All this month is Fandom month and I'm taking advantage of that to brush off the dust from one of my favourite old game/show series by reviewing the Viewtiful hero by NeoSeraphi. This is the first time a Prestige class has been reviewed on Duck and Roll but given the theme of this month and how dearly I love this series It was too good to pass up.
For those not familiar with Viewtiful Joe it's a decidedly tongue-in-cheek series where the main protagonist is a film and T.V show buff with a penchant for action movies. Using powers bestowed onto him by his hero, Captain Blue, he's able to apply movie style special effects to the world around him.
So before we get too far in let's take a look at the basic framework. The class has 4+int skills, best base attack and good fortitude and reflex saves. This makes it an ideal class for a frontline warrior to jump into to accentuate their hero-ness, but as we'll learn nearly anyone can take this class and become a true champion of justice. Also a quick glance at the prerequisites tells us In order to enter this class you must have at least 10 base attack. This is very important as it is a very powerful class and seems to be intended to grant extra power to melee characters who start to falter at higher levels.
At first level the Viewtiful hero gains their "Fist of Justice" ability, making their fists deadly weapons in combat. This ability can be reworded and adjusted to mesh better with different size categories or to better fit with different rules interpretations but is perfectly serviceable as it is. The other ability is the real superstar. The Viewtiful hero gains their Henshin transformation, which functions as a Tenser's transformation but very intelligently makes the ability score bonuses untyped, allowing them to stack with magic items. Further the caster level is always equal to total character level, which means classes like rogues and even wizards can benefit greatly from this ability and class, though only once per day at first level.
The other class features are each straightforward, interesting and scale very well with level. At first blush they certainly appear to be very very powerful, but this is why the class is available only from level 10 onward, a point at which most melee characters need an edge to stay strong, and this certainly provides. A well made well optimized Viewtiful hero can deal devastating amounts of damage, zipping around the battlefield and altering time nearly at will without becoming completly impossible to defeat.
The entire class is written in a catchy exciting way very much in line with the style of the show but it's still always clear about what the abilities do and how. It lends a feeling very much in line with the original property while converting it all to a fun and punchy 5 level prestige class.
Overall I'd say this class does a lot to hold true to the ideas presented in the original medium, while at the same time making a fascinating conversion to a d20 system. This class is highly recommend not only for fans of Viewtiful Joe, but for anyone looking for an exciting time/speed based fighting character with a flashy transformation power.