||This pdf is 24 pages long, 2/3 of a page front cover, 1 page editorial/SRD, leaving 22 1/3 pages of content, so let's check this out!
The latest new class in SGG's critically acclaimed series, which has provided us with one of my favorite PFRPG-classes ever, introduces us to the Tough: d12, 3+Int skills per level, full BAB, good fort-saves, no spellcasting. The tough gets a tough talent at 3rd level and every 4 levels after that and, as all classes in the anachronistic adventurer-line, can choose an anachronistic archetype. But before I get into the talents, I feel the need to address a basic part of the tough's concept: Representing the hard as nails survivor that just doesn't know when to call it quits, the tough has several abilities that depend on the new battered condition: Essentially, if you've played 4th Ed, when he's bloodied, i.e. at less than 50% maximum HP. He e.g. always gets an improving bonus to atk, AC, damage and saves when thus damaged. The talents presented are a total of 15 and include getting the back to the wall-bonus to skill checks, being able to act longer when almost dropped to death, enhanced power when subjected to detrimental conditions and even becoming immune against mind-affecting spells and effects while battered at the cost of being unable to use certain skills. The snarling juggernaut that is almost impossible to put down culminates in the capstone ability that lets the tough save to prevent taking dying via a save once per round -neat!
On to the archetypes: Monster Smashers focus on destroying monsters and can impede their supernatural and spell-like abilities temporarily with their hits, but thankfully only a limited number of times per day. They also exhibit a kind of instinctual knowledge on how to put down supernatural beasties and learns to specifically work against monsters with specific abilities. Furthermore, the archetype gets access to a selection of 4 special talents that let them combat larger beasts effectively or even take on certain characteristics of their adversaries, like a bite attack, being amphibious etc.
The second archetype herein, the Outrider, is something I've been waiting for: Using teh relative positioning and vehicle rules from Ultimate combat, the outrider can specialize is a type of vehicle in which they are even better than usual, learn VERY fast on how to operate them and a total of 8 different talents enable the outrider to e.g. repair a vehicle as a swift action (with the aptly-named Come on, Baby!), excel at dogfight maneuvers and make her machines temporarily faster. I LOVE this archetype. Seriously! Finally we have a functioning pilot archetype for Pathfinder - for all those flying ships, chariots, golem-bikes, power-armors and even for time-distorting snail-powered mechs (yeah, I once had those in my game). Two thumbs up!
The Master of Arms is more conventional, I suppose: Selecting a weapon group, they improve the damage capabilities by the chosen group of weapons rather drastically, setting e.g. a minimum dice-type that the weapons deal damage-wise and adding additional benefits: Flails e.g. can ignore shield-bonuses to AC, while firearms enable the master of arms to demoralize foes. The archetype also comes with 5 different talents, of course also focused on martial prowess with their chosen field of expertise.
The final archetype we are introduced to would be the Wise Guy, a tough guy who would make for an excellent godfather or leader of an unpleasant organization, being able to intimidate allies and minions by calmness, instilling competence via fear and the ability to strike extremely hard and devastating when striking.
The pdf then goes on to explain the relative positioning and distance interval-rules, lead vehicle loci and environmental loci as well as how to cover encounters with multiple loci before going into vehicle maneuvers, the vehicle template (wanted to create that Tarrasque-tank? There you go!) and 3 sample vehicles based on monsters - great ways of reskinning these beings! Before we get on to the short run-down of progression-levels as is by now obligatory in the series, we are introduced to the vehicle golem feat, which becomes a permanent fixture and magical vehicle for you. It also contains the exceedingly rare SGG-typo, speaking of "GN"s.
Editing and formatting are very good, though not as perfect as I'm accustomed to by SGG - the bonus feat-section has a blank line, which looks weird and there is the typo - not enough to rate the pdf down, but worth mentioning. Layout adheres to SGG's 3-column standard and the pdf features some cool, classic and flavorful pieces of artwork. The pdf has no bookmarks, and honestly, by now I think that every pdf apart from Bullet Point-length ones should have them, so that's a detracting factor.
The Tough is a cool class, fitting seamlessly into the grand concepts of this series and providing a modular line. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the battered condition, as it has a rather significant potential for metagaming, but that's a personal thing - I have to admit that creating a character à la Rocky Balboa works very well with this class. Design-wise, I'm a huge fan of the Outrider, though that one will probably be not for all campaigns, it would also work well for a regular NPC-cohort to represent the trusted pilot. I love it. What does that leave us with, rating-wise? Apart from the lack of bookmarks, I have nothing to complain about and thus, my final verdict will be 4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 for the purpose of this platform due to otherwise great, balanced content.
[5 of 5 Stars!]