... Feat of Magic Tuesday, May 10, 2011Due to hit subscribers and store shelves in just a few days, we are continuing our look into Ultimate Magic. This week we are diving into the feats chapter, with a bonus look at spells. ... At 20 pages long, the feats chapter is by no means huge, but it does feature a little something for just about every spellcaster in the game, with a few options for nonspellcasters thrown in for good measure. While a number of these feats are here to complement one of...
Feat of Magic
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Due to hit subscribers and store shelves in just a few days, we are continuing our look into Ultimate Magic. This week we are diving into the feats chapter, with a bonus look at spells.
At 20 pages long, the feats chapter is by no means huge, but it does feature a little something for just about every spellcaster in the game, with a few options for nonspellcasters thrown in for good measure. While a number of these feats are here to complement one of the new archetypes, some fill out some holes left by the APG. For example, Extra Evolution gives the summoner more points to use when building his eidolon. Looking through the feat lists, though, I am drawn to the feats that allow characters to explore the game in new and interesting ways. Take a look at this one.
You are descended from a long line of sorcerers, and some portion of their power flows in your veins. Prerequisites: Cha 13, Skill Focus with the class skill of bloodline selected for this feat (see below), character level 3rd. Benefit: Select one sorcerer bloodline. You must have Skill focus in the class skill that bloodline grants to a sorcerer at 1st level (for example, Heal for the celestial bloodline). This bloodline cannot be a bloodline you already have. You gain the first-level bloodline power for the selected bloodline. For purposes of using that power, treat your sorcerer level as equal to your character level – 2, even if you have levels in sorcerer. You do not gain any of the other bloodline abilities.
Bloodlines—they're not just for sorcerers anymore.
Moving on, this book has a number of metamagic feats, as well, for every spellcaster to play with. While a number of these add effects to spells that deal a specific kind of energy damage, my personal favorite (due to some recent frustrating encounters) has to be this one.
Piercing Spell (Metamagic)
Your studies have helped you develop methods to overcome spell resistance. Benefit: When you cast a piercing spell against a target with spell resistance, it treats the spell resistance of the target as 5 lower than its actual SR. A piercing spell uses up a spell slot one level higher than the spell's actual level.
Not surprisingly, this book also includes a sizable number of new spells for every spellcaster in the game. There are new symbol spells, new spells for the polymorph subschool (undead anatomy has been long awaited), and plenty of unique spells for some of the newer spellcasting classes (like witch and inquisitor). In addition, there are a lot spells designed specifically to add a bit of interesting flavor to the spellcaster's arsenal. Looking to flesh out your evil bard? Take a look at this spell.
Illustration by Tyler Walpole
Haunting Choir School necromancy [mind-affecting, pain]; Level bard 3 Casting Time 1 standard action Components V, S Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels) Area 30-ft.-radius emanation Duration concentration + 2 rounds Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes
You create a spectral choir and conduct its tortured, ghostly moans, deluding listeners into believing they are suffering the torments of the dead. The transparent singers occupy a 10-foot cube, but they are intangible and do not interfere with creatures in any physical way, nor can they be attacked. Creatures within 30 feet of the choir experience wracking pain that causes them to take a –2 penalty on attack rolls, skill checks, and ability checks. Individuals who exit the area of effect take these penalties for an additional 2 rounds before the delusion wears off.
I was about to wrap up the blog right there, but then I remember seeing this spell. I will end with this festive magic. Next week, we will wrap up our previews with one last look at the words of power alternative spellcasting system. Enjoy.
Snapdragon Fireworks School transmutation [fire, light]; Level bard 2, sorcerer/wizard 1 Casting Time 1 standard action Components S, V, M (a bundle of sulfur wrapped in cloth) Range long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level) Effect dragon-shaped fireworks Duration 1 round/level Saving Throw Reflex negates; Spell Resistance yes
A favorite display at halfling midsummer festivals, this spell lets you create fireworks in the shape of tiny dragons. Once per round, as a move action, you may designate a target 5-foot-square within range and launch a pyrotechnic in that direction. The pyrotechnic takes a zigzag path from you to that square, always missing creatures and objects in its path, and detonates in that square with a bang and a colorful burst of fire and light. Creatures in the target square take 1d4 points of fire damage and are dazzled for 1 round (Reflex half, a successful save negates the dazzled condition). Normally when this spell is used as part of a festival, the chosen target is high in the sky to increase visibility and protect observers.
Stop flyting, you two! Friday, March 18, 2011 ... As you may recall, last month Pathfinder fiction author Kevin Andrew Murphy temporarily lost his mind and wrote us a full heroic crown of sonnets featuring 15 of our iconic characters, then sent it to us as a Valentine's Day present. We posted it on the blog, and folks seemed to enjoy it. Perhaps too much. ... Never one to back away from a challenge, Kevin has now written another poem dealing with the Pathfinder iconics and posted it on the...
Stop flyting, you two!
Friday, March 18, 2011
As you may recall, last month Pathfinder fiction author Kevin Andrew Murphy temporarily lost his mind and wrote us a full heroic crown of sonnets featuring 15 of our iconic characters, then sent it to us as a Valentine's Day present. We posted it on the blog, and folks seemed to enjoy it. Perhaps too much.
Never one to back away from a challenge, Kevin has now written another poem dealing with the Pathfinder iconics and posted it on the messageboards, this time in honor of St. Patrick's Day. The poem—made up of linked limericks—is of a tradition known as "flyting," a very old practice in which two parties exchange over-the-top and often lewd insults in verse. (Think of it as a medieval rap battle.) In this case, the two competitors are Alain and Lem—apparently, nobody told the cavalier that it's unwise to take on a bard in an insult contest.
While things get a bit bawdier than we can post on the blog, those who don't mind a little crudity in their poetry may want to head over to the thread and read it for themselves. Having such a thriving fan fiction community is always fun and flattering, but this... well, this is definitely a new sort of animal!
Kudos to Kevin, and let us all hope they continue to offer internet access in his padded cell....
... Manipulating Terrain Tuesday, March 15, 2011For the last installment of the Design Tuesday blog on terrain, we are going to look at a relatively new type of terrain—terrain that you can actively manipulate. This kind of terrain can grant a creature a variety of effects, from an attack, to cover, to a special or enhanced mode of movement. ... Some of the examples of this type of terrain will look familiar. Much of it can already be found within existing encounters. Where this is the...
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
For the last installment of the Design Tuesday blog on terrain, we are going to look at a relatively new type of terrain—terrain that you can actively manipulate. This kind of terrain can grant a creature a variety of effects, from an attack, to cover, to a special or enhanced mode of movement.
Some of the examples of this type of terrain will look familiar. Much of it can already be found within existing encounters. Where this is the case, it is up to you, the GM, to decide whether or not you wish to allow the special terrain effects described below.
Other samples of this type of terrain are new. Some, like the blink crystal, grant magical effects, and can add a sense of mystery and danger, as well as the possibility for strange tactics on the part of the PCs and their opponents.
Like the hazardous terrain presented last week, these new terrain types straddle the line between terrain and new dangers. Based on how much of this terrain you plan to use, you may want to consider adjusting the CR of encounters that use these more active forms of terrain, especially if their use grants one side of the combat more advantage than their foes.
Alchemical Devices: This terrain is actually a broad class of similarly acting terrains. They can be as simple as a workbench cluttered with beakers filled with roiling concoctions, or as complex as a distiller or even stranger alchemical machines. Manipulating such devices requires a standard action and any number of skill checks. Toppling a table requires a Strength check. Making a distiller shoot a gout of highly-pressurized alchemical gas may require a Disable Device check, a Craft (alchemy) check, or even a Strength check, if the PCs are using a strategic application of brute force. Interacting with more complex machinery usually requires a Disable Device check, though a higher DC Craft (alchemy) or Knowledge (arcana) check may do in a pinch.
Whatever the type of alchemical device, the basic rules for its manipulation are as follows. A successful check made as a standard action creates a 15-foot cone (or alternatively a 20-foot line) of damaging energy, controlled by the creature that successfully manipulated the device. It deals damage to creatures within the area of effect. A Reflex or a Fortitude DC halves the damage. Often alchemical devices create an area of acid, but the destructive energy could be cold, electrical, fire, or in rare cases even sonic or force damage, depending on the nature of the device.
To add more flavor and danger to specific alchemical devices, you can layer on additional conditions and effects. You could add bleed damage (which works well for acid or even fire damage devices), have creatures knocked prone on a failed saving throw (for sonic or force damage devices), or have a failed saving throw entangle creatures for 1d4 rounds (for cold damage devices) or even daze creatures for 1 round (for electrical damage devices).
The following are some suggestions for baseline effects of alchemical devices based on the base CR of the encounter.
Simple Alchemical Device (CR 1–5): Activating—DC 14 check; Effect—DC 12 Reflex saving throw for 2d6 acid, fire, or electrical damage, or a DC 12 Fortitude saving throw if the device deals cold, sonic, or force damage.
Complicated Alchemical Device (CR 6–10): Activating—DC 17 check; Effect—DC 15 Reflex saving throw for 3d6 acid, fire, or electrical damage, or a DC 15 Fortitude saving throw if the device deals cold, sonic, or force damage.
Advanced Alchemical Device (CR 11–15): Activating—DC 22 check; Effect—DC 20 Reflex saving throw for 4d6 acid, fire, or electrical damage, or a DC 20 Fortitude saving throw if the device deals cold, sonic, or force damage.
Magic-Infused Alchemical Device (CR 16+): Activating—DC 27 check; Effect—DC 25 Reflex saving throw for 4d6 acid, fire, or electrical damage, or a DC 25 Fortitude saving throw if the device deals cold, sonic, or force damage.
Blink Crystal: These strange, cloudy-white crystals glow with a faint purplish radiance. Typically blink crystals are the size of large gemstones, and they are always set in a statue or some similar large and immobile casing. If a blink crystal is removed from its casing, it loses its magic and becomes nothing more than a large piece of common quartz (worth 10 gp). A creature adjacent to a blink crystal can touch it as a free action, which causes the creature to teleport up to 20 feet to an unoccupied space on stable ground within line of sight. Touching a blink crystal as a swift action along with a successful DC 20 Spellcraft or Use Magical Device check can increase the range of the teleport to 40 feet. Failing this check allows the creature to teleport 20 feet.
Bubbling Caldron: A size Large bubbling caldron can be tipped over with a DC 15 Strength check made as a standard action. Doing so releases a 30-foot cone of boiling liquid from the caldron in the direction of the creature’s choosing, and deals 2d6 fire damage to all creatures within the cone’s area. A successful DC 12 Reflex saving throw halves the damage.
The liquid makes the area of the cone slippery (Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook 412) until it dries or dissipates. The cone of liquid affects creatures on the ground only. Flying or levitating creatures can avoid the liquid and its damaging effect.
Chandelier: Successfully leaping onto a chandelier allows a creature to hang from it and use its momentum to increase the power of a jump before the end of the leaping creature’s next turn. A creature is flat-footed while it hangs or balances on chandelier.
Using the momentum of the chandelier grants the leaping creature a +5 circumstance bonus on Acrobatic checks made to jump off the chandelier, and the jump is considered to have a running start for purposes of determining the DC of the check.
Chandeliers have size categories like creatures do. They are typically size Small or larger. A chandelier can easily support a single creature of its own size or smaller.
A creature larger than the chandelier’s size (or two creatures of the same size or smaller than the chandelier) can attempt to hang on it or use it to gain the bonus on Acrobatics checks made to jump, but at the end of the creature’s turn (or the second creature’s turn, if two creatures are using the chandelier for the same effect), the chandelier breaks free from its supports and both the chandelier and any creatures hanging from it fall to the ground. If either a creature two or more size categories larger than the chandelier or three smaller creatures leap on to the chandelier, the chandelier and those hanging on it fall immediately. Creatures take normal damage from the fall plus an additional 1d10 damage from the falling chandelier. At the GM’s discretion, extremely large or heavy chandeliers or chandeliers with sharp protrusions or other dangers can deal additional damage upon a fall.
Furniture: From flipping over a table to using a gong as makeshift shield, a movable piece of furniture can be manipulated to create partial cover for a short period of time. A creature that is adjacent to the piece of movable furniture can attempt a Strength check as a move-equivalent action to gain cover from the item until the start of its next turn.
The DC of the Strength check depends on the size of the furniture. The base is DC 10 for size Small furniture, and the DC increases by 5 for each size category over Small (moving a Medium piece of furniture is DC 15, moving a Large piece of furniture is DC 20, and so on). A creature cannot attempt this manipulation if it is two or more size categories smaller than the piece of movable furniture it wants to manipulate.
Rug: A creature can spend a standard action to attempt to pull a rug out from under creatures standing atop the rug. This requires a DC 15 or higher Strength check, depending on the size of the rug. If successful, each creature standing atop the rug (some of its space must be on atop the rug) must succeed on a DC 12 Reflex saving throw or fall prone. Creatures that cannot be tripped are immune to this effect. Rugs that are larger than a 4-square area require higher Strength checks. The DC increases by 2 for every additional 2 squares of rug area beyond 4 squares.
Iconic Love Monday, February 14, 2011For some of us, Valentine's Day is just another day. We go to work, come home, maybe hang out with our significant others a bit or send the kids off to the sitter for a rare night out. For other people, however, Valentine's Day carries more significance, and flat-out demands acknowledgement. They see it as an excuse to truly cut loose, to go all-out with the romance and treat it like a real holiday. ... And then, apparently, there's a third type of person:...
Monday, February 14, 2011
For some of us, Valentine's Day is just another day. We go to work, come home, maybe hang out with our significant others a bit or send the kids off to the sitter for a rare night out. For other people, however, Valentine's Day carries more significance, and flat-out demands acknowledgement. They see it as an excuse to truly cut loose, to go all-out with the romance and treat it like a real holiday.
And then, apparently, there's a third type of person: the type for whom Valentine's Day means a chance to go totally insane. Such appears to be the case with Pathfinder Tales author Kevin Andrew Murphy. How else can you explain the fact that he chose the occasion to, without any prompting or warning, write us an entire heroic crown of sonnets immortalizing the iconic characters' backgrounds in prose. (For those of you who've forgotten your 400-level literature classes, a "heroic crown of sonnets" is a specialized form of poetry in which you have 14 sonnets, each linked by their first and last lines, plus a fifteenth which is made up exclusively of the previous sonnets' linking lines, in order. Needless to say, it's incredibly difficult to do well.)
I'd say more, but I'm still processing the whole thing, so I think it's better to just post the sonnets in their entirety. Happy Valentine's Day!
The Fifteen Loves of Golarion
A Heroic Crown of Sonnets for Valentine's Day 2011
by Kevin Andrew Murphy
1. Alain, the Cavalier, "For Love of Glory" I am the one who lives to tell the tale.
The victor is the braggart of his fame,
The first to know the glory of his name
But not the last. The bards now all regale
The common folk with ballads of my deeds,
The battles won by force of my prowess,
The ransomed kings who've bowed to my duress,
And Donahan, the noblest of steeds.
Sometimes I think he is my only friend.
The men I ride with? Those I can replace.
The maids I bed? Each just a pretty face.
Yet Donahan is mine till journey's end.
If he falls first, then part of me is dead.
I've said the words that needed to be said.
2. Alahazra, the Oracle, "For Love of Truth" I've said the words that needed to be said,
For Truth is blind, and I am blind in truth.
My clouded eyes see little but forsooth
My inner eye sees clearly. I have read
The fates of men with but the barest glance.
I know the future as I know the past,
Which seeds will sprout and which of them will last,
For Destiny leaves nothing up to Chance.
It was not Chance that burned me with its fire.
The simoom's breath is but the Wind of Fate
That claimed me with its Flame. I now relate
The Fate of Love, if that is your desire:
All present loves become in days ahead
Mementos kept in memory of the dead.
3. Seelah, the Paladin, "For Love of Those Now Gone" Mementos kept in memory of the dead,
Reminders of what nothing can restore.
The wingéd helm that dead Acemi wore
Now hides my face and my unworthy head.
I feel its weight: part guilt, part gift, part theft.
Part love. She saw and yet forgave her thief,
The child who stole her helm. Ergo, my grief.
Acemi is still dead and I am left.
I have no words to say in my defense.
I know my deeds. I must have faith in grace
So now I wear her helm and take her place.
What Iomedae learned: Inheritance,
A gift of trust from those you must not fail
Now silent in the realm beyond the pale.
4. Harsk, the Ranger, "For Love of Solitude" Now silent in the realm beyond the pale,
My brother lies–and those who took his life.
I ended theirs with crossbow quarrel and knife.
The giants dead, now I alone prevail.
My kin who dwell below with bended backs
To toil at the forge or in the mines,
Or worshiping our gods at dwarven shrines,
Have my regard, and yet my brother's axe
Is all I bear away from whence I hail.
A hunter's life is love of solitude.
A Spartan camp, a pot of tea fresh-brewed
Will keep him more alert than mugs of ale.
My quarry's tracks are runes left for the sage.
I know the letters written on this page.
5. Ezren, the Wizard, "For Love of Scholarship" I know the letters written on this page,
My father charged with some impiety
Against our god, some awful blasphemy
Too dire for words, and nothing can assuage
The gossips' tongues, for rumor needs no proof.
And Abadar? The merchant god cares not
Who prospers or who fails nor what is bought.
The Golden One stays in his Vault, aloof.
I spent my youth to clear my father's name,
In quest to save the business that he built,
But in the end I only proved his guilt.
Now scholarship's the only love I claim.
Yet law for arcane law can be exchanged.
Old orders sometimes must be rearranged.
6. Sajan, the Monk, "For Love of a Sister" "Old orders sometimes must be rearranged."
So said the monks when taking twin from twin.
My sister Sajni's gone. I should begin
Describing how we came to be estranged.
We were conceived. Our lives were intertwined
Like threads of web and woof strung on a loom,
So were our limbs locked in our mother's womb.
Though born as two, we're more when we're combined.
We trained with temple swords and so time passed
Till at twelve years we each were sent away
And battle woes lost her to Jalmeray.
I left, deserting all I knew, my caste,
To seek my sister. Far too far I've ranged.
I've changed some facts which never should be changed.
7. Damiel, the Alchemist, "For Love of Change" I've changed some facts which never should be changed
And yet that is the goal of alchemy:
Quicksilver shifting, mutability.
The philosophic art just seems deranged
To those too dull to grasp aetheric heights
Or dream of fixing one's perfected form,
Not living with the dull and banal norm.
You reach out when the stars are in your sights,
Yet what you grasp may be the fulgent dark
For nightmares ride as well between the stars.
Like Shelyn's smile can hide Zon-Kuthon's scars,
The bright quicksilver sea conceals a shark,
And from the left the villain steps onstage
To let men feel the battle fury's rage.
8. Amiri, the Barbarian, "For Love of Oneself" To let men feel the battle fury's rage,
The Six Bears tribesmen donned the skins of bears
They'd taken from our totems in their lairs.
Each boy was sent to do it at an age.
We girls were told to sit inside and spin,
Awaiting a barbarian's return.
This never was a name that women earn.
I brought a she-bear's hide back to my kin.
The time came that a warband of my clan
All dared me to bring back a giant's blade.
When I returned, they mocked me as a maid.
The blood rage came. I slew them to a man.
That bastard blade I bear with me. Beware
To taste the kiss of malice and despair.
9. Seltyiel, the Magus, "For Lack of Love" To taste the kiss of malice and despair,
One needn't know the touch of love or hope–
At very least, not of an equal scope–
And pain is seldom more than one can bear,
And when it is? Well, there is always death.
My mother died the moment I was born.
My sister's cries, those spared my life that morn.
I often think she should have saved her breath.
Sioria, oh how could you divine
The babe you saved would still be here alive
Or on a feast of wormwood one could thrive.
I'll kill your father once I first kill mine.
Foul Lairsaph was a fool to teach his spawn
To walk the road with weapons sheathed or drawn....
10. Valeros, the Fighter, "For Love of Adventure" To walk the road with weapons sheathed or drawn
Is how a sellsword passes most his days.
That much at least is truthful in bards' lays.
The rest? Well yes, there is a need for brawn–
The same goes for an ox that pulls a plow–
But when your sword-arm makes some villain yield,
That's better than some plowshare in a field.
At least it's more exciting anyhow.
One day I may retire to a farm,
Grow beans and beets or brew a bit of beer,
But now I love my freedom and I hear
A distant village sounding the alarm.
If there's adventure calling, I'll be gone
To greet the hope that rises with the dawn.
11. Kyra, the Cleric, "For Love of Hope" To greet the hope that rises with the dawn,
The Crown of Our Beloved Sarenrae
Who cast the Beast below to Asmodae,
Is how a priestess prays for I'm Her pawn.
Whate'er the Dawnflower wishes I will do.
When bandits burned my village and Her shrine,
That's when I saw the face of the divine.
Through streaming tears the sun shone and I knew
The Everlight had filled me with Her power
To heal the sick and ailing with Her light
And cleanse those past redemption of their blight
By scimitar, like Dawn's Eternal Flower.
One day I'll join my goddess in the air
To live a life of joy and forswear care.
12. Merisiel, the Rogue, "For Love of Freedom" To live a life of joy and forswear care
Is what I always felt the world should be.
See something that you like? Then take it. Free!
If you don't like your lot, then folk should share.
They call it thievery, who gives a fig?
My knives can teach their tongues to be polite,
And while some think I could be more contrite
It's not like they're not working the same gig.
This knife I got from some Azlanti queen.
This one? From Galt. Belonged to some coquette
And these? From Geb. But most I just forget.
I only care if I can keep them keen.
You make life up like some bard's folderol.
I sing the songs that rise up from my soul.
13. Seoni, the Sorcerer, "For Love of Magic" I sing the songs that rise up from my soul
And write the runes appearing in my dreams.
The ones I walk with talk about my "schemes,"
If schemes they are, or just an unknown goal.
I'd like to say I like just who I am,
Yet who can say just who they are? Not I.
Or what I am, or how I am, or why.
That statement just might be my epigram.
I only know when spells wish to be wrought,
The way they say that love pulls at the heart.
Just so I feel the call of arcane art.
It springs to mind like any other thought.
I'd work alone, but I lack that control
For love and friendship are what make one whole.
14. Lini, the Druid, "For Love of a True Companion" "For love and friendship are what make one whole."
So spake the norn who whispered in the wood.
She vanished but her fey advice is good
And with it I can talk to mouse or mole.
The purest love is love you get from beasts.
My friend Droogami taught me this is true.
It's something though that I already knew.
I never bought the nonsense from the priests
About the love of gods as the most pure.
Who can believe a love you never see?
My love is for the leopard next to me
And she for me and that's what shall endure.
She's great and strong where I am small and frail.
I am the one who lives to tell the tale.
15. Lem, the Bard, "For Love of Happy Endings" I am the one who lives to tell the tale.
I've said the words that needed to be said,
Mementos kept in memory of the dead
Now silent in the realm beyond the pale.
I know the letters written on this page.
Old orders sometimes must be rearranged.
I've changed some facts which never should be changed
To let men feel the battle fury's rage,
To taste the kiss of malice and despair,
To walk the road with weapons sheathed or drawn,
To greet the hope that rises with the dawn,
To live a life of joy and forswear care.
I sing the songs that rise up from my soul
For love and friendship are what make one whole.
... Illustration by Alex Aparin ... Short and Sweet? Tuesday, October 19th, 2010With Halflings of Golarion headed off to the printer, now seems like the perfect time to show off Alex Aparin’s awesome cover! F. Wesley Schneider ... Managing Editor ...
Illustration by Alex Aparin
Short and Sweet?
Tuesday, October 19th, 2010
With Halflings of Golarion headed off to the printer, now seems like the perfect time to show off Alex Aparin’s awesome cover!
... Illustration by Tyler Walpole ... Paizo Fight Song Tuesday, August 17, 2010If you know anything about me (and I'm not saying you should), you probably know that I'm Paizo's fiction editor as well as one of the developers. What you may not know is that, in addition to working on the campaign setting and making sure authors like Dave Gross are fed and walked regularly, I'm also a musician involved in various extracurricular bands and projects. Usually that doesn't affect my job at Paizo...
Illustration by Tyler Walpole
Paizo Fight Song
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
If you know anything about me (and I'm not saying you should), you probably know that I'm Paizo's fiction editor as well as one of the developers. What you may not know is that, in addition to working on the campaign setting and making sure authors like Dave Gross are fed and walked regularly, I'm also a musician involved in variousextracurricular bands and projects. Usually that doesn't affect my job at Paizo much, save for that one time when Jacobs and I, in the first and only performance of Operation Banjo Thug, ambushed Wes with some impromptu talkin' blues. (An experience from which he's never entirely recovered and which, without witnesses, he can't verify as having actually happened.)
A while back, however, Jacobs and I were sitting around after work talking about what a Paizo theme song would sound like. We decided that it would really need to have two distinct elements: a big industrial section like Nine Inch Nails' "Just Like You Imagined" (300 had just come out), and a classic, Conan-style orchestral piece. And of course, no soundtrack would be complete without an homage to The Omen's big choral theme, which we in the office will forever refer to as "Sawhorse Middle School," for reasons I won't go into here.
The idea never quite left my head, and a few months ago I sat down on a Saturday and decided to do something about it. The resulting track was received with much hilarity at the office—which was really what I was going for—and people ended up liking it so much that they voted to use it as the theme song for Paizo at the ENnies this year.
While it's hard not to be proud of the awards we won—Best Publisher? Best Game? It literally does not get better than that—in my secret heart, my favorite part of Gen Con this year was hearing the fight song blasted over the PA every time someone from Paizo went up to accept an award.
Now that we're home, it occurs to me: why stop there? Hopefully some of you reading this blog would be equally amused by the track. As such, I give you my attempt at a Paizo fight song, "Pathfinder Est Domine."
... Meet the Castaways! Monday, July 12, 2010With the first adventure in the Serpent's Skull Adventure Path, the PCs are shipwrecked on the notorious island of Smuggler's Shiv. But fortunately for the fragile 1st-level characters, they won't be alone against cannibals in the jungle, ghosts in the surf, dimorphodons in the sky, eurypterids in the tide pools, and mysterious bat-winged night monsters. Because they aren't the only ones lucky enough to be stranded on Smuggler's Shiv. ... Presented...
Meet the Castaways!
Monday, July 12, 2010
With the first adventure in the Serpent's Skull Adventure Path, the PCs are shipwrecked on the notorious island of Smuggler's Shiv. But fortunately for the fragile 1st-level characters, they won't be alone against cannibals in the jungle, ghosts in the surf, dimorphodons in the sky, eurypterids in the tide pools, and mysterious bat-winged night monsters. Because they aren't the only ones lucky enough to be stranded on Smuggler's Shiv.
Presented here are five other castaways whom the players will be getting to know quite well during the course of their stay on Smuggler's Shiv. A couple of you out there will probably recognize these characters, since they're the ones I had you play at PaizoCon during the Serpent's Skull preview game I ran. In the actual adventure, though, these five are NPCs, complete with their own secrets and emotional baggage and talents. Keeping these NPCs from killing each other and working together to survive is a key part of the adventure—and each has a fun little boon to grant the PCs if they become good friends. These five will continue to play roles in the campaign as the Adventure Path unfolds, and how the PCs interact with Aerys, Gelik, Ishirou, Jask, and Sasha can ultimately mean the difference between success or failure!
... The NPC Guide: The Babies Are Back! Friday, April 2, 2010Cave raptors are sated and have finally released me from their grim, stony world—it's time to blog! ... Back when I served as a lowly intern, a weary and overworked Sean K Reynolds offered me my very first Paizo gig. The encroaching Pathfinder Chronicles: NPC Guide would need dozens of generic stat blocks if GMs were to treasure it above even their own families. A not-insignificant portion of my sanity died off as I stared...
The NPC Guide: The Babies Are Back!
Friday, April 2, 2010
Cave raptors are sated and have finally released me from their grim, stony world—it's time to blog!
Back when I served as a lowly intern, a weary and overworked Sean K Reynolds offered me my very first Paizo gig. The encroaching Pathfinder Chronicles: NPC Guide
would need dozens of generic stat blocks if GMs were to treasure it above even their own families. A not-insignificant portion of my sanity died off as I stared into the abyss of an estimated twelve billion 1st- to 5th-level nonplayer characters, but ultimately the turnover made its way back to Sean and his shiny, shiny knife.
In any creative industry, there's a phrase that goes something like, "Your babies will get cut first." Meaning that in any creative project, your favorite elements or that extra something special you really loved creating will probably end up on the cutting room floor. The NPC Guide was no exception, and several of my favorite characters ended up cold and lifeless at Sean's feet. But now, through the miracle of the Internet, I have the power to bring them back!
So behold these glorious characters, free of charge! Behold the glory that is the Internet!
Er... I mean, check out these sweet NPCs, coming straight to you as a super-sized web enhancement for the NPC Guide. This first installment of five is only the beginning; we'll toss up more batches from time to time, so stay tuned.
ALKENSTAR: GUNMARSHAL CR 3 Hero or villain, the Gunmarshal stands as a proud icon of Alkenstar's victory over the chaotic Mana Wastes. Even gunslinging rogues and bandits are influenced by honor and tradition afforded by that pride.
XP 800 Dwarf fighter 4
N Medium humanoid (dwarf)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft; Perception +6
DEFENSE AC 16, touch 13, flat-footed 13 (+3 armor, +3 Dex) (+4 dodge vs. giants)
hp 22 (4d10)
Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +3; +2 vs. poison, spells, and spell-like abilities; +1 vs. fear
Defensive Abilities bravery +1
OFFENSE Speed 20 ft.
Melee short sword +5 (1d6+1/19–20)
Ranged revolver +8 (1d6) or Rapid Shot +6/+6 (1d6)
Special Attacks +1 on attack rolls against goblinoid and orc humanoids
STATISTICS Str 12, Dex 16, Con 10, Int 14, Wis 15, Cha 8
Base Atk +4; CMB +5; CMD 18 (22 vs. bull rush or trip)
Feats Exotic Weapon Proficiency (firearms), Gunslinger (see below), Point-Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Weapon Focus (revolver)
Skills Acrobatics +5, Craft (guns) +9, Intimidate +6, Knowledge (engineering) +7, Perception +6 (+8 unusual stonework), Survival +8
Languages Common, Dwarven, Kelish, Osiriani
SQ armor training +1, stonecunning
Gear studded leather, revolver, short sword, gun cleaning kit, cigars (3), smokestick, tindertwigs (3)
SPECIAL ABILITIES Gunslinger (Ex) This character does not provoke attacks of opportunity when attacking with firearms. See page 59 of the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting.
BELKZEN: THUNDERING CHOIR MUSICIAN CR 1 Though feared for their swords and the mad gleam in their eyes, the one memory that forever haunts those who've warred against the orcs are the drums. Carried for miles across hills and rocky plains, the ominous drumbeats of orc thundering choir musicians weigh on the minds of men like the heartbeats of tireless predators, never stopping, never slowing. The thundering choir musicians are fierce warriors, but the rhythm of their drumbeats and chants is their foulest weapon, whipping other orcs into murderous frenzies and inspiring terror in the hearts of even the bravest men.
XP 400 Orc bard 2
CE Medium humanoid (orc)
Init +0; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception –2
DEFENSE AC 13, touch 10, flat-footed 13 (+3 armor)
hp 13 (2d8+4)
Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +1
Weaknesses light sensitivity
OFFENSE Speed 30 ft.
Melee longsword +4 (1d8+3/19–20)
Ranged masterwork sling +2 (1d4+3)
Special Attacks bardic performance (13 rounds/day, standard action), countersong, distraction, fascinate, inspire courage +1
Spells Known (CL 2nd; concentration +3)
1st (3/day)—cause fear (DC 12), cure light wounds, remove fear 0 (at will)—dancing lights, daze (DC 11), message, resistance, summon instrument STATISTICS Str 17, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 6, Cha 13
Base Atk +1; CMB +4; CMD 14
Feats Extra Performance
Skills Appraise +5, Craft (leather) +5, Intimidate +6, Knowledge (geography) +6, Knowledge (history) +6, Knowledge (local) +6, Knowledge (nobility) +0, Perform (Percussion) +6
Languages Common, Orc
SQ bardic knowledge +1, versatile performance (percussion), well-versed
Combat Gear thunderstones (4); Other Gear studded leather, longsword, masterwork sling, bullets (20), lucky human foot, masterwork drums
DRUMA: KALISTRADE PROPHET CR 1 By achieving wealth, the Prophets of Kalistrade prove themselves more righteous than those around them. They travel to discover converts and new business opportunities, furthering their enlightenment. Part entrepreneur, part cultist, they open doors and pull strings for those they consider friends, or financially hinder their detractors.
XP 400 Human expert 3
LN Medium humanoid (human)
Init +0; Senses Perception +2
DEFENSE AC 11, touch 10, flat-footed 11 (+1 armor)
hp 10 (3d8–3)
Fort +0, Ref +1, Will +5
OFFENSE Speed 30 ft.
Melee quarterstaff +2 (1d6)
Ranged light crossbow +2 (1d8/19–20)
STATISTICS Str 10, Dex 11, Con 9, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 8
Base Atk +2; CMB +2; CMD 12
Feats Persuasive, Skill Focus (Knowledge [religion]), Profits of Kalistrade (see below)
Skills Appraise +7, Bluff +1, Craft (jewelry) +6, Diplomacy +6, Intimidate +7, Knowledge (geography) +5, Knowledge (history) +6, Knowledge (local) +2, Knowledge (nobility) +3, Knowledge (religion) +5, Linguistics +5, Perform (Oratory) +0, Profession (merchant) +7, Ride +1, Sense Motive +8
Languages Common, Dwarven, Elven, Kelish
Other Gear padded armor, light crossbow, quarterstaff, copy of The Prophecies of Kalistrade, mercenary contracts
SPECIAL ABILITIES Feats The Kalistrade prophet has the Profits of Kalistrade feat, which grants him a "resource pool" of 300 gp, allowing him to obtain goods of this value even in settlements too small to have something that expensive. See page 73 of the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting.
FIVE KINGS MOUNTAINS: DWARVEN TRADITIONALIST CR 2 In the eyes of some dwarves, the civilizations of the surface world slowly erode dwarven culture and values, tearing away at their heritage like the rain wears away great stone monuments. Elves bear inefficient frippery, while humans buck the social order, and the less said about halflings and gnomes the better. These traditionalist, xenophobic members of dwarf society would love nothing more than complete isolation from other cultures, and perhaps even to return to the depths of the Darklands. While this usually amounts to little more than talk, the numbers of these radical conservatives swell on occasion into dangerous political groups and gangs.
XP 600 Dwarf expert 2/warrior 2
LN Medium humanoid (dwarf)
Init –1; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +3
DEFENSE AC 18, touch 9, flat-footed 18 (+7 armor, –1 Dex, +2 shield) (+4 dodge vs. giants)
hp 30 (4 HD; 2d8+2d10+10)
Fort +5, Ref –1, Will +4; +2 vs. poison, spells, and spell-like abilities
OFFENSE Speed 20 ft.
Melee masterwork dwarven waraxe +5 (1d10+1/×3)
Ranged light hammer +2 (1d4+1)
Special Attacks +1 on attack rolls against goblinoid and orc humanoids
STATISTICS Str 13, Dex 8, Con 14, Int 11, Wis 12, Cha 8
Base Atk +3; CMB +4; CMD 13 (17 vs. bull rush and trip)
Feats Alertness, Power Attack
Skills Craft (armor) +7, Knowledge (engineering) +3, Knowledge (history) +3, Perception +0 (+2 unusual stonework), Profession (blacksmith) +8, Sense Motive +5
Languages Common, Dwarven
Combat Gear caltrops (3), potion of bull's strength; Other Gear masterwork banded mail, masterwork heavy steel shield, masterwork dwarven waraxe, light hammer (2), genealogy books, masterwork artisan's tools
GEB: BLOOD LORD INITIATE CR 2 The practical seat of power within Geb rests with the Blood Lords. Administrators and necromancers both, any family of repute attempts to position their members within its ranks. The most fortunate embrace undeath, gaining immortality as vampires, ghouls, or other intelligent undead.
XP 600 Ghoul necromancer 2
NE Medium undead
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +5
DEFENSE AC 14, touch 12, flat-footed 12 (+2 Dex, +2 natural)
hp 24 (4 HD; 2d8+2d6+8)
Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +7
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +2, undead traits
OFFENSE Speed 30 ft.
Melee bite +3 (1d6+1 plus disease and paralysis) and 2 claws +3 (1d6+1 plus paralysis)
Rangedray of frost +4 (1d3)
Special Attacks channel negative energy (DC 15, 6/day), grave touch (1 round, 6/day), paralysis
Spells Prepared (CL 2nd; concentration +4)
1st—cause fear (DC 14), shield, reduce person (DC 14), ray of enfeeblement (DC 14)
0 (at will)—arcane mark, bleed (DC 13), detect magic, ray of frost, read magic Prohibited Schools illusion, conjuration
STATISTICS Str 12, Dex 15, Con —, Int 17, Wis 11, Cha 14
Base Atk +2; CMB +3; CMD 15
Feats Command Undead, Improved Channel, Scribe Scroll, Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +4, Climb +6, Knowledge (arcana) +10, Knowledge (history) +8, Knowledge (planes) +8, Linguistics +9, Perception +5, Profession (politician) +6, Spellcraft +10, Stealth +7
Languages Aklo, Common, Draconic, Infernal, Kelish, Osiriani, Vudrani
SQ arcane bond (amulet)
Combat Gearscroll of mage armor, wand of true strike (15 charges); Other Gear acolyte robes, government seal, spellbook
... Let Me Tell You about My Character... Monday, March 29, 2010It seems like I’m the guy who usually ends up running the game, so when Sean announced that he was going to run a high-level campaign where all the PCs would be demon-worshiping drow nobles, I jumped at the chance to play. After all, high-level play, demons, and drow are three of my favorite things! You got a first look into the mayhem of our first session last week when Sean showed off his creepy black light, but today I’m going...
Let Me Tell You about My Character...
Monday, March 29, 2010
It seems like I’m the guy who usually ends up running the game, so when Sean announced that he was going to run a high-level campaign where all the PCs would be demon-worshiping drow nobles, I jumped at the chance to play. After all, high-level play, demons, and drow are three of my favorite things! You got a first look into the mayhem of our first session last week when Sean showed off his creepy black light, but today I’m going to tell you about my character. Like it or not!
Photography by James Jacobs
Alivorah Azrinae (CE female drow noble bard 7/demoniac 6) is something of a troublemaker, even in drow society. She's gotten in hot water with the Azrinaes many times in the past for cavorting and fraternizing with other houses—she thinks of herself as a spy, and loves learning secrets about other people and organizations. Her main problem is that she doesn't follow orders well and doesn't like divulging secrets without learning a secret in return—a trait that makes her not very helpful as a spy to anyone but herself. As a demoniac, she bears the mark of Abraxas on her right shoulder as a pale tattoo-like marking. Currently, she's a bit agonized by the fact that she actually knew a few secrets about the attack on the Azrinae family—had she divulged them, she could have possibly saved her house from being exiled. Her main goal now is to see that the Azrinae family gets to return to Zirnakaynin in a greater position of power than before. And if she gets herself a promotion in the family to a position of greater power, all the better!
The attached picture features the miniature I’m using for Alivorah, standing next to her entry on the family tree chart that Sean provided us. The mini (which was painted for me by the always-awesome Stephen Radney-MacFarland, who’s mini-painting skills are SIGNIFICANT) is one I originally used for Jason’s campaign a year or so ago, but since Jason quit running that game, I saw this as a great opportunity to use my cool drow mini again, even though she doesn’t really match the type of gear Alivorah carries. Also, those with keen eyes will note that Alivorah is the sister of Rob McCreary’s character, and that Josh is playing her uncle and Crystal her aunt. Should make for some interesting dynamics around the table!
As for that bit about being a “demoniac,” well... that’s a prestige class I’m taking the opportunity to playtest during this campaign. Originally presented as the 5-level demonic initiate prestige class in Pathfinder Adventure Path #15, this class is being upgraded to a 10-level prestige class and renamed to “demoniac” (the noun definition of which is “a person seemingly possessed by a demon or evil spirit”—it’s not a prestige class for characters who make smart decisions regarding the well-being of their immortal soul). Full details on the demoniac prestige class will appear in the upcoming Lords of Chaos: Book of the Damned Volume 2.
And for those readers who don’t care about my new character (you’re dead to me!), here’s a quick preview of some of the content I’m working on for Lords of Chaos—the beginning of Abraxas’s entry in Chapter 1: The Abyss and its Lords! (Note! The following hasn’t even been through development yet—some elements are certain to change by the time it sees print later this year.)
Master of the Final Incantation
Male demon lord of magic and forbidden lore
Temple libraries, reliquaries, vaults
Worshipers drow, sorcerers
Minions mariliths, xacarbas (see Pathfinder Bestiary II), serpentine creatures
Sacrifice spellbooks, magic scrolls, those who reveal secrets
Obedience Self-flagellate with a small whip or tree branch, punctuating each stroke with utterances of mystic words of power. Gain a +4 profane bonus on saves against written magical effects, such as sepia snake sigil or symbol of death.
1: Secret Lore (Sp) Gain one of the following spell-like abilities: identify 3/day, augury 2/day, or illusory script 1/day
2: Heretical Revelation (Su) Up to three times a day you can whisper terrible secrets to an adjacent target as a standard action. The target can resist with a Will save (DC = 10 + 1/2 your HD + your Charisma modifier). If the target fails its save, it is stunned for 1 round, then confused for 1d4 rounds, and then nauseated for 2d6 rounds. This is a mind-affecting effect.
3: Penultimate Incantation (Sp) You affect a single creature within 60 feet with a targeted greater dispel magic. Each spell or effect dispelled inflicts fire damage to the target equal to the result of your caster level check made to dispel the magic.
... Illustration by Jon Hodgson ... From the Diary of Queen Merisiel Friday, February 26, 2010Although I can't quite yet show off the actual rules you'll be using in the Kingmaker Adventure Path quite yet, I can show you how they look in play. Presented below is an excerpt from Merisiel's diary as she oversees the foundation of a brand-new kingdom in the mysterious Stolen Lands. NOTE: Merisiel's probably not the best choice in this group for a nation's ruler, but sometimes that's just how...
Illustration by Jon Hodgson
From the Diary of Queen Merisiel
Friday, February 26, 2010
Although I can't quite yet show off the actual rules you'll be using in the Kingmaker Adventure Path quite yet, I can show you how they look in play. Presented below is an excerpt from Merisiel's diary as she oversees the foundation of a brand-new kingdom in the mysterious Stolen Lands. NOTE: Merisiel's probably not the best choice in this group for a nation's ruler, but sometimes that's just how politics work. As time permits, I'll post a few more diary entries to this blog's messageboard thread so we can all learn from Merisiel's triumphs and failures. Certainly there'll be more triumphs in her future, yes?
1 Pharast: So it looks like I'm in charge. Queen Merisiel. I like the sound of that. Although, as Seelah is so fond of pointing out, I'm technically a baroness until this new nation of mine grows large enough. I'm still gonna be calling myself queen in these pages. Seelah's gonna be the general of my armies (she volunteered!), and I put Lem in charge of keeping an eye on the citizens to make sure they're loyal as the spymaster. And of course Kyra's our high priest. All the other leadership roles, for now, go to some of the other locals we've allied with during the past several months of exploring the Greenbelt. We'll see how they work out, I suppose—none of them seem particularly talented, but hopefully they'll grow into their jobs? And if they don't, I can fire them. I'm the queen, after all. Anyway, we've managed to claim a pretty sizable area around this old ruined castle that bandit lord was using as a hideout. The ruins should work pretty well as a new castle, once it gets patched up. We've started clearing the area around the ruins to serve as a good place to build up a town. I'm thinking of calling it Owlbearton, after that bandit's pet owlbear that nearly bit off Lem's ear, but Seelah says that's a stupid name. I told her that if she comes up with something better we'll call it that, but so far all her ideas suck. Surprise, surprise. So for now, Owlbearton it is! We've even built some roads around the place! It's gonna be a city in no time! Especially now that I've got some deliciously heavy taxes coming into the treasury! Who woulda guessed that taxes could be something to be happy about? So far, those taxes more than paid for the roads and land clearing and stuff. Not the rebuilding of the castle, though. That's expensive, as it works out. And while Lem says that the locals are complaining that all I'm doing is lying around and taking it easy while they pay for my little project, and while Kyra says she only barely managed to talk a group of farmers out of marching up to the castle to tear it down and (their words) "git back what we done paid for from that spendthrift pointy-eared harlot!" I'm not worried. Once they see how excellent this castle looks when it's all done, they'll all forgive me. I'm sure of it!
... River Kingdoms of the Fellnight Queen Friday, January 29, 2010It's a busy week here at Paizo, and that means it's time for an art blog! So enjoy this sneak peek at some artwork from the upcoming Pathfinder Module Realm of the Fellnight Queen and Pathfinder Chronicles: Guide to the River Kingdoms! ... Illustration by Andrew Kim ... Illustration by Jorge MaeseIllustration by Andres Espara ... Sean K Reynolds ... Developer, Pathfinder Chronicles and Pathfinder Modules ...
Goblins Terrorize Bathhouse: Cunning Plan Revealed As Many Local Hunting Dogs Found Dead
... Illustration by Tyler Clark ... Goblins Terrorize Bathhouse: Cunning Plan Revealed As Many Local Hunting Dogs Found Dead Friday, December 11, 2009Earlier this year, fellow intern Matt and I were invited to begin playing in a Pathfinder RPG game run by local resident Crystal Frasier. We accepted, and Matt, Ross Byers (later to leave us for reasons involving Will saves and girl-cooties), and I began our quest to become... The Stuff of Legends. Deciding to make my life difficult, I made...
Illustration by Tyler Clark
Goblins Terrorize Bathhouse: Cunning Plan Revealed As Many Local Hunting Dogs Found Dead
Friday, December 11, 2009
Earlier this year, fellow intern Matt and I were invited to begin playing in a Pathfinder RPG game run by local resident Crystal Frasier. We accepted, and Matt, Ross Byers (later to leave us for reasons involving Will saves and girl-cooties), and I began our quest to become... The Stuff of Legends. Deciding to make my life difficult, I made Klar, the burly and buff bluffing bard, Matt rolled up Zirithanis the hobo druid and Destroyer-of-Worlds-Fetcher-of-Dreams-Maxwell, his longtime friend and goblin-hating murderous dog of war, while Ross Byers began his quest as the excessive sorcerer, Aurelis. Our team assembled, The Stuff of Legends' first dabble into adventuring follows.
Meeting with the mayor, we understood that we were to stop mysterious sabotage attempts on a hopeful resort town in the Varisian Gulf. Naturally, our business powwow was interrupted by screams: Goblins had invaded the bathhouse! Having studied Goblinoid languages in a Chelish Opera College, I tried to negotiate with them, but their crude language and dubious use of the honorifics "dog-lover" and "ugly-face," made communication difficult. While I eventually gained their trust, my inquiries into why they would invade a bathhouse were met with confusion over failed translations of the words "bath," "clean," "soap," and "hot water." They began to suspect that I wanted to cook them, eventually leading us to armed conflict.
After Maxwell the Dog dispatched two of the goblins (Aurelis proved his worth as an electric stove, cooking one with shocking grasp), we entered the bathhouse, only to be ambushed again! Two stirges and a goblin sniper were difficult foes, yet, with the ever-suspect "oh, are you still singing?" of bardsong, Maxwell destroyed all opposition. Afterward, finding the public bath infested with vipers, we left them for the town's pest control. When we later realized that was Zirithanis' job, we went back and he charmed them into a wicker basket and left them at the edge of town. When we later heard a picnicker was killed by vipers, we blamed Zirithanis.
However, being playtest time, an unexpected enemy followed us into town: the Goblin Oracle! She was one of the most feared enemies we have ever fought, especially since we lacked Aurelis's help (he was sleeping off breakfast in his 100-gp suite on the coast). Perhaps it was her big hat, or maybe the threat of goblin rash from her two mangy rat-dogs, or maybe her fury over the sacked child she took hostage that was greased out of her hands, but the strength of her unusually fearsome blows felled both Zirithanis and me at different points. Our leapfrog healing tactics took her by surprise, however, keeping us both in the fight. In the end, Maxwell the Dog killed her, jumping over a mountain, stopping a flood by barking, and then arriving home in time to snap her neck and take the glory for himself. Next: Maxwell Defeats Giant Wheeled Eidolon and Eats It.
... Snagged from the Vault: The Bastards of Erebus Friday, June 26, 2009The Preview Purloiners strike again! Featured here in a painting by Kevin Yan are Lem and Seelah, fending off a rabid undead dog and a fiendish tiefling in Pathfinder Adventure Path volume #25: The Bastards of Erebus. Who knew that flutes could be wielded as deadly weapons? ... Vadid and Nahk ... Preview Purloiners ... The city of Westcrown is dying. Since being stripped of its station as the capital of Cheliax, the...
"The city of Westcrown is dying. Since being stripped of its station as the capital of Cheliax, the wealth and prestige of the city has gradually slipped away, leaving the desperate people to fend for themselves in a city beset by criminals, a corrupt nobility, and a shadowy curse. Can the PCs fight back against champions of both the law and the criminal world?"
... Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Preview #7 Wednesday, June 24, 2009The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook is set to release on August 13th, 2009, and in anticipation, we are releasing a preview of the game each week until the game hits store shelves. This week, we are taking a look at Lem, the iconic bard. ... Lem ... Male halfling bard 8 ... CG Small humanoid (halfling) ... Init +4; Senses Perception +12 ... DEFENSE ... AC 21, touch 17, flat-footed 16 (+4 armor, +1 deflection, +4 Dex,...
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Preview #7
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook is set to release on August 13th, 2009, and in anticipation, we are releasing a preview of the game each week until the game hits store shelves. This week, we are taking a look at Lem, the iconic bard.
Male halfling bard 8
CG Small humanoid (halfling) Init +4; Senses Perception +12 DEFENSE AC 21, touch 17, flat-footed 16 (+4 armor, +1 deflection, +4 Dex, +1 dodge, +1 size) hp 55 (8d8+16) Fort +6, Ref +12, Will +7; +4 vs. bardic performance, sonic, and language dependent effects, +2 vs. fear OFFENSE Speed 20 ft. Melee+1 short sword +7/+2 (1d4–1/19–20) Ranged+1 thundering sling +12/+7 (1d3) Special Attacks bardic performance (28 rounds/day), countersong, distraction, dirge of doom, fascinate (DC 18), inspire competence +3, inspire courage +2, suggestion (DC 18) Spells Known (CL 8th):
3rd (3/day)—charm monster (DC 17), cure serious wounds, haste
2nd (5/day)—blur, glitterdust (DC 16), minor image (DC 16), sound burst (DC 16)
1st (5/day)—charm person (DC 15), cure light wounds, disguise self, hideous laughter (DC 15), lesser confusion (DC 15)
0 (at will)—detect magic, ghost sound (DC 14), know direction, light, read magic, summon instrument STATISTICS Str 8, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 18 Base Atk +6; CMB +4; CMD 20 Feats Combat Casting, Dodge, Extra Performance, Mobility Skills Acrobatics +17, Escape Artist +15, Knowledge (local) +16, Perception +12, Perform (comedy) +15, Perform (wind instruments) +19, Stealth +19, Use Magic Device +15 SQ bardic knowledge (+4), lore master (1/day), versatile performance (comedy, wind instruments), well-versed Languages Common, Elven, Halfling Combat Gearlesser metamagic rod of extend, wand of cure moderate wounds (CL 3rd, 50 charges); Other Gear+1 shortsword, +1 thundering sling, 20 sling bullets, +2 leather armor, belt of incredible dexterity +2, cloak of resistance +1, mwk flute, ring of protection +1, wind fan
So, a bard, a fighter, a rogue, a cleric, and a wizard walk into a dungeon. The fighter says, "If only someone could give me a bonus to hit and damage against those ogres." The rogue says, "If only someone could give me a bonus to my Disable Device checks to help me disarm this trap." The cleric says, "If only someone could counter the song of the harpy that is luring me to my doom." The wizard says, "If only someone could fascinate these orcs so that I could get away from them." Finally the bard says, "Sorry guys, but I am built using 3.5 and all out of bardic performance for the day. Who wants a ghost sound?"
Don't let this situation happen to you. The Pathfinder bard has a revised mechanic for his Bardic Performance, limiting him to a total number of rounds per day, meaning that he does not have to save his few uses for inspire courage. Bards start out with a number of rounds per day equal to 4 + their Charisma modifier and gain an additional 2 rounds per day for every level beyond first. Lem here also has the Extra Performance feat which grants him an additional 6 rounds per day.
The beta version of the bard also had two paths for his bardic performance, allowing him to gain different abilities depending upon the type of Perform skill he possessed. While it was fun to come up with new abilities, the split caused many to worry that for a bard to reach his full potential, he would have to invest twice the number of ranks into Perform. In the final game, we solidified it back into one progression, but kept many of the new abilities, such as Dirge of Doom that causes all foes within 30 feet to become shaken as long as the bard continues his performance. In addition, the progression for some of the other performance types has been enhanced. Inspire courage increases to +2 at 5th level and continues to increase by +1 for every 6 levels after 5th. Inspire competence also increases by +1 for every 4 levels after 3rd.
We have also made starting and maintaining a bardic performance a bit easier. At 1st level, starting a bardic performance is a standard action, but this changes to a move action at 7th level and a swift action at 13th. Regardless of the action needed to start a performance, maintaining a performance is a free action, meaning that the bard can keep up a performance and still cast spells, move, and make attacks.
Moving on from bardic performance, the bard has received a number of other upgrades as well. Bards no longer have any alignment restrictions and they have d8 hit dice. Their spell progression has been enhanced a bit to remove the "0" listings from their chart, meaning that they get a spell without having to have a Charisma high enough to grant a bonus spell of that level. Bardic Knowledge now grants a bonus to all Knowledge skills equal to 1/2 the bard's level (minimum +1) and allows the bard to make any Knowledge skill check without having ranks in it. Well-versed grants a flat +4 bonus on saves against other bardic performances, as well as sonic and language-based spell effects. Lore master is granted at 5th level and it allows the bard to take 10 on any Knowledge skill check. In addition, once per day he can take 20 on a Knowledge skill check. As he gains levels, he can use this secondary ability multiple times per day as well.
One other class feature was added to the bard that allows him to really maximize his skill points. During the playtest there were a number of concerns about the Perform skill, being that it was required to gain access to specific bardic performance abilities but did little else beyond the roleplaying uses. To solve this we introduced a new bard class feature called versatile performance. This ability is gained at 2nd level and it allows the bard to substitute his Perform bonus for the bonus of two other skills, depending on the type of Perform. For example, Lem has versatile performance for both comedy and wind instruments. This allows him to substitute his bonus in Perform (comedy) for his bonus Bluff and Intimidate. It also allows him to substitute his bonus in Perform (wind instruments) for his bonus in Diplomacy and Handle Animal. With this ability he can use these skills even if he would normally have to be trained. As he gains levels, Lem can add new types of Perform to his list, allowing him to make even more substitutions (such as Perform [dance] for Acrobatics and Fly).
There have been a few changes to the spells on Lem's list as well. Glitterdust, for example, now allows a save each round to negate the blindness (although the creatures affected by it still remain visible for the duration). Hideous laughter now grants an additional save after the first round of laughing to negate the effect. If this second save fails, the target laughs for the entire duration, which remains 1 round per level. Lesser confusion, and by extension, confusion, have been simplified a bit to make them easier to adjudicate. Both of these spells cause the subject to gain the confused condition, which causes them to roll d% each round to determine their actions on the following table.
01–25 Act Normally
26–50 Do nothing but babble incoherently
51–75 Deal 1d8 points of damage + Str modifier to self with item in hand
76–100 Attack nearest creature
At higher levels the bard gains a few new performance types, allowing him to frighten or even kill his foes (in Lem's case, probably by telling a really bad joke). The bard also gains a performance type that allows him to cast mass cure serous wounds by performing for 4 consecutive rounds. The bard also gains the jack-of-all-trades ability at 10th level which allows him to try any skill untrained and at higher levels allows him to treat all skills like class skills and to take 10 on any skill check.
Well, that is the end of the bard's tale. Tune in next week for a journey into the wild with Lini, the iconic druid.
... First look at Release 3 Wednesday, April 30, 2008Alpha release #2 of the Pathfinder RPG has already been released as a free download, and playtesters are posting up a ton of feedback on our forums. In the next few weeks we will be posting up release 3, the final release before the Beta version of the game this August. ... This past weekend saw the debut of some of the rules at Paizocon, a convention just north of our offices. Attendees got to meet with the staff and play some games. Those...
First look at Release 3
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Alpha release #2 of the Pathfinder RPG has already been released as a free download, and playtesters are posting up a ton of feedback on our forums. In the next few weeks we will be posting up release 3, the final release before the Beta version of the game this August.
This past weekend saw the debut of some of the rules at Paizocon, a convention just north of our offices. Attendees got to meet with the staff and play some games. Those who sat down at my table got a chance to play with some of the new rules, including a preview version of the bard. It should be noted that all of these characters were horribly cursed, and Oglam here is no exception. His drums cause those who hear his music to bleed from the ears unless he makes a DC 20 Will save every time he begins playing. Of course, being a NE bard, dedicated to Rovagug, meant that he did not care much about the pain of others.
Here are a couple of quick notes when taking a look at Oglam. Song of Doom allows him to cause enemies who hear his playing to become shaken. Distraction works similar to countersong, but it works on visual patterns and figments instead of sonic effects. Well-versed gives Oglam a bonus on saves against the bardic music of others and on sonic and language dependent effects. Finally, bardic knowledge gives Oglam a bonus of +4 to all Knowledge checks, and allows him to make such checks untrained.
There are many more secrets here, waiting to be discovered. For the full details, make sure to download release 3 of the Pathfinder RPG available in just a few weeks.
Male half-orc bard 8
NE Medium humanoid Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +2 Defense AC 17, touch 12, flat-footed 17
(+5 armor, +2 deflection) hp 55 (8d8+16) Fort +5, Ref +7, Will +9 Defensive Abilities well-versed Offense Spd 30 ft. Melee+2 falchion +11/+6 (2d4+6/18–20) Special Attacks bardic music (8/day), countersong, distraction, fascinate, inspire competence, inspire courage +2, song of doom, suggestion Spells Known (CL 8th):
3rd (3/day)—charm monster (DC 16), haste, slow (DC 16)
2nd (5/day)—blur, heroism, invisibility, mirror image
1st (5/day)—charm person (DC 14), cure light wounds, hideous laughter (DC 14), lesser confusion (DC 14), silent image (DC 14)
0 (5/day)—detect magic, ghost sound, mage hand, mending, message, open/close Statistics Str 16, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 6, Wis 14, Cha 16 Base Atk +6; Cmb +9 Feats Cleave, Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Toughness Skills Knowledge (arcane) +13, Knowledge (history) +7, Knowledge (local) +7, Knowledge (nature) +7, Perform (oratory) +12, Perform (percussion) +14, Spellcraft +7, Stealth +9 Languages Common, Orc Combat Gearnecklace of fireballs (type IV), wand of cure moderate wounds (8 charges); Other Gear backpack, +1 chain shirt, cloak of resistance +1, dead rats (6), dirt (3 lb.), drums of doom, +2 falchion, filthy rags, ring of protection +2
... Meet the Iconics: Lem Tuesday, January 22, 2008 Although Lem was raised in the lap of luxury, his childhood was anything but comfortable. He had the unfortunate luck to be born into slavery, to a mother indentured to one of Cheliax's countless noble families. Lem was sold a half dozen times to different nobles before he reached the age of two. Such is the fate of most of Cheliax's halflings (often called slips by that nation's citizens). Halflings are much valued as slaves in Cheliax...
Meet the Iconics: Lem
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Although Lem was raised in the lap of luxury, his childhood was anything but comfortable. He had the unfortunate luck to be born into slavery, to a mother indentured to one of Cheliax's countless noble families. Lem was sold a half dozen times to different nobles before he reached the age of two. Such is the fate of most of Cheliax's halflings (often called "slips" by that nation's citizens). Halflings are much valued as slaves in Cheliax since they take up less room and since their inborn optimism ironically stunts escape urges. Halflings born into slavery in Cheliax are prone to think of their lot in life as "lucky." They are fond of saying, "At least we aren't living in the gutter or starving!"
Nevertheless, halflings who rankle at the concept of enslavement do appear. Halflings like Lem. Growing up a slave in the devil-haunted empire of Cheliax exposed Lem to a shocking range of decadence and debauchery. He learned from a young age how to say what his superiors wanted to hear, and as he grew older, these skills often secured him less onerous jobs. While his kin toiled in basement washrooms or tended hellhound stables, Lem was taught to play the flute so he could entertain at family gatherings. Yet Lem was not blind to the discomfort of his brothers and sisters, and when he learned that a dozen of his kin were to be sacrificed to a devil as an offering to seal a new trade contract, Lem knew the time to act had come. Taking advantage of his increased mobility in the manor, it was a relatively simple trick to light a few fires in secret corners and then ensure that all of his halfling kin were safe in the slave's quarters. The manor burnt quickly, but Lem was shocked to see his kin rush back to the manor in a hopeless attempt to aid in extinguishing the flames. As the place burnt to the ground, and the halflings bemoaned their fate and the loss of their shelter, Lem slipped away into the night, bitter and distraught over this unexpected turn of events.
Lem left Cheliax by stowing away on a merchant vessel and never looked back. He rarely speaks of his childhood today, but one can see its effects in his high disdain for law and order, and his intolerance for cruelty. Always quick to side with the underdog, Lem has learned that his most powerful traits are his optimism and sense of humor—virtues that almost make up for his small stature and impulsive nature. Lem's reasons for traveling with his current companions vary upon the day and his mood, but he certainly values their strengths—and the never-ending supply of comedy material their antics provide him.
First Look at Pathfinder Tuesday, June 19, 2007Pathfinder #1 and the Rise of the Runelords Player's Guide ship this week, and as such, we thought it a good time to unveil a sample spread from the guide. Presented here for your perusal are two pages full of new animals, local takes on the core classes, and a full chart detailing all of the core gods of our setting. So what are you waiting for? Click the image to download a full-size version and dig in! ... James Sutter ... Assistant Editor,...
First Look at Pathfinder
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Pathfinder #1 and the Rise of the Runelords Player's Guide ship this week, and as such, we thought it a good time to unveil a sample spread from the guide. Presented here for your perusal are two pages full of new animals, local takes on the core classes, and a full chart detailing all of the core gods of our setting. So what are you waiting for? Click the image to download a full-size version and dig in!