Happy Labor Day! Monday, September 3, 2012 It's Labor Day here in the States, which means that all the goblin-wranglers and libromancers at Paizo are taking a well-deserved day off. To hold you over until the next blog post, here's the unadulterated cover illustration for Robin Laws' new Pathfinder Tales novel, Blood of the City—a story revolving around Luma, an urban druid, and her family of high-end mercenaries in Magnimar. ... One of my favorite things about novel covers is the way they...
Happy Labor Day!
Monday, September 3, 2012
It's Labor Day here in the States, which means that all the goblin-wranglers and libromancers at Paizo are taking a well-deserved day off. To hold you over until the next blog post, here's the unadulterated cover illustration for Robin Laws' new Pathfinder Tales novel, Blood of the City--a story revolving around Luma, an urban druid, and her family of high-end mercenaries in Magnimar.
One of my favorite things about novel covers is the way they wrap all the way around the book, and it's always with a tinge of regret that I write the back cover copy, knowing it'll cover up such wonderful details. Just take a look at those fountains here in the wealthy Alabaster District, and it's easy to see why Magnimar is often called the City of Monuments....
Versatility is a Human Virtue Tuesday, April 24, 2012 ... Illustration by Eric BraddockWhen planning out Advanced Race Guide we knew that humans were going to give us some trouble. What do you give the race that has the cleanest slate and the most open-ended bonus options? We sat down and had to ask what makes humans... well, human. ... We came up with a short list of human virtues. One of the strongest human virtues on the list was versatility. Humans are downright tenacious in their ability...
Versatility is a Human Virtue
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Illustration by Eric Braddock
When planning out Advanced Race Guide we knew that humans were going to give us some trouble. What do you give the race that has the cleanest slate and the most open-ended bonus options? We sat down and had to ask what makes humans... well, human.
We came up with a short list of human virtues. One of the strongest human virtues on the list was versatility. Humans are downright tenacious in their ability to adapt and thrive. Few human cultures are tied to the ancient traditions and stubborn cultural and martial forms of other races. Even humans in well-established cultures have a dramatic tendency to delve deep into their experience and intrinsic gumption to not only survive but also thrive when the chips are down. The following group of human racial feats was designed to emulate human’s intrinsic versatility.
Critical Versatility (Combat)
An open mind and combat training grant versatility to your critical hits. Prerequisites: Fighter level 11th, human. Benefit: Once per day, you can spend 1 hour practicing maneuvers to gain one single critical feat that you meet the prerequisites for. You gain the benefits of the chosen critical feat until you choose to practice a different critical feat.
Your progress gains extra versatility. Prerequisites: Int 13, human. Benefit: When you gain a level in a favored class, you gain both +1 hit point and +1 skill rank instead of choosing either one or the other benefit or you can choose an alternate class reward.
Martial Mastery (Combat)
You broaden your study of weapons to encompass multiple similar weapons. Prerequisites: Martial Versatility, fighter level 16th, human. Benefit: Each combat feat you have that applies to a specific weapon (e.g., Weapon Focus) can be used with all weapons in the same weapon group (Ultimate Combat 45).
Martial Versatility (Combat)
You further broaden your study of weapons to encompass multiple similar weapons. Prerequisites: Fighter level 4th, human. Benefit: Choose one combat feat you know that applies to a specific weapon (e.g., Weapon Focus). You can use that feat with any weapon within the same weapon group. Special: You may take this feat more than once. Each time it applies to a different feat.
Next week we will start delving into the next chapter of the book with a look at an old favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Heroes & Monsters Preview: Getting Into Character
Pathfinder Battles Heroes & Monsters Preview: Getting Into Character Friday, October 14, 2011Things are moving rapidly on the Pathfinder Battles front! This week, our partners at WizKids sent us 13 pre-production samples from December’s Heroes & Monsters 40-miniature set. These figures are very similar to the final production-run, so we’re within 95% of the final look of the miniatures. These figures are not yet attached to bases, but beyond that, they’re pretty close to done. We’ve spent the...
Pathfinder Battles Heroes & Monsters Preview: Getting Into Character
Friday, October 14, 2011
Things are moving rapidly on the Pathfinder Battles front! This week, our partners at WizKids sent us 13 pre-production samples from December’s Heroes & Monsters 40-miniature set. These figures are very similar to the final production-run, so we’re within 95% of the final look of the miniatures. These figures are not yet attached to bases, but beyond that, they’re pretty close to done. We’ve spent the last couple days looking over every millimeter of these miniatures, getting our final feedback to WizKids so they can make minor adjustments before the figures start coming off the production line.
For today’s blog, I thought it would be fun to show off brand new photographs of three of these miniatures. Unlike the monsters we revealed last week, these three figures are designed to represent NPCs and player characters, and each belongs to a race and class found in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
Our first miniature is the sneaky Human Rogue. This little guy wears a long, dark cloak with a cute pointed hood, but his hidden short sword shows he means business. This figure doubles as a good urban thug or even an assassin.
Next we’ve got an Elf Wizard, caught in the act of casting a deadly spell. Though it doesn’t come through particularly well in the photograph, the elf’s robes have a neat color gradient that blends from bluish-gray at the shoulders down to purple at the hem of the robe.
Lastly we have a Human Druid from the deep jungles of the Mwangi Expanse. Who knows what powerful ritual is inscribed on her huge scroll? As much as I like this picture, it’s difficult to appreciate the detail on this figure without holding it in your hand. With metallic blue shards hanging from the strap on her side to the cool texture of her hair, this is a fantastic-looking miniature.
There you have it. Three adventurers ready for your game table, and we haven’t even gotten to the set’s iconic character yet!
All three of these figures are at the Uncommon rarity. Next week I’ll reveal more of the preproduction samples, and I’ll also list several more Uncommons we have planned for the Heroes & Monsters set.
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 ... Pathfinder Advanced Player's Guide Preview #1 Thursday, July 1, 2010The start of Gen Con 2010 is five weeks away, which means that the Advanced Player's Guide will be hitting game stores and subscriber mailboxes in just over one month. To celebrate the release of this impressive tome, we are going to be previewing parts of it every week until its release. Last week we recapped the information from the PaizoCon APG Preview Banquet. This week we are going to...
Illustration by Alex Aparin
Pathfinder Advanced Player's Guide Preview #1
Thursday, July 1, 2010
The start of Gen Con 2010 is five weeks away, which means that the Advanced Player's Guide will be hitting game stores and subscriber mailboxes in just over one month. To celebrate the release of this impressive tome, we are going to be previewing parts of it every week until its release. Last week we recapped the information from the PaizoCon APG Preview Banquet. This week we are going to dig into some details with an extensive look at the races chapter.
As I mentioned last week, each of the seven core races receives a two-page spread of information. Each spread starts out with information about adventurers of that race, taking on each of the 17 classes available (that includes the six new classes found in the APG). This is followed up by alternate racial traits that allow characters to portray members of the race that are a little different than the rest, but still well within the theme of the race. To take one of these alternate racial traits, a character has to give up one or more existing racial traits. For example, take a look at this dwarven racial trait.
Stonesinger: Some dwarves' affinity with the earth grants them greater powers. Dwarves with this racial trait are treated as one level higher when casting spells with the earth descriptor or using granted powers of the Earth domain, the bloodline powers of the earth elemental bloodline, and revelations of the oracle's stone mystery. This racial trait replaces the stonecunning racial trait.
Or how about this Half-Orc racial trait.
Toothy: Some half-orcs' vestigial tusks are massive and sharp, granting them a bite attack. This is a primary natural attack that deals 1d4 points of piercing damage. This racial trait replaces the orc ferocity racial trait.
Each replacement racial trait is made to explore one facet of the race's inherent theme. Elves get abilities that tie them to nature, gnomes get abilities that explore their fascinations, half-elves can take abilities that help them live in both worlds, halflings can focus on their sneaky talents, and even humans are not left out. Humans can take racial traits that reflect their upbringing.
In addition to a host of racial traits, each race also receives a number of favored class options. These options are tied to a race's theme in most cases, meaning that races only receive options for classes that are racially common. Possessing one of these options just gives your character an additional choice whenever he gains a level in his favored class (instead of a skill point or a hit point). For example, take a look at this elven wizard favored class option.
Wizard: Select one arcane school power at 1st level that is normally usable a number of times per day equal to 3 + the wizard's Intelligence modifier. The wizard adds +1/2 to the number of uses per day of that arcane school power.
Once an elven wizard takes this power twice, he gains an additional use of that ability. Want more, take a look at this gnome bard favored class option.
Bard: Add 1 to the gnome's total number of bardic performance rounds per day.
Of all the races, only humans have an option for all 17 classes. Here is the human sorcerer favored class option.
Sorcerer: Add one spell known from the sorcerer spell list. This spell must be at least one level below the highest spell level the sorcerer can cast.
Although this chapter is only 18 pages long, in a 336-page book, it is absolutely crammed full of new rules for characters of any race and class, a philosophy we took with the entire rest of the book. Next week, we will delve into the classes chapter, starting off by taking a look at the six new base classes in the book, and I might even go into some detail on the changes made to them after the playtest was over.
... Illustration by Dave Rapoza ... Hail to the Queen, Baby Friday, January 15, 2010Ramping up to Tuesday's announcement of this year's RPG Superstar first-round winners, I wanted to remind everybody what all the hype is about. Here we see the cover to Realm of the Fellnight Queen in all its splendor, part of the trophy for 2009's Superstar winner Neil Spicer. Neil's winning proposal debuts in just a few short weeks, and it looks absolutely incredible. So that's the prize folks! The chance to...
Illustration by Dave Rapoza
Hail to the Queen, Baby
Friday, January 15, 2010
Ramping up to Tuesday's announcement of this year's RPG Superstar first-round winners, I wanted to remind everybody what all the hype is about. Here we see the cover to Realm of the Fellnight Queen in all its splendor, part of the "trophy" for 2009's Superstar winner Neil Spicer. Neil's winning proposal debuts in just a few short weeks, and it looks absolutely incredible. So that's the prize folks! The chance to bring your villain, hero, monster, story, or whatever to life with some of the best artists and editors in the biz. So check back on Tuesday, and we'll see if this is the year your adventure comes to life!
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.
... Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Preview #8 Wednesday, July 1, 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 Lini, the iconic druid, and her snow leopard animal companion, Droogami. ... Lini ... Female gnome druid 8 ... N Small humanoid (gnome) ... Init +5; Senses low-light vision; Perception +15 ... DEFENSE ......
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Preview #8
Wednesday, July 1, 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 Lini, the iconic druid, and her snow leopard animal companion, Droogami.
Female gnome druid 8
N Small humanoid (gnome) Init +5; Senses low-light vision; Perception +15 DEFENSE AC 18, touch 14, flat-footed 17 (+4 armor, +2 deflection, +1 Dex, +1 size) hp 71 (8d8+32) Fort +9, Ref +3, Will +10; +2 vs. illusion Defensive Abilities defensive training OFFENSE Speed 20 ft. Melee mwk sickle +7 (1d4–1) Ranged+1 sling +9 (1d3+1) Special Attacks wild shape 4/day Spell-Like Abilities (CL 8th):
1/day—dancing lights, ghost sound, prestidigitation, speak with animals Druid Spells Prepared (CL 8th):
4th—cure serious wounds, flame strike (DC 18), freedom of movement
3rd—call lightning (DC 17), dominate animal (DC 17), greater magic fang, poison (DC 17)
2nd—barkskin, bull's strength, flame blade, lesser restoration
1st—cure light wounds (2), entangle (DC 15), longstrider, obscuring mist
0—create water, detect magic, know direction, stabilize STATISTICS Str 8, Dex 12, Con 16, Int 8, Wis 18, Cha 16 Base Atk +6; CMB +4; CMD 17 Feats Combat Casting, Improved Initiative, Natural Spell, Weapon Focus (claw) Skills Acrobatics +8, Fly +10, Handle Animal +10, Knowledge (nature) +8, Perception +15, Survival +13 Languages Common, Gnome SQ nature bond (snow leopard animal companion), nature sense, resist nature's lure, trackless step, wild empathy +11, woodland stride Combat Gearwand of cure light wounds; Other Gear mwk sickle, +1 sling, +2 leather armor, amulet of mighty fists +1, boots of elvenkind, druid vestments, elemental gem (air), headband of inspired wisdom +2, ring of protection +2
Male snow leopard
N Medium animal Init +6; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +8 DEFENSE AC 22, touch 17, flat-footed 15 (+6 Dex, +1 dodge, +5 natural) hp 45 (7d8+14) Fort +7, Ref +11, Will +3; +4 vs. enchantment Defensive Abilities evasion OFFENSE Speed 50 ft. Melee bite +9 (1d6+4 plus trip), 2 claws +9 (1d3+4) STATISTICS Str 18, Dex 22, Con 15, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6 Base Atk +5; CMB +9; CMD 26 Feats Alertness, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Stealthy Skills Acrobatics +10, Climb +9, Perception +8, Stealth +13 SQ devotion, link, share spells, sprint
So a druid and her animal companion walk into the forest. Wait, I did that bit last week. The druid is one of those classes that is tough to nail down. The rules for the druid involve a number of different subsystems, including animal companions and the rules for changing shape. Not surprisingly, of all the parts of a druid, these two received the biggest overhaul.
Let's start off by taking a look at wild shape. The old rules were a bit disjointed, giving you additional uses almost sporadically as you gained levels, while granting different types and sizes along the way. The new system grants you the ability to wild shape one level earlier (4th, instead of 5th) and gives you an additional usage every two levels after that (Lini is wearing druid vestments which gives her an additional use). Just like before, you can maintain a form for one hour per Druid level. Unlike the old system, which gave you the exact stats of the animal, the new system is based off a number of spells that grant a specific list of ability score bonuses. These spells also grant some of the powers of your new form, depending on the spells level (just as they did in the Beta playtest version of the rules). For example, at 8th level, Lini can turn into any animal from size Diminutive to Huge, a Small or Medium elemental creature, or a Small or Medium plant creature. If she were to change her shape into a Large dire tiger, her Strength would jump to 12 and her Dex would drop to 10. She would also gain a +4 natural armor bonus, a speed of 40 feet, and the tiger's claw and bite attacks, as well as its ability to pounce, rake, and grab. The big change here is that these alterations to her statistics are now size bonuses, meaning that she can take advantage of spells like bull’s strength and magic items to enhance her ability scores (magic items that continuously function continue to do so while in wild shape, such as her amulet of mighty fists). Add in bull's strength and Lini the dire tiger could make two claw attacks at +10, dealing 2d4+4 each, and one bite attack at +9, dealing 2d6+3 with the opportunity to grapple anyone she hits. So while this ability allows Lini to become a respectable melee threat, it does not allow her to ignore her physical stats during creation if she wants to be good at combat.
The Beta playtest rules for animal companions were very similar to their 3.5 counterparts, which caused a number of issues. If you wanted to be a druid with a bear animal companion, you had to wait until 4th level, and once you got past 7th level, you really needed to trade in your loyal bear for a bigger, better bear companion. We wanted druids to be able to form a meaningful bond with their companion from first level, regardless of type, and to keep that companion up through the higher levels of play. During the playtest, we posted up some alternate rules for animal companions, which have made it into the final game with a few alterations. Druids still have the option of taking a cleric domain in place of animal companion, but those that choose a friend will be pleasantly surprised. Companions are now based on a straightforward progression, gaining Hit Dice and other abilities as the druid gains levels. Each animal type is a sort of template that is applied to the base statistics shared by all animal companions. These templates define the companions' ability scores, attacks, defenses, movement types, and special abilities. At 4th or 7th level (depending upon the power of the companion), many animal companions gain a large set of increases, usually based on size (although druids who want a smaller pet now have the option of keeping it the same size). Droogami, for example, started out with the following block of information.
Cat, Small (Cheetah Leopard) Starting Statistics: Size Small; Speed 50 ft.; AC +1 natural armor; Attack bite (1d4 plus trip), 2 claws (1d2); Ability Scores Str 12, Dex 21, Con 13, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6; Special Qualities low-light vision, scent. 4th-Level Advancement: Size Medium; Attack bite (1d6 plus trip), 2 claws (1d3); Ability Scores Str +4, Dex –2, Con +2; Special Qualities sprint.
Droogami's other statistics are derived from a simple chart that tells you the number of Hit Dice, skill points, feats, natural armor bonuses, and Strength and Dexterity bonuses. Droogami also receives an ability score boost that can be placed anywhere (Dexterity in this case). All of this is on top of the old druid animal companion abilities, such as share spells and evasion.
Aside from these big changes, there have been a number of smaller alterations to the some of the rules used in Lini's stat block. Resist nature's lure, for example, now also applies to any effect that targets plants or wood, such as entangle and warp wood. The spell poison now works with the new poison rules (in this case, dealing 1d3 Con damage per round for 6 rounds, or until a save is made). Entangle has been clarified a bit, giving the entangled condition to those that fail their save, while those that make it can move through the area, which is considered difficult terrain. Of course, the spell still requires tall grass, weeds, or bushes. Since Hide and Move Silently were combined into Stealth, the boots of elvenkind and cloak of elvenkind became a bit redundant. To alleviate this, the boots now grant a +5 bonus on Acrobatics checks.
I should also take a brief moment to talk about the Fly skill (which has been controversial from the start). This skill helps to adjudicate actions in the air, which were previously an all-or-nothing affair based on your maneuverability. Now, just like walking, swimming, or climbing, there is a set list of maneuvers you can perform without a skill check, and some, more difficult flying maneuvers (such as hovering or turning 180 degrees) that require a check. While this is a bit more complicated, it is far more dynamic, allowing for sky chases, dramatic crashes, and my personal favorite, attempting to force a dragon to land by shooting him down. This skill bonus is modified by both your size and your maneuverability, which means that even large Hit Dice creatures, such as dragons, do not necessarily receive high scores, while smaller creatures, such as bats, are quite skilled.
Alright, we are out of the forest now, and over half way done. Come back next week for a lesson on inner peace and busting heads with Sajan, the iconic monk.
... Illustration by David Bircham ... Half-Elf, All Druid, No Tree Hugging Monday, April 20, 2009When you think of characters in game-world fiction, what first comes to mind are the fighters, wizards, and rogues. Priests are fine if they're sufficiently powerful and conflicted, otherwise, not so much. Bards generally play second fiddle, you should pardon the expression, and paladins are seldom cast in starring roles. The druids, apparently, are too busy communing with nature to bother with...
Illustration by David Bircham
Half-Elf, All Druid, No Tree Hugging
Monday, April 20, 2009
When you think of characters in game-world fiction, what first comes to mind are the fighters, wizards, and rogues. Priests are fine if they're sufficiently powerful and conflicted, otherwise, not so much. Bards generally play second fiddle, you should pardon the expression, and paladins are seldom cast in starring roles. The druids, apparently, are too busy communing with nature to bother with fiction.
Since the publication of my first shared-world book, Elfshadow, in 1991, I've hit most of the character classes with the exception of the druid. Channa Ti, the protagonist of the Pathfinder's Journal fiction in the Legacy of Fire Adventure Path, is my first.
I started with a typical D&D druid—a serene mystic who dwells in emerald groves, nurturing the woodland creatures and healing hapless passersby with potions brewed from rare herbs and crafted from recipes learned at the feet of wise, benevolent elven mentors. And then I put him in a cage match with Channa and observed while she stomped him into organic fertilizer.
Sometimes the creative process takes interesting turns.
Once I started thinking seriously about druids, one of Tennyson's more famous quatrains came to mind:
Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation's final law—
Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shrieked against his creed—
Why should druids embody calm serenity and selfless love rather than "Nature, red in tooth and claw"? Surely some druids would be more closely attuned to nature's predators. This notion was central to Channa Ti's creation. To her way of thinking, "A paladin's noble steed must eat, but then, so must a crocodile."
Another inspiration came from Pathfinder's ingenious addition to the druid class: the Nature Bond, which allows druids to specialize in one of the domains—Air, Animal, Earth, Fire, Plant, Water, or Weather—rather than forming a partnership with a companion animal. Since Channa is a loner by nature and circumstances, this suited her perfectly. An affinity for water also gives her considerable value in a desert clime. An expert dowser, she occasionally pays her way as a "water witch." Her ability to sense a coming rain is highly valued in a culture that still mourns the passing of the Age of Prophecy and is always seeking some way to foresee the future. Finally, her affinity with water gives her skills that interest people obsessed with an ancient, sea-swallowed realm.
Nature Bond offers intriguing potential for character development and storytelling, not just for fiction, but also for campaign use. For those of you who've never played a druid—and I'm guessing that's most of you—the Pathfinder setting is a great place to start.
... Illustration by Kevin Yan ... Beasts of the Black Blood Monday, December 1, 2008In Pathfinder #18's Descent into Midnight, the heroes travel deep into the Darklands, into the nightmare realm of Orv. There, in an immense cavern known as the Land of Black Blood, the final enemy awaits. This volume of Pathfinder includes a short gazetteer about the Land of Black Blood that details the numerous strange locations therein and several of the region's dangerous denizens, like the aboleth pictured...
Illustration by Kevin Yan
Beasts of the Black Blood
Monday, December 1, 2008
In Pathfinder #18's "Descent into Midnight," the heroes travel deep into the Darklands, into the nightmare realm of Orv. There, in an immense cavern known as the Land of Black Blood, the final enemy awaits. This volume of Pathfinder includes a short gazetteer about the Land of Black Blood that details the numerous strange locations therein and several of the region's dangerous denizens, like the aboleth pictured here.
But there are also less intimidating (but no less creepy) denizens of the Land of Black Blood than monsters ready to challenge a high-level party. Numerous rare and unique creatures make their home here as well, most warped from more common forms by ages of exposure to the vault's strange magics and the deadly black blood.
Ghost Bats: The pale bats native to the Land of Black Blood typically sate themselves upon large insects and other vermin, though in their swarms they have been known to attack larger prey. Possessing transparent wings and no hair—just white flesh—these small hunters sometimes grow to shocking sizes. Ghosts bats have the same stats as normal bats and bat swarms, though the species frequent mutants might grow to the size of dire bats.
Ether Frog: These creatures look like nothing more so than an oversized, four-legged blister with nostrils and a mouth. With an undifferentiated body and head, these ghost-white amphibians hide a single overdeveloped parietal eye beneath their bulbous backs, which grants them darkvision out to 60 feet despite their lack of normal eyes. Most creatures avoid the frogs, knowing of their natural poison—Ingested, Fortitude DC 14, initial and secondary damage 1d4 Dexterity. In all other ways they are simply largish frogs with the same statistics as common toads.
Stirge Hounds: These rare, unnaturally large stirges are often used as tracking animals, capable of following flying creatures through the Darklands. Stirge Hounds have the statistics of a stirge advanced to Small size and 4 Hit Dice. They are very aggressive and prone to hunting in packs or even swarms. Their proboscis is uniformly ivory-colored, while their bodies are usually dark rust-red along the wings fading to black upon the body.
How Do I Play a Paladin in Service to Cheliax? Thursday, July 10, 2008Good question! We're hearing this one and others like it on the Pathfinder Society messageboards, so we thought we'd use today's blog to give you a sneak peak at the Chelax section of the Pathfinder Society Player's Guide soon-to-be-released here on paizo.com. All of the base classes will be covered in the final Player's Guide. Below we've included just a few of the classes folks are having a hard time imagining as non-evil...
How Do I Play a Paladin in Service to Cheliax?
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Good question! We're hearing this one and others like it on the Pathfinder Society messageboards, so we thought we'd use today's blog to give you a sneak peak at the Chelax section of the Pathfinder Society Player's Guide soon-to-be-released here on paizo.com. All of the base classes will be covered in the final Player's Guide. Below we've included just a few of the classes folks are having a hard time imagining as non-evil Chelish faction members.
Since House Thrune rose to prominence, reclaiming the past glories of Cheliax and re-establishing their footholds across the world has been their primary goal. Chelish armies amass in the ruthless homeland, and their agents push far and wide seeking to expand the diabolic empire's influence. Chelish culture is widely popular, and their fashions show up in most nations across Avistan and Garund. House Thrune places a high priority on discovering the relics of the past and controlling the revelation and interpretation of historical finds. The noble houses of Cheliax encourage the populace and even their own scions to join the Pathfinder Society and seek treasures of ancient power to bolster the empire.
Barbarians: Cheliax is built on law and order. The empire runs smoothly with the help of its infernal allies, and they tolerate no disruption to the nation's workings. Barbarism does not thrive among the devil-bowing culture of Cheliax. Still, there are blood pits in Westcrown where men become beasts to the deafening roar of the crowd and the hot spray of an enemy's blood. Cheliax's most fierce battle-raging warriors are cultivated from slaves who earn a place in the military only after brutal escapades in the blood pits. Other conscripts in the army of Cheliax are drawn from captured Shoanti of Varisia who sometimes pledge their loyalty to House Thrune and join the Pathfinder Society in the empire's service.
Druids: Cheliax's colonial holdings of old inspired several orders of wardens dedicated to safeguarding the majesty of the natural world. When House Thrune seized control of the crumbling empire, they bent these earthly wonders to their own infernal uses and even today most of the empire's natural resources are ruthlessly hewn and sent to the new capital at Egorian for whatever sinister purposes House Thrune sees fit. A few of the druidic orders of old persisted, doing their best to stem the burning of the land, and convincing the noble houses to slow their voracious ravaging of the landscape, lest the resources run dry. The Black Wardens survived by dedicating themselves to Asmodeus dogma, claiming they grow the trees to stoke the fires of his dark glory. Other orders like the Sisters of Oak maintain their vigil over the landscape with no official ties to the Church of Asmodeus, but doing so sometimes creates friction between their order and the government of Egorian. Still as the country's natural resources wane, the government of Cheliax cannot afford to eradicate these druids, and are forced to form tenuous agreements with them in order to save their nation's landscape from utter destruction.
Monks: Monastic orders abound in Cheliax, most steeped in martial arts once trained in the smoldering depths of the Nine Hells. The coveted martial arts of devil kind are now practiced by the Chelish in secret sects and monasteries all over the empire. Several of these orders are attached to the Chelish legion, and in particular the martial art of Hamatulatsu, learned from barbed devils, is practiced by monks in military service. Other orders include the Sidaal Thram, an order of glaive wielding martial arts masters who wear long bears braided with barbs and blades, as well as the spiked chain wielding Order of the Razored Shackle, who wrap themselves in the kyton's chains and engage in horrifying self mutilation as part of their path to excellence.
Paladins: Paladins are a rare sight in Cheliax. Before House Thrune rose to power, the shining servants of Iomedae and her slain patron Aroden rode throughout Old Cheliax. Some are still there and do the best they can to serve her glory in a nation much overshadowed in darkness. They see it as their divine duty to bring the empire back to a path of temperance, or at least to balance the evils of their homeland. More than a few paladins of Aroden still believe their god will return someday to bring the nation back into the light. These paladins remain to herald his return, and hold on to the burning idea of Old Cheliax, a sprawling empire whose glory was a beacon in a dark and savage world.
... Meet the Iconics: Lini Monday, April 14, 2008In her many explorations and journeys, Lini encountered numerous large animal predators, with whom she seemed to possess a certain affinity. More than once, Lini's traveling companions or enclave came under threat from some great bear or razor-clawed cat, but with a series of soothing noises and precise motions Lini always tamed the beast and sent it on its way. ... Lini's success at calming animals came to an end one day when a snow leopard...
Meet the Iconics: Lini
Monday, April 14, 2008
In her many explorations and journeys, Lini encountered numerous large animal predators, with whom she seemed to possess a certain affinity. More than once, Lini's traveling companions or enclave came under threat from some great bear or razor-clawed cat, but with a series of soothing noises and precise motions Lini always tamed the beast and sent it on its way.
Lini's success at calming animals came to an end one day when a snow leopard bound out of the trees and pinned her to the ground before she could react. Her friends scattered, leaving Lini alone to face the beast. Although fascinated by the cat's power and speed, and appreciative of the animal's beauty, Lini trembled under her massive paw and tears leaked from her eyes. She knew she faced her doom, and she found it cruelly ironic how death came to claim her.
Yet the leopard did not strike.
"Your friends have abandoned you," a calm feminine voice intoned out of Lini's sight. "Despite the times you saved them, they left you to die." Although Lini could not see the woman, Lini knew of the Norn of the forest and suspected she was one of them.
"Please help me," Lini whispered, her chest struggling to rise under the great cat's crushing paw.
"You do not need my help, little one. You need hers."
Lini looked at the snow leopard, deep into her eyes. She saw neither hunger or malice. Still struggling just to breathe, Lini stared into the great cat's eyes and asked, "Will you help me?"
Inexplicably, the snow leopard lifted her paw from Lini's chest. A coughing fit then overcame the small gnome, and when she finally recovered she looked around her. The snow leopard was gone and Lini saw no sign of the Norn. She looked around frantically, suddenly alone and scared. A small gnome in a large world.
"Come back," Lini cried. "Don't go! Please don't go. Don't leave me alone." She sank to her knees, tears afresh on her face, until she heard the sound of approaching footsteps.
The snow leopard had returned. With the delicateness of a mother tending to her cubs, the great cat licked gently at Lini's face, whisking away her tears. Lini threw her arms around the leopard's neck. "You are my friend, aren't you? I will call you Droogami. That is what we call good friends."
Lini looked down then and picked up a stick from the forest floor before clambering up the cat's side to perch on its back.
"Let us go, then, Droogami. We have no need for this place."
In the years since her departure from the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, Lini has collected more than a dozen sticks—one from each forest or wood she visits. In her resting time after long days of travel, she sits at Droogami's side and peels the bark from the sticks, smoothing and polishing them incessantly.
Lini debuts as a pregenerated character in volume 13 of Pathfinder.
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!