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I have mentioned before that it's possible for constructs and undead to catch 'diseases'. Here are some of them!
The Rust is an affliction that falls upon constructs that operate in particularly moist or salty environments. It causes parts to sieze up and eventually stop functioning. Regular maintenance and cleaning can stave off the Rust and prevent further damage, but once the damage is done the afflicted parts must be repaired or replaced; constructs do not heal naturally.
Certain devices and creatures possess the ability to inflict the energy systems of a construct with a contagious malfunction. Energy Leak causes the inner magics animating a construct to gradually leak out, reducing the ability to move and exert force. Once the leak has been halted, repairs must be made to restore the damaged systems.
Disharmony is a frightening malady that can come upon ensouled constructs that have contact with mind-shattering horror. The construct's soul housing begins to erode, slowly becoming witless and servile until finally halting activity altogether. This can even spread to other constructs, as if the very touch of a machine losing its free will is enough to strike a similar blow to another. Fortunately, a construct's mental state can be repaired by appropriate work on the soul housing and other cognitive components.
This thread will remain dedicated to fluff from now on, though I may link back and forth wherever relevant.
This shall be my thread wherein I post about my Pathfinder/Spheres of Power implementation of Archmage. Minimum fluff, maximum rules. Be aware that the rules posted here may frequently refer to Drop Dead Studios' 'Spheres of Power', an alternate spellcasting system for Pathfinder.
For the setting information and stuff about that, see HERE.
My first entry is an item invaluable to armies facing magical enemies, but rather a burden for most adventuring spellcasters.
Aura moderate Protection; CL 6th
A Spell Negator is a large, heavy device that grants its weilder the ability to counter spells and aids in doing so successfully. While traditionally created from arrays of spirit-crafted dreamcatchers and ancient runes of nullification, modern Negators are built using finely-crafted orichalcum and fulgurite components arranged in a complex astrolabe. Thus, Negators can be produced in weeks rather than years, albeit at greater material cost.
When wielded in two hands, a Negator may be activated at a cost of 1 spell point to counter spells as if using the Counterspell feat, with a Magic Skill Bonus of 6 or the wielder's, whichever is higher. If the wielder possesses the Counterspell feat, he or she gains a +2 bonus on MSB checks to counter spells using the Negator. Abilities and feats that improve counterspelling may be used with a Negator.
A Negator can only be used to counter a spell or effect as it is being cast.
While carried, besides using a Negator to counter spells, its bearer cannot use spells, spell-like abilities or sphere effects and cannot activate magic items. This effect applies even when the Negator is not being held in the hands.
The Spell Negator comes from thoughts about how armies deal with magical artillery. A low level mage can provide reasonable protection to a force, with the use of an item made relatively inexpensive by weighing it down with awful drawbacks.
Here's a very rough colouring of the broad climate zones and the names of the major land masses; elevation is not yet taken into account here:
Dark Green: Temperate to Taigan
Rurthekein Aman is the ancient homeland of Danar life (Krodanos, Syldanar, Myrdanar), which has since migrated to Khrubat, Gotekein and Buraz. The Rurthekein Deeps harbour the majority of the Myrdanar civilisation and passages beneath the Etiennos sea (the Westernmost of the Triplets) connect up to the Gotekein Deeps to the far North.
Gotekein is the cradle of life of the Rhuz and all the nonsense that spilled out of the Gene Wars. A large mountain range makes travel between the West and East very difficult. Underground passages do exist, but have largely been abandoned to monsters. Humans have established their own divinely-aided kingdoms across large parts of Eastern Gotekein.
Interested in me exploring any particular areas first? I need the nudge to become productive.
This is why I keep constitution for undead and constructs. It's just called 'construction' if they're not alive. It does pretty much the same thing, but refers to the strength of the materials used. If a PC becomes undead, their constitution just becomes construction. It does have the bonus that things that damage or penalise constitution do not affect construction, but there are a few extra things that do (typically stuff that would reduce object hardness also gets the ability to penalise or damage construction).
Philosophers don't have access to magic. Do what you want.
It is a sinister sword of black metal. When used to kill a living creature, the final blow drives the sword straight through the torso (or torso-equivalent) of the victim.
However, when the sword is removed from the victim, the killing blow is undone and they return to life with no additional penalties. The victim cannot return to life by any means but removing the sword. Even wishes and other powerful magic are insufficient.
It could be used to trap powerful enemies that have countermeasures to death. Maybe the party discovers a strange, ancient corpse with a neat-looking sword stuck in it...
It's not that I don't want it to come up.
I want it to come up in ways that challenge the assumptions of the inhabitants of the world, who think they were first, to challenge the faithful of the gods, who think there was no life before them. To give people society-changing ideas, not society-changing toys. And maybe to inspire the artisans and artificers of the world to seek loftier goals; not an instant change, but the beginnings of a renaissance.
In the age of myth (about 3000-5000 years ago), when the divines were much more liberal with their powers, a wholly unprecedented race was created: A small, feathery, lizardlike people: Kobolds.
In truth, the power of a god was used to resurrect the species from discovered fossils, for the gods do not actually have the power to create. They can only use what already is, albeit altered to their purpose.
The newly created kobolds have no knowledge of their ancient origin and assume they were created wholecloth to be servants of the high dragon, Auctol the Forgesire (with help from the god of change).
Auctol later abandons the kobolds, disappointed with them, leaving them to their own devices.
This is assuming the ancient civilisation had no magic whatsoever. No gods, not even magical creatures.
I'm probably going to include this in some worldbuilding, and I want to make sure I'm not setting myself up for some colossal mishaps when players find out and use an ability I forgot about to get stuff they shouldn't be able to.
Let's say some dinosaurs had a civilisation roughly as developed as present-day humans. Industrialised society, electricity and maybe even space flight (realistic satellites and local system expeditions, nothing science fiction). They got wiped out by a meteor.
Some thirty million years later, the world is your typical Pathfinder fantasy land.
What remains of the world that came before? What signs are there that this world once had thriving and advanced industry?
And with the magical expertise of adventurers, what can they do to discover, recover and restore it?
There are increasingly many ways for an evil character to not detect as evil, or even detect as good! Spells exist to make you believe even the most outlandish lies! Evidence can be fabricated with trivial ease, that can fool even the most keen investigation! Nothing is true!
The only way to be safe is to BURN EVERYTHING!
More often than not, in a game with Hero Points, they are saved for acts of desperation to save the character's life, or simply to do a pile more damage in the opening round. Effective, but not very interesting.
I propose Hazard Points, an alternative that ideally promotes a more interactive and creative form of play.
Characters begin each session with a number of Hazard Points determined by the GM, probably around 2 for a 4-6 hour roleplaying session. If sessions run shorter or longer, consider adjusting the amount or granting Hazard Points midway through the session.
Hazard Points may be spent during a character's turn to involve an appropriate piece of environmental dressing in their actions in order to apply additional effects. Using a Hazard Point costs no action and is usually spent as part of an attack or combat maneuver.
Such environmental descriptions need not be stated by the GM. The player may suggest an item appropriate to be in the scene, and the GM may approve or deny its existence. If approved, a Hazard Point may be spent to employ that item in some disastrous or clever manner. The GM may add further detail or complication to the suggested item as he or she sees fit.
The effect of a Hazard Point should be roughly equivalent to that of a Combat Maneuver, but may be utilised with attacks or abilities other than the character's CMB and can be in addition to the character's normal actions for that turn.
Players should be encouraged to be creative with Hazard Points! Throw the scenery around! Combine spell effects with the environment! Create improvised traps in the midst of battle! The sky (and the GM) is the limit!
Remember: Hazard Points can only be used proactively. Don't bother camping on them to save your hide.
A fight has broken out in an armoury. Fighter, a PC, is in combat with an Enemy.
Fighter: "Hmm. This place has weapons on racks and stuff, right? Any that look particularly hazardous?"
GM: "Yeah, sure. There's a rack full of spears over here."
Fighter: "Okay. I spend a Hazard Point to bash this guy back so he falls into their tips."
GM: "Good plan. Make a Bull Rush."
Fighter rolls and succeeds.
GM: "You batter your foe backward and he collapses onto the jutting metal points. They really should have thought more about workplace safety! He takes *rolls* this much extra damage."
I don't know if it really needs much more description than that, or any more codification. You get X points. Spend a point to 'do a cool thing'.
Something like: You may spend an attack of opportunity to attempt to block with a shield.
You roll 1d20 + your BAB + your Str bonus + your shield bonus (including enhancement) vs the incoming attack. You may use this total as your AC against the attack.
I feel like there should be a higher cost to this, perhaps. I dunno at the moment. I suppose it does make shields really good for defending against a single opponent and opens up weak points if you are attacked more than once in a turn (if you don't have combat reflexes).
Ah, I completely forgot!
I was also planning to include that half the damage prevented by this DR (but not special DR such as cold iron/silver/magic) is taken as non-lethal damage.
This is also true if you attack using non-lethal damage. Half of that non-lethal damage prevented still gets through. Giving a guy in plate an awful smashing can still knock him out, even if it doesn't wound him. Disabling heavy armour troops becomes a lot more viable than outright killing them.
Alright, let's go over this thing and see if we can work out some appropriate numbers.
Because armour no longer adds to AC and natural armour adds half to AC, the amount of AC missing at first level may be from around 0 (unarmoured wizard, not expected to have much AC anyway) to about 6 (cheap heavy armour).
+5 full plate and +5 natural armour loses 16 AC and gains that much DR. We don't want highly resistant characters to also be hard to hit. It needs to be a tradeoff.
Clearly, a +20 defense at 20th level is too much. 15 might be appropriate for a highly defensive character. There's also the issue of being unable to get AC bonuses at first level aside from with shields.
Let's see what happens if we...
High Defense: 4 + 1/2 level, starts at +4 and ends at +14
Multiclassed defense would be fractional.
Hmm. I'm too damned tired. :I
In this there's no real reason to differentiate between touch AC and regular AC.
The conversion for monsters might need a bit of work, but the natural armour into half DR and half Defense might be good enough for a quick job.
This DR does stack with existing DR. Fights become a bit less 'rocket tag'.
I've done no math on this yet, so I encourage people to work things out and see what you get! I'd be interested to see what happens at various CRs and to various kinds of creatures.
Levels beyond 6 are less important to me since I'm planning e6, but I guess others might be interested in how this system expands to 20 levels.
Shields and other bonuses work as normal. If expanding to 1-20, it might be worthwhile to make them part of Defense, or reduce Defense scaling somewhat.
Multiclassing works fine, since it's the same as multiclassing with BAB. I am using fractional BAB (and Defense), by the way.
Still working this out for my e6 Spheres of Power game. Give me your thoughts! Although I'm not using all of the classes listed, I put them in for the sake of a more setting-agnostic houserule. Perhaps others might like to try this!
It's meant to strike a balance somewhat differently from that in the Paizo optional Armour as DR rules.
Roughly, it seems to end up with an interesting effect. Spell damage beats heavy armour (no DR vs energy) and is poor against light armour (hard to hit). Weapon damage beats light armour (squish) and is poor against heavy armour (clang). I'm not sure of the actual balance in practice, but I hope it works out.
Natural armour is kind of in a middle ground to make it easy to handle monster stats.
-= Armour as Damage Reduction =-
Armour and Natural Armour function differently:
Armour provides DR/- equal to its bonus. This includes spells and effects that provide an Armour bonus, but do not stack with worn armour.
Natural armour provides DR/- equal to half its bonus (round down) and a Dodge bonus to AC equal to half its bonus (round up).
These bonuses stack with each other and any other source of DR.
-= Base Defense Bonus =-
Characters gain a bonus to AC equal to their Base Defense Bonus that scales by level similar to Base Attack Bonus. This bonus does not apply to CMD. Defense is not lost when denied Dex to AC or flat-footed.
General rule: Start at poor Defense, +1 rank for medium or full BAB, +1 rank for noncaster class with armour restrictions.
+ High (Full)
+ Medium (3/4)
+ Low (1/2)
SPHERES OF POWER CLASSES
It's an instantaneous effect and can't be made permanent. In this case, I'd probably read it as:
Whenever a spell with the good descriptor is cast in the area, a dispel check is made against it (with an effective caster level as the listed spell. If CL is not noted, more or less APL is probably fine, depending how often you want these spells to fail).
I'll make sure to have a clear delineation between ones that affect them and ones that don't when I get it all done.
As a general rule of thumb, stuff that damages physical ability scores will affect them but stuff that damages mental ability scores won't. Recovery will require feeding rather than resting.