Sunday, May 1, 2011

Augury - The Inquisitor's Edge

The Inquisitor’s Edge is the newest installment of the Advanced Feats line for Pathfinder – small PDFs products, each devoted to analyze one of the base classes, together with character builds and 30 new feats. One of the reasons that made me a fan of Advanced Feats, is the author’s design philosophy: constantly pushing the feat mechanic into new and refreshing directions. It reminds me of great products of the 3.5 Edition, like Green Ronin’s Advanced Manuals.

The Inquisitor is a tough class for me: it’s just too good to be true (or balanced). Maybe that is because the Inquisitor exceeds in what was – I guess – the Monk’s original purpose: self-reliance. In a game supposedly devoted to teamwork, the Inquisitor is the quintessential lone wolf and, in my experience as GM, that’s precisely the type of character class that attracts dissonant players. Sometimes I wonder if creating such “super-solo” class was a good design decision in first place. But to the Nine Hells with such conundrums, for the Inquisitor is also a terribly fun class to play – one of my players is a Warhammer enthusiast and is totally in love with the Inquisitor.

Let’s go the feats! The first one to call my attention is Defensive Disarm, a wonderful feat that allows you to attempt a Disarm (using an attack of opportunity) as a reaction against a missed attack roll. The author himself comments that this is a powerful effect and I wonder if a BAB prerequisite shouldn’t have been added.

On the defensive department there’re excellent feats like Defensive Insight, Duck Shot and Fencing Stance, usable to any character. Eschew Divine Focus is a great feat in terms of game design, covering a missed spot on the rules. Extended Use is also a strong candidate in this area.

Specifically for the Inquisitor we have feats like Extra Judgment, Improved Judgment, Persistent Judgment and Shared Judgment. There are also a fair number of “anti-spellcaster” feats.

My first favorite was Draw Strike, because it scores high on the “coolness” aspect. Practically, it allows you to draw a weapon when rolling an attack of opportunity and, once per round, also grants a bonus to the attack roll. Ranger Maneuvers and Track Spirits are other extremely cool feats. Fearsome is a simple but very thematic ability (my Sigmar-loving friend above will surely take it) and we have even “good cop/bad cop” feat! Both are almost obligatory to any Inquisitor.

Finally, The Inquisitor’s Edge presents the following builds: bloodhound, the wolf in sheep’s clothing and the detective.

This product highlights one of the most mechanically challenging classes of Pathfinder – it’s hard to tamper with the Inquisitor abilities without seriously unbalancing it. Most of the feats in The Inquisitor’s Edge will also be useful to any class, specially fighting classes that must constantly face spellcasters and players desiring more teamwork feats or new defensive abilities. I highly recommend it.

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