The bastion, the bully, the dogfighter, the legend seeker and the second son are the five core classes presented in The Le Games? ?Unorthodox Fighters.? Each is treated as a fully-playable fighter-type class for use in your standard d20 game. This is a difficult and thin line to walk; the fighter can be the most customizable of the classes presented in the core rules of the D&D game. Fortunately, ?Unorthodox Fighters? doesn?t simply present classes that could have been created by adding just the right feat or a certain number of skill points. Writer Doug Kilmer?s five classes all stand out, and still manage to fill the melee-niche most fighters represent in a Dungeons & Dragons game.
Each class listing provides enough suggested background material that both beginning and experienced players can find inspiration in these unorthodox classes. Rather than just putting together a handful of special abilities and coupling them with good saves or attack bonuses, real in-game reasons for the character design choices are given. The second son wants to bring honor to his or her family, and isn?t afraid to work for it. The legend seeker strives for glory. The bastion makes lasting stands not necessarily because it is the (paladin-like) right thing to do, but simply because he or she can.
Both the bully and the dogfighter stand out the most here, but unfortunately not for the same reasons. The bully is a class designed around, as one could guess, being a bully. The ultimate in the chaotic neutral stereotype (no alignment restriction is given, but it?s made clear that the bully?s tendency is toward either neutrality or chaos), this class doesn?t seem like it would fit in well with a group of other player characters. It actually feels like it would be better suited as an NPC, so DMs may take a look at this supplement for an idea or two for a mid-level encounter for their group.
Whereas the bully seems best suited to one-up any other (player-)characters, the dogfighter might shun others because he or she would rather associate with a loyal canine companion. The connection a dogfighter has with his or her dog is much more personal than that of a ranger and an animal companion, and while the dogfighter may also shun being part of a group, the reasons are a bit more well-rounded and better suited for long-term play. Allowing this class at the game table may cause just a little more work for the DM due to the added element of the dog companion, the flavor and feel of the class more than balances out this extra bit of work.
This supplement comes both as a landscape version and a printer-friendly edition, as well as an appendix including feats and spells an unorthodox fighter might need. In the landscape version, a character portrait is provided, and while an odd choice is made in showing the dogfighter as having birds flock around and on him (instead of dogs surrounding him), the interior artwork is consistent. The cover art doesn?t match the integrity of the included text, however.
?Unorthodox Fighters? is a well though-out supplement, and is a solid addition to the game.<br><br>
<b>LIKED</b>: These are well-defined, well-designed classes. Most players and DMs will have no trouble integrating some of them into their game. Of the classes, the dogfighter stands out as the best. It is a great concept, and great care has obviously been taken to make this a "classic" character without duplicating any of the standard core classes or their class features. Even though the bully seems ill-suited for player use, it could definitely be used as an interesting NPC class. Also, the added appendix is a nice touch.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The cover art doesn't live up to the promise of these five unorthodox classes, and as mentioned before, the bully is a poor choice for a player class in a game that features teamwork and cooperation.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>
[4 of 5 Stars!]