Class Review: The Jaeger Compendium (Jackson Lewis): 4 Stars
A lone Dwarf stands in a long abandoned cemetery. From the coffin rises dozens of undead, hell bent on bringing the Dwarf into their ranks. The Dwarf hefts a large rifle and smiles grimly. It’s time to get to work.
Jackson Lewis’ Jaeger Compendium is a collection of feats and archetypes centered around his Jaeger Class, an Int-based spell-less ranger-like class focused on hunting down specific foes. Overall, the Jaeger is a well-designed and focused class that adds a lot of cool customization gadgets. Most of the accompanying content–lore, archetypes, etc.–are similarly interesting. While the product could use a bit more adherence to the stylistic guidelines of fifth edition, this product is still an excellent option for those looking to play an Int-based monster hunter.
Premise. The premise around which the Jaeger is founded is interesting both mechanically and narratively, though perhaps not very original. Taking inspiration from the ranger and the popularity of themed-hunting, the Jaeger refines these elements into a cohesive, narrative whole with relatively balanced mechanics and abundant customization. While built upon the idea “hate” (of evil creatures), the class is surprisingly flexible in the type of character (alignment, philosophy, ideals, flaws) which can play it. While the Jaeger plays to certain old tropes (goblins are always evil), and we’d like to see a bit more flexibility in the type of creatures the Jaeger could hunt, by and large the foundation and execution of the class is solid.
Slayer Dice. The slayer dice is the core mechanic of the Jaeger and Jackson Lewis is prudent to utilize the feature in many of the class’s higher level abilities. Originally, the slayer dice are much like Bardic Inspiration dice, but can only be used to increase damage. As you level, they can also be added to saving throws and skill checks, as well as various benefits from the archetype you choose. The only concern I have concerning these dice is the amount you get, up to 10 per short rest at higher levels. Making the recharge at long rest only may balance it a bit more, but it’s hard to tell without playing the class.
Armaments. Armaments are a unique spin on this type of class, and allow the Jaeger to be incredibly modular and custumizable. Basically, they are individual weapons or gadgets that the character gets to enhance their fighting and mission. While some of them are a bit bland (smoke grenade), many are interesting both mechanically and narratively (ballistic fist, bulwark vambrace). While each individual armament is balanced quite well, the fact that you get 8 of them by the end of the class seems like a lot for a class who already has a large amount of class features and a lot of slayer dice. Still, these armaments are perhaps the most enjoyable part of the class.
Other Archetypes. In addition to the Jaeger and its archetypes, the Jaeger Compendium comes with similar-focused archetypes for other classes–rogue and fighter, primarily. While these subclasses don’t use the slayer dice or armaments that the Jaeger does, they have interesting and relatively balanced mechanics, and are a great way to play the theme of the Jaeger in an already established class.
Stylistics. While the overall production value (layout, editing, etc.) is not horrible, the way in which skills and features are described is far from standard fifth edition language. It is clear while the author emulated class mechanics and philosophy of 5e, the way in which he writes about it, is both inconsistent and overly colloquial. The class is still usuable, but I’d like to see a refinement of how the author talks about mechanics.
Feats. The feats included are all for the Jaeger, rather than mirror Jaeger abilities for other classes. In general, I’m not a fan of feats that are exclusive to a single class. Those are less feats, and more like additional class features you can take at certain levels. To improve this fact, the author could include feats that help other classes take armaments or add dice damage to attacks a la slayer dice.
Overall, the slayer is a great and interesting class, and fills the popular role of an Int-Based martial class. It manages to be relatively unique in its approach. We’re giving it 4 Stars and recommend it for just about everyone–it seems relatively balanced and is a nice class option to pull out when your players are creating characters. If you appreciate our reviews and want to pick up the class, click the picture below to go to the product page!