Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ultimate Combat, what's awesome?

Hot off the presses, I have my new copy of Ultimate Combat and I'm hungrily chewing through it. I won't go into a discussion of the Gunslinger class or the firearms rules since we have gone over those in some detail here, here, here and here. Suffice to say, the second version of the Gunslinger playtest is pretty much the final version. I'm also not going to talk about the Ninja and Samurai classes, since I simply have no interest in them. Instead, I'm going to pick out the juicy bits that immediately caught my eye and which make me want to use them in a future build.

I'm not a big fan of archetypes. It's not that I don't like the options they provide, it's just that they typically require replacing a superior class feature with a more specialized and, therefore, inferior one. So, for an archetype to pique my interest, it has to replace a class feature that doesn't impress me to begin with. Two archetypes fit the bill for me, the Crusader Cleric and the Spellbreaker Inquisitor. Not surprisingly, both archetypes come from classes that, in my opinion, need all the help they can get. The Crusader archetype allows a cleric to give up some spellcasting ability in exchange for additional feats, including feats such as Weapon Specialization and Greater Weapon Focus which are normally limited to Fighters. Even sweeter is the Spellbreaker archetype. I would never play an Inquisitor unless I was using this version. You give up Monster Lore (nice, but not awesome) as well as all those annoying teamwork feats and the Solo Tactics class feature in exchange for a bunch of saving throw bonuses against spells and the ability to make the DC for rolls to cast defensively higher for enemy spellcasters. As they say on the interwebs, it's full of win.

There are several awesome feats in the new list, but given there is a gigacrapload of feats in Ultimate Combat, It's not surprising. Here are a few of my favourites.
Hammer the Gap - great for piling up the damage at high levels, each hit as part of a full attack gets a damage bonus equal to the number of previous successful hits.
Dimensional Agility, Dimensional Assault and Dimensional Dervish - the Monk and the Magus will have great fun with this combination as it allows you to use dimension door or abundant step with far more tactical flexibility.
Clustered Shots - Oh come on now, total damage from full-round ranged attack added before DR is applied, because you know, archery really is underpowered in Pathfinder.
Pin Down - you get an AoO against an opponent attempting to withdraw or a 5-ft. step, if you hit, he takes no damage, but he can't move. No escape for you, little wizard.
Guided Hand - although it requires Channel Smite, not exactly the most must-have feat around, being able to replace your Str or Dex modifier with your Wis modifier on attacks with your deity's favoured weapon is worth it for clerics who already have to spend precious build points on both Wis and Cha.

That's it for now. I will have more to say as I digest more of this tome. I have to say, it appears, at first glance, to have much to offer.



Obiri said...

After playing with Ninja's, I find them to be an improvement over the rogue but still have sneak attack as their damage mechanic.

The monk love here is awesome. It almost makes me want to play one. The grappler and master of many styles stand out as big winners.
I haven't read over the optional systems at the back but most of them have recieved a big thumbs down although Performance looks interesting.

The asian style weapons are superior to their western counterparts but not extremely so. Oh yeah - monks get reach weapons - boo yeah!

As for feats I think you missed the snap shot line which allows archers to threaten squares because, as you said, they're underpowered.

christian said...

I'm playing Pathfinder right now. I just may have to crack open my wallet and take a look at that book. It sounds great!

Rognar said...

Obiri - I did read the variant rules a bit. It sort of reminded me of the Unearthed Arcana book from D&D 3.5. Several options, such as Armour as DR, which look interesting on first sight, but which would be impossible to fully incorporate into a game. It seemed like mostly filler to me.

Christian - One good thing about Paizo is that they only bring out a couple of these splatbooks a year. Much easier on the bank account than the mountain of new rulebooks put out during the heyday of D&D 3.5.

Thugkhtt said...

Looks promising indeed! Clustered shots would have been nice to have against crazy fey lady at the end of the last campaign.

Richard A. Hunt said...

I really can't wait to start playing with this excellent tome!