We've got the Wolfman;
Frankenstein & Dracula
races must be next!
The nice folks at Wired were nice enough to send this my way, along with a Players Handbook (1) that I'm going to give to fordmadoxfraud to replace the copy his dog ate. So what is the verdict? Well, I've seen some of these classes & races in play, & some of the races in "monster race" form, but I'm happy to have them expanded. The races are neat, right off the bat. The Deva...well, maybe they are better than Aasimar? Maybe I only think that because I think Aasimar would work better as a bloodline or feat tree off of Tiefling. Gnomes...gnomes are like what elves are to humans, but for halflings. I'm okay with that; nay, I'm down with that. I wish Goliaths had some embiggening power, like Bugbears do. Half-Orcs are a disappointment! I really think the ball was dropped here, in a major way. Playing to the stereotype of the out of control rager, really? What I wanted to see, quite frankly, was something more like the Half-Elf. You know, something that participates in Human-like qualities-- the Half-Elf power of another classes' At-Will echoes the Human's extra At-Will distinctly, & not carrying that theme over to Half-Orcs was a missed opportunity. Shifters on the other hand are great! I normally hate trying to cram two races into one stat block, but these guys are inter-related & really evocative. I totally want to play a Longtooth Shifter, maybe partly because of my Tiny Adventures Shifter Avenger.
The racial paragon paths suffer from the same problem that the rest of the paragon paths do: why so specific? I mean-- you're telling me that a teleporting Eladrin wouldn't make a good Fey Beguiler? Or that a Dwarf couldn't be a cool Stoneblessed? & I get that Wizards of the Coast is invested in putting out more books with more classes. That fits their business model, that makes sense coming from the people who brought us Magic: The Gathering, & I don't mean that in a snide way. I just think it is the wrong way to make money. If this book had information on the already existing classes-- you know, like new Warlock pacts or new Fighter At-Wills or whatever, then it would appeal to a broader demographic? I guess they are being somewhat "fair" by keeping that stuff in separate books like Arcane Power, but I for one always want more from my favorites. & I didn't like Arcane Power. Maybe that is a factor. Anyhow-- don't tell me my Narrator or as Narrator that I can just house rule them to allow anyone to take them-- with the rise of the Character Builder that is much less of a viable option.
Besides that the classes in here are neat-- I particularly like the mechanics for the Druid. Barbarian is neat for having the "noble savage at the head of a great host" option. Bard wins with me for "Multiclass Versatility" which is an amazing class feature-- I want it! Druid as I mentioned-- the "Beast Form" keyword opens up player choice in a really fun way-- to be a creature & tear things up or be a person & cast spells? Druid & Shaman have an important caveat-- go ahead & describe your form however you want! Bear, Owlbear, primal monster, whatever-- same stats. Invokers...seem like Warlocks to me. Sorry Invokers but you just seem like a new type of Warlock pact to me...though it is neat you don't use holy symbols. Shamans I don't quite get; I'd playtest one just to see how it works, you know? Sorcerer's are great, practically a standby-- & I really like that Wild Magic is a power source; part of the reason I got this book is because I want to make Encre Panache a Gnome Chaos Sorcerer, since he's a Gnome Wild Mage in AD&D 2e. Warden's are another class I don't see the need for-- they are Defenders? How are they special? They have good saves? I'm missing the hook. Is the hook that Ranger is in the PHB(1)? That seems to be their role.
Backgrounds...are a way to get a class skill, & that is okay with me.