Could someone give us a short review of Tau Character Guide contents please?
Having had a couple of hours to skim through it in the company of friends, I'll give it a crack. Book is divided into three sections;
- a 3-page gazetteer about the Tau, which is basically nothing you didn't already know from five minutes reading Lexicanum
- The Tau Explorer Career itself, where you start out as a Fire Warrior and can branch out into Pathfinder, Drone Controller or Battlesuit Pilot.
- Finally, the Armory. Which include Rail Rifles. You want Rail Rifles.
Section 1 - So how the hell did we get here?
Egh. It's almost literally the Lexicanum page. Doesn't even offer an explanation of why your particular Tau might happen to be on the other side of the galaxy. The introduction encourages you to purchase the adventure as 'an opportunity to introduce Tau Explorers into the party organically'. There's a throw-away reference to the Jericho Warp-gate, but if you're not familiar with the Deathwatch background that does nothing for you.
Section 2 - So you want to fight for the Greater Good
The Fire Warrior is basically an arch-militant that gets Command at Rank 1 and less weapon skill-type bonuses. So whoever was complaining about Fear and Loathing in the Eastern Fringe making Fire Warriors better commanders than Ach-Militants, time to eat some crow. Other than that, it's about what you'd expect. A boatload of new talents, including ones that allow you to spend a fate point to either gain a talent someone else in your group possesses, or confer it to someone else once per session, without needing to meet prerequisites. I can think of some silly combos with this, like conferring Hard Bargain or one of the more interesting Alternate Career talents.
Speaking of Alternate Careers, Battlesuit Pilot lets you be a god-damned Riptide. Pathfinder lets you be sneaky and negate cover with marker lights, and make it easier to hit anyone whose attack he dodges. Given that you can get it at rank 2 there's nothing really terrifyingly awesome here, but they make for damned good recon specialists, as you'd expect.
Battlesuit Pilot lets you be a god-damned Riptide.
Drone Handler's like a mini-techpriest, getting talents that let you spend a fate point to automatically succeed at a test with a number of degrees equal to your Intelligence Bonus, Combat Formation, or Gun Blessing (They don't need Mechanicus Implants for it, but I guess they use the power of friendship to unjam the guns). With Swarm Protocols and Priority Fire, they can have all their drones perform Full Aim actions, then for the low, low cost of a single Half Action, have them all fire on their targets using the drone controller's BS. So that's neat. Swarm Protocols kind of implies that for most people it would normally be a Half-Action to tell a single person what to do, so that's odd.
RIP AND TEAR THROUGH THE TIDE OF BLOOD WITH BATTLESUIT PILOT. SUPLEX HIVE TYRANTS. DO WHATEVER, YOU'RE PILOTING A HUGE-ASS MECHA.
Section 3 - You're going to want the Rail Rifle.
A pile of gear pulled from the Tau codex and Deathwatch. It's mostly pretty average; there's a couple of annoying things, like Drone Controllers not specifying how many Drones you can have attached to you at once. There's a neat gravity wave cannon that reduces your Agility Bonus by 1d5. Rail Rifles do 3d10+2 Pen 12 and negate a level of Unnatural Toughness. The only drawback is that it's all ridiculously expensive gear, with an average availability of Very Rare with most of the good stuff straying into Near Unique or Unique territory. On the other hand, you can get +40 to Acquisition tests if you make nice with a Tau colony or military force and can arrange shipments. There's also battlesuits. Battlesuits are awesome.
Is this book worth my hard-earned shekels?
I've bought a lot worse books for more. I'd prefer to have more of the background filled out, perhaps by including some details about the Tau forces currently in the Expanse or details about a small colony or somesuch. Personally, the only reason I'd recommend you get this is if you get a player who's badgering you about wanting to be a Fire Warrior to buy it, or you have a hate-boner against house-rules. I prefer Fear and Loathing in the Eastern Fringe, if only because it provides three full-fledged careers instead of one with three alternates.
What I WILL say is that I'm glad they decided not to pull another Soul Reaver and actually separated the character part from the adventure part. Given that together they cost a bit the same as Soul Reaver and are obviously intended to be matched together, it sets a reasonable standard.
Edited by Errant, 05 June 2014 - 06:55 AM.