Ultimate Combat Preview #3

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

We are just a few short days away from the release of Ultimate Combat and many of the subscribers already have copies of this mighty battle tome on the way to their doorsteps. For those of you not so lucky, let's take a look at some of the other great material you can expect to find inside.

Aside from the plethora of archetypes and feats, this book has a lot of other great rules and subsystems for you to use in your game. There are pages and pages of new weapons, eastern weapons, gladiator weapons, primitive weapons, and firearms. Of course, in addition to a good trusty nine-section whip, you will also find a host of armors and few new materials. For example, take a look at what you get out of that expensive golden sword.

Gold: Typically only used for ceremonial weapons and armor, metal equipment made from gold is fragile, heavy, and expensive. Often golden armor is gold-plated rather than constructed entirely from gold. The rules below are for the rare item constructed entirely of gold rather than being gold-plated.

Gold-plated items triple the base cost of weapons and armor and have the same properties as the item the gold is plating. Items constructed purely of gold cost 10 times the normal cost for items of their type. Gold items weigh 50% more than typical weapons or armor of their type.

Weapons: Gold is often too soft to hold a decent edge, but light weapons that do piercing or slashing damage can be constructed of gold or some nearly gold alloy. They take a –2 penalty on damage rolls (minimum 1 damage).

Gold weapons have a hardness of half their base weapons’ and also have the fragile quality.

Armor: Gold can be fashioned into light or medium metal armor. The softness and the weight of the metal decrease the armor/shield bonus by 2, and increase the armor check penalty by 2. Gold armor has a hardness of 5.

As you can see, not exactly the best material for making weapons or armor, but you sure do look pretty using it. Speaking of which, the one area where you really want to impress those watching your battle skills is the arena. Ultimate Combat has an extensive system for handling combat in the arena. Getting the crowd on your side in this sort of struggle is just as important as avoiding the giant hammer swinging toward your head. These checks work much like the Diplomacy skill, but with some very different results. Take a look at the two ends of the spectrum.

Hostile: The crowd does not like what it is seeing. Hostile crowds demoralize combatants in a performance combat. In these battles, while the crowd is hostile toward a given side, those combatants take a –2 penalty on all attack rolls, combat maneuver checks, ability checks, skill checks, and saving throws. This is a mind-affecting effect.

If the crowd is hostile toward a side of the combat and a member of that side fails a performance combat check by 5 or more, that side automatically loses the performance part of the combat. This can be important for the story of the game, or if the PCs are participating in serialized performance combats.

Helpful: The crowd loves what it is seeing from a given side. Audience members stand up, chant, cheer, and scream for the combatants to push on toward ultimate success. A helpful crowd grants its chosen champions a +2 morale bonus on all attack rolls, combat maneuver checks, ability checks, skill checks, and saving throws. This is a mind-affecting effect.

If the crowd is helpful toward one side of the combat and a member of that side succeeds at a performance combat check, that side gains a victory point.

Winning the crowd is vital if you want the emperor to give you that all-important thumbs-up at the end of the bout. If things do go poorly, it's best to hop on the nearest boat, wagon, or airship and get out of town. This is where vehicle combat comes into play. Lucky for you, there is an entire chapter devoted to the subject, including ramming, maneuverability, and plenty of checks to make sure your speeding wagon does not go off a cliff. There are even a large number of stat blocks for different types of vehicles. This one is bound to be popular.


Illustration by Dmitry Burmak

Alchemical Dragon

Colossal air vehicle
Squares 60 (20 ft. by 75 ft.); Cost 100,000 gp

Defense

AC 2; Hardness 5
hp 900 (449)
Base Save +0

Offense

Maximum Speed 100 ft.; Acceleration 30 ft.
CMB +8; CMD 18
Ramming Damage 8d8

Description

This ship is made of wood and is usually crafted in the shape of a dragon. It is held aloft purely by its alchemical engine, a complicated and dangerous device that has a tendency to explode when the vehicle becomes wrecked. When this happens, if the alchemical dragon has a driver, that driver can make a DC 30 driving check as an immediate action. If the check fails, the alchemical engine explodes, dealing 10d10 points of fire damage to all objects and creatures within a 60-foot radius of the alchemical engine. A DC 20 Reflex save halves the damage. An alchemical dragon can carry up to 20 tons of cargo or 70 passengers.

Propulsion alchemical (6 squares of alchemical engines in the middle of the ship; hardness 8, hp 120)
Driving Check Craft (alchemy) or Knowledge (arcana) +10 to the DC
Forward Facing the ship’s forward
Driving Device steering wheel
Driving Space the nine squares around the steering wheel that sits at the front of the ship
Crew 10
Decks 1
Weapons Up to 6 Large direct-fire siege engines in banks of 3 positioned on the port and starboard sides of the alchemical dragon, or up to 4 Huge direct-fire siege engines in banks of two on the port and starboard sides of the ship. The siege engines may only fire out the sides of the ship they are positioned on. They cannot be swiveled to fire toward the forward or aft sides of the ship.

I can think of a number of villains that would love to have one of these, and even more PCs that would want to take it from them.

Well, that about wraps up the previews for Ultimate Combat. There is a lot more to find and discover on your own, including expanded rules for duels, siege weapons, combat spells, and so much more. You’ll be able to get your hands on this book any day now. I am sure we will see many of you grabbing your copies at Gen Con later this week. See you there.

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

That ship design looks great. Also, vehicle combat looks dangerous.


Does the Alchemical Dragon has a carpet bombing option?

Humbly,
Yawar


YawarFiesta wrote:

Does the Alchemical Dragon has a carpet bombing option?

Humbly,
Yawar

You know in case the carpets attack.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

Dragon dirigible for the win.


I don't get the picture, is that blue dragon mating with that Zeppelin?
The text says that it's a vehicle that often looks like a dragon, however that blue dragon seems very real, and doesn't seem to help aerodynamics at all.
This isn't to criticize the concept or something, it's just that I don't get the picture.


It mentions only being able to fire erskine from the port and starboard sides. Does this mean that vehicles have facing rules?

Dark Archive

Mauril wrote:
It mentions only being able to fire erskine from the port and starboard sides. Does this mean that vehicles have facing rules?

Yes. All vehicles in the Ultimate Combat have facing rules. Fortunately this facing only applies to the vehicle itself and not the passengers.

Dark Archive

I don't think the picture is meant to represent the alchemical dragon. I have a copy of the book and I believe that illustration is for an instance of when a dragon attacks a vehicle.

I'm guessing they wanted to share the great artwork along with the stat block.


I want to load one of those up with Alkenstar cannons


@srd5090 thanks, that makes a lot more sense. However thinking about it not that much more, if a dragon would want to attack it, wouldn't he use spells or his breath weapon?
I mean if the vessel is gargantuan, then that dragon is colossal, right?

anyhow, I like vehicle-rules, just like firearms. I wonder what stops people from crafting tanks ... or gargantuan mechanical spiders ^^

Dark Archive

Richard Leonhart wrote:

@srd5090 thanks, that makes a lot more sense. However thinking about it not that much more, if a dragon would want to attack it, wouldn't he use spells or his breath weapon?

I mean if the vessel is gargantuan, then that dragon is colossal, right?

anyhow, I like vehicle-rules, just like firearms. I wonder what stops people from crafting tanks ... or gargantuan mechanical spiders ^^

Hmmm, perhaps a pesky rogue has stolen a treasure from the dragon's hoard, and the dragon has trailed the thief to the airship. Rather than obliterate it, he/she perches on top and interrogates the passengers?

Adventure idea...

Dark Archive

Richard Leonhart wrote:

@srd5090 thanks, that makes a lot more sense. However thinking about it not that much more, if a dragon would want to attack it, wouldn't he use spells or his breath weapon?

I mean if the vessel is gargantuan, then that dragon is colossal, right?

anyhow, I like vehicle-rules, just like firearms. I wonder what stops people from crafting tanks ... or gargantuan mechanical spiders ^^

Or maybe the dragon just feels the urge to be a dragon and rip stuff apart on occasion while staying entirely out of range of their weaponry.

And to answer your crafting question, NOTHING outside of Pathfinder Society organized play. It is one of my favorite parts of Pathfinder, doing the things that normally only the badguys get to do. (4th edition doesn't even PRETEND you might want to make things.)


I still like my version of an alchemical dragon better, but maybe that's because it's a Pseudodragon with Alchemist levels...


After rereading about the Gold special material for weapons and armor I am going to have to say that I am not going to use it for myself.


Blackvial wrote:
After rereading about the Gold special material for weapons and armor I am going to have to say that I am not going to use it for myself.

I'm wondering if we're going to start seeing things with a DR/gold now.


Matt Stich wrote:
Blackvial wrote:
After rereading about the Gold special material for weapons and armor I am going to have to say that I am not going to use it for myself.
I'm wondering if we're going to start seeing things with a DR/gold now.

That's what I was thinking. Otherwise, what's the point? You pay out the butt for something that's really heavy and breaks easily. Yay.

Silver Crusade

submit2me wrote:
Matt Stich wrote:
Blackvial wrote:
After rereading about the Gold special material for weapons and armor I am going to have to say that I am not going to use it for myself.
I'm wondering if we're going to start seeing things with a DR/gold now.
That's what I was thinking. Otherwise, what's the point? You pay out the butt for something that's really heavy and breaks easily. Yay.

But But, Its soo shiny..look *shows off equipment bling*

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

Matt Stich wrote:
Blackvial wrote:
After rereading about the Gold special material for weapons and armor I am going to have to say that I am not going to use it for myself.
I'm wondering if we're going to start seeing things with a DR/gold now.

Cybermen

The Exchange

submit2me wrote:
Matt Stich wrote:
Blackvial wrote:
After rereading about the Gold special material for weapons and armor I am going to have to say that I am not going to use it for myself.
I'm wondering if we're going to start seeing things with a DR/gold now.
That's what I was thinking. Otherwise, what's the point? You pay out the butt for something that's really heavy and breaks easily. Yay.

To say to the world: "Look at me! I have SOOOOO much money! MWAHAHAHAHAHA!"


Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Mauril wrote:
It mentions only being able to fire erskine from the port and starboard sides. Does this mean that vehicles have facing rules?

Yes. All vehicles in the Ultimate Combat have facing rules. Fortunately this facing only applies to the vehicle itself and not the passengers.

Just to confirm, since some of the vehicles are pulled by animals, do they have facing rules? Or could a vehicle only attack from the sides but the animals (which are strapped in to the vehicle) attack in any direction as normal?

I've got my copy reserved at my FLGS to pick up on Friday, so I'll know eventually, I guess.


I wonder where airships fit in in Golarion. Alkenstar probably uses a few to traverse the Mana Wastes, but I can also picture them "docked" over Absalom and other cosmopolitan regions.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Huh. I thought an alchemical dragon would look like a dragon-shaped alchemical golem. Guess not.


YawarFiesta wrote:

Does the Alchemical Dragon has a carpet bombing option?

Humbly,
Yawar

Oh gods no! It's the Fowl Fleet all over again! Only players can be so imaginatively cruel to rope lines of chickens together as living bombs.


Jason's little excerpt from the Performance Combat section doesn't do it justice: IT IS AWESOME. I really hope to see it used in appropriate section in future APs - it is just that good.


submit2me wrote:
Matt Stich wrote:
Blackvial wrote:
After rereading about the Gold special material for weapons and armor I am going to have to say that I am not going to use it for myself.
I'm wondering if we're going to start seeing things with a DR/gold now.
That's what I was thinking. Otherwise, what's the point? You pay out the butt for something that's really heavy and breaks easily. Yay.

I was thinking something similar. It feels like unnecessary rules codification that effectively penalizes characters for style. How often have we seen armor, particularly magical armor, at least appear to be made out of gold as part of the Masterwork or magical quality of the item? If we want our armor to be gold plated or made out of gold, it doesn't seem like we need rules for it, especially if they're going to make our character suck just to look gawdy and/or cool.

I suppose it makes sense from a simulationist perspective, but it doesn't work for me from a narrative nor mechanical perspective, and those trump simulation in a world where wizards can conjure floating disks to carry all the bling they find.

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