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Legendary Villains: Vigilantes
 
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Legendary Villains: Vigilantes
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Legendary Villains: Vigilantes
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/31/2017 07:07:36

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This installment of the Legendary Villains-series clocks in at 40 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of introduction/how to use, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page inside of back cover, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 29 pages of raw content, so let's take a look!

This was moved slightly up in my review queue as a non-prioritized review at the request of my patreons.

All right, let's begin with the new archetypes contained herein, the first of which would be the alchemical scoundrel, who gets a modified class skill list and reduced the skills gained per level to 4 + Intelligence modifier. They replace the vigilante talents gained at 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter (until 16th level) with the alchemist's alchemy ability as well as the infusion discovery and they may select alchemist discoveries in lieu of vigilante talents. The main meat here would be over 20 special discoveries here, several of which may be taken as alchemist discoveries. These include alchemical splash weapon damage upgrades when damaging a target for the first time. Note that I assume this to not apply to bombs, since they RAW are not defined as alchemical splash weapons. I arrive at this conclusion partially due to other discoveries, which allow the archetype to replace the fixed DC of regular alchemical items for a limited number of them and designate these items as breakthrough items with a scaling DC.

Gaining access to bombs and throw anything can be achieved via another talents. Bomb Tinkerer is not perfect - it allows the alchemical scoundrel to change the damage inflicted to "fire, ice, cold, electric or bludgeoning damage" - neither "electric", nor "ice" damage exist in PFRPG. Worse, when combined with a discovery that changes a bomb damage type, you can choose half one such predetermined one, and "one damage type of the alchemical scoundrel's choice" as the second. Problem here: This should refer to the available choices. RAW, it allows for free damage type selection. 8th and 12th level unlock sonic and force damage, both of which reduce bomb damage dice size, though. A feral mutagen variant that also enlarges, penalty-less cognatogen options or evolving mutagens, which grant limited access to unchained evolutions (OUCH) can be found. Personally, I'm partial to e.g. a false tooth for immediate action infusion access with scaling uses.

Gaining the master chymist's mutagenic form and mutate class feature has interesting interactions with identity-change, though personally, I'm not too big on granting PrC-signature abilities via regular class features. Interesting: Those that choose the mutagen can learn brute archetype's special talents, which makes sense - particularly since they only work will mutated. Nyehilists (puntastic!) can choose the true mutagen at 20th level. I am not a fan of quicker creation of mutagens, cognatogens, etc. - delimiting limited resources can get wonky in the long run.

I am also not the biggest fan of persistent mutagen as a discovery being a way to gain the class ability as soon as 12th level, as opposed to the alchemist's default 14th level. All in all, a crossover-archetype I would have expected in the hero-book...and one that I'm not that keen on.

Second would be the consumed vigilante, who replace their old identity and gain Nameless One as well as bonus hit points. Instead of social talents, they gain Skill Focus (okay, I guess) To make up for that, these guys do require less food, water and sleep to regain health, with higher levels further decreasing this. 3rd level nets renown, with 9th level unlocking greater renown and 15th level incredible renown, with the duration to acquire renown also reduced. 5th level provides a +2 bonus to Will-saves, which increases at higher levels and applies the bonus also to several negative conditions. As a complaint here: The bonus is once referred to as insight and once as morale, so which of the two is correct? 19th level greatly increases the difficulty to find out anything about the vigilante. Suffice to say, this archetype gets rid of the whole social talent-stuff.

Now the next one would be the first one I'd consider a villain archetype in theme, the dread champion, to be more precise. These guys must be evil in their vigilante identity, get an aura of evil, smite good, etc. - dread talents can unlock further abilities in that field...you guessed it, this guy is basically an antipaladin/vigilante crossover. It's generally a solid archetype.

The Fortune Thief gains access to a witch hex and when affecting a target with the hex, they gain a luck point, with Cha-mod acting as a cap for how many they can have. Cool: The ability actually is kitten-proof and cursing one's allies is also no reliable means of refreshing the pool. These points may be spent as a free action for skill-check bonuses or temporary boosts to atk and damage...yeah, this is somewhat luckbringer-like in style. The pool does per se not empty or replenish without this refreshing, but since this ability replaces vigilante specialization, the new talents the archetype receives can allow for minor regeneration of luck points while sleeping, Hex Strike to be added to non-unarmed melee weapons, passive benefits for holding on to luck points, longer bonuses and reflexive luck boosts that can negate crits or allow for attack and damage rerolls. All in all, the engine is REALLY cool...but e.g. savage hex causing untyped damage (should be typed) equal to class level on a successful save is something I'd strongly suggest typing. Nice: This one does get its own capstone.

We'll get delightfully disgusting next - the plague scion is locked into the stalker specialization and begins play with the antipaladin's plague bringer class ability. At 3rd level, the archetype gains a signature disease, which gains a scaling DC...and from here on out, the scion can add diseases contracted to this list, which is rather cool. 6th level and every 3 levels thereafter adds further diseases, with one being dominant. This replaces unshakable. 4th level yields plague strike, which connects Sleight of Hand and hidden strike with the infectious warfare they engage in to lace objects with their virulent strains...and this is actually pretty cool and limited uses prevent abuse! I like it! Higher levels yield frequency-increases for diseases, detecting the diseased, variant transmissions for signature diseases and, at higher levels, adding the ravaging template to those infested...oh, and at the top, we get magic-resistant diseases. Two thumbs up for this nasty villain!

The protean prowler is locked into a chaotic vigilante identity and replaces vigilante specialization with access to scaling unchained eidolon evolutions, which they may reassign Constitution modifier times per day - this process takes 1 minute and covers half the points - so two uses for complete reassigning. This pool can also alternatively be used to use evolution points to duplicate a scaling array of transformations, duplicating the effects of ever more potent spells. The process of investing the evolution points to affect these changes could have been worded slightly more concisely - as presented, I am not sure whether the evolution points required for the respective transformation are regained upon its end - I assume no, but "invest" does imply that in contrast to "spend"...

Anyways, onwards to the shadow savant, who replaces vigilante specialization with shadow clone, a duplicate they can generate as a standard action within 30 ft., a total of 1/2 class level + Cha-mod times per day. The Disguise check rolled as part of creating this clone is also the Perception DC required to notice that the clone is not actually real.. The clone lasts for Cha-mod rounds and has an AC of 10 + Dex-mod + Cha-mod +1/2 class level and vanishes on a successful hit. It is properly codified as an illusion [shadow] effect, so kudos there. The maximum distance it can travel from the savant is equal to 45 ft., +15 ft. per level. At 4th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the ability conjures forth an additional shadow, and when sharing the space with the savant, they duplicate mirror image's benefits. Only one use of the ability may be in effect at any given time and all shadows may be controlled with the same swift action - all in all a mechanically sound take on a very difficult concept to pull off. The archetype adds shadow control techniques to their arsenal of social talents, allowing for shadow control beyond line of sight, light-dimming, longer-lasting duplicates, control over the shape of the shadows, the ability to see through their eyes...and at higher levels, things become awesome and include swapping places - kudos, btw.: Codified as teleportation effect.

Beyond these, there also are tricks added to the vigilante talents, and, as you may have guessed, it is here that we find the more combat-centric options, which include partial reality, retributive negative energy damage (and at higher levels short-term staggers), Now, this becomes even more intriguing at 5th level, when 2 non-tangible shadows can be replaced with a semi-real doppelgänger that shares your non-limited-use abilities and also duplicates non-consumable magic items - it is really impressive to see this ability this waterproof and airtight - an excellent representation of what N. Jolly is capable of. The appearance-tree of abilities is then further replaced by upgrades of this doppelgänger ability-array, making for one of my favorite archetypes in the book: Mechanically-challenging, diverse, sporting a unique playstyle, this is a really inspired one. Kudos!

The symbiotic slayer would be one that I can't, in any shape, way or form, judge neutrally. When I was a little child, I already loved good villains more than heroes...and I will never forget the Spider-man comic with the glorious Todd McFarlane-cover of Venom holding Spidey's skull. It was #207 in Germany, not sure which one it was in the US. So...yeah, for a couple of years, I was a huge venom fanboy after that. This archetype gets a tiny ooze-like familiar (sans bite and with 0 speed, it's an aberration) - the vigilante identity is assumed quickly as a standard action and this cannot be hastened via the usual talents - the end-result, obviously, would be the vigilante identity. And yes, when under duress, the symbiote may force being used; it dies when the host dies, but can be rendered dormant, though the host can feed hp to it to wake it from slumber. Symbiotes have an ego and increase that ego, the longer they are manifested, representing rather well the Spidey-trope. Instead of the familiar's regular benefits, it acts as an armor for the host, has a telepathic bond...but also sports an elemental weakness.

The symbiote has a cool, linear progression and while I am not a fan of stalwart, at least the ability is gained at 11th level and only works while the symbiote is manifested. The archetype also gains several unique vigilante talents denoted by the [symbiote] tag: These include gaining natural attacks (properly codified!), duplicating armor...really cool. Cool alternative to fast healing: The buffering symbiote talent: It nets class level + Constitution modifier (twice Con-mod at 10th level) temporary hit points that recharge at a rate of 1 per minute while not manifested, + 1 regained per two symbiote talents possessed. Represents the concept, abuse-proof. Elegant solution. Interesting: Stealth-upgrade that may bypass automatic blindsight/sense-detection. Dual minds, reflexive acid is cool - gaining first Improved Grapple and then, at 6th level, also Strangle and at 10th level smother looks like a bit overkill for one talent, though: Strangle alone is very, very potent.

Increased reach, throwing a limited amount of times per day an entangling cluster at foes, temporary swift action fast healing with limited uses (thankfully), creating a duplicate living garments, reduced weakness, allowing the symbiote to gain control, resistance, burrowing, alchemical self-enhancements of physical ability scores (Str or Dex), flight (locked behind 6th level, gets better) and whip-like tendrils...as well as a proper capstone ability complement a thoroughly amazing archetype...and if you're like me and love venom/carnage etc., then this may well justify getting the pdf on its own.

The new social talents included herein allow for complete disjunction of social and vigilante identity (absolutely overdue!), being able to use skills that would need tools without them, gauging marks, being able to use a vigilante talent in social identity sans compromising either, Performance Weapon Mastery and a chameleon-style serial-killer talent that lets the vigilante assume the identities of the slain - some really, really cool stuff here.

We also gain a significant selection of new vigilante talents that range in power from cool and balanced to KILL IT WITH FIRE. Advanced Grip would be one such candidate I don't consider too necessary. +1/2 Str-bonus to damage with one-handed weapons and offhand attacks are treated as not-offhand for Power Attack purposes. This...just is a further number escalation and I can make fearsome sh** with it. Boon Companions, bonuses while bleeding, making nearby terrain count as difficult - all cool. There also is a talent many folks will hate: Know the famous spiked chain exploit from back in the 3.X-days? Well, the chain lasher talent unlocks that one again - attack both adjacent and at reach. Personally, I consider this cheesy and won't use it. Death Dealer is also problematic - it nets the assassin's death strike...and at 12th and 16th level, it reduces the number of rounds of study required. Oh, and with sniper, that becomes available at any range - explicitly. There also would be talent that stacks critical range with other critical range-increases, which can be really, really nasty - there is a reason that stuff does not stack usually. The multiplier may be reduced to x2 as a catch, but the threat-range is the issue. Cool on the other hand: Breaking the 6th level cap of spellcasting vigilante options. There also are a few nomenclature hiccups here - one punch assault once was probably once punch hero, as its follow-up talents calls it by that name. Gaining a panache pool and then, via another talent, access to deeds, is interesting. Gaining hair hexes, smashing foes in walls...there is some cools tuff here. If you've been using Legendary Swashbuckler or Assassin, you'll notice both of these being supported, which is nice.

Notice something? Yeah, they really oscillate in power and utility. WILDLY. I'll return to that aspect later in the conclusion.

The pdf also sports feats, some of which add e.g. more shadows for the shadow savant, modified spellcasting, reduced symbiote ego, more social talents, using Int or Wis as governing attributes, hidden strike and sneak attack synergy...cool. However, I do have an issue with Injected Infusions: Why? Because it lets you inject mutagens and infusions in allies...which is once again a number-escalation. Modifying symbiote weakness is cool...buuut: Adding hidden strike/sneak attack to splash weapons targeted at foes at -1 damage die size is either solid or brutal. I assume that the bonus is supposed to not apply to splash damage? Once again, this felt a bit weird.

The pdf also sports a 5-level PrC, the Crimson Dreadnought with full BAB-progression and good Fort- and Will-save progression, d10 HD, 4 + Int skills per level and BAB +3, 5 ranks in two skills, etc. as moderate prerequisites. The PrC gains martial weapon proficiency and gains Nameless One and acts under royal edict: Horribly scarred by the brutal initiation, they gains scaling bonuses to AC and saves and makes removal of their armor nigh-impossible. There is also another issue: You see, these guys, RAW, are constantly fatigued. Sleeping in heavy armor automatically fatigues the character. Pretty glaring oversight there for a PrC that fuses you in the armor...2nd and 4th level yield vigilante talents, 3rd level bonuses to saves versus mind-affecting effects and a 2/day reroll. 5th level yields 2/day swift action fast healing and the option to fight on...I love the idea of the PrC, but I wish the abilities gained were slightly more interesting and fitting for the concept.

The pdf provides nice and balanced variant multiclassing rules for the vigilante and the pdf sports new magic items: Mystic bolt enhancers, memory-wiping smoke pellets (no, you're not immune - hilarious Code Geass-style intrigue can ensue...) and charming gloves...nice.

We do end with one of my favorite parts in the whole pdf; Red Love. The beauty on the cover. Her story ties in with Legendary Vigilante's NPC and she clocks in as a fearsome level 14 symbiotic slayer. She is...basically Carnage. The female version of Carnage. Her boon, unsurprisingly, focuses on killing and her tactics are brutal. Nice build!!

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are inconsistent in rules-language and formal criteria: There are components of the pdf where it's almost perfect...and some that sport glitches neither characteristic for the author, nor for LG. Layout adheres to a nice two-column full-color standard and sports a variety of nice full-color artworks - most I have seen before in LG-books, though Red Love's amazing artwork does make up for that. The pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience.

So, I have this theory that explains some issues that haunt this book: You see, usually the "Legendary" class supplements for PCs and Villains are strictly separated; The PC options tend to be tighter in balance and, by design, the NPC villain options sport cheesy, nasty and powerful tricks beyond what I'd allow for PCs. Thing is, this, at least in part, feels more like "Legendary Vigilantes II"; The theme for "Legendary Vigilantes" was hybrids and we have two of the more interesting hybrids in this book - ones that don't really strike me as evil, mind you.

At the same time, we have powerful and obviously evil ones herein, distinctly designed for villains. In the archetypes, this aspect, this blending of the product lines, doesn't hit as hard, but once we get to the talents and feats, the small optimizing tweaks, things get nasty....and this is my main gripe with the book. I can live with a couple of nomenclature hiccups, but we get too much straight number-escalation here. Do we really need even more damage? Did we need the resurgence of one of the most-quoted abuse-builds ever? Sure, it's not as potent as it once was due to PFRPG's diverse options...but still. These aspects make me cringe, and not in a good way. In fact, a part of this pdf feels like it's the B-side of Legendary Vigilantes, where the concepts aren't as tightly controlled etc. That side is what I don't like about this book.

At the same time, OMG; I CAN HAZ VENOM!!! It's the single best representation of the symbiote-user I have ever seen. It's glorious. It's worth the asking price alone. In fact, don't get me wrong, there is more to LOVE, ADORE, OMG-level celebrate herein than in all of Legendary Vigilantes. The brilliant highlights are brighter here and this pdf, or so I'd like to believe, and it shows where N. Jolly was really inspired. At the same time, the proverbial shadows of this book are also darker, it feels less carefully designed than usual in some aspects, uncharacteristically so.

This strange duality also seems to extend to the power-level of archetypes and talents provided herein - there are some that yield PrC-signature abilities and actually improve them. As a talent. Yeah, can see it for NPCs, but players will never see them...but here's the problem: "Legendary Vigilantes", the PC-book, does point towards this book, implying player-use.

I am, ultimately very torn on this book - on the one hand, I consider enough material herein to be less interesting and/or problematic...but on the other hand, there is plenty of material I adore and want to praise to the high heavens - one side of me want to slap 5 stars + seal on this, while another tells me to rate it down to 3.5. I honestly wished we got a distinctly PC-centric book and one that is obviously and clearly designated as villain material...and I wish the glitches weren't there.

THAT BEING SAID. If you're a capable, rules-savvy GM, gives this book careful oversight and then give the aspects you consider non-problematic at your players. This book contains pure awesome. As such, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars...and while there are components that deserved so much better, I can't round up or slap my seal on this. Still: Thank you, master Jolly - from the bottom of my heart. The Symbiotic Slayer is glorious.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Villains: Vigilantes
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Vladimir C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/02/2017 08:36:53

DISCLAIMER: This review is based on a free PDF provided by the author and the publisher, which in no way had an influence on the final score.

Legendary Villains: Vigilantes is Legendary Game’s antagonist entry for the Vigilante class, which first appeared in Ultimate Intrigue. Like all LGs products, this one has excellent electronic features (for the pdf), and awesome art! While this book has “Villains” in its name, very little content is restricted to evil characters, so you can play a standard or anti-hero.

What’s inside? 29 pages of content, which include: -8 archetypes: Alchemical scoundrels borrow a lot from alchemists, being able to do most things that an alchemist can (infusions, mutagens, bombs), but of course not as well and, unlike most hybrid-y archetypes, this one does NOT replace your specialization!; Consumed Vigilantes lose their dual identities and shy away from social talents, instead focusing on their other abilities; Dread Champions are the antipaladins of the vigilante world, which meshes extremely well with their dual identity ability; Fortune Thieves are cool, getting a luck pool that fills when opponents save against their hexes, and yes, that means they get some hex-like abilities from witches!; Plague Scions are truly vile, infecting opponents with a variety of diseases; Protean Prowlers also borrow cool toys, but not from a class, but from a “pet”, being able to evolve and morph like eidolons!; Shadow Savants can clone themselves using shadow stuff, making for a truly intriguing a sneaky opponent (or character); Symbiotic Slayers get a symbiote a-la-Venom, which make them not only the most innovative of the archetypes but also the one with the most potential! -10 New Villainous Social Talents, giving access to cool, evocative abilities that you may have seen somewhere. Some give you a bonus feat or two and some borrow abilities from other classes. Only 2 feel really villainous though. It is worth mentioning that one borrows abilities from the Legendary Assassins book by the same publisher, so unless you have that one… it is only one, though. My favorite here is Unbound Ethics, which is a goldmine of NPC building for a Game Master within a single talent! -36 Villainous Vigilante Talents, which again don’t feel like too villainous IMHO. Some give you one or two (sometimes 3!) feats, or abilities from other classes. Unlike the companion volume (Legendary Vigilantes), this offer more varied options. I found a glitch though, The Magic Killer talent refers to the Imperial Archetypes book, which I think it should refer to Asian Archetypes: Martial (another excellent book which I also reviewed). -20 Villainous Vigilante Feats, which like the talent sections, include more varied content than in the companion volume. Also, many feats here can be chosen by non-vigilantes! -1 Prestige Class: The Crimson Dreadnought is a short (5 levels) but cool PrC. BAMF, perfect as the right hand of another powerful villain. They are very hard to control or kill! They also give a slight Darth Vadder vibe! -Vigilante Variant Multiclass: This one is crazy good when taking into account the power of talents. It is also an excellent way of playing a Vigilante-light character using a non-standard character class. -3 Villainous Magical Items, with one being exclusive to characters with the Mystic Bolt class feature. The other two feel more villain-y to me, and they have a cool option to be better in the hands of characters with dual identities. There is a small edit glitch in the False Friend Gloves entry, saying “reach” instead of “each” in the pricing section. -1 NPC Villain: Kareena Ratika/Red Love, a Symbiotic Slayer vigilante who has ties with the NPC found in the companion volume. The build is nice, going as far as having a sound escape plan. You can see the character depicted on the cover, giving her a nice Carnage (from Marvel comics) vibe. As is the author’s tradition, this NPC includes a nice backstory and a boon!

Of Note: This book has a lot going on for it. It gives not only Game Masters but also players a vast amount of content, increasing the type of vigilantes they can make. The archetypes, while some being hybrid-y, are very flavorful. The vigilante class feels very “Gestalt” as it is, so adding other classes to the mix is genius! This is particularly true for the variant multi-classing rules!

Anything wrong?: Some of the borrowing talents make you better than the original class, which can be an issue if a vigilante uses one talent to gain 3 feats worth of abilities with just one talent while another party member has to spend all three feat slots. Also, while not exactly a “wrong” aspect of the book, few of the options in the book are vile and villainous, which one may hope to find inside this product line.

What cool things did this inspire?: A hobgoblin samurai crimson dreadnought as the sub-boss (or accompanying the main boss) of a military invasion by hobs. A dread (from Ultimate Psionics by Dream Scarred Press) with the variant vigilante multiclass, having a Scarecrow (from Batman comics) as the inspiration. A jackal-headed (or vulture, or both) rakshasa with the plague scion archetype as a high-level adversary in one of the campaigns I am planning.

Do I recommend it? Yeah! In fact, this book is so stacked with content that I would recommend it over the companion volume if you can only afford one. 5 full ninja stars!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Villains: Vigilantes
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Angel M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/17/2016 09:20:39

Barring a few questionable design choices, this book IS solid.

Watch my full review here: https://youtu.be/TLgifvEK-VM



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Villains: Vigilantes
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Russell Y. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/20/2016 21:18:55

This book had a lot of options that my players and I have wanted to see, and you can see a lot of creativity in what's included. Favorite probably had to be Shadow Savant for a real fun shadowmancer style character. The new vigilante talents opened up a ton of options too, I really liked Rip and Tear for basically helping to use a chainsaw on a stick with the ripsaw glaive. Finally the sample character and flavor text were awesome, and really helped draw me into the book, making it a great purchase, especially if you picked up Legendary Vigilantes.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Villains: Vigilantes
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Timothy M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/17/2016 09:20:07

With several other reviews going into incredible depth about all of the options contained in this book, I am going to take a different approach and go into detail about why I gave this book a five star rating. First off, Red Love is an amazing NPC and I look forward to using her in a campaign hopefully in the near future. She performs her role as Iconic flawlessly, tying the book together by leading you on through her descent into madness and violence and wrapping up the book with her terrifying stat block. The art is succinct, stylish, and truly conveys the horror that she embodies. Her stat block is not so optimized that an unprepared party will be slaughtered, but she has some very defined combat niches and she uses them adeptly - beware her blinded condition! Next, we have the Symbiotic Slayer - notable because of how versatile it is! I believe it is worth mentioning as other guides have misunderstood, you control your familiar - and thus you control your character when your Symbiote takes dominance. It is instead, a second character to explore. Of course, there are feats that make it so you can reduce the ego if you do not wish to have it be a bother. But the talents are so diverse! You can make very respectable versions of many symbiotes such as Carnage or Venom. Something I want to bring up and remind people, is that Weapon Master’s Handbook brought with it weapon creation rules - so if you wanted ‘attached’ weapons more potent than the (spiked) gauntlet, it is only a single Design Point away. The Protean Prowler has a special place in my heart, because they fulfill a niche I have long been waiting to utilize - an Eidolon style PC without the trappings of the flawed Summoner class. Mister N. Jolly has outdone himself here, as you can truly feel like a Protean with these effects underway - changing form and function as it suits you day by day with a generous number of ‘recustomizations’ per day. Of course, those who adore Polymorphing can just as readily explore a true wealth of transmutation options or even use them to create a conjoined whole of Eidolon evolutions accenting a base template. Unless your DM is unusually strict, you should be able to describe your new form as you please - I hope to see some more reviews talking about what people have come up with! Then we have the Shadow Savant, a unique subclass that can be strongly likened to Zed from League of Legends. However, with the greater freedom in designing abilities the kit is taken to its logical extreme and the result is amazing. You have quite a few options to work with here, from being a faux shadow-evoker to using your shadows to distract, or even fighting alongside increasingly real shadow clones who gain improving action economy. I won’t lie to anyone, I am a huge fan of N. Jolly’s work... But this book goes above and beyond anything I have expected! I feel this book has more than earned its five star rating, and invite anyone who is on the fence about it to pay the cost of admission - I will frankly guarantee that any fan of the Vigilante will find more than a few things to utilize here.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Villains: Vigilantes
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Nathan R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/14/2016 02:10:21

N. Jolly's followup to Legendary Vigilante is much the same in terms of my excitement, and also my hesitation to wholeheartedly embrace it. Legendary Villains: Vigilantes offers some really, really cool stuff, but I have to acknowledge that a lot of it are things that I would not allow in my own campaigns for players, although I would use them for enemies in a heartbeat (funnily enough, given the dark theme of the book), and while the technical issues of the last book are no longer here there are still a few kinks in the wording of some options that give me pause.

The Alchemical Scoundrel has the typical setup of a casting archetype, although it gains alchemy instead of casting, preventing it from gaining the superior Extra Talent feat from the Legendary line. Its talents are twofold, gainining the ability to choose either an Alchemist discovery or one from a selection of talents. The AS also qualifies for Extra Discovery, and treats some of its unique talents as discoveries allowing it to parlay that into a pseudo-Extra Talent feat. And already we're off to a rocky start on balance. For instance, after grabbing Bombs for a talent the AS can take Extra Discovery to pick up the a discovery talent that is the Frost, Acid, Shock, Concussive and Force Bomb discoveries all at once (this suffers from the aforementioned wording issues, as if combined with one of those discoveries the talent deals both the talent and the discovery's damage type, without clarification as to whether the full damage is treated as both, or split 50/50 as is normal). The mutagen discoveries grant things such as free Enlarge Person, access to class features from the master chymist prestige class (normally not available until level 8) as early as level 2 by taking Extra Discovery at 1, and unlocking the Brute's insanely good talent list without any of its drawbacks. and NTD Supernova, while it is a level 20 talent, literally doubles the number of damage dice being rolled by increasing the damage dice by 2 steps (bringing each one from 1d6 to 1d8 to 2d6), though if that was the intention or a misunderstanding of damage steps, I don't know. In addition, there are a number of talents that are straight up core Alchemist discoveries made better, leading to the question, with this archetype legal, why would you ever play an Alchemist?

The Consumed Vigilante is much simple and much less broken. It trades away Dual Identity for The Nameless One and a free hit point per level, and its social talents for the ability to go without food, water or sleep, the effects of renown without having to actually spread it yourself, and a bonus on saves against mind-affecting. Very solid option if you don't care about your social identity, and what you replace talents with would be worth talents themselves (particularly healing from rest in a quarter of the time).

The Dread Champion is an antipaladin, plain and simple. It's very much equivalent to the Noble Soul from Legendary Vigilante, though without the option to heal, and gains the ability to inflict Cruelties on the targets of their smite, which I particularly like. However, while I've come under fire for my severe criticism of Magical Child trading half of its talents for what I consider a mediocre spell list, I severely protest the Dread Champion trading the same for the antipaladin's spells. No one, and I mean no one in history, past present or future, has ever cared about a 4 level caster's spells, to the point where Ranger and Paladin alike have archetypes that give them up entirely without a care in the world, and yet somehow the worse, NPC as hell antipaladin spell list is worth half of your talents? No. Nuh-uh.

The Fortune Thief is a really cool concept that takes an underused tool for vigilantes of taking another class's feature and changing it for a different end entirely. In this case, we gain a single witch hex. Any time an enemy fails their save against our hex (which, let's be real here, is probably Sleep, given that we can't take Cackle), you gain a point of luck, which can be consumed to reroll a skill check or gain a scaling luck bonus to attack and damage rolls (well hello there Fate's Favored). I think there may have been an error here, given that the bonuses last for rounds equal to your Charisma modifier, and a talent exists to make them last rounds equal to your Charisma modifier, which just seems like a weird overlap of wording where "twice the duration" would probably have sufficed, leading me to believe that it may have originally been one round for the bonus, which let's be honest, is probably a better idea anyway. Other talents offered give you bonuses for hoarding your luck points, the ability to add luck to your AC, and several hex improvements. Definitely on the strong side and ripe for abuse cases, but those are forgiveable for the fun involved in the flavor of this.

Plague Scions are... somehow not evil despite being literally all about spreading plague. You trade your 1st level social talent for the antipaladin's plague bringer, which makes you immune to the effects of disease while still letting you carry them, and in exchange for unshakeable you get to have diseases with increased potency. You can effectively make your disease injury based when you get a surprise Hidden Strike on an enemy, or just straight up prick someone with a concealed blade to disease them, and further class features further improve the diseases you pass on. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the epitome of an NPC class, but as an NPC class it makes for an interesting concept.

The Protean Prowler draws on those embodiments of pure chaos, the proteans, gaining evolution points as an eidolon and trading them for polymorphing spell like abilities. There's some wording strangeness, making it unclear if one is locked into the evolutions they already have when they polymorph, but overall an interesting archetype for sure.

The Shadow Savant combines what every GM hates about divination specialists with what every GM hates about illusion specialists. You gain the ability to create shadow clones of yourself, and send them running around, with your talents giving them incredible range and the ability to scry through them. It also offers a number of illusion spells as SLAs, trading uses of your shadow clones to utilize them. This archetype gets a bit of an extra bump for, in addition to being super cool, also having unique social talents, something that vigilante archetypes haven't really treaded into yet. However, I'm still getting used to the new LeBlanc ultimate in League of Legends, I don't need it in my Pathfinder too, so probably banned at my tables.

The Symbiotic Slayer is complex, but basically boils down to: congratulations, you're Venom. You gain a symbiote that can meld with your body to grant you fighting prowess, although it can totally take over your mind if you spend too much time in that form so try to avoid doing so. That being said, it serves as the second best part of Synthesis Summoner, effectively granting you a massive chunk of bonus HP as the symbiote takes damage before you do, and you can feed your hp to the symbiote to keep it from retreating back into your body. I won't go into the talents, as they're, again, complex, but while there's some overly strong stuff (like at will move action Invisibility that renders you immune to blindsense and blindsight at level 4), it's mostly balanced and unique enough to warrant a rating of Cool.

The Social Talents section isn't as robust or interesting as the last one, but there are a few cool choices, like Accomplished Duelist, which lets you use some vigilante talents in your social identity without arousing suspicion; Unbound Ethics, letting you get your identities' alignments farther apart from one another; and Identity Thief, which lets you take your enemies faces... off. And... well make a mask of them I guess, which isn't as cool as the movie but still a reference I approve of.

The Vigilante talents are much more interesting. Advanced Grip gives you two-handed strength bonus when you have a weapon in one-hand, and no penalty for Power Attacking while using TWF, leading to some frankly terrifying potential static damage between this, Double Slice and Lethal Grace. Beast Brethren gives you Animal Ally as a bonus feat, Brutal Bulwark lets you make the area around you difficult terrain, and Critical Violence gives you a bigger critical range that stacks with Improoved Critical at the cost of reducing it to a x2 weapon, likely to keep it out of the hands of falchion and tetsubo wielders. Somewhat terrifying is the Death Dealer talent, which gives a stalker the assassin's death attack feature and, at level 16, lets them get away with spending only one round studying the target. Combined with sniper talent, a stalker could be a force of deadly reckoning. Magical Limit Break, however, is my personal favorite, allowing a casting vigilante to push beyond their normal 6 level casting limit and get level 7 and 8 spells. On the more useless side is Lone Survivor, which depends on your allies going down, Panache Pool, which gives you exactly what it says but nothing to spend it on, and Stylish Combatant, because Performance Combat is terrible. There's also another writing snafu here, in the Superb Blade talent, which grants the Weapon of the Chosen line with no regard for your character's deity, but doesn't actually elaborate on how you determine your "deity's" alignment for Improved Weapon of the Chosen.

The feats here that are worth talking about give a lot of love to the casting archetypes and go a long way to fix problems with both the Warlock and the Zealot archetypes. The Charismatic Caster feat changes your class's spells to be spontaneously cast with the bard table and based on Charisma, and changes the Zealot's inquisition abilities to scale off of Charisma instead of Wisdom, solving its MADness problems. I'm insanely biased against prepped casters, so I approve of this change. Likewise, the Genius and Wise Vigilante feats change all of the vigilante's class features, spells included, to scale off of Int and Wis, respectively, instead of Cha. Helpfully, these can also be taken as level 1 social talents. There are also several feats dedicated specifically to improving the Warlock, most importantly Mystic Accuracy, which add half your Int as a static damage to Mystic Bolt, allow Deadly Aim, Power Attack or Piranha Strike to apply to their touch attacks, and allow Clustered Shots to overcome energy resistance, a number of quality of life improvements that are sorely needed.

Next up is a 5 level PrC called the Crimson Dreadnought. It reminds me a lot of the Faceless Enforcer, being tied to a set of armor, but unlike the Enforcer, Crimson Dreadnoughts are bound to their armor completely, granting them bonuses in exchange for being incapable of getting out, free Iron Will and Improved Iron Will, and the ability to say screw the hell out of death. It's not a particularly strong or compelling PrC, to be sure, but it's not terrible, and I could easily see a number of enemies making use of it; I myself will probably include some in my upcoming Curse of the Crimson Throne campaign as Gray Maidens, since what's described is literally how the Gray Maidens are made.

I won't comment much on the Vigilante variant multiclass. VMCs, by and large, suck, and this isn't much of an exception at early levels, though if I'm being perfectly honest access to a vigilante talent at 11 might just be worth wasting your 3rd and getting a mediocre 7th level feat.

There are only three items included here, probably to make room for all of the talents and feats. First are the Bracers of Mystic Power, which oh my god yes. They're wrist slot items that serve as an Amulet of Mighty Fists for mystic bolts, also allowing you to ignore a pretty high amount of energy resistance when using them. I have exactly one problem, though, and it's the same as my problem with the handwraps from Legendary Vigilante, and that's the N. Jolly, for all his positive qualities as a designer, doesn't seem to understand the value of freely given enhancement bonuses. The Bracers cost less than a +1 weapon, factoring in weapon and masterwork cost, but between Rapid Shot and Two-Weapon Fighting can attack at a much higher clip, plus while they're very welcome, the fact that mystic bolts are by their very nature magical means you don't need to worry about piercing DR, only energy resistance, which it's already very helpfully doing. Definitely underpriced.

The Dastard's Smoke Pellets are a fairly cheap 250 item that can be thrown on the ground to make people forget the last minute ever happened. It's a cool item, with one particularly amusing side effect that you yourself are not immune to the effects of the smoke, meaning if you aim it wrong, you could fall prey to it. The smoke pellets, and the False Friend Gloves below it that let you Charm someone with a touch, can also be attuned to by vigilantes, increasing their DC, which is a really cool incentive to use an item as the class that it was intended for without preventing others from using it that I particularly like.

The villainous sample NPC on offer here is the terrifying Red Love, the villain teased in Legendary Vigilante as its NPC's great rival, and I'm going to break my neutral reviewer voice completely here to say, holy crap, I love her. I love everything about her. She's arguably the coolest archetype in the book, the Symbiotic Slayer, she makes good use of the Symbiotic talents, her backstory is compelling, her stat block quote gives me proper chills, and don't even get me started on the art. Her art is god damn gorgeous. Seriously, if nothing else go look at her on the cover art, it's amazing. Okay, back to neutral reviewer voice.

Ultimately, what I've taken away from LV:V is a lot of feats that I'm officially making legal to all vigilantes in all campaigns I run, a lot of talents I'd allow on a case by case basis, and a lot of archetypes that are just too overpowered, headachey, or abusable to let through without serious assurances from the player. Ultimately, I rate a very solid 4/5: worth picking up, but still flawed.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Villains: Vigilantes
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/13/2016 19:47:39

Well, I have to say, I've been looking forward to this product for quite a while! Ever since the open playtest, at least.

Each of the arhcetypes here are extremely intruiging for villians (I know, crazy) and just general 'sketchy' characters, but even a goody-goody can get in on the action. A curse turned blessing, perhaps? Regardless, there's lots of fun options, and the myraid of talents and feats added in are even better for creating one's perfect vigilante. Plus, options to make Mystic Bolts (warlock archtype) not suck. What more coud you want?

Well, a little. Despite all the nice things, I do have to admit I'm dissapointed in not seeing quite a few of the other archetypes in the playtest (the tactician, the two dragon related ones, and others). Hopefully they will be officially released at some later date. But that doesn't detrack from my rating, as the content in here is more then enough to satisfy any Vigilante lover.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legendary Villains: Vigilantes
Publisher: Legendary Games
by Stewart H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/07/2016 08:54:10

I absolutely love this work. My personal highest points would be the fortune thief (for being able to emulate a certain cerulean-blood), the symbiotic slayer (for the sheer amount of detail and effort put into it, as well as for the themes), the extensive feat support for vigilantes of all sorts (because seriously, archetypes need more feat support), and the sample NPC.

Low points would be the mysterious lack (in both this and the prior release) of two archetypes from the playtest, one focused on iaijutsu and one focused on archery. But a lack of content from a playtest is a small enough knock on an amazing product, so I'll still rate it 5 stars.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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