Category Archives: Microsetting

GammaFinder Mutations (for Starfinder)

So there are quick and easy rules for mutations in the GammaFinder base rules (a campaign hack for Starfinder), but a weird post-apocalyptic game just isn’t the same if you can’t be even more mutated than that.

So, here are some more ways to gain even more mutations, and lots of mutations you can get.

PA Mutie

MUTIE THEME (+1 to any)
Yup, you’re a mutie.

Theme Knowledge (1st)
Your brain focuses on something a little differently than other people. Select one skill to gain as a class skill or (if you already have it as a class skill at 1st level) gain a +1 racial bonus to.
In addition, you gain an ability adjustment of +1 to one ability score of your choice at character creation.

Mutation (6th, 12th)
Your mutant abilities grow and evolve. Select a mutation from the Mutant Abilities list, below.

Mutant Heartiness (18th)
Your mutant physiology allows you to recover more easily than those with standard genomes. Twice per day you can recover Stamina Points after a 10-minute rest without expending a Resolve Point to do so. This does reset any abilities that normally reset after you expend a Resolve Point to recover Stamina Points after a rest.

PA Shive

MUTAMORPH (Archetype)
Your body, exposed tot the strange energies of the GammaFinder World, has morphed.

Mutation (2nd, 4th, 6th, 9th, 12)
At these levels you may choose a mutant ability (see below) as an archetype ability, or take your class’s normal class feature instead. Each time you take a mutant ability, you may also replace one mutant ability gained at an earlier level from the archetype or the mutie theme with a new mutation (losing the old mutant ability).

Mutant Abilities
The following mutant abilities can be gained from mutie theme or mutamorph archetype.
Additional Arms
Change Form
Exceptional Vision
Expanded Lung Capacity
Limited Telepathy
Natural Weapons
Psionic, minor
Psionic, moderate
Psionic, major
Rapid Revival
Steady Stride
Telekinetic Flight

Additional Arms
You grow two additional arms (or a long prehensile tail, or other manipulative limb), which allows you to wield and hold up to two more hands’ worth of weapons and equipment. While your multiple arms increase the number of items you can have at the ready, it doesn’t increase the number of attacks you can make during combat.

PA Add Arms

You grow sensitive antennae that grants your blindsense (vibration)—the ability to sense vibrations in the air—out to 30 feet. You ignore the Stealth bonuses from any form of visual camouflage, invisibility, and the like when attempting a Perception check opposed by a creature’s Stealth check. Even on a successful Perception check, any foe that can’t be seen still has total concealment (50% miss chance) against you, and you still have the normal miss chance when attacking foes that have concealment. You are still flatfooted against attacks from creatures you can’t see.

Change Form
As a standard action, you can physically alter your form to look like any Medium creature, as long as you have seen a similar creature before. You can attempt to either mimic a specific creature or look like a general creature of the chosen type. You gain a +10 bonus to Disguise checks to appear as a creature of the type and subtype of the new form. The DC of your Disguise check is not modified as a result of altering major features. You can remain in an alternate form indefinitely.
If you take this mutation a second time, you do not take a penalty to Disguise when you mimic a creature of a different species or type.

You gain a climb speed of 40 feet.

You have mutated to be very similar to another creature. You might look like an anthropomorphic animal, have the strange anatomy of an aberration, seem to be a plant, or have some other strange mix of features. Your features are a blend between your true type and substype, and another type (and possibly subtype).
You gain the creaturelike trait. Select one type and, if desired, an appropriate subtype. You gain these in addition to your normal type and potential subtype. You gain no special abilities of the type or subtype except as noted here. When you are targeted by an effect, if it effects just one of your types or subtypes, it affects you. If it affects your types or subtypes differently, you take the effect that is worse for you.
Skill checks to identify your type or subtype take a -5 penalty.
You gain a +2 racial bonus to one saving throw category of your choice, or +1 racial bonus to two saving throw categories.
You gain one of the following senses or movement types of your choice: blindsense (scent) 30 feet, climb 20 feet, darkvision 60 feet, fly 20 feet (poor)(ex), low-light vision, swim 20 feet.
You can change your unarmed attacks to do piercing or slashing damage, if you wish, or gain do +1 damage with unarmed attacks.

PA Hippolike

You can move through an area as small as one-quarter your space without squeezing or one-eighth their space when squeezing.

You gain a burrow speed of 30 feet.

Exceptional Vision
You gain low-light vision and darkvision. As a result, you can see in dim light as if it were normal light, and you can see with no light source at all to a range of 60 feet in black and white only. If you already had low-light, your darkvision now grants you color vision with no light. If you already had darkvision, its range increases by 60 feet.

Expanded Lung Capacity
You have extraordinary lung capacity. You can hold your breath for 10 times the normal duration, and you can begin to hold their breath as a purely defensive reaction whenever you are submerged underwater, enter a vacuum, enter a gas or smoke field, or would otherwise begin suffocating or inhaling a substance you suspect to be harmful.

You gain a +2 racial bonus to Fortitude saves against environmental hazards and radiation effects. In addition, you reduce the duration of the sickened and nauseated conditions by 1 round.

When badly enough damaged, you enter a fighting frenzy. When you are at 0 Stamina Points, you gain a +1 bonus to melee attacks and AC.

Limited Telepathy
You can communicate telepathically with any creatures within 30 feet with whom you share a language. Conversing telepathically with multiple creatures simultaneously is just as difficult as listening to multiple people speak.

PA Telepathy

Your body is mutable and can adapt to many different situations. Once every 1d4 rounds as part of any other action, you can reshape your body and adjust your chemistry to gain one of the following qualities. The adaptation lasts until you dismiss it, use this ability again, fail a saving throw, or are dazed, confused, staggered, stunned, or unconscious.
*Upper limb refinements enable you to add an additional amount of damage to melee attacks equal to half your Strength modifier.
*A toughened dermal layer grants you a +1 racial bonus to KAC.
*Developed lower limbs grant you a +10 bonus to one speed you already possess.
*Molecular-level modifications grant you resistance 2 against a single energy type (acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic).
*Elongated limbs extend your to 10 feet.

Natural Weapons
You are always considered armed. They can deal 1d3 lethal damage with unarmed strikes and the attack doesn’t count as archaic. You choose if the attack does bludgening, piercing, or slashing damage when it is gained, and what kind of attack it is (bite, claws, tail slap, and so on). You gain a unique weapon specialization with your natural weapons at 3rd level, allowing you to add 1–1/2 × your character level to your damage rolls for your natural weapons (instead of just adding your character level, as usual).

Psionic, minor
You gain the following spell-like abilities: At will: (select any two of the following) daze, detect magic, fatigue, ghost sound, psychokinetic hand, telepathic projectile, telepathic message, token spell; 1/day (select one): akashic download, battlemind link (lesser), confusion (lesser), detect thoughts, mind link, share language, share memory.

Psionic, moderate
Select two more at-will spells and one more 1/day spell from the minor psionic list. You must already have two of the at-will spells and one of the 1/day spells as spell-like abilities to select moderate psionic.

PA Psionic Cyborg

Psionic, major
Select two more at-will spells and one more 1/day spell from the minor psionic list. Additiinally, select one of the following spells as a 1/day spell-like ability: augury, perfect recall, predict foe, status. You must already have four of the at-will spells and two of the 1/day spells as spell-like abilities to select moderate psionic.

Rapid Revival
Once per day, when you take a 10-minute rest to regain Stamina Points, you can additionally recover Hit Points as though you had taken a full night’s rest.

Steady Stride
You can move through nonmagical difficult terrain at your normal speed.

You gain a swim speed of 40 feet.

Telekinetic Flight
You gaining a supernatural fly speed of 10 with perfect maneuverability and the ability to hover without taking an action.

Your sturdy physiology backs up armor’s defensive properties particularly well. When wearing armor, you gain a +1 racial bonus to AC. If you already have a +1 racial bonus to AC, you instead gain a +1 racial bonus to Fortitude and Reflex saves.

PA Turtle

You can deal piercing or bludgeoning damage with your unarmed strikes. When you make a successful unarmed strike (or innate melee attack, such as might be gained from another mutation) that deals piercing damage, and the target takes damage from the attack, as a reaction you can expose the target to venom. Once you have used your venom, you can do so again only after taking a 10-minute rest to regain Stamina Points. You are immune to the effects of your own venom.
Mutant Venom
Type poison (injury); Save Fortitude (DC = 10 + half your level + your key ability modifier)
Track Dexterity (special); Onset 1 round; Frequency 1/round for 6 rounds
Effect Progression track is Healthy—Sluggish—Stiffened—Staggered; staggered is the end state.
Cure 1 save. All effects end 1 hour after cure.

You grow wings, gaining an extraordinary fly speed of 30 with average maneuverability.

I now depend on my Patreon for more of my income and support than I ever expected to. If you find any value in my blog posts or videos, I could use help with the Patreon. If you can spare a few bucks a month, it’s a huge help. If not, even just sharing and linking to my blogs, videos, and the Patreon itself is a huge help that just takes a moment of your time.

Thanks, everyone.


Titans of GammaFinder

GammaFinder is a Post-Apocalypse setting for the Starfinder RPG. The GammaFinder World has been rocked by the destruction of the cities of Alpha and Beta by the Omega Invasion, and the mysterious, lost city of Gamma seems to be the only force that can have stopped them.

PA weird Titan

But there are more mysteries in the World of GammaFinder than just the location of Gamma, or the origin of the forces of Omega. There is what caused the Chasm of History, and what brought an end to the Unburned World.

And then, there are the Titans.

PA Robot Titan

Titans take many forms, and no two have ever been proven to be similar. Some are huge machines, others appear to be breathing statues, writhing tentacles, glowing beasts, or vast fiends of millions of interconnected vermin. What they have in common is that they are immune to any known effect, they don’t normally move (or take any action at all), they never seem to leave or change, they have been in place since the end of the Chasm of History, and no one knows where they come from.

PA Cube Titan

Titans are uncommon, but every major settlement know where there is one within a few weeks travel at the farthest, and in some regions titans are nearly within sight of one another.  Because they are among the few unchanging things in the GammaFinder World, they are even used as landmarks on maps, and sometimes as borders between warlords. Maps of Incolnneb always include the Lighthouse Giant at its eastern edge, and the Kithen of the Syckle claim all land within hearing of the RuneSquare Titan’s audible pulsing.

PA Spotlight Titan

The Titans are believed to be indestructible and immobile. None have ever taken any major action that can be verified by survivors, though when a mountain range explodes in lava or a new continent raises from the seas, the Titans are often credited. or blames. Even during the Omega Invasion, no Titan was damaged, despite powerful energies being directed against a few near the city of Beta, and none took any action. As a result, of course, some are worshiped as gods, or appeased as demons.

PA Demon Titan

But Titans do affect their environments, in ways only the most experienced adventurers or wise sages are aware of, and which none understand.

They attract some creatures, and repel others.

Each Titan has a range of CRs it encourages to stay near it, and any outside that are pushed away. For unthinking or instinctive creatures, it’s a subtle effect. Migration may rotate around a Titan, while predators might avoid crossing into one’s territory. For sapient entities, it’s a slight mental pressure, but also stress, nightmares, and feelings of intense dread when conflicting with the Titan’s influence.

PA Spider Mech Titan

Titans’ territories vary in size from as small as a few city blocks, to as large an area as a rough hundred-mile radius. There is no correlation between the size of a Titan and the area it influences. Creatures not within a titan’s CR range take a -1 penalty to all attacks, saving throws, DC calculations, AC, and skill checks after being in it’s territory for 24 hours. This worsens to -2 after a week, -3 after a month, -4 after a season, and -5 after a year. 1-4 days after leaving the Titan’s territory, these penalties are reduced by one each day.

PA Devil Titan

Similarly, creature’s within a Titan’s CR range that have been there for 24 hours must make a DC 10 Will save to leave it of their own volition. This DC increases by 2 after a week, and again after a month, season, and year. Creatures are not aware they are being encouraged to stay and find other reasons to not leave, though a DC 20 Sense Motive check can reveal their decision-making is being influenced. Once a creature leaves a Titan’s area, it feels no special compunction to return.

PA Tentacle Titan

Most Titans have a CR range of 4 or 5 (such as, from CR 2 through CR 6, or from CR 5 through CR 11), though some are bigger and some smaller, while a few have CR ranges that vary over time. The Writhing Field in Coldpray used to have a range of just CR 5-8. But it has increased by 1 CR a year for the past 5 years, allowing higher-and-higher-level creatures to move in. Of course most locals jut feel Coldpray has been getting more dangerous over the years, but a few Wasteland Scholars fear it’s Titan is dying, and wonder what that could mean.

Titans also serve as the things that inspire solarians to contemplate the core forces of the universe, or as connection sources for mystics… though no one can say for certain if such power actually flows from the Titans, or if some people convince themselves their own powers somehow came from these unmoving colossi.

Want More GammaFinder?!
I now depend on my Patreon for more of my income and support than I ever expected to. If you find any value in my blog posts or videos, I could use help with the Patreon. If you can spare a few bucks a month, it’s a huge help. If not, even just sharing and linking to my blogs, videos, and the Patreon itself is a huge help that just takes a moment of your time.

Thanks, everyone.

Mega-Heroic Moments for GammaFinder

GammaFinder, the simple post-apocalypse rules and micro-setting for Starfinder, isn’t just about adventure in the ruined, glowing remains of a once-proud society. It’s also about those mega-heroic moments that all too often come only once every few campaigns. The wondrous, fist-pumping, yahoo-calling, better-than-a-natural-20 things that we all remember for years.

But given how harsh GammaFinder can be, those moments may be too rare. So we’ll cheat. We’ll add a few. (You can port this rule to any other Starfinder-compatible game as well, of course.)

PA Cyclops Titan

Every character can invoke one mega-heroic moment. If they do so and manage to reach 10th level, they regain the ability to use one mega-heroic moment, but that’s it.

Each mega-heroic moment can be invoked only once per campaign. If you use it, no one else can. Strike it from the list. Otherwise, any character who has a mega-heroic moment still coming to them can use any of the mega-heroic moments.

This is a short initial list of available mega-heroic moments. More may come later.

Do You Want To Live Forever?
When you are about to be knocked unconscious, killed, or made helpless, some unexpected force from your past saves you. Maybe a quantum valkyrie of your lost love deflects the deadly blow. Maybe a witchwarper version of yourself from another reality pushes you out of the way. Maybe ghosts of your fallen allies scream a warning at the last second.
Immediately negate all damage and conditions caused by one attack, trap, hazard, spell, or effect against you. If it is from an ongoing effect, you are immune until the beginning of your next round.

Fly, You Fools!
This is it. The big sacrifice. Everyone lives. You die.
For now.
All your allies in this encounter, living and dead, escape. Those who were dead turn out to be only mostly dead, and are instead unconscious and stable. You stay and hold the line, and die.
But when one of your allies next gains a level? You return, having also gained a level. Maybe you were literally resurrected. maybe it’s a version of your from another reality. Maybe all of reality is a simulation and your return is a glitch in the system. You get to rebuild your character as if you had used a mnemonic editor.

PA redhead faceoof

How’d You Get Up There? – Wasn’t Easy!
Your allies are shocked at where you suddenly pop up. Perhaps you achieved the ultimate stealth route. Maybe you found a split-second wormhole and used it to your advantage. You might even have just run faster and further than anyone expected. The truth is you;re not 100% sure how you made it there yourself, so you are always going to be vague on the details.
Select any location within line of sight and line of effect of any ally. You are at that location.

I Want To Show You A Trick Mother Showed Me When You Weren’t Around.
It’s a secret you have carried with you until this moment, aware you can only do it once. Maybe you have a weapon from the Unburned World with only a single charge left in it. Maybe a sentient spell was been riding along with you, waiting for the one and only moment when it could be cast. Maybe you have a mutant power that takes 100 years to recharge. Whatever it is, it’s a surprise to everyone else, and it’s about to hurt.
Select one target within line of sight and line of effect. It takes an amount of damage equal to 1d6+4 multiplied by your character level. This may be of any damage type, and bypasses any resistance, immunity, or miss chance.

You Are Already Dead.
It seemed like no more than an ordinary attack, but you know better. You hit a secret pressure point, or slipped a grenade into their shorts, or smeared a single self-replicating nanite flesh-eater into the wound. That extra act has gone unnoticed, until now.
Select one foe, trap, or hazard within line of sight that you injured within the past 10 minutes, or that has an unhealed injury you inflicted on it. The foe must have a CR no greater than your level +1. It dies if living, is destroyed if undead, breaks if inanimate.

PA troopers

Want More GammaFinder?!
I now depend on my Patreon for more of my income and support than I ever expected to. If you find any value in my blog posts or videos, I could use help with the Patreon. If you can spare a few bucks a month, it’s a huge help. If not, even just sharing and linking to my blogs, videos, and the Patreon itself is a huge help that just takes a moment of your time.

Thanks, everyone.


GammaFinder Index

GammaFinder is a post-apocalypse setting for the Starfinder Roleplaying Game. I have multiple articles that begin to describe and define GammaFinder, and this is the index to all of them.

PA Street Scene

The basics.

GammaFinder Rules. Simple rules for post-apocalypse gaming using Starfinder, along with just the hint of a setting *mostly to justify calling it ‘GammaFinder.’)

The Unburned World. A larger article that includes a quick description of the pre-apocalypse Unburned World, and the Chasm of History that separates it from the modern era.

Titans. Halfway between landmarks and gods, no one is sure where these motionless giants come from, or what their purpose is. But they have a real, if subtle, effect on the world around them.

Beyond the core rules, here are the things players can use.

Mega-Heroic Moments
You just get one, but when you use it, it’ll be memorable.

Alphite. You were raised in the domed city of Apha, before it was destroyed.
Brain-In-A-Jar and Murderous Toy. These stretch what themes are supposed to do to their limits, to give weirder character options.

Beyond the core rules, these are things the GM can use to help built the setting and its feel.

Weird relics of the Unburned World, from before the Chasm of History. Presented conceptually in Part One, and rules for PCs trying to figure them out in Part Two.

Survival is a key theme of post-apocalypse rpgs. Starfinder has a “Survival” skill. Making skill checks to survive every day is boring, and no one wants their game to end because everyone starved to death. And tents, even high-tech tents, tend not to actually make a difference to PC’s health and happiness.
These rules fix all those issues and brings them together.

These entries are like a bestiary, but for weird mutant threats!

Hammerderm It’s a dangerous sonic shark-rhino mutant.

The spectacularly creative Clinton Boomer has done some additional material for GammaFinder, and we’re thrilled to link it here for folks who want Moar Weird!

Dhampir of the Gamma Wastes. Yep, post-apocalypse vampires.

Fist of the Gamma Star. Ready for Post-Apocalypse Martial Arts?

Footprints in the Burning Wasteland. Each blasphemous caress of your sorcery is, of course, a unique & terrible thing.

Omegamancy. Even after the world ends, some things are forbidden.

Reek of Corrupted Wasteland. You can smell what the Omegamancers are cooking!

I now depend on my Patreon for more of my income and support than I ever expected to. If you find any value in my blog posts or videos, I could use help with the Patreon. If you can spare a few bucks a month, it’s a huge help. If not, even just sharing and linking to my blogs, videos, and the Patreon itself is a huge help that just takes a moment of your time.

Thanks, everyone.



Themes for GammaFinder, Part 2 (Brain in a Jar, Murderous Toy)

So we introduced some quick and easy rules for GammaFinder, a post-apocalypse campaign hack for Starfinder, introduced the concept of the Unburned World and its relics (Halidom), and then gave some Halidom game rules.

PA Mist Below

Since these have proven very popular so far, I thought I’d try some more GammaFinder stuff, and see how it goes over. Since my simple rules cover things like mutation, and ancient weird tech and magic is covered by Halidoms, it seemed to me the main thing we still needed were some GammaFinder-specific themes.

So I did the Alphite theme. I really like it. It’s a classic vault dweller/domed citizen/erudite lost-lore kind of theme. It’s important to have some useful, interesting options that are easy to pick and create typical characters. Lots of players want that.

But… it’s not weird. Some of the fun of GammaFinder-style settings is that it lets you play WEIRD characters and they don’t stick out like a sore thumb. If the world has cyberdinosaurs, cryptowizards, and psychic evil plants as part of the standard setting, you can do something a bit weirder than a human alphite and just be part of the quilt of crazy.

So, let’s do some crazy themes.

Brain in a Jar (+1 Wis)
You had one really, really bad day. You suffered a serious injury. Kind of the ultimate injury. You lost your body. Everything but your brain, which is now kept alive by a life support system using tech from the Unburned World, which no one really understands or can replicate. Maybe you remember that really bad day, and are driven to seek revenge on those who did this to you. Maybe your yearning to feel the wind on your face again defines your every choice. Or  maybe you just came to, a brain in a jar, and this seems entirely normal to you.
You are unlikely to appreciate “jarhead” jokes.
In addition, you gain an ability adjustment of +1 to Wisdom at character creation.

PA Brain in a Jar

Theme Knowledge (1st)
Although you are a living thing, determining your species is tricky. Because you are just a brain in a jar. Recall knowledge checks to determine anything about your biology other than “you are a brain in a jar” take a -10 penalty.
Note that your jay has mechanical limbs, sensory inputs, mobilizers, speakers, and so on. With the exception of a sense of touch or the ability to determine the ambient temperature, you can do all the things a person with a body can do. Since these systems all interact with your brain and need the basic of biology to keep your brain alive, you are also still subject to things like starvation, suffocation, injected poisons and so on. These systems may extend out from your brain, or even form telescoping armor around you as you move, but when you are stationary or asleep, it all folds back to reveal your brain. In a jar.
Medicine checks made regarding you also take a -10 penalty. However, anything that can normally be done with Medicine can also be done for you using Engineering (at no penalty), and you can benefit from any spell or effect (including healing) that can benefit a construct.

Upgrade (6th, 12th)
Your jar develops an upgrade. You gain one of the following feats as a bonus feat: Accelerated Recovery, Ambush Awareness, Arm Extensions, Blind-Fight, Climbing Master, Diehard, Dire Straights, Disease Rejection, Echolocation Attack, Environmental Adaptation, Fleet, Ground Fighting, Hauler, Improved Initiative, Improved Unarmed Strike, Jet dash, Kip Up, Living Ladder, Lunge, Masked Visage, Memory Access, Nanite Integration, Poison Rejection, Positive Conduit, Protective Fur, Solid Stance, Startled Scream, an Swimming Master.
You do not need to meet this feat’s prerequisites. You gain an additional upgrade at 12th level.

PA Brain in a Can

System Check (18th)
You can run an internal diagnostic of your jar, and it’s various functions, to ready yourself for more problems. Up to twice a day you can take one minutes to have anyone (even yourself) make a DC 32 Engineering check to fine-tune your mechanical body extensions. On a successful check, you regain 1 Resolve Point.

Murderous Toy (+1 Dex)
You are a relic of the Unburned World, or at least of a process lost after the Charm of History, You are a heavily modified entity that was turned into a living toy, a literal plaything for the rich and immoral of the world that existed in ancient times. Your species is not changed–if human you are as human as anyone else–but every aspect of your body and appearance was modified, seamlessly, to make you appear to be something fun and innocent. But your mind? Your mind is your own.
You might have been found in your original mint packaging, and only activated once the vault of collectibles you were in was raided. Or you might have had a normal life once, or as normal as life gets in the GammaFinder World, and been transformed by a mad cybersorcerer, DigiDaemons of the Omega Invasion, or a Living Factory-God.

PA Muder Bear

Theme Knowledge (1st)
You are a small, doll-like creature.
You may look like a brand-new Theddi Ruffspin babysit bear (TM), or a worn, barely-together Bharbe Dholl (c), but you are definitely a toy at first glance. Recall knowledge checks to identify anything about you are at a -10 penalty.
The DC of Culture checks regarding toys and toy brands from the Unburnd World are reduced by 5.
You are literally Small. Nothing else about your race changes. If you are a kasatha, you are still a kasatha… but maybe with big bear ears and fuzzy hide and a cute button nose. You also gain the constructed trait, as and android. If you already have it, you instead gain one of the following alternate android traits of your choice you do not already have (without losing a trait): easily augmented, infosphere integration, multilingual, or nanite upgrade.
In addition, you gain an ability adjustment of +1 to Dexterity at character creation.

PA Creepy Doll

Accessories (6th, 12th)
You gain additional android traits you do not already have, without losing any you do. You can select from those listed with theme knowledge, or gain  exceptional vision, flat affect, or upgrade slot.

Playtime (18th)
You may not like children… but you get a great deal out of playing with them. Up to twice a day you can take 1 minute to play with (innocently and safely) a child, or 10 minutes to meditate on a time when you did so. This cannot overlap with time spent regaining Stamina Points. You regain 1 Resolve Point.

Want More GammaFinder?!
I now depend on my Patreon for more of my income and support than I ever expected to. If you find any value in my blog posts or videos, I could use help with the Patreon. If you can spare a few bucks a month, it’s a huge help. If not, even just sharing and linking to my blogs, videos, and the Patreon itself is a huge help that just takes a moment of your time.

Thanks, everyone.

Themes for GammaFinder, Part 1 (Alphite)

So we introduced some quick and easy rules for GammaFinder, a post-apocalypse campaign hack for Starfinder, introduced the concept of the Unburned World and its relics (Halidom), and then gave some Halidom game rules.

Since these have proven very popular so far, I thought I’d try some more GammaFinder stuff, and see how it goes over. Since my simple rules cover things like mutation, and ancient weird tech and magic is covered by Halidoms, it seemed to me the main thing we still needed were some GammaFinder-specific themes.

PA Bike

Alphite (+1 Int)
You were born and raised in Alpha, the domed (and doomed) city that was the last bastion of order, technology, and science in the GammaFinder world–until it was destroyed by the Omega Invasion. But while you home was smashed, the broad education and basic understanding of how science and even quantum manipulation (called “magic” by the uneducated) function is still with you. It’s not that you are necessarily a scientist as a focus. It’s that you were raised to understand the power of intellect in all things, and given a firm set of conceptual tools you can apply to most problems.

Theme Knowledge (1st)
You received the benefit of an actual classic education. It wasn’t as broad and complete as it would have been in the Unburned World–too much was lost during the Chasm of History–but it was more complete and involved than is available anywhere else in the world that remains. That gives you a grasp of the scientific method, the psychic basics, and core problem solving. You reduce the DC of any skill check to recall knowledge by 3, and when you take 10 on a skill check, you gain a +1 bonus. Select Mysticism or Physical Science. The selected skill is a class skill for you, though if it is a class skill from the class you take at 1st level, you instead gain a +1 bonus to checks with your chosen skill.
In addition, you gain an ability adjustment of +1 to Intelligence at character creation.

Careful Consideration (6th)
The more time you have to consider how to solve a problem, the better you are at doing so. You gain a +2 bonus to skill checks when you take 20. Additionally, you gain a +2 bonus to your second and subsequent skill checks when trying to understand a Halidom.

PA Hud

Intellectual Dispassion (12th)
Your understanding that everything makes sense if you know enough about it allows you to overcome emotional responses by leaning on your trust of a rational world. When you fail a saving throw against an emotion effect, fear effect, or effect that causes you to be confused, you make expend a Resolve Point as a reaction to immediately reroll the saving throw with a +5 bonus. You take the better of the two save results.

Contemplation (18th)
Sitting back and calmly thinking about your circumstance, your assets, various tactics and methods you can try to overcome your difficulties, and what you know that may assist you in future endeavors calms and centers you, leaving you feeling renewed. Up to twice per day, after you spend at least 10 minutes in deep contemplation (this doesn’t count as resting to regain Stamina Points, and during this time you take a -10 penalty to all Perception checks), you regain 1 Resolve Point.

PA Girl and Dog

A Request
I now depend on my Patreon for more of my income and support than I ever expected to. If you find any value in my blog posts or videos, I could use help with the Patreon. If you can spare a few bucks a month, it’s a huge help. If not, even just sharing and linking to my blogs, videos, and the Patreon itself is a huge help that just takes a moment of your time.

Thanks, everyone.

Halidoms: Relics of the Unburned World for GammaFinder (Part 2)

Okay, we’re still discussing Halidoms, for GammaFinder! We introduced the concept in yesterday’s article, and now we start looking at game rules.

PA The Gray

Halidom Game Rules

Halidoms are a form of item that come without instructions. The GM can replace 25% of all treasure given out with Halidoms, though they are most common as Moderate and Major items.

The good news for layers is that if you find a Halidom, getting it to work gets you a scaling item. A halidom upgrades itself as you gain levels (normally once every 5 levels, based on when a version of roughly the same item is available with a higher item level). The base news is, you may blow yourself up trying to figure out how to use it.

Halidom Key Skills

Every Halidom has a key skill that is the primary way it was designed to be interfaced with. In 70% of cases this is Computers, Engineering, Life Science, Mysticism, or Physical Science. In 20% of cases, it’s Culture, Diplomacy, Medicine, or Sleight of Hand. And in 10% of cases, it can be literally any other skill. That said, take it easy on Halidoms with Profession as their key skill–there are a lot of different Profession options, and no group can possibly cover them all. On the other hand, a quantum knife that keys of Profession (cook) is both reasonable and, if we are being honest with ourselves, funny. (I like the idea of “Soup’s On!” as a battle cry…)

A GM may pick the skill to match either the form of function of the Halidom, if desired. For example, a laser pistol that takes the form of a small remote control steering wheel (which is used to guide a targeting dot like a flying remote, with a gear shift to fire the weapon) might have Engineering (for the laser weapon aspect), Physical Science (for the general laws dictating how such a device works ), or Piloting (for the actual interaction with the device’s steering mechanism).

On the other hand, it might interact with Culture (to recognize the Unburned World toy name brand and marketing), Acrobatics (because you have to twist and turn the device to make its various functions work), or Bluff (because it constantly asks if you have parental approval to use it without the safety systems engaged).

A GM can also just roll on the table below to determine a Halidom’s Key Skill.

Roll 1d100 
01-14 Computers
15-28 Engineering
29-42 Life Science
43-56 Mysticism
57-70 Physical Science
71-75 Culture
76-80 Diplomacy
81-85 Medicine
85-90 Sleight of Hand
91 Acrobatics
92 Athletics
93 Bluff
94 Disguise
95 Intimidate
96 Perception
97 Piloting
98 Profession (Pick one at random)
99 Sense Motive
100 Survival

PA Electroflies

Discovery Checks

A Halidom does not come with instructions, and it doesn’t work in a way that is obvious to adventurers of the GammaFinder World. Even if it looks like a gun, acts like a gun, and has a trigger, a Halidom gun may require you to think a mantra in praise to the Saint of Bullets before you pull the trigger, or might have a palmlock that requires you to fake only having 3 fingers, or might only work when held sideways.

And, of course, it might exactly like the serum of healing that requires you to place the gunlike object against your own thigh and pull the trigger.

There were reasons for all these odd things to exist, and they made sense to the society of the Unburned World. But those reasons were based on philosophies and conditions that are in many cases inconceivable to heroes of the world as it exists now, and the factors that caused such unusual designs are long-lost to the Chasm of History.

When a character first encounters a Halidom, they can make skill checks to try to determine its Key Skill. The base DC for any such check is 15 + 1.5x the Halidom’s item level. Any skill that is NOT a Halidom’s key skill has a -5 penalty to all checks regarding the Halidom.

Until a Key Skill is identified, all characters can do it pick a skill, and use it to interact with the Halidom. This can be done once an hour, unless a side effect deactivates the Halidom for a time. You cannot intentionally activate a Halidom until you make enough Identification results to gain that knowledge.

Halidom Interaction Skill Checks
Beat DC by 10. Make a Identification roll.
Beat DC by 5. Identify that if skill being is Key Skill. DC lowered by 1.
Meet DC. Identify if skill being used is Key Skill.
Fail DC by 4 or less. Minor side-effect.
Fail DC by 5 to 9. Minor side-effect. All DCs increase by 1 until Key Skill is identified.
Fail DC by 10 or More: Major side-effect.

PA Robot

Identification Rolls
Roll 1d4. If you get a result you already know, you get the first result of a higher value you haven’t gotten yet.
1. Learn Item Level
2. Learn Item Function (Small Arm, Upgrade, Computer, and so on)
3. Learn Key Skill’s ability score
4. Learn Key Skill. +1 to all future rolls (cumulative with getting this result multiple times)
5. Learn a hapahazard activation. (Can activate Halidom, but suffer a minor effect when doing so unless you succeed at a Fortitude or Reflex save, DC 10 + Halidom’s item level). +1 to all future rolls (cumulative with getting this result multiple times)
6. Halidom mastered, can be used normally.

Minor Side Effects
Roll 1d6.
1. Item changes Key Skill. Any activation is haphazard (as 5, above) until Key Skill is identified.
2. Take damage of a random physical type, 1 point per item level.
3. Take damage of a random energy type, 2 points per item level.
4. Weird discharge. You are sickened for 1 hour per item level.
5. Weird discharge. You are confused for 1 round per 2 item levels.
6. Discharge. You are targeted by the item for its normal function (if it cannot affect targets, nothing happens).

PA Explosion

Major Side Effects
Major side effects function as a wonder grenade, but the area is a radius with a number of feet equal to the Halidom’s item level, rounded down to the nearest 5 feet. If that is less than 5, it only effect’s the triggering character.

A Request
I now depend on my Patreon for more of my income and support than I ever expected to. If you find any value in my blog posts or videos, I could use help with the Patreon. If you can spare a few bucks a month, it’s a huge help. If not, even just sharing and linking to my blogs, videos, and the Patreon itself is a huge help that just takes a moment of your time.

Thanks, everyone.

Halidoms: Relics of the Unburned World for GammaFinder (Part 1)

I introduced GammaFinder, a post-apocalypse campaign hack for Starfinder, yesterday. The response was… positive. 🙂

So, now I am exploring what kinds of rules we can add to that simple framework to help bring the PA flavor to a GammaFinder campaign. We begin with halidoms… which are going to need to be split into two articles. Here’s Part One.

PA Vault

The Unburned World

No one is sure what happened to create the GammaFinder World. Some say it was a war, fought with quantum reassignment projectors, x-ray-pumped lasers, and boson bombs. Others think there was a Great Disalignment, when magic flooded into the world, dragons awoke, demons rose, and common citizens turned into trolls, orcs, kasatha, and wizards. Other theories include a genetic virus, the Gray Death, luddite cults, social anarchy, and even a rogue comet. The records of the time of the Burning are muddled, contradictory, and confused, as if a half-dozen worlds got shoved together into a single shared disaster.

The Chasm of History

History, in short, has a Chasm. On this side, the GammaFinder World.  Before it, the Unburned World. And in the middle… anarchy, pain, horror, and disagreement. What is certain is that before the rise and fall of the great cities of Alpha and Beta, there was a very different place, able to do things no one can conceive of now.


There are… things… left over from the Unburned World. Or at least, from the time of the Chasm, if not the world before. Objects. Strange devices that use super-science, eldritch powers, or some combination of the two to create effects no one in the GammaFinder World can duplicate. They are often the thing that allows a town to survive in a harsh terrain, grant a petty warlord his power of metal men, or make cursed places seen as vaults of wonder and horror.

These are sometimes called relics, fragments, antiquaries, or crytobjects. But for whatever reason, the most common term for these Unburned Icons is “halidoms.”


PA Toy

A halidom can look like… anything. Some are straightforward–a sword hilt which can project a sunblade. A vial of liquid you drink. A talking teddy bear which informs you of the ill intent of nearby creatures. Others are obtuse. A cube made of 27 smaller cubes which slide and shift into different configurations. A gnarled knot of roots and vines that are never observed to move, but constantly seem to be in different shapes. A tiny metal sphere with incorporeal lights orbiting it.

The problem is, form does not seem to follow function. A sword hilt may project a sunblade… or it maybe designed to be shoved into a rock that forms a mouth that gives medical advice. A vial of glowing liquid may be meant to be drunk, or it may hold the soul of a cryptowizard that casts one random technomancer spell a day. A spoon may full a bowl with soup, or it may project a sunblade.

A GM wanting a jumping-off point for the appearance of a halidom can roll 1d10 and consult the table below. It’s important to note that players don’t get to know what you rolled–if a haildom looks like a gun, that could be because its a kind of gun and you rolled a 1, or it could be a computer, and you rolled a 5.

  1. Typical appearance for its function (a gun looks like a gun)
  2. Representational appearance for its function (a gun looks like stone with a gun-shaped rune on it)
  3. Appears to be a puzzle with no link to its function
  4. Appears to be a toy
  5. Appears to be a typical appearance for an unrelated function (a gun that looks like a vial of serum)
  6. Appears to be a shifting mass of some specific material (a gun that looks like a ball of wires with tiny lights traveling along them)
  7. Representational appearance unrelated to its function (a gun that looks like a holy symbol)
  8. Appearance of a household object unrelated to its appearance (a gun that looks like spoon).
  9. Appearance of an item of apparel with some hint of its function (a gun that looks like a glove with a barrel on the wrist)
  10. Appearance of an item of apparel with no hint of its function (a gun that looks like a belt)

PA Engine

Most denizens of the GammaFinder World don’t risk trying to determine the function of a halidom once they realize what it is. But PCs are made of sterner (or dumber) stuff. So they tend to… experiment.

We’ll get into the rules for interacting with a halidom tomorrow.

A Request

I now depend on my Patreon for more of my income and support than I ever expected to. If you find any value in my blog posts or videos, I could use help with the Patreon. If you can spare a few bucks a month, it’s a huge help. If not, even just sharing and linking to my blogs, videos, and the Patreon itself is a huge help that just takes a moment of your time.

Thanks, everyone.


GammaFinder — Simple PA rules for Starfinder

I am a huge fan of Post-Apocalypse games. That may be why I wrote for Sword and Sorcery’s Gamma World line, and d20 Apocalypse.

PA Fallen Tower


The world ended. A few times. But for living memory, there were two Great Cities — Alpha, a land of ancient technology and highly-educated people living in a gentle, safe, totalitarian Bubble; and Beta — A huge, sprawling rough-and-tumble metroplex of rivers and bridges and canyons where mutants and rogues lived and traded and taught and sometime killed each other, but were free of most outside influences. Both had occasional visitors from a Third Great City — Gamma — but no one knew where ti was or what it was really like.

The Omega Invasion was unlike anything that had been seen in centuries. New horrors, new machines, new creatures, wiped out Alpha and Beta. The OI seemed poised to wipe out all life… until the Gamma Strike, which wrecked their bases and leaders, and left them in a scattered wreck of damaged robots and crazed ex-soldiers and experiments.

But there are Omega Invasion forces left, and they are trying to rebuild their armies. So heroes must seek out Gamma, and see if it can be convinced to once again save the world of the GammaFinders.

PA swirl cowgirl


Characters start at 4th level. The GammaFinder World is a harsh place, so we start with more competent characters. And that means you are just one level of a nice ability score bump!


Not happening, don’t worry about them.

PA Wizard


Every character gets an emphasis. There are three available at the moment.

Mutations: Select one item of your character level -1, or two of your level -3. You gain the abilities of those items as mutations. If they use batteries or ammo, you can use the ability as often each day as one full load of ammo or batteries. As you gain levels, you can change these items. When you gain levels you can improve your mutations to higher-levels of the same thing, or switch to entirely different items your mutations emulate, to represent ongoing mutation.

Relic: Select one item of your character level +1 or less. You have an ancient piece of tech that does what that item does, though you can change its appearance. If it has batteries or ammo, you refill them each time you spend Resolve to regain SP following a 10-minute rest. If your relic is lost or destroyed, you get a replacement when you gain your next level. You can change your relic at each character level, to represent the shifting effects of this ancient technology.

Talent: You get one bonus feat at every odd level. You must meet the prerequisites. Alternatively, at each off level you can gain one additional spell slot of the highest-level spell you can cast at that level. If you select this latter choice, you are likely described as a “psionic” or “witch.”

PA raiders


You get one item of your level (Major Item), one of your level-1 (Moderate Item), one of your level -2 (Minor Item), and one of your level -3 (Incidental Item). If it’s a consumable item, you can replace it when used at the beginning of each day (you may be able to make a new one, or find a new one, or have something that produces refills for it once per day).

These items don’t go up in level automatically, and if lost are not replaced.

PA truck

Level Advancement and Treasure

You gain a level every 12 encounters. Over 6 encounters, you expect (on average) to get one Major, one Moderate, one Minor, and three Incidental items. If you have the ranks in a skill needed to make an item, you can convert an items of the same type into a different item, once. Every time after that you convert and item, it loses one item level.

That’s it! It’s otherwise just Starfinder as a quick-and-easy PA setting!

A Request

I now depend on my Patreon for more of my income and support than I ever expected to. If you find any value in my blog posts or videos, I could use help with the Patreon. If you can spare a few bucks a month, it’s a huge help. If not, even just sharing and linking to my blogs, videos, and the Patreon itself is a huge help that just takes a moment of your time.

Thanks, everyone.

Gamifying Friday the 13th in 4 Game Systems

It’s Friday the 13th, a day long associated with misfortune and evil spirits… and urban legends.

So, what would such a day look like in an RPG? Let’s examine 4 different ideas, in 4 different game systems–Pathfinder 1st and 2nd edition, Starfinder, and 5e.


Blood Night

On blood night, the moon takes on a dull reddish hue that lasts through the night. Blood night is always in autumn, but exactly what night it occurs is based on a complex set of rules only heirophants really seem to understand. What is known is that when a blood night occurs on the night of a full moon, the bad luck is far worse.

From sundown to sunup, any attack that normally only threatens a critical hit on a natural 20, or 19-20, instead threatens one on an 18-20. Additionally, attack rolls made to confirm critical hits gain a +8 circumstance bonus


Minotaur’s Moon

When the ancient Cyclops Calendar begins the month of Maze on the week of a new moon, that is the day of the Minotaur’s Moon, when the Bull Man works to kill the small and weak. Goblins, in particular, greatly fear this.

On the Minotaur’s Moon, everyone has Doomed 2.


Which Weird

The kasatha and shobad calendars do not normally line up, being from different worlds with different year durations. But both have a “wyrd” day that is observed in grim reserve, and every few years those days happen to overlap by a period of 11 to 17.5 hours.

During that “which weird,” all Reflex saving throws take a -4 penalty.



When the Imperial Calendar gets a full day off from the Seasonal Calendar, a day must be added to adjust the beginning of Spring. This day is seen as a gate through which evil dead spirits can speak into the world to so discord for one say, and weaken the resolve of heroes, and is known as Lichgate.

On Lichgate, when making a Wisdom saving throw, you roll twice and use the lower result as if you had disadvantage. However, if your unused result is enough to resist the effect, you only suffer the consequences of the failed saving throw for 1 round. After that you shake off the evil spirits that weakened you, and are no longer effected. But if both die rolls are failures, the effect’s duration upon you is doubled.

Want More in Four?

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Here’s a teaser of content yet to come this year in the 52-in-52 subscription!

Animated branded with an Unholy Sign cover 1

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