[Ascension Games] Announcing Path of Iron, the next book by Ascension Games, along with a Kickstarter launching July 10th, 2015!


Product Discussion


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A few short months ago, I released my first book Path of Shadows out to the Pathfinder community (which you can find on DriveThruRPG, the Open Gaming Store, Paizo.com, and the Ascension Games website). The book was a huge undertaking and quite the challenge, but at the end of the day the book has been praised across the board for its design and construction. Now, I want to continue on with the "Path" line of books, aiming to meet and exceed the expectations the community has after Path of Shadows with my newest book, Path of Iron!

Much like my last book, Path of Iron focuses on a specific area of magic, in this case, metal. Now, metal is a bit vague compared to shadows and darkness, which are already clearly defined schools and descriptors in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. So, what exactly is metal magic? In this case, I'm focusing on spells and abilities that utilize physical objects and materials, or more specifically, objects made of metal. Spells that conjure storms of blades, powerful constructs, or turn an opponent's armor to slag are just a sampling of what's in store for Path of Iron. I'll also be including options built around combat and warfare, much like Ultimate Combat does at the moment for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. And just like with Path of Shadows, this book will cover all aspects of Pathfinder: three new base classes, dozens of spells and feats, new magic items, a brand new magic system, plus archetypes and options for plenty of existing classes all will be found within the book.

Of course, the details are what's important, right? Here's an overview of what you can expect in Path of Iron:

  • The archivist base class, a scholarly magician who taps into the ancient art of rune magic, a brand new form of magic casting where every spell serves to strengthen the next. Choose from one of six specializations within rune magic, such as Creation and Revelation, to further enhance your powers in a given area.
  • The saboteur base class, a roguish-type that blends arcane spells with clever tricks and traps. The saboteur is an expert of trap making, able to create deadly devices nearly instantly while bypassing those laid by foes with ease. Fooling divinations, assasination, and reading people's minds are just a few of the tricks the saboteur can master to take on any job.
  • The vanguard base class, a martial-magic hybrid whose innate talent and eldritch power manifests through the animation and control of a powerful construct. Create resonances between your construct's magical power and your own to support your allies or hinder foes, and imbue spells into yourself and your companion to come into effect at a later time.
  • Dozens of new archetypes and options for existing classes. Play archetypes like the Zen Marksman monk to flurry with a firearm, or an Arcane Marauder magus to (finally) use spell combat with a two-handed weapon. Options include new ranger combat styles like Quarterstaff, Spear, and Firearm, or choices like the new Metal spirit for shamans.
  • Spells for casters of all stripes. Shapeshift your greatsword into a halberd with the alter weapon spell, or steal magical enhancements from your opponent's armor with the siphon enhancement spell. Strike all nearby enemies with a single blade spiral or have your weapons and armor act on their own with dancing steel. Included is an alternate rule for adding the "metal" descriptor to these spells and to existing Pathfinder spells like iron body, heart of the metal, and molten orb, of which archetypes, feats, and magic items within this book will support.
  • Feats to support a variety of play styles. Who needs a belt of mighty hurling when you can take the Powerful Throwing feat and use your Strength bonus on attack rolls with thrown weapons? This book will also be introducing new Technique feat chains, which are like Style feats for various weapons and wielding styles. Tear your opponent's armor asunder with the Bebilth Technique, or smash your opponents with a tower shield when using the Archon Technique.
  • New magic equipment, weapon and armor properties, and magic items abound. Use the gatecrasher to destroy any barricade, magical or mundane, or create magic items with ease with the aid of the hammer of the forgemaster.
  • Rune magic, a new form of magic casting that is pioneered by the archivist base class. Each spell leaves lingering power in the form of intricate runes upon the caster, which the caster can then consume to supercharge his next spell. This isn't just an extra feature placed on top of the already-existing spells, this is an all-new list of spells built for this system, with abilities, feats, and magic items to support it.

Kickstarter and Playtest for Path of Iron

A project of this size is certainly a daunting one considering I'm the only author, but rest assured that I intend to deliver a consistent, balanced, and high-quality product, as anyone that has read through Path of Shadows can attest to. However, unlike with Path of Shadows, I can't do it alone.

A book of this size and scale needs more input and funding than just one guy, and as such I will be launching a Kickstarter two weeks from today to fund the project on July 10th, 2015. Of course, feedback and input is just as important. A public playtest of the material will be made available once the Kickstarter is complete, which will include all three base classes and the new rune magic system so the community can give their opinion on the design, strengths, and flaws of the book.

In the meantime, feel free to ask questions about the book or my previous work. Every few days leading up to the Kickstarter launch date I'll be posting teasers for each section and class within the book, going into more detail on each (along with some sweet art by lead artist Danielle Sands). Check back every once in a while leading up to the Kickstarter to find out more!

Thanks for your support and I hope you are as excited as I am for Path of Iron!

Christopher Moore,
Ascension Games, LLC


Dot for interest.


Well I very much liked Path of Shadows so I imagine that I'll be ecstatic when I read Path of Iron. Each base class looks like something I've been dying for.


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I haven't had a chance to pick up Path of Shadows yet, but this looks fantastic. Any idea on what one can expect to pledge, or is that all hush-hush until it launches?


El Ronza wrote:
I haven't had a chance to pick up Path of Shadows yet, but this looks fantastic. Any idea on what one can expect to pledge, or is that all hush-hush until it launches?

The exact numbers for each reward tier are still being decided upon. The lowest will probably be $5 to get your name as a contributor in the book. Middle tiers will be getting either a PDF or softcover copy (or both at higher rewards).

At the top end I plan on having the reward include design input. Minor input would involve working with me to make a spell, feat, or magic item or weapon/armor property. Major input (the highest reward tier, most likely) would be a feat chain, spell line, or a class archetype.


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Now that I have a second...is the same person that did the art for Path of Shadows involved in this? That book was gorgeous and while I generally avoid physical copies of 3rd party books, that would look nice on my shelf!


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Aleron wrote:
Now that I have a second...is the same person that did the art for Path of Shadows involved in this? That book was gorgeous and while I generally avoid physical copies of 3rd party books, that would look nice on my shelf!

Danielle Sands, the artist who did the cover piece and iconic nightblade, is already working on pieces as I post this. The saboteur and vanguard pieces are ready to go and the archivist is being worked on now.


I am pleased. :D


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I remember seeing Elements, and Blood on the list of future things. Any chance you'll kickstart the entire line at once. Just so I can be lazy and just get the material without having to check up on it. So it's like a surprise party once I forget that I pledged.


Malwing wrote:
I remember seeing Elements, and Blood on the list of future things. Any chance you'll kickstart the entire line at once. Just so I can be lazy and just get the material without having to check up on it. So it's like a surprise party once I forget that I pledged.

Ha, I wish! The budget for each book is going to be different based on what kind of material is in it, so until I have a good grasp on the length of each book I can't predict how much money will be necessary. Plus I'd rather not Kickstarter a book until I can tell backers what sorts of things will be in it, like I did here with Path of Iron.


This does sound pretty interesting, but also that it may be a bit much for one person. How much is done already? How long did Path of Shadows take from start to finish?


Cheapy wrote:
This does sound pretty interesting, but also that it may be a bit much for one person. How much is done already? How long did Path of Shadows take from start to finish?

The three main classes are about 80% to completion, the rest of the book hasn't gotten much headway. While it might not sound like a lot, the classes form the cornerstone of the book and take the longest time to write out and get to a satisfactory level. The nightblade for Path of Shadows went through at least seven iterations before a final choice was settled upon and took at least a third of the writing time for the book, if not more than that. So being most of the way through the base classes is actually quite a lot of progress with the way I work.

Path of Shadows was about four months of actual writing work and another two months finding artists and hiring them on the project. This time around I already have some artists on board and can rehire, and rather than waiting until the writing was mostly finished to start getting artwork I've already gotten a few pieces made, so that will cut down on production time.

Is it still a lot? Absolutely. It's probably going to be at least 50% larger than Path of Shadows is. But with one book under your belt, making the next one feels a lot less daunting since you know what is necessary to accomplish your goals and what you can handle, and I am 100% confident I can deliver everything I've stated here.


That actually sounds much better off than I expected, and I think that bodes quite well.

I'll make sure to keep an eye on this one.


Today is the first preview for Path of Iron! Check out the saboteur base class here!


oohh. they seem fun. i've always wanted a class that could throw out traps on the ground and be able to do some fighting. A bit like dungeon defenders the video game, but in pathfinder


Quote:
A saboteur can create a number of traps each day equal to 1/2 her level + her Intelligence bonus, and making a trap takes only a standard action instead of minutes or days.

This sounds very, very interesting. Definitely can see the potential for mayhem in this one.

Got any details on the mechanics of setting up these traps, how they trigger, how to recover them, etc?

I'm trying to picture how they would work on a combat, you have to set them up prior to the fighting (always ambushes?), you can place them on the ground and move away (why would anyone come closer after the first one goes off) or you can kick them near enemies, do allies trigger them, etc

Oh, and do you have to make the traps at the beginning of the day or you can also make them during combat? Can they be modified after they are ready?

Dark Archive

Seginus wrote:
Danielle Sands, the artist who did the cover piece and iconic nightblade, is already working on pieces as I post this. The saboteur and vanguard pieces are ready to go and the archivist is being worked on now.

Beautiful stuff!!


@Seginus:

* Combat traps sounds like a great plan!

* Can you expand on how the saboteur confroms to the theme of "metal"? Without any concrete flavor description I'm a little unclear. [EDIT - found it - scrap metal and a lil magic for shrapnel. Sad to see the 4th level casting, hopefully you'll make an archetype that does away with the dirty, unclean casting...feels a bit like an Alchemist with the magic...]

* How do these different Marks

Ascension Games - Saboteur blogpost wrote:
Assassin's Mark grants bonuses to attack and damage rolls, Charlatan's Mark increases a number of social skills when used on the target, Duelist's Mark lets the saboteur better evade her opponent's attacks, and Informant's Mark grants large bonuses to Knowledge checks, Perception checks, and Sense Motive checks concerning her target.

conform to the saboteur theme or flavor? Saboteur brings to mind traps for sure, but I guess, at a stretch, sabotage of any kind - of organisations, a person's sense of self or even their physiognomy. Is that the approach here?


This looks very interesting...

-Kcinlive


The quite fast traps definitely solves the issue with trapping characters, but it seems that it also loses a lot of what makes trapping, well, trapping, replacing it with arcane landmines.

Still, it looks like a good start, and is definitely interesting.


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

Man, now I'm feeling nostalgic about Trapt for the PlayStation2. The saboteur probably won't have traps quite as ridiculous as that...somehow I don't see killer buzzsaws, guillotines, walls that send enemies flying, chains entangling the enemies, bombs, or the dread banana peel, but on the other hand, in the game you could only use your traps and just had to run from everyone while trying to conjure your traps and lead them into it properly...ah, I don't know I would call it a good game, but I still have some fond memories.


Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
- scrap metal and a lil magic for shrapnel. Sad to see the 4th level casting, hopefully you'll make an archetype that does away with the dirty, unclean casting...feels a bit like an Alchemist with the magic...]

Gotta say I agree, the idea of 4th level casting seems... off. Maybe if it really was an alchemist type with 6th level extracts? Or back to the mundane rogue, lose the casting and maybe learn some extra traps? Though I admit, I feel that generally there aren't nearly enough options for mundane characters to be good at things compared to "eh, this guy uses magic".


The Ragi wrote:

This sounds very, very interesting. Definitely can see the potential for mayhem in this one.

Got any details on the mechanics of setting up these traps, how they trigger, how to recover them, etc?

Traps take a standard action to place and must be placed in an adjacent square. The default trigger type is "Trigger: Location" (meaning something has to step on it), though certain spells will allow for the changing of trigger type.

Salvaging a trap takes 10 minutes. If used on an normal trap it gives you raw materials equal to about 20% of its crafting cost; these materials can only be used to make other traps. This was to help make trapmaking more frugal without being like the old Artificer and just giving a free gold budget each level for traps. If you salvage your own saboteur traps, for every two traps you salvage you gain back one daily use of your trap feature (a sprung trap can't be salvaged). This makes it where, if your placement is poor, then you don't lose out on all of your trap ability.

The Ragi wrote:
I'm trying to picture how they would work on a combat, you have to set them up prior to the fighting (always ambushes?), you can place them on the ground and move away (why would anyone come closer after the first one goes off) or you can kick them near enemies, do allies trigger them, etc

Allies would trigger the traps if they step on them, yes. Typically ambushes would be the easiest way to fool a target into walking onto them, especially since the traps last for 1 hour per level or until triggered. At higher levels the saboteur can throw traps to set them up within 20 feet, or attach them to a ranged weapon to fire them directly at a creature, springing the trap if she hits.

The Ragi wrote:
Oh, and do you have to make the traps at the beginning of the day or you can also make them during combat? Can they be modified after they are ready?

Currently the flavor is they are rapidly assembled as-needed for the situation, rather than requiring extensive planning (that's what mundane traps are for), so yes they are made in combat. Once it's placed you can't change it, but as mentioned earlier you can salvage traps to regain daily uses if they don't get triggered.

Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
How do these different Marks conform to the saboteur theme or flavor? Saboteur brings to mind traps for sure, but I guess, at a stretch, sabotage of any kind - of organisations, a person's sense of self or even their physiognomy. Is that the approach here?

That is the idea, yes. I feel that limiting the saboteur to just "trap expert" was too narrow of a class design, so I thought about what the name Saboteur entailed. It's not just destroying devices, but also subterfuge and undermining the efforts of a group or individual. The marks also help expand the class's combat ability, since two of the marks (Assassin and Duelist) are geared towards combat, so even if the saboteur is out of traps she still has combat abilities to use.

RogueMortal wrote:
Gotta say I agree, the idea of 4th level casting seems... off. Maybe if it really was an alchemist type with 6th level extracts? Or back to the mundane rogue, lose the casting and maybe learn some extra traps? Though I admit, I feel that generally there aren't nearly enough options for mundane characters to be good at things compared to "eh, this guy uses magic".

It's in a tricky spot, for sure. It walks a very thin line between rogue and alchemist is some places; the traps have a clear parallel to bombs, as you've noticed, and many of the tricks have a roguish feel to them. In play, they function very differently from either of those, but the similarities are there. It's a difficulty of adding to a system that already is chock-full of so much material already; it's bound to have overlap in one form or another.

On spells specifically, when I thought about what a saboteur could do, many of those ideas were readily captured by spells. Things like break, disguise self, passwall, and others all felt very appropriate. I originally went into the class with the idea of not having spells, but as the design went further on I felt it more appropriate to have them.

However, the idea of an archetype to replace spells with something else for those that don't want spellcasting is good. I'll be sure to include one in the book.


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Today's preview: feats! Check it out to learn about the new Technique feat lines being introduced.


I've gotta say, I'm kind of in love with the idea of the Sabotour being full BAB with 4 levels of extracts rather than spells. From a mechanical niche perspective we have;

Cleric/Oracle for our spontaneous and prepared full divine casters.
Inquisitor/Warpriest which is the same but for a half-martial 6/9 caster niche.
Paladin/Antipaladin for 4/9 full martial caster.

Druid as a pagan-y offshoot for Cleric.
Hunter as the 6/9 caster for the nature caster subgroup.
Ranger is pretty much the Paladin of the nature casters.

Sorcerer/Wizard as the arcane caster pair with Arcanist filling in as well.
Magus/Bard are kind of the warrior/skillmonkey pair much like Inquisitor/Warpriest but for arcane casters in the 6/9 caster slot.
Bloodrager is the 4/9 arcane caster.

Witch, much like the Druid is kind of a pagan offshoot of Wizard but the only subcasters for it's spell list is probably hexcrafter magus but I don't count that.

Alchemy only has a 6 level 'casting' slot and Sabotour seems like a natural fit for a 4 level caster for an alchemy spell list and a bomb-like class feature.

That said this product is already partially made and I'm biased. I was working on a hombebrew a short while ago to separate Alchemist into three classes at the fullBAB 4/9 casting, 3/4BAB 6/9 casting, and 1/2 BAB full casting slots, so I'm going to express leaning towards filling mechanical gaps either way.


Considered any Prestige Classes? Paizo's not much a fan of them, but some of us really miss them.


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proletarii wrote:
Considered any Prestige Classes? Paizo's not much a fan of them, but some of us really miss them.

I've considered them, but not entirely sold on adding them. The book is already shaping up to have a HUGE amount of content, especially with the archivist and rune magic.

I have had some ideas floating around, like a melee-equivalent to the Arcane Archer would be simple, or an item creation focused class like an Artificer. Another idea would be a character that magically animates weapons, and some prestige classes to work with rune magic would be appropriate. But I don't know if I'll have the time and budget for it (since each class needs another art piece to go with it).

I may make it a stretch goal for the book on Kickstarter if enough people seem interested.


Personally think archetypes are a much better idea myself. Most of my groups very rarely use prestige classes since their inclusion. Which is a plus to me. If I have a choice I'll take more archetypes over prestige classes any day of the week.


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Time for another preview! Check out the second base class featured in Path of Iron, the vanguard!


Seginus wrote:
proletarii wrote:
Considered any Prestige Classes? Paizo's not much a fan of them, but some of us really miss them.

I've considered them, but not entirely sold on adding them. The book is already shaping up to have a HUGE amount of content, especially with the archivist and rune magic.

I have had some ideas floating around, like a melee-equivalent to the Arcane Archer would be simple, or an item creation focused class like an Artificer. Another idea would be a character that magically animates weapons, and some prestige classes to work with rune magic would be appropriate. But I don't know if I'll have the time and budget for it (since each class needs another art piece to go with it).

I may make it a stretch goal for the book on Kickstarter if enough people seem interested.

Stretch goal sounds plenty fair to me - I look forward to it. I know prestige classes aren't everyone's cup of tea. All the same, I'll be backing this book. Path of Shadows was excellent.


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Today's preview is spells! Check out some of the magic in Path of Iron, as well as some information on the new metal descriptor.


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Preview time! Check out rune magic and the archivist base class.


The final preview is here! Take a look at some of the archetypes and options you'll get from Path of Iron.

The Kickstarter launches tomorrow, on July 10th, 2015!


Ok, color me intrigued. I'll be looking at this tomorrow when it comes out. Path of Shadows was fantastic and so far this looks like it has the potential to be just as good.

Silver Crusade

Pledged. I was the second guy. Someone beat me to being 1st. Looking forward to the Path Of Iron!!!


Chris Zank wrote:
Pledged. I was the second guy. Someone beat me to being 1st. Looking forward to the Path Of Iron!!!

Managed to get in at number 6 myself. 37% of the way there as of just a few minutes ago.


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

And since no one's linked to the Kickstarter in this thread, here you go: Path of Iron.


Luthorne wrote:
And since no one's linked to the Kickstarter in this thread, here you go: Path of Iron.

Thanks for the link, Luthorne; I had started a second thread for the Kickstarter progress, but in hindsight I think it's best to keep it all in one place rather than split up any news/discussion.

In the mean time, here are some updates about the upcoming play test, including some new things on the vanguard and changed made to the saboteur:

Path of Iron Update: Funding Progress and Vanguard Goodies
Path of Iron Update: Saboteur Changes


Seginus wrote:
Path of Iron Update: Saboteur Changes

Ah, this "spells are traps" system will probably be easier to deal with than the saboteur having shake n bake traps while everybody else has to craft.

How about rebranding them to Mines? It'd probably work even better - going along with the alchemist example, he has extracts instead of spell potions.

And some sinergy with regular traps - bonus to craft them, a way to combine them with the spell traps...?

Hah, I like this saboteur more and more.


Closing out the second week of the kickstarter and we're nearing the $2000 mark!

Check here for an update on the archivist and rune magic, along with two of the archivist's studies: creation and invocation.

The Ragi wrote:
Seginus wrote:
Path of Iron Update: Saboteur Changes

Ah, this "spells are traps" system will probably be easier to deal with than the saboteur having shake n bake traps while everybody else has to craft.

How about rebranding them to Mines? It'd probably work even better - going along with the alchemist example, he has extracts instead of spell potions.

And some sinergy with regular traps - bonus to craft them, a way to combine them with the spell traps...?

Hah, I like this saboteur more and more.

You could easily reflavor the saboteur's traps to be mines, but in the book they are intended to be traps, as many of the saboteur's class features work off of traps and trapmaking.

It does have tricks to make it better at making/disarming mechanical traps, and can salvage existing traps for raw materials to make its own mechanical traps.


Less than 48 hours remain on the Path of Iron Kickstarter campaign! Let's see if we can't hit some of our stretch goals; the more funding, the more content and art we can put in!

Also, be sure to check out the Path of Iron playtest document, so you can see what's in store for the final product. It covers all three of the new base classes (archivist, saboteur, and vanguard) as well as the new runic magic system.

We're almost there!


The Path of Iron Kickstarter has come to a close, raising over $3,000 from almost 100 backers! Thank you, all of you, for your generosity; you made this project a reality!

This is just the beginning, though. There's a lot of work to be done to bring you Path of Iron. Keep an eye out on the Ascension Games website or on Facebook or Google+ for updates on the project's progression, as well as previews of features and artwork to be found in Path of Iron.

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