Monthly Archives: January 2018

Mega-Patrons and Monthly PDFs

Heya folks!
So, it’s no secret that a lot of Patreon campaigns lost a lot of pledges when Patreon announced they would be charging patrons more than their pledge levels. I added some emergency pricing tiers to prevent people from having to pay more to get the same rewards, but even so many people just left the platform entirely. So even though Patreon has decided not to change how they bill (for now, anyway), the damage is done.
While removing the no-longer needed emergency pricing levels, I decided I wanted my mega-patron level, where you get a monthly pdf of all the free content I release in a month, to be more affordable. So I’ve brought that down from $20 to $10.
And so you-all have some idea what those monthly pdfs of free content are like, I’m posting the August pdf on my Patreon sight, but leaving the post available for all my fans to enjoy! The amount of content I produce each month varies, but this gives you an idea what kinds of material to expect. This one has some old-school inspired material for Pathfinder (randomly acquired psionics, archetypes and hybrid classes for old 2nd ed muticlass character concepts such as the cleric/fighter/magic-user, cleric/fighter/thief, cleric/ranger, illusionist/thief, and more ), some Starfinder material (the pistol of tricks, belt of veskkind, folding torpedo minisub, trenchcoat of the bat, and more), and some of the extras each pdf includes (random supers ideas, essays on the game industry and my life intersecting with it, and random things like song lyrics, game night quotes, and every funny thing I posted over 31 days).
So check out the pdf and, if you want more like it, become a mega-patron today!

Buff Feat (for Pathfinder)

Since I did a Lithe feat, fair’s fair.

Let’s see how crazy this drives people.

Buff (1)
Your extremely tone and firm muscles protect you from the ravages suffered by some less well-defined individuals.
Prerequisite: Strength 13+
Benefit: For any calculation that normally uses your Constitution score or Constitution modifier, you may instead use your Strength score or Strength modifier.
Special: You may take the Intercept Blow feat without meeting its prerequisites, and may ignore any non-feat prerequisites for feats that have Intercept Blow as a prerequisite. You do not have a master, for purposes of this feat, but have a “key ally.” Whenever you first all for initiative in an encounter, you may declare any one creature to be your “key ally” for this feat.

Buff (2)
Your incredible stamina and unbreakable physique allows you to get more out of your frame.
Prerequisite: Constitution 13+
Benefit: For any calculation that normally uses your Strength score or Strength modifier, you may instead use your Constitution score or Constitution modifier.
Special: You may take the Intercept Blow feat without meeting its prerequisites, and may ignore any non-feat prerequisites for feats that have Intercept Blow as a prerequisite. You do not have a master, for purposes of this feat, but have a “key ally.” Whenever you first all for initiative in an encounter, you may declare any one creature to be your “key ally” for this feat.

This post brought to you by the backers of my Patreon.

Lithe Feat (for Pathfinder)

Let’s see how crazy this drives people.

Lithe (1)
Your strong personal style and flexible frame make you much more nimble that one would think at first glance.
Prerequisite: Charisma 13+
Benefit: For any calculation that normally uses your Dexterity score or Dexterity modifier, you may instead use your Charisma score or Charisma modifier.
Special: You may take the Narrow Frame feats without meeting its prerequisites, and may ignore any non-feat prerequisites for feats that have Narrow frame as a prerequisite.

Lithe (2)
Your flexible frame and strong personal style allow you to define your social interactions through your body movements.
Prerequisite: Dexterity 13+
Benefit: For any calculation that normally uses your Charisma score or Charisma modifier, you may instead use your Dexterity score or Dexterity modifier.
Special: You may take the Narrow Frame feats without meeting its prerequisites, and may ignore any non-feat prerequisites for feats that have Narrow frame as a prerequisite.

This post brought to you by the backers of my Patreon.


Really Wild West Science Agents (For Starfinder)

Science Agents

The room smelled strongly of sulfur, with scorch marks covering one wall and the adjacent floor and roof. Something had clearly exploded, driving fragments of wood away from the burned wall and scattering shattered glass, torn pages, and bent metal implements across the small space.

Rosa Abascal crouched near what appeared to be the origin of the detonation, careful to keep only the soles of her feet in contact with the ground, and dragged one gloved finger through the residue. It was dry, but still bright red and shiny, the color of blood.

“You see Agent Abascal?” The agitated man behind her was obviously nervous, but Rosa had found Americans were often nervous around her. Honestly, most men were nervous around her. An inevitable consequence of her badge and gun. But he sounded sincerely frightened, and has not tried to move closer to her, even when she turned her back on him. It was a risk she could only take because she trusted her partner to react faster than any fat businessman, though she also had her other hand close enough to the knife in her boot to handle any aggression herself if necessary.

But the American wasn’t moving any further into the room than the doorway, and he nearly vomited out his loud concerns.

“You smell it, don’t you Agent? Brimstone! And with these strange books and idols and runes? Satanists have infiltrated my mine, and summoned demons! I’d have called a marshal, but…”
But, thought Rosa, this close to the border we’d arrive faster. Or he had hoped we’d fail to notice something.

The room darkened slightly, and Rosa turned to see her partner, Agent Garza, stepping past the nervous American. She raised her fingertip, to let Garza see the mix of residual blasting powder and powdered stellar metals. He grunted, and nodded past the door to the scrublands beyond.

“Looks like a small group kept their horses in a nearby arroyo until recently.” Garza spoke in Esperanto, as was his habit. The Científicos’s rules on the use of the new hopefully universal lingua franca weren’t official yet, but Garza always liked to be just ahead of the rules.

“But the horses were scattered a day or two ago, and only one set of hoofprints are deep enough to have had a rider,” Garza finished.

Rosa nodded. She had kept one eye on the American, and not only did she not think he understood Esperanto, she was pretty sure he didn’t realize it wasn’t Spanish. That meant he was unlikely to give anything away with a reaction to Agent Garza’s report, but Rosa was fairly sure he didn’t know anything he wasn’t saying. His fear at the thought of demons seemed as genuine as it was unwarranted.

Rosa stood, and showed the American her fingertip, though she knew he was unlikely to grasp the relevance.

“Not demons, señor. Demolitions. Whoever stayed here was experimenting with a mix of stellar ores and explosives. Cavorite, most likely, or potentially even red mercury.”

The American looked confused, and then relieved. Rosa took out a small hand kerchief, and thoroughly cleaned her glove’s fingertip.

“So… there’s nothing to worry about!” The American seemed pleased. “You can return to your side of the border and…”

Agent Garza interrupted, speaking in English.

“No, sir. There’s no sign of planar visitors, but that’s far from saying there’s no danger. Such metals are rare and expensive. For someone to have had enough to leave this much residue, “he gestured to the scorchmarks covering half the cabin’s interior “almost certainly means he found a Martian fighting machine, or possibly an embankment machine, and scavenged from it.:

Rosa nodded, and she folded her kerchief, and laid it on the broken remains of the room’s table.

“If there’s more such metal, whoever experimented here might salvage enough for a bomb that could threaten a town or small city. Or, worse, there might be canisters of black smoke, or dormant red weed. It’s crucial we find the machine before anything left with it is activated or unleashed.”

“But…” the Amercian paused. “If the trail leads further into Texan territory… “

Rosa was already headed to her horse.

“If there’s a significant threat to the region as a whole, science agents are empowered by our government to operate wherever necessary.”

Her glove’s fingertip burst into flame, and the fire quickly began to spread to the ruined table. The cabin was on a patch of bare dirt, and bordered on three sides by rock. The flames would eliminate the cabin and any residues, and spread no farther.

In a world where weird science and theosophic magic are real, of course positivism cannot deny the existence of strange powers. What it CAN insist on is a rigorous testing of such powers and an analysis of how they function. In the Really Wild West, it has become crucially important for governments and major agencies to be able to tell the mysterious from the mystic, and the revolutionary from the disastrous. Among those with the best track record and reputation for such needs are the science agents of the Mexican Porfiriate.

Science Agent Archetype

Science agents are special federal law officers who work directly for the Científicos, the government council of scientist ministers and directors who are guiding Mexico into a new age of rationalism and modernity. They act as investigators, law keepers, trackers, spies, troubleshooters, and paramilitary advisers. They are respected as one of the great peacekeeping forces in North America, on par with the Canadian Mounties, Dread Templars, Justicers, Pinketons,Texas Rangers, and U.S. Martials.

Most science agents train at the Hall of Science in Mexico City, though it is also possible for a science agent to take a single deputy cadet and train them, with either method taking between 1 and 4 years depending on the cadet’s aptitude and previous education. All science agents must swear to apply the scientific method over intuition or superstition, and to protect Mexico in specific, and humanity, rational thought, and science in general. There is no other official requirement, and the Porfiriate’s insistence on promotion and decision-making based on evidence-based investigation has lead to a series of standards cadets must meet that do not include any gender, religion, age, or level of formal education. Anyone who can pass the strenuous entrance exams, which focus on logical thought (but not specific previous knowledge of any scientific principles), determination, and basic physical ability, may attempt to become a science agent. Roughly 1 in 5 cadets finish the course, but that number includes equal numbers of men, women, urbanites, and rural citizens.

Science agents are often given great latitude to track down potential threats, and often operate outside of Mexico. There legal authority to do so is questionable at best, but their strong reputation causes most honest folks to give the silver-eagle badges of the science agents some leeway as long as they aren’t committing crimes themselves.

Alternate Class Features

Scientific Method (Ex): At 2nd level, a science agent has learned enough about how theosophy, Martian technology, psychic phenomenon, planar creatures, and advanced science work to be able to examine an area and determine if anything in it is magical. This functions as detect magic, except it is an extraordinary ability. Additionally, a number of times per day equal to the science agent’s key ability score bonus, she can attempt to identify an item’s function as the identify spell, but as an extraordinary ability and using a character level check in place of a Mysticism or Engineering check. A science agent also gains a +2 bonus to AC and saving throws against attacks and effects from a specific object she successfully identified.

At this level a science agent also learns Esperanto and either English or French.

Keen Observer (Ex): At 4th level a science agent may choose from one of two abilities. The first is an insight bonus equal to half her character level to checks with any two of the following skills: Diplomacy, Perception, Sense Motive, and Survival. If either selected skill is not a class skill, it becomes a class skill. If the science agent has a feat that grants an insight bonus to either of these skills, she may retrain that feat immediately, or at the beginning of any future level, for a feat she meets the prerequisites for at 4th level.

Alternatively, the science agent may choose to gain blindsense (sound) with a range of 30 feet and blindsense (scent) with a range of 10 feet.

The choices made with this ability cannot be changed.


Not only is Really Wild West growing, it’s starting to get its own custom art! Obviously that takes money, so if you want to see more of it, you can throw a couple of dollars a month into my Patreon!

thanks for your support!

Really Wild West Key Ability Scores and Resolve (for Starfinder)

Characters in the Really Wild West campaign have some drawbacks due the rules of the setting hack, when compared to standard Starfinder Roleplaying Game PCs. Some equipment is rarer. Weapon capacities are lower. Information less accessible. These are minor restrictions, but if the players are being asked to take on threats designed for standard threats and monsters from the standard RPG, they need to have some balancing factor to make up for the slight changes the campaign enforced.

Some of that can be done with the campaign’s genre feats, but those don’t work for everyone, and don’t quite make up the difference.

The rest is handled with a change to Key Ability Scores, and Resolve.

Key Ability Scores

Really Wild West is designed to allow for over-the-top, heroic characters common to the old pulp stories. These often include oddball characters with unexpected characteristics. Genius sharpshooters. Spellcasting card sharps. Singing cowboys with the gift of gab. Making characters like this should be encouraged in Really Wild West, but it can be difficult to focus on two disparate elements of a character without making them a little less effective. Normally that’s fine, the game doesn’t require optimized heroes, but since Really Wild West already restricts other options a bit, it’s best if heroes aren’t also put at any disadvantage for wanting to make characters outside the typical mold.

Thus, the first time you take a class level in Really Wild West, you may select any one ability to be your Key Ability Score. Dexterity-based mechanic? Sure, your nimble fingers let you build clockworks no one else can master. Constitution-based mystic? Your psychic powers draw directly from your physical endurance. Charisma-based soldier? Singing cowboy.

In addition to determining how you calculate your Resolve Points, your Key Ability score becomes the ability all your class features use for calculations. A Constitution-based mystic uses her Constitution modifier to determine bonus spells, spell DCs, and connection power Cs, for example. This doesn’t impact how you calculate skill points, or anything based on the general rules of the game (such as EAC, KAC, melee attack bonus, and so on). But for things listed under class features in the class’s 20-level table, switch from whatever ability score is listed to your chosen Key Ability Score.

Resolve Points

The Really Wild West can be deadly and grueling, and its heroes need to be more resolute to survive. PCs gain +2 Resolve Points at 1st level, and an additional bonus Resolve Point at 3rd, 6th, and 9th level.

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Scorchers for Really Wild West (in Starfinder)

In the real-world 1890s, “scorchers”–bicycle riders (male and female) who sat-forward on the diamond-frame bikes or “safety bicycles” that were coming out for the first time at about that time–were considered a social menace. They were considered to be too aggressive, and moving too fast. Editorials held them up as examples of the decline of society. Special anti-scorcher police units were established.

In the Really Wild West, scorchers hold a different place in society, because they were crucial in many efforts to scout out and track Martian tripods during the invasion, operating initially within large towns and cities, but soon finding ways to use stellar metals and gearing scavenge from fallen walkers to make A-frame bikes that worked well in rougher terrain such as prairies. Scorchers are still seen as too aggressive and willing to go too fast, but it’s accepted that while scorchers aren’t fit for polite society, they do serve a useful function for military and police units.

Below we present a typical Really Wild West safety bicycle, and a feat that turns a rider from merely someone who can ride a 2-wheeler into a true Scorcher.

Safety Bicycle
Item Level 2; Price 30; Bulk 4
A safety bicycle grants you a +10 enhancement bonus to your land speed, and has an armor check penalty of -4 and max Dexterity bonus to AC of +4 (treating it like armor for these purposes—if actually wearing armor use the worse value of the bicycle or armor, then make it 1 worse). The bulk of a bicycle (and up to 1 bulk of material placed on it) does not count against your encumbrance limit when you are riding it or pushing it, only if you are carrying it.
Mounting or dismounting takes a move action or a DC 15 Pilot check. You must make a Ride check to stay mounted whenever you take damage (DC 10 + the item level or spell level of the attack, or 10 + level for natural and unarmed attacks), and automatically fail to stay mounted if someone successfully performs a trip combat maneuver against you or a sunder combat maneuver against your bicycle.
You must succeed at a DC 15 Pilot check to use a bicycle with just 1 hand, and a DC 20 pilot check to do so with no hands. You must also succeed at a DC 15 Pilot check to use a bicycle in difficult terrain. If you fail a Pilot check to use or stay mounted on a bicycle, you fall prone and take 1d4 bludgeoning damage.

You are a master with the new A-frame style of safety bicycle, doing things with it no one expected.
Prerequisite: Pilot 1 rank.
Benefit: When in terrain that does not require Athletics checks to move through, having a bicycle simply grants you +15 feet of land speed. You take no penalties to any other checks, don’t need to make Pilot checks to remain mounted when damaged, don’t need to keep a hand free, and don’t need to take extra time to mount or dismount. Additionally you may make Pilot checks in place of Acrobatics checks while mounted. No one can attack your bicycle while you are riding it.
If you take a double move or run, and you have at least one hand free to help control your bicycle, you double its bonus to your move rate.
If forced to carry your bike, you treat its bulk as half its actual bulk value and take no other penalties (even if climbing or swimming). You may use your Pilot skill check in place of your Engineering check (and your ranks of Pilot in place of your ranks in Engineering), in regards to bicycles.
If you select this feat at first level, you gain a safety bicycle for free. Regardless of when you gain it, if you have access to your equipment and tools and the basics requires to build or maintain a bicycle, you are assumed to have a safety bicycle after 24 hours of work.

As always, this post made possible by my patrons! We’d love your support, too!

Really Wild West Technology and Equipment (for Starfinder)

In many ways, the Really Wild West setting of an 1890 where dwarves, elves, and kasatha have always been around, Martians attacked and died of plague, theosophy was right and magic and psychic powers are extant (if not commonplace), is the continuation of the Industrial Revolution into what may someday be known as the Age of Invention. We touched on some of the technologies at play in the original post for this setting hack, but some of those ideas call for expansion.

Technology has rocketed forward (in some cases literally) over the page 50 years, and society is permanently changed as a result. In 1856, Henry Bessemer found a way to turn molten iron into steel, and that created the material needed to build far more powerful forges and steam engines. The discovery of adamantine and other stellar alloys among the Martian machines made otherwise impossible creations possible, though at a high cost given Earth still has no way to mine those extraplanetary metals for itself. But anywhere a Martian expedition collapsed (often, though not always, self-destructing) or an old destroyed cigar-shaped transportation cylinder is found to have crashed, a “Mars Rush” of scavengers seeking working machines if possible, and just the rare stellar allows if not, make the old gold rushes look calm by comparison.

The telegraph made the world smaller and brought communication to a new speed, but it is the creation of the Babbage-Bell Grid, a series of wired analog computers and difference engines in the largest cities connected by Bell’s new data transmitter technology (though it is Elisha Gray who invented the switches to allow this communication to move quickly, and Bell stole the idea and patented it first). With the Babbage-Bell Grid, a small city or major town can afford just a Babbage node, no bigger than a church organ, allowing them to send complex data requests to a full-sized Babbage buildings hundreds of miles away, connected by the Grid.

Automotons, invented separately in Bohemia, Switzerland, and Japan (where they grew from the tradition of Karakuri puppets), continue to grow in complexity and utility. The use of difference engines, stellar alloys, and heat ray capacitors for power allows the creation of automotons that seem nearly self-aware, though the most advanced are generally capricious and require a single genius (normally a character with the mechanic class) to keep it operational.

Medicine has leaped forward. Germ theory, much studied after the fall of the Martian tripods, has gained nearly universal acceptance. Theosophic studies combining western theories with eastern techniques and psychic infusions allow miraculous serums and healing ampules that actually follow through on the promises of the previous century’s snake oil. Similarly the dedicated study and experimentation on theosophic abilities has allowed some practitioners to master high levels of psychic mastery and to develop specific mental exercises to produce and reproduce dependable, measurable effects common folk often call ‘spells’ (as ‘metatative ectoplasmic invocation techniques” doesn’t have the same snappy ring to it). Emotions and paranatural phenomenon can even be fused into weapons, equipment, and even crystals (allowing for the normal Starfinder Roleplaying Game rules for weapon fusions, magic and hybrid items, spell gems, and spell ampules).

Weapon technology has similarly seen vast improvements. Brass cartridge weapons are commonplace, though older percussion cap and some pinfire and needlefire weapons still see extensive use. Revolves are common, as are lever-action and even pump-action firearms. The first few automatic pistols have appeared, and the water-cooled Maxim machine guns are changing the face of war. Tesla and Tom Swift have advanced lightning guns, among other weapons, the German flammenwerfer and Chinese Pen Huo Qi both proved their worth against Martian tripods and have been much copied, and the Martian heat ray technology itself has been successfully mass-produced in Mexico.

Most equipment options are just normal Starfinder Roleplaying Game gear, modified as noted in the original post of the setting hack. But there are a few particularly Western kinds of gear, or logical extrapolations of the 1890s and weird science, which should be added to the setting.

Ammo belt 1 5 L
Ammo belt, masterwork 1 100 L
Battery belt 2 300 1
Block and tackle 1 5 4
Candle, wax, set of 5 1 1
Canteen 1 2 L
Compass 1 3
Lantern, oil, bullseye 1 2 L
Lantern, oil, hooded 1 2 L
Matches, box of 100 0 1
Rations, canned, 1 day 1 4 2L
Rations, fresh, 1 day 0 1 L
Rations, trail, 1 day 0 2 L
Sack, large 1 2 L
Sack, small 1 1
Steam engine, small 2 850 80
Tent, 2-man 1 5 4
Tent. 4-man 1 10 6
Tool, manual 1 5 1
Torch, set of 10 1 2 L
Watch, pocket 1 15

Rules for new equipment is presented below.

Ammo Belt
An ammo belt can be designed for bullets, hand-bombs, or dry cell batteries. It carries up to 3 L worth of such items (though their weight still applies to encumbrance normally). A character with a masterwork ammo belt with the necessary ammo can also reload a weapon as part of the same standard action as firing it once. If the character has Quick Draw, one a round they can reload a weapon without taking an action.

Battery Belt
While firearms remain more common than weapons powered through electricity drawn from dry cell batteries, the rapid increase in cell-powered devices in recent years (especially in Mexico) has resulted in a desire to be able to carry multiple batteries of various capacities connected together, with a single feed cable and adapter that allows different devices to be powered from the connected batteries.

A battery belt is similar to an ammo belt, but is designed to carry, and connect, multiple batteries. It can carry up to 9 batteries of L bulk or less without increasing its own bulk. Linking a battery to the belt is a move action. The belt has a single output cable designed to plug in to any electric-charge driven device. This takes the same action as to reload a weapon (normally a move action). Any device plugged into the battery belt can use charges from any of the batteries in the belt, even if the device normally uses a different capacity of battery.

Block and Tackle
A block and tackle allows you to pull a rope 10 feet to move a secondary rope 5 feet with twice as much fore. A successful DC 10 Engineering check and one minute allows you to rig a block and tackle to you can use it to life twice as much bulk, or gain a +5 circumstance bonus to a Strength check, but performing such tasks take twice as long as usual.

A candle is as easy to light as a torch, and burns as well as a match. It increases the light level by 1 step in a 5 foot radius, but is easily blown out by wind, rain, or being dropped. It burns for 6 hours.

A canteen is a water bottle made of cured leather or steel, generally with a cloth covering both to pad it for protection and so the cloth can be soaked with water, which then evaporates and cools the canteen. It carries two quarts, the minimum most people need to drink each day.

A comas points north. A character with a compnas trained in Survival gains a +2 bonus to Survival checks to orienteer.

Lantern, oil, bullseye
A bullseye lantern increases the light level by 1 step in a 60-foot-cone. It burns for 1 hour on 1 pint of oil.

Lantern, oil, hooded
A hooded lantern increases the light level by 1 step in a 30-foot-radius. It burns for 1 hour on 1 pint of oil.

Matches, box of 100
A match can set easily flammable materials on fire as a standard action.

Oil, pint
One pint of oil, normally in a flask or leather bladder. As a standard action you can coat an adjacent object, which then if exposed to flames must make a Fortitude save (DC 20 + item level or caster level of flame source) or gain the burning condition. You can also throw oil at targets as improvised thrown weapons, which do 1 point of damage and coat them in oil.

Rations, Canned
Canned rations include canned meats, fruits, and vegetables, pickled items including eggs and fish, jams, jellies, canned cheeses, honey, foil-wrapped chocolate (in small quantities along with other canned goods), condensed or evaporated milk, bottled cooking oil, and even entire canned hams or turkeys. Canned rations last 1-4 years as long as they are undamaged, and have a 50% change of spoiling each year thereafter.

Rations, Fresh
Fresh rations can include both cooked foods and raw ingredients to make food, such as butchered meats or entire small game, breads, flour, butter, medium or soft cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, and so on. Food hunted or foraged with the Survival skill counts as fresh rations. Fresh rations last for 1d4 days, and have a 50% chance of spoiling each day thereafter. Fresh food can count toward have the UPB cost of making canned or trail rations (with the other half being preserving agents or canning supplies).

Rations, Trail
Rail rations include such things as hardtack, crackers, hard cheese, dried soups, dried beans, dried pasta, grains, coffee grounds, tea, jerky, dried fruits and vegetables, fruitcakes, salt pork, and smoked fish. Trail rations last for 30 days, and have a 50% chance of spoiling every 30 days thereafter. Trail rations cannot be consumed for more than a day without water, which are not included in this weight or cost.

A small sack can carry roughly 2 bulk of materials, and a large sack 10 bulk. Bulk in a sack counts against the bulk total of a character carrying it.

Steam Engine, Small
A small steam engine is often used to run other machines, such as pumps, drills, power hammers, mills, and lathes. Weighing more than 800 pounds, these devices must be moved by wagon or train, and are generally only available to large, well-funded expeditions or companies in towns and cities. A successful DC 15 Engineering check can rig a steam engine to perform a simple, repetitive task, allowing it to apply a 24 Strength to that task. It consumed 10 pounds of coal per hour of operation, or double that weight in fuel if burning wood.

Tents are made of waterproof canvas, and include the ropes, poles, and pitons needed to set the up.

A tinderbox contains flint, firesteel, and tinder (generally hemp fiber, but other materials are possible). Equipped with a tinderbox, a character can create fire in 1 round with a DC 15 Survival check (or, in most cases, automatically by taking 20, but that takes 2 minutes).

Tool, Manual
A manual tool is a crowbar, pickaxe, shovel, hoe, or other sturdy device designed to aid in manual labor. A manual tool grants a +2 circumstance bonus to ability checks and skill checks it is well-suited to perform and (at the GM’s discretion) may cut the time required for such tasks by 50%. Manual tools can also be used as clubs (though some may do piercing or slashing damage, at the GM’s discretion).

A torch increases the light level by one step within 20 feet. It burns for 1 hour. A torch can be used as a club, but half the damage it does when lit is fire damage. As an open flame, a lit torch allows an Intimidate check as a standard action to demoralize one animal no larger than Large within 10 feet. A demoralized animal generally does not attack unless it has some primal drive to do so (such as great hunger, protecting its young, a need to flee, or combat training).

Watch, pocket
A character with a pocket watch is assumed to know what time it is, and if they keep it in hand need not make any checks to determine when an exact number of seconds, minutes, or hours have passed. If they are trained in Survival, it gives them a +1 circumstance bonus to Survival checks made to orienteer or predict weather.


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Really Wild West Index

Since it looks like I’m going to be working on Really Wild West campaign and setting hack for Starfinder on and off for the foreseeable future, in order to keep it usable I’m creating (and will maintain as new articles are written) an Index that lists and organizes the existing articles.

These are descriptive of the setting, though they may include rules elements.

Really Wild West
>Read This First. 🙂
The year is 1891. The place is somewhere in North or South America, generally far from established law. In 1890, the War of the Worlds happened. That’s over, but wow has tech taken a leap forward.
This is a Weird West setting hack for the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, with theosophy (magic), fantasy and sci-fi races, guns, and strangely advanced technology. Includes tips on how to hack the Starfinder Roleplaying Game rules to better suit the Weird West genre, as well as some feats unique to the setting.

Putting the “Steam” and “Punk” in Really Wild West
>I don’t describe RWW as a :steampunk” setting, but is it one? What is steampunk, anyway? A think piece about a popular genre and this setting’s place in it… or outside of it.

Badlands City
>A city built by Hell and ruled by devils… and one of the safest places in the West.
Badlands Resident Theme
>A theme for people from Badlands City
Dread Templar Archetype
>Badlands City produces devil-trained officers of the law who focus on punishment and vengeance.

Easterner Theme
>Is your character from back East? Then this is your theme.

The Mexican Porfiriate and the Technopolitan Theme
>Mexico is a rising technological superpower, governed by war heroes and scientists. Includes the Technopolitan theme.
Science Agents
>Short fiction and an archetype for Mexico’s famed peacekeepers of rationality.

Plot Hooks and Inspirational Media
> Want to know what kinds of adventures Really Weird West characters may have? Here’s a list of 20 plot hooks and a list of inspiration media that helped set the tone for the setting.

These are primarily about rules, though they are designed specifically for Really Weird West.

Dare Feats

For the characters are are at their best, when the situation is at its worst.

Key Ability Scores and Resolve
Really Wild West is a cruel setting with pulpy characters. That takes a tweak of some core rules to support properly.

Renown and Gear
> Rules for using character renown to buy higher-level gear, allowing money rewards to remain the same regardless of character level.

Dragon Guns
>Weapons that throw fire onto your foes have their origins in China and are 1,000 years old.

Lightning Guns
>One of the more common energy weapons available in the Really Wild West.

>Shotguns in Really Wild West work a little different than the big blast weapons of the Starfinder Roleplaying Game.

>The setting doesn’t use armor upgrade rules, but all that cool equipment is still available, in the form of gizmos!

Mounted Combat
>Horses are more common than self-powered vehicles in the Really Wild West.

Technology and Equipment
>What is there, what’s the background for advanced tech in the 1890s, and some more Wild West themed gear.

>In the real-world 1890s, “scorchers”–bicycle riders (male and female) who sat-forward on the diamond-frame bikes–were considered a social menace.
In the Really Wild West, scorchers hold a different place in society.

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On Dan Harmon; What Next?

Dan Harmon has confessed to harassing Megan Ganz when she worked on Community. He has detailed the circumstances, apologized, and she has accepted and public stated she forgives him.

I think seeing this handled to Megan Ganz’s apparent satisfaction is important. We do need to think about, since all these terrible things happened, once we accept that…. then what?

I’m not claiming anyone gets a pass, or that even that a harsh, honest accounting and confession fixes everything. And clearly in the broader context we need to look at what needs to happen for men to stop harassing women.

But we also need to look at what are the correct steps to take for harassers, both in acknowledging their wrongdoing, and what is appropriate from there. 

And to be clear, there’s no room on this post for discussions of due process or innocent before proven guilty. None of that is relevant here. Dan Harmon acknowledges his guilt.

He has apologized for it. Megan Ganz has accepted his apology and forgiven him.

Now what?

I’d be entirely understanding if a production company said “Given your self-confessed track record, we’re not willing to allow you to have hiring and firing power over women anymore.” Should a company Dan works with do more than that?

What’s next?

Top Ten Signs You’ve Woken Up in a MMORPG

The idea you might wake up and find yourself living in a MMORPG for no conceivable reason, generally as a powerful hero, seems increasingly common these days. (Especially in anime.) For those of you worried you might not immediately grasp what has happened to you if this should occur, we present:

Top Ten Signs You’ve Woken Up in a MMORPG

10. Smashing random people’s wardrobes, chests, flower-pots, and vases is a reliable and reasonable way to make money. Also, no one ever complains about it. Even if they’re standing right there when you smash their stuff.
9. You have one job. It’s healing people, drawing the attention of the enemy, or killing things. That’s it. As a hobby, you may make multidimensional bags and sell them in the only auction house in the universe to have perfect security.
8. You can picture the most important lore of the world as clearly as if you had watched it on a screen, but rarely know the names of the townspeople you meet or have any idea why they are paying you to kill 60 wolves.
7. There’s no refrigeration that you can see, but your food never spoils. Or goes stale. Or leaves stains on your gloves, even when you are eating Hero Quest Stew without benefit of a bowl or spoon.
6. It takes you hours or even days to gather the materials needed to make something (no matter how simple it is), but only 7 seconds to actually make it (no matter how complex it is).
5. While the exact range varies by foe, as long as you stand far enough away from someone they don’t react at all when you kill their friends and countrymen. You can see them, so they can see you, but it’s like the Batlovian guards don’t care how many Batlovian wolf-trainers you slaughter.
4. When you check the body of the wolf you killed, you find a rusty dagger, some magic pants, and a well-worn book.
You have NO idea where the wolf was keeping these things, or what use it had for them.
3. The absolute limit of what you can carry is not based on total weight or size of your gear, but just how many individual things you have. Fifty greatswords? Fine. Fifty horses? Sure. Fifty-one pebbles? Impossible.
2. Aside from a few close friends, everyone else in the world seems to either only say the same three things, or constantly cuss, insult each other, and talk about stupid political ideas.
1. After 10 months of quests and battles you finally grasp the Artifact of Unlimited Power, which is the most effective magic augmentation you can even conceive of. Then, 12 months later, you begin picking up random loot that is far more powerful. But NOW you are on a mission to acquire the Relic of Incomparable Potency. … Which will also turn out to be eclipsed by random things you find in wolf pelts a year or so later.

I has it.