Kobold Quarterly 18

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Kobold Quarterly issue #18 is our big pre-Gen Con summer issue, fully 100 pages! It’s like a kobold beach party ice chest, but instead of being packed with gnome jerky, KQ #18 has savants, cavaliers, beast masters and dragon hunters for Pathfinder RPG; official Divine Gifts for AGE System from Green Ronin; minotaur ecology for 4th Edition D&D; and three new adventures!

Characters powered with divine magic are common in fantasy RPGs. Rather than treat them as a divine magic-using class, Green Ronin designer Steve Kenson introduces the official Divine Gift talent for AGE System.

With 3 adventures this issue, “The Exorcist” for Pathfinder RPG brings us a desperate plan to raise legendary heroes from the dead doesn’t go quite right. “Silus and the Red Dogs” is a modern update of the choose-your-own adventure books, with a fun solo adventure for a halfling thief. Finally, “Who Watches the Watch Fires?” is a 4th Edition D&D race against time to alert a sleeping city!

What else? So much more!

  • New and variant characters: savants, cavaliers, dragon hunters and beast masters for Pathfinder RPG
  • Synergistic magic for Pathfinder RPG
  • 10 reasons why your characters should be in jail
  • Heroic flaws
  • Feats and auras for dragon lairs for Pathfinder RPG
  • Creating great mysteries in RPGs
  • Ecology of the Minotaur
  • Siege weaponry for 4th Edition D&D
  • Soul brokers for 4th Edition D&D
  • Monte Cook on explaining the inexplicable, and much more!

Pick up Kobold Quarterly #18 today!

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An astounding variety of Good Stuff

*****

At 100 pages in length, this issue ties with issue 14 for being the Biggest Kobold Yet. (Note: Because I have the pdf version, I’m going by the pdf page count. As I’m sure you already know, the pdf format assigns page numbers to everything including the front and back covers, so the count of “interior pages” is just short of 100.)

As long as we’re talking about length and page count, I should mention that the first five of this issue’s twenty-one articles are quite robust, averaging about six pages each. The remaining sixteen articles average out to about three pages each.

All three of the main FRPG rule sets (Pathfinder, 4th Edition, and Dragon Age), are covered in this issue, and there are some system-neutral articles as well, so there is something for everyone. Of course, well-written articles are always a source of inspiration even if they are not for “your” rules, so pretty much everything in this issue is useful regardless of which FRPG you play.

Before discussing individual articles, lets talk about the artwork. Ever since reading the beautifully-illustrated Book of Drakes, I’ve been paying more attention to the artwork in KQ publications, even going back to take a fresh look at past issues. Aside from “obvious” artwork like the front cover, every single article is accompanied by at least a little bit of art. Some articles have beautiful full-color illustrations, and some have only simple woodcut-style drawings. All of it has been carefully chosen to match the article’s subject matter. The indicia (pdf page 8, hardcopy page 6) lists Callie Winters as this issue’s Graphic Designer, which I assume means she was in charge of the artwork. She is doing an outstanding job. Older issues list Crystal Frasier in this position, and her work was every bit as notable.

With twenty-one articles, there are just too many to give each one its own individual discussion. So here are highlights for just five of them:

“Gifts of the Gods”, written for the Dragon Age rules, describes ways for deities to reward faithful followers with special talents. This article points out that characters other than clerics can be faithful, and supports that statement by providing talents which can benefit the Mage, Rogue, and Warrior classes in addition to the cleric. Novice, Journeyman, and Master level talents are provided for each of fifteen divine domains, for a total of forty-five different talents!

“Silus and the Red Dogs” is an adventure for both Pathfinder and 4E, written in a novel and rarely-seen format. It is a solo adventure, in the style of the “Choose Your Own Path” books. You don’t need a DM to run this adventure for you; this one is for players only!

“The Exorcists” is an adventure written for four 1st level Pathfinder PC’s. Intended as a campaign starter, it gives the PC’s a reason to all be in the same place at the same time, and to work together even though they are total strangers to each other. It presents the characters with danger, action, meaningful skill challenges, and at one point it even has a “ticking clock” (a difficult task which much be accomplished within a limited amount of time). There are a number of ways for the characters to achieve victory, but some ways are better than others. If they do everything right they will come out of this adventure alive, with some magic items, several mysteries yet to solve, and a very notable NPC ally who owes them a serious favor. Not a bad way to start an adventuring career.

“Elementary, My Dear Wizard” is listed as being for 4th Edition but it does not actually use any 4E rules. In fact, it is completely system neutral. This article gives good solid instruction on how to set up a crime mystery for your group to solve. It is very well thought out, addresses the issues raised by the use of magic, and is filled with practical step-by-step advice. If you are looking for a way to custom-build the occasional town adventure for your group, this is it for sure!

“Beast Masters” takes a completely new approach to an old problem. Ever since 1982, the year that Andre Norton’s novel “Beastmaster” was turned into a movie, people have been trying to figure out how to create a Beastmaster character class. Some attempts were better than others, but even the best of them didn’t work very well. The problem is that it’s really difficult to build an entire class around one single power. It was like trying to build a spellcasting class around one single spell. However, Marc Radle has solved the problem! The answer is not to make an entire class, but to make a special Beast Leadership Feat instead. The Beast Leadership feat is very detailed and well thought out, allowing multiple ways to make your character a Lord of the Wild Things. I guarantee, with this feat you can make a very credible Andre Norton style Beastmaster.

The other sixteen articles are: “The Savant”, “Ecology of the Minotaur”, “The Dragon Hunter”, “Tools of War: Siege Weaponry”, “Soul Broker”, “Synergistic Magic”, “Explaining the Inexplicable”, “Battle Wizards & Sword Maidens”, “Ten Reasons Why Your Character Should Be In Jail”, “Into the Lair”, “The Heroic Flaw”, “Who Watches the Watch Fires”, “Cavaliers of Flame and Fury”, “Wing, Scale and Claws”, plus the regular columns “Ask the Kobold” and “Book Reviews”.


The Kobold King of Quarterlies

*****

Kobold Quarterly keeps getting better and better. It has something for everyone, whether you are a game master or player, or run adventures using the 4th Edition of D&D, Pathfinder Roleplaying Game or the AGE system. Even if you only run games in a single rules system, the others are chalk full of ideas the resourceful GM can snag. Add to this gorgeous art and maps and KQ’s standard articles and you have a magazine that fills the need for a multi-system periodical. From the Pathfinder compatible articles on new classes, class options and adventures to the 4th Edition compatible articles and AGE system compatible articles as well as system neutral articles this is a treasure trove of ideas.

An article written my Monte Cook, “Explaining the Inexplicable”, stands out as worthy advice with regards to creating verisimilitude within the context of the fantasy or other genre game a particular game master wishes to run. It is also worthy advice to some players who like to bicker with their game masters on such topics.

My hands-down favorite article is “10 Reasons Why Your Characters Should Be in Jail” by Russell Jones. This is a set of helpful suggestions for a Game Master that is entirely rules-free. You can apply the ideas within regardless of what system, time setting or other game specific genre you play. For the historically-minded, there is a paragraph on the divisions of Roman law, from which medieval law was based. It is interesting and encourages culture fanatics such as myself to research more on this topic. While traditional campaigns tend to mimic medieval settings, some might want more variation. I am hoping that future articles of KQ will delve into various systems of law throughout history and perhaps extrapolate beyond this for fantastical settings, Midgard particularly.

I also like how you can make use of a particular article whether or not you use the particular system it may be written to serve. For example, “The Heroic Flaw” by Philippe-Antoine Menard has relatively rules-light suggestions for character flaws and traits that could be used for players to refine their role playing ability more so than simply a Trait Point rules mechanic.

My favorite Pathfinder rules supplement specific article is “Synergistic Magic: combining Spells for Twice the Power” by Phillip Larwood. This article includes so-called Synergistic Feats, one of which is a teamwork feat and is also compatible with the Pathfinder RPG Advanced Player’s Guide as well as the Core rules. These feats utilize the fairly standard but easy to achieve prerequisites that are common for most of the Pathfinder Metamagic Feats. I may quibble with the level at which these may be gained for my own home campaign, but the ideas are solid and provide players and game masters ways to individualize spell caster abilities. In addition to the feats are a series of very useful examples of spells created with these feats.

Whether you want articles for use in your own campaigns or to simply read the latest article written by your favorite author, KQ is a nice supplement to have. The number of articles is stunning and the quality of such is always high. And every time I look, it grows in size. I have to admit I don’t have every copy, only a few select magazines that contained articles I really wanted to read. So I can say that this magazine started out good and continues to get better.

I can't rate this at less than 5 stars. This periodical does everything it sets out to accomplish with panache and artistry.


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Contributor

Now available!

Liberty's Edge

Oooh, shiney.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Already got mine. Dern thing is huge.

Dark Archive

Dled it but haven't even unzipped it yet to look at it. But will soon.

Dark Archive Contributor

I hear this issue has a must-read introduction to Asian fantasy and action movies perfect for those who're gearing up for a Tian Xia campaign.

There could even be an early review of Master of Devils, too.

Paizo Employee Managing Developer

Also, now with 100% more Spear Lady!


Is that a Yellow Chromatic Dragon on the cover? If so, will yellow chromatic dragons be stated in this issue?


I was going to ask myself what that red dragon was about to pwn.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Is the mod included in the magazine a new "Pathfinder Quest" scenario?

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Grabbed the wrong DVD this morning. *cries*

Contributor

Tarrintino wrote:
Is the mod included in the magazine a new "Pathfinder Quest" scenario?

It is not.

The Exchange Kobold Press

However, there is a Pathfinder adventure written by Tim Connors, which is truly truly excellent. It's called "The Exorcists".

There's also a solo/no-GM-required adventure for Pathfinder.

Liberty's Edge

Just got done looking through the PDF - wow! There's TONS of great stuff in this issue!

If I had to pick a favorite article though, I think it would have to be Beast Masters - Why Should Humanoids Have All the Fun?

I don't know why ... call me crazy I guess :)

Dark Archive

Marc Radle wrote:

Just got done looking through the PDF - wow! There's TONS of great stuff in this issue!

If I had to pick a favorite article though, I think it would have to be Beast Masters - Why Should Humanoids Have All the Fun?

I don't know why ... call me crazy I guess :)

Yeah I really liked that one too.

The Exchange Kobold Press

Hey, I see what you did there Marc!

Berselius, I think a submission of a yellow chromatic dragon to KQ or the KQ blog would get some attention from an editor.

The Exchange Kobold Press

Further thought on KQ18: Would love to hear a report from the first person to spot it in the wild at the FLGS.


It was a blast to contribute to this issue. Thanks for the opportunity Wolfgang, here's to many more.

I'm glad I got to articulate something that's been gnawing at me for the last 2 years following a discussion with Burning Wheel's Luke Crane: How can you add incentive/rewards to encourage players to inject deep set beliefs, restraints, fears and compulsions in their decision making... often at the cost of making suboptimal tactical choices.

While my piece (The Heroic Flaw) was written for 4e, Pathfinder fans can totally hack the reward system to make Trait Points grant SRD compatible bonuses.

I hope you enjoy the whole mag!

Liberty's Edge

The savant was developped over six months and several redrafts. I think it turned out really well, but I`d love to hear what others think. In particular anyone who rolls one up.


Ryan. Costello wrote:
The savant was developed over six months and several redrafts. I think it turned out really well, but I`d love to hear what others think. In particular anyone who rolls one up.

The savant article was my favorite article of the issue, and that's saying something, since there were so many good ones! I especially like that you managed to leverage time-tested mechanics from other classes--rules that players are already familiar with--as the mechanics behind fresh flavor, like the savant's notebook of knacks. Masterful.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Wolfgang Baur wrote:
Further thought on KQ18: Would love to hear a report from the first person to spot it in the wild at the FLGS.

I don't get out to the stores much (lack of funds + credit card + lack of self control = good reason not to) but both Ravenstone and Guardtower have been carrying it. I had to get a copy of 16 from Ravenstone because Guardtower was sold out. (Sent copies to my parents.)

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

I do want to say, despite the 4e content*, This was a wonderful issue all around.

Now that I understand the Dragon Age system, the faith traits were excellent, and really help make the system more diverse.

The solo adventure was a great bit of nostalgia for someone who grew up with 'choose your own adventure' books. If I could be sure the 5 and 7 year old godkids wouldn't destroy my magazine, I could see letting them play the adventure (with parental help for the big words)

The cartoons as always were excellent. The d20 monkey made me laugh out loud.

10 reasons was nice for campaign building.

The Exorcists wins just for this line: "Instead of resurrecting four
legendary heroes, the brothers resurrect four guys from accounting."

I'm still digesting synergistic magic.

*

Spoiler:
Yes I'm kidding about the 4e content. I don't use it, but since I can't even finish my own pet projects, let alone submit anything, I can't complain. Though the Minotaur article doesn't mention it's 4e until the third page. The ecology is excellent, I was just confused reading the boons and going 'what the hell?' then saw it was 4e. Still wonderful fluff.


Wolfgang Baur wrote:
However, there is a Pathfinder adventure written by Tim Connors, which is truly truly excellent. It's called "The Exorcists".

Aww shucks!

This may be the craziest adventure I've ever written. With a possessed gold dragon, an evil artifact, cursed items, and Rip Van Winkle 1st level PCs, maybe I should have titled it: "OMG We're all going to die".

Liberty's Edge

I'm curious to hear what folks think of the Beast Masters: Why Should Humanoids Have All The Fun? article ...

I know the guy that wrote it :)


Marc Radle wrote:

I'm curious to hear what folks think of the Beast Masters: Why Should Humanoids Have All The Fun? article ...

I know the guy that wrote it :)

I liked it quite a lot. This is the first time in thirty years that I've seen a viable, playable version of the character type from the movie. Making it a feat instead of trying to build an entire twenty-level base class around it was pure genius!


Hi

I have KQ18 and really enjoyed it. i particularly liked the PFRPG aspects with new options such as savant and beast masters.

If I may i would like to clarify a couple of things with Marc and Ryan on their work:

1) To Marc-----

When you choose an extra animal companion, is the animal companion level = the level value on the magical beast cohort level ie the second companion will always be 2 levels behind if you max your beast leadership score? this is how i would read this so as to reward those who put effort into putting up their beast score.

2) To Ryan-----

i) Notebook - it says the notebook lasts the entire career and says all the knacks etc take up very few pages. There are no rules on how many pages putting other knacks in the notebook it takes. I can understand this if it is not that relevant, but a point is made on that expanding it costs same as wizard spellbook. Also you mentioned there is no real limit on trades you create using the knacks - just your imagination. How much room do all these take up? Should their be limit based on pages in the notebook?

The reason i ask this as at the moment i do not see the point of the feat extra notes. I may have missed something fundemental but clarification would be great:)

ii) Does a savant automatically recognise something being done to put in his notebook? ie if he sees a sorceror casting fireball does he have to make any skill check, or as long as he writes it in within the hour for his one entry that day, gets that knack?

iii) I presume being able to enhance 3 abilities by +4 at level 1 is deliberate using the 3 knacks?

iv) in the feats with supernatural knack, what supernatural abilities could you gain as examples? Are these class ones or can you get monster ones? Presumably this would not include breath weapon of a dragon? If you emulated the supernatural effects of a bards magical performance, how may rounds would you get per trade and i suppose by extension, would a rage last the entire trade time with appropriate fatigue etc after?

Sorry for asking these clarifications but i really like the class. If i am ever going to get a GM to let me play it i want to prepare ahead any issues.

Cheers to both

Liberty's Edge

Johncolossus wrote:

Hi

I have KQ18 and really enjoyed it. i particularly liked the PFRPG aspects with new options such as savant and beast masters.

If I may i would like to clarify a couple of things with Marc and Ryan on their work:

1) To Marc-----

When you choose an extra animal companion, is the animal companion level = the level value on the magical beast cohort level ie the second companion will always be 2 levels behind if you max your beast leadership score? this is how i would read this so as to reward those who put effort into putting up their beast score.

Really glad you like the Beast Masters article!

I've included the important text (and bolded the REALLY important parts :)

Additional Animal Companion:
If you already have an animal companion, you may opt to gain a second animal companion instead of a magical beast cohort. This additional animal companion follows all of the animal companion rules.

So, if you opt for a second animal companion, you get it instead of the beast cohort. You would not use your Beast Leadership score to determine level, you would determine it as you do for your first animal companion (they would be the same 'level', in other words)

You would still use your Beast Leadership score to figure out how many, and what HD, all of you normal animal followers would be however.

Does that help?


Marc Radle wrote:
Johncolossus wrote:

Hi

I have KQ18 and really enjoyed it. i particularly liked the PFRPG aspects with new options such as savant and beast masters.

If I may i would like to clarify a couple of things with Marc and Ryan on their work:

1) To Marc-----

When you choose an extra animal companion, is the animal companion level = the level value on the magical beast cohort level ie the second companion will always be 2 levels behind if you max your beast leadership score? this is how i would read this so as to reward those who put effort into putting up their beast score.

Really glad you like the Beast Masters article!

I've included the important text (and bolded the REALLY important parts :)

Additional Animal Companion:
If you already have an animal companion, you may opt to gain a second animal companion instead of a magical beast cohort. This additional animal companion follows all of the animal companion rules.

So, if you opt for a second animal companion, you get it instead of the beast cohort. You would not use your Beast Leadership score to determine level, you would determine it as you do for your first animal companion (they would be the same 'level', in other words)

You would still use your Beast Leadership score to figure out how many, and what HD, all of you normal animal followers would be however.

Does that help?

Thanks Marc

That helps...seems quite powerful feat to get a whole new animal companion at same power as first. However, then again i know a number of people worry about the power of leadership in itself. If i played a druid there is no way i would not get the feat (barring GM approval).

In playtesting how did you find it? Did you try perhaps limiting the second companion to char level -2 at all?

I do like the flavour very much though, esp with the animal retinue you get:)

Cheers

Liberty's Edge

Johncolossus wrote:


Sorry for asking these clarifications but i really like the class. If i am ever going to get a GM to let me play it i want to prepare ahead any issues.

Not at all. The savant is a robust class and there are bound to be areas that could be clarified.

Johncolossus wrote:


i) Notebook - it says the notebook lasts the entire career and says all the knacks etc take up very few pages. There are no rules on how many pages putting other knacks in the notebook it takes. I can understand this if it is not that relevant, but a point is made on that expanding it costs same as wizard spellbook. Also you mentioned there is no real limit on trades you create using the knacks - just your imagination. How much room do all these take up? Should their be limit based on pages in the notebook?

The reason i ask this as at the moment i do not see the point of the feat extra notes. I may have missed something fundemental but clarification would be great:)

I don’t want to sound like I’m passing the buck but parts of the notebook class feature were added during editing. Some, like the paragraph on dealing with a lost or destroyed notebook, were invaluable to the functionality and play of the class. The line about expanding the notebook was added after submission so unfortunately I’m not sure of its intention. I agree that it seems to contradict the later rule about one notebook being enough for a savant’s entire career. Unless I hear otherwise, I assume the rules for expanding the notebook are there in case it comes up, but in most cases one notebook is enough.

The extra notes feat is invaluable in a low fantasy campaign. If the PCs are the most exciting thing in the world, a savant might find himself starved for knack-worthy notes. Also, if you have a specific trade or avatar of legend in mind, instead of waiting to experience the knack you need, you can take the feet and add 6 notes of your choice.

Johncolossus wrote:


ii) Does a savant automatically recognise something being done to put in his notebook? ie if he sees a sorceror casting fireball does he have to make any skill check, or as long as he writes it in within the hour for his one entry that day, gets that knack?

The latter. He may not know he saw a fireball, but he knows he saw the sorcerer wave his hands like so, heard him say suchandsuch, and boom, there was fire. He does have to have witnesses it, though. If an invisible creature slips past a savant unnoticed, the savant can’t note invisibility. I would rule this disqualifies silent and still spells as well, but that is a discretionary ruling on my part.

Johncolossus wrote:


iii) I presume being able to enhance 3 abilities by +4 at level 1 is deliberate using the 3 knacks?

It can be done. Doesn’t sound like the most effective use of your knacks, but there’s nothing in the rules stopping you.

Johncolossus wrote:


iv) in the feats with supernatural knack, what supernatural abilities could you gain as examples? Are these class ones or can you get monster ones? Presumably this would not include breath weapon of a dragon? If you emulated the supernatural effects of a bards magical performance, how may rounds would you get per trade and i suppose by extension, would a rage last the entire trade time with appropriate fatigue etc after?

This one I take full responsibility for. I should have included a rule to let you know that when embodying an extraordinary or supernatural knack, treat your savant level as the class level of the class from which you learned the knack. So a savant 5 could inspire courage for 12 + his Cha modifier rounds per day. This resets whenever he embodies a new trade.

I originally intended for savants to only learn the extraordinary and supernatural abilities of other classes, but in many ways I’m glad I was not so specific in the rules. The class becomes that much more exciting and versatile if it can embody monster abilities. However, that gets trickier. Breath weapon is a great example. Dragons can breathe the energy they are immune to. If a savant embodies a breath weapon, does he burn his own face off when he uses it? Could he learn to embody immunity to an energy? I think that’s too big a can of worms to open. I would rule that a savant can only embody extraordinary and supernatural class features. If you trust your player not to abuse the privilege, maybe loosen up that ruling a bit.

Thanks for the questions!


Hey guys,

This issue sees my first ever published D&D article! It's great to have my work as part of such a great issue.

My article is called Elementary, My Dear Wizard and looks at running murder mystery scenarios in D&D. Even though it was designed with 4E in mind it really seems easily portable to other systems. In hindsight I probably should have written it as completely system neutral, but I didn't feel familiar enough with Pathfinder or Dragon Age to do that.

Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy the article or if not, then I hope you at least enjoy the issue as it is packed full with cool stuff!

Cheers,

Paul


Hi Ryan

Thanks for the clarifications. They really help. As i mentioned i am a fan of this class....just really appeals to me. It seems as if it is the PFRPG successor to the Factotum or Chameleon from 3.5!

Now i get what the feat meant about extra notes! I had read it as extra notes to be added to a book (ie the extra sheets as you would buy for a spellbook). I think the terminology confused me. Extra knacks without having to wait to view them is actually very useful.

The answer about the supernatural aspects help but i would personally for my games probably limit it to character aspects, as with so many monsters out there you are bound to get some over powered trades esp. when you reach 8 knacks. Obviously learning (su) powers from monsters akin to character powers would still be ok. If a player wanted to really learn some specific monster (su) power I would make an extra feat up to help access and limit abuse. It would allow someone who really wanted to get dragon breath could.

Just one more question if i can.....how often can you use the healing abilities the class gets?

Thanks again

Liberty's Edge

Johncolossus wrote:

Thanks Marc

That helps...seems quite powerful feat to get a whole new animal companion at same power as first. However, then again i know a number of people worry about the power of leadership in itself.

In playtesting how did you find it? Did you try perhaps limiting the second companion to char level -2 at all?

I do like the flavour very much though, esp with the animal retinue you get:)

Cheers

In playtesting, it actually worked vey well. In one playtest, we had a ranger with a wolf animal companion. After taking this feat, he opted for a second animal companion instead of a beast cohort and went with a hawk. Now he has his wolf to aid in combat and his hawk for scouting etc.

In another group, I had a druid character that also opted for the second animal companion. In this case, she had a leopard and went with a tiger for her second. The druid is very much a stay out of melee and cast type of character, so her two big cats are her protectors during combat.

As for balance, having the second companion at the same power level as the first seemed just right. I would say try the feat as written and see what happens. If, after a few sessions, you still feel the second should be reduced in power a little, you can certainly do it (but I really think you'll find that you don't need to :)

Johncolossus wrote:
If i played a druid there is no way i would not get the feat (barring GM approval).

Interestingly enough, in one group, we had a druid that did NOT opt for a second animal companion. He went with a magical beast cohort as detailed in the feat - he picked a giant eagle!


Pobman wrote:

Hey guys,

This issue sees my first ever published D&D article! It's great to have my work as part of such a great issue.

My article is called Elementary, My Dear Wizard and looks at running murder mystery scenarios in D&D. Even though it was designed with 4E in mind it really seems easily portable to other systems. In hindsight I probably should have written it as completely system neutral, but I didn't feel familiar enough with Pathfinder or Dragon Age to do that.

Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy the article or if not, then I hope you at least enjoy the issue as it is packed full with cool stuff!

Cheers,

Paul

Yes, it is absolutely a system-neutral article, useful in any RPG environment. I really liked your step-by-step instructions on setting up a mystery.

One of the really great things about giving players a mystery like this is that they are not tempted to solve it by using their normal kill-things-and-loot-the-corpses approach. Most urban adventures center around stuff like "the mayor is really a doppleganger", or "someone in town is a werewolf", all of which invite the players to use combat as their first step in resolving the issue. That's really no different from a typical dungeon encounter, except the bystanders are wearing nicer clothes. The best urban adventures should (in my opinion) save the violence for the Final Showdown.

The current adventure arc in my campaign should be wrapped up within a few more weeks. On the strength of this article, I'm planning a mystery as their next challenge.

The Exchange Kobold Press

Really happy that Mysteries article is getting good attention. It's really a well-thought-out recipe for GMs to generate their own mysteries with much better odds of success.

And the savant.... Let me just say that Ryan did a great job with it, and it is probably the single most crunch-heavy article KQ has ever done. It went through revisions, playtest, outside review by a PF developer, and even multiple names and some flavor reskinning. The end result is probably the most playable generalist class ever, and clearly for advanced players.

The questions in this thread prove that. I agree it would be worth generating a sample savant NPC. I'll try to remember it for after Gen Con.


I am still waiting for the copies to show up over here in the UK. As one of the play testers for 'Elementary, My Dear Wizard' I need to get my autographed copy.

Liberty's Edge

Wolfgang Baur wrote:
I agree it would be worth generating a sample savant NPC.

DONE! (with thanks to Justin Sluder for the avatars of legend)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

KQ18 was fantastic! I literally forced my fiancée to read the Savant class (and then hid it from the player most likely to want to play it - he's already playing a Bard/Chronicler!)

Ryan. Costello wrote:
Johncolossus wrote:

i do not see the point of the feat extra notes. I may have missed something fundamental but clarification would be great:)

The extra notes feat is invaluable in a low fantasy campaign. If the PCs are the most exciting thing in the world, a savant might find himself starved for knack-worthy notes. Also, if you have a specific trade or avatar of legend in mind, instead of waiting to experience the knack you need, you can take the feet and add 6 notes of your choice.

I was thinking it'd be simple enough to allow skill points to be spent on Notes (1-to-1). Would also make for a good alternate favored class bonus.

Also... Enolctz Zird? *ROTFLMAO*


Saw this at my FLGS 4 hours ago, read the Savant class, and bought it immediately.

A few questions: Why is it 1 week per level to replace one of these? That seems to kill the class if something happens to the book, especially with how hard it is to make backups. Can you even make backups? Can you write knacks you know already in another book? Does this use up your once-per-day limit?

How should starting at higher levels be handled?

Is the advice to only allow class based supernatural abilities still in place? That seems like a huge restriction on their power, and I figured the reason you didn't burn your face off with a breath weapon was because it was Magic.

Why yes, I am probably going to make a savant soon. :D


Regarding starting at higher levels:

I recall that it takes about 20 CR equal encounters to level up. Assuming that's about 3-4 encounters a day, should that mean 5-6 knacks per level when starting at a higher level?

Grand Lodge

Cheapy wrote:

Regarding starting at higher levels:

I recall that it takes about 20 CR equal encounters to level up. Assuming that's about 3-4 encounters a day, should that mean 5-6 knacks per level when starting at a higher level?

I think that's something that'll just have to be discussed with the GM because of feats like Faster Note Taking it would be possible for them to have twice as many per day, and that's not counting any non-combat situations. It doesn't say you have to see something in combat, you could go talk to a rogue about disarming traps and such.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ryan. Costello wrote:
The savant was developped over six months and several redrafts. I think it turned out really well, but I`d love to hear what others think. In particular anyone who rolls one up.

Thanks for what may soon be my favorite class ever... As a someone who has DM'd 2 to 5 times a week for 20 years, I never get much time to play and I really relish the idea of getting to throw around so many concepts with one character.

Also, thanks for leaving Supernatural Knack vague. It allows a ton of interesting possibilities.

But I guess my next question about the class is:

Can a savant take notes from his or her own Avatars of Legend? As fully stat'd characters they are going to have feats and powers the Savant likely won't have seen yet? This in turn makes the Savant more able to channel them when he is using Trades and Knacks... and seems deliberate design but nowhere is it called out either way.


Apexut, I don't recall seeing any limits on where they could take things from.

Something I'm also curious about is the action to concentrate on the avatar of legend. It doesn't explicitly specify, so I assume it uses the standard rules for concentration, which is a standard action. Is that right? I could see how it might be a full round action, as that's what's necessary to summon it.

Liberty's Edge

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Wow, this thread grew when I wasn't looking. Give me a day or two to look back through my savant notes and I'll see if I can answer any questions and address any concerns.


Hey Ryan, any news?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Cheapy wrote:
Hey Ryan, any news?

I think it is pretty clear from "Free Avatar" changing the action to maintain to a move action that if would be a standard up til then. But I suppose in the right game (say one with psi-crystals) and with the right feats, that maintenance could be passed to a familiar or companion allowing the savant more involvement.

Liberty's Edge

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Thanks for all the love you guys have shown the savant, it’s time I show some love back.

Cheapy wrote:
Why is it 1 week per level to replace one of these? That seems to kill the class if something happens to the book, especially with how hard it is to make backups. Can you even make backups? Can you write knacks you know already in another book? Does this use up your once-per-day limit?

Any mention of replacing a destroyed notebook was added by editorial, so I can’t provide any insight into the RAI. I agree asking a player to sit out of a week of game time and accept that his notes are lost is harsh. If you’re looking for a house rule, I would recommend it taking as long to replace as a familiar. I like the idea of creating a backup, but each note would use up your one knack for that day, or possibly change it to one new knack per day, or two backup knacks per day.

Cheapy wrote:
How should starting at higher levels be handled?

I liken it to starting a wizard above level 1. To my knowledge there are no official rules on how to determine a spellbooks’ contents for a wizard starting above level 1, but most GMs have their method. I would adapt that method to the savant as well. If you do not have an existing method or if your existing method does not apply, I recommend a number of additional knacks equal to your savant level x your key ability score modifier. Any skill or weapon knack can be chosen, but only spell and ability knacks he could use if he had a number of levels in the related class equal to his savant level. So a 3rd level savant could not start with a fireball knack in his notebook.

Cheapy wrote:
Is the advice to only allow class based supernatural abilities still in place?

That is my RAI advice, but if you want to make a case, there is no such restriction RAW. I think a savant could use many monster supernatural abilities without breaking the game, especially if it fits a theme or is just plain cool, but opening it up to any monster ability gets dicey.

apexut wrote:
Can a savant take notes from his or her own Avatars of Legend? As fully stat'd characters they are going to have feats and powers the Savant likely won't have seen yet? This in turn makes the Savant more able to channel them when he is using Trades and Knacks... and seems deliberate design but nowhere is it called out either way.

Absolutely. Do you watch House? Every episode he realizes the solution to one problem while telling an unrelated story. The same thing here. In talking about one Avatar of Legend, the savant inspires himself to later greatness.

That metaphor doesn’t work as well as I thought it would...

Cheapy wrote:
Something I'm also curious about is the action to concentrate on the avatar of legend. It doesn't explicitly specify, so I assume it uses the standard rules for concentration, which is a standard action. Is that right? I could see how it might be a full round action, as that's what's necessary to summon it.

Huge gaff on my part leaving that out, sorry guys. Concentrating on the avatar of legend is supposed to be a standard action until 18th level when it becomes a move action.


Thanks Ryan! Much appreciated.

I've never really thought about the higher level wizard / spellbook issue before. I assumed everyone just bought scrolls of the stuff they wanted, but I suppose they could also work out to see what books they copied from other wizards.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ryan. Costello wrote:


Cheapy wrote:
Is the advice to only allow class based supernatural abilities still in place?
That is my RAI advice, but if you want to make a case, there is no such restriction RAW. I think a savant could use many monster supernatural abilities without breaking the game, especially if it fits a theme or is just plain cool, but opening it up to any monster ability gets...

So far we have had no issues with this in games were Savant is being played OR Taskshaper (similar grab a monster power power). DMs just have to keep an eye on what monsters they run and it really is just like gearing your NPCs. Consider that after defeating a bad guy and his resources that the party gains them. Not to mention most of these abilities scale off of HD for monsters. So DCs and damage dice are going to be substantially less for a Savant (or similar character) as that they don't have the HD backing the powers.

Liberty's Edge

That is some solid feedback, thanks apexut.


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Are there any solid plans for the Savant to get a New Paths treatment?


Is there a way to get Sp abilities that aren't 1 to 1 copies of spells? For example, summoner's SM SLA and its standard action activation.

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