The debut article is an article for Pathfinder that discusses a mechanic from older editions: the morale check. In this article, I outline what morale checks do, ways the GMs can avoid being hamstrung by them, and a simple yet elegant mechanic for reintroducing them to your Pathfinder game.
Check it out here: Modern Morale-ity
(Also, be sure to check out the previous article, a system-neutral piece about using the environment to challenge the PCs in your game, titled The Invincible Enemy. I know I said the aforementioned piece on morale was the debut article; this piece on the environment was written before the column received its title.)
As part of our continuing series on using Eclipse: The Codex Persona to make Pathfinder-compatible versions of existing characters from various series, we take things to the realm of video game ultra-violence! Presented here is Scorpion, as he was in Mortal Kombat: Armageddon!
Cross-posting my five-star review of Eclipse: The Codex Persona from RPGNow:
I really don’t know how I’ve gone this long without reviewing this book. I’ve known about it for quite some time, and have been using it for the last several weeks in my home game, yet somehow writing a review didn’t occur to me. That oversight ends now.
I think that for everyone who plays a d20 System game, be it Pathfinder, d20 Modern, 3.5, d20 Future or whatnot, that there’s a sense of frustration with how patchwork the system’s exception-based rules are. That is, if you have an idea for a character, you can try to design an appropriate facsimile, but unless it happens to fall within some very specific parameters, there’ll be some aspect of the character creation mechanics that doesn’t quite fit with what you had in mind.
This, of course, leads to one of two things. Either you modify your expectations to fit within what the “class level” structure allows, or you go on a never-ending hunt for splatbooks and third-party supplements in hopes of finding new rules that will let you build exactly what it is you’re looking for.
Have you ever wanted to build a character that can shapeshift into different forms, but isn’t a druid, or even a spellcaster? What about a character that is able to manipulate fire via dancing? Or one whose spellcasting ability is limited by physical ability, rather than “prepared” spells? How many supplements and sourcebooks would you have to comb through to find rules that could let you play those characters? For that matter, how many would have rules to make ALL of those characters, and whatever others you can imagine?
The correct answer is: one. That being Eclipse: The Codex Persona, from Distant Horizons Games.
Weighing in at just over two hundred pages, Eclipse is an OGL supplement that has generously been made available for free. There’s also a page for a pay-for version of the book, which is completely the same as the free version in every way. In essence, the pay-for version is a tip jar, allowing you to pay for the book if you feel so inclined. Given that this book is essentially the same as every other character book ever released, that’s a staggering level of generosity.
The book hits the technical high marks for what’s expected of a PDF: copy-and-paste is enabled, and there are full, nested bookmarks present. Most helpfully, there is a link to the authors’ blog – I’ll mention why this is helpful shortly.
I should take a moment to mention the artwork. Entirely black and white, the artwork seems to be a mixture of stock art and works from the public domain. Moreover, most pieces are given a humorous caption. I say “humorous” because these captions tend to be of the Monty Python variety (in terms of how they read, rather than any specific quotations). For example, the illustration in the section on shapeshifting is of a woman with inhuman hands licking at her fingers. The caption? “Is it cannibalism if I wasn’t human when I ate him?” They’re pretty much all like that, though some are real groaners. As someone who loves making bad jokes (especially puns) I was tickled by these, but they might induce strain due to excessive eye-rolling in other readers. Be warned.
So now, having said all of that, just what IS Eclipse: The Codex Persona?
Simply put, Eclipse is a point-buy method of character generation for the d20 System. It wasn’t the first book to release a point-buy system, nor was it the most popular (thus far), but it is by far the most successful. Let’s get to why.
The book’s first section introduces the fundamentals. Basically, characters get twenty-four Character Points (CP) at each level. These points can be spent on a variety of things, ranging from the basics (Hit Dice, weapon/armor proficiencies, base attack bonuses, save bonuses, and skill points), to spellcasting abilities, to the much more colorful powers in chapter two, with things like damage reduction, the ability to actively block incoming attacks, esoteric means of communication, and so much more.
A review must, of course, gloss over some details, which is a shame since the first two chapter that detail these myriad abilities take up roughly a third of the book. But there’s something more fundamental that must be taken into account. While a large list of abilities that can be purchased is absolutely necessary to any point-buy system, it’s ultimately going to be limited – it has to be, since no single book can possibly list every ability that will ever be thought of in every other sourcebook, right?
Well, not exactly, no.
What makes Eclipse unique is that it gives a method for tailoring EVERYTHING that can be bought with Character Points, allowing you to alter them as necessary to fit with your idea for how they should work. How does it do this, you ask? By utilizing two related concepts: corruption, and specialization.
To be clear, both of these terms are referring to the same basic idea: that by placing some sort of limitation on an ability, you can give it a corresponding increase in another manner OR you can reduce the amount of Character Points the ability costs. The terms “corruption” is used to refer to a comparatively mild limitation, while the term “specialization” refers to a more severe one. It’s by using these abilities to modify the existing powers that you can create virtually limitless abilities.
For example, the Empowerment special ability lets you use your own ability score modifiers and caster level when activating a magic item, up to (3 + Int mod) times per day (sort of like how magic staves are normally). That costs 6 CP. But you could specialize that ability by limiting it to just, say, magic wands. By accepting that degree of limitation, you can choose to either cut the price in half (3 CP), or keep the full price, but remove the “per day” modifier. So when you make a character that’s a self-styled “Master of Wands” – with little actual spellcasting power, but is able to use magic wands far better than most fully-fledged wizards – you can easily distinguish him from other run-of-the-mill wizards and sorcerers.
The third chapter of the book builds on this, exploring what it calls “paths and powers.” These are, largely, more of the same, but where the first two chapters presented individual abilities that were largely unconnected, the various sections in chapter three showcase powers that have various sub-abilities. For example, channeling is the basic “turn/rebuke undead” power that clerics have. Here, however, not only can you manipulate how powerfully and how often you can channel positive or negative energy, you can do so much more. Beyond things like not needing a holy symbol, you can convert the energy into spell effects, turn or rebuke other types of creatures, grant bonuses to magic weapons, animate corpses, and so much more.
Many of the new abilities presented in chapter three are different systems for using magic. Skill-based magic systems, for example, have multiple different presentations here. So are low-level psychic powers, high-level direct manipulations of magic, mystical artistry, eldritch connections to a land you rule, and even divine ascension, among others.
Chapter four concerns itself solely with epic-level magic. This may seem very specific, but with the various ways to manipulate spellcasting (did I mention the metamagic theorems in chapter two?), it becomes something of a practical concern…depending on the sort of campaign you run. The spells here don’t use, surprisingly, any kind of new system of magic. Rather, they still use spell levels, ranging from level ten spells all the way up through level twenty-four.
It’s in chapter five that we move away from mechanics and more towards how to utilize what’s in the book. There’s a section for players here, and a section for GMs. The player section largely discusses the type of character you want to build, which is more helpful than it sounds when you can build pretty much anything you want. For GMs, the advice is even more practical – any role-playing game system can be abused by problem players, and in an open system like Eclipse, this requires a more proactive GM. Issues of deciding ahead of time what powers (and combinations of powers) should be disallowed are dealt with, in addition to suggestions and advice for what to do if a character goes out of control. Some templates and sample epic-level monsters help to round out the GMs tools.
A few appendices close out the book. There’s a quick example of chakras, presented as an in-game reason for disallowing certain power combinations. The second and third appendix take standard 3.5 and d20 Modern classes and show how they’d be built in Eclipse, along with how to take standard feats using Eclipse abilities. Some helpful worksheets are the last thing given.
If you’ve read this far, you probably have a pretty good sense that I’m a big fan of Eclipse. The author says in the foreword that none of his players want to use any other character-building options besides what’s here, and having gotten a chance to use the book in my own game, I can completely understand why. Why go back to digging through various books to hodge-podge together a character that resembles what you wanted to make, when you can use one book to put together exactly the PC you really want to play?
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Eclipse is a book against which no criticism can be leveled. The biggest critique that can be said of the book is that it’s horribly lacking where examples are concerned. This is no small complaint, as the system is a fairly complex one to understand, especially if you’re expecting more of the fairly rigid class-level structure from standard d20 games. There are numerous points where a helpful example would go a long way towards making things clearer.
To be fair, the book does have examples for some sections, but these are few and far between. The system is, I believe, fairly intuitive…but only after you’ve made a significant investment in understanding exactly what it’s offering and how it goes about doing it. Luckily, there’s a remedy for this: remember the authors’ blog that I mentioned earlier? It has a plethora of sample characters and items built with Eclipse (including my favorite articles on how to build 100% Pathfinder-compatible characters using the book), and more than fills the need for examples of what can be done with Eclipse.
It’s also important to keep Eclipse’s limits in mind. The book allows for many options in building characters, and while this often brushes up against many other parts of the d20 System, there are some that it doesn’t replace. For example, there are many different ways to manipulate the skill system with the powers here, but the system itself is independent of Eclipse (which is why it works with d20 Modern skills, 3.5 skills, Pathfinder skills, etc.). There are different ways to build magic items, but magic items themselves aren’t dealt with here (though relics, which are similar, are). Eclipse is a powerful character generator, but it’s not a complete replacement for your d20 game of choice.
My understanding is that Eclipse is so named because it “eclipses” all other character-building options in the d20 System, and I can honestly say that it does. Think of every fictional character you’ve ever read, watched, or heard about; you can make them all here. You may still need to increase the amount of levels necessary to do it, but it can be done. The Codex Persona is exactly what it promises, and is still completely compatible with whatever d20 game you’re playing, to boot. So put on your protective eyewear and look into the Eclipse.
In last night's game one of the PCs was hit with a dominate person. We managed to subdue her, but we were very low on resources to the point where we couldn't bring anything to bear that would free her from the control she was under.
Given that, we decided to tie her up for the time being. Since she was pinned at the time, one of the group decided that since she couldn't really resist, he was going to take 20 on his CMB check, since the normal DC for Escape Artist is 20 + the CMB of whomever is tying the rope.
I wasn't sure this was correct, since a CMB is an attack roll and you can't take 20 (or 10, for that matter) on those. However, the group felt that this made narrative sense, since you can keep trying and re-trying your knots until you've tied them tightly and securely.
I'm still not sure I agree with that interpretation though, so I'm asking everyone here: for the purposes of tying someone up, can you take 20 on your CMB check?
I've recently been thinking that issues of "game balance" (and, for that matter, "player entitlement") aren't focused so much on actual play-sessions, but rather on character creation.
That is, "balance" - as it's often discussed here - is less concerned with the context (of game-play) in which PC choices are exercised, than it is with making sure that all of those options have parity when compared on paper. The most directly-applicable situation for this seems to be when characters are being generated (and, by extension, leveled up).
The practical impact of this seems to be that players can (or maybe should?) create their characters with no real input from their GM. That is, there's an implicit understanding that since any choice is (supposed to be) as good as any other, with the only variance being some expected difference in combat role, then the player can have access to virtually any material with which to build their character, and it'll all be fine in the end.
So in other words, there's no reason why a player shouldn't be able to consider playing a fighter, paladin, magus, gunslinger, etc. because the end result on actual game-play will be roughly the same. Hence, there's no need for the GM to be involved anyway.
My question is, do you necessarily agree with that presumption? Does the GM have any particular place in putting qualifiers on what the PCs can play? Is is "appropriate" for the GM to put restrictions on certain options? To want approval over a character's build? To restrict certain books, even though the players have bought them and want to use them (and they're "official")?
If so, what circumstances are those appropriate in? A lot of people seem to agree that certain classes can be banned pre-emptively for thematic reasons (e.g. "gunslingers don't fit my world design"). Is it never appropriate for the GM to comment on a player's character without being asked? Or are there times when the GM should offer an objection?
I should mention that this is purely about mechanical options; obviously poor conduct would need to be called out (though not necessarily publicly).
Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gamer (sung to the tune of "Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta"; with apologies to the Geto Boys)
Damn it feels good to be a gamer
And all I gotta say to you
Damn it feels good to be a gamer
Now all I gotta say to you
Damn it feels good to be a gamer
And now, a word from the Game Master!
Okay, I think I know the answer to this question, but I wanted to double-check.
My cleric just bought a ring of the ram. Based on the description, using charges inflicts both damage and a bull rush attempt, based on the number of charges spent, correct?
For example, if my PC spent 2 charges, the ring would inflict 2d6 points of damage and, as part of the same action (if the enemy were within 30 ft.) make a bull rush attempt with a +18 CMB, right?
Also, does it seem to anyone else like it should use a ranged touch attack, rather than a ranged attack?
Are your wizards too powerful at higher levels? Do full progression spellcasters in your game make the fighters and rogues feel useless? Isn't there a way to reintroduce a greater degree of balance without pumping up the non-spellcasters even more?
How about introducing a few limitations on your spellcasters...from previous editions?
In our first article for 2013, Intelligence Check introduces a set of variant rules inspired by older editions of everyone's favorite fantasy role-playing game to help limit the power of wizards and other spellcasters. Use these, and put the kibosh on the wizard-as-god in your game.
Check it out here: Triple Solutions for Quadratic Wizards
When running a game, where is the line drawn between things not going the way a player expects/wants, and the game not being fun anymore?
I ask because I've seen a lot of threads lately where the same sentiment seems to come up over and over: that if serious or long-term penalties afflict a PC, then (unless the GM has gone out of his way to avoid and the player still blunders into it regardless) the GM is violating the main reason the players are playing the game to begin with - to have fun.
I personally think that such major downturns are in the game for a reason - you can fall from paladinhood, your spellbook gets destroyed, (some of) your followers abandon you, etc. - and that's part of the game, and should be treated in the same manner as rolling a natural 1; you deal with it as best you can and move on. These things are not the GM's indictment of you as a player.
Moreover, there's a wide range of opinions regarding how much the GM should try to course-correct for these things happening to the PC. I'm not talking about fudging dice rolls so much as people seem to expect the GM to give the player out-of-character warnings that their PC is about to do something that will have serious consequences. This, I'm very iffy towards. Again, no one likes feeling punished, but to what degree is this a case of in-game consequences versus the commandment of "thou shalt preserve thy players' fun"?
It seems that a lot of the "save my fun" sentiment is used to justify player entitlement. Obviously, communication is key here - ideally before the campaign begins - but what do you do when people have ideas on this that are incompatible, don't want to compromise, but still want to game together?
In the latest post over on Intelligence Check, I discuss being burned out on new supplements, using a point-buy system for character construction, put stats to a character from a hit TV show, and introduce three new spells!
Check it out here: A Legendary Burnout.
Lately, I've been seeing some third-party publishers referring to the NPCs in some of their books as "iconic(s)" in a manner that's clearly reminiscent of the characters that we all know from Paizo's books (and WotC's before that).
I wanted to say that, while on the surface a lot of these "3pp-iconics" could conceivably live up to the name - being characters who rend to represent something specific (usually a new character class) while not being too thoroughly defined - I'm of the opinion that there's one major factor in what makes a character "iconic," rather than just being a notable NPC.
Let me say that again.
The Iconics are iconic because they - primarily artwork of them, as well as their names being dropped in even short instances of framing fiction - are everywhere. They're in every book, over and over again. Virtually every piece of artwork that isn't a monster or location illustration features them. We see them so often that we come to expect them whenever the company puts out a new book. It's a given that they'll be in there; they're iconic.
It goes beyond this, of course (e.g. pregen stats), but that's the big one. To me, 90% of what makes an Iconic what they are is that they're omnipresent.
Third-party publishers, if you want your character(s) to be an Iconic character, please dial their exposure up to eleven. Yes, you still need to check off the other boxes mentioned above, but repeated exposure is the number one ingredient by far.
Don't tell us that your characters are Iconic. Show us...again and again and again.
Here, I rework the aging tables into something that doesn't have the longer-lived demihumans spending potentially half their lives as wizened old geezers. Check it out here: What's Old Is Young Again.
The latest article over at Intelligence Check takes its inspiration from the classic Doctor Who episode, "The Satan Pit." A new feat allows a character's body to remain active after its mind has left it (e.g. astral projection), similar to how the Beast's body was still conscious but without sentience when its mind had left it.
Find it over here: The Beast Within
Apologies if this has come up before.
It's self-evident in Pathfinder that constructs are immune to critical hits. Likewise, there's nothing in the animated objects monster entry to suggest that they have any additional immunities in that regard.
But then I noticed this section from the Additional Rules chapter:
Immunities: Objects are immune to nonlethal damage and to critical hits. Even animated objects, which are otherwise considered creatures, have these immunities.
So apparently animated objects are still immune to critical hits in Pathfinder? Is this by design, or is this a vestigial rule from 3.5? If not, presumably this also disqualifies sneak attack and other forms of precision damage on animated objects as well?
Back in early 2010, Super Genius Games launched a Kickstarter project for making an RPG book that utilized the Pathfinder rules for a modern-day setting, which they called P20 Modern.
The project fizzled, unfortunately, earning only about $9,000 of its $70,000 goal. No doubt this was demoralizing to both the Geniuses and the people who wanted such a resource. What I'm curious about is - as the title says - should they try it again now?
Things have changed a lot since April of 2010. Pathfinder, at the time less than a year old, is now nearing its third anniversary, and is the best-selling RPG on the market. Similarly, the third-party community, with Super Genius Games being among its leaders, has likewise grown in terms of recognition among the fans.
Moreover, the nature of RPG Kickstarter projects has changed. For one thing, they're now much more common, with the highest-grossing among them reaching into the six-digit-figure range in terms of donations received. Moreover, there's a great three-part report on RPG crowdfunding that suggests (to my mind at least) that such a project would find much greater reception today than it did two years ago.
As someone who donated to the P20 Modern project previously, I'd love to see the Geniuses take another swing at it - I'm betting that this time, it'd clear its goal and then some.
What do you all think?
Apologies if this has been asked before, I didn't see it anywhere.
The 6th-level (now 7th-level after last night's session) magus in my group is setting himself up to be a trip-master. Using a +1 glaive, usually a +3 thanks to his arcane pool, he'll make AoO trip attacks against any creature that tries to close into melee, thanks to his feats of Improved Trip, Greater Trip, and Combat Reflexes.
However, a question has arisen regarding what gets added to his CMB check to trip. As it stands now, he's adding his BAB (+5 after last night) and Strength bonus (+5), plus his two tripping feats (+4), but we're stalled on whether the weapon's enhancement bonus applies.
The Core Rulebook doesn't seem to address the issue, not does the FAQ (insofar as I looked at the d20PFSRD page on trip attempts). The closest that we could find was that it describes a CMB check as being "an attack roll" which would seem to imply that he does gain the weapon's +3 enhancement bonus to the check (and also means that he wants to use true strike to add to some of his future trip attempts). I'm not convinced, however, as some aspects of a normal attack roll are different for CMB checks (e.g. size bonuses).
Given that, I'm turning to you guys for help. Does a weapon's enhancement bonus apply when it's used in a CMB check?
From time to time, I'll try my hand at making new monsters. When I do, I'll usually follow the rules in the Bestiary pretty closely, as that seems like the best way to come up with a creature that meets its target CR.
One of the rules I follow pretty closely therefore is the table denoting natural attack damage values by size. In other words, the damage dice for given types of natural attacks for creatures of various sizes is set according to this table (and the Improved Natural Attack feat).
Lately, however, I've started noticing monsters with natural attack damage dice far in excess of their size. The pit fiend, for example, is a large creature (and has no instances of Improved Natural Attack), and so should have attack/base damage dice as follows: claws/1d6, wings/1d6, bite/1d8, and tail slap/1d8.
Instead, its damage dice are claws/2d8, wings/2d6, bite/4d6, and tail slap/2d8. In other words, it's had all of its natural attack damage dice bumped up quite a bit.
My question then is if the table for natural attack damage is not so much an actual rule as it is a guideline? Do some monsters naturally get better damage values without a rules notation (the way there is for dragon's bite attacks, which is about Strength bonus to damage, rather than damage dice), or are instances like the pit fiend in error?
Unlike most arcane spellcasters, a witch's spells are granted to her by a mysterious, otherworldly patron. Like an arcane cleric, she receives her spells from this unknown entity...but for what purpose? What are witch patrons and what do they want? The Pathfinder game is silent on this issue, so we at Intelligence Check have taken up the challenge!
In our latest article, we examine witch patrons and their effect on a witch's familiar and spell selection. Several example patrons are given, and we discuss how to develop more for your game.
Check it out here: Patronizing the Witch
(Conversion of the 2009 product of the same name into the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.)
The Buan Campaign Setting starts here! Explore Kalupaan with the Tikbalang, one of the most iconic creatures of Philippine Mythology. These feyborn creatures bear an affinity with the winds, and they protect the gateways leading to the fey realms with the subtlety of the breeze and the fury of the cyclone.
Tikbalang: Guardians of Kalikasan presents the players with a new character race - their motivations and culture, as well as the myths other races have regarding them. Game masters are likewise presented with three new tikbalang monsters, as well as a few guidelines that can make for a memorable tikbalang encounter.
This 17-page product includes the following:
While it is designed for the upcoming Buan Campaign Setting, this product can be adapted seamlessly to games that use the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game rules.
Apologies if this has been discussed before, but I'm curious about how to determine the number of inquisitions a deity gets.
Domains and subdomains seem to follow a clear progression. "Full-fledged" deities get five domains and six subdomains, while demigods, archfiends, and similar "near-deities" get one less of each (e.g. four domains and five subdomains).
Inquisitions, however, seem to be all over the place. The table for the twenty major deities of the Inner Sea region indicate that some have as little as three inquisitions, while others have as many as six.
Is there any particular rhyme or reason there?
Have you ever wondered just how much one gp was actually worth? Or just how big of a purchase that warhammer +2 was compared to what the locals can normally afford? If you ever have, but didn't want to delve into the boring details of trying to calculate the worth of gold in realistic terms, then you'll want to check out the latest article at Intelligence Check.
In our latest article, our crack team of economists answer these questions and more, all the while showing our work so that you can tweak or modify these standards as necessary for your game. Now you'll know just how rich your characters really are when they raid the dragon's hoard.
Check it out here: Setting a Gold Standard
The chainmail bikini, and indeed sexy armor for women in general, has long been a divisive topic in gaming. In the latest article at Intelligence Check, we take a long, slow look at the shape of the debate, and try to analyze the different standpoints people take when they discuss the issues surrounding this particular subject.
For in-depth coverage on armor that covers little, click here: The Defense of the Chainmail Bikini
Lately I've been noticing a number of references, ranging from the very subtle to the rather obvious, made in various Pathfinder products that, while ostensibly talking about Golarion and its cosmology, are nods towards D&D (and, more rarely, other recognizable places).
This thread is the place to list them. Here a few to start things off:
1) The Cthulhu Mythos - the references to Cthulhu himself note that he's "trapped under an ocean on a distant world" (e.g. Earth).
2) Orcus - Orcus is noted as being preoccupied by events on other worlds and planes (e.g. the D&D campaign worlds).
3) The Witchwar Legacy
The revelation at the end of the adventure subtly indicates that Tashanna eventually became Greyhawk's Iggwilv.
What other such easter eggs have been found?
They are born of the blood of the shapechangers. They carry with them the legacy of Silver, Bronze and Gold. They wear their heritage on their faces, their wings and in their very breath. They are watched by eyes older than civilization. They are feared, they are honored, and now, they are YOU.
They are the CHILDREN OF WYRMS.
We all know about half-dragons, but what about their children? Or their grandchildren? How strongly will draconic blood affect a family line? Children of Wyrms is designed to address these questions, giving you the tools you need to create characters descended from the shape-changing dragons: bronze, silver and gold. Written and developed by fantasy illustrator, Talon Dunning and Shane O'Connor, this 28-page, lavishly illustrated, full-color digital book also includes new rules for creating Draconic Legacy characters for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, including:
•Four new creature templates representing 24 generations of Draconic Legacy.
Print edition coming soon!
A while back in 3.5, there was a feat that was intended for multiclass spellcasters. I can't remember the name, but it basically said that you gained +4 to your caster level, but only if you had at least four levels/Hit Dice that didn't add to your caster levels - if you had less than four such levels, you only got that much of a bonus from this feat.
So if a wizard 5/fighter 3 took that feat, he'd cast his arcane spells as though he were a wizard 8. A sorcerer 7/cleric 5 could take the feat and apply it to one of his spellcasting classes, and whichever one he picked would have its caster level increased by +4.
The point of all this is that a while ago I saw a similar feat for Pathfinder, but for the life of me I can't remember what it's called or where it is (or even if it's from Paizo or a third-party publisher). Does anyone know what feat I'm thinking of?
In celebration of the greatest gamer comic, the latest article at Intelligence Check presents Pathfinder rules for some of the zanier antics of the Knights of the Dinner Table!
Ever wanted to take an item as a "chaser" after your morning glass of prune juice? How about writing your spells on the bodies of your friends instead of in a book? All of that and more are found in our newest post, Finding a Path to the Dinner Table. Check it out, and if you don't like what's here, please don't waste me with your crossbow!
The Sensitive has just been released for The Modern Path! Below is the product description:
Whether haunted by ghosts or blessed with the powers of a medium, the Sensitive has the ability to see the ethereal, banish the dead and contact the other side through séances. This haunting Modern Hero class archetype is compatible with The Modern Path: Heroes of the Modern World, an alternate character creation system for modern Pathfinder games by Game Room Creations, and was created by fantasy illustrator, Talon Dunning for your modern gothic horror setting. Also included is a unique NPC, a separate, print-ready version with the art and graphics removed for easy printing and a dataset for the PC creation software, HeroLab. OGL 3.5, OGL Modern and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game versions are also available.
(Disclaimer: I've freelanced for Fantastic Gallery, so I wanted to bring this to people's attention here, as it's not currently for sale on Paizo's website.)
Have you ever wondered just where nameless 2nd level NPCs got the XP to make it to 2nd level in the first place? Have your PCs ever ended a session less than a hundred XP from a new level and groused that that they should just be able to close the gap somehow? If you have, then you'll want to check out the newest post on Intelligence Check, wherein we discuss training rules for XP.
In this post, we examine the problems with most training rules, as well as how to fix them. We go over ways that these can be a useful tool for the GM when designing NPCs rather than a straitjacket, and how they can lend greater verisimilitude for your game world.
Check it out here: The XP Train(ing)
An alchemist in my game wants to be able to throw his bombs beyond the five-range increment limit for thrown weapons (e.g. he wants the ten-range increment limit that projectile weapons get). Is there any way that he can get this? I'm not seeing anything in the Core Rules, nor the APG, UM, and UC that allow this.
My understanding is that the harbinger archon, introduced in the Bestiary 3, exists primarily to fulfill the slot of having a CR 2 Lawful Good outsider that could be taken as a familiar with the Improved Familiar feat (as the other eight alignments got such creatures in the Bestiary 2).
My question is, why was the Lantern Archon not simply designated as filling this particular role? True, there's nothing about it in the original Bestiary, nor in the listing for the Improved Familiar feat, but surely it's not that hard to add text to that effect somewhere (e.g. an update in future errata, a post on the Paizo blog, etc.).
Why design a new, very similar monster specifically for that purpose?
Hey all! I figured that this one flew under most people's radars, so I wanted to make a post about it here. Please note that I'm in no way affiliated with Mongoose Publishing, and don't speak for them in regards to this product or anything else.
Here's the product description:
Legendary explorer and adventurer, Van Graaf, takes you on a grand voyage of discovery, uncovering the mysteries and secrets behind every successful adventuring party. Compatible with Pathfinder, Van Graaf's Journal of Adventuring looks at the different tactics and ploys players can adopt when facing the worst adversities the Game Master can throw against them... It forms an invaluable resource for every player looking to succeed and find prosperity and wealth with his character.
So I had it in my head that ability damage - to all ability scores that weren't Constitution - "rolled over" onto your Con score when the amount of damage eclipsed your original ability score.
What that means is, if you took 15 points of Strength damage, but only had a Strength of 10, the remaining 5 points of ability damage were applied to your Constitution.
I thought this was a rule, as it made all diseases have some threat of lethality, even if their initial ability damage wasn't to Constitution; otherwise, it meant that any non-Con-damaging disease was inherently nonlethal in its threat.
Having said all that, I can't find anything to support it looking through the PRD. There's nothing about it that I saw under the rules for ability damage or diseases. Is this rule out there somewhere, or is it something I just dreamed up?
Have you ever thought that it would be in-character for your PC to wonder if it wouldn't be more lucrative to be a farmer than risking life and limb in dungeons? Have you ever looked at an NPC's listing of "Profession (cobbler) +4" and wondered what that really meant in terms of how financially stable he was?
In the latest article from Intelligence Check, we examine those questions and more. We look at the Craft, Perform, and Profession skills and run the numbers to see what their skill bonuses translate into on Pathfinder's cost of living listings. Come take a look - your bard might be able to make a pretty good living singing for his supper after all.
Check it out here: The 1% of Pathfinder
This nether monstrosity is immune to all spells, events, magic items, and artifacts.
Remember TSR's old D&D-themed CCG, Spellfire? Remember the "Gib" chase cards, in particular Gib Htimsen? If so, then you'll absolutely want to read the latest Intelligence Check, as we wax nostalgic about Spellfire and bring its de facto representative into your Pathfinder game!
Check it out here: Gib Nuf
I was looking for a Pathfinder write-up of the penanggalan the other day, and after some searching found nothing on this particular monster besides a very brief mention in Classic Horrors Revisited, which is a shame, since I really enjoy that particular monster.
So, in hope that I was just looking in the wrong places, I'm turning to the Pathfinder community: is there a Pathfinder-compatible penanggalan out there somewhere? Third-party products are acceptable too!
So with the third Book of the Damned around the corner, detailing the Neutral Evil race of Daemons, the "big three" will have been covered. So with devils, demons, and daemons all showcased, what evil extraplanar race should be the star of a hypothetical Book of the Damned 4?
Some options to consider are:
Personally, I'd like to see more of the demodands, as they're a classic. What do you think?
Okay, so my cavalier is using a lance and several feats to be a hard-charger when we encounter foes. However, I'm running into some issues when he confirms a critical hit.
A lance normally has a x3 critical multiplier. It does double damage on a charge, so presumably a critical on a charge would then be x4 damage (x3 normally, with the "double damage" clause kicking it up by one under the old "two doubles is a triple" rule).
However, I also took the Spirited Charge feat, which means that a lance attack while charging normally deals triple damage. So triple damage normally, with a x3 multiplier on a critical. I'm pretty sure this means the critical multiplier should be x5 when I critical on a charge, but I'm not sure.
What do you guys think?
Healing magic is a classic staple of the game, fixing your characters up good as new. But what if it wasn't quite so cost-free to have even fatal wounds wiped away in an instant? What if it took something from you that you never got back?
In the latest post on Intelligence Check we examine a series of spells that heal characters even as it twists and warps their flesh, incurring a heavy cost for closing wounds. Additionally, a new deity and a new domain provide greater context for the use of these new spells of twisted healing.
Check it out here: More Than A Healing
I had some questions about how the pros design adventures intended for publication, and it seemed apropos to ask them here, particularly since third-party publishers tend to work with smaller teams of designers than Paizo.
1) When writing locations and encounters for a mapped area, do you typically design the map first and then write the material to fit what's drawn?
I ask this because it seems to me that you'd need to have the map first, since it seems like it'd be hard to keep salient details (like describing the layout, mentioning the adjoining rooms, etc.) straight when writing the text for areas on the map.
However, given that cartography is often done by someone else (and will usually need to be customized to the adventure, unless you're writing with stock maps and have permission to reuse them), it seems like a major chunk of the writing would thus be held up until you've got, at the very least, draft copies.
In other words, how does it work with writing material for areas that appear on a map?
2) Do you budget the amount of XP the PCs will receive over the course of the adventure?
Typically, most adventures are for PCs of a set level, and outline at the beginning how many levels the PCs will gain over the course of the adventure (and can even note where they'll level, given a relatively linear flow of events). Even presuming that there are four PCs using the medium XP track, do you calculate how much XP is available?
I ask because doing that seems like it can be somewhat restrictive, as well as difficult to keep track of. It means you need to design encounters - monsters/NPCs, traps, and story awards - against a certain amount of XP that the adventure offers. Does this not affect how you design the challenges the PCs face?
Thanks in advance to anyone who answers!
The third and final article of our Law of the Land series is here! In this piece, we present the Laws of Magic! No, it's not anything particularly mystical - rather, we go over how criminal magical activity is regulated and investigated. Come take a look, and see if your spellcasting PCs have broken any laws lately.
Check it out here: Law of the Land, Part 3 - Suspicious Spellcasting
Intelligence Check's series on crime and punishment in your Pathfinder game world continues! In this article, we talk about how nobles and rulers are viewed under the law, discuss repeat criminal offenders, and list a number of crimes that a fantasy medieval society is likely to recognize.
Check it out here: Law of the Land, Part 2 - Compendium of Crime
The beginning of a new Intelligence Check series of articles!
The laws of a given town, society, or country are usually part of the implicit background of a setting; understood to be there but rarely dealt with. That's a shame, since oftentimes the laws of a place can greatly showcase its nature and tone in the game world. In this series, we set out to provide a framework to help bring the vague and ill-defined laws of a place into sharper focus.
Part 1 focuses on how different alignments view the role of laws in society, who enforces and arbitrates the laws, the role of religion on the laws of this series, and a framework of categories for determining the severity of crimes.
Check it out here: Law of the Land, Part 1 - Lexicon of Legal Loquacity