaping their own. A darker class for a darker player, without breaking the boundaries and going truly evil. It's a balancing act, to be sure, but one that is accomplished very well here.
PDF follows the standard dual column approach, with one embedded table for level progression. Background texture is marbled grey with a stylized border that can be challenging to read through in a few spots, but overall is light enough that most people should not have a problem with it. I can't help but think perhaps in editing setting the margins just back from the framework on the page would have helped immensely in the visibility of the text, but again, this is me being extremely nit-picky, and most will not have an issue with it. There were a few instances of spaces between words left out however, but there were only a few, and they truly didn't interfere with the understanding of the text.
As with many classes, the malefactor has its own set of cool goodies that reward the PC for continuing through the level progressions. Malediction (various “curses” that the malefactor can choose from as she progresses), Harrowing Strike (A maximized attack that only gets better as the levels get higher), Strife Points (a pool of points that the PC can spend to activate several different abilities. Very similar in nature to Psi points, or Time motes...any player familiar with either of these concepts will recognize this idea instantly)...and then we have the Aura of Misfortune. As long as the malefactor is conscious, every one around her (within range of course) suffers a negative to their saving throws. Now, here's the kicker folks, that negative...that everyone...yes, that means the fellow players standing around the Malefactor PC, and quite possibly her herself if she runs out of strife points. That born with crap luck sucks, lol.
So, why in the world would anyone want to play a character living under the weight of curses and bad luck you might be asking by now.....well, simply put...Those who understand an evil, are better equipped to deal with it. The malefactor class puts a character in an interesting position to deal with curses amongst others, as they can literally draw these curses to themselves, relieving others of them. They can ignore the effects of curse items, using them as if they carried no curses upon them, or even steal the victory right out of the grasp of their enemies by simply changing their luck from good, to bad.
So, how do they do these awesome things? The Yla. The Yla are the spirits of luck and chaos, for lack of better explanation, and they are that which the malefactor deals with when it comes to making a great many things happen.
Grand total we are presented with 18 Maledictions in this guide, 5 Archetypes and 12 Feats designed specifically for this class. We're also presented with the favored class options for 11 races. That's a rather impressive amount of information to get a class up and running, by any standard. Do I want more? Of course I do, and I have no doubt that eventually we will see more maledictions at the least...they are flat out to interesting not to have more designed.
Ending with an example, a fully fleshed out NPC to accompany that insanely excellent cover image, this PDF, intended to deliver a new class to us, gives us an amazing new character to drop into our worlds. And that cover image? Included inside without the text, just in case you have a spot on the wall needing some cool art.
Wrapping it up, I can say no more than what I have said many times now, buy this PDF!!!! The class design far outweighs the very few editing issues, this is one of those cases where design outweighs everything, period. This class brings some really cool ideas to the table, as well as inspires even more. Ignoring the one heading with spacing issues, this book is a solid 5 star. Yes, I just admitted there is an editing issue in the same line that I stated the book gets a perfect rating. That is how much I like the design work for this class, and how much I want to see more done with it. Oh, and since I failed to mention it earlier....full Hero Lab support files. Yeah, just keeps getting better.
Pick this one up folks, it is Well worth the price of admission!
[5 of 5 Stars!]