The latest product in the Talented line by Rogue Genius Games seems to be best so far. The work that Owen Stevens constantly puts out is of outstanding quality and it should be seriously considered by all experience gamers as the basis for Pathfinder upgrade. In a way, it would be quite difficult for potential Pathfinder 2.0 to completely assume RGG’s Talented system, but as time progresses I’ve come to look at RGG Talented line as sort of Pathfinder version of Arcana Unearthed. I seriously recommend that RGG considers putting out there a hard-cover book that combines at least all Talented martial classes, but that is neither here nor there.
I must say that the ranger is my favorite class and it remains one of the most utilized classes in my games. The reason for that is its versatility, excellent fighting ability and skill selection, as well as animal companion that can sometimes make a life and death difference for the smaller parties.
Following the usual pattern of the Talented classes, Talented Ranger keeps certain basic chassis (bab, saving throws, skills, hit dice) of the Ranger class, that can be modified by taking a series of edges and talents, divided in 3 categories. This somewhat narrows down the customization possibilities, since the edges tend to be prerequisites for taking certain talents.
Talents themselves are divided in 3 categories, basically distinguished by level. Basic talents can be taken before 10th level, major talents at 10th level and above and grand talents only as 20th level capstone ability.
I am not a fan of this kind of division, since it makes it harder to find particular talent if you are not sure if it’s basic or major. I would prefer that all talents are listed alphabetically with certain class level stated as prerequisite in the description of each talent. I am also not a fan of edges. I would very much prefer that edges are simply talents, but with some kind of prerequisites.
By the simple virtue of sheer number of edges and talents presented in this product, certain builds and talent trees can make the Talented Ranger a bit overpowered. Game Master should carefully decide which one to allow, since the Talented Ranger can easily overshadow many other classes. This especially comes into play if a character decides to bond with a weapon instead of animal, gaining the ability to improve its weapon as he progresses in levels, which could – combined with the Favorite Enemy talent tree – make the Fighter almost un-needed.
On the other hand, I am very satisfied with the number of talents that improve the animal companion, since they open a whole new range of role-playing opportunities and allow animal companion to transcend the role of simple additional muscle.
The editing is top-notch, as usual for RGG products and I can not recommend it enough.