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Mega-Patrons and Monthly PDFs

Heya folks!
So, it’s no secret that a lot of Patreon campaigns lost a lot of pledges when Patreon announced they would be charging patrons more than their pledge levels. I added some emergency pricing tiers to prevent people from having to pay more to get the same rewards, but even so many people just left the platform entirely. So even though Patreon has decided not to change how they bill (for now, anyway), the damage is done.
While removing the no-longer needed emergency pricing levels, I decided I wanted my mega-patron level, where you get a monthly pdf of all the free content I release in a month, to be more affordable. So I’ve brought that down from $20 to $10.
And so you-all have some idea what those monthly pdfs of free content are like, I’m posting the August pdf on my Patreon sight, but leaving the post available for all my fans to enjoy! The amount of content I produce each month varies, but this gives you an idea what kinds of material to expect. This one has some old-school inspired material for Pathfinder (randomly acquired psionics, archetypes and hybrid classes for old 2nd ed muticlass character concepts such as the cleric/fighter/magic-user, cleric/fighter/thief, cleric/ranger, illusionist/thief, and more ), some Starfinder material (the pistol of tricks, belt of veskkind, folding torpedo minisub, trenchcoat of the bat, and more), and some of the extras each pdf includes (random supers ideas, essays on the game industry and my life intersecting with it, and random things like song lyrics, game night quotes, and every funny thing I posted over 31 days).
So check out the pdf and, if you want more like it, become a mega-patron today!
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Space Politics

One of the things more industrialized settings sometimes do for an rpg campaign is open up new avenues of adventure. While there is nothing at all wrong with tuning an abandoned mall into a dungeon, or a wrecked spaceship into a haunted house, or treating an alien progenator as a dragon in its layer, sometimes it’s fun to play with new possibilities as well.

And if you have a setting with multiple homeworlds drawing together in a confederation with representative officials from different worlds, each with its own method of selecting said officials, that means politics.

While in some games PCs might actually be candidates, and some system of determining who wins an election might be useful as a subsystem, the idea of political action adventures can be introduced without going nearly that far. Much as you don’t need a subsystem on fighting epidemics in order to rush antidotes to a plague-ridden city and don’t need rules on the impact of an alpha predator on an ecology not designed for it to hunt down the bullette destroying a forest, you can do a lot with politics as a motivator without ever getting into voting, caucuses, poll taxes, or even issues.

As with many RPG-related adventure ideas, you can borrow heavily from fiction for inspiration. While these are by no means an exhaustive list of movies with politics-driven action plots, and it’s certainly not a commentary on the quality of any of these movies, they are things that a good GM should be able to easily borrow from to throw some political adventure into a modern or science-fiction campaign. All of these have at least some elements where it’s easy to envision PCs of any level getting involved, either accidentally, as catspaws, or as a politically appropriate measured response. While it might be important in some cases to downgrade the action from centering around a chief executive to simply a minor representative who’ll cast a decisive vote on something, the core ideas are still easily lifted.

And obviously, I leaned towards those movies with cool ideas and set-pieces over those with believable politics.

Air Force One
Argo
Bridge of Spies
Dreamscape
Enemy of the State
Escape from New York
Fatherland
Godzilla: Resurgence
The Hunger Games tilogy
In the Line of Fire
The Kingdom
The Manchurian Candidate
Munich
Olympus Has Fallen
The Pelican Brief
The Purge: Election Year

Speaking of Politics

Well only sort of. But politicians need supporters… and so do I! I have a Patreon, where I have set up pledge levels to explain how much you’ll actually be charged (within a few cents) even under Patreon’s weird new pricing scheme. Check it out!

More Massively Revised Feats

I’ve been toying with what it would take to create a different kind of d20 game. One where just a  few key choices, that don’t take a ton of planning or prerequisites and that don’t require *exactly* the right tactics to use, can make a major impact on who a character is and what neat, exciting things they can do.

I posted about it some yesterday.

So, of course, now it’s stuck in my head. There’s TONS of stuff I’d have to do to make this overall vision work (like rewrite all classes so they all have three lines of abilities, two tied to one ability score each and a third not tied to any ability score)…
But for now I’m still just exploring interesting revisions to feats many people tell me are either terrifyingly dull, or actively frustrating.

Agile Maneuvers (Combat, Revised)
You’ve learned to use your quickness in addition to brute force with performing combat maneuvers.
Benefit: You add your Dexterity bonus to your base attack bonus and Strength bonus when determining your Combat Maneuver Bonus and Combat Maneuver Bonus. When a creature attempts a combat maneuver against you and fails, it provokes an attack of opportunity from you (separate from any AoO provoked when it attempted the combat maneuver, and even if it the attacker doesn’t provoke AoO when attempting a combat maneuver). However, you can only use this attack of opportunity to attempt your own combat maneuver (which does not itself provoke an AoO). You can only perform one AoO per round using this feat, even if you have multiple attacks of opportunity each round.

Alignment Channel (Revised)
Choose chaos, evil, good, or law. You can channel divine energy to affect creatures with this alignment.
Prerequisites: Ability to channel energy.
Benefit: Instead of its normal effect, you can choose to have your ability to channel energy heal or harm creatures of the chosen alignment element. You must make this choice each time you channel energy. If you choose to heal or harm creatures of the chosen alignment element, your channel energy has no effect on other creatures.
Special: You can gain this feat multiple times. Its effects do not stack. Each time you take this feat, it applies to a new alignment element. Whenever you channel energy, you must choose which alignment element to effect, or a combination of elements. For example if you have selected chaos and good, you can choose to affect all chaotic creatures, all good creatures, or just all chaotic good creatures.

Arcane Armor Training (Combat, Revised)
You have learned how to cast spells while wearing armor.
Prerequisites: Light Armor Proficiency, ability to cast 1st level arcane spells.
Benefit: You do not suffer arcane spell failure from light armor. When you cast an arcane spell that gives you an armor bonus while wearing light armor, you may choose to increase the armor bonus of either you light armor or the spell by 1 for the duration of the spell. If you can cast cantrips, you can also use magic to put on or remove your light armor as a move action.

Augment Summoning (Combat, Revised)
Your summoned creatures are more powerful and robust.
Prerequisite: Ability to cast a conjuration (summoning) spell that conjures a creation.
Benefit: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell gains a +2 enhancement bonus to melee attacks and damage and +2 hp per Hit Die. Additionally, if the spell has a duration of 1 round/level, it increases to 1 hour/level when outside of combat. But if the creature is in a combat (even if it neither attacks nor is attacked) each round of combat reduces the spell’s duration by 1 hour.

About my Patreon

I have a Patreon, and normally I’d link directly to it from here. It seems small, but it’s an important part of my income. My patrons allow me to do less formal freelance writing, which gives me time to do more, longer, better-considered articles and essays here.
But there have been changes to how Patreon charges my patrons.
As a result I wrote a blog post discussing some changes I have made, and while I would love for you to choose to support me, at the moment I’d ask you go check out my thoughts on how to handle changes to Patreon before you go pledge. 🙂

Character-Defining Feats

I’ve literally been playing and writing for d20 system games since before D&D 3.0 came out. That long experience has led me to not really fear overpowered characters. If characters are overpowered it’s actually very easy to upgrade encounters in a consistent manner until they’re challenge, and the vast majority of things that cause groups to decide a specific build or ability is overpowered are tied as much to play style as objective balancing of rules.

What I AM afraid of is characters that are boring or frustrating. Players will put up with a lot if they find their character interesting, including a GM modifying pre-written encounters in a possible slightly haphazard way, if they enjoy and are engaged with their characters. All too often, however, feats become a source of both frustration \(as long lists of prerequisites, carefully worded language that excludes numerous combinations, and situational bonuses that may never come up in play cause a player to interact with feats negative far more often than positively. While having a predictable power curve is good for designing adventures and trying to get all players to have equal spotlight time, if brakes built into a game to provide that predictability slaps down players more often than it enables them to do something exciting it reduces fun instead of facilitating it.

Ideally, I’d like to see a d20 game where characters are defined by their feats as much as by their class and race, but only because a few feats are enough to give a character a wide range of new capabilities or augment them enough that their performance itself provides a new play experience. Such a system might well have to affect other subsystems such as bonus acquisition, action economy, and featlike powers from other sources (such as traits, favored class bonuses, alternate race traits, and even archetypes), but it also has to redefine feats to a player envisions a character being notable different in play with even a single feat.

While I clearly can’t tackle ever feat in the core rules in the space of a single blog post, I though a selection of revised feats, all based on d20 feats that are regularly derided for being useless or boring, might provide a good example of the kind of design space I am envisioning. These are just a starting point, and a game build around them would have to make some other hard choices to keep frustration levels down and ease of character design and advancement up.

Alertness (Revised)
Your ability to notice things is almost preternatural.
Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus to Perception had Sense Motive, and both of these are treated as class skills for you. (You gain an additional +1 bonus to each skill if it is a class skill for you as a result of some other option.)  You automatically gain one rank per level in each of these skills, though this cannot give you more total ranks than your character level (if you had already point skill ranks into these skill prior to gaining this feat, you can spend those skill points on other skills). You gain each skill’s unlocks (Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Unchained) appropriate for the number of ranks you have +4 (so you gain the 5 rank skill unlock at 1st level, and the 10 rank skill unlock at 6th level).

Combat Expertise (Combat, Revised)
You are a master of increasing your defense at the expense of your accuracy.
Benefit: When you fight defensively (see Chapter 8, Combat) you take only a -1 penalty to your attack rolls. When your base attack bonus reaches +4, and every +4 thereafter, the dodge bonus you gain from fighting defensively increases by +1. Your dodge bonus from this feat is limited to +2 or your armor’s Max Dex Bonus, whichever is greater.

Skill Focus
When push comes to shove, you can depend on your ability to succeed at a given skill.
Benefit: Select one skill. You gain a +3 bonus to that skill. Once per day when you fail a skill check with this skill, as a free action you may immediately instead change your die result to a 20. This feat must be selected for each Knowledge skill separately, but if taken for Craft, Perform, or Profession it applies to all of those skills.

Weapon Focus (Combat, Revised)
You are highly skills with a class of weapons.
Prerequisites: Proficiency with one weapon in the category, base attack bonus +1.
Benefit: Select one fighter weapon group. You gain a +1 bonus to attack rolls with every weapon in this group with which you are proficient. At 3rd level, you also gain a +2 bonus to damage with such weapons. When you base attack bonus reaches +8, your bonus to attacks increases to +2. When you base attack bonus reaches +12, your bonus to damage increases to +4.
Special: You can take this feat more than once. Its effects do not stack. Each time you take it, you must select a different fighter weapon group.
Special: If you have at least two levels of fighter (not just a class that acts as a fighter for feats), and you have more levels of fighter than any other class, you gain an additional +1 bonus to attack rolls with the selected weapons. If you have at least three levels of fighter (not just a class that acts as a fighter for feats), and you have more levels of fighter than any other class, you gain an additional +2 bonus to damage rolls with the selected weapons.

The Patreon

Like everything on my blog, this post was brought to you by the fine folks of my Patreon! If you want to see more of this material, consider supporting me!

Astra Arcanis I

Two new Starfinder Roleplaying Game spells! Both based on vehicles.

Polymorph Vehicle (Technomancer 3)
Casting Time 1 full action
Range touch
Target One vehicle with an item level no greater than your caster level
Duration 1 hour/level
Saving Throw Fortitude negates (object)      Spell Resistance yes

You can transmute a vehicle (but not starship) into any other vehicle of a lower item level. The vehicle becomes a typical, “stock” version of the new vehicle, not one that has any special equipment or upgrades. The vehicle must be empty of all passengers and cargo to be affected by this spell. The vehicle retains any damage it had on it before you cast the spell, and if this damage would causes it to be broken or have 0 HP in its new form, the spell fails. At the end of the spells duration, the vehicle is restored of half the damage it took in its transformed form. When the spell ends (even if dispelled), it takes one minute for the vehicle to assume its original form, and any creature or cargo that cannot fit in the new form is ejected harmlessly at the end of this time.

Vehicle Link (Mystic 3)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range touch
Target One creature and one vehicle
Duration 1 hour/level
Saving Throw Fortitude negates (object)      Spell Resistance yes

You forge an eldritch bond between one creature and a specific vehicle that creature is within. The creature gains an intuitive understanding of the vehicle and its control, allowing the creature to use Acrobatics checks in place of Pilot checks to operate the vehicle, and granting the creature a +2 circumstance bonus to all skill checks made in regards to the vehicle. Additionally, anytime the vehicle takes damage, the creature may opt to reduce the damage the vehicle takes by half, and apply that amount of damage to itself. The creature must make this decision immediately after the amount of damage done to the vehicle is determined.

More Star Magic

I have a Patreon, where I posted the reload spell for mystics and tecnomancers as (at the moment) exclusively-patron bonus content.

Even More Star Options

There are tons of new spells for the Starfinder Roleplaying Game in the Starfarer’s Companion, available at DriveThruRPG, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store!

Return of the Druidic Bard: The Anruth

Continuing my recent trend of looking at Old School Character Classes, I’m going to take a stab at an old favorite for a lot of folks. Back in the first edition of the game, there was a character class in the back of the main player’s book. Called a bard, it noted that the class had been modified since its original appearance (in materials prior to the codification of everything into a hardback book), and that GMs might not allow it. Taking the class also required a character to take levels in fighter, thief, and druid before they could take levels in bard.

Really, it was the precursor to later “prestige classes” that got codified in the third edition of the game.

This original bard is considered by many players to be very different from the Pathfinder version, at least in part because it gains druid spells rather than wizard-like bard spells. But also, the class could (at least early on) double in for fighters or rogues, continued to advance some of those skills, and focused as much on lore and leadership as it did music and charm. There’s at least one branch of players who miss the part of the bard that is more strongly associated with druids, Irish heroes, and the tradition of the fili who combined the functions of magician, lawgiver, judge, counsellor to the chief, and poet (before some of those functions were taken over by brehons becoming judges and druids being more aligned with supernatural roles).

Now obviously those Irish roots are only inspirations for either the original “druidic bard” or its modern replacement, or for that matter druids and various forms of fuchlucan. I am far from a scholar of Irish history, mythology, or culture, so any effort to capture the old “druidic bard” flavor is going to be similarly limited to inspiration and fantasy translations, with no claim of accuracy or even equivalency of any real-world terms.

Further, unlike things like the fighter/magic-user/thief I don’t want to just use the old name for this new take on the character concept. The bard in pathfinder is a popular and valid class, and not something I want to encourage people to replace. At the same time while the “druidic bard” had strong tied to the fighter, thief, and druid, I don’t want to build the new class as either a hybrid class or a prestige class. That leaves me wishing to create an alternate class for the bard, which means it needs a new name. Drawing from the same tradition as the fili, bard, druid, and fuchlucan, I’m naming this new alternate class the anruth.

Alignment: Anruth are trained to see all sides of a question, and to consider many different philosophies and moral systems. At least one element of an anruth’s alignment must be neutral.

Hit Die: d8

Starting Wealth: 4d6 × 10 gp (average 140 gp.)

Class Skills: The anruth’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Dex), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Fly (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), Survival (Wis), Swim (Str), and Use Magic Device (Cha).

Skill Ranks per Level: 8 + Int modifier.

Table: Anruth
Level  BAB                Fort     Ref      Will     Special
1st       +0                    +2        +0        +2        Bardic knowledge, fighting spirit, versatile performance
2nd      +1                    +3        +0        +3        Anruth performance (1st pick), trapfinding
3rd       +2                    +3        +1        +3        Lore master 1/day, oral tradition, wild empathy
4th       +3                    +4        +1        +4        Bonus feat, sneak attack +1d6
5th       +3                    +4        +1        +4        Spell kenning 1/day, versatile performance
6th       +4                    +5        +2        +5        Anruth performance (2nd pick), lore master 2/day
7th       +5                    +5        +2        +5        Jack of all trades

8th       +6/+1              +6        +2        +6        Sneak attack +2d6, woodland stride
9th       +6/+1              +6        +3        +6        Lore master 3/day, spell kenning 2/day, versatile performance
10th     +7/+2              +7        +3        +7        Anruth performance (3rd pick),
11th     +8/+3              +7        +3        +7        Bonus feat, trackless step
12th     +9/+4              +8        +4        +8        Lore master 4/day, sneak attack +3d6
13th     +9/+4              +8        +4        +8        Spell kenning 3/day, versatile performance
14th     +10/+5            +9        +4        +9        Anruth performance (4th pick),
15th     +11/+6/+1       +9        +5        +9        Lore master 5/day
16th     +12/+7/+2       +10      +5        +10      Sneak attack +4d6
17th     +12/+7/+2       +10      +5        +10      Spell kenning 4/day, versatile performance
18th     +13/+8/+3       +11      +6        +11      Anruth performance (5th pick), lore master 6/day
19th     +14/+9/+4       +11      +6        +11      Bonus feat, timeless body
20th     +15/+10/+5     +12      +6        +12      Sneak attack +5d6, spell lore

Proficiency: The anruth is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, and all light and medium armors.

Favored Class Bonus: If anruth is your favored class, you can take any favored class bonus that you would be allowed to take for the bard, druid, fighter, or rogue classes, as long as it does not modify a class feature the anruth does not have.

Spells: You are a spontaneous arcane spellcaster who gains the spells per day and spells known of a bard of the same level. Your class spell list includes all 0-6th level bard and druid spells, and all 1st-4th level ranger spells. You cannot learn a spell that modifiers a class feature the anruth does not possess (such as instant enemy, as you do not have the favored enemy class feature). Your Wisdom ability score determines the maximum level of spell you can cast, your bonus spells per day, and your spell DCs. Any spell you cast that uses Intelligence or Charisma as part of its calculations you may instead calculate using your Wisdom. You do not suffer arcane spell failure for your anruth spells while wearing light or medium armor. You suffer ASFP normally for shields or heavy armor.

Bardic Knowledge (Ex): At 1st level you gain bardic knowledge, as the bard class feature.

Fighting Spirit (Su): You do not depend on the might or your arm or the speed of your body when you fight. You fight from the heart, and it is that inner power that grants your attacks accuracy and potency. At 1st level you may use your Wisdom bonus in place of your Strength and Dexterity modifiers to determine your attack bonus and damage bonus with weapons, unarmed, and natural attacks. This bonus cannot exceed your anruth class level. If your Strength of Dexterity modifier is better, you can continue to use it. If an ability score modifier is normally halved or doubled (such as the Strength bonus to damage with two-handed weapons), you halve or double your Wisdom bonus when you use it instead.

Versatile Performance (Ex): As the bard class feature, but gained at 1st level, with an additional choice every 4 levels thereafter.

Anruth Performance (Su): At 2nd level you gain the anruth performance ability, allowing you to use your knowledge of sagas, lore, epics, poems, and songs of last ages to inspire, fascinate, or change the flow of battle. This functions as the bardic performance class feature (and counts as that ability for purposes of prerequisites and abilities that modify bardic performance), but you only receive a number of round per day equal to your class level plus your Wisdom bonus, and your performances always start your performance as a move action and maintain it as a free action.

You select a single form of performance you can create with your anruth performance from the following choices, each duplicating the performance ability of the ability of the same name from the class or archetype listed in parenthesis after the ability: distraction (bard), inspire courage (bard), or inspired rage (skald). |You also automatically gain the performance ability fascinate (bard).

At 6th level, you may select an additional form of performance, this may be one of the lower-level options you have not yet taken, or one of the following options: devastating aria (diva), inspire competence (bard), song of marching (skald), or song of strength (skald). You also automatically gain the performance ability suggestion (bard)

At 10th level, you may select an additional form of performance, this may be one of the lower-level options you have not yet taken, or one of the following options: dirge of doom (bard), inspire greatness (bard), scathing tirade (diva).

At 14th level, you may select an additional form of performance, this may be one of the lower-level options you have not yet taken, or one of the following options: frightening tune (bard), song of the fallen (skald), or soothing performance (bard).

At 18th level, you may select an additional form of performance, this may be one of the lower-level options you have not yet taken, or one of the following options: inspire heroics (bard) or mass suggestion (bard).

Trapfinding (Ex): At 2nd level you gain trapfinding, as the rogue class feature.

Lore Master (Ex): As the bard class feature, but the ability to take 20 on a Knowledge skill is useable once per day at 3rd level, +1 additional times per day every 3 levels thereafter.

Oral Tradition (Ex): At 3rd level, you can memorize magic writing for use by yourself, or to reproduce later. When you encounter a scroll, you can attempt to create a poem, song, or allegory that imbeds the information and magic of the scroll in your mind. This takes one hour per spell on the scroll, and removed the spell from the scroll. You can use these spells as you would when they were scrolls (including needing to make caster level checks for spells that are too high level, or UMD check for spells not on your class list), though used in this way the spells have a minimum casting time of 1 round. Once you use a spell from your oral tradition, it is gone. You can have a maximum number of spells from scrolls stored in oral traditions equal to your class level plus your Wisdom bonus.

You can recreate these spell scrolls by writing out the spell from your oral tradition, a process that takes 1 hour per spell and materials equal to 10 gp per spell level. Doing so removes the spell from your oral tradition.

Alternatively, you can store the magic of a magic book, tome, or manual. This takes half the time it would take to use the book or manual, and it counts as two spells toward your maximum number of spells stored in your oral tradition. This destroys the magic book. You can use the book or manual yourself from memory, exactly as if you were reading the physical book, and this removes it from your memory, Or you can create it, which takes as long as it took to record it into your oral tradition and materials costing 10% of the book’s cost. This also removes it from your oral tradition.

While the ability to store the magic writings of scrolls and tomes in your head is extraordinary, the effects created by such magic writings remain magical.

Your oral traditional also allows you to use your Wisdom modifier in place of your Intelligence modifier for Knowledge skills.

Bonus Feat: At 4th level you gain one bonus feat. You must meet the feat’s prerequisites, but treat your class level as your bard, druid, fighter, and ranger class level for purposes of this feat. You gain additional bonus feats at 11th and 19th level. Alternatively at each of these levels you may select a rogue talent (but not advanced talent). You must meet this talent’s prerequisites, but use your anruth level as your rogue level.

Sneak Attack: At 4th level you gain sneak attack, as the rogue class feature. It increased by +1d6 every 4 levels.

Wild Empathy (Ex): At 4th level you gain wild empathy, as the druid class feature.

Spell Kenning (Su): As 5th level you gain spell kenning, as the skald class feature, but it is useable once per day at 5th, plus one additional time per day at 9th level, plus once more per day every 4 levels thereafter.

Jack of All Trades (Ex): At 7th level, you can use any skill, even if the skill normally requires you to be trained. At 13th level, you consider all skills to be class skills. At 16th level, you can take 10 on any skill check, even if it is not normally allowed.

Woodland Stride (Ex): At 8th level, you gain woodland stride, as the druid class feature.

Trackless Step (Ex): At 11th level you gain trackless step, as the druid class feature.

Timeless Body (Su): At 19th level you gain timeless body, as the druid class feature.

Spell Lore (Sp): At 20th level, your mastery of lore and mysteries expands your spell repertoire even further. Add one additional spell known at each spell level you can cast, drawn from the bard, cleric, druid, ranger, or sorcerer/wizard spell list. These spells are considered to be on your class spell list, as well. Also, select one 7th level spell from one of these spell lists. You can cast that spell once per day as a spell-like ability, using your Wisdom bonus to determine any of the spell’s calculations normally based on Intelligence or Charisma.

Patreon

While I simply grabbed existing forms of performance for the various anruth performance options, and that works great, it occurred to me that there might be at least one option an anruth should have other performance-using classes don’t: shame.

So I wrote up a shaming performance for the anruth and put it up on my Patreon as (for the moment) patron-exclusive content.

Check it out!

New Pathfinder Race: Medusine

I was working in a design space on how to create a new PC race without having to create a huge number of race-specific options, such as favored class bonuses, traits, and so on. And in doing so, I accidentally wrote a whole race. So, here it is.

Medusine

Though normally all children of a medusa are themselves medusa, there are exceptions. Sometimes a parent who was petrified for a long time by a medusa before being saves has children who have snaky hair and intense eyes. Sometimes the original divine curse that created medusa sparks back to life in a minor way, creating lesser medusa-like creatures. Sometimes a medusa gains a desire to have a different form, and becomes a parent while polymorphed into another form, and the offspring is not entirely free of the original medusa bloodline.

These are the medusine.

Medusine appear to be tall, attractive, lean men or women with amazingly bright eyes (often green, but also sometimes red, yellow, silver, gold, or flat black), with snakes for hair. Some have exclusively snake hair, while others have a mix of serpents and normal follicles.

Medusine are Medium humanoids with the medusine subtype.

Ability Scores Medusine have -2 Str, +2 Wis, and +2 Cha.

Medium Medusine are Medium, and have a 30 ft. movement rate.

Elflike/Humanlike (Ex) Select elf or human. You gain that as a subtype, in addition to your medusine subtype. You count as a member of this race for prerequisites and can take the race’s favored class options. You can Disguise yourself as a member of that race out of combat with a DC 10 Disguise check by concealing your hair serpents. A close examination reveals this disguise, and if you make an attack or are hit by an attack, your serpent’s reactions makes your medusine nature obvious.

Serpents (Ex) Your hair serpents can bite your foes. You can choose for your unarmed attacks to deal lethal piercing damage, in which case they do not provoke attacks of opportunity. Additionally if you drink a dose of injury poison, and make a successful save against it, you do not suffer any effect from the poison. Instead it becomes a dose of poison you can inject into a target with a successful unarmed strike using your serpents. You can only have one such dose of poison ready at a time—drinking a new dose and making the save replaces any previous dose.

Stoneproof (Ex) You gain a +4 bonus to saving throws against petrification. Once you make a successful save against a specific source of petrification, you are immune to that source for 24 hours.

Stunning Gaze (Su) A number of times per day equal to your level, as a standard action, you can attempt a stunning gaze. This is a gaze attack, but it affects only a single creature within 60 feet you can see and that can see you. Stunning gaze forces a foe to make a Fortitude saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 your character level + your Cha modifier). A defender who fails this saving throw is stunned for 1 round (until just before your next turn). A stunned character drops everything held, can’t take actions, loses any Dexterity bonus to AC, and takes a –2 penalty to AC. Constructs, oozes, plants, undead, incorporeal creatures, and creatures immune to critical hits cannot be stunned.

Patreon Exclusive Content

Of course, just because the medusine don’t NEED race-specific options, doesn’t mean they couldn’t use some. I sketched out two such options as exclusive content (meaning only that this is the one place it’s available for the moment) over at my Patreon.

Check it out!

Castle “Vania” Whip Feat

No, I’m not going to explain that title. 🙂

Just a new whip feat, inspired by a game, and its anime.

Whip Wield

You can wield weapons. You can wield whips. You can wield weapons using whips.

Prerequisites: Improved Whip Mastery, Weapon Focus (whip), Whip Mastery, base attack bonus +2.

Benefit: As a move action you can use your whip to grab a light bludgeoning or slashing melee weapon appropriate for your size, that you are proficient with, that is in your possession or within your threatened range and unattended. (Alternatively you can also use this feat with an appropriate weapon you have disarmed from a foe.) You can make attacks with this weapon using the range of your whip and using any feat that applies to your ship, but deal damage with the weapon and all its relevant feats and abilities. If you have the same feat for both whip and wielded weapon (such as Weapon Focus), you can only apply one of the feats. You cannot use Improved Whip Mastery to hold any other item with your whip while it has a weapon grabbed. If you roll a 1 on an attack roll using Whip Wield, the light weapon it had grabbed falls in a randomly determined space adjacent to you.

Patreon Exclusive Content

Given how fast anime heroes tend to wade through low-level foes, and how easily spellcasters can deal with such foes with mid- and low-level spells, I also added a “Slay” feat over at my Patreon.

Check it out!

 

The Ogre of Battle

Spurred on by a discussion where someone suggested monster tactics as a product line, I took a quick pass at looking at some tactics for iconic monsters, to see if I think they can be useful and generic enough to make a good product. I’m not convinced wither way yet, but sharing my first draft seemed a great way to test the waters. Thus, here I present my ideas for ogre tactics. As the first giants PCs are likely to run into, ogres make a good stand-in for all Large humanoids, though obviously things like spell-like abilities and rock-throwing may give true giants better options. (Or you could use this with ogres that have orc ferocity, and call them orrocs!)

First, many GMs intentionally give ogres terrible tactics because they have an Intelligence of 6. But remember that this is three times as smart as a wolf. Would the smartest wolf you can conceive of make the bad tactical choice you are considering? No? Then neither should an ogre. Further their typical Wisdom of 10 and the fact they have Perception as a skill suggests ogres can recognize and analyze a situation even if they may do a terrible job describing it with good grammar. Certainly an ogre can recognize a spellcaster, see the issue with allowing foes to heal, know when to press the attack o have one unconscious foe and one healthy foe as preferable to two injured foes who can both fight back, and so on.

Indeed, recognizing spellcasters will often drive ogre tactics. With reach (which you can augment with various options below) an ogre has a decent chance of being able to strike a spellcaster in melee, and an ogre should know that they let their guard down when they cast spells, so desire to keep spellcasters close enough that they must cast defensively to avoid provoking attacks of opportunity from the ogre.

If facing foes without reach, an ogre with no adjacent enemies can safely attempt combat maneuvers against foes 10 feet away without provoking attacks of opportunity, and their Large size and high Strength makes them reasonable likely to succeed. Tripping foes can help with battlefield control (especially as the foe is likely to provoke an attack of opportunity when it stands), and disarming an enemy at least reduces the chance of suffering a full-attack action.

Some tactics are more like customizations, in that they move the ogre away from the base stat block of the bestiary, while staying a legal monster build.

Even if using slow progression, an ogre should average 550 gp of treasure, There is no need for this to all be gold and gems it hoards away in a pocket to be looted off its body. An ogre can have some of its treasure as gear it might use. As simple a choice as allowing it to carry a Large longspear (10 gp) gives the ogre an impressive 20 foot melee range, and it can drop the weapon and draw its greatclub if needed. With that much reach melee foes might well feel the need to risk a charge, and that means the ogre can brace to receive charge. (If this seems likely, consider a boar spear, which costs the same and gives a bonus to AC in that situation).

Similarly a Large heavy crossbow (100 gp) may only fire once every two rounds, but it gives the ogre a much heavier, longer-range initial punch. Since an ogres hide armor proves it is proficient with medium armor, upgrading to a Large breastplate (400 g, though it can save by not also buying Large hide armor for 30 gp) gives it +2 AC. A cure light wounds potion, thunderstone, tanglefoot bag, or other alchemical weapons can also increase it’s flexibility in battle, and are useful to 3rd level PCs as treasure.

If using multiple ogres, one throwing javelins and one with a boar spear can be an effective ranged-combat options until PCs manage to close in. If you have three or more ogres, you might consider giving one a kumade (which is a simple weapon with the grapple special weapon property) or a sickle (a simple weapon with the trip special weapon property) to keep foes worried about combat maneuvers.

If considering adjusting the ogre’s feats, Toughness can generally be swapped out for better choices. Improved Iron Will makes the ogre less likely to be defeated with a single bad Will save, or Power Attack gives it an excellent trade off of damage for a little reduced accuracy. If your campaign allows retraining, consider having two or more ogres with the Crowd Control teamwork feat to make it harder for foes to get inside their reach. If an ogre is going to be alone, the Desperate Battler feat may be useful.

And Now, A Tactical Mention of my Patreon

I have a patreon, I helps me justify the time spent writing all this free content. Sometimes it even has bots of exclusive bonus content. Go check it out!

Independence Sub-Domain

Clearly, the Liberation Domain for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game is about making others free, and that is a strong concept for a divine mandate. Those gods who oppose tyranny, slavery, rigid social castes, and systematic oppression of any kind are likely candidates to grant the Liberation Domain.

Liberation has three subdomains – Freedom, Revolution, and Self-Realization. Think between each of these and Liberation is fairly obvious – the object of liberation is freedom, the objective of liberation often requires revolution, and self-realization is a form of liberation from (often self-imposed) confusion and deception. Like all sub-domains, these three swap out either a granted ability or a domain spell slot to better represent their specific forms of liberation-related divine concern.

However, all of those concepts either focus around the act of overcoming existing restraints (be they social, physical, or delusional restraints), or ensuring a lack of restrain specifically for others—defending the restrained, or encouraging them to throw off their restraints.

They dance around, but don’t ever quite cover, the concept of being able to achieve and maintain liberty through self-sufficiency—Independence. It’s easy to see how gods of pioneers, explorers, hermits, and even racial or cultural supremacy or selfishness might encourage not the power to free others or overcome existing limitations, but being able to avoid ever suffering significant entanglements by having the capacity to take care of yourself.

Independence isn’t the same as Liberation, though one might be the object of the other, but is surely close enough to have significant overlap in related divine powers. And, given the season, an Independence subdomain seemed an obvious call.

Replacement Power: The following granted power replaces the freedom’s call power of the Liberation domain.

Undeterred (Su) At 8th level, at the beginning of any turn in which you are confused, grappled, frightened, held, panicked, paralyzed, pinned, or shaken you may, as a free action, choose to ignore that condition until the beginning of your next turn. You may do this even if you are normally unable to take actions (such as if you are confused). This ability only suppresses these effects, and they return once this ability end, if applicable. You may maintain your immunity for a total of one round per level. These rounds do not need to be consecutive.

Replacement Domain Spells: 1st—sanctuary, 7th—transformation, 9th—wish.

Patreon Exclusive–Alternate Power

Over at my Patreon I did an exclusive additional alternate power, at 1st level, for patrons only.