Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Dynasties of the Fantômonde

In the Fantômonde, there are five Dynasties that represent the five ways a terne may discover the phantom world. Upon accessing the Fantômonde for the first time, a percie is wise to find which Dynasty they used to expand their world. Once a percie knows this, they are referred to as a Scion of that dynasty.

Ankhar epitomize resilience, determination, and perseverance. They are seen as dull or stubborn by many other Scions, but Ankhar don’t give up easily and at the end of a trying time it is the Ankhar most likely to be left standing.

Mahgreis see pain and sadness as the best teachers for both themselves and others. They may be dismissed as broody and unempathic, but they wish to see the world as it truly is, and believe nothing of value is accomplished without sacrifice.

Peraseer are thoughtful, intuitive, and creative. They are sometimes accused by other Scions of being flighty or chaotic, but they are simply more likely to trust their instincts than obvious answers and will take the time they need to explore new thoughts or hunches before being comfortable with a plan.

Valdrakken take to power and violence. Scions of other dynasties often see them as brutish, short-tempered, and bloodthirsty, but when fighting begins most admit you want a Scion of Valdrakken on your side.

Whinnowhin appreciate things that are done right and done well, even thigns that other Scions look down upon. A Whinnowhin may be seen as uncreative or unambitious, but they simply wish things to actually get done, rather than wasting time trying to find fancier ways to accomplish needful tasks.
Not all percies learn their Dynasty. Some think of the traditions defining them as limiting or self-fullfilling prophecies. Others claim to be empowered my multiple Dynasties, despite the seers and mancers declaring that factually this never happens. And a few just don’t get around to it, spending more time focusing on their vocation, or trying to build a veil to remove themselves from the Fantômonde and wishing to renounce all elements of it.

Author’s Note:
I don’t know if I’ll ever touch this again, but it leaped into my head nearly fully-formed, so I wrote it down. If you DO want me to explore these ideas more, obviously the best way to let me know is to join my Patreon and say so! 🙂

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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Elasticity, a Tiered Mutation for GammaFinder and Freedom Finder (Starfinder-compatible)

We’re still doing tiered mutations, designed for both the GammaFinder and a more comic-book themed theoretical “FreedomFinder” setting (which so far only exists as a thought experiment and a single set of soldier options).

Since it’s Friday, I decided to get casual and do a weirder power. So the next dual-purpose power to get the tiered mutation treatment is… Elasticity.

PA Elastic

(art by higyou)

Elasticity
Your body is malleable, flexible, and stretchy. You gain elasticity points, which you can assign to various abilities as you mold and shape your body. Once assigned your elasticity points (and the powers they give you) remain until you are stunned, knocked unconscious, or killed. Any power or attack you make using elasticity points immediately ends if you reassign those points. You can change your elasticity points as part of any other action, but can only do so once per round. You cannot affect the same aspect of yourself with multiple elasticity point powers (you cannot assign both 1 elasticity point to be one size larger and 2 to be two sized larger, for example).
Tier 1: You reduce any damage you take that is not energy damage, or piercing or slashing damage, by 5 points per tier of elasticity. This includes kinetic damage from nonweapon sources, such as falling or crush attacks.
You have 1 elasticity point.
You can assign 1 elasticity point to gain the compression UCR.
You can assign 1 elasticity point to increase your size category by 1 step (maximum of colossal).
Tier
2: You now have 2 elasticity points.
You can assign 2 elasticity point to gain 1 extra arm using the multiarmed UCR. This represents stretching out some loop of your body to serve as a spare limb. The carrying capacity of this limb is separate from your normal carrying capacity, and is calculated as if it has a Strength equal to your tier +10.
You can now assign 2 elasticity points to increase your reach by +5 feet. When you use any elasticity power to increase your reach, you gain a circumstance bonus to Athletics checks to climb equal to your tier.
Tier 3: You now have 3 elasticity points.
You can now assign 2 elasticity points to increase your size category by 2 steps (maximum of colossal).
Tier 4: You now have 4 elasticity points.
You can now assign 4 elasticity points to increase your reach by +10 feet.
You can assign 2 elasticity points to gain the amorphous UCR.
Tier 5: You now gain a bonus to attack rolls to maintain (but not initiate) a grapple equal to your tier.
You can now assign 1 elasticity point to increase your land speed by an amount equal to your current reach.
You can now assign 2 elasticity points to increase your size category by 3 steps (maximum of colossal).
You can now assign 4 elasticity points to turn yourself into a glider wing, gaining 20 feet extraordinary flight with poor maneuverability.
You can now assign 4 elasticity points to gain the ability to make trample attacks, using the trample UCR. Your trample attacks do your unarmed damage.
Tier 6: You now have 5 elasticity points.
You can now assign 2 elasticity points to gain the ability to make attach attacks, using the attach UCR.
You can now assign 2 elasticity points to gain up to 4 limbs using the multiarmed UCR.
Tier 7: You now have 5 elasticity points.
You can now assign 4 elasticity points to increase your reach by +15 feet.
Tier 8: You can now assign 2 elasticity points to increase your size category by 4 steps (maximum of colossal).
You can now assign 4 elasticity points to increase your reach by +20 feet.
Tier 9: You now have 6 elasticity points.
You can now assign 4 elasticity points to increase your reach by +25 feet.
Tier 10: You can now assign 2 elasticity points to gain the ability to make swallow whole attacks with your unarmed attacks, using the swallow whole UCR. Your swallow whole attack deals your unarmed damage each round to those swallowed. You can swallow 1 creature up to 1 size larger than your current size, two your size, and double the number for every size smaller the targets are.

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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
Blindsense
Change Form
Climber
Compression
Creaturelike
Digger
Exceptional Vision
Expanded Lung Capacity
Fortified
Frenzy
Limited Telepathy
Mutable
Natural Weapons
Psionic, minor
Psionic, moderate
Psionic, major
Rapid Revival
Steady Stride
Swimmer
Telekinetic Flight
Toughened
Venomous
Wings

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

Blindsense
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.

Climber
You gain a climb speed of 40 feet.

Creaturelike
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

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

Digger
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.

Fortified
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.

Frenzy
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

Mutable
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.

Swimmer
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.

Toughened
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

Venomous
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.

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

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Thanks, everyone.

 

Developing to Spec (Part 4): Creating New Mechanical Benefits (with Starfinder Missing Legacy Feats)

This is Part Four of a series of articles looking at creating a set of Starfinder feats under specific constraints. The point of these is to offer practical examples of how I approach developing and writing supplemental rules for tabletop RPGs. Rather than just blather on about things as I think of them, I go over issues as I encounter them in a real-world example.

The goal of this project is to create the “Missing Starfinder Legacy Feats,” a Starfinder-compatible version of every feat in the PF core rulebook that doesn’t have an SF match. (We discussed the impact of having to do that, whether that’s a good idea or not, in Part One.)

You can find previous entries here — Part One , Part Two, Part Three — or just the finished feats (as they are written) here.

We’re done Acrobatic, Acrobatic Steps, Agile Maneuvers, Alertness, Alignment Channel, and Animal Affinity. And that brings us to Arcane Armor Mastery and Arcane Armor Training.

And a brand new problem.

Both Arcane Armor Mastery and Arcane Armor Training are designed to allow characters with arcane spellcasting to overcome the penalty of arcane spell failure when wearing armor. But Starfinder doesn’t differentiate between arcane spellcasters and any other kind, and doesn’t have any arcane spell failure mechanism. These PF feats interact with two sets of rules Starfinder doesn’t have! As a result we can’t just use the trick we did for Acrobatics and Alertness, and look for design space in the SF rules to match the intent of the version of the PF feats.

So, we’re going to have to make up some entirely new benefits, guided by little more than the feat names and the kinds of PF characters who might take the feats.

Every class in Starfinder has access to proficiency with light armor (to date, anyway), and none of the spellcasting classes (again, so far) have access to heavy armor. But there’s no problem spellcasting in heavy armor — the classes just aren’t proficient with it. And it’s easy enough to get proficiency, with a feat or multiclassing, so that’s not likely a fruitful direction for developing an SF version. On the other hand, it means any feat we create tied into light armor is accessible to all spellcasters.

That givens us a where or when for bonuses for these feats, but not a what. Worse, since we know we have to do both Arcane Armor Mastery and Arcane Armor Training, we need a bonus that can scale up, or two related bonuses. And, we need them to not give the kinds of numerical bonuses that can break the game math in Starfinder — just having Arcane Armor Training give you +2 if you can cast spell and are wearing armor, and Arcane Armor Mastery give you a +4, won’t work. they’d immediately be the go-to of any spellcaster, and might even convince soldiers to take one level of technomancer just to qualify for them.

But just because Arcane Armor Training gives spellcasters access to better mundane defenses in PF doesn’t mean it has to do the same thing in Starfinder. We could, in fact, have the feats not be training in armor for arcane characters, but training in arcane armor for any classes.

Viewed through that lens, we can decide the feats give you bonuses only against spells and spell-like abilities. That’s a much narrower field than a bonus to all ACs, but still makes sense with the names, AND is still appealing to fighting-casters who might have wanted the PF version (though we are opening it up to a broader group, potentially).

While we can’t hand out universal bonuses without risking imbalance, we can create situational benefits a player can call on from time to time, especially if they have a cost. So, what we need are defensive benefits, tied to armor, against spells and spell-like abilities, with a cost. Since we are designing for Starfinder, it seems a good idea for that cost to involve Resolve Points, and t make sure it’s useful but not a no-brainer, we should limit it’s uses.

And that leads us to these.

ARCANE ARMOR MASTERY
You can focus mystic energies into your armor, creating a powerful beneficial magical talisman.
Prerequisite: Arcane Armor Training, proficiency with light armor, Mysticism 9 ranks.
Benefit: When you expend your arcane armor talisman to reroll a saving throw, you roll 2d20 and take the higher of the two results.

ARCANE ARMOR TRAINING
You can focus mystic energies into your armor, creating a beneficial magical talisman.
Prerequisite: Proficiency with light armor, Mysticism 1 rank.
Benefit: You can take one minute and expend on Resolve Point to create an arcane armor talisman in one upgrade slot of your armor. You can only have one arcane armor talisman in existence at a time, creating another one automatically causes any existing ones to fade, and your arcane armor talisman only works for you and only when you are wearing the associated armor. While your arcane armor talisman exists, you cannot recover the Resolve Point used to create it.

When you fail a saving throw against a spell or spell-like ability, as a reaction you may expend your arcane armor talisman and reroll the saving throw.

.

Tomorrow we’ll take on Arcane Strike and… Armor Proficiency (Medium)?

PATREON
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Tales of the Brain Eaters. Three.

Sometimes, you have to move away from something to get a better view of it. Sitting in E-ville makes it difficult to truly understand the forces swirling around you in the twilight. Coming to Railroad City helps me put context around much of E-ville’s hidden society.

Things only hinted at in Evansville are spoken of openly in Indy… for certain definitions of open. I expected my inquiries to take me down, into the undercity, as they would have in Seattle where the City Below is such a strong part of the Second World. And yes, Indy has the same basement boroughs  as any major metroplex, with stairs and ramps leading down to the places where sunlight can never sear or cleanse. But the Lower tracks of Crossroads are a waystation, not a destination. You can make contact with the true Unigov there, but you can’t hold meetings with them.

That only happens at Skydeck.

Skydeck likely existed before the city was planned and platted 1821, but as with many things the colonizers took what existed and forced it to fit their culture, regardless of the consequences. Originally accessed from rooftops and (amusingly) chimneytops, Skydeck is now formed from the 13th floor of hundreds of buildings, some of which are missing many floors below 13. These are crammed window-to-window and hall-to-hall, making it possible to step over the Dropov to reach a new deck manually, but most transportation occurs with elevators and Skykeys.

In older elevators, you may have to seach for where to place a Skykey, but in most cases it’s the same as the fireman’s access. Most keys access only a few decks, and these are codified as times correlating with the position the Skykey needs to be at for that to be the correct 13th floor. The guide who took me to the common entry point, the 13th floor of the Thomas Building which survives despite the rest of the building burning, has a “Thomas Three O’Clock Key,” which accessed the area known as Ashlands by having the key rotated 360 degrees, and then turned to a 3-o-clock position. The clockface position is believed to have been standardized by the 11th Hour Society in the 1930s, when they served as Stewards of the Skydeck access points.

Ashlands is neutral ground, at least officially, less out of some agreement and more because the layers of soot on every surface and strong smell of smoke makes few people wish to claim it. from there the guide warned me not to go far, and I saw only the Stacks, as expected when seeking a sage, but saw tagger signs directing me to the Wherehouses, Galley,   De-Magiced Zone, and most troubling HighHell. I did not wander.

The sage declined to answer my questions, but even just overhearing others talk of local twilight conflicts told me much. The Kith are strong in Indy, as with much of the continent, but truly weak in E-ville. The BraiN Eating was mentioned more than once, and now I must wonder–are the Brain Eaters just defending themselves against the Kith’s influence? If I am to live here, I’ll need to know.

The Torsions are a new faction to me, and powerful only in Indiana, and their power wanes in areas called the Tippecanoe and the Vincennes, that later being the area of the Brain Eaters. The Torsions are very concerned with keeping a temporal barrier between their dominions in central Indiana, and those other counties, which manifests as a time zone caved from what should rightfully be central, but not for all the state.

But for Vicennes/Land of the Brain Eaters/ There are several factions, many minor or unknown beyond the borders of river and rock that define my new home, but which are apparently ascendant enough that no outside faction dares operate in any but the most clandestine fashion in Vicennes without some local alliance. Of these regional groups, the Red Cathedral seems most powerful, and are strongly tied to the brain eating ritual, but I know little else. The Storm Arsenal is agreed to be smaller and weaker, but otherwise a mystery. Other names–the Old Passe, the Clowder Guild, the Death Wake, the Eastcheap Livery–seemed to refer to Vicenne, but I have no context for them.

When my guide told me the Clowder Guild insisted he give me safe passage back to Railway City, which I had wrongly though was included in his services, I did not question it. I was above my depth, and I knew it.

But these are grand threads for me to follow once I return to Evansville. The Clowder Guild I must seek out, clearly, and the Red Cathedral as well.

There are things I must learn, before I dare eat a brain.

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Shield Feats for PF 2E

Okay I’m at Gen Con, but I can’t help but want to play with some of the most interesting new rules of the  Pathfinder Second Edition Core Rulebook. Shields!

Here are some new shield-focused feats. I am still trying to decide how I want to present some of the new information PF2 feats need in my blog format, so here’s a first try.

Angle Shield[General][Feat 1]

Prerequisites Shield Block
You can angle your shield to deflect part of the force of a powerful blow. When you use the Shield Block feat, your shield takes 5 points less damage than normal (minimum 0).

Duck Down[General][Feat 3]

[Reaction]
Trigger: When you have your shield raised and are forced to make a saving throw.
You can duck down behind your shield, making it more difficult for spells and special abilities to target and effect you. You gain a +1 bonus to the triggering saving throw. You are no longer considered to have your shield raised.

Knock Aside [General][Feat 1]

When you are wielding a shield, you gain a +2 bonus to the Disarm, Force Open, Shove, and Trip actions of Athletics.

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Tales of the Brain Eaters. Two.

Evenasville. It’s not the Eeriest town in Indiana… but I am learning there are forces afoot that shorten the name. That think of this place, my new home, as E-ville.

In many ways this is like living in a suburb of a major metropolis, like the outskirts of Chicago, Cincinnati, or (unsurprisingly) Indianapolis. But there’s no major metropolis serving as the center of social gravity here. At least, none visible to common perception. There are surprisingly vast cave systems here, however…

If there are zoning laws in E-ville, they are either honored in being ignored, or arcane, or only cover a small part of the county’s largest—and one of only two—only incorporated townships.

The hodge-podge of buildings and land use mix in surprising ways, with metal shops right next to cemeteries right next to restaurants right next to bridge clubs. Older districts, such as Boneyard Park, often have century-old buildings sitting right next to modern drive throughs, often in the shadows of great brick edifices build in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Scottlaw, once its own town, still has clear signs of once being home to dozens of factories spewing chemicals into the now-missing Canary Creek. Museums and zoos are surprisingly common, and often surrounded on all sides by more plastic and neon edifices of corporate uniformity, as though the traditional spaces are being cut off from one another by modern, soulless progress.

(E-ville’s only incorporated neighbor in the country, Darmstadt, is a small German enclave, where old dueling rites are still performed at Saint Eligius’s Temple, on St. Eligius street, which may come as no surprise as he is the patron saint of soldiers… and metalsmiths, numismatists, farriers, ranchers, and taxi drivers. They often perform within site of the Tree of Peace, which commemorates the War to End All Wars, which legend says was nearly burned to the ground in 1939, which might explain why some locals feel protective of it.)

The food scene is particularly interesting, as one might expect in the land of the brain-eaters. Modern, corporate, franchised, uniform restaurants pop up constantly, many offering experimental dishes not available to the rest of the world, yet. They constantly appear just across the street or down the block from older, locally-owned places that often focus on comfort food.

Comfort, in fact, is one of the crucial local bywords. Not a pneumatic, power lift bed, but an old, comfortable one. Not a breakneck pace of work, but a steady, comfortable one. Tradition, community, and history are heavily leaned on to provide comfort. It’s as though something is always disturbing the residents of E-ville, always injecting disquiet into their minds. Only by clinging to comfort can generations of families remain here, and work the land, and try to survive where 10,000 years of occupancy has dictated some civilization must sit.

The modern mass-mall-eateries try to emulate this, of course. There are the Apple Barrel country stores and brunch palaces, the Craftsman Kitchen diners. But only the newest of arrivals or most transitory of tourists could mistake these for the true palaces of dozens of generations of comfort. The Blind Grasshopper’s Comfort Cafe, Citadel Bakery, and Steel River Lunchhouse have a kind of magic about them that no mass-marketed, prepackaged, manual-driven food establishment can touch.

A kind of magic that holds disquieting airs at bay.

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“One Night in Greyhawk”

Lyrics

“Grayhawk, D&D setting
And the players don’t know that the DM is getting
The creme de la creme of the game world
In a boxed set with everything but G. Gygax

Time flies doesn’t seem a minute
Since the Trithereon temple had the PCs in it
All change don’t you know that when you
Play at 10th level there’s no ordinary venue

It’s Perrenand or the Bone March or Highfolk or
Or this place!

One night in Greyhawk and you’ll find a cloister
There are priests in temples but the heals ain’t free
You’ll find a mage in every bar’s gone roister
And if you’re lucky then the mage’s a sidhe
I can feel an encounter sliding up to me

One town’s very like another
When your head’s down over your character sheet, brother

It’s a drag, it’s a bore, it’s really such a pity
To be ranting at the bard, not exploring under the city

Whaddya mean?
Ya seen one crowded, polluted, stinking sewer
Otyughs, dark oubliette
Some are set up in the under Tailor Street

Get real, you’re talking to a gamist
Whose every roll soon become famous”

With apologies to songwriters: Tim Rice / Benny Goran Bror Andersson / Bjoern K. Ulvaeus

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Rogue Genius Games and Pathfinder 2nd Edition

While RGG doesn’t have access to the Pathfinder 2e rules yet, we DO know we will want to support that game system.
One of our first releases is almost certainly going to be an update of the Time Thief.
That means it’s a good idea to get our concept of what an “iconic” Time Thief looks like settled.
So, we sent Jacob Blackmon an art order, and with just a little feedback, we got this.
I don’t know exactly what a 2e Time Thief can do yet, but I know what she looks like!

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling

 

But… THEN what?

There will be new ideas, and new freelance opportunities, and new projects, of course.

But I am also VERY likely to update some of our most popular Pf1 classes to Pf2.

So,

Noting that things I update for Pathfinder 2e is going to have a reconsideration of all their elements (rules, themes, art, style, niche, tone, and so on)– because when you know better you do better, and goodness knows I have learned a bunch over the past decade, and:

Keeping in mind I expect the Pf2 Time Thief is already on this list and should also handle the Time Warden:

And that I suspect some Pf1 classes will be beter served as archetypes in Pf2:

AND that I am likely to wait for official Paizo rules for some game elements (like hexes) before I build a class using them (though I could redesign to not use them):

What RGG classes would you be most interested in seeing updated to Pf2 earlier, rather than later?

Anachronist Adventures classes (and likely the rest of that book, too)
Archon/Riven Mage
Armiger
Cruorchemist
Death Knight
Death Mage
Dragonrider
Godling
Hellion
Magister
Mosaic Mage
Shadow Assassin/Shadow Warrior
Templar
Vanguard
War Master
Witch Hunter
Hybrid Class — Blasphemer
Hybrid Class — Fury
Hybrid Class — Mountebank
Hybrid Class — Opportunist
Hybrid Class — Possessed
Hybrid Class — Psychemist
Hybrid Class — Shifu

Let me know in the comments, or at https://twitter.com/Owen_Stephens, or at owen.stephens@gmail.com, or at https://www.facebook.com/OwenK.C.Stephens

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