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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.
Aside from Dynasties and Demagogues, Atlas Games also published Love and War, a book about knightly campaigns, and Crime and Punishment by Keith Baker.
Similar books with interesting subsystems:
Ultimate Relationships by Legendary Games expanding the Relationship rules from one of the APs. Also Ultimate War, and Ultimate Rulership.
Psychological Combat by Everyman Gaming which adds a social/psychological aspect to actual combat..
How about a social combat mechanic ? Check out Skill Focus Talking for $2.95, or Debatable Actions for PFRPG by LPJ Design which apparently adapts social combat from Atlas Games excellent d20 Dynasties & Demagogues. Also check out this thread.
Also read the Alexandrian's Diplomacy fix, which reduces the impact of one diplomacy roll to a better defined and smaller scale result: getting someone to a accept a specific deal/bargain.
The Alexandrian Blog as a whole contains many very interesting posts about Random Encounters (Don't fetishize Balance), Jaquaying the Dungeon, Node Based adventure design, Open Game Table, Hex Crawl mechanics etc.
TPK Games Critical Hits book: Laying Waste.
101 Skill Uses by Rite Publishing.
Tome of Adventure Design by FGG.
Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding.
Random Encounters Remastered
Interestingly the feat Equipment Trick (Heavy Blade Scabbard) allows capturing an enemy's weapon in the sheath during a disarm as a free action. Even when the sheath is not held in a hand.
Which is rather implausible but a samurai/anime trope.
So if a feat allows this and more with an enemies disarmed weapon as a free action how hard should sheathing your own weapon be?
Check out Alexander Augunas brilliant blog post about leadership where he advises granting leadership as a bonus feat on lvl 7 automatically but enforcing the recruitment part for cohorts and only taking one cohort max with the party. I love that this makes CHA much more useful and creates dependables thus rooting PCs in the setting more.
He also published the Leadership Handbook making the leadership score into a new ability score and integrating it with some other rules.
Legendary Games Ultimate Relationships might also be of interest.
If he's living alone in a ruin he needs some survival skills IMHO maybe he is a ex-commando bad guy who just wants to be left alone.
I love the idea of a little goblin Rambo slayer/ranger/barbarian kicking the PCs ass with lots of ranger traps, camouflage, hit and run tactics etc.
Give him a composite bow, javelins, a big knife or two , high stealth and mobility. Also don't forget to tell your friend to design the terrain around the ruin in detail.
Maiden Voyage from the penumbra line Currently on sale here on paizo
Here are the bonus PDFs from the RC Kickstarter:
So umh ... do you mean complete Adventure Paths ? Otherwise it wouldn't make much sense as i don't know an 3pp that sell incomplete adventures.
As for 3PP APs, megadungeons, and mini-campaigns:
From Fire Mountain Games: The excellent evil AP Way of the Wicked. Or even the upcoming Throne of Night...
ENWorld Publishing's Zeitgeist AP, and War of the Burning Sky AP.
0One Games' Urban Road to Revolution AP, plus The Sinking Campaign Serial.
There's a psionic AP in the making by Dreamscarred Press...
LPJ Design currently has a Kickstarter going for an AP.
Adventure a Week's Rise of the Drow (Revisited) should count, also maybe their Snow White part 1 and 2. They have several small mini series of adventures too.
Necromancer Games: Slumbering Tsar, Rappan Athuk Revisited, Baracus, and more coming up.
Total Party Kill Games: The Reaping Stone + The Bleeding Hollow Deluxe Adventure
Its from a 3.5 supplement called Weapons of Legacy. Basically a magic item that grows in power with the character. The system was great in that it gave magic items a great history and feel but it had a flaw: The system had a cost (a small hp loss or other permanent penalty)y
Read the Legacy of Dhakaan trilogy for great implementation of Legacy items.
You can also let her discover magical abilities successively i.e. Find out a command word and boom +1 sword is a flaming sword too! An intelligent weapon might be a good dmpc/companion/foil. Let her discover it's powers slowly, can have provide some knowledge /pointers etc.
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It's called hedge magic , right?
I found Two Dozen Discoveries: Spells by LPJ design.
Also a similar thread on rpgnet mentions The Practical Enchanter a free d20 supplement, which has a hedge magic feat, which is mentioned in this excellent Hedge Magic Heroes blog. This thread has a few more links with hedge magic spells from the same blog series
Sgt Spectre wrote:
Google Mistfinder or check out Ryan Naylor's Pathfinder Ravenloft netbook on the FoS forums
As i said in another thread, the folks from Wayfinder already did some support material for the BB and they also use Golarion specific stuff all the time. Maybe getting them on board would be good or you can at least ping them for advice. And you can cross promote if they do a Sandpoint and/or BB issue.
To quote myself [slightly edited and updated] from this old Recommendations for 3PP products thread:
What do you seek? Tell us about your campaign, your PCs, or where you want your campaign to go.
Necromancer Games/Frog God Games: old school adventures, dungeons, megadungeons, mini sandboxes. Slumbering Tsar, Rappan Athuk, Stoneheart Valley, The Lost Lands, City of Barakus, Tome of Horrors revised (which is also on PFSRD). Also Razor Coast! Just read the reviews. Tome of Adventure Design! Upcoming: The Blight by Richard Pett.
Kobold Press/Open Design: Midgard campaign setting (more eastern european myth/tropes incorporated vs traditional western fanatasy), excellent adventures. Excellent books on Game Design.
Legendary Games: stellar supplements to Paizo APs, mythic material.
Raging Swan Press: Generic, medieval fluff and cruch, great DM aids, great adventures. Check out the numerous free previews for any product on their website.
Rite Publishing: great crunch pieces, Coliseum Morpheon (high level advanture in the plane of dream) & Faces of the Tarnished Souk (great NPCs), Japanese Horror setting: Kaidan (check out the free adventure), Adventure Quarterly is Dungeon magazine's successor.
AdventureAWeek: lots of adventures, Rise of the Drow super adventure
Dreamscarred Press: PF Psionics
Fire Mountain Games: Way of the Wicked (the evil AP), Underdark Sandbox AP is in the works but i would recommend buying it only when finished
0One Games: The Great City material, City AP.
TPK Games: Bleeding Hollow & The Reaping Stone horror adventures, Laying Waste: A Guide to Critical Combat.
Alluria Publishing: awesome underwater stuff and some fey material
Super Genius Games/Rogue Genius Games: great crunch.
Drop Dead Studios: Rogue Glory (fixing the Rogue class, also check out 101 Skill Uses by Rite for this)
Four Dollar Dungeons (4DD): outstangid, cheap adventures. Just read the reviews.
Look more into 3PPs.
You know Necromancer Games/Frog God Games now, they have lots more stuff like Slumbering Tsar: Rappan Athuk,Sword of Air, Barakus, Stoneheart Valley all are in the same old school vein. All are set in their upcoming Lost Lands setting.
How about Razor Coast? It's a big piratey adventure sandbox with a groundbreaking presentation style.
Check out Raging Swan Press, they have great adventures and DM aids. Old school, simple presentation and great content. Still generic fantasy though. Check out their Town line where a small settlement is presented in detail with a few adventure hooks.
Check out Fire Moutain Games Way of the Wicked AP for something completely different.
Check out 0one press' city AP and material.
Rite Publishing has Kaidan (Japanese fantasy gothic horror), Coliseum Morpheuon (high level adventure in the Dream Plane with great NPCs), and Adventure Quarterly (think Dungeon magazine). Their other products are all worth looking at too.
You should check out How to Host a Dungeon "a solo game of dungeon creation where you build a dungeon through its history from the dawn of time. [...] When you complete your game, you have a dungeon history and map suitable for a dungeon crawling role-playing game or just your own enjoyment."
Also a google image search for dwarven dungeon turns up lots of nice maps.
The web enhancement to the 3.5 DMG contains rules for building a city by district.
This dungeon article from Robin Laws goes into a bit more detail with conflicting power centers and prevailing alignments and degrees of authority.
This is what DMG says about NE power centers:
"Alignment of the Power Centers
Neutral Evil: The residents of a community with a neutral evil power center are usually oppressed and subjugated, facing a dire future.
Ah, the commoners seldom know about Strahd's beloved. You should definately check out the Ravenloft campaign setting, if Return to Castle Ravenloft has been your only exposure. There's a whole lot more to Ravenloft than RtCR, starting from the groundbreaking 1E adventure, the huge and glorious 2E campaign setting and last not least the great 3E campaign setting material.
Head over to the Fraternity of Shadows site for a nice forum, bibliography, wiki, and more all dedicated to the grand Ravenloft campaign setting.
Alexander Auguna's Everyman Gaming blog entry talked about Leadership: The Function of Leadership. He uses the imho brilliant houserule to grant this feat to everyone at lvl7, but the PC has to actively go recruiting.
His current blog post has an NPC build using teamwork feats with his familiar. This could well be adapted to a cohort. Every wanted to use those teamwork feats but no other player wants to? Get a cohort. This only works with player built cohorts though.
4. Restore some Core concepts. Make those golems immune to all magic (not everything has a "trump"). Put some (not all) traps in that can only be uncovered by player action, not a generic "perception" check. Don't be afraid to ban something that the group has found to "bend or break" the game.
About the traps, see The Art of Ruling from the Alexandrian blog:
1. Passive observation of the world is automatically triggered.
This is generally a concept I like and i think you can apply if across the board. Players need to initiate some game mechanics, and player ingenuity can trump or enhance simple skill roll results. But on the other hand you can play a charismatic bluffer or diplomat even if you as a player are not so outgoing and can't act it out so well.
If Mengkare allows "the occasional elf" to immigrate, an aasimar should be ok. Though an planetouched influence manifesting in the bloodline of an adolescent is another thing entirely than letting a full grown one immigrate. Maybe the PC got banned but is not sure himself if he was banned due to his bloodline or some other perceived imperfection ?
In one the threads above I posted some notes on worldbuilding Hermea. Note that Megkare is not as powerful as some think, as an old or very old dragon only: