Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Advanced Class Guide, by Jason Bulmahn
One of my friends at church  commented recently that he wanted to start a Pathfinder for our RPG group and so, being the sort of person who likes to be prepared, I took it upon myself to do some reading on the scenarios to see what would likely be expected and what kind of character I wanted to make. Since I wanted to start the campaign with a character not terribly unlike my previous one, since I enjoy the thrill of playing half-orcs who are more than meets the eye, I had in mind seeing what kind of unusual half-orc classes I could find in this particular game in order to help with my own creation of the character’s backstory, and this book was useful in that goal. Specifically, I managed to find a Holy Guide archetype for a half-orc paladin that gained knowledge (geography) and survival as class skills and replaced the level 3 and level 6 mercies of the paladin with Favored Terrain and a bonus Teamwork Feat. That sounds like a winner to me. Since I found the book to be of use in my goal, I consider it to be a modest success on that front.
In terms of its contents, this book is very straightforward. If you have read books of this kind, their organization and material is not particularly different from one volume to another. This particular book has six chapters of wildly unequal size that total to 250 pages. The book begins with a short introduction and then has as its first chapter a book with various special classes–including arcanist, bloodrager, brawler, hunter, investigator, shaman, skald, slayer, washbuckler, warpriest, and some racial favored class options. After that the book contains some useful customized archetypes (like the aforementioned divine guide paladin) for the following classes: alchemist, arcanist, barbarian, bard, bloodrager, brawler, cavalier, cleric, druid, fighter, gunslinger, hunter, inquisitor, magus, monk, oracle, paladin, ranger, rogue, shaman, skald, slayer, sorcerer, summoner, swashbuckler, warpriest, wtich, and wizard. Chapter three contains feats, the fourth chapter spells, and the book closes with chapters on gear and magic items and some principles for class design. This last chapter may be of particular value for those who find themselves somewhat hemmed in by the many class options and specializations and want to create their own way in the imaginary world of Pathfinder. It is thoughtful of the game designers to include this option for at least a portion of its intended reading audience.
Is this a book that you will enjoy? If you are reading this kind of book, you will likely find it a useful reference for your gaming purposes. This book is aimed at a particular type of gamer to provide some useful bits of reference information. As a fond reader of reference material of a wide variety of types, this book met my purposes. It has no literary ambitions, has some wonderful if often dark artwork, and is very matter of fact, and it comes from a company (Paizo) that has some creative flair in their own campaign designs. If I were not such a compulsive reviewer of everything I read, this book would likely not meet the threshold for reviewing from the point of view of critique, but for those who are interested in this sort of thing, this is the kind of book they would be interested in.
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