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Weather Control, a Tiered Mutation in GammaFinder (for Starfinder)

GammaFinder (a post-apocalypse campaign setting and ruleset for Starfinder) has tiered mutations which allow a character to gain an ability that grows in complexity and power over the course of their career. We started with mutant teleportation.

And that seemed popular.

So, for no particular reason, here’s mutant weather control. 🙂

PA Storm Control

Art by AnnaPa

Weather Control (Sp, Su)
Tier 1
: You can create a micro-vortex at will. This acts as a psychokinetic hand, except as follows. The force in question is tiny vortexes of air, and does not work in environments that do not have air. The effect lasts 1 round per level after you stop concentration, but you cannot have more than 1 micro-vortex effect from this tiered mutation active at the same time.
You can make a special check (1d20 + character level + weather control tier + key ability score) to endure severe weather and predict weather (as the Survival skill tasks). When you endure severe weather, a successful check grants you bonuses as if you had built a shelter if you you move at full speed, and you can grant the bonus to up to 4 other creatures per tier of weather control you have.
Tier 2: You can use your micro-vortex to bludgeon and batter a target. This acts as unarmed attacks, made at range. These function exactly as your melee unarmed attacks (including benefiting from abilities that affect unarmed attacks, such as Improved Unarmed Attacks), but you can make them anyplace your micro-vortex can reach. These are considered melee attacks for rules interactions.
Tier 3: You can create a storm effect. It acts as fog cloud. You can move the center of this version of storm effect as a standard action using your micro-vortex (allowing you to move it to anyplace within your micro-vortex’s range). Once you create a storm effect, you cannot do so again until you expend Resolve Points to regain Stamina Points following a 10-minute rest.
Tier 4: You can increase or decrease the current wind condition by 1 step as a standard action. This covers an area with a radius up to 5 feet x your weather control tier cubed. Thus at tier 4 you can cover an area 320 feet in radius. This lasts for up to one minute per level.
Tier 5:  Your storm effect can now be a powerful wind blast. This acts as force blast, but is a push of air and does not work in environments that do not have air. Your mirco-vortex range increases to medium (100 feet +10 feet/level).
You can also increase or decrease the perceptional level by 1 step as a standard action, as with wind control in tier 4. You can affect precipitation and wind in the same standard action.
Tier 6: You can unleash a lightning bolt once every 1d4 rounds as a standard action. There must be cloudy or foggy conditions available for you to do this, but the fog cloud from your storm effect counts for this purpose. Your lighting bolt targets a single creature for 1d6 electrical damage per character level you possess. A target may make a Reflex save (DC 10 +1/2 your character level + your key ability modifier) for half damage.
Tier 7: You can now also create a storm effect by expending a Resolve Point to do so. Your wind blast now deals 1d6 damage per 2 character levels you possess.
Tier 8: You can now create the force blast version of your storm effect with a point of origin anywhere within long range 9100 feet. +10 feet/level).
You can also increase or decrease the temperature of a natural, outdoor environment by 20 degrees as a standard action, as with wind control in tier 4. You can affect temperature, precipitation, and wind in the same standard action.
Tier 9: When altering wind severity, precipitation, and temperature, you can now alter one of those variables by 2 steps, rather than by 1. You cannot affect more than one of these variables by multiple steps at the same time, even if you take multiple actions.
Tier 10: You can now unleash the lightning bolt from tier 6 once per round. Additionally, when altering wind severity, precipitation, and temperature, you can now alter each of those variables by 2 steps, rather than by 1.

WANT MORE GAMMAFINDER?!
I now depend on my Patreon for more of my income and support than I ever expected to. If you find any value in my blog posts or videos, I could use help with the Patreon. If you can spare a few bucks a month, it’s a huge help. If not, even just sharing and linking to my blogs, videos, and the Patreon itself is a huge help that just takes a moment of your time.

Thanks, everyone.

GammaFinder Index

GammaFinder is a post-apocalypse setting for the Starfinder Roleplaying Game. I have multiple articles that begin to describe and define GammaFinder, and this is the index to all of them.

PA Street Scene

CORE RULES AND SETTING
The basics.

GammaFinder Rules. Simple rules for post-apocalypse gaming using Starfinder, along with just the hint of a setting *mostly to justify calling it ‘GammaFinder.’)

The Unburned World. A larger article that includes a quick description of the pre-apocalypse Unburned World, and the Chasm of History that separates it from the modern era.

Titans. Halfway between landmarks and gods, no one is sure where these motionless giants come from, or what their purpose is. But they have a real, if subtle, effect on the world around them.

PLAYER OPTIONS
Beyond the core rules, here are the things players can use.

Mega-Heroic Moments
You just get one, but when you use it, it’ll be memorable.

Themes
Alphite. You were raised in the domed city of Apha, before it was destroyed.
Brain-In-A-Jar and Murderous Toy. These stretch what themes are supposed to do to their limits, to give weirder character options.
Mutie. You are a mutant, and your mutations are evolving.

Archetypes
Mutamorph. Exposed to the strange energies of the World of GammaFinder, your body is morphing into… something.

Mutations
Advancing Mutations. In GammaFinder, sometimes YOU get weirder and weirder.
Mutations for Starting Characters. You were just born that way.
Tiered Mutations (teleportation). the rules for tiered mutations that grow in power as you focus on them, with the teleportation tiered mutation as an example.
Weather Control. A tiered mutation.

GM TOOLS
Beyond the core rules, these are things the GM can use to help built the setting and its feel.

Halidoms.
Weird relics of the Unburned World, from before the Chasm of History. Presented conceptually in Part One, and rules for PCs trying to figure them out in Part Two.

Survival.
Survival is a key theme of post-apocalypse rpgs. Starfinder has a “Survival” skill. Making skill checks to survive every day is boring, and no one wants their game to end because everyone starved to death. And tents, even high-tech tents, tend not to actually make a difference to PC’s health and happiness.
These rules fix all those issues and brings them together.

MUTANTIARY
These entries are like a bestiary, but for weird mutant threats!

Hammerderm It’s a dangerous sonic shark-rhino mutant.

BOOMER EXTRAS
The spectacularly creative Clinton Boomer has done some additional material for GammaFinder, and we’re thrilled to link it here for folks who want Moar Weird!

Dhampir of the Gamma Wastes. Yep, post-apocalypse vampires.

Fist of the Gamma Star. Ready for Post-Apocalypse Martial Arts?

Footprints in the Burning Wasteland. Each blasphemous caress of your sorcery is, of course, a unique & terrible thing.

Omegamancy. Even after the world ends, some things are forbidden.

Reek of Corrupted Wasteland. You can smell what the Omegamancers are cooking!

WANT MORE GAMMAFINDER?!
I now depend on my Patreon for more of my income and support than I ever expected to. If you find any value in my blog posts or videos, I could use help with the Patreon. If you can spare a few bucks a month, it’s a huge help. If not, even just sharing and linking to my blogs, videos, and the Patreon itself is a huge help that just takes a moment of your time.

Thanks, everyone.

 

 

Technomancer Mind-Affecting Spells VI

Today we wrap up (for now, at least) exploring the design space of technomancer mind-affecting spells.

If we want a mind-affecting spells to feel like a viable concept for a technomancer (which is the only time at which it would make sense to select the robot influence magic hack), we’re going to need at least two different mind-affecting spells at each spell level for 1st and higher, and at least one 0-level spell.

So far we’ve done a 0-level spell, two first, a 2nd-level (to go with their existing 2nd-level mind-affecting spell, daze monster), two 3rd-level, 4th-level, and 5th-level spells. So, let’s do two technomancer-flavored 6th-level mind-affecting spells.

For balance on these we looked at a lot of 6th-level spells, but since there don;t seem to be any 6th-level mind-affecting spells in Starfinder, there aren’t any specific 1-to-1 comparisons.

mysterious woman in futuristic cloak with hood walking with blue light particles, digital art style, illustration painting

Algorithm [Technomancer 6]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range medium (100 ft. +10 ft./level)
Targets one creature/level, no two of which can be more than 30 feet apart
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw Will partial; Spell Resistance yes

You impose an algorithm on the decision-making processes and efforts undertaken by of the spell’s targets. Each round, you can designate one creature to be protected by the algorithm. Any affected target takes a -5 penalty to all skill checks regarding the target, attack rolls against the target, and to the save DC of any ability they use that affects the target. You can change the protected creature each round, ending the protection against any previous creature. Targets that fail their saving throw are unaware their actions are being influenced by a spell.

Targets that succeed at their Will save only take a -2 penalty to skills, attacks, and DCs, and are aware they are under the effects of a spell.

Target Lock [Technomancer 6]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range medium (100 ft. +10 ft./level)
Targets one creature
Duration 1 minute/level
Saving Throw Will partial; Spell Resistance yes

You lock the target’s attention onto one foe, and prompt it to attack that foe. The target must attack the foe with the attack most likely to be effective against it with at least one action per round. If the target succeeds at a Will save it can ignore this command, but the mental effort to do so causes it to be fatigued for the duration of the spell. The fatigue ends when the spell ends, or if the creature decided to attack the designated foe.

PATREON
Enjoy this Starfinder content? Want to see more? Want to see something else? You can back my Patreon to encourage me to do more of the kind of work you want to see, and you can subscribe to the 52-in-52 program to get entire game supplements, one a week for every week of 20020, that are done in four versions for four game systems, including Starfinder!

Technomancer Mind-Affecting Spells V

We’re still exploring the design space of technomancer mind-affecting spells.

If we want a mind-affecting spells to feel like a viable concept for a technomancer (which is the only time at which it would make sense to select the robot influence magic hack), we’re going to need at least two different mind-affecting spells at each spell level for 1st and higher, and at least one 0-level spell.

So far we’ve done a 0-level spell, two first, a 2nd-level (to go with their existing 2nd-level mind-affecting spell, daze monster), two 3rd-level spells, and two-fourth-level spells. So, let’s do two technomancer-flavored 5th-level mind-affecting spells.

Blockchain looks at the scaling fear spell for determining it’s total power level–it’s not as debilitating, but has a much larger area, targets nonliving creatures, only targets enemies, and at this level lasts long, and has some effect even on targets who make their save, with off-target a pretty good guaranteed effect (and even dazzled causes you to be -1 on all attack rolls, which may not seem like much but isn’t bad if you hit a bunch of foes as the minimum effect they take on top of off-target).

Greater check the comments looks to greater command for how to upgrade 1st-level spells at 5th level.

Technomancer Eye

Blockchain [Technomancer 5]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range 60 feet
Targets all foes in a cone-shaped emanation
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw Will partial; Spell Resistance yes

You flood the minds of of every foe in the area to a series of interconnected mental checklists they must fulfill while taking any action. Targets are entangled as they constantly start and stop each thing they do, trying to fulfill the checklists demanded for each decision they make. Targets that succeed at their Will save still find their minds filled with checklists, but know they are artificial and can be ignored, though the distraction causes them to still be off-target. Targets already off-target are instead dazzled.

Check the Comments, Greater [Technomancer 5]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Targets up to one creature/level, no two of which can be more than 30 ft. apart
Save Will negates

This spell functions like check the comments, except you can affect up to one creature per level and creatures make their announcements in one language you know of your choice, even if they do not speak that language (or, indeed, even if they speak no language).

PATREON
Enjoy this Starfinder content? Want to see more? Want to see something else? You can back my Patreon to encourage me to do more of the kind of work you want to see, and you can subscribe to the 52-in-52 program to get entire game supplements, one a week for every week of 20020, that are done in four versions for four game systems, including Starfinder!

 

 

Technomancer Mind-Affecting Spells IV

We’re exploring the design space of technomancer mind-affecting spells.

If we want a mind-affecting spells to feel like a viable concept for a technomancer (which is the only time at which it would make sense to select the robot influence magic hack), we’re going to need at least two different mind-affecting spells at each spell level for 1st and higher, and at least one 0-level spell.

So far we’ve done a 0, two first, a 2nd (to go with their existing 2nd-level mind-affecting spell, daze monster), and two 3rd-level spells. So, let’s do two technomancer-flavored 4th-level mind-affecting spells.

The quantum zen king / 3D illustration of male android hardwired to computer core

CAPSLOCK looks at the various fear spells as a way to establish a power-level baseline, while safety on is balanced against hold monster.

CAPSLOCK isn’t nearly as debilitating as fear, but even on a failed save the target is affected briefly.

I also wrote safety on as a reminder (to myself as much as anyone) that’s there is more to technology than just computers, and thus technomancer spells should play with nondigital concepts as well. I like the concept of a technomancer being able to take the concept of a gun’s safety, and apply it to a person. It’s not as debilitating as hold monster, but the target also doesn’t get a save to end it every round, and again it has some impact even on targets that make a save.

CAPSLOCK [Technomancer 4]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Targets all foes, no two of which can be more than 30 ft. apart
Duration 1 minute/level
Saving Throw Will partial; Spell Resistance yes

You rewire the targets’ ability to make decisions, forcing them to go all-or-nothing on everything they do. They can only take actions designated a full actions or double move actions (preventing any single attacks, standard actions, or single move actions) and cannot take reactions or swift actions. If they speak they must shout, and when moving they make heavy, deliberate steps, preventing any Bluff check to pass secret messages, and any Sleight of Hand or Stealth checks. They cannot take 10 or take 20 on skill checks, even if they have an ability that would normally allow them to do so when distracted or in danger.

If a target succeeds as a skill check, the duration of this spell is reduced to 1d4 rounds for that target.

Safety On [Technomancer 4]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Targets one creature
Duration 1 round/2 levels (D)
Saving Throw Will partial, see text; Spell Resistance yes

The target cannot use a weapon for any purpose, make any attack roll, or take any action that would force creatures to make saving throws if they were targeted by or in the area of the action’s end result.

A target that succeeds at a Will save can take any actions it wishes, but suffers a -2 penalty to attack rolls, and the save DC of any effect it creates is reduced by 1.

PATREON
Enjoy this Starfinder content? Want to see more? Want to see something else? You can back my Patreon to encourage me to do more of the kind of work you want to see, and you can subscribe to the 52-in-52 program to get entire game supplements, one a week for every week of 20020, that are done in four versions for four game systems, including Starfinder!

Technomancer Mind-Affecting Spells III

We’re exploring the design space of technomancer mind-affecting spells.

If we want a mind-affecting spells to feel like a viable concept for a technomancer (which is the only time at which it would make sense to select the robot influence magic hack), we’re going to need at least two different mind-affecting spells at each spell level for 1st and higher, and at least one 0-level spell.

So far we’ve done a 0, two first, and a 2nd (to go with their existing 2nd-level mind-affecting spell, daze monster). So, let’s do two technomancer-flavored 3rd-level mind-affecting spells.

When determining the power level of these we used mental block to compare the power level of EULA, and charm monster to compare to IFF hack.

high resolution 3d render of cyborg soldier and dragon

End-User Licensing Agreement [Technomancer 3]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Targets up to one creature/level, no two of which can be more than 30 ft. apart
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes

You cause targets of this spell to be unable to bring themselves to use technological and hybrid items. Whenever the targets wish to use any technological or hybrid device (including weapons) that requires a skill check or action of any kind, they find themselves overpowered by a need to register their ownership online first, and read all the manufacturer’s rules and warnings for device use.  Targets are aware that this compulsion will take so long to fulfill that there is no point in even trying to fulfill it. Each round at the end a target’s turn, that target can attempt another Will save to end this effect.

IFF Hack [Technomancer 3]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Targets one living creature
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw Will partial; Spell Resistance yes

You influence the ability of the target creature to tell friend from foe. The target cannot treat any creature as an ally. Additionally, it must succeed at a Will save or on its next turn it must attack a creature you designate at the time of casting. If target has no attack that can reach the creature you designate, it is instead confused for 1 round.

PATREON
Enjoy this Starfinder content? Want to see more? Want to see something else? You can back my Patreon to encourage me to do more of the kind of work you want to see, and you can subscribe to the 52-in-52 program to get entire game supplements, one a week for every week of 20020, that are done in four versions for four game systems, including Starfinder!

Technomancer Mind-Affecting Spells II

We’re exploring the design space of technomacner mind-affecting spells.

If we want a mind-affecting spells to feel like a viable concept for a technomancer (which is the only time at which it would make sense to select the robot influence magic hack), we’re going to need at least two different mind-affecting spells at each spell level for 1st and higher, and at least one 0-level spell.

Which sounds like a great subject for a short series of blog posts!

We already did two 1st-level spells, and there’s already daze monster at 2nd, so let’s look at a 0-level and a 2nd-level.

Fragmented uses fatigue as a comparison to make sure we’re still at a 0-level spell’s power level.

Fragmented  [Technomancer 0]
School enchantment (mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range touch
Targets one creature
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes
You can fragment the mental processes of the target, causing them to feel disrupted and attacked by slivers of old sensations and memories. You make a melee attack against a single target’s EAC, adding your key ability score modifier to the attack roll instead of your Strength modifier if it is higher. The target must succeed at a Will save or be sickened for the spell’s duration. Casting this spell doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity.

Malware is much more complex, but we still looked at hold person and daze monster as comparisons. It’s designed to be of use even if the target succeeds at a save, without even being as completely incapacitating as hold person and daze monster. It’s compulsion has strong limits, but still gives some interesting options within those limitations.

Malware [Technomancer 2]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range Medium (100 ft. +10 ft./level)
Targets one creature
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw Will partial; Spell Resistance yes
You insert a psychic control program into the target, causing you to have some control over its actions. The target must make a will save. If it succeeds it fights off the control program, but doing so causes it to be staggered for 1 round. If it fails, the creature is staggered for the spell’s duration, but you can also give it one command each round. If the target takes a standard action, you can command it to take a specific additional move action. If it takes a move action, you can command it to take a specific additional standard action. If the action you command it to take places itself or its allies in direct risk, it gains an additional saving throw with a +5 bonus to end your ability to give it orders, though it remains staggered for the spell’s duration.

PATREON
Enjoy this Starfinder content? Want to see more? Want to see something else? You can back my Patreon to encourage me to do more of the kind of work you want to see, and you can subscribe to the 52-in-52 program to get entire game supplements, one a week for every week of 20020, that are done in four versions for four game systems, including Starfinder!

Design Space: Technomancer mind-affecting spells I

Sometimes a game has rules or options that suggest there are things that should exist, but they don’t. Or at least, they don’t existing in the form or to the degree they should. This is often a sign of a good ‘design space,’ a place where a game seems to need more material designed for it, where the existing rules don’t feel every reasonable iteration of the concept, and where such material won’t feel extraneous or uninteresting.

As a negative example, there’s not much design space between a shortsword that does 1d6 damage, and a longsword that does 1d8 damage. There are certainly things you can do (some companies make 7-sided dice, you can add or remove other elements such as cost and weapon traits and proficiency, and so on). So yes, you could make a ‘broadsword’ that cost more than a short sword, and weighed more, and did a d8 damage, but was easier to gain proficiency in than a longsword. But it’ll feel :showhorned in,” and not be as useful an addition to the game as a weapon with a totally different damage die or some more clear differentiating feature.

A positive example is in the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, where technomancers have a magic hack (“robot influence”) that allow them to affect constructs, robots, and other creatures that have the technological subtype, even if they’re mindless or would normally be immune.

Now, think about what mind-affecting spells a technomancer would use that with. … Right. Daze monster doesn’t suck, but it’s not worth a whole magic hack. The problem, of course, is that mind-affecting spells don’t normally feel like they are closely connected to technology. But that’s a conceptual hurdle that can be overcome, and mind-affecting spells are such a broad category that we can design them to feel very different from existing spells that mystics and witchwarpers get.

So, let’s create some! Specifically some low-level, technology and computer culture-inspired mind-affecting technomaner spells!

Check the Comments [Technomancer 1]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Targets one creature
Duration one minute/level
Save Will negates

The target creature announced each action it is about to take before it takes it. If it is aware of a shared language it has with you, it uses that language to make these announcements, otherwise it uses its native language. If it announces an attack or effect that requires a saving throw, any creature that understands its announcement gains a +2 circumstance bonus to their AC or save against that effect. Additionally, if someone who understands the announcements readies an action to be triggered by an action the target announced, the readied action is triggered by the announcement, and thus is resolved before the triggering action. 

Dropped Pixel [Technomancer 1]
School enchantment (mind-affecting)

Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Targets one creature
Duration one minute/level
Save Will partial

The target creature cannot maintain any direct observation of you with a precise sense. They can track you with imprecise senses, but whenever they try to determine your exact  location or appearance they find themselves looking away, fixating on an item near you, or similarly not directly observing you. You gain concealment from the target. If the target succeeds at a Will save, the spell’s duration is reduced to 1 round.

PATREON
Enjoy this Starfinder content? Want to see more? Want to see something else? You can back my Patreon to encourage me to do more of the kind of work you want to see, and you can subscribe to the 52-in-52 program to get entire game supplements, one a week for every week of 20020, that are done in four versions for four game systems, including Starfinder!

Sorcerers & Speakeasies Part 3 (Religions)

We’ve talked about doing the 1920s Magic and Mobsters campaign, “Sorcerers and Speakeasies” in general terms, and  talked a bit about Backgrounds, and even talked a bit about our plans on the BAMF podcast.

A common question that has come up during these discussions is: What do you plan to do about religion?

It’s a common question anytime you add fantastic elements to a setting rooted in real-world history. There are numerous potential issues when you look to grant traditional D&D-like divine powers to real-world religions. These problems are magnified if you don’t do tons and tons of research. Should you treat Christians differently than Hindus? Is Zues still worshipped? Are their fantasy gods, like Karracker? If monotheist religions can talk to God, does that prove polytheists are wrong?

So, Sorcerers and Speakeasies is leaning toward avoiding a lot of those questions, and focusing instead on religios themes. Players and GMs can do whatever they and their group are comfortable with those themes.

First and foremost, gods (and God) don’t talk to people in Sorcerers and Speakeasies.

Outsiders do… but all admit they can’t discuss (or don’t know) the reality of gods. Angelic and fiendish creatures themselves follow various religions, or at least seem to, but in general state they support those mortals that support their own areas of concern, often as indicated through Aspects (see below).

Cleric: Three Callings
Gods aren’t as directly communicative in 1920 as they seemed to be in Ancient times. Rather than the focused power of a divine domain, S&S clerics are generally following a calling that motivates them to live spiritual lives in very specific ways.
Calling of Ordination – Member of a specific holy order, though that may be a Buddhist nun, Catholic priest, Presbyterian pastor, semicha lerabanim, or any other organized group that have common rules, training, and requirements to join.
Calling of Preachers – You have been called to preach. Perhaps in a church, perhaps under a tent, or perhaps on a street corner.
Calling of Witness – You don’t just have faith, you demonstrate it by doing something dangerous as proof your faith protects you. Among the most famous of these are scorpion-dancers, who handle deadly scorpions as proof they have divine protection.

Sixteen Domains
Certainly there’s nothing wrong with the domains in the Player’s handbook–if you want to play a cleric of the Knowledge domain, feel free. But most Sorcerers and Speakeasies clerics, and divine characters and NPCs in general, are built around one of sixteen Aspects, each of which has a domain.

These are build off concepts often seen as “sins” and “virtues,” and eight of each have angels and fiends empowered by them, but the aspects are not alignment-locked. While there are demons of Pride, it is possible to have a good-aligned cleric of Pride who embodied taking pride in your work and avoiding false modesty. Similarly someone who believes in killing those who are not generous enough would be an evil figure of Generosity).

Angelic Aspects: Courage, Diligence, Generosity, Gratitude, Humility, Justice, Patience, Prudence

Fiendish Aspects: Cowardice, Envy, Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Pride, Sloth, Wrath

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Today’s post only happened because I was able to turn down some small freelance projects, giving me spare time to consider these questions, and replace the income those would have brought in with money from my Patreon. Even just the price of a cup of coffee each month makes a big difference in how much content I can put out on my blog!

 

One Feat: Four Systems (Allied Spellcaster)

So, obviously, I’ve been working in a lot of different game systems recently. With the 52-in-52 program, I’m developing the same game content for Pathfinder 1st ed, Pathfinder 2nd ed, Starfinder, and 5e.

It’s been a fascinating view of how the different game systems look at game elements that have the same name, but different functions.

For example, feats.

In Pathfinder 1e and Starfinder, feats are cross-character goodies that are generally designed to be optional, and sometimes tie into class design (such as for the fighter and soldier), but not always.

For Pathfinder 2e, feats are the quintessential character ability, and different kinds of feats are crucial to your ancestry, class, and any archetype you take.

For 5e, feats are entirely optional, and if taken come in place of ability score advancements. Each feat is more potent in many ways, but you can make a character with a single feat, or no feats, and no class depends on feats for any part of its core functions.

As an example, we’re going to take a PF1 teamwork feat, and present it (as a non-teamwork feat) in different versions, one for each of the four game systems.

Here’s the original, a PF1 Teamwork feat

Allied Spellcaster (Teamwork)
With the aid of an ally, you are skilled at piercing the protections of other creatures with your spells.
Prerequisite: Caster level 1st.
Benefit: Whenever you are adjacent to an ally who also has this feat, you receive a +2 competence bonus on level checks made to overcome spell resistance. If your ally has the same spell prepared (or known with a slot available if they are spontaneous spellcasters), this bonus increases to +4 and you receive a +1 bonus to the caster level for all level-dependent variables, such as duration, range, and effect.

Here’s a new PF1 version, that isn’t a teamwork feat

ALLIED SPELLCASTER
You can aid an allied spellcaster, adding your magic power to their own.
Prerequisite: Caster level 1st.
Benefit: Whenever you are adjacent to an ally who can cast spells, as a standard action you can expend a spell slot or prepared spell of 1st level or higher to attempt to boost their spellcasting ability. This requires a Spellcraft check, DC 10 + double the level of the spell slot expended. On a successful check, you increase their caster level for the next spell they cast before the beginning of your next round by an amount equal to the level of the spell or spell slot expended.

You can also take eldritch power from a willing adjacent spellcaster to boost the power of your own spells. The allied spellcaster must ready to grant you a spell slot or prepared spell of 1st level of 1st level or higher on your turn. If they do so, you make the same Spellcraft check as a swift action and, if successful, for the next spell you cast this round your caster level is increased by an amount equal to the spell level your ally expended.

*So, that plays with both action economy and resource management, but it lets you play the spellcaster who can work in a group without anyone else having to also have the feat in question.

Here’s the same spell for Starfinder.

ALLIED SPELLCASTER
You can aid an allied spellcaster, adding your magic power to their own.
Prerequisite: Caster level 1st.
Benefit: Whenever you are adjacent to an ally who can cast spells, as a standard action you can expend a spell slot of 1st level or higher to attempt to boost their spellcasting ability. This requires a Mysticism check, DC 10 + triple the level of the spell slot expended. On a successful check, you increase their caster level for the next spell they cast before the beginning of your next round by an amount equal to the level of the spell or spell slot expended. If the spell does damage and does not have a duration, area, or damage calculation based on level, you can instead grant +3 damage per level of spell you expended.

You can also take eldritch power from a willing adjacent spellcaster to boost the power of your own spells. The allied spellcaster takes a standard action to imbue you with energy by expending  a spell slot of 1st level or higher on your turn. If they do so, on your turn you can make the same Mysticism check as part of the action to cast your next spell and, if successful, gain the benefits listed above. If you do not cast a spell within 1 round of being imbued, the additional spell energy is lost.

*That’s very similar, though it makes an adjustment for the fact that Starfinder doesn’t generally have damage affected by caster level and readied actions work differently caused us to make some adjustments.

Here’s a version for 5e.

ALLIED SPELLCASTER
Prerequisite: Caster level 1st or higher
You are skilled at magic manipulatipons. Increase your Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma score by 1.
You can cast a spell to boost the effectiveness of an allied spellcaster within 60 feet, rather than its normal effect. If allied spellcaster casts a spell of their own that is no more than one spell level higher on their next turn, they have advantage on any attack roll the spell requires, or one target of their choice has disadvantage on any saving throw the spell requires.
An ally can cast a spell to boost your effectiveness rather than the spell’s normal effect, giving you the same benefit on your next turn.

*Things in 5e are simpler. Like, way simpler. Advantage or disadvantage is 75% of how the game handles things. And they are pretty big bonuses (work out to about a +4 bonus on a d20), so it’s okay that this only applies to spells of a level close to the level you expend.

That said, weaker feats in 5e also give you a +1 to one ability score (since you gave up a +2 to get the feat), which applies here given how circumstantial this is.

Here’s the same feat for PF2

ALLIED SPELLCASTER     FEAT 2
General Skill
Prerequisites: Expert in Arcana, Nature, Occultism or Religion
You can use the aid reaction to assist an adjacent ally when they cast a spell. This requires a successful Arcana, Nature, Occultism or Religion check (you must be expert in the selected skill) with a DC of 20 + double the level of spell the ally is casting. You must expend a spell slot of 1st level or higher, and you gain a bonus to your skill check equal to the level of the spell expended. You grant the ally a +2 circumstance bonus to their attack roll, or a +1 bonus to the save DC of their spell.
An adjacent allied spellcaster can attempt to use the aid reaction when you cast a spell. This works the same way, except you must make the Arcana, Nature, Occultism or Religion check.

*Pf2 uses a universal proficiency system for everything, so a +2 bonus matters as much at 15th level as it does at 5th level. There’s already an aid action which might be usable if a spell required an attack roll, but it’s not clear how it would apply and it certainly won’t boost save DCs. This cut through that, and is a skill feat spellcasters might really appreciate.

PATREON
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