Add a Little Intrigue to Your Pathfinder RPG

April 27, 2016

PZO1134Secret identities, dastardly plots, swashbuckling derring-do, intricate heists, cleverly hidden secrets and elegant panache. From Robin Hood to Scaramouche to Zorro to Batman, the masked crusader against injustice and tyranny is a potent and repeating archetype throughout history. And now they come to the Pathfinder RPG.

Ultimate Intrigue for the Pathfinder RPG is a big book. Clocking in at 253 pages, it’s bursting at the seams with material to take your Pathfinder campaigns in new directions. If you’re interested in adding a more political dimension to your game, or if “Hell’s Rebels” only whetted your appetite for that sort of play, you’ll want this book.

Even if you don’t, there’s a ton of stuff for you. While the Vigilante class is very much focused on having a secret identity and moving back and forth between hobnobbing with corrupt elites and doing just battle on behalf of the down-trodden, it’s followed by a massive 46 pages of archetypes for nearly every class officially published in the game so far.

The cream of the book, in my opinion, is all the advice for structuring and running adventures with a greater focus on intrigue. There are detailed guidelines for a heist focused game, where a team of skilled experts (our PCs, hopefully) put together a detailed plan to pull off a dangerous and daring theft (or, possibly, plant some damning evidence). In aid to this are additional rules for social influence on individuals as well as groups and a new pursuit system that allows both hunters and quarry to utilize numerous resources to improve their odds of success. There are also new rules for research, so the PCs can learn just what sort of hazards might stand between them and victory. Obviously, a lot of this is still useful even if you’re just running your standard monster-mugging-in-a-dungeon type adventures.

There are also rules for social combat. This is more about swaying crowds and the ramifications of doing so, rather than dealing any sort of “honor” damage or the like to your foes. Nor is it the “psychic” type damage of deadly taunting we’ve seen in other games. Instead, this is firmly focused on a debate-style demagoguery of the sort exemplified by Cleon, Alcibiades, and Mussolini.

The book is rounded off with a nice collection of magic items I won’t say too much about. Rest assured, a number of them belong in the hands of the PCs’ arch-nemesis or their most trusted lieutenants, helping them organize and control the various monsters opposing the players’ schemes.

What Ultimate Intrigue is not is a boost in power for skill-focused classes. This is not that book, and I understand why some people were expecting it to be. That said, it is a book that will get a lot of use if you enjoy urban adventures, politics, complicated heists, or just want a nice break from the usual dungeon-delving of Pathfinder. You can pick up Ultimate Intrigue at Dragon’s Lair Comics & Fantasy (R) today.


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