Rust Monster brings you back to one of our original purposes, reviews of all things geeky; kicking off our series with a player’s review of the latest D&D supplement. Complete Champion.
To put the book in perspective I will begin with the general idea of the book. Taken from it’s official Wizards Of The Coast description.
“Complete Champion focuses on the divine champion archetype and provides new rules options for characters that enjoy battling for a cause, defeating foes using divine power, and going on quests that mean more than simply defeating the bad guy and grabbing the treasure. This book also helps Dungeon Masters run quest-themed campaigns and adventures.
In addition to providing various archetypes for characters, Complete Champion includes new feats and prestige classes. The book features dozens of deity- and belief-themed organizations, turning religion and holy (or unholy) power into something characters of all classes can use. For the Dungeon Master, this book contains information on constructing and running quests and holy missions. It assists the DM in helping all characters in the party to pursue divine paths simultaneously.”
The question is; DOES IT DELIVER? To start with I’d have to say yes it does. Though the first 4 books in the Complete series (Warrior, Divine, Arcane & Adventurer) concentrated mostly on expanded game mechanics, the most recent 3 (Scoundrel, Mage, & Champion) delve more into the archetypes themselves. They’re really more about the Role Play aspects of playing these types of characters, and suggesting ways you could mechanically build these characters or integrate their stories into your campaign.
I won’t even get into Complete Psion. I could do another article on juts why that book was a crock of shit. Yes it had some useful stuff in it but too much of it was repeat information or material that didn’t make it into the un-made Races of the Mind.
Back to the topic at hand, Champion as does it’s counterparts Scoundrel and Mage do a good job of laying out various common archetypes. You can occasionally nitpick at some of their choices for how to mechanically build a character of said archetype but for the most part they got it right. Or at least close enough. They’re a good tool for players and GM’s of any experience level to help them flesh out both their PC’s and their campaign world. The second set of complete books is very good in that second regard. Each bringing in ideas for developing NPC organizations to help you flesh out the backgrounds of the NPC’s and PC’s alike.
On the mechanics side Champion delivers pretty well. The middle 20 pages have a decent array of new feats, though nothing groundbreaking as with “Luck Feats” in scoundrel or “Reserve Feats” in Mage. They do include Domain feats, but these are not a new idea. simply re-thought ideas from previous books like Divine & the Book of Exalted Deeds. There are a few new reserve feats more suited to the divine archetypes than their previous reserve feats from Mage which were more in line with the arcanist role.
Those pages also include a group of prestige classes. Unfortunately most of these are tied into the Themed Organizations detailed in the book itself, making them less useful to already existing characters. If you’re about to start a new group you may find these classes very useful, especially if you’re about to make a themed group.
The spell section is nice, introducing a few new spells of each lvl for various divine classes. I for one always love new spells. Most spells always have a bit of use, even if limited.
Some would ask if this book was necessary. I’d say that depends on what you’re looking for. As a role play tool ‘d say yes. As I stated above it’s very good at sparking the creative juices. If on the other hand you were looking to up the power of your divine classes, this wasn’t a necessary book for you. The divine classes didn’t get a real “boost” with this book. They did pick up a few handy options but nothing earth shattering. This is a good thing considering the already formidable might of the divine classes to begin with.
The last question to answer is… will this be the last of the Complete Series, and thus a near wrap up of D&D 3.5. Will there be a supplement to cover warrior-esq archetypes? Do we even need one? Many would probably argue that the warrior archetypes are pretty well covered in and amongst the other books. We’ve shown you how to make a holly warrior, a roguish warrior, & a magic warrior. Is there room for a warrior, warrior? I’m sure they’ll figure out a way to do it.
Rather they do or not this pretty much wraps up 3.5 all they really need now is an errata book. One that wraps up all the lose ends. Answering all of those pesky rules questions that come up do to poor editing and play testing of some of the previous material. Unfortunately they did an errata book too early. Released BEFORE they completed the series. Not sure who’s brain fart that was. Why do an errata book before all the material was printed. Now you need a new errata book for the errata book. That’s just dumb.
Anyway to sum up complete Champion is a good edition to the expanded core rules. Building on the work done in the PHB I&II, DMG I&II, Monster Manual I-V, Races series, Complete series, & the environment books. These books I would consider expanded core and essential for the advanced D&D player groups ready to step out of the basic game. Go pick it up.