||Paths of Power: A sourcebook of Base and Prestige Classes, adds something new to your Pathfinder campaign. This time 4 Winds Publishing not just gives you class options, it introduces 12 whole classes to its fans.
Paths of Power drives the median line as far as Pathfinder class books go. There are six base classes, three prestige classes and, a rarity among supplement books, three new NPC classes. The base classes are a tad bit below the creative bar that 4 Winds has set in previous material. The Anti-Paladin is the opposite of a normal paladin with nothing overtly new to separate it other than a few changes to alignment based abilities. The Elemental Wizard replaces wizard specialized schools and adds elemental schools. The Gladiator, the most inventive and flavorful of the lot, is a fighter type class that excels based on a cool reputation mechanic and a superb array of weaponry. The Samurai class is one of the most researched and best implementations I have seen, introducing various bushido combat styles to the class. The latter two classes, Voyageur and Witch were not very impressive. The witch feels out of place in most traditional fantasy campaigns and the Voyageur has restrictions on his abilities that make little sense from a flavor point of view.
Supporting these classes are new skills, feats, spells and equipment. The whole point of pathfinder is to limit bloating, so introducing new skills seems a waste, especially skills like Handle Canoe. How many times in any campaign will anyone ever use such a skill? This would have been better implemented by making it an option for Survival. Most of the feats enhance the classes introduced in the book, primarily the samurai class, which is a good thing.
For the Player
The samurai and gladiator class are two of the best primarily classes. The samurai has a few different ways of fighting that makes each one created special. The Gladiator’s ability to use its charisma to aid in flavorful combat is a nice touch, and comes up much better than warlord type classes I have seen before. If you are looking to add some specific undead, assassin or scout flavor to a character you have now, look at one of the three prestige classes. Though they are not special, they are solid enough builds to add a bit of distinction.
For the DM
If you like to use NPC Classes, the three half-classes in this book will feel niches in your campaign. The best of which is the sycophant, which is a noble class that makes sense for non adventuring nobles.
The Iron Word
Paths of Power: Base Classes and Prestige Classes has a dozen flavorful classes with several falling short in the mechanics department. However, 4 Winds knows how to produce a complete product, and by including skill uses, feats and spells to support the new classes, makes Paths of Powers a campaign enhancing buy.
[4 of 5 Stars!]