Category Archives: UnchainedCampaign
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.
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! 🙂
This is just an exploration of ideas that are already out there, in an effort to create a game with familiar rules and a different feel. It borrows heavily from Ryan Stoughton’s E6: The Game Inside the World’s Most Popular Roleplaying Game, and numerous other sources.
- Character level is unlimited, but class levels are capped, based on what kind of character you are.
a. Mooks are limited to 3rd level. These may well be professionals, but they are no one of importance.
b. Veterans are capped at 4th level. Veterans are Mooks who have accomplished a lot, and are a step above. Veterans may be sergeants, old soldiers, experienced burglars, knights, students of great promise, or highly skilled craftsmen.
c. Notables are limited to 5th level. Notables are a cut above the rank-and-file of even experienced characters. These may be guild leaders, captains of the guard, city champions, lieutenants to major heroes or villains, and so on.
d. Heroes are limited to 6th level, and the people stories are told about and who get hired by cities to slay dragons and end curses.
e. Legends are limited to 7th level and are, well, the stuff of legends.
“Typical” campaigns will start characters at 3rd, allow them to advance to 6th normally, and then
- When a character’s level exceeds his class level, he gains +2 hp and +1 bonus feat. He must meet the prerequisites, and if his levels are all in one class (such as fighter) he gets to treat his character level as his class level to meet these prerequisites.
- Bonuses by Level, from Pathfinder Unchained, are in use.
- There is no assumed wealth by level. Non-consumable magic items require rare and dangerous materials to craft, and are almost never for sale. If you get a magic item, you’ll actually be *better* at the area it boosts, rather than requiring it just to keep up. Magic treasure is rare, and many creatures won’t have much wealth… though gold may actually be more plentiful in big adventures, since it doesn’t equate to combat power.
- Because the range of attack numbers are much more tightly clumped (base attack bonuses only go from +1 to +6 in most games), instead of roll 1d20 for attacks, skills, saves, checks, and so on, 2d10 are rolled. This produces more average numbers more often. Critical threat ranges for all weapons are increased by 1 AFTER all other adjustments. (So a battleaxe is 19-20, x3, and a keen battleaxe is 81-20, x3).
- Monsters are also capped by effective CR, though in most cases this is a hard cap of CR 7 (though legendary monsters can go up to CR 11… an epic fight for a group of legendary heroes). When a monster exceeds this CR (such as ) it takes the Target Monster Statistics by CR (from the Bestiary) for its CR cap, and it brought down to those levels. For every +1 CR it normally exceeds its CR cap, it gains 1 bonus feat, +2.5 hp, +1 to primary attack and average damage, and +.5 to AC, all saves, secondary attacks, average secondary damage, save DCs. It’s CMB and CMD are reduced by an amount equal to what its primary attack is reduced.
For example a typical Dire Crocodile is not legendary, and thus has a CR cap of 7. Since it’s actually CR 9, its statistics are restricted to the target numbers for CR 7, plus adjustments for being CR 9. It’s hp go down to 90 (85 for target CR 7, +5 for 2 cr beyond that), it’s AC stays at 21 (20 for CR 7, +1 for 2 CR beyond), it’s bite goes down to +15 (+13 for CR 7 target, +2 for +2 CR beyond) and 3d6+14 (32 average, no improved crit), tail slap +11/ 4d8+5 (average 23), death roll and swallow whole also 4d8+5, CMB +23, CMD 33.
Of course this still means even a non-legendary adult red dragon (CR 14) is incredibly dangerous, with an AC of 23 and six attacks, even if the primary is restricted to +20 and low attacks to +13 (though in its case, damage doesn’t change), and a breath weapon that deals 5d10 (DC 20 for half).
I’ve been thinking about my idea to run a game with several Pathfinder Unchained rules, including Automatic Bonus Progressions at character level +2, and thus having no assumed Wealth by Level.
The trick with that is, I still want potions, wands, and scrolls, so there has to be SOME money. But I want an economy where even at high level, hundreds of gold is exciting.
Here’s my twin baselines: a masterwork falchion is 375 gp, a masterwork composite mighty +4 longbow is 800 gp, and masterwork full plate is 1,350. I’d like for those to be the sorts of things that are exciting as treasure up to even 8th level. So if I figure those three items average out to 850 (842.6 repeating, rounded up), and getting something worth 1/4 your wealth by level is “exiting,” that means I want 8th level wealth by level to be around 3,400 gp.
That’s pretty close to WLB for a 3rd level character, so I can use a general guideline of level – 5 for the WLB chart, which works for characters of 9th level and up. That just leaves me needing to figure WLB for 1st-7th level characters.
The highest average starting wealth for any character is 175 gp, so I can start there. That means I want to go from 175 gp to 3,000 gp over 7 levels.
If I increase the wealth by 150% at each level (rounding), the breakdown looks like this:
1st: 175 gp
2nd: 262 gp
3rd: 393 gp
4th: 590 gp
5th: 886 gp
6th: 1329 gp
7th: 1993 gp
8th: 2990 gp
That’s not a bad approximation, and I can round it to near comfortable numbers like this:
1st: 175 gp
2nd: 275 gp
3rd: 400 gp
4th: 600 gp
5th: 900 gp
6th: 1350 gp
7th: 2000 gp
8th: 3000 gp
With that as a starting point, I can figure out how much I want to charge for potions, scrolls, and other one-shot magic items so my economy isn’t broken.
Of course that also means that some other things characters might have, like wands of healing and non-bonus miscellaneous items and mithral and adamantine, becomes rarer. So I need to either reprice them (which I am disinclined to do – I like mithral shirts being kingly gifts), or compensate the players with more scaling benefits… maybe a free set of multiclassing feats for a very, very minor kind of gestalt game…
Sorting through Links of Pathfinder Unchained
I know not everyone has Pathfinder Unchained yet (and since it’s 100% optional rules, not everyone will get it anyway), but I have been thinking about how I’d like to use if it next time I start a new campaign. Note that I’d happily play in someone else’s game using different (or no) alternate rules, this is just my first thoughts on the new systems. So, in order:
*Unchained Barbarian: Optional. I don’t have an issue with the Core Bar, but if someone prefers UnBar I’d be okay with that.
*Unchained Monk: Mandatory. At least for the a little bit, I’d like to see how this plays in comparison. Since it’d be mandatory, I’d revise Core Monk archetypes and options a player liked to work as UnMonk options.
*Unchained Rogue: Mandatory, with exactly the same notes as UnMonk.
*Unchained Summoner: Mandatory, with exactly the same notes as UnMonk.
*Fractional Bonuses. Nope, for reasons that’ll be clear a little later.
*Staggered Advancement: Nope – addresses something I haven’t had an issue with, and increases bookkeeping.
*Background Skills: In. I generally run a style of game where people enjoy background skills as it is, and this helps those characters not be penalized.
*Consolidated Skills: Nope. I don’t want to have to remember which crucial skill does what – I’ve pretty well memorized the existing system.
*Grouped Skills” Nope. I see the appeal, but I like the existing skill point system.
*Alternate Crafting and Profession: I’m on the fence. It’s a whole new system, but it does look better. I might see what the player’s think.
*Skill Unlocks: Restricted to UnRogues, who can also take the Signature Skill feat whenever they gain a feat at the same level they are taking a UnRogue level.
*Variant Multiclassing: Used in place of regular multiclassing, and in place or Prestige Classes, and maybe expanded in ways I think I’ll be turning into an RGG product.
*Gameplay: Mostly because I understand am and comfortable with the existing systems, none of these are in use except :
*Stamina and Combat Tricks: This system is in place, but is largely restricted to fighters. Specifically, each time a character gains a feat for which they could have selected a fighter-only feat, they also get to select one combat feat (not necessarily the feat they just took) to use the stamina and combat trick rules. For fighters, this is all their feats but (for example) a warpriest can only apply these rules to one combat feat at 3rd level (when they gain their first bonus feat that allows them to treat their warpriest levels as fighter levels) and again every 3 levels thereafter. This keeps the system fighter-centric, while giving limited access to classes that are supposed to have access to fighter feats.
*Magic: Most of the things in this chapter are not in use. The main exception is Automatic Bonus Progressions, which are calculated at character level +2. Magic items are so rare that there is no expectation that a character will ever find one. There is no assumed wealth by level. Magic Item Creation feats exist, but creating magic items costs 100% of their value and weapons and armor uses the costs from the Automatic Bonus system. Magic item shops do not exist beyond those dealing in 1-shot items and occasionally wands. What few rare magic items exist are likely to be scaling items (using both the system in this book and from Relics of the Godlings and its sequel from Rogue Genius), which can’t be intentionally crafted. I *might* also adopt Dynamic Magic Item Creation. I also might use spell points, from RGG’s Houserule Handbooks: Spellpoints Compilation.
*Monsters: I may use it, I may not. Not only does that not impact the player’s choices, I don’t promise to tell them if I do.