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The big question is: do you want to go underwater for adventures?
Also check out Alluria Publishing's products for loads of underwater goodness.
2. Pirates! How do they figure in? How can the city defend against them? Or is the floating city (becoming) a pirate haven itself? Even if neither is true you can probably pillage from many pirate adventures, so here's links with pirate material:
Re Bookish Rogue: Ahhhh. So you can change them by using the feat again, not by taking the feat again. Great feat. I love it. Thanks for pointing it out.
So there you go: bookish rogue, plus use UMD a lot.
A Knife Master is an attractive trope but the rogue and the knife master archetype are both rather weak fighters. Some Knife Master builds multiclass with the Weapon Master Fighter or Brawler Fighter to get more BAB and more bonus to the knives.
But then you want some magic too.
How martial do you want to be ? How magical ? Interested in Arcane trickster or Eldritch Knight in the long run? Or neither?
Be an elf with the Envoy alterntate racial trait:
Envoy: Elves often have trouble relating to neighbors of other races, especially those with much shorter lifespans. As a result, some are trained in minor magics that are particularly useful when dealing with non-elves. Elves with this racial trait and an Intelligence score of 11 or higher gain the following spell-like abilities once per day: comprehend languages, detect magic, detect poison, and read magic. The caster level for these effects is equal to the elf's level. This racial trait replaces elven magic.
Well there's Way of the Wicked (Evil AP so they're supposed to be monsters inside why not outside too), and the unfinished Throne of Night (Underdark/Darklands AP) by FMG.
There's also the (against the) Rise of the Drow mega adventure/AP by AAW. Their Snow White mega adventure can perhaps feature fairy tale like PC races.
Coliseum Morpheon can host any weird race though it's not an AP. (You could run some old Planescape modules before though like this guy did. In Planescape anything goes...)
86) The party members are all imprisoned by the watch and charged with a crime.
A )They somehow escape (or get out on parole) and try to find the real cuplrit together to get their charges dropped.
B) They are release and plan a heist/dungeon dive together. (i.e. the usual suspects. Extra points for a secret mastermind behind it all)
Well I just started reading Matt Banach's novel Lost in Dream and one of the characters says "..., Berk!" Made me grin for ear to ear.
So there is a little PS alive in Rite Publishing's planar Coliseum Morpheon and Faces of the Tarnished Soukh IMHO. (The latter of which is incidentally an NPC collection though I don't know if they're as intertwined and with such great fluff as Uncaged)
Ray are you familiar with those products?
Check out this excellent old ENWorld thread: The Curious Case of Sir Phineas Aldman (scrolld down or CTRL-F search for Phineas Aldman), presenting the tale of Sir Phineas leader of a mage slayer unit in great detail and with a few custom items (3.5).
Some of the conceits we explored during that period were as follows:
- Magic doesn’t necessarily break the laws and theories of science, but rather operates in a higher realm of understanding of such.
B and I came to the conclusion that the best ‘common’ materials to deal with a mage would be something to affect his concentration. Phineas began to look for possible materials to perform this task which would be usable by the masses, and not rely on the ability to hit and damage to trigger a Concentration check. The character was relentless; using his natural talents in Gather Information, Diplomacy, and Knowledge of the Art, along with a cohort who enjoyed using his talents in Alchemy and a stipend afforded him by the Grouse (and later, though finagling, the College Imperial) he (and we) finally found the answer.
Teargas. It seems extremely simple, but of course in-game it was revelation. For six months of in-game seeking during a lull in our campaign (the winter months are unkind to marching armies, and a plague swept the cities surrounding making for poor conditions for large traveling groups of militia) Phineas, his cohort, and the party Loremaster hit pay dirt. A combination of agents, including alchemical processes, and a small alchemical ‘charge’ (similar to a tindertwig or controlled powder burn) could cause the dispersal from a grenade of a noxious cloud, which would irritate the mucous membranes to a point of agony. Most effective against mages, it could easily affect other targets too. We could create a version which would cause a Concentration check to maintain casting potential, around the levels of a good hit from a weapon (DC: 15-20, 14 + 1d6 [the d6 for potency of the specific grenade at dispersal). The tear gas would not be overpowering but definitely a surprise (gusts of wind would become a battlefield necessity, for instance).
However, it would be prohibitively expensive due to the amount of alchemical items involved (we came out at a cost approaching 160-200 gp/unit, market price of 320-400 gp) to issue them to every soldier. Therefore, elite soldiers expecting contact with the enemy’s spellcasters would be outfitted, along with any nobleman. The devices were considered contraband for anyone who was not part of the Imperial Guard, with strict penalties for carriage of the weapons . . . of course, the group was allowed to purchase them at a slight markup from the master-of-arms until a point where they arose to a status in the Peerage.
Now, this doesn’t tip the scales against mages. In fact, there are plenty of easy solutions to the issue that a group of individuals boasting genius IQs should be able to puzzle through in a few hours (theoretically) and have finished in a few weeks. The first battle using the magebane prototypes was a rout when it came to the casters; several failed their saves outright, while others failed in intervening rounds. Thus was born the tradition of Gust of Wind being an important enough spell for land AND sea casters to keep in their spellbook for further use. Technology trumped magic, but magic advanced faster.
Later, there were additional inventions; a slow-burning narcotic haze which would reduce Intelligence, in essence ‘locking out’ mages from using spells in social situations while heightening the enjoyment of revels by the Empress’s courtiers. Then came the possibilities implied by acids and other irritating and damaging liquids to force Concentration checks. The cohort, Phineas, and his group of R&D minions advanced the cause of anti-mage warfare over the next 5 in-game years to a point where, with the proper equipment, mages could be counteracted on the battlefield handsomely. A new player, obsessed with constructs and grafting, began performing research into grafting armored plating to soldiers… culminating in the first appearances of ‘living construct’ analogues in the setting. Short-term spell-resistance in tattoo/etching forms, cribbed from the use of tattoos as use-activated magic items in a primitive culture outside of the Imperium’s holdings, became de rigueur amongst noblemen.
All of these ideas were filtered, altered, and became a sort of technological Renaissance for the game. Thousands of years of magical and anti-magical researches came to the fore. Spellcasters began researching long-range spells, curses, and other non-artillery spells to bring the fight to these Young Turks. Phineas took some real damage (suffering a fearsome Heartclutch at Crosstree Manor, and having his left arm torn off by the demon assistant of a mastermind demonbinder who had hired on to train the Lesser Crown’s sorcerers in the arts of Summoning at Lichenstone) but he’s still pounding it out in the setting.
I talked to B a few nights ago about how I should frame this article. He agreed that it would be easier to present the narrative, along with our asides, and explain some of the interesting things which pop up when you actively develop your further thoughts on magic. In twenty years, perhaps the Lesser Crown or the newly-crowned Empress Deliah IV will have new methods of construction and warfare built from these simple sciences. I do not advocate that all of the ideas present in this setting would work for all settings; however, this is an exploration through one DM’s eyes of items which could assist you. Below, I’ve placed some simple write-ups for some of the items listed above, or given current analogues in published materials (with citation). If anything, this will give your fighters something to lob at the local mages. However, maybe I’ve helped to open your eyes to some unique tools for fighting mages.
Sir Phineas Aldman (Rough 3.5 Compatible Build) Old Human Fighter 3 (Thug Variant)/Rogue 4/Occult Slayer 5 with Able Learner and Mage Slayer Feats. Phineas has the Heart of Steel (Faiths of Eberron p. 157) and Mighty Arm (Faiths of Eberron p. 158). Phineas has taken the Slow Flaw (due to the weightiness of his arm and the strain on the body of his mechanical heart, Unearthed Arcana p. 91 ) to grant himself an additional feat. This flaw has been subsumed by his later acquisition of a magic item to boost his base speed. His normal armor is a mithral (or similar material) breastplate which has Spell Resistance properties. He also carries a blade known as the Coldiron Cleaver (a uniquely-crafted +2 greater spell-storing longsword with a Greater Dispel placed into it upon request and payment of ½ the normal cost) and the Magister’s Mallet (a +1 Disrupting Warhammer). His wealth is unusually high due to his connections in the Imperial Court.
His cohort (Bryce Stallingsworth) is a courtier (Bard 6/Rogue 2) with an extensive knowledge of magic and alchemical processes.
Magebane Grenades (current) are as listed in the article. The current schematic is derived from the Teargas Grenade description (d20 Modern P. 105) with adjustments as noted in the article.
Qishi, a extract incense derived from a plant found in the province of Qishin, has properties of a mildly (low) addictive drug (for addiction stats/fort saves see Unearthed Arcana p. 203-204). When burned and inhaled, Qishi causes mild euphoria and a tingling, pleasant sensation which makes focusing on spellcasting difficult; a spellcaster must make a Concentration check (DC: 15 + spell level + 2*(hrs. of exposure)) to successfully perform a spell while under the effects of Qishi. This effect dissipates after an hour without exposure to the drug. The overdose for Qishi is 5 hours of exposure in a 48 hr. period. Standard Fortitude Save rules apply, and upon failure the exposed individual suffers 1d8 temporary ability damage to a random mental score. Common Qishi costs 25 gp/dose if available.
Royal Qishi, a more refined form of the drug, can be burned; this drug causes a greater level of euphoria, along with a mild hallucinatory side effect. The effects of Qishi last longer in the system (6 hrs. from exposure), and its effect is stronger (DC: 20 spell level + 3*(hrs. of exposure). Royal Qishi is a highly addictive drug. The exposure overdose is the same as Common Qishi, however, the ability damage is 1d8 to two mental stats. Royal Qishi is prohibitively expensive, at 250 gp/dose if available.