Contemplating 25 PF1 Alchemist-Hybrid Classes

What if there was a hybrid class for every conceivable combination of base, core, and occult classes?

Yes, it’d probably make a LOT more sense to just go with a full set of Talented Character Class write-ups, and let people mix-and-match themselves. For one thing, with 26 originating classes (as I’d treat the magus as a fighter/wizard hybrid class and the shifter as a druid/ranger, rather than either as a new base class), we’re talking about 650 classes. (And you think people complain about PF1 bloat NOW).

But, the idea still sticks with me. Which made me wonder, can I even come up with a core conceit for 650 hybrid classes? (Well, 638, since there are already 12 things I am treating as hybrid classes… )

So, I decided to take a look at one slice, of all potential alchemist hybrid classes. Not to write them at any level, just to see if I had ideas for each combination.

Here’s my initial list, for the alchemist (which already has the investigator as an alchemist/rogue hybrid).

Ragebringer (Alchemist/Barbarian – anger-based mutagens and elixirs) Brewester (Alchemist/Bard – drinks to make you happy, sad, or brave, and to fit any occasion) Glatisant (Alchemist/Cavalier – wide man of the court who rides a strange, ever-changing Questing Beast) Reliquarian (Alchemist/Cleric – priest that carries and empowers holy symbols and icons of the faith) Herbalist (Alchemist/Druid – uses secrets of nature to brew poultices and take on animal aspects) Steiner (Alchemist/Fighter – fights with weapon in one hand, mug of lord-knows-what in the other) Grenadier (Alchemist/Gunslinger – makes and fires strange alchemical grenades from a bombard) Antivenin (Alchemist/Inquisitor – for every divine foe, there is a potential alchemical antithesis) Phlogistor (Alchemist/Kineticist – distills anything down into its core eldritch elements) Lucid Dreamer (Alchemist/Medium – alter reality by projecting energy into your own dreams) Catalyst (Alchemist/Mesmerist – set up elixirs in yourself and others that are triggered by events) Purifier (Alchemist/Monk – use alchemy to purify the self to allow for better and more varied flow of ki) Psychomorph (Alchemist/Occultist – distill the essence of objects true nature into drinkable elixirs) Nectarian (Alchemist/Oracle – affected by the divine drink of the gods, not meant for mortal lips_ Alkahest (Alchemist/Paladin – Imbues substances with holy energy to undo any wicked force or creature) Orgonite (Alchemist/Psychic – Able to distill thought into matter, and matter into pure thought) Beastcrafter (Alchemist/Ranger – turns parts of your enemies into useful materials) Mutate (Alchemist/Shifter – slowly, intentionally becoming different than your beginning species) Uroboros (Alchemist/Sorcerer – create elixirs from your own vital energies and fluids) Ectoplasmic (Alchemist/Spiritualist – conjure spirit fluids with various effects) Metamorph (Alchemist/Summoner – use mutagens to become bizarre creatures with variable evolutions) ThiefFinder (Alchemist/Vigilante – an alchemical criminologist and mastermind) Leach (Alchemist/Witch – create imbalances in foe’s vital fluids to weaken them, or gain their power) Spagyric (Alchemist/Wizard – able to create much more potent elixirs, though not mutagens)

I doubt all of those ideas would survive contact with the design process, and some are pretty similar (do I really have two different ideas for the alkahest and antivenin?), but it’s a good enough starting point I’d feel like the idea had potential. I have no plans to make 24 more hybrid alchemist classes… but sometimes playing with an idea you know isn’t practical can lead to the development of an alternative you do like. It’s the game concept equivalent of doodling, with the goal not to produce a finished picture, but to see what interesting shapes evolve.

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Enlarging Dragons and Charming Outsiders in PF1

I’ve been contemplating how to create a broad set of rules on when you can safely create spells that affect different types of creatures in Pathfinder 1st edition. For example, enlarge person doesn’t work on dragons… would enlarge dragon be a reasonable 1st-level spell? At 1st level we have both charm animal and charm person… would charm outsider make sense too?

There are some tricky side cases that make a universal rule hard to be balanced. For example, if you could easily apply animal growth to any creature, you end up with a spell that can potentially make giants bigger than giant form II can, and at much lower level, and that is just a terror if applied to a summoner’s eidolon.

But if we follow the example of charm person to charm monster, there do seem to be a few ways to make at least a broadly applicable set of metamagic feats that can open up flexibility, just at the cost of both a feat, and a lot of extra spell levels needed.

Monstrous Spell [Metamagic]
You have learned to adapt eldritch energies normally directed at humanoids to affect a much wider range of targets.
Benefit: Monstrous Spell can only be used with spells that limit their targets to only the humanoid creature type. This ability removes the spell’s limitation of only working on humanoids. However, it does not change that some creature types may be immune to the effects of the spell–for example Monstrous Spell applied to enlarge person allows you to use the spell to enlarge a vermin, but Monstrous Spell applied to charm person does not allow you to charm vermin that are mindless and immune to mind-affecting effects.
A monstrous spell uses up a slot three levels higher than the spell’s actual level.

Unexclusive Spell [Metamagic]
You have learned to adapt eldritch energies normally directed at undead to affect a much wider range of targets.
Benefit: Unexclusive Spell can only be used with spells that limit their targets to only the undead creature type. This ability removes the spell’s limitation of only working on undead. For example, Unexclusive Spell applied to halt undead allows you to affect creatures of any type, though most nonundead targets are considered “intelligent” (excepting only those actually lacking an Intelligence score).
This feat only works on spells that specify one or more undead as their targets, not spells that interact with undead in different ways. For example, since create undead targets a corpse, rather than an undead, you cannot apply Unexclusive Spell to it in an effort to have a spell that allows you to create creatures of any type.
An unexclusive spell uses up a slot three levels higher than the spell’s actual level.

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I’m absolutely not immune to the money crunch in the game industry, so if you want to help ensure blog posts like this keep getting produced, please consider supporting my efforts through my Patreon campaign, or dropping a cup of coffee worth of support at my Ko-Fi (which is also filled with pics of my roommate’s cat).

Owen Explains It All — Ghost-Busting Weapons for Starfinder

Before we get to any OGL content, an editorial aside:

You may be wondering why is this tagged as an “Owen Explains It All” post, when that’s very unlike my normal marketing tone? Well, because this links into a show from the BAMF podcast I’m on, titled “Owen Explains It All!“. We do episodes picking new things from the zeitgeek to use as inspiration for game material, specifically the Starfinder Roleplaying Game. This article ties in to the “Owen Explains It All; Ghostbuster’s Afterlife” episode.

The show has a logo and everything!

Adding Weapons to Use Against Ghosts to Starfinder

Really, the two things you need to add the ability to bust ghosts to Starfinder are weapons that can affect and grab ghosts, and traps to hold them. So, here are two OGL options for the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, designed to work together: the antiectoplasmic fusion, and the ghostbinder grenade modifications.

(Art by evilratalex)

New Fusion: Antiectoplasmic [Level 1]

Only weapons that deal electricity damage, and no other type of damage, can have the antiectorplasmic fusion.

An antiectoplasmic weapon does full damage to incorporeal creatures, and can score critical hits against incorporeal creatures. If an incorporeal creature is out of Stamina Points (or is at half or less of its HP, for creatures without a Stamina Point score), and has unrecovered damage from an antiectoplasmic weapons on it, then any ectoplasmic weapon can be used to grapple the target (even at range) by hitting its EAC +4 (rather than KAC +8). If an antiecotplasmic weapon has an incorporeal creature grappled, as a standard action you can both maintain the grapple and move the creature a number of squares equal to the weapon’s item level. This counts as an attack, including for purposes of expending charges or ammunition.

Grenade Modification: Ghostbinder

Ghostbinder is a modification that can be applied only to grenades that do electricity damage, and it increases their cost by 100%. A ghostbinder grenade does half damage, and has a trigger connected to it by a cord allowing it to be triggered within 30 feet. A grappled incorporeal creature in the area of a ghostbinder grenade must make a Fortitude save against the grenade’s DC, or be trapped within it. For every foe grappling the incorporeal creature, it takes a -2penalty to this save. An incorporeal creature within a ghostbinder grenade can take no action, cannot affect anything, and is immune to the affects of anything other than the grenade. If the grenade is shut off or destroyed, the incorporeal creature is released.

Unlike most grenades, a ghostbinder grenade is not destroyed when used. If there is no incorporeal creature bound within it, it can be recharged for the cost of a normal grenade of its type.

Expanded Content

In addition to these its, I briefly present rules for long-term ghost storage exclusively at my Patreon. You can join for a monthly cost of less than a cup of coffee!

Hold-Out Grenadier Feat, for Starfinder

Grenades in Starfinder are specifically designed to work in-game. That is, their cost, range, and power is scaled in such a way as to make them useful, but not something that is going to end an encounter with one action or allow minor NPCs to kill all the PCs with one lucky throw. That is, of course, arguably not how grenades work in the real world. That’s the “game” part of a roleplaying game.

But there are other factors as well when scaling grenades compared to reality. They are heavy and expensive per use, compared to other ranged counterparts, and real-world fatigue is more complex than just a bulk or credit system. They can be unpredictable in exact aiming, pose a potential danger to the user or their allies, break or detonate when damaged on your person in combat, and often require you to expose yourself more from cover than using a rifle does. None of these factors are major enough to call for complex rules to model them in Starfinder, but they are a reason it’s not common for individual soldiers to carry 20 grenades with them.

So, is there a way to give players the big-boom-to-save-our-butts experience, without breaking the game so grenades become the go-to solution for every combat? Well, yes, but since we are trying to overcome a gamist issue, it’s going to require a gamist solution with some limitations that have to do with fun gameplay for everyone rather than modeling reality. Not everyone will like that, but for those who do, here’s a feat to become the guy who has one cinematically-impressive grenade on their belt for when the situation calls for a big boom.

(Art by Sarah Hollund)

Hold-Out Grenadier (Combat)
You keep one bad boy ready, in case things go badly south.
Prerequisites: Proficiency with grenades and heavy weapons
Benefit: Once a day, when one of more of your allies is out of Stamina Points (or is down to 25% of their HP, for allies that lack a SP score), and you have access to your normal selection of gear (so not if captures searched and weapons removed, or when you have unable to resupply since last using this ability, and so on), as a full-round action you may throw a hold-out grenade that you keep for emergency situations.

The grenade is a grenade of your choice with an item level no greater than your item level +2, and you add your level to damage dealt by the grenade. If the grenade does dice of damage, it deals one additional die of the same size its damage is calculated in (thus a 4d6 grenade becomes a 5d6 grenade). The grenade cannot be one that does not directly deal damage (such as a smoke grenade, flash grenade, or grenade that summons a creature).

The round after throwing the grenade, you cannot make an attack, attack action, full-attack action, cast any spell unless it is harmless, or use any ability that requires an attack roll or forces opponents to make a saving throw.

Supporting This Blog
I’m absolutely not immune to the money crunch in the game industry, so if you want to help ensure blog posts like this keep getting produced, please consider supporting my efforts through my Patreon campaign, or dropping a cup of coffee worth of support at my Ko-Fi (which is also filled with pics of my roommate’s cat).

The Seven Winds, from “The Chromatic Books of Horrors & Heroes,” the Byzantium Notebook, by Ben-Derek Hayes (Circa Age 13).

I got a special order to write up the Seven Winds that are Principalities in Ben-Derek Hayes’ “Chromatic Books of Horrors & Heroes,” as defined in his cosmology, which comes from the Byzantium Notebook. You can find a description of that cosmology here. Since, you know, I DO create these articles for money, I was only too happy to slip this way forward in the schedule and put it on Friday (which you’d normally get a much shorter article) in return for money. All art in this article is by warmtail.

As a concept, “The Seven Winds” is often used to refer to all the people of the world, or all the places of the world. Someone wishing to tell a captive no one can hear them might say “Shout to the Seven Winds if you wish, for none will answer,” while a veteran sailor might brag she’s “Had all the Seven Winds fill my fails, on one voyage or another.” Secrets are sometimes “Whispered only to the Seven Winds” to indicate they’ll get out eventually, and a tyrant might claim “My grasp exceeds even that of the Seven Winds themselves.”

The winds are also seen as powerful forces of fate and destiny, and someone might well be said to be “born into” a given wind, while those who seem to choose a specific trait might be said to be “blown by” a given wind. While different cultures assign different traits to those born into each wind, and it’s always seen as just one aspect of how Principalities can influence a mortal’s life, it’s very common to refer to a wanderer as “born into the North wind,” and a morose personality as being “blown by the Death Wind.”

The Seven Winds, in order of both age and potency, are commonly considered to be The North Wind, the South Wind, the Rogue Wind, the East Wind, the Tea Wind, the West Wind, and the Death Wind.

The North Wind

The North Wind is by far the oldest and most powerful of the Seven Winds, and among the oldest of the Principalities (and the only wind to be treated as a Major Principality). It is believed that the North Wind came into being when the gods of Land and Sky first developed, long before most other principalities evolved, and that was at that time the *only* wind. However, being wise and foresightful, the North Wind realized that if the wind blew from only one direction, in time all the world would be leveled before it. Thus, it set out to bring forth others of its kind, and five more winds formed of these efforts. One of the Seven Winds, the Rogue Wind, has an origin outside of the efforts of the North Wind, and is often seen as a trickster and, if not cruel, at least uncaring to the fates of others.

The North Wind is normally depicted as a blue face in a complex burst of spiraling tendrils, and is equally often named “he” and “it.” He is the Principality of free movement and free choice, trade, sailing, the cold, weather, storms, clouds, silver, amber, and leaving your childhood either physically or metaphorically. The North Wind is sometimes called the Blue Man, Father Sky, the Lord of Whispers, and the King of Feather and Flower.

His followers prefer slow, constant action to sudden bursts of activity, but in extreme cases are willing to play the part of cleansing storm leveling everything old so new growth can come. They are keepers of chronicles of seasons and bloodlines, and violently opposed to imprisonment, slavery, and coercion of any kind. Most places dare not outlaw followers of the North Wind, though those of his faithful who mark their own faces with blue, gray, or black are often seen as troublemakers, and treated in much the same way as is a boiling thunderhead on the horizon.

The South Wind

The South Wind is the Queen of the Sky, the Knight of Swans, the Lightning Lance, the Bringer of Comets and Falling Fire, and the Guardian of the Heavens. She is the Principality of raptors, waterfowl, fire from the sky, borders, swift action, summer, growth, self-identification, inspiration, guards, and the single most important moment of any person, place or thing. Though she is a Lesser Principality, that is a matter of scope, rather than power. The South Wind does not move from her areas of interest, but within them even the greatest Major Principality would hesitate to oppose her.

All other winds bend knee to the South Wind when she is present, even the North Wind from whence she came. Indeed, the South Wind is that part of the North Wind that felt her true nature was not to be the North Wind and, in complete accordance with the North Wind’s dominion over free choice, chose to stop acting as the thing she was not and instead exist as the South Wind. However, the South Wind rarely interjects herself into the affairs of the other winds, unless they dare to influence those concepts she claims as her own.

Many people work to keep themselves in the favor of the South Wind, for she oversees both their right to say who they are and the most important moment of their lives, whatever that might be, and when disaster strikes many invoke her as the Principality of swift action, but few worship her. The exceptions to this are generally martial-leaning folk who believe some forces work against those who would find themselves, or are moving unseen to put an end to guarded peace, inspiration, environments that promote growth, or all of the above. These warriors most often taken on her aspects as Principality of hawks and swans, and her role as the strike of lightning that burns rotted, choking underbrush away, or both.

The Rogue Wind

When only the North Wind and South Wind had come to be, a gust pried itself lose from their choreographed dance of pull and push. This was the Rogue Wind, the Killer Wave, Eclipse, Lord of Broken Things, and Jester of Fate. The Rogue Wind is the Principality of that which operates in the unplanned, unexpected, and unforeseen. It plays no favorites, bringing anarchy and surprise to all, but when a system has oppressed a people long enough, Storm Jesters may raise and openly call for the Rogue Wind to come and sow chaos, for when order becomes tyranny, any change of events can be seen to more likely favor the oppressed.

Fools, jesters, those who lack sense and those who turn away from reason and societal norm are blown by the Rogue Wind, and beloved of this most capricious of Principalities. Some embrace this role specifically to free themselves of the expectations of others, and are known as the Bedlam Born. No one can count on the Rogue Wind’s support, but the unpredictable from beggar to berserker are oft treated with a modicum of respect and fairness purely to keep the Rogue Wind from taking note. Sailors, lords, and builders hate the Rogue Wind most, but with that hatred comes and acknowledgement of its power, and a coin is often tossed to those careening outside the roles of society in an effort to appease this ultimate agent of anarchy.

The East Wind

The East Wind is the Prince of Mists and Herald of Fog. Known as the Little North Wind, it is in many ways a lesser son of its forebearer, but it is also the keeper of the East Star, by which all navigation can be attempted. It is the Principality of consistency over time, navigation, orienteering, and small things having large effects. The lost, prestidigitation and misdirection are also within its bailiwick, as lacking guidance and clarity is seen as just one form of engaging with directions and maps.

Cartographers and navigators often worship the East Wind, as do some natural historians who seek to understand how the median of all action can form the equilibrium of the world. Many sects of the East Wind date back to the time of the Dusk Empires and have kept charts and secret forms of mathematics hidden within their coded scrolls. These are among the only acceptable group in which the Dwarf/Elf/Human Alliance (or Dehallia) will allow Gaub-Alge (or “goblins”) and draugh to operate in Dehallia cities and society, as the sects claim to have ancient ways to commune with the East Wind to determine if an individual will be a fair mathematician, cartographer, or navigator, and even the most bigoted of Dehallians dare not loose the East Wind Sect’s access to navigators.

The Tea Wind

The Tea Wind is the Herald of Trade, the Constant Consort, and the Loops of the Sky-Dragon. She is the Principality of civilization, trade, negotiation, contracts, progress, wealth, sea ships and ports, colonization, oppression, conquest, decimation, disease, deceit, press-ganging, hunting for sport, and genocide. As the name might suggest, she oversees and powers the Tea Gauntlet, the worldwide sea travel route that brings teas from Al’iimbiraturiat Aleazima, Dà Dìguó, Dai Teikoku, and other lands for which Dehallia has not bothered to learn the names, to the Commonlands, and through it the remainder of the Dehallian Kingdoms.

The Tea Wind is seen as the exclusive patron of Dehallia and its kings and nobles, as the route it empowers makes it easy for things that are cheap and plentiful in their lands to the distant empires where it is eagerly traded for tea, silk, jade, saffron, coffee, orichalcum, ivory, ink, and magic rods, and then back around to Dehallia. While at one time numerous small island nations that severed as important resupply stops made significant wealth from such trade, various Dehallia nations have long since conquered them, to ensure the wealth largely comes to rest in their coffers.

The West Wind

The West Wind is the Mist Upon the Waters, the Daughter of Sand, and caster of Nets. Born equally of the North Wind and South Wind, she ensures winds bring life and renewal after the storms have passed and fires extinguished. She is the Principality of gentle rains, sweet winds, fresh winds, fish, crabs, seaweed, leaping dolphins and mighty whales, and the rainy season. She is beloved by farmers, fishers, and many things of the sea that yet need to breath to live. She rejects all violence and force, and when draught or stagnation or red tides settle in to plague a region, it is said that some evil has bound the West Wind, and she will not strike back. But she is also the Principality of caring, and to endure, and in time, all of her bounty stolen by those who mean evil will return to where they should always have gone.

The Death Wind

The Death Wind is the Last Gasp, the Still and Silent, the Living Cyclone, and the Air Unmoving. It is the Principality of endings, death, rest, time, tornadoes, finality, harvests, the hunt, successors, and destruction. When the North Wind saw the first six winds that existed he realized that, in some strange time, even the wind must die. Then did he reach to his own end, the moment past which he must be replaced by some other thing or cease to be himself, and took the final gust of his entirety, and set it free. This is the Death Wind, the movement that brings an end to all movement. Mountains shall be ground down by it, every mortal shall meet it when they draw their last, and only it knows when it shall reap those that spawned it.

The Death Wind is evoked when something must end so that something else may come to be. There are no edifices built to worship the Death Wind, but its dark funerary followers can claim a corner in most other temples. For everything will end, and the moment should be observed and respected, and all ceremony of death is said to come from the reapers of the Death Wind.

Chromatic Books of Horrors & Heroes Index

As I translate and post more excerpts from these amazing analects of creativity, I’ll post the links to the end of the first Horrors & Heroes post, so serve as an Index for all the Horrors & Heroes content.

Patreon

Obviously this kind of undertaking requires resources! If you wish to support me in developing “The Chromatic Books of Horrors & Heroes,” please join my Patreon, or drop a cup of support in my Ko-Fi.

Principalities taken from “The Chromatic Books of Horrors & Heroes,” the Byzantium Notebook, by Ben-Derek Hayes (Circa Age 13). Part One.

I discussed the Byzantium Notebook, and its cosmology, in an earlier entry. This is a list of seven of the 14 “major principalities” listed throughout the Byzantium Notebook. I’ll get to the other seven sometime next week.

It’s worth noting that despite begin designed for some very common class/level fantasy ttRPGs, the Principalities offered here are not described in terms of alignment, good or evil, or churches. It’s clear from the notebook that Principalities grant power to those who advance their causes, and their ethics and morality are very different from most mortal societies. Individual religions and churches may well lean toward some specific aspect of a Principality, but they can and do oppose each other as readily as they opposed organized churches revering other Principalities. Especially within the campaign-focused region of the “Commonlands,” organized religion tends to be as varied and local as the city-states that are the majority of the powerful nation-states. Further, Principalities tend to reserve their direct punishments for those who have passed on to the afterlife, so posing as a priest of a given Principality may be foolish, no divine retribution strikes down those living mortals who attempt it.

All art in this article is by warmtail.

Avergentis

Avergentis is the Principality of striking down evil, falsehood, corruption, and greed. She is portrayed in crimson, gold, and black as a women in armor, and always in motion, for to Avergentis to see evil and fail to oppose it as best you can is as great a sin as acting toward evil yourself. Her followers rarely attempt to convert others or give sermons, preferring instead to show by example how their active lives make the world a better place. Nothing angers Avergentis more than using false humility or honor to hide a corrupt or despicable course of action, and lands where her worship is allowed openly require their rich and powerful to consider carefully the consequences of having her faithful within their realms.

The Heartflock

The Heartflock is the Principality of the susurrations of a group of birds in flight, the course of driftwood across the ocean, and the feeling of joy brought by the first fresh air carried by the wind into places of ash and decay. The Heartflock is not anthropomorphized, depicted as a central eye within a ring of divinatory runes, or natural forces in coordinated movement. Followers of the Heartflock seek to protect both the patterns of natural life, but also the stirring of the soul brought about by such things. The Heartflock opposes stagnation, disruption of the interconnected elements of the natural world, and despair. Most worshipers of the Heartflock do not build temples, and have traditions that are very local and connected to their own environment.

Marugal

Marugal is the Martyred Angel, Principal of birth, bravery, dignity, healing, lingering wounds, love, masks, pain, parenting, long-term planning, sacrifice, scars, remembrance, winter, and righteous wrath at those who betray trust. She took on the wounds of the seasons, compressing them into just the time of winter, that spring, summer, and autumn might exist. She accepts all those who sacrifice for others, and opposed those who waste sacrifices made for them, or use trickery or manipulation to cause others to sacrifice for them under false pretenses. She is the Principality of those suffering uncurable wounds and pain, not to glorify pain, but to acknowledge the cost required to bear it.

The North Wind

The North Wind is the oldest of the Seven Winds, and among the oldest of the Principalities. He is normally depicted as a blue face in a complex burst of spiraling tendrils. The North Wind is the Principality of free movement and free choice, trade, sailing, the cold, weather, storms, clouds, silver, amber, and leaving your childhood either physically or metaphorically. His followers prefer slow, constant action to sudden bursts of activity, but in extreme cases are willing to play the part of cleansing storm leveling everything old so new growth can come. They are keepers of chronicles of seasons and bloodlines, and violently opposed to imprisonment, slavery, and coercion of any kind.

Plautaurch

Plautaurch is the Principality of the sea and oceans, the tides, waves, currents, the great depths, darkness, the unseen, life, risk, divination, gambling, and the downfall of mighty things. He is depicted as existing to two parts, a mighty green elf warrior with a crown of coral, and a hippogriff with emerald scales and an alicorn, which may appear jointly or separately. His worship is almost exclusive to diviners, sailors, and gamblers, who often seek to learn his secrets and/or appease him as much as they seek to spread his glory.

Uhr

Uhr is the Progenitor of Dragons, the Father of Fire, and the Mother of Tooth and Claw. Uhr seeks and respects only power, and demands its followers do the same. To see Uhr is to have every other image wiped from your sight forever, and “May You Look Upon the Face of Uhr” is a powerful profanity. Uhr’s image is never complete, for to depict all of Uhr would risk the wrath of the First Dragon, and anyone daring to carve or paint even just part of Uhr strives to make the image a horrific and strong as possible. Uhr rewards might with greater might, but punishes those foolish enough to gain more power than they can protect. The Clawed Shield is an order of defenders sworn to Uhr, for they believe in offering defense-for-hire they can gather greater power without provoking a coalition to bring about their downfall. The Draconex was an ancient sorcerer-warlord of Uhr who sought to conquer the world to gain ultimate power, and was defeated by the first Duck Kingdoms. The soul of the Draconex burns forever in the hellfire gut of Uhr as punishment for gaining the most power of any mortal ever, yet being defeated.

Wrogan

Wrogan is the Warhound, the Iron Fist, and the Smith of Battle. He is the Principality of conflict, warfare, crafting, smithing, walls, gates, prisons, tactics, obedience, animal husbandry, riding, and commanding respect. He promotes all things that can advance the art of warfare, and promotes warfare as the force that promotes all other arts and knowledge. His worship is more common among nobles, generals, and craftsmen than warfighters and knights. An important part of his teachings is that war must serve a purpose–the application of force is pointless unless it bring about change. Just as randomly heating metal and smashing it with rocks is not blacksmithing, to Wrogan randomly killing or doing so for sport of pleasure is not warfare.

Chromatic Books of Horrors & Heroes Index

As I translate and post more excerpts from these amazing analects of creativity, I’ll post the links to the end of the first Horrors & Heroes post, so serve as an Index for all the Horrors & Heroes content.

Patreon

Obviously this kind of undertaking requires resources! If you wish to support me in developing “The Chromatic Books of Horrors & Heroes,” please join my Patreon, or drop a cup of support in my Ko-Fi.

New Operative Exploits for Starfinder: Damage Trick, Quick Trick

We’ve been focusing on fantasy and the real-world game industry for a while, let’s drop some items I’ve been testing fora while for Starfinder operatives.

(Art by grandfalure)

6th Level Exploits

Damage Trick (Ex)
When using a small arm or operative melee weapon and making an attack that is not a trick attack and does not have any trick attack damage added to it, you can add trick attack damage as an operative of a level equal to half your operative level. You do not need to make a skill check, and you do not get any other of effects of using a trick attack.

Quick Trick (Ex)
You can make a single trick attack as a standard action. You cannot move as part of this trick attack. All the other rules and limitations of trick attacks apply.

Supporting This Blog
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Excerpt from “The Chromatic Books of Horrors & Heroes,” the Byzantium Notebook, by Ben-Derek Hayes (Circa Age 13)

Excerpts from another of the “Chromatic Books of Horrors & Heroes” by Ben-Derek Hayes.  The Byzantium Notebook is particularly interesting because while the core of it was written in one school year (and, I would guess, a school year when Ben-Derek Hayes was learning some basics of Humanities, Classics, Philosophy, and/or some similar coursework), numerous expansions on its core concepts have been scribbled on scraps of notepaper, ridiculously long pharmacy receipts, and birthday cards and folded into the larger notebook. None of these are dated, so I cannot expand the age at which Ben-Derek Hayes wrote them, but pretty clearly this was a working notebook throughout years of campaign-running and worldbuilding.

Among other things, the notebook’s early focus on who the gods of various regions and species and cultures are, and what agents serve those gods, slowly expands out to be a whole (and if not unique, at the least unusual) cosmology designed to allow for all the elements Ben-Derek Hayes wants in his fantasy ttRPG campaigns. As the cosmology evolves it gets rewritten, in whole or part, over and over. Some old versions are relabeled as heresies (the Tsarnuk Hersey of One Principality being the earliest example of this). While I have only copied out sections of cosmology that seem to be the “final” take in the Byzantium Notebook, stitching together from various corrected sections as best i can, I must say I adore the idea of taking old worldbuidling ideas and reusing them as heresy and incorrect world theories. If there are people in the real world who insist the planet is flat, then surely other crackpot ideas are going to take root in something as gonzo as a multispecies, multiplanar, multideity fantasy realm.

The illustrations in this notebook were images clipped from various magazines, often collaged together, and definitely focused on being cool and interesting to a 13-15 year old, rather than appropriate for publication. I have done my best to be true to the spirit of those pasteup pictures using the art of Warmtail.

COSMOLOGY

In the beginning, there was nothingness. As that is all there was it was also, perforce, everything. The Nothingness was content to be nothing and everything, for there was no difference to the Nothingness. But much as we can be of two minds, so too was duality part of everything, and thus part of the Nothingness. The two most potent dualities were the Possible and the Impossible. Time did not exist, so there is no way to describe or even comprehend “how long” the Possible and Impossible coexisting within the Nothingness that was both all and naught.

As an aside — despite being before time, this state is sometimes referred to as the Pristine Epoch, for there was no conflict, no pain, no anger. When a lahki strives to achieve perfection through a return to the Pristine Epoch, what they are trying to do is bring total destruction, for if there was nothing, there would be Nothingness, and thus everything. Lahki are, of course, driven my mortal minds, and mortal minds cannot comprehend the Nothingness from before time. Thus, all lahki seeing to bring about the Pristine Epoch are ruled by idiots, charlatans, or madmen.

How or why the Possible and Impossible came into conflict within the Nothingness is just as unanswerable as “when” it happened, but at the moment time began, the two were already locked in a struggle that was ancient and exhausting. It is impossible to say if the Possible was stronger by nature of being Possible, or if that appellation was only granted to it because it won, but within the Nothingness the Possible came to be Everything, and the Impossible was locked away behind the Outer Brane, the thin fabric that separate the morphic and often unlikely Outer Planes from the Grand Koas beyond it. And, even as the Possible grew, developed, and evolved, the Grand Kaos did so as well, despute being Impossible and not properly existing, and it is from this came the Kaos Gods, the urges that lost the first conflict and which do not exist, but wish to exist with such strength that their incomprehensible, noisome, disquieting nature still influences the Possible reality.

Because they were the first Possible things, every elder concept became the ultimate expression of that concept. These are better known as Gods, but it is again a mistake to think of gods in terms mortal minds can grasp. The God that formed from the concept of time is only and purely time. It is in no part thought, patience, desire, concern, or action. The Ur-Time is a god, and as a god it is everything but only what makes up time, and does nothing time does not.

Gods, in short, do not want anything, or work toward anything, in any way a mortal can comprehend. They change, but on scales and in ways unknowable and unnoticeable to anything comprised even partially of flesh, blood, skin, bone, thought, breath, emotion, life, or death. Gods are distinct and different from even the mightiest of angel, oldest of devil, or reality-bending draconic sorcerer psionic ninja, in that they literally cannot be even partially perceived, affected, damaged, or influences by a creature with any of the mortal traits. This naturally leads some mortals to shrug and say Gods must not exist, because no magic, lore, ritual, relic, technology, or ability that can be accessed at any level, in any way, can interact with a God at all.

And, fair enough.

However, the Gods can interact with creatures comprise exclusively of essences such as the concept sthat make up the Gods themselves, but are each a blend of essences. Still entirely beyond the understanding of any mortal, these entites can have urges, desires, and plans, for while one may be made of the essential essence that is time, it can also have swirls of forethought, regret, age, ancestry, and dozens of other concepts adjacent to time. The God time is only time, but there are a dozen, or a billion, lesser coalescents of only essence that bring more concepts to time, so that they can do more than just those things time can do.

These are known as the Principalities, and while no mortal can directly speak with or trily understand a Principality, the most powerful of mortal endeavors — the work of ancient artifacts, archmagics, philosophical constructs of a thousand generations — can influence and be influenced by Principalities. Such interaction is as no more than the flutter of a butterfly’s wings on a charging bull, and only a tiny fraction of all mortal who shall ever exist can reach the enlightenment and empowerment needed for even the briefest of such overlaps, but it is real, tangible, measurable, and recorded. And, the Principalities can easily interact with those creatures which sit outside the laws of gross matter. Such “outsiders,” including angels, archons, demons, devils, aeons, and a few or unnumbered more, are in part the wisps of the Principalities’ essences that have leaked free of their purified state to blend with planar energies. Angels are not just creatures native to the outer planes, they are in part the tracery of Principalities’ energies themselves, and thus naturally align with and sere those Principalities from whence they came.

Disbelief in Principalities exists among mortals, but it is far less common than disbelief in gods. Indeed, most mortals skeptical of the existence of Gods ask why anyone would think to invent a level of entity entirely beyond mortal comprehension in any measure, when Principalities can be proven to exit, and anything some belief systems ascribed to gods could, instead, be the work of Principalities. Indeed, many belief systems do focus primarily on Principalities, though such systems aren’t mainstream in the Commonlands.

It is, however, to worship Principalities by name and treat them as gods, even when it is understood that the true gods are an unknowable, incomprehensible level above Principalities. Gods are omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and omnibivalent. They have no limitations, but also no driving force. Principalities, conversely, are of a power and scope literally beyond measure, but not truly infinite. Similarly, while Gods never work together, nor ever oppose one another, principalities can and do all the time. Often their limitations seem reasonable — Urgar-Mawt, the King of Crows, is a Principality of death, the underworld, rulers, horns, crowns, night, black feathers, black clouds, and storms; the fact his angels cannot be summoned into daylight except at a grave seems reasonable given his essential connections.

(The King of Crows. Art by Warmtail)

In other cases the powers, limitations, and preferences of a Principality or their outsiders and worshipers feels entirely random and arbitrary. Anath’al, the Witchwife, is the Principality of witchcraft, secrets, silence, sex, research, poison, change, finding truth, passion, pain, and patience. Why, then, will she not harm children, and randomly grants entirely common folk the service of seven of her witches as lovers and advisors for seven years, as long as they agree to neither marry nor bring forth children of their own in this time?

No one knows, or if they do, they aren’t telling.

(Anath-al. Art by Warmtail)

Those Principalities are too far from mortal entities to mix or interact with them in any typical way, they can consort with the most powerful of outsiders. Whether this is truly breeding as living creatures see it, or more some kind of guided evolution, the fact remains that sometimes archangels, elemental dukes, demons princes, aeon magisters, and similar entities do sometimes produce offspring with Principalities. These creatures are often thought of as “lesser gods” (though Lesser Principalities would be a far more accurate description), and are sometimes worshiped in their own right. These Lesser Gods also can interact directly with mortals, and some seem to have been created specifically to do so. The Dragon Empress of Varghun is a good example of this, her 1,000-year reign definitely moving forward the goals of the Wyrm God that spawned her with a Demon Princess.

Should a Lesser God mate with a mortal, the end result is always extraordinary in some way, with demigods, godlings, heroes, paragons and abominations all possible.

Chromatic Books of Horrors & Heroes Index

As I translate and post more excerpts from these amazing analects of creativity, I’ll post the links to the end of the first Horrors & Heroes post, so serve as an Index for all the Horrors & Heroes content.

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New Feat for PF1: Vital Opportunity

Just one feat from me today. At the current level of support of my Patreon, most of my posts each week are *supposed* to be just a single, short idea, with only a few bigger posts like yesterday’s. Given how much catching up to do I have after the past month being lost to flu-then-pneumonia, I’m going to try to stick to that level instead of the massive bonus content I’ve been pouring out. If you’d like to encourage me to go back to more big posts, of course joining my patreon is a great way to do so!

I like giving martials who are able to follow more than one tactical path (often fighters) ways to have them overlap. This is for those who can both manage Combat Reflexes and Vital Strike, which don’t offer much synergy on their own.

Vital Opportunity (Combat)

You can choose to lay significant damage on a single foe who dropped their guard, rather than keep something in reserve for other opportunities.

Prerequisites: Dex 13, Combat Reflexes, Vital Strike, base attack bonus +8.

Benefit(s): The first time each round you make a melee attack as an attack of opportunity, you can apply the additional damage you would gain from Vital Strike, Improved Vital Strike, or Greater Vital Strike to the initial target of your attack. When you do so, you cannot take any other attacks of opportunity or reactions until the beginning of your next turn.

New Magic Weapon Special Abilities for Pathfinder 1st ed

So, let’s more-than-triple the number of magic weapon special abilities costing a +1 bonus you can have in your 1st-edition Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

And it all starts with Cleave.

Well, not the feat Cleave (at least not exactly). But instead, the magic weapon special ability mighty cleaving. And, when referring to a combat feat magic special ability by name, this article italicizes the property, but does not capitalize it. In other words, the power attack magic special ability lets you use the Power Attack feat with your weapon. (Alternatively you could place “mighty” in front of everything and use the gerund form of any feat name, so the mighty power attacking special ability lets you use Power Attack with that weapon… but that feels awkward to me, so I’m not doing it. What’s your preference?)

Mighty cleaving requires you to have the Cleave feat, but it then does as much as Cleave does (give you one additional cleaving attack a round)… but not as much as Great Cleave does (the normal next step in the Cleave feat chain). The existence of the mighty cleaving special ability tells us there is a range of combat feats that gaining access to through a weapon is worth a +1 bonus equivalent magic weapon special ability — but that it’s not all combat feats. That means if we can figure out a set of rules for what combat feats are appropriate for use as magic special ability, we potentially add a vast number of new magic options a GM can use to create fun, interesting, useful, balanced magic weapons. It also opens up some martial options for character’s who can’t manage to take those feats in the same way metamagic rods opened up metamagic feats even for spellcasters who don’t take the feats.

(There are also the training special ability, that gives you a feat but you still need to meet its prerequisites to use it, and the sylvan scimitar that give you “use of the Cleave feat” along with some other abilities under specific circumstances, so magic weapons granting some combat feats is clearly within a special ability power range.)

So, let’s look at defining a combat feat magic weapon special ability.

(Art by 2dmolier)

Combat Feat

Price +1 bonus; Aura moderate transmutation; CL 8th; Weight —

DESCRIPTION

This special ability grants the use of one specific combat feat, selected when the weapon is created. What feat can be selected and how it can be used are subject to the Rules, outlined below.

CONSTRUCTION REQUIREMENTS

Craft Magic Arms and Armor; Spells tactical adaptationCost +1 bonus

The Rules

The feat selected cannot be one that adds to all attacks or all damage (such as Weapon Focus or Weapon Specialization), or a flat bonus to AC (such as Dodge), and it must be a Combat feat. Its prerequisites can include no more than a single ability score, which cannot require greater than a 13 in the ability, no more than a single feat (which must also be a combat feat), no more than a single rank of a single skill, and nor more than a +1 base attack bonus minimum. It cannot include any other prerequisite (such as not having levels in a class with specific class features, or being of a specific species).

Thus, you could have improved grapple as a +1 bonus melee weapon magic weapon special ability, but not Greater Grapple (which both has two feat prerequisites and requires a +6 base attack bonus).

The feat benefit granted by a combat feat special ability only applies when you are wielding the weapon it is part of. If the feat modifies an attack, it only modifies attacks made with the weapon it is applied to. For example, a short sword with agile maneuvers only gives you Agile Maneuvers when you are actually wielding the short sword. Also, can only be applied to a weapon that can be used in the activity modified or allowed by the feat. For example, you can’t put the power attack combat feat special ability on a longbow.

While you can use the feat in a combat feat special ability without meeting the prerequisites to take the feat, you still have to meet any conditions listed in its benefit. For example, if you have a +1 distracting charge lance, you still only gain the benefit if an ally that also has the feat charges and hits a foe. This obviously suggests that combat feat magic weapon special ability built on teamwork feats are likely to be most popular in sets of multiple weapons to pass out to multiple users.

I did not have time to go through EVERY official combat feat to see which ones fit these rules, but here’ a hyperlinked list up through “F” anyway. 🙂

Agile Maneuvers, Aquadynamic Focus, Aquatic Combatant, Ascetic Style, Beast Hunter, Befuddling Initiative, Blind-Fight, Blinding Flash, Bloody Mess, Bludgeoner, Bodyguard, Call Out, Caster’s Champion, Cavalry Formation, Charging Hurler, Choir of Blades, Combat Expertise, Combat Reflexes, Combat Stamina, Combat Vigor, Coordinated Capture, Coordinated Defense, Coordinated Distraction, Coordinated Maneuvers, Coordinated Shot, Cornugon Stun, Covering Fire, Cracking the Shell, Cudgeler Style, Dazzling Display, Deadly Aim, Death from Above, Deceitful Incompetence, Defensive Combat Training, Demonic Style, Desperate Battler, Destructive Persuasion, Dirty Fighting, Disarm Partner, Distance Thrower, Distracting Charge, Diva Style, Double Slice, Empty Quiver Style, Enforcer, Eroding Strikes, Exotic Weapon Proficiency, Far Shot, Feint Partner, Flanking Foil,  Focused Discipline, Following Step, Footslasher, Fox Insight, Fox Style, Frightening Ambush, Furious Focus, Fury’s Fall, Gang Up, Giant-Killer Stance,