If you are looking for me this weekend at PaizoCon, here are your best bets! If you spot me during a time I don’t have anything else about to happen, come say hi! I’ll be the large bearded man in the lavender polo, unlike all the other Paizo employees who will be in Paizo shirts!
The delve is between the store and the PFS room! These are short, fast opportunities to get in a quick game. Rob McCreary and I have some special planned for this time slot…
In the store! Want me to sign something? Anything? Star Wars, Wheel of Time, Dragon magazines… maybe even Paizo books?
12:00 pm–12:45 pm (Olympic 2)
How to Win RPG Superstar!
Seminar! We discuss how you win, and I plan to have this year’s Superstar, Monica Marlowe, available to answer your questions!
2pm – 3:45pm
Signing (the Sequel)
In the store! Second signing of the day. I’ll only sign things that are the second in a series. (That is entirely untrue.)
Third Party Publisher Workshop (Cascade 8)
Thinking of using the OGL? Pathfinder Compatibility License? Have a product you want professional opinions on? This is the place for you.
The delve is between the store and the PFS room! Can you survive five minutes at my table!? Or twenty…
11:00am – 12pm
In the store! A GREAT opportunity to see me.
And have me sign something.
1pm-2:45pm (Olympic 3)
Writing for Paizo
Seminar! I’ve been a freelancer, a third-party publisher, and now a staff developer for Paizo. I and other developers will tell you what you need to do if you want to write for Paizo.
4pm-5:45pm (Olympic 3)
Last Character Standing Gong Show!
Tell us about your character.
We DARE you!
PaizoCon 2015 Preview Banquet
I’ll be sitting at a table YOU could come join!
Into the Emerald Spire Part 3! (Cascade 7)
I run my fourth session of pregenerated PCs trying to clear a level of the Emerald Spire! For people who got this event in the lottery.
The delve is between the store and the PFS room! By now I should be a bit punchy… wanna see what weird ruling I make on Saunday at a con? Come find out!
Unofficial Secret Decoder Ring Meeting
Mysteriously I won’t be visible.
Into the Emerald Spire, Part 4! (Cascade 10)
I run my fourth session of pregenerated PCs trying to clear a level of the Emerald Spire! For people who got this event in the lottery.
Need Betrayal Feats for your main villain to get the most out of sacrificing his minions? Want to add Dragoncrafting to your game? Looking for new uses for a torch?
The Feat Reference Document is now available in print!
More than 700 feats, from over 100 sources, all from the publisher of the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook!
The original Enforcer (from Anachronistic Adventurers: The Enforcer) was designed to serve a specific character role—a modern fighting-man transported to a fantasy world typical of the Pathfinder roleplaying Game. In that role, it serves admirably, and can easily be used in place of a fighter. However, if the enforcer is moved back into his native environment, be that pulp action adventures, weird war dieselpunk, modern urban fantasy, or science-fiction, the class begins to suffer. An enforcer in a Pathfinder-compatible fantasy realm can draw on the same tropes and support as a fighter, from spells cast by allies to enough magic items to light up like a Christmas tree, and is only expected to accompliosh what a fighter normally does. In campaigns without the built-in assumption of that support, and the added weight of their own tropes where the fighting-man is often the *most* effective option for shutting down a foe with powers, it doesn’t hold up to genre expectations.
Thus this Beta-Revision, made publicly available. This enforcer is designed to operate in a world where Anachronistic Adventurer classes are the norm, and clerics and wizards are rare. That changes what the enforcer has to be able to accomplish. This version still assumes *something* other than class features takes care of things like the bonuses Pathfinder characters gain as they gain levels, but that thing can easily be bonuses-by-level, such as are presented in Pathfinder Unchained.
This is a work in progress, not a finished class. It has just enough meat to make a meal, but not to support a lavish and ongoing banquette. But feedback now can help determine what spices and side dishes get added, or help determine the whole thing needs to be thrown out and the cooks start over.
Public commentary is appropriate here, or my Facebook page, or you can email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Enforcer *(Beta Revision)
Alignment: An enforcer can be of any alignment.
Ability Scores: The most important physical ability score for the enforcer is Strength. The most important mental ability score is Intelligence.
Hit Points: A character that takes enforcer as their 1st class level receives their Constitution score +5 as starting hit points. Otherwise each level of enforcer grants 6 +1d4 +Con modifier hit points.
(If using hit dice, an enforcer receives d10+Con)
Starting Wealth: 250 gp.
(If using random starting wealth an enforcer begins play with 3d6 x 10 gp.)
The enforcer’s class skills are Climb (Str), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Perception (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), and Swim (Str).
Additionally, any character who begins play as an enforcer can select two additional skills as class skills, to represent the benefit of growing up with the superior education options of a modern advanced society. These skills should be appropriate to the character’s background. An enforcer who trained with the FBI to hunt down and kill necromancers in a modern era rife with magic can reasonably select Use Magic Device as an additional class skill. A teenage enforcer who is captain of the high school wrestling team and didn’t know magic existed until an enchanted rollercoaster dumped him in a fantasy realm is limited to skills with no ties to magic.
A multiclass character whose first level of enforcer is gained after 1st character level selects one additional class skill, rather than two.
Skill Ranks per Level: 5 + Int modifier.
All of the following are class features of the enforcer.
Proficiencies: An enforcer is proficient with all simple weapons, all martial weapons, all light armor, and a single Progress Level (see Progress Level Proficiencies at the end of this product).
Archetype: Not every enforcer has taken the same path to becoming an engine of destruction, nor do all enforcers use the same techniques to achieve their goals. At 1st level, each enforcer selects an anachronistic archetype to represent his focus and background training. Once selected, this choice cannot be changed.
Each archetype provides an enforcer with special benefits, ranging from additional class skills and bonus feats to new talents and class powers. One archetype is provided at the end of this class, and others are presented in the various Anachronistic Adventurer classes.
Mettle (Ex): Enforcers are renowned for becoming more and more dangerous as they come closer and closer to defeat and somehow snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. As the consummate icon of combat, an enforcer has a reserve of endurance and willpower that allows him to push beyond the normal limits of his body and mind. This is often referred to as guts, intestinal fortitude, or just plain cussedness, and it is represented by mettle.
In game terms, mettle is a fluctuating measure of an enforcer’s ability to perform amazing actions in combat. At the start of each day, an enforcer gains a number of points of mettle equal to his Strength modifier plus his Intelligence modifier (minimum 1), to a maximum equal to double his class level. His mettle goes up or down throughout the day, but usually cannot go higher than his starting total, though some feats and devices may affect this maximum. An enforcer spends mettle to accomplish deeds (see below), and regains mettle in the following ways.
Natural 20 with an attack roll: Each time the enforcer rolls a natural 20 on an attack roll against a potential menace (see the glossary), he regains 1 mettle point.
Natural 20 with a Will saving throw: Each time the enforcer rolls a natural 20 on a Will save against an effect caused by a potential menace (see the glossary), he regains 1 mettle point.
Natural 20 with a combat skill: Each time the enforcer rolls a natural 20 on a skill check when the character cannot take 10 as a result of a threat posed by a potential menace (see the glossary), he regains 1 mettle point.
Natural 20 with a Strength check: Each time the enforcer rolls a natural 20 on a Strength-based ability check in the presence of a potential menace (see the glossary), he regains 1 mettle point.
Mettle, Grit, and Panache: Mettle is similar to grit and panache, and having mettle counts as having grit or panache for purposes of spending grit or panache and for meeting prerequisites requiring grit or panache. If an enforcer multiclasses or otherwise selects an option that would give him access to a pool of grit or panache in addition to his mettle, he instead just gains 2 additional mettle.
Enforcers spend mettle points to accomplish deeds. Most deeds grant the enforcer some momentary bonus or effect, but there are some that provide longer-lasting effects. Some deeds stay in effect as long as the enforcer has at least 1 point of mettle. Unless otherwise noted, a deed can be performed multiple successive times, as long as the appropriate amount of mettle is spent to perform the deed.
An enforcer gains one deed at 1st level, and additional deeds at 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter.
Blinding Assault (Ex): The enforcer can strike a foe’s eyes hard enough to cause temporary blindness. As a standard action the enforcer can spend one point of mettle to make one natural, unarmed, or weapon attack against a foe within 30 feet that does not have concealment or partial concealment from the enforcer. If the attack hits the enforcer deals damage as normal, and also forces the target to make a Fortitude save (DC 10 +1/2 enforcer level + Strength modifier). If the target fails this save, it is blinded for 1d4 rounds. An enforcer may choose to instead attack a target’s ears, deafening it for 2d4 rounds.
Blitz Attack (Ex): As a swift action, the enforcer can spend one point of mettle to make one extra unarmed attack, natural, or weapon melee attack.
Burst Into Action (Ex): When the enforcer is awake and not helpless, he can spend 1 point of mettle to act in a surprise round he would not normally be allowed to act during and receives a bonus to his Initiative check equal to half his class level. (The enforcer may not use this ability except in surprise rounds when he could not otherwise act.)
The enforcer may choose to spend 1 additional point of mettle to loudly shout a warning. The number of allies he can warn is based on the power of his lungs, allowing a number of allies equal to his Strength modifier (minimum 1) who can hear him to also act in the surprise round. Using this deed is not an action.
Conditioning (Ex): The enforcer has trained himself to resist adverse effects. As a free action he can taken even when it is not his turn, the enforcer can spend 1 mettle to suspend the penalties of one of the following conditions for 1 round: confused, dazed, dazzled, shaken, sickened, staggered. If the enforcer is at least 6th level, he may also suspect the following conditions: nauseated, stunned. If he is at least 12th level he may also suspect the following conditions: bleed (taking no damage for 1 round), unconscious. The conditions normal duration continues to expire. For example, if a 6th level enforcer is stunned for 1 round he can immediately take a free action to suspend the condition for 1 round. The stun effect ends after 1 round as normal, allowing the enforcer to completely ignore it.
Deadeye (Ex): The enforcer can land a ranged weapon attack with precision that causes it to deal additional damage. As long as the enforcer has at least 1 point of mettle remaining, he can add his Intelligence modifier to the damage dealt with ranged attacks.
Duck and Weave (Ex): The enforcer can focus his attention on a single foe and move to avoid attacks from that foe. As a swift action the enforcer can spend 1 point of mettle to gain a +4 dodge bonus to AC against that foe’s attacks until the beginning of the enforcer’s next turn.
Extreme Effort (Ex): This ability allows an enforcer to focus his muscles to accomplish amazing tasks of physical prowess. As a swift action the enforcer can spend one point of mettle to add a +4 bonus to any Strength-based attack roll, ability check, or skill check that normally requires no more than a standard action. The enforcer may make this decision after seeing the total of his die roll, but before learning if the attack hits. Alternately, he use this ability to double his lifting capacity (and thus his light, medium, and heavy encumbrance) for 1 round, or apply the bonus to increase his CMD until the beginning of his next turn.
Firm Grip (Ex): The enforcer has learned to keep his grip firm and even, even in the heat of combat. As long as he has at least one point of mettle, he receives a +4 bonus to his CMD against disarm, grapple, steal, and sunder combat maneuvers, as well as Climb checks.
Focused Violence (Ex): The enforcer can direct his entire focus onto dealing violence effectively against one foe. As a swift action the enforcer spend one mettle to select one foe (or inanimate object) he can see. He gains a +2 bonus to any damage done to that foe. This bonus increases to +3 at 3rd level, and by an additional +1 for every 3 class levels beyond 3rd. The bonus lasts for an hour, or until the enforcer uses this ability to focus violence on a new target.
Glancing Blow (Ex): Once per round when an enforcer makes an attack roll and misses a foe, he can spend one point of mettle as a free action to reroll the attack roll with an additional +5 bonus. The enforcer can make this decision after knowing if his original attack roll failed. If the new attack hits it deals only half its normal damage. Glancing blow cannot be used on attack rolls for combat maneuvers or attacks that do not deal damage. Once per day if the enforcer’s attack still misses with a +5 bonus, he can spend a second point of mettle to increase the bonus to a total of +10 (dealing half damage if the attack is successful, as with the normal use of the deed).
Gouging Assault (Ex): The enforcer can strike foes’ anatomy in such a way as to make it impossible for them to use certain specific attack or movement options. As a standard action the enforcer can spend one point of mettle to make one natural, unarmed, or weapon attack against a foe within 30 feet that does not have concealment or partial concealment from the enforcer. If the attack hits the enforcer deals damage as normal, and also forces the target to make a Fortitude save (DC 10 +1/2 enforcer level + Strength modifier). If the target fails this save, the enforcer can numb one or two body parts of the target for 1 round. This creates a penalty depending on the body parts numbed.
The enforcer can numb 2 arms, in which case the target does not drop held objects but cannot make attacks, skill checks, or cast spells that require the arms or hands on them.
The enforcer can numb 2 legs, in which case the target cannot move from its space (if it only has two legs) or moves at half speed (if it has more than 2 legs).
The enforcer can numb 2 wing, in which case the target cannot fly (though it has enough control to fly down at top speed to land if it wishes to, rather than fall from the sky).
The enforcer can numb a body part connected to a natural attack or special attack (such as a bite, gaze, breath weapon, or tail slap), in which case the target cannot use any attacks tied to that body part. If the head is numbed, the target also cannot speak
The penalties from gouging assault last 1 round. If the attack used to gouge is a critical hit, the penalties instead last for a number of rounds equal to the attack’s critical multiple.
Monkey Wrench (Ex): The enforcer can strike a machine’s vulnerable working parts in such a way as to impair its function. As a standard action the enforcer can spend one point of mettle to make one unarmed, natural, or weapon attack against a construct, machine, or vehicle within 30 feet that does not have concealment or partial concealment from the enforcer. If the attack hits the enforcer deals damage as normal, and may also make a Disable Device check with a DC of 15 + target’s CR, or 10 + the DC to construct the machine (whichever is higher). If the check is successful, the construct or machine is disabled (unable to take any actions or perform any function) for 1d4 rounds. If the check exceeds the DC by 10 or more, the construct or machine does not function for 1d4 minutes (or may be broken until repaired, at the GM’s discretion).
Precision Attack (Ex): The enforcer can land a weapon attack with such precision that it deals additional damage. As long as the enforce has at least one point of mettle remaining, any time the enforcer successfully strikes with a melee weapon with which he can add his Dexterity rather than Strength to the attack roll, he can add his Intelligence bonus to the damage dealt. This is in addition to his Strength modifier, if he normally adds his Strength to the attack’s damage. Creatures immune to critical hits or sneak attacks are immune to this additional precision damage.
Pulverize (Ex): The enforcer has learned how to find weak spots in objects to break them. As long as he has at least one point of mettle, whenever the enforcer damages an object he ignores half its hardness.
Suck It Up (Ex): The enforcer can use his physical condition and careful planning to overcome some of the effects of injury. As a move action the enforcer can spend 1 point of mettle to gain 1d6 temporary hit points. If his temporary hit points + current hit points exceeds his normal hit point maximum, temporary hit points in excess of this value are lost after 10 minutes. These temporary hit points do not stack with any other temporary hp. At 3rd level, and every 3 enforcer levels thereafter, the number of temporary hit points gained increased by +1d6.
Sucker Punch (Ex): The enforcer knows the advantage of getting the drop on a foe. As long as he has at least 1 point of mettle, he deals +1d6 sneak attack damage per 2 class levels (minimum +1d6) damage on successful attacks against flat-footed and helpless opponents.
Supreme Effort (Ex): The enforcer may spend 2 mettle when using extreme effort to double the bonus to +8, or triple his carrying capacity for 1 round. An enforcer must have extreme effort and be at least 10th level to select supreme effort.
Tough It Out (Ex): An enforcer’s rigorous training and physical conditioning often allows him to tough out conditions others can’t face. As a swift or immediate action the enforcer can spend 1 point of mettle to add his Strength bonus to a saving throw he has just failed. He can make this choice immediately after he knows if the saving throw is successful. If the new total matches or exceeds the save’s DC, the enforcer is considered to have made the save.
Vicious Gouge (Ex): When the enforcer uses gouging assault, he may either gouge two different areas (such as two arms and one head), or have the effects of a successful gouging assault last an additional 1d4 rounds. The enforcer must decide which option to use prior to making his attack roll. An enforcer must be 10th level and have gouge to select vicious gouge.
Enforcer Talents: As an enforcer gains experience, he learns a number of talents that aid him and confound his foes and guide his allies. At 3rd level, an enforcer gains one enforcer talent. He gains an additional enforcer talent for every four levels of enforcer attained after 3rd level. Unless otherwise specified, an enforcer cannot select an individual talent more than once.
Armored Evasion (Ex): The enforcer’s evasion works whenever he is wearing armor with which he is proficient, even if it is medium or heavy armor. An enforcer must have evasion to select armored evasion.
Classic Education (Ex): The enforcer comes from a well-educated background, be that a scholastic background, military officer training, or tutoring from wise travelling companions. The enforcer treats all checks from Knowledge skills that are class skills as having skill ranks equal to the highest number of skill ranks he has in any Knowledge skill.
Crafty Defense (Ex): The enforcer knows how to move in combat to maximize his change of avoiding attacks. The enforcer adds his Intelligence bonus to the value of his Dexterity bonus to AC. This is still lost whenever the enforcer loses his Dexterity bonus to AC, and is still limited by his armor’s maximum Dex bonus to AC.
For example James “Doc” Feral, Ph.D., has a 16 Intelligence and a 12 Dexterity, and is wearing a cunningly crafted set of chainmail beneath his wool suit. He normally has a +1 Dexterity bonus to AC, but with crafty defense he adds his +3 Int bonus to that, increasing to a +4 Dexterity bonus to AC. However, since his chainmail has a maxim +2 Dexterity bonus to AC, he only gains a +2 bonus to AC when wearing the armor.
Crafty Moves (Ex): The enforcer can carefully plan out movements in advance to maximize his chance of performing a tricky motion. Select one Dexterity-based skill. The enforcer may add his Intelligence bonus, rather than Dexterity modifier, to this skill.
Evasion (Ex): As the rogue class feature.
Keen Mind (Ex): The enforcer’s mind is as powerful as his muscles. Select one Intelligence-based skill. When making skill checks for this skill, the enforcer rolls twice and takes the better of the two results.
Skepticism (Ex): The enforcer has seen many of the weird powers and effects of the world, and learned to apply his intellect to questions of what is real, and what thoughts are his own vs. ideas introduced to him from outside influences. The enforce adds his Intelligence bonus to his Will save rather than his Wisdom modifier, if it is better than his Wisdom modifier.
Tireless Muscles (Ex): The enforcer is able to maintain peak physical effort for prolonged periods of time. The enforcer adds half his class level to any saving throw or ability check to prevent becoming fatigued. If a failed saving throw results in being fatigued and an additional result, the enforcer only applies the bonus to see if he avoids fatigue (if the enforcer’s saving throw without the bonus fails, but with the bonus succeeds, the enforcer is not fatigued but suffers any other effect from the failed save normally).
Additionally, the enforcer selects one Strength-based skill. When making skill checks for this skill, the enforcer rolls twice and takes the better of the two results.
Walk It Off (Ex): The enforcer can take one minute to use his suck it up ability on an ally within 30 feet able to see and hear him. The ally cannot gain more than 1d6 temporary hit points per 2 hit dice the ally possesses. And enforcer must have the suck it up deed to select this talent.
Bonus Feats: An enforcer gains a bonus feat at 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, and 16th level. These bonus feats must be selected from those listed as combat feats (sometimes also called “fighter bonus feats”). Alternatively, the enforcer may gain an additional enforcer talent in place of a bonus feat.
Enforcement (Ex): At 20th level, the enforcer becomes the master of calm, planned violence. When making an attack roll or CMB check, the enforcer can choose to “take 10” on the roll. Instead of rolling 1d20 for the attack roll or skill check, the enforcer calculates his result as if he had rolled a 10. When taking 10 on an attack or CMB check, the enforcer never gets a critical threat.
There are more archetypes in the actual Anachronistic Adventurers: The Enforcer. This is just one example, and it may also be revised later.
The most generic of enforcer archetypes is the combatant, which makes the enforcer the typical brave fighting person, valiant in the face of the enemy and skilled in the tools of the trade. A combatant might have nearly any background involving training in modern combat techniques, from police SWAT officers to soldiers-of-fortune.
Background Training (Ex): At 1st level, a combatant selects a bonus feat to represent his background training. Unlike an enforcer’s bonus feats, this background feat need not be a combat feat. Alternatively, the enforcer can select to be proficient with three classes of armor (chosen from: light, medium, and heavy armor, and all shields other than tower shields, and tower shields), but must be proficient with light armor before selecting medium, and with medium armor before selecting heavy, and with all shields before selecting tower shield.
Bravery (Ex): As the fighter ability. The bonus is +1 at 2nd level, and it increases by +1 for every four class levels beyond 2nd.
Combat Training (Ex): At 5th level, the combatant’s training in the techniques of conflict gives him the choice between armor training or weapon training (both as the fighter ability). At 9th (and again at 14th and 17th), the combatant gains another training choice. At each level he might increase an existing armor or weapon training (just as a fighter gaining the abilities multiple times does), or take a new training option.
Bonus Feat (Ex): A combatant gains a bonus feat at 6th level, and again at 12th and 18th level. These bonus feats must be selected from those listed as combat feats. For purpose of meeting prerequisites for these bonus feats, treat the combatant’s enforcer levels as if they were fighter levels.
Potential Menace. Many powers and abilities are designed to represent reserves of morale, willpower, and luck that can be accessed when facing a creature that can actually harm a character, or that can be restored after defeating such a character. In game terms, a potential menace is a creature that can actually reasonable pose a threat a character should be concerned about. In general, any creature with a CR or HD no less than 4 lower than a character is a potential menace, but only if it’s able to act in a threatening manner. A cultist that has been bound to a chair and can’t move isn’t a potential menace regardless of its CR of HD, unless it’s psychic and can fry a character’s brain with its mind even when immobilized. Ultimately the GM has final say if a foe is a potential menace, though most creatures within the appropriate CR or HD range that have not been somehow neutralized should qualify.
My mother, the Empress of the Geeks, deserves a huge debt of gratitude. Not just from me, though I love her and honor her as best I can, but also from anyone who has ever enjoyed anything I have ever written. Because of her, I grew up in a house where the hallway leading to my room was lined with bookcases, stuffed with Lensmen, Ringbearers, Swords in the Mists, Fire Dancers, Princesses of Mars, Dragon Riders, Space Cadets, Psychohistorians, Cimmerians, Unabridged Dictionaries, Atlases of worlds that have never existed, books of Chess Variants, and Complete Hoyles. Because of her, I could discover I loved words, loved games, and loved fantasy.
As if that was not enough she took me to see Star Wars when I didn’t want to go (I was bored by the idea of “a space western with a princesses,” mother’s entirely-fair description that failed to catch my imagination right up until the first second of footage actually rolled). When I couldn’t find anyone my age to RPG with (when my age was 11) she boldly took the role of “Dungeon-Mistress” despite having no particular interest in doing so. She kept a gaggle of young boys quiet (to the eternal thanks of their parents) every Sunday, at the local Rec Center, for two years. She was smart enought to realize if she told us at the end of one session that we needed to know the periodic table of elements to get through a dungeon door, we’d learn what that was and bring a copy by the next session. Eventually she passed us off to (and weekly drive us to the house of) another DM. When the “D&D Scare” hit, she calmly told other parents she had *run* D&D games, and it was nothing to worry about.
She raised me in a house where questions were always fair game, bigotry and racism discouraged, and intellectual achievements given as much or more praise as physical ones. When I first encountered the concept of same-sex relationships (in Galaxy Primes, a novel by E.E. Smith), she calmly explained it, made no judgment values (despite having strong opinions herself),m and let me know that if I was confused or wanted to discuss the concept more, she was always available.
She served as an example as well as encouraging me to find my own voice. She was (and is) influential in the National Space Society, saw the Delta Clipper fly, scheduled a local Science Fiction Convention to run on my birthday (and got two suites for me and my friends), and introduced me to CJ Cherryh, Mercedes Lackey, Glen Cook, and L Sprague de Camp. (Not just to their books mind you, through her high-level of fandom she managed to introduce me to the actual people!) There’s more, but like all children I’ll never manage to remember all the things my mother did for me. What I do remember is an amazing environment that allowed me to become the writer and designer I am today.
So thanks, Mom. You helped me do a lot, and everyone who has ever enjoyed any of it should thank you too!
Sometime soon, I am going to start a game for some close friends, some of whom have traveled thousands of miles to be available to play (okay, there might be a job involved as well, but i assume having me run a game was the important consideration :D ).
Characters begin at third level, set on Golarion, done with innate bonuses replacing most magic items (and some other rules changes, both Unchained an not).
One night, weeks or months ago, you stopped sleeping. For weeks, you simply laid awake for the entire night. You found resting for hours every night allowed you to avoid exhaustion, but true sleep eluded you. Wise women, hedge wizards, shamans and alchemists were all stumped, unable to provide a cure or cause (though for a few gold, all were willing to keep suggesting theories). Nothing helped. You have not slept since.
One night a few weeks after this began, as you took a walk while most others were asleep, the blue mist came. A heavy fog, so thick you could see no more than 20-30 feet. Your surroundings faded, to be replaced by dark shapes with glowing green eyes, chittering sounds, sudden warm breezes that came from damp, cold air, and weak tortured screams from far away. A towering religious-looking building loomed in the distance, its form visible through the mist.
You felt a sharp pain in your back, felt fetid breath on your neck, and found yourself standing not far from where you were walking, the last traces of blue mist fading.
No one else saw the mist. In the days to come, when the mists returned every 3 to 5 days, no one ever noticed even if they watched you all night. But you faced the misty nightmare realm more and more often, sometimes attacked by tall, thin men with gaunt faces and strange hooked blades, sometimes caught in a sticky web that burned your skin, and sometimes wandering through the moans of damned you never saw through the thick blue haze. The events were hard to recall with clarity, as through from a fevered dream, but they seemed to get worse, and a sense of slow dread built for you each time the blue mist came.
The one thing you did keep seeing was the enormous church or shrine, an ornate structure surrounded by a bottomless pit and accessed only by three bridges (with a forth broken bridge sometimes visible, sometimes not).
Local folks began to fear you were cursed, or perhaps doomed (or perhaps chosen by destiny, based on how supportive the people your background are). Inquiries into the nature of the mist, the phenomenon of sleeplessness, the gaunt men, all proved fruitless. But through research (or your own knowledge, or a chance encounter with a traveler), you discovered the shrine matches the description of the Starstone Cathedral, in the center of the legendary city of Absalom.
If you are to find answers, it’ll be there.
Characters may be from any nation on Golarion, but all will have come to Absalom to investigate the Starstone Cathedral. If you are native to Absalom, the sleeplessness is recent, and the Cathedral visible just recently. If you have traveled from Tian Xia the mist has come to you for months, and you are just now ending your long journey to Absalom (and have learned Common along the way).
Now, it is time to seek the source of the Nightmares of Absalom!
Everyone receives three traits. One is the campaign trait Sleepless in Absalom, The other two may be selected from normal sources.
Sleepless in Absalom. You are immune to magic sleep effects. You must rest for eight hours every night, but are not asleep (and do not take penalties to Perception checks made while resting).
“While the camera is rolling, obviously we’re not yet able to begin our interview. Security is, as always at the Hexagon, incredibly tight. The Tyrant is officially a 4th Tier Parahuman, but as a result of his experience, vast resources, and record of escape from both incarceration and any serious sentencing for crimes he fully confesses to having committed, the Hexagon has placed him under 3rd Tier precautions. That means that this interview will take place virtually, with light projectors and low-fidelity analog speakers and microphones transmitting sight and sound between ourselves and the Tyrant rather than any direct or even digital connection, the entire proceedings are monitored by off-sight personnel including at least one unable to hear us and one unable to see us, and both rooms are rigged with deadman-switch countermeasures ranging from strobe lights and tear gas to explosives and a 100-ton free-standing ceiling that can be dropped to crush either chamber. Further, the interview is on a 30-day delay, and we will have no access to it for review or edit prior to its first broadcast. So it you are seeing this for the first time, so are we.
A 2nd Tier inmate, of course, is never interviewed by the press short of a court order and military operation. And, officially, there is no such thing at a 1st Tier Parahuman.
And we see the Tyrant’s image is being projected onto the viewing wall, so we presume everything is set to begin? And we are being given the signal that is the case.
So, first, let me say welcome to the Tyrant, and express our appreciation for your willingness to speak to us this morning.”
“It is a trifle. Much to my surprise, my appointment schedule is remarkably open.”
“Yes, indeed. You have been held for 103 days now, with no trial date in sight. So, let us begin with this: do you feel you are being treated fairly?”
“I have no complaints. I intend to conquer the world. I do not begrudge the existing governments their temporary victories. I do, in fact, see them as necessary steps in my long-term plans. Each engagement that fails to go my way is an opportunity to learn, to improve. I welcome those.”
“At the same time, isn’t it true you don’t recognize the authority of any government?”
“You mean some drivel like “legitimate authority,” the idea that some group or individual has the privilege of commanding and expecting to receive my obedience without gaining compliance through force or mutual self-interest? Of course I don’t recognize such things. If I told you I was now your king, would you obey me to the detriment of your own condition?”
“And why should you? And if I gather a score or more like-minded individuals, and we all say you must obey, does the fact we outnumber you cause you to suddenly become loyal to us if you are not threatened?”
“A group such as, say, the Teen Tyrants?”
“Not even in the hypothetical would I ask anyone to obey that battery of self-propelled disasters.”
“The Crime Council, then?”
“Unlikely, given how we parted company, but appropriate for this discussion, yes. Imagine I was to work with the Crime Council again, and we took control of this facility. Indeed, suppose we declared we had conquered it, as the ancestors of every modern nation of note once conquered the natives of the lands they now rule. Would you feel some moral obligation to obey our dictates?”
“No, we would not.”
“No! You would not. And if we maintained control of this facility for three generations, feeding those we ruled and keeping them from outside harm, and your children’s grandchildren were suddenly allowed some say in a government we established, for our benefit, and designed to enrich us above others, would that mote of participation somehow obligate your offspring to be willingly obedient?”
“We do not believe it would.”
“Indeed it would not! And yet when I turn in defiance against the United States, who, as a nation, conquered a land not their own, repeatedly made and broke treaties with the indigenous people, brought whole other populations to these shores in chains, and then pats itself on the back for freeing those who were only enslaved by its actions, I am told that I am rejecting “legal” authority. I accept no authority other than that which I grant of my own free will or can be compelled from me through force or negotiation. I accept the state’s power to incarcerate me here, because there is a logic to their actions and they have proven they have the power to enforce their will.”
“And if you manage to escape?”
“Then I shall enforce my will on others. That is the only reality of the world. Politics is just the language of oppressions, used to determine who can enforce their will while doing the least damage. Not because we wish to avoid harming others, but because we plan to rule them, and why damage what you will own?”
“Well, we confess there seems to be no point arguing this issue further. Let’s move on to some interesting positions you touched on during your explanation. You seem to have little regard for the Teen Tyrants.”
“But they are your apprentices, aren’t they?”
“I wouldn’t say apprentice. I think ‘child soldier’ is the commonly accepted term that comes closest to describing them. But yes, they are my child soldiers.”
“But why spend so much time, and apparently considerable effort, training them and sending them to commit crimes on your behalf if you have no respect for them?”
“Do you respect a box of rats?”
“Ah… no. Not as such.”
“If you wanted to distract someone, do you see how releasing a box of rats in their home might be useful, despite a total lack of regard for the rats. And how training the rats to be more violent and cunning might make your distraction even more effective?”
“So, you see them as nothing more than disposable tools?”
“Perhaps not nothing more than that – I see potential in many of them, much as a blacksmith need not respect an ingot of iron, but can envision hammering it into a sword. But yes, they are primarily a way to keep those masks and agencies that might trouble me too busy to do so as often.”
“Do the Teen Tyrants *know* that?”
“Of course they do. A reputation for brutal honestly is an amazingly powerful tool, one I have honed over decades. I’m not going to put it at risk by dissembling to the likes of Double-Tap and Slamazon.”
“So, why do they follow you?”
“Why do teens do anything? Some are troubled and have formed foolish emotional attachments to me, so they lie to themselves even when I tell them the truth. Others wish to anger their families, and this this as a means to that ends. And many correctly see this as their best chance to be trained in arts others refuse to teach young Powers. As long as they are obedient, their reasons are their own.”
“You also seem to have left the Crime Council on poor terms?”
“Well, perhaps more accurately on ‘unfriendly’ terms. I was well along in taken control of the Crime Council when the Masked Alliance tracked me down and defeated me in combat in response to unrelated operations of mine. That left me unable to complete my takeover, and exposed my plan and methods to the Council. I suspect Red Jack and Kubla Kong, at the least, won’t easily forgive such machinations. Most of the rest will follow the strong leaders, like sheep.”
“So, are there any colleagues you respect? Or any Parahuman at all, for that matter.”
“Certainly! I am not such a vainglory as to claim I have no peers.”
“So, name a few.”
“As you wish. Kubla Kong certainly has my respect, given that he lacks many of the societal privileges others take for granted and yet remains a force to be reckoned with at least as great as my own. He cannot hide in the world population, or see how others have done what he wishes to do. The ‘Great Ape’ must use his own strength and intellect to forge his own path. I’d be a fool to claim the core members of the Masked Alliance do not include several individuals who are in my league, if not at the same pinnacle as I. The Pulsar Knights serve an invaluable service to our whole region of space, and Gold Pulsar himself has my deepest respect. The Morlock King is without a doubt a peer…”
“We’re sorry – did you say the Morlock King?”
“I did. I respect him perhaps most of all.”
“The… the Morlock King who has been defeated by the Powers Clan something like seven times? Not to mention Angel’s Host, the Quiverfull, Science Team Alpha, and for that matter the Auxiliaries’ Alliance?”
“Indeed, the very same. A tall, thin and pale man with filed teeth and beady eyes, who you all take so lightly. But ask me this, have any of those heroic orders you mention ever managed to keep him locked up?”
“Ah… not that we know of.”
“Precisely. To you all, the Morlock King is an under-powered joke to be defeated by B-Teams and teen bands of sidekicks and poseurs. But he is in truth a king, a royal ruler of a vast empire of ghouls and cannibals, who will inevitably conquer the surface world in a few thousand years. He is a time traveler, and a master tactician, and even when you defeat him now it is rarely until after he has managed some minor adjustment to the present that results in his Feasting Empire continuing for centuries longer in his own dread future. The Morlock King has, from his perspective, already one, and his every appearance just drives the moment of his people’s ascendance a few epochs closer to the time the races of the surface world will be cattle, playthings to be hunted, tortured, mated with, and eaten at his leisure. He is the greatest threat your entire species faces, and you don’t even take him seriously.”
“We, ah, we had no idea. When does this horrifically-described future come to pass?”
“As things stand now? Ten-thousand or so years hence.”
“That seems fairly distant.”
“Of course it does, to you. But when he first took power, it was nearly a million years until his kind would rule. In the temporal halls, his domain controls more years than any other has ever claimed. And he can relentlessly consider current events with the full benefit of hindsight, and contemplate how to bring about his reign earlier and earlier. I confess, I made a conciliation with him decades ago, to our perception, and have never regretted it.”
“If you are right about this, why haven’t you warned the Powers Clan? Or the Masked Alliance?”
“Who claims I haven’t? But I am renowned for using distractions to pull foes away from areas I wish to operate. No one believes me.”
“And what is going to be the result of that disbelief among the world’s greatest heroes?
“And now, this interview is concluded. Thank you for your time. I trust this moment will, when broadcast, bring about exactly the sequence of events I plan for.”
I’ve been thinking about my idea to run a game with several Pathfinder Unchained rules, including Automatic Bonus Progressions at character level +2, and thus having no assumed Wealth by Level.
The trick with that is, I still want potions, wands, and scrolls, so there has to be SOME money. But I want an economy where even at high level, hundreds of gold is exciting.
Here’s my twin baselines: a masterwork falchion is 375 gp, a masterwork composite mighty +4 longbow is 800 gp, and masterwork full plate is 1,350. I’d like for those to be the sorts of things that are exciting as treasure up to even 8th level. So if I figure those three items average out to 850 (842.6 repeating, rounded up), and getting something worth 1/4 your wealth by level is “exiting,” that means I want 8th level wealth by level to be around 3,400 gp.
That’s pretty close to WLB for a 3rd level character, so I can use a general guideline of level – 5 for the WLB chart, which works for characters of 9th level and up. That just leaves me needing to figure WLB for 1st-7th level characters.
The highest average starting wealth for any character is 175 gp, so I can start there. That means I want to go from 175 gp to 3,000 gp over 7 levels.
If I increase the wealth by 150% at each level (rounding), the breakdown looks like this:
1st: 175 gp
2nd: 262 gp
3rd: 393 gp
4th: 590 gp
5th: 886 gp
6th: 1329 gp
7th: 1993 gp
8th: 2990 gp
That’s not a bad approximation, and I can round it to near comfortable numbers like this:
1st: 175 gp
2nd: 275 gp
3rd: 400 gp
4th: 600 gp
5th: 900 gp
6th: 1350 gp
7th: 2000 gp
8th: 3000 gp
With that as a starting point, I can figure out how much I want to charge for potions, scrolls, and other one-shot magic items so my economy isn’t broken.
Of course that also means that some other things characters might have, like wands of healing and non-bonus miscellaneous items and mithral and adamantine, becomes rarer. So I need to either reprice them (which I am disinclined to do – I like mithral shirts being kingly gifts), or compensate the players with more scaling benefits… maybe a free set of multiclassing feats for a very, very minor kind of gestalt game…
I know not everyone has Pathfinder Unchained yet (and since it’s 100% optional rules, not everyone will get it anyway), but I have been thinking about how I’d like to use if it next time I start a new campaign. Note that I’d happily play in someone else’s game using different (or no) alternate rules, this is just my first thoughts on the new systems. So, in order:
*Unchained Barbarian: Optional. I don’t have an issue with the Core Bar, but if someone prefers UnBar I’d be okay with that.
*Unchained Monk: Mandatory. At least for the a little bit, I’d like to see how this plays in comparison. Since it’d be mandatory, I’d revise Core Monk archetypes and options a player liked to work as UnMonk options.
*Unchained Rogue: Mandatory, with exactly the same notes as UnMonk.
*Unchained Summoner: Mandatory, with exactly the same notes as UnMonk.
*Fractional Bonuses. Nope, for reasons that’ll be clear a little later.
*Staggered Advancement: Nope – addresses something I haven’t had an issue with, and increases bookkeeping.
*Background Skills: In. I generally run a style of game where people enjoy background skills as it is, and this helps those characters not be penalized.
*Consolidated Skills: Nope. I don’t want to have to remember which crucial skill does what – I’ve pretty well memorized the existing system.
*Grouped Skills” Nope. I see the appeal, but I like the existing skill point system.
*Alternate Crafting and Profession: I’m on the fence. It’s a whole new system, but it does look better. I might see what the player’s think.
*Skill Unlocks: Restricted to UnRogues, who can also take the Signature Skill feat whenever they gain a feat at the same level they are taking a UnRogue level.
*Variant Multiclassing: Used in place of regular multiclassing, and in place or Prestige Classes, and maybe expanded in ways I think I’ll be turning into an RGG product.
*Gameplay: Mostly because I understand am and comfortable with the existing systems, none of these are in use except :
*Stamina and Combat Tricks: This system is in place, but is largely restricted to fighters. Specifically, each time a character gains a feat for which they could have selected a fighter-only feat, they also get to select one combat feat (not necessarily the feat they just took) to use the stamina and combat trick rules. For fighters, this is all their feats but (for example) a warpriest can only apply these rules to one combat feat at 3rd level (when they gain their first bonus feat that allows them to treat their warpriest levels as fighter levels) and again every 3 levels thereafter. This keeps the system fighter-centric, while giving limited access to classes that are supposed to have access to fighter feats.
*Magic: Most of the things in this chapter are not in use. The main exception is Automatic Bonus Progressions, which are calculated at character level +2. Magic items are so rare that there is no expectation that a character will ever find one. There is no assumed wealth by level. Magic Item Creation feats exist, but creating magic items costs 100% of their value and weapons and armor uses the costs from the Automatic Bonus system. Magic item shops do not exist beyond those dealing in 1-shot items and occasionally wands. What few rare magic items exist are likely to be scaling items (using both the system in this book and from Relics of the Godlings and its sequel from Rogue Genius), which can’t be intentionally crafted. I *might* also adopt Dynamic Magic Item Creation. I also might use spell points, from RGG’s Houserule Handbooks: Spellpoints Compilation.
*Monsters: I may use it, I may not. Not only does that not impact the player’s choices, I don’t promise to tell them if I do.
We’re opening a new section of the roguegeniusgames.com website, Doctor Jeffries Lab! As with most Rogue Genius’s Labs everything the good doctor has in here is a little… experimental. But in the long run we plan for this to be a repository of free ideas we’re playing around with.
“Can I grab a pen and pad, too?”
“Not right. Not how you talk. Hnnn. With the other masks. They get the we.”
“The we. The editorial we. You speak to masks in the formal tone, the Fourth Estate voice.”
“Ah… so we do. Sorry, we were not prepared for this.”
“Unavoidable. Apologies. Hnnn. Can not appear in a station house. Can not risk a call.”
“I… er, WE totally understand. May we grab a pen, and writing pad?”
“No. Recorder is enough. Nothing pointed. Nothing flammable. Unacceptable risks.”
“Very well. For the record, we wish to state that we are in the basement of our own home, tied to a chair. Ah… not one of our chairs. Where did this chair come from?”
“Hnnn. Home Depot. Sturdier than your chairs. On sale.”
“Ah… of course. We are tied to a chair from Home Depot, speaking to the vigilante known as Kilroy. The conversation is being recorded digitally, with a dedicated recorder. We do have a recorder program on our phone, if you’d prefer.”
“No cell phones. Traceable. Trackable. Possibly cancerous. Recommend against them.”
“Ah, yes. We’ll consider that. So… Kilroy. This is your show. What do you want to say?”
“Hnnn… nnn. Do not know. Not a reporter.”
“You… you forced me to interview you, and you don’t have anything to say.”
“Not my job. Your job.”
“So, you want me to ask you questions?”
“Yes. Faster. Security weak, no one coming yet. But major reporter of interest. Watched, monitored. Random patrol may come by, or random hero. Twelve minutes safe, hnnn, thirteen a risk. Have used eight.”
“Of course. Well, then, let’s get to the basics. You are a wanted criminal, a vigilante who deals street justice, yet you claim to be an agent of law and order. How do you justify your actions.”
“Hnnn. No justification. Lawbreaker. Should be taken in.”
“You… you think you should be taken in?”
“Yes. Hunted. Brought down. Judged. Locked away. Hnnn. Violent offender. Likely insane. But dangerous. Maybe in Segefield. Maybe in Hexagon.”
“So, if you think you deserve to be locked up, why not turn yourself in?”
“Heroes can’t reach everyone. Not good enough. Not smart enough. Some only I can reach. Hnnn. If I stop, who catches those? No one. Unacceptable.”
“But, who will catch them if you get caught?”
“If caught, then no longer the best. Whoever catches me can catch anyone. I would not, hnnn, not be needed. Survival of the Justice.”
“So, you want to be caught, because that would mean you weren’t needed?”
“If caught by a righteous agent. If caught by evil, hnnn, my loss would be disastrous. But, also, a warning. Heroes would notice. Work together. End the greater threat. But only so long as I am best. As long as I never falter, or give up.”
“So no matter what, you should keep doing what you are doing and make every effort to avoid capture, which you deserve, because only by doing your best can you ensure your loss brings about even greater good?”
“Hnnn. Never put in those terms. Yes.”
“Isn’t that a little self-serving?”
“Yes. Likely insane. Well aware.”
“All right… let’s move on to some specifics. You are famous for spray-painting “Kilroy Was Here” wherever you take down a criminal, or even a common thug. Why?”
“Because it is unusual, and the media talks about it often.”
“Wha… ah. No. Not why are you famous for it. Why do you do it?”
“First, to mark my work. So when the day came, I could be convicted of everything. My mind, hnnn, my mind lies to me sometimes. Paint doesn’t lie.”
“You say at first. Did other reasons emerge?”
“Yes. A warning. When taking down a fence, each post is marked. The next post sees, and knows it is next. The posts shake. Boards fall lose. Fear does half the work.”
“Are… are you literally speaking about a fence?”
“So, the fence is… ?”
“Any group of scum. Racketeers. Cheaters. Mobsters. Corporations. Thugs. Homeowner’s Associations. Gangs. Bikers. As you mark the loss of each outer member, the inner circle sees you coming, and knows fear.”
“I’m sorry, did you say homeowner’s associations?”
“Modern cattle barons. Petty tyrants, and a common source for money laundering, extortion, and, hnnn, drugs. Many are alien fronts.”
“Do… do you have any proof of this?”
“No, Cats took it to the moon.”
“Ooooo-kay. Let’s move on. You also work with several vigilantes, the so-called Nomads, though you carefully don’t accept that you are yourself part of that group. If you deserve to be brought in as a vigilante, don’t they?”
“Most, yes. Some never break the law. Centipede. Huntsman. NIN. Maybe Tarnkappe, though he mostly likely does, just not while he is seen.”
“But the rest are lawbreakers.”
“Yes. Many times. Serious crimes.”
“But you work with them. Why not bring them in?”
“Bring in those who do more harm than good. Brought in Balefire, and hnnn, Sinstress. The rest are lower on the list. New entries higher up keep getting added before I get to them.”
“Yes you did, both after specific spectacular crimes. But… you do intent to bring the rest of them in eventually? To either hand them over to authorities, or disable them yourself as you’ve been known to do?”
“Yes. Have told them as much. Many times. Most don’t believe me. Or don’t want to.”
“While we are on the subject, why do you turn some criminals in, kill a few, and mutilate others?”
“Turn in those that can be punished by the law. Cripple those who can’t, if it will end their crimes. Kill them if nothing else works. Or if they resist so much no other option.”
“Does it bother you, deciding who lives, and who dies?”
“Hn. Not anymore. One of the most serious signs of mental illness. That and the cats.”
“Real cats, or allegorical ones?”
“Both. Time is nearly up.”
“We… understand. Very well, let’s talk about something you’ve never talked about before. How do you avoid getting caught?”
“Cautious. Smart. Not a big enough threat to enough people for the right resources to be brought in.”
“All right, sure. But, some amazingly successful heroes have states their intent to bring you in. Anthem and Anthem Lass can both see through solid matter. How have they not identified you to sketch artists for a manhunt?”
“Can’t see through the cowl.”
“You… you mean the dirty piece of cloth you always pull over your face?” That bit of warn linen can block Anthem Lass’ vision, when a solid steel door doesn’t?”
“I don’t suppose you’ll tell us how?”
“If you ask, hnn, yes.”
“Ah… very well. How? How does an apparently ordinary piece of cloth protect your identity from the heroes who can see through hundreds of feet of concrete, metal, and flesh?”
“Cowl is not one piece of cloth. Cowl is ur-rag, the perfect piece of cloth in all universes. It is the ultimate unimportant object. In every reality, in every place where choices lead to people, there is a Kilroy. We all have the cowl. Hnnn. One cowl. It makes us the same, but we are all different. We have no powers, no magic. Nothing but the cowl. Anthem looks through it, sees us all.”
“If… if that’s true it’s amazing. How did you come by the cowl?”
“Saw it, hnnn, in the gutter. Saw it for what it was, when life broke. Saw the mission. Saw the crimes. Knew I was Kilroy.”
“Very well, but, listen. You say you know you are mentally ill. You say your mind lies to you. And you have a social, unique cowl that gave you a special destiny. Doesn’t it seem more likely that you are seriously schizophrenic, and that’s all a delusion.”
“Yes, hnnn, of course. Not stupid. Except… ”
“Anthem never found me. Anthem Lass doesn’t know my face. Gargoyle can’t find me. Troubleshooter can’t track me. Which is more likely — a schizophrenic no hero can catch, or a universal agent of the multiverse with destiny?”
“Time is up. Good interview. Do not edit it.”
“No, we won’t, of course. If we can ask just one more… “