Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Vigilante Playtest Impressions, Part Deux

A few weeks ago, Paizo released the playtest document for the Vigilante, a new base class that will be debuting in 2016's Ultimate Intrigue. I read through the short PDF and gave my initial thoughts HERE. Although I liked the flavor of the class and felt it has some interesting mechanical ideas, I wasn't too fond of the actual product and believed it needed some serious fine-tuning.

Last Thursday, Paizo posted a second iteration of the playtest document that depicts an altered version of the Vigilante, with several major changes having been made to the class' mechanics. After spending the last few days looking the document over, I thought I'd make another post discussing the changes, what I think about this new version, and if my overall opinion of the Vigilante has changed.

Like the previous post, this critique is based solely on my opinion. You are free to disagree and post your own thoughts in the comments below.

PROS
  • Thankfully, the designers decided to rework the mechanics associated with Dual Identity. Originally, the feature prevented you from using any of your vigilante identity's powers while in your social identity. That clause was incredibly idiotic and I'm glad they removed it. Now, using your vigilante identity powers while in your social identity gives the opponent a higher chance of discovering who the character really is. That's definitely a welcomed change. I also like that it now only takes 1 minute to change your identity instead of the original 5 minutes. 
  • This version of the Vigilante also includes "Social Talents", several features that you can select every odd level that deal with your social identity and blending into society. The original version of the class gave you no real incentive to ever switch into your social identity, and these talents do that for the most part.
  • The four specializations presented within the playtest document have been buffed up, making them a lot better than their previous versions. The Avenger and Stalker specializations now feel like they can stand on their own, with the Zealot now having more of its own identity. 
CONS
  • I still feel like this class has a niche that's too narrow. I don't see the Vigilante as a class that could be used in any campaign. Based on the nature of the class' mechanics, I highly doubt I'd pull out a Vigilante for an exploration based game or a more traditional fantasy campaign. I'd only really use it for urban campaigns and ones that deal with a good amount of intrigue and secrecy. I know that's kind of the point, but I feel like this will be one of those classes that will just collect dust and will only rarely be used, which is kind of a shame. 
  • The Vigilante's customization might end up being a double-edged sword. While I like how you can customize your Vigilante with so many options, those options might cause the class to be one of the more complicated ones, which will limit how many people will want to actually deal with it. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but something to think about and consider.
I'll admit, I think I like this version of the Vigilante a lot more than the previous one. It feels like a class that's been more fleshed out and some of the rougher edges have been filed off. I think I could see using it in my possible Gothic Fantasy campaign I've mentioned last week and the class' nature makes it the perfect class for the secretive big bad with two identities. Color me more optimistic about the Vigilante than I was before.