Pathfinder Player Companion: Heroes of the High Court (PFRPG)

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Pathfinder Player Companion: Heroes of the High Court (PFRPG)
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Discover Your Noble Side!

Adventure is not limited to forbidding dungeons and grimy back alleys; sometimes the greatest risks and rewards are found in the gleaming halls of queens and emperors. Pathfinder Player Companion: Heroes of the High Court presents everything you need to take your escapades into the royal courts and noble houses of Golarion. Learn how to dress and act in high society, gain access to the echelons of political power, and take advantage of the privileges afforded to those who have mastered the arts of courtly intrigue!

Inside this book, you'll find:

  • Archetypes for a variety of classes, such as the court fool bard to the butterfly blade slayer, who performs a noble's dirty work in the shadows.
  • Equipment and magical courtly regalia suitable for any ruler, including thrones that grant great power to whoever earns the right to sit upon them!
  • New traits, feats, and spells for characters who wish to mingle with nobility, as well as new tactics that let a participant of a verbal duel cut her opponent down to size.

This Pathfinder Player Companion is intended for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the Pathfinder campaign setting, but can easily be incorporated into any fantasy world.

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-920-2

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Player Companion Subscription.

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Surprisingly Heroic

4/5

This is not a well-titled book. When you think of a book with this title, you think of a middling to mediocre heavily flavor-focused book with at best some fluff archetypes that are kind of forgettable after a week or two. What you don’t expect is a whole host of really cool archetypes, flavorful items and abilities that hold up mechanically, and even new options for verbal duels of all things. Not everything’s a slam dunk of course, there’s a few less interesting or questionable archetypes scattered throughout the book (like the Paladin that trades out a bunch of stuff to basically become a Swashbuckler) but there’s also a bunch of really good archetypes included, like the Fighter archetype that gets Strength-based Combat Reflexes, and the Silksworn Occultist, a great archetype for the class that only gets better as it wears increasing amounts of bling.

Definitely worth a look, especially for someone who wants a character that's regal and wants to show it in style.


Serviceable but Uninspired

3/5

I decided to pick up Heroes of the High Court because a PC I'd been running for a while is a noblewoman and I thought I might find some good material for her in a book designed for PCs involved with royalty and noble intrigue. Alas, my character died this past weekend (aboleths!), but I'll still review this book anyway. As with all entries in the Pathfinder Player Companion line, this is a 32-page full colour book. The inside back cover is a reproduction of the cover, while the inside front cover is a depiction of six different signet rings and possible interpretations they could hold. It's a weird feature, but not necessarily a bad one (at least for people, like me, with zero in the way of artistic ability). The interior is literally divided into about fifteen different two-page long sections, which makes summary a bit of a chore. But if you stick with me, I'll try to move fast.

1. "Introduction/Rules Index": There's a couple of exceedingly-obvious paragraphs of introduction, followed by very short (one paragraph each) descriptions of some of the more prominent noble courts in the official campaign setting of Golarion: the Black Dome (Sothis), Castle Overwatch (Lastwall), the Imperial Palace of Egorian (Cheliax), the Imperial Palace of Oppara (Taldor), the Palace of Fallen Stars (Numeria), Queen Edasseril's Court (Kyonin), and the Umbral Court (Nidal). Each court receives a background trait; most are Social traits, but a couple are Magic or even Combat. Most don't actually have much to do with nobility in particular, and relate more to the culture of the region than anything.

2. "Playing a Noble": This section introduces five new feats (three of which are Story Feats), each of which is themed around being a different type of noble: Aspiring Noble, Enlightened Noble, Noble Impostor, Noble Stipend, and Self-Exiled Noble. Next, there's over a dozen new benefits that can be taken with the Noble Scion feat (from the Inner Sea World Guide book) relating to different regions of Golarion. Most of the benefits are fairly minor.

3. "Court Entertainers": Two new archetypes, one for Bards ("Court Fool") and one for Skalds ("Court Poet"), as well as three new Bardic masterpieces. I really like the Court Fool archetype and it seems like a natural role for a Bard, but the Skald archetype is a bit strange as it involves improving allies' "aesthetic sensibilities" (non-physical attributes).

4. "Royal Defenders": Three new archetypes, one for Fighters ("High Guardian"), one for Gunslingers of all things ("Thronewarden"), and one for Witches ("Witch-Watcher"). Witches also get two new hexes and a new patron choice, Protection. The Gunslinger archetype seems okay to me, the Witch archetype really needs much more flavour (it's very bland conceptually), and the Fighter archetype seems like a really bad choice, as the character loses several bonus combat feats in exchange for getting very specific feats with restrictions on them.

5. "Arcane Retainers": Four new spells, three new Alchemist discoveries, and a new Alchemist archetype ("Royal Alchemist"). The artwork accompanying this archetype is pretty cool, but the archetype itself seems like a very, very complicated way to essentially give allies some modest bonuses against disease and poison. I've noticed a trend in Pathfinder game design of giving various class features "pools" of points that do various different things depending on the number of points spent, and I'm not sure if it's a good one for gameplay.

6. "Orders of Chivalry": One new archetype for Cavaliers ("Gallant"), one for Paladins ("Virtuous Bravo"), and the introduction of a new category of magic items called Favors. The Gallant really doesn't do much, but the Virtuous Bravo basically adds Swashbuckler class abilities to a Paladin chassis and definitely provides a different feel for a character with them. Favors are one-use only minor magic items given to a character as a reward or token of admiration for services rendered; I like the concept, though most are pretty expensive considering their minor mechanical effects.

7. "Courtly Races": All of the Core Rulebook races get short (two to three paragraph) entries on what their royal courts are like, along with an alternate racial trait. My favourite of the bunch is "Conservative Diplomacy" for dwarves, which says that they treat any roll of 5 or less on a Diplomacy check as a 5, but any roll of 15 or better as a 15. The mechanical effect ties in really well with the flavour explanation and it makes perfect sense.

8. "Courts of the East": This section contains description of noble life in Jalmeray and Katheer (two areas of the campaign setting that don't receive as much coverage as others), which is more useful than the fairly generic description in the previous section. There's also two new feats, a new Oracle archetype ("Inerrant Voice"), and a new Psychic discipline ("Pageantry"). I have to confess to not knowing much about Psychics (apart from a terribly inept attempt to create one), but the Pageantry discipline looks pretty powerful; I will note, however, that the abilities it grants do not seem particularly well-tied to a "pageantry" theme. Function should follow form here, and it doesn't.

9. "Courts of the Dragon Empires": Brief overviews of four Tian royal courts are provided: Minkai, Po Li, Tianjing, and Xa Hoi. There's also four new feats and a new Occultist ritual. Again, I appreciate seeing some options themed around areas of Golarion outside the Inner Sea, even if the options aren't always as well-tied to the flavour as they should be.

10. "Ecclesiastical Courts": This section includes very brief (one paragraph each) introductions to the royal courts of Cheliax, Mendev, Druma, Razmiran, and Nidal, along with five new feats loosely themed to each. I really like the feats in this section: creative and useful. Two new clerical subdomains are also added, "Chivalry" and "Sovereignty."

11. "Invested with Divinity": This entire section is about a major new Monk archetype, the "Invested Regent." Again, the archetype grants a pool of points which which the character can do special things (and this pool is separate than the Monk's Ki pool). There's three new feats, each of which requires the archetype as a prerequisite. The powers granted to a character with the archetype just don't seem to have much to do with the flavour of the concept, and appeared to be a bit randomly chosen to me.

12. "Enemies of Rule": An archetype each for the Slayer ("Butterfly Blade") and Vigilante ("Dragonscale Loyalist") and three new spells for infiltrating and detecting impostors. The archetypes in this section were much better than in the previous section, and it's good to see Vigilantes getting some attention in a book that would seem to be a natural place for them to shine.

13. "Conduct and Decorum": This section introduces some new ways to use existing skills, such as using a Knowledge (nobility) check instead of Sense Motive to determine if someone is feigning noble blood. I like the concept overall, though some of the options seem more complicated than necessary in order to accomplish a relatively rare task. The verbal duel rules from Ultimate Intrigue receive support with four new tactics; I'm a big believer that new rules sub-systems should be supported beyond the book they're introduced in, so I was happy to see this.

14. "Courtly Regalia": Seven new mundane and magical articles of clothing or accessories to make every noble look (and act) their best. My favourite by far is "Phantom Entourage", which does exactly as the name implies--it creates illusory assorted sycophants and hangers-on to make it clear to everyone just how important the (actually unimportant) wearer is. There's also a new Occultist archetype called the "Silksworn." The concept has been quite popular in the Paizo forums, though again I'll cop to not knowing enough about the class to offer an opinion.

15. "Implements of Rule": Several new magic items, including crowns and scepters, as well as a new type of magic items, thrones. Thrones are interesting because they provide benefits to the monarch sitting on them as well as anyone who makes an obeisance (like kneeling or other gesture of allegiance) before it. I could imagine thrones as an excellent way to add some interesting effects to "boss fights" without risking PCs getting their hands on something so powerful that it will upend campaign balance.

So you can see from the summary above that the book is chock-full of new options. Contrary to what one might expect, there's no particular focus on the classes that seem more naturally aligned to courtly settings (like Bards, Paladins, Vigilantes in their social guises, etc.). Instead, this book has a "satisfy everyone with something for everyone" approach. My feelings after reading it are of mild disappointment. There's no heart or style to the book; the writing in each section is functional but pedestrian, and it's never inspiring or passionate about a rarely-touched area of Pathfinder gameplay that deserves better. I know most buyers of these books want as much "crunch" as can possibly be fitted between two covers, but the book suffers for it in terms of cohesiveness and enduring contribution to the game.


Intriguing new archetypes and items

5/5

I ordered this right as I saw it available. My current character is a noble, so thought it would be useful for her for some different flavor. I wasn't wrong, but was also pleasantly surprised by the various archetypes, items, and spells available.

The archetypes, as with others in the same vein, don't completely replace a class'so abilities, but rather give them noble (or anti-noble) flare. Some even change classes a fair bit (dex paladin??), but that's par the course for archetypes.

Additional excitement came to be when I read into the info for verbal duels; so much can be done with that, adding a new dynamic to game play.

The items are interesting without being overpowered or too situational- not everything needs to be a Legendary Sword of Legend. In particular, I love the item that gives a character it's own illusory hangers-on... could donly both useful and hilarious things with that!

All in all I like it, and am looking forward to using some of these items and rules in game soon.


A few noble gems among the common riff raff

3/5

Do you want a lot of rules and options to help run a campaign set in royal courts and other elite social environments? Buy Ultimate Intrigue!

But this book is ok, too. You'll find many archetypes and feats that are of the usual quality (forgettable but not offensively bad) and a few well polished diamonds.

My favorites:

1. A bardic masterpiece that replicates the Commune spell
2. The Protective Luck hex makes enemies roll twice and take the worst when attacking an ally
3. A paladin archetype that gives lots of swashbuckler abilities at reasonable cost
4. A strong level 4 occult ritual that can serve as a daily party buff
5. A monk archetype that lets you swap feats for SLAs or advanced feats (w/o preqs) fueled by a new (Cha based) pool of energy separate from your ki, it's also well supported by feats, a case can be made for treating this as a standard archetype you need to justify not taking
6. The Perceive Betrayal spell, which is great for bodyguard or intrigue situations
7. New skill options for existing social skills, much better than the UI "here's a feat to do something you were obviously capable of by default before we published this" approach
8. The Silksworn Occultist. Easily the best 6th level caster when it comes to actual spell casting and SLAs, 9th level casters would be jealous if they weren't, you know, 9th level casters. But for breath and effectiveness in using the abilities and spell levels it does have it's really, really good.
9. The Chastising Baton, a magical rod. Adds +1 DC to all compulsion spells, and sickens the target for 1 round if they make their save. Only 5,000 gp and a new must have for serious Mesmerists, Psychics, and Enchanters.

My biggest disappointment is the Pageantry Discipline for Psychics. It has promise, but makes a big, easily avoided mistake in the spell list that overlooks a well known OA errata, and the first discipline ability by possible intent is basically useless, but as actually written is too powerful. Better editing would have made this a good addition, but I don't see how it can be saved without a comprehensive FAQ that a Player's Companion won't get. Maybe PFS clarifications can at least fix the bonus spell list error.


2/5


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4 people marked this as a favorite.

Out of curiosity, which witch watches the witch-watcher?


Axial wrote:
What does the High Guardian and Gallant do?


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Ventnor wrote:
Out of curiosity, which witch watches the witch-watcher?

The witch-watcher, of course. It's witch-watchers all the way down.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Axial wrote:
Axial wrote:
What does the High Guardian and Gallant do?

The former picks somebody to defend (chosen daily), and gets various abilities to defend them with. In general, Pathfinder isn't great about letting you defend somebody else, but this is solid for melee defense. Its "signature" is probably strength-based Combat Reflexes.

*goes to read over the latter, having skipped the Cavalier stuff* LG/NG Cavalier archetype that makes banner bonuses more defensively focused. It's one of those archetypes that's small enough to stack pretty easily with a lot of others.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Thomas Seitz wrote:

Quid,

Is it true there are no illusion spells or evocation spells offered in this book?

Wait, no. It's outright falsehood, fabrication, and fiction.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Evelyn Jones wrote:
Terminalmancer wrote:
Can we please, please, please, get Phat Valeros included in the blog post for this one? I have a sudden, burning, previously unknown need to use Mother Wren's jewel-encrusted grill on the Retail Rewards page on our website.
That's actually not Fat Valeros, that's Mavaro, the iconic Occultist, dolled-up in the most fashionable way I've ever seen.

I thought the reference to Mother Wren gave it away! There is something of a long-running joke that Mavaro is basically just an overweight version of our beloved, yet overexposed, fighter iconic.


5 people marked this as a favorite.

Love the Witch-Watcher! I can just see the nanny to the noble/royal scions with this archetype and being the unseen power keeping the little brats safe...and the hexes! Very nice! Those could be the undoing of any would-be assassins be they spell-slinger or sword-swinger.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Thanks, four shadow. Glad you like it!


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Axial wrote:
What does the High Guardian and Gallant do?

The more important question is why isn't there a Goofus archetype?


4 people marked this as a favorite.
Ventnor wrote:
Axial wrote:
What does the High Guardian and Gallant do?
The more important question is why isn't there a Goofus archetype?

I've known my share of PCs who could handle the 'Goofus' role perfectly well without any archetype at all.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Eric,

That makes two of us.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
QuidEst wrote:
Thomas Seitz wrote:

Quid,

Is it true there are no illusion spells or evocation spells offered in this book?

Wait, no. It's outright falsehood, fabrication, and fiction.

I said that most of the spells were divination -- not all of them. I do recall seeing an illusion spell in there somewhere.

Grand Lodge

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I wanted to add my thanks for the feats that simulate wealth and power that come with being higher class. I have always wanted a way for player to be able to be able to live like a nobleman, but not break the player wealth per level guidelines.

They don't go quite as far as I like, but they allow me to extrapolate from there.

Paizo Employee Developer

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Herald wrote:

I wanted to add my thanks for the feats that simulate wealth and power that come with being higher class. I have always wanted a way for player to be able to be able to live like a nobleman, but not break the player wealth per level guidelines.

They don't go quite as far as I like, but they allow me to extrapolate from there.

Hey, glad to hear that you like them! I wish I could have expanded on the feat just a bit more, but then I start stepping on the Noble Scion's toes. Maybe that prestige class is a little closer to providing the info you want to get your players that noble streak.


As a quick one, is the Gallant compatible with the Courtly Knight (Which only loses Tactician and it's follow on's.).


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Isabelle Lee wrote:
Gisher wrote:
I like variety in archetypes. Is the Silksworn one of your contributions?

Indeed! ^_^

** spoiler omitted **

Then I'm sure it's awesome.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Isabelle Lee wrote:
jedi8187 wrote:
Does the Silksworn still get to wear armor?

I can't speak to the other archetypes, but...

** spoiler omitted **

Ok, that is awesome. I think the Occultist is now the first class that, through archetypes, can be a psychic, divine, or arcane caster. If we can get a alchemy-based, trapfinding archetype then I'm building an all-Occultist party. :)

Grand Lodge

Luis Loza wrote:
Herald wrote:

I wanted to add my thanks for the feats that simulate wealth and power that come with being higher class. I have always wanted a way for player to be able to be able to live like a nobleman, but not break the player wealth per level guidelines.

They don't go quite as far as I like, but they allow me to extrapolate from there.

Hey, glad to hear that you like them! I wish I could have expanded on the feat just a bit more, but then I start stepping on the Noble Scion's toes. Maybe that prestige class is a little closer to providing the info you want to get your players that noble streak.

Mostly thinking of faction goals or fame rewards. Do the family/patron proud and get rewarded.

Paizo Employee Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Herald wrote:
Luis Loza wrote:
Herald wrote:

I wanted to add my thanks for the feats that simulate wealth and power that come with being higher class. I have always wanted a way for player to be able to be able to live like a nobleman, but not break the player wealth per level guidelines.

They don't go quite as far as I like, but they allow me to extrapolate from there.

Hey, glad to hear that you like them! I wish I could have expanded on the feat just a bit more, but then I start stepping on the Noble Scion's toes. Maybe that prestige class is a little closer to providing the info you want to get your players that noble streak.

Mostly thinking of faction goals or fame rewards. Do the family/patron proud and get rewarded.

Ah, yeah, I understand. While that feels like that kind of reward would be something that works best when personalized on a case by case basis, some guidelines or generic examples of such rewards would be very interesting. Maybe a future product will be a good spot for those. Alternatively, you can look at the patronage system in the new Qadira book as a jumping off point.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Gisher wrote:
Isabelle Lee wrote:
jedi8187 wrote:
Does the Silksworn still get to wear armor?

I can't speak to the other archetypes, but...

** spoiler omitted **

Ok, that is awesome. I think the Occultist is now the first class that, through archetypes, can be a psychic, divine, or arcane caster. If we can get a alchemy-based, trapfinding archetype then I'm building an all-Occultist party. :)

Not the first -- The Medium could do that spellcasting trick from the beginning, as a single character.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Markov Spiked Chain wrote:
Another Skald Archetype that replaces Inspired Rage without any mention of using or replacing Rage Powers. :(

You can still use rage powers with their new song. My question is... can my allies who accept it cast spells?


David knott 242 wrote:
Gisher wrote:
Isabelle Lee wrote:
jedi8187 wrote:
Does the Silksworn still get to wear armor?

I can't speak to the other archetypes, but...

** spoiler omitted **

Ok, that is awesome. I think the Occultist is now the first class that, through archetypes, can be a psychic, divine, or arcane caster. If we can get a alchemy-based, trapfinding archetype then I'm building an all-Occultist party. :)

Not the first -- The Medium could do that spellcasting trick from the beginning, as a single character.

I see. I hadn't looked at that aspect of the class before. Neat!


If I may ask, does the court fool replace or alter weapon profs, bardic knowledge, loremaster, versatile performance, well versed, or soothing performance? Just want to see if it will stack with juggler


14 sided die wrote:
If I may ask, does the court fool replace or alter weapon profs, bardic knowledge, loremaster, versatile performance, well versed, or soothing performance? Just want to see if it will stack with juggler

Not 100% sure (going from memory), but I'm reasonably confident it at least touched bardic knowledge. Juggler won't stack with most thematic archetypes, really, since they'll generally trade out the "knowledgeable" part of Bard for more theatrical bonuses.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Confirmed. Court Fool replaces bardic knowledge, lore master, and the countersong and inspire competence performances.


Ah well, can't have everything

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

*Wonders if it's similar to the 3.5 Jester class?*


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Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've received my copy! Hopefully this isn't too much information, but if it is, I totally understand if the moderators feel the need to delete this post. I'm hoping just this much is okay...

Options:
Alchemist Discoveries: Aromatic Extract, Nostrum, Remote Bomb

Alternate Racial Traits: Conservative Diplomacy (Dwarf - Stonecunning), Fey Wisdom (Elf - Keen Senses), Genial Magic (Gnome - Gnome Magic), Fraudulent (Half-Elf - Keen Senses), Powerful Presence (Human - Bonus Feat), Surreptitious (Halfling - Sure-Footed), Vigilant Gaze (Half-Orc - Darkvision)

Archetypes: Butterfly Blade (Slayer), Court Fool (Bard), Court Poet (Skald), Dragonscale Loyalist (Vigilante), Gallant (Cavalier), High Guardian (Fighter), Inerrant Voice (Oracle), Invested Regent (Monk), Royal Alchemist (Alchemist), Silksworn (Occultist), Thronewarden (Gunslinger), Virtuous Bravo (Paladin), Witch-Watcher (Witch)

Equipment: long gloves (15 gp), lover's breath (200 gp), ostentatious garment (10 gp), veil (40 go)

Feats: Aspiring Noble (Story), Conceal Aura, Conservatory-Trained, Countering Loophole, Enlightened Noble, Ennobled Resistances, Extra Investiture Points, Extra Vested Power, Inured to Draconic Majesty, Legalistic Reading, Noble Impostor (Story), Noble Stipend, Peerless Courtier, Righteous Orator, Seeker of the Eternal Emperor, Self-Exiled Noble (Story), Sense Magical Interrogation, Student of Sulunai, Veiled Contempt

Hexes: Distraction, Protective Lock

Magic Items: bastion crown (head; 4,500 gp), booming scepter (none; 34,000 gp), chastising baton (none; 5,000 gp), choker of body alteration (neck; 2,400 gp), crown of false rule (head; 30,000 gp), headband of social competence (headband; 1,000 gp), kerchief of remembrance (arm or wrist; 600 gp), laurel of the champion (head; 2,000 gp), lucky button (none; 1,200 gp), paper flower (headband; 800 gp), phantom entourage (shoulders; 9,000 gp), throne of ardent defense (none; 16,000 gp), throne of fetters (none; 16,000 gp), throne of pleasing mien (none; 8,000 gp), token of gallantry (none; 2,400 gp)

Masterpieces: Anthem of Pageantry (String, Wind), Melody of Surrender (Sing, Wind), Wise King's Saga (Oratory, Sing)

Noble Scions (alternate benefits for the Noble Scion feat): Scion of Absalom, Scion of Brevoy, Scion of Cheliax, Scion of Goka, Scion of Highhelm, Scion of Irrisen, Scion of Jalmeray, Scion of Katapesh, Scion of Kyonin, Scion of Nidal, Scion of Numeria, Scion of Osirion, Scion of Quadira, Scion of the River Kingdoms, Scion of Taldor, Scion of Ustalav

Occult Ritual: Chadao Benediction

Patron: Protection

Psychic Discpline: Pageantry

Spells: enchantment sight (alchemist 2, bard 2, cleric 2, inquisitor 2, medium 2, mesmerist 2, occultist 2, paladin 2, psychic 2, sorcerer/wizard 2, spiritualist 2, witch 2), false face (alchemist 1, bard 1, inquisitor 1, mesmerist 1, sorcerer/wizard 1, witch 1), perceive betrayal (cleric 6, inquisitor 4, sorcerer/wizard 7, witch 6), pierce facade (alchemist 1, bard 1, cleric 1, inquisitor 1, psychic 1, sorcerer/wizard 1, witch 1), reveal emotions (medium 3, mesmerist 4, occultist 4, psychic 4, spiritualist 4), shroud of innocuity (bard 3, medium 3, mesmerist 3, psychic 3, shaman 3, sorcerer/wizard 3, witch 3), speechreader's sight (alchemist 1, bard 1, cleric 1, inquisitor 1, medium 1, mesmerist 1, occultist 1, psychic 1, sorcerer/wizard 1, spiritualist 1, witch 1)

Skill Options: Assess Lineage (Knowledge [Nobility]), Courtly Manners (Diplomacy), Leverage Influence (Intimidate), Persuasive Suggestion (Diplomacy and Intimidate)

Subdomains: Chivalry (Glory), Sovereignty (Law)

Traits: Bureaucrat's Favored (Social), Debauchery Defier (Social), Infernal Colleague (Social), Inhabitant of Illusion (Magic), Numerian Fluid Indulger (Social), Rider's Bond (Combat), Shadow Trained (Combat)

Verbal Duel Tactics: Credibility Challenge, Polite Befuddlement, Psychological Manipulation, Spurious Argument


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Luthorne wrote:

I've received my copy! Hopefully this isn't too much information, but if it is, I totally understand if the moderators feel the need to delete this post. I'm hoping just this much is okay...

** spoiler omitted **...

thank you

Someone, somewhere is going to say "This is my BOOM Stick"


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Luthorne wrote:

I've received my copy! Hopefully this isn't too much information, but if it is, I totally understand if the moderators feel the need to delete this post. I'm hoping just this much is okay...

** spoiler omitted **...

Ok, that increased my interest 10-fold. Thanks!


Luthorne wrote:

I've received my copy! Hopefully this isn't too much information, but if it is, I totally understand if the moderators feel the need to delete this post. I'm hoping just this much is okay...

** spoiler omitted **...

Oh man how I want this book now.


Wow that's some great info Luthorne! I hope they don't ban you for it...

Liberty's Edge

Does this book talk about any famous noble families of the inner sea?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

The Noble Scions based on region sound awesome


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Paladinosaur wrote:
Does this book talk about any famous noble families of the inner sea?

There are traits that mention specific places but not specific people.


Valantrix1 wrote:
Luthorne wrote:

I've received my copy! Hopefully this isn't too much information, but if it is, I totally understand if the moderators feel the need to delete this post. I'm hoping just this much is okay...

** spoiler omitted **...

Ok, that increased my interest 10-fold. Thanks!

Agreed!

Thank you Luthorne.

Carry on!

--C.


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Can we get some details on the three story feats Luthorne mentioned (Aspiring Noble, Noble Imposter, and Self-Exiled Noble)?

Paizo Employee Contributor

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I want to drop in as an author here to express how glad I was to be able to work on the verbal duels.

In particular, Polite Befuddlement.

I've said for a few years that one of my negotiating tactics as a contract attorney is "polite befuddlement;" I ask the attorney on the other side to explain a contentious change, feigning enough good-natured ignorance that they have to extend--and, ultimately, over-extend--their explanation. When they do, I seize upon why their explanation isn't correct to reject or modify the change. I'm not a sneaky person by nature, but "polite befuddlement" has worked for me. Anyway, I was glad to be able to put that tactic into the game as part of a verbal duel.

I don't do "Psychological Manipulation." That's straight-up gaslighting, but with a less anachronistic name. Boo, hiss.


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Eric Hinkle wrote:
Can we get some details on the three story feats Luthorne mentioned (Aspiring Noble, Noble Imposter, and Self-Exiled Noble)?

Had a look at a friend's PDF when we last gamed (Thank goodness for early PDFs for subscribers), so I can help.

Spoiler:
Aspiring Noble: You come from a well-known family, and your job is to get yourself/your family recognized as nobility by more powerful nobles, or by royalty.

Noble Imposter: You are very much NOT a noble or from an established family, and your job is to trick very important people or at least a city full of people into thinking you're a big deal.

Self-Exiled Noble: You have cut off ties with your noble family, in name and appearance, and your job is to escape your family name by making your own noble legacy, along with soundly defeating a member of your former family who may want to bring you back.


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Dark Midian wrote:
Eric Hinkle wrote:
Can we get some details on the three story feats Luthorne mentioned (Aspiring Noble, Noble Imposter, and Self-Exiled Noble)?

Had a look at a friend's PDF when we last gamed (Thank goodness for early PDFs for subscribers), so I can help.

** spoiler omitted **

Thank you so very much. 'Aspiring Noble' sounds like a feat I long wanted without even knowing it before this.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I pretty much love the Court Fool. Acrobatics and Bluff are greatly enhanced and he can help his allies fight off confusion, fatigue and being shaken. All of these are conditions we often meet in games, so I can see its usefulness right away :-)


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

That Self-Exiled Noble feat looks like an excellent choice for a Chelaxian noble PC with the misfortune to be born into House Thrune.

Silver Crusade

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Oooo, I do like the regional variants for Noble Scion.


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Very much looking forward to this product!


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Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Alright, had some time to read through this, here's my thoughts on it.

Heroes of the High Court:

Okay, so we start off with some traits meant to represent members of various courts around the Inner Sea region, or at least someone with a strong association with a member of said court. Overall, I didn't find them to be terribly exciting, though I can still imagine some people occasionally taking one or two.

Then we get into some noble-related feats, with three new story feats, and two feats that build off of Noble Scion from Inner Sea World Guide, as well as a bunch of alternate options for the Noble Scion feat. I'm not terribly fond of that feat in the first place, especially the Charisma to Initiative option, but I do rather like Noble Stipend from a flavor standpoint. The story feats are flavorful, and I rather like Noble Imposter, but like most story feats I find it hard to find room for one for most characters, but this is a usual issues with story feats in my opinion... At any rate, the alternate options for the Noble Scion feat do have some nice options, especially if your GM allows Leadership, even if most of them don't really feel terribly noble-like to me, but that's an issue I have with Noble Scion already, so.

After that, we get a court fool archetype for bards and a court poet archetype for skalds, as well as three new masterpieces. Neither are classes I particularly like, though I did think Court Poet's insightful contemplation was a little interesting for inverting the usual rage. This isn't to say they're bad, I just don't have interest in the classes and they don't make them into classes I want to play more than the originals.

Moving on, we get three new archetypes, the high guardian for fighters, the thronewarden for gunslingers, and the witch-watcher for witches, as well as a new patron and a couple hexes for witches. The high guardian seems decent at what it does, guarding allies and making attacks of opportunity. The thronewarden, I am not a gunslinger person, so no real opinion there. The witch-watcher seems reasonably interesting, and it doesn't replace much, so it probably stacks with most archetypes, which is nice. I like the protective luck hex, and it works nicely with cackle.

After that, some new spells and alchemist discoveries. I like the reveal emotions spell, as it seems more useful due to not offering a save than most truth-discerning spells, even though it doesn't directly reveal things. Speechreader's sight also seems neat with the long duration and low level, and can even be made permanent, which seems handy for spies. Aromatic extract looks potentially amazing. We also get a royal alchemist archetype for - shockingly - alchemists, which doesn't really seem to give you anything too great but you lose almost nothing for it, so...maybe?

Then we get the gallant archetype for cavaliers and the virtuous bravo archetype for paladins. Gallant is a small archetype, not really terribly excited about it, while the virtuous brave is a swashbuckling paladin...which would be more exciting if I liked either of them. More interestingly, we get a new category of magic item called a 'favor'. Essentially, they are one-use items that only function when given to someone else who dons the item, thereby providing its effect for the listed time, which also allows the person who granted it to sense - albeit to a limited extent - the condition of the wearer while its active. While this is something I think players will not go out of their way to acquire, given the limitations, they definitely provide some interesting options for GMs as a way to temporarily reward PCs who do well in various sporting competitions and jousts, or have taken the time to romance someone of high stature, given that its effects only last a limited amount of time and they can't really be saved for later. Overall, a cool idea, bravo.

Then we get some alternate racial traits for the core races, none of which are too great for the most part, though I think the one for the gnomes is not bad, the one for the half-elves is pretty hilarious, and the one for humans is actually rather nice for someone intending to take, say, Eldritch Heritage or other high Charisma feats.

After this, we move on to a few feats, a psychic discipline, and an oracle archetype. One of the feats deals with one of the Ultimate Intrigue subsystems, so most may not find it useful. The psychic discipline is somewhat interesting, offering some aid another benefits and a number of concentration benefits, as well as a minor bonus to performing occult rituals. Sadly I must deduct a point here since it's clear someone did not remember the Occult Adventures FAQ, tsk tsk. Something that will have to be swapped out at 4th level if made legal for Pathfinder Society, I imagine. Beyond that, though, some rather nice bonus spells. Peerless Courtier is pretty sweet for full BAB classes, though. Inerrant Voice is another minor archetype that swaps out some bonus spells (can't say I'm impressed by any, though), and has to take a special revelation...would have to look at the oracle spell list to see how many spells that aren't touch that would be useful for...

After that, we get some feats and an occult ritual. Veiled Contempt is certainly the feat to go to if you don't want people to be sensing your motives, that's for sure. Seeker for the Eternal Emperor, I can't imagine bothering with...and how often does a feat give you a disadvantage to go along with a minor advantage...? Student of Sulani is also pretty damn niche, though divine favor can be nice to have, and if you know someone has a reroll ability in your party, it can definitely be nice. Inured to Draconic Majesty is actually pretty nice, given the number of fear auras that seem to be floating around in the game, even if it doesn't work against spells. The occult ritual is a magical tea ceremony, and it's actually rather nice, I think, so bravo there. A nice way to give the PCs a little reward for impressing someone...if they can manage to sit through the tea ceremony and be appropriately polite.

Moving along, we get some more feats, as well as a pair of subdomains. Countering Loophole...well, seems okay if you're built to counterspell and run into enchantments a fair bit. Legalistic Reading seems...well, it's nice if you can manage the DC, but the DC seems rather high unless you've got some good boosts to your caster level. Righteous Orator is pretty amusing but again goes into Ultimate Intrigue subsystems, so depends on if your campaign uses them a lot or not for how useful they are. Even if paladin-lawyers are a fun concept (and Abadar-approved). Conceal Aura, well, if you need to hide your aligment at lower levels it works, but I don't think most will. Sense Magical Interrogation, well, honestly, most truth-discerning spells kind of suck anyways... Chivalry subdomain is a little boring, but I love the flavor of the Sovereignty subdomain, good job there.

Then we run into the Invested Regent monk archetype, which yes does work for the unchained monk. I'm going to be honest here, thematically, I love this archetype. Basically you're someone who has received a divine mandate to rule, whether at the present or for some time in the future. That's a fantastic character concept. Mechanically, you're fairly similar to a qinggong monk, gaining a secondary pool of points based off of Charisma, and gaining a list of possible abilities you can snag that you can trade bonus feats for, as well as some feats for gaining more points, more powers, etc. Of course, this also makes the monk rather MAD, but I believe it stacks with Scaled Fist from Legacy of Dragons, which would definitely help. Mechanically, it's probably only okay, though I'm not an expert on monks admittedly, but I think the concept is fantastic.

Then we get two archetypes, and a few new spells. First we get the butterfly blade for the slayer, but that's not really a class I'm terribly fond of, and innocent butterfly reminds me how much I dislike the way spells like this are more likely to arouse people's suspicion if you go around with them on, just because people know when they make a save...ugh. Fortunately this one can just be kept off. Anyways, then we get dragonscale loyalist, a very Brevoy-focused archetype. Not bad if you want to use the Aldori dueling sword, though, a few interesting abilities... What I do love, though, is the new false face spell. Finally, something that lasts a decent duration at low level, though the restrictions are still a bit painful. I'd love for an improved or greater version that lets you turn into another race but without the benefits of alter self, but this is still pretty nice if you're a common race. Uncommon races, alas, will probably have a harder time making use of it.

Moving on, we get some new skill uses, and some new options for verbal duels. Overall, they seem like nice things to have if engaging in social-fu, and if not, well, unsurprisingly you can probably move right on by.

Then we get some basic gear and a few magic items, as well as another archetype. I love the choker of body alteration, being able to make minor changes like this seems like a lot of fun, and the price is fairly reasonable. It occupies your neck slow, though, which can be problematic if your GM doesn't let you combine magic items. Fortunately, my GM does, so I'm probably going to have my mesmerist upgrade his already snazzy neck slot item with this, though I can imagine some discussion of what exactly 'physical characteristics' entails. The headband of social competence is pretty hilarious, and I can totally imagining the rest of the party forcing the barbarian or other murderhobo-esque party member to wear the damn thing. It is a headband slot, though, so competition if you can't combine, but it is pretty cheap. The phantom entourage is also amusing, but with the price and occupying shoulder slot, not sure how many will bite. The silksworn occultist archetype is pretty fun, all in all, even if they become a bit more MAD due to needing Intelligence and Charisma, but I think it's probably worth it, and I do love the swag, even if it's a shame they can't jump on board the panoply bandwagon from Psychic Anthology. A more caster-y occultist all in all, with some social-fu thrown on board, likely to have more focus available than a regular occultist.

After this, we finish up with some magical items fit for royalty. The chastising baton is probably the stand-out for an enchanter, though the crown of false rule is certainly interesting in a narrative sense. The bastion crown might be worthwhile just for the bonus against death effects, though I have to wonder about how often the other aspects will be of use. Then we get into thrones, magical stationary magic items that lose their magic if moved, and can grant bonuses to those who bow to those currently on the throne - which usually has to be the legitimate ruler, but not always. As such, quite useless in most games to most PCs, but excellent for GMs to put in their games to either boost up the bodyguards of the ruler they're fighting through, or to give the PCs a boost while serving the king, queen, or whatever. The ones listed seem to presume it will probably be the former, though, I think. But it's an interesting category that could certainly stand to be expanded upon along with altars, perhaps if Paizo ever gets around to an Ultimate Strongholds book that expands on the rooms and teams/buildings and organizations subsystem in Ultimate Campaign?

Overall, this book had a few hits for me, as well as a lot of stuff that just wasn't really oriented to my personal tastes, or stuff that's fairly niche. And that's fair, my personal tastes are just that, and this is Heroes of the High Court, and it's definitely to be expected that there's going to be some material more oriented towards social games in general. The only thing that was really problematic to me was that one bonus spell for the discipline. I still don't regret getting this book, simply because there are a few things that are very nice and do appeal to my tastes, but they're relatively sparse, and like I said, that's fine, there's a lot of classes that just don't appeal to me and others may love. That said, thanks for all the work you put into this one, guys, even if it wasn't something that completely suited my personal tastes.

Paizo Employee Contributor

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Luthorne wrote:
That said, thanks for all the work you put into this one, guys, even if it wasn't something that completely suited my personal tastes.

You're welcome...and THANK YOU for providing your in-depth thoughts about the entire book!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Luthorne wrote:

Alright, had some time to read through this, here's my thoughts on it.

** spoiler omitted **...

Hey Luthorne, could you enter this post as a review? It provides a lot of detail and the only reviewer just posted a star rating rather than giving your level of thought to the review. People will be more likely to read your exposition if it is a review, and it will help prospective buyers. Thanks!


Great review, Luthorne!


Pathfinder Companion, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
steelhead wrote:
Luthorne wrote:

Alright, had some time to read through this, here's my thoughts on it.

** spoiler omitted **...

Hey Luthorne, could you enter this post as a review? It provides a lot of detail and the only reviewer just posted a star rating rather than giving your level of thought to the review. People will be more likely to read your exposition if it is a review, and it will help prospective buyers. Thanks!

I think I would have to pare it down considerably if it was going to be a proper review...since it's, well, rather rambly...

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Rambly reviews are perfectly acceptable! ^w^

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