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Complete Adventurer

Author: Jesse Decker
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Publish Date: 01/2005
ISBN: 0-7869-3651-7
Pages: 192
Rating: 9 out of 10
Retail Price: $29.95

 

I’ve been hearing good things about Complete Adventurer since it first came out well over a year ago, but I never got around to buying a copy of my own. When I found it (along with several other wanted books) at a severe discount at a gaming convention a couple of months back, I couldn’t resist picking up a copy for myself. I’m glad I did. Like the other books in the “Complete” series, this book has a focus&skillful characters. For the most part, this means the bard and rogue, but just about any type of character could make use of the majority of this book.

As with most of Wizards of the Coast’s books, Complete Adventurer kicks off with new base classes. Given all I’d heard, I thought I was going to like the scout (a skirmish-type combatant) very much. Suprisingly, I found the scout to be so-so, and I really ended up liking the ninja, which truly surprised me. Though I don’t personally run the sort of game where a character could be a ninja right off the bat, I can see how it could be useful, even in a non-oriental game. The last new class was the spellthief, which is exactly what it sounds like... someone that can leech magical energy off of others and use it for themselves. There were eight full pages dedicated to what this class can do. At the end of the day, I think the spellthief is one number-crunching nightmare I’m simply going to step around and walk past without ever looking back.

The second chapter dealt with prestige classes. At 73 pages, this chapter was huge! Almost every PrC granted a high number of skill points and many of them focused a single skill or set of skills, improving them in new ways. Some PrCs didn’t fit well. The Animal Lord, for example, seemed like it would have been better suited to a book focusing on druids. I was impressed, though, that a psionic PrC was included, since books that don’t deal directly with psionics don’t often have such information.

The next chapter dealt with skills and feats. It has been rare for Wizards of the Coast to include new uses for old skills in their books, but Complete Adventurer did so, and did it well. The feat selection, on the other hand, left a little bit to be desired. There wasn’t a lot that interested me personally, and a handful of the feats were almost identical to each other, allowing multiclass-restricted classes, such as the monk or paladin, to be able to multiclass freely with specific class types.

Afterwards came a chapter on new gear and magic items. There were some nifty things in this chapter. An entire section was set aside to deal with new musical instruments, giving them small bonuses and penalties, which makes them more than simple roleplaying choices that don’t otherwise affect the character. I wasn’t too fond of the new weapons, though, as for the most part, they seemed like mechanics with very little to justify themselves.

Next was the obligatory chapter about spells. There were a few spells here I would consider using for an assassin-type character. What I disliked the most about this chapter was that it included spells that allow you to sneak attack constructs and the undead. I’ve seen this before in third-party books, and I’ve always thought it was a mistake to allow spells or feats to get around one of the most powerful abilities that these monsters possess.

The final chapter dealt with organizations, and this is where the book really shined from a fluff perspective. I’ve seen organizations in other Wizards of the Coast books before, but the authors made a very good effort to tie the organizations in the book to the prestige classes in the book, which made the entire book feel more dynamic somehow. I’d consider using several of the organizations presented with little or no change.

All in all, I’m glad I picked up Complete Adventurer. I’ve liked and disliked other books in the “Complete” series, and this one definitely does into the “like” category. It’s not without issue, but for a Wizards of the Coast book, it was very well-written and had an attention to cleaning up potential loose ends, which I appreciated.