||I think I am realizing I am a fanboy of Monte Cook. It is an embarrassing admission of a reviewer. I see his name on a title and I expect greatness, the way that I do when Magic Johnson used to touch a ball. Most of the time I am satisfied with the outcome though I have to admit, I have seen both flub a few times as well.
The first Experimental MIght book, was phenomenal, even with its extreme change to the nature of D&D 3.5. Despite being a 5 star book many stated that it was a bit difficult to integrate into an ongoing campaign. Thus I wondered what type of monumental change would take place with Monte’s redesign of fighter classes.
And once again Monte surprises me with the Book of Experimental Might II: Bloody, Bold and Resolute, as it supersedes the original by bringing simplicity to the project and a strong not so monumental change.
In the first book, Monte introduced a concept of every feat a level. With this one, he simply introduces fighter domains, which break down old and new fighter feats into categories such as Domain of Ranged Weapons or Domain of Leadership. Each Domain comes with a basic power and a bonus power that you receive once you obtain 8 feats in that area. Another ability of selecting a Feat Domain is that it allows you to swap out one feat for another provided a day of training. From a mechanical point of view it is a nice touch, however, forgetting abilities always makes little sense to me from a role playing point of view.
Though the system works stronger with the every class gets a feat per level introduced in the first book, it still flows very well with the traditional 3.5 rules. The book introduces many new fighter feats to round out any type of fighter you were hoping to build. From military battlefield leaders to swashbucklers there are enough additional “strong” feats to bring that aspect out in any fighter. They really unvanilla the fighter. Might II also introduces three new kinds of feat in the Double Feat and the Uberfeat. The Double Feat takes two feat slots but are usually far more powerful than two or three feats combined. Uberfeats are extraordinary feats that can be picked only when a player has gained 8 feats within a domain. This uberfeat usually replaces a few of the feats you have already selected. Obalation Feats require a bit more book keeping from the players, asking them to keep a running tally of the damage they have done. In return players may spend this damage to increase or activate abilities of the feat.
But all of these new options are not just restricted to the Fighter. There are quick integration rules for paladins, barbarians, rangers and rogues to use them as well.
For the Player: If you have been playing D&D as long as I have, the fighter may come off as pretty bland. Oh, there is power attack again or oh there is Cleave again. Now you are able to make that rangerish Archer or that Monkish Streetfighter without being locked into a class. The other day, I was statting characters for an event I am running at Gencon that called for a bunch of rangers, well instead I used the Domain of Ranged Weapon feats and the build came out a bit stronger than the ranger. I had a tribe of warriors that were able to do some neat tricks with the bow and yet still go toe to toe in melee.
For the DM:
The fighter is one of the easiest classes to work with in terms of flexibility and a book of new and innovative feats really gives a lot more options. I especially like the double and uberfeats as they eliminate the clutter of having too many feats by combining and rolling feat abilities cohesively into each other.
The Iron Word
The Book of Experimental Might II: Bloody, Bold and Resolute is a great followup to hash out melee characters. With both books of Experimental Might, you have a complete system that shows a distinct evolution in dungeons and dragons without sacrificing traditions or adding pointless mechanics.
[5 of 5 Stars!]