Greetings all and sundry! This is Mikhail Rekun, your humble author and writer of the capstone section. A great big thank you to Eleanor and Luis for tossing this my way - it was fun to really stretch my wings with high-power, high-level stuff.
A few miscellaneous notes and comments below. Standard disclaimer, this is me in my civilian hat, and is no way, shape, or form official.
1) My balance guideline was 1 capstone = 4 feats, leaning towards more powerful and dramatic effects out of the principle of ending the campaign, and the edition, with a bang.
2) I dearly, dearly wanted to call the Wizard capstone 'Schrodinger's Wizard', but this would have been too meta. The thought, however, is there.
3) My own personal favorite capstones are 'The Boss', 'With This Sword' and 'Won't Stay Dead,' for their ability to spark new stories or roleplaying moments ("How did you survive that broken neck?" "Special trousers.") Arch-Familiar gets an honorable mention because I love familiars.
Finally, I note that the narrator of this section, Kallixeina Nyx, is a character from my Planescape campaign, and is the sister of Kharmione Nyx from the Half-Dead article intro in AP 139: The Dead Roads. You can see what Kalli looks like here.
Hope everyone liked the capstones!
Greetings to all and sundry! This is Mikhail Rekun, and I wrote one of the monsters at the end of this AP -- the Gurgist, everyone's favorite terrifying masked horror who isn't really that bad.
As ever, a massive thank you to Ron Lundeen for sending this my way, along with big bunches of ideas to ponder. And likewise, what follows are some random comments that are not in any way official.
Stylistically, the Gurgist grew out of thinking about hungers, while trying to avoid the usual zombie tropes (nothing wrong with those, but we were aiming at more than just 'cannibal humans'). So, I was thinking about hunger as a central theme, and addiction, and I was reading Discworld, and a little light bulb went up above my head. For those sorry souls among you who have not read Sir Terry's Discworld series, vampires there often become teetotalers, displacing their addiction to blood for something else.
Now, in Sir Terry's books, this is mostly played for laughs. So I started thinking of how to make it creepy (leading to the obsession skills). And then one of my friends showed me something that involved masks, and a second light bulb went on. Creepy masks! Masks make everything creepy! (My players are now rolling their eyes a bit). Maybe not the most original idea in the history of gaming (creepy masked dead things are a thing), but hey, it works.
Fun fact: As often neutral critters, they can also be creepy-cool allies.
So, this is where the Gurgist came from. I'm rather proud of them, and I'm really proud of the artwork that came with them. Seriously, it's amazing.
Mechanically, Gurgists are slow-moving rogues. They have the zombie vibe, and then they rush up to you and sneak attack you (ideally, they're fighting in groups and set up flanks). Whereupon they are zombies dual-wielding daggers and hitting you for way too much damage.
Hope folks enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them, and with luck a few PCs will get to go 'urk' at being stabbed repeatedly.
Hello everyone! This is Mikhail Rekun, I wrote the Half-Dead article at the back. I just want to say a very big thank you to Ron for giving me the chance to write about this -- various creepy dead things are absolutely in my wheelhouse.
Some miscellaneous comments on things in the article not immediately obvious: (For the record, this is me in my civilian hat, and is in no way, shape, or form official).
1) The Dhampir's Blasphemous Chalice is inspired by Brian Lumley's Necroscope series, with its alien vampires.
2) The Suit of Inverted Jade is based on a real-world thing, the jade burial suits of Han Dynasty China. I had the privilege of seeing one at the National Museum of Beijing roughly at the same time as Ron first messaging me about this article, so it was meant to be (you can find more on them here).
3) The weapons from the Vanth's Scythe feat are meant to match the weapons of the psychopomps -- scythe for vanths, quarterstaves for shoki, whips for the morrigna, and bows for olethros.
4) The Shabti feats are all named after actual Egyptian titles, with the exception of First General. But the others are all real things.
Finally, as a tiny bit of trivia, Kharmione Nyx, the hustler from the article introduction, is a character in a Planescape game I have run. You can see what she looks like here.
That's all! Hope everyone liked the article.
Greetings all and sundry! Mikhail Rekun here, I wrote the familiar and animal companion sections. I might have made some manner of feral sound when Luis offered me a chance to write it.
I'm glad to see people like those sections so far. Some random thoughts, keeping in mind that this is me in my 'Private Citizen' hat and I don't actually have my copy yet.