... NPCs on the March! Monday, October 1, 2012 We're still a couple of months out from the release of Pathfinder RPG: NPC Codex, but all of the awesome art in that book refuses to be contained! Check out a sampling of 10 fantastically deadly characters by 10 fantastically talented artists. Also, be sure to watch this space in the coming weeks for in-depth previews of Pathfinder RPG: NPC Codex—releasing this December. ... F. Wesley Schneider ... Editor-in-Chief
NPCs on the March!
Monday, October 1, 2012
We're still a couple of months out from the release of Pathfinder RPG: NPC Codex, but all of the awesome art in that book refuses to be contained! Check out a sampling of 10 fantastically deadly characters by 10 fantastically talented artists. Also, be sure to watch this space in the coming weeks for in-depth previews of Pathfinder RPG: NPC Codex—releasing this December.
... Ultimate Combat Preview #1 Tuesday, July 19, 2011Time slips by so quickly during the summer months that it seems like a new rulebook is just around the corner. As it turns out, Ultimate Combat is due to release in just a few weeks. From now until Gen Con, we will be showing off some of the exciting new options for characters and GMs alike that hide inside this blood-drenched tome. ... To kick things off, I can think of no better way than to take a look at the classes chapter of Ultimate...
Ultimate Combat Preview #1
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Time slips by so quickly during the summer months that it seems like a new rulebook is just around the corner. As it turns out, Ultimate Combat is due to release in just a few weeks. From now until Gen Con, we will be showing off some of the exciting new options for characters and GMs alike that hide inside this blood-drenched tome.
To kick things off, I can think of no better way than to take a look at the classes chapter of Ultimate Combat. This book features one brand-new class, the gunslinger, as well as two alternate classes, the ninja and the samurai. In addition, all of the classes that focus on melee or ranged combat get a host of new archetypes in this book. Take a look a this list.
Illustration by Mauricio Herrera
Alchemist: This section presents the beastmorph and ragechemist archetypes. Barbarian: This section includes the armored hulk, scarred rager, sea reaver, titan mauler, true primitive, urban barbarian, and wild rager. Bard: This section includes the archaeologist, daredevil, and dervish dancer. Cavalier: This section includes the beast rider, emissary, gendarme, honor guard, luring cavalier, musketeer, standard bearer, and strategist. Cleric: This section includes the crusader, divine strategist, evangelist, and merciful healer. Druid: This section includes the ape shaman, bat shaman, and boar shaman, as well as the world walker. Fighter: This section includes the armor master, brawler, cad, dragoon, gladiator, tactician, thunderstriker, tower shield specialist, unarmed fighter, and unbreakable. Gunslinger: This section includes the gun tank, musket master, mysterious stranger, and pistolero. Inquisitor: This section includes the iconoclast, spellbreaker, and witch hunter. Magus: This section includes the kensai, myrmidarch, skirnir, and soul forger. Monk: This section includes the flowing monk, maneuver master, martial artist, master of many styles, sensei, sohei, and tetori. Paladin: This section includes the divine hunter, empyreal knight, holy gun, holy tactician, knight of the sepulcher, and sacred shield. Ranger: This section includes the battle scout, deep walker, falconer, trophy hunter, warden, and wild stalker. Rogue: This section includes new rogue talents, plus the bandit, chameleon, charlatan, driver, knife master, pirate, roof runner, sanctified rogue, and survivalist. Wizard: This section includes the arcane bomber, siege mage, and spellslinger.
Of course, some of these classes get other new rules as well, such as rage powers, rogue talents, and the like. Some of these archetypes can make for some versatile and powerful characters. I myself am playing with one of these archetypes in a campaign being run by our illustrious publisher, Erik Mona. Take a look at the Maneuver Master.
Maneuver Master (Archetype)
The maneuver master specializes in more complicated moves than simple damage-dealing strikes. Bonus Feat: In addition to normal monk bonus feats, a maneuver master may select any Improved combat maneuver feat (such as Improved Overrun) as a bonus feat. At 6th level and above, he may select any Greater combat maneuver feat (such as Greater Grapple) as a bonus feat. At 10th level and above, he may select any maneuver Strike feat (such as Tripping Strike) as a bonus feat. Flurry of Maneuvers (Ex): At 1st level, as part of a full-attack action, a maneuver master can make one additional combat maneuver, regardless of whether the maneuver normally replaces a melee attack or requires a standard action. The maneuver master uses his monk level in place of his base attack bonus to determine his CMB for the bonus maneuvers, though all combat maneuver checks suffer a –2 penalty when using a flurry. At 8th level, a maneuver master may attempt a second additional combat maneuver, with an additional –3 penalty on combat maneuver checks. At 15th level, a maneuver master may attempt a third additional combat maneuver, with an additional –7 penalty on combat maneuver checks. This ability replaces flurry of blows. Maneuver Defense (Ex): At 3rd level, if a maneuver master has an Improved combat maneuver feat, any creature attempting that maneuver against the maneuver master provokes an attack of opportunity, even if it would not normally do so. This ability replaces still mind. Reliable Maneuver (Ex): At 4th level, as a swift action, a maneuver master may spend 1 point from his ki pool before attempting a combat maneuver. He can roll his combat maneuver check for that maneuver twice and use the better result. This ability replaces slow fall. Meditative Maneuver (Ex): At 5th level, as a swift action, a maneuver master can add his Wisdom modifier on any combat maneuver check he makes before the beginning of his next turn. He must choose which combat maneuver check to grant the bonus to before making the combat maneuver check. This ability replaces purity of body. Sweeping Maneuver (Ex): At 11th level, a maneuver master can make two combat maneuvers as a standard action, as long as neither maneuver requires the maneuver master to move. He may perform two identical maneuvers against two adjacent enemies, or he may perform two different combat maneuvers against the same target. This ability replaces diamond body. Whirlwind Maneuver (Ex): At 15th level, once per day as a full-round action, a maneuver master can attempt a single combat maneuver against every opponent he threatens, as long as the combat maneuver does not require movement. He makes a single combat maneuver check, and it applies to all targets. This ability replaces quivering palm.
After the first session, I can tell you that this archetype has been a blast to play. We will be looking at some of the fun toys for the monk in more detail next week, but let me close out with one last list of class-filled fun. Here is the revised and expanded list of fighter weapon groups. Weapons marked with one asterisk (*) can be found in the Advanced Player's Guide, while those with two asterisks (**) are from Ultimate Combat. Enjoy and see you all next week.
Axes: bardiche*, battleaxe, dwarven waraxe, greataxe, handaxe, heavy pick, hooked axe**, knuckle axe**, light pick, mattock**, orc double axe, pata**, and throwing axe Blades, Heavy: bastard sword, chakram*, double chicken saber**, double walking stick katana**, elven curve blade, falcata*, falchion, greatsword, great terbutje**, katana**, khopesh*, longsword, nine-ring broadsword**, nodachi**, scimitar, scythe, seven-branched sword**, shotel**, temple sword*, terbutje**, and two-bladed sword Blades, Light: bayonet*, butterfly sword**, dagger, gladius**, kama, kerambit**, kukri, pata**, quadrens**, rapier, short sword, sica**, sickle, starknife, swordbreaker dagger*, sword cane*, and wakizashi** Bows: composite longbow, composite shortbow, longbow, and shortbow Close: bayonet*, brass knuckles*, cestus**, dan bong**, emei piercer**, fighting fan**, gauntlet, heavy shield, iron brush**, light shield, madu**, mere club**, punching dagger, sap, scizore**, spiked armor, spiked gauntlet, spiked shield, tekko-kagi**, tonfa**, unarmed strike, wooden stake*, and wushu dart** Crossbows: double crossbow*, hand crossbow, heavy crossbow, heavy repeating crossbow, light crossbow, light repeating crossbow, and tube arrow shooter** Double: dire flail, dwarven urgrosh, gnome hooked hammer, orc double axe, quarterstaff, and two-bladed sword Firearms: all one-handed**, two-handed**, and siege firearms** Flails: chain spear*, dire flail, double chained kama**, flail, flying blade**, heavy flail, kusarigama**, kyoketsu shoge**, meteor hammer**, morningstar, nine-section whip**, nunchaku, sansetsukon**, scorpion whip**, spiked chain, urumi**, and whip Hammers: aklys**, battle aspergillum*, club, greatclub, heavy mace, light hammer, light mace, mere club**, taiaha**, tetsubo**, wahaika**, and warhammer Monk: bo staff**, brass knuckles**, butterfly sword**, cestus*, dan bong**, double chained kama**, double chicken saber**, emei piercer**, fighting fan**, jutte**, kama, kusarigama**, kyoketsu shoge**, lungshuan tamo**, monk's spade**, nine-ring broadsword**, nine-section whip**, nunchaku, quarterstaff, rope dart**, sai, sansetsukon**, seven-branched sword**, shang gou**, shuriken, siangham, tiger fork**, tonfa**, tri-point double-edged sword**, unarmed strike, urumi**, wushu dart** Natural: unarmed strike and all natural weapons, such as bite, claw, gore, tail, and wing Polearms: bardiche*, bec de corbin*, bill*, glaive, glaive-guisarme*, guisarme, halberd, hooked lance**, lucerne hammer*, mancatcher*, monk's spade**, naginata**, nodachi**, ranseur, rohomphaia**,tepoztopili**, and tiger fork** Spears: amentum**, boar spear*, javelin, harpoon**, lance, longspear, pilum*, shortspear, sibat**, spear, tiger fork**, and trident Thrown: aklys**, amentum**, atlatl**, blowgun, bolas, boomerang*, chakram*, club, dagger, dart, halfling sling staff, harpoon**, javelin, lasso*, kestros**, light hammer, net, poisoned sand tube**, rope dart**, shortspear, shuriken, sling, spear, starknife, throwing axe, throwing shield**, trident, and wushu dart** Siege Engines: all siege engines**
Monkey See, Monkey Do? An FAQ on Intelligent Animals
... Illustration by Mauricio Herrera ... Monkey See, Monkey Do? An FAQ on Intelligent Animals Tuesday, March 29, 2011This is an odd FAQ item that we see pop up on occasion in a variety of different places. What happens when an animal gets an increased Intelligence score? There are a lot of different ways this can happen, and a number of strange routes that a GM could take when resolving this issue. Today, we are going to attempt to untangle this particular knot and see if we can't come up...
Illustration by Mauricio Herrera
Monkey See, Monkey Do? An FAQ on Intelligent Animals
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
This is an odd FAQ item that we see pop up on occasion in a variety of different places. What happens when an animal gets an increased Intelligence score? There are a lot of different ways this can happen, and a number of strange routes that a GM could take when resolving this issue. Today, we are going to attempt to untangle this particular knot and see if we can't come up with some guidelines that make sense.
There are many ways an animal can gain intelligence. It can gain hit dice and apply its ability score boost to Int. It can gain the advanced simple template. A druid could cast awaken on it. Regardless of the source, an increase in Int comes with all of the standard bonuses, such as additional skill points. Once a creature's Int reaches 3, it also gains a language. This is where things start to get tricky. "Really, now my pet monkey can talk?" Well, not really. Allow me to explain.
Gaining a language does not necessarily grant the ability to speak. Most animals do not possess the correct anatomy for speech. While a very intelligent dolphin might be taught to understand Common, there's no way for him speak it. There is also the issue of learning the language. The rules are mostly silent on this front, due to ease of play for PCs, but a GM should feel safe in assuming that it might take years to actually teach Common to an intelligent animal. All of this, of course, assumes that the animal even bothers to fill that language slot. Possessing the ability to use a language does not necessarily mean that such an ability is utilized.
Another aspect of intelligent animals is tool use. There are a number of feats that convey an understanding and the proper use of weapons and armor. Generally speaking, these feats are off-limits to animals, but when their intelligence reaches 3, the rules state that they can use any feat that they are physically capable of using. Some people take this to mean that they can equip their animal companion in chainmail and arm him with a greatsword given the correct feats. While you could interpret the rules in this way, the "capable of use" clause is very important. Most weapons require thumbs to use properly, and even then, few animals would choose to use an artificial weapon in place of the natural weapons that have served them all their life. It's what they were born with, after all, and virtually no amount of training will change that. In the end, the GM should feel free to restrict such choices if he feels that they take away from the feel of his campaign. The rules themselves are left a little vague to give the GM the latitude to make the call that's right for his campaign.
The Handle Animal skill functions similarly no matter how intelligent an animal becomes. A character must still make Handle Animal checks to train his animal and get him to perform the appropriate tasks. A GM should, however, make exceptions in the case of how such an intelligent animal might react in absence of instructions. It might not know to unlock a door to escape a burning building—as that's a fact that's learned over time and experience—but a smart animal might have a better chance of finding a way out.
The spell awaken changes much of this, however, since the spell is specifically designed to raise a creature up to sentience. GMs should feel free to loosen the above guidelines in the case of animals who have been the subject of this spell (since they become magical beasts), but should also note that awakened animals do not continue to serve as animal companions or familiars. Such creatures gain their own desires and feelings, and may seek to set out on their own to determine their own fate. They may not leave right away, but GMs should keep in mind that eventually any such creatures (or trees) may wish to leave to find their fortune.
Note that while the monster guidelines talk about a maximum Int for an animal, this only applies to the creation process. Giving an animal a higher Intelligence score does not somehow transform it into a magical beast, unless the effect says otherwise, such as in the case of awaken. Animals can grow to have an Int higher than 2 through a variety of means, but they should not, as a general rule, be created that way.
Well, that about wraps up our look at intelligent animals. We hope these guidelines and ideas help inform the issue in your game. If you have any further questions on the topic, ask them in the comments to this blog. Until next time!
... Illustrations by Mauricio Herrera and Peter Lazarski. Widescreen version here. ... Long Live The Gorilla King! Friday, January 14, 2010It's no secret that I love gorillas, apes, and monkeys. My avatar here at Paizo is a monkey, my personal Facebook icon for a long time was a Bili Ape, and I'm always calling my kids little monkeys. (They are the Savage Horde, after all.) When I asked the art department to create a series of wallpapers, you can only imagine my delight when Crystal showed me...
Illustrations by Mauricio Herrera and Peter Lazarski. Widescreen version here.
Long Live The Gorilla King!
Friday, January 14, 2010
It's no secret that I love gorillas, apes, and monkeys. My avatar here at Paizo is a monkey, my personal Facebook icon for a long time was a Bili Ape, and I'm always calling my kids little monkeys. (They are the Savage Horde, after all.) When I asked the art department to create a series of wallpapers, you can only imagine my delight when Crystal showed me the wallpaper below. It's about as perfect a wallpaper as I could ask for: the Gorilla King, swarms of monkeys in the background, and all of the Pathfinder hardback covers. It's been on my computer since Crystal finished it a week ago, and now it can be on yours.
... The Gorilla King Wants You to Game! Tuesday, December 7, 2010I've been a gamer for most of my life, starting with 1st Edition when I was a wee lad. A couple of years later I distinctly remember walking into a Save-On (now CVS) Drug to buy the original Red Box edition. After that I gamed throughout junior high and high school, (Go Gondos!), and even when I was in Argentina for a couple of years and didn't have the opportunity to game, I thought about gaming a lot, and when I got back and...
The Gorilla King Wants You to Game!
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
I've been a gamer for most of my life, starting with 1st Edition when I was a wee lad. A couple of years later I distinctly remember walking into a Save-On (now CVS) Drug to buy the original Red Box edition. After that I gamed throughout junior high and high school, (Go Gondos!), and even when I was in Argentina for a couple of years and didn't have the opportunity to game, I thought about gaming a lot, and when I got back and went to college, the gaming continued. Since then I've continued to game, including after I got married and even after the arrival of the various members of the Savage Horde. (Hi kids!) I'm currently playing in Sean K Reynolds's high-level drow game, playing Daeanu Azrinae, a 15th-level drow noble rogue (swashbuckler) who's working for the Matron in an attempt to keep the other PCs focused on who attacked us; I'm co-GMing Kingmaker with Lisa and her group at Chateau Stevens-Wertz; I'm gearing up to run a Gamma World game during lunch using the new version just released by WotC; I've just made a character for a 4e game being run by some new friends here in Redmond; and I'm in the planning stages for a Pathfinder game tentatively titled The Dregs, where the PCs will be made up of adventuring group outcasts created by rolling 3d6 for stats, straight down the row, old school style. In fact, just about everyone in the office plays in a ton of games somewhere, with Rob McCreary and James Jacobs the current leaders, with somewhere around 20 hours a week each spent gaming.
Why am I telling you all of this? It's because I'm a firm believer in the importance of actually playing games, and I'm hoping to have this The Gorilla King Wants You to Game! blog idea become a semi-regular feature were I talk about the various games going on here at Paizo. After a decade in the industry, it's become clear that too many game designers and industry folks don't play games anymore, of any kind. But that's not how we roll here at Paizo. We're all HUGE gaming geeks and we love all kinds of games, from boardgames to TCGs, to video and standard card games. There's even talk of setting up some Warhammer 40k battles once the craziness of the holiday season settles down. It's refreshing to work for a company where we not only make games, we play them too. (I also think that playing games helps you make awesome games, but that's for a blog on another day.)
So this holiday season try to get some gaming in, of any kind. Don't have a local group? Head down to your local store and play in a Pathfinder Society scenario or two. Don't have a local store nearby? Try Infrno, d20 Pro, Skype, or some other virtual tabletop. Technology today makes it easier than ever to find a way to game. If all else fails, I bet your Aunt Martha knows how to play Monopoly. Although I bet she might like Settlers of Catan better.
And while you think about ways to get your gaming grove on, check out this very cool piece from the upcoming Inner Sea World Guide hardcover, due for release in February.