Category Archives: Microsetting

Lassos in Really Wild West (for Starfinder)

A lasso is definitely a thematic option for the Really Wild West, but it’s also something that can become unbalanced quickly or weird quickly. Lassos use in the real world to capture cattle is extremely common, but it’s use for anything else in a modern era is equally uncommon. While there were roman gladiatorial laquearius, but it is unclear if they were true gladiators or closer to clowns who fought mock battles. There are records of various groups in antiquity using lassos in combat, but they are neither clear nor common.

So, we need the lasso to be easily and commonly used to bring down big, strong cattle, and to be something you can use in combat but with a great deal more difficulty. We need it’s use to be common among cowboys, and rare among most other people.

I want to avoid using feats to cover this for a couple of reasons. First, it seems unlikely most cowboy builds will consider a feat a reasonable cost to be able to do a core, iconic thing from their concept. Secondly, if someone DOES expend a feat on lassoing, they’ll want to try to use the lasso all the time, rather than when it’s actually the right tool for a an encounter. So, we need to look to the item/weapon design itself to thread this needle of utility.

This is a first stab at such an item, which almost certainly will be adjusted given some playtesting. As a special weapon no one gains proficiency with it automatically from their class, but the “professional” weapon special property (defined in Armor) means anyone with 1 rank in Profession: Cowboy is considered proficient, which seems a reasonable compromise.

RWW lariat

(art by Elena)

2-Handed Special Weapon
Item       Level  Price       Dam    Crit           Range   Bulk   Special
Lasso         1         30            —      Entangle       15 ft.        1       Professional (Cowboy 1 rank)

Lasso
A lasso is a ranged, 2-handed special weapon. A character trained in Survival or Profession: Cowboy can use a lasso to control a creature within 30 feet that has an Intelligence modifier of -3 or less. The DC for this check is 10 + 1.5x the CR of the creature. On a successful check, you control the creature’s movement until the end of your next round. If your check exceed’s the DC by 5 or more, the creature is flat-footed and off-target. If you are adjacent to the creature, exceed the check by 5 or more, and the creature was already flat-footed or off-target, you can bind the creature with the lasso, leaving it helpless.

If proficient with a lasso, you can use it to make grapple checks at range. You gain a +5 bonus to your attack roll if the target has no hands or arms, and a +5 bonus if your target has an Intelligence modifier of -3 or less. Once grappled the target is entangled (with you as the tether) as the weapon special property. If you use a lasso to successfully grapple an adjacent creature that is pinned, you can bind two of their limbs as if using manacles.

A lasso takes half damage from bludgeoning, piercing, cold, and sonic attacks.

Higher-level lassos made of special materials (and thus having higher hardness and HP) may exist.

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Combo Weapons and Shotgun Maces in the Really Wild West (for Starfinder)

To be really wild, the Really Wild West has to allow from some out-there combinations. Combo weapons are one example, so you can have gunblades and heat-ray-lances. So, to allow for that, today we have rules for making combo weapons.

And to make some of those combinations more interesting, we also add rules for huge 2-handed iron maces.

So you can add shotguns to them.

Combo Weapons: A combo weapon is made from two weapons. If either weapon is a two-handed weapon, or has a bulk of 2 or more, the final weapon is a two-handed weapon. Otherwise it is a 1-handed weapon. Its bulk is 1 if both weapons have light bulk, otherwise its 1 bulk more than the bulkier weapon’s bulk. Each weapon operates as normal.
The cost of a combo weapon is equal to 100% of the cheaper weapon, +125% of the more expensive one. You can upgrade one weapon of a combo weapon to a new weapon, but the cost is the same as buying the new weapon.

rww kanabou

New Weapon Special Property: Slam

Slam: If you make a single attack with the weapon as a full action, on a successful hit you do the additional damage listed.

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Whips in Really Wild West (for Starfinder)

You can’t have a Really Wild West campaign without rules for whips. Since the focus here is on classic whips, rather than electrified or neural whips, we need to write these up. (And we’ll need rules for lassos, and operative class features that work with whips, and…)

Obviously you can use these in other Starfinder campaigns, as well. 🙂

RWW Whip

Advanced One-Handed Melee Weapon Category

Item             Level  Price       Dam    Crit            Bulk   Special
Bullwhip         1      35            1d3 P  Entangle*    L      15 ft. reach, analog, block, operative
Hidewhip        6     3,000r     1d6 P   Entangle*    L      15 ft. reach, analog, block, operative
Wirewhip       11  20,000r    1d10 P Entangle*    L      20 ft. reach, analog, block, operative
Cablewhip      16  130,000r  4d10 P Entangle*    L      20 ft. reach, analog, block, operative

*Entangle Crit Effect: When you critically hit a foe, it is entangled until it escapes with an Acrobatics check (DC = 10 + weapon’s item level + the attacker’s Dexterity modifier) or a Strength check (DC = 15 + weapon’s item level + the attacker’s Dexterity modifier). An entangled creature can attempt such a check as a move action. While you have a target entangled with this weapon, you cannot use it to make additional attacks. Also, you and the target cannot move farther apart while the target is entangled. If either attempt to, they must drag the other by making an opposed Athletics checks as a move action. You both move a maximum number of feet equal to the amount the character initiating the check wins the opposed check.

Creatures larger than Medium receive a special +4 bonus per size category larger for skill checks made as part of the entangle critical hit effect rules.

You can end the entangled voluntarily as part of any other action.

r In a Really Wild West campaign, you must pay all but 1,000 credits of this cost with renown.

Advanced Melee Weapons
Whips
Whips are flexible striking weapons with considerable reach. A bullwhip is normally made of common agrarian herd beast leather or strong textiles. A hidewhip is amde from the skin of an exotic or magical creature, such as a dragon. A wirewhip works a strong, flexible wire into the core of the whip, and a cablewhip is made entirely of strong, flexible metal.
The block feature of a whip represents not a crossguard, but the fact it can crack and create tiny sonic booms, which distract a foe, and the long whip can flex and coil distractingly, making it more difficult for a foe you strike with it to focus on attacking you.

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Sword Saint in Really Wild West (Solarian Alternate Class for Starfinder)

While the Really Wild West is specifically designed to be 100% compatible with the Starfinder RPG rules, that doesn’t mean every concept in Starfinder is a good fit for the reallY Wild West’s setting. Most classes in the core rulebook work fine (soldiers and envoys and operatives, in particular, but as long as they take a wild west/steampunk turn, mechanics, mystics, and technomancers are also good fits). the one really odd-idea-out is the solarian.

Certainly you CAN play a solarian in a RWW game, but the idea is so anchored in modern sci-fi concepts it feels a bit out of place. However, the basic framework of the solarian can be used to build a more in-genre class, such as the sword saint presented below.

SWORD SAINT
The sword saint is a supernaturally-fueled weapon expert alternate class for the solarian, designed specifically for the Really Wild West, but functional in any Starfinder-compatible campaign. Despite the name the sword saint can focus on any weapon, ranged or melee, and may view their supernatural abilities as arcane magic, theosophic metaphysics, or (especially in a GammaFinder campaign) mutant power or psionic ability.

RWW Sword Saint

(art by 9’63 Creation)

Key Ability Score
Str, Dex, Wis, or Cha (select one)

Proficiency
You are proficient with longarms.

Bonded Weapon
Select a basic or advanced melee weapon, small arm, or longarm with which you are proficient to be your bonded weapon. You can change your bonded weapon with 30 days of meditation, or whenever you gain a new sword saint level.

You add your key ability score to your AC against disarm and sunder combat maneuvers directed at your bonded weapon.

You can always spend credits to upgrade your bonded weapon. Pay the difference between your current bonded weapon and a higher-level weapon that becomes your bonded weapon. The new bonded weapon has a maximum item level of your class level +2 or your total character level whichever is higher). (If using this in a Really Wild West campaign, any cost for a 4th level or higher bonded weapon must be paid with renown.)

This replaces solar manifestation.

Battle Stance
At the beginning of each round, weather in or out of combat, you can select a stance – mobile stance or attack stance.

Mobile Stance When you enter a mobile stance, you are considered to be attuned for purposes of mobile stance revelations. While in a mobile stance, you gain a +1 insight bonus to Reflex saves. This bonus increases by 1 for every 9 sword saint levels you have.

Attack Stance When you enter an attack stance, you are considered to be attuned for purposes of attack stance revelations. While in a mobile stance, you gain a +1 insight bonus to damage rolls (including damage rolls for your stellar powers). This bonus increases by 1 for every 6 solarian levels you have.

This replaces stellar mode.

SWORD SAINT REVELATIONS
You learn your first sword saint revelations (crashing wave strike and death blossom) at 1st level, and learn an additional Revelation at 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter. Sword saint revelations require you to have a minimum level, and are organized accordingly. Additionally, each is marked as either a mobile stance or an attack stance.

1ST LEVEL
Every sword saint gains the following stellar revelations at 1st level.

CRASHING WAVE STRIKE (SU) [MOBILE STANCE]
When you are in mobile stance, you can expend 1 Resolve Point as a standard action to move up to three times your land speed, and attack any 1 creature with your bonded weapon at any point along that movement. You ignore difficult terrain, and can fly and swim for any part of this movement, though if you are not standing in a space that can support you at the end of the movement, you fall or sink normally. At 9th level you can make two attacks at any two points along this path (though you must select different targets), and at 17th level this becomes three attacks. After you use this Revelation, you cannot expend Resolve Points to fuel revelations until after you expend a Resolve Point to regain Stamina Points following a 10-minute rest.

DEATH BLOSSOM (SU) [ATTACK STANCE]
When you are in attack stance, you can expend 1 Resolve Point as a standard action to deal 1d6 damage plus 1d6 additional damage per solarian level, to all creatures within 10 feet of you. A creature that succeeds at a Reflex save takes half damage. This damage is of the same type as your bonded weapon. At 9th level, you can increase the radius to 15 feet, and at 17th level, you can increase the radius to 20 feet. After you use this Revelation, you cannot expend Resolve Points to fuel revelations until after you expend a Resolve Point to regain Stamina Points following a 10-minute rest.

You have access to the following revelations as sword saint mobile stance revelations, with the same requirements (including level requirements) as a solarian: [2nd Level] blade in the night, dark matter, gravitic reinforcement, gravity anchor, gravity boost; [6th Level] blazing orbit*, defy gravity, reflection, roiling cloud****,  serpent’s coil, water flowing step****; [10th Level] soul furnace*, stealth warp; [14th Level] gravity shield; [16th Level] superlative nebula.

You have access to the following revelations as sword saint attack stance revelations, with the same requirements (including level requirements) as a solarian: [2nd Level] distracting glare, flare, plasma sheath, stellar rush, ultraviolet pulse’ [6th level] astrologic sense, corona, crush**, crushing force***, draining agony***, glow of life*, luminescent inquisition; [10th Level] gravity well***, solar inferno; [14th Level] sunbolt; [16th Level] superlative constellation.

*This is a mobile stance revelation, despite normally being a photon revelation.

** This is an attack stance revelation, despite normally being a graviton revelation. If your bonded weapon is a melee weapon, you can only use this on targets within reach.

*** This is an attack stance revelation, despite normally being a graviton revelation.

****New revelation, presented below.

Roiling Cloud [6th] You gain a +1 bonus to Reflex saves against area attacks. If you are in mobile stance, and you can get out of an area by moving no farther than your land speed, as a reaction if you succeed at a Reflex save against an area effect you can move to the nearest space that would place you outside the area.

Serpent’s Coil [6th] You gain a +1 bonus to your AC against grapples and attacks with the attach, grab, or swallow whole universal creature rule. If you are in mobile stance, this increases to +1 per 3 sword saint levels.

Water Flowing Step [6th] You do not provoke attacks of opportunity by leaving the first space you move from each round. If you are in mobile stance, none of your movement provokes attacks of opportunity.

Zenith Revelation
Rather than using zenith revelations when fully attuned, you can use a zenith revelation as long as you are in the correct stance. However, this requires the expenditure of a Resolve Point, and once you do so you cannot use another Zenith Revelation until after you have expended a Resolve Point to regain Stamina Points following a 10-minute rest. Crashing Wave Strike and Death Blossom are Zenith Revelations for this purpose.

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Really Wild West Spells, levels 0-1

While Really Wild West  spellcasters can obviously use standard Starfinder spells, the flavor of spells can strongly impact the feeling of a campaign.

So, we’ll want some Western/Victorian themes spells. Here is one each at 0 and 1st-level.

RWW Theosopher

(art by storm)

Phantom Pocketwatch [Mystic 0, Technomancer 0]
School enchantment (mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range touch
Targets Up to 5 willing creatures, +1 creature per level
Duration 24 hours
The technomancer version of this spell literally summons a phantom pocketwatch. The mystic version creates a small tattoo of a sundial.
Creatures effected by this spell know what time it is, including the date and year, day of the week, phase of the moon, time zone, and time down to the second. They can also have it track how much time has passed since a specific moment, and inform them when a specific time has arrived.
The most common version of the spell in the US use its official time zones, the Gregorian calendar, and so on. Variations of this spell from other cultures use other calendars, an absolute time based on dawn, and other standards. If the spell is cast while touching some timepiece or calendar, it can use that as its standard rather than its normal units.

Ask The Wind Their Name [Mystic 1]
School divination
Casting Time 1 full round
Range personal
Duration instantaneous
This spell can only be cast while outside. You learn about one creature you can currently see, or that you have previously seen and know the name of. You receive information about the creature as if you had used the identify creature skill task with a result equal to 20 + your Mysticism bonus. You do not learn any information about their allegiances or true name or identity, but if you cast it using their name you do learn if that is a name they are commonly known by.

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Armor and the Really Wild West

The original blog entry for the Really Wild West  has super-simplified armor rules, which were enough to cover the campaign when it was just a couple of blog posts for running weird west in Starfinder. Now that the setting hack has grown to more than 20,000 words of content, it’s appropriate to expand on those–slightly–to cover iconic exceptions to the general trend of Old West heroes not wearing much in the way of armor.

These rules can also easily apply to GammaFinder and (with a change of tone and material from leather to kevlar) FreedomFinder.

Armor and AC

No one much wears armor in the Really Wild West. Instead every PC gains a bonus to EAC equal to your level, and a bonus to KAC equal to your level +2. If you are proficient with heavy armor, you get an additional +1 bonus to EAC and KAC, and if you are proficient with powered armor, you get an *additional* +1 bonus to EAC and KAC.

You can wear armor, it’s just uncommon. Ned Kelly famously covered himself in meal sheathing, a few gunslingers are known to have put a metal plate or two under their longcoats, and some cultures have adapted older armor techniques to the world of 1891 with varying degrees of success. From a game mechanics point of view, all armor of any use falls into one of four categories – light, high light, heavy, and spot heavy.

Item     Item Level       Cost     EAC      KAC     Max Dex          Armor Check   Movement       Bulk
Light Armor      1          100 credits       +0         +1         +5         -1         -0 ft.    L
High Light Armor          2          1,000 credits   +1         +1         +6         -0         -0 ft.    L
Heavy Armor    1          150 credits       +2         +2         +4         -3         -5 ft.    4
Heavy Spot Armor        1          100 credits       +0         +1         +5         -1         -0 ft.    2

Light Armor
Light armor is normally cloth or leather-based, with heavy leather dusters combined with chaps and gloves, double-layer canvas coveralls, and blacksmith aprons and gloves as good examples. Alternatively light armor can be made of bone, wood, laminated strips of cloth or hide or similar materials. Light armor is generally obvious, requiring bulky clothing to be concealed at all and it cannot be concealed from a dedicated search. It’s possible to instead have something like a very small area of high light armor (such as a vest with a fine chainmail front), which can be easily concealed as high light armor is, but the cost doubles.

High Light Armor
High armor is much rarer than light or heavy armor, and is most common among rich duelists, veteran mercenaries, and high-society explorers. It is more likely to be made of coats of spider-silk, inner linings of fine chain, enchanted natural materials, or cunningly designed plates of gravity-defying cavorite. Unlike light armor, high light armor can be concealed (impossible to notice casually, and requiring a DC 10 = 1.5x item level to notice with a careful examination).

Heavy Armor
This is the Ned Kelly option (though it may be more professionally designed), heavy metal plates protecting a good chunk of the body. It cannot be concealed.

RWW Ned Kelly

Heavy Spot Armor
Heavy spot armor is generally a thick plate placed over vitals (such as a boilerplate chestpiece), or areas that are easily used to block and defense (such as vambraces and greaves). Though it’s not as protective as full heavy armor, it allows someone with heavy armor proficiency add just a bit of extra protection. It can be concealed from casual observation (DC 10 = 1.5x item level to notice) but not careful examination.

Powered Armor
Powered armor essentially does not exist in the Really Wild West, at least not as a commercial option. Any powered armor is going to be the exclusive domain of characters who access it through class features or similar avenues. Standard Starfinder powered armor can be accessed in this way, but regardless of what the powered armor normally grants, it’s AC bonuses and Max Dexterity bonus to AC are calculated as light armor, high light armor, heavy armor, or spot heavy armor.

RWW Steam Powered Armor

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Keepsakes and Baubles in Really Wild West (for Starfinder)

The Really Wild West intentionally doesn’t have as broad a range of consumables that are easily available to PCs. Unless someone takes the Mad Genius or Wonder Worker genre feats, most consumables beyond dynamite are available only as treasure. That reduces a PC’s ability to dip into a pool of resources when the going gets rough, and that can make life more difficult than the setting intends.

That’s where keepsakes and baubles come in.

In a world where magic is real, spiritualists can read minds, and Martians literally invaded from another world, when your grandmother tells you to keep hold of the holy symbol she had the day she outran a werewolf, or you narrowly avoid death right after finding a lucky penny on the sidewalk, or you discover feeling the weight of your book of proverbs from Ubar in your coat pocket keeps your calm, you take those things seriously.

Is it magic? Positive theosophic vibrations? Divine blessing? A boost to morale? Who knows, but you are holding on to your keepsakes just in case.

RWW Keepsakes

(art by Poltavska)

A keepsake gives a character a new way to spend Resolve Points. Unless it says otherwise, a keepsake’s use is triggered by a specific event, it never requires an action, it can only be done if the keepsake is on your person, it requires you expend 1 Resolve Point, and once you use a keepsake you cannot use any keepsake again until you spend a RP to regain Stamina Points following a 10-minute rest. Many keepsakes require conditions that may not be obvious to a player. If you attempt to use a keepsake when its conditions have not been met, you do not expend the Resolve Point (or loose the bauble, see below)

A bauble is works like a keepsake (including the limitation on how often you can use keepsakes), but using it does not require a Resolve Point. However, once used, a bauble breaks.

Several keepsakes allow you to make a “boosted reroll.” This is a reroll where if the d20 result on the second roll is 1-10, you add ten to the final value. You always take the second result of a boosted reroll.

Every PC starts with one keepsake of their choice. You can pick up other keepsakes and baubles as the campaign progresses, as they are fairly common and may be treasure, payment or loot.

There also exist relics, which work like keepsakes but are much more powerful. relics are generally the focus of entire adventures, and sought by numerous powerful groups.

These are the categories of keepsakes a PC may begin with, each with a few examples (though a PC may select another form). Other types may also exist.

RWW Scarab Coin

Emblem of Knowledge: [Book of Scientific Learning, medal of an appropriate saint, Science Agent badge, compass] Gain a boosted reroll on any failed skill check to recall knowledge.

Holy Symbol: [Symbol of any religion or faith] Gain a boosted reroll on any failed saving throw against an effect with the evil descriptor, or magic effect from a creature with the evil descriptor.

Icon of Health: -[Serpent medallion, Rod of Asclepius, red crescent, bottle of tonic] Gain a boosted reroll on a failed Fortitude save.

Icon of Rationality: [Book of Aristotle, scarab, class ring, mantra] Gain a boosted reroll on a failed Will save.

Icon of Safety: -[Eye of Horus, appropriate saint’s medal, the Yellow Sign, Seal of Solomon] Gain a boosted reroll on a failed Reflex save.

Lucky Charm: [4-leaf clover, lucky penny, rabbits foot, deck of cards, dice] Gain a boosted reroll on any attack, save, or skill check when you rolled a natural 1.

Icon of Grace: [Swam medallion, jaguar medallion, blue ribbon, bone pistol grips] Gain a boosted reroll on a failed Reflex save.

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The Next Last Stand

The “Next Last Stand” is a campaign idea, which spawned a bit of fiction. Both are presented below.

Campaign Idea: “The Next Last Stand”

You build a character explicitly to begin with a scene where you died heroically, delaying enemy forces in a last stand that achieves greatness, even though your death is inevitable.

Encounter 2 is with the rogue Valkyrie who recruits you, in death, to join the Verloren, the “Lost Troops” who are the only hope for staving off a planar apocalypse.

Fiction: Last Stand of Knight’s Bridge

“Stay calm! If you can’t carry it, set it aside. Do not block the path! Move, quickly.”

Valaina’s voice was ragged, the warning harsher in her throat the fiftieth time than it had been when she first shouted it an hour ago. There were still refugees streaming past her, rushing out of Arches Square and the roads that ran into Oldstep and the Tanner’s Town. But the numbers were far fewer, and she realized with a shock most of those running toward the Knight’s Bridge now were truly carrying only small bundles, and several showed smoke stains on their clothes.

And a few had wounds.

She turned to her cohort and waved to indicate they should keep directing power over the bridge, to the relative safety of Aldenear Citadel.

Her eyes scanned for, and quickly spotted, a lanky blue-skinned lad in a hauberk, carrying a massive plate of wood and steal over his shoulder and guarding the closest avenue from Oldstep.

“Sinjin!”He turned at the sound of her voice. “How close is the main force?”

The lean orc armiger set his bulwark shield against the corner of the lesser Knight Bridge tower, and nimbly climbed up its tightly-fit stone side as if it was a ladder, the weight of his armor and toolkits slowing him down not one bit. Once he reached the peaked roof he braced a leg and swing out like the lookout in a ship’s rigging, barely hanging on to the tower with one hand and using the other to shade his eyes from the flashing light of magebolts streaking back and forth across the skies.

His face looked paler than usual, but his voice was calm and strong.

“They’re marching through Oldstep now, lady. They could rush us in ten minutes, or a tad less, if they rushed us. But are clearing every arch and building.” He paused, then looked down at her. “There won’t be many more fleeing to use from there, m’lady.”

Valaina nodded and waved him down—his keen eyesight, and it’s ability to cut through smoke and haze, were worth the risk of running him up high once, but she’d not leave him there to be a target for mage or sling-stone.

Besides, she was going to need him soon.

She marched calmly to where the Tower Guard were holding the line onto the bridge proper, and maneuvered herself next to Guard Kinnon, the watch commander, and Elder Berett, though the “elder” was no more than twenty summers old, and the bands of mastery on his robe cuffs had been roughly stitched in place just hours earlier.

“Liegemen, it’s time to prepare the withdrawal. The enemy is nearly upon us. We’ll want to give people every change to make it to Aldenear, but once the enemy is here it’ll be too late to begin to fall back. We need ordered lines, and warn the yeomen some folk aren’t going to make it. We can’t let that break the formation.”

Kinnon nodded and turned to begin giving orders, but Berett put a hand on the guard’s shoulder.

“Can’t we redirect refugees to go around the moat and killing field? Rush through the city to the farther gates? The enemy is just coming up this one direction, so far, so surely some of them could enter Aldenear from the harbor-side? I know they won’t all make it, but…”

Before Valiana could speak, Kinnon shook his head and cut Berett off.

“Once the enemy forces take the Knight’s Bridge, the citadel will have to close the curtainwall gates. And the bridges—ALL the bridges—with be brought down by sappers. Those fleeing from the far side will be cut off as well, with little warning. Otherwise the moat and killing field won;t serve their purpose.” Kinnon waited a moment, staring into Berett’s eyes to see that the young Elder had understood, the turned and walked to his men, leaving Berett’s hand hovering mid-air.”

Berett turned to Valaina, his eyes wide.

“M’Lady, most of the city will be fleeing through the far gates. There are far more neighborhoods with access to the Queen’s Gate and Harbor Gate. If those are closed and their bridges destroyed as the enemy takes Knight’s Tower…”

Valaina nodded, grimly.

“You’re right Elder, but there’s nothing to be done for it. It’d take hours to evacuate the city, and it’s not time we have. Once the bridges come down, any remaining cityfolk will have to flee into the fields. they’ll have no walls, but the invaders can’t sweep the surrounding lands thoroughly until the citadel is taken.”

A hint of desperation came into Berett’s voice.

“My lady, they have necrothurges! Every death will swell their ranks. Which means every minute we buy here not only saves our own, it robs them of more troops. If we hold the Knight’s Bridge Towers, even briefly, we buy the city more time to flee through the far gates.”

Valaina shook her head. She nodded to the assembled guard, who were nearly in formation preparing to move slowly back from the two Knight’s Gate Towers. Only a trickle of refugees fled past them now.

“If we hold, all who stay here are lost. There will be no relief for us, and the oncoming forced will overwhelm us. I cannot ask the yeoman guard to die here, they will be needed on the citadel’s walls soon. And my cohort alone cannot stave off this advance As you note, they have necrothurges. Without a warder…”

“I’m a warder.” Berett voice was calm, for this first time since he had arrived at the towers.”

“Elder…” Valaina began gently.

Berett shook his head. “I don’t mean I am a warder because I am an Elder. I know these” he waved vaguely at the bands on the end of robe’s sleeves, “are a measure of desperation. But I am a trained warder, lady. I came up through the Siege and Fortifications house of the School of Abjuration. Put me in a tower,” he nodded at the greater Knight’s Bridge Tower, “and I can screen a unit of two score or more against all hexes and maledictions. I swear it.”

Valaina looked at her cohort. Nine squires, each lacking only patrons and experience from being full knights. Ten armigers, each with a massive bulwark shield.They could span the gap between towers, but…

“We haven’t the support, Berett. We’d need lancers, crossbows in the towers…”

Berett, very much looking an Elder for the firs time, turned to the assembled guard formation.

“Who among you yeoman have family on the far side of the city?”

Half the assembled guards raised their weapons, spears and crossbows held high.

“How many will give their lives to buy those families more time to flee to Aldenear?”

Not a single weapon lowered.

Berett turned back to Valaina. “Thirty, maybe forty defenders lost here. To prevent hundreds or thousands from becoming soldiers for the Adversary. Tactically, a good trade.”

Sinjin had come up beside Valaina, and when she glanced at him, he nodded, almost imperceptibly.

A distant scream echoed up from the streets of Oldstep, but was cut short.

Valaina nodded.

“We are guided by your wisdom Elder. Kinnon!” The guard commander turned from his formation. “Ten lancers, ten crossbowyers, volunteers only. Those without families and older than thirty take precedence. Then get across that bridge immediately, and beyond the curtainwall. No lingering, not for anything!”

Kinnon began selecting men and women with their weapons raised, and dressing the line to fill the gaps.

“Sinjin, set the armigers. Bulwarks down, one swordsman behind each, one lancer behind that. Set one at each tower door. Elder?”

Sinjin rushed off, and Berett looked at her.

“Take the crossbowyers. Six to your tower, and they guard you above all else. Four to the other tower. As long as you ward us, we’ll hold.”

Eyes wet, Elder Berett nodded, and hurried over the the gathered crossbow-armed guards. Kinnon’s remaining unit was already falling back, and a single old man with a ragged bundle–fat cat sitting atop it–was scurrying up to rush with them across the bridge.

Valaina marched over to her position, the center of the line of defenders, behind Sinjin.

“WE HOLD.”

From the streets into Oldstep, a shambling figure staggered forth. It was dirty, and hunched, missing most of its face and part of its left arm.

Behind it, were many more.

Sinjin’s strong voice bellowed, and he drew a hatchet and braced his massive bulwark.

“ALL TOGETHER, IN THIS LIFE AND THE NEXT!”

.

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Summoning for GammaFinder and FreedomFinder (Starfinder-compatible)

Yep, another tiered power, appropriate for use as a tiered mutation for GammaFinder, or Power Set for FreedomFinder (both Starfinder-compatible setting hacks).

This is summoning as a power, which for balance purposes is always treated as spell-like, but the player and GM can be flexible with the nature of the power. Perhaps your genetic sorcery extends to summoning daemons… even if you would rather not deal with such creatures. Perhaps you are a fire-manipulator, and the fire elementals you summon are just forms or pyrokenesis. maybe you have a form of technokinesis and technopathy, and can turn anything into servant robots.

We’ll be touching on some of those related powers later, but for now, let’s look as summoning as a tiered power.

PA Phoenix

(art by grandfailure)

Summoning (Sp)
When you first gain the summoning tiered mutation, you must decide what type of creature you summon, from the following list: aeon, agathian, angel, archon, azata, daemon, demon, devil, elemental (select one subtype), fey plane beast, inevitable, protean, robot, or shadow creature. you are not restricted by the normal summoner requirements (you can summon demons even if you are lawful good… you poor soul).
These re summoned as the appropriate summon creature spell, obey you (regardless of alignment difference, though evil creatures will tend toward evil methods unless given orders restricting their options, even of summoned by good-aligned characters), and understand any orders you give.
Summoning grants you upgrades, which are special powers you have with your summoned creatures that acts differently than the summon creature spell. You can select from the upgrades below. Once made, these choices cannot be changed. You cannot select an upgrade more than once unless it says otherwise.
Upgrades:
Broad Summoning: You can select an additional type of creature to summon, and mix and match your summoning to include any of your allowed types.
Communication: You and your summoned creatures have limited telepathy, which only works with each other (but functions regardless of language).
Environmental: Select one environmental graft. You can apply it to any creatures you summon. The creatures gain all the abilities always granted by the graft, and any one of those sometimes granted. A given summoned creature can only have one environmental graft applied to it. You can select this upgrade multiple times. each time, you select a different environmental graft.
Language: Creatures you summon know a single language you know, fo course chocie, and can communicate in this langauge.
Lasting: You can have a single summoned creature be persistent when it is not in combat. However, if it makes an attack or is attacked, forced to make a saving throw, or takes damage, it reverts to having a duration of 1 round/level.
Variable Sizes: You can summon creatures up to one size larger, or two sizes smaller than those normally summoned by the appropriate summon creature spell. This does not impact their stat block or reach, only their actual size.
Tier 1: You can summon creatures (as summon creature I) as a full action once per day.
Tier 2: You gain one upgrade.
Tier 3: Your summoning can now act as creature summoning II. You regain the ability to use this power after you expend Resolve Points to regain Stamina Points following a 10-minute rest.
Tier 4: You gain a second upgrade.
Tier 5: Your summoning can now act as creature summoning III. You can now use this ability at any time by expending a Resolve Point. If you use this ability while any previously summoned creatures are still extant, they immediately dissappear.
Tier 6: You gain a third upgrade.
Tier 7: Your summoning can now act as creature summoning IV.
Tier 8: You gain a fourth upgrade. You can now use this spell-like ability as a standard action.
Tier 9: Your summoning can now act as creature summoning V. You gain a fifth upgrade.
Tier 10: Your summoning can now act as creature summoning VI. You gain a sixth upgrade.

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Thanks, everyone.

Tiered Incorporeality and Invisibility for GammaFinder and FreedomFinder (Starfinder-compatible)

It’s a double-sized weekday post with TWO tiered powers, appropriate for use as tiered mutations for GammaFinder, or Power Sets for FreedomFinder) both Starfinder-compatible setting hacks).

Incorporeality (Sp)
Tier 1: You can expend 1 Resolve Point to become incorporeal (as the Universal Creature Rule) as a full action once per day. You can be incorporeal for a maximum of 5 rounds, and must take a move action to dismiss it prior to this. This acts as  a spell with a spell level equal to 1/3 your character level.
Tier 2: You can now become incorporeal as a standard action, and end it as part of any other action.
Tier 3: You regain the ability to use this power after you expend Resolve Points to regain Stamina Points following a 10-minute rest.
Tier 4: Your ability to become incorporeal is now a supernatural ability (as a result, using it no longer provokes attacks of opportunity).
Tier 5: When you are incorporeal you can now move a single unattended object of up to light bulk with you.
Tier 6: When incorporeal, you can now attack and affect corporeal objects, thought your attacks do only half damage. You can only make one attack each round.
Tier 7: You can now make a normal number of attacks while incorporeal, but still only do half damage. You can now become incorporeal by expending 1 Resolve Point an unlimited number of times.
Tier 8: When you become incorporeal, you can now also make incorporeal an adjacent willing ally (or grabbed helpless creature, or held unattended object, or grappled active foe) and cause them to be incorporeal as well. This takes one free hand. You cannot move to a location where a creature or object you have made incorporeal would be damaged if it became incorporeal while it is with you, and if you stop touching it for any reason the creature or object ceases to be incorporeal.
Tier 9: You now gain the ability to use your land speed to move in any direction while incorporeal, even if there’s no ground there to move on.
Tier 10: You can now become incorporeal without expending a Resolve Point. Once you have done so, you cannot use this power without expending a RP again until after you expend Resolve Points to regain Stamina Points following a 10-minute rest.

00 Catfolk - a nice fade - JEB (1)

Invisibility (Sp)
Tier 1: You can become invisible as a full action once per day, as the invisibility spell, with a maximum duration of 5 rounds.
Tier 2: You regain the ability to use this power after you expend Resolve Points to regain Stamina Points following a 10-minute rest.
Tier 3: You can now become invisible as a standard action, with a maximum duration equal to 1 round/level.
Tier 4: You can now make a Stealth check as a move action, even when you have no concealment or cover. This Stealth check lasts 1 round, take a -5 penalty, and if you make an attack roll when you have neither concealment nor cover the Stealth immediately ends.
Tier 5: Your invisibility is now treated as a supernatural ability (as a result, using it no longer provokes attacks of opportunity).
Tier 6: You can now also become invisible by expending a Resolve Point to do so.
Tier 7: If you make an attack while invisible, you can now expend a Resolve Point for it to not end your invisibility.
Tier 8: When you are invisible, you can now touch an adjacent willing ally (or grab a helpless creature or unattended object, or grapple an active foe) and cause them to be invisible as well. This takes one free hand. If you make an attack roll as part of this, you must expend a Resolve Point for it to not end your invisibility.
Tier 9: Your invisibility now lasts 1 minute/level. You can now extend your invisibility (as with Tier 8) to one creature per hand you use.
Tier 10: Your invisibility now lasts 10 minutes/level. Making an attack without expending a Resolve Point does not end the invisibility, but instead reduces its duration by 10 minutes. If this would reduce the duration to less than 0, it instead lasts 1 more round.

WANT MORE GAMMAFINDER?! OR FREEDOMFINDER?
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.