Amanda Hamon Kunz and Jason Keeley teamed up as the lead developers of Heroes of the High Court, a Pathfinder Player Companion that takes adventurers to the royal courts and noble houses of Golarion. Let's see what they have to say about the lords and ladies of high society.
We're So Fancy, You Already Know
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Developers Amanda Hamon Kunz and Jason Keeley teamed up as the lead developers of Heroes of the High Court, a Pathfinder Player Companion that takes adventurers to the royal courts and noble houses of Golarion. Let's see what they have to say about the lords and ladies of high society.
This was the first book that I did a major amount of development on, having spent a few years in the word mines of editing—a place that holds a very special place in my heart and to which calls to me still. And I have to give major thanks to Amanda, who made sure I didn't spend my whole time on this project alphabetizing everything. It was exciting to take the glittering ideas fresh from our freelancer's minds and altering them to fit the needs of the product, much like a bespoke tailor creating a velvet doublet for his noble patron.
Illustrations by Bryan Syme and Javier Charro
Speaking of clothes, we all know how much those courtly types enjoy their fashion, so of course Heroes of the High Court touches on this important facet. From mundane attire such as long, silk gloves that grant bonuses against contact poisons to magical accessories such as a fashionable shawl that provides the wearer with her own illusory entourage, you'll be able to dress to impress. Once so attired, you might look half as nice as the silksworn, an occultist archetype that trades dusty ancient implements for ostentatious garments and expensive magic items. A silksworn casts spells as a spontaneous arcane spellcaster, and actually gets a few more spells per day than the regular occultist. He even gains a bonus on Bluff and Diplomacy checks depending on how much fancy clothing he's wearing. I mean, just look at Mavaro here! Isn't he fabulous?!
For me, one of the most fun parts of character creation is coming up with a deep and intricate origin story. It might never come up in play, but my characters always have weird reasons for adventuring, and for being in specific locations when their adventures start. More than one has had traceable ties to a legendary hero (or has just made up a story and passed it off as fact!).
Regardless, Heroes of the High Court is rich in mechanical tools for building nearly any specific noble character you can imagine. The book accomplishes this in a lot of ways, but one of the most interesting is an expansion of the Noble Scion feat from the Inner Sea World Guide. The original feat gives you a mechanical benefit at 1st level based on the broad flavor of your character's noble family, but in Heroes of the High Court, we go a step further. With this expansion of the feat, characters can gain a mechanical benefit based on the actual nation from which their noble family hails.
Is your character, for instance, a member of frosty noble family from Irrisen? If they take the Noble Scion feat, they can reduce the amount of nonlethal damage taken from exposure to cold by 4 points (minimum 0). If they're from shadowy Nidal, they can gain low-light vision, or a +2 bonus on Perception checks in areas of dim light, and if they're from Taldor, they can gain a +2 bonus on Charisma-based checks when interacting with nobles or members of a noble court.
Before I jump into this week’s preview of the upcoming Goblins Burn! deck, I would like to mention that several Paizo products have been nominated for ENnie awards, including the Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Card Game Base Set. I encourage you to visit the ENnies 2016 Election page to cast your votes.
On to Goblins Burn! Three new goblin characters appear in this deck. Mogmurch earned his title of arsonist through his love of bombs and other thrown substances, burning a wide swath through his enemies. Poog, warcaster of the Licktoad tribe, goes everywhere with his trusty toad, Flybreath, and his prior pet, Dogfinder, calling on the blessings of Zarongel to see him through tough spots. And Zibini tells fortunes for a living, looking into her trusty crystal ball for what is to come. Be careful not to rouse her to anger, for her piercing gaze gives a headache to even the toughest goblins.
The characters in Goblins Burn! largely rely on spells to seize the day. One such spell, Burning Snot, really captures the essence of goblin spellcasting: take a deep breath and let it fly! Another awesome spell, Oozikinesis, allows the caster to cover anything in slime. Boon or bane, the goo gets them all!
Of course, spells aren't going to solve every problem. For those times the characters just cannot get out of the way, there are pot helms and horn armor to save their hides. These prime examples of goblin ingenuity and dumpster diving are made from only the finest junk—the helmet even doubles as a stewpot!
There are also plenty of new items to capture the goblin spirit. For those in need of a bit of extra assistance, the Skill Slug is a tasty treat that really helps out. And as with Goblins Fight!, each goblin has a frog ally.
Convention season for us is a lot like hosting a large gathering of family and friends for a major holiday: preparing way more dishes than usual, aiming for more spectacular fare than we would otherwise cook, and fretting about whether great-aunt Matilda will critique how we made the pie crust. From dicing the first onion to the moment where everyone sits down and takes the first bite of food, there’s always the question of whether everything turned out just right. Sometimes, though, you can just tell that everything’s fallen into place before even seeing your guests’ expressions. In my extended analogy, while Tonya, Todd Morgan, and Bob Jonquet have handled our seating arrangements and sending out invitations, I think my co-chefs Linda, Thurston Hillman, and Jason Keeley can agree that the menu this year turned out great.
PaizoCon Brings Out the Best
Monday, May 23, 2016
Illustrations by Marko Horvatin
Convention season for us is a lot like hosting a large gathering of family and friends for a major holiday: preparing way more dishes than usual, aiming for more spectacular fare than we would otherwise cook, and fretting about whether great-aunt Matilda will critique how we made the pie crust. From dicing the first onion to the moment where everyone sits down and takes the first bite of food, there's always the question of whether everything turned out just right. Sometimes, though, you can just tell that everything's fallen into place before even seeing your guests' expressions. In my extended analogy, while Tonya, Todd Morgan, and Bob Jonquet have handled our seating arrangements and sending out invitations, I think my co-chefs Linda, Thurston Hillman, and Jason Keeley can agree that the menu this year turned out great.
Illustration by Dion Harris
One year ago, I ran an increasingly infamous session of Pathfinder Society Special #6-98: Serpents Rise at PaizoCon for a handful of noteworthy hooligans. One of the chief takeaways from this event was the tradition of shouting "Druma Lodge" whenever somebody mentioned Druma, lodges, money, or a host of other keywords that we have developed since then. The esteemed contributor and Pathfinder Society author Thurston Hillman was among the more...rambunctious participants, and after the game we got to talking about how the Society had done so little in Druma and what a Druman adventure [Druma Lodge!] might look like. Pathfinder Society Scenario #7-22: Bid for Alabastrine has grown and evolved in really amazing ways since then, including the incorporation of some Serpents Rise metaplot, so if you have a Spoils of the Siege boon, it might pay to have it on hand to show the GM during this adventure. As fair warning, this Tier 1-5 adventure features both roleplaying and dealing with people whose outfits cost more than your PC might earn by 10th level. Be prepared to hobnob with the high'n'mighty—including these two kalistocrats depicted by Marko Horvatin—but keep an eye out for danger!
The uninitiated might assume that I invite editors to write adventures because their manuscripts are pristine and a delight to develop. Although that's true, I've also found that Paizo's editors—including Justin Juan with #5-21: "The Merchant's Wake" and Joe Homes in #6-17: "Fires of Karamoss"—are among the more creative narrators and insightful creators to work on the campaign. This time I was especially familiar with editor Jason Keeley's work on the Pathfinder Comics backmatter and his discerning feedback while editing scenarios, so I felt that this was the guy who could handle a high-level adventure set on another plane. I have since confirmed how delightfully inventive he can be, especially in portraying otherworldly NPCs. Pathfinder Society Scenario #7-23: Abducted in Aether concludes the Master of Spells mini-arc of Season 7 and features several popular NPCs, including the commanding night hag depicted here by Dion Harris (who has also created the excellent artwork for the earlier parts of this story).
Illustration by Javier Charro
PaizoCon's not complete without a special event. In addition to Pathfinder Society Special #6-97: Siege of Serpents, last year players had the special opportunity in Pathfinder Society Scenario #6-98: Serpents Rise to portray capable Aspis Consortium agents who got to (figuratively and literally) punch Pathfinders in the face. I've really enjoyed hearing from players about their experience with the accompanying pregenerated characters and how they hoped to see those characters appear again in the organized play storyline. Over the course of Season 7, authors have helped us incorporate this motley cast into several more adventures, and it only made sense to get the gang back together for one more epic heist in Pathfinder Society Scenario #7-98: Serpents' Ire. And epic it is. Even if you're not terribly familiar with the campaign setting, there's a lot of action, a splash of intrigue, and hefty serving of the unexpected. If you enjoy the organized play metaplot, keep an eye out for all sorts of extras that might hint at what's happening elsewhere in the world and what is to come. This was an absolute blast to write (including the *ahem* lovable Iaovin Ratarion, depicted here by Javier Charro), and I hope folks enjoy playing and GMing it.
In fact, I might need to assemble another group of yahoos to do just that. You'll know it's us because while everyone else in the room is signing Chronicle sheets, we'll still be stuck on the first scene thanks to having spent hours designing a team uniform, hiding bodies, and coming up with elaborate plans to attack buildings that have nothing to do with the adventure. PaizoCon is great like that.
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