Rangers, Rogues, and Fumbles... Oh my

Posted by Labyrinthian in , , ,

Kenzerco recently released HackJournal #31.   HackJournals are usually very good products that you can get at a very low price.  They only come in PDF so you can download them instantly and get your hands on all the cool info they contain. I am particularly excited about #31 because basically everything inside is something I have been eagerly anticipating. 

First up is the Ranger.  I haven't played a lot of Rangers, but they have always been one of my favorite classes, in theory and flavor if not in reality and execution.  In most campaigns that I have played or run the Ranger fits perfectly.  They are the men of the woods, survivors, guerrilla warriors, hunters, trackers, and guides.  Like I said, flavor-wise they are cool, but in execution I never feel like they are done quite right.    Take for example the duel wielding death machine that is the 3.5 ranger.  Why would Rangers be experts at dual wielding long swords while living in the wild?  I don't know... I guess we can thank Drizzt Do'Urden.  Though dual wielding scimitars made snese given that characters upbringing I hardly find it to be typical for most rangers.  Archery makes sense for rangers, and that is more the direction that the new Hackmaster Ranger goes. 

Weapon specialization for typicaly hunting weapons (bows, javalins, thowing axe, etc) are even cheaper for the ranger than even the fighter.  In other ways, attack bonus, speed bonus, iniative bonus, the Ranger progresses much like the fighter though their progression rate is slightly different.  Rangers are heartier than their fighter bretheren so they get additional hit points in the form of better hit die progression.  Instead of a new hit die every other level as is the case for the other classes Rangers get a new hit die in each of their first three levels before moving onto the normal hit die progression.  Rangers also get a bonus to their fatigue that exceeds all other classes.  Finally Rangers get some spells at high levels.  Assuming they have a sufficient wisdom, high level rangers gain access to Druid spells at 15th level and beyond.  Further, if they have a sufficient Intelligence score (13) Rangers gain access to limited arcane abilities.  They get access arcane spells at high levels (16+) and also get free mastery in the Arcane Lore skill. 

All of this makes the Ranger a very cool well excecuted class, except the Arcane abilities.  There is actually a discussion over on the Kenzerco Boards about whether it makes sense to give arcane abilities to Rangers.  Personally I just don't see it.  Kenzerco has done a great job of building a Ranger class that makes sense but these arcane abilities make no sense and detract somewhat from what is otherwise an amazing class and perhaps will prove to be the great incarnation of the the Ranger. 

The Rogue also was given some arcane magic, but before you jump to conclusions I should tell you that this isn't you WotC's Rogue!  Hackmaster's Rogue, as one poster on the boards put it, is much more like the bard than what most gamers think of when they think Rogue.  Unlike the Thief, the Rogue focuses on social encounters and the manipulation of others.  They are also dabblers in magic and if they possess an intelligence of 13 or more  they can cast some spells (up to 4th level spells at level nine).  I don't nessesarily like giving them magic either, but really this seems to be a bard substitute so I can't say I am surprised.  Rogues do not have a pool of spell points but memorize individual spells and cast them similar to the way a Cleric does.

The Critical Fumbles and Mishaps table presented in HackJoural 31 is very well done.  The previous rules in Hackmaster Basic state that when you roll a natural 1 you suffer an immediate counter attack from the creature you were attacking.  While this leads to some great back and forth moments one craves for more variety.  Variety is exactly what these tables deliver.  A d1,000 is rolled upon fumbling and added to a number based on how badly you missed your intended target.  The result could lead to anything from a hyperextended right knee to blood or sweat getting in your eyes.  The table has great variety and I can't wait to test it out in action. 

There are some other goodies in HJ 31.  The Lesser Ettin can be found inside, as can a preview for the upcoming Frandor's Keep.  I highly recomend you check it out!

This entry was posted on Sunday, December 20, 2009 at Sunday, December 20, 2009 and is filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .



Sounds great, i'll have to check it out!

December 21, 2009 at 2:41 PM

I liked it.

December 22, 2009 at 5:14 PM

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