It is actually Thursday of last week for me, heh. I have a bit of a backlog prepped for posting on the ole blog here. I guess I'm flirting with professionalism or some such. I just bought the hard copy and the pdf copy of the Advanced Player's Guide for Pathfinder. I have one thing to say:
...and now we're back to being a foul mouthed amateur. Heh. This book has got to be one of my favorite P&P RPG books yet, and I've had my grubby mitts on quite a few. There are ridiculous options pouring forth from every orifice. Each of the core Pathfinder classes has at least five new options to add some more focused elements to the class, and there are six new fully fledged base classes (two are incompatible with my campaign world) and eight new prestige classes (two are incompatible with my campaign world, I think). There is a whole mess of new feats, new combat maneuvers that I like.
Those more focused elements of the core classes are a particularly welcome addition for me. Each core class has upwards of five or six themes I guess you could call them, that kind of tailor your character to what you desire. There is an Archer option for fighters that removes a lot of their armor use abilities to give them expert skill with bow stuff. I like these options, and they're all pretty enjoyable. The few that I don't care for or think are stupid are tied to classes I already don't care for. So far, my favorite is a monk style that centers around draining the life and vitality of those they fight. I find that to be kind of a striking concept. They don't just punch and kick you, they actually cut away little bits of your lifeforce, which they then empower themselves with to further whomp on you. The Skirmisher option is decent for rangers and I may make it mandatory because it replaces their spellcasting. I really enjoyed the 4th Edition take on Rangers that yanked out the spellcasting in favor of the um, well, skirmisher kind of mobile combat. Actually, this whole thing is kind of flavored by 4th Edition and I really like it. When you decide to play a fighter in 4th Edition you have a half dozen or so styles and features to choose from before you even get to power selection, and that offers quite a bit of versatility. Anyway, I dig what they're doing. Good on them.
The new classes are pretty neat as well, but I am always a fan of new classes. There seems to be a focus on multi-talented and caster classes in this book. I'm not sure I care for that. I've never been a true spellcaster in the rare times I've played as a player or wielded an NPC as the GM. I feel like that might border on cheating if I were to use something like a Wizard.
The Alchemist and Witch Hunter are both kind of spellcasters that do other things, sort of in the vein of Bards. The Summoner, Witch, and Oracle, are straight up casters with some fiddly bits to differentiate from Clerics and Wizards and such. The only class that doesn't have some manner of spell use is the Cavalier (kudos to Paizo for going old old school there). I enjoy the ideas behind the Witch and the Alchemist in particular. The Alchemist is actually a pretty damn attractive class. Bombs are awesome, but the whole Mutagen thing really entices me. I am very tempted to have an Alchemist or some sort of Barbarian or Fighter Alchemist mishmash as my NPC in the upcoming campaign once Kethranmeer steps out of the picture. It might step on Eric's toes a bit, but I think there is enough versatility to the class that I can find my own niche to play in. We'll see though, I'm just dipping my toes into Pathfinder and we're quite a ways away from the end of this campaign arc. No need to rush into anything and get burnt out on it like I have on certain other systems.
I could go on at great length about what I like about all the classes and why I like them, let's just say I am a fan of all the classes present in the Advanced Player's Guide. The new options for the old classes are fancy as well. At first glance, it really looks like Paizo is keeping things pretty well balanced power wise in the base class area.
This isn't especially relevant to my concerns, but there are a lot of nice new options presented for the races in the main Pathfinder book. You can tweak your dwarves now so they go old school and get resistance to spells. Or you can give them an enmity bonus against elves. You can give your half-orc tusks, or make your halflings reload their slings faster, or your elves can be desert dwellers. On top of this, instead of a +1 to hit points or skill points for taking a level in your favored class, you can get a race specific bonus. For instance, dwarven fighters can opt to add a +1 to their combat maneuver defense against trip and bull rush attempts.
There are a lot of feats and they're pretty broad in their focus and applications. Most classes have something tasty to play with. There are a few feats for the new combat maneuvers and so on and so forth. There are a bunch of feats, too many to go through one by one. Most of them seem to be viable and potentially useful.
Prestige classes, there are a few of them in the book. They are alright. To go along with my love of the Alchemist, the Master Chymist seems pretty nifty. Very much the Doctor Jekyll/Mister Hyde class. The others, meh. I'm not super intrigued by them. With 3.5 I was all about the prestige classes and there were hundreds of the fucking things, I like some of the Pathfinder ones, but I find myself more focused on the core classes. Pathfinder's prestige classes seem somewhat limited to me, which is fine because prestige classes are supposed to have a narrow focus, and if the keep producing interesting base classes with tons of options, you won't really need six hundred prestige classes to choose from.
There is some other stuff in there as well, some new artifacts and magic items, a gray bearded old wizard type that has boobs (pg. 313), some new combat maneuvers, etc. I particularly enjoy The Knucklebone of Fickle Fortune, there is also a Hammer of Thunderbolts in there (another old school huzzah). The other options added in are three new combat maneuvers, hero points, and traits. Traits are already in my game, but I will be taking some inspiration from those in the book. Hero points seem to be a neat concept, but they're not something I have to have in my game at the moment. We'll see though.
Eventually I plan to give the whole book an extensive read, but these are all just my initial impressions. Overall, I really like the book and am impressed. If Paizo wants, they can release a dozen of these, as long as they have a similarly crunchy content. I guess it boils down to this: if you like Pathfinder and want some neat new options or ways to spice up your current character, get this book. I did. Legally.