Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Augury - The Cavalier's Creed (Advanced Feats)

The Cavalier’s Creed is newest installment of the Advanced Feats series for Pathfinder. For those yet unfamiliar with the line, each Advanced Feats product is a small PDF – 16 pages – devoted to one of the base classes of the game.

The first part of the book focus on the cavalier base class features, trying to elucidate some of its core elements and tactical advantages. I find these sections rather bland, though I can’t deny that they’re useful to inexperienced or new players (especially in the case of the cavalier, one of the new base classes of the Pathfinder Advanced Player’s Guide).

For me the real “meat” of this book is its 30 new feats, most of them followed by commentaries of the author, where he explains the design reasons and intents behind each new mechanic. I’ve found out that the Advanced Feats line is not your usual ‘supplement of feats’ – and that Sigfried Trent isn’t afraid to push the feat mechanics to new areas of Pathfinder. Albeit it’s true that sometimes this may lead to unbalanced rules, I find it a refreshing and thought-provoking approach. A fine example is the feat Provoke that’s practically a new class feature and reminds me of similar abilities, like the challenge feature of the Night class (from the Player’s Handbook II of the 3.5 Edition). The author clearly states in those cases like that that he’s dealing with a very polemic mechanic.

As we’re talking about the cavalier, there’re a fair number of Teamwork feats, like Back to Back, that prevents enemies from flanking the heroes and Pack Attack, that allows you to enjoy the benefits of allies flanking a common adversary. Certain feats improve class features, like Bloody Banner.  Some are useful to any character, like Bravery (bad name here, as it was already used by the Pathfinder fighter class) or Fortune. Cavalier’s Creed, obviously, also has some feats dedicated to animal companions or mounts. Finally, there feats to improve the Leardership rules, like Extra Cohort and Great Leader.

Now, about the strong stuff, we have feats like Defensive Sunder, that lets you execute a Sunder maneuver while fighting on the defensive  (full defense, fighting defensively or combat expertise) if your enemy misses an melee attack against you. Another extremely tempting feat is Near and Far, that lets you attack adjacent foes with reach weapons.

Some of the new feats appear to be draw from classics of the fantasy genre, like Shield Evasion (finally my knights will be able to resist unscathed to dragon’s breath!) .

Cavalier’s Creed ends with three full character builds for the base class: the defensive Green Knight, the riding master Tawny Knight and high-damage striker Black Knight.

All things considered, Advanced Feats: The Cavalier’s Creed an excellent source of feats, even if you’re not that interested in the class itself.  The price range and quality of PDF make of it a worthy acquisition.