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RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32. RPG Superstar 9 Season Dedicated Voter. Organized Play Member. 342 posts (630 including aliases). 1 review. No lists. No wishlists. 2 aliases.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Interested in a new setting? Then it's time to check out Destiny Aurora!
Sort of a mixture of Star Trek and Guardians of the Galaxy, the space opera style setting takes place in a huge galaxy, controlled by two major factions who're more or less engaged in a cold war with each other, while a third faction takes work with the highest payer at any time.

Funded in less than 24 hours, and well above its goal at this point, with 13 days to go, it's unlocked its 3rd stretch goal, but it needs your help to get even bigger! Also of note, is that sheer amount of addons available, and already produces - everything from a plushy to miniatures for both starship combat AND ground combat!

Check it out here: Destiny Aurora !

Maybe I have missed something, but is there no "Cost of Living" in Starfinder?
I have players who're slightly annoyed at tracking their credits, but who still want it to feel "real" - so was wondering if there was something similar to the "Cost of Living" in Pathfinder?
Finding the prices of the individual things isn't a problem, but we're trying to minimize the actual bookkeeping while keeping the "realism" feel.

Thanks in advance. :)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

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And Round 3 for Designfinder is now over. The judges have their comments in, and everything is ready for you to see! Voting is coming live a little later today (who knew webmasters needed sleep???), but it'll be ready for you later.

In the meantime please enjoy this round of VILLAINS!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

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And the results are now in for Round 2 of the Designfinder 2018 Contest!

Please head on over to see if your favorite won, and feel free to discuss them on our forums (links to all are in the comments).

Also, we're now opening up for the Round 2 discussion threads and the Critique My Item threads for those who have an interesting in talking about what's happened, and what can be done in the future. :)

A hearty well done to all those who made it this far, and a good luck to those who now move on to round 3!


Critique My Item

Round 2 Discussion

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

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And now, the moment you have all been waiting for.

And slightly early too!

The reveal of the DesignFinder 2018 Top 16!

Well done to all those who entered, and congratulations to all the competitors who made it through to round 2!

The link can be found in the first comment, and each individual item can be discussed on the Open Gaming Network forums (Clicking on the item's name will take you there, though you will have to sign up to comment!)

See you for round 2!

It'll be up on the navigation bar too, as soon as our webmaster wakes up. :P

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

So this time it's weapons that are up for a look, and hoo boy, do I like what I see here. Weapons retain the Simple, Martial and Exotic ranges (though what these actually mean does change a little for exotic) and it seems as if the higher up the weapon, the more capable it'll be, both in terms of damage and abilities with the weapon.

Weapons will now also come with traits, and where in PF1, it was often simply a matter of choosing the weapon that caused the most damage (perhaps with a slight eye towards the actual damage type of the weapon), here, each weapon will have it's own niche to fill.
The Examples given are greatsword (large dice and P/S damage types), a bo staff (d8 damage), reach, trip and parry (making it a defensive weapon, that monks can use as a monk weapon) and finally the glaive, which has reach and does d8 points of damage, just like the bo staff, but comes with deadly d8s (causing extra damage on crits) and forceful, giving extra damage on attacks after the 1st one, each round. - A few others are mentioned, but in general, it certainly looks like each weapon will have it's very own niche to fill, as indicated by the traits it has.

Critical specializations also give each weapon (group) something unique to offer on a critical hit with that weapon. While the spear one isn't really drilled out mechanically it sounds quite nice, but I have to admit that the axe one almost made me salivate. As someone else has already talked about, I wonder if the Cleave feat still exists and applies or if that has been replaced by the sweep weapon trait. Regardless though, I cannot wait to play around with axes once more on my dwarven characters, and basically pull a "Gimli" and start counting (it still only counts as 1!).

Finally, there's weapon quality, which was hinted at in a previous blog. Poor, standard, Expert, master and Legendary quality. Each level above standard grants a +1 to hit (supposedly replacing the current masterwork and magical enhancement bonuses to hit), but I'm guessing that poor grants a -1 to hit.
This is a really flavorful addition, which doesn't change much mechanically, but suddenly it becomes important to note the quality of your opponent's weapon, and the loot you're picking up. No one needs a poor sword after all, but that legendary one, even if it is not magical, would surely be worth something. And a villain wielding it is not someone you want to ignore.

Let's hear your thoughts. :)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Time to have a look at the various Deities and some of the domains and the choice taken was Shelyn, one of the classic Golarion deities.

As expected we get the alignment of the deity, and nothing appears to have changed there, though there's no mention of worshipper alignment, the clergy is mentioned (and doesn't appear to have changed from how it's been done in PF1), though there is a mention of both the type of channelled energy (semi-implying that some deities might have different ones than before where it was always based on alignment, though I'm guessing that it'll mostly follow the alignment divide regardless).

The Edicts are next, and together with the Anathemas, they dictate the tenets and tendencies of the faith. They're more ironclad for actual clergy, though it is mentioned that lay worshippers will try to stick to them too (or at least feel bad if they break one of the church anathemas).

Favored weapon is as expected, but a little below is a mention of the signature skill of the deity, as well as the domains (which have changed from before), and finally some spells. It no longer appears that the deity's spells are tied to the domain, as they can be used as much or as little as the cleric wants. (Unfortunately, it's not clear if that's in a similar manner to the cantrips or orisons of old, but I suspect they will be).

The Domains themselves have changed as well. There are no elemental domains for example, and the list is much shorter than before, though it is mentioned and more domains should be very easy to add, due to their make-up.

Finally, we have the domain powers which range from "that's OK" (Enhance Victuals) to "WOW!" for Artistic Flourish, which allows you to upgrade an item all the way up to legendary levels, though it is expensive. Being able to boost items such as weapons and armor in this way though is really nice, even if the effect only lasts 24 hours.

Basically, I'm liking what I'm seeing, though there isn't quite as much information to mine out of this blog entry, at least in my opinion.

What are your thoughts?

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

It's time to talk clerics, and it seems something was revealed that I had either missed before or which hadn't been mentioned. That characters get an ability bonus to their key ability score, in this case, Wisdom. It makes perfect sense for someone who's been working most of their lives towards a single purpose that they get this bonus, so I'm all for it, although I do wonder how it'll affect multi-classing.

So you get the expected abilities like domain, channel energy, and divine spellcasting, but a few things have changed. Like before, you get your deity's favored weapon and you get access to domains, though you only get one of them. With the domain you do get special domain powers, spell that are cast with spell points, and which are better than cantrips, though not as strong as your "best spells". - Looking forward to seeing how that'll scale, but I'm guessing we'll know more in the next blog.

The one thing that caught me though was the concept of anathema, which is something I've missed quite a bit in other games. A consequence for violating the tenets of your deity. It's left a lot to player and GM discretion, but it does make sense to include something like this within the game.

There are no real surprises within the spellcasting section, it's pretty much as expected from what was revealed earlier, though it seems that Wisdom (and presumably the other casting ability scores) no longer affect your bonus spells, which should streamline things a bit.

Finally, there are the new cleric feats, such as Communal Healing meaning that you get regain hit points when you cast heal on someone else (quite handy so that you don't have to heal yourself too, at least separately). Also worth thinking about it Turn Undead, which finally makes a semi-return during critically failed saves, instead of being a replacement for damage! That allows it to be much more utilitarian than the current version.
You also get the opportunity to get more domain powers using the feats or allowing your channeled energy to remove certain conditions instead of simply dealing damage.

Some of the new metamagic feats are quite cool as well, I especially like the Reach Spell version, so that you can extend the range of spells by 30 feet. While 30 feet might not seem much on longer-ranged spells, it also affects the touch spells and THAT can be very important, allowing you to use touch spells from a safe distance.

But what do you think about this preview?

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

And today we see some more details on Alchemy, so let's see what we can find.

First, it seems as if magic and alchemy are being completely pulled apart, and from looking at the previews we can see that the alchemical items no longer seem tied to spellcasting slots, so it's not a matter of using a spell in a different manner.
So what do we have?
Well, I'm not going to deep-dive each item, that's not what the purpose of this post is, but we can see that each item does come with a set of descriptors, something called "Item X" (1,2, and 4 are presented here - not sure yet what that means, so I'll refrain from theorizing on that one), but I did notice a little interesting change here. It's clear that some lessons have been learned from Starfinder, and one of the things I liked about that system was the simplification of encumbrance, and I see that Bulk has made its entrance here. It's certainly an easier system for figuring out how much your character can lug around as opposed to just weight.

Each item also includes a method of use, which seems to be a simplified way of letting people know how many of the old slots are used for it (such as held, 2 hands - so presumably no use of two-handed weapons for you) and some of them include an Activation "cost" as well, i.e. how many actions it takes to use.

It also looks like poison has taken a look at the condition stages for afflictions, poisons, and diseases of Starfinder - so that it now has stages of what's going on, instead of simply inflicting ability damage. It's an interesting change as well because while the ability damage did the job, it was kind of boring to see "Oh, I now have -5 on my Constitution), it's much more interesting seeing stuff like the debilitating effects of the poison as it feels more narratively effective. It'll be interesting to see how it'll interact with restorative magic and the Heal skill.

Each alchemical item also comes with a cost. Now it doesn't say whether that's a price to buy it, or the cost to craft it, but I'm going to guess that it's the latter, since selling Sleep Poison for 5 gp is really cheap, especially if the alchemist (as hinted in the text) has to obtain it from the Drow.

Finally, there's the mention of Resonance Points. Now 2 of the alchemical items specifically state that they require no Resonance points, but by way of deducting that must mean that they normally do. The question then simply becomes "Is it the alchemist paying the resonance cost on creation of the item, or the final user of the item who pays?" as there are almost bound to be situations where those are not the same person.

Anyway, what are your thoughts on today's blog?

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

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So this week we look at spells. The first change is one that's already been mentioned before, which is that spells now take 1 to 3 actions to cast, i.e. verbal, somatic and material casting actions, which is an interesting change. It means that, given the right combination, it should be possible to cast multiple spells in a single round. It also seems, from some of the previews that some spells will have options that allow you to use several of the casting actions, to make the spell more powerful. I'm quite keen on this change as it allows an added degree of flexibility with many spells.

The next change is heightened spells, the ability to cast spells at a higher level, apparently without using a feat for it, and with it having an additional effect. The most obvious is of course heal, which is now one single spell, but which can be heightened and allows you to use that single spells as the healing spell for each level (though arguably the previewed regenerate spell is more powerful once you get access to it, provided your group has a chance to do some downtime). - being able to combine that with the use of MORE actions to really make that heal spell pop is just a godsend (no pun intended). But yeah an AOE Heightened heal spell sounds really good to me.

Cantrips are also changed, to now automatically be of your highest level spell, though you can still use them at will. That means that not only do you not run out of spells and options, but the options you have are far more of a viable fall-back option than the ones that are currently available in Pathfinder 1. I have to admit that I really like this particular change, though it could potentially unbalance the magic users, but on its own, I'm very much on board. It also makes perfect sense for an archmage to have more powerful cantrips than a mere apprentice.

Spell Points I'm on the fence about however. While the idea of swapping domain, bloodline and other powers over for something more broadly usable is a good one, I think we need to see some examples of this before we can pass judgment about whether it's a good thing or not. As a general rule, I'm against having pools of points of any sort. Not because they're a bad design, but because they're an added thing for a player to manage when gaming and accounting can really bog down gameplay.

10th level spells: Now this'll be interesting, and it makes sense to move wish and miracle to this level due to the sheer flexibility of them, and the sheer wonder of what it SHOULD be possible to do with them. (See your nearest copy of Aladdin for details :P ). The other spells that are mentioned, we, of course, have no details on, but I'm guessing that the critical failure that's mentioned in today's blog is for fabricated truth and that it pertains to this line "The target believes the fact for an unlimited duration.".

Rituals: Give me those magic summoning circles. The idea of planar binding and other spells of that nature going wrong is so central to a lot of fantasy and horror stories, that it's hard to understand why it's not built into the system already. That said, other systems, like Dungeon Crawl Classics, have dived into the deep end of this particular pool, with some very interesting results. I like this addition a lot, and I'm looking forward to seeing what Game Masters can come up with, for wicked ideas, when that evil wizard completes his ritual and summons some beast from the dark netherworld.

Three final notes to make: The saving throw is now no longer specified in the short "blurb" text, but it's contained within the description of the spell, and there are now apparently more descriptors of the spells (just from the ones we've seen today, we have Death, Healing, Necromancy, Negative and Positive - at a guess I'd say that Necromancy appears to be remaining a schoold with the others being descriptors, but could it be that Necromancy (and the other old schools) will now be descriptors instead? We shall see).

My final note might be a bit of a stretch, but one thing I definitely noticed is that there's no mention of SPELL RESISTANCE. Could it be gone? If it's still there, I suspect there may have been some changes to it.

What are your thoughts on this?

Until next time,

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

So yesterday we had a look at the halfling and gnome ancestry (am I the only one slightly bothered by those two not being presented in alphabetical order? ;-) )

Before all of this, I should preface this with SMALL CHARACTERS NOW DO THE SAME DAMAGE AS MEDIUM SIZED ONES. - Thank you, I can now finally make my Gnome Barbarian.

This does give us a look into them, as they're both Small with speed 20 (so slower than the Goblins), but with 8 Hit Points, so more than either the Goblins or the Elves, but slightly less than the Dwarves at 10. That was about as expected. It does seem like speed is now tied to Size, at least somewhat, but we need a Medium-sized character that's not known for its speed (or lack thereof) to compare. So humans, half-elves, or half-orcs should reveal that.
We also get their ability bonuses (about as expected), and it's now confirmed that everyone gets 2 set boosts and 1 customizable one. However, something that caught my eye was THIS mention "At 1st level, your ability scores all start at 10." - They mention that you can still roll, but it seems as if the "10 in stat" will now be standard - I have to admit that simply having stats as a 10 will NOT be the standard, as opposed to rolling or point buy, as I think that would homogenize the characters a bit too much, even with the ability score boosts. But it'll depend on how it's handled, so we'll see how it works.

The ancestry feats for the halfling seems to reinforce the "David vs Goliath" style gameplay, being able to take down bigger opponents, with things like Titan Slinger granting you extra damage, and of course being particularly stealthy. The one feat that I think sticks out is Lucky Halfling, as the ability to reroll a failed (or critically failed) skill check or saving throw could be a potential lifesaver.

For the gnome the ancestry feats can reinforce their ties with the Fey world (granting more spell-like abilities), their ties with nature for talking to animals and the Discerning Smell, allowing the gnome to appreciate smells of food and drink, as well as unwashed half-orcs. Discerning Smell seems a bit nebulous as it, so I'm hoping there'll be some other mechanical benefit, apart from something like +2 to tracking when using the sense of smell. I feel that feats should present interesting options, not simply flat bonuses.

On a final note, I have to mention the artwork presented here. And that's because I'm very 50/50 on this one. The previous ones I've liked, but this time around I have to say that the Halfling really doesn't do it for me. I don't know what it is, but he looks more like a surly shaved dwarf than any image that I have of a halfling in my head (and I never really liked the hobbits as halflings - so the bare feet are not really my thing).
However, as negative as I am on the halfling, credit must be given for the gnome, as I absolutely ADORE the way she's presented. In spite of being rather heavily armed with the bow and hammer, she still seems to maintain some of the innate curiosity of the gnomes, with the wide eyes, and that crazy hat.

What do you think of the reveals here?

Until next time.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

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And now we've seen the Alchemist being released, and there are a number of interesting reveals here.

First of all is the revelation that anyone can now learn to create alchemical items like the Alchemist can, by taking the Alchemical Crafter feat, although the Alchemist will still be better at it, as he gets more formulas. Nonetheless, it provides a level of flexibility for other characters.

The bombs also start as being actual alchemical items (a change that I really enjoy the look of), so that instead of "random bomb X", the Alchemist will now be throwing recognizable equipment like alchemist's fire and thunderstones. (Should be interesting to see a damaging tangleweb bag too. Well, one can hope). - Of course, the alchemist's versions will do more damage, but it is a neat little change that makes the items far more useful and recognizable.

Of course, the Alchemist still retains their mutagens, making them more capable in various ways, though the details of the mutagens are still unknown. Presumably, they'll remain pretty close to the current ones.

The Alchemist feats allow the bombs and alchemical items to become more powerful, higher DCs, more accurate, and do more damage. Pretty much what is expected, but Debilitating Bomb looks particularly interesting as it lets you apply different conditions to the target of a bomb. I could easily see someone making an alchemist's fire bomb that also caused the primary target to be sickened or something similar. It would make for some great storytelling, with the target retching as he burns alive. (Gruesome yes, but interesting).

Finally, the mutagen feats allow the Alchemist to warp their mutagens in various ways, like gaining natural weapons, bonuses to Intimidate check or even making him stealthier.

All interesting stuff, but I would have liked to have seen a bit more of the mutagens PRIMARY effects, but hopefully that'll come eventually. That, and I hope it gets possible to make a PROPER Jekyll/Hyde style character, but it looks like the Mutagen feats should make that possible.

See you next time,

Edit: I forgot to mention one thing. They teased the Oracle here. Could that be joining the Core classes as well? THAT would be an interesting choice, and one I'd be happy to see.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

So, with the first ancestry/race turning out to be the Goblins, we're now returning to the classic Dwarves and Elves.
They are honestly, pretty much as you'd expect. Bonus to Constitution and Wisdom and penalty to Charisma for Dwarves (like it is currently) and bonus to Dexterity and Intelligence with a penalty to Constitution for the Elves. Again, as it is currently.
The big reveal here is that it seems as if the flexible ability bonus, where you can assign a bonus to a stat of your own choosing, seems to be universal, allowing for some interesting character choices, with more ancestries being a competitive choice for the various classes. (How often do you see a Dwarven Wizard, after all, the stats are there, but the flavor seems off. Now you can at least get a bonus to the Intelligence stat).

Another thing to note is the hit points based on your ancestry/race - for Dwarves it is 10, Elves get 6 (The goblins from last week got 6 as well), so there's certainly some difference in survivability depending on your race (though admittedly 4 HP is only truly significant at the low levels). It does reinforce the idea that certain characters will be more or less hardy though, which I like (and liked from Starfinder too for that matter).

Speed allows (again comparing to the Goblins) to see what to expect from other classes as well. Dwarves are slow at 20' - Elves are fast at 30'. The Goblins then would likely be the new average at 25, so at a guess, that is where we will find humans now too. (Since they used to share a speed of 30).

Again we have the ancestral feats, allowing each race to use the weapons thematic to them (I'm very curious about the clan dagger mentioned in the dwarven one, that could be interesting. Is that a potential "heirloom" style weapon?), and it appears that the Hardy Racial ability of before is now an ancestral feat as well, rather than something that comes automatically. Similarly, the Ancestral Longevity allows an elf the use of a skill provided they bring it to the forefront that morning. That'll allow for some very flexible characters and give designers greater latitude in the skill usages, as any given party is now quite likely to be able to access a particular skill if given 24 hours. (I'd hazard a guess that most adventuring parties contain an elf at this point in any case).

We also get some suggestions for backgrounds, and I'm left wondering if they'll have a mechanical effect as well, or if they're just for flavor. Regardless, it is a nice touch.

And next time, it appears we'll be looking at the alchemist. See you then.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

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Right, so there's been a lot of back and forth about why or why not goblins should be included in the Core Rulebook. I'll openly state that I'm for it, since I think it's a pretty cool dynamic that it brings to it, and if people can accept Half-Orcs (after all, the descendants of Orcs, even if they're half human), in the long run, I think Goblins could be accepted as well, ONCE THEY PROVE THEMSELVES to their communities. That said, we have no idea how far into the future PF2 is set, or if there have been any earth-shattering events causing a large number of Goblins to turn from their old ways.
That said, the Core Rulebook is for ALL settings, not just Golarion, and there are a number of settings out there where Goblins would be common enough that they could easily feature as a normal race (Dragonlance springs to mind, as Goblins are some of the first creatures that the heroes meet. I could see one of them turning up like a gully dwarf, especially with the help of Tasslehoff Burrfoot). Anyways, the key to remember is rule #1 - What the GM says GOES. That means that if you, as a GM, are not comfortable with having Goblins in your game, simply say that they're out of bounds. Plenty of GMs do this already with classes, third-party products, certain races and even alignments.
This really should be no different.

With that out of the way, let's dive into the actual statistics.
First I think it's interesting that the Goblins got a boost to Charisma (Dex bonus and Wisdom penalty both make perfect sense), and I'm wondering if this represents their ability to grovel their way into people's good books? It'd make for very understandable reasoning for why a villain would take on a Goblin henchman.
The other thing that stands out is their speed at 25 feet. THAT used to be 30 feet (fast for their size), and normal Small size characters used to be 20. - Interesting little change, I wonder what prompted it. (Same goes for the removal of the strength penalty, but I think that's to make the Goblins more viable as fighters).

Finally, the race feats are all interesting and feel like something that a Goblin could have as a racial trend, like their racial love/fascination/unhealthy obsession with fire, for instance, being represented in "Burn it" or their junkyard tendencies with "Junk Tinkerer". As an aside, I expect to see dogslicers and horsechoppers make an appearance in the equipment section if this is to have it's maximum potential or impact.

Anyways, those are my thoughts. See you on Friday for the next round. :)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

So, this is a couple of days after the blog post, as I was caught up in real life, and that's got to take precedence, but it's now time to break down my thoughts about the "Four Degrees of Success".

First, I have to say that adding the opportunity to critically succeed or fail (fumble) by exceeding the DC by 10 (or failing it by 10 or more) adds a new layer to the game, one that I really approve of. It means that the highly-trained and specialized individuals are much more likely to succeed in their area of expertise while avoiding failure in the same field. Conversely, it also means that there's a greater chance of it going horribly wrong if you're attempting something foolhardy. It also takes a little bit of the hit away from the "Autohit on 20, auto fail on 1" as you still fail/succeed depending on the DC in question.
It does mean that there's a bit less chance of something trying something utterly foolhardy or courageous, which I'm a little more dubious about, but it does mean that the specialized individuals will benefit from this in their areas.

What I really like though, is that it is a new twist on the "Yes, and..." and "No, but..." approaches seen in games like FFG's Star Wars and Genesys systems, adding a new level of twist to your story, i.e. when it goes well, it goes really well, but when it goes bad, it goes really bad. The example used in the blog post is Fireball, and I could totally see the idea of someone managing to duck down so quickly and completely that they avoid damage altogether (as seen in many films). Conversely, the critical failure is the person utterly misjudging the situation and sticking his head right in the path of the Fireball, and getting it full in the face.

The samples given are also quite enticing and seems to indicate that all spells will come with a description of each instance of Critical Failure / Critical Success results, a bit like the randomized results for a spell that you might get from OSR games like Dungeon Crawl Classics. It's a good twist on an old formula in my opinion.

Unfortunately digging deeper into this topic is not easy without a bit more information, but this is something that I could see many designers having a lot of fun with when creating new spells, so I'm looking forward to seeing where this leads.

Until next time (which is today, since I'm looking at the Goblins post next ;-)).

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

BACKSTAB! (Well, not really, but it's far more fun to shout than SNEAK ATTACK!)

So, 3 days ago Paizo released a preview of the rogue, and these are my thoughts on it.

The rogue remains focused on stealth and catching enemies unaware, which I definitely approve of, though this still most often requires flanking or the enemy being flat-footed. The surprise attack is a neat touch, but since it is effectively "a surprise round" then I'm not super-thrilled by it since the rogue still has to react first. I wonder how that'll work if there's an ACTUAL surprise round too. Does that mean the rogue would get to sneak attack twice?

I am however a fan of the conditions that you can apply using sneak attack. It makes it very much something that is usuful beyond just the mere damage. I do wonder though if you'll be sacrificing damage dice to apply the various abilities or if it's just something that happens automatically. I do find it interesting though, that you get Master Strike at level 19 in PF2, as that was the "Capstone" ability for the rogue in PF1, coming at level 20 (and it looks like the "subabilities" Master Strike have been parcelled out to lower levels), but does that mean we get some other level 20 ability instead? Intriguing.

Not too surprisingly, the rogue remains the skill-monkey of the game, but I did notice that a new skill appeared called Thievery, alongside Stealth. Now presumably this is the old Sleight of Hand skill that's just been renamed, buuut, I hope that it's a combination of Sleight of Hand / Disable Device / Escape Artist, as it always felt as if those skills were a bit too speciic and therefore somewhat underutilized.
Another new skill that's appeared is Society. Perhaps that's the old Knowledge (local) or Disguise? Not sure, as there's too little context for that one, beyond it being something that a fence would pick up.

Rogue Feats
So there were a few new Rogue feats revealed as well, such as Nimble Dodge (giving a +2 Dodge bonus as a reaction - not a fan as it feels a bit too much like the return to 3.0/3.5 Dodge, where you had to designate a single opponent for a +1 AC bonus, something Pathfinder had changed).
Mobility is an upgraded 5' step it seems, allowing you to move up to half speed without triggering reactions (like Attacks of Opportunity). It goes well in hand with the rogue being a nimble and stealthy opponent. There's also Reactive Pursuit, which seems to be the equivalent of the current Barbarian ability called "No Escape". Makes sense for a nimble opponent to be able to do this, and allows for thematic fights a bit like the "My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father. Prepare to die."

Then we have things like Dread Striker that allows you to treat a frightened creature as flat-footed (I can see some interesting combination with that and the fighter's Intimidating Strike), and the same goes for Gang Up, allowing you to not even flank with an ally, but still count the opponent as such. That should allow for a lot more uses of the sneak attack ability, and I'm definitely in favor of that change. The star of the show though has to be Instant Opening. I'm going to assume that it's either an action or a reaction, but then it's flat-footed until the end of YOUR next turn, so 2 rounds of some tasty sneak attacks.
The Blank Slate is also quite cool (I'm less of a fan of the Cognitive Loophole, though it does make sense as a pre-requisite feat), that makes you immune to detection, revelation, and scrying effects - that's a very cool ability for a stealthy character, and defeats some of that pesky scrying magic that so many spellcasters likely have access to.
Twist the Knife is the final ability revealed, and I like the idea of Bleed as part of your sneak attack damage, it's a nice little twist (sorry!) on a classic trope of someone slowly being bled to death. Death by a thousand cuts certainly springs to mind.

And those are my thoughts on the rogueish reveals!

Let me know what you think. :)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

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So, yesterday Paizo gifted us with another blog post about the upcoming PF 2.0, and I had a few thoughts on it that I wanted to note down as well. It didn't feel right to post it in the blog post itself, as people were already digging far beneath the surface there (possibly mining what cannot yet be seen). So here's my own take on it:

While I'm not keen on calling them "modes", I can certainly see where the distinction in game terms is handy. In effect, this has always been part of the game, in the various ways we explore our adventures. Encounter-mode is, more-or-less, straight up combat. The times where you're fighting your opponents, and where you can use your abilities there.

Meanwhile, Exploration Mode is the travel-time, the random NPC interactions, and (I think) the roleplaying aspects and situations of the game. It's likely where most people spend their time when playing Pathfinder (or indeed ANY roleplaying game, whether Tabletop or computer), so I'm happy to see it being called out specifically, especially with skill uses for this being useful. Another thing mentioned in this is the opportunity to use OTHER skills for Initiative. This makes sense to me, in a lot of ways. (And it's something that's been explored a bit already in Star Wars by Fantasy Flight Games, in terms of Cool / Vigilance). Using other skills than Perception (with Initiative defaulting to Perception) makes for interesting gameplay. Suddenly there's a very good reason for your rogue to be using Stealth when getting around, as he's more likely to get the drop on his opponent, your ranger might be using his Nature skill to try and read the angry bears next move and so on. There's a lot of potential here I think.

Downtime mode also looks interesting, and it's something that I've seen house-ruled in every single game I've played in, usually along the lines of "X amount of days passes and nothing happens", with only the merest nod given to skills and professions. Being able to use this, out of the core book, a bit more productively sounds good to me.

Other take-aways:
I'm still intrigued by the "3 actions + 1 reaction". It seems to simplify gameplay so much compared to the 6-7 different types of actions that are currently available. Combine that with being able to use more interesting abilities or feats (like the mentioned Fighter's Intimidating Strike, or the Barbarian's Raging courage) to trigger special events leaves me hopeful. I'll admit I'm not too keen on the Storm Retribution feat that's mentioned, but it'll depend on how devastating crits really are. If they're truly devastating then the ability to do damage and potentially push your opponent away could be invaluable.

What I am MOST excited though is COUNTERSPELLING as a reaction! That is something I've been looking for, for longer than I can remember, as it'll allow for some epic spell duels, rather than the current "I hold my action and wait, just in case he casts a spell". I am hopeful that this also means that we'll see counterspelling being simplified so that you don't have to use the same spell to counterspell (dare I hope that it'll be even better than the current Improved Counterspell, so that you can sacrifice a spell of the same level, rather than just of the same school? Perhaps even better, and put in opposing schools once more, so that you need to counterspell with an opposing spell!)

I'm also a fan of the mentioned Magical Crafter feat. Oh boy have I been waiting for this one! Finally, we'll get to see the "master craftsman" trope in our games, without these necessarily being spellcasters. Dwarves forging axes beneath the mountains, elves creating bows under the moonlight and people like Theros Ironfeld (from Dragonlance) or even fantasy equivalents to Masamune! Yep, color me in as being in favor of this one.

Finally, there's retraining. I think this is a good idea to implement, but I'm hoping there are some restrictions on it. While it'll cut down on the "oh, I'll just roll up a new character" syndrome that some people seem to have, I'd like to see some consistency on characters, and things that'll either take longer to retrain or which are impossible to do. (The mention of it being "as little as a week" leaves me hopeful that this is the case).

Anyways, that was my 2 copper. See you for the next post. :)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

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Hello everyone,

First of all, I apologize if this comes across as rambling. I had a sleepless night, and thoughts just kept rummaging around in my head, so this is just as much to get my own thoughts straight, and hopefully to liven up your day a little, with either some introspection, some discussion, or some outrage. Take your pick. ;-)

My name's Kim Frandsen, and I've been playing Pathfinder since the inception of it, and RPGs since I was 13 (now clocking in at 38, much to my chagrin). I'm also both a freelancer and an editor for the current version of Pathfinder (for anyone curious, have a look at my profile, my own works are up there.)

But this is not about me - This is about the (hopefully) bright future of Pathfinder. There's been a lot of talk about how the game might change, and what the new mechanics might be, but apart from the glimpses, we get through the podcasts and so on, we won't know for certain what we have until the Playtest version is available in August.
So what is this thread about I hear you ask?

Well, it's about the general principles of what I hope (and want) to see in a game, both as a player, a GM, and someone who's written for Pathfinder (and plan to do so in the future).

Any game in my view should boil down to 3 principles: Fast, Fun, and Furious - though these are not as straightforward as they sound, so I'm going to break them all down.

By fast, I don't mean that it should be over with quickly. What I mean is that it should be fast to get to the action. I.e. character creation should be quick, balanced against the choices you have available. Some games go overboard in either direction, making for characters that feel same-y, or they dig so far into the rules and options just during character creation that it takes you several hours just to get started. Neither is what Pathfinder should be looking at, and I'm hoping this is part of what the Playtest will achieve, a balance of options, speed, and manageability.
Fast also applies once the game itself has started, and I think we're seeing steps in the right direction here, with the action economy being changed. Combats, on higher levels, tended to slow down the flow of the game, and while that is fine for the fight with the BBEG, it should not apply when you're just fighting a bunch of random lackeys.
Equally, for the GM, the move towards simplified monster creation is a smart one. Having done this on quite a number of occasions (to quote Gilderoy Lockhart from Harry Potter: See my published works), I've found that comparing Starfinder (I know, I know, different system, but it IS at least similar) to Pathfinder, I can make 3 or so creatures for Starfinder in the same time that I can do 1 for Pathfinder. Even when converting creatures directly over, it's something like a 2 for 1 scale. If PF 2 goes that way with their monster creation, it'll make things much easier for the GM, though I do hope for a few more (or better codification) of monster abilities, as some are clearly more powerful than others, at least in their current incarnation.

While saying that a game should be fun seems like a rather obvious notion, you'll note that not all games are actually FUN. What they are, and should be, is engaging. They should make you WANT to lose hours and hours playing them with your friends, they should make you WANT to keep going just that one hour more, and they should make you WANT to come back to the gaming table for one more go.
Various games accomplish this in many ways, and Pathfinder has historically played towards the power-fantasy of being "a mighty so-and-so, defeating the evil villain". Should it remain that way? Yes, I think so, as it has delivered on a grand scale, epic combats and encounter (in the forms of the various APs), but it should also try to deliver that feel on the lower end. I want villains and monsters to be despicable foes, something for the heroes to overcome.
That said, Pathfinder also left room for you to create heroes that became villains, played the villain yourself, or create villains that you can relate to at least. And that is something it needs to retain. Not every monster or foe should be some dastardly over-the-top villain or cosmic horror. Sometimes, the worst horrors are right in front of you. And those are equally engaging to overcome.
That leads into something else: I believe that the GameMastery Guide was a bit of an overlooked gem, one that's not referenced very often, but even though I consider myself quite experienced, I still referred to it from time to time and suggested it to new GMs. I hope to see part of that incorporated into the GM's section of PF 2.

This one is probably the hardest to explain. Normally, I'd say bloody. But let's call it visceral instead. And I don't mean gore in this case, but I would like to see a move towards making the fights more epic in scale. Have the heroes take on an "Orc Horde", rather than just a few of them (not necessarily mass combat, though that might be part of it) - that's something that takes too long in the current incarnation of the game. It can be a lot of fun for players to mow down enemy after enemy (even if not everyone is a "murderhobo"), but it shouldn't bog them down.
This leads me to simplification: There's no need for there to be a table or rule for every single possible thing you can ever think of. Some things are best left to GM fiat, BUT those should not include player abilities, spells, and the like. The reason for this is simple: As a player, you like having an idea of what your character can actually do. So when you use "X" ability, it should do "Y", not "Z (at the GM's discretion)", but for the other side of the screen - yeah, break it. Make the opponents and encounters as simple to run as possible, so that the gaming group can get the maximum enjoyment out of it.

Finally, I'd like to see player behavior incentivized as well, as part of this. Each GM and playgroup have their own playstyle - some roleplay every encounter with a shopkeeper, others just want to murder everything in sight, loot their corpses, and burn the dungeon. And either approach is fine, but I'd like to see a way for a GM to encourage his group to continue on their merry way.
This is tricky though, as I'm sure we've all met GMs who wanted to play the game "their way" - so realistically, I might be engaging in wishful thinking here.

Right, those are the sleepy thoughts of a father, who's been up way too early, and who knows he's got a full day of work ahead of him, after 3 hours of sleep. :P

Let me know what you all think. :)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

When Nature Calls!

While we have no Pet Detectives in this, we do have a lot of other options for those who heed the Call of the Wild!
Gathered within, written by Kalen Tessmann and with a cover by William Timmins, you'll find a host of options for the Druid class. Want someone who likes mushrooms and fungus? We have that. Want more options for using magic and controlling Ley Lines, we have that as well. We even have a Giant Tree Squirrel and a Riding Kiwi!

You should check it out. :)

It can be found on the OpenGamingStore

Or on DriveThruRpg

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Today we continue the Strange Worlds series of books, this time with something appropriate for the Halloween holidays.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Dead Planets, planets that will try to kill you, rather than necessarily their inhabitants (though there is that too... And yes, Undeads and Robots are only some of the threats you can encounter ;-))

For the interested, you can find it HERE!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Why, hello there sir! The zeppelin to London? Certainly, right this way sir.

It'll leave from platform 3 in just half an hour. In the meantime, would you perhaps like to peruse the latest Steam-Power: Illustrated Catalogue and Guide? Very well, if you find anything in there that catches your fancy, please don't hesitate to let the personnel know.

D20pfsrd.com Publishing proudly presents our latest Steam release, for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game! Written by John Reyst himself, we hope you'll enjoy this look into the exciting world of Steam!

It can be found on the Open Gaming Store HERE!

And on Drivethrurpg HERE!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

A Knight is sworn to valor. His heart know only virtue.

Not these fellows.

Today d20pfsrd.com publishing is proud to present another book in the Blood & Steel range, this time focusing on the Cavalier, and written by Leon Conliff with cover art by William Timmins.

You can find it on the Open Gaming Store HERE
Or on drivethrurpg HERE

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Trying to break it to that special player, but those rings are just TOO expensive? Or perhaps the GM in your life just thinks that you're too low level for a "ring-type" commitment? Well, GOOD NEWS! We have you covered!

D20pfsrd.com Publising is proud to present its latest offering, written by Mark Thomas and with layout by Matt Thomason: Affordable Arcana - Magic Rings.

Available now on the Open Gaming Store HERE!

and on DriveThruRPG HERE!

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

The final touches have just been put on the Astonishing Races: Aasimar, written by yours truly.
So if you need something for your angelic characters, you can now find it HERE!

So I was reading the article on geekdad about the Drift and Drift beacons, and I can't seem to find the information on where these are actually located. They're described as being navigational buoys, which are traditionally at sea, but does this mean they're in orbit around the planet? Around the star system? Or could they be on the planet itself?

Anyone happen to have come across more information?

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Starjammer is now available as a POD option.

You can find it on Drivethrurpg HERE or on the Open Gaming Store HERE

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Hey folks,

I've got 1 or more openings for a special gig at D20PFSRD publishing, if anyone is interested.
Specifically we're looking for a few people who can help us get ready for the launch of Starfinder, by converting already existing Starjammer material over to Starfinder. From what I can see, the actual work shouldn't be too bad, but we have a number of books either out already or coming out soon.

If anyone is interested, you can drop me a mail at curtisin@gmail.com - please note that we WILL need to confirm your NDA, so having a copy of that along with the email will help greatly.
(and of course, you'll receive free copies of both the starjammer and the starfinder converted stuff, along with the normal pay ;-) )

Hope to hear from you soon. :)


RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

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For those who haven't seen it yet, Fat Goblin Games have a sale on a bunch of their stuff. Find it HERE

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

My blogpost on Illusion magic is now up on the Fat Goblin Games website: Fat Goblin Games

Hope people enjoy it. :)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Curtisin

"The old cabin in the woods?"
"Yeah, I heard there's a cult there, led by that mad preacher."
"Nah, it's ghosts causing those lights. Remember those murders, you know, from way back?”
"You're all wrong, you hear?! It's witchcraft! Those hags and their thralls!"

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka Curtisin

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Brass Helmsman
Aura moderate conjuration; CL 5th
Slot -; Price 60,000 gp; Weight 2 lbs.
A brass helmsman is a small brass figurine in the shape of a sailor holding a compass, standing approximately 4 inches tall. When placed on the deck of a ship and the command word is spoken, the brass helmsman grows to 6 feet and takes its place at the tiller or rudder of the ship. When used in this manner on a folding boat however, the brass helmsman becomes the figurehead of the ship instead.
When placed on the deck of a normal ship and activated, ghostly figures take the place of members of the crew, reducing the crew requirements by 1/4 (though never below 1) and increasing speed of the vehicle by 1/4, as well as steering and navigating the ship to the best of its ability (rank 10 profession (sailor) and knowledge (geography)).
When placed on the deck of a folding boat, the effect is far more substantial. It increases the size of the folding boat versions (the small version of the folding boat becomes a row boat while the larger version becomes a sloop (see row boat and sailing ship, page 185 of Ultimate Combat). The helmsman will still increase the speed by ¼, but a crew is no longer required as ghostly figures take over.
As the brass helmsman becomes a part of the vehicle on which it is used, it has no separate hit points or AC. It will only accept spoken commands in Common (but does not speak).
Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, phantom driver, know direction, creator must have at least 2 ranks of Craft (blacksmithing) and at least 10 ranks in profession (sailor) and knowledge (geography); Cost 30,000 gp

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Modifications to the adventure as written.

Right, this is a list of the things that I'll be modding as I don't think they make sense in the course of the adventure.

NOTE: My players claim to like an investigation, and they (being new players to the group) need a bit of time to get to know each other, as this will be their first gaming night together, so I am planning on keeping that bit in.

Spoilers to Part 1:

1) - Inclement weather. Weather will be played up, and players will experience some unusal weather patterns, both to cover the orc horde's advance (using fog) and to foreshadow the Storm Tyrant himself. In this case, he will know of Grenseldek's plan to become his queen, and while he may not be interested in her, he is still interested in Agrimmosh. - They might find a dead orc or hill giant courier in his castle once they get there.

2) - Liquid blade for the Freedom Town rogues is getting removed. There is no particular reason for them to use such an expensive blade for an attack of this sort. The point of Liquid Blades, to me, seems to be to leave no trace of the murder weapon. In this case, in a city where everyone carries weapons, it doesn't seem like much of a stretch for them to be able to carry their Short Swords openly. (And on a gameplay related note, the statistics are the same, you just don't have to worry about the short sword being fragile.

3) - Plague house - Area H3 - For players there will be a spattering of blood from where one of the orc assassins died to the Giant Centipedes. A perception check 20 will show it to them, as the orcs made some effort to remove the blood (the corpse was devoured).

4) - Plague house - Area H5 - Will have a fireplace added to it, if the fire is lit within 5 rounds, the Giant Spider stays away. That's how Rodrik and Brinya never got to encounter it. Assassins happened to note the spider as they were sneaking through the area, so stay away from here. If the fire isn't lit, the spider attacks as normal, and the PCs get the normal perception check. (how did that thing move in, seeing as it's only been a day or two since Rodrik's death and only a few weeks at best since Rodrik and Brinya were last here?)

5) - Plague house - Area H6 - Spiders will be removed. Instead 2 guards will be present. Same stats as the assassin from Freedom Town. The orcs have Darkvision, so likely wouldn't have been using torches to get through the area. In this case, they killed the spiders.

More to come, when I have time to do Part 2

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

I expect to run into a bit of a problem with representing and explaining the various shiptypes in our game, due to simple language barriers (we've got 2 germans, 1 dane and 3 english people playing).

In order to alleviate the problem, I figured that pictures of the various ship types would be handy, but everything I've found so far isn't very good.

Has anyone come across any books or websites where you can easily see the various ship types (From Sloop and Barque to Dromonds and Man O' Wars)?

Thanks for the help folks. :)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

I may have just missed this, as I've just read through the adventure once, but apart from the stuff in the rear of the book, I didn't notice any hints as to what the rumoured treasures might be, or what they contain. Did I miss something, or is this either in one of the upcoming books, or am I to fill in the blanks myself?

Any thoughts and ideas would be appreciated. :)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

I've been reading through Spires of Xin-Shalast this weekend, as my group is coming up on it, and while I like the whole Vekker storyline in the beginning, I don't think it's something for my group. (Knowing them, they'll blow the place apart, from afar).

While I might just run that part for them anyways, since it's part of the storyline, there's something I do want to add.
I want to flesh out Xin-Shalast itself some more, as the encounters in the city proper seem a bit thinly spread, for a place that's gathering an army, and where someone as powerful as the Runelord is destined to come back, and it seems like abit of a let-down.

Have any of you guys out there added any encounters there, and if so, which ones?
(Personally I'm thinking of stealing the encounter with the Nosferatu from Curse of the Crimson Throne (as we won't be doing that Adventure Path) and maybe some Drow Fleshwarpers from Second Darkness).

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

We've been having a small discussion about the Dodge feat.

So far we've played it that you have to declare which opponent it is being used on, though we allow interpretations such as "the first guy to hit me".

Recently the question came up about the description though, and if we're reading it right:
Dodge feat (sorry only been able to find it on the online resource as I haven't got my book handy) reads "Your training and reflexes allow you to react swiftly to avoid an opponents' attacks."

So my question is, does the +1 AC apply to all opponents, or just one opponent?

Thanks for the help. :)

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

Now with the correct link instead:

http://paizo.com/paizo/messageboards/paizoPublishing/pathfinder/adventurePa th/runelords/questionAboutTreasureInRotR

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

I'm looking to start the Rise of the Runelords adventure path for my group next week, and I'm just rereading through the adventures before the start of the game. However, I noticed something missing (might just be an oversight on my part mind you), which is this:

How am I supposed to lure the players into the Catacombs? I know it's not essential for the story, but I didn't see anywhere that the players got the hint that they could head down there as well.

Anyone able to correct me, or tell me how they got their players down there?

Thanks in advance. :)