Spies Are All Around Me, Spies in Every Country

Thursday, June 16, 2016

You want to know about Pathfinder Player Companion: Spymaster's Handbook? Yes, that's information we have, but it was not easily obtained. There were risks for a number of assets, and significant costs in the acquisition operations. You are valued clients of course but...

Why yes, that DOES settle the matter quite nicely, thank you.


Illustrations by Tawny Fritz and Kiri Ostergaard Leonard

Spies and information brokers are a fact of life on Golarion, for nearly any large organization. Kingdoms need to know what other kingdoms are plotting, so as to best make their own plans, while at the same time keeping their own secrets hidden. Churches, schools, guilds, and merchants have their own need to control the flow of information leaking out of their inner chambers. Many groups have dedicated espionage branches, such as the Twilight Talons of Andoran, while others combine information gathering and enforcement, as with the Silent Shroud in Nidal. Smaller or less wealthy groups often must depend on independent spymasters, which may be as simple as buying information from the Church of Calistria to as complex as putting together bands of freelancers to acquire specific intelligence.

The Spymaster's Handbook explores all these options, beginning with what causes a character to become some kind of spy. Numerous espionage backgrounds are presented, along with related traits (from Chelish Sympathyzer to Youthful Infiltrator) and drawbacks (many spies must deal with being Betrayed, or hiding some Secret Shame). Secret agendas are presented in new Story Feats, to allows an espionage character to have an element of spycraft added to their character as part of a typical ongoing campaign. New rules on information dealing allows secrets to be bought and sold as commodities, making secret-running a potentially lucrative line of work.

And of course new character options tie characters with secret to the lore of Golarion. Spy elements within groups ranging from the Blackjackets to the Starwatch are tied to be magic items, feats, and spells. Espionage spells allow you to steal a victim's face, or encourage a target to speak endlessly on a topic of your choice. And the ultimate secret-keeper, the vigilante, is given three new archetypes, and a host of social and vigilante talents.

For a little extra I can even preview one of the new spells present in the book? Ah yes, always a pleasure doing business with you.

Claim Identity

School transmutation (polymorph); Level alchemist 3, antipaladin 3, bard 3, druid 4, inquisitor 3, shaman 4, sorcerer/wizard 4, witch 3
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (a needle and thread)

Range touch

Target humanoid creature touched

Duration 1 hour/level

Saving Throw Fortitude negates; Spell Resistance yes


You steal the target's face, transforming yourself into a flawless imitation of it. All of the target's facial features, vocal cues, and identifying physical traits change, transforming it into an unremarkable member of its race and gender. You transform into a perfect likeness of the target's true form, as if affected by alter self, and gain a +10 bonus on Disguise checks to impersonate the original subject of this spell; you take no penalties on this check if the original target is of a different race, age, size,
or gender.

Claim identity prevents any other polymorph effects from restoring the target's true face for the spell's duration, though the target can still assume
other forms or faces via magic or any natural shapechanging ability.

Owen K.C. Stephens
Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Kiri Ostergaard Leonard Pathfinder Player Companion The Red Raven Reiko Tawny Fritz
Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Liz sure is carrying a lot of scrolls in that new art.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Belabras wrote:
Liz sure is carrying a lot of scrolls in that new art.

It's sales records from the last month to review for her target wallet attacks.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Feros wrote:
Belabras wrote:
Liz sure is carrying a lot of scrolls in that new art.
It's sales records from the last month to review for her target wallet attacks.

I thought it was the "scrolls of messageboards"

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Was claim identity meant to only be used on a living creature? I could imagine that it would be very useful to use on a recently-deceased corpse as well, but as written it does not work that way...

Scarab Sages

The sample spell raises more questions.

What if the target (or the caster) were already an 'unremarkable' example of their race and gender?
Would anyone even notice a spell had been cast?

Is there a penalty involved for the target, to persuade anyone of their true identity, or penalty to Disguise checks to resemble their original form (I assume one would be required)?

Could you cast this on your 'evil twin', whether biological, clone, or from a mirror of opposition, to fix their appearance, and allow them to be distinguished from you?

What would be intriguing is if the spell swapped the features of caster and target, though that may already be another spell in the book.


Is that the Red Raven with a particular archetype/talent from Spymaster's Handbook? Or is it showing him as a zealot of Sarenrae?

Shadow Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Superscriber

Cool. Any love for She of the Ebon Wings? I've been wanting to make a worshipper of Kelinahat as a Paladin Spymaster for a while now.


pH unbalanced wrote:
Cool. Any love for She of the Ebon Wings? I've been wanting to make a worshipper of Kelinahat as a Paladin Spymaster for a while now.

Okay, I want that very much now. Kelinahat is my favorite Empyreal and she doesn't get nearly enough love.

Community Manager

zergtitan wrote:
Feros wrote:
Belabras wrote:
Liz sure is carrying a lot of scrolls in that new art.
It's sales records from the last month to review for her target wallet attacks.
I thought it was the "scrolls of messageboards"

:D

Dark Archive

Now I really want to see and Advanced/Meaner/(Mythic??) version of a Doppleganger who operates on this spell instead of the standard Alter Self version of Change Shape.

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