Reviews - What do customers think about The Quintessential Half-Orc (Dungeons & Dragons d20 3.5 Fantasy Roleplaying)?
The Half-Human Half-Orc Jun 9, 2006
I bought this book at the same time as another D&D half-orc book. This one I prefer because it gives you options for playing half-orcs not as barbarians, but as fighters and magic-users as well. I feel this book covers areas for people wanting to play half-orcs with personalities beyond "Me Thor, Kill". Certainly a full orc might not go much beyond this, but this book seems to take into account that half-orcs are half human as well, and show enough dynamics for you to play the human side as well as the orc side.
Beyond this, it allows for prestige classes that are largely missing from the regular (but huge!) list of prestige classes. For instance my half-orc fighter has an intelligence of 10, and is allowed 2 skill points per level. With an intelligence of 9, she would only be allowed 1 skill point per level. This makes it nearly impossible for her to become anything except an exotic weapon master, which is only a 3 level prestige class, and rather boring to boot. In order for her to become say, a gladiator, she would need to focus on only obtaining the skills necessary for this for about 12 levels with a 10 intelligence, and for 20 levels with a 9 intelligence.
For someone with more intelligence (someone without a -2 intelligence to begin with for example!) these prerequirements make sense, for a half-orc fighter/barbarian they are unreasonable. I feel this book takes that into account, largely by requiring feats instead of an impossible number of skills.
It is nice for there to be something beyond the "dumb jock", but some of us still want to play the dumb jock! My character is a good civilized half-orc fighting her barbaric tendencies. She does not worship Gruumish because she has raised by parents that taught her to worship Gods of good. The Quintessential half-orc addresses her issues. I will (with my DM's approval) be taking the prestige class "The Schizoid" in which her desire to be civilized combats with her barbaric blood to produce multiple personalities. It fits in perfectly with how I envisioned my half-orc.
Beyond prestige classes the book also focuses on half-orc backgrounds that can change the stats of the character, and additional skills and magic just for half-orcs. I don't know how much my DM will allow, since it can become a source for metagaming, but the variation it provides is simply splendid, and certainly with trade-offs this book will be useful for any half-orc in any campaign.
A treasure vastly overlooked Apr 19, 2005
Let me start off by saying that it's really hard for me to justify giving a gaming book 5 stars, no matter how good it is, or how much I like Roleplaying, it just doesn't seem right most of the time. That being said, this book is a definite exception. Right from the start, with the story that laces through the book at various points, I was hooked. The Character Concepts (a chapter I usually don't get to until my third or fourth read) had ideas that leapt from the page out at me; Adopted by a humanoid race that is neither human nor half-orc. The loving family unit, where the parents of the half-orc are actually a caring couple. These alone signalled a book that was far from the norm. From "Prestige Classes" to "Half-orc Variations", this book is chock full of love for the much-maligned Half-orc. Ritual Scars to augment your (...) and give him an even greater edge over his parent races. Ways to tap into the Inner Orc with "Heart of Violence" Rage abilities. Tools of the Trade, Feats, Blood Rituals... This book is almost pure crunch for a race left without a culture. With the tools available in this book, a Half-Orc may forge out his own niche. This is a book about inner conflict. Conquering the beast within, giving in to it (there's even a selection of "performance enhancers" and their side-effects), or trying to find the balance. This book is probably the most invaluable book for DMs or Players looking to play more than the "dumb brute." Oh, and those Half-orc Variants? Try Dwarf/Orc, Orc/Goblin, Orc-tainted humans, Human-tainted orcs, and the rare and nearly blasphemous Elf/Orc! This is a MUST HAVE book. I more than highly recommend it.