CARRY A TORCH SONG
(A Sorcerers & Speakeasies short story)
Felspethe moved silently from her office to the interior balcony overlooking the main room, her form concealed in the dark shadows the balcony’s drapes cast from the stage lights hanging just under it. It was a good crowd, tonight. Mostly human, as you’d expect on a Saturday night at an upscale place like the Annwyn Avalon, but with a smattering of feybloods, dworrowfolk, sidhe, and one small block of uroks. She saw with approval that Tam-Tam, the night’s floor manager, was lounging in apparent boredom between the uroks and the nearest humans. It was unlikely anyone would dare bare iron in her club, but it was better if Tam-Tam could calm tensions before they got anywhere near that far if someone had too much to drink.
Or smoke. Or snort.
Her Court was similarly alert, if lazily so. Their dull yellow beaks and dark feathers were nearly invisible in the rafters, up at her balcony’s level, though from time to time a rook or jackdaw would flutter from one beam to another, and sometimes a patron would look up. The larger crows and ravens were much quieter, content to sit in spots picked out before she opened her doors. If they took wing tonight, it would be at her command alone.
One of the largest ravens, nearly three feet from tip of razor-sharp beak to end of it’s tailfeathers, was sitting on the railing of her balcony. It had ignored her when she walked out, but turned it’s head now to regard her with one shiny black eye.
Felspethe smiles. “What catches your attention tonight, Valgrn?”
The corvid’s voice was quiet and deep, very much at odds with its appearance.
“Captain Auburn is back.”
Felspethe raised a long, delicate eyebrow, and scanned the room more carefully. To her annoyance, she couldn’t spot the brazen-headed police agent who should have stood out like a pumpkin in a potato patch.
“Where?” She kept her voice calm — no reason to ruffle the Court.
Valgrn tilted his head and leaned, jutting his beak forward. “There. Standing by the maquette.”
Felspethe’s eyes jumped back to a point they had just slid over, a small roped-off alcove which featured a terracotta statue of a lithe elven figure in clothes a century out of fashion, its face a near match for Felspethe’s own. And sure enough, there was Captain Urielle Auburn, in the smart pinstripe suit that functioned as her uniform nowadays. And, as always, her enruned rifle Killfire was neatly slung over her back, in a well-maintained but obviously military shoulder sheath. The captain’s eyes were boring a whole across the club, though Felspethe didn’t bother to see what she was looking at yet.
Flespethe’s heart fluttered a little, which was almost as annoying as not being able to spot Auburn on her own. She wanted to be annoyed about the rifle, but couldn’t generate any heat behind the feeling. The Annwyn Avalon forbade weapons, but she knew perfectly well a quarter of her patrons concealed some derringer or stiletto. And Auburn could likely flash a badge, or a note from the mayor, and insist on bringing Killfire in anyway.
But most police would have brought something more subtle. It was just so like Urielle to insist on being obvious about it. A smile crept onto the corner of Felspethe’s lips, and it took conscious effort to suppress it.
“Do we know why she’s here?”
Again, Valgrn pointed with his beak, the line of his gesture crossing the steely gaze of Captain Auburn at the location of one of her VIP tables, where a circle of patrons in suits that each cost more than her monthly payroll sat and laughed loudly. The largest of the group was Beula “Breakbone” Jotkin, an ogreblooded uruk famous for being able to punch through brick. No one in the club would want to trade blows with the big enforcer… except Auburn, of course.
But the greater threat was a small man sitting next to Breakbone, and almost certainly paying for her meal. Pleasantly plump, balding and gray-haired, Fodrick Freeburner was the unquestioned head of the Weefolk Beneficent Society… known on the streets as the Halfling Mob. He was an almost cherublike figure, with sparkling eyes and rosy cheeks, who played “Little Father Christmas” in the city’s Yule parade every year.
He was also, Felspethe knew, a merciless criminal mastermind, and a potent necromancer.
She found her mouth suddenly quite dry. If Auburn was here for Freeburner…
“What can you see in the farther branches, my knight?”
As she stroked Valgrn’s feathers, his eyes went from glossy to flat black, as he looked beyond where she could see.
His voice was barely a whisper. “Captain Auburn hunts a killer. She believes it to be Aussker Crackkettle, a minor numbers-runner for Freeburner. Freeburner has kept Crackkettle hidden. She is here to remind him she has gone to war. True war. And that if she does so again, it will not go well for him.”
“And here, tonight?” Felspethe held her breath.
“Captain Auburn will begin no war in your lands. But if Freeburner senses advantage, he may unleash Breakbone upon the captain.”
Valgrn’s eyes regained their normal gleam.
“It is unlikely Freeburner would risk it. But not impossible.”
Felspethe knew the future was too shadowy to ever be sure of anything, and Valgrn had certainly earned her trust with his predictions. But she needed to push the chance of a street war breaking out here, tonight, well into the “impossible” category. And to do that, she needed to make Freeburner wonder if she and her Court would side with him, or Urielle, should blood be spilled. But at the same time, she had to do so in such a way he didn’t perceive it as a threat. She couldn’t operate without his tacit approval.
But she also could not allow Auburn to fight alone. Not again.
“The Captain’s unit in the War, the Stormguard. What was their color song?”
Vagrn’s beak could not smile. Yet, the humor was clear on his face.
“March of Cambreadth. Shall I signal the stage chief to ready for you to perform?”
Felspethe allowed the smile this time. “Indeed. One song, to honor the war hero among us. No one could blame me for that, could they?”
She glanced down again, and was startled to see Urielle looking up at her. She should be invisible here in her balcony, but their eyes locked. Urielle nodded once. And… was that a hint of a smile of her own ?”
Felspethe’s heart pounded but she kept enough composure to simply nod in return, and let her smile bloom to its full glory. Urielle’s eyes widened briefly, and then she looked away quickly.
Felspethe felt the emotions that fueled her mortal form more than food, air, or lifeblood boiling within her. Rather than fight them down, she began to let them coil, where she could access them as needed. This song, this one rare song from the owner of the Annwyn Avalon, would be enough to make anyone considering crossing her pause.
And if it didn’t? Well, Felspethe was sure Urilee Auburn and Killfire would not let her and her court fight alone.
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Rag marions are designed for the “No Strings” Anachronistic Adventures campaign setting for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. If not using Anachronistic Adventures, you can create a similar setting by allowing advanced firearms, humans and rag marions only for players and restricting classes to occult classes from Pathfinder Roelpalying Game Occult Adventures, and those classes with no access to innate spellcasting.
Rag marions are defined by their class levels—they do not possess racial Hit Dice.
Rag marions as constructs with the (marion) subtype.
*All rag marions have the following racial traits. –2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma: Rag marions are (literally) boneless and thus have difficulty lifting and applying leverage, but they are flexible and nimble, and generally have strong personalities. As constructs, rag marions do not have a Constitution score.
*Normal Speed: Rag marions have a base speed of 30 feet.
*Small: Rag marions are Small creatures and gain a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a –1 penalty on combat maneuver checks and to combat maneuver defense, a +2 bonus on Fly checks, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks.
*Big Hands, Big Feet: Rag marions are constructed to operate in a human world, and thus are built with limbs that allow them to use Medium weapons in addition to small weapons. Because part of their eldritch self-identity focuses on this, the ability does not function if the marion changes size.
*Shiny Button Eyes: Rag marions have low-light vision, unless their eyes are made of glass, in which case they have 60 ft. darkvision. A DC 10 Craft (rag doll) check and the proper supplies can swap a rag marion’s eyes out, but the marion feels the entire process and must make a DC 20 Will save, or have it’s alignment shift one toward chaotic Evil for 1d4 days. If the roll is a natural 1, this shift lasts until the marion gains a level.
*Spark of Life: Spells that heal living creatures can heal a rag marion, as long as a piece of cloth is added as a power spell component. Whenever this happens, the marion must make a Will save. On a failed save, the marion’s alignment shifts by 1 in a random direction for 1 day per point of healing. If the saving throw is a natural 1, the alignment shift is permanent.
Additionally, despite being constructs, rag marions are subject to magic effects that cause ability damage, ability drain, fatigue, exhaustion, energy drain, and nonlethal damage. they not, however, eat, sleep, or breathe.
*Rags: Craft (rag doll) can be used like the Heal skill for rag marions. If the rag marion has suffered an effect normally only restored by a restoration spell, this can be fixed with a DC 30 skill check, but doing so requires a DC 15 Will save to avoid permanent alignment shift (as noted in Spark of Life).
*Stuffed: A rag marion has DR 10/piercing or slashing, and takes half damage from firearms and effects that allow a Reflex save and don’t deal fire damage. A rag marion takes no damage from a fall. Any time a rag marions fails a saving throw against a fire effect, or takes fire damage in excess of its Strength score from a single attack, it catches on fire.
*Floppy: Rag marions do not take constriction damage, and gain a +4 bonus on Escape Artist checks. They suffer a -4 penalty on bull rush, drag, grapple, overrun, and reposition maneuvers. However, a rag marion can leap onto a creature and be surprisingly difficult to dislodge. This is a standard action that is an opposed Dexterity check. The marion can maintain this grip as a move action with a new opposed check each round. The gripped creature is not considered grappled and can move freely, but the marion goes with them. The marion must use 3 limbs to maintain this grip.
*Musty: Rag marions absorb scents easily into their cloth boddies, and their internal rags are hard to clean. Creatures without scent can track marions as if they had scent, and creatures with scent gain a +5 bonus to scent-based Perception checks against a marion. A DC 20 Craft (rag doll) check that requires cleaning supplies and one hour can remove a rag marion’s stink for 2d4 days, but each combat encounter the rag marion is part of reduces this duration by a day.
*Languages: Rag marions speak the common language of their creators (usually English or German), but also have a knack for languages tied to the eldritch magics that brought them to life. A rag marion with a high Intelligence score can choose from the following: any common language, Abyssal, Aklo, Boggard, Dark Folk, Gnome, Goblin, Infernal, Necril, Terran.
I continue to slowly modify and assemble models and figures for my Diesel Pulp headcannon setting. Obviously there’s priming and basing and painting yet to me done, these are all works in progress.
From L to R, a Garland Heavy Walker, a Free Corps Light Infantry demolitions expert, a Tumbleweed Light Mech (in back), a Heavy Infantry armor suit, a Mulholland Medium Walker, and a Free Corps Light Infantry soldier.
Allied Diesel Pulp Forces
L to R: A Gardland Heavy Walker (with three of the most famous Irregulars: Sky King, All-American Girl, and The Yankee), three Free Corps mercenaries, a British “Tory” gun carrier (the famous interwar ‘Walking Pillbox’), three Heavy Infantry Armor Suits, three Medium Infantry (front) and a Gun Carrier (back), a Self-Motivated Mortar with three Yowling Yahoos (light infantry commandos), a Tumbleweed Light Mech, and a Mulholland Medium Walker (“torchie” variant).
Soviet Diesel Pulp
In back, TS-1 and K-34 Medium Walkers. Along the front three “Night Ogres,” the Soviet attempt at Heavy Infantry that were too large and heavily armed and armored for anyone else to call them infantry (generally categorized as Gun Carriers by other nations). Both the walkers and the gun carriers show the distinctive sloped armor the Soviets had developed to good effect in the FT Fast Walker designs in the Interwar Period. The K-34 and leftmost Night Ogre also sport “Iron Claws,” one of the Soviet answers to their constant lack of munitions and high percentage of urban fighting (also resulting in the distinctive red-and-gray “Brickhouse” cammo patterns.
Also present two Commissars (currently sans-humpanzee troops) and a military seer (in back near the TS-1).
Though the mystery of where Nazi Germany was getting dinosaurs wasn’t solved until very late in the war, in most theaters of combat the occasional unit of “Thunder Cavalry” had little enough impact that Allied planners did not consider them a major threat.
However, in Africa the dreaded Wüstedrachen were a major part of how Rommel managed to hold a large portion of the continent long after the Allies successfully cut off most routes of supply and reinforcement from the continent. The beasts were capable of outrunning and outlasting horses, camels, and even jeeps, could allow expert troops to carry significant material and even anti-tank weapons, and the higher portion of light troops without armor support made their close combat abilities more relevant.
Here three Wüstedrachen are seen alongside two interwar Italian C3/33 Mechettes. While Mechettes saw only limited use in Europe, Rommel made good use of what Italian forces he had, and employed them effectively as scouting and infantry support, often in conjunction with Wüstedrachen or Medium Infantry.
This is fairly typical of the kind of worldbuilding I do for fun, when I am not so overloaded with work that all my writing MUST be on-task and on-schedule.
In this case, I have a never-slated-for-professional-publication Diesel Pulp setting that I buy and modify models to fit into. My first concern is aesthetics of these mystery men and weird war machines… but in time the world begins to form a cohesive whole that demands exploration in prose.
This is the same sort of exploration I did in the short fiction piece ’49, which is designed to be part of the same world.
While the fact that Martian Tripods had been so effective during the First and Second War of the Worlds could easily have been attributed to their advanced metuallurgy, heat rays, broadcast power, and compression gears, it nevertheless cemented in most nation’s military planners that a walker design of some kind was clearly superior to wheeled or tracked vehicles. Thus, rather than test walkers on a level playing field, most designers first theorized on why legged armor units were superior to other options, and then drew up tests to prove their theories.
One common theory in the early 1930s was that walkers had significant advantages over wheeled or tracked vehicles due to increased stability, and thus an improved ability to fire a cannon while moving with some degree of accuracy. The concept behind this idea was simple – the position of a walker was always entirely determined by the position of its articulate legs, driven by compression gears, and thus stabilizing cams could be built to read compression gear feedback. These cams where supposed to predict how the movement of articulated parts would affect articulated weapons, and automatically adjust the weapon’s position to compensate.
The reality of walker stability and predictability consistently failed to live up to theoretical models. For some reason, tripping, sliding, and even falling were never considered to be regular occurrences by military planners, and thus were ignored in tests run on articulated prediction cams. In battlefield conditions, walkers often ended up on uneven footing (debris, mud, soft earth, and even walker traps designed to limit their mobility), so assuming a given position of the legs always equaled what it should on a hard, level, stable surface often failed to give accurate adjustments to weapons.
The Nazi walkers favored heavy armor and heavy weapons, and a rapid reload time. The need to couple these with prediction cams inevitably lead to designs that placed a walker’s main weapons in articulated outboard platforms, called “Gewehrfaust” or Gun-Arms. These were normally mounted on either side of the main fuselage, and were connected by heavily armored gearing systems. As a result, any such weapons had to be auto-loading and have self-contained ammunition magazines. This gave main cannons impressive rate-of-fire and full cam stabilization… but the stabilization systems never worked well and the rate-of-fire only lasted until the magazine was depleted. A German Wotan or Donar walker armed with a Rheinmetall-Borsig 7.5 cm KwK 42 (L/70) carried twelve rounds in the magazine, and 48 more in the main body, but reloading the magazine required the walker to be at a dead stop and expose its crew for nearly thirty minutes. Worse, thought the gun could fire APCBC, HE, and APCR rounds (though that last was always in short supply), the integral magazine meant the ratio of such rounds had to be decided in advance. The gunner could dial up any round in the magazine, but if HE rounds were all that was left in the magazine, and APCR was a better choice, there was no practical way of loading the desired shell even if it was in-stock.
This lead to the advancement of more Lightning Guns and Thunder Cannons in variant designs, but Nazi Germany could rarely produce enough such weapons to meet demand. Flamethrowers, heavy flack guns, and rocket pods were more often used where LGs and TCs were called for.
Russian walkers also generally used outboard weapon platforms, and could rarely manage multiple main guns on a walker in any case, but used gyroscopic stabilization rather than feedback cams hooked to compression gears. While accuracy was never as high on the move compared to stationary fire, Russian walkers on the move could depend on hitting more than missing when shooting at targets that were in close range or that were themselves stationary. Additionally, since Russian walkers were always in short ammo supply, they were less likely to have multiple shells as an option, and might only have enough ammo to fill a single magazine in any case, minimizing the real impact of that design choice.
Americans also used gyroscopic stabilization, the only other nation to do so. However, their designs always placed a walker’s main armament inside the body of a walker. In the case of early six-legged Mulholland walker and later 8-legged Garland walkers, a single turret was used to house primary armament. The stability of the multileg suspension, coupled with gyrostabilization, gave these tanks and their variants the greatest moving fire accuracy of any Medium or Heavy walker of the war. However, the weight of the additional legs required these walkers to be more lightly armored than typical for their tonnage, and their guns were manually loaded, resulting in a much lower ROF for short engagements. This was partially compensated for by the ability to continue fire (a standard load was 55 rounds) without stopping or exposing crew, and for each shot to be loaded with the preferred shell type. Additionally, these walkers were constructed in vast numbers. A Mulholland might not be an even match for a Wotan, but three Mulhollands certainly were.
In the case of the American mech hunter Bunyan design, the main cannon was built into the center of the main body. Though also gyrostabilized, the Bunyan’s 2-leg design and antitank mission made moving fire both less accurate and less desirable. If a mech hunter could not outrange another walker, standard tactics were for it to move after every shot, to compensate for its lower average armor thickness.
Rarely do you need detailed rules for athletes in Pathfinder, but it does come up sometimes. Being an Olympian, or the cultural equivalent, makes sense as a background for an adventurer, and it’s something that might come up more often in an Anachronistic Adventures game.
So, if you ever need to run high-stakes sports, where things are far from life and death but it does seen like stress of distraction are involved, here are some simple rules (in a rough draft format).
Professional (athlete) covers making money and answering basic questions related to your field. It also allows you to compete in that sport.Making a Professional (athlete) check in most circumstances determins whether or not you do well in a specific event, based on the level of competition (see below). If doing a complex competition, such as a 9-inning game or a multi-stage event, a character’s check represents how well they do overall.
Compete professionally at a typical level 10
Compete professionally at a city level 13
Compete professionally at a state level 15
Compete professionally at a national level 18
Compete professionally at a championship level 20
Compete professionally at a worldwide level 25
If the storyline requires a pivotal moment, or the competition is a single specific effort (such as performing a floor routine at the Olympics), the check represents not the character’s total success, but their ability to remain focused, calm, and consistent. This is the experience and professionalism sports fans often talk about – two football quarterbacks may both be able to perform equally well in practice, but the one with more experience is less likely to choke during the crucial moment of the Big Game.
If the character passes their Professional (athlete) check at the competition level in these cases, it means they are doing everything right as far as poise and avoiding distractions or mental errors go. A second check is still required. However, if the poise check is a success, this second check is 1d10 + 10 + skill bonus, rather than 1d20 + skill bonus, or taking 10.
This second check may be another Professional (athlete) check, opposed by the skill of another team or enemy team member (“Can you outrun the last relay runner on the opposing team!?”). If it’s a team event, the two teams should first make checks based on their overall quality [likely determined by the GM based on the scenario, but representational of the average of all the team-member’s Professional (athlete) checks].
For an athletic test against a hazard or obstacle (How far can you jump? Who Swims the fastest?) the check it may be a static DC for a related skill for binary success (Can you climb the rope of Mount Midoriyama?) or to see how far you get (an Acrobatics check to determine your long jump). In either case, for competition, a successful poise Profession (athlete) check still makes the roll 1d10 + 10 + bonus.
This means that if the competition is a long jump, for example, both Profession (athlete) (to see if you can use 1d10 + 10 rather than 1d20) and Acrobatics (to determine actual distance jumped) are important. Knowing how to handle yourself during the contest is important, but so is raw jumping ability.
Ah, brain? What are you doing brain!?
No, DON’T listen to Muse. We don’t need any inspiration right now!
What did she say? No, I don’t care… What the hell is a Five Mana Band?
‘Rockomancy’? We don’t have time to write rules for rockamancy!
“Battle” rules? What, like a Battle of the Bands? But with magic, as part of ongoing modern adventures based around traveling supernatural warrior bands?
What the hell? How much were you drinking when you watched Scott Pilgrim vs the World during the Green Ronin Publishing summit, anyway?
Cut it out, Muse! I don’t have time for this!!
Since it’s Grinduary, I’m on mandatory work only. All side-projects are pretty well back-burnered for the next three weeks.
WHY does my brain spend so much effort coming up with ideas for a not-even-on-the-schedule “Eighties Adventures” supplement for “Anachronistic Adventures?”
Agents of S.T.E.E.L. (Opposing the terrorist organization Rust!)
ALTERNATERS (Camouflaged Mecha!)
Rogue Elite Squad
Xenoform, Xenoforms, Slayer, and Slayer vs. Xenoforms
Lytnen the Barbarienne
Dogged and The Meddling Kids
The 187 Keys
Thark & Tina
The Plymouth Files
Thirteen’s a Cult
Peninsula of Wish Fulfillment
It doesn’t stop.
An Anachronistic Adventures “Adventure Sketch” for four characters of 4th-6th level, set in a Progress Level 4 campaign.
Adventure Sketches are the framework for an adventure, with a rough breakdown of the who, where, when, why and how. A GM still needs to fill in the blanks, but there’s enough here to run a game with some fast thinking (or flesh it out to suit your own needs). Monsters either use options available at various sites online, or give notes how to convert such online resources.
Professor Edward Prendick, Jr., working in isolation on Noble Isle to continue the work of his father, has managed to devolve modern creatures into those of the Jurassic period, especially dinosaurs. To keep them from escaping the Professor created the “Tithonian Tower,” an Eiffel Tower-like broadcast station able to create the “primal wave,” a frequency that forces all prehistoric creatures to move to within at least a few miles of it.
While he is still working to perfect the devolution process (for some reason many of the dinosaurs he devolves from birds maintain their feathers, which he is sure is wrong), the Professor is short on funds and must find a major source of income.
His supply contact on the nearest mainland, Captain Karl Englehorn, convinced Professor Prendick to take on investors. Depending on GM needs the investors might be members of one of the nations of WW I, or of WWII (Nazis are particularly popular, but what if it was an off-the-books American or British plan?), millionaire businessmen looking to create an event destination for the ultra-rich (“Jurassic Island”), or an aging moviemaker looking for his big comeback film. The Professor assumes that as long as the buildings for guests are outside the Tithonian Tower’s range, no dinosaurs will get close enough to cause problems. The big unveiling is in a few days.
Unfortunately, a major storm rolls in, and lightning hammers the island. A lightning strike has taken out the Tithonian Tower, and large waves have broken the sea gates around a saltwater lagoon holding numerous 30-40 foot long pliosauruses, who swim into the waters around Noble Isle.
That’s when the heroes arrive.
They likely arrive as a group. Maybe they are a military analysis team, sent to figure out where money is going during the war. Or a news team, to cover the upcoming Big Event. Or a rich patron and her security detail, coming to see the Big Event. Or the film crew gathered by the aging moviemaker without being told what they’d be filming. Or unrelated innocents who have to be rescued by small Noble Isle boats when their ship’s engine is mysterious torn out and the ship happens to drift by. Or each may have a different reason for being there compiled from those starting points.
In any case, the heroes are brought to the main pavilions, where they are told the seas are getting worse. The small boats of Noble Isle can’t handle the increasing waves anymore, and any larger ships that could do so that might be contacted by radio can’t risk getting close to the island. The Professor is content to just wait out the storm.
Then the compsognathuses attack.
It’s a sudden swarm of 12 of the dinosaurs into the main dining room, attacking everyone and everything. Present are (at least) the Professor, Jack Wright (the portly chief engineer), and Captain Engelhorn, and likely some serving staff. Not only must the PCs survive, but how many NPCs they save impacts the adventure.
After the attack, if Professor Prendick is alive, he realizes the Tithonian Tower must be down, and an expedition must go restore it, or eventually dinosaurs will swarm the compound and kill everyone. He also notes he has a single man-portable primal wave repeller (+2 deflection bonus to AC against attacks from dinosaurs, megafauna, and pterosaur), at his lighthouse lab (see below) if those going to attempt to make it to the Tower want to risk a trip there first.
If the professor is dead, either a survivor or the professor’s notebook lead PCs to head to the nearby lighthouse lab, where his control panels are, which can ID the problem. If the PCs have to go to the lighthouse, they face an encounter of two pteranodons, drawn to the lighthouse’s light and are unlikely to find the hidden primal wave repeller without some tracking or analysis class features.
If anyone asks if there are velociraptors or Tyrannosauruses on the island, he angrily answers that of course there are not! That would be irresponsible… since both those dinosaurs are from the Cretaceous, NOT the Jurassic. He is, after all, a scientist.
If chief engineer Jack Wright is alive, he can sketch out the things that might have gone wrong with the Tithonian Tower if it was hit by lightning, and raid the beached boats for parts to fix it, giving the PCs the materials they need and a bonus to fix the Tithonian Tower once they arrive and a +4 circumstance bonus for checks to do so. He’ll go along if PCs insist, but he’s a 4th-level expert with low physical ability scores, and is overweight enough to count as heavily encumbered even when not carrying anything. He’s not convinced he’d survive long enough to be any help.
If Wright is dead, either the Professor or his notebook can provide a general idea of what might need fixing, but no one thinks to grab parts from the boats. Instead, either the Professor or his notebook, or Wright’s files (in his office in the same building as the attack) point to an Engineering Shack half a mile beyond the Tithonian Tower, The PCs can get everything they need from there, but they’ll either have to carry enough stuff to encumber at least two of them (thus making the encounters at the Tower more difficult), or they’ll have to go to the Tower to identify the problem, then go to the Engineering Shack for supplies, and then back to the Tower to fix it.
Crossing Jurassic Island
If Captain Engelhorn is alive, he can use one of the small boats to get the PCs halfway to the Tithonian Tower by taking them up a river. No one else knows the islands rivers well enough, and if the PCs try it they end up stuck on a sandbar, needing to walk.
There is a single pliosaurus attack (use stats for an elasmosaurus, though the pliosaurus has no neck) during Engelhorn’s boat trip, but it cuts the number of other random encounters from 4 to 2, so the PCs potentially have one less fight. It also reduced the trip from a six hour walk to a one hour ride and three hour walk, which may reduce fatigue.
Additionally, Engelhorn reveals that he has discovered a hand-cranked Klaxon ™ sometimes drives off dinosaurs, and is willing to part with a spare. Engelhorn hasn’t revealed this to anyone else yet, to ensure he had a bargaining chip for when the big money begins to roll in. (The klaxon takes two hands to operate, and allows a PC to make an Intimidate check to demoralize a dinosaur. On a natural 20, the dino turns away from the noise and flees).
Walking toward Tithonian Tower results in 4 random encounters. Taking Engelhorn’s ride results in 2 random encounters for the last half of the trip only. Staying on the beech results in 1 random encounter every hour, for the 14 hours it is before a ship comes along to rescue people.
Jurassic Island Random Encounters
Roll 1d6. Until every encounter has happened once, don’t repeat any. If in the ocean, every encounter is 1d8-5 (minimum 1) pliosauruses.
1. Brachiosaurus wanders by. As long as it is not attacked, detained, or bothered, it just trundles off.
2. Nest of 10 archaeopteryxes
3. One angry edmontonia (Like an ankylosaurus without the club on the tail, but with boney shoulder spikes. Use an ankylosaurus, without the stun attack, but add a gore attack that acts as the tail attack but deals piercing damage, and it cannot target the same creature with both gore and tail attacks in the same round)
4. Pack of 12 abrictosauruses (use velociraptors without talon attacks, reducing them to CR 1 each)
5. One angry stegosaurus
6. A hunting pair of cryolophosauruses (size large theropod with a distinctive horned crest on its skull). Use stats for megaraptors, but remove talons, foreclaws, and pounce. Add a slam attack (+4, 1d6+3). Its brain is so primitive, it gains the mindless trait. The two cryolophosauruses are a CR 6 encounter.
If the PCs didn’t save chief engineer Jack Wright, they must got to the Engineering Shack to find the full blueprints of the wiring of the Tithonian Tower. (Professor Prendick knows the scientific principle behind the primal wave, but he let Wright design the various electrical supply components.)
The Engineering Shack, of course, is in the middle of the stomping grounds of a VERY annoyed camptosaurus (use stats for an iguanodon). However, someone with good wild empathy or similar ability to attempt to befriend animals could, with effort and if allies make no attacks, discover the camptosaurus is annoyed because it has burns on one foot (from a near lightning strike). A successful effort to befriend, followed by a successful DC 17 Heal check, results in the camptosaurus stomping off in peace. It then shadows the PCs, and if they get into serious trouble, comes to aid them.
If no one can attempt to befriend it, or no one makes a Heal effort, or the Heal check fails, it attacks.
Tithonian Tower is a mini-Eiffel Tower (60 feet tall), with electric generators haflway up. To get to them, the PCs must deal with the unquestioned master of Jurassic Island, an allosaurus which is it addicted to (and is now in withdrawal from) the primal wave. The Tower has clearly had one corner generator 30 feet up damaged, and is a DC 10 to Climb. Of course, 30 feet is within reach of the Huge allosaurus (and its 15 feet of reach), and if it notices anyone on the Tower, it attacks them first.
Fixing the generator takes five successful DC 25 Knowledge (engineering) or appropriate Craft checks, and 50 lbs. of electronic parts (or 25 lbs. if material was gained from the chief engineer).
Fixing it also allows the PCs the make Perception or knowledge-gathering ability checks to realize the generator was hooked to wires designed to draw in lightning. Its destruction was inevitable when the first major storm hit the island.
Once it’s fixed, the PCs must escape, because all the dinosaurs are now headed toward them (2 random encounters, or 1 to get back to Engelhorn’s boat if it was available).
Back at the Beach
Returning to the beach, if the PCs investigate they can determine that Professor Prendick sabotaged his own tower. If he’s alive and is confronted, he confesses, and calls for his NEW creation, which he planned to give the island to once the dinosaurs left – Mighty Kon Jo, a girallon with the Giant Creature template. If the Professor is dead, a search of his lab turns up a secret map to a cove with his “New Ultimate Purpose,” and a trip there reveals the angry Kon Jo. If the PCs don’t investigate, anyone they left alive at the beach says THEY searched, and found the map. If no one goes to look at the cove, Kon Jo shows up just before the rescue boats.
If the PCs befriended the camptosaurus, and it hasn’t helped yet, it shows up on the opposite side of the beach and challenges Kon Jo. In any case, Kon Jo either tries to rescue the professor, or avenge him by killing all PCs.
Once Kon Jo is dead, ships show up to rescue the PCs.
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The original Enforcer (from Anachronistic Adventurers: The Enforcer) was designed to serve a specific character role—a modern fighting-man transported to a fantasy world typical of the Pathfinder roleplaying Game. In that role, it serves admirably, and can easily be used in place of a fighter. However, if the enforcer is moved back into his native environment, be that pulp action adventures, weird war dieselpunk, modern urban fantasy, or science-fiction, the class begins to suffer. An enforcer in a Pathfinder-compatible fantasy realm can draw on the same tropes and support as a fighter, from spells cast by allies to enough magic items to light up like a Christmas tree, and is only expected to accompliosh what a fighter normally does. In campaigns without the built-in assumption of that support, and the added weight of their own tropes where the fighting-man is often the *most* effective option for shutting down a foe with powers, it doesn’t hold up to genre expectations.
Thus this Beta-Revision, made publicly available. This enforcer is designed to operate in a world where Anachronistic Adventurer classes are the norm, and clerics and wizards are rare. That changes what the enforcer has to be able to accomplish. This version still assumes *something* other than class features takes care of things like the bonuses Pathfinder characters gain as they gain levels, but that thing can easily be bonuses-by-level, such as are presented in Pathfinder Unchained.
This is a work in progress, not a finished class. It has just enough meat to make a meal, but not to support a lavish and ongoing banquette. But feedback now can help determine what spices and side dishes get added, or help determine the whole thing needs to be thrown out and the cooks start over.
Public commentary is appropriate here, or my Facebook page, or you can email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Enforcer *(Beta Revision)
Alignment: An enforcer can be of any alignment.
Ability Scores: The most important physical ability score for the enforcer is Strength. The most important mental ability score is Intelligence.
Hit Points: A character that takes enforcer as their 1st class level receives their Constitution score +5 as starting hit points. Otherwise each level of enforcer grants 6 +1d4 +Con modifier hit points.
(If using hit dice, an enforcer receives d10+Con)
Starting Wealth: 250 gp.
(If using random starting wealth an enforcer begins play with 3d6 x 10 gp.)
The enforcer’s class skills are Climb (Str), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Perception (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), and Swim (Str).
Additionally, any character who begins play as an enforcer can select two additional skills as class skills, to represent the benefit of growing up with the superior education options of a modern advanced society. These skills should be appropriate to the character’s background. An enforcer who trained with the FBI to hunt down and kill necromancers in a modern era rife with magic can reasonably select Use Magic Device as an additional class skill. A teenage enforcer who is captain of the high school wrestling team and didn’t know magic existed until an enchanted rollercoaster dumped him in a fantasy realm is limited to skills with no ties to magic.
A multiclass character whose first level of enforcer is gained after 1st character level selects one additional class skill, rather than two.
Skill Ranks per Level: 5 + Int modifier.
All of the following are class features of the enforcer.
Proficiencies: An enforcer is proficient with all simple weapons, all martial weapons, all light armor, and a single Progress Level (see Progress Level Proficiencies at the end of this product).
Archetype: Not every enforcer has taken the same path to becoming an engine of destruction, nor do all enforcers use the same techniques to achieve their goals. At 1st level, each enforcer selects an anachronistic archetype to represent his focus and background training. Once selected, this choice cannot be changed.
Each archetype provides an enforcer with special benefits, ranging from additional class skills and bonus feats to new talents and class powers. One archetype is provided at the end of this class, and others are presented in the various Anachronistic Adventurer classes.
Mettle (Ex): Enforcers are renowned for becoming more and more dangerous as they come closer and closer to defeat and somehow snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. As the consummate icon of combat, an enforcer has a reserve of endurance and willpower that allows him to push beyond the normal limits of his body and mind. This is often referred to as guts, intestinal fortitude, or just plain cussedness, and it is represented by mettle.
In game terms, mettle is a fluctuating measure of an enforcer’s ability to perform amazing actions in combat. At the start of each day, an enforcer gains a number of points of mettle equal to his Strength modifier plus his Intelligence modifier (minimum 1), to a maximum equal to double his class level. His mettle goes up or down throughout the day, but usually cannot go higher than his starting total, though some feats and devices may affect this maximum. An enforcer spends mettle to accomplish deeds (see below), and regains mettle in the following ways.
Natural 20 with an attack roll: Each time the enforcer rolls a natural 20 on an attack roll against a potential menace (see the glossary), he regains 1 mettle point.
Natural 20 with a Will saving throw: Each time the enforcer rolls a natural 20 on a Will save against an effect caused by a potential menace (see the glossary), he regains 1 mettle point.
Natural 20 with a combat skill: Each time the enforcer rolls a natural 20 on a skill check when the character cannot take 10 as a result of a threat posed by a potential menace (see the glossary), he regains 1 mettle point.
Natural 20 with a Strength check: Each time the enforcer rolls a natural 20 on a Strength-based ability check in the presence of a potential menace (see the glossary), he regains 1 mettle point.
Mettle, Grit, and Panache: Mettle is similar to grit and panache, and having mettle counts as having grit or panache for purposes of spending grit or panache and for meeting prerequisites requiring grit or panache. If an enforcer multiclasses or otherwise selects an option that would give him access to a pool of grit or panache in addition to his mettle, he instead just gains 2 additional mettle.
Enforcers spend mettle points to accomplish deeds. Most deeds grant the enforcer some momentary bonus or effect, but there are some that provide longer-lasting effects. Some deeds stay in effect as long as the enforcer has at least 1 point of mettle. Unless otherwise noted, a deed can be performed multiple successive times, as long as the appropriate amount of mettle is spent to perform the deed.
An enforcer gains one deed at 1st level, and additional deeds at 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter.
Blinding Assault (Ex): The enforcer can strike a foe’s eyes hard enough to cause temporary blindness. As a standard action the enforcer can spend one point of mettle to make one natural, unarmed, or weapon attack against a foe within 30 feet that does not have concealment or partial concealment from the enforcer. If the attack hits the enforcer deals damage as normal, and also forces the target to make a Fortitude save (DC 10 +1/2 enforcer level + Strength modifier). If the target fails this save, it is blinded for 1d4 rounds. An enforcer may choose to instead attack a target’s ears, deafening it for 2d4 rounds.
Blitz Attack (Ex): As a swift action, the enforcer can spend one point of mettle to make one extra unarmed attack, natural, or weapon melee attack.
Burst Into Action (Ex): When the enforcer is awake and not helpless, he can spend 1 point of mettle to act in a surprise round he would not normally be allowed to act during and receives a bonus to his Initiative check equal to half his class level. (The enforcer may not use this ability except in surprise rounds when he could not otherwise act.)
The enforcer may choose to spend 1 additional point of mettle to loudly shout a warning. The number of allies he can warn is based on the power of his lungs, allowing a number of allies equal to his Strength modifier (minimum 1) who can hear him to also act in the surprise round. Using this deed is not an action.
Conditioning (Ex): The enforcer has trained himself to resist adverse effects. As a free action he can taken even when it is not his turn, the enforcer can spend 1 mettle to suspend the penalties of one of the following conditions for 1 round: confused, dazed, dazzled, shaken, sickened, staggered. If the enforcer is at least 6th level, he may also suspect the following conditions: nauseated, stunned. If he is at least 12th level he may also suspect the following conditions: bleed (taking no damage for 1 round), unconscious. The conditions normal duration continues to expire. For example, if a 6th level enforcer is stunned for 1 round he can immediately take a free action to suspend the condition for 1 round. The stun effect ends after 1 round as normal, allowing the enforcer to completely ignore it.
Deadeye (Ex): The enforcer can land a ranged weapon attack with precision that causes it to deal additional damage. As long as the enforcer has at least 1 point of mettle remaining, he can add his Intelligence modifier to the damage dealt with ranged attacks.
Duck and Weave (Ex): The enforcer can focus his attention on a single foe and move to avoid attacks from that foe. As a swift action the enforcer can spend 1 point of mettle to gain a +4 dodge bonus to AC against that foe’s attacks until the beginning of the enforcer’s next turn.
Extreme Effort (Ex): This ability allows an enforcer to focus his muscles to accomplish amazing tasks of physical prowess. As a swift action the enforcer can spend one point of mettle to add a +4 bonus to any Strength-based attack roll, ability check, or skill check that normally requires no more than a standard action. The enforcer may make this decision after seeing the total of his die roll, but before learning if the attack hits. Alternately, he use this ability to double his lifting capacity (and thus his light, medium, and heavy encumbrance) for 1 round, or apply the bonus to increase his CMD until the beginning of his next turn.
Firm Grip (Ex): The enforcer has learned to keep his grip firm and even, even in the heat of combat. As long as he has at least one point of mettle, he receives a +4 bonus to his CMD against disarm, grapple, steal, and sunder combat maneuvers, as well as Climb checks.
Focused Violence (Ex): The enforcer can direct his entire focus onto dealing violence effectively against one foe. As a swift action the enforcer spend one mettle to select one foe (or inanimate object) he can see. He gains a +2 bonus to any damage done to that foe. This bonus increases to +3 at 3rd level, and by an additional +1 for every 3 class levels beyond 3rd. The bonus lasts for an hour, or until the enforcer uses this ability to focus violence on a new target.
Glancing Blow (Ex): Once per round when an enforcer makes an attack roll and misses a foe, he can spend one point of mettle as a free action to reroll the attack roll with an additional +5 bonus. The enforcer can make this decision after knowing if his original attack roll failed. If the new attack hits it deals only half its normal damage. Glancing blow cannot be used on attack rolls for combat maneuvers or attacks that do not deal damage. Once per day if the enforcer’s attack still misses with a +5 bonus, he can spend a second point of mettle to increase the bonus to a total of +10 (dealing half damage if the attack is successful, as with the normal use of the deed).
Gouging Assault (Ex): The enforcer can strike foes’ anatomy in such a way as to make it impossible for them to use certain specific attack or movement options. As a standard action the enforcer can spend one point of mettle to make one natural, unarmed, or weapon attack against a foe within 30 feet that does not have concealment or partial concealment from the enforcer. If the attack hits the enforcer deals damage as normal, and also forces the target to make a Fortitude save (DC 10 +1/2 enforcer level + Strength modifier). If the target fails this save, the enforcer can numb one or two body parts of the target for 1 round. This creates a penalty depending on the body parts numbed.
The enforcer can numb 2 arms, in which case the target does not drop held objects but cannot make attacks, skill checks, or cast spells that require the arms or hands on them.
The enforcer can numb 2 legs, in which case the target cannot move from its space (if it only has two legs) or moves at half speed (if it has more than 2 legs).
The enforcer can numb 2 wing, in which case the target cannot fly (though it has enough control to fly down at top speed to land if it wishes to, rather than fall from the sky).
The enforcer can numb a body part connected to a natural attack or special attack (such as a bite, gaze, breath weapon, or tail slap), in which case the target cannot use any attacks tied to that body part. If the head is numbed, the target also cannot speak
The penalties from gouging assault last 1 round. If the attack used to gouge is a critical hit, the penalties instead last for a number of rounds equal to the attack’s critical multiple.
Monkey Wrench (Ex): The enforcer can strike a machine’s vulnerable working parts in such a way as to impair its function. As a standard action the enforcer can spend one point of mettle to make one unarmed, natural, or weapon attack against a construct, machine, or vehicle within 30 feet that does not have concealment or partial concealment from the enforcer. If the attack hits the enforcer deals damage as normal, and may also make a Disable Device check with a DC of 15 + target’s CR, or 10 + the DC to construct the machine (whichever is higher). If the check is successful, the construct or machine is disabled (unable to take any actions or perform any function) for 1d4 rounds. If the check exceeds the DC by 10 or more, the construct or machine does not function for 1d4 minutes (or may be broken until repaired, at the GM’s discretion).
Precision Attack (Ex): The enforcer can land a weapon attack with such precision that it deals additional damage. As long as the enforce has at least one point of mettle remaining, any time the enforcer successfully strikes with a melee weapon with which he can add his Dexterity rather than Strength to the attack roll, he can add his Intelligence bonus to the damage dealt. This is in addition to his Strength modifier, if he normally adds his Strength to the attack’s damage. Creatures immune to critical hits or sneak attacks are immune to this additional precision damage.
Pulverize (Ex): The enforcer has learned how to find weak spots in objects to break them. As long as he has at least one point of mettle, whenever the enforcer damages an object he ignores half its hardness.
Suck It Up (Ex): The enforcer can use his physical condition and careful planning to overcome some of the effects of injury. As a move action the enforcer can spend 1 point of mettle to gain 1d6 temporary hit points. If his temporary hit points + current hit points exceeds his normal hit point maximum, temporary hit points in excess of this value are lost after 10 minutes. These temporary hit points do not stack with any other temporary hp. At 3rd level, and every 3 enforcer levels thereafter, the number of temporary hit points gained increased by +1d6.
Sucker Punch (Ex): The enforcer knows the advantage of getting the drop on a foe. As long as he has at least 1 point of mettle, he deals +1d6 sneak attack damage per 2 class levels (minimum +1d6) damage on successful attacks against flat-footed and helpless opponents.
Supreme Effort (Ex): The enforcer may spend 2 mettle when using extreme effort to double the bonus to +8, or triple his carrying capacity for 1 round. An enforcer must have extreme effort and be at least 10th level to select supreme effort.
Tough It Out (Ex): An enforcer’s rigorous training and physical conditioning often allows him to tough out conditions others can’t face. As a swift or immediate action the enforcer can spend 1 point of mettle to add his Strength bonus to a saving throw he has just failed. He can make this choice immediately after he knows if the saving throw is successful. If the new total matches or exceeds the save’s DC, the enforcer is considered to have made the save.
Vicious Gouge (Ex): When the enforcer uses gouging assault, he may either gouge two different areas (such as two arms and one head), or have the effects of a successful gouging assault last an additional 1d4 rounds. The enforcer must decide which option to use prior to making his attack roll. An enforcer must be 10th level and have gouge to select vicious gouge.
Enforcer Talents: As an enforcer gains experience, he learns a number of talents that aid him and confound his foes and guide his allies. At 3rd level, an enforcer gains one enforcer talent. He gains an additional enforcer talent for every four levels of enforcer attained after 3rd level. Unless otherwise specified, an enforcer cannot select an individual talent more than once.
Armored Evasion (Ex): The enforcer’s evasion works whenever he is wearing armor with which he is proficient, even if it is medium or heavy armor. An enforcer must have evasion to select armored evasion.
Classic Education (Ex): The enforcer comes from a well-educated background, be that a scholastic background, military officer training, or tutoring from wise travelling companions. The enforcer treats all checks from Knowledge skills that are class skills as having skill ranks equal to the highest number of skill ranks he has in any Knowledge skill.
Crafty Defense (Ex): The enforcer knows how to move in combat to maximize his change of avoiding attacks. The enforcer adds his Intelligence bonus to the value of his Dexterity bonus to AC. This is still lost whenever the enforcer loses his Dexterity bonus to AC, and is still limited by his armor’s maximum Dex bonus to AC.
For example James “Doc” Feral, Ph.D., has a 16 Intelligence and a 12 Dexterity, and is wearing a cunningly crafted set of chainmail beneath his wool suit. He normally has a +1 Dexterity bonus to AC, but with crafty defense he adds his +3 Int bonus to that, increasing to a +4 Dexterity bonus to AC. However, since his chainmail has a maxim +2 Dexterity bonus to AC, he only gains a +2 bonus to AC when wearing the armor.
Crafty Moves (Ex): The enforcer can carefully plan out movements in advance to maximize his chance of performing a tricky motion. Select one Dexterity-based skill. The enforcer may add his Intelligence bonus, rather than Dexterity modifier, to this skill.
Evasion (Ex): As the rogue class feature.
Keen Mind (Ex): The enforcer’s mind is as powerful as his muscles. Select one Intelligence-based skill. When making skill checks for this skill, the enforcer rolls twice and takes the better of the two results.
Skepticism (Ex): The enforcer has seen many of the weird powers and effects of the world, and learned to apply his intellect to questions of what is real, and what thoughts are his own vs. ideas introduced to him from outside influences. The enforce adds his Intelligence bonus to his Will save rather than his Wisdom modifier, if it is better than his Wisdom modifier.
Tireless Muscles (Ex): The enforcer is able to maintain peak physical effort for prolonged periods of time. The enforcer adds half his class level to any saving throw or ability check to prevent becoming fatigued. If a failed saving throw results in being fatigued and an additional result, the enforcer only applies the bonus to see if he avoids fatigue (if the enforcer’s saving throw without the bonus fails, but with the bonus succeeds, the enforcer is not fatigued but suffers any other effect from the failed save normally).
Additionally, the enforcer selects one Strength-based skill. When making skill checks for this skill, the enforcer rolls twice and takes the better of the two results.
Walk It Off (Ex): The enforcer can take one minute to use his suck it up ability on an ally within 30 feet able to see and hear him. The ally cannot gain more than 1d6 temporary hit points per 2 hit dice the ally possesses. And enforcer must have the suck it up deed to select this talent.
Bonus Feats: An enforcer gains a bonus feat at 4th level, and again at 8th, 12th, and 16th level. These bonus feats must be selected from those listed as combat feats (sometimes also called “fighter bonus feats”). Alternatively, the enforcer may gain an additional enforcer talent in place of a bonus feat.
Enforcement (Ex): At 20th level, the enforcer becomes the master of calm, planned violence. When making an attack roll or CMB check, the enforcer can choose to “take 10” on the roll. Instead of rolling 1d20 for the attack roll or skill check, the enforcer calculates his result as if he had rolled a 10. When taking 10 on an attack or CMB check, the enforcer never gets a critical threat.
There are more archetypes in the actual Anachronistic Adventurers: The Enforcer. This is just one example, and it may also be revised later.
The most generic of enforcer archetypes is the combatant, which makes the enforcer the typical brave fighting person, valiant in the face of the enemy and skilled in the tools of the trade. A combatant might have nearly any background involving training in modern combat techniques, from police SWAT officers to soldiers-of-fortune.
Background Training (Ex): At 1st level, a combatant selects a bonus feat to represent his background training. Unlike an enforcer’s bonus feats, this background feat need not be a combat feat. Alternatively, the enforcer can select to be proficient with three classes of armor (chosen from: light, medium, and heavy armor, and all shields other than tower shields, and tower shields), but must be proficient with light armor before selecting medium, and with medium armor before selecting heavy, and with all shields before selecting tower shield.
Bravery (Ex): As the fighter ability. The bonus is +1 at 2nd level, and it increases by +1 for every four class levels beyond 2nd.
Combat Training (Ex): At 5th level, the combatant’s training in the techniques of conflict gives him the choice between armor training or weapon training (both as the fighter ability). At 9th (and again at 14th and 17th), the combatant gains another training choice. At each level he might increase an existing armor or weapon training (just as a fighter gaining the abilities multiple times does), or take a new training option.
Bonus Feat (Ex): A combatant gains a bonus feat at 6th level, and again at 12th and 18th level. These bonus feats must be selected from those listed as combat feats. For purpose of meeting prerequisites for these bonus feats, treat the combatant’s enforcer levels as if they were fighter levels.
Potential Menace. Many powers and abilities are designed to represent reserves of morale, willpower, and luck that can be accessed when facing a creature that can actually harm a character, or that can be restored after defeating such a character. In game terms, a potential menace is a creature that can actually reasonable pose a threat a character should be concerned about. In general, any creature with a CR or HD no less than 4 lower than a character is a potential menace, but only if it’s able to act in a threatening manner. A cultist that has been bound to a chair and can’t move isn’t a potential menace regardless of its CR of HD, unless it’s psychic and can fry a character’s brain with its mind even when immobilized. Ultimately the GM has final say if a foe is a potential menace, though most creatures within the appropriate CR or HD range that have not been somehow neutralized should qualify.