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!
[5 of 5 Stars!]