Complete Scoundrel



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Complete Scoundrel

Author: Mike McArtor & F. Wesley Schneider
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Publish Date: 01/2007
ISBN: 978-0-7869-4152-0
Pages: 157
Rating: 7 out of 10
Retail Price: $29.95

 

I picked this book up recently during a fire sale at Amazon.com.I’ve seen some pretty good things from most of the other books in the Complete series that I’ve read, so I figured it would be a good purchase.On the whole, it was worth the money I paid for it, though that’s not saying much, since it cost me less than $3.

 

Chapter 1 tries to define what a scoundrel is.It doesn’t do a very good job, in my opinion.The book runs with the definition that a scoundrel is someone that is skillful and/or sneaky, and puts those talents to good use.However, this short chapter seems more inclined to reassure the reader that you can make use of the material from this book, even if your character is a paladin or has a non-chaotic alignment.

 

The second chapter focuses on prestige classes.I was actually pretty impressed with a few of these classes.The fortune’s friend class was very interesting in that it represents the foppish tramp that always seems to have luck go his way.Surprisingly, I really liked the master of masks class, which allows the character to create special masks to hide his true identity.These masks change the master of masks in special ways, and I can think of several applications for such a talent.There was even a prestige class that focuses on psionics.Admittedly, it could have been better, but the book gets points for trying.

 

Chapter 3 dealt with feats.Two new types of feats, the ambush feat and the luck feat, were introduced.Ambush feats allow a character to reduce the number of extra dice of damage dealt by his sneak attack, skirmish attack or sudden strike to impose some other hiderance on the target.For example, the Head Shot feat allows you to reduce your sneak attack damage by 5d6, but if you deal damage and your target fails his save, he is confused for 1 round.Luck feats represent a character’s good fortune, and generally allow a reroll, much like the granted power of the Luck domain.Unlike that ability, however, the reroll is much more narrow in scope.For example, the Advantageous Avoidance feat allows you to force an opponent to reroll a critical confirmation roll made against you, but you couldn’t use it to reroll a failed save, for example.

 

This chapter also introduces a new concept to the game, the skill trick.A skill trick is exactly what it sounds like... it’s a neat trick that a skillful character can pull off.Indiana Jones uses his whip to swing across a chasm and Jackie Chan can bounce between two corners to literally run up a wall.These are examples of skill tricks.Each skill trick has a prerequisite, usually just a minimum number of ranks in a skill.The character can spend two skill points to learn a skill trick instead of spending them on increasing skill ranks.I actually kind of like this idea, though if more skill tricks had feat prerequisites, I could think of dozens of examples of great tricks that didn’t make this book’s list.

 

Chapter 4 had several new spells.There wasn’t anything particularly bad in this chapter, but nothing stood out, either.Chapter 5 dealt with new equipment.A nice beginning to this chapter was a short section on creating hidden spaces in items, such as a false bottom in a chest or a hidden pocket in a shirt.This seems like useful information.This is followed up by new weapons which, frankly, suck.Bayonets, bow blades, instrument blades... every weapon in this section was essentially a dagger mounted onto something so a character can get around the rule that ranged weapons can’t make attacks of opportunity.After this came alchemical items, poisons and magic items.Sadly, nothing stood out as being overly good.I did enjoy the short section on living items, which are useful items that are either alive or are taken from living creatures and remain useful for a short time afterward.A bottle of gut mites, for example, acts as a sort of bio-weapon against creatures with the Swallow Whole ability, forcing them to regurgitate and keeping it from swallowing anything for a short time.

 

The final chapter deals with how to run a game with scoundrel PCs.It gives a few idea for how to motivate such characters to an adventure.It also gives general information about fencing stolen goods, smuggling and also gives a list of potential underworld contacts.The bulk of the chapter deals with organizations, however.Most of these were pretty good (The Blind Tower was a downright enjoyable read), and even if they don’t get used as PC organizations, they might make a good basis for adventures.

 

Complete Scoundrel was a decent book.I doubt I’d pay full price for it, but it was certainly worth the pittance I did end up paying.On the whole, it was fairly average, but not in an overall way.The parts that weren’t any good really weren’t any good, but the parts that were good were very good.I’d recommend it to a DM that is looking for a way to change up his game without changing the basic game system.