Set's Stuff


Homebrew and House Rules

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Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
Suitably despicable, master Set!!! Just what the (undead, malevolently depraved) doctor ordered!!!

Thanks!

Now that I've had some time to think on it, I kinda think that Life-Eater should also come with a drawback. The life-dependent undead might, instead of the living creature standard of gaining hit points equal to your Hit Dice overnight, *lose* hit points equal to it's racial Hit dice each day, as the stolen life-energy that sustains it is expended keeping it animate. And so, unlike most undead, which can potentially function and thrive for centuries without feeding, the Life-Eater has to go out and drain energy from living creatures to sustain itself.

Something to ponder for a potential re-write.


Look, on initially reading it, it seemed so perversely backward, but also made some kind of deliciously convoluted sense - which is why I like it oc course!!! In a vaccuum. When placed in the wider context of mechanical canon I feel the drawback you propose is well founded both mechanically AND thematically. So well done!!!

Silver Crusade

This has me wondering about potential ways to "backdoor" positively-charged mummies back in. ;)

The overnight(day?) hp loss is mighty tempting...

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Mummies, somewhat perversely, are one of the type of undead that wouldn't really work, as written, as Life-Eaters, since they don't have any negative energy damaging effects (such as hit point damage, ability damage, ability drain or energy drain).

Of course, it's already an undead variant, so having it affect a variant mummy that, instead of inflicting a disease/curse, has an energy drain or even some lingering ability-damage-over-time negative energy effect that isn't otherwise a 'disease' or a 'curse,' could work.

And the 'losing hit points over day' mechanic comes from Green Ronin's Fang & Fury, a really, really good guide to vampires in 3.X.

I really like the idea, since it helps mechanically separate creatures fueled by positive energy versus those empowered by negative energy, and makes negative energy a bit less of a 'free lunch,' by making it not explicitly better at supporting 'life' than positive energy (which just feels totally backwards, to me!). It's also, IMO, a more elegant solution than the clunky hunger/likes to feed/must feed mechanics in Libris Mortis, which were all over the place, with a chart for how they impacted each type of undead individually.

If *all* undead were life-eaters, then skeletons and zombies (among others) would require daily maintenance by their creators, or need some sort of additional feeding option (such as the movie-style zombies-that-eat-flesh). Even liches would have to resort to some sort of feeding (and, since living non-creature plants, in d20, are objects, not creatures, and have no ability scores or hit points or 'levels' to devour, would have to be animals and / or people), which would help justify their Arbitrarily Evil alignment tag.

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More Spells of Sin Magic

A couple more random spells that seemed thematically appropriate for greedy transmuters and envious abjurers;

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Greed/Transmutation
Ioun Thief
School transmutation; Level sorcerer/wizard 5
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (a dull gray ioun stone bound in a small golden cage worth 5 gp.)
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Area 20-ft.-radius spread
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw Will negates (see text); Spell Resistance yes

This spell causes all ioun stones in the affected area to fly immediately to the caster and begin orbiting their head, conferring any usual benefits, if applicable. Ioun stones currently in orbit around another are treated as attended items, and the bearer is allowed a Will saving throw to retain possession of each stone, each checked individually.

This spell seems very much like something Karzoug would love, the ability to yoink ioun stones away from lesser unworthy to bear such wondrous sparkly toys in his presence.

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Envy/Abjuration
Suppressing Aura
School abjuration; Level sorcerer/wizard 5
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (a pinch of rust, a frayed thread and some flecks of old paint)
Range 10 ft.
Area 10-ft.-radius emanation, centered on you
Duration 1 minute / level (D)
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

This spell creates an invisible aura around your person that suppresses the effects of any non-artifact magical item not in your possession. Items suppressed lose all magical properties so long as they remain within the emanation, but may still function as masterwork items of their type. Your own worn or carried items are unaffected by the suppression effect, and instead are empowered by the suppressed energies, so that against attempts to suppress their effects via a dispel magic spell or similar effect, they use the caster level of the highest level non-artifact item within the suppressing aura, whether it is an item you carry, or one being suppressed by the effect.

Much like a shorter duration antimagic field, this spell only affects magical items, not spells or spell like abilities or magical creatures, but has the advantage of not affecting the casters magical items, and even uses the suppressed magic to bolster his items against attempts to suppress their power.

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And a random monster I was noodling around with, after thinking that we've left the 'Aboleths created everything' meme to lie fallow long enough.

Sirens of Golarion: Ecology of the Ulat-Sere

The ulat-sere are commonly described as beautiful merfolk, with brightly colored patterns on their scaly lower bodies, and feathery masses of brightly colored hair atop their lovely heads, that drift like fine down on the slightest breeze, trailing behind them like a colorful cloud. Their songs are soul-wrenchingly beautiful, and yet somehow sad and mournful, beckoning even the hardest of hearts to seek them out to console them in their grief and loneliness. A ship’s captain or navigator may turn his ship directly towards them, when affected by their siren’s song, and even if he does not, he may find his men leaping overboard to swim to succor their caller.

Once they reach the rock on which the ulat-sere has perched, they clamber ashore, and she embraces them with a passionate kiss, during which she vomits her mucous deep into their throats, affecting them as if they had been exposed to the noisome cloud of her aboleth masters. Now able to breathe only water, and needing to remain moist, they are utterly dependent upon her, as she leads them beneath the water to toil as slaves, trapped by their new state.

Some ulat-sere ‘enjoy the game’ and allow their thralls to continue seeing them as beautiful merfolk, so that they work to their deaths never knowing the true faces of their captors, while others drop the façade almost immediately, revealing their true features; a boggard-like upper torso, with the fanged circular mouth of a blood-sucking remora and two soulless black eyes directly atop their shark-like head, able to see both before and behind, and, when swimming, directly ahead. Their lower body is more that of an eel or slug, than a brightly colored fish, and can wrap around a person like a constricting snake, having properties similar to the lower body of a hermit crab, and allowing them to ‘nest’ in a similar fashion, squirming their lower bodies into crevices in the rock and keeping only their armored shoulders and head exposed. Spiky chitin decorates the back of their sucker-mouthed head, and their shoulders, and their slender arms end in fingers similarly armored, resembling more twitching crabs attached to the end of their wrists, than actual hands. The cartilage of their bodies is flexible, and, combined with the effects of their slimy skin, an ulat-sere can squeeze into an area as if a creature of one size class smaller than their normal Medium or Large size.

Their 'siren's song' is capable of entrancing not only humanoids, but also animals, and they often use their gifts to call fish, crustaceans or sea birds to them in great numbers, and holding them entranced for ease of harvesting them for both their own sustenance and that of their ulat-kini subordinates and humanoid slaves.

The ulat-sere are profoundly selfish, evil to the bone (if they had bones, that is) and usually chaotic as well. Obsessed with self-advancement, either through gaining class levels, or growing in racial hit dice and becoming larger (or some combination of both), ulat-sere are jealous of any others among their kind, and sullenly fearful of their aboleth masters. Their natural form of reproduction involves two of their hermaphroditic species growing into each other and becoming a single helpless flailing mass of flesh for a month, and then splitting apart into two adults and a smaller ‘child’ at the end of this process, which siphons off both flesh and memories from the two adults who entered the flesh-merging process, and so drains both of them of either a racial hit die worth of growth or a class level worth of ability (and so, as a process, is shunned by most ulat-sere, who refuse to give up growth or ability that they have gained). Their secondary and preferred form of reproduction (which, even then, they only do under orders, loathe to increase their numbers and thus the amount of ulat-sere competing for the same resources) is to restrain an ulat-kini and breathe their slime down it’s gullet, causing it to go into convulsions and become nauseated for a week’s time. Every day it must make a Fortitude save or die from the effects, but if it survives the week, it is fully transformed into an ulat-sere, who self-cannibalizes whatever fledgling remnants of legs remain from its days as an ulat-kini, and swims free to join its fellow ulat-sere.

Some ulat-sere, particularly among those populations not under the direct control of an aboleth, have taken to addicting themselves to an alchemically modified variation on their own mucous, allowing them maintain the glamor of being beautiful merfolk, *affecting even themselves,* as they have grown enamored of their beautiful forms, and come to see them as ‘their true selves.’ Aboleth have little patience for such self-delusion in their minions, and this practice is not seen among ulat-sere working directly with an aboleth, with their own ulat-sere being more likely to revel in their inhuman appearance, and enjoy terrifying their humanoid slaves with their monstrous appearances.

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Reading through Princes of Darkness recently, I found Geryon and his focus on heresies to be fascinating. Random thoughts for Golarion-specific heresies;

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Abadar – pursuit of wealth is the only role in life, and the moral value of a man is determined by his wealth, the poor are to be managed like possessions, kept indentured 'for their own benefit.' Golden masks and high walls keep the wealthy separate from the hoi-polloi, and to even touch a poor person is considered to be a minor sin. The entire Drumish Kalistocracy could be seen as a heretical branch of Abadaran doctrine, but it's more likely that the Kalistocracy itself has 'heresies' sprouted up within it, at least some stemming from Geryon's whispers.

Asmodeus – Geryon knows better than to come up with a heretical splinter of Asmodean faith!

Calistria –

Cayden Cailean – celebrates ‘wisdom’ gained through utter lack of self-control through inebriation. Any act committed while drunk (including horrible acts of violence) are considered ‘holy.’ Various other drugs and hallucinogens are considered to be sacred as well.

Desna –

Erastil – both the most extreme members of the misogynist branch *and* a counter misandrist branch stem from engineered misunderstandings of Erastilian doctrine, teetering back and forth as they oppose each other, stamp each other out, resurface, etc.

Gorum –

Gozreh –

Iomedae – Burners, penitents who punish the craven / brutalize civilians, who are seen as failing to exhibit the courage and honor and high standards that would save them from temptation and falling into the wickedness of the pit. They must be, like crude iron ore, beaten into shape and burned with the flames of purity, before they become like steel, unable to be corrupted and able to stand strong against the forces of the Worldwound.

Irori – self-perfection through flagellation and excruciation, ‘perfection’ of others through brutal treatment and harsh discipline, holds the ‘weak’ and ‘ignorant’ in contempt. Those who lack either literacy or physical health and strength are seen as impure, and must be elevated, or shunned... The Superior Man can only be dragged down by the presence of the Inferior Man.

Lamashtu –

Nethys – superiority of magic, spellcasters / magic-users intended to dominate and rule over non-mages, magic, particularly destructive magic, is to be used to demonstrate to the non-mages their proper (subordinate) place in the scheme of themes. Non-spellcasters who learn to activate magical items (through Use Magic Device) are considered blasphemers, unworthy, and deserving of death.

Norgorber –

Pharasma – all life requires death, must sacrifice (usually via drowning) to sanctify a birth (with more drownings increasing the potential for the child, encouraging *lots* of drownings for a royal child) and commemorate a death with orgiastic excesses in an attempt to recapture the fleeting life-energies to quicken the wombs of those present and embody some of the qualities of the dying soul within the flesh of children conceived on the night of their death as a form of spiritual inheritance or faux reincarnation

Rovagug –

Sarenrae – pro-slavery sect, burning dervish sect (redemption though burning away wickedness, both in selves and in captives, with those who lack extensive burn scars being seen as 'overproud' and prone to wickedness, as they think themselves 'too good' to need to purge themselves through cleansing fire)

Shelyn – that which is not beautiful is to be shunned, with ugly people banished or made to wear masks, so that the blessed are not tainted by exposure to their ugliness. They keep an eye out for exceptionally ugly people to bring to their fetes, dressing them up and making them up to look beautiful for a night, before beating them savagely and running them off with cruel mockery. They also keep an eye out for unusually attractive commoners, and sometimes induct them into their society as breeding stock, treating them *almost* like equals, and other times scarring or abusing them to 'take back' the beauty they have 'stolen' from 'their betters.'

Torag –

Urgathoa –

Zon-Kuthon – petty sadism and mutilation to degrade and defile others and self, not to elevate or strengthen or enlighten or ‘carve away weakness.’ Any tortures they inflict, to self or others, are ultimately destructive and meaningless, bringing no new enlightenment or wisdom or gift of endurance or self-focus to anyone involved, only serving to destroy and corrupt.


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Desna - To wander is divine and therefore civilizations are blasphemous. Those who settle endure the nightmare of ownership, roots and society. These people must be liberated at all costs and their prisons destroyed at all costs. This sect travels from town to town burning and razing them as they go in order to free the civilized from their bondage.


Set, your stuff is so beautiful it makes me weep. Drink my tears and grow stronger!

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Freehold DM wrote:
Set, your stuff is so beautiful it makes me weep. Drink my tears and grow stronger!

Aw, thanks! And, ew. I'm trying to cut back on drinking the tears of others. Too much sodium. :)

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Mark Hoover wrote:
Desna - To wander is divine and therefore civilizations are blasphemous. Those who settle endure the nightmare of ownership, roots and society. These people must be liberated at all costs and their prisons destroyed at all costs. This sect travels from town to town burning and razing them as they go in order to free the civilized from their bondage.

Ooh, that's a good one! More nomadic or 'barbarian' cultures often regarded city folk as a combination of too soft to survive on their own and inherently untrustworthy. Stir up the sense that people who kill each other and stab each other in the backs over mere land or buildings, instead of valuing bonds of family over lines on maps, and turning the prejudices sometimes heaped on traveling folk by settled folk around on them again, by pointing out how it's the wanderers and 'barbarians' who have extensive cultural taboos and behavioral codes, while the 'city folk' are the dishonest ones who came up with concepts like 'caveat emptor' and who need full time guards just to deal with all the robbing and killing of each other they do.

Lying to a city-folk or landowner isn't even lying, because they value land and things more than honor and family! The smother their free men's souls with what they call 'gilded cages,' and yet their cities reek of their own waste, locked in with them, like animals cooped up for the slaughter. Good Desnan heresy material!

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So I was playing around with some Witch hexes to steal stuff;

Minor Hexes;
Steal a language, leaving the victim unable to speak or read or understand it, and allowing the witch to do so while the effect lasts.

Steal a spell that she has identified by name (assuming that the victim actually has that spell, otherwise the hex fails!), leaving the spellcaster unable to cast it, and the witch able to spontaneously convert a single spell of equal or higher level to cast the stolen spell one time during the duration of the curse.

Steal scales or hide, stripping away a few points of a target creatures natural armor bonus, and granting them to the witch for that short time.

Major Hexes;
Steal someone's voice, causing them to become mute for the duration, except when you want to put words in their mouth and make them say what you want them to say.

Steal someone's sight, rendering them blind, and also being able to scry from their sightless eyes for the duration.

Grand Hex;
Steal someone's entire face, causing them to become blind, deaf and mute, and, crucially, begin to suffocate unless someone pokes a hole in the smooth featureless membrane that now covers where they used to have a face. While the curse is in effect, the witch can change her own features to resemble the stolen face at will.

And the one that made me think 'ew;'

I Steal Your Sex (Su): The witch curses a living creature within 30 ft. to not only become impotent and infertile, but to lose it's primary sexual characteristics entirely for 24 hours. While this curse is in effect, the witch can manifest the stolen characteristics, and make use of them normally, even to the point of possibly siring a child on another with a stolen appendage, that will share the bloodline of the original victim, and not her own.


Your steal-hexes rock Set. Especially the steal-spell hex. The "ew" steal at the end would be a great plot device regarding mysterious bloodlines and odd family traits...

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Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
Your steal-hexes rock Set. Especially the steal-spell hex. The "ew" steal at the end would be a great plot device regarding mysterious bloodlines and odd family traits...

Thanks!

I kind of like the idea of a witch 'stealing' some property of a victim with a hex and then being able to use it herself, like the octopus-witch in Disney's Little Mermaid, stealing Ariel's voice.

A 'Steal Youth' hex, for instance, might only be useful to a middle-aged or older witch, and allow her to physically advance an adult foe one age category for a time (physical attribute penalties only), and, during that time, also remove her own physical age penalties by one category. The foe gets debuffed, the witch gets buffed, and we forbid her to use the hex on things that don't have age categories (undead, outsiders, oozes, constructs) or that use them very, very differently (dragons!).

There might be some fine-tuning / haggling over which ones need to be Minor, Major or Greater Hexes, but otherwise it's a rich, rich area to mine, since a creature has so many different characteristics, traits or features that could be 'stolen' in this way, from literacy to movement rates to fuzzier things like 'popularity.' (For the duration of the hex, the witch and her targets reactions from people are reversed, so that a witch with a terrible reputation curses the local folk hero she targeted to be reviled and spat upon and possibly run out of town (or even lynched!) by local folk, while anyone who would react well to him instead treats *her* like a local hero!)

'Stealing' someone's bond to their summoned creatures, controlled undead, animal companion, bonded mount, eidolon, cohort/followers or familiar could be *awesomely* wicked, although it might need to be crazy short duration (measured in 1 round + increments) if it's not going to be a Major or Greater Hex, since it's might as well be named 'Bone Summoners/Necromancers/Druids/Cavaliers Hard...

A permanent version could be an awesome Greater Hex (only usable to 'steal' one creature at a time, and losing control of any previously stolen one if used again), or class ability capstone for a Witch Archetype based around usurping control or oathbreaking or breaking bonds or whatever, granting the 18th level Witch who takes it essentially a free Animal Companion or Eidolon or whatever if she can find one to 'steal.'

But it's all a big distraction, since I was trying to write up 750 words on witch hexes that are particularly thematic for Qadiran / Katapeshi witches, and these, interesting or no, are not them. :)


The hexes are great and thematically appropriate for witches, in my opinion. The Steal Language hex might be a bit too powerful for a minor hex but, as you noted, the power level of the hexes are not set in stone.

About the Steal Your Sex hex:

[Sigmund Freud voice]"Why don't you lie down on the couch and tell me about your childhood?"[/Sigmund Freud voice]

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Bill Lumberg wrote:
The hexes are great and thematically appropriate for witches, in my opinion.

Yeah, I wanted to evoke the sort of 'witch' curses that we see in modern day portrayals like the Little Mermaid voice-stealing or the youth-stealing going on in Stardust.

The 'Steal Your Eyes / Sight' thing, blinding a foe and granting the Witch the ability to scry from the blinded foe's position, or a version that affects hearing or speech, also seemed fun.

Bill Lumberg wrote:
The Steal Language hex might be a bit too powerful for a minor hex but, as you noted, the power level of the hexes are not set in stone.

The hard part is coming up with suitable durations. Cinematically, these sorts of curses last for hours or days or even potentially forever (until something happens to break them), while PF Witch Hexes, particularly Minor ones, rarely last more than a few rounds, tops.

Steal Language actually ends up being a kind of utility hex, in some cases. You meet a group of Svirfneblin and share no language with them, you hex the dude in the back and steal his knowledge of Undercommon, allowing you to chat up their leader.

Tactically, it could be useful as an attack on a foe that is using a lot of language-dependent spells, but there's no guarantee that he doesn't speak *another* language that one or more of your allies knows, and which would just limit his target selection somewhat.

Bill Lumberg wrote:

About the Steal Your Sex hex:

[Sigmund Freud voice]"Why don't you lie down on the couch and tell me about your childhood?"[/Sigmund Freud voice]

Yeah that one doesn't really have any mechanical application and can lead to mega-creepiness... (OTOH, 'stealing the sex' of an ooze temporarily might not only negate it's Split ability to self-replicate when wounded, but grant you that same ability for a short time! Yikes, crazy overpowered, little fraction-of-your-hit-points witches everywhere!)

Inspired by the real world concept of 'penis thieves,' which are too crazy ridiculous to not exist in a fantasy world.


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Set wrote:
Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
Your steal-hexes rock Set. Especially the steal-spell hex. The "ew" steal at the end would be a great plot device regarding mysterious bloodlines and odd family traits...

Thanks!

I kind of like the idea of a witch 'stealing' some property of a victim with a hex and then being able to use it herself, like the octopus-witch in Disney's Little Mermaid, stealing Ariel's voice.

A 'Steal Youth' hex, for instance, might only be useful to a middle-aged or older witch, and allow her to physically advance an adult foe one age category for a time (physical attribute penalties only), and, during that time, also remove her own physical age penalties by one category. The foe gets debuffed, the witch gets buffed, and we forbid her to use the hex on things that don't have age categories (undead, outsiders, oozes, constructs) or that use them very, very differently (dragons!).

There might be some fine-tuning / haggling over which ones need to be Minor, Major or Greater Hexes, but otherwise it's a rich, rich area to mine, since a creature has so many different characteristics, traits or features that could be 'stolen' in this way, from literacy to movement rates to fuzzier things like 'popularity.' (For the duration of the hex, the witch and her targets reactions from people are reversed, so that a witch with a terrible reputation curses the local folk hero she targeted to be reviled and spat upon and possibly run out of town (or even lynched!) by local folk, while anyone who would react well to him instead treats *her* like a local hero!)

'Stealing' someone's bond to their summoned creatures, controlled undead, animal companion, bonded mount, eidolon, cohort/followers or familiar could be *awesomely* wicked, although it might need to be crazy short duration (measured in 1 round + increments) if it's not going to be a Major or Greater Hex, since it's might as well be named 'Bone Summoners/Necromancers/Druids/Cavaliers Hard...

A permanent version could be an...

I houseruled a villain who used a witch ritual as part of a coven. She needed to perform the rite 13 times, each time stealing a victim's beauty, reducing the victim to a Cha of 6 and transforming them into Thawns. The stolen Cha was stored in silver lockets which then contained the victims original likeness in the cameo, a la Dorian Grey. Once the heroes caught up to the villain they found the lockets and could restore the Cha and save the Thawns if they got the cameos to them in time.

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Ooh, that's way cool.

Mixing that sort of thing up into an MMO style 'boss fight,' the witch could have stolen some sort of energy or essence from a bunch of minions, giving her a shield other effect that sends a percentage of damage to the minions she has fighting alongside her. Attacks to sunder the glowing crystal talismans hanging from leather cords around her neck and arms and waist end the effect on one of those minions, not just unlinking it's life from hers, but also freeing it from her thrall and reducing the number of minions facing you.

As a move action, she can also crush a talisman and killing the minion it is linked to, transferring it's hit points to her as healing, so sundering those talismans also eliminates her ability to use them to heal, and also saves those victims-turned-minions from being eaten up like candy to keep her alive.

It would probably be easiest to work up as an 'incantation' or true ritual or whatever, maybe even one that requires some special features, like the witch being a blood relation to these potential minions, or performing the ritual to bind them on a leyline nexus or whatever. Then again, it could just be a funky Grand Hex this particular big boss witch has developed, for a suitably high level game.

I like coming up with 'end battles' that involve some unusual tactics to make the fight easier, such as eliminating healing sources, destroying relics that grant certain powers (like a super-mummy that derives powers from four canopic jars around the room, related to the organs stored within them, and loses those specific powers and is staggered for 1 round if one is destroyed), or shutting down an anti-magic field, etc.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Torag Heresy - A Dwarf Supremacist group.

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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Torag Heresy - A Dwarf Supremacist group.

And, to them, a counter-heresy might be discovering that there's a church of Torag in one of the human dominated lands that has no dwarves in it, and has rewritten his canon to remove references to dwarves, complete with a big statue of Torag as a human in their fane.

Desna and Calistria may often be re-fluffed as more or less elven or human, and their followers don't (usually) get as worked up about it, but try taking the dwarf out of Torag and you'll have warhammers beating down your doors!

It all started when Aroden died, and some addled human ex-cleric of Aroden adopted the tenets of Toragite faith instead, but, in his grief over the death of the 'god of humanity,' chose to re-interpret Torag as a long-forgotten god of humanity that had been co-opted by the dwarves... He's dead now, but his acolytes, recruited from others who weren't huge fans of dwarves, dragged his new church into a more anti-dwarf direction, going so far as to rewrite the holy canon and expressly forbid dwarves from joining the clergy. Several of them lost their ability to cast spells briefly, when their LN-ness crossed the line into LE-ness and Torag jettisoned their delusional racist butts, but Geryon was there to hear their prayers and see them through this 'test of faith.'

Then began the night of long knives, as the clergy who remained faithful to slightly distorted Toragite faiths (and still got their spells from him) and the ones who now (unknown to them) were getting their spells from Geryon each attempted to 'purge the heretics' from their ranks.

The whole schism took about a century to unfold, resulted in the fall of dozens of clerics, the corruption of many hundreds of worshippers, and a bunch of bloodshed in the ensuing purges, assassinations and the occasional dwarven scapegoat. To Geryon, it was a typical Thursday.

That this pocket heresy has led to some dwarven Toragites pointing and saying, 'See? This is why we should close our doors to humans and only allow dwarves to be clergy!' is sweet, sweet icing on an already tasty cake, as Geryon licks his lips in anticipation of it happening all over again.

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Because I am evil, I'll just leave this here;

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PUGWAMPI SWARM
These tiny twisted gremlins leap and cavort, boiling forth like a plague of misfortune given voice and a terrible unity of purpose.
PUGWAMPI SWARM CR 3
XP 800
NE Tiny fey (swarm)
Init +5; Senses darkvision 120 ft., low-light vision; Perception +6 (+2 when listening)
DEFENSE
AC 13, touch 13, flat-footed 11 (+1 Dex, +2 size)
hp 33 (6d6+12)
Fort +3, Ref +6, Will +7
Defensive Abilities swarm traits; DR 2 / cold iron; SR 12
Aura unluck (20 ft.)
OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft.
Melee swarm (2d6)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks cacophony (DC 10), distraction (DC 13)
STATISTICS
Str 3, Dex 13, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 6
Base Atk +3, CMB –, CMD
Feats Improved Initiative, Toughness (B), Weapon Finesse (B)
(6) Skills Bluff 1 (+2), Craft (traps) 1 (+4), Disable Device 2 (+2), Perception 1 (+6; +2 listening), Ride 1 (+2), Stealth 1 (+17); Racial Modifiers +4 Stealth, -4 Perception when listening
Languages Gnoll, Undercommon
SQ unity
ECOLOGY
Environment animal graveyards, deserts, plains, necropoli, ruins, sewers, your worst nightmares
Organization seething (1 swarm), roil (2 to 4 swarms)
Treasure standard (tiny daggers, other treasure)
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Cacophony (Su) Whenever the pugwampi swarm enters the space of a creature, the entire space occupied with the swarm rings with the destructive resonance of the gremlin’s shatter spell-like ability. Every round, on the swarm’s turn, any unattended non-magical objects of crystal, glass, ceramic or porcelain up to 1 lb. in weight are smashed into dozens of pieces. Crystalline creatures within the swarm suffer 1d6 points of sonic damage, with a Fortitude save for half damage.

Unity (Su) A pugwampi swarm has a singular goal, and this driven nature causes them to forget how to make effective use of their innate spell-like abilities, as they seek only to rend their enemies to pieces with their tiny daggers, and destroy any unattended objects they can find with their wild and undirected applications of shatter. This singular purpose does however increase their innate spell resistance, as they find themselves bolstered by the press of their noxious kind.

Unluck Aura (Su) A pugwampi swarm radiates an aura of unluck to a radius of 20 feet. Any creature in this area must roll two d20s whenever a situation calls for a d20 roll (such as an attack roll, a skill check, or a saving throw) and must use the lower of the two results generated. This is a mind-affecting effect that does not work on animals, other gremlins, or gnolls. Any character who gains any sort of luck bonus (such as that granted by a luckstone or divine favor) is immune to the pugwampi unluck aura.

Thankfully occurring only once in every thirteen years, bands of pugwampi gather in teeming masses, to fight for the right to choose a mate and determine leadership and status among their kind. If disturbed during this ill-fated moot, the enraged creatures flow like a noisome river to engulf any who interrupt their most holy nights.

I'd totally mail one of these to Mikaze, if I could figure out the shipping. 'Cause we all know what a fan he is of pugwampi. :)

Why did it spend 7 skill ranks when it only should have 6? I don't know, I just cut and pasted that from the pugwampi write up. While the bat / bat swarm and rat / rat swarm stats might or might not give precedent for the swarms having extra skill ranks based on their HD, I didn't really see the need for that. With an animal swarm, that might mean an extra two skill points or so. With a fey swarm, it's more like *12* extra skill points, and that didn't feel appropriate.

Rat swarms have 2 more Con than individual rats. Bat swarms have *five* more Con than individual bats. Huh. I gave the pugwampi swarm only a +2 Con over an individual pugwampi, because a swarm with distraction and unluck and spell resistance and the teensiest bit of DR is already just terribly cruel...

Monkey swarms, on the other hand, have +7 Con over individual monkeys, *and* +4 Str. They are also under P for Primate. Why? Because the throttled sound of your inchoate German kid rage after searching through three Bestiaries and one Inner Sea Bestiary under S for Swarm and M for Monkey is sweet, sweet music to our ears.

(Venomous) Snake Swarm is the winner. +9 Con over individual vipers, +4 Str and, for some reason, -1 Dex and -1 Wis (but don't fear! They are reduced from odd numbers to even numbers, so their is absolutely no mechanical effect, just some min-max point-buy shaving!).

TL;DR. The template, if you were looking for one, to convert an individual critter to a swarm of those critters is 'blue, foxtrot, wibble.'


In such BBEG fights, how do you get the players to do anything but "Attack...spell...ranged attack...smite...repeat..."? I ask b/cause I've tried these a couple times and the players didn't catch on and got upset. The more famous one was the Swarmlord.

A living swarm creature, the Swarmlord had the added feature that the walls of his prison held multiple hives. Each of these produced swarms of different types of common vermin which he could either command to form a Swarm to attack the part with or he could absorb a Swarm to regenerate. The players fought him for 4 rounds, got mad, and fled.

Silver Crusade

You monster.

Good stuff, mind. But still, crossing the line.

flagged for posting an abomination against the laws of man and God

;)

Spoiler:
>:(

Dark Archive

Mark Hoover wrote:
In such BBEG fights, how do you get the players to do anything but "Attack...spell...ranged attack...smite...repeat..."?

Truthfully? I don't use swarms much, especially not swarms that are weapon immune. At low levels, it's either 'you have burnings hands prepared at least twice' or 'you probably die.'

Which also means 'you played a sorcerer and don't have burnings hands as a spell known?' or 'you played a specialist and evocation is a banned school?' = 'congratulations jerk, you just TPK'd your party by not taking burning hands.'

Or those terrible days when you *do* have the right spell prepared, but rolled crap for damage, or failed to resist swarm distraction and never got to cast it before party members started dying (which, if you're an arcanist, will probably be you first...).

It's even worse if you have no arcanist at all. A good cleric's only contribution is going to be sound burst, which he doesn't get till 3rd level, and which, even charitably speaking, isn't going to kill anything...

Any sort of all or nothing immunity annoys me, as it marginalizes whoever the immunity is directed against (mind-affecting effects being a big pet peeve, since it is tossed willy-nilly onto a bunch of creatures that, IRL, are quite capable of experiencing fear, etc.), and with immunity to all weapon attacks, that pretty much invalidates any melee class, rogue, etc. Most single target spells don't affect a swarm, and the supply of AoE spells at low level is pretty dire.

I'd much prefer if swarms had some sort of DR vs. weapon attacks or half damage or even 'minimum damage and 1/2 all mods' from weapon attacks, than blanket immunity. A berserk Shoanti with 110 hp. and an earthbreaker *should* be able to disperse a swarm of centipedes. This is d20. He can survive a 100 ft. fall after tearing his way out of a flying purple worms gullet with a boot knife. He shouldn't be absolutely helpless against a flock of bats.

Any encounter where only one of thousands of possible PC options can eke out a victory against this encounter is a bad design, IMO. Any encounter where 3/4ths of the party are standing around holding their cheese is bad design.

And then making swarms with unluck auras (keep rolling vs. distraction until you fail!), or spell resistance (demonling swarm!), or construct traits (evil animated toys!), or fire resistance (burning what?), or undead traits (skeletal hands!), that's just *mean.* :)

I mostly made this because I was working up a 12 HD 'goblin swarm' (yeah, they're small, but the swarm mechanic mostly works for what I wanted there) and happened to flip past pugwampi and thought that Mikaze would spit coffee all over his monitor if I enswarmed them. :)


I didn't type clearly. How do you get your players to understand they should do anything more than direct frontal assault when you have a "video game boss" villain who can be weakened by some outside action like blowing up their crystals or something?

I have a game coming up soon. In said game there is a kind of goblin adept called a Book Blighter who gets special powers from a bonfire of burning tomes. The PCs are after a spellbook he's about to sacrifice. However I have intoned that the bonfire gives him something in a previous fight.

The cave the fight takes place in is seeping water from an underground aquifer in the roof and walls. I'll have the first missed shot (or successful kill) take a chip out of a wall which immediately springs a leak. Will that be enough, or is this too subtle?

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Oh, my players never figure stuff like that out, unfortunately. Decades of D&D (and similar RPGs) have pretty much left them with the notion that if they can't just shoot it to death with their usual preferred attack methods, it must be unkillable. Strategy? Turning bad-guys against each other? Ambushes? Traps? No dice. The solution for most encounters is 'zerg rush.'

I usually have to have an NPC point it out, or have a particularly stupid bad-guy brag about how 'the power of the mirrors makes me invincible!' before they'll figure out to smash the mirrors or whatever.

There's a certain kind of lazy thinking that some tabletop gamers fall into, that, oddly enough, new players less familiar with 'optimization' and more prone to out of the box thinking (or computer gamers, familiar with puzzles and combats that have tricks to them) find it easier to deal with.

If the Book Blighter's attacks or bonuses more explicitly come from the bonfire (say, instead of casting a spell normally, he draws fire from the bonefire and it then bursts out from him as the spell he's casting), it might be the sort of anvilicious hint that my players would need to figure out 'maybe we should douse the bonfire?' Even then, if there isn't an easy obvious way to target the bonfire, they'd probably try to just 'power through it' by murderdeathkilling the goblin (unless a wall of fire or something is preventing them from closing with it).


I heart your stuff, Set. I need to put your new witch hexes to work in my APG-based world.

...

... in fact... linky time...


Great stuff, Set. :)

Dark Archive

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So, I loved Inner Sea Bestiary, but, when I got to the Ghoran, I was like, WTF? It was the exact same origin story as the Vegepygmies in the Darklands book (hungry peeps make plant-folk to eat, and then they turn all sentient and stuff).

Meanwhile, Nex, the source of this new plant-peeps, is crawling with awesome potential for some sort of aberrant / monstrous humanoid PC race, from the Fleshforges, or some sort of ooze-folk, from Oenopion, so, a new plant race from there just seems to be an utter misfire, to me.

That being said, my brain rarely allows me to sleep when I feel like an opportunity has been missed like that, so I whipped up a replacement for the Gholan, who can go be a native race on Castrovel or something, and have nothing to do with Nex.

COLONIALS
This humanoid ooze appears roughly formed, like a man-shaped taper that has been left to melt, and inside its translucent bodies, colorful ‘organs’ can be seen shifting and settling, each a cavity filled with a different sort of ooze, filling different roles within the complex ecology of the creature.
COLONIAL CR 1/2
XP 200
NG Medium humanoid wizard 1
Init -1; Senses blindsight 30 ft.; Perception +1
DEFENSE
AC 14, touch 9, flat-footed 14 (-1 Dex, +1 natural, +4 mage armor)
hp 10 (1d6+7)
Fort +3, Ref -1, Will +3; +4 vs. poison, sleep effects, paralysis, polymorph and stunning.
Defensive Abilities amorphous anatomy, ooze resilience, Damage Reduction DR 1 / slashing
OFFENSE
Speed 20 ft., 10 ft. climb
Melee 1 slam -1 (1d6-1 or 1d4-1 with reach)
Ranged
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft. (10 ft. with special slam attack)
Special Attacks spellcasting
Spells Prepared (CL 1, concentration +4)
1st – mage armor, sleep (Will DC 14)
0 (at will) – detect magic, mage hand, prestidigitation
STATISTICS
Str 8, Dex 8, Con 16, Int 17, Wis 12, Cha 11
-2 Dex, +2 Int, +2 Con
Base Atk +0, CMB +0, CMD 9
Feats Scribe Scroll (B), Toughness
(5) Skills Climb 0 (+7), Knowledge (arcana) 1 (+7), Knowledge (dungeoneering) 1 (+7), Knowledge (engineering) 1 (+7), Knowledge (nature) 1 (+7), Spellcraft 1 (+7); Racial Modifiers +8 Climb
Languages Common, Colonial, Gnome, Terran, Undercommon
SQ arcane bond, hive mind
ECOLOGY
Environment Quantium
Organization solitary, pair, commune (3-6)
Treasure standard
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Amorphous Anatomy (Ex) A colonial’s anatomy affords it a 50% chance to avoid taking additional damage from a critical hit and halves any damage taken from sneak attack dice. Able to ‘see’ in all directions and having no distinct back or front, a colonial cannot be flanked, but adds its armor check penalty to any Perception checks, as its sensory organs encompass its entire body surface. A colonial wearing light or no armor can squeeze as a creature two size classes below its own. If wearing medium armor, a colonial squeezes as a creature one size class below its own, and if wearing heavy armor, a colonial squeezes as a creature of its size. A colonial can stand up as a move-equivalent action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity.

Hive Mind (Su) A colonial can contact the hive mind to attempt an untrained Knowledge skill check as if you had access to a library, although this takes the usual 1d4 hours. When it ‘takes 10’ on a Knowledge check with a trained Knowledge skill, it instead ‘takes 12,’ and when it ‘takes 20,’ it instead ‘takes 25.’ A colonial treats all Knowledge skills as class skills.

Malleable Limbs (Ex) A colonial can make a slam attack as a primary attack that inflicts damage as a creature one size class larger (1d6 for a size Medium colonial) and uses 1.5 times its Str modifier if it is the only attack made, or it can choose to elongate a limb to increase its reach by 5 ft., but only inflicting normal slam damage for its size (1d4 at Medium) and 1x its Str modifier. The limb snaps back to normal size immediately after this attack, and the colonial is not treated as having Reach for the purpose of attacks of opportunity. If a colonial makes a weapon attack with an extended limb, it can only do so with a one handed weapon.

Ooze Resilience (Ex) A colonial has a +4 to saving throws versions poison or sleep effects, as well as effects that would paralyze, polymorph or stun it.

Ponderous (Ex) Colonials have a base speed of 20 ft., but their low center of gravity allows them to be treated as one size class larger when calculating CMB or CMD, adjudicating the effects of high wind, or determining the effects of a combat maneuver or the grab, push or pull monster abilities.

Colonials are misshapen humanoids, surrounded by a clear membrane that is leathery and moist to the touch. Within, clear cytoplasm and a network of veins and tubules link small cavities in which a half dozen differently colored smaller oozes are supported, combining functions to approximate those of a typical humanoid body and mind.

The ooze sees, hears, smells and tastes through its entire ‘skin’ surface, in addition to having a particularly keen sense of touch, allowing it to ‘feel’ its surroundings even in total darkness, but all of its senses are blurred by heavy coverings, so that armor, in particular, reduces its ability to perceive its surroundings, as does particularly thick clothing (assume a -1 to Perception checks for every 3 full lbs. of a given outfit, unless the clothing is specially designed, although some outfits, such as a cold weather suit, cannot be so modified without rendering them useless at their intended function…).

The outer layer of a colonial is coated with a greasy secretion that protects the creature from drying out, but is also mildly acidic, significantly more so than humanoid sweat, and resulting in colonials preferring adornments of ceramic or noble metals that do not degrade or corrode, such as gold. Other substances, including cloth, are often treated alchemically to prevent discoloration and premature wear, which doubles the cost of outfits purchased after character creation. (Each colonial starts play with one outfit that is both cut to accommodate its unique sensory needs, and treated to withstand its cloth-degrading ‘sweat.’)

Despite being formed by the massive hivemind ooze-colony of Oenopion from its own gelatinous mass, colonials are treated as humanoids, and lack many of the characteristics of a true ooze, having been crafted with great deliberation and skill to emulate the shape and functions of a humanoid creature, and being capable of visual sight, speech, manipulating items with their sausage-like fingers, and participating in humanoid society in a way which their creator cannot. Their unique language, Colonial, cannot be ‘spoken’ by other humanoids, as it involves physical contact and the transfer of chemical signals between two colonials, or a colonial and the central colony in Oenopion, to which they return at least annually to ‘download’ new information gleaned and sensations experienced in their travels. A colonial can ‘shout’ in this language, to communicate a crude one-word message to another colonial within 30 ft., but other races will only perceive this communication as a sharp bitter smell.

Colonial Characters
Colonials are defined by class levels – they do not possess racial Hit Dice. Colonials have the following racial traits.
+2 Intelligence, +2 Constitution, -2 Dexterity: Colonials have powerful parallel-processing minds, and durable multiply-redundant bodies, but lack physical dexterity or the ability to react quickly to new situations.
Ponderous: Colonials have a base speed of 20 ft., but their low center of gravity allows them to be treated as one size class larger when calculating CMB or CMD, adjudicating the effects of high wind, or determining the effects of a combat maneuver or the grab, push or pull monster abilities. Their malleable limbs and versatile bodily secretions also grant them a climb speed of 10 ft.
Blindsight: Colonials possess blindsight out to a range of 30 ft., primarily as a result of their keen sense of tactile awareness.
Tough Skin: Colonials have a +1 natural armor bonus and Damage Reduction 1 / slashing.
Amorphous Anatomy: A colonial’s anatomy affords it a 50% chance to avoid taking additional damage from a critical hit and halves any damage taken from sneak attack dice. Able to ‘see’ in all directions and having no distinct back or front, a colonial cannot be flanked, but adds its armor check penalty to any Perception checks, as its sensory organs encompass its entire body surface. A colonial wearing light or no armor can squeeze as a creature two size classes below its own. If wearing medium armor, a colonial squeezes as a creature one size class below its own, and if wearing heavy armor, a colonial squeezes as a creature of its size. A colonial can stand up as a move-equivalent action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity.
Hive Mind: A colonial can contact the hive mind to attempt an untrained Knowledge skill check as if you had access to a library, although this takes the usual 1d4 hours. When it ‘takes 10’ on a Knowledge check with a trained Knowledge skill, it instead ‘takes 12,’ and when it ‘takes 20,’ it instead ‘takes 25.’ A colonial treats all Knowledge skills as class skills.
Malleable Limbs: A colonial can make a slam attack as a primary attack that inflicts damage as a creature one size class larger (1d6 for a size Medium colonial) and uses 1.5 times its Str modifier if it is the only attack made, or it can choose to elongate a limb to increase its reach by 5 ft., but only inflicting normal slam damage for its size (1d4 at Medium) and 1x its Str modifier. The limb snaps back to normal size immediately after this attack, and the colonial is not treated as having Reach for the purpose of attacks of opportunity.
Ooze Resilience: While lacking the many immunities of a true ooze, a colonial does benefit from a +4 bonus to saving throws versus poison, paralysis, polymorph, sleep effects and stunning.
Languages: Colonials begin play speaking Colonial and Osirioni. Colonials with high Intelligence scores can choose any of the following bonus languages; Aklo, Common, Dwarven, Gnome, Kellish or Vudrani.
*(Setting Neutral version; Colonials begin play speaking Colonial and Common. Colonials with high Intelligence scores can choose any of the following bonus languages; Aquan, Dwarven, Gnome, Terran and Undercommon.)

Design thoughts; These guys have a ton of stuff going on, and much of it is a pretty huge cutback on the traits an Ooze type would have given them. I got rid of acid completely. It was just too much. The various immunities were too much. Normally blind, but with 60 ft. blindsight seemed problematic. The ooze colony that is pumping these dudes out must have figured out how to design their outer integument to be photo-sensitive, so that they'd be better scouts and explorers and 'mobiles' for it. There was no reason to give them the Ooze type, since I was chopping away much of what makes an ooze an ooze for balance and ease of play. It made more sense to make them humanoid, and give them just the oozy qualities I wanted, than to try and make them a crippled Ooze. Perhaps that was a 'cheat,' making the 'ooze PC race' not *really* an ooze, but the ooze type, IMO, wasn't worth the fight it would have taken to make it un-broken. Much like the 'living construct' compromise that Keith Baker made with the warforged, not wanting to deal with a 1st level PC having all of that construct-y goodness (and deal with the many odd interactions that would spring up thereby), I punted that 'ooze PC' down the road, and made something that captured some of the bits of 'ooze PC' I wanted without actually using the Ooze type right out of the box.

Dark Archive

One of the many cool features of the Freeport setting was the gnomes of the nation of Iovan, who beat back their kobold rivals by enslaving gargoyles as living weapons of war, and then, after this success, it went to their head and they attacked their dwarven neighbors, intending to further expand their territory, only to suffer a humiliating defeat, and the loss of their leader, the sorcerer Iovan, who first pioneered the gargoyle-dominating techniques.

I decided to make up some smaller 'gargoyles' to serve the lower level gnomes of this nation.

.

Crag Gnomes – as normal gnomes but darkvision 60 ft. instead of low-light vision, +1 DC to earth spells instead of illusion spells, race hatred (+1 to attack rolls) against dwarves, kobolds and goblinoids, and begin play speaking Common, Gnome and Terran (with high Int, can add Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Giant, Goblin and Orc.

GROTESQUE
This small gargoyle is unnaturally thin of limb, with a distended belly, appearing to be painfully malnourished.
GROTESQUE CR 1/2
XP 200
CE Small monstrous humanoid (earth)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +5
DEFENSE
AC 16, touch 14, flat-footed 13 (+3 Dex, +2 natural, +1 size)
hp 15 (2d10+4)
Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +3
DR 5/magic
OFFENSE
Speed 30 ft., 60 ft. fly (good)
Melee 2 claws +6 (1d3), gore +6 (1d4)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
STATISTICS
Str 11, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 6, Wis 11, Cha 7
Base Atk +2, CMB +1, CMD 14
Feats Weapon Finesse
(4) Skills Fly 1 (+13), Perception 2 (+7), Stealth 1 (+13, +19 in stony environs); Racial Modifiers +2 Stealth (+6 in stony environs)
Languages Common, Terran
SQ freeze
ECOLOGY
Environment any
Organization solitary, pair or wing (3-12)
Treasure standard
SPECIAL ABILITIES
Freeze (Ex) A grotesque can hold itself so still that it appears to be a statue. A grotesque that uses freeze can take 20 on its Stealth check to hide in plain sight as a stone statue or wall carving.

These small gargoyles have horns almost as big as those of their man-sized kin, but smaller claws, and a mouth full of fangs that is incapable of opening wide enough to be able to bite effectively. Their smaller size makes them more nimble than expected, for their stony demeanor, both on the ground and in the air, but they lack some of the durability of their larger brethren. Due to their narrow frames and odd proportions, a grotesque can not only mimic the appearance of a statue, but can even press itself flat against a stone wall and appear to be a demonic bas-relief.

A grotesque can be chosen as familiar by someone of at least 7th level with the Improved Familiar feat, or a crag gnome of at least 5th level with the Improved Familiar feat.

Gargoyle Servitor
Prerequisites crag gnome, 10th level, Gargoyle Mastery, Improved Familiar
Benefits Your grotesque familiar becomes a full sized gargoyle, and it uses the better of its own hit points derived from Hit Dice, or half of your own hit points.

Grotesquerie
By studying the techniques of Iovan, you have mastered the art of binding gargoyles to your will.
Benefits Any mind-affecting spell or effect you use upon a gargoyle, grotesque or related creature (such as a marlgoyle, four-armed gargoyle, or fiendish gargoyle) treats the creature as a humanoid, for type, and imposes an additional +2 to the save DC. You also gain a +4 bonus to Intimidate checks against these creatures.

Silver Crusade

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Set wrote:
COLONIAL

Damn I am in love with this. That lake was begging for something like this to happen. :)

adding another print-out to the ISWG

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Mikaze wrote:
Set wrote:
COLONIAL

Damn I am in love with this. That lake was begging for something like this to happen. :)

adding another print-out to the ISWG

Glad you like it! I was a little concerned about 'false advertising,' since, for an ooze-peep, it wasn't actually an ooze, but the ooze type came with more bells and whistles (and warts) than I was comfortable with for a playable 1st level PC race. I'd have the same qualms about a 1st level playable PC with all of the undead or construct traits, I suspect.

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Champions of Balance re-introduced the idea of Channel Foci, last seen in Adventurer's Armory, IIRC (and changed somewhat between those two books).

I like the idea. They remind me of 'spell foci' from a truly *ancient* issue of Dragon magazine (pre-3rd edition).

The basic rule is that to activate one, a cleric of the god whose holy symbol is etched somewhere on it must spend a use of channel energy. It is then 'activated' and any follower of that same god can then benefit from whatever property it gains or ability it can use.

Because the only recent-ish appearance of Channel Foci has been in Champions of a Heart Full of Neutrality, I felt a need to have some for good clerics and followers of good gods y'all.

.

Channel Foci
Cayden Cailean
Rapier of Broken Bonds: When this rapier is activated with a use of channeled positive energy, the wielder gains a bonus to his attack roll or CMB when attempting to damage or sunder a shackle, chain or similar binding or restraint (such as a rope used to bind someone, but not a rope used to tack a sail or support a weight), and can ignore some of the hardness of qualifying targets. The number of dice that the activating channel attempt would have healed determines the bonus and the amount of hardness ignored, so that if activated with a 3d6 channel energy attempt, it gains a +3 bonus to attack rolls / CMB to damage or sunder shackles, and ignores 3 pts. of hardness on such targets. Additionally, while activated, these attacks never run the risk of damaging someone bond or restrained by a targeted shackle or binding. Once activated, the rapier retains this bonus for 1 hour.
Stein of Liquid Courage: This ornate, but oft-battered, copper mug holds a pint of liquid. When filled with an alcoholic beverage of any sort, and activated by channeling positive energy into it, the liquid takes on a rich consistency for 1 minute. If consumed during that time (a full round action that provokes an attack of opportunity), the imbiber gains a +1 morale bonus to his next saving throw versus fear for each die of healing the channeled energy would have provided. The bonus lasts for 1 hour, or until used, and a drinker cannot benefit from more than one draught at a time.
Desna
Dreamer’s Wings: This midnight blue cloak resembles a pair of butterfly wings, folded down along the wearer’s back. When activated by channeled positive energy, the cloak can be used as a blanket (proving quite warm and comfortable, despite its gauzy appearance), and a single person can sleep beneath it for 8 hours and receive hazy prophetic dreams of the dangers to come on the following day. One time during the following day, so long as the cloak is still being worn, the wearer can add a bonus to a single saving throw. The bonus is +1 per die of healing the channel energy would have provided, and this choice must be made before the saving throw is rolled. This does not require an action, or even awareness of the incoming threat, although the player chooses whether or not to apply the bonus.
Starry Knife: This starknife is covered with tiny irregular fragments of mica, or a similar reflective material, that occasional comes off in glittering flakes. When activated with a use of channeled positive energy, it glows with candle-intensity light, and a number of times in the next 24 hours, it can shed a great number of these glittering flakes on a hit, dazzling its target for 1 minute. This effect must be declared on impact, and can occur a number of times per activation equal to the number of dice the activating channel energy attempt would have provided. Once dazzled, the only effect a second use of this ability will produce is to reset the duration at 1 minute. A creature with the light sensitivity, light blindness or sunlight powerlessness trait suffers double the effect (-2 to attack rolls and Perception checks) for 1 minute.
Erastil
Bonded Bow: This composite bow is made of antler and sinew, and when activated with a use of channeled positive energy, it can be attuned to a single ally or companion within 30 ft. For one hour per die of healing the channeled energy would have provided, the designated ally does not hinder your ranged attacks with this bow in any way, even if it is engaged in melee with your target, as if you possessed the Precise Shot and Improved Precise Shot feats, but only as pertains to that single ally. You can activate this bow multiple times, with multiple channel energy attempts, each time selecting a different ally or companion, who will also no longer interfere with or block your archery attempts with this bow.
Greater Bonded Bow: This bow functions similarly to the bonded bow, but you can designate one ally per die of healing the activating channel energy attempt would have provided to not interfere with your ranged attacks with this bow, and the effects last 24 hours.
Provider’s Satchel: This leather sack is empty until activated with a use of channel positive energy. It immediately begins squirming and is wrenched from the holder’s hand, to fall upon the ground, spilling open to disgorge a single game animal, such as a rabbit, quail, turkey or peccary. The animal reacts normally for a creature of its type, generally attempting to flee immediately. If the animal is slain before it escapes, it provides one day’s food (3 meals) per die of healing the activating channel attempt would have provided. The animal is a called creature, and does not vanish if slain, but if it evades capture or death for 1 minute, it is immediately returned from whence it came.
Iomedae
Amulet of the Glorious Sun: This amulet resembles a copper shield, emblazoned with a golden sun, overlaid by a silver longsword. When activated by a use of channeled positive energy, the amulet immediately blesses all of the bearers’ allies (including the bearer themself) within 30 ft. to receive a +1 morale bonus to their next few attack rolls or a +1 morale bonus to their next few saving throws versus fear. The number of attack rolls and / or saving throws versus fear modified is equal to the number of dice of healing that the activating channel energy attempt would have provided, and the effects occur automatically the first time the individuals affected make an attack roll or a saving throw versus fear, and cannot be ‘saved’ for specific attacks or saving throws. These bonuses last for 24 hours, if not expended before that time.
Righteous Blade: This longsword can be activated by a use of channeled positive energy, immediately producing golden-white light equivalent to a torch. Any undead creature or evil subtype outsider within the area of illumination gains the dazzled condition, suffering a -1 to attack rolls and Perception checks. Any good aligned ally within the area of illumination gains a bonus to their DC to resist being demoralized by a use of Intimidate equal to the number of dice of healing that the activating channel attempt would have provided. The sword remains activated for 1 hour.
Sarenrae
Headress of the Phoenix: This circlet is decorated with red, orange and yellow feathers, draping down along the wearers shoulders and back. When activated with a use of channeled positive energy, the feathers rise like the plumage of a peacock, creating an elegant fan behind the wearer’s head, and any use of channeled positive energy in the next hour is enhanced. The DC to resist their effects is +1, and for each die of healing the activating channeled energy would have produced, subsequent uses of channeled positive energy either heal or inflict +1 hit points of damage. Additionally, if the wearer has the Turn Undead feat, they can elect to also damage undead with channeled positive energy, while attempting to turn undead with that feat.
Solar Scimitar: This scimitar is decorated with brass solar rays that travel up its blade from the large amber ‘sun’ set in its hilt. When activated with a use of channeled positive energy, the blade gleams and grows warms to the touch for 1 hour. During that time, you can opt to roll twice whenever forced to roll against concealment provided by dim light or darkness effects, and choose the better result. Additionally, while activated, the solar scimitar provides the holder with points of healing equal to the dice of healing that the activating channel would have provided, every time they threaten a critical hit (they do not need to confirm the threat).
Shelyn
Rainbow Veils: These colorful ribbons are attached at waist, hair and wrists, fluttering and streaming behind the wearer as they move. When activated with a use of channeled positive energy, the ribbons confuse the senses, and whenever the wearer uses Combat Expertise, the Perform (dance) skill, or takes the Total Defense or Run action, they benefit from partial concealment (20% miss chance). The ribbons remain activated for 8 hours, or until a number of attacks have been confounded equal to the number of dice of healing that the activating channel energy use would have provided.
Kindly Glaive: This glaive looks anything but ‘kindly,’ but when activated with a use of channeled positive energy, the bearer can choose to inflict nonlethal damage with it without suffering the usual -4 penalty to their attack rolls for 1 hour, and gains a number of bonuses to attack rolls or combat maneuver checks equal to the number of dice of healing the activating channel attempt would have provided. These bonuses can be used individually, or all at once, as desired, but the decision to use each individual bonus to attack must be decided before that attack is made, and the bonuses can only be applied to attacks to cause nonlethal damage, or combat maneuvers to disarm or to trip. Additionally, once per activation, the bearer can choose to use a Whirlwind Attack, as the feat, but only to inflict nonlethal damage, or to perform a multiple target Disarm or Trip maneuver, rolling a single CMB check, and comparing the result against the CMD of all eligible targets. This special multiple target Disarm or Trip maneuver does not provoke attacks of opportunity, and if you fail by 10 or more, you do not drop the glaive, or fall down yourself. After performing this special attack, the glaive is no longer activated, even if it had remaining duration or attack bonuses.
Torag
Shield of Retribution: This heavy shield is made from a single thick slab of stone that is as light and strong as steel. When activated with a use of channeled positive energy, it gains an attack of opportunity (that does not use up one of its bearers attacks of opportunity for the round) at its bearers highest attack bonus against any foe that misses a strike against its bearer. The bearer is treated as if proficient in martial weapons, for the purposes of making shield slams with the activated shield (and so suffers no penalty for those shield slams) and the activated shield is treated as a light weapon, for the purposes of two-weapon fighting penalties. The shield remains activated for 1 hour, or until it makes a number of these free attacks of opportunity equal to the number of dice of healing the activating channel energy attempt would have provided.
Warhammer of Weighty Blows: This warhammer feels unnaturally heavy when activated by a use of channeled positive energy, but doesn’t encumber the bearer any more than it normally would. For 1 hour after being activated, it ignores points of damage reduction or hardness equal to the number of dice of healing the activating channel would have provided, when calculating damage.

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Cost Weight
Amulet of the Glorious Sun......150 gp..........-
Bonded Bow.........................+200 gp.........2 or 3 lbs
Bonded Bow, Greater.............+1500 gp........2 or 3 lbs
Dreamer’s Wings...................150 gp..........1 lb
Headdress of the Phoenix........500 gp..........1 lb
Kindly Glaive........................+500 gp.........10 lbs
Provider’s Satchel..................250 gp..........1 lb
Rainbow Veils........................250 gp..........-
Rapier of Broken Bonds..........+50 gp..........2 lbs
Righteous Blade...................+150 gp.........4 lbs
Shield of Retribution.............+250 gp.........15 lbs
Solar Scimitar......................+500 gp.........4 lbs
Starry Knife........................+100 gp.........3 lbs
Stein of Liquid Courage...........50 gp...........1 lb
Warhammer of Weighty Blows..+250 gp.........5 lbs

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Oh hey, I found something more annoying than boldfacing and italicizing things (or de-HTML-ing them for Wayfinder submissions...), formatting tables!

Prices are pulled from my butt. If the plus is +100 gp, that's the cost for this base item over over that of any other modifications, like masterwork, or special materials, or magical enhancements.

Logically, I would then go on to make Channel Foci for the evil gods among the 'big 20,' but, I really don't feel the inspiration. The game has always been lopsided towards more options for evil (which has been generally limited to NPCs and monsters), so I'm not at all adverse to not 'balancing' out my submission to be all fair to Team Evil this time. :)


I might snatch a few of these for use at my table, especially the ones related to Erastil and Iomedae.

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Some Archetypes stolen from 3.X 3rd party sources;

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Student of the Secret College (Necromancer Specialist Wizard Archetype)
The Secret College of Necromancy (usually just referred to as ‘the College’), trains disciples of the Whispering Way in many unusual necromantic secrets, pillaging the lore of death-priests, witches and more obscure sources, to add to their own hungry collection of lore. Rumor places this arcane academy in haunted Ustalav, remote Varisia, or even in the heart of decadent Taldor, but none can verify the truth of these rumors, and it is possible that it has branches in all of these locations, and perhaps some far less suspect…
...Skills: A Student of the Secret College often finds it necessary to conceal their activities, and is less concerned with purely physical matters. They add Stealth as a class skill, but do not gain Appraise as a wizard class skill.
...Necromantic Bond (Ex or Sp): If you form an Arcane Bond with an object, you can only use it to cast spells of the necromancy school, but can use it to call up a number of spell levels of spell per day equal to your Intelligence modifier, in one or more uses. If you form an Arcane Bond with a familiar, the familiar gains the undead type, and all abilities and traits of both that type, and of its original type (and the familiar class ability) that do not conflict with the undead type. This modifies Arcane Bond and replaces Scribe Scroll.
...Spell Access: When you learn new spells through level acquisition, both must be necromancy spells, and one of them can come from the spell list of another class, if you choose. If this spell is also on the sorcerer/wizard, cleric, witch or druid list, you use the highest level to determine its level when you cast it, and all spells you gain in this fashion become arcane spells. This modifies a wizards’ normal spell acquisition.
...Necrotic Touch (Su): You can sacrifice a prepared necromancy spell to grant yourself a touch attack that inflicts 1d8 negative energy damage equal to the level of the spell sacrificed, +1 hp / class level. This is treated as a touch spell, for the purposes of ‘holding a charge’ or transmitting through spectral hand and is an armed attack that does not provoke an attack of opportunity. This damage instead heals an undead target. A Will save (DC 10 + half class level + Int modifier) halves this damage. At 10th level, this touch can instead paralyze a target for a number of rounds equal to the level of the spell expended, with targets that save instead being staggered for half that duration. At 20th level, this touch can instead inflict negative energy levels equal to half the level of the spell expended, with the saving through halving this number again. This replaces Grave Touch and Lifesight.
...Touch of Undeath (Su): At 10th level, you can touch a corpse and cause it to rise as an undead creature. You must expend a prepared necromancy spell with a level equal to the HD of the undead to be created, and it does not confer any control over the newly created undead. This replaces the bonus feat gained at 10th level.

From Secret College of Necromancy (Zeb Cook and Wolfgang Bauer, Green Ronin)

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Specialists in the subschool of shadow magic, the wizards of the Penumbral Pentagon learn to turn the mysteries hidden in the dark to their advantage. In Golarion? Probably based out of Absolom, with ties to Shadow Absalom and a higher than expected percentage of Fetchlings among their number, although a few Wayang likely plot and scheme among them, as the 'shadow puppets' turn the tables and make puppets of the men of the world of light and color.

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Penumbral Lord (Illusionist Specialist Wizard Archetype)
...Shadow Specialization: You must be an Illusionist Specialist and cannot take Conjuration or Evocation as opposition schools. You must select three opposition schools from the remaining five (abjuration, divination, enchantment, necromancy, transmutation). This modifies School Specialization.
...Umbral Magic: You can cast any prepared conjuration or evocation spell as a shadow version of itself, allowing a Will save to reduce its effects to 20%, but affording a 50% chance of retaining a ‘shadow’ of the spell after casting, so that you can cast it a second time. This ‘shadow’ of the spell will also be a shadow spell, subject to the same limitations, and you have no chance of retaining a ‘shadow of the shadow.’ Spells modified in this manner gain the shadow descriptor. This replaces Scribe Scroll.
...Peer Into Darkness: You gain darkvision with a range of 30 ft. If you already have darkvision, its range increases by 30 ft. At 10th level, you can see through even magical darkness, as per the devilish See in Darkness trait. This replaces Blinding Ray.
...Deepening Shadows: Starting at 5th level, any spell you cast with the shadow descriptor is increased in strength by 5% per class level gained hereafter, starting at 25% at 5th level, and increasing to a maximum of 75% at 15th level. This replaces your 5th level bonus feat.
...Umbral Form (Su): At 10th level, as a move equivalent action, you can turn into a shadow for a number of minutes per day equal to your class level. These minutes do not need to be consecutive, but each activation expends one minute of the effects duration, even if you do not choose to use the full minute. In this form, you retain your own class levels and type, but gain the movement type, damaging touch and incorporeal traits of a shadow. You do not gain the ability to create spawn. In this form, you can only cast personal spells or affect others with spells of the shadow descriptor. You cannot assume Umbral Form in direct sunlight, and sunlight, or a magical effect that replicates the undead-damaging properties of sunlight (such as searing light, sunbeam or sunburst spell), will immediately end this effect, in addition to damaging you as if you were undead. This replaces your 10th level bonus feat.
...Shadow Fade (Su): At 15th level you can step into a shadow and become invisible and incorporeal, but are unaware of what is going on outside of the shadows and cannot rest, prepare spells, move from your current space or cast spells in this state. You can remain in this state for up to 1 hour per class level (these hours do not need to be consecutive, but any activation uses at least 1 hour of duration), and are thrown out of the state and stunned for 1 round if the area in shadows is illuminated. This replaces your 15th level bonus feat.
...Home in the Shadows (Su): You can remain in the Shadow Fade state indefinitely, and move around within areas of shadow or darkness, or even sleep and prepare (but not cast) spells in this shadowy transitional plane. This replaces your 20th level bonus feat.

From Relics and Rituals (tons of authors, probably Clark Peterson, Bill Webb, Ken Cliffe, Stephen Wieck or Stewart Wieck, White Wolf / Swords & Sorcery)

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There are necromancers who study the arts of anatomy to be better able to heal, studying the ways that flesh may fail and contagion might spread, to both prevent outbreaks and alleviate suffering when it occurs.

There are necromancers who seek out ghosts and haunts and restless spirits and help them to move on, and release them from this world, to find solace in the next.

There are necromancers who raise up the bones of oxen and horses, putting them to service for the benefit of the living, to pull ploughs and turn millstones and help bring harvests to market.

The Crypt Lords are not those kinds of necromancers. Even the least wicked among them have a callous disregard for the living, seeing them as fodder for their experiments. These are there secrets.

Crypt Lord (Necromancer Specialist Wizard Archetype)
...Expanded Necromancy: You must be a Necromancy Specialist, and cannot select Transmutation as an opposition school. At 1st level, or whenever you gain new spells as a result of gaining a level in Wizard, you can select spells from the Transmutation school list, modified to function in all regards as Necromancy spells, albeit with a macabre necromantic or undead visual effect (such as a Necromantic version of cat’s grace causing the subject to take on a gaunt jittery appearance). You can also research Necromantic versions of other Transmutation spells, per the normal rules for spell research. This replaces Scribe Scroll.
...Guise of the Dead: At 1st level, your appearance has been altered by your exposure to negative energy, and you appear lifeless when not in motion. Mindless undead will regard you as undead, and will ignore you if not specifically ordered to attack you. You gain a +10 bonus to Bluff or Disguise checks to convince someone (living or undead) that you are a corpse or undead. This replaces Grave Touch.
...Undead Familiar: If you choose to summon a familiar with the arcane bond class feature, the necromantic forces you study cause that creature to take on the properties of the undead type, while retaining any normal abilities or familiar traits that do not conflict with that type. This modifies Arcane Bond.
...Flesh of the Dead: At 5th level, your body continues to wither, and yet, perversely, grow tougher. You gain a +1 natural armor bonus, and add +2 to saving throws to resist effects that would cause ability damage or drain, or energy drain, from necromancy spells or undead attacks. At 10th level, this increases to +2 natural armor and +4 to the appropriate saves, and at 15th level, +3 natural armor and +6 to the appropriate saves. This replaces the bonus feat gained at 5th level and Life Sense.
...Baptism of the Dark River (Su or Sp): At 10th level, you can expend a use of Power Over Undead to channel negative energy to harm the living or heal nearby undead, as an evil cleric of your class level. Alternately, you can affect nearby corpses as if you had cast animate dead, causing them to rise as skeletons or zombies under your control. This animation is temporary, and lasts only 1 minute / class level. If you expend another use of Power Over Undead, the effect lasts 1 hour / level, and a third use makes the duration permanent. This replaces the bonus feat gained at 10th level.
...Feeding the Ever Hungry (Sp): At 15th level you can expend uses of Power Over Undead to cause a single corpse to be affected by create undead or create greater undead. You must expend a number of daily uses of Power Over Undead equal to the CR of the undead creature you wish to create (from a single use for a ghoul, to eleven uses for a devourer!). As with the spells this ability replicates, the undead created is not automatically under your control. This replaces the bonus feat gained at 15th level.
...Defying Death’s Call: At 20th level, you become capable of crafting a phylactery, whether or not you satisfy the prerequisites, and upon dying, are reborn as a lich and gain all the abilities of that template, but lose the benefits of Flesh of the Dead. This replaces the bonus feat gained at 20th level.

Also from Relics and Rituals (Clark Peterson, Bill Webb, Ken Cliffe, Stephen Wieck or Stewart Wieck, most likely, White Wolf / Swords & Sorcery)

Shadow Lodge

I *like* the Penumbral Lord. Stolen!

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Orthos wrote:
I *like* the Penumbral Lord. Stolen!

Cool!

I tweaked it hugely. It was a 10 level PrC, that had it's own 9 level spell list (rather than progress the spellcasting of whatever you used to qualify for it), and included funky abilities like turning into a cat or raven made of shadows, that I replaced with just turning into a more standard 'shadow.'

The ability to cast conjuration and evocation spells as 'shadow spells' and have a change to get to use them again (as shadow spells) was all me, 'though. I loved that idea.

One of my custom 'shadow mage' spells in an older AD&D game was a 1st level 'shadow missiles' spell that looked exactly like magic missiles, but did nonlethal damage (Will save for no damage) and gave 1 missile / level (to a maximum of five missiles at 5th level). The illusionist who had it used it to fake being higher level, since others would see and report that he was throwing X number of 'magic missiles,' and get the idea that he was 7th level or 9th level or whatever (when he was really 4th or 5th).

Now that the game has such a thing as 'nonlethal damage,' I sometimes think that the shadow evocation, etc. spells should do nonlethal damage on a save, instead of '20% damage.' Ideally, I'd like a lot of stuff to use mechanics already present in game, rather than have their own special rules...

Eh. That ship sailed, sank and fell into a volcanic vent in the bottom of the ocean.

Shadow Lodge

I think I'll steal that nonlethal damage on shadow evo/etc. spells. I like.

It also makes a shadow-casting sorcerer I'm going to throw at my party eventually MUCH nastier.


Dar'Tan says he's coming for you, Friend Set.

(Anytime you wanna run a Scarred Lands game, give me a call!)

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A whacky idea that entered by brain and I had to knock a hole in my head to get it out.

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Gnolls of Pharasma
After a disastrous raid on an isolated monastery of Pharasma, the Gnolls of the Broken Bone tribe were left devastated, with only six survivors, of which only one was a female capable of bearing young.

Wintering in the monastery they had taken, afraid to return to the wastelands and its dangers in their much reduced numbers, the Gnolls watched fearfully as their sole female went into a painful labor, one that Gnoll females too often do not survive, and as she felt the tearing within that indicated that she was going to be one of the unlucky ones, the young female screamed in outrage and hurled her Lamashtan holy symbol to the floor, cursing her goddess for failing her, and ordering one of the cringing males to bring in one of the Pharasman prisoners, and commanding that it assist in her labors, and that she would spare five of its fellow prisoners from being eaten if it saved the life of herself and her child.

And so, through the coerced help of a Pharasman midwife, a new gnoll, also female, was brought into the world, and a gnoll tribe began a transition away from service to Lamashtu to the faith of the Lady of Graves.

The Gnolls, at first, quaked in terror of a great retribution from Lamashtu, but it seemed that the Mother of Monsters did not feel the need to visit ruination on an already fallen tribe, numbering merely a half-dozen. Over generations, the faith of Pharasma proved to be an unusually good fit for the gnolls, a people always fascinated with death and the dead, and also a people tragically tied to the mysteries of birth. Even the associations with water, an element in the hills and badlands of upper Katapesh that was rare and precious, associated with life and death and mystery, proved sympatico with the gnoll’s life experiences.

Gnolls they remained, and they continue to raid and pillage, but combine more traditional gnollish activities with surreal interpretations of Pharasmin doctrine. They still devour sentient prey, but carefully wrap and bury the bones afterwards, with ceremonies that a human Pharasmin would begrudgingly admire for their propriety and sincerity. They enslave survivors of their raids, but offer each prisoner a chance to convert to the worship of Pharasma, and those who do are ‘merely’ kept as slaves, who, by gnollish standards, are treated surprisingly well, while those who refuse to convert are made the ‘slaves of the slaves’ until such a time as they are to be eaten.

The former Broken Bones now call themselves the Gravediggers, and their ruling females are a combination of Neutral Evil and Chaotic Neutral, with the rarest true Neutral adherent (who is generally regarded as a ‘mad prophet’ of some sort, and not taken seriously as it is generally agreed that she has failed to properly integrate Pharasmin doctrines into Gnollish nature, and has become a ‘student of the Human Pharasmins’). Males in the tribe do not always share the passionate beliefs of their mates, and some remain more traditionally Chaotic Evil, restraining themselves around their mates and reining in their more egregious impulses, as fearful of their stronger mates as the more traditional Lamashtu worshipping Gnoll tribes.

For a time there was a schism of sorts, but it was all-too-brief, as the ‘traditional’ gnoll embrace of necromancy was antithetical to Pharasmin doctrine, and the gnollish matron who attempted to rationalize that the animation of skeletal remains to serve in the temple was a properly respectful tactic for a priest of the Goddess of Death, found that her spells no longer came to her, as Pharasma rejected her sophistry.

It’s been fifty years, and the original six surviving gnolls of the Broken Bone are long dead, their bodies reverently buried in high Pharasmin rite, beneath the monastery, among the bones of saints of the faith and wealthy patrons of the church. The child who started it all is milky-eyed and frail, having lived, by gnoll standards, a full life, and had almost a dozen children of her own in that span. Between her own children, and those of her siblings, as her mother remained fertile for a dozen years after her birth, and various recruits from other gnollish tribes, the Gravediggers have over thirty gnolls, and that many human, dwarven and Halfling co-religionists who are more slave than equal, despite their seemingly respectful treatment (they are forbidden to leave, for instance…).

Elves, when captured, are never given the opportunity to convert. Gnolls believe that their own problems with fertility are the result of the world being afraid of their superior nature, that the world itself is fighting to prevent every gnoll from entering this world, and that every gnoll is therefore deserving of at least a modicum of respect, and is worth more than a member of a lesser race, because every gnoll infant must fight off death merely to enter the world, and through that terrible crucible, proves itself superior to races that are not so challenged.

Elves, another race with shockingly low rates of fertility, and whose adults seem frail and ill-suited to this world, are considered to be ‘almost like Gnolls,’ in this respect, and the only race that deserves to be treated like a true threat, if not a true equal, to be killed on sight, and never kept as slaves.


Love what you're doing here S-bomb. One question on the Crypt Lord: if they use all three of their Power over Undead ability and thus pick up some new skeleton/zombie minions, does this count against the total HD of undead they can control?

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Mark Hoover wrote:
Love what you're doing here S-bomb. One question on the Crypt Lord: if they use all three of their Power over Undead ability and thus pick up some new skeleton/zombie minions, does this count against the total HD of undead they can control?

Yeah, I should have clarified that. It counts as animate dead, so it uses the animate dead 'control rating.'


Got it; thanks Tea-Set!


Sweet Stuff!

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Sometimes, when thinking stuff up (in this case, feats and techniques that would be super-awesome for casters joining the Mendevian Crusade), I hit upon different ways to approach the same idea.

*Generally,* I prefer to use pre-existing mechanics, rather than make up something new. Sometimes, that isn't the best idea, as the mechanics that exist were designed with one thing in mind, and not the design area I'm working in.

For example, I wanted to design a feat that made a 'bane spell' that did extra damage to one specific type of creature, such as, in this case, demons. Logically, I'd run straight to the bane magic weapon property, which wasn't really designed with spellcasting in mind, as it does nothing for spell related mechanics like save DCs or spell penetration.

Baneful Spell (Metamagic)
Specialized training allows you to craft your spells so that they inflict greater harm on a specific target.
Prerequisites: Hatred racial trait or Favored enemy class feature, or caster level 5th.
Benefits: When you learn this feat, you pick one type of enemy off of the Rangers favored enemy list, and can choose to enhance your spells to better affect those specific targets. Against the appropriate target(s), the bane spell has +2 to attack rolls and inflicts +2d6 damage of its type. In the case of spells that have multiple iterations of damage, or generate multiple attacks, such as magic missile, acid arrow or scorching ray, only the first inflicts additional damage. Against any target(s) not of the selected type, the spell does half damage, if applicable. A hateful spell uses up a spell slot one level higher than the spell’s actual level.
Special: A specific instance of this feat can be applied multiple times to the same spell, increasing the spell slot cost by one level each time, in the case of spells that generate multiple attacks or instances of damage, allowing someone to create an evil outsider bane x5 magic missile spell in a 6th level slot that inflicts 1d4+1 +2d6 damage with each missile, or an undead bane x2 scorching ray in a 4th level slot that inflicts 6d6 fire damage with two rays.
Special: You can learn this feat multiple times. Each time, you must choose a new type or subtype off of the Ranger’s favored enemy list. If you have selected this feat multiple times, you can apply it multiple times to a single spell, to give it the bane property against multiple types of targets.

I tried to liven it up a bit, by allowing for spells like magic missile and scorching ray to be multiply enhanced, so that each missile or ray could be increased in damage, at the cost of extra spell levels of metamagic. I kind of love how that part turned out! But I also wanted to explore just ignoring the bane mechanic, which wasn't specifically designed to work with spells, and go in a slightly different direction.

Hateful Spell (Metamagic)
Specialized training allows you to craft your spells so that they inflict greater harm on a specific target.
Prerequisites: Hatred racial trait or Favored enemy class feature, or caster level 5th.
Benefits: When you learn this feat, you pick one type of enemy off of the Rangers favored enemy list, and can choose to enhance your spells to better affect those specific targets. Against the appropriate target(s), the hateful spell has +1 to attack rolls, +1 to save DCs, +2 to rolls to penetrate spell resistance, +1 caster level and +1 point of damage per die of damage it would normally inflict. Against any target(s) not of the selected type, the spell does half damage, if applicable. A hateful spell uses up a spell slot one level higher than the spell’s actual level.
Special: You can learn this feat multiple times. Each time, you must choose a new type or subtype off of the Ranger’s favored enemy list. If you have selected this feat multiple times, you can apply it multiple times to a single spell, to give it the bane property against multiple types of targets.

Not quite as sexy as Baneful Spell, but perhaps more spellcaster-specifically-useful. In the end, I think I actually like Baneful Spell better, because the specific stuff I added to Hateful Spell, you can already gain in other ways, through the Spell Focus or Spell Penetration feats, for example. Another design guideline I try to avoid is to introduce elements that one could easily just buy as a feat. Whenever I saw a PrC in the old days that added a die of sneak attack *and nothing else,* I wondered what sort of lazy filler level that was, if it was something that would have just as easily come with a level of Rogue. Where's the 'prestige' of a Prestige Class level that just advances what you would have gotten anyway if you hadn't gone that route? Make it a 3 or 5 level PrC, if you have no ideas at all for half the darn levels! Yeesh! Same with Archetypes that give you a +1 to DCs or something else that's pretty much what you would get by taking a feat. If I wanted a +1 DC, I'd buy the darn feat, not give up one of my class abilities!

In the end, in my attempt to make a 'more spellcasting specific' version of the bane weapon property, I still just re-invented the wheel a bit. My first instinct to go to the pre-existing bane property was probably best, in this case.

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Thinking out loud on feat design;

Of course, bane is hardly the only weapon property that one could slap onto spells. The base idea was 'stuff for Mendevian spellcasters,' after all, and the initial thought was 'how to slap the holy weapon property onto a spell!'

Most of the weapon enhancements seem pretty basic. A keen spell (+1) would double it's threat range, and only apply to spells that have an attack roll (such as inflict moderate wounds or scorching ray) built in. A ghost touch spell (+1) would do full damage to shadows and wraiths. A merciful spell (+0) would do nonlethal damage. A vicious spell (+1) would do 1d6 damage to the caster, and +2d6 damage to the target(s).

Anarchic, axiomatic, holy and unholy spells (+2) would do the +2d6 damage to those of the appropriate alignments, if copies straight out of the book. Tweaking them, perhaps they would only do +1d6 damage to bog-standard targets of that alignment (and celestial/fiendish/etc. template creatures, which probably *should* have the appropriate alignment?), and do +2d6 damage to those with that alignment subtype, or the 'aura of X' class feature (such as clerics and paladins and antipaladins). But that would reduce the power of the effect, and perhaps warrant it only being a +1 level metamagic. As it is, I'm not sure it's 'worth' +2 metamagic levels, compared to the benefits of Empower or Maximize.

Stacking 'evil outsider bane' and 'holy' on the same damaging spell would add +3 levels to it (making an evil outsider bane holy fireball a 6th level spell) and only add +4d6 damage to it, and only against a specific set of targets. That's not really all that hot, compared to a Maximized fireball at that level, and is eating two feats instead of one.


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Yes but you're also giving the fireball a limited "selective targets" effect by reducing the damage significantly for [not the target] victims. I'd say leave Holy at a +2 and leave with the +1d6/+2d6 damage adjustments.

What about other properties, like perhaps the Armor qualities on defensive spells?

Blinding Energy Defense (Spell Level +1)

Spells w/this metamagic applied are infused with illumination. The defensive barrier emanates a soft glow (Dim light) which may be extinguished or re-ignited any time during the duration. Also during the course of the duration this illumination can be surged to such brightness that all creatures (except the defense user) within a 20' burst must make a save vs the spell (10 + original spell level + Caster's casting stat bonus) or suffer the Blinded condition for 1d4 rounds. The victims must be able to see the defense wearer to suffer the Blinded effect. This function of the metamagic may be used once per original level of the spell.

So, a 3rd level caster could put on a suit of Mage Armor, glow w/dim light when he wanted, and if he got swarmed could "flash" his enemies for an extra defense.

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I had considered that, but then thought how few would be willing to burn a feat to metamagically enhance their mage armor and shield spells.

Fortification is one of the few I'd consider 'worth it,' and even then, only situationally, such as in a campaign with a lot of rogue or ninja opponents, such as Council of Thieves or Jade Regent, where I could throw a 2nd level 'fortified mage armor' on someone to give them a 25% chance to avoid a sneak attack (or critical), and, at higher levels, perhaps give them 50% fortification with a 4th level slot (+3) or 75% with a 6th level slot (+5).

But, really, feats being such limited resources, a pair of bracers of armor with fortification might be a better investment for ones own protection.

IMO, the game is already choking on too many spells and feats and options that nobody in their right mind would ever take, and metamagic feats are already an uphill row to hoe, since you are burning a feat to raise the spell level of a spell, to gain a benefit that might not prove useful, depending on the situation, making you, when that situation doesn't come up, a loser twice over...

Some of the weapon property metamagics, for instance, are heavily situational, IMO. If I'm playing a campaign set in Ustalav, then yes, bane-undead-spells might prove awesome. If I'm storming the Worldwound, holy spells or bane-evil-outsider spells are a go. If I personally have some means of recovering hit points without eating up actions (such as fast healing), then vicious is also a no brainer. Otherwise? All junk, and probably not as important to my characters long-term utility and survival as Improved Initiative or Toughness.

That all being said, I just cracked Ultimate Equipment, and I could see some uses for Defiant or Deathless or Clangorous or Invulnerability (which, yes, was also in the core book, I now realize...), as defensive-spell-enhancing options, so I'm always prepared to extract my foot from my mouth and admit to maybe being too hasty to dismiss an option!

Spell Storing might be a fun enhancement to put on mage armor. "For the next 4 hours, you'll have a +4 armor bonus to AC, Mr. Monk, and, once during that time, you can unleash a shocking grasp on someone that has hit you..."

Dark Archive

I have for some time wanted a technique by which a fighter could wear down foes, while fighting defensively, attempting to 'hold the line' or whatever. In earlier editions of that other game, a sword of wounding could open up bleeding wounds, but the latest version of a sword of wounding doesn't do that anymore, and bleed effects are not always easy to get your hands on for a fighter.

So, here's one thought on that.

Rope a Dope (Combat)
You have trained to outlast an opponent, forcing them to wear themselves out attempting to strike you.
Prerequisites: BAB 4+, Combat Expertise, Dodge
Benefit: Whenever you are using Combat Expertise, Fighting Defensively or taking the Total Defense combat action, and an opponent fails to hit you in melee combat, they must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + half your character level + your Constitution modifier) or take 1d6 point of nonlethal damage.

I explored versions that had Con checks at increasing DCs (like to avoid suffocation) or that applied a fatigued condition, but they just didn't work quite the way I wanted.

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