Archetype Review: Battle Born (Magic Goblin): 4.5 Stars
A short product with archetypes for Barbarian, Fighter, and Sorcerer, this quality product is perfect for anyone wanting to get their hands dirty in the thick of battle.
Battle Born is a three-archetype supplement that focuses on close melee capability for barbarian, fighter, and sorcerer. Publisher Magic Goblin has delivered a high quality product that marries design intent with mostly functional and interesting archetypes. Though the product has a few flaws, in lack of depth and syntax that seems confusing, the archetypes it provides should provide exciting and relatively unique game play for those who play these classes.
Production. As with all of magic goblin’s works, the layout, artwork, and editing look professionally done. Though the product is short, it looks as though a lot of time was spent on it.
Barbarian. The Dervish Barbarian is a dance of blades amid the chaos of battle. Able to effectively fight two handed, this archetype may be unique among barbarians in its proficiency in acrobatics and performance. I can see many awesome roleplay opportunities as a barbarian (NOT the bard, after all) shows off a dancing whirl of swords to make a little extra pocket change. Woe to those who do not pay! In addition to interesting roleplay opportunities, the dervish adds to its versatility by creative use of its reaction, a deadly movement action, and an increased chance to critical strike. Pair this with the Brutal Critical feature of the Barbarian, and you have a immensely deadly barbarian original in its ability to wield two weapons without an extra feat required (though it still might help).
Sorcerer. I am absolutely in love with this sorcerer archetype. If you’ve been looking for a fighter/sorcerer multiclass, this is an excellent option. Proficiency in armor and shields, a fighting style, and the option to expend sorcery points for situational combat advantages all make this an original take on the sorcerer that makes them a viable close range option. If I hadn’t already played 3 levels in the sorcerer I built for my current 5e game, I would build him this way. If I have one criticism of the archetype, its that they don’t get to use their sorcery points for archetype advantages until level 6. Oh well, I suppose meta magic is decent too.
Dragon Orders. The dragon order options for the Dragon Scion Fighter archetype or brilliant. They show an astute understanding of each dragon’s personality and history, and transform that into an excellent opportunity for character development. As a dragon scion, you join one of the Dragon Orders (each type of dragon has their own) and become almost paladin-like in your persona. While each order has a very relevant and applicable skill in which you gain proficiency, the biggest asset of this archetype is the edicts by which you must live. Will you join the Order of the Bronze and devout yourself to protecting wildlife and nature? Or will you be an agent of the Order of the Red, focused solely on obtaining glory and prestige (even, ironically, at the expense of your own life or those of your allies). I am very excited about the character development these options present!
Fighter. Where the Dragon Orders present a perfectly polished plethora of options, the fighter archetype “dragon scion” falls short. Of minimal consequence, the 1 hour duration on “challenging roar” seems too long. More importantly, the wording of most of the ability seems convoluted and difficult to read. It becomes clear, after a reading or two, but I believe its the inclusion of the phrase “Order’s ability score modifier” that practically ruins the whole thing for me. It’s likely I’m being persnickety about something so small, as the actual mechanics of the archetype are “alright” (perhaps a bit overpowered). Fixing the wording issue would go quite far in fixing the archetype of a whole. Still, in my mind the value of this archetype is in the role play opportunities, not in the mechanics.
Depth. I don’t usually say this, but I wanted more fluff. I wanted more than a small paragraph about the background of each archetype. Perhaps, like magic goblin’s bestiary, I wanted the author’s thoughts on his design intent. This doesn’t take away from the quality of the piece, but seeing the author’s previous work has made me value his ability to provide more background. I’d like to see it here.
Battle Born is a great trio of archetypes and should open up some great options at the table. I am giving it 4.5 Stars and it’s Highly Recommended for players who want to play fighter, barbarian, or sorcerer, or any DM who wants to have this in their “ready to access” library.
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