Tuesday, 7th July, 2009, 07:28 AM #1
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ø Ignore calkiddewey
Forgotten Heroes: Scythe and Shroud
With the Forgotten Heroes line of products from Goodman Games, the good stuff just keeps on coming. While in their last installment they beat WotC to the punch with their renditions of a couple of essential, missing core classes, this time they bring a few yet-undeveloped classes that are a bit less likely to appear soon as core classes, but are no less desirable as additions to any campaign… especially one centered around the themes of death, mortality, the afterlife, or undeath!
Forgotten Heroes: Scythe and Shroud bring us the first 4E incarnations of four classes whose focus are death and undeath: the Assassin (classic!... glad to see it here!), the Deathwarden, the Necromancer (another classic!... right on!), and the Spiritsworn. The theme common to these classes being death, authors Allison, Bernstein, Cortijo and Tito cleverly work that into a new source of power ripe with new game mechanics, hooks and story arcs that are sure to engage the imagination of game masters and players.
But as with literally every Goodman Games product, the packed-in punch goes beyond just what you’d expect. Aside from a description of classes, builds, and powers, you get some serious crunch for your buck! The new stuff includes: 2 new epic destinies, 37 new feats from all tiers, about 30 new items and rituals (including new implements for the classes presented, and more than a handful of new poisons to make your Assassin all the more deadly!), and some great content with inspiration for your campaign. There are seeds for adventure, conflicts between the classes, the historical rise and development of the classes, broad suggestions for campaign arcs, and appendices to help you generate NPCs on the fly.
The painstaking efforts the writing team went to in Forgotten Heroes: Scythe and Shroud to provide new concepts and inspiration for your game alone are worth the price of the book. The bulk of it, of course, is going to be the game material you need to run characters of these classes, and the class features, powers, paragon paths and other details are well-developed and balanced relative to other official WotC offerings. These classes will fit right in alongside those from the PHB.
Maybe the Assassin’s “Death Study Points” are a minor hiccup or distraction in an otherwise very-well-developed bundle of game mechanics. As admitted by the authors in the textual description of this Assassin class feature, “the rules for spending and possessing study points can create some interesting situations…” That is to say, this particular mechanic is a bit cumbersome, but it does make sense once you get a handle on it. A side bar with examples of its usage helps to more clearly illustrate how it works, so you’ll no doubt get it. Just be ready to put a bit of time and effort in to the chore of tracking those Death Study Points.
The final verdict? Go get it. Death: great concept for power source, campaign story arc, and the seed of conflict between characters. The classes: interesting, well-developed, and fun to play. The extras: Goodman always delivers. You’re sure to enjoy!What looks back through the glass?
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