Author Archives: okcstephens

Song of Doom Goom

Inspired by a neural network’s effort to name rpg spells, I present:

Song of Doom Goom
School conjuration, enchantment* (compulsion) [fear, mind-affecting, sonic]; Level bard 3
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Targets 1 creature/level (no two of which may be more than 30 feet apart)
Duration 1 minute/level
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes

This spell causes foes to form sticky, disgusting “goom” over their ears. All sounds the creature then hears for the duration of the spell are altered to sounds like signs the creature is doomed. Affected creatures are shaken, cannot benefit from competency, insight, or morale bonuses, cannot aid another or benefit from aid another, cannot flank or benefit from another creature’s flanking, and cannot use teamwork feats, or help other creatures benefit from teamwork feats (even if those creatures can benefit when using teamwork feats with a creature that lacks the feat).

If an affected creatures is adjacent to an affected foe of the caster, the adjacent creature must make a will save (at the same DC), or the goom leaps over to affect the new foe as well (for the rest of the spell’s duration).

*This spell counts as a conjuration spell or enchantment spell, whichever is more advantageous to the caster, or less advantageous to the target. In either case, it counts as a (compulsion) [fear, mind-affecting, sonic] spell.

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Tech of the Magi

An (unofficial, third-party) Starfinder-compatible option for mechanics, which is taken in place of artificial intelligence (thus selected in place of the drone or exocortex).

Tech of the magi represents technological study into the use and manipulation of magic. While other mechanics were focusing on creating a unique technology to calculate and analyze and have conversations as if it was sentient and sapient, you turned to technomancy, integrating the understanding of magic into your understanding of technology.

Your mechanic level adds to your caster level. You can cast a limited number of spells drawn from the technomancer spell list. Your spells known and spells per day are determined by the tables below, and you also gain bonus spells for a high Intelligence score as determined by the Technomancer Bonus Spells table. You can cast your 0-level spells an unlimited number of times per day.

Tech of the Magi Spells Known

Class                Spells per Day
Level               (by Spell Level)
            1          2          3
1
2
3          1
4          1
5          2
6          2          1
7          3          1
8          3          2
9          3          2          1
10        3          3          1
11        3          3          2
12        3          3          2
13        3          3          3
14        3          3          3
15        3          3          3
16        3          3          3
17        3          3          3
18        3          3          3
19        3          3          3
20        3          3          3

Class                Spells Known
Level               (by Spell Level)
            O          1          2          3
1          2
2          2
3          3          2
4          3          2
5          3          3
6          3          3          2
7          3          3          2
8          3          3          3
9          3          3          3          2
10        3          3          3          2
11        3          3          3          3
12        4          3          3          3
13        4          3          3          3
14        4          3          3          3
15        4          4          3          3
16        4          4          3          3
17        4          4          3          3
18        4          4          4          3
19        4          4          4          3
20        4          4          4          4

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Fantasy Yatagan for Pathfinder

Welcome to more things inspired by Forged in Fire, where I do fantasy Pathfinder version of weapons I was introduced to by the television show Forged in Fire. Given how cool many of the weapons they feature on that show are, I decided to do another one. And while doing so, I thought I would continue to explore the design space created by using odd-sided dice (d5s, d7s, and so on) such as those available from Impact Miniatures.

This is an effort at a fantasy pathfinder version of the Yatagan, a weapon from the Ottoman Empire often used by janissaries. This is a game option inspired by the real-world history of the weapon, and is designed to be no more accurate than the Pathfinder versions of the longsword or falchion.

A Yatagan is a single-edged, light long knife or short saber, with a pronounced forward curve and a handle with a two-lobed pommel of “ears” that make the grip easy to hold on to. Despite being a one-handed (rather than light) melee weapon, you can use a Yatagan with Weapon Finesse, and any feat or ability that allows you to use your Dexterity modifier, rather than Strength modifier, with melee weapons.

Yatagan

Cost 20 gp     Weight 1.5 lbs.

Light: Dmg (S) 1d3     DMG (M) 1d5     Crit 18-20, x2,  gripping

Gripping: Gripping weapons give you a +2 bonus to your CMD against disarm, steal, and sunder maneuvers directed at that weapon.

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Put On Your Own Oxygen Mask Before Aiding Others…

I am bad at self-care. Mental and physical healthcare and even housekeeping tasks that serve to make my own life better are difficult for me. I’ve done a lot of therapy with a lot of professionals to try to figure out why. Some theorize it’s self-sabotage based in a fear of rejection so strong I want to make sure I am so unlovable I simply expect rejection. Others think life with an alcoholic father in a dysfunctional family taught me bad habits. It’s been suggested I have been in so much pain that self-medication was inevitable, and mine happens to include numerous things that aren’t good for my mental or physical health. And, of course, the few therapists I have opened up to about an incident of sexual abuse as a child often point to it as a a major cause of me not naturally taking care of myself.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. I am aware of what behaviors I fall into that harm me. I work to avoid them. When I can’t, I try to mitigate them. When I can’t, I try to forgive myself for the failure.
I’m much better at it that I used to be. I’m much worse at it than I need to be. I suspect I’ll struggle with it until the day I die.
Basically, that’s life. There are ups, and downs, and long lulls of necessary work.
But I’ve already done better, and come farther, than i ever would have believed 32 years ago. So I try to take that as a victory.

SpellTweet: Entropic Block

(Spelltweets originally got posted only to Twtitter, and the whole point is that they defined a spell in 140 characters or less, generally by modifying an existing spell. Now they’re more likely to appear here and be linked to Twitter, but sometimes I prefer to keep the character limit as a design challenge.)

Entropic Block (cl/inq 1) As entropic shield, but the miss chance is 15% and it only applies to melee attacks.

Star-Crossed Races: The Vorruk

Continuing the idea of (totally unofficial, third-party) Starfinder-compatible crossbreed races, we present the vorruk. You can go back and find our first twos crossbreed, the aeshun (here) and the lashirren (here).

Vorruk

Vorruk are a genetically engineered blend of the genes of orcs (specifically those than combine naturally with human genes in half-orcs), and vesk blended together and placed in in birthing matrixes. While it might theoretically be possible for a vorruk zygote or embryo to be transferred to a mother for gestation and live birth, normally vorruk are engineered, machine-nourished, and watched over in large numbers in artificial wombs. Vorruk were originally bred by drow mercenary specifically to create hearty, quick-maturing, capable warriors during a long war that threatened the drow base planet. Those first few generations were the largest vorruk population, though many died during the fighting. When the war suddenly ended, those vorruk already implanted in birthing machines were brought to maturity, but since that time the creation of vorruk has largely been performed in small batches, as labs and weapon dealers seek to improve on the genetype and maturation and training process.

Because most vorruk are raised from birth being told they are living weapons (and nothing more), and the majority of other species only encounters vorruk in battlefield conditions, they have a reputation as simple-minded, amoral, brutal killers. It is certainly true than many vorruk who have known only a life as indentured soldiers often focus on their fighting skills and find anything not related to warfare to be a luxury they cannot afford. Vorruk raised in more nurturing environments are no more brutal or bloodthirsty than any other race, however, and even among those who have lived lives of endless conflict many develop more nuanced ethical and aesthetic perspectives.

Appearance: Vorruk have a basic appearance very similar to half-orcs, but with more pronounced brow ridges, and fine scales (visible only at fairly close range) over their whole bodies. Their coloration focused heavily and reds and greens or more rarely purple, generally in dark shades, and some show striping or spots of darker and lighter colors. They have strong, sharp canines and retractable claws.

Racial Traits

HP: 8

Ability Adjustments: Vorruk are strong and swift, faster than either genetic donor, but can have difficulty grasping deep theoretical concepts. A vorruk gains +2 Str, +2 Dex, and -2 Int.

Size and Type: Vorruk are medium humanoids with the orc and vesk subtypes, and a 40 foot speed.

Darkvision and low-light vision

Resilient: Once per day, a vorruk that is unconscious but stable can stay in the fight without spending Resolve to do so. (See the rules for death and dying.)

Natural Weapons: Vorruk are always considered armed. They can deal 1d3 lethal slashing or piercing damage with unarmed strikes and the attack doesn’t count as archaic. Vorruk gain a unique weapon specialization with their natural weapons at 3rd level, allowing them to add 1–1/2 × their character level to their damage rolls for their natural weapons (instead of just adding their character level, as usual).

Vital Statistics

Vorruk stand between six and seven-and-a-half feet tall and weight between 200 and 325 pounds, with no distinction in height or weight between male and female vorruk. They reach maturity at five years of age, with a maximum age of 40 + 2d10 years.

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I have a Patreon and one of the backers is also the owner of Starfidnersrd.com, and the sponsor of this post!

Speaking of my patreon, it has some (currently) patron-exclusive content vaguely linked to the vorruk, the war rig character theme!

Introducing the Spell-Fist

A Pathfinder-compatible multiclass character concept. Definitely NOT a “classic” multiclass combo, but if the number of people I see playing monks with wands is any indication (and yes, I know it isn’t), this is a popular concept. Maybe you are from a post-apocalyptic future and have a martial art style named after a constellation. Maybe a monkey taught you to fight and do magic tricks. Maybe you punched a dragon in the heart while training. Who knows? You’re a spell-fist now.

Begin with Unchained Monk.

Your monk level counts as your sorcerer level for any prerequisites. Any monk class feature (or feat with special rules for monks) that makes calculations using Wisdom, instead use Charisma. Your base attack bonus uses the normal monk chart, rather than the unchained monk chart.

Force of Ki: When unarmed and unencumbered, you may use your Charisma modifier in place of your Dexterity modifier for any calculation that normally uses Dexterity, including your AC, Initiative Bonus, and ranged attack rolls. Additionally, when unarmored and unencumbered, you gain a +1 bonus to your AC, Initiative, and CMB and CMD at 4th level, and every 4 levels thereafter.

This replaces the normal monk AC bonus.

Spells: You have spells known and spells per day as a bard of the same level, but you draw these spells from the sorcerer spell list. This replaces the bonus feat gained at 1st level, 2nd level, and every 4 levels thereafter and flurry of blows.

Spell-Fist: At 2nd level when you use Stunning Blow, you may replace the stunning effect with a spell with a casting time of 1 standard action or less. This spell must affect an area or one of more targets, and deal damage, require an attack roll, or force targets to make a saving throw. This spell affects only the target of your stunning first. Casting this spell does not provoke an attack of opportunity. If it is a melee touch spell, if your attack misses you retain the charge and may add it to the next unarmed strike your hit with, as long as you take no action beforehand that would cause you to lose the charge.

You do not gain the ability to add other effects to your stunning fist beginning at 4th level.

This ability modifies Stunning Fist.

Ki Pool: At 3rd level you can spend 1 ki to gain one additional attack when you take a full attack action, even if you are not using flurry of blows. This ability modified ki pool.

Flurry of Blows: At 10th level you gain flurry of blows, but treat your monk level as your spell-fist level -9.

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This post was sponsored by one of my patreon backers, Christen N Sowards! Christen is currently wrapping up a Kickstarter, City of 7 Seraphs! It has three days to go, and is almost funded. I have nothing to do with it but it sure looks cool. Check it out!

Star-Crossed Races: The Lashirren

Continuing the idea of Starfinder-compatible crossbreed races, we present the lashirren. You can go back and find our first crossbreed, the aeshun, here.

Lashirren

Lashirren are the product of two shirren parents, and one lashunta parent, and only exist as a result of powerful magic. In general the two species are not in any way genetically compatible, but with delicate application of transmutation and conjuration magic, it is possible for one shirren and one lashunta parent to combine their genetic material into an embryo that then gestates in a shirren host. This step is rarely taken but the shirren drive for individuality, even from the shackles of species, sometimes leads to situations where it is seen as desirable.

Lashirren view the world differently than any of their parents, and indeed each lashirren appears to form a worldview unique to them, and often incomprehensible to others. This often leads to valuable insights missed by those who accept common theories as to how and why things work, but it also sets lashirren apart, and sometimes sets them down long rabbit-holes of false equivalence or misunderstood phenomena. While shirren delight in the individualist approach of lashirren, other races often find them obtuse and frustrating.

Appearance: Lashirren look much like lashunta, but have ridges of chitin across their brow and protecting most joints, knuckles, and the soles of their feet. Their coloration generally matches one of their shirren parents, with their hair generally green, black, or deep brown.

Racial Traits

HP: 6

Dimorphic: All lashirren have a deep understanding of how differences drive the universe, but can become so emgoressed in contemplating such differences they overlook practical matters. Lashirren all have +2 Wisdom, and -2 Intelligence. Like their lashunta parents, lashirren are dimorphic and at puberty can choose to become muscular korasha (+2 Strength), or nimble damaya (+2 Dexterity).

Size and Type: Lashirren are medium humanoids with the lashunta and shirren subtypes, and a 30 foot speed.

Blindsense: As the shirren racial ability.

Focus: Lashirren often become strongly focused on one idea or skill early in their lives. Select one skill. If it not a class skill for your theme or first class level, gain it as a class skill. If it is a class skill from some source other than your race, you gain a +1 bonus to all skill checks.

Individualism: A lashirren knows that ultimately it is alone in the universe, and must depend on itself above all others. Once per day, as long as no ally is within 10 feet, a lashirren can roll a single attack roll or skill check twice and take the higher result.

Limited telepathy: As the lashunta racial trait.

Vital Statistics

Lashirren stand between 5’ and 7’ tall, weigh between 120 lbs. and 180 lbs., with korasha skewing on the shorter but heavier side of those numbers. They reach maturity at 10,
aging similarly (though not as quickly) as their shirren parents, and have a maximum age of 60 +3d10 years.

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Star-Crossed Races: The Aeshun

Yep, it’s time for more out-their ideas for the Starfinder Roleplaying Game! (And remember folks, this is unofficial, third-party, Rogue Genius Games content!)

The core rulebook presents two crossbreed races—the half-elf and half-orc. It also presents a universe with multiple species sharing the same homeworlds (elves and lashunta, for example), biotech grafts, powerful magic, and machine gods. It seems unlikely that with all those environment-changing, reality-warping options, no new crossbreed races would emerge.

So over the next week or so I’ll be presenting three crossbreeds – the aeshun (elf/lashunta), lashirren (lashunta/shirren), and vorruk (orc/vesk) – each with a different circumstance leading to their creation.

Aeshun

Aeshun are the crossbreed children of elven and lashunta parents. While mating between elves and lashunta is not uncommon, the production of aeshun is. Fewer than 1 in 100 elf/lashuna couples produce children, and even among those that do roughly half are indistinguishable from damaya lashunta (though they are born with that state already in place, rather than selecting it at puberty). Aeshun are often seen as miracles by parents that build lasting, living relationships—but can also be viewed as burdens by couples that are already unstable in their relationship, or not ready for the additional stress a child brings.

Aeshun are gifted with natural curiosity and unusual ways of looking at the world, but their heritage causes each aeshun to have their own innate strengths and weaknesses. Generally considered curiosities by lashunta (who often wish to study them), and dangerous wild cards by elves (who generally don’t trust aeshun they don’t personally know well), aeshun often have trouble fitting in on their hoemworld. However once they leave their native lands and travel into the larger galaxy, they often find truly alien races have no preconceived notions of what aeshun should be like, and do not care about their unusual lineage.

Appearance: Aeshun appear to be tall, lithe elves with lashunta-like antennae (though roughly one in 16 aeshun lacks the antennae). Their skin is even and smooth, though coloration can range from creamy to dark. Many have natural patterns of darker skin in small spots or lines along their temples, spines, and lower back. They have pupils, unlike their elven parents, and their hair and eye color generally match, but can be of nearly any hue.

Racial Traits

2 HP

Ability Adjustments: Though aeshun are all generally tall and lean, their actual natural talents range from being strong and wise, to weak but tough and nimble, to likeable and bright but klutzy. It’s not quite true that no two aeshun are alike, but they do have a broad range of inherent advantages and drawbacks. An aeshun gains +2 to any 2 ability scores, and -2 to any 1 ability score. These modifier must be applied to three different ability scores.

Size and Type: Aeshun are medium humanoids with the elf and lashunta subtypes, and a 30 foot speed.

Aeshun Magic: At character creation select either the elven magic racial trait, or the lashunta magic racial trait.

Limited telepathy: As the lashunta racial trait.

Low-Light Vision: As the elven racial trait.

Vital Statistics

Aeshun stand between 5’10” and 6’6” tall, weigh between 150 lbs. and 200 lbs. They reach maturity at 17, much faster than either parent race, but rarely know when their natural time is up due to a tendency to die suddenly with little sign of aging, with a maximum age of 300 + 3d100 years.

Pateon-Exclusive

I also posted the similar-but-not-the-same-idea of android ratfolk, the e-soki, over at my patreon as (for the moment) patron-exclusive content. Check it out!

Sponsored By!

This post is brought to you by the backers of my patreon, and in this case is specifically sponsored by supports of Glenbuckle Publishing, who wanted to draw attention to the Gardener base class! Here’s the description, from DriveTrhuRPG!

Life is always Greener with a Gardener around!

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Return of the Cleric/Fighter/Magic-User!

When I get on a “old-school multiclass concepts for Pathfinder” kick I generally do several in a row as ideas rattle around in my head. So far I’ve done the anruth (an old school druidic bard), cavalier-paladincleric/assassincleric/fighter/thief, cleric/ranger, druid/fighterfighter/magic-user/thief, illusionist/thiefthief-acrobat, as well as randomly acquired psionics, and even the fighter/illusionist at my patreon.

That doesn’t leave a lot of “legal” old-school combinations… but it DOES leave the dreaded cleric/fighter/magic-user!

When looking to combine the spell power of two of the most powerful spellcasters with the weapon and armor expertise of the fighter, there are two obvious places to begin – the magus, and the warpriest. Either makes sense as an opening class for a cleric/fighter/magic-user, but having built the druid/fighter off the magus yesterday I’m going to start with the warpriest this time.

A warpriest is a fine cleric/fighter, but obviously has no magic-user in it at all. It also has some things we can likely cut while still feeling fairly divinely-inspired and martial, which gives us room to expand its spell list and class features to include some wizardly material.

Cleric/Fighter/Magic-User

The cleric/fighter/magic-user is an archetype for the warpriest that also counts as a hybrid class of the cleric, fighter, and wizard classes.

Spellcasting: You cast spells drawn from the cleric and wizard spell lists. You cast cleric spells as divine spells, and wizard spells as arcane spells. You have access to all cleric spells of a spell level you can cast, but must add wizard spells to a spellbook as a wizard does. You begin play with a spellbook with all 0-level wizard spells, and a number of 1st level wizard spells equal to 1 + your Intelligence bonus. At each new class level, you can add any 1 wizard spell of a level you can cast to your spellbook. You otherwise learn new spells and scribe them into your spellbook as a wizard does.

Your Wisdom determines what level spell you can cast, your bonus spells, and the save DCs of any cleric spell you cast. Your Intelligence determines the save DC of any wizard spell you cast.

You can cast any spells you gain as a cleric/fighter/magic-user in armor without having to deal with arcane spell failure, but suffer normal ASFfor arcane spells you gain from other sources.

All your spells gained from this class (cleric and wizard) count as warpriest spells for purposes of other class features (such as fervor).

This modifies the cleric/fighter/magic-user’s spells.

Fight Smarter (Ex): A cleric/fighter/magic-user has learned to fuse his training with gods, spells, and fighting into a single art. At 1st level, you can add your Intelligence bonus, instead of your Strength bonus, to attack rolls and weapon damage rolls. When using a weapon that would normally only allow you to add half your Strength bonus to damage you may only add half your Intelligence bonus, but when using a weapon that would normally allow you to add x1.5 or x2 (or more) of your Strength bonus to damage, you can only add x1 your Intelligence bonus. (If your bonus to damage from Strength would thus be better than your bonus to damage from intelligence, you may use your bonus to damage from Strength.)

Additionally, treat your cleric/fighter/magic-user levels as fighter levels when meeting prerequisites for feats.

This ability replaces focus weapon and sacred weapon.

Domains and Schools: At 1st level you select one cleric domain granted by your god, and one wizard school. These have no effect on your spells per day, spells known, chance to learn spells, and so on. One of these selections is your primary selection, and the other is secondary. For your primary selection, you gain special abilities as if your cleric/fighter/magic-user level was your level in the appropriate class. For your secondary selection, you treat your cleric/fighter/magic-user -3 as your level in the appropriate class.

This ability replaces all minor blessings and sacred armor.

Bonus Feats: You gain a bonus feat at 3rd level, and every 3 levels thereafter, as a normal warpriest does. In addition to combat feats, you may select from any item creation or metamagic feat you meet the prerequisites for as bonus feats.

This ability modifies bonus feats.

Spell Combat (Ex): At 10th level, you gain spell combat as the magus class feature. You can use it with any light or 1-handed melee weapon, or with your deity’s favorite weapon. If your deity’s favorite weapon takes 2-hands, you can cast spells when wielding 2-handed it as if you had one hand free.

This ability replaces major blessings.

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