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Martial Power: A 4th Edition D&D Supplement (D&D Rules Expansion) Hardcover – November 18, 2008
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Martial Power is 180 pages, and the production values seem pretty good. The font, layout, and general format is very close to that of the core rulebooks, keeping things consistent.
The content is laid out in an orderly and logical fashion: there's one chapter dedicated to each of the four classes, plus a fifth chapter that deals with feats and epic destinies suited to martial characters.
Each of the class chapters contains one to two new build options. The new fighter builds, for example, are the berserker-style bloodrager and the two-weapon-wielding tempest. Each contains a pretty broad assortment of new powers, usually between 4 and 6 at each level (and of each type, for level 1 powers).
Each contains a few flavor-text sidebars, which range from the interesting and thought provoking (Signature Weapons, Fighters in the World) to the banal. These take up very little space, though.
Finally, each contains a dozen new paragon paths suited to its class. The quality of these varies, but each class has at least a few that are both intriguing and broadly useful across many styles of game.
The fifth chapter contains dozens of new feats of all character levels, plus ten epic destinies, the quality of which likewise varies.
For the most part, the content lives up to its promises. There are a few bizarre and unexplained decisions -- why, exactly, do human fighters excel at wild, panicked swings, and dwarves excel at the shield bash maneuver (but not the shield slam maneuver)? For the most part, though, the design seems solid, and the book does add some much-needed options, including the beastmaster ranger and a rogue paragon path that's among the best D&D treatments of the swashbuckler I've seen.
The biggest weakness is the lack of any index. Coupled with a very minimal table of contents, it can be somewhat difficult to find a particular feat or paragon path you're looking for. The presence of a thorough index would make this book much easier to use. And that's a shame, because the content is relatively strong.
Overall, I think this book is a success. I expect to allow much of the material in my game. It could have been better -- but if the rest of the books in the Power line are this good, I'll buy them and have no regrets. It serves my needs, and if the content needs a little vetting, I expected as much -- that's no different from those supplements for earlier editions.