Your Personalized Armory

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

I had the pleasure of working on this month's highly anticipated Pathfinder Player Companion release, Adventurer's Armory 2. It had been a few years since I developed a player companion, and I was excited for the chance to tackle the follow-up to the most popular product in the line to date, Adventurer's Armory. No pressure, right? Luckily, I wasn't going it alone. As discussed last week, the inimitable Ron Lundeen did a thorough pass on the book before it ever hit my desk, leaving me that much more time to really delve into the most exciting elements of the project.

My favorite is the armor and weapon modifications system that appears in the Implements of War section. This system allows a player to customize his or her weapons and armor in more versatile and less expensive ways than adding magical enhancement bonuses and plus-based special abilities, and first appeared in Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Faction Guide back in 2010.

We expanded on the handful of modifications that appeared in that book, with six weapon modifications and eight armor modifications, allowing a player to increase a suit of armor's maximum Dexterity stat, treat a weapon as belonging to a different fighter weapon group, or grant a weapon a new special quality like brace, disarm, nonlethal, or trip, among many other customizations.

Each of these modifications comes with a drawback in addition to the cost of adding the modification to the piece of equipment. A modified weapon requires a level of proficiency one level higher than normal to wield, turning a simple weapon into a martial weapon and a martial weapon into an exotic one. This means that characters with automatic proficiency with all martial weapons will get the most out of the system, and it further lets fighters, cavaliers, rangers, and paladins customize their load-outs to fill more specialized narrative and tactical niches. Each armor modification comes with its own unique drawback, such as increasing the armor check penalty or adding extra weight to already heavy armor.

In both cases, however, a variety of new feats allow player characters to ignore drawbacks, more quickly apply modifications on the fly, or add more than one to the same piece of equipment.

What weapon or suit of armor are you most excited to apply a modification to? What new weapons and armor from Adventurer's Armory 2 do you think will lend themselves best to this new subsystem? Let us know in the comments below, and maybe if we ever do an Adventurer's Armory 3 we'll take them to even finer levels of customization.

Smiths the world over are prepared to customize your favorite gear.
Illustration by Benjamin Widdowson

Mark Moreland
Developer

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Quote:
Each of these modifications comes with a drawback in addition to the cost of adding the modification to the piece of equipment.
Quote:
In both cases, however, a variety of new feats allow player characters to ignore drawbacks, more quickly apply modifications on the fly, or add more than one to the same piece of equipment.

So, wait, hold on a sec, we have to spend gold and feat slots on these modified weapons? Yeah, no. I'm better off with magical enhancements.


This sounds a bit like Green Ronin's variations on the masterwork quality, as published in their adaptation of Glen Cook's Black Company series (3.5). I still use that (along with their battlefield event table that humourously punishes a '1' on your initiative roll).

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Butchering Axe and Horn Bows just made vital strike that much better


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Finally Gnome weapons get Gnome in the Name. This makes me Happy.

Sovereign Court

Meh. I'll read the book, but to me, spending a feat to wield a weapon you already know how to wield is too much.

I'd rather wait a few treasures and spend the money on a magic item. Who knows: I might even find that magic weapon I'm looking for!

Fred


Spending a feat for a minor upgrade to a specific weapon, no thanks. None of the weapon properties available seem worth the cost, either, even on a formerly-simple weapon.

As a backup weapon for a Fighter, though... maybe. I'm waiting to see what PFS does with some recent content. If everything goes well, I might pick up a Cestus usable with the polearm group as a non-reach backup. Simple weapons become martial, which is fine.


Berselius, shaventalz,

You are missing the rules interactions that make this a big deal for niche builds. a falchion in the polearm group lets you grab Shield Brace and get a shield on a two handed crit build. Any weapon added to the Monk group has a bunch of weird interactions with unchained monks, anything added to the close group becomes a brawler weapon. the book has barely hit the shelves and a bunch of weird corner cases are popping up, for instance: Someone has already figured out how to dual wield Butcher's axes as if the off hand was light and the main hand was one handed. Add in enlarge person or living monolith with impact weapons and this book will let you dual weild two 6D6 weapons.


Torbyne wrote:

Berselius, shaventalz,

You are missing the rules interactions that make this a big deal for niche builds. a falchion in the polearm group lets you grab Shield Brace and get a shield on a two handed crit build. Any weapon added to the Monk group has a bunch of weird interactions with unchained monks, anything added to the close group becomes a brawler weapon. the book has barely hit the shelves and a bunch of weird corner cases are popping up, for instance: Someone has already figured out how to dual wield Butcher's axes as if the off hand was light and the main hand was one handed. Add in enlarge person or living monolith with impact weapons and this book will let you dual weild two 6D6 weapons.

I actually brought up the distinction between the monk weapon group and weapon quality in the product discussion thread.

I saw the bit about shield brace, too, but is that worth a couple more feats? I mean, Shield Brace, Shield Focus, and I think Modifier Weapon Proficiency (falchion). 3 feats to be able to use your shield with a specific modified weapon (and losing two-handed damage bonuses). Fairly neat, but too expensive and coming online too late for my tastes. Why not just use a Samurai with a katana?

Shadow Lodge

This sounds like an exceptionally bad idea except for twink character builds.

How is this suppossed to work for a character with Deity's Favored Weapon proficiency?

Silver Crusade

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DM Beckett wrote:

This sounds like an exceptionally bad idea except for twink character builds.

How is this suppossed to work for a character with Deity's Favored Weapon proficiency?

That was specifically called out as not covering it if you modify the weapon.


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Rysky wrote:
That was specifically called out as not covering it if you modify the weapon.

Indeed. Warpriests and kensai magi also have a specific route to proficiency with modified versions of their (deity's favored/chosen, respectively) weapon.

Sovereign Court

shaventalz wrote:
Torbyne wrote:

Berselius, shaventalz,

You are missing the rules interactions that make this a big deal for niche builds. a falchion in the polearm group lets you grab Shield Brace and get a shield on a two handed crit build. Any weapon added to the Monk group has a bunch of weird interactions with unchained monks, anything added to the close group becomes a brawler weapon. the book has barely hit the shelves and a bunch of weird corner cases are popping up, for instance: Someone has already figured out how to dual wield Butcher's axes as if the off hand was light and the main hand was one handed. Add in enlarge person or living monolith with impact weapons and this book will let you dual weild two 6D6 weapons.

I actually brought up the distinction between the monk weapon group and weapon quality in the product discussion thread.

I saw the bit about shield brace, too, but is that worth a couple more feats? I mean, Shield Brace, Shield Focus, and I think Modifier Weapon Proficiency (falchion). 3 feats to be able to use your shield with a specific modified weapon (and losing two-handed damage bonuses). Fairly neat, but too expensive and coming online too late for my tastes. Why not just use a Samurai with a katana?

You really want your players to wield two 6D6 weapons in your quest?

I don't.

Shadow Lodge

Isabelle Lee wrote:
Rysky wrote:
That was specifically called out as not covering it if you modify the weapon.
Indeed. Warpriests and kensai magi also have a specific route to proficiency with modified versions of their (deity's favored/chosen, respectively) weapon.

These seem like contradictory answers.

So the intent then is to make sure no one uses these options outside of niche builds?


Concordia wrote:

You really want your players to wield two 6D6 weapons in your quest?
I don't.

I want my playes to complete the adventure, and in doing so overcome adversity aND make decisions. If they do that in a novel way, more power to them.

If the fighter/barbaran is doing so while vital atriking with a huge sized dwarven longhammer, or the bolt ace/alchemist is triple weilding hand crossbows, cool.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
DM Beckett wrote:
Isabelle Lee wrote:
Rysky wrote:
That was specifically called out as not covering it if you modify the weapon.
Indeed. Warpriests and kensai magi also have a specific route to proficiency with modified versions of their (deity's favored/chosen, respectively) weapon.

These seem like contradictory answers.

So the intent then is to make sure no one uses these options outside of niche builds?

I wouldn't really call a single Feat a "niche" build. Or even a build.


Quote:

You really want your players to wield two 6D6 weapons in your quest?

I don't.

Obviously you've never been in a party that's gone up against two flying polyps at the same time.


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DM Beckett wrote:
Isabelle Lee wrote:
Indeed. Warpriests and kensai magi also have a specific route to proficiency with modified versions of their (deity's favored/chosen, respectively) weapon.
These seem like contradictory answers.

It may seem that way; the answer is just a bit more complicated. ^_^

Let's say you're a warpriest of Iomedae. You're not automatically proficient with modified longswords, but there's an option to gain that proficiency. Meanwhile, a kensai magus can select any martial or exotic weapon. So they could choose "longsword" or "modified longsword" as their chosen weapon... but not, say, "modified katana" (since even Exotic Weapon Proficiency won't get you there). However, a kensai who selects katana has an option to expand that to include modified katanas as well.


I wonder if a Mindblade Magus can create weapons with Weapon Modifications? That could be useful.


I see no reason why a mindblade couldnt but they also are not proficient without the feat, arent they?

As Isabella Lee said, i see those who can choose proficiency as getting something out of this or for those classes and archetypes that gain proficiency based on weapon group or special property.


Isabelle Lee wrote:
DM Beckett wrote:
Isabelle Lee wrote:
Indeed. Warpriests and kensai magi also have a specific route to proficiency with modified versions of their (deity's favored/chosen, respectively) weapon.
These seem like contradictory answers.

It may seem that way; the answer is just a bit more complicated. ^_^

Let's say you're a warpriest of Iomedae. You're not automatically proficient with modified longswords, but there's an option to gain that proficiency. Meanwhile, a kensai magus can select any martial or exotic weapon. So they could choose "longsword" or "modified longsword" as their chosen weapon... but not, say, "modified katana" (since even Exotic Weapon Proficiency won't get you there). However, a kensai who selects katana has an option to expand that to include modified katanas as well.

Katana and Bastard Sword have weird rules, if you have exotic proficincy with them can you wield modified versions two handed without the non proficiency penalty based on the same "remove one step of complexity for two handing" principle?


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I'd have to review the appropriate FAQs and text before I could say for sure. (I suspect that the answer is no, however.)


Ancestors Oracle could make use of this too. :)

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