I'm creating a campaign setting which entails heroes from the Pathfinder multiverse interacting with us mere magic deprived humans and other creatures of Earth, the mundane. My aim is to keep the Pathfinder rules as they are and add another layer called mortal hits that will allow for a more deadly treatment of damage, especially against mundanes who don't have access to magic. The normal Pathfinder dying rules are still used, but if you survive then that is when a mortal hit kicks in and it could kill you in the next hour or so. This is a work in progress and I will share once I am done.
While writing the rules I have contemplated what it means to be a hero in Pathfinder and compared that to our real world expectations. I thought this distinction was important enough that it will form part of my introduction to the campaign setting.
Coming up with a name for this was challenging. First thing that came to mind was the Force, but that didn't feel right and brought up visions of Jedi Knights and their glowing swords. So I ended up calling it the Weave, in my mind I imagine magical energy flowing around which is used not only by spellcasters but other classes to perform their heroic actions. I think the Weave fits my concept but I'm open to suggestions.
Unlike most mundane creatures on Earth, the rest of the multiverse thrives on magic. It permeates everywhere and every being. It makes the mundane impossible possible. It is the catalyst of miracles and legends. On mundane Earth, mundane heroes exist, but their heroics are due to courage and tenacity rather than ability, which pales in comparison to magically attuned heroes.
Many of the heroic stories in movies and novels originating from Earth embellish the heroes with amazing abilities. The funny thing is, even though most mundanes would just write these off as make believe, the reality is that out there in the multiverse, many such heroes exist, and represent the norm rather than the extraordinary. Truth be told, it isn't just heroes that rely on magic, but all non-mundane creatures do as well.
In combat, non-mundane creatures duck and weave, uncannily anticipating attacks using their combat honed senses. In other hazardous situations they instinctively manoeuvre and carry out split second actions to reduce the damage they receive. This can be associated to their attunement to the environment, to their surroundings and to their inner being through a subliminal magical life force, a sixth sense, we can refer to as the Weave. The Weave has many other names in various cultures such as the Sight, Ki, the Force, Life Current amongst others.
The Weave is a mysterious magical field created by life that exists throughout the multiverse and allows creatures to subconsciously anticipate and be warned of events before they happen. It also allows creatures to perform extraordinary actions. As they gain experience, their connection to the Weave increases. This is reflected in various characteristics such as attributes, Armor Class, Hit Points and level.
When creatures are hit, it is their connection to the Weave that subconsciously compels them to instinctively dodge, turning that mortal wound into a graze. When they fall a great height, the Weave manoeuvres them instinctively turning that bone shattering death into bruising. Hit Points do not just represent an abstraction of the physical wellbeing of a creature's body, they also represent the Weave that is available to a creature. Therefore, as a creature increases in level, the Hit Points they gain are mostly due to the Weave. The Weave also contributes to other characteristics such as an increase in their attributes, for example, allowing a slender built individual to perform acts of strength far surpassing what would normally be expected. It is the Weave that makes the mundane impossible possible.