It's Class Deck preview time again! Before we dive into the mysteries of the Witch, I want to note that the monthly parade of Class Deck releases will go on hiatus for a little while starting in November. We had originally intended to put Class Decks on hiatus during the six months that we're releasing Mummy's Mask, but production delays earlier in the year caused the Summoner Class Deck to slide into October alongside the Mummy's Mask Base Set and Character Add-On Deck. We're therefore starting the hiatus a month later than we had intended.
Hexes and Foes!
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
It's Class Deck preview time again! Before we dive into the mysteries of the Witch, I want to note that the monthly parade of Class Deck releases will go on hiatus for a little while starting in November. We had originally intended to put Class Decks on hiatus during the six months that we're releasing Mummy's Mask, but production delays earlier in the year caused the Summoner Class Deck to slide into October alongside the Mummy's Mask Base Set and Character Add-On Deck. We're therefore starting the hiatus a month later than we had intended.
Now, on with the hexing.
Witch Design Brainstorming
We knew even before we started designing this deck that we wanted to do a version of the witch that played up familiars, and we already had the cohort technology to do it. We looked at the critters available to witches, to see what we wanted to do in addition to Daji, and the following exchange occurred:
Mike: Let's see... they've got access to the standard wizard familiars, so bat, cat, rat, weasel, to— Tanis: I JUST SEARCHED FOR "FAMILIAR" IN THE BESTIARIES AND FOUND A DINOSAUR THEY CAN HAVE A DINOSAUR FAMILIAR WE'RE DOING IT WE'RE DOING IT Mike: Hold that thought. Tanis: Don't make me go get Gary. Mike: Okay, fine, we're doing it.
Behold the compsognathus:
That's also the face I made when I saw the art.
As you can see, we decided to give the cohort some strategic implications by moving the witch's casting skill onto the familiar. This cleanly models the notion that witches gain their power through a pact with a patron represented by a familiar. The deck has several cohorts, and the non-Feiya characters get to choose which familiar they'll use at the start of each scenario. (Feiya has already chosen Daji, of course, but those of you who are QQing about that should look into her Beast-Bonder role.)
In addition to a cohort-ified version of Feiya, we've added Kasmir, an itinerant healer who overcomes prejudice with his magnificent hair and many belts. Kasmir likes to use power efficiently, and his hex is similar to a selfish version of the original Skull & Shackles Character Add-On Deck Feiya's.
Kasmir is all heals, all the time. Cure spell in my discard? I'll take that. Get wiped out off-turn? No worries, I can still draw a card to get my heal off. He's fun to play and easy to kill, like so many of my favorite characters in the ACG.
We've also got the Blue Person, as the forums have noticed. She is indeed a Samsaran, and her name is Raheli.
The other thing that made me all-caps at the design team early in this process was the White-Haired Witch archetype. This archetype lets you fling objects at your enemies with your friggin' hair. If I had that power I would spend all day chucking pens, dice, and small action figures at my office-mates Vic and Lissa, so it's probably a good thing that magic isn't real.
Raheli's pretty much a one-trick pony, but since that pony is named Make Sure We Collect All the Boons, I think she's a pony you'll enjoy. Well, that got weird quickly. Onward!
Since we're fond of designing cycles these days, I threw a set of creepy dolls into the Witch Deck that have a few different abilities.
It's got a ruined eye that's always open...
Since we're Paizo, we already had several creepy doll illustrations laying around, and they basically designed themselves. They sit there for a turn, do their creepy thing, and then act like spells.
Winter Witch Revisited Thursday, September 13, 2012 ... Illustration by Ryan Portillo It's the end of the summer, and while it's not winter quite yet, we got you a frosty gift. When we recently released Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Paths of Prestige there were some questions on the messageboards regarding the winter witch prestige class and how it worked with hexes and spells and some of the other goodies the prestige class gets. Since we're gearing up for the Reign of Winter Adventure Path,...
Winter Witch Revisited
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Illustration by Ryan Portillo
It's the end of the summer, and while it's not winter quite yet, we got you a frosty gift. When we recently released Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Paths of Prestige there were some questions on the messageboards regarding the winter witch prestige class and how it worked with hexes and spells and some of the other goodies the prestige class gets. Since we're gearing up for the Reign of Winter Adventure Path, we decided we'd revisit the winter witch, make a few clarifications, and present you fine folks with the result. We wanted to get it cleared up so people can play the class in the Adventure Path, but don't think we're being completely altruistic—we really wanted to make sure that the White Witches of Irrisen provide a significant challenge to pesky adventurers making trouble and poking their nose in their nation's frozen business!
Meet the Iconics: Feiya Thursday, October 27, 2011 ... Illustration by Wayne ReynoldsBorn in a small village north of Trollheim in the Linnorm Kingdoms, the child who would come to be known as Feiya was the daughter of two Tian merchants from Minkai who had come over the crown of the world to Avistan to start a new life. Travelers by nature, they spent the short northern summers making slow loops through Hagreach and the Thanelands, facilitating trade. What few memories Feiya has of that life...
Meet the Iconics: Feiya
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Illustration by Wayne Reynolds
Born in a small village north of Trollheim in the Linnorm Kingdoms, the child who would come to be known as Feiya was the daughter of two Tian merchants from Minkai who had come over the crown of the world to Avistan to start a new life. Travelers by nature, they spent the short northern summers making slow loops through Hagreach and the Thanelands, facilitating trade. What few memories Feiya has of that life are happy ones: the jostling of wagons, the smell of campfires, and wandering alone through fields and forests, marveling as the wildness closed around her.
That happiness came to a sudden halt on the fateful day that brought her to the attention of a recently sundered coven of witches who dwelled on the border with Irrisen. Led by a particularly cruel green hag named Nysima, the coven had lost its youngest member to a squad of Blackravens from Trollheim and was still reeling from its sudden loss of power. They witnessed the child as she skipped away from the caravan stop, following a family of deer deep into the woods, and immediately set upon her.
There’s no telling what cruelties the witches would have visited upon the girl had they not suffered their recent loss. As it was, another, no less horrific, fate awaited young Feiya. The two crones seized the child and whisked her away to the east, their mad cackling drowning out the young girl’s terrified screams. By the time they reached their snow- and thatch-covered huts, they had given the child a new name and were already envisioning the return of their lost powers.
The next twelve years were a blur of pain, terror, and misery as Feiya endured the crones’ sadistic attempts to teach her their dark craft. Alternating between tutelage and torture, the witches frequently let their cruel natures impede their instruction. For while the young girl showed unmistakable promise and aptitude, she also possessed a defiance that only the harshest of punishments could suppress. On numerous occasions, Feiya tried to escape her imprisonment, only to be tracked down and captured after no more than a few hours. The retributions for these failed attempts have scarred her body and mind in ways that no magic can ever heal.
One brisk autumn day, after being beaten for failing to properly brew a batch of poisonous blue whinnis, Feiya was sent off to gather herbs. While harvesting more whinnis root, she spied a fox watching her from atop a large rime-covered rock. Unlike the region’s typical arctic specimens, this creature had a striking red and orange coloration that stood in stark contrast to the endless snow. There was something about the way the creature watched her that beckoned to Feiya. She approached carefully, and was astonished by his calm and focus. As she neared, the fox trotted a small distance away, turned, and gave her a look that was clearly an invitation to follow. This process was repeated again and again, and before she knew it, Feiya was following the fox on another escape attempt.
By sundown, the two witches had realized Feiya’s intentions. Furious, they set off in pursuit, confident that, as with all previous instances, their hunt would be brief. This time, however, Feiya had guidance. The fox led her along trails never before seen by human nor hag, staying always just ahead and out of reach. When she needed nourishment, the fox led her to game and fresh water. When she needed rest, it stood vigil while she slept. In this manner, Feiya was able to elude capture for more than two weeks.
One particularly cold evening, however, Feiya’s luck ran out. With her pursuers hot on her trail and the fox nowhere to be seen, she found herself trapped in a river valley surrounded on three sides by impassable mountains. Feiya could sense the witches closing in, could hear their promises of pain on the chilling wind. She took shelter in a shallow cave behind the waterfall that fed the river, a curious little grotto whose far wall was emblazoned with a crude carving of a butterfly. Like an animal run to ground, Feiya steeled herself for the coming confrontation. She had come too far this time to surrender without a fight. She determined then and there that her days of living under someone else’s yoke were over. She would have her freedom, either in this life or the next.
It was at that moment that the fox reappeared. Only now, there was something different in the way he approached her. He had always shown a preternatural intelligence, but as Feiya stared into his eyes, she saw a consciousness and a determination that would have frightened her had she not come to trust the animal so implicitly. As she watched him, Feiya was startled by a sudden and overwhelming flurry of sensations invading her mind. She sank, dazed, to the cave floor as the feelings slowly crystallized into coherence. Less a voice than a series of emotions, the promise it offered was unmistakable. Feiya said nothing, but her acceptance was as clear as it was quick.
What followed will forever haunt Feiya’s dreams. Raspy promises of pain and suffering rose above the din of the waterfall as the witches drew near to cave mouth. Feiya could see the outlines of their hunched bodies just beyond the blanket of cascading water, but before she could act, another sound arose. It started as a low rumble, then quickly gained volume, drowning out both hags and water and sending tremors through the cave floor. Then the valley erupted with the screeching and roaring of what could only have been a forest’s worth of wild animals, punctured occasionally by the shrill curse of a hag.
Long minutes passed as Feiya stood, too frightened to move. Then, as gradually as it began, the noise subsided until all that remained was the crash of the waterfall. Feiya crouched down behind a rocky outcropping, afraid to leave the shelter of the cave. As the minutes turned into hours, exhaustion claimed her, and, despite her anxiety, she succumbed to a fitful sleep.
When dawn finally arrived, Feiya stepped out from the cave, not quite sure what she was expecting to see. A fresh blanket of snow had covered the land, hiding any clues she might have found concerning the events of the previous night. Yet the feeling of relief was palpable. The fox crept up and paused at her side. She was finally free.
Feiya never discusses the events of that night, nor the particulars of the strange pact she entered into. She may one day try to track down the parents she barely remembers, but for now she is content to roam the world, relishing her freedom, seeking new experiences, and developing her newfound power. Though she desperately desires the company of others, formative years spent away from civilized society have left Feiya lacking in social graces, and her awkwardness often leads to unfortunate misunderstandings. Nevertheless, her inherent good nature tends to win out, and her occasional flares of temper are countered by her steadfast loyalty to her friends. Feiya relishes travel, and having identified the butterfly carving in the waterfall cave as the found-mark of a Desnan priest, she gladly embraces that faith, hoping that her wanderings may cast more light on who she really is—and what entity fosters her magical abilities.
Gen Con Pathfinder Cosplay Contest Voting! Friday, August 12th, 2011It’s that time again! Though I failed in my sacred duty to announce the Annual Gen Con Pathfinder Cosplay Contest well ahead of time, we still had a number of unbelievably strong contenders this year, and it would be a shame not to crown one of them as the winner—a title which, in addition to bragging rights, confers $50 in paizo.com store credit. So let’s get voting! ... Here’s how it works: Presented below are the...
Gen Con Pathfinder Cosplay Contest Voting!
Friday, August 12th, 2011
It’s that time again! Though I failed in my sacred duty to announce the Annual Gen Con Pathfinder Cosplay Contest well ahead of time, we still had a number of unbelievably strong contenders this year, and it would be a shame not to crown one of them as the winner—a title which, in addition to bragging rights, confers $50 in paizo.com store credit. So let’s get voting!
Here’s how it works: Presented below are the photographs (and names, where possible) of this year’s contestants. In the comments thread for this blog, you can pick the ONE winner who you think has the most awesome Pathfinder-related costume and shout out your vote. You have until next Thursday at noon to get in your choices, after which we’ll announce the winner.
Your options are:
Jessica as a Gray Maiden
Leslie as Seoni
Jean-Marc as a paladin of Sarenrae and Luc as a paladin of Iomedae
Eric as our Iconic Alchemist
Bonnie as our Iconic Witch (and Corey as kilted barbarian)
Nani as a Harrower
Natalie (with the metal plates), Nicole the alchemist, Amy the ranger, Megan the pregnant sorcerer, Mike the cleric.
... Golarion Day: Inner Sea Magic Thursday, June 2, 2011So, Inner Sea Magic has been off to the printer for a few weeks now, but this is really the first chance I've had to say much more about it. And since the editors are still scrambling with various convention-season-related projects, I'll keep this blog short and just show off some art that goes with the winter witch archetype and the tattooed sorcerer archetype. It should probably be pretty obvious which one goes with which. (And...
Golarion Day: Inner Sea Magic
Thursday, June 2, 2011
So, Inner Sea Magic has been off to the printer for a few weeks now, but this is really the first chance I've had to say much more about it. And since the editors are still scrambling with various convention-season-related projects, I'll keep this blog short and just show off some art that goes with the winter witch archetype and the tattooed sorcerer archetype. It should probably be pretty obvious which one goes with which. (And also—first ever illustration of Seoni's familiar!)
Two Pieces of Tarnished Silver—Chapter Two: Breaking Fast
Two Pieces of Tarnished Silverby Erik Mona ... Chapter Two: Breaking FastKorm and Aebos emerged into the morning sun to find the bodies of their crewmates hacked apart and bleeding upon the midship deck. Red-fletched crossbow bolts stuck out from the corpses at odd angles. Korm's empty stomach lurched, and with a grimace the slender swordsman realized that the carnage had caused his mouth to water with anticipation. An hour ago, here on the windless barrens of a stillswept sea, the ship's...
Two Pieces of Tarnished Silver
by Erik Mona
Chapter Two: Breaking Fast
Korm and Aebos emerged into the morning sun to find the bodies of their crewmates hacked apart and bleeding upon the midship deck. Red-fletched crossbow bolts stuck out from the corpses at odd angles. Korm's empty stomach lurched, and with a grimace the slender swordsman realized that the carnage had caused his mouth to water with anticipation. An hour ago, here on the windless barrens of a stillswept sea, the ship's gory deck would have been the platter for a life-saving feast. As he warily eyed the dozen armored men who circled them and held loaded heavy crossbows at the ready, Korm wondered how long that life would last.
At the head of the armed brigade stood the dark-hued woman whose arrival had saved them from the knives of the cannibal crew. Despite the readied weapons of her warriors, despite the bodies and severed limbs littering the deck at her feet, the woman's posture betrayed no hint of alarm or worry. Even the most hardened warriors often lost some of their composure in the presence of Aebos, for the day of the cyclopes had passed millennia ago, and the race stood on the precipice of legend. But the woman and her troops all came from the wizard kingdom of Nex, where swordsmen were little cause for concern, and strange, inhuman creatures walked the city streets as a matter of course.
"I'm glad we were able to find you when we did," the woman said with a thin smile. "My alchemist has been toiling away at breakfast for hours now, and it would be a shame not to honor the sole survivors of the Queen's Lament. So sad that the ship sank with nearly all hands aboard, but these are difficult times for pirates."
"I'm not hungry," Korm said, almost too quickly.
"The ribs showing beneath your shirt suggest otherwise, Mister Calladan," she replied. "Of course you are free to deny the invitation, but in that case I suggest you start looking for the choicest cuts of meat here on the deck, before the ship sinks and you have to wrestle them out of the mouths of sharks."
"You seem to know a lot about us," Aebos said warily, rubbing his meaty hands clean on a bit of shirt stolen from one of the dead crewmen at the top of the stairs. "But we don't know anything about you."
"On the contrary," the woman said. "You know that we are friends. My men do not want for ammunition, and two more shots would have made very little difference. But we spared you. It should be obvious that we mean you no harm."
Korm and Aebos shared a stern glance.
"I am Iranez," she said. "Of the Orb. Chiefmost among the Council of Three and Nine that rules in the name of the Archwizard Nex from the port of Quantium, three days to the west. I've got a ship that can sail without wind, a table topped with food prepared by the most talented chef in all of Garund, and chairs for two at the head of it. And I grow weary of waiting. Won't you please be my guests?"
"We seem to have little choice," Korm scowled.
"Oh, lighten up, Mister Calladan!" She pivoted on a slippered foot and laughed over her shoulder. "I'm fairly certain my men and I just saved your lives."
The soldiers shifted starboard, urging Korm and Aebos along in their wake. The cyclops bent down to whisper in his partner's ear.
"She's probably right, you know," he said. "Besides, what harm can come of it?"
Korm frowned. "Ask me again after I've had a bit of her alchemist's breakfast."
As the group approached the starboard rails, Iranez's ship came into view, and Korm's breath caught in his throat. Thin cords, gangplanks, and rope bridges connected the Queen's Lament to the attacking vessel, but the two boats could hardly have been more different. Iranez's ship stood tall in the water on two sleek hulls, like a catamaran, and came to a sharp point at the front, as if designed to slip through waves like a knife slides through a ribcage. Its smooth surface looked as if it had been shaped from ceramic or carved from lightweight stone. Two tall, impossibly thin masts rose from the slender deck, but neither had been rigged with a sail. However the Nexian ship had made it alongside the Queen's Lament, it had arrived under its own power.
"Gentlemen," said Iranez, "I present the Relentless, very nearly the last of its kind. Shaped by the otherworldly shipwrights of the archmage Nex himself, she once stood at the vanguard of our nation's armada. I rescued her from a sargasso on the edge of the Eye of Abendego a century ago, and she's been my personal vessel ever since."
As Iranez turned to admire the ship, she gently placed her left hand upon the top of the orb at her side, which seemed to hover of its own accord. The crystalline sphere pulsed with a soft green illumination, and the woman's slippered feet lifted off the deck. Without any hint of effort, the Nexian rose over the siderail and glided across a dozen feet of open ocean toward her vessel. The armored guards sheathed their weapons and scampered across the ropes and planks connecting the ships. Aebos looked to his companion, shrugged, and scrambled after them.
"Just because Iranez saves your life doesn't mean she can be trusted."
Korm stepped forward and looked over the deckrail to the glistening azure waters between both ships. The high morning sun shone brightly upon the placid surface, giving the water a radiant, almost mystical quality. In the last weeks he had come to think of the sea as a prison, and very likely a tomb. Now he saw the brilliant blue as a crystal portal between two dimensions, a wizard's membrane separating the world of the living from the world of the dead. Without so much as a glance behind him, Korm hauled himself up onto the rail near a thin gangplank and took a decisive step toward life.
∗ ∗ ∗
The alchemist's lips quivered in self-satisfaction as the translucent slug pulled a trail of brilliant amber across the serving tray. "We begin with a delicacy unique to the untamed jungles west of our homeland, brought to the table of Lady Iranez by the reach of almighty Nex's unparalleled merchant network and prepared by yours truly, Epostian Creeg."
From his vantage at the head of the table, the well-manicured dandy raised an eyebrow and surveyed his audience for reaction to his name. Iranez offered a thin smile while Korm and Aebos looked on without expression. He continued.
"The creature's slime deadens the tongue's acidity, triggering a mild euphoria in the taster. When combined with the ink of the Blanchess urchin smuggled from the depths of Lake Ocota, this effect unlocks what the Mwangi mystics call the 'seventh flavor,' a sensation ordinarily reserved for their haughty, ancient spirit-gods."
He surveyed the panoply of dining implements before him—mirrored at each place setting—and gingerly selected a long length of polished whale bone stained with dark purple resin. The three diners followed suit. Iranez drew her bone across the viscid trail, gathering a dollop of slime no larger than a silver coin upon the flattened end. Epostian Creeg returned a smile and nod, and the woman brought the slime to her tongue with a steady, practiced hand. She carefully placed the implement back on the table, closed her eyes, and focused on the sensation. Her nostrils flared and her head fell back slightly, betraying just a hint of ecstasy. Korm looked awkwardly toward his companion across the table, unsure of his next move. For his part, the cyclops eagerly dipped his stick into the slime and brought it to his wide mouth. His huge eye shut almost immediately, and Korm noticed swift movements behind the lid, as if his friend were dreaming. Korm felt Creeg's eyes upon him. Expectant.
He hadn't eaten proper food in weeks, he thought, musing on the change in perspective that had classified euphoric slug slime as "proper food." It beat human, anyway. With a resigned sigh and an eye on some of the more appetizing provender crowding the table, Korm dipped his utensil into the trail and reluctantly raised the amber slime to his tongue.
It had an earthy, sharp taste Korm usually associated with poison, but just as soon as it registered the sensation faded into a dull, comfortable stupefaction that began at the tip of his tongue and ran slowly down his throat and into his chest. Almost against his will, Korm's heavy head tilted back against the padded chair and his shoulders began to sink into a pleasant lethargy. For the first time in weeks, Korm Calladan allowed himself to relax.
"A fitting start for what it to come," the alchemist said, eyes flashing, "for the slime is but the first of eleven courses we will enjoy this morning." Creeg motioned to a long porcelain tray to his left, drawing his slender fingers across a meticulous display of dozens of small gray hard-boiled eggs shot through with flaky gold spices that sparkled in the nimbus of Iranez's orb.
"In the wilds of Nex's southern plains, too near the treacherous, blasted landscape of the Mana Wastes for human settlement, dwells a peculiar avian known to the roving tribes as the aubekan. Aubekans mate for life, and a pair of these rare birds produces a single offspring only once every six years. These creatures never survive in captivity, but their eggs convey a rich flavor unlike that of any other creature on Golarion. When seasoned with a special spice of my own creation, these eggs serve as the perfect opening to our feast."
Without need for further explanation, Aebos reached across the table and grasped a half-dozen eggs in his powerful hand. Smiling at Korm under a heavy-lidded eye, the giant threw the whole handful into his mouth, smacking his lips with all the decorum of a Queen's Lament crewman feasting on his fellow sailor. Iranez selected a single egg, spearing it on a long-tined fork and cutting it into several pieces on her fine porcelain plate before taking tiny, delicate bites. Korm followed suit, bringing a small portion of aubekan egg to his mouth.
It didn't taste anything like he expected. Creeg's golden spice gave the egg a powdery consistency that didn't match its succulent appearance. At first he detected a hint of sourness redolent of a ripe apple, but the sensation soon slipped to sharpness suggestive of aged cheese. Korm wondered if the shifting tastes were inherent to the aubekan egg, to the euphoric slime, or simply to his weariness and recent unfamiliarity with decent food. Before he could decide, the flavor changed again, and the swordsman almost spit out the egg into his embroidered napkin. It tasted just like every meal he had eaten in the last month. Like human.
Aebos didn't seem to notice, and kept shoveling the gray-and-gold delicacies into his huge mouth. Iranez and Epostian Creeg both marveled at the cyclops's appetite, completely ignoring Korm, oblivious to his growing disgust. As Aebos neared the end of the tray, Creeg turned to a wide plate to his right, cleared his throat quietly, and continued.
"Next we have a rare delicacy claimed from the deep waters east of Katapesh: the finest ocean caviar wrapped in the dried skin of a giant river gar, pierced by mussel skewers flavored with a variety of spices imported from distant Tian Xia and supplemented with a unique herbal blend of my own design."
Each portion of the extravagant dish measured no wider than the palm of Korm's hand, so it was a good thing that Creeg had prepared far more than a single serving for each diner. Again, Aebos devoured the stuff moments after its introduction, tossing the packets of fish eggs into his maw three at a time. One was enough for Korm. Again, the dish produced a profusion of flavors ending in the familiar tang of long pig.
Each course that followed was the same. Meticulously prepared and delicately spiced with Creeg's golden flakes, the plates looked more like fine art than food, yet despite his hunger, Korm had to force himself to continue. After the caviar, everything started to run together in his mind, and they all led to the same revolting conclusion. To Korm, everything tasted like human.
Boletus and dungeness crab handkerchiefs. Human. Aurochs tongue on a bed of pesh flowers. Human. Truffled mammoth curd. Human. His fellow diners didn't seem to notice, treating each new course as a wonderful delicacy to be savored and enjoyed. After a while Korm decided his affliction was psychological, and once he had swallowed enough of Creeg's food to stave off starvation, he took only the smallest of bites, tuned out the alchemist's pretentious presentation, and allowed his mind to wander.
With walls of dark wood appointed with elaborate trim along the floor and ceiling, the room in which they dined conveyed a sense of power and wealth. At most six diners could sit around the fine marble-topped table, suggesting that the ship's crew was meant to dine elsewhere, in a presumably far more humble setting. Finely wrought wooden doors marked the port and starboard walls. They'd come in from the port, and Korm suspected the opposite door led to the quarters of the ship's senior staff. His mind subconsciously began to wonder what the bedchambers of a national ruler might look like, and Korm smiled as he sensed the return of his old self now that food and freedom were at hand.
At the head of the table, Epostian Creeg gestured with his left hand, his first two fingers raised to the ceiling as he extolled the virtues of the next course. Korm didn't pay attention to his words, but rather focused on the man's meticulous appearance. Dressed in a supple white leather suit cut to the latest fashion and accented by a brilliant red flower in the buttonhole of his left breast pocket, Creeg appeared every bit the royal attendant he was. His short blond hair was freshly trimmed, his smooth skin without a hint of dirt or blemish. Like his beautiful dishes, every aspect of his demeanor and dress seemed perfectly arranged to impress.
A massive symbol imprinted on the wall behind Creeg framed the alchemist in a perfect circle, between two diagonal lines that suggested a road disappearing over the horizon. The image reminded Korm of the mystical symbols adorning the few alchemical reference works he'd perused in his travels, and the swordsman let out a soft snort as he decided that the pompous dandy had probably planned that, too. No doubt the alchemist fancied the dramatics of appearing to stand at the head of a long road leading to the infinite horizons of enlightenment. And then it hit him.
He'd seen that symbol before.
Creeg paused his presentation for a moment, and Korm decided it was his turn to speak. He turned to Iranez of the Orb.
"If you sit on the Council of Quantium," he asked matter-of-factly, "why does your dining chamber bear the seal of the Pathfinder Society?"
Iranez raised an eyebrow in pleasant surprise. "You've encountered it?"
"I was raised in Daggermark and spent my first two decades traveling up and down the River Road," Korm said, trying not to sneer. "You'd be surprised by what I've encountered."
Iranez pursed her lips in a bemused expression, clearly unused to being chided by a social inferior.
"Your travels serve you well," she said. "The glyph is the mark of the vessel's previous owner, a questing hero named Durvin Gest, one of the founders of that guild of explorers. He somehow infused the surface of the wall with the symbol, and no means arcane or otherwise can remove or obscure it. Believe me, I've tried. It is a mar on the eldritch craft of the archmage Nex himself, created fifty centuries ago in the Age of Destiny. Imagine discovering a perfect Azlanti statue carved by the finest artisan of that bygone kingdom of legend, preserved for thousands of years just as its creator intended. Then imagine chiseling the crude face of your sallow-cheeked daughter over the original, simply to satisfy your own sense of vanity and pride. It is an affront."
"I kind of like it," said Aebos, mouth full.
"Indeed," Korm added. "An indelible symbol imprinted by a long-dead famous hero. It adds a sort of mystery to the ship."
"The ship has plenty of mystery of its own," scoffed Creeg.
Iranez nodded. "One such mystery is the cause of your rescue, and the price of your freedom." She smiled as Korm and Aebos turned to her with a start. There had been no prior discussion of a fee.
"The Orb seems to believe that the two of you represent the best chance we have to remedy a wrong that has brought much grief to the seas of Nex."
"Wait," Korm asked. "You speak to the Orb?"
"The Orb speaks to me. 'Whispers' is perhaps a more accurate term, for its words are meant only for my ears, and cannot be heard by others."
"That's convenient," said Aebos.
"I have found it to be so," she admitted. "On more than one occasion the Orb has saved my life, or led me to a decision that enhanced the fortunes of the Council, the nation, or its people. Over long years I have learned to trust its declarations."
Aebos cut to the point. "You speak of a grief upon the seas. You mean the stillness of the water? The lack of wind?"
"The same," she said. "Tell me, Korm, in your travels along the River Road, did you ever hear about the demon ships?"
Korm's eyes narrowed at the mention of demons. "Can't say that I did," he said, monotone.
"They date from the last days of the Age of Destiny, when the archmage Nex turned to conquest upon the seas to broaden the scope of his kingdom. Unwilling to bow to the might of storms or the whims of the wind, Nex sought a method to propel his fleet to military victories regardless of weather."
Creeg spoke up, interrupting his mistress. "He found his method by binding the souls of powerful demons into enormous, perfectly cut glass lenses, which he bonded to his ships in a supreme act of arcane mastery. While imprisoned within the false reality of the lens, the demon's essence suffused every element of the ship, from its navigation to the fine details of its appearance. In a very real sense, the ship became the creature's skin, though its mind remained forever hidden away."
"In all of our rich history," Iranez continued, "no demon has broken free from its lens or betrayed its captain. Until now."
"Let me guess," Korm said. "The Relentless is one of these demon ships?"
"Indeed it is," said Iranez. "And until recently it had been an unusually docile specimen of its kind."
"But then something happened," said Aebos, "and the demon's control extended to the waters around the ship. This whole business is your fault."
"This business is the demon's fault," Creeg corrected. "It simply decided to rebel for reasons of its own that we have not yet been able to discern. That is why we turn to you. You must resolve the situation with the demon at the heart of the ship. The disruption to trade must not be traced back to the lady."
Korm furrowed his brow. "And how, exactly, do we get the demon to change its ways?"
Iranez lowered her left arm toward the floor, from whence she hauled a fine linen bag and placed it upon the table. As it landed with a loud clink, the lip of the bag dipped below the considerable bulk of its contents, revealing the glimmering edge of a crown and the sparkle of a scepter topped with what appeared to be a large emerald. Aebos's eyebrow lifted.
Iranez spoke softly, her golden eyes perfectly locked with the gray of Korm's, her face a picture of calm and practiced diplomacy. "The creature calls itself Juval. I believe that it can be reasoned with. Like any demon, it is subject to powerful desires that can be twisted to manipulate the creature to your own ends. In this case, the wealth collected here will serve to stoke its avarice."
Korm stared at the bag of treasure for a long while before returning his attention to Iranez. "You rule an entire nation and own a ship with a demon in it. Aebos and I are not your lackeys. Why don't you do this yourself?"
Iranez sighed softly. "No kingdom in all of Golarion has as many wizards and mystics as does my homeland of Nex. As a supreme agent of the Council of Three and Nine, my every action is scried, scrutinized, and divined by numerous factions. By special design, this chamber has the power to block such divinations. This power alone allows me to speak of Juval and its influence over the waves, for if I did so elsewhere word of my involvement would reach all quarters of Quantium within the hour."
Korm scoffed. "The politics of Nex are none of our concern."
The alchemist's eyes widened comically and his jaw went slack. "The utter insolence! The Lady Iranez rescued you from certain death and brought you into her confidence! And she has provided you with this resplendent meal."
"This is her demon," Korm responded. "Her problem. The way I see it, the Lady Iranez and her demon have provided me with all of my recent meals."
"Mister Calladan," said Iranez, "you survived the River Road and the dangers of distant Vudra. I have faith in your ability to talk yourself out of a problem, as does the Orb. You must pass through the lens into the demon's territory. There, you must convince Juval to withdraw its influence to the ship itself, and return the winds and waves to the waters surrounding Nex. What trinkets Juval does not claim are yours to keep, with my blessing. Upon your return from the world of the lens, I promise you safe passage to Quantium."
A wide grin broke across Aebos's face. "My lady," he said, "we could have saved significant anguish if you had led with the bit about us getting to keep the treasure. We will agree to your terms."
"As if the two of you reprobates deserve any riches beyond your lives," snapped Epostian Creeg. "My service to the Lady Iranez has convinced me to trust the guidance of the Orb, but what it sees in you, I cannot tell. I do not believe that the two of you can be trusted."
"Nor, I confess, do I," said Iranez, her voice tinged with a hint of regret soon erased by a wan smile. "To ensure that our needs are met, Korm and Aebos will be accompanied by my most trusted agent, Epostian Creeg."
The alchemist's face turned as white as his fine leather suit.
Coming Next Week: Adventures in a new dimension in Chapter Three of Erik Mona's "Two Pieces of Tarnished Silver."
Erik Mona is the Publisher of Paizo Publishing and one of the primary architects of the Pathfinder campaign setting, as well as the former Editor-in-Chief of Dungeon and Dragon magazines. His previous game books have won numerous awards, and include the Pathfinder Campaign Setting Gazetteer, The Inner Sea World Guide, Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk, "The Whispering Cairn" in Dungeon #124 (which kicked off the Age of Worms Adventure Path), and Pathfinder Adventure Path #19: Howl of the Carrion King, among many others. To find out more about Erik, visit his Facebook page.
... Illustration by Kieran Yanner ... Ultimate Magic: Witches and Wizards Tuesday, April 19, 2011This week's theme is witches and wizards: two new familiars, two new patron themes, and two arcane discoveries. New Familiars The following are two of the many new familiars presented in Ultimate Magic. ... Fox CR 1/4 ... XP 100 ... N Tiny animal ... Init +2; Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +8 ... Defense ... AC 14, touch 14, flat-footed 12 (+2 Dex, +2 size) ... hp 5...
Illustration by Kieran Yanner
Ultimate Magic: Witches and Wizards
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
This week's theme is witches and wizards: two new familiars, two new patron themes, and two arcane discoveries.
The following are two of the many new familiars presented in Ultimate Magic.
Fox CR 1/4 XP 100
N Tiny animal Init +2; Senses low-light vision, scent;
Perception +8 Defense AC 14, touch 14, flat-footed 12
(+2 Dex, +2 size) hp 5 (1d8+1) Fort +3, Ref +4, Will +1 Offense Speed 40 ft. Melee bite +1 (1d3-1) Space 2-1/2 ft.; Reach 0 ft. Statistics Str 9, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 6 Base Atk +0; CMB +0; CMD 9 (13 vs. trip) Feats Skill Focus (Perception) Skills Acrobatics +2 (+10
jumping), Perception +8, Stealth +10, Survival +1 (+5 scent tracking); Racial Modifiers +4 Acrobatics when
jumping, +4 Survival when tracking by scent Ecology Environment any Organization solitary, pair, or
skulk (3–12) Treasure none
Foxes are small, doglike carnivores with narrow snouts and bushy tails. A fox's master gains a +2 bonus on Reflex saves.
Hedgehog CR 1/8 XP 50
N Diminutive animal Init +3; Senses low-light vision; Perception
+1 Defense AC 18, touch 17, flat-footed 15
(+3 Dex, +1 natural, +4 size) hp 2 (1d8–2) Fort +0, Ref +5, Will +1 Offense
Speed 20 ft.
Space 1 ft.; Reach 0 ft. Statistics Str 1, Dex 16, Con 6, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 7 Base Atk +0; CMB –1; CMD 4 (8 vs. trip) Feats Athletic Skills Climb +5, Stealth +19,
Swim +5 Ecology Environment tropical or
temperate forests Organization solitary or pair Treasure none Special
Abilities Spiny Defense (Ex) As a move
action, a hedgehog can roll itself up into a spiny ball. While rolled
up, it gains a +1 enhancement bonus to its existing natural armor, and
any creature attempting to grapple the hedgehog takes 1d3 damage on
making a grapple check. While rolled up, a hedgehog cannot take any
action other than leaving this state. The hedgehog can leave this state
as a move action.
Hedgehogs are spiny, insectivorous mammals. When threatened, a hedgehog
rolls up into a spiny ball as a defense mechanism. A hedgehog's master gains a +2 bonus on Will saves
Witch Patron Themes
The following are some of the alternative witch patron themes presented
in Ultimate Magic.
Arcane discoveries are a new option presented in Ultimate Magic. A wizard can learn an arcane discovery in place of a regular feat or wizard bonus feat.
Fast Study: Normally, a
wizard spends 1 hour preparing all of his spells for the day, or
proportionately less if he only prepares some spells, with a minimum of
15 minutes of preparation. Thanks to mental discipline and clever
mnemonics, you can prepare all of your spells in only 15 minutes, and
your minimum preparation time is only 1 minute. You must be at least a
5th-level wizard to select this discovery. Multimorph (Su): Your studies
in transmogrification have increased your control over shapechanging
spells. When you cast a spell of the polymorph subschool on yourself,
you may expend 1 minute of the spell's duration as a standard action to
assume another form allowed by the spell. You can do this as often as
you like, subject to the duration of the spell. You must be at least a
5th-level wizard to select this discovery.
... Illustration by Jesper Ejsing. Wallpaper design by Crystal Frasier. Widescreen version here. ... If Winter Comes, Can Spring Be Far Behind? Friday, March 11, 2011We continue the month with another Pathfinder Tales-inspired wallpaper. This time we present the cover to Winter Witch by New York Times best-selling author Elaine Cunningham. I like all of the covers we've done for Pathfinder Tales, but this is my favorite to date. Something about the varied blues, warm reds, and general feel of...
Illustration by Jesper Ejsing. Wallpaper design by Crystal Frasier. Widescreen version here.
If Winter Comes, Can Spring Be Far Behind?
Friday, March 11, 2011
We continue the month with another Pathfinder Tales-inspired wallpaper. This time we present the cover to Winter Witch by New York Times best-selling author Elaine Cunningham. I like all of the covers we've done for Pathfinder Tales, but this is my favorite to date. Something about the varied blues, warm reds, and general feel of the piece is just cool. (Pun intended.) If you haven't already, you should check the book out by getting it here or at your favorite bookstore. You can even read the prologue right here.
And now that winter is coming to an end, spring (and the sun!) is that much closer. Which makes this SoCal native very happy indeed.
... Illustration by Dave Rapoza. ... Wallpapers Are Back! December 20, 2010Last Friday, Managing Editor extraordinaire Wes Schneider spoke a little about the upcoming Carrion Crown Adventure Path. This amazing AP starts with Pathfinder Adventure Path #43: The Haunting of Harrowstone and a stellar cover by Dave Rapoza. In honor of the upcoming AP, and as a new feature on the Paizo blog, we're proud to offer the first of many new wallpapers. Just download the image below and in no time you'll...
Illustration by Dave Rapoza.
Wallpapers Are Back!
December 20, 2010
Last Friday, Managing Editor extraordinaire Wes Schneider spoke a little about the upcoming Carrion Crown Adventure Path. This amazing AP starts with Pathfinder Adventure Path #43: "The Haunting of Harrowstone" and a stellar cover by Dave Rapoza. In honor of the upcoming AP, and as a new feature on the Paizo blog, we're proud to offer the first of many new wallpapers. Just download the image below and in no time you'll be able to gaze at Feiya and Merisiel kicking the snot out of skeletons to your heart's content, all from the comfort of your office chair. This might be the first new wallpaper in a while, but it definitely isn't the last, so keep an eye on the blog for more in the coming weeks.
... Illustration by Dave Rapoza ... Carrion Crown Is Coming Friday, December 17, 2010In a flurry of crunched stat blocks and flung pages, the last two weeks have seen us send two volumes of Pathfinder Adventure Path off to the printer, Pathfinder Adventure Path #42: Sanctum of the Serpent God and, right on its heels, Pathfinder Adventure Path #43: The Haunting of Harrowstone. While the former brings the Serpent Skull Adventure Path to its climactic close, the latter marks a total shift,...
Illustration by Dave Rapoza
Carrion Crown Is Coming
Friday, December 17, 2010
In a flurry of crunched stat blocks and flung pages, the last two weeks have seen us send two volumes of Pathfinder Adventure Path off to the printer, Pathfinder Adventure Path #42: "Sanctum of the Serpent God" and, right on its heels, Pathfinder Adventure Path #43: "The Haunting of Harrowstone". While the former brings the Serpent Skull Adventure Path to its climactic close, the latter marks a total shift, taking us from the wild jungles and hidden ruins of the Mwangi Expanse to the foggy moors and haunted ruins of Ustalav, the seat of gothic horror in Golarion. Longtime readers know that every new campaign gives us the opportunity to not just explore new themes, lands, and menaces, but to also reinvent Pathfinder's look for a new series.
And Carrion Crown looks incredible. Beyond Dave Rapoza's fantastic cover and the work of numerous talented interior illustrators, art director Sarah Robinson and graphic designer Andrew Vallas have put together something really amazing that perfectly captures the brooding menace of this grim campaign.
I'm probably more than a little biased, though, as besides the fact that gothic horror is my preferred cup of tea, the campaign is taking place in Ustalav, one of my favorite corners of Golarion. While Carrion Crown continues our long tradition of sword-swinging, spell-slinging high adventure, its inspirations come more from the pens of Bram Stoker, Mary Shelly, M. R. James, Shirley Jackson, and H. P. Lovecraft than J. R. R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, and Jack Vance. Think of it as a campaign set in Transylvania rather than Camelot or the Hyborian Age.
In the weeks before the Carrion Crown Adventure Path begins, check back here for more previews on what to expect from the campaign. Things kick off in the coming months with "The Haunting of Harrowstone," a ghost story that sets the tone for the series perfectly. That same volume also includes details on the sleepy town of Ravengro, new rules and examples that vastly expand the haunts presented in the GameMastery Guide, a creepy new series in the Pathfinder's Journal (by yours truly), an outline of the entire campaign, monthly details on the legends and superstitions of Ustalav, and something a little bit different added to the campaign's Bestiary to increase your toolbox of classic horrors. We've also built a ton of support for the campaign into our Pathfinder Campaign Setting and GameMastery lines, but I'll show off some of that awesome insanity a bit later.
... Costume Contest Results Thursday, August 19, 2010 Let me start this off by saying that our fans and friends are freakin' amazing. Seriously, folks—when Tiffany started this whole costume contest thing two years ago by showing up at the Gen Con booth dressed as a cleric of Desna, we were flat-out flabbergasted. The fact that Pathfinder cosplay has grown by leaps and bounds since then—enough to justify a full-fledged costume contest—is one of the greatest compliments our...
Costume Contest Results
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Let me start this off by saying that our fans and friends are freakin' amazing. Seriously, folks—when Tiffany started this whole costume contest thing two years ago by showing up at the Gen Con booth dressed as a cleric of Desna, we were flat-out flabbergasted. The fact that Pathfinder cosplay has grown by leaps and bounds since then—enough to justify a full-fledged costume contest—is one of the greatest compliments our game could receive. If you've never seen what goes on in our hotel rooms after a long day of working the Gen Con booth (and I sincerely hope you haven't, as we were told those door locks were secure), there's a whole lot of summer-camp-style giggling that goes on late into the night as we marvel at all the folks we've met that day. The costume contest only compounds that.
This year we had a number of strong contenders. In fourth place, Kelly's amazing Harsk outfit (complete with badger and authentic handmade crossbow!) tied with Blake's fabulous depiction of Nethys, the two-faced god of magic. In third, Tiffany's Harrower costume was a spot-on recreation of the art from the campaign setting hardcover, while Jason's potion-covered homage to the iconic alchemist exploded into second place.
Yet there can be only one winner of the Third Annual Gen Con Pathfinder Cosplay Contest, and this year the landslide victory went to Lora as the iconic witch. The level of detail on this costume was simply stunning. As art director Sarah Robinson pointed out, given the number of illustrators who complain about having to draw all the little pouches, fetishes, and other bits and pieces Wayne Reynolds likes to load up the iconics with, seeing someone actually make them to this level of detail is amazing. For her dedication, Lora receives the grand prize of $50 in Paizo store credit, as well as bragging rights until next year, when she'll have to defend her title.
When the time comes, will you be the one to take it from her?
Vote on the Costume Contest! Thursday, August 12, 2010We’re back from Gen Con, and in addition to the usual scramble to meet deadlines and recovery from horrifying illnesses contracted by shaking hands with approximately ten bajillion people, that means it’s time for everyone to vote on the contestants in the Third Annual Gen Con Pathfinder Cosplay Contest! ... We had an extraordinary number of contestants this year, and all of them did bang-up jobs! Yet only one can be the official winner of...
Vote on the Costume Contest!
Thursday, August 12, 2010
We’re back from Gen Con, and in addition to the usual scramble to meet deadlines and recovery from horrifying illnesses contracted by shaking hands with approximately ten bajillion people, that means it’s time for everyone to vote on the contestants in the Third Annual Gen Con Pathfinder Cosplay Contest!
We had an extraordinary number of contestants this year, and all of them did bang-up jobs! Yet only one can be the official winner of the grand prize (both a pile of Paizo store credit and bragging rights), which is where you come in. At the bottom of this blog, you’ll see a link for comments. Sound off and place your vote for the best costume in that thread. You have until the end of the weekend to make your selection. On Monday morning, we’ll tally all the votes, and announce the official winner in a blog post next week.
Ready? Here are this year’s fine contestants, in no particular order:
Lora as Feiya, the iconic witch.
Jason as Damiel, the iconic alchemist.
2009 contest champion Kelly as Harsk, the iconic ranger. (Maybe he’s a little tall for a dwarf, but how can you say no to a hand-made crossbow and his adorable animal companion, Biter?)
Blake as Nethys.
David as a paladin of Iomedae.
Corienne as a Tien monk.
2008 contest champion Tiffany as the Harrower from the campaign setting hardcover. (You can’t see her wayfinder here, but it came with its own ioun stone!)
Noel as Trifaccia from Pathfinder Adventure Path #12. Look out, he's got a whip!
Honorable Mention: Jodi as Amiri, the iconic barbarian, who despite her amazing costume has removed herself from the running, on account of already being Sean Reynolds' girlfriend (and isn't that prize enough?).
... Pathfinder Advanced Player's Guide Preview #2 Thursday, July 8, 2010The start of Gen Con 2010 is four weeks away, which means in just one month, the Advanced Player's Guide will be hitting game stores and subscriber mailboxes. In anticipation of this mighty sourcebook, I am taking you on a guided tour, touching on some of the highlights each week until release. Last week we took at look at the races chapter and the new alternate favored class bonuses. This week we are diving into Chapter...
Pathfinder Advanced Player's Guide Preview #2
Thursday, July 8, 2010
The start of Gen Con 2010 is four weeks away, which means in just one month, the Advanced Player's Guide will be hitting game stores and subscriber mailboxes. In anticipation of this mighty sourcebook, I am taking you on a guided tour, touching on some of the highlights each week until release. Last week we took at look at the races chapter and the new alternate favored class bonuses. This week we are diving into Chapter 2: Classes by looking at the six new base classes.
If you were not a part of the playtest of these classes, might I suggest that you grab the playtest document, which is still available here at paizo.com. Now go read up on the all of the new classes. Don't worry, I'll wait. All finished, good. I am going to walk through each of the classes and spend a bit of time talking about what changes you can expect to find in the book.
Illustration by Wayne Reynolds
Alchemist: Using all sorts of alchemical formulas, bombs, and mutagens, this class is focused on using strange concoctions to enhance the alchemist and damage his foes. Most of the changes to this class center around new discoveries that were added. Discoveries allow the alchemist to enhance his bombs and mutagens, but we added discoveries that allow him to use his bombs to dispel magic or to work better with poison, such as this new discovery.
Concentrate Poison: The alchemist can combine two doses of the same poison to increase their effects. This requires two doses of the poison and 1 minute of concentration. When completed, the alchemist has one dose of poison. The poison's frequency is extended by 50% and the save DC increases by +2.
Cavalier: This mounted warrior is skilled at directing allies around the battlefield and granting bonuses to his teammates. Each is dedicated to a specific order that grants abilities specific to his focus. Most of the changes from the playtest version of the cavalier are relatively small or designed to clarify an existing ability. For example, we clarified how large the cavalier's banner must be and how it must be displayed to grant its bonus to the cavalier's allies.
Inquisitor: Rooting out enemies of the faith, wherever they might hide, the inquisitor uses the powers of her faith to ruthlessly destroy her foes. One of her signature abilities is to declare judgment on one of her foes, granting her bonuses when fighting that enemy. The playtest version of this ability improved as the combat progressed. While this was a fun mechanic, it was ultimately rather unwieldy in play and was replaced with a simpler system. Now, whenever the inquisitor uses her judgment ability, she selects the type and gains a bonus based on her level. For example, take a look at this judgment of purity.
Purity: The inquisitor is protected from the vile taint of her foes, gaining a +1 sacred bonus on all saving throws. This bonus increases by +1 for every five inquisitor levels she possesses. At 10th level, the bonus is doubled against curses, diseases, and poisons.
Oracle: The oracle draws her power from the gods, but not one in particular. Her power is derived from her belief in a chosen mystery, which guides her and grants her additional powers. There were two big changes to the oracle from the playtest version. First, the bonus spells granted by the oracle's mystery are now granted a level sooner than before (the first arrives at 2nd level instead of 3rd). The second is the addition of the Life mystery, with powers like the following.
Enhanced Cures (Su): Whenever you cast a cure spell, the maximum number of hit points healed is based on your oracle level, not the limit based on the spell. For example, an 11th-level oracle of life with this revelation may cast cure light wounds to heal 1d8+11 hit points.
Summoner: The summoner is bonded to a special outsider, known as an eidolon, that gains powers and abilities as the summoner gains levels. His spells and class features all support this powerful, ever-changing ally. Most of the changes to this class were relatively small in nature, but the big one was a change to how often the summoner can call his eidolon. He can now summon the ally as often as he likes (provided it has not been banished due to damage recently), but he cannot use his summon monster ability at the same time. This allows him to keep the flexibility needed with the summoned creatures, but prevents him from overrunning the battlefield with too many creatures.
Illustration by Wayne Reynolds
Witch: The witch is an arcane spellcaster with an extensive spell list of spells drawn from both the wizard and cleric spell lists. She also gains powerful hexes that she can use to augment herself or harm her enemies. The biggest change made to the witch involves her familiar, the creature that helps her to understand magic and serves as an envoy of the witch's mysterious patron. Now the bonus spells granted by a witch's familiar are no longer tied to the type of familiar, giving the witch a lot more flexibility in concept and theme. We also made a number of changes to the witch's hexes, including making flight a basic hex that does not grant true flight until 5th level, and added a few others here and there to round out the witch concept. For example, what witch would be caught without a cauldron.
Cauldron: The witch receives Brew Potion as a bonus feat and a +4 insight bonus on Craft (alchemy) skill checks.
Well, that just about rounds up our look at the six new base classes in the Advanced Player's Guide. Next week, we will continue exploring the mighty classes chapter (which is about 1/3 of the book) by taking a closer look at all of the options available to the core classes from the Core Rulebook.
... Advanced Player’s Guide Playtest, Bonus Round! Tuesday, February 2, 2010Although the playtest of the six base classes set to appear in the Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player's Guide was scheduled to be over yesterday, we have decided to extend it by two weeks to give you a chance to review and playtest the changes from the previous three rounds. We took all of your feedback and ideas and implemented a number of changes to the classes, combining them into one handy reference PDF. You can find...
Advanced Player’s Guide Playtest, Bonus Round!
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Although the playtest of the six base classes set to appear in the Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player's Guide was scheduled to be over yesterday, we have decided to extend it by two weeks to give you a chance to review and playtest the changes from the previous three rounds. We took all of your feedback and ideas and implemented a number of changes to the classes, combining them into one handy reference PDF. You can find the PDF right here.
You have two weeks to playtest and comment on these revisions in the Final Playtest messageboard forum. Make sure to post your feedback on in the correct forum, because we might miss it if you place it in one of the older forums. On February 15th, all of the forums will be closed.
As with previous playtests, this process has been a huge benefit to the development of these classes. I hope that you have enjoyed participating in the process. Look for previews of the final book to start appearing in June, ramping up to the final release in August.
... Advanced Player's Guide Playtest, Round 2! Monday, November 30, 2009 ... Illustration by Wayne Reynolds ... Illustration by Wayne Reynolds ... The playtest of the Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player's Guide continues today with the launch of two more classes slated to appear in the book, due out in August. Round 2 focuses on the summoner and the witch. The summoner is an arcane caster that forms a close bond with a powerful outsider, known as an eidolon. The eidolon works a lot like an animal...
Advanced Player's Guide Playtest, Round 2!
Monday, November 30, 2009
Illustration by Wayne Reynolds
Illustration by Wayne Reynolds
The playtest of the Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player's Guide continues today with the launch of two more classes slated to appear in the book, due out in August. Round 2 focuses on the summoner and the witch. The summoner is an arcane caster that forms a close bond with a powerful outsider, known as an eidolon. The eidolon works a lot like an animal companion, but its form and abilities are decided by the summoner and they can change as the summoner goes up in level. The witch is a class that utilizes a wide variety of spells from both the arcane and divine spell lists. She draws her power from a mysterious force, which she communes with through her familiar. To top it off, she has a wide variety of hex powers to draw on, that both help her allies and hinder foes. This is your chance to take a look at these classes before they hit shelves in August. You can download the free PDF containing both of these classes here.
Two weeks ago, we released the cavalier and the oracle, and the playtest for those classes is well underway. In two weeks, we will release the final two classes set to appear in the book. While we are focusing on the classes as they release, the playtest itself will remain open until the end of January 2010.
Just like the Core Rulebook playtest last year, there are a number of forums waiting for your feedback and comments. The first is a general forum, for discussing larger issues and announcements. Following this is a pair of forums for discussing each round of the playtest. Discussion on the summoner and the witch should go in the round 2 forum.
Feedback on the first round has been immensely helpful, but I want to stress the usefulness of actual playtest feedback. Observations and general concerns are useful, but we are getting the most information from players who have actually given the classes a try. So take the summoner and the witch out for a spin and let us know what you think.
... Back from the Future, Part 2 Friday, October 2, 2009One of the big highlights of Gen Con Australia 2009 was the What’s Next for Pathfinder? seminar that took place Saturday afternoon. The Pathfinder players at the show were so excited for this seminar that they took a break from their Pathfinder Society games to attend. Not surprisingly, it was pretty packed. ... Although much of what was covered during this seminar had already been announced, there were a few surprises in store,...
Back from the Future, Part 2
Friday, October 2, 2009
One of the big highlights of Gen Con Australia 2009 was the "What’s Next for Pathfinder?" seminar that took place Saturday afternoon. The Pathfinder players at the show were so excited for this seminar that they took a break from their Pathfinder Society games to attend. Not surprisingly, it was pretty packed.
Although much of what was covered during this seminar had already been announced, there were a few surprises in store, including the final two new base classes being planned for the Advanced Player’s Guide and a special surprise, a first look at one of the base classes from that book. At Gen Con Indy this year, we announced four of the six base classes slated to appear in the Advanced Player’s Guide: the alchemist, the cavalier, the oracle, and the summoner. During this seminar, the final two were revealed: the inquisitor and the witch.
The inquisitor class is going to look a lot like your Van Helsing-type character, dedicated to hunting down and killing monsters. This means that the class is going to have a fair number of skills and some limited divine spellcasting ability. In addition, the inquisitor is going to have the ability to designate a foe during combat, and the longer the combat progresses, the more damage he will deal to that foe in combat. Unlike a ranger, the inquisitor’s abilities are not based on monster type. Instead he has to carefully study his targets, learning how to more effectively deal with them as a combat progresses. Higher-level inquisitors will learn how to exploit monster weaknesses and possibly even add additional weaknesses to a monster using special attacks.
The witch class is going to be a class that fully embraces both the arcane and divine spell lists, taking select spells from each to make for one intriguing list. The big news for the witch is the focus on her familiar. This will function like a wizard’s familiar, but with additional powers and abilities, with maybe a few extra limitations thrown in to balance out the rules. You can also expect some new mechanics for witch curses, through some new spells and class features.
While the crowd was certainly excited to hear about these new classes, the room grew rather quiet as I handed out a sample oracle character for them to analyze. But rather than leave you out in the cold, here is that character, updated with the most recent version of the class.
This sample shows one of the first builds of the new oracle class. The relevant class abilities are summarized, but they do not include additional bonuses that Areanna would gain at higher levels. For example, at 9th level, Areanna’s form of flames ability improves, allowing her to assume the form of a Medium fire elemental.
Female human oracle 7
CG Medium humanoid Init +6; Senses Perception –1 Defense AC 19, touch 14, flat-footed 16; (+5 armor, +1 deflection, +2 Dex, +1 dodge) hp 49 (7d8+14) Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +5 Offense Speed 40 ft. Melee+1 flaming shortspear +7 (1d6+2 plus 1d6 fire) Ranged dagger +7 (1d4+1/19–20) Special Attacks fire breath (2/day, 7d4 fire damage, DC 17), form of flame (Small fire elemental) Spells Known (CL 7th)
3rd (5/day)—cure serious wounds, dispel magic, fireball (DC 17)
2nd (7/day)—aid, augury, resist energy, summon monster II
1st (7/day)—bless, cure light wounds, divine favor, produce flame, remove fear, shield of faith
0 (At Will)—guidance, light, purify food and drink, read magic, resistance, stabilize, virtue Focus fire Statistics Str 12, Dex 14, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 18 Base Atk +5; CMB +6; CMD 18 Feats Combat Casting, Dodge, Eschew Materials, Improved Initiative, Mobility, Nimble Moves, Toughness Skills Acrobatics +12, Intimidate +14, Knowledge (religion) +10, Perform (dance) +14, Spellcraft +10 Languages Common, Ignan SQ oracle’s curse (speak in tongues), orisons, revelations (cinder dance, fire breath, form of flame) Combat Gearelemental gem (fire), elixir of fire breath, wand of cure light wounds; Other Gear+1 flaming shortspear, daggers (4), +2 studded leather armor, cloak of resistance +1, ring of protection +1 Special Abilities Cinder Dance (Ex): Areanna’s base speed increases by 10 feet. At 5th level, she receives Nimble Moves as a bonus feat. Fire Breath (Su): As a standard action, Areanna can unleash a 15-foot cone of flame from her mouth. This flame deals 1d4 points of fire damage per level, maximum 10d4. A Reflex save halves this damage. The save DC is equal to 10 + 1/2 her oracle level + her Charisma modifier. She can use this ability once per day, plus one additional time per day for every four oracle levels she possesses. Form of Flame (Su): As a standard action, Areanna can assume the form of a Small fire elemental, as elemental body I. She can use this ability once per day, but the duration is 1 hour/level. Speak in Tongues: In times of stress, Areanna speaks in tongues. Whenever she is in combat, she can only speak and understand Ignan. This does not interfere with spellcasting, but it does apply to spells that are language dependent. She gains Ignan as a bonus language.
As you can see, oracles are spontaneous divine spellcasters, working in a manner similar to sorcerers. Instead of bloodlines, each oracle has a focus (fire in Areanna’s case). At 1st level, 3rd level, and every four levels thereafter, oracles can select one revelation from their focus to learn. These revelations grant them special powers and abilities, such as the ability to breathe fire, turn into a fire elemental, or even call down a storm of fire (Areanna is not quite high enough level for that one). In addition, oracles must select a curse at 1st level. These curses are a mixed blessing, with each one limiting the oracle in one way, while granting special bonuses in other areas. Areanna’s curse is perhaps one of the easiest to deal with, which is why it grants one of the smallest bonuses.
Well, that about wraps up my summary of Gen Con Australia 2009. I want to thank Ian Houlihan, the convention director, for bringing me down to the show, Mark Rogerson, the events manager, for showing me a great time in Brisbane, and Peter Ball, the seminar manager, for setting up some great panels. I am hoping to make this show a regular in my convention schedule. Maybe next year, you will too.