Optionsmas is Neigh: Seattle Edition!
I’m finally moved into my new condo with a wonderful view of the greater Seattle Metro area and wouldn’t you know it: we have ourselves an Additional Resources update! Thanks for the house warming gift, Paizo! I’m going to try a different format evaluating the two primary updates this time around, since we only have two (amazing) books this time around.
Martial Artist’s Handbook:
- Archetypes: The archetypes in the book are legal for play. Equipment: The equipment and magic items in this book are legal for play except handwraps, infested bandages, and split-blade sword. Feats: The feats in this book are legal for play except Change of Heart, Octopus Focus, Octopus Style, and Octopus Thrash. Misc.: The advanced ninja tricks, ki powers, kineticist infusions, ninja tricks, slayer talents, style strikes, and weapon tricks in this book are legal for play except prognostication, throat crush, and true prognostication.
The Good: The Combination Feats in this book are flavorful little nougats of nifty. Spearfighter is a fantastic fighter archetype that proves sometimes polearm users can get nice things. I’ll be writing a guide on this soon, but it has some amazing synergy with the Stick-Fighting Style feats. I think its the first time a non-swashbuckler archetype has been allowed parry-riposte! Okayo Corsair gives us a balanced Panache-Monk. Linnorm Hunting Style is going to give us a whole new round of “what works with Paired Opportunists and Outflank?!” God help us. Shapeshifter Style gives all kitsune a climb speed for just a feat (or other nifty options), and the new Shapeshifter Savage feat works great with the old Shapeschanging Savage (and Startling Shapechanger) feat! Standard Action to Dazzling Display + Feint + Attack? Okay! Mountainside Ambush makes Samsarans insane Slayer-Rogues, being able to maximize their Sneak Attack damage as many times as they want so long as their target is unaware of their presence and they have a high-ground bonus (easy to do at mid-tier and higher levels). Style Shifter might be the first Shifter Archetype where I’m going “this might be…too strong!” Multiclassing it with Master of Many Styles seems pretty nuts
The Bad: Moment of Silence for Handwraps. I like to think they could have been released in Core, but at this point Monks have been balanced with the atypical wealth-per-level that comes with Amulets of Mighty Fists. Battledancer and Soft-Strike Monk are both in this weird catagory of archetype. They don’t do anything you couldn’t do with those classes with the right feats, skills and flavor…and these archetypes are pretty much worse than numerous ways you could have built these types of characters.
The Ugly: Change of Heart was perhaps one of the most broken feats I’ve seen printed in years. Just imagine punching someone over and over again until they love you. I’m glad Throat Crush was banned. But I may just curse any player who makes me recalculate a monster’s stats mid-combat with Stupefying Strike. I wonder if whoever wrote Strangler knows just how much “Sneak Attacking Grappler” stuff we already have (at least one of which is already called Strangler).
- Alternate Racial Traits: The alternate racial traits in this book are legal for play except Arboreal Vitality, Fey Resilience, Natural Bounty, Soaring Agility, and Whimsical Outlook. Archetypes: The archetypes in the book are legal for play except champion of the cascade and parasite. The sworn of the Eldest archetype is available to PCs of any race. The Cinderlands adept can select a camel, horse, or pony as her mount. The esoteric starseeker archetype’s Newlyweds constellation grants breath of life as a bonus spell in place of reincarnate, and the Stargazer constellation grants foresight as a bonus spell in place of dream voyage. Equipment: The magic plants in this book are legal for play. Feats: The feats in this book are legal for play except Dryad’s Apprentice, Dryad’s Attendant, Greater Spelleater, Mighty Boughs, Strength of Wood, Sinuous Vines, Spellmirror, and Treant’s Call. The Cherry Blossom Spell feat is available to PCs of any race. Spells: The spells in this book are legal for play. Traits: The traits in this book are legal for play except Fruit Merchant. In place of its listed benefits, the Beachcomber trait allows a PC to use the Survival skill to attempt Day Job checks. Misc.: The arcanist exploits, barbarian rage powers, expanded companion lists, ward aspects, eidolon subtype, ki powers, kineticist talents, oracle curses, shaman spirit, shifter alternate natural attacks, shifter aspects, and witch hexes are legal for play except the iceplant hex, the scourge curse, and the waymarker ward aspect. The verdant familiar hex can apply only to a familiar with the animal or magical beast creature type; if a PC would gain a familiar of another type, they may replace this hex with another hex (not greater hex or grand hex) between adventures for 2 Prestige Points.
The Good: Lots of new Shifter Toys! The Campaign Clarifications actually make many of these new archetypes better, so makes ure you check them out! Dragonfly, Electric Eel and Mantis are especially good. Arcane Amplifier is perfect for Wizards who would rather have a Metamagic Wand than a Familiar. Changeling Familiar is ridiculously cute and you should all make Magical Children right now.
The Bad: Not being able to play Petal Ninja as a Leshy or Kitsune. Also, the new Shifter Toys are pretty much exclusively non-Oozemorph. Elemental Claws are also ridiculously weak…
The Ugly: I’m so happy Champion of the Cascade was banned. Create Pit is groan-worthy enough. Giving a Paladin the ability to create numerous water-filled pits at once is just grotesque. Just pass out a bunch of nets and watch your enemies drown. Oh, and your party isn’t even affected! Someone is going to break Perfumer somehow, even with the Campaign Clarificaiton, and I can’t be held responsible for pointing it out here.