[Everyman Gaming, LLC] Psychological Combat


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Hey! Did you know that a blog can apparently publish a product about using Charisma skills in combat? What a crazy world we live in!

After spending a few months working on my blog, Everyman Gaming, I decided that I wanted to try doing some independent work for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. To that end, I compiled my favorite house rules into the blog's first product: Psychological Combat.

So, what is Psychological Combat? Psychological Combat is a new rules subsystem for using Charisma-based skills to harry and harass opponents. It uses the traditional rules (feinting and demoralizing), adds a new special action that anyone can use (antagonize), and combines them all together under a new statistic: Psychology DC. And if that wasn't enough, Psychological Combat also includes a new morale subsystem, so GMs can use Psychology DC to track how much of an emotional beating their NPCs have taken. For you vets out there, it is directly inspired by 2nd Edition's morale rules and is a reactive system that causes increasing stages of fear based on the ebb and flow of combat.

But what stop there? Also included are new archetypes, alternate class options, feats, and character traits. And just because I'm a swell guy, there's also Mythic versions of every feat introduced in this product.

Beautifully decorated and filled with relevant flavor and illustrations by Jacob Blackmon, I'm confident that these rules will see as much use at your table as they do at my table!


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Wonderful mechanic; definitely going to used in my games from now on. Thank you.

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OmNomNid wrote:
Wonderful mechanic; definitely going to used in my games from now on. Thank you.

Your welcome! Glad you like it. :-)

If you have time, please consider leaving a review.


Huh. The name didn't interest me, but those mechanics sound interesting. Reminds me of Test of Wills from Savage Worlds.


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Just picked this up - they are going into the campaign immediately.

I loved it.

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Lord Mhoram wrote:

Just picked this up - they are going into the campaign immediately.

I loved it.

Awesome! Glad you enjoyed it. :)


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

This sounds really cool. Adding it to my cart now.


dotting for reminder when I get home.


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Picked it up, definitely incorporating it into my campaign. WOW. Thanks for this! It definitely fulfills a need!!
(and you even used orchids on the cover, you clever....)

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Changing Man wrote:

Picked it up, definitely incorporating it into my campaign. WOW. Thanks for this! It definitely fulfills a need!!

(and you even used orchids on the cover, you clever....)

If working for Creighton Broadhurst has taught me anything about product design, its that you don't need an expensive cover to have an eye-catching cover!

I totally agree about fulfilling a need. As a matter of fact, I specifically wrote antagonize because without a way to make opponents attack you, there's no reason to ever invest heavily in defensive options. Ever since I started playtesting Psychological Combat, I consistently have a player per group who will specialize in defensive options and antagonize foes.

I also wrote those archetypes with myself in mind. A rogue who trades one way to sneak attack for another sounded too cool to pass up on!


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When I showed this to my group, the first player to jump was the Sorceress, who was all, 'yes! I can use my CHA based skills to distract everyone and set 'em up for a smack-down!' Usually she stands more in the back, doing buff-type things or the occasional fire-spell and lets her bodyguard do the 'heavy lifting'. (Noble. Need I say more?) NOW, there's a way to do her 'role' even better. Can't say THANKS enough :) And despite there not being any Paladin-specific archetype or hints, our Pally already has some ideas about directing foe's attention to her to 'come and get' a smitin'. Good Things.

If you haven't bought this, you need to. Now.

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Changing Man wrote:

When I showed this to my group, the first player to jump was the Sorceress, who was all, 'yes! I can use my CHA based skills to distract everyone and set 'em up for a smack-down!' Usually she stands more in the back, doing buff-type things or the occasional fire-spell and lets her bodyguard do the 'heavy lifting'. (Noble. Need I say more?) NOW, there's a way to do her 'role' even better. Can't say THANKS enough :) And despite there not being any Paladin-specific archetype or hints, our Pally already has some ideas about directing foe's attention to her to 'come and get' a smitin'. Good Things.

If you haven't bought this, you need to. Now.

A great way to spread the word would be to write a quick review ....

Flutters his eyelashes.


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

I just purchased this last night, interesting concepts, looks fun. However...unless I'm misreading this, the mythic versions of Feral Psychology, Improved Antagonize, and Improved Demoralize...all require that you already have the mythic versions of them in order to take the mythic versions of them. I presume this is a typo, unless this is supposed to be an admittedly on-topic psychological ploy to set me off-balance, in which case...well played.

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Luthorne wrote:
I just purchased this last night, interesting concepts, looks fun. However...unless I'm misreading this, the mythic versions of Feral Psychology, Improved Antagonize, and Improved Demoralize...all require that you already have the mythic versions of them in order to take the mythic versions of them. I presume this is a typo, unless this is supposed to be an admittedly on-topic psychological ploy to set me off-balance, in which case...well played.

That's sounds like an error. I'll look into it when I get home from work today.

I'm not THAT clever. (Or cruel) ;-)

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I just submitted an update to Paizo.com, d20pfsrd.com, and DriveThruRPG.com that should go live in the next few days that fixes the prerequisite errors for Feral Psychology, Improved Antagonize, and Improved Demoralize.


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

Alrighty, I presume they just needed the non-mythic versions of the feats to take the mythic version? And the only other thing I recall making me raise an eyebrow where Kyr'shin the kitsune cavalier got sneak attack from, but I decided he must have just taken a level of rogue at some point. =p

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Luthorne wrote:
Alrighty, I presume they just needed the non-mythic versions of the feats to take the mythic version?

Yessir.

Quote:
And the only other thing I recall making me raise an eyebrow where Kyr'shin the kitsune cavalier got sneak attack from, but I decided he must have just taken a level of rogue at some point. =p

That story is actually directly lifted from a campaign that I played in with the Psychological Combat rules. I only call him a cavalier because that's what he self-identifies as. I actually wrote an iconic design article about his build, which you can read here.


Alexander Augunas wrote:
Luthorne wrote:
Alrighty, I presume they just needed the non-mythic versions of the feats to take the mythic version?

Yessir.

Quote:
And the only other thing I recall making me raise an eyebrow where Kyr'shin the kitsune cavalier got sneak attack from, but I decided he must have just taken a level of rogue at some point. =p
That story is actually directly lifted from a campaign that I played in with the Psychological Combat rules. I only call him a cavalier because that's what he self-identifies as. I actually wrote an iconic design article about his build, which you can read here.

I love the comments we get in several of the PDFs you wrote where it says that Kyr'shin the Kitsune became a king over humans. That must have been a heck of a story.

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Eric Hinkle wrote:
Alexander Augunas wrote:
Luthorne wrote:
Alrighty, I presume they just needed the non-mythic versions of the feats to take the mythic version?

Yessir.

Quote:
And the only other thing I recall making me raise an eyebrow where Kyr'shin the kitsune cavalier got sneak attack from, but I decided he must have just taken a level of rogue at some point. =p
That story is actually directly lifted from a campaign that I played in with the Psychological Combat rules. I only call him a cavalier because that's what he self-identifies as. I actually wrote an iconic design article about his build, which you can read here.
I love the comments we get in several of the PDFs you wrote where it says that Kyr'shin the Kitsune became a king over humans. That must have been a heck of a story.

Yeah, its a funny, longish story.

Basically, Kyr'shin was sent to this little jungle village that had fallen off of the map when everyone died to Jungle fever by his adopted, noble father (an elf). After figuring out that the village was now overrun with vegepygmies, Kyr'shin and his party fled and went to seek the help of a small regiment of hobgoblins that was living in the jungle. These hobgoblins are called Legionary Hobgoblins because they're the descendants of hobgoblin POW that were breed and trained from birth to serve as elite soldiers for a neighboring human kingdom, When the people decided that doing so was unethical, they ordered their hobgoblins to march into the jungle to fight an enemy that they couldn't beat (the military equivalent of abandoning your dog in a nearby forest or something). After a major battle with that enemy (jungle elves), the broken remains of the legion settled throughout the area and were slowly dying off due to malnutrition. The hobgoblin shamans, however, issued a prophecy that someone was going to come and unite them and restore their military greatness. Kyr'shin ended up fulfilling that prophecy, and he and his party used the hobgoblins to wipe out the vegepygmy hordes.

Shortly after, the party oracle (who's going to be featured in an upcoming product) used an ancient scrying pool that's basically a carnivorous blob to divine the location of an entire clan of kitsune who were being subjugated by cyclops. Living up north (the equivalent of Northeast Territories in Canada), Kyr'shin had never met another kitsune before, and they resumed a member of that very clan from slavers while searching for the hobgoblins. The party beat the cyclopses, rescued the clan, and brought them back to their new settlement.

A lot of time passed after that; about nine months or so. The party began building up the town, and as they did people from other neighboring nations started settling there. (Likely because as far as we know, we're the only Good-aligned settlement in the region.) Prior to this point, Kyr'shin acted more like a governor/mayor than a king, but when an adult green dragon swooped down and attacked the village, the dragon asked him why he wasn't flying (I had rolled a natural 20 against frightening presence), Kyr'shin replied, "A king must defend his castle," meaning to say that one must protect what's his. Well, a good number of villagers heard him say that and after he and the party tracked the dragon down to its lair and slew it, taking its treasures and donating a sizable amount to the village, they decided that yeah, Kyr'shin SHOULD be king. So they started calling him the king, thus making him king of a very small kingdom.

In our last game, the nation has grown to the point where he has several regiments of hobgoblins has his military (two or three armies), a decently mixed population that mostly consists of jungle elves, hobgoblins, and kitsune, and plans to start building more villages to help the kingdom expand further.


That's one great story there, Mister Augunas. I hope we hear more of Kyr'shin's kingdom in upcoming PDFs.

I especially like the idea of bringing the hobgoblins in a soldiers. Given the way they seem to fill the niche of professional mercenaries in-game, it makes sense that the best way to avoid fighting with the hobgoblins is to put them on the payroll.


why no print edition?

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rainzax wrote:
why no print edition?

Because its, like, fifteen pages tops.

I don't think they even print products that small.

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Eric Hinkle wrote:

That's one great story there, Mister Augunas. I hope we hear more of Kyr'shin's kingdom in upcoming PDFs.

I especially like the idea of bringing the hobgoblins in a soldiers. Given the way they seem to fill the niche of professional mercenaries in-game, it makes sense that the best way to avoid fighting with the hobgoblins is to put them on the payroll.

If you look, you can even see them chilling out watching Kyr'shin fight in Psychological Combat for one scene.

In our home games, we typically use Paizo goblins and 3rd Edition hobgoblins in terms of aesthetics. Helps keep them separate visually.


Alexander Augunas,

Just bought this product. I have actually already been using a "Psychological DC" for Demoralize and Feint, as well as the base DC for influencing an NPC using Diplomacy (instead of base 10), modified by attitude naturally, but have been calling it "PMD" (Psychological Maneuver Defense), and setting the base as 10 + HD + WIS + CHA (with the option to replace with 10 + Sense Motive), for three reasons: because I feel it models CMD by utilizing two stats (ST + DX), because Charisma represents "Force of Personality," and because it places more emphasis on CHA in general.

I like the AoO concept using Demoralize - it's a cool way to expand the already awesome AoO mechanic.

I will probably make the following adjustment to your Antagonized condition: The player may (as a swift action) roll their Will save or Sense Motive against their opponent's PMD to break the effect (rather than their check result). This will therefor be one less thing to remember.

You forgot to label the Tandem Psyche Out as "Teamwork."
Cheers!

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rainzax wrote:

You forgot to label the Tandem Psyche Out as "Teamwork."

Cheers!

I will look into fixing that as soon as I can. (My life has basically been devoured by Radiance House's Grimoire of Lost Souls for the past few weeks. T_T)


Ok the more I check out this system, the more I see how cleverly nestled into the rest of the game it is. For example, settling the Fear vs Morale conundrum in either direction. I am going with the latter interpretation - it is clearly implied to be the more elegant of the two. So yes, you can Intimidate a Paladin.

I will call the DAO-triggering events "Morale checks" - harkening back to an earlier DnD for old school fans.

I am already codifying DAOs as part of my class and feat system in two ways: The core Fighter adds his bravery bonus to demoralize attempts, to resist demoralize attempts (that is, to his PMD vs demoralization), and to the number of DAOs he may make during a round. I have long been looking for a way to make bravery cooler in a simple way and I think this is it! Second, in addition to it's standard effect, Intimidating Prowess (the feat) will now grant a number of bonus DAOs equal to the character's Charisma modifier.

I will let you know how my players use this in the months to come. And I'll consider writing a review after using these rules in a game. Even though I don't really like kitsunes...

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rainzax wrote:
And I'll consider writing a review after using these rules in a game. Even though I don't really like kitsunes...

Thanks for the nice words. I don't understand what my choosing to use my kitsune PC as a sample character to explain how the rules work has to do with whether or not you choose to use Psychological Combat in your game, though.


Alexander Augunas wrote:
rainzax wrote:
And I'll consider writing a review after using these rules in a game. Even though I don't really like kitsunes...
Thanks for the nice words. I don't understand what my choosing to use my kitsune PC as a sample character to explain how the rules work has to do with whether or not you choose to use Psychological Combat in your game, though.

Some people really don't like kitsune (or any other race that reminds them of furries), and the dislike is so strong that they will dislike a product associated with it.

It's a part of human psychology - just like putting product placement with something that is highly attractive (such as a beautiful man or woman) will make it more likely that the average person will buy something, putting in something that someone doesn't like will make it less likely for them to use or buy it.

Although in this case, the dislike of kitsunes is a minor sub-population of an already minor population of Pathfinder 3PP purchasers.

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