#OwenOnTheCouch, Part 5:Jason Eric Nelson and Joseph Blomquist

Origins Game Fair is this weekend, and sadly I won’t be there. Interstate travel and big in-person gatherings just aren’t on my docket for the foreseeable future. So, I’m going to keep posting #OwenOnTheCouch content to try to do some good by remote, since I can’t sit with folks in person.

This time, let’s talk to Jason Eric Nelson, of Legendary Games (@LegendaryGamesJ on Twitter), and prolific freelance creator Joseph Blomquist (@DoctorMono on Twitter).

Owen: So, Jason: how do freelancers get work from Legendary? What’s the process?

Jason: Usually it’s a recommendation from someone who’s already worked with us, often from another collaboration they’ve done or being an active commenter on a playtest on one of our books. Sometimes it’s a recommendation from someone at Paizo or Wayfinder or Freelance Forge, etc. Having something to point to in the past to show your work or to talk about working with you.

Usually we start on one of our many collaborative books, doing a chunk of something working together with one or more other authors so we each get a feel for working with the other. If everything feels like a fit, we keep going from there. I’ll throw out project ideas or send things to jump on, and freelancers pitch things they’d like to do, and if it sounds like something that’s right for Legendary, we’ll roll with it and you might end up the lead or even some author on a book once you’ve shown your reliability.

Owen: Okay Jospeh, I know you’ve done game writing, reviews, art, and graphic design work; but if we’re just focusing on tabletop game design, what are some credits people might know you from?

Jospeh: I have a list, but just hitting some highlights I have credits for Margaret Weis Productions (Smallvile Roleplaying Game, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War – X-men and Annihilation), Paizo (several Pathfinder Society and Starfinder Society scenarios, including #2-10: Corporate Interests; and the Pathfinder 2e Bestiary 2 entries for the Blink Dog, Hippogriff, and Sandpoint Devil) (PF2), Saturday Morning Games (Dime Stories Roleplaying Game Rulebook, Easy Money- a 10 Cent Tale, and Among the Living- a 10 Cent Tale), Slugfest Games (Red Dragon Inn — Adventures Series: Appetizer and The Guide to Inns and Taverns).

Owen: So, lots of stuff for Pathfinder, Starfinder, Cortex, and Dime Stories! What other game systems are you comfortable writing for?

Joseph: I’ve done a bunch of writing in the industry, but any incarnation of the venerable d20 system- especially Pathfinder 2e, Starfinder, and 5e are all easy choices. I cut my teeth writing for Cortex and have a lot of familiarity with Modiphius’ 2D20 system (especially Star Trek Adventures), Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, and FATE systems. And of course, most of my early conversion work was in classic systems like DnD 2nd edition, Marvel FASERIP, West End Games’ D6 system, and Shadowrun. All of those systems are well within my wheelhouse.

Pathfinder Society Scenario #3-04: The Devil-Wrought Disappearance (PF2)

Starfinder Society Scenario #4-13: Hard Reset (Starfinder)

Pathfinder Society Scenario #4-02: Return to the Grave (PF2)

Paizo Fans United

Wayfinder # 20 (The Boomrock Run) (Starfinder)

Wayfinder #21 (Knights of Everstand, Knighthaunt) (PF2)

Saturday Morning Games

(Dime Stories Roleplaying Game Rulebook, Easy Money- a 10 Cent Tale, and Among the Living- a 10 Cent Tale)

Slugfest Games

Red Dragon Inn—Adventure Series: Appetizer (PF1)

Red Dragon Inn: The Guide to Inns and Taverns (PF1)

What other systems are you comfortable writing for?

I’ve done a bunch of writing in the industry, but any incarnation of the venerable d20 system- especially Pathfinder 2e, Starfinder, and 5e are all easy choices. I cut my teeth writing for Cortex and have a lot of familiarity with Modiphius’ 2D20 system (especially Star Trek Adventures), Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, and FATE systems. And of course, most of my early conversion work was in classic systems like DnD 2nd edition, Marvel FASERIP, West End Games’ D6 system, and Shadowrun. All of those systems are well within my wheelhouse.

Owen: With such a broad range of experience, have you discovered you prefer one kind of writing assignment over another?

Joseph: I think my interests here are mostly common fare. I love writing background, giving a world or setting life. I love the challenge of coming up with a neat mechanic to act as an interesting sub system in a game. I love to challenge my players and my GMs. After three decades of GMming multiple systems, I am pretty proud of my abilities in that role. I try to be characterful and dive deep into my NPCs and the general feeling of the world I’m trying to lose my players into. That comes out in my writing where I try to incorporate mood pieces to help GMS set the scene and memorable characters that chew scenery.

Most recently, I seem to have found a niche I did not expect- one of an adventure designer. I guess I was always good at telling a tale, but most of my work – for Paizo especially – has been writing adventures. And let me tell you – I love it. It lets me do all the things I enjoy in setting a scene, writing characters, and challenging players. But it lets me do one thing else, help to create the kind of stories play groups still talk about years later.

Owen: What has the journey from gamer to game writer been like for you? How did you start?

Joseph: I’ve been gaming for 38 years or so, starting with the Mentzer Red Box one day, and TSR’s Marvel Super Heroes the next. By age 10, I was the regular GM for my friends- usually in Marvel Superheroes, but eventually introducing my closest friends to AD&D, Shadowrun, FASA’s Star Trek, GURPS, Mekton, and the World of Darkness games as the 90s came with a vengeance.

By the time I was 12, I was the ambassador of role-playing games for my group of friends- not all of which were prepared for the crunchy, rules heavy games of the late ‘80s. My answer was simple- make a game. I made a simple percentile system and wrote a 20-page rpg in my notebook with the amazingly clever name that was in no way derivative of Dungeons and Dragons, Sword and the Hand. This game was the intro for RPGs for our group of friends for years, until we dove headlong into Star Wars in the heyday of WEG’s license. At this point, I put my effort more into writing my own adventures, and plotting them out ahead of time for my players to enjoy in the systems we loved.

Eventually, I became a part owner in a local game store on Long Island, running games of MnM, Shadowrun, and D20 Star Wars in the back room nonstop with my prewritten adventures, to the delight of my players. But not knowing how to get my toe into the industry though I’d been freelancing for various video game, board game, and science fiction periodicals at this point, I did the next best thing – I wrote up my own superhero game. At the time, I conceived Superhuman as a skirmish level miniatures game (though the current incarnation coming to kickstarter soon-ish is a hybrid RPG/miniatures game) and I brought a mostly professional demo version of it with me to Origins in 2006 to show off to game designers I liked to ask for feedback. Luckily, one of the places I dropped a copy, Margaret Weis Productions, got me more than feedback – Cam Banks hired me a few weeks after the con to write super powers for Smallville. And a new leg of my career was born.

Owen: I’m always fascinated how people move into the tabletop writing industry. You mentioned not knowing how to get your toe in the industry: what other learning and experience prepared you for a game writing career once you found yourself in one?

Jospeh: So purely from an educational standpoint, my degree was in psychology and my minor was history. Most of my historical studies were centered around post-roman Britain through to the end of the Danelaw. One of my greatest passions is Arthurian legends, so diving into the deep end of the history and socio-political intricacies of the years Arthur would have lived as well as the years, centuries later, that his legend was truly born was more than just a passing interest. I suppose at some point I’ll seek out graduate studies on the subject or just do what most Arthurphiles do and write my own Arthurian novel.

I played in a touring metal band through my early 20s, and I try to bring my musical acumen into my work wherever possible. That being said, I was a piss poor songwriter- so don’t expect me to write you a jingle worth remembering. I could probably sing it though. Mixing that with the acting I did in college, I’ve increased my voice work to include not only A-list GMming, but voice overs for games and an audiobook on the horizon.

 Comics has been one of the few passions I have that rivals my love of gaming and all things Arthur. My vast comic collection has pushed my interest in games, writing, and allowed me to have a greatly informed perspective on the cycles, elements, successes, and failures of our most modern of mythologies. I’m a fan of B characters (Marv Wolfman’s Nova and Nightwing topping my list) and work well in every aspect of that medium- especially when it comes to games around the subject.

Owen: What’s the most recent project people can check out that you can talk about? 

Joseph: My most recent credit is Starfinder Society Scenario #4-13: Hard Reset. However, my next adventure will be released at Gencon, Pathfinder Society Scenario #4-02: Return to the Grave. Like all freelancers, my best work is under NDA, so I’ll just say – the best is yet to come.

Owen: Where can people find you if they want to reach out? 

Joseph: I can be found @DoctorMono on twitter, on kofi at https://ko-fi.com/doctormono, or in my rarely updated blog www.UnderwearOnTheOutside.com

Want to Support the Couch?!
A great way to help me be able to make connections, post advice, and make #OwenOnTheCouch useful is to send me your thoughts, questions, contact info to be publicly shared, and anything else you think might advance the conversation or help people connect. I’m happy to host publisher throughs on what they are looking for, veteran’s advice, and even post common questions people have about how to break in, move up, and manage common issues. Or, you can just throw money at me! Easiest done through Patron, and Ko-Fi.

#OwenOnTheCouch, Part 4: Michael Sayre and Carlos Cabrera

Continuing with the #OwenOnTheCouch theme, let’s talk to Senior Designer at Paizo Michael Sayre (@MichaelJSayre1 on Twitter), and freelance Game Designer and Voice Actor Carlos Cabrera (https://carloscabrera.carrd.co/).

(#OwenontheCouch 2015)

Owen: Hey Michael Sayre, if someone wanted to write for the Pathfinder Rules Team, what’s their best bet for getting started? By the time they dare to reach out to you, want do you want to see them have done already?

Michael: So, the things I look for are-

A) An established portfolio of published work. Show me you’ve done the thing you’re looking to do for me at a professional level.

B) A professional online presence. Big rulebooks are a collaborative effort and I need people who can be respectful and work well with others.

C) Passion for and experience playing the game you’re looking to write for. I can almost always tell the difference between someone who’s just churning the formula and templates and someone who’s really finding under-supported pieces of the game that can be embellished to enhance the play experience.

D) Some evidence that you know how to read and follow an outline or similar kind of professional collaborative project instructions. With the kind of publishing we do, I already know what kinds of pieces I need and where I need them to make my book happen, so it’s critical that freelancers read and follow their assignment e-mail, outline, and milestone feedback.

Owen: Thanks, that’s a great response!

Would you recommend people doing their own projects, or working for other publishers, before they approach you? Is having a lot of smaller Paizo credits good? A few bigger 3pp or self-published projects? Both?

Michael: A diverse portfolio with a broader array of experiences is probably more appealing to me, personally, than having your entire portfolio exist within a single bucket (whether that be self-publishing, writing for a specific 3pp, etc.)

I think the broader your perspective is coming in the quicker you’ll be able to master “entry level” tasks and get entrusted with some larger or weightier pieces of content. Learning the industry through a few different vectors can help you avoid some of the more common stumbling blocks I see, especially when it comes to learning the best habits for good contract work and avoiding inheriting someone else’s bad habits.

That being said, everyone’s paths to improvement are different, and there’s nothing wrong with essentially “apprenticing” yourself to e.g. a 3pp while you learn the ropes, and as long as you’re still coming in with an open mind and a willingness to broaden your perspective and learn, having experience with one publisher instead of five or the like isn’t a deal-breaker and can have its own advantages.

Owen: Thanks, Mike! And here comes Carlos Cabrera! Heya Carlos. Lemme ask since you are here: I know you do freelance game writing and vice work. What published credits do you have, and for what game systems?

Carlos: I have worked on Pathfinder for both 1st and 2nd editions. My 1st edition work with 3PP is in Pathways #78, the Aethera Field Guide, the Mythic Character Codex, and the upcoming Kingmaker Anniversary Edition. For both systems and with Paizo directly I have worked on Borne by the Sun’s Grace, Lost Omens: Legends, the 2nd edition Advanced Player’s Guide, Pathfinder Society Quest #11: A Parchment Tree, and Ruins of the Radiant Siege. I have also done voicework in Starr Mazer DSP on Steam, Ashasar in the Pathfinder Society Special #3-99: Fate of the Future, and my likeness was used as a playable zombie survivor in State of Decay 2.

Owen: Neat! I’ve never gotten to be a zombie! What other systems are you comfortable writing for?

Carlos: If you’re listening @FFGames I would love to write something for your Star Wars RPG or Imperial Assault! I have already designed content for a home game of IA so I’m familiar with your incredible new dice system. I also have two different board game projects in development and one of them has been picked up by a publisher!

Owen: When you have your druthers, what kind of game content do you prefer to create?

Carlos: I like designing rules that can really expand the worldbuilding of a setting. Adventures or scenarios in new locations, NPCs and player options that can interact with the world in new and interesting ways, deities and the planes… really lore-defining things. In board games you generally have to keep it brief, but all of that is really up to you.

Owen: So, how did you get into games? And then into game writing?

My father got my two closest brothers and I into games at an early age with video games. I had an Intellivision system, one of my brothers a Colecovision, the other a Vectrex. After I had graduated to the NES and then the Sega Genesis, the game that made me want to be a designer at the impressionable age of 10 was Flashback: The Quest for Identity (womp womp). It was a birthday gift from my mother, so both my parents really had a hand in my chosen career.

Even though I wanted to get into video games, I broke into the industry first with writing for tabletop RPGs. I loved playing them and my imagination just didn’t stop after making characters. It took me a good 5 years of networking before my first freelance assignment. I filed Something Clever Games an LLC in 2015 and started work in 2017, so I was trying to break into the industry even before then. I haven’t given up on video games though. When I’m between assignments, I pivot back to a turn-based mobile RPG that I’ve been working on for a while.

Owen: You’ve obviously put a lot of thought and effort into your career. What expertise and study have you undertaken as part of that? 

Carlos: I made the decision to get a degree in multimedia/graphic design instead of using my mechanical drawing and architecture skills to go that route (there were also no video game schools until about halfway through). This has served me well in making maps for encounters and running campaigns, and I still enjoy making art and accessories like custom card sleeves for my games.

Owen: So, if someone is wanting to look at your work, what’s the most recent project people can check out?

Carlos: You still have a reliable couple of months to hear my voice in Pathfinder Society Special #3-99 before season 4 launches at GenCon this year. I will also be a recurring cast member for a Pathfinder 2e podcast this summer, so for that and any future announcements be sure to check out my website! (http://somethingclevergames.com)

Want to Support the Couch?!
A great way to help me be able to make connections, post advice, and make #OwenOnTheCouch useful is to send me your thoughts, questions, contact info to be publicly shared, and anything else you think might advance the conversation or help people connect. I’m happy to host publisher throughs on what they are looking for, veteran’s advice, and even post common questions people have about how to break in, move up, and manage common issues.

Or, you can just throw money at me! Easiest done through Patron, and Ko-Fi.

“Questioning,” A Pride Poem by Alexander Augunas

Pride Month is not for me. I’m an ally, and my job this month is to boost and support the voices of others that Pride *is* for.

So, here is a poem offered up by my dear friend, Alexander Augunas.

#OwenOnTheCouch, Part 3: Jason Keeley and Mark Seifter

Continuing this week’s #OwenOnTheCouchTheme, let’s talk to Development Manager of Starfinder at Paizo Jason Keeley (@herzwesten on Twitter), and BattleZoo Director of Games Mark Seifter (@MarkSeifter on Twitter). This is a great chance to listen and learn from industry pros!

(#OwenontheCouch, 2013)

Jason Keeley

Owen: So, Jason, if someone wants to write Starfinder content for you at @Paizo, how do they get your attention? What are you looking for in a freelancer?

Jason: *is walking by* Oh hi there! Well, for adventures, I’m generally looking for someone who has proven they can handle larger assignments (ie, being timely and the ability to inject a bit of their own ideas into a sometimes rigid outline) or has done something equally impressive.

I’m willing to try out newer freelancers for smaller assignments, though! It all depends on what the particular project needs.

Mark Seifter

Owen: Hey Mark, if someone wanted to get your attention as Director of Game Design, and maybe get work from you, what’s their best option?

Mark: So, find the Arcane Mark Discord server, join, then you can PM me on discord and I’ll add you to the list. We’re small so I don’t have a lot of opportunities at any given time, but I love to hear from freelancers.

Plus, now we have this!

Want to Support the Couch?!
A great way to help me be able to make connections, post advice, and make #OwenOnTheCouch useful is to send me your thoughts, questions, contact info to be publicly shared, and anything else you think might advance the conversation or help people connect. I’m happy to host publisher throughs on what they are looking for, veteran’s advice, and even post common questions people have about how to break in, move up, and manage common issues.

Or, you can just throw money at me! Easiest done through Patron, and Ko-Fi.

#OwenOnTheCouch, Part 2: Andrew Geels

Continuing this week’s #OwenOnTheCouchTheme, let’s talk to a freelancer, Andrew Geels (@PinBarbarian on twitter). Pretend I’m on the Couch, introducing Andrew to you, and suggesting you give him/them work. Come say hi. Ask him questions.

(Insert picture of me here)

Owen: So, @PinBarbarian, what kinds of things do you like working on the most?

@PinBarbarian: Hey Owen, thanks for asking! I love working in all sorts of gaming spaces, but I think my favorite is designing character options like feats, spells, etc. Monsters and items are fun to make, but it feels amazing when someone chooses your work to use for their whole career.

Owen: I very much made a career of doing those kinds of things from about 2001 to 2012. 🙂 What game systems are you published in? Which ones would you like to work on?

@PinBarbarian: I have published work in Pathfinder first and second edition, and there’s some Starfinder stuff that hasn’t been announced yet (though it might be this weekend!) I’ve written for. I also have lots of d&d stuff from all the way back in college, but that’s not published.

I personally really like anything fantasy, sci-fi, and steampunk/cyberpunk related. Pathfinder 2e is definitely my current favorite system, but I enjoy thinking up stuff for all sorts of games, from 5e to Iron Kingdoms to Savage Worlds!

I’m very much a crunchy-gamer, so systems with deep rulesets (e.g. Pathfinder) fit my brainspace best.

Owen

If anyone wants to get in touch with Andrew Geels, or ask him more questions, you can get hold of him on Twitter, or drop me a line (owen.stephens@gmail.com), and I’ll put you in contact.

Want to Support the Couch?!
A great way to help me be able to make connections, post advice, and make #OwenOnTheCouch useful is to send me your thoughts, questions, contact info to be publicly shared, and anything else you think might advance the conversation or help people connect. I’m happy to host publisher throughs on what they are looking for, veteran’s advice, and even post common questions people have about how to break in, move up, and manage common issues.

Or, you can just throw money at me! Easiest done through Patron, and Ko-Fi.

#OwenOnTheCouch, Part 1: J Gray

This past weekend was PaizoCon, an event I attended in person from 2014-2019, and would very much like to go to again someday in the future. For a long time it was the kickoff of Convention Season for me, and missing one held in-person whole hearing how much fun other folks were having was bittersweet.

One of the things I commonly did at conventions was sit on a couch in a hotel lobby and talk to folks. A lot of these were fans, friends, co-workers, and colleagues, of course… but a big chunk were less-experienced or just-breaking-in freelancers, and (though they were often also friends or co-workers) work-giving publishers, editors, and developers.

A lot of people told me this year both that they miss that opportunity in general, and the chance to network in particular. So, I’m going to see if I can create a virtual version of #OwenontheCouch in social media, posting results on my blog and perhaps even holding a virtual event sometime during Origins and/or Gen Con. This week will mostly be Couch content, as I am still recovering from the flu.

The lobby couch I traditionally used during PaizoCon has apparently been removed during the pandemic, and my pals at Legendary Games were kind enough to create this memorial at the site of the original couch.

So please welcome J Gray to the couch! He wrote these observations back in 2016, and since has gone on to work for R. Talsorian Games. A number of industry professionals have noted how accurate these observations are, and I consider them well worth reading.

Five Things I’ve Learned As a 3pp Freelancer
I’ve been a freelance RPG professional, almost entirely for 3pp Pathfinder products, for over a year now. I’ve had the chance to work with several different companies and have written, developed, edited, beta read, or done layout on several books (some out for sale, some not yet out). While I haven’t been at this gig for as long as most of the folk I admire in the field, I think I’ve got enough experience under my belt to have learned a thing or five.

  1. THE WORK WON’T COME TO YOU
    While there are exceptions, if you’ve got few credits to your name and no real relationships with publishers no one is going to come to you and ask you to write Ultimate Splatfinder Adventures 5. You need to go out there and find the work. Enter the Paizo Superstar Contest for practice. Send articles to Wayfinder to build up a resume. Pay attention to the forums where publishers advertise for writers (such as the Paizo 3pp forum). And don’t be afraid to send in a query or a pitch to a publisher if you think you’ve got an idea that will work for them. You need to find your work. The work won’t find you.
  2. PUBLISHERS ARE BUSY PEOPLE
    Most 3pp publishers run their company as a hobby or a second job. They’ve already got a 9-5 of some kind. Those who are doing the gaming gig full time are probably running herd on a dozen projects (if not more!) at once for their own company AND working on something for other companies as well. Add to that family, friends, and the occasional social activity and they are probably sleep-deprived and busy as hell. If a publisher isn’t getting back to you right away, chances are it is because that person is busy not because they are rude. Have patience. If you haven’t gotten a response, wait a week or maybe even two and then send a polite follow-up email asking if they got your previous email. Don’t spam the hell out of them.
  3. YOU AREN’T THAT SPECIAL
    Or, put another way, use your freaking manners people! Here’s the truth. There are many, many 3pp writers out there and unless your name is Monte Cooke or Owen KC Stephens, chances are your desire to make RPG material is greater than a publisher’s need to have YOU, in specific, make RPG material. Confidence is awesome! You should totally have it but the best way to approach any publisher is to mind your Ps and Qs, say please and thank you, and follow any confidence cocktail with a nice chaser of humility. Go in thinking you’re the cat’s meow or believing that you can follow your rules instead of the publisher’s rules and chances are all you’ll get is a “No, thank you, we’re not interested in working with you.”
  4. KNOW THE RULES
    I don’t mean the game rules here. Obviously, any RPG writer should know the rules for the system being written for. Instead, I mean know the rules for writing for a publisher or system. Many publishers have guidelines that they will happily share with their writers. Read them. Follow them. Many publishers have specific workflow procedures. Ask about them. Follow them. I CANNOT STRESS HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS! If the publisher uses Google Docs on projects YOU use Google Docs on projects. You conform to the publisher’s guidelines and workflow and not the other way around. Respect their process. Also, know “system standard”. Fans of an RPG system get used to things being written in a certain way and when those things aren’t written in a certain way, it breaks their flow of reading and devalues their appreciation of a book. For example, if a system’s standard format is “Each character should make a Difficulty 20 Bagpipe skill check.” don’t write “Each character should make a bagpipe skill roll, DC 20.” Capitalize the terms that should be capitalized and use the right terms.
  5. WHAT YOU WRITE ISN’T WHAT WILL BE PUBLISHED
    Based on my experience, here’s how workflow tends to go in RPG writing. First, you brainstorm the idea. Second, you write what you’re going to write using whatever process you use until it is done and submitted to the publisher. Third, the editor (or editors) edits and might ask you to make changes or just might make the changes themselves based on their experience, knowledge, and preference. Fourth, your work will be beta/playtested and further changes might be suggested. Fifth, the editor (or editors) might make further changes based on feedback from the previous stage. Sixth, there’s layout and production and all that jazz. So, let me reiterate here. WHAT YOU WRITE ISN’T WHAT WILL BE PUBLISHED. This means fluff will be changed. This means crunch will be changed. It might only be a few words that change or it might seem like the item was entirely rewritten. Why? Because no one’s work is perfect. Because the editor’s job is to see the big picture and make sure your work fits into that big picture. Because the beta readers found a flaw or a loophole that needs to be closed. Because your cool magic doodad is too close to someone else’s magic doodad. Because they freaking felt like it and that’s their job and you need to live with it. If your first instinct upon finding out someone edited your precious baby is a burning sensation in your gut and the desire to post on Facebook about how much it sucks? Learn to check your damn ego or consider getting out of the business. Because that’s how it works.

Want to Support the Couch?!
A great way to help me be able to make connections, post advice, and make #OwenOnTheCouch useful is to send me your thoughts, questions, contact info to be publicly shared, and anything else you think might advance the conversation or help people connect. I’m happy to host publisher throughs on what they are looking for, veteran’s advice, and even post common questions people have about how to break in, move up, and manage common issues.

Or, you can just throw money at me! Easiest done through Patron, and Ko-Fi.

Revised Magister for PF1 (Part 10)

In part 10 of our series looking at a Revised Magister class (for PF1), we’re still working on new magister feats. These are all based off class features of combat classes, conceived and modified to make sense for a well-educated spellcaster.

Mystic Tactician
You’ve learned the ancient battlefield tactics of the Mage Knights.
Prerequisites: Magister 5, 5 ranks Knowledge (History)
Benefit: You gain one of the following teamwork feats for which you meet the prerequisites: Allied Spellcaster, Bonded Mind, Casting Conduit, Choral Support, Collective Recollection, Combat Medic, Conduit Casting, Cooperative Counterspelling, Coordinated Blast, Electric Discharge, Elemental Admixture, Familiar Link, Group Deliver Touch Spells, Group Shared Spells, Improved Spell Sharing, Metamagical Synergy, Mystical Reverberation, Piecing Gambit, Secret Language, Share Spells, Shielded Caster, Special Delivery, Spell Bluff, Spell Chain, Spell Synergy, Take the Hit.

As a standard action, you can grant this feat to all allies within 30 feet who can see and hear you. Allies retain the use of this bonus feat for 3 rounds plus 1 round for every two magister levels you possess. Allies do not need to meet the prerequisites of these bonus feats. You can use this ability once per day at 1st level, plus one additional time per day at 5th level and for every 5 levels thereafter. If you gain one of the teamwork feats listed (which you may do with magister bonus feats, if you wish), you can also grant them to allies by expending one use of this ability.

[As a design note I adore this idea… but I’m not 100% convinced it makes the most sense as a feat. A feat that grants another feat and does something else is weird, at minimum. In a final version, this might become a magister talent or even a mystic bond. But that’s how the writing process goes–get stuff WRITTEN first, develop those concepts later.]

Spellslinger
You have trained extensively in ranged spell combat.
Prerequisites: Magister 3, 5 spells known that require tanged attacks or ranged touch attacks.
Benefit: You gain a pool of grit, which is determined as using your magister level -2 as your gunslinger level, and using your primary spellcasting ability modifier. Rather than regain grit when you make critical blows or kill foes with firearms, you do so when you perform such deeds with spells using ranged attack rolls. You also gain the gunslinger’s dodge deed.

As you gain levels, you gain additional deeds (which can only be used with spells with ranged attacks, rather than firearms). If your magister level is 5 or greater, you also gain the utility shot deed. At 9th you gain startling shot, at 11th targeting, at 13th bleeding wound, at 15th menacing shot, at 17th evasive, and at 19th gunslinger’s luck.

Touch of Corruption
No matter the magic power source you draw from, you have taken a particular focus on the necromantic aspects of it.
Prerequisites: Magister 3, 5 spells known from the necromancy school.
Benefit: You gain the touch of corruption class feature of the antipaladin, using your magister level -1 as your antipaladin level. For every 6 magister levels you have, you also gain one of the antipaladin cruelties available to antipaladins at 3rd level, though you can never add more than one cruelty to a single attack.

(Art by Iuliia KOVALOVA)

Touch of Greater Corruption
Your necromantic powers grow.
Prerequisites: Magister 9, 9 spells known from the necromancy school.
Benefit: For every 6 magister levels you have, you gain one of the antipaladin cruelties available to antipaladins at 6th level, though you can never add more than one cruelty to a single attack.

Want More Professional Pathfinder 1st Edition?!

Hey folks! We’re not done with the Magister just yet — there are new and revised mystic talents and magister feats yet to come… but what do you want to see AFTER that?

I know there’s less-and-less material being produced for Pathfinder 1st edition by people who worked on the game as Paizo developers. If you want to encourage me to keep creating new options for this rule system, please consider joining my Patreon (or buying a cup work of support at my Ko-Fi) and letting me know!

HEY, WHILE I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION!

I’m working with novelist and veteran game design Darrin Drader to bring a new edition of his Reign of Discordia sci-fi setting to 5e and the White Star rpg. As is the standard these days we have a Kickstarter campaign running at the moment, and would really appreciate you taking look, telling your friends, and maybe backing it!

Revised Magister for PF1 (Part 9)

Okay, moving on for now from mystic bonds for our Revised Magister class (for PF1), let’s take a look at some new magister feats. I strongly suspect I’d rework the entire magister feat dynamic in a final revised commercial version of this class, so all of these end up being mystic talents and instead of alternating between mystic talents and magister feat, the magister gets a mystic talent at every odd level (and one of them is “Bonus Feat,” like with so many class talent systems in Pf1), but that’s more of an overhaul than I want to get into for a simple update.

We’ll start with things inspired by the alchemist class. (No, no mutagens. Ever.)

(Art by Salenta)

Alchemical Talent
You have learned to create extracts.
Prerequisites: Brew Potions, magister 3, 5 or more arcane spells known, 3 ranks Craft (alchemy).
Benefit: You can create extracts and identify potions as described in the alchemy class feature of the alchemist (this does not allow you to make bonds — see Explosive Talent, or to make mutagens). Rather than gain a new formula list or separate extracts per day, you can expand a spell slot to create an extract from a spell known of that level or lower that targets one or more creatures or objects and does not have a target of “personal.” You also gain a competence bonus equal to half your magister level on Craft (alchemy) checks to create alchemical items.
Special: Once you have taken this feat, you can take the Extra Discovery feat without meeting its prerequisites, and may do so using magister bonus feats. You cannot take a discovery that grants or modifies an alchemist ability you do not possess (such as bombs or mutagens). Additionally, you can forgo a magister bonus feat to gain the swift alchemy alchemist class features (using your magister level as your alchemist level).

Explosive Talent
You have learned to make things go “booooom.”
Prerequisites: Magister 3, 5 or more arcane spells known, 3 ranks Craft (alchemy)
Benefit: You can make bombs. This functions as the alchemist class feature, except as follows. Your bomb damage and save DC is calculated as if your alchemist level was your magister level -2. You do not have a limited number of bombs per day, but to create a bomb you must expend a magister spell slot. This must be a spell slot with a spell level no less than 1 per 3 dice of damage your bomb does (minimum 1st-level spell slot).
Special: Once you have taken this feat, you can take the Extra Discovery and Throw Anything feats without meeting their prerequisites, and may do so using magister bonus feats. You cannot take a discovery that grants or modifies an alchemist ability you do not possess (such as extracts or mutagens). Additionally, you can forgo a magister bonus feat to gain any one of the following alchemist class features (using your magister level as your alchemist level): poison resistance, poison use, swift alchemy, swift poisoning).

Greater Alchemical Talent
You can make more powerful extracts
Prerequisites: Alchemical Talent, Brew Potions, magister 10, 9 or more arcane spells known, 10 ranks Craft (alchemy).
Benefit: You can now use the extract ability from your Alchemical Talent feat to turn spells known with a target of “personal” into extracts.

Want More Professional Pathfinder 1st Edition?!

Hey folks! We’re not done with the Magister just yet — there are new and revised mystic talents and magister feats yet to come… but what do you want to see AFTER that?

I know there’s less-and-less material being produced for Pathfinder 1st edition by people who worked on the game as Paizo developers. If you want to encourage me to keep creating new options for this rule system, please consider joining my Patreon (or buying a cup work of support at my Ko-Fi) and letting me know!

HEY, WHILE I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION!

I’m working with novelist and veteran game design Darrin Drader to bring a new edition of his Reign of Discordia sci-fi setting to 5e and the White Star rpg. As is the standard these days we have a Kickstarter campaign running at the moment, and would really appreciate you taking look, telling your friends, and maybe backing it!


Revised Magister for PF1 (Part 8)

Okay, moving on for now from mystic bonds for our Revised Magister class (for PF1), let’s take a look at some new mystic talents. I’d add even more in a final revised professional project, but for now this seems like a goodly number to show where my head is at.

We’ll do both some talents and advanced talents, for magister’s younger and older. 🙂

(Art by 9’63 Creation)

Mystic Talents: As a magister gains experience, she learns a number of talents that assist her in manipulating spells and other forms of magic. At 3rd level, and again at 7th, a magister gains one mystic talent. A magister cannot select an individual talent more than once. Talents marked with an asterisk add effects to a magister’s spellcasting ability. Only one of these talents can be applied to an individual spell and the decision must be made before the spell is cast.

Fain Casting (Ex): The magister can take the ready action to cast a spell. Rather than define a single condition to trigger her ready, she can select two (such as “As soon as a foe comes in range, or a member of our part takes damage.”) If either condition is met, she can cast an available spell she selects at the moment of casting (as long as it has a casting time of 1 standard action or less). Once she has cast one readied spell, she can no longer cast a spell in response to her other ready trigger, unless she readies again in a future round.

Spell Fuel (Ex): When casting a spell with a casting time of 1 standard action or less, the magister can drain the magic from a potion in her possession (it need not be in-hand, but cannot be in an extradimensional space such as a handy haversack or bag of holding) rather than expend a spell slot for the spell. The potion must be of a spell with a spell level of equal or greater level than the spell she casts, and she casts the spell with a caster level equal to the lower of her own caster level or the potion’s caster level.

Spindle Dance (Sp): The magister can summon an invisible, mindless, shapeless force to carry one rod, staff, or wand for her. This functions as unseen servant, except it cannot travel beyond her space, automatically travels with her, it can carry only a single object, and if the object is a rod, staff, or wand, the magister is considered to be wielding it, and can activate and use it as if it was in her hand (though she cannot make melee attacks with it as a weapon, but can make melee attacks for spells and abilities granted by the object). This is treated as a spell with a spell level equal to the highest-level magister spell she can cast.

Advanced Mystic Talents: At 11th, 15th, and 20th level, a magister learns further talents to assist her in manipulating spells and other forms of magic. She may gain one of the abilities described in the “Mystic Talents” entry or, if she prefers, one of the abilities described below. Advanced mystic talents follow the same rules as mystic talents.

Favored Target (Ex): The magister selects one favored enemy per 5 class levels, as the ranger class feature. She cannot select the same enemy more than once. This functions as the ranger ability, but the bonus to attack rolls and damage only applies to attacks and damage from spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities. Additionally, favored enemies take a -1 penalty to saving throws against the magister’s spells, spell-like abilities, and supernatural abilities. These bonuses do not increase as she selects additional favored targets, they are always the base bonuses which she simply gets to apply to more and more enemies.

Shatter Arcana (Ex): The magister has learned to shatter the mystic matrix of a high-level spell slot into multiple lower-level spell slots. As a full-round action, the magister can expend a magister spell slot to regain low spell slots of lower level. The magister takes the spell level of the slot to be split, subtracts 2, then divides the remaining spell levels as she wishes to restore missing spell slots of lower level. For example, a magister could expend a 5th level spell slot to restore 3 spell levels (5 -2) of lower-level spell slots she has expended. She could restore one 3rd-level slot, one 2nd-level and one 1st-level, or three 1st-level spells. She cannot use this to gain more than her normal maximum number of spells per spell level, only to restore spell slots she has already expended.

Want More Professional Pathfinder 1st Edition?!

Hey folks! We’re not done with the Magister just yet — there are new and revised mystic talents and magister feats yet to come… but what do you want to see AFTER that?

I know there’s less-and-less material being produced for Pathfinder 1st edition by people who worked on the game as Paizo developers. If you want to encourage me to keep creating new options for this rule system, please consider joining my Patreon (or buying a cup work of support at my Ko-Fi) and letting me know!

HEY, WHILE I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION!

I’m working with novelist and veteran game design Darrin Drader to bring a new edition of his Reign of Discordia sci-fi setting to 5e and the White Star rpg. As is the standard these days we have a Kickstarter campaign running at the moment, and would really appreciate you taking look, telling your friends, and maybe backing it!

Revised Magister for PF1 (Part 7)

We start the week continuing with more new stuff for our Revised Magister class, for PF1. Having done the core mystic bond rules and updated all the original ones, today we continue to add new mystic bonds, delving into more of the hybrid classes that came out after the original magister was written.

Spirit Bond (divine) – The magister forms a bond with the spirits of the world. The magister gains a spirit from the shaman spirit class feature, The spells granted by that spirit are added to her primary spell list. At 1st level she gains that spirit’s spirit ability, at 8th level she gains its greater spirit ability, and at 16th level she gains its true spirit ability. She can select to gain a hex from her spirit instead of magister bonus feats at 5th, 9th, 13th, and 17th level. The magister treats her magister level as her shaman level for all abilities gained through the spirit bond.

Special: An occult magister who selects the spiritualist spell list as a primary or secondary spell list may select the spirit bond.

(Art by zhenliu)

Kenning Bond (arcane) – The magister turns to ancient poetry and sagas for secret ways to access and manipulate magic. Once per day, the magister can cast any spell on her primary spell list (see Choosing Spells for more information on magister spell lists) as if it were one of her magister spells known, expending a magister spell slot of the same spell level to cast the desired spell. Casting a spell with the kenning bond always has a minimum casting time of 1 full round, regardless of the casting time of the spell. At 6th level she can use the kenning bond to cast a spell from her secondary spell list. At 11th level, she can use this ability twice per day, and at 17th level, she can use it three times per day.

Additionally, the magister becomes a master of many different types of lore. At 1st level, and every 2 levels thereafter, she selects one Knowledge skill she can always take 10 on checks with, even if danger and distractions would normally prevent her from doing so. At 7th level, once per day, she can take 20 on any of the Knowledge skills she has selected with this ability as a standard action, instead of spending the normal time taking 20 requires. The magister can use this ability to take 20 on a Knowledge skill check twice per day at 13th level and three times per day 19th level.

Special: A divine magister who worships a god that grants the Knowledge of Magic domain can select the kenning bond.

Want More Professional Pathfinder 1st Edition?!

Hey folks! We’re not done with the Magister just yet — there are new and revised mystic talents and magister feats yet to come… but what do you want to see AFTER that?

I know there’s less-and-less material being produced for Pathfinder 1st edition by people who worked on the game as Paizo developers. If you want to encourage me to keep creating new options for this rule system, please consider joining my Patreon (or buying a cup work of support at my Ko-Fi) and letting me know!

HEY, WHILE I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION!

I’m working with novelist and veteran game design Darrin Drader to bring a new edition of his Reign of Discordia sci-fi setting to 5e and the White Star rpg. As is the standard these days we have a Kickstarter campaign running at the moment, and would really appreciate you taking look, telling your friends, and maybe backing it!