Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Preview #5

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook is set to release on August 13th, 2009, and in anticipation, we are releasing a preview of the game each week until the game hits store shelves. This week, we are taking a look at Kyra, the iconic cleric.

Female human cleric of Sarenrae 8
NG Medium humanoid (human)
Init +3; Senses Perception +5
Aura good
AC 19, touch 9, flat-footed 19 (+8 armor, –1 Dex, +2 natural)
hp 55 (8d8+16)
Fort +10, Ref +5, Will +13
Resist fire 10
Speed 20 ft.
Melee +1 flaming scimitar +9/+4 (1d6+3 plus 1d6 fire/18-20)
Special Attacks channel positive energy (4d6, 4d6+8 vs. undead, DC 17, 4/day), fire bolt (+5 ranged touch, 1d6+4 fire, 8/day), nimbus of light (8 rounds/day)
Cleric Spells Prepared (CL 8th):
4th—death ward, divine power, fire shield*, holy smite
3rd—dispel magic, fireball*, prayer, remove curse, searing light
2nd—bull's strength, heat metal*, silence, spiritual weapon (2)
1st—bless, burning hands*, divine favor (2), protection from evil (2), shield of faith
0 (at will)—detect magic, light, read magic, stabilize
* Domain spell; Domains Fire, Sun
Str 14, Dex 8, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 20, Cha 12
Base Atk +6; CMB +8; CMD 17
Feats Improved Channel, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Selective Channeling, Turn Undead
Skills Diplomacy +12, Heal +16, Knowledge (religion) +11, Spellcraft +11
Languages Common
SQ sun's blessing
Combat Gear wand of cure light wounds (50 charges), pearl of power (2nd level), scroll of flame strike; Other Gear +1 flaming scimitar, +2 chainmail, amulet of natural armor +2, cloak of resistance +2, headband of inspired wisdom +2

Kyra is a relatively straightforward cleric, worshiping Sarenrae, the fiery goddess of the sun. While much about the cleric is unchanged, there are a number of notable alterations.

First off is a change to how domains work. In the Beta version of the rules, the domains lost their bonus spells and gained a host of special abilities that were gained when the cleric reached certain levels. For the final version of the game, we went back to bonus spells, but we altered the spell lists a bit (you might notice fireball in her 3rd-level list of spells prepared). In addition, we kept some of the special abilities, replacing many of the granted powers. Kyra receives fire bolt and sun's blessing at 1st level. Fire bolt allows her to shoot rays of fire a limited number of times per day. The sun's blessing power adds to Kyra's channel energy ability and prevents undead from adding their turn resistance to their saves to resist her channeled energy (but more on how this works in a bit). At 6th level, the fire domain grants Kyra fire resistance (that increases as she gains levels). At 8th level she gains the nimbus of light ability from the sun domain. This powerful ability allows her to shed light like daylight for a number of rounds per day equal to her cleric level. This dispels any darkness effect and deals damage to undead in the area at the beginning of Kyra's turn (1 point per cleric level per round). The light spells themselves got a bit of an overhaul. There are now four levels of illumination: darkness, dim light, normal light, and bright light. Spells like light shed normal light in a set radius and increase the light level by one step in a set area beyond that. Spells like darkness reduce the light level in a set radius. Deeper darkness can actually make an area so dark that not even darkvision can penetrate it.

In addition to the changes to domains, the turn undead rules have been revised as well. Now called channel energy, this ability releases a wave of positive or negative energy in a 30-foot radius. When Kyra uses this ability she much choose to heal living creatures or to harm undead creatures (in the Beta rules, she could do both simultaneously). If she chooses to heal, all living creatures in the area are healed the listed amount (4d6 in this case). If she chooses to harm undead, all undead in the area take the listed damage (4d6+8 in this case, due to her sun's blessing domain ability), but they receive a save for half damage. Evil clerics can use this power in reverse, to harm living creatures or heal undead creatures. Kyra also has a few feats to enhance her channel energy ability. Improved Channel adds +2 to the DC to resist the channel and Selective Channel allows Kyra to exclude a number of targets in her area equal to her Charisma modifier. The big change here though is the Turn Undead feat. This feat allows Kyra to spend one use of her Channel Energy ability to force undead to flee from her unless they make their save. This version does not deal damage, but it can turn the tide in a battle.

There have also been a number of changes to cleric spells. Many of these were made to balance the cleric with some of the other classes or to otherwise simplify a confusing spell. Death ward, for example, no longer grants blanket immunity to death effects. Instead it grants bonuses to resist such affects and gives you a save even if one is not normally allowed. It also removes the penalties from negative levels while it lasts. Divine Power was significantly altered to prevent the cleric from becoming a better melee fighter than the fighter with just a spell or two. Now the spell grants a bonus to attacks and damage rolls, temporary hit points, and an additional attack whenever the cleric makes a full attack (just like haste). While it is still a good spell, it is no longer overpowering. Remove curse also deserves a bit of inspection. This spell (and those like it that remove ailments) is no longer automatic. When casting one of these spells, Kyra must succeed at a caster level check to remove the condition (using the ailment's DC). The goal here was to add some bite back into curses, diseases, and poisons, which have been a trivial concern past 5th level.

Last, but not least, it is time to talk about casting on the defensive. The Concentration skill was removed from the game in one of the early versions and there have been a number of systems proposed to replace it. In the final game, whenever a spellcaster is called upon to make such a check, he adds his caster level and whatever ability score is used to determine his spell DCs. To avoid confusion, we kept the old name, calling it a concentration check. This really is the simplest solution that avoids a skill tax on all spellcasters and does not favor one class over another (due to the variable ability score modifier that is added). When casting on the defensive, the DC is equal to 15 + double the spell's level. This makes it a little harder to cast on the defensive than it was, but that works to help balance out the spellcasters a bit (especially when you consider new feats that allow enemies to move with you if you attempt to 5-foot step away to cast a spell).

That is about all there is to show here on Kyra. Next week we are laying our hands on the mighty and powerful Seelah, the iconic paladin.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

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Tags: Clerics Iconics Kyra Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Wayne Reynolds
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