Pathfinder Adventure Card Games: Skull & Shackles 2014 Free RPG Day Release – Ranzak the Goblin Raider!

Pathfinder Adventure Card Games: Skull & Shackles 2014 Free RPG Day Release
Publisher: Paizo
Cost: Free
Cards in Pack: 4
Release Date: 06/21/2014
Obtained at: Victory Comics

One of the three pieces I wanted most from this year’s Free RPG Day 2014 (along the Valiant and Mage releases) was the new character for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. The original game only has one expansion left before they move on to Skull & Shackles, so I was really interested to see how the new character, Ranzak, played. Would he be compatible with Rise of the Runelords? Would we get any sneak peaks about Skulls & Shackles gameplay? What class would he be? So on and so forth. Well, I’ve had him for a while now, and I have to admit Ranzak has quickly become one of my favorite characters for the game – so here’s hoping you picked him up or that you have a chance to get him in the near future.

Ranzak is a male goblin Raider, which is a new class for the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. It’s very similar to a rogue in that the class gets a little bit of everything. Ranzak’s starting hand consists of 4 Weapons, 1 Spell, 1 Armor, 4 Items, 1 Ally and 4 Blessings. I like that he gets all these options, although the lack of armor means you do have to play him defensively and sneaky. Ranzak’s player has to build his deck last, which means he gets the leftovers. This actually isn’t a bad thing, because you can see what other players have taken and where the gaps are. Then you use Ranzak to fill in those holes. Have the Ranger and the Sorcerer as your other two characters, use Ranzak’s spell slot for a healing one. Things like that.

Stat-wise, Ranzak is similar to the rogue. He only gets a d4 for Strength, Intellegence and Wisdom, so he’s not going to be very offense oriented at first. Ranzak’s d4 Wisdom is augmented with a +3 for Survival rolls, which showcases what a little scrapper this goblin is. Now those three d4s are probably making you wary of using Ranzak at first. He has a d6 Charisma, which is a dump stat for a lot of characters and I’m sure some people will be surprised he doesn’t have a d4 in that and a d6 in strength, but who knows? Maybe he’s very likeable. Ranzak’s high points are a D10 in Dexterity (with a peg leg no less!) and a whopping d12 in Constitution. I did not see a D12 CON coming at all. Both of these should giving Ranzak staying power, especially in barrier/trap heavy locations. Use the little guy to root through those and pair him with a more combat oriented character to help him out with battles. Ranzak also gets a +1 to his Dex rolls for Disable and Stealth, which is nice. He also gets a +1 to his D12 Con for Fortitude rolls.

Ranzak’s power section is rather interesting. He starts off with a hand size of seven cards but can increase it to nine through regular play. He is only proficient in light armors and weapons, so again, a defensive play style is best suited to Ranzak. One of his other powers allows another character at the same location as Ranzak to fight a bane instead. So as mentioned earlier, Ranzak is best when paired with someone else. Let the Goblin take out the traps and get boons and let a warrior type do the heavy combat. Speaking of boons, Ranzak gets an extra 1d4 to his acquiring boon checks. This makes for a nice combo with one of his other powers where when he gets a boon on his turn, Ranzak rolls a 1d6. On a 4-6, he gets to explore again. With good luck, Ranzak can really whittle down a location.

So let’s talk a little bit about the two potential Prestige Classes for Ranzak. You have Wrecker and Kleptomaniac. Both play very different from each other. Wrecker is meant to give Ranzak a big boost when encountering henchmen and closing locations while Kleptomaniac is just enhancing Ranzak’s original skillset. Let’s cover that one first.

Choosing Kleptomaniac opens up a few different options for you. You can eventually increase your hand size to 11, you can wear heavy armors and you can raise you acquire boon bonus to 1d4+1d3 which is nice. When you close a location, you also get a plunder card, which means you roll 1d6 and whatever comes up, you cross-reference with a chart and pick out a nice new random item of that type. You can also banish a plunder card when a scenario is done in exchange for a different plunder card. I don’t really see the use of that one, but hey. Finally, as a Kleptomaniac, you can discard a blessing from the blessings deck to explore your location. This works nicely with Ranzak’s ability to whittle through barrier based locations quickly. Overall, Kleptomaniac is an interesting choice, but I think you’ll have to wait for Skull and Shackles to really make use of it.

Wrecker might be more of use for those of you who will use Ranzak in Rise of the Runelords. Like Kleptomaniac, you can increase your hand size to 11 and become proficient in heavy armor, but your max acquire boon bonus is only 1d4+1 instead of 1d4+3. Here’s where it gets interesting though. One of the Wrecker’s powers lets you recharge a card to add 2d4 to your check with defeating a barrier or henchmen. That’s nice! However, you then have to discard 1d4 cards from your deck. That’s bad. Still, it’s a nice potential boost for those times when you’re going to come up just a bit short otherwise. Another potential power for the Wrecker is that if Ranzak is the only character at his location, at the end of his move step, he may move another character to there. This helps enhance the tandem aspect we talked about earlier. Another power is that Ranzak can look at the top card of his current location deck after defeating a monster. That’s nice! However, if that card is a boon, it must be banished. That’s bad! This is a nice option when your blessings deck is running low I guess. Finally, if Ranzak defeats a henchmen by at least 6, he can add 1d6 (later 2d6!) to his check to close a location. That’s crazy awesome. However Ranzak’s stats can be kind of low, so this ability might not see a lot of use.

Overall, Ranzak’s prestige options aren’t great, but they are fun. This is pretty much true of Ranzak across the board. I think he is a nice alternative character and that players will definitely get a kick out of him when they first see him as PC option. Of course, whether or not the novelty runs thin after a while, is something only time will tell. For now, Ranzak is a really fun new option for Pathfinder Adventure Card Game and one that has rekindled my interest in the upcoming Skulls & Shackles option coming out later this summer.

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