Monthly Archives: January 2022

Owen Explains It All –Minor Allies for Starfinder

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

First, this blog has spoilers for The Book of Boba Fett (and, by extension though less so, The Mandalorian). So if you want to avoid those, don’t read this.

Second, 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 an episode every two weeks, picking new things from the zeitgeek to use as inspiration for game material, specifically the Starfinder Roleplaying Game.

We have a logo and everything!

One of the thing I have found fascinating about The Book of Boba Fett is that it has focused on empire-building, rather than being a personal badass. I have idea about why that is (and why some people dislike it as an arc for this character), but that doesn’t really matter when I am discussing gamifyable elements of the show.

Specifically, Boba Fett has a number of minor minions he’s picked up, from droids to Gamorrean Guards to mod bikers, who assist him in social and combat encounters. None of them are a match for him or his significant enemies, but they can tilt a close situation to his favor, and buy him time when he’s at a serious disadvantage. It leads me to want to have simply rules for how useful a few folks below your own skill level to back you up can be, without slowing down gameplay by tracking the positioning and health and gear of numerous NPCs just so they can have a small impact on encounters.

And all of that leads me to Minor Allies, as OGL content

Minor Allies

Minor allies are people who aren’t on the same level as you and your adventuring partners, but are hearty and skilled enough to be of some assistance. A GM may use minor allies as a way to boost PCs for a major encounter (“While none of the ship’s crew are hardened marines, they will back you up as you attempt to retake the bridge.”), as a reward other than just credits (“Your willingness to risk your life to help the miners of Bluroc 17 has convinced a few of their roudier citizens to follow you and work toward your goals.”), or just as a feat a PC can take if they want to have some folks supporting them.

If your character has minor allies, you gains 1 effective minor ally, plus one per six character levels you possess. Minor allies are very limited in what they can do, and their exact position and health are not tracked. Each round a minor ally can attempt to aid another, engage in harrying fire, or grant covering fire. There bonus for any of these actions is equal to half your character level. If a minor ally fails in any of their checks, it indicates they are too fatigued, injured, or low on gear to continue, and they stop being able to assist you.

A minor ally can also be taken out of play by any significant enemy as a standard action, or by any attack (from any source) targeting them that hits an AC equal to 10+ your character level. A minor ally taken out this way is too injured to do anything helpful, but still able to remove themselves from danger.

You regain the use of one minor ally per day (with minor allies healing up and tagging along but staying out of trouble until they are recovered enough to be helpful again).

Expanded Content

In addition to these minor allies rules, I created an option for Afterthrusters, as ystem designed to allow a starship a burst of extra speed… at the risk of damaging the ship. This is bonus content for my Patrons, and is presented exclusively at my Patreon. You can join for a monthly cost of less than a cup of coffee!

Partial Levels for Pathfinder 1st ed

I’m pondering switching to running a Pathfinder 1st edition game after my current Really Wild West game finishes its major story arc. I had thought I might make it an E6 game… but as is often the case I can’t help but think about tinkering with the rules to get something closer to exactly what I want.

Basically, I want to keep the game in the “sweet spot” of levels 3-9 for as long as possible, without players getting the feeling they never get to advance or improve. E6 is one way to do that…. but I’m not sure it’ll give me the feel I really want. So, I came up with the idea of partial levels.

This is still a thought experiment. But essentially, at some levels, instead of going to the next full character level (and all the increases that come with it), there is a span of experience points where you gain a partial level (noted as a decimal, so after level 3 comes level 3.1). Partial levels do NOT give you the advancements of a higher class level, character level, or new class features. But you do gain some benefits, which means a character who went through levels 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3 is more powerful (or, at least, more flexible) when they hit level 4 than a character who hopped straight from 3 to 4.That’s intentional on my part — I want characters to get better and better at handling threats of their level, and then when they hop a new level they can reasonably take on higher-level threats as well.

As I currently envision it, each time you gain a partial level, you get:

@1 skill point (still limited to max ranks/level) or +1 language (in case you’ve maxed out Linguistics).
@Extra hp equal to 1/6th your last class level’s max HD size, +1/2 your Con mod (minimum +1 hp total).
@One advancement from the list below. Once you have selected an advancement, you cannot select the same advancement again until you hit your next full level (unless it specifically says otherwise), but such limitations reset once you gain your next full level.

*Learn 4 new spells (prepared spellbook/familiar caster)(May take a second time to learn 3, and a third to learn 2.)
*Learn 4 new uncommon or 2 new rare spells (prepared divine — only Core and APG spells are gained automatically. All other official hardbacks are “Uncommon,” and other allowed spells are “rare.”)(May take a second time to learn 3 uncommon or 1 rare, and a third time to learn 2 uncommon or 1 rare.)
*Learn 1 new spell from another class list. (Spell is considered part of your class list now, and you gain is as a bonus spell known. Treat its spell level as as +1 spell level, an additional +1 spell level if it is a different magic source, an additional +1 spell level if from a class with a different highest level spell.)
*Gain the lowest-level feature you do not have of an archetype you qualify for which normally replaces or modifies a single class feature, as a bonus feature (to a max of those gained at a level equal to your linked class level)
*Select up to 4 cantrips you know to gain the buffed versions of.
*Gain the ability to prepare 1 more cantrip each day (characters with a spellcasting class feature only).
*Gain a heroic aura no other PC in the group has. (Characters with no spellcasting class feature may select this a second time. Characters with no class feature that grants supernatural, spell-like, or spell access ability may select it a third time.)
*Gain a Skill Unlock, based on your ranks in a skill
*Gain an Improved Skill Unlock (For a skill you have already taken Skill Unlock, treat your effective ranks as being 5 higher for purposes of determining your skill unlocks.)
*Gain a Greater Skill Unlock (For a skill you have already taken Improved Skill Unlock, treat your effective ranks as being a total of 10 higher for purposes of determining your skill unlocks).(Characters with no spellcasting class feature only.)
*Gain a combat feat for which you meet the prerequisites.
*Gain the Combat Trick version of a combat feat you already possess. (If it takes Stamina Points equal to 1/3 your bab or less, you can use it at-will. If it takes up to your bab in SP, you can use it 3/day. If it takes more Stamina Points that your bab, you can use the combat trick version 1/day.)(Fighters may select this more than once.)
*Gain a general feat for which you meet the prerequisites.
*Gain a feat (other than combat or general) for which you meet the prerequisites
*Gain a trait in a category you already have a trait
*Gain 5 skill points (still limited by max ranks/level)
*Increase an even ability score of 16 or less by 1 point.

For the specific campaign *I* am considering running, partial levels kick in once PCs hit 3rd. each partial level takes the same XP that would normally be required to get to the next full level (using the slow XP chart). There are 3 partial levels between each level from 3rd through 8th, and 4 partial levels between each level from 9th level up. If a game started at 3rd, it would take a long LOOONG time to reach 9th 9since at level 4.1, you are still mostly facing CR 4-5 threats, and thus gaining 4th-5th level XP), but you’d also have boosted your character 24 times by then.

This XP chart only goes to 10th level, but I could continue it past that with relative ease. Also, once you hit 20th, it might be all partial levels from there allowing PCs to advance without their effective character level continuing to increase.

Level XP

1 0

2 3,000

3 7,500

3.1 12,000

3.2 16,000

3.3 20,500

4 25,000

4.1 34,000

4.2 43,000

4.3 52,000

5 61,000

5.1 74,000

5.2 86,000

5.3 98,000

6 110,000

6.1 128,000

6.2 146,000

6.3 164,000

7 182,000

7.1 206,000

7.2 230,000

7.3 254,000

8 278,000

8.1 316,000

8.2 344,000

8.3 382,000

9 420,000

9.1 465,000

9.2 510,000

9.3 555,000

9.4 600,000

10 645,000

PATREON
If you are enjoying any of these, please consider adding a drop of support 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).

Blaster, A Starfinder Class in 2 paragraphs and 1 sentence

Quick Base Classes are a design challenge to build a new character class (in this case, for Starfinder) using elements from existing classes, but doing so in a way that produces a very different play experience. I did a bunch of Quick Base Classes back in 2015 (specifically focusing on those I could create with “two paragraphs and one sentence”), but never got around to making any for Starfinder, despite having lots of ideas. Now that there are several more new base classes for Starfinder, some of those ideas are more easily finished. So, here’s a new Quick Base Class, designed to create a very different kind of ranged combatant.

BLASTER

(Art by warmtail. Hey, Starfinder characters can wear cloaks too, you know!)

Blasters are specialized evokers of energy, who use innate ability, magic, or psychic abilities (or even implanted super-science technology) to form and project powerful blasts of energy. They are valued as combat specialists, while also still understanding some of how the mystic world works. Use the HP, SP, skill points, class skills, and proficiencies of the vanguard. Dexterity is your key ability score. You gain a bonus combat feat (as the solider class feature) at 2nd level, and every 3 levels thereafter. At each class level you learn one evocation technomancer or witchwarper spell of your choice with a maximum spell level equal to 1/3 of your class level. The base save DC for these spells (if any) is equal to 10 +1/2 your class level +your key ability score, then modified by feats and other modifiers normally. You can cast each spell once per day, and may select the same spell more than once as you gain levels. When you recuperate*, you regain the ability to cast one spell of your choice you have already cast that day.

At 1st level you gain the Blast ability, which functions as the solar flare option of the solarian’s solar manifestation class feature which has the augmentation of any one solarian crystal of your class level or less (which you may change each time you gain a new blaster level). Treat your blaster level as your solarian level for this ability. At 5th level and every 5 levels thereafter, you may add one energy damage type to those you can cause with your Blast. At 4th level, and every 3 levels thereafter, you may select an additional solarian weapon crystal you have available to add to your Blast. You can only have one crystal active at a time, and can change your active crystal as part of the action to make your first blast attack each round. When you gain a new level, you can change any one of your available solarian crystals. At 13th level, you gain solarian’s onslaught.

You gain no other class features.

*”Recuperate” is my proposed term for when a character takes a 10-minute rest and expends a Resolve point to regain Stamina points.

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Partial List of Very Fantasy Words (Update!)

As I do from time to time, I’ve updated the Revised, Partial List of Very Fantasy Words (which can be found here)!

So if you want to have a banneret use axinomancy to gird himself against a spadassin’s gainpain, these are the words for you!

(Do you enjoy the content on this blog? Why not become a patron, and support more free material!)

Mynchen, A Pathfinder 1st Edition Class in 2 paragraphs and 1 sentence

Quick Base Classes are a design challenge to build a new character class (in this case, for Pathfinder 1st edition) using elements from existing classes, but doing so in a way that produces a very different play experience. I did a bunch of Quick Base Classes back in 2015 (specifically focusing on those I could create with “two paragraphs and one sentence”), but never got around to using the wealth of material that came out for PF1 later to make new versions. So, here’s a new Quick Base Class, designed to create a very different kind of supernatural martial artist.

Mynchen

(Art by warmtail)

Mynchen are spiritualists and combatants who depend not on speed of sinew or might of muscle, but on mental focus and mystic power gained through mastery of their own body and mind. In many regions, mynchen gather in holy orders that act as a check on the might or more traditional military forces, and accept the physically weak, slow, or frail into their orders to train them to impact the material world through insight and personal conviction rather than muscle and agility. The mynchen uses the hit dice, proficiencies, base attack, base saves, class skills, skill points, unarmed strike, AC bonus (including Wisdom to AC), fast movement, starting wealth, and starting age as an unchained monk. She gains ki strike as an unchained monk at the same levels, but rather than lawful at 10th level her attacks gain her own alignment (and becomes a force effect if she is neutral). A mynchen treats her mynchen level as her monk level for all prerequisites.

The mynchen gains the spirit fighter class feature. This allows her to add her Charisma modifier to her hit dice gained from the mynchen class, rather than Constitution. She may also choose to add her Cha rather than Con to her Fortitude and rather than Dex to Reflex saves. A mynchen may add her Wisdom modifier rather than Strength to melee attack and damage, her Cha rather than Dex to ranged attacks (and to damage if she could normally add her Str or Dex), and her Cha rather than Dex to AC — for multiclass mynchen she cannot apply more of her Cha or Wis bonuses to these than her mynchen class level. At 1st level the mynchen gains the spirit fist class feature, which works as the mesmerists’ hypnotic stare, except it affects the first creature each round the mynchen hit and damages with a unarmed, natural, or weapon attack. The mynchen also gains painful stare, and bold stare at 3rd level, and every 4 levels thereafter. At 1st level, 2nd level, and every other level thereafter, the mynchen gains the mind over body class feature, which acts as mesmerist tricks. She uses her mynchen level as her mesmerist level, can only target herself with her tricks, and can implant a trick in herself as a move action. At 5th level, the mynchen’s unarmed, natural, and weapon attacks gain a +1 enhancement bonus to attack and damage. This increases by +1 every 4 levels.

The mynchen gains no other features.

Expanded Post: Although part of the point of this exercise was to make a class in two paragraphs and one sentence, I went ahead and presented it in a more traditional form, with a class progression table and such, exclusive for my Patrons. So…

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For Pathfinder 1st edition: The Eldrilock

I am too under the weather to write a post for today, so here is an unfinished Pathfinder 1st edition class I was working on way back in 2017, and never finished. It’s a rough draft, with undeveloped language and concepts that would need a thorough review before it was in publishable shape.

The eldrilock is designed to take the concept of the “adept” npc class from Pathfinder 1st edition, and turn it into a viable PC class, on par with the artificer, cleric, witch, and wizard. Basically, as warrior is to fighter, adept is to eldrilock.

Eldrilock

Hit Points: 6
Stamina Points: 6

Key Ability Score – Wis
Your Wisdom determines your spellcasting ability, the saving throw DCs of your spells, and the number of bonus spells you can cast per day, so Wisdom is your key ability score. A high Strength or Dexterity score can also help you in combat situations.

Class Skills
Appraise (Int), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Fly (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (all skills taken individually) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Survival (Wis), and Use Magic Device (Cha).

Skill Points at each Level: 4 + Int modifier.
Proficiencies
Armor
Light armor, Medium Armor
Weapons
Simple Weapons.

Eldrilock Class Features

Spells/day
LevelBase Attack
Bonus
FortRefWillSpecial0 1st2nd3rd4th5th6th
1+0+2+0+2Primary eldritch discipline, first primary discipline power31
2+1+3+0+3Hexalent42
3+2+3+1+3Intuitive skill43
4+3+4+1+4Hexalent431
5+3+4+1+4Secondary eldritch discipline, first secondary eldritch discipline power442
6+4+5+2+5Broad study543
7+5+5+2+5Intuitive skill5431
8+6/+1+6+2+6Second primary discipline power5442
9+6/+1+6+3+6Hexalent5543
10+7/+2+7+3+7Eldritch boost +155431
11+8/+3+7+3+7Intuitive skill55442
12+9/+4+8+4+8Second secondary discipline power55543
13+9/+4+8+4+8Third primary discipline power555431
14+10/+5+9+4+9Hexalent, eldritch boost +2555442
15+11/+6/+1+9+5+9Intuitive skill555543
16+12/+7/+2+10+5+10Broad study5555431
17+12/+7/+2+10+5+10Third secondary discipline power5555442
18+13/+8/+3+11+6+11Eldritch boost +35555543
19+14/+9/+4+11+6+11Intuitive skill5555554
20+15/+10/+5+12+6+12Greater Hexalent5555555
(Art by Daniel)

Spells

An eldrilock casts divine spells drawn from the adept and shaman spell lists. If a spell appears on both the adept and shaman spell lists, the eldrilock uses the lower of the two spell levels listed for the spell. An eldrilock must prepare her spells ahead of time, but unlike a cleric, her spells are not expended when they’re cast. Instead, she can cast any spell that she has prepared consuming a spell slot of the appropriate level, assuming she hasn’t yet used up her spell slots per day for that level.

To learn, prepare, or cast a spell, the eldrilock must have a Wisdom score equal to at least 10 + the spell’s level. The saving throw DC against an eldrilock’s spell is 10 + the spell’s level + the eldrilock’s Wisdom modifier.

An eldrilock can only cast a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given on Table 1–1. In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Wisdom score.

An eldrilock may know any number of spells, but the number she can prepare each day is limited. At 1st level, she can prepare four 0-level spells and two 1st-level spells each day. At each new eldrilock level, the number of spells she can prepare each day increases, adding new spell levels as indicated on Table: Eldrilock Spell Preparation. Unlike the number of spells she can cast per day, the number of spells an eldrilock can prepare each day is not affected by her Wisdom score. Feats and other effects that modify the number of spells known by a spellcaster instead affect the number of spells an eldrilock can prepare.

Eldrilock, unlike wizards, do not acquire their spells from books or scrolls, nor do they prepare them through study. Instead, they meditate or pray for their spells, receiving them as divine inspiration or through their own strength of conviction. Each eldrilock must choose a time each day during which she must spend an hour in quiet contemplation or supplication to regain her daily allotment of spells. Time spent resting has no effect on whether an eldrilock can prepare spells. During this hour, the eldrilock decides what spells to prepare and refreshes her available spell slots for the day.

Like an oracle, an eldrilock can choose to apply any metamagic feats she knows to a prepared spell as she casts it, with the same increase in casting time (see Spontaneous Casting and Metamagic Feats in the Core Rulebook). However, she may also prepare a spell with any metamagic feats she knows and cast it without increasing casting time like a cleric. She cannot combine these options—a spell prepared with metamagic feats cannot be further modified with another metamagic feat at the time of casting (unless she has the metamixing arcanist exploit).

Primary Eldritch Discipline (1st level)

At first level an eldrilock’s devotion to a kind of magic allows them to gain special powers related to magic of that type. The eldrilock selects a cleric domain, oracle mystery, psychic discipline, sorcerer bloodline, or wizard school. When the eldrilock can cast spells of a spell level equal to spells granted by the selected discipline, they gain that spell as a bonus prepared spell (though they do not gain any additional spell slots).

At 1st level, the eldrilock gains a single ability of their choice from their discipline, which must be one the discipline can normally grants by 1st level. At 8th level, the eldrilock gains a second ability of their choice from their discipline, which must be one the discipline normally grants by 8th level. At 13th level, the eldrilock gains a third ability of their choice from their discipline, which must be one the discipline normally grants by 13th level. If the discipline does not have a third power to grant, the eldrilock may select a power from an associated discipline (such as a subdomain or inquisition related to a domain selected as their discipline).

Hexalent (2nd Level)

At 2nd level, the eldrilock selects one rogue talent or shaman or witch hex. The hex or talent must be one the eldrilock could qualify for if the eldrilock was of the appropriate class (meeting any alignment, species, deity, ancestry, nationality, ability score, feat, talent, hex, or similar prerequisite). The eldrilcok gains an additional hex or talent at 4th, 9th, and 14th level.

Intuitive Skill (3rd level)

An eldrilock often finds their understanding of how the world works, the ways things fit together, and how tasks can be accomplished comes to them as much through intuition as training and practice. At 3rd level (and every 4 levels thereafter), the eldrilock can select a skill that is not a class skill, and make it a class skill. Alternatively, the eldrilock can select a class skill that normally adds a character’s Dexterity, Intelligence, or Charisma modifier to their total skill bonus, and instead add their Wisdom modifier to their total skill bonus with that skill.

Secondary Eldritch Discipline (5th)

At 5th level, the eldrilock selects another cleric domain, oracle mystery, psychic discipline, sorcerer bloodline, or wizard school to be their secondary discipline. They gains a single ability of their choice from their discipline, which must be one the discipline can normally grants by 5th level. Additional secondary discipline powers are gained in the same way at 12th and 17th level. If the eldrilock’s primary discipline has extra powers that could be selected at all of these levels in addition to those gained at 1st, 8th and 13th (such as would be the case many oracle mysteries), the eldrilock can choose to not gain a secondary discipline, instead gaining additional level-appropriate powers from their primary discipline.

Broad Study (6th)

The eldrilock gains a single ability granted by an archetype for the cleric, oracle, sorcerer, or wizard class. The archetype granting the power must be one the eldrilock could qualify for if the eldrilock was of the appropriate class (meeting any alignment, species, deity, ancestry, nationality, ability score, feat, or similar prerequisite). The archetype ability must be one that could be gained by 6th level. It also must be one that replaces armor or weapon proficiency, spontaneous cure or summon nature’s ally casting, bonus spells, bonus feats, bonus skills, channeling, arcane bond, a single bloodline, psychic discipline, detect thoughts, domain, mystery, or school power, or phrenic pool.

A second broad study is gained at 16th level, and follows the same restrictions, except it can eb a power gained by 16th level.

Eldritch Boost (10th Level)

Though an eldrilock never masters 7th, 8th, or 9th level spells, over time they do manage to infuse their lower-level spell selections with greater power. At 10th level, the save DC of all the eldrilock’s spells gained from this class gain a +1 bonus. This bonus increases to +2 at 14th level, and +3 at 18th level. This increase stacks with other typical methods of increasing a spell’s save DC, such as Spell Focus and casting it as a higher-level spell with the Heighten Spell metamagic feat.

[Design Note: This ability allows the eldrilock to have the same range of save DCs for their highest-level spells as a 9-level spellcaster, despite only having 6-level spellcasting. This makes them effectively a “full” spellcaster, despite their more limited selection of spells.]

Greater Hexalent (20th Level)

At 20th level, the eldrilock’s ability to duplicate the abilities of others is unfettered. The eldriclok gains any one rogue, ninja, or slayer talent or greater talent, or any one shaman or with hex, major hex, or grand hex. The eldrilock need not meet any of the talent or hex’s prerequisites or requirements.

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Under the Weather: Minor Ailments for 4 ttRPGs

So, I have a bug. Not covid, according to the testing I have available, but something more like the “Con Crud” of days of yore. And, while I can still do stuff, I’m tired, achy, slow, and my mind is generally focused on being under the weather.

So, you guessed it, I’m writing game rules for it.

These are minor ailments, representing colds and mild flu, things bad enough they impact a hero and reduce peak performance, but not crippling. If caused by a disease, remove disease or similar effects end it. Otherwise, you get a saving throw at the disease’s DC each day to end the ailment.

Pathfinder 1e & Starfinder: Lesser Sickened. You’re achy and sniffly enough to make things unpleasant, but not enough you can’t generally function. You need of the 150% the sleep and rest to regain abilities or end the fatigued or exhausted condition, take a -2 penalty to Constitution checks and Con-based skill checks, Fortitude saves, and Perception and Stealth checks. These penalties do not stack with those of being sickened, which is largely just a worsened version of this condition.

Pathfinder 2: Lesser Sickened. You take a -1 status penalty on all your checks and DCs. You require an additional 1d4 hours of sleep each night to recover daily abilities or end the fatigued condition.

5e: The idea of adding another condition to 5e, especially one as crunchy as this suggestion is, goes against a lot of the design philosophy of 5e. OTOH, having a situational rule that comes up once as part of a plot (“Expedition to the Flu Season Peaks”) can be a fun change of pace.

Achy: You’re gnerally not at your best, but the situation isn’t bad enough to give you disadvantage to all rolls. When you roll a 10 or 11 on a d20 roll, you must roll a 2nd d20. If the second roll is a lower result, you take the lower result. If it is a higher result, you use your original roll. This is a lesser form of disadvantage, and if you have disadvantage on a roll, use the normal rules for that roll in place of these.

Cat Pics

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Owen Explains It All — Nanoknights for Starfinder

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

First, this blog has very mild spoilers for The Eternals — the Marvel movie and comic book characters. So if you want to avoid those, don’t read this.

Second, 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 an episode every two weeks, picking new things from the zeitgeek to use as inspiration for game material, specifically the Starfinder Roleplaying Game.

We have a logo and everything!

When I saw Marvel’s “The Eternals,” I immediately thought the Eternals themselves could easily serve as the basis for android nanocytes (the new Starfinder class from tech Revolution). For those who don’t know, the Eternals are a created species of servants who work for Celestials (enormous space entities that work to manipulate and regulate the entire universe). Eternals have always had classic superpowers, and were the basis for numerous legends about heroes and gods in the Marvel universe.

Numerous members of he movie version of the Eternals specifically have the ability to create weapons, shields, guns, gauntlets, and similar objects out of lines of golden energy (though some can also fly, polymorph things, mind control crowds, and so on). We discussed how the Eternals could serve as a model for introducing new groups and power sources to a Starfinder game on the January 13th, 2022 episode of Owen Explains It All.

And all of that leads me to Nanoknights, as OGL content

Nanoknight

Nanoknights are a form of nanocyte with a much greater focus on weapons and other gear formed from their nanites, and no ability to create an external cloud of nanites to affect large areas. Nanoknights are often created by powerful extraplanar beings or ancient aliens able to manipulate reality on such a vast level they are referred to as “space gods.” Most space gods create a single order of nanoknights, often given a colorful name such as “Infinknights” or “The Interlocutors.” The visual look of nanite arrays of nanoknights or the same order are usually unified, often appearing as semisolid objects made of glowing lines with a single color or pattern in common.

Though order of nanoknights are often created with the expectation they will operate together and serve their creator’s cause, over millions of years of such ancient orders existing, conflict can arise, and the nanoknight gift can sometimes accidentally be granted to creatures not selected by an order’s creator.

Nanoknights have the following changes to their cloud and gear arrays.

Cloudless: You cannot create a cloud array. If a faculty or knack grants you an ability that impacts creatures touching or within a cloud array, you may instead add that affect to creatures adjacent to you, and to each creature you hit with an attack. No creature can be affected more than once per turn.

Greater Gear Array: Your gear array follows the normal gear array rules, except as noted below.

*Only you can use your major and minor forms.

*Your major forms can include a shield or suit or armor upgrade. A shield follows the same rules as a weapon in terms of being held. Armor upgrades slot into an appropriate empty armor upgrade slot in armor you are wearing

*Your major and minor forms can be items with an item level 1 higher than your class level.

*Weapons you create that have an item level below your class level gain a bonus to damage equal to the difference. Thus if a 5th level nanocyte forms a 3rd level weapon with their gear array, they gain a +2 bonus to all damage done with it.

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Guard Dog Feat for d20 Games

Look, guard dogs are a common element of fantasy and feudal adventures, but they can add a lot of hassle for bookkeeping and worrying about their well-being in a ttRPG. So, maybe we just let people take a feat so they can have a dog that barks when assassins creep up in the night, and otherwise don’t worry about it?

This can also be used as a group benefit a GM passes out as a reward for PCs buying a stronghold, or saving an animal, or having an official group name and working together.

This is written to work in a number of d20-baed ttRPGs, so the formatting and language may need to be tweaked to perfectly match the exact game you are playing.

If they don't keep dogs, maybe.
(I *love* The 13th Warrior)

Guard Dog

You have a guard dog. It doesn’t put itself at risk during combat, does not make attacks, and just serves as an early waring system when you are stationary. You cannot use it to send messages, threaten prisoners, carry equipment, or any other task.

As long as you have access to your normal equipment you are expected to have access to your guard dog, unless the GM specifically says otherwise. While the GM can have your guard dog involved in other matters if they wish, doing so is specifically under the purview of the GM’s discretion. This game mechanics of this feat provide for a guard animal’s senses to help protect you out of combat, and in return for expending the resource of the feat and limiting the animal to early warning, you are not required to track its exact location, hit points, food needs, and so on. If the guard dog needs special accommodations to survive in the area you are adventuring, and everyone else in the party has them, you are considered to have managed to cobble together what the guard dog needs.

When you are camping or otherwise staying in one place for a long period of time (such as hanging out in a tavern, sleeping, having a picnic, crafting objects in a shop, and so on), the guard dog can make a Perception check with a bonus equal to half your maximum possible Perception bonus without any spells or equipment augmenting it. The guard dog can see, smell, or hear threats. If the guard dog perceives a threat, it barks loudly, alerting everyone nearby who then may act as if they had successfully made a Perception check to notice the threat.

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Heroic Auras for Pathfinder 1st edition

I’m considering running an E6-style campaign for Pathfinder 1st edition in the not-too-distant future. That’s a play mode where character level progression stops at 6th level, and after that characters pick up a feat every few thousand experience points (and some higher-level abilities can be accessed as feats, and higher-level spells are sometimes available as rituals). I find such campaigns can have a very different feel from standard levels-go-normally-to-20th Pathfinder games, and can be great for more “Sword & Sorcery” stories (with typical Pathfinder often going quickly into High Fantasy and Epic Fantasy).

Being me, I am likely to use some houserules for such a campaign, to help produce a specific play experience focused on competent characters with flexible tools to encourage players to find creative ways to overcome situations. So far I have drafted from fodder foe rules, so I can still throw hordes of adversaries at my stuck-at-lower-level PCs, a set of cantrip buffs to make 0-level spells more impactful and give spellcasters a set of options that won’t run out of daily uses, and a set of skill specializations for most nonspellcasters and combat feat bonuses for fighters.

But characters without access to spells and/or a ton of special abilities also need something else to match their Sword and Sorcery heroic counterparts in genre fiction. They need an ability to just be *more* than typical people. Something between force of personality, keen cunning, and indominable will. Their mere presence can change the outcome of an encounter. Yes, this may change the course of combat, but it can also impact negotiations, bolster rookies, and just generally make things easier for their allies.

In short, they need to have Heroic Auras.

Heroic Auras

Heroic auras require affected creature to be aware of your presence. This is always the case if they can see or hear you. It is up to GM discretion under what circumstances a creature might be aware of your presence in other circumstances. You must be conscious and not helpless for your heroic aura to function, unless it says otherwise. Bonuses from different heroic auras do not stack, but they are otherwise untyped bonuses. Heroic auras don’t have prerequisites and do not require an action to activate.

As with skill specializations, the less access to special abilities a character class grants, the more heroic auras it gains.

Least Special Powers (fighter): Heroic aura gained at 2nd, 4th, 6th, and every 4 levels thereafter.

No Spell Access (barbarian, brawler, cavalier, samurai, shifter): Heroic aura gained at 2nd, and every 4 levels thereafter.

Minor Spell-Like or Supernatural Access (gunslinger, monk, ninja, rogue, slayer, swashbuckler, vigilante): Heroic aura gained at 3rd, and every 5 levels thereafter.

1st-4th Level Spell Access (bloodrager, kineticist, medium, paladin, ranger): Heroic aura gained at 4th, and every 5 levels thereafter.

Partial List of Auras: Before this idea would be viable in-play, even for a game limited to 6th level, I’d need a LOT more auras. This is especially true since in most game groups, the players aren’t going to double up on auras, instead preferring each character with access to them to take different heroic auras, maximizing the benefit to the group as a while.

This is just a proof-of-concept starting point.

Aura of Goodwill (Ex): Within 60 feet of you, creatures that are friendly to a creature they interact with instead function as though they were helpful. This does not prevent a friendly creature’s attitude from changing in normal response to actions, nor do they feel pressured for having acted in a helpful manner, even after they are outside your aura.

Aura of Readiness (Ex): Your alertness helps your allies stay alert and aware. Whenever you are not flat-footed, your allies within 60 feet also are not flat-footed.

Beloved (Ex): Your allies are moved to extraordinary acts to aid you. Each ally can, once per day, if you are paralyzed, helpless, bleeding, unconscious, or under the effects of a mind-affecting effect from a foe, take an additional standard action to move towards you, or to aid you (including casting a spell or using an ability that increases your saving throws, grants you a new save, heals you of damage, or removes a condition, penalty or affliction). Additionally, while you are adjacent to an ally that is not unconscious, held, paralyzed, or helpless, your actions do not provoke attacks of opportunity, and you cannot be targeted by a coup de grace. this heroic aura functions even when you are unconscious or helpless.

Call It In (Ex): You can help your allies more accurately land their large-area attacks. Adversaries within 30 feet of you with improved evasion only gain the benefit of normal evasion, and those with just standard evasion do not benefit from it.

Commando (Ex): You can direct a raid with great cunning, ensuring that everyone moves together to mask the movements of the unit as a whole and get to where they need to be. Allies within 60 feet of you have a minimum Climb check bonus equal to your Climb bonus -5, and minimum Stealth check bonus equal to your Stealth bonus -5.

Dire Aura (Ex): Your mere presence bolsters your allies, and turns your adversaries’ blood cold. When an adversary within 60 feet is demoralized from any source, the duration is increased by +1d4 rounds. When an ally within 60 feet is subject to a fear effect, they may make a saving throw against it with a cumulative +1 bonus each round (at the same save DC as the original effect, or a DC of 10 +1/2 source’s level + source’s Cha mod, if it does not normally have a saving throw), and on a successful save the effect ends.

Master of Beasts (Ex): You have an instinctive effect on domestic animals Allies within 60 feet of you have a minimum Handle Animal check bonus equal to your Handle Animal bonus -5, and minimum Ride check bonus equal to your Ride bonus -5.

Set My Will Against You (Ex): Your iron resolve to oppose your enemies literally weakens their ability to reject magical change. Allies within 60 feet of you gain a +4 bonus to caster level checks to overcome spell resistance. You do not gain this bonus.

Streetwise (Ex): As long as you are out and about in a community, once per day you can automatically take 20 on Diplomacy checks to gather information while still just taking the normal time to make the attempt. Allies travelling with you can make separate checks to gather information, and if successful gain any additional related information the GM determines is available.

Subtle Signs (Ex): Allies within 60 feet of you always succeed at Bluff checks to pass simple secret messages to you, and you always succeed at Bluff checks to pass secret messages to allies within 60 feet. The Sense Motive DC for unintended recipients to pick up on such messages is 25 + your level + the highest of your Int, Wis, or Cha modifiers.

Vicious Assault (Ex): Your fighting style not only hits hard and fast, slipping under foe’s defenses, it encourages your allies to do the same. You and allies within 30 feet reduce the DR of foes by 5, to a minimum of DR 0.

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