Physically, the book is a sturdy perfect-bound volume, with color cover art by Brian DeClercq, depicting four of the seventeen new classes presented herein. Interior artwork is by Josh Boelter, Kelvin Green, Matthew Shultz, and Kayce Sizer, all of it quite good, with Green's being the stand-out in my opinion. The book uses a two-column layout and the text is clear and readable. Currently, it's only available in printed form for $28.99 for US/Canada and $37.99 for the rest of the world (the price includes postage).
The book begins oddly, with a section entitled "100 Fine Reasons & Fantastic B/X Headgear." The 100 Fine Reasons in question are tied to a percentile table offering justifications for characters to be traveling together. It's intended as a quick and simple way to explain why a party of adventurers has come together. The section on headgear is a collection of random tables intended to describe what a character, be he a PC or NPC, is wearing on his head. Neither of these sections is badly done or without value. Together, they take up three pages of the book. Still, they seem out of place, particularly given the bulk of the book's contents.
Less odd is another three-page section entitled "Exceptional Traits," which offers four D12 tables for each broad character archetype (cleric, fighter, magic-user, thief). Each entry on the table indicates something that's special about the given character. For example, a cleric might be an "apostate," which grants him the ability to cast reversed spells freely without penalty, while a magic-user might have a "mystic aura" that grants him a +2 bonus to reaction rolls. These exceptional traits all grant minor mechanical benefits, as well as helping to distinguish the character from others of the same class. It's a clever concept elegantly presented and I like it a lot.
The next three-page section offers up rules for "Firearms in a Fantasy World," specifically black powder weapons. As presented here, firearms have almost as many drawbacks as they have advantages, making the decision whether or not to use them a significant one, which I like. However, unless my aging eyes deceive me, there is no indication of how much damage each type of firearm does under these rules. There are lots of asides about range, rifling, misfires, use in sieges and the like, but nothing on damage -- again, unless I am missing something.
The meat of the book lies in the seventeen new character classes it presents. They are:
- Bounty Hunter
- Tattoo Mage
- Witch Hunter
The new classes and spells are a mixed bag, though I suspect I'm a lot more prone to dislike new classes than many gamers. For me, a class clearly needs to fill a role that no existing class does, so, on that basis, a class like the archer is going to be a hard cell, no matter how well done. That said, what I really like about the new classes presented here is that their associated rules are simple and straightforward. And, even if I don't like the class itself, I can pillage ideas from them for use in other contexts. The same is true of the new spells.
In the end, I suspect one's reaction to The Complete B/X Adventurer will depend greatly on how many options one likes in one's games. For many players, the more available classes, the better; for others, that way lies madness. The same principle applies to new spells. If, like a lot of old schoolers these days, your tastes abhor the baroqueness that afflicted late AD&D (or even BECMI), you may find a lot less to like here. On the other hand, if there's no such thing as "too many" options, especially when it comes to player characters, The Complete B/X Adventurer is probably right up your alley.
Presentation: 7 out of 10
Creativity: 7 out of 10
Utility: 6 out of 10
Get This If: You play an old school class-and-level RPG and are looking for more character-related options.
Don't Get This If: You are happy with the range of character options available in your class-and-level RPG.