Fair fights are for suckers.
In a world filled with monsters and villains, a little deception and boldness go a long way. You know how to take advantage of every situation, and you don't mind getting your hands dirty. Take the gloves off? Ha! You never put them on! You infuriate your foes and amaze your allies with your ingenuity, resourcefulness, and style. For you, every new predicament is an opportunity in disguise, and with each sweet victory, your notoriety grows. That is how legends are made.
This D&D supplement gives you everything you need to get the drop on your foes and escape sticky situations. In addition to new feats, spells, items, and prestige classes, the Complete Scoundrel supplement presents new mechanics that put luck on your side and a special system of skill tricks that allow any character to play the part of a scoundrel. Tricky tactics aren't just for rogues anymore.
For use with these Dungeons & Dragons core books: Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, Monster Manual.
As any edition of D&D reaches maturity, it becomes more challenging for the developers to innovate. The early books have it easy! Feats, prestige classes, spells, and those early supplements still provide fun and useful player books that add substantially to the game. Late in a game's cycle, however, all the easy territory has been claimed. That's the point when we're happy to see books like Complete Scoundrel: A Player's Guide to Trickery and Ingenuity (2007), by Mike McArtor and F. Wesley Schneider, with additional design by Robert J. Schwalb.
Trickery and Ingenuity, Indeed. Customers anticipated that this would be a direct follow-up to Complete Adventurer, with all the game material directly targeted toward rogues, bards, and other skill-focused variant classes. The authors decided to avoid that predictable trap, though, and aimed a little higher.
Complete Scoundrel introduces the concept of skill "tricks," similar to feats in terms of mechanics but relying on skills. Skill tricks allow skill-based heroes to really shine, and are gained by expending 2 skill points per trick - enough of a cost to make them a serious investment for warrior-types, but fairly simple for rogues, bards, and Intelligence-based classes to obtain. Skill tricks are broken into four categories: Interaction, which works with interpersonal skills such as Bluff, Diplomacy, and Intimidation; Manipulation, using Dexterity-based skills; Mental, most useful for spellcasters; and Movement.
It's a nice implementation of a new feature. Tricks provide mild power inflation of a type that applies to every character (although favoring high-skill classes), and they're chock full of flavor. Acrobatic Backstab, Clever Improviser, Extreme Leap, Never Outnumbered, Tumbling Crawl... with fun movement abilities and some nifty and cinematic tricks, they add some panache to an otherwise somber, cookie-cutter rogue.
The Old Standards. There are the standard features of a Complete book here as well. There are a variety of new feats, particularly Luck feats that allow re-rolls and Ambush feats that provide new uses for sneak attacks. You'll find new spells and new equipment as well. Most interesting are the 13 prestige classes, including some exceptional ones. The gray guard supports ethically dubious paladins, for instance, and three prestige classes support the new skill tricks machanic directly. I'm also impressed by the combat trapsmith, which finally gives a robust method for using traps quickly in combat. That's an ability that has largely eluded D&D rogues (and rangers) until now.
Archetypes and Campaigns. In addition to discussions of the scoundrel archetypes, surprisingly using examples from literature and film, the book gives mechanical advice on making an effective scoundrel character. I'm not sure it's as useful for long-time players, but it's easy to forget that new players haven't had time to wade through the vast array of rules and strategy needed to optimize a fun character.
The final chapter is full of DMing advice, new organizations, legendary sites (several of which are positively brimming with good flavor and plot hooks), sample contacts and characters for NPC ideas, and a fun list of 100 scoundrel challenges. This sort of list is a great idea generator for games, and it's good to see included.
It's worth remembering that Complete Scoundrel isn't trying to be a Complete Adventurer sequel. It it really hits the goal it's shooting for, though: If you have a rogue-heavy game, you're going to enjoy this book.
About the Creators. Mike McArtor has edited games for Paizo and Open Design, has written for Paizo and WotC, and is an online content specialist at Wizards of the Coast.
F. Wesley Schneider has been assistant editor of Dragon and currently serves as managing editor of Pathfinder.
Robert J. Schwalb is more machine than man, an incredibly prolific and award-winning writer and game designer who has written for 14 different RPG companies.
About the Product Historian
History and commentary of this product was written by Kevin Kulp, game designer and admin of the independent D&D fansite ENWorld. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to firstname.lastname@example.org.