Review – D&D5 Class Option Books from Rats in the Rain20 February, 2016
These three class option products from Rats in the Rain provides expansion to the new D&D rules, each providing a new background, two new class paths (one of these race specific) and a new full 20-level class. Nice to see people grasping the new OGL with both hands and creating things with it, now let us see how successful they are.
The products are fairly minimalist, two-column layout with art from public domain sources, it is clean and readable if not particularly exciting.
Warriors of Destiny provide Tavern Owner as a background, which works, though perhaps it could have been broadened a little to encompass all sort of tavern worker. Druid Lyricist for Bards and Eldritch Archer for elvenkind Rangers only are the new paths, the Lyricist -obviously- blends druidic magic with bardic ways, which has a good tradition in D&D, and has the ability to increase the potency of their ally’s magic which may be a little too powerful, the eldritch archer does pretty much what you would expect but fill a common trope. The new class is the Ninja which is a hybrid of the monk and rogue class but nothing particularly groundbreaking or innovative but it does work as a classic cinematic ninja.
Heroes of the Dawn gives us the Rat Catcher background, which does not come with a small but vicious dog sadly, but could be a solid background for an urban campaign. The new paths included are the Blade Shaper for Rogues and War Chanter for fighters of the dragonborn or orcish persuasion, the Blade Shaper (not sure on that name) is a rogue with a variant of druidic shapeshifting, which is a quite neat theme, the War Chanter brings inspiring music into the fighter class, which works. The new class included here is the Wilderness Runner which is a mobility based class that gain “blitz damage” which is added to attacks after the character makes a full move, so the class is all about running into fights, there are some interesting ideas here but it seems rather narrow and easy to end up in situations where you would not be able to use your class’ focus.
Seekers of Fortune has the Town Crier background, which is a good option for social (or just loud) characters. The new paths are Master Thrower for Fighters and Mountain Defender for dwarven fighters, the Master Thrower does what you would expect and has a set of new throwing weapons (including the caber!) to give them more flexibility, while the Mountain Defender is built around an idea that I frankly find silly, that of the two shield fighter but that being said, it runs with the idea fairly well. The new class is the Harlequin which is a very strange class, having limited spell use, D12 hit dice but no armor and is restricted to simple weapons, and an odd grab bag of powers, not sure what to make of this class but the idea of a battle jester is an amusing one, so I like the concept even if the execution is odd.
Overall, an interesting mix of adaption and innovation, and certainly useful as reference and inspiration even if not all will be useful for every campaign.
Disclosure: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.