The whole idea of this new base class is to break out from the obvious ability-based bias of being a Strong, Dedicated, Smart, etc... character. You might wish to build a character whose strengths are found in 2 or more abilities, or who is better-balanced across the board. Using a system of 'resource points' which you can allocate as you please to select which features are strengths and which are weaknesses (or at least, not so important) for your character you can start with a concept and build a character who fits it, rather than the 'best-fit' forced by the ability-focussed base classes in the core rules.
It is worth having a clear concept in mind before you start. Resource points can be allocated to diverse areas on your character sheet: which hit die you use, the number of class skills you have and how many points you have each level to spend on them, your Defence capabilities and your attack bonus. For each, you can choose to be Poor, Fair, Good or Excellent depending on how many resource points you want to spend on that aspect of your character. The system for working out your saving throws and defence bonus is particularly interesting - as well as choosing the level your overall defensive capabilities are at (Poor, Fair...) you can also decide which of the 3 saves you wish to prioritise.
To round things off, there's a selection of new Talent Trees built around the standard base classes - so you can use them even if you don't want to build a Versatile character this time around! When creating a Versatile character, though, you can pick ANY Talent Trees - but once chosen you have to stick with them for all levels you take in the Versatile base class.
Overall, this is a neat system for customising characters to fit your precise needs. You do need a clear idea of what you want to do, and a bit of time to sort it all out, but it does spell an end to having to compromise on a low-level character because none of the base classes really do what you require.
Return to The Versatile Hero (Revised) page.
Reviewed: 10 November 2005