Some of Golarion's greatest heroes hail from not one world but two, caught between dueling cultures and impulses, and it's your turn to become one of them! Bastards of Golarion is due out soon, and this is one Player Companion you won't want to miss. Here are five reasons why:
Best of Both Worlds
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Cover by Ralph Horsley
Some of Golarion's greatest heroes hail from not one world but two, caught between dueling cultures and impulses, and it's your turn to become one of them! Bastards of Golarion is due out soon, and this is one Player Companion you won't want to miss. Here are five reasons why:
Half-Elves and Half-Orcs: Readers have been asking for a book on these unusual races for years, and Bastards of Golarion makes such wishes a reality. Numerous details and expanded flavor provide inspiration for these mixed-blooded adventurers and inform players how their half-elf or half-orc character may interact with others in the world of Golarion. Oh, and did I mention a flurry of new traits and rules options for each of these races?
Regional Variants: The half-human child of a Snowcaster elf is sure to be different than that of an elf from Kyonin, and the same can be said for desert orcs from Osirion versus orcs from the Hold of Belkzen. All-new details on ten (five for half-elves, five for half-orcs) of these half-blooded variants breathe life into your game and allow for a bevy of new character choices. New alternative racial traits make sure the rules represent your unique character, whether she be descended from the jungle orcs of southern Garund or the mysterious elves of the Mordant Spire.
Character Themes: Half-elves and half-orcs aren't the only people of Golarion to come from unusual or dubious origins. Even seemingly unassuming humans can be bastards given the right backstory! Four diverse character themes in this book provide inspiration for an infinite number of characters and stories. Whether your character calls himself a bastard or a celebrity, an outcast or an unfortunate, these character themes and related rules options shine a light on previously unenviable origin stories and show how such characters can rise from regret to resplendence!
Half-Race Hometowns: You've decided your bastardly adventurer's race and background story, but where did this character even come from? Information on Averaka—the city of half-orcs—and Erages—haven for half-elves—make sure your bastard's hometown is as fleshed out as she is. Regional traits and archetypes for characters from either of these unique locales tie your character's formidable past to her heroic present.
Build-A-Bastard: In addition to details and traits for bastards of unusual origins (such as the strange gillmen of Absalom or the half-hag changelings from northern Avistan), the last few pages of this book provide suggestions and rules for creating characters whose racial ancestry is perhaps less obvious or more distant. Ever wanted to play a human character that's actually 1/8th orc and 1/8th dhampir? This book shows you how.
Illustrations by Ian Llanas and Michael Rookard
And because I would be remiss to write a blog post about this book without including some of its some juicy art, here are two of my favorite pieces to tide you over until Bastards of Golarion is in your hands.
Pathfinder Battles Preview: Taking Another Look Friday, December 16, 2011The official release date for Heroes & Monsters is now only a few weeks away, and by this point I’ve revealed every miniature in the set in one form or another. Later today our friends at WizKids will be bringing over first-run outputs of the approved sculpts for the next set, Rise of the Runelords, so my mind is already on the next amazing set. But those previews will have to wait until next month, as I want to take one...
Pathfinder Battles Preview: Taking Another Look
Friday, December 16, 2011
The official release date for Heroes & Monsters is now only a few weeks away, and by this point I’ve revealed every miniature in the set in one form or another. Later today our friends at WizKids will be bringing over first-run outputs of the approved sculpts for the next set, Rise of the Runelords, so my mind is already on the next amazing set. But those previews will have to wait until next month, as I want to take one more pass through Heroes & Monsters to show off some of the final versions of minis you’ve only previously seen as computer models or unpainted practical sculpts.
First up we have the uncommon Dire Rat, one of the earliest miniatures we revealed for the set. Your comments (and our own impressions) said that the computer-generated 3D sculpt of the rat looked too “clean,” so I asked WizKids to add a layer of filth over the whole guy to really sell the idea that he just stepped out of a sewer. I’d say they nailed it. Gross!
Speaking of early reveals, next up we have the rare Lich, previously seen only as a computer sculpt. The final production-run miniature shown below reveals nice metallic effects on the shoulder pads and chestplate, while WizKids’ talented paint operations have added a cool speckled highlight effect on what originally appeared to be a flat black cloak. This guy really looks like a badass, and I love the way the detail at the hem of his cloak gives the whole thing a sense of texture. I can’t wait to put this guy on the table and see my players run for cover.
Next up we have the common Lizardfolk Champion. This is your first look at this guy in color, and honestly, I’m not sure our camera is up to the challenge of showing off how good the Champion looks, especially for a “common” figure. I count eight different colors, from his black toenails to the touch of blue at the top of his crest. The Lizardfolk’s curved tail and weapon pose give it a great sense of three-dimensionality. We call him a Champion, but at the common rarity, he makes a great troop-builder figure for a Lizardfolk squad. More Lizardfolk will certainly follow (with plenty of variety within the types), but this guy gets us off to a good start.
Speaking of amazing commons, the Orc Warrior is one of my absolute favorite figures in the set. Not only is he an amazing likeness to the illustration in the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary, but he’s got more detail and a better paint job than most prepainted orcs that preceded him (although I also really like the Orc Brute from this set). There will DEFINITELY be more orcs in the future, and we’ll be careful to match the skin tones, size, and general “look” to make sure all of them work well together.
Lastly we have the only iconic character in Heroes & Monsters, the rare paladin Seelah. Although the way this photo frames her face makes her seem like a bit of a Popeye look, the mini looks really nice in hand. The metallic silver and gold of her armor really pops, and I love the design WizKids pulled off at the hem of her skirt. There will, of course, be more iconic characters to come, with Rise of the Runelords getting two, bringing the total (including the four in Beginner Box Heroes) to 7. Only 14 to go before we’ve covered them all!
That’s it for this week! WizKids is bringing a pile of new minis over later today, and I can’t wait to start planning preview blogs for the next set! Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to know about Heroes & Monsters, and I’ll do my best to help out!
These things are almost in your hands! I can’t wait to hear what you think of them once you get to see them for yourselves!
Pathfinder Battles Preview: Crazy-Good Commons Friday, November 4, 2011Just yesterday, the fine folks from WizKids stopped by the Paizo offices to drop off the final batch of Pathfinder Battles Heroes & Monsters miniatures. I now have, sitting on my desk, actual production-run copies of all 41 miniatures in the set, from the lowly Goblin Warrior to the mighty Huge Black Dragon. Looking at them all lined up on my desk, I’m very impressed with the quality WizKids brought to bear on this set,...
Pathfinder Battles Preview: Crazy-Good Commons
Friday, November 4, 2011
Just yesterday, the fine folks from WizKids stopped by the Paizo offices to drop off the final batch of Pathfinder Battles Heroes & Monsters miniatures. I now have, sitting on my desk, actual production-run copies of all 41 miniatures in the set, from the lowly Goblin Warrior to the mighty Huge Black Dragon. Looking at them all lined up on my desk, I’m very impressed with the quality WizKids brought to bear on this set, and I think players are going to be absolutely thrilled with them. As much as I like sharing these images with you every Friday, there’s just something special about holding these miniatures in your hand that can never come through on a photograph.
I’ll begin revealing images of these final miniatures starting next week. This week’s batch is the last of the pre-production samples. Generally speaking, these look identical to the final versions except they haven’t yet been attached to the bases. I’ll see about showing off the bottoms of the bases next week, too, as they look a little different from prepainted plastic miniatures you’ve probably seen from other companies, in that you can actually read the name of the monster and other helpful information. More on that soon.
Today I want to focus on some of the common miniatures in the Heroes & Monsters set. When I first came into the prepainted miniature business, my understanding was that common miniatures often had very few paint steps, and were basically created as “cheaply” as possible as a way of subsidizing the more complicated miniatures pegged to the more scarce rarities. While there is some element of that in the Pathfinder Battles line (very complex minis are indeed more likely to be rarer), I was very pleasantly surprised to see the amount of quality and detail WizKids put into even the common miniatures in the set.
When I’ve showed the production samples around the office, it’s often been commons like the Orc Warrior or Lizardfolk Champion that folks identify as their favorites. With Pathfinder Battles, we let game utility dictate rarity more than things like sculpt complexity or paint steps. If you might want a ton of a certain creature in your game, we did everything we could to put that creature at the common rarity. If you only needed one, we made it a rare, and so on.
Here are preview images of three such common creatures, starting with the friendly (or not-so-friendly) fellows who tend to show up every time your player characters get into trouble in a town or city: the watch!
Here we have the lowly Watch Guard, the rank-and-file police or guard who peers through the darkness with his lantern and impales criminals with his simple spear. You can almost hear him say, “Wot’s all this, then?” as he advances toward your criminal player characters, with very little sense that they might have six or seven levels on him and weapons that cost more than he will earn in a year of cleaning up the city.
Every good gaggle of guards needs a leader, so when we were first planning this set, I asked WizKids to add a Watch Captain to the list. The guy they came back with looked pretty cool, but I thought he was a bit too regular-looking to fully pull off the “captain” rank, so I busted him down. He’s now the Watch Officer, nervously looking over his shoulder for a future set that might include his direct superior.
Or perhaps he’s nervous about an attack from this next common, the mighty Orc Brute! WizKids did an awesome job with the set’s two orcs (the Orc Warrior, taken directly from the Pathfinder Bestiary illustration, is even better than this one). This guy is ready to knock your head off with a nasty club capped with a bunch of nails. If it came down to the fight between the Orc Brute and both of the Watch figures put together, my vote goes to the orc. As Wesley Snipes once famously said: “Always bet on green.”
That’s it for this week. With a full set of finished minis to show off, next week’s preview will be the cream of the crop. Let me know what you’d like to see, and I’ll be sure to add it to the list!
Beginner Box Sneak Preview Tuesday, September 6, 2011 Learning to play the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game is about to get easier than ever before, as in just a few short weeks the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Beginner Box hits the shelves of a game store near you! With the imminent release of this mighty boxed set—filled to bursting with easy-to-master rules, multiple adventures, creature tokens, dice, a Flip-Mat play surface, pregenerated character sheets, tons of tools to start building...
Beginner Box Sneak Preview
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Learning to play the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game is about to get easier than ever before, as in just a few short weeks the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Beginner Box hits the shelves of a game store near you! With the imminent release of this mighty boxed set—filled to bursting with easy-to-master rules, multiple adventures, creature tokens, dice, a Flip-Mat play surface, pregenerated character sheets, tons of tools to start building your own campaign, and much, much more—here's the first of several previews to whet your appetite for innovative new ways to tell the stories you've always wanted to tell and bring the adventure of tabletop roleplaying to whole new audiences.
To start things off, check out a few pages from the Bestiary chapter of the new Game Master's Guide, or one of the four pregenerated character sheets included in the set, this one detailing everything you'll need to play the dauntless cleric Kyra.
Game Master's Guide Bestiary Preview: From the heart of the Beginner Box's 94-page Game Master's Guide, here are eight fearsome and familiar foes, exhibiting just a hint of their streamlined rules, and proving that easy to use doesn't mean any less deadly. Download the PDF preview (1.6 MB zip/pdf)
Cleric Pregenerated Character Sheet Preview: What good is a pregenerated character if you don't know how to use it? Check out a complete Beginner Box pregenerated character sheet, designed to not only allow players to dive into the action immediately, but also explain each key ability and character feature at a glance, making sure players are spending their time adventuring, not looking up rules. This sample sheet is only one of four included in the Beginner Box. Download the PDF preview (1.8 MB zip/pdf)
The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Beginner Box releases this October, but be sure to check back right here in the coming weeks for more details, discussions, and exciting revelations about the newest and most exciting way to learn and play the Pathfinder RPG!
Orcs, Giant Scorpion Robots, and Barbarians: An Interview with Tyler Walpole
... Orcs, Giant Scorpion Robots, and Barbarians: An Interview with Tyler Walpole Wednesday, May 4, 2011A couple of weeks ago we interviewed Ed Greenwood, our Guest of Honor at PaizoCon 2011. This time I had the pleasure of interviewing Tyler Walpole, our Artist Guest of Honor this year. ... Tyler is one of those artists who just gets it. I don't think he's created a piece I don't love and it's going to be awesome to see him at PaizoCon this year. From orcs battling giant monsters...
Orcs, Giant Scorpion Robots, and Barbarians: An Interview with Tyler Walpole
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
A couple of weeks ago we interviewed Ed Greenwood, our Guest of Honor at PaizoCon 2011. This time I had the pleasure of interviewing Tyler Walpole, our Artist Guest of Honor this year.
Tyler is one of those artists who just gets it. I don't think he's created a piece I don't love and it's going to be awesome to see him at PaizoCon this year. From orcs battling giant monsters single-handedly, to lone barbarians taking on giant arachnid robots, Tyler's art is dynamic, detailed, and just plain awesome. Tyler's definitely on the list of artists I want to paint murals in every room of my future mansion when I win the lottery.
And he's an illustrating machine, doing work for us (seriously, look how awesome the Master of the Fallen Fortress cover is), IDW on the D&D comic, Hero Games, and a ton of other high-profile companies. We're lucky to have him with us at PaizoCon, and if you're coming out, you should definitely see if you can buy him enough drinks to get a sketch.
And now, on with the interview!
1. A brief bio, where you are from and how you started in the industry?
I am a self-taught illustrator who lives in Des Moines, Iowa. I spent several years trying to break into the comic book industry as a penciler. That ended up being a bit like pounding my head against a brick wall. Lots of offers to do work for free, but no professional (i.e., paid) work. In 2000 I decided to forgo my annual trip to Wizard World Chicago, and instead created a portfolio of black-and-white interior illustrations and went to Gen Con. I talked to every art director I could find on the showroom floor. When I got home, I had an offer to do some work for Palladium Books, and that worked out pretty well, so I kept pursuing more and more game work (and added color into the mix) until I had enough coming in to make the jump to full time. I've managed to stay pretty busy ever since.
2. When did you discover your creative talents?
I've been drawing since I could hold a pencil. I spent a lot of time in grade school being told not to draw on my homework... now drawing is my homework!
3. What inspires you?
I take inspiration from everything. Movies, games, books, walks in the park, all of it! I have a pretty active mind, and almost anything can germinate in there and come out as something useful for my art.
4. How would you describe your style?
Oh man, I have no idea. John Romita, Jr. once described his work as "Deadline Style"... its as much as I can get done by the deadline. Working in a publishing environment has sort of dictated that I also have a "Deadline Style." One of these days I'm going to spend just as long as I please on something. I'll go back to you after that happens. ;)
5. Do you have a favorite story or character?
Let see... I'm pretty satisfied with most of the covers I've done, my favorite is probably the Orcs of Golarion. It's essentially a Conan vs. the Monster illustration... only in this case Conan is an Orc, and he's dual-wielding axes. Sarah pretty much let me do my own thing on that one, in design terms, and I really enjoyed it.
6. Who are your favorite artists, writers, and/or influences?
Well, here again, it could be just about anybody. Some of my favorites include Donato Giancola, Dan Dos Santos, Todd Lockwood, Greg Manchess, Frank Frazetta, James Jean, Phil Hale, Mike Mignola, Kevin Nowlan, Adam Hughes, Bill Willingham, and Jim Butcher.
7. How do you juggle freelance work and life?
I skip out on a lot of sleep. No, seriously, I skip out on a lot of sleep. I love my job, but I'm married and have two sons. I do my best to make it to every family function, school event, and baseball game. But, many nights, once everyone is in bed, I sneak back to the studio to make sure I'm on top of my deadlines, and squeeze in some time to develop my own projects.
8. Describe yourself in 5 words.
Living the dream. So grateful!
9. What's the best thing to happen to you recently?
Besides being Artist Guest of Honor at PaizoCon 2011, you mean? I found a publisher for one of those projects!
10. Any advice for aspiring artists?
Practice your art. All. The. Time. Whatever you decide to do, whatever voice emerges through your art, or writing or music, honor it, and do it the best you can... the business part of it will follow. People are drawn to excellence in many forms, so don't try to be like the other guy. And keep at it!
Lord of Penanceby Richard Lee Byers ... Chapter One: ReunionSefu studied the gaunt, shuffling girl in the shapeless black robe, and when he was certain, he winced. ... Is that Leyli? Olhas asked, his brown hair plastered to his long, narrow skull. Wary of the dehydration that could mean debilitation and even death to his race, the lanky gillman had just moments ago paused at a fountain to dunk his head and hands. ... Yes, Sefu said. She was horribly changed from the grinning, teasing imp of a...
Lord of Penance
by Richard Lee Byers
Chapter One: Reunion
Sefu studied the gaunt, shuffling girl in the shapeless black robe, and when he was certain, he winced.
"Is that Leyli?" Olhas asked, his brown hair plastered to his long, narrow skull. Wary of the dehydration that could mean debilitation and even death to his race, the lanky gillman had just moments ago paused at a fountain to dunk his head and hands.
"Yes," Sefu said. She was horribly changed from the grinning, teasing imp of a little sister he remembered, but still, yes. "Maybe I should talk to her by myself."
"I wish you would," Olhas said, the ruddy slits in the sides of his neck dilating and contracting. "Nothing's more boring than other people's family problems." Which hadn't kept him from insisting on accompanying his friend on this particular errand.
Dodging camel-drawn wagons and a fat man bouncing along on an axebeak, Sefu headed across the Avenue of the Hopeful, named for the self-proclaimed gods-to-be who preached, worked dubious miracles, and generally made pests of themselves along the busy thoroughfare. Meanwhile, Leyli took up a position in front of a market stall offering religious medallions to worshipers of every stripe, from folk who venerated the Dawnflower to those who abased themselves before the Prince of Darkness. As her brother neared her, she held out her bowl to passersby and started chanting in a monotone for alms.
Just seeing her at a distance pained Sefu. Up close, it was worse. The raven hair she'd once spent endless hours tinting and curling hung lank and greasy. She had the yellow remains of a bruise on one sunken cheek, and seemed to stink not just of sweat but also of infection. Worst of all was the deadness in her eyes. For a moment, he wondered if she even recognized him.
Then she sighed. "Sefu."
"Yes," he said. "This..." He waved his hand at the begging bowl, her dirty winding sheet of a robe, and everything else. "I don't understand. What are you doing?"
"Didn't Mother tell you?"
It was at least a little encouraging that she realized their mother must have written to him and implored him to come home to Absalom. It meant that—despite her blank, somehow hollowed-out appearance —her mind was still working.
"She said you're worshiping one of the charl—I mean, the folk who claim that when they're ready, they're going to take the Test of the Starstone and become gods."
"Yes," she said. "Domitian, god of penance."
"Well, as far as I'm concerned, you can worship anyone you like. But you don't have to do it like this. Come home. Mother needs your help in the bakery."
"No, she doesn't, and I do 'have to do it like this.' All of the master's followers live in the temple. It's the only way we can undertake the rituals of atonement."
"What do you have to atone for?"
She stared at him. "Don't make me say it."
"You're going to have to if you want me to understand what you're talking about."
She grimaced. "All right, then. The deaths of my husband and unborn child."
He felt like someone had punched him in the stomach. "Leyli! Tell me you don't believe that. How could either of those be your fault?"
"I was greedy. I had spiteful thoughts. I lusted for other men."
"And you think the gods punished you for it by pushing Melaku off the scaffold and making you miscarry? If the world worked like that, there wouldn't be a person left alive." He put a hand on her shoulder. "You're not thinking straight, and small wonder after what you've been through. Come home for a day or two—"
"Hey," someone growled.
Sefu turned. Three tattooed half-orcs, with the burly frames, greenish hide, and protruding lower canines of their kind, were sneering at him. Intent on Leyli, he hadn't noticed their approach. Unlike her, they were dressed in decent clothing, but its somber color suggested that they too followed Domitian.
"If Domitian's really on his way to godhood, why does he need half-orc thugs?"
Trying not to look obvious about it, Sefu shrugged back the short sea-green cape of his Wave Rider uniform, exposing the bronze sword pin underneath. He'd won it fighting in the arena when he was a foolhardy adolescent, and in his own estimation, it was a trivial thing compared to the honors he'd earned since serving in Absalom's sea cavalry. But to ruffians from the city's gutters, it might convey a good deal more.
It didn't cow the half-orcs, though. They looked like they still thought they were the intimidating ones. "You're keeping her from her work," said one with crimson eyes. "Drop a coin in her bowl and move along."
"Or, if you want her," said a second, whose badly broken nose resembled a swinish snout, "we can talk price."
Sefu's mother hadn't warned him that Domitian had turned Leyli into a streetwalker as well as a beggar, probably because she hadn't known. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "I'm Leyli's brother," he said.
"That's all right," said the smallest and most human-looking of the three. "We don't judge." His companions laughed.
Sefu supposed it would be a mistake to start a brawl. He felt on the brink of launching himself at the half-orcs anyway.
Behind him, Olhas's pleasant baritone voice said, "Something's plainly funny. How about letting me in on the joke?" He gripped Sefu's shoulder, silently urging him to stay calm.
"You're going to be the joke," Red Eyes said. "You and your friend, if you don't run along."
"That's possible," the gillman said, stepping forward to stand beside Sefu. "I can do some funny things. Let me show you."
He murmured three rhyming words and swept his hand in a slow horizontal pass. His fingertips left a trail of gray vapor swirling in the air.
Hoping that the minor display of sorcery had daunted the half-orcs, Sefu said, "We are leaving. But Leyli's coming with us." Without taking his eyes off the ruffians, he reached out to her.
But she didn't take his hand. And the half-orc runt—who was nonetheless as tall as Olhas and as broad-shouldered as Sefu—said, "I'm going to be nice one more time. Go away. Otherwise..." He reached down and pulled a length of ash—a cut-down spear shaft, perhaps—from his boot. His companions produced their own clubs.
A cudgel could kill, and Sefu would have felt justified in drawing his broadsword. But those who'd paused in the midst of their own business to watch the confrontation might think there was a significant difference between a civilian's blunt hardwood and a soldier's sharp steel.
"Think about what you're doing," he said to the half-orcs. "There are people looking on."
"To Hell with 'em," said the Runt, and then he and his comrades charged. The gawkers scurried to distance themselves from the imminent violence.
Sefu sidestepped and hooked a punch into Red Eyes's kidney. The half-orc grunted, stumbled to a halt, and turned. Meanwhile, Sefu had time to see the other two ruffians spreading out to flank Olhas, who hadn't drawn his blade, either. There didn't seem to be any strange glimmerings, writhing shadows, or other telltale signs of magic around the gillman, but Sefu hoped his friend had managed to cast a charm of protection anyway.
Then Red Eyes came at him again.
The half-orc advanced more warily this time, feinting with his club—virtually a mace with an iron knob on the end—in an attempt to draw reactions and learn how his opponent preferred to defend. Sefu was sorry to see that. It was unfortunate that the cultist had a weapon, a longer reach, and, by the looks of him, superior strength. It was worse that the brute knew how to use them.
Red Eyes raised the cudgel as if to strike Sefu's head. Sefu lifted his hands as if to protect it. The half-orc made the same threatening action a couple moments later, then whirled the club down to smash his foe in the ribs.
And if Sefu had reacted as he had the first time, opening up his lower body in the process, the trick might have worked. Instead, guessing what Red Eyes intended, he lunged, and though the half-orc's arm thumped his flank, the club only cut through the air behind him.
He drove a punch at Red Eyes's throat. Red Eyes flinched, and the blow caught him on the jaw instead. Pain flared in Sefu's knuckles, but the cultist reeled backward, too.
As he did, Sefu caught another glimpse of Olhas's part of the fight. The Runt was floundering on the cobblestones, trying and failing to stand back up in the midst of a patch of glistening gray grease. Meanwhile, Snout drove Olhas backward. But as the gillman retreated, his mouth moved—reciting a spell, almost certainly. When it was done, he stopped retreating, and, caught by surprise, Snout blundered into striking distance. Olhas punched him in the chest.
The gillman wasn't much of a boxer. The art was useless in his undersea home, where water cushioned every blow. But magic must have compensated for his lack of skill, because Snout's knees buckled, and he collapsed.
Red Eyes recovered his balance, bellowed, and rushed Sefu. The club lashed back and forth in wide arcs that left him open at the end of every swing. As Sefu gave ground, he smiled. Anger had made the half-orc sloppy. He simply had to pick his moment—
Weight landed on his back and nearly pitched him forward into the Red Eyes's next blow. Arms wrapped around him, seeking to pin his own limbs to his sides.
Sefu threw himself backward and down. It kept the club from bashing in his skull and also slammed his new foe against the pavement. The arms around him loosened. He wrenched himself free, rolled away, and saw that it was Leyli who'd grappled him.
It amazed him that she'd actually tried to help someone hurt him, but he didn't have time to fret over it. He was on his knees, and Red Eyes was already looming over him. Hoping he could manage it before the club hammered down, he gathered himself to tackle the cultist.
"Stop!" someone shouted. "In the Chamber's name!"
The bass voice carried the ring of authority, and, furious though he was, Red Eyes backed away from Sefu. A few feet away, Olhas and the Runt, who'd finally escaped the patch of slippery ground, also stopped fighting. Everyone looked at the half-dozen guardsmen in the gray woolen cloaks, for of course it was their glowering corporal with his close-cut salt-and-pepper beard who'd shouted the order to desist.
Breathing heavily, Sefu drew himself to his feet. His knuckles throbbed, and he tried to shake the ache out of them. "I'm glad to see you," he told the corporal. "These bastards attacked my friend and me."
"That's a lie!" snapped the Runt.
Olhas waved his hand to indicate the ring of spectators. "Here are witnesses to say what really happened."
For a moment, no one seemed eager to do so. Then a boy with a satchel of rolled-up prayers for sale, prewritten supplications the illiterate could lay on altars, burn in ritual fires, or toss into the chasm surrounding the Starstone Cathedral, said, "The half-orcs started it." Other folk muttered in agreement.
"All right," said the Runt, "I admit that one of us may have struck the first blow. But only to defend this young woman. The Wave Riders meant to kidnap her."
"That's ridiculous," Sefu said. "Leyli is my sister."
"Whoever she is," said the Runt, "she's of age, and she didn't want to be dragged away. She even fought the Wave Riders alongside my friends and me."
The corporal looked at Leyli, who, like Snout, was picking herself up off the ground. "Is that true?"
Leyli looked down at the cobbles and swallowed. "Sort of. I told Sefu I didn't want to leave, but he wouldn't listen. And then, when people were fighting, I had to try to help my brothers in penance."
"Your 'brothers' who struck the first blow," Olhas said. "Your 'brothers' who fought with weapons while our hands were empty."
"You used magic," said the Runt. "That's a lot more dangerous than a couple sticks."
"All right," the corporal said. "I'm not going to arrest anybody. This time. But I want to see you Domitian people walk off in one direction and you navy boys go in the other."
"You must be joking!" Sefu waved his hand at Leyli. "Six months ago, she was healthy and happy. Normal! Look at her now!"
The Graycloak shrugged. "She says she's where she wants to be."
"Olhas and I serve Absalom, the same as you do—"
"That's why I haven't arrested you already," the corporal said. "Now, all of you, clear out."
The half-orcs grinned in a way that made Sefu's fists clench again. Olhas took him by the arm and hauled him away, past vendors of incense, idols, and other religious paraphernalia, as well as a god-to-be demonstrating his alleged divinity by eating fire and swallowing swords.
"Well, you tried," said the gillman after a while. "I suppose you'll need to spend some time with your mother before we head back to Escadar."
Sefu scowled at him. "This isn't over."
"My friend, I understand your feelings, but the Graycloak had a point. Leyli has a right to follow this Domitian if she chooses."
"She's not in her right mind! Grief already had her teetering on the brink of craziness, and then he or his cultists did something to push her over."
"Maybe. But still, if she won't listen to you—if she believes those stinking half-orcs are her real brothers—what can you do about it?"
"I can go see Domitian himself."
The sorcerer sighed. "Then I suppose that means I'm coming, too."
Coming Next Week: Arguments with a would-be god in Chapter Two of "Lord of Penance."
Richard Lee Byers is the author of more than thirty novels, including the first book in R. A. Salvatore's War of the Spider Queen, and the co-creator of the critically acclaimed Young Adult series The Nightmare Club. His short fiction has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. For more information, visit his website.
... Illustration by James Zhang ... The Savage Horde Has Descended On Seattle! September 24, 2010Way back in August I began to make some cryptic references to moving to the Emerald City of Seattle, leaving the reasons why a mystery. People began to guess, but all was revealed a couple of Tuesdays ago by Paizo as I was driving a rented U-Haul up the 5 from San Diego to Seattle. Turns out I was relocating the Horde from sunny Southern California to the green, and very wet, Pacific Northwest in...
Illustration by James Zhang
The Savage Horde Has Descended On Seattle!
September 24, 2010
Way back in August I began to make some cryptic references to moving to the Emerald City of Seattle, leaving the reasons why a mystery. People began to guess, but all was revealed a couple of Tuesdays ago by Paizo as I was driving a rented U-Haul up the 5 from San Diego to Seattle. Turns out I was relocating the Horde from sunny Southern California to the green, and very wet, Pacific Northwest in order to work here at Paizo as the new Marketing Manager.
What does that mean exactly? Well, I'll be working closely with Erik Mona, our fearless publisher, making sure you the fans know what we're producing, when it's coming out, what we're planning, and other cools bits of news. In addition, I'll be working with the rest of the staff in getting them on podcasts, interviewed by blogs and magazines, and out in the wild spreading the glory of Pathfinder and Paizo.
I'll also be working on some new ways of keeping you the fans involved in what we're doing and ways you can help us out. So if you have any specific ideas, please leave them in the comments below.
BTW, have you had a chance to look at our new FAQ system? What we've done is put a link that says "FAQ" on messageboard posts. If you hit this link it will mark the message, letting us know that there's something you think we need to clarify, explain, or outright fix, and then have included in the official FAQ for the product. Every message you flag for us will be brought to the attention of our developers, letting them know someone has a question or needs a ruling. (FYI, those with more "flags" will go to the top of the list.) You can check it out here.
... Illustrations by Florian Stitz ... Illustration by Scott Purdy ... Why Do That Juju? Friday, September 3, 2010There's a line when it comes to what sort of material we put in our products. We try not to tread over the boundary of what might be offensive, provoking, or generally beyond what you might see in a PG-13 rated movie. But every now and then we test those limits—or abjectly bound past them. In Pathfinder Adventure Path #39, the ol' questionable content line gets a little...
Illustrations by Florian Stitz
Illustration by Scott Purdy
Why Do That Juju?
Friday, September 3, 2010
There's a line when it comes to what sort of material we put in our products. We try not to tread over the boundary of what might be offensive, provoking, or generally beyond what you might see in a PG-13 rated movie. But every now and then we test those limits—or abjectly bound past them. In Pathfinder Adventure Path #39, the ol' "questionable content" line gets a little hazy; not because of sex or violence, or whatever have you, but because of religion.
There's no doubt religious elements influence the characters and plots of the Pathfinder RPG—clerics, paladins, monks, and witches are playable classes after all, and untold armies of cultists have fallen before legions of adventurers. But we've long danced around one religious tradition with a lengthy history of involvement in sword and sorcery fantasy: voodoo.
We've kept away from this topic—one I've personally wanted to cover since back in the Dragon magazine days—for several reasons, the primary one being that vodou is a living religion practiced and respected in several parts of the world, and no one here knows enough about it to judge what might be offensive. What we do know about, though, are films like The Serpent and the Rainbow and stories like Robert E. Howard's "Hills of the Dead" or "Black Canaan." We also know the "juju zombie," a toughened up zombie who's been in RPGs for years and years (with a name inspired by African fetish magic and in, coincidentally, Bestiary 2). So, motivated by the Advanced Player's Guide's presentation of the oracle, a divine caster who worships a pantheon of patrons and cultivates a host of strange abilities, now seemed like a perfect time to test our luck and take a swing at a new tradition of magic inspired not so much by real-world vodou but more by voodoo films, stories of bayou magic, and swamp and sorcery fantasy.
All of this comes together in Mike Shel's article in Pathfinder Adventure Path #39's "The Path of Juju." Now, oracles can look forward to a new juju mystery allowing them to tap into the mysterious secrets of nature's deadliest wildernesses, while casters of all types might create a host of strange new magical items, from soul trapping powders to the infamous ganji doll. It's all in there, ready for GMs looking to tell tales of swamp magic and mystery or PCs ready to challenge the cities of men with the true power of their ancient beliefs.
Cats are away…it's time for little goblins to play!
Cats are away…it's time for little goblins to play! Wednesday, August 4, 2010Sara Marie: Hey Crystal! ... Crystal: Yes? ... Sara Marie: I just brought an order down to the warehouse and I realized something! ... Crystal: That cats do, in fact, float? ... Sara Marie: You are the ONLY person down there. ... Crystal: Yes, yes I am! ... Sara Marie: Know what else I saw? ... Crystal: The end, whereupon none were spared, not even the children? ... Sara Marie: The editorial pit. Unattended....
Cats are away…it's time for little goblins to play!
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Sara Marie: Hey Crystal!
Sara Marie: I just brought an order down to the warehouse and I realized something!
Crystal: That cats do, in fact, float?
Sara Marie: You are the ONLY person down there.
Crystal: Yes, yes I am!
Sara Marie: Know what else I saw?
Crystal: The end, whereupon none were spared, not even the children?
Sara Marie: The editorial pit. Unattended.
Crystal: Well, I wouldn't call it "unattended." I'm still here.
Sara Marie: Precisely. Sutter's desk, all alone, with no one to guard it.
Crystal: His cans of beans left unattended...
Sara Marie: Suppose he's got anything good over there?
Crystal: Perhaps his collection of priceless pre-Columbian guitar picks?
Sara Marie: I meant interesting.
Crystal: Oh! Yes! I think he has the original Dead Sea Scrolls and the final manuscript of "Misfit Monsters".
Sara Marie: I just had an idea! The entire editorial staff is going to be working this week at Gen Con. Every single one.
Crystal: Two time zones away
Sara Marie: There is no way they're gonna have time to check on Paizo's website.
Crystal: Definitely no way! Plus, they'd have to time travel to do it. What with the time zones and all.
Sara Marie: We could totally put up a Misfit Monster or two on the blog. WE WOULD BE FAMOUS!!
Crystal: Famous, eh? I do enjoy fame… But... do we dare?
Sara Marie: Ooooh this one is snazzy!
Crystal: What are you looking at in there? Hang on. Let me chew through my leg chains... Holy Lamashtu! Is this the new Flail Snail?!
Sara Marie: Sweet! I knew there would be perks to not going to Gen Con!
Crystal: You mean besides avoiding the sleep loss, exposure to dangerous chemicals, vomiting and hair loss?
Sara Marie: I wonder who else left their office unattended...
... The NPC Guide: The Babies Are Back! Friday, April 2, 2010Cave raptors are sated and have finally released me from their grim, stony world—it's time to blog! ... Back when I served as a lowly intern, a weary and overworked Sean K Reynolds offered me my very first Paizo gig. The encroaching Pathfinder Chronicles: NPC Guide would need dozens of generic stat blocks if GMs were to treasure it above even their own families. A not-insignificant portion of my sanity died off as I stared...
The NPC Guide: The Babies Are Back!
Friday, April 2, 2010
Cave raptors are sated and have finally released me from their grim, stony world—it's time to blog!
Back when I served as a lowly intern, a weary and overworked Sean K Reynolds offered me my very first Paizo gig. The encroaching Pathfinder Chronicles: NPC Guide
would need dozens of generic stat blocks if GMs were to treasure it above even their own families. A not-insignificant portion of my sanity died off as I stared into the abyss of an estimated twelve billion 1st- to 5th-level nonplayer characters, but ultimately the turnover made its way back to Sean and his shiny, shiny knife.
In any creative industry, there's a phrase that goes something like, "Your babies will get cut first." Meaning that in any creative project, your favorite elements or that extra something special you really loved creating will probably end up on the cutting room floor. The NPC Guide was no exception, and several of my favorite characters ended up cold and lifeless at Sean's feet. But now, through the miracle of the Internet, I have the power to bring them back!
So behold these glorious characters, free of charge! Behold the glory that is the Internet!
Er... I mean, check out these sweet NPCs, coming straight to you as a super-sized web enhancement for the NPC Guide. This first installment of five is only the beginning; we'll toss up more batches from time to time, so stay tuned.
ALKENSTAR: GUNMARSHAL CR 3 Hero or villain, the Gunmarshal stands as a proud icon of Alkenstar's victory over the chaotic Mana Wastes. Even gunslinging rogues and bandits are influenced by honor and tradition afforded by that pride.
XP 800 Dwarf fighter 4
N Medium humanoid (dwarf)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft; Perception +6
DEFENSE AC 16, touch 13, flat-footed 13 (+3 armor, +3 Dex) (+4 dodge vs. giants)
hp 22 (4d10)
Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +3; +2 vs. poison, spells, and spell-like abilities; +1 vs. fear
Defensive Abilities bravery +1
OFFENSE Speed 20 ft.
Melee short sword +5 (1d6+1/19–20)
Ranged revolver +8 (1d6) or Rapid Shot +6/+6 (1d6)
Special Attacks +1 on attack rolls against goblinoid and orc humanoids
STATISTICS Str 12, Dex 16, Con 10, Int 14, Wis 15, Cha 8
Base Atk +4; CMB +5; CMD 18 (22 vs. bull rush or trip)
Feats Exotic Weapon Proficiency (firearms), Gunslinger (see below), Point-Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Weapon Focus (revolver)
Skills Acrobatics +5, Craft (guns) +9, Intimidate +6, Knowledge (engineering) +7, Perception +6 (+8 unusual stonework), Survival +8
Languages Common, Dwarven, Kelish, Osiriani
SQ armor training +1, stonecunning
Gear studded leather, revolver, short sword, gun cleaning kit, cigars (3), smokestick, tindertwigs (3)
SPECIAL ABILITIES Gunslinger (Ex) This character does not provoke attacks of opportunity when attacking with firearms. See page 59 of the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting.
BELKZEN: THUNDERING CHOIR MUSICIAN CR 1 Though feared for their swords and the mad gleam in their eyes, the one memory that forever haunts those who've warred against the orcs are the drums. Carried for miles across hills and rocky plains, the ominous drumbeats of orc thundering choir musicians weigh on the minds of men like the heartbeats of tireless predators, never stopping, never slowing. The thundering choir musicians are fierce warriors, but the rhythm of their drumbeats and chants is their foulest weapon, whipping other orcs into murderous frenzies and inspiring terror in the hearts of even the bravest men.
XP 400 Orc bard 2
CE Medium humanoid (orc)
Init +0; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception –2
DEFENSE AC 13, touch 10, flat-footed 13 (+3 armor)
hp 13 (2d8+4)
Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +1
Weaknesses light sensitivity
OFFENSE Speed 30 ft.
Melee longsword +4 (1d8+3/19–20)
Ranged masterwork sling +2 (1d4+3)
Special Attacks bardic performance (13 rounds/day, standard action), countersong, distraction, fascinate, inspire courage +1
Spells Known (CL 2nd; concentration +3)
1st (3/day)—cause fear (DC 12), cure light wounds, remove fear 0 (at will)—dancing lights, daze (DC 11), message, resistance, summon instrument STATISTICS Str 17, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 6, Cha 13
Base Atk +1; CMB +4; CMD 14
Feats Extra Performance
Skills Appraise +5, Craft (leather) +5, Intimidate +6, Knowledge (geography) +6, Knowledge (history) +6, Knowledge (local) +6, Knowledge (nobility) +0, Perform (Percussion) +6
Languages Common, Orc
SQ bardic knowledge +1, versatile performance (percussion), well-versed
Combat Gear thunderstones (4); Other Gear studded leather, longsword, masterwork sling, bullets (20), lucky human foot, masterwork drums
DRUMA: KALISTRADE PROPHET CR 1 By achieving wealth, the Prophets of Kalistrade prove themselves more righteous than those around them. They travel to discover converts and new business opportunities, furthering their enlightenment. Part entrepreneur, part cultist, they open doors and pull strings for those they consider friends, or financially hinder their detractors.
XP 400 Human expert 3
LN Medium humanoid (human)
Init +0; Senses Perception +2
DEFENSE AC 11, touch 10, flat-footed 11 (+1 armor)
hp 10 (3d8–3)
Fort +0, Ref +1, Will +5
OFFENSE Speed 30 ft.
Melee quarterstaff +2 (1d6)
Ranged light crossbow +2 (1d8/19–20)
STATISTICS Str 10, Dex 11, Con 9, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 8
Base Atk +2; CMB +2; CMD 12
Feats Persuasive, Skill Focus (Knowledge [religion]), Profits of Kalistrade (see below)
Skills Appraise +7, Bluff +1, Craft (jewelry) +6, Diplomacy +6, Intimidate +7, Knowledge (geography) +5, Knowledge (history) +6, Knowledge (local) +2, Knowledge (nobility) +3, Knowledge (religion) +5, Linguistics +5, Perform (Oratory) +0, Profession (merchant) +7, Ride +1, Sense Motive +8
Languages Common, Dwarven, Elven, Kelish
Other Gear padded armor, light crossbow, quarterstaff, copy of The Prophecies of Kalistrade, mercenary contracts
SPECIAL ABILITIES Feats The Kalistrade prophet has the Profits of Kalistrade feat, which grants him a "resource pool" of 300 gp, allowing him to obtain goods of this value even in settlements too small to have something that expensive. See page 73 of the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting.
FIVE KINGS MOUNTAINS: DWARVEN TRADITIONALIST CR 2 In the eyes of some dwarves, the civilizations of the surface world slowly erode dwarven culture and values, tearing away at their heritage like the rain wears away great stone monuments. Elves bear inefficient frippery, while humans buck the social order, and the less said about halflings and gnomes the better. These traditionalist, xenophobic members of dwarf society would love nothing more than complete isolation from other cultures, and perhaps even to return to the depths of the Darklands. While this usually amounts to little more than talk, the numbers of these radical conservatives swell on occasion into dangerous political groups and gangs.
XP 600 Dwarf expert 2/warrior 2
LN Medium humanoid (dwarf)
Init –1; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +3
DEFENSE AC 18, touch 9, flat-footed 18 (+7 armor, –1 Dex, +2 shield) (+4 dodge vs. giants)
hp 30 (4 HD; 2d8+2d10+10)
Fort +5, Ref –1, Will +4; +2 vs. poison, spells, and spell-like abilities
OFFENSE Speed 20 ft.
Melee masterwork dwarven waraxe +5 (1d10+1/×3)
Ranged light hammer +2 (1d4+1)
Special Attacks +1 on attack rolls against goblinoid and orc humanoids
STATISTICS Str 13, Dex 8, Con 14, Int 11, Wis 12, Cha 8
Base Atk +3; CMB +4; CMD 13 (17 vs. bull rush and trip)
Feats Alertness, Power Attack
Skills Craft (armor) +7, Knowledge (engineering) +3, Knowledge (history) +3, Perception +0 (+2 unusual stonework), Profession (blacksmith) +8, Sense Motive +5
Languages Common, Dwarven
Combat Gear caltrops (3), potion of bull's strength; Other Gear masterwork banded mail, masterwork heavy steel shield, masterwork dwarven waraxe, light hammer (2), genealogy books, masterwork artisan's tools
GEB: BLOOD LORD INITIATE CR 2 The practical seat of power within Geb rests with the Blood Lords. Administrators and necromancers both, any family of repute attempts to position their members within its ranks. The most fortunate embrace undeath, gaining immortality as vampires, ghouls, or other intelligent undead.
XP 600 Ghoul necromancer 2
NE Medium undead
Init +2; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +5
DEFENSE AC 14, touch 12, flat-footed 12 (+2 Dex, +2 natural)
hp 24 (4 HD; 2d8+2d6+8)
Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +7
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +2, undead traits
OFFENSE Speed 30 ft.
Melee bite +3 (1d6+1 plus disease and paralysis) and 2 claws +3 (1d6+1 plus paralysis)
Rangedray of frost +4 (1d3)
Special Attacks channel negative energy (DC 15, 6/day), grave touch (1 round, 6/day), paralysis
Spells Prepared (CL 2nd; concentration +4)
1st—cause fear (DC 14), shield, reduce person (DC 14), ray of enfeeblement (DC 14)
0 (at will)—arcane mark, bleed (DC 13), detect magic, ray of frost, read magic Prohibited Schools illusion, conjuration
STATISTICS Str 12, Dex 15, Con —, Int 17, Wis 11, Cha 14
Base Atk +2; CMB +3; CMD 15
Feats Command Undead, Improved Channel, Scribe Scroll, Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +4, Climb +6, Knowledge (arcana) +10, Knowledge (history) +8, Knowledge (planes) +8, Linguistics +9, Perception +5, Profession (politician) +6, Spellcraft +10, Stealth +7
Languages Aklo, Common, Draconic, Infernal, Kelish, Osiriani, Vudrani
SQ arcane bond (amulet)
Combat Gearscroll of mage armor, wand of true strike (15 charges); Other Gear acolyte robes, government seal, spellbook
... Introducing Rummy-Tum-Tugger! Monday, March 22, 2010Every other Thursday evening, I run my Shadow Under Sandpoint campaign for the editorial folks. I started the game several months ago for three reasons—as a team-building exercise, as a way for we editors to get more familiar with the game we created, and because it sounded fun. Several of the PCs from this campaign appear in the recently released NPC Guide, in fact... but not all of them. ... When Rob McCreary joined the Paizo...
Monday, March 22, 2010
Every other Thursday evening, I run my "Shadow Under Sandpoint" campaign for the editorial folks. I started the game several months ago for three reasons—as a team-building exercise, as a way for we editors to get more familiar with the game we created, and because it sounded fun. Several of the PCs from this campaign appear in the recently released NPC Guide, in fact... but not all of them.
When Rob McCreary joined the Paizo editorial team, I invited him to join the game (which brought our total number of players up to a staggering total of nine!). After a false start with a half-orc (who soon left the party to seek fame and glory as our iconic inquisitor), Rob settled on a gnome summoner inspired by another of our new iconic characters. Yet unlike the iconic summoner, who has some sort of weird chicklizatrice type monster as an eidolon, Rob went for a different critter entirely.
His character is named Balazar, and his eidolon is named Rummy-Tum-Tugger (no relation to a certain similarly named feline superstar). When Rummy-Tum-Tugger first showed up, I asked Rob to describe him, but that didn't really help. It seems that every session, something new comes up and folks have to revise what they think Rummy-Tum-Tugger looks like. "Wait, his teeth shoot ice?" "Huh? He has six limbs?" "He's PURPLE?"
There's only one solution. A contest!
Break out your pencils, pens, paints, and Photoshops, because whoever draws Rob the best and most accurate depiction of Rummy-Tum-Tugger not only gets the satisfaction of helping my poor group of PCs visualize what their newest member actually looks like, but I'll sweeten the deal by sending that person a copy of the NPC Guide, signed by the entire Paizo editorial staff!
To enter, simply email your illustration to me at email@example.com as a .jpg attachment by the end of the month—keep the file small (600 KB or less). Rob will then pick his favorite picture of them all and that'll be the winner, and we'll show it off in a blog post at the start of April.
And now, the details! Rummy-Tum-Tugger is a Medium-sized eidolon. He's got the quadruped base form, and looks vaguely like a purple badger with six legs, each leg tipped with scary sharp claws. His jaws are filled with BIG sharp teeth that are caked with even sharper razor-sharp ice. Oh, he also has a gore attack. Some sort of horns or spikes or something. Did I mention he's purple? He also wears an amulet of mighty fists. And he can talk. And he likes cheese, but since he's lactose intolerant poor Balazar has to constantly watch Rummy-Tum-Tugger's cheese intake.
... Illustration by Tyler Clark ... GM Guide Spoilers! Tuesday, January 12, 2010As editorial intern, it's sometimes my job to oversee the first formatting/editing/obvious-problem-catching pass on certain items, one of which is chapter nine of the GameMastery Guide! Woo! Super exciting. As a brief introduction, it includes a large number of common NPC stat blocks of various levels and classes meant to accommodate an unpredictable player group or campaign. When your players decide that the...
Illustration by Tyler Clark
GM Guide Spoilers!
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
As editorial intern, it's sometimes my job to oversee the first formatting/editing/obvious-problem-catching pass on certain items, one of which is chapter nine of the GameMastery Guide! Woo! Super exciting. As a brief introduction, it includes a large number of common NPC stat blocks of various levels and classes meant to accommodate an unpredictable player group or campaign. When your players decide that the fisherman ferrying them to the Isle of Terror is suspicious, his full stat block is merely a quick page-flip away. Needless to say, all of the free-form GMs out there will find it a handy tool when the players decide to enter a town you expected them to avoid, try to pick fights with a priest, or get run out of town by the village militia. They want to enter in the arena? Well, there are three different gladiators in the chapter already. Does the barmaid you winked at try to help you in the all-too-predictable drunken brawl? Yes, and she has Throw Anything.
NPC Guide Concept Preview Monday, December 21, 2009Pathfinder Chronicles: NPC Guide has a lot of stat blocks—about 100, at this point in development. Most of the book is the first chapter, one page per NPC and generally one NPC per country in the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting, each with a history and illustration. Here’s a little preview of some of these named PCs. ... Illustrations by Christopher Ocampo ... Krun Thuul of Belkzen, an orc military genius ... Brinian of Brevoy,...
NPC Guide Concept Preview
Monday, December 21, 2009
Pathfinder Chronicles: NPC Guide has a lot of stat blocks—about 100, at this point in development. Most of the book is the first chapter, one page per NPC and generally one NPC per country in the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting, each with a history and illustration. Here’s a little preview of some of these named PCs.
Illustrations by Christopher Ocampo
Krun Thuul of Belkzen, an orc military genius
Brinian of Brevoy, an arrogant young Aldori sword lord
Halig of Geb, a ghast priest of Zon-Kuthon who hungers for power
Bjorn Grimsong of the Land of the Linnorm Kings, a warrior prince with a borrowed name
Thaim of the Realm of the Mammoth Lords, a young hunter on a mission, mammoth in tow
Lord Achimair of the Sodden Lands, a sahuagin warlord with a bad temper
... Advanced Player's Guide Playtest, Round 3! Monday, December 14, 2009 ... Illustration by Wayne Reynolds ... Illustration by Wayne Reynolds ... The playtest of the Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player's Guide is well underway, with the release of the final two classes slated to appear in the book, due out in August. In this round, we are looking at the alchemist and the inquisitor. The alchemist is all about using potions and arcane alchemy to increase your abilities. This works a bit like...
Advanced Player's Guide Playtest, Round 3!
Monday, December 14, 2009
Illustration by Wayne Reynolds
Illustration by Wayne Reynolds
The playtest of the Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player's Guide is well underway, with the release of the final two classes slated to appear in the book, due out in August. In this round, we are looking at the alchemist and the inquisitor. The alchemist is all about using potions and arcane alchemy to increase your abilities. This works a bit like spellcasting, but offers some interesting advantages. In addition, the alchemist is quite skilled at lobbing bombs that burn, freeze, and electrify foes (among a host of other possibilities). The inquisitor works as a monster hunter for the faith, rooting out its enemies, no matter where they hide. The inquisitor is a master of adaptation, moving her abilities around to better fight her 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.
Over the past month, we have released the other four classes due to appear in the book, including the cavalier, the oracle, the summoner, and the witch. While we are focusing on the alchemist and the inquistor for the next two weeks, the playtest itself will remain open until the end of January 2010. Time permitting, we hope to release some updates to some of the classes in mid January.
As with the Core Rulebook playtest last year, there are a number of forums set up for playtest feedback and commentary. The first is a general forum, for discussing larger issues and announcements. Following this is a trio of forums for discussing each round of the playtest. Discussion on the alchemist and the inquisitor should go in the round 2 forum.
The playtest has been a huge success up to this point. I have been receiving a mountain of play reports and comments on the classes and I want to encourage folks to continue working with these classes. As with the previous rounds, actual play reports are more useful to the process than untested observations. So, give these last two classes a try. Make a whole party of characters using only these six classes or have the PCs face off against them as villains. When you are done, post up the results. I look forward to seeing them.
... So... Are the Body Cards Coming Out Next Month? Thursday, December 10, 2009There's some nonsense about face cards coming out. On the one hand, I GM, and would find them very nice to have. On the other hand, my players tend to lump NPCs into two groups, one of which is rated R but not for violence, the other is dismemberable. They are motivated by things like money and loot, and if an old lady on a card asks them to get her cat out of a tree, they'll write hobo, no money, hope cat dies,...
So... Are the Body Cards Coming Out Next Month?
Thursday, December 10, 2009
There's some nonsense about face cards coming out. On the one hand, I GM, and would find them very nice to have. On the other hand, my players tend to lump NPCs into two groups, one of which is rated R but not for violence, the other is "dismemberable." They are motivated by things like money and loot, and if an old lady on a card asks them to get her cat out of a tree, they'll write "hobo, no money, hope cat dies," and then write a number which represents her physical attractiveness on a scale of 1–20. The kinds of notes they'd leave on the back of my treasured face cards would hopefully be written in pencil.
Illustration by Udon
Illustration by Imaginary Friends Studios
Illustration by Andrew Hou
That said, if you're like me and hope to one day train your players into the kind of people that are generally nice, roleplay with accents, and take feats which give bonuses to social skills, then, by all means, let them scribble on the back of something. You may be pleasantly surprised to find a card with "cool dude," or "super nice, wish her the best in Mendev," written on it. These kinds of idle hopes drive GMs to buying so-called, "nice things," and I, for one, am tired of hearing the responses my couch-seated group of closeted anarchists comes up with when I say, "blonde, good-looking, wears leather armor." I guess it's good they're just face portraits.
Interns! Mash them, smash them, dissolve them in energy drink!
... Illustration by Tyler Clark ... Interns! Mash them, smash them, dissolve them in energy drink! Wednesday, October 28, 2009During my first week, I was surprised to find there is a significant lack of chaotic evil in the office. I was not whipped by a winged baboon-devil while organizing the archive, and I am given free coffee that I did not have to make myself. I was expecting that Matt and I would be told early on to prove our worth by enduring psychological torture or some bloody...
Illustration by Tyler Clark
Interns! Mash them, smash them, dissolve them in energy drink!
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
During my first week, I was surprised to find there is a significant lack of chaotic evil in the office. I was not whipped by a winged baboon-devil while organizing the archive, and I am given free coffee that I did not have to make myself. I was expecting that Matt and I would be told early on to "prove our worth" by enduring psychological torture or some bloody nonsense, but so far I have not had to pull my sawtooth sabre from where it is taped beneath my desk and pounce on him like an unsuspecting puppy with a remote-activated bomb collar. Though we are treated well, our nametags haven't arrived yet, and my Paizo-embroidered handkerchief scratches my nose a bit.
Well, we are on to introductions, children of Zo; I am Editorial Intern Tyler. I dwell in a cubicle with Editorial Intern Matt. He's quite nice, and sometimes I actually believe that we are not plotting each other's deaths via falling gargoyles and sabotaged car engines. Even though we don't actually have a bloody rivalry, I am still generally a happy person. I like half-orcs and barbarians, though I occasionally dabble in sorcery and the bluff skill. There are times I lie awake in bed having elaborate fantasies about being John Connor. I'm friendly to all woodland animals as long as they're cute and more than ten feet away. I don't know much about cars. I eat at Subway too much. I like Lady Gaga because she is a classy lady and could be a villain from Cheliax. In addition, I like to talk about myself (to myself), whine too much to family members, and I'm famous for once telling a story that, in its entirety, lasted 4 hours.
I'm somewhat new to the Paizo family, but so far this internship has been really fun. Hopefully I'll get to know some of you on good terms, and the rest won't hate me enough to complain.
... Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Preview #14 Wednesday, August 12, 2009The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook releases tomorrow at Gen Con and game stores around the country. Over the past 14 weeks, we have look at all of the core classes and one of the prestige classes that can be found in the book. We've taken a look at a host of feats, spells, and magic items, as well as a few other rules bits along the way. This week, we are investigating the most important rule in the game. Not...
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Preview #14
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook releases tomorrow at Gen Con and game stores around the country. Over the past 14 weeks, we have look at all of the core classes and one of the prestige classes that can be found in the book. We've taken a look at a host of feats, spells, and magic items, as well as a few other rules bits along the way. This week, we are investigating the most important rule in the game. Not surprisingly, it is also one of the first rules in the book.
This is your game.
The rules in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook are presented to help you tell the stories that you want to tell. They are organized to help speed up play and enrich your world. You might find that, through play, some of these rules do not suit your style of play or do not serve the story you are trying to tell. Feel free to change them. Sit down with your group and discuss what "house rules" you are going to use as part of your campaign. Add, subtract, or even polymorph these rules to fit your needs. If you are the Game Master, you should work with your group to determine what changes are appropriate. If you are a player, remember that the GM is the final arbiter, but do not be afraid to make suggestions or bring new rules to the table for him to review. When you play the Pathfinder RPG, we want to make sure that you have fun. The rules are there to serve that goal, not to stand in the way.
Since this is the last preview, I want to take just a moment to thank all of the playtesters that spent countless hours playing, reviewing, and critiquing the Beta version of the game. I think you will find that they had a large influence on the final design and deserve a great deal of credit for all of its improvements. It was a lot of work to weed through over 100,000 messageboard posts, but the final game makes all of that effort worth it. If you were part of the Alpha or Beta playtests, I would like to say thank you.
As of this posting, a number of folks have already received their rulebooks, and discussions are already taking place on our messageboards about the changes and additions to the game. So, instead of talking about the rules, I wanted to close this preview with a look at some of the fabulous art that you will find in the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. The Core Rulebook is available in stores and at our booth at Gen Con starting tomorrow. See you on the boards.
... Visiting Belkzen Monday, June 2, 2008In Pathfinder #11, we journey into the hostile, orc-infested Hold of Belkzen. While the adventure “Skeletons of Scarwall” itself is primarily limited to one single ruin in this savage land, we also have a gazetteer of the Hold in case you want to do some sightseeing along the way. All manner of surprises and dangers await discovery therein—check out the following two sample locations excerpted from the article as examples! ... The Brimstone...
Monday, June 2, 2008
In Pathfinder #11, we journey into the hostile, orc-infested Hold of Belkzen. While the adventure “Skeletons of Scarwall” itself is primarily limited to one single ruin in this savage land, we also have a gazetteer of the Hold in case you want to do some sightseeing along the way. All manner of surprises and dangers await discovery therein—check out the following two sample locations excerpted from the article as examples!
The Brimstone Haruspex: Though highly independent, even proud orc chieftains sometimes seek advice. When this happens, most warlords send their seconds-in-command to the Brimstone Haruspex, the temple complex high in the caldera of a smoking volcano. Here a group of ancient and inbred orc monks offer guidance in exchange for massive tribute. In addition to maintaining the only supposedly complete record of orc history—a lengthy series of cave paintings stretching all the way back to the orcs’ initial emergence—the monks are also oracles, breathing in the vapors from the active fumaroles in order to spin weird and bloody prophecies. Unfortunately, the fumes that give them their insights are highly caustic, permanently scarring their faces and lungs. It is for this reason that most leaders choose to send their seconds-incommand with questions, as the cruel and prudent priests frequently opt to dangle petitioners in the sulfurous pits to gain the revelations firsthand.
The Skittermounds: These tall, sandy mounds stretch for miles across the foothills of the Mindspin Mountains, and are avoided by all but the truly desperate, as they represent the openings to a vast and complex series of ankheg nests. For the most part, the warring ankheg armies are content to battle each other in their leagues of underground tunnels, noticeable to those above only as a low buzzing, though foolhardy travelers might occasionally witness a colony raising a new mound entrance with frightening speed and efficiency. Every few years, however, runoff from intense storms in the mountains floods the plain, causing the colonies to erupt from their holes by the thousands and press eastward, consuming all in their path.
Sech Nevali: Also called the Hanging Monastery, Sech Nevali is a relic from Thassilonian times, a vast stone temple complex suspended over a mile-deep chasm by immense chains running between three high mountain peaks. Originally dedicated to the Peacock Spirit, the monastery is now inhabited by an order of secretive, isolationist monks who believe (correctly) that not even orcs would brave the most treacherous mountains in Belkzen in order to disturb their solitude. Yet what their ultimate purpose could be in such a remote and inhospitable place remains a mystery beyond Sech Nevali’s swaying walls.
... First look at Release 3 Wednesday, April 30, 2008Alpha release #2 of the Pathfinder RPG has already been released as a free download, and playtesters are posting up a ton of feedback on our forums. In the next few weeks we will be posting up release 3, the final release before the Beta version of the game this August. ... This past weekend saw the debut of some of the rules at Paizocon, a convention just north of our offices. Attendees got to meet with the staff and play some games. Those...
First look at Release 3
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Alpha release #2 of the Pathfinder RPG has already been released as a free download, and playtesters are posting up a ton of feedback on our forums. In the next few weeks we will be posting up release 3, the final release before the Beta version of the game this August.
This past weekend saw the debut of some of the rules at Paizocon, a convention just north of our offices. Attendees got to meet with the staff and play some games. Those who sat down at my table got a chance to play with some of the new rules, including a preview version of the bard. It should be noted that all of these characters were horribly cursed, and Oglam here is no exception. His drums cause those who hear his music to bleed from the ears unless he makes a DC 20 Will save every time he begins playing. Of course, being a NE bard, dedicated to Rovagug, meant that he did not care much about the pain of others.
Here are a couple of quick notes when taking a look at Oglam. Song of Doom allows him to cause enemies who hear his playing to become shaken. Distraction works similar to countersong, but it works on visual patterns and figments instead of sonic effects. Well-versed gives Oglam a bonus on saves against the bardic music of others and on sonic and language dependent effects. Finally, bardic knowledge gives Oglam a bonus of +4 to all Knowledge checks, and allows him to make such checks untrained.
There are many more secrets here, waiting to be discovered. For the full details, make sure to download release 3 of the Pathfinder RPG available in just a few weeks.
Male half-orc bard 8
NE Medium humanoid Init +4; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +2 Defense AC 17, touch 12, flat-footed 17
(+5 armor, +2 deflection) hp 55 (8d8+16) Fort +5, Ref +7, Will +9 Defensive Abilities well-versed Offense Spd 30 ft. Melee+2 falchion +11/+6 (2d4+6/18–20) Special Attacks bardic music (8/day), countersong, distraction, fascinate, inspire competence, inspire courage +2, song of doom, suggestion Spells Known (CL 8th):
3rd (3/day)—charm monster (DC 16), haste, slow (DC 16)
2nd (5/day)—blur, heroism, invisibility, mirror image
1st (5/day)—charm person (DC 14), cure light wounds, hideous laughter (DC 14), lesser confusion (DC 14), silent image (DC 14)
0 (5/day)—detect magic, ghost sound, mage hand, mending, message, open/close Statistics Str 16, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 6, Wis 14, Cha 16 Base Atk +6; Cmb +9 Feats Cleave, Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Toughness Skills Knowledge (arcane) +13, Knowledge (history) +7, Knowledge (local) +7, Knowledge (nature) +7, Perform (oratory) +12, Perform (percussion) +14, Spellcraft +7, Stealth +9 Languages Common, Orc Combat Gearnecklace of fireballs (type IV), wand of cure moderate wounds (8 charges); Other Gear backpack, +1 chain shirt, cloak of resistance +1, dead rats (6), dirt (3 lb.), drums of doom, +2 falchion, filthy rags, ring of protection +2
... Quick Drop, Sudden Stop Thursday, December 27, 2007 Hangman's Noose is the first real murder mystery adventure set in the Pathfinder Chronicles campaign setting. As such, it includes a host of suspects, both charming and nefarious. And while each one might have had a hand in the mistrial that caused the haunting in this adventure, one of them truly deserves to hang. If your PCs can't uncover the culprit by dawn, their necks might hang in the murderer's place. Here are just a few of the...
Quick Drop, Sudden Stop
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Hangman's Noose is the first real murder mystery adventure set in the Pathfinder Chronicles campaign setting. As such, it includes a host of suspects, both charming and nefarious. And while each one might have had a hand in the mistrial that caused the haunting in this adventure, one of them truly deserves to hang. If your PCs can't uncover the culprit by dawn, their necks might hang in the murderer's place. Here are just a few of the suspects.
Halgrak: (at right) Known as "Five Toes" due to his mangled foot, this menacing half-orc is a local smith by trade. When things begin to turn sour, though, he quickly becomes certain that everyone is doomed.
Patrissa: Despite her overindulgences, this former adventurer is still quite attractive, wearing a fine dress and expensive jewels. Once locked inside the courthouse, she is certain to turn to the heroes for protection.
Sir Rekkart: (above) This staunch, aging paladin of Iomedae was a part of the jury ten years ago, and is certain that justice was served. Persuading him otherwise might just be an impossible task without solid proof.
Tablark: This grizzled old dwarf has held just about every job one could have in the city of Absalom. When things seem grim, the heroes can count on this dwarf to remain steadfast and confident in victory.
Is one of these jurors to blame? Maybe it was one of the others. Next week, I'll be back to give you a few more suspects to investigate.