There are five new fully-playable 20-level classes in The Le Games? ?Unorthodox Barbarians,? and while it would have been easy for writer Robert J. Grady to put together simple variants of the barbarian class (note that I didn?t capitalize the ?b? in barbarian!), he didn?t. Instead, this supplement is made up of five new barbarian-style classes that present unique role-playing material for players and DMs alike. Aside from all of them being illiterate, there is little to confuse the classes with one another.
The conqueror can best be described as a barbarian with commitment. Any alignment choice is open to characters of this class as they devote themselves to a lifestyle of war and plunder. The descriptive text inspires perhaps a general-like character in a barbarian tribe, or perhaps a tribe made up of conquerors themselves, out to take your gaming world by force. As the character progresses, it gains new bonus skills as part of its ways of war class ability (available skills to be added to the conqueror?s skill list include Bluff, Hide, Sense Motive and Move Silently). There?s a bonus feat in the class level progression, but the class ability that stood out is the conqueror?s inspired initiative. In a round in which the conqueror has a higher initiative than his or her opponent, the conqueror?s melee critical threat range increases by 1.
Most planar marauders hail from the Material Plane proper, but their ties to the other planes (the Elemental Plane of Fire, for example) make characters of this class especially unique. They are dangerous barbarians, as writer Grady describes, ?in search of loot and glory.? Early in the class? progression, the planar marauder can sense portals as a spell-like ability, but as the character advances, he or she can enter into a planar rage, the effects of which are dependant on the plane the character chooses to take advantage of. A fiery rage makes the planar marauder immune to fire damage and gives his or her natural and unarmed attacks the ?flaming? enhancement; the positive energy rage grants the character fast healing 2 and allows him or her to cause an additional 1d6 or positive energy damage to undead targets.
The wild rider is a true nomad, and many of the character?s abilities revolve around or rely upon his or her mount. Feats like Mounted Combat, Mounted Archery and Ride-By Attack are included in the class? progression, and a new feat ? Extend Spur Frenzy ? is included at the end of the class description (spur frenzy is a class ability that allows the wild rider?s mount to rage).
These are only three of the five unorthodox barbarians, but the other two classes ? the corsair and the savage screamer ? are just as interesting, useful and playable.
?Unorthodox Barbarians? is a solid supplement well worth the price. At the very least, players and DMs will find inspiration for playing their barbarian PCs or NPCs in a slightly different manner, breaking out of any ?dumb barbarian? stereotypes. At most, someone?s going to get to play a fascinating barbarian variant and enjoy a fulfilling gaming experience.<br><br>
<b>LIKED</b>: The Le Games takes care of the consumer; both screen-friendly and printer-friendly versions of this supplement are included here. The classes are interesting and unique; all five of them fill a different niche at the game table.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Class names are not proper nouns; there is no reason to capitalize the 'c' of conqueror or corsair. Also, spells should be italicized. These are nit-picks, to be sure, but they can be a bit distracting when trying to incorporate this product's text into your own gaming material (and because they're nitpicks, I'm still giving this product a 5-star review).<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>
[5 of 5 Stars!]