#Microfeat: Power Cast

Why are weapon users the only ones who can boost power at the cost of precision? Of course, with spells things are a little different…

Power Cast

You can make exceptionally deadly spell attacks by sacrificing accuracy and penetrating capacity for raw power.

Prerequisites: Ability score that determines your bonus spells 13, caster level 1st.

Benefit: When you cast a spell that requires an attack roll or allows a saving throw for half or to negate, you can choose to take a –2 penalty on all attack rolls and a –1 penalty to all concentration checks, caster level checks to penetrate SR, and saving throw DCs for effects you create this round to gain a +1 bonus on the spell’s effective caster level for everything except caster level checks to penetrate SR and concentration checks.

When your caster level reaches 4th, and every 4 levels thereafter, the penalty increases by –2 for attack rolls and –1 for checks and save DCs, and the bonus to caster level increases by +1.

You must choose to use this feat before casting any spell, and its penalties last until your next turn.

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The One Universal Spell-Like Metamagic

The feats Empower Spell-Like Ability and Quicken Spell-Like ability follow the same set of rules on when you can gain spell-like metamagic, how often you can use it, and what spells you can apply it to. By boiling those rules down to a universal set of guidelines it’s possible to have a single balanced monster feat that allows any metamagic feat to potentially be applied to any spell-like ability. This allows a GM to give monsters all the options player spellcasters have, without having to create scores of new feats.

Universal Spell-Like Metamagic

Select one metamagic feat, subject to this feat’s requirements.

Prerequisite: Spell-like ability you can cast with a caster level equal to at least 2 + double the spell slot adjustment of selected metamagic feat.

Benefit: Select one spell-like ability that meets this feat’s prerequisites. If the spell-like ability’s spell level is higher than 1st level, your caster level must be at least double the metamagic feat’s spell slot adjustment plus double the spell-like ability’s spell level. Three times per day when you use this spell, you may gain all the benefits of the selected meamagic feat. This does not allow you to use a spell-like ability more times per day than you are normally able to.

Special: This feat can be taken more than once. Its effects do not stack. Each time you select it you must select a combination of metamagic feat and spell-like ability you have not already selected with this feat.

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Campaign Elements: The Wolf’s Head

Sometimes a campaign really needs a mastermind criminal with a vast organization at his disposal. Preferably someone with extensive resources, but who also prefer to keep a low profile. Such crime bosses may serve as foils, contacts, patrons, nemesis, or just background elements the GM and players can work off of as stories develop.

Of course, it helps if such master criminals and crime groups are cool and enigmatic.

So this is an idea of one option to fill that element. It focuses on the master criminal, the Wolf’s Head, and touches lightly on the organization, the Crime Guild. These descriptions are kept intentionally broad. A GM should be able to easily adapt the Wolf’s Head and Crime Guild to any genre, any game system, and any world or time frame. They can be pastiches for Lex Luthor and LexCrop, Moriarty and his Network, the Godfather and the Five Families, or Jabba the Hutt and his scum and villainy. Alternatively, a GM can use this as a starting point to build a whole new kind of organized crime group.

The Wolf’s Head

The Wolf’s Head is a mastermind villain and organizer of all forms of outlawry. He or she holds the highest position in the Crime Guild, a combination of organized crime cartel and training-ground for talented individuals. Each Wolf’s Head carries the position’s official scepter of office, a long cane with a silver wolf’s head and the words caput gerat lupinum (“may his be a wolf’s head” in Latin) engraved around the base of the head of the cane.

The Wolf’s Head traces its origin back to writ’s of outlawry in early English common law (or any older nation in worlds lacking England). An outlaw was literally being “cast out of the law,” no longer subject to the protections a person received from the law and thus able to be treated as a wolf. The write included the words caput gerat lupinum, and in many cases was considered the most serious possible sentence.

According to Crime Guild history, one of the earliest people declared an outlaw under this system build a vast network of outlaws, and took the first Wolf’s Head title. Over the centuries that organization has come in contact with, and absorbed, the thousands of organized crime groups from every continent, nation, and ethnicity, forming the massive, worldwide Crime Guild. While the goals of the Crime Guild vary somewhat, they tend to remain institutional – focused on earning and protecting money, influence, and power and building a large cadre of loyal agents. Many guilders are important members of other groups, ranging from crime families to law enforcement agencies, but some few work directly for the Crime Guild. These generally answer directly to the Wolf’s Head, and through them the Wolf’s Head is free to pursue any goals he or she desires, as long as the Crime Guild on the whole continues to grow and prosper.

The holder of the Wolf’s Head title changes periodically, and apparently at random to outside observers. Each Wolf’s Head must nominate one Alder of Crime every 3 years (though killed alders need not be replaced). Each Alder is able to secretly vote to “retire” the current Wolf’s Head (though they can change this vote at any time). Such votes are kept with several ArchNumbers (Numbers being living cogitators who keep all the Crime Guild’s records, and ArchNumbers being senior examples). The Wolf’s Head also ranks the alders, from best to worst, and gives that information only to the ArchNumbers (and can change the rankings at any time).

If at any point 2/3 or more of the current Alders have voted to retire the current leader, the Numbers inform the entire Crime Guild. At that point all Alders try to kill the Wolf’s Head. If they succeed within 30 days (also known as the Hunter’s Moon, as the alders hunt the ultimate wolf), then whichever alder still alive that was highest ranked by the previous Wolf’s Head becomes the new Wolf’s Head. If not, the current Wolf’s Head retains the position, and the ArchNumbers ensure every alder that voted to retire him is killed (to cull those who mistakenly thought it was time to change leaders).

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My Teachers: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and RPGs

Science fiction taught me that being smart and creative was valuable.
Fantasy taught me that monsters can be defeated by both champions and brave common folk.
Roleplaying games taught me I could make friends.

Ctheckers: The simple board game of cosmic insignificance

 

It started as a joke. It still is, really, But I wrote up the rules for Ctheckers! (Which is even sillier than Golem Chess!)

Gameplay is as standard checkers, with the following changes.

On the bottom of the checkers of each side, make the following notations:
Cth: This is the Cthecker. Ia! Ia! Each side has a single Cthecker.
Cu: Cultist. Each side has eight cultists.
Ny: Nyarlathotep. You’ll also need chess pieces for this piece – a pawn, bishop, king, knight, queen, and rook. And a d6. It’s an elder god, things can get complicated. Each side has one Nyarlathotep.
R.C.: Randolf Carter. Each side has one Randolf Carter.
Nec: Necronomicon.

Once all checkers are marked, flip them so the markings are concealed and shuffle them. Once you no longer know which of your checkers is which, place them on the checker board as normal.

When a checker is captured, and when it reaches the far row of the board to be promoted, reveal what the checker is by flipping it over. Then follow the rules for each checker as noted below.

Cthecker: If the Cthecker of either player is revealed, either by being captured or by being flipped over as a promotion when it reaches the far row of squares, the game ends and both players lose. The coming of the Cthecker is bad for everyone, and nothing else you insignificant humans has done matters at all.

Cultist: If you reveal a cultist by capturing it nothing special happens – it is captured and removed from the board. If you reveal a cultist as a promotion when it reaches the far row of squares, you stack one previously taken cultists from your side, and one from your opponents side, under it. The top cultist in this stack now acts as a king from checkers. However, as soon as it moves, the next top cultist also acts as a king, and you can move it independently. But if you do, you reveal your opponent’s cultist, and IT now acts as a king which your opponent can move normally on his turn.

If you or your opponent do not have enough previously captured cultists to stack the correct number under a promoted cultist, place however many you can and proceed normally.

If all eight of your cultists are captured, you lose the game.

Cultists think they are working toward a goal, but mostly they just spawn more powerful cults, not all of which are working toward the same goal.

Nyarlathotep: If Nyarlathotep is revealed by being captured or reaching the far row and being promoted, it is not actually captured. Instead, it assumes one of its many forms. Roll 1d6. One a 1 it becomes a chess pawn, 2 a bishop, 3 a king, 4 a knight, 5 a queen, and 6 a rook.

Unless Nyarlathotep is in its king form, no piece can take it except another revealed Nyarlathotep. If Nyarlathotep is in king form it can be taken by being jumped or by having an opposing Nyarlathotep land in its space. Unlike other pieces in Ctheckers, Nyarlathotep can capture your own pieces (but is not required to if it has the opportunity). If your Nyarlathotep is taken you lose the game.

When your Nyarlathotep is revealed, place the chess piece it becomes on top of the original Nyarlathotep checker. While it is on your checker you can move it as the corresponding chess piece. You capture any piece you land on the space of (ending your turn) or jump over (as a knight). At the end of your move, roll 1d6 to determine the new chess piece Nyarlathotep acts as, and place any captured checker of your opponent under it. This is still considered your piece, but only your opponent can move it, as his turn, if he wishes, and he can capture your pieces when he does so. Once your opponent moves Nyarlathotep, roll the d6 to determine its form again, and place your original checker under it. You can now move it again. Repeat as each of your moves the piece.

If your opponent has not had a piece captured, he cannot move Nyarlathotep until he does have a piece, and it remains stationary until your opponent has a piece captured or the game ends.

Nyarlathotep has many forms, and his plans are impossible for mortal minds to comprehend.

Randolph Carter: If Carter is revealed as a result of being captured, flip him like a coin. If the checker lands top-up, promote him. If it lands bottom-up, he goes mad and is replaced by a captured cultist from your opponent, which your opponent now controls. (If your opponent does not have a captured cultist, nothing else happens).

When promoted, Carter moves like a king. Also, when he is promoted, you may look under one checker of your opponent. This is not considered to be revealing that checker, and you do not have to tell your opponent what you learn. You can even lie about what you learn. The rules specifically say that is okay. After being promoted Carter is allowed to look under a checker of yours as a move on your turn, but if he does so he goes mad (as if coming up bottoms-up in the case of being captured).

Carter is a human scholar and traveler through dreams. Maybe a madman.

Necronomicon: If your Necronomicon is revealed, it remains in play, but you can no longer move it, and it cannot be captured by your opponent. It can be captured by you (and if you can capture it you must, unless you can capture a different piece in the same turn). If you capture you own Necronomicon you look inside and are torn apart by invisible demons. Also, you lose the game.

Either you or your opponent may sacrifice a promoted cultist, removing it from the game, to move a revealed Necronomicon. If you have revealed Randolph Carter, you may sacrifice him to remove your own revealed Necronomicon from the game. Either of these actions counts as your move.

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More than 175 Pathfinder pdfs for $39.95!

From now on, Rogue Genius Games will be maintaining the Purple Duck Games store on Paizo.com. To celebrate, we have a HUGE bundle of their entire Pathfinder backstock compiled into one bundle you can pick up for $39.95 for a limited time! More than 175 products, with a retail value of over $600! Just so you can get caught up on this great line! But the offer only lasts until the end of the month!
 
I know it’s April 1st, but this is happening! PDG will still do their thing, making the same great content as always, and we’ll make sure it’s available to you on Paizo.com.
 
If you are already a fan of PDG, nothing really changes! You’ll just be buying things from the Purple Duck section of the Rogue Genius store on Paizo.com.
 
If you aren’t already a fan, this is a great chance to get caught up! 
 
So check out the bundle, check out their awesome selection of products, and join me in a big, hearty quack!
 

Campaign Ideas Hanging Around

The proposed (and definitely never happening) Analemma Tower would make an awesome set up for any number of campaigns using Anachronistic Adventures or Starfinder. Here are some campaign ideas for a mobile city-sized building hanging down from an asteroid.

All Along the Watchtower: The U.N of 2075 can’t operate out of any one nation or building anymore. Diplomacy, military intervention, and trade all work better from mobile city-towers hanging from asteroids.

Ark V: After the Quantum Genegineering Wars, the ground level of the world became uninhabitable. At the small scale, mutant Morlocks and hunter-killer drones are contant random threats. At the large scale, the doomsday weapon biotank Kaiju are drawn to any major stationary power source.
There are still survivors scrabbling to survive in a ruined world, and super-science and relics to be dug out of cities overrun by horrors. but the only way to get to them is to wait for a period of low threat, then jump down from the roaming bastion of science and civilization that is Ark V, our last, best hope for survival.

High Ground: The evil supergenius Tex Tanner could have engaged in countless battles to overthrow nations, establish shadow governments, and defeat heroes like Anthem Lass and the Gargoyle. Instead he created one overwhelming show of his scientific brilliance and endless resources, the mobile space-anchored archaeology known as High Ground. From there he runs TannerCorp, literally above the laws of other nations.
Is he done now that he’s made his point, or is High Ground just step one/ As as an archaeology under his exclusive control, why is he hiring street-level heroes to police his private fiefdom?

The Sword of D.A.M.O.C.L.E.S: Aliens have conquered Earth for Earth’s own good. Mostly humanity is left to its own devices, but certain activities and experiments are forbidden. The Department of Alien-Mandated Oversight, Committee of Law Enforcement Systems are mostly humans, though a few alien races also work within it, and makes sure forbidden actions are not attempted. DAMOCLES operates out of the Sword, a hanging alien watchtower that orbits the Earth in a variable pattern to allow maximum command support of hot spots.

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Microfeat: Big Attitude

Big Attitude

You may be small, but people shouldn’t underestimate you.

Prerequisite: Size small.

Benefits: You can use high-energy actions coupled with strong presence to overcome the drawbacks of your slight size. For a number of rounds per day equal to your HD + your Charisma bonus, you negate penalties you take as a result of being Small. This means you do not take penalties to using Medium weapons, do not take the normal size penalties to CMB and CMD, and so on. Additionally if you normally have a 20 foot base move it increases to a 30 foot base move while using this feat. Activating this feat is a free action you can do once per round, and you can end it as a free action at the beginning of any turn.

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Spelltweet: Small Adjustment

Small Adjustment (bard 1, bloodrager 1, cleric 1, inquisitor 1, magus 1, occultist 1, paladin 1, psychic 1, ranger 1, shaman 1, sorcerer/wizard 1, witch 1)
As masterwork transformation, except there is no material component and you convert a Medium item into a Small version that is otherwise identical.

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Microfeat: Needle to Death

Needle to Death

You can make the most of your weapon;s smaller size, finding chinks in your foe’s armor and slipping it nimbly into weak spots.

Prerequisites: Size Small.

Benefits: While Small, and using a light weapon, one-handed weapons, or ranged weapon, and the weapon is sized appropriately for you, you roll damage dice for that weapon as if it was Medium. You can only use this ability with attacks that apply your Dexterity modifier to your attack bonus (normally all ranged attacks, though it also applies to any melee attacks you use your Dexterity modifier for, most often as a result of having Weapon Finesse).

#Microfeats are quick sketches of rules I am considering for possible use in a 3pp Pathfinder-compatible product, which may be altered, adjusted, or never make it into a final product.

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