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Unorthodox Fighters

Unorthodox Fighters is an interesting product from The Le Games. Like the rest of their Unorthodox line, it provides several base classes that can replace or supplement a base class.

This book provides a wide variety of such alternate fighters: although there are only 5 in total, the concepts are diverse. The classes themselves are well-thought and presented in detail; those liking expanded descriptions of their classes may find these classes preferable to those in the Player's Handbook.

The classes appear balanced to first appearances. I consider myself a good judge of mechanical balance, although as I have not playtested these I can't say with certainty. Some may have strong opinions (positive or negative) on the choice to use nonstandard save progressions; regardless of one's position, this does give The Le more opportunities to fine-tune balance.

Some may prefer to use these classes as replacements to the fighter instead of additions. Fortunately, the breadth of these classes makes that possible, but I would not in general recommend this. That has more to do with the privilaged position the fighter holds in game design than the book's failings, as the fighter class is uniquely simple and modular. Heavily flavor-driven campaigns may wish to do so regardless, as this approach would enforce role much more strongly than that using a generic fighter.

Another major use of such a book is as a toolkit. Class abilities can be removed from their natural home and used to build prestige classes or feats. Unfortunately, the abilities of the classes in this book are generally not distinctive enough to make good feats. Prestige class versions of the five classes in UF may be made without much trouble, but using the abilities for other prestige classes would not be easy for the same reason.

The book comes in two forms, one for printing and the other for on-screen viewing. The layout is good and the illustrations are fitting, if not spectacular.

Highlight: Unorthodox Fighters is a great book for DMs looking for something different without wanting to put in too much effort creating their own material. It's fine for players looking for the class that fits them just right. It's not so good for DMs who like to create their own material. I recommend it to those who like expanded class writeups and flavor in their books, but not for those who prefer to adapt classes to their own game framework or homebrew setting.
Recommended to: Players of fighter-type characters, busy DMs looking for variety
Best part: broad palette of archetypes
Worst part: bland abilities
Judgment: ***

(The Le Games provided me with a copy of this product for the purpose of reviewing it. My usual standards apply, as always.)

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