Category Archives: Pathfinder 2nd Ed

Now On Patreon: Companion Feats for PF2

As I run my Gatekeepers campaign for PF2, the player running a ranger with a bear companion (“Brogue,” who is beloved by the team) and I are learning the Companion rules together.

Sometimes, we both think there ought to be an option to expand the existing options, such as with a feat.

Two of those feats are now up at my Patreon.

(Art by grandfailure)

Those feats (and all Tuesday and Thursday posts) is currently exclusive to my Patreon. When we raise my Patreon to $1,500/month, I’ll go back to making all my weekly posts double posts here and on my blog. (And at 1,000/month, I’ll go back to including Thursday posts here on the free blog.)

At the $1,500 goal, I’ll also create and maintain Starfinder and 5e article Index Pages for my Patrons, with links to all my 5e and Starfinder blog and Patreon content.

(However, my #Dungeon23 project, Into the Tomb Lands, is also at my Patreon and free to all! And as of this writing, we’re up to 3 encounters.)

Gatekeeper’s Campaign for PF2, Session 3

Since people still seem interested, here’s the notes for session 3 of my Gatekeepers game for PF2.

The PCs wake having stayed the night at the farm run by Morgan’s Dad — whose name is Ferris, and can go by Goodman Ferris, Yeoman Ferris, or Landsman Ferris (since he owns his own land and has the deed on register in the Imperial Archive on the Continent). Player’s start to jokingly refer to him as “MorgansDa.”

The storms which have wracked the area for the entire autumn have suddenly stopped, but it’s unseasonably cold – winter cold. There’s barely any wind, the sky is clear but the air crisp, and the night was so cold dry wood cracked and frost formed on stones around the farm.

Heading out from MorganDa’s Farm, the Pcs see a group of 7 sailors coming down to road to the farm, pushing a cart. Hailing them, the PCs discover they are from the “King of the Crest,” an enormous 14-decked imperial Gantharian warship (Ganthar being a major kingdom on the Continent). The sailors are looking to buy food, and offer to pay in gold, or double-price in spellsalt. Gantharians being legendarily proper and polite there’s no sense of threat, so Morgan takes most of the sailors (lead by Deckmaster Rithan) goes to take to Ferris and see about buying some food.

“Bohrgun the Badly-Named” (the ship’s bosun) – stays with the other PCs to answer questions. They learn the Continental Empire nation of Curtalia, “the Grainhouse of the Empire,” has been stricken by a blight that both destroys crops and rots food in warehouses within hours. Curtalia is being avoided and quarantined, but many of the major food stores of the Empire are already infected. The King of the Crest managed not to put in at any quarantined harbors (which would have led to it being quarantined), but as a result it is seriously low on foodstuffs.

Further, the PCs are told Tidesgate is being flooded by other ships looking to buy food. Because the sea is suddenly becalmed, only ships large enough to afford a storm witch or sea warden (druid) can make it to the island easily, and those ships are too big to put in anywhere by Tidesgate or Seagrace. Most are avoiding Seagrace unless they have contacts or contracts there, so Tidesgate is being inundated with big ships.

MorganDa agrees to sell some preserved food, all for spell salt, and the Pcs get to see that he has potato cellars on his land that aren’t easily spotted (being under trap doors covered in sod and then under scattered hay and where he parks his empty wagons and large items waiting for repair.

The group then head back to Tidesgate. As they approach they see other groups of sailors from different nations (not all from the Continental empire) heading out of town, but in this case each is accompanied by someone the group recognizes as a responsible citizen of Tidesgate (often guards-for-hire). The harbor is choked with huge warships, many from distant lands that normally bypass this island when making a route along the Circle Trade, but must now be desperate for supplies. One is a huge ship with a spiked roof covering it, and rows of long oars in addition to massive ribbed sails, and is clearly not from any nation of the nearby Continent.

(Art by Juulijs)

In town, the price of food is skyrocketing in town as captains go door-to-door to buy anything people will spare, and send their men out of town to buy from farms directly (such as the Gantharian soldiers were doing). Rumor is some ship’s crews are threatening or outright stealing, while others offering to buy with spell salt at x2 to x5 food’s normal cost, and even black sugar is being used at 2/3 its normal value. Some are sending foraging parties into the plains and woods, which is technically illegal. The law is normally ignored, but there are so many now that local residents that depend on forage are beginning to run low on food, and there’s been a spike in apparent wolf and trihorn steer attacks, suggesting the sailors are stirring up trouble.

The PCs see Pottage’s Tottage has been turned into a central depository, with townsfolk bringing anything they are willing to part with to sell on consignment (and then locking their home’s doors and placing “No Thing For Sale” signs on them), while Pottage takes lists of desired items from a line of ship’s quartermasters, and makes them wait until each evening for him to say what each can buy, and at what price. The PCs grab a moment to update Pottage in private.

Then they head to Hexer Hellaina’s, to report to her. She pays them well for the information (in spell salt), and buys the black glass they got from the broken salt circle around the burial grounds (last game session). That she pays for with silver. Hellaina promises to update the Town Council.

Later, the Town Council wants to see the PCs, and confirms what Hellaina told them. In addition to Tidegate’s other issues, the council tells the PCs it’s been falling below freezing already, months before the norm, and hard freezes are expected in the next few days. The entire fall crops are in danger of being lost, and only having farmers putting out torches all night, every night, may keep that from happening.

With all this, the Tidesgate Council is spread impossibly thin by the combination of early freezes and hungry sailors. They are called on to watch the docks, keep fights from breaking out, and enforce usually-ignored laws on hoarding and cornering markets. The PCs offer to help, and the Council asks them to go to Southmount Farms, 2 days south beyond the God-Knuckle Hills. The farm is normally reliable in regular fortnightly deliveries, and now they are 4 days late. The Council sent Briarbrow Hooffoot (a cousin of Holly’s) to check it out, and he has not returned yet.

Southmount is run by the Braddoc family, who are regular suppliers of the Smoke Pine Taven, old friends of Morgan’s father and Averill’s family. They make “the Clear,” a very high ABV liquid that tastes like stale fire, which Nana Cutthroat often uses to add kick to drinks she has watered down, so people don’t realize how little of the original booze is left in the version for sale.

The PCs head out south the next day. They discuss their concern about things getting worse in town, especially if panic sets in about a lack of food, or folks sell too much of their emergency reserves and then the fall harvest falls.

As they enter the God-Knuckle Hills, they come across 5 shambler zombies, caught on a hill surrounded by a flash flood river from the heavy rains in previous weeks. They identify one of them as a farmhand at Southmount. The shamblers seem to be constantly trying to cough up something (like a hairball). The PCs jump the rushing creek and destroy the 5 shamblers. They also conclude that these are created intentionally with necromancy, not spontaneous undead that sometimes rise. The bodies seem diseased. The heroes burn them, making sure they do so in a hollow that will keep the ashed from running into the local water supply.

End Session 3.

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Simple Stance Feats for Pathfinder 2nd Edition

One of the things that evolved in PF1 was “Stances,” special kinds of combat options you could only use one of at a time. They were a neat idea, but were implemented haphazardly over years of expansions (in some cases under my watch, on books I was the developer for).

Similarly, there were weapon traits in PF1, but many of them were inherited from the previous version of the game, and others were added 9again, in some cases under my watch) in ways that may not have been as consistent as they should have been.

For PF2, the Pathfinder Design Team made stances and weapon traits a core part of the game, and gave them a much more uniform (and compiled) core set of rules in the core rulebook.

So, of course, I want to play with them… in this case by combining them. Stances have the limitation you can only use one at a time (unless you’re a 20th level monk who picks just the right feat), and weapon traits have the limitation that they are only on some weapons so it can be impossible to get some combinations of traits. But with this Simple Stance feat, you can get access to traits not on your weapon, at the cost of having to set yourself into a stance (taking an action) and not being able to benefit from another stance at the same time.

(Art by warmtail)

Simple Stances [Feat 1]
[Class varies, see below]

Select two of the simple stances below which list your class, you gain access to these stances. When you meet one of these stances’ requirements you can enter that stance with the Enter Stance action. While in that stance, you may choose to add the weapon trait the stance is named for to weapons noted in the stance’s requirements. For example, a rogue can select agile stance, and when wielding a single 1-handed melee weapon and having the other hand free, the rogue may choose to add the agile trait to that weapon. If you take this feat as a monk class feat, you may also add the trait to any unarmed attack you make, and may replace any requirement with being able to make an unarmed attack.

Enter Stance [1-action]
You enter a stance you know through the simple stance feat. You may also Step.

Agile Stance [Bard][Magus][Monk][Fighter][Investigator][Rogue][Swashbuckler]
Requirement You are wielding a single 1-handed melee weapon and your other hand is free.

Backstabber Stance [Monk][Fighter][Investigator][Rogue][Swashbuckler]
Requirement You are wielding an agile or finesse weapon.

Backswing Stance [Barbarian][Fighter]
Requirement You are wielding a a 1-handed weapon that has the two hands trait, and are using 2 hands.

Concussive Stance [Fighter][Rogue]
Requirement You are wielding a versatile weapon that deals bludgeoning or piercing damage.

Disarm Stance [Magus][Fighter][Investigator][Rogue][Swashbuckler]
Requirement You are in light armor or unarmored.

Fatal Stance [Barbarian][Champion][Fighter][Ranger][Swashbuckler]
Requirement You are wielding a deadly weapon. Your fatal die size is based on the original weapon’s deadly die size, and the weapons loses its deadly trait while you are in this stance. If the weapon’s damage die is already the same size or greater than the new fatal die size, do not change the weapon’s damage die size (though it still adds a die of damage as normal for the fatal trait).

Original Deadly Die Size/New Fatal Die Size
1d6 or less/1d8
1d8/1d10
1d10/1d12
1d12/2d8

Finesse Stance [Bard][Magus][Monk][Fighter][Investigator][Ranger][Rogue][Swashbuckler]
Requirement You are wielding a melee weapon of 1 or less bulk.

Forceful Stance [Barbarian][Monk][Fighter][Ranger]
Requirement You are wielding a melee weapon that does not have the deadly or fatal traits.

Grapple Stance [Bard][Fighter][Ranger][Rogue][Swashbuckler]
Requirement You are wielding a weapon from the flail group, or that has “whip” in its name.

Hampering Stance [Barbarian][Monk][Fighter]
Requirement You are wielding a two-handed melee weapon, or one with reach.

Parry Stance [Champion][Monk][Fighter][Ranger][Rogue][Swashbuckler]
Requirement You are wielding a shield or two weapons.

Shove Stance [Champion][Fighter]
Requirement You are wielding a shield.

Sweep Stance [Fighter][Ranger][Rogue][Swashbuckler]
Requirement You are wielding two melee weapons.

Trip Stance [Bard][Fighter][Investigator][Rogue][Swashbuckler]
Requirement You are wielding a reach weapon, a weapon from the flail group, or that has “whip” in its name.

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Now On Patreon: Fighter Critical Specialization Feats

One of the interesting additions of Pathfinder 2nd Ed is critical specialization effects. While there are lots of PC options built around accessing them, I haven’t noticed any built around modifying how they work. Which, of course, made me want to create some.

Being better with criticals definitely feels weapon master/fighter themed. I could see creating a Weapon master archetype, but for now I’ve just created them as fighter class feats for Pathfinder 2nd ed over on my Patreon. Since I need to raise the funding level of my Patreon, until I get more backers all Thursday posts are Patreon exclusive.

However, once my Patreon funding level hits $1,000/month, I’ll go back to posting my Thursday posts free for all to see here, AND I’ll create and maintain an index page of all my PF2 articles for Patrons, so they can easily access all my online PF2 content!

(Art by grandfailure)

Spell Slot Expansion Class Feats for Pathfinder 2nd ed

So in Pathfinder 2e gaining some additional spellcasting options is pretty straightforward — pick up the Multiclass Dedication feat for any full spellcasting class other than your base class, and then start grabbing Spellcasting feats as they become available. Of course that gets you spells from another class, rather than your own, and it requires you pick up a Dedication feat first. But when it comes to gaining more spell slots for your own class, your only real option is Cantrip Expansion. But cantrip Expansion is very similar to the Spellcasting dedication feats, in that it gives you access to two extra cantrips.

So, let’s compare the Cantrip Expansion feat to the Wizard Dedication feat:

—–

CANTRIP EXPANSION
Feat 2
Bard Cleric Magus Oracle Psychic Sorcerer Witch Wizard

A greater understanding of your magic broadens your range of simple spells.
Prepared Caster (Cleric, Wizard, etc.): You can prepare two additional cantrips each day.
Spontaneous Caster (Bard, Sorcerer, etc.): Add two additional cantrips from your spell list to your repertoire.

WIZARD DEDICATION
Feat 2

Archetype Dedication Multiclass
Archetype
Wizard
Prerequisites Intelligence 14
You cast spells like a wizard, gaining a spellbook with four common arcane cantrips of your choice. You gain the Cast a Spell activity. You can prepare two cantrips each day from your spellbook. You’re trained in arcane spell attack rolls and spell DCs. Your key spellcasting ability for wizard archetype spells is Int, and they are arcane wizard spells. You become trained in Arcana; if you were already trained in Arcana, you instead become trained in a skill of your choice. Select one arcane school of magic; you don’t gain any abilities from your choice of school.
Special You can’t select another dedication feat until you have gained two other feats from the wizard archetype.

—-

So we can see from this that the Wizard Dedication feat gives you much more than the cantrip Expansion feat — but both add 2 cantrips per day to your total spell output. Now, there are potentially good and valid reasons for the Dedication feat to give you more, the biggest one being that as a dedication feat once you take it, you are temporarily locked out of other dedication feats, while Cantrip Expansion leaves you free to still pick up an archetype if you wish to.

So, using this as the power level baseline, we can create other Expansion feats as class feats by comparing them to Sorcerer/Wizard archetype feats of the same level. That gives us a clear blueprint for Spell Slot Expansion class feats, which like Cantrip Expansion) become class feats for all the spellcasting classes.

(Art by warmtail)

Basic Spell Slot Expansion Feat 4
Bard Cleric Magus Oracle Psychic Sorcerer Witch Wizard

A greater understanding of your magic broadens your range of more complex spells.
You gain an additional 1st-level spell slot. You gain an additional 2nd-level spell slot when your class level reaches 6th, and an additional 3rd-level spell slot when your class level reaches 8th.

Spell Breadth Feat 8
Bard Cleric Magus Oracle Psychic Sorcerer Witch Wizard

Prerequisites Basic Spell Slot Expansion
A greater understanding of your magic broadens your range of more complex spells.
You can cast more spells each day. Increase the spell slots you gain from your class by 1 for each spell level other than your two highest class spell slots.

Expert Spell Slot Expansion Feat 12
Bard Cleric Magus Oracle Psychic Sorcerer Witch Wizard

Prerequisites Basic Spell Slot Expansion
A greater understanding of your magic broadens your range of even more complex spells.
You gain an additional 4th-level spell slot. You gain an additional 5th-level spell slot when your class level reaches 14th, and an additional 6th-level spell slot when your class level reaches 16th.

Master Spell Slot Expansion Feat 18
Bard Cleric Magus Oracle Psychic Sorcerer Witch Wizard

Prerequisites Basic Spell Slot Expansion, Expert Spell Slot Expansion
A greater understanding of your magic broadens your range of extremely complex spells.
You gain an additional 7th-level spell slot. You gain an additional 8th-level spell slot when your class level reaches 20th.

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Now On Patreon: Shield Feats for PF2

I’m currently running a PF2 campaign (Gatekeepers, you can find the index here), and preparing to be on a PF2 actual play podcast (more info on that closer to time, likely early next year). This has me thinking about PF2 feats, how they are constructed, and what they are supposed to do.

As a result, I’ve released a set of shield-themed feats for F2 over on my Patreon. Since I need to raise the funding level of my Patreon, until I get more backers all Tuesday posts are Patreon exclusive.

But, there IS another set of shield feats I’ve already done for PF2, which you can access for free here.

(Sometimes you really want to get your shield up! Art by Nyothep,)

Class Paragon: An Archetype for Pathfinder 2nd edition

One common and popular Pathfinder 2e optional rule is the “free archetype,” which gives characters a free feat they can use for archetypes at 2nd level (and every even level thereafter), which they can only use for archetype feats. This makes it easy and appealing to pick up an archetype that can expand your options and bring depth to your character build.

It also makes it mandatory.

If someone just wanted to be a rogue, in a Free Archetype campaign, their choices are to violate that desire, or to ignore 10 free feats over 20 levels and be notably less powerful than their allies. Now, it’s simplicity itself to allow a character to take additional class feats the qualify for in place of archetype feats… but that isn’t really equivalent. The breadth and access to totally new and unrelated powers granted by archetypes are more than just extra feat slots. It has a broadening effect on an entire character build, and if a player wants to match that while remaining with a single class, it takes slightly more complex rules.

For that purpose, I offer up the Class Paragon. This is an archetype is designed ONLY for use in campaigns with the free archetype optional rules, to allow characters that opt to still remain within the realm of a single class to gain the same kind of benefit, in time picking up abilities from within the class that normally wouldn’t be available to them.

(Art by warmtail)

Class Paragon

Rather than spending time to learn abilities outside your core competency, you have devoted yourself to mastering a single path. In time, you will have a depth of tricks few in your chosen line of action can master.

Class Paragon Dedication Feat 2

Archetype Dedication
Prerequisites: Levels in only one class, no multiclass archetype feats
You gain a 1st-level or 2nd-level class feat, and become trained in one skill of your choice.

Basic Paragon Training Feat 4

Archetype
You gain a 1st-level or 2nd-level class feat.

Advanced Paragon Training Feat 6

Archetype
You gain a class feat with a level no greater than half your class level.
Special: You can select this feat up to five times.

Skill Mastery Feat 8

Archetype
Increase your proficiency rank in one of your skills from expert to master and in another of your skills from trained to expert. You gain a skill feat associated with one of the skills you chose.
Special: You can select this feat up to five times.

Class Paragon Mastery Feat 10

Archetype
You gain an additional class feature of your class, or an advantage with abilities gained through your class and class feats, as detailed below. You gain the benefits of any selected additional feature that would be granted to a character of half your class level, and gains additional benefits as appropriate as your effective class level for these features increases. Any time a benefit you grant you a skill proficiency level you already have, you may become proficient in one additional skill.
Alchemist: Select an additional research field.
Barbarian: Select an additional instinct.
Bard: Select an additional muse. You also add another focus point to your focus pool, which can expand your focus pool to 4 points if you would have 3 without this feat.
Champion: Select an additional cause. Your alignment need not match this cause exactly, but you must have at least 1 element in common.
Cleric: Select an additional doctrine.
Druid: Select an additional druidic order. You also add another focus point to your focus pool, which can expand your focus pool to 4 points if you would have 3 without this feat.
Fighter: Select an additional weapon group for weapon mastery. At 13th level, you also select an additional weapon group for weapon legend. At 20th level, you gain a +1 bonus to all attacks with weapons you have legendary proficiency with.
Gunslinger: Select an additional way.
Inventor: Select an additional innovation.
Investigator: Select an additional methodology.
Magus: Select an additional hybrid study.
Monk: You gain one bonus stance feat for which you meet the prerequisites. Select one stance which may be on you just gained with this feat). You can enter this stance when you roll for initiative by expending 1 focus point. You can also enter into a new stance while already in another stance without ending the previous stance, as long as one of the two stances is your selected stance, by expending 1 focus point. Each subsequent round you must either end one of the stances, or expend another focus point. You also add another focus point to your focus pool, which can expand your focus pool to 4 points if you would have 3 without this feat.
Oracle: Select an additional mystery. You can choose to also gain its associated curse, or not. You can change this decision each time you gain an oracle level.
Psychic: Select an additional conscious mind.
Ranger: Select an additional hunter’s edge.
Rogue: Select an additional racket.
Sorcerer: Select an additional bloodline.
Summoner: The manifest eidolon action takes you only 2 actions. Additionally, you gain a second eidolon (built as if you were a summoner of half your actual summoner level). You can only have one eidolon summoned at a time, but may summon either eidolon whenever you use the manifest eidolon action. If you already had an eidolon manifested when you do this, it immediately disappears as if you had dismissed it.
Swashbuckler: You select an additional style.
Thaumaturge: You select an additional implement, which functions as a first implement for a thaumaturge of half your class level.
Witch: You gain the hex cantrip and granted spell of an additional patron theme of your choice. You also add another focus point to your focus pool, which can expand your focus pool to 4 points if you would have 3 without this feat. At 15th level, you gain an additional witch focus spell of your choice.
Wizard: Select an additional arcane thesis. At 15th level, select another additional arcane thesis.

WANT TO KEEP GETTING THIS CONTENT? MY PATREON NEEDS SUPPORT!

So, I need to shill for my Patreon. The time I take to write these posts is paid for my people paying me as little as $3 a month. I very much prefer making the vast majority of these posts publicly available, but right now my Patreon is not bringing in as much as I need to cover the time my blog takes up.

So, beginning this week and until my Patreon hits a higher benchmark, my Tuesday and Thursday posts are going to be Patreon-exclusive. At $1k/month, I’ll go back to having Thursday posts be public, and at $1500/month, I’ll go back to all my posts being public. I hate having to close some of my content, and I know a lot of people are in tight circumstances (and I get it), but the reality is I need to either cut back on the time taken on these blogs, or have my Patreon grow. Rather than cut back immediately, I’m trying to encourage more people to join my Patreon, in the hopes that can benefit everyone.


Gatekeeper’s Campaign for PF2, Session 2 (Part 4 of 4)

Here’s part four (of 4) of my Game Session 2 notes for my Gatekeeper’s campaign for PF2 (part one here, part two here, and part three here). The articles at the Gatekeeper Index can remind you of all the characters, backstory, rules changes, and setup, if you want a refresher.

The PCs set to camp, and a massive thunderstorm moves in (similar to ones they have been seeing for several says to the north, including producing weird green lightning bolts where one bolt strikes down, and 5 more curl up from the same point in the clouds to arc back into the sky).

While camping, Nambra and Brôg sense something while on watch. They wake everyone, and Nambra is able to identify it’s location within a few feet due to her Whisper Elf hearing, but no one can see it. Calling out to the unknown creature, it replies that they are in danger, and the PCs realize it’s the 7-legged giant spider Morgan freed from its collar. The PCs try to strike up a conversation, with Holly specifically inviting it to come talk to them on future evenings, but it proves difficult. The spider often repeats part of all of what the PCs say as its response to them, with changes in emphasis (“Are you our friend?” “AM I your friend?”). A few skill checks in, it’s decided that it really does under stand them and wants to communicate, but its grasp of their cultural norms is weak, so it tries to mimic their speech patterns as much as it can to try to be talking the way the PCs talk. After repeating “You’re in danger” a few more times, the spider flees into the night. In the morning, the PCs find the waterproof web canopy it made for itself some distance off from their camp.

In the morning, the PCs find the edge of the Eirsyus burial grounds. It’s cutoff from the rest of the forest by a roughly-30-foot-wide break in the trees and large bushes, which Averill confirms is salted earth, likely as part of an occult “firebreak” to keep the spirits of the place bound within the burial ground. The PCs can see old cairns and burial pits covered by heavy rock that must have been quarried elsewhere. They decide to walk around the burial grounds once to see what can be seen from the firebreak before going inside.

During lunch, on the forest side of the firebreak, they are attacked by a festrog which burrows up out of the earth to attack them, starting with a surprise attack just behind Averill. It is riddled with diseased pustules, boils, and supperating rashes, and the stench is nearly as bad as it’s actual attacks. The PCs defeat it, and it rots away before their eyes. The hole is crawled out of is at least 20 feet deep, and the top lined with detritus from the festrog’s diseased flesh. The PCs decide to ignore it, for now.

Walking the firebreak around the 400 or so acres of the burial grounds reveals a crater — apparently a lightning strike — that’s destroyed part of the firebreak. Within the crater are tiny black lightning-shaped buts of obsidian. Jaedyn decides to try to use salt to complete the line through the crater, but as the group adds salt, storm clouds and green glows begin to boil into existence just above them. They stop, and clear the salt they’d already added, and the clouds dissipate.

The PCs gather all they can find (using Averill’s telekinesis, rather than getting into the crater), and decide to stay here overnight, roughly 100 feet from the crater, to observe the burial grounds at night.

The first watch hears something scurrying around in the burial grounds, but can’t see it. They talk at it, and it replies, promising all sorts of information if they give it some of their blood. They need not step into the grounds… a few drops soaked onto a cloth they toss to it would suffice. The PCs refuse, and the creature scurries away.

Second watch spots a wight-with-lock-in-its-forehead, far into the burial grounds. It uproots an old, dead tree with 1 arm, and suddenly throws it at the PC’s camp. The tress explodes when it crosses the line of the firebreak, and the PCs take a little damage. The wight rushes the firebreak as the PCs deal with the fallout of the exploding trees, but it is incapable of pushing past some invisible barrier at the edge of the firebreak. The PCs try to talk to it, it demands they give it their blood, saying blood is the key, but it is eventually thrown back by the invisible barrier, deep into the burial ground, and is not seen or heard again.

The third watch hears strange howling within the burial ground, which is answered by similar howls on the forest side. This goes on for a bit, and then two volkyr (same kind of evil spirit reincarnated as wild beasts they faced yesterday) leap from the woods to attack them. Averill is nearly knocked out in a single blow, but the PCs manage to win the fight.

As dawn approaches, a few of the PCs can ear a creepy clicking, scraping noise coming from the crater. The party goes to investigate, and discovers tiny salt crystals (all 5-sided, and flickering with 5 different colors) are growing in the crater. As they grow, the crater slowly fills in with dirt. By morning, there is no longer any sign of a lightning strike having broken the line of the firebreak. The PCs aren’t sure if their presence caused that, or if it was perhaps removing the lightning obsidian that allowed the line to heal? As a test the PCs run a line of salt over where the crater was, and nothing unusual happens.

The voice of the 7-legged giant spider comes from the forest side, saying in apparent awe that they stayed on “the line” all night, and guarded it. It is now repaired, claims the spider. But when the PCs try to ask the spider questions, it just repeats (you are all in danger,” and flees.

The PCs still have unanswered questions (Why did a wight want to buy food? Who was Chandra Chase and why did she pretend to have been hired by Pottage? Who collared the 7-legged spider, why was it kidnapping people, and what are its intentions now? What caused a storm that blew a crater in the firebreak of the burial grounds? Why do groups of 5 get pulled together, and then suffer terrible fates, once a generation? What is the Underhill Grove?), but decide for now to head back with the information and materials they have gathered.

End Session 2

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Gatekeeper’s Campaign for PF2, Session 2 (Part 3)

Part three of my Game Session 2 notes for my Gatekeeper’s campaign for PF2 (part one here, and part two here). The articles at the Gatekeeper Index can remind you of all the characters, backstory, rules changes, and setup, if you want a refresher.

The PCs gather at Pottage’s Tottage, and briefly update each other on their experiences of the day. Then they go inside and, to their relief, Pottage is in fact present and willing to explain what’s going on… such as he knows it.

Pottage reveals to the PCs that while he was indeed a foundling, he was found with a trunk of possessions that Nana Cutthroat kept for him until he was a young teen, when she gave it over to him. He discovered in the trunk a family journal, which claimed his family had been moving back and forth between Tidegate and the Continent for generations, trying to solve the mystery of “The Five.”

According to that tome and the research he has done since, every generation 5 people of different backgrounds who happen to be in Tidegate are drawn together, seem to begin to engage in a mystery of some kind, and then are cursed, killed, or disappear. A few generations ago one was a member of his family, and his line has been trying to figure out what is going on ever since. Often the deaths appear to be part of something ritualistic, though it’s not always at the hands of Bloodletters. Different groups, from lone wizards to wicked gollusks, have seemed intent on killing The Five each generation.

So Pottage doesn’t know what is going on, but seeing 5 of them suddenly falling into strange events he was immediately convinced they were this generations example of an event that has ben going on for at least 200 years (since the Continental Empire absorbed Khetonnia and destroyed Eirsyus). He’s spent his whole adult life preparing to help whoever the 5 turned out to be, and now the time has come. He’s been trying to learn all he can and though he has snippets — for example, the Underhill Grove is supposedly a place or group that can aid the Five, but he doesn’t know anything else about it — the core of what causes the Five to be drawn together, and who then destroys them, and why, is still a mystery to him.

And, his shop turns out to be full of secret compartments and hidden shelves. This is where he keeps his tools, tomes, and supplies, since he spends most of his time here watching over his store. Pottage notes that there was no sign of the “new girl” Chandra Chase (who Averill and Morgan ran into), but his personal chambers above the shop, and his locked valuables storage, and his basement deep storage, and his small warehouse were all thoroughly searched and left disheveled, but there’s no sign anyone found his hidden spaces in his open-to-everyone storefront.

Jaedyn suddenly asks if Chandra was the kind of “too gorgeous for it to be normal” that might mark her as a gollusk, and while no one is sure, the idea is bookmarked for later.

Pottage can’t explain the 7-legged spider that grabbed him, though he can say it appeared to be laying in wait for him. He was trying to sneak in the back way of his shop, when he and then his employee Mac where grabbed, poisoned, and wrapped up. Upon hearing about the stranger with a lock in its forehead and red motes for eyes, he notes is sounds like a wight, and was dressed in fashion common in Eirsyus roughly 200 years ago. When shown the coins Nambra grabbed (which the wight spent), Pottage pulls out of of his secret draws which has a book on local Numismatics, and confirms they are of an old Eirysus city-state from the last days of those realms before the Continental Empire crushed them. They have only been seen in recent years in old Eirysus graves.

There is, he notes, an old Eirysus burial ground roughly a day north at the southern tip of the eastern edge of the Wildwood. Upon consulting a map, Morgan confirms that was the direction the giant spider dashed off to when it fled out of town. Although they can’t be as perceive, Jaedyn and Holly also note the wight seemed to be going that way when it turns into smoke.

The PCs agree they are going to go check out the old Eirysus burial grounds, to see if they can find more info. They want to leave in the morning, but Pottage suggests they get out of town now, before the town council can decide to order them to stay here until things are all sorted out. The group decides to go to Morgan’s father’s farm, one of many within a couple hours of Tidegate, stay there for the night, and set out at first light. Pottage promises to do more research about the giant spider and the sigil on its back, and the wight.

The PCs make it safely to Morgan’s father’s farm, where those who have never been before are a bit surprised by its architecture. The entire farm is walled with a stone wall taller than a typical human, which is rare but not unknown, and the main farmhouse and neighboring barn are stone with slate roofs. It is known Morgan’s father left the island years ago, before Morgan was born, because his original home burned down, so mostly his sturdy, stone construction is attributed to that (and, perhaps, the adventuring money he made while he was gone). The farmhouse is big enough that 20 could live there long-term, and 100 people shelter in it, but it’s just home to Morgan and his father at the moment. It has 2 indoor baths with copper water tanks you can heat with a fire, a huge kitchen, and apparently multiple cellars with extensive emergency supplies.

(Morgan’s Fathers House… sorta. The roof should be slate tiles, and wall taller, the gate sturdier, and the windows all narrower and with heavy shutters. But, you know, other than that… Art by Midge9282)

Hearing that they might be tracking a wight, Morgan’s father does two things. First, he tells them if they run into a wight, they should run immediately. Secondly, he gives them a glass bottle totally wrapped in a wicker cover. he says it’s Vingarian Brandy – from Vingarie, on the Continent. Supposedly helps with level loss and doom from contact with undead (“brings warmth back into your soul”). He doesn’t know if it’s true, but it seems worth trying if they get in trouble.

The next day the PCs head north. Since there is no path or road directly to the burial grounds, they must us exploration activities to arrive without getting lost or delayed. Everyone is able to do so except Averill, who just shrugs and follows along when he thinks north is one direction, and everyone else believes it’s the exact opposite way.

Late in the day, the group is attacked by a volkyr — a vicious creature that looks like a cross between a wolf and a wolverine and has flat, all-black eyes. Local lore claims volkyr are reincarnated evil spirits –not born nor breeding like typical animals, but fel souls of mortals that step full-grown out of unlit places to cause pain and misery. The creature begins the fight with a charge, and nearly drops Morgan in a single blow. But the group is able to fight it off, and afterward patch up Morgan.

By then, it’s dusk, and the party decides to camp and continue on to the burial grounds in the morning.

End of Part 3.

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Gatekeeper’s Campaign for PF2, Session 2 (Part 2)

Part two of my Game Session 2 notes for my Gatekeeper’s campaign for PF2 (part one here). The articles at the Gatekeeper Index can remind you of all the characters, backstory, rules changes, and setup, if you want a refresher.

Morgan quickly climbs up to the top of Pottage’s Tottage, and sees a Large spider with a face he realizes matches the one he saw looking over the edge. It has struggling people-sized silk bundles webbed to its hind legs, a bright red sigil on its back, and seems to naturally have just 7 legs (4 on the left, 3 on the right). The spider sees him, covers itself in a fog cloud that moves with it, and jumps away to another roof. Morgan follows town protocol by raising an alarm (screaming “MONSTER! GIANT SPIDER!”), and goes after it. (Chase Rules)

Averill tries to follow from the ground and raise the alarm.

Meanwhile, the PCs at the Smoke Pine Taven are passing out food bundles. The system is simple, a line forms by the counter. Everyone throws down a couple of copper and gets a bundle. But Jaedyn sees a figure she does not know, who is wearing a cloak, completely covering their hands with its edge and totally covering their head with its hood. While it’s not unusual for shy strangers to come in off a ship, one being that covered is odd and with the recent weirdness makes Jaedyn suspicious. She opts to hand it a food bundle in a way that causes it to fall at the last second, hoping to get the creature to look up to grab it. (Thievery check) This succeeds, and she sees it has a desiccated face, a lock built into its forehead (like the front of a padlock), and it’s eyes are hollow black pits, with tiny bright red motes of light far, far back within the eye sockets.

It hisses at her, and runs to exist the Smoke Pine.

Jaedyn throws a knife in an effort to pin its hood to a wall so it is jerked back and its face is revealed. She succeeds, and the whole cloak comes off. The desiccated creature flees out into the street. Holly grabs its food and runs after it. Nambra takes this opportunity to conceal herself from anyone in the Smoke Pine, especially the cats. Jaedyn grabs the dropped cloak, the runs after Holly.

Holly wants to get ahead of the fleeing figure (Chase Rules), and eventually does so. She offers it the food pack, saying it’s done nothing wrong. It crouches and replies “Give me your BLOOD!” Taken aback, Holly refuses, and the creature turns into smoke and flies away faster than be followed.

It begins to rain.

Morgan is chasing the jumping cloud of fog that has a giant spider in it, while Aervill tries to rally people in the streets below. Eventually Morgan catches up to it and, since the fog is made of water vapor, tries to access his water powers (sending a hero point) to dispel it. that succeeds, and the spider creature seems surprised. Getting a better look at it, Morgan sees it has a black collar around its neck, with inward-bent hooks that dig at the spider’s flesh and cause trails of smoke to trail upward from the contact. Morgan tries to access his water powers again, succeeds, and uses them to form curved blades of ice that cut the collar free of the spider creature.

The spider gasps, drops the two figures strapped to its legs, looks at Morgan and chokes out “You’re in DANGER!” Then, it flees.

Morgan cuts the two figures loose, discovering they are Pottage and Mac. He and Averill get back together, and Pottage comes to enough to say he’d like his return to be kept secret for now. Morgan and Averill agree, and happen to mention the new woman working at the Tottage, Chandra Chase, didn’t know he was back yet. Pottage is concern because he hasn’t hired anyone new, and doesn’t know a Chandra. Pottage promises to meet them in a bit at the Tottage, but asks if and can they get Mac to Hexer Helaina, since he’s not recovering as fast. They agree, and while Morgan takes Mac to Hellaina, he sends Averill to go get Jaedyn, Holly, and Nambra and bring them to the Tottage as well.

Nambra, as it happens, noticed the two coins the desiccated figure used to buy food looked different from any others she’s seen, and exchanges them for two coins of her own. Holly and Jaedyn come back in, noting the figure disappeared. Nana Cutthroat comes up to them and hears the description, and says it sounds like a wight. She is asked if wights are common in Tidegate, and affirms they are not. There was one wight captain who couldn’t set foot off his ship that used to come to port now and then, and they allowed it, but it turned out he had a plot to have his ship carried by millions of tiny crabs, and then a holy knight from the Continental Empire showed up and destroyed him.

But, Nana Cutthroat notes, this cloak seems older than that. She gives it a deep sniff, then suddenly says she must talk to the council, and rushed off into the rain, with the cloak.

And just then, Averill shows up, and explains why they should go to the Tottage.

End Part 2.

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