Game: Power Classes: Assassin
Publisher: Mongoose Publishing
Review Dated: 26th, October 2002
Reviewer’s Rating: 7/10 [ Good ]
Total Score: 7
Average Score: 7.00
I arched an eyebrow when I noticed “Power Classes” on the Mongoose release schedule. The British company already does well through their Collector Series and I believe the Quintessential Fighter must be one of the few non-WotC d20 supplements ever to be make additional print runs, so just what on earth could the Power Classes be? I doubt there’s a market for a 32-page class book nor can I imagine hardbacks for any given class selling in sufficient number to make the production run worthwhile.
The Power Class series from Mongoose are 16-paged booklets. These booklets are similar to AEG’s old d20 mini-adventures. They’re just shy of being as tall as an A4 page and are half as wide. The cover price of $2.95 reflects the size. I’m not fond of the phrase at all but you’ll know what I mean when I say that there’s no ‘fat’ in this book.
Value for money seems pretty good. You don’t get much but you don’t pay very much either. There’s no danger of dishing out $39.95 for something that you end up hating or never getting around to using. You have the assassin presented as a core character option rather than a prestige class. This core assassin isn’t inherently magical either; whereas I expect some die hard high fantasy fans might be left scratching their heads at this I rate this as a real winner. You can use this tiny book for any sort of fantasy game whatsoever. The class is a bit like a rogue; you’ve got a lot of sneaking around and backstabbing but in addition (and at the cost of less skill points and supplementary rogue abilities) the assassin has a way with poisons. I particularly like the class ability where an assassin gets to pick a favourite poison and gains further pluses when dealing with it. It’s nice to think that the game mechanics backs meaty story threads where it might be possible to guess at that a political killing may have been the work of an infamous assassin simply through the choice of poison.
There’s a little bit more than just the twenty level core assassin class here. There’s space found for a quick boost to your GM style poison collection and there’s a couple of assassin-esq weapons like blowpipes and weighted daggers. There are some interesting items like various poison rings and even room for supplementary rules for trying to conceal weapons.
This Power Class doesn’t really put a foot wrong. It couldn’t put a foot wrong. The size of the booklet means the whole project is an inexpensive do or die gamble. I doubt it’ll die on anybody. That said; I do find the size awkward. I’d be reluctant to slide the Power Class booklet into my bag and head off to a gaming session for fear of it being dog eared, folded over and otherwise squished my by folder of notes or hardback rules. The thing to do is find a plastic wallet and slide the booklet into that and attach the pair to the folder of notes – that’ll work but it’s the sort of special attention that starts to eat up GM time. Wielding the booklet isn’t as satisfying as pulling out a hardback tome and running the game from that either. In fact I can almost imagine the sceptical looks on player’s faces when I inform them that everyone else will be generating their PCs from these 300-paged books but they’re using this cheap booklet. I’m spoilt for choice though, the shelves in my room heave with RPG supplements. If you don’t have the cash to take a chance on an assassin book for your fantasy d20 then this Power Class booklet is your saviour.