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In The Company of Henge: A 1st-20th level Player Character Racial Class (PFRPG) $3.95
Average Rating:4.5 / 5
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In The Company of Henge:  A 1st-20th level Player Character Racial Class (PFRPG)
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In The Company of Henge: A 1st-20th level Player Character Racial Class (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 09/25/2012 15:10:37
In the Company of Henge is a sourcebook for playing hengeyokai, Japanese animal spirits specifically for Rite’s Kaidan setting, but adaptable to any Pathfinder world. The henge have seven subspecies (dogs, hares, snake, and many more though the Kitsune fox spirits are not included here) each with their own strengths and talents. Hengeyokai alternate racial traits, favored class options and new archetypes for barbarian, druid and ranger are included. Lastly, there is a full 20 level racial class for the hengeyokai paragon which is a mix of rogue tricks and animal tricks backed by nine new feats. While not for every campaign, this is a solid resource for a classic kind of creature.

Disclaimer: As a featured reviewer for RPGNow/DriveThroughRPG, I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
In The Company of Henge: A 1st-20th level Player Character Racial Class (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/20/2011 03:46:13
This pdf is 26 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of SRD, 5 pages of advertisement and 1 page back cover, leaving 15 pages for the Hengeyokai, so let's take a look at them!

As has become tradition in the high-quality supplements of the ItC-series, the pdf kicks off with an extensive and aptly-written IC-narrated origin myth and a thorough discussion of the respective clans of Hengeyokai. Wait, clans? Yep, Hengeyokai are actually quite variable, being shapechangers in Japanese mythology that significantly differ from Western mythology in several key aspects: First of all, they are rather cultivated tricksters and not savage beasts. Secondly, while being shapechangers, their appearance in both human, bestial and true form (humanoid with an animal's head) are constant and not variable. 7 sample clans (dog, badger, cat, rat, monkey, raccoon-dog, hare) that differ in personality as well as racial abilities and preferred alignments are presented, essentially offering 7 distinct basic sets of abilities to choose from - neat! Apart from these modifiers, the hengeyokai get survival and stealth as class-skill, keen senses, low-light vision and the ability to change into aforementioned shapes. They also can choose two favored classes instead of one and additionally, they are susceptible to cold iron, being forced into their true forms and receiving minor additional damage from them.
True to RiP's formula of extensive coverage, we also get full details of their stance on religion, height, weight and age tables, 5 alternate racial traits to customize your hengeyokai and details on hengeyokai of the adventuring professions. All classes from the core-rules and APG get their own little paragraph as well as specific name to make them more appropriate for an Asian setting like Kaidan, but Magus, Gunslinger, Samurai and Ninja from UM and UC are not covered. 9 new favored class options are provided, though, as well as 3 new class archetypes:

The Henge Emishi (Barbarian) who gets a bite attack and focuses on fast movement, the Henge-Kannushi (Druid) who gains a bond with a shrine and the Kami of the land - a quite cool take on druids in general. The final archetype is the Henge Matagi, a ranger-archetype who bonds not with animals, but with forests in general, gleaning knowledge from the leaves and branches.

Of course, we also get a new 20-level-racial paragon class, the Mushakemono: The Mushakemono gets d8, 6+Int skills per level, 3/4 BAB, good ref and will (?) saves, proficiency with simple and martial weapons, light and medium armor and up to +4d6 sneak attack, classifying him as a skirmisher. The glitches have been taken care of.

While at first glance, the parallels to the rogue-class are evident, the array of henge tricks (9 available) you get to choose from as well as the advanced henge tricks (6 are provided) make for a distinct playing experience beyond the traditional rogue: From improvements of shapechanging and stealth to the ability to mask objects in invisibility to the supremely cool ability to duplicate one's self, the tricks provide options for very cool ideas and strategies. The class also offers useful survivalist abilities that hearken to the ranger like evasion and favored terrain, empahsizig the Henge's connection to land and kami. The capstone ability, transcendence to shapechanger, though, is a bit bland.
The pdf closes with 10 feats for Hengeyokai that e.g. enable you to talk to all animals, talk in all forms, use the forest as a cover etc. The rather bland two shrine-keeper feats from In the Company of Kappa also make a return, though.

Conclusion:
Editing and formatting are good, but aforementioned glitch in the saving throws is rather unpleasant. Layout adheres to the beautiful, bamboo-lined full-color 2-column Kaidan standard and the artworks, though mostly stock, are very appropriate and serve to underline the overall appeal of the pdf. Mechanics-wise and fluff-wise, we get an excellent offering of the ItC-series, however, In the Company of Henge suffers a bit in comparison to the Tengu-installment - there simply is not such a cool archetype like a special Tengu cavalier herein. That being said, the trickster-shapechangers nevertheless fare quite well and offer a plethora of neat ideas, concise writing and a sufficiently unique-feeling racial paragon-class that captures the spirit of the tricky shapechanger quite well without being op. In the end, due to the rather severe glitch in the table and the fact that I was not utterly blown away, I'll settle for a final verdict of 4.5 stars.

Endzeitgeist out.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
In The Company of Henge: A 1st-20th level Player Character Racial Class (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Dark M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/09/2011 11:25:29
In The Company of Henge by Rite Publishing

This product is 26 pages long. It starts with a cover, ToC, and credits. (3 pages)

Hengeyokai (15 pages)
It starts off with a creation myth, a history, culture and then the clans of the hengeyokai. Each clan is based on a different animal. The clans are, each one has it's own set of skill bonuses and racial stat bonuses. The rest of their bonuses are the same for all the clans.
Dog Clan
Badger Clan
Cat Clan
Rat Clan
Monkey Clan
Raccon-Dog Clan
Hare Clan

After this it this it gets into their relationship with other races, religion, alignment, languages and name advice. Next we get height and weight for the clans, plus 5 racial traits, following that is information about the classes and new favored class options for the Barbarian, Bard, Druid, Monk, Mushakemono, Ranger, Rogue, Witch, and Wizard. New Archetypes for this, we get a new archetype for Barbarian (which uses their animal natural attacks), Druid (a shrine guardian), and Ranger (bonded to a forest).

A racial paragon class the Mushakemono is present next. D8, 6 skills, medium BaB, one good save(there is a error on saves where will save suddenly jumps up but I think that is a editing error), the classes special abilities is a bit of a ranger rogue combo. With a few special tricks of their own and some abilities that use their shapechanging ability. It ends with 9 new feats for the new race.

It ends with a OGL, back cover, and ads. (8 pages)

Closing thoughts. The art work is a mix black and white and color, it ranges from fair to ok. Editing and format are very good, I only noticed a single error, even if it was a pretty major one. I did like the new race, especially the clans and how while they was all similar in many ways they was also different beyond just how they look. So in many ways you 7 new races instead of one in this book. The traits and favored class options where pretty cool. The archetypes I thought was a mixed bag. The barbarian one I thought was very cool, the range one was ok and the druid one kinda meh. The paragon class is pretty well done and fits the race well. I do have one critic, I know this was made before Ultimate Combat book came out, but I really hope they go back and add in the Samurai and Ninja to the favored class and maybe throw in a archetype or two. I really think that would help put this product over the top. That and fix the one major editing glitch. So what's my rating? Well beyond the one editing glitch it is well done. Not great, a lot of potential and very good but not great. So for now I am going to settle on a 4 star and hope they come back to add some of the new stuff and fix the one error.

Trust me, I'm a Succubus.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
In The Company of Henge: A 1st-20th level Player Character Racial Class (PFRPG)
Publisher: Rite Publishing
by Dawn F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/03/2011 21:34:44
Here again as with the supplement In the Company of Tengu by Rite Publishing, we have a fully-fleshed society of beings for the use of both players and game masters. Rather than being a single identifiable anthropomorphic creature, as with the Raven-like Tengu, the Henge are a collection of beings. They are spirits and legends from ancient Japan outfitted for use in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. The Henge exist in clans divided by their association with and resemblance to certain animals. These clans (Batsu), the Dog (Inu), Badger (Mujina), Cat (Neko), Rat (Nezumi), Monkey (Saru), and Raccoon-Dog (Tanuki), all form the greater society of Hengeyokai. This book gives a full, in-character dissertation on the ways and beliefs of the Henge. The descriptive prose felt like the voice of one of the Henge actually speaking to me. It had a believable resonance. It reminded me of the Hopi elder I once heard speak on the Hopi Mesas of Arizona. This is the kind of material any good GM wants to have at his or her disposal, something that adds depth and verisimilitude to the campaign.

In addition to detailing each of the different clans, this supplement also details relationships with other races, alignment, religion, and languages. Next follows a description of the Hengeyokai who might become adventurers, the types who either become PCs or encounter them. Full notes on how to create Hengeyokai characters along with ability adjustments, racial traits, alternate traits, notes on age, height and weight, and a comprehensive set of notes on the different classes and whether or not they would be appropriate as Henge, and other important details.

It is important to note that Henge are a race of shape shifters. This is a curious aspect and it is absolutely not considered to be a curse, unlike the were-creatures of Western tradition. Henge can take three forms. Their true form is that of a humanoid with the face of an animal. A Henge may also appear as a human or in the natural shape of the animal of his or her clan.

Favored Class options are provided as well as class archetypes for the Barbarian, the Druid and the Ranger. As with the Tengu, the Henge have a Racial Paragon class, which I found most useful in the book on Tengu for creation of the NPC leader or other important individual. There is a full, class write-up for the Mushakemono, the Henge Warrior Racial Paragon. At the end a list of feats provides interesting possibilities for a Henge character.

Whether you are a GM who wants something unique to use in your campaign or you are a player in a campaign that allows or encourages different and interesting character options, you will want to take a look at the Henge. If you intend to run an oriental-based campaign, you will need this book. Even if you are just interested in different character books or like reading about different societies, there is something in here for you. Like the others of the Kaidan series, typical bamboo borders and neat two-column layout is sprinkled with appropriate art, some of which is obviously taken from ancient Japanese open domain sources, and some in color as well. I find this book to meet the high standards set in the other Kaidan supplements and well worth the price. I rate this at 5 of 5 stars.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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