Despite the humorous web ads promoting it, 17 Rogue Feats is another serious effort by Le Games to produce a supplement for both the dungeon master looking for a unique NPC and the player looking to add some spice to his current character.
17 Rogue Feats is the 14th book in Le Games ?17? PDF series (that is if you do not include the lampooning 16 ? Magic Codpieces). For two bucks, you receive 20 variants feats for roguish classes?for those keeping count that is three more feats than the book advertises. Each feat is designed to add additional flavor and pizzazz to the your bland rogue without you having to result to prestige classes. The publication weighs in at 11 pages. Considering that there are 20 feats, that makes for some meaty feat descriptions, with only a few mild pieces of artwork taking up layout space.
As a Player:
Feat books are usually an iffy buy from a player?s perspective taking into account the average character only gets 6 feats in his adventuring span. This reasoning is a primary motive for players to purchase class books instead of feat supplements. However, 17 Rogue Feats offers a quick fix by allowing you to replace any sneak attack gains with an additional feat from the book. This is a nifty little rule change that gives the player some added flexibility over the character.
Out of the 20 feats, I found only about 10 to 13 really beneficial for a player with only a handful of those good enough to replace some of the stronger roguish feats in many of the WOTC publications. However, as replacements for Sneak Attacks, the feats are more than suitable. A majority of the useful feats add mild skill bonuses to the character in a traditional rogue skill such as Hide, Diplomacy and Escape artist. The author probably knew that skill boosts alone are not very innovative, so most of these skill boosts are coupled with a corresponding new skill use. This can be real useful when fleshing out a an archetype if you?re looking to make his character more distinguished, whether its focusing in on his thieving skills, honing a better assassin, tailoring a better diplomat or training a better spy. There are several groups of feats that enhance the sneak attack ability, but I found these to be rather weak when compared to similar ones. As a player, I found the most useful feats to be Bargainer and Criminal Mastermind. The Bargainer boosts the Appraise skill whereas the Criminal Mastermind gives a lot of inspiration for that character whom likes to delve into the occasional (crime) opportunity.
As a Dungeon Master:
Again, feats are much more manageable than loading an NPC with two or three prestige classes to get the right flavor, and there is certainly enough flavor in most of these to enhance your creation. There are some feats in the book that appear to be geared towards those wanting to create a hierarchy among thieves, but they are so weak that I fail to see why I would not simply just a title for an NPC and use the feat or Sneak Attack choice for one of the more practical feats in the book. That aside there are still a few dazzling jewels for DMs.
As a Dungeon Master, I enjoy creating the type of unique NPCs that are both memorable and/or annoying enough to give my players a lasting impression. Two feats I will certainly use in my next game are Eye for Loot, an appraisal feat that allows a character to hone in on expensive items, and Internal Pouch, a feat that is bound to help out the excessively encumbered thief. .
The Iron Word:
17 Rogue Feat is a decent buy for those looking for quick rogue options. Though a quarter of the feats are very underwhelming, they are more than balanced by the others. It should be quite interesting to see other class feat books and how they finagle the rules to give players and dungeon masters more choice.
<b>LIKED</b>: I liked the option of changing class abilities for minor to moderate feats. The more options you give a player the better the product will be. I also found a good three quarters of the book useful to developing distinct archetypes for rogues. <br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: A quarter of the feats introduced a thief guide hierarchy that is better handled through role playing as opposed to wasting any slot. Outside of giving leadership, they offered nothing more to the player but a title and some followers. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>
[4 of 5 Stars!]