Monthly Archives: July 2020

Fallback Feats for Pathfinder 1e

It can be frustrating, as a player, to have your entire round go by without doing anything effective. It’s especially frustrating when you tried to do something cool, and the end result is nothing but wasted effort.

On the other hand, if you can’t fail at things, the thrill of success is dimmed.

But failure can be relative. When you lob a fireball at a group of giants and they all make their save, they at least take SOME damage. If you lob a fireball at a group of ninja with evasion, the end result may be doing no damage at all.

Ideally, the game moves along fast enough you can shrug off the bad round and look forward to more opportunities. But that isn’t always the case, and some players seem to have the bad luck to be totally ineffective multiple rounds in a row… and that’s no fun.

Enter the fallback feat… an entirely untested idea on how to make failure less frustrating.

Fallback Feats
Fallback feats only function in rounds when you have not taken any action that exceeded a foe’s CMD, caused a foe to take damage, or caused a foe to fail a saving throw. Ongoing events from previous rounds can do those things, but if any action you take manages one of those effects, your fallback feat does not function that round. Fallback feats also require you to have attempted some specific actions, which must also fail in order for the feat to function.

Fallback Witch
(Art by Roman)

ELDRITCH BOLSTER [Fallback]
When your magic energy fails to effect any foe, it instead bolsters your health.
Prerequisites: Caster level 1st
Benefit: When you cast a spell that has an effect other than to deal damage, and it is entirely negated by saving throws or spell resistance, you gain temporary hit points equal to double the spell’s level. These hp do not stack with other temp hp gained from this feat, and last for 10 minutes or until expended.

HONED DEFENSES [Fallback]
When your efforts to harm your foes fail, you instinctively step up your defenses.
Prerequisites: Caster level 1st or base attack bonus +1
Benefit: When you have made at least one attack that could deal damage, or used a damage-dealing ability or spell, and no foe or targeted object took damage as a result, you gain a +2 bonus to your AC, CMD, and saving throws. You apply this bonus to the next attacks made against you or saves you make before the beginning of your next turn. The bonus applies to a maximum number of attacks or saves equal to the number of attacks you made or creatures you targeted or had in a damaging area.

For example, if you caught three ninja in a fireball and damaged none of them, and didn’t take any other effective actions this round, you apply your Honed Defenses bonus to the next three attacks or saves you make before the beginning of your next turn.

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Wrapping up the 5e Mascot Class, With Shtick

We spent last week presenting the base of the Mascot class for 5e. Tuesday we laid out the concept and framework for the Mascot class for 5e, Wednesday we presented the Domestic Companion option for that class, Thursday we presenting the Inspiring Failure class feature, and Friday we presented the Torchbearer option.

All that’s left is to create its selectable class feature, shtick.

SHTICK
You are often surprisingly effective in combat… just not in ways that traditional heroes are. Instead you have actions that,–backed by a combination of your moxie, some luck, and the total surprise you are engaging in adventuring at all–can alter the flow of combat in surprising ways. These sometimes-comical options are known as shtick. You gain your first shtick at 2nd level, and gain an additional shtick at 5th, 9th, 13th, and 17th level. You cannot select the same shtick more than once.
Some of your shtick abilities for a foe to make a saving throw. The DC of such saves is equal to 8 + you proficiency bonus + your Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma bonus. You select which ability score applies to your shtick save is based on when you gain your first shtick, and once made this decision cannot be changed.

Mascot Cook
(Art by Lunstream)

Adorable Bravery
The very fact you place yourself in places of extreme risk without any apparent talents or powers to make such actions look like reasonable choices on your part can endear you to foes who see you as a cute little thing, rather than a threat.
Using your action you can stand defiantly in the face of a creature within 30 feet that has attacked and damaged you or an ally. The target must succeed at a Wisdom save or be charmed by you for 24 hours, or until you attack them. Once you have successfully affected a creature with adorable bravery, you cannot attempt it again until after you take a long rest.

Baffling Affront
Using your action you engage in behavior that is both confusing, and obviously out of place with no apparent explanation (and no visible reason for you to believe it will work). You might scold a giant for being a bully, act like a bull about to charge an enraged minotaur, or challenge a lich to a dance-off. The behavior is so unexpected and novel, the target is briefly taken aback. You select one creature within 60 feet that is able to see or hear you. The target must succeed at a Charisma save or be incapacitated for 1 round. Once you have successfully affected a creature with baffling affront, you cannot attempt it again until after you take a short rest.

Expertise
While your traveling companions have been learning new spells, mastering fighting techniques, and perfecting new forms of skulking, you’ve been picking up little tips and tricks from the cooks at inns, drovers of friendly caravans, and other behind-the-scenes folks. Much of this builds off a direction you might have taken in your career, but never mastered until now.
Select an additional background. You gain the benefits and items from this background.

Natter On
You are adept at the endless chatter common to some working-class folk, and can both use it to get the skinny in a new region, and to overload a creature with more words than they are used to processing. When you are in a settlement where you speak one of the common languages, each day you may make one Charisma check with proficiency to learn local gossip and rumors without anyone realizing you are gathering such information.
Additionally, using your action you can direct a stream of apparently endless but potentially important words at a creature within 30 feet able to hear you. You can maintain this for a duration of concentration (10 minute maximum). As long as the target can hear you, they are deafened to any other sound.

Pewter Flask
Sometimes, you are saved by  the noncombat equipment you carry on you. This might be a spider’s fangs sinking into your cookbook, a giant crushing a loaf of bread thinking it was your head, or an arrow being stopped by hitting the pewter flash you have in your vest.
When you take damage or have a condition applied to you, as a reaction you can instead have one item in your possession be destroyed and not take the damage or condition. Once you have used this ability, you cannot do so again until after you have taken a long rest.

The Right Tool
You know that sometimes the important thing is not who tries something, but what they try to do it with. While mighty heroes are busy giving speeches and staring down the forces of evil, you’re keeping track of who is holding what, which item is in which belt pouch, and what is likely to be needed in the coming moments.
Using your action, you can change what items are ready for use for yourself and every willing adjacent ally. You can ready items from yourself or a willing ally for use by another ally. Only items that can be readied or put away in an action can be affected by this ability.

Shielded By Clutter
You have so much stuff that attacks are as likely to hit your cooking pot, tailoring cloth, or portable library as to damage you. As long as you have any equipment or gear, you are considered to have the benefits of a shield without needing to hold one in your hand. If you are adjacent to an ally and they are attacked, as a reaction you can cause them to benefit from having a shield (temporarily ending your shielded by clutter benefit). This lasts as long as the ally is adjacent to you, until the beginning of your next turn.

Spoon to the Knuckles
You may see yourself as a cook, or tutor, or dressmaker rather than a warrior, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t willing to treat a monster like an unruly child and rap their knuckles with a wooden spoon (or otherwise take them to task).
Make an ability check with advantage using a tool with which you are proficient. Your DC is equal to your target’s AC. If you succeed, you do a single hp of damage (though this does not trigger rules triggered by making an attack). Additionally, the target is so flabbergasted by your effrontery they have disadvantage on any attack thy make for 1 round.

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The Torchbearer Archetype for the 5e Mascot Class

Tuesday we laid out the concept and framework for the Mascot class for 5e, Wednesday we presented the Domestic Companion option for that class, and Thursday we presenting the Inspiring Failure class feature.

So, it’s time to present our other initial archetype, the Torchbearer.

Mascot Archetype
At 1st level, you choose an archetype that defines what kind of mascot you are, and gives you some idea how other PCs and NPCs are likely to see and treat your character. You can choose from the Domestic Creature or Torchbearer archetypes.

The archetype you choose grants you features at 1st level and again at 7th, 10th, 15th, and 18th level.

5e Torchbearer
(art by Zdenek Sasek)

Torchbearer
You are a dedicated assistant to adventurers and heroes. You may not actually carry a torch of course — you might be a young squire with a mace, a farmer with a pitchfork, or a hireling with more loyalty than your employers know. You don’t think of yourself as a hero, but you will aid them however you can. You spend a great deal of time carrying torches to light their way, bringing them lost weapons, and standing beside them in the darkest moments so they do not have to face such risks alone.

A Light In The Darkness
Beginning when you take this archetype at 1st level, your plucky courage and willingness to take the same risks as your allies moves them to be their very best. This ability, and all your other torchbearer abilities, only function after a round when you do not make an attack or cast a spell. If you take either of those actions, no torchbearer ability functions until after the beginning of your next turn.
When an ally within 30 feet makes an attack roll or saving throw, you may choose to roll 1d20 as well. If your result is better than the ally’s (or both of the ally’s, if they have advantage), they make take your d20 rather than use their own die results. Once an ally chooses to use your d20 result, you cannot use this ability again until after the end of your next turn.

How Dare!
You friends are offended when enemies harm you. At 7th level, if a foe successfully hits you with an attack, or forces you to make a saving throw you fail, one ally of your choice within 60 feet gains advantage on their next attack against that foe. Only one ally can have this benefit at a time, and it must be used within 2 rounds.

Over My Dead Body
At 10th level when you are adjacent to an ally, and an enemy targets that ally (with an attack or a spell or effect that selects targets rather than an area), you can use your reaction to cause the attack or effect to target you instead. The effect otherwise works normally (requiring attack rolls to hit or allowing saving throws as appropriate), just with you rather than your ally as the target.

It’s Good To Have Friends
Those who harm you find your allies wroth. At 15th level when an ally attacks a foe that has within the past day damaged you, or created an effect or cast a spell you failed a saving throw against, and the attack is a success you can use your reaction to make it a critical success instead.

Don’t Be Dead
So great is your grief at seeing the fall of the heroes you have spent your life helping, the universe itself responds by keeping them just at the brink of death’s door. As an action you can attend an adjacent ally who died within 1 minute as a result of massive damage or from failing a third death save. The ally turns out to have never quite died, regains a number of hit points equal to your level (or half it’s maximum, whichever is less), and becomes conscious. Once you use this ability, you cannot do so again until you take a long rest.

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Inspiring Failure for the 5e Mascot Class

Monday we laid out the concept and framework for the Mascot class for 5e, and Tuesday we presented the Domestic Companion option for the Mascot Archetype class feature. We’ll present the Torchbearer archetype later in the week, but today I actually want to define the Inspiring Failure class feature.

While a Mascot character is often out of their element and overmatched by the circumstances of adventuring, the very fact they keep trying can inspire their allies. When a mascot succeeds at a task everyone is delighted, even their failures can inspire the heroes around them to achieve greater success on the mascot’s behalf.

Mascot Maid
(art by Lunstream)

Inspiring Failure

You get one use of Inspiring Failure at 3rd level, and gain an additional use at 11th, 17th, and 20th level.

The first time each day you fail an attack roll, Ability/Skill check, or saving throw while you are in an encounter that can earn XP (as determined by the GM), you earn one inspiring failure point (IFP). When an ally within 60 feet who witnessed your failure fails an attack, ability/skill, or save, you may expend an IFP to grant them a special reroll. If the d20 on their reroll results in a 1-10, they gain a +10 bonus to their total.

Each additional use you gain of inspiring failure allows you to gain an IFP from an additional failed roll on your point. When you take a long rest, you lose all IFP.

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Mascot Class Archetypes, for 5e

Yesterday we laid out the concept and framework for the Mascot class for 5e, so now it’s time to begin deliver into some specifics.

At 1st level you choose a Mascot Archetype. This defines what KIND of mascot you are, and will impact your character’s options and play style as you gain more levels. In a full version of this class we’d likely want at least 3 Mascot Archetypes, but for blog posts I think we can just do two. (If there’s a huge demand for more, we can always circle back ‘around to it. 🙂 )

We’ll start with the Domestic Creature.

Mascot Chow Chow
(Art by Kajenna)

Mascot Archetype
At 1st level, you choose an archetype that defines what kind of mascot you are, and gives you some idea how other PCs and NPCs are likely to see and treat your character. You can choose from the Domestic Creature or Torchbearer archetypes.

The archetype you choose grants you features at 1st level and again at 7th, 10th, 15th, and 18th level.

Domestic Creature
Regardless of what species you choose (human, elf, dwarf, and so-on), you are actually a Small or Tiny creature that appears to be a pet or companion. You may be a common pert, such as a cat or dog, or may be a more supernatural kind of noncombat companion. You have lived with the species you took for your character enough that you count as them for purposes of spells and prerequisites (and get all the appropriate traits), but are truly some different kind of creature.

Beginning at first level when you take this archetype you are treated as one size smaller, can only express concepts as long as five words, look like a domestic pet of some kind, and can only use one hand worth of equipment (held in your mouth, or talons, or flippers as appropriate). A creature of your size or larger can carry you in 1 arm (if you are willing) without worrying about your weight. A creature at least 2 sizes larger than you can carry you in a pocket with ease.

You also gain two of the following of your choice, as part of your domestic creature nature — darkvision, a 20 foot fly speed (but you cannot carry anyone unless they are smaller than you), 1 30 foot fly speed, the ability to breath on land and in water, a finesse attack that does 1d4 + Strength damage and does bludgeoning,slashing, or peircing damage (your choice), advantage on one category of saves of your choice, advantage on one of the following skills of your choice — Acrobatics, Animal Handling, Athletics, Insight, Perception, or Stealth.

Cat Witch

Domestic Creature Advances
At 7th level, and again at 10th, 15th, and 18th, you select one of the advances listed below. You cannot select a greater version of an advance until you have selected the standard version.

Cute Creature: As a bonus action when an ally adjacent to you makes a Charisma (Deception, Performance, or Persuasion) check, you grant them advantage.

Cute Creature, Greater: You can be so cute, creatures are stupified by how adorable you are. this acts as hypnotic pattern, but affects only one creature.

Distracting Creature: As an action you can make an attack or Charisma (Intimidate) check against a target within 30 feet. If successful rather than your normal effect, the target suffers disadvantage on all attacks for 1 round, and anyone that is forced to make a saving throw against your targets spells or effects during that round gain advantage on the save.

Distracting Creature, Greater: You can use distracting creature against all foes within a 10-foot cube at a range of 60 feet.

Guard Creature: You take no penalties to Perception when asleep, and if you successfully perceive a threat you can wake all allies within 60 feet as a bonus action. As a bonus action when an ally adjacent to you makes a Wisdom (Perception) check, you grant them advantage.

Guard Creature, Greater: As a bonus action when an ally adjacent to you is attacked, you give the attack disadvantage.

Support Creature: As a bonus action when an ally adjacent to you makes a Wisdom or Charisma saving throw, you give the save advantage.

Support Creature: You can cast calm emotions at will.

We’ll look at our other archetype, torchbearer, tomorrow!

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The Mascot Class, for 5e

There’s a character that shows up fairly often in fantasy fiction, that is rarely taken as a player concept in RPGs. This is the brave hireling who tries to defend you with a cooking pot, the gardener and family friend who carries you when your legs give out, the faithful tutor who takes an assassin’s dagger so you can defeat the villain.

They aren’t mages, or warriors, or treasure acquisition experts. They are commoners or civilians, who love the heroes enough to go with them, and are often described as the “heart” of the group… because “hanger-on and potential hostage” doesn’t sound as complimentary.

Basically, they are adventuring group mascots. They DO make appearances as NPCs in some games, and I have seen GMs do great jobs with them. But I also know a lot of players who would LOVE to roleplay the team mascot… as long as they could still DO something.

And I think it’s possible to build a class that gives a player game options that are fun, while still preserving the “civilian” nature of a mascot.

I think this idea works REALLY well for 5e, so I am using that for my framework. We’ll need to start with some basics.

ErgaTheMagnanimous-color-01
(Art by Jacob Blackmon)

Mascot Class Features
As a mascot, you gain the following class features. (Where the advancement chart shows a hyperlink, that feature is defined in another blog post you can reach from the link.)

Hit Points
Hit Dice: 1d6 per mascot level
Hit Points at 1st Level: 12 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d12 (or 8) + your Constitution modifier per mascot level after 1st

Proficiencies
Armor: Shields
Weapons: Simple weapons
Tools: Pick any four
Saving Throws: Wisdom, Constitution
Skills: Choose two skills from Animal Handling, Insight, Investigation, Medicine, Perception, Survival, and Religion

Equipment
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
(a) a simple weapon and a shield or two simple weapons
(a) Two tools you are proficient with
(a) a dungeoneer’s pack or (b) an explorer’s pack

Table: The Mascot
Level Proficiency Bonus Bonus Features
1st +2 Mascot Archetype
2nd +2 Shtick
3rd +2 Inspiring failure (one use)
4th +2 Ability Score Improvement
5th +3 Shtick
6th +3 Ability Score Improvement
7th +3 Mascot Archetype feature
8th +3 Ability Score Improvement
9th +4 Shtick
10th +4 Mascot Archetype feature
11th +4 Inspiring failure (two uses)
12th +4 Ability Score Improvement
13th +5 Shtick
14th +5 Ability Score Improvement
15th +5 Mascot Archetype feature
16th +5 Ability Score Improvement
17th +6 Inspiring failure (three uses), shtick
18th +6 Mascot Archetype feature
19th +6 Ability Score Improvement
20th +6 Inspiring failure (four uses)

Okay with that we can begin to build out the game options. So, what are the mascot archetypes?! What shticks can you pick from?! How does FAILURE inspire?

Come back over the course of the week, and we’ll investigate these intriguing options. (Or, follow the links to those articles, no that they’ve been written and linked!)

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If the RPG Industry is So Terrible, Why Do I Do This?

Dice(Image by Jessica Dale)

For about a month now, I’ve been talking about the realities of the U.S. tabletop RPG industry, as I see them. I’ve posted thoughts on Facebook and Twitter, including under the hashtags #RealGameIndustry and #NotesFromAnRPGDev. ENWorld also created threads to discuss many of these shortly after I started, and again a week or so later. (And, I just discovered, a third time on July 4th).

And a lot of those observations paint a pretty grim picture. Poor pay. No security. No prospects for retirement. Regular harassment from fans and pop culture commentators. A fairly wide spectrum of people who think what you do requires no special talents, and that’s why you can’t make a living at it, and if you wanted to be able to live in moderate safety you shouldn’t picked a “fun” job like making games. These, of course, are intermixed with people who feel the need to interject about how common these problems are in all industries–which certainly suggests picking a different career might not be as helpful as the first group wants to claim.

Of course, my experiences aren’t objective or somehow universal of course, but I have been involved in the industry for 23 years, as a freelance writer (full and part time), contract worker, staff designer, staff developer, freelance developer, producer, line editor, publisher, and consultant. But even then, it’s one narrow slice of the ttRPG industry. A number of other professionals have opined about what they agree with, and what they feel like need qualifiers, but there’s been little real disagreement that I have seen.

So, if it’s a terrible way to make a living—why do I? Why stick with an industry for decades if even the “success” of getting hired on-staff by the two biggest RPG companies in North America isn’t enough to leave me able to pay the bills without having to scramble every month?

I was writing the headline of this article, and my wife leaned over, and in all seriousness asked me “So, why DO you do it?”

I confess that in the past 6 months, I have begun to think maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe it’s time to hang up the dice, at least professionally, and switch to a “normal” job. I still may. But not this week, which brings us back to “why?”

There are two big reasons.

1. I Want To Help

And I think I can, but only from the inside.

So, what do I mean by help?

I mean help gaming, as a hobby, and game professionals, as a group. I want to work to make the ttRPG industry create the most good situations for the most people. That means working to improve conditions and stability, trying new things and seeing if any of them work better, answering questions, tutoring people, putting folks in touch with other folks for mutual benefit, and publicly fighting for diversity, inclusion, and ethical game designs.

And while it may be hubris to think I can make a difference, I’d rather struggle so survive if it means there is a chance I can make other people’s struggles easier. I’ll never be the person who determines if I have succeeded at this, of course. And I may never know if I really improve things. But I do get feedback that convinces me the effort is worth making.

It looks to me like there will be people trying to be full-time RPG professionals for the foreseeable future. I want to help them, and at the same time help the industry, hobby, and fans of gaming be the best they can.

2. I Think RPGs Are Important

I think ALL games are important, but especially ttRPGs. Roleplaying Games brought me most of the good things in my life.

High school was harsh for me, and I can honestly say I was miserable most of the time and considered suicide more than once. But RPGs let me explore ideas I was too afraid to discuss, helped me form a strong social support group, and let me make friends I am still playing with 25 and 30 years later. Nothing else came close to letting me deal with my pain, and learn something about bravery. 

I learned empathy through RPGs, and regret, and problem solving. It encouraged me to learn about history, grammar, math, probability, tactics, risk-taking and analysis, even a theory of fun. I doubt there is any positive aspect of my personality I can’t trace back to RPGs. And a lot of things I know were terrible parts of who I was growing up I overcame through interactions with RPGs, and the people I met through them.

My tightest bonds outside my immediately family came from ttRPGs. I met my wife through roleplaying. My best friends, from people I have known for more than 35 years to people I just got to know in the past year, through roleplaying. I have gotten to learn from geniuses, and help put folks much more creative than me on easier paths, through roleplaying games.

Further, I believe the influence of ttRPGs has much bigger ripples than people realize. And I want to have a small hand in what those ripples look like, and what messages they send out.

So yes, even when some person or persons leaves comments on videos claiming I am so fat and disgusting no-one should ever look at me or trust me, even in weeks when I have to spend 60-70 hours scrambling to pay the bills and arrange for opportunities to do the same thing next month, even when groups of people claim my ethics and morals are just schemes to draw attention, even when people smarter and more creative than me throw in the towel and leave the industry — or maybe especially those times — I feel the drive to keep doing this.

I know I cannot make a huge difference, but I feel this is the tool I can best use to do the most good, for the most people.

If you feel like supporting me in those efforts, you can make a huge difference by supporting my Patreon.

 

The Dynasties of the Fantômonde

In the Fantômonde, there are five Dynasties that represent the five ways a terne may discover the phantom world. Upon accessing the Fantômonde for the first time, a percie is wise to find which Dynasty they used to expand their world. Once a percie knows this, they are referred to as a Scion of that dynasty.

Ankhar epitomize resilience, determination, and perseverance. They are seen as dull or stubborn by many other Scions, but Ankhar don’t give up easily and at the end of a trying time it is the Ankhar most likely to be left standing.

Mahgreis see pain and sadness as the best teachers for both themselves and others. They may be dismissed as broody and unempathic, but they wish to see the world as it truly is, and believe nothing of value is accomplished without sacrifice.

Peraseer are thoughtful, intuitive, and creative. They are sometimes accused by other Scions of being flighty or chaotic, but they are simply more likely to trust their instincts than obvious answers and will take the time they need to explore new thoughts or hunches before being comfortable with a plan.

Valdrakken take to power and violence. Scions of other dynasties often see them as brutish, short-tempered, and bloodthirsty, but when fighting begins most admit you want a Scion of Valdrakken on your side.

Whinnowhin appreciate things that are done right and done well, even thigns that other Scions look down upon. A Whinnowhin may be seen as uncreative or unambitious, but they simply wish things to actually get done, rather than wasting time trying to find fancier ways to accomplish needful tasks.
Not all percies learn their Dynasty. Some think of the traditions defining them as limiting or self-fullfilling prophecies. Others claim to be empowered my multiple Dynasties, despite the seers and mancers declaring that factually this never happens. And a few just don’t get around to it, spending more time focusing on their vocation, or trying to build a veil to remove themselves from the Fantômonde and wishing to renounce all elements of it.

Author’s Note:
I don’t know if I’ll ever touch this again, but it leaped into my head nearly fully-formed, so I wrote it down. If you DO want me to explore these ideas more, obviously the best way to let me know is to join my Patreon and say so! 🙂

Magus Multiclass ThemeType (For Starfinder)

We’re wrapping up this week of Multiclass ThemeTypes, which give you some abilities of a second character class but counts as both your theme and as an archetype for the first class you take levels in. We were focusing on the classes from the COM — we did the biohacker Monday, the vanguard on Tuesday, and the witchwarper on Wednesday. You can pick up the pdf of multiclass themetypes for all the classes from the Core Rulebook at DriveThruRPG.

That covers all the official Starfinder classes for now… but goodness knows there are some great Starfinder-compatible classes products by other companies, including my own Rogue Genius Games. We got a request to do the magus legacy class found in the Starfarer’s Companion. So, let’s apply the themetype treatment to that, shall we?

Multiclass ThemeType abilities marked with (Theme) occur when you reach the listed character level, regardless of what classes you have taken levels in. Those marked (Archetype) are gained only when you reach the listed level in the first character class you take levels in. However, it is also recommended that characters with a Multiclass ThemeType not be allowed to also use normal multiclassing rules (in which case the character’s character level and class level will always match).

A character cannot take class levels in the class that matches their Multiclass ThemeType.

SF Magus
(art by Sonsogyeka)

Magus ThemeType
The idea of blending magic and combat has always appealed to you, and while you ultimately followed a different path, you learned enough of the arts of the magi to impact your tactics and options

Key Ability Boost (Theme, 1st level): At 1st level you gain a +1 to Intelligence. This acts as the normal +1 to ability score gained from a theme.

Theme Knowledge (Ex, Theme, 1st Level) You gain Mysticism as a class skill. If it is already a class skill, you instead gain a +1 bonus to all Mysgicism checks. You reduce the DC of Mysticism checks to identify magic weapons, fusions, and fusion seals by 5.

Minor Magus Magic (Sp, Archetype, 2nd Level): Select one 1st level magus spell. You can cast this spell once per day. Select two 0-level magus spells. You can cast these spells at will. Your caster level for all magus spells gained from this Multiclass ThemeType is equal to your character level, and you use your key ability score for all calculations that normally draw on the magus’s key ability score.

Basic Magus Magic (Sp, Archetype, 4th Level): Select two 1st level magus spells. You have two 1st-level magus spell slots per day you can use for any combination of the 1st-level magus spells gained from this Multiclass ThemeType. This replaces the 1st level spell you gained from minor magus. Also select a third 0-level magus spells. You can cast this spell at will.

Basic Spell Combat (Theme, 6th Level) You gain the spell combat class ability for spells from any class, but once you use it you cannot use it again until you expend a Resolve Point to regain Stamina Points following a 10-minute rest.

Minor Magus Arcana (Ex, Archetype, 6th Level) You gain one magus arcana. You treat your magus level as being 2/3 your character level for all arcana gained from this Multiclass ThemeType.

Improved Basic Spell Combat (Theme, 9th Level) When you use spell combat, your spell now does not provoke an attack of opportunity if it’s spell level is no greater than (1/3 your character level) -2.

Basic Arcane Weapon (Theme, 12th Level) You gain the arcane weapons class feature of the magus. You treat your magus level as half your character level.

Advanced Magus Magic (Sp, Archetype, 12th Level): Select one 2nd level magus spells. You can cast this spell once per day.

Full Spell Combat (Theme, 18th Level) There is no no limit to how often you can use spell combat.

Greater Magus Magic (Ex, Archetype, 18th Level) Select one 3rd level magus spell. You may cast this spell once per day.

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Ranger Multiclass ThemeType (For Starfinder)

We’re continuing this week with Multiclass ThemeTypes, which give you some abilities of a second character class but counts as both your theme and as an archetype for the first class you take levels in. We’re focusing on the classes from the COM. We did the biohacker Monday, the vanguard on Tuesday, and the witchwarper on Wednesday. You can pick up the pdf of multiclass themetypes for all the classes from the Core Rulebook at DriveThruRPG.

That covers all the official Starfinder classes for now… but goodness knows there are some great Starfinder-compatible classes products by other companies, including my own Rogue Genius Games. Among the most popular of these is the legacy ranger class, which can be found in the Starfarer’s Companion. So, let’s apply the themetype treatment to that, shall we?

Multiclass ThemeType abilities marked with (Theme) occur when you reach the listed character level, regardless of what classes you have taken levels in. Those marked (Archetype) are gained only when you reach the listed level in the first character class you take levels in. However, it is also recommended that characters with a Multiclass ThemeType not be allowed to also use normal multiclassing rules (in which case the character’s character level and class level will always match).

A character cannot take class levels in the class that matches their Multiclass ThemeType.

Ranger ThemeType
You have always been at home in the wilderness. Your work or calling may have prevented you from focusing on your love of nature, but you remain comfortable and competent when you find yourself in the wild.

SF Ranger
(Art by Digital Storm)

Key Ability Boost (Theme, 1st level): Pick a ranger style. At 1st level you gain a +1 to the ability score linked to that style. This acts as the normal +1 to ability score gained from a theme.

Theme Knowledge (Ex, Theme, 1st Level) You gain Survival as a class skill. If it is already a class skill, you instead gain a +1 bonus to all Survival checks. You reduce the DC of Survival checks to endure severe weather and orienteering by 5.

Minor Ranger Ways (Ex, Archetype, 2nd Level) Select one ranger class skill. You gain 1 bonus rank in this skill, which cannot exceed your normal maximum skill ranks. You gain an additional bonus skill rank at 4th level, and ever even class level thereafter.

Minor Ranger Ways (Ex, Archetype, 4th Level) Select one ranger class skill you did not select with ranger ways. You gain 1 bonus rank in this skill, which cannot exceed your normal maximum skill ranks. You gain an additional bonus skill rank at 6th level, and ever even class level thereafter.

Basic Study Target (Theme, 6th Level) You gain the ranger study target class ability. Your bonus never increases beyond the base +1.

Minor Ranger Methodology (Ex, Archetype, 6th Level) You gain one ranger methodology, selected from the 2nd level ranger methodologies.

Minor Ranger Style (Theme, 9th Level) You gain the first ability of your ranger theme, treating your ranger level as half your character level.

Improved Ranger Style (Theme, 12th Level) You gain the second ability of your ranger theme.

Improved Ranger Methodology (Ex, Archetype, 12th Level) You gain one ranger methodology, selected from the 2nd or 8th level ranger methodologies.

Greater Ranger Style (Theme, 18th Level) You gain the third ability of your ranger theme, and now treat your ranger level as 2/3 your character level.

Greater Ranger Methodology (Ex, Archetype, 18th Level) You gain one ranger methodology, selected from the 2nd, 8th, or 14th  level ranger methodologies.

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