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Fantasy Tabar-Shishpar for Pathfinder

Welcome to more things inspired by Forged in Fire, where I do fantasy Pathfinder version of weapons I was introduced to by the television show Forged in Fire. Given how cool many of the weapons they feature on that show are, I decided to go back to this idea do another one. And while doing so, I thought I would continue to explore the design space created by using odd-sided dice (d5s, d7s, and so on) such as those available from Impact Miniatures (who are running a Kickstarter right now for more of these dice—I have nothing to do with the campaign, but I own a lot of their dice and are very happy with them).

This is an effort at a fantasy pathfinder version of the Tabar-Shishpar, a weapon from the Deccan region of India that appears to have existed in the 17th and 18th centuries, though it was always rare. “Tabar” means axe (the tabar was a horseman’s axe) and shishpar means mace and refers to a flnged mace introduced by the Delhi Sultanate. The Tabar-Shishpar is thus an axe-mace, with a single-bladed axe at one end and a mace at the other end of a roughly 3-foot-long metal haft.  The same stats can also be used for the Tabar-Zaghnal (“axe-hammer”).

This is a game option inspired by the real-world history of the weapon, and is designed to be no more accurate than the Pathfinder versions of the longsword or falchion.

Although the Tabar-Shishpar has a weapon head at each end of the haft (like a gnomish hook-hammer), it is not a double weapon—only one end is designed to be used at a time, with the haft being flipped by the user when switching which head to attack with. As a result magic weapon properties (and abilities that emulate them) affect the entire Tabar-Shishpar, rather than only one end of it.

When the mace head is used, the axe is held facing outward to prevent self-injury.

Tabar-Shishpar (Two-Handed Martial Weapon)

Cost 20 gp     Weight 1.5 lbs.

Light: Dmg (S) 1d9 (B, S)     DMG (M) 1d11 (B, S)     Crit 20, x3     Switch-hit

Switch-Hit: The Tabar-Shishpar does either bludgeoning or slashing damage, depending on how you hold it. Changing between the two damage types is a swift or move action. If you are not proficient with the Tabar-Shishpar and you roll a natural 1 on an attack roll (a “1” shows on the d20), you must either drop the weapon or do half base weapon damage (ignoring all modifiers) to yourself.

Speaking of Going Back to Cool Things

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Fictional Sites for Sci-Fi RPGs

Infosphere Sites

These sites are designed for the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, but can be adapted to different sci-fi games as desired.

Each of these sites is popular and powerful enough to exist in the infosphere of hundreds or even thousands of settled worlds. While each planetary infosphere has its own local iteration of these sites, where residents on that planet can interact with it in real time, the offworld sections are regular updated by automatic downloads from the databanks of ships and transmissions from other worlds.

Each site also lists a focus. For every 5 ranks in Computers and Culture a character has (whichever skill they have the most ranks in – you don’t get twice as many foci for having rnaks in both), they receive a focus in one infosphere site for free. (A GM may also use inforsphere site focus as benefits for things like themes or story awards.) This represents a strong understanding of how the site works (both technically and in regards to its culture.) Focus with each site gives you a minor bonus when you take specific actions, or allows you to take actions you normally couldn’t. This requires you to have access to the planetary inforsphere, and if the action requires the involvement of people on other planets, its effect is delayed until a ship or transmission  carries the request to and from that world (normally double the time requires for a hyperspace trip.)

Blather: A popular venue for extremely short-form messages (known as “blats”), Blather is used both as a way to have public conversations and to push specific marketing ideas. Many Icons and leaders use Blather as a way to send a message directly to their fans, followers, foes, and the general public.

Focus: You can gather information (as the Diplomacy task) with a Computers or Culture check. The first gather information check you make each day takes no time, as it represents your general knowledge gained from being up to date on Blather.

Chekkit: A distributed messageboard with specific-topic sections (subchekkits) on tens of thousands of topics. Chekkit is largely free of corporate control (though it is owned by a coalition of companies) and is self-moderated by members. This freedom allows it to be used as a populist place for discussion, research, and crowdsourcing obscure questions, but also allows it to be used to promote and organize antisocial, bigoted, fringe, and actively harmful social movements.

Focus: You can attempt Diplomacy and Intimidate checks with individuals connected to an infosphere by driving campaigns of popular opinion in the appropriate subchekkits. This takes a minimum of 1d6 days, and you can’t have more than one pending skill check of this type at a time.

Infopedia: Infopedia is a user-driven repository of information, with articles written by, and edited by, the general public. In general this method produces articles with considerable accuracy, and it often allows subjects that do not draw scholarly notice to be thoroughly covered. However, it is also vulnerable to both accidental and intentional falsification of facts.

Focus: You can take 20 on a skill check for a skill you have no ranks in, even for checks that normally require you to be trained in that skill, but doing so takes twice as long as is normally required to take 20. Additionally, with a Computers or Culture check you can attempt to make a Bluff check to introduce a false piece of information to the search results of a planet’s infosphere. The base DC of this Bluff check is the same as the DC to discover the accurate information. Anyone who researches the question with a skill check result below your total to introduce false information cannot determine which fact is real. If they also fail the original research DC by 5 or more, they accept the false fact you introduce as true. Your skill check may be modified by the same kinds of modifiers that make Bluff checks more difficult, and the effective total of your check goes down by 5 per day as the general public corrects the misinformation.

MyFace: The most popular social media infosphere site through the homeworlds and their allies. Users have profiles with extensive personal information, and generally post thoughts, pictures, and even video of everything from their political beliefs to what they had for breakfast. A powerful tool for keeping in touch with friends who are far away, but also a massive tool for corporate opinion-shaping and data-mining and a growing encroachment into the privacy of everyone, as any public event may be broadly broadcast on MyFace.

Focus: You can disguise your online activity by using a false MyFace account as the sign-in and basis of everything you do. Individuals attempting to figure out who you are must make a Computers check with a DC of 10 + your Computers or Culture bonus, or they are fooled into assigning your online activity to a fake MyFace account. You also gain a +2 circumstance bonus on Diplomacy checks with creatures that you have successfully identified the true MyFace accounts of.

Speaking of Sites…

I have a Patreon, and so does one of my Sponsors, Justin Andrew Mason! He’s the sponsor for this post, so if you want to thank him, go check out HIS Patreon!

I got so excited I even wrote up a fifth, self-referential, site on my Patreon — the fundraising sci-fi site “Sponseor.”

The Cinematic Sci-Fi Timeline

This is a cinematic sci-fi timeline, and effort to create a rich history of advancing technology and the issues, heroes, and morality tales that lead to a moment rich for player character involvement. That moment might be at the end of this progression, or at any point along the way the GM finds interesting.

This isn’t an effort to actually jam all these differing stories into a single continuity, and I am not claiming RUNAWAY is actually the precursor to RoboCop. I am also aware that some of these do have official crossovers (half of then through Dark Horse comics), and I don’t care if I invalidate those either.

Nor am I trying to fit ever science-fiction movie in existence into a single reality. Just a specific subset I feel have some themes and throughlines in common that make for an interesting potential universe.

This is just a thought experiment, designed to place actual inspirations into slots where a pastiche of each *could* form a logical continuous timeline with just a little tweaking.

Each movie includes the year the movie was released, for clarity. No specific set time is suggested for when these movies should occur, but I assume the timeline runs roughly 200 years from 1970 to 2170. The timeline movies forward with each italicized breakdown of how the listed movies represent the events of that point in the timeline.

The Timeline (1970-2070)

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
The governments of the world come to accept that alien life is real and travelling the stars, but keep the information from the general public.

Terminator (1984)
Crucial moments in the development of the world are impacted by a very small number of time travelers, resulting in multiple, overlapping alternate timelines, proof of some variant of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics.

Carrie (1976)
Firestarter (1984)
The Fury (1978)
Perhaps as a step in evolution, perhaps as a response to the first cases of time travel and alien contact, verifiable psychic phenomenon begin to sporadically manifest. The governments of the world alternate between exploiting and just killing such talents, but needless to say thigns often go poorly.

Predator (1987)
Aliens continue to visit Earth in small numbers and without the public learning, but such visits are not always friendly.

Looker (1981)
As technology advances, the wealthy and powerful begin to realize it can be used to control the lower classes, to focus even more power in the hands of the few.

Runaway (1984)
As society groans under the need to provide for an expanding population and worsening natural resources, autonomous robots become increasingly common in advanced societies. Something they go rouge, and must be put down. Sometimes an increasingly tech-savvy criminal class makes use of them.

Push (2009)
Scanners (1981)
Suspect Zero (2004)
The number of individuals with psychic powers grows, and organizations begin to form to deal with them exclusively.

A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Predator II (1990)
The pressure on society begins to lead to the collapse of institutions and social norms. As the middle class ceases to exist, the underclass becomes increasingly violent and hard to control. The tiny sliver of the wealthy and powerful, and their increasingly independent corporations, seek to control the masses through any means. This is a rich environment for a small number of alien visitors to exploit conditions for their own amusement or gain.

Red Lights (2012)
Slowly, the scientific community begins to publicly study psychic powers, though skepticism remains high.

RoboCop (1987)
Governments begin to collapse and corporations gain more power. This leads to efforts to have corporate-controlled paramilitary forces, and to use cybernetic technologies to enforce obedience on a soldier-servant class.

Event Horizon (1997)
The strain humanity is putting on Earth is clearly unsustainable. The oligarchs and mega-corporations experiment with ways to spread to other worlds, though their reckless willingness to attempt anything that might succeed leads to horrific failures.

Outland (1981)
Total Recall (1990)
Thanks to advanced in space travel, humanity begin to move to new worlds, though all still within the solar system.

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)
The need for cheap labor leads to attempts to uplift other simians. But if we made apes intelligent and independent enough to serve as slave labor, they are intelligent and independent enough to rebel. Such efforts are outlawed.

Furtureworld (1976)
Rollerball (1975)
Solent Green (1973)
Westworld (1973)
The world is in near collapse. The upper classes have literally fantasy worlds to play in with their nearly unlimited wealth, while everyone else fights for scraps and is distracted by death sports. Early cyborg technology begins to advance to primitive androids, though these require fairly regular maintenance and human-augmented control.

(If society does totally collapse, a new timeline forms here, with Damnation Alley, Mad Max, A Boy and His Dog, and so on, eventually reaching Thundarr. Our timeline doesn’t go that route.)

Minority Report (2002)
The existence of psychics is publicly accepted, and they begin to be integrated into the government and corporate efforts to control a growing population that is increasingly dissatisfied and dangerous.

Blade Runner (1982)
The total collapse of human civilization is prevented by creating autonomous androids to serve as the ultimate slave labor force, while humanity begins to truly move to the stars. But only those who are healthy and talented are chosen my megacorporations to be shipped off Earth, and it turns out intelligent and independent android slaves have many of the same issues intelligent and independent ape slaves did.

Alien (1979)
Silent Running (1972)
Robots begin to be replaced by androids in most tasks, though simpler robot technology is more stable. Though some governments have gone to the stars, it is the corporations who have the money and resources to push the boundary of the final frontier. What they find doesn’t always go well for the corporate employees who find it.

Blade Runner 2049
Back on Earth, things still boil (details left out as spoilers for the movie)

Aliens (1986)
Colonization becomes standard, and most android behavior issues are solved. But as humanity’s sphere of influence spreads, so does its interactions with other alien life.

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Return of the Druid/Magic-User!

When I get on a “old-school multiclass concepts for Pathfinder” kick I generally do several in a row as ideas rattle around in my head. So far I’ve done the anruth (an old school druidic bard), cavalier-paladincleric/assassin, cleric/fighter/magic-usercleric/fighter/thiefcleric/rangerdruid/fighterfighter/magic-user/thiefillusionist/thiefthief-acrobat, as well as randomly acquired psionics, and even the fighter/illusionist at my patreon.

If we restrict ourselves to “legal” old-school multiclass combinations that means our list of options grows thin… but it DOES leave us the underrated druid/magic-user.

When looking at ways to do a dual spellcasting character in pathfinder official material gives us two broad routes. One is to create a prestige class, such as the mystic theurge, to try to make multiclass spellcasting less terrible and specifically combine arcane and divine classes. This route traditionally gives lots of spells-per-day, at the cost of little to no increase in class features. That works fairly well for a cleric-wizard combination, but not as well for anything wishing to build off the druid, which carries a great deal more of its class identity in class features.

The other option is to create a hybrid class, such as the arcanist or shaman. (Technically the hunter also combines two spellcasting classes, but the ranger’s spellcasting is so minor as to not have a major impact on the hunter’s DNA except to give it very early access to spells the ranger normally doesn’t get until the mid-game.) These methods generally give a more typical spellcasting power level, and can blend in class features, but don’t traditionally allow arcane and divine classes to combine.

However, given I think druid-based classes in particular need access to class features to feel druidic, I believe a hybrid class is the better route.

DRUID/MAGIC-USER

Alignment

Druid/magic-users have one foot in the natural world, and one foot in the arcane world, and both color their worldview. A druid/magic-user must have a neutral element to her alignment, but cannot be true neutral.

Hit Die: d8

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

Class Skills: The druid/magic-user’s class skills are Appraise (Int), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Fly (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str).

Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Table: Druid/Magic-User
Level  BAB                Fort     Ref      Will     Special
1st       +0                    +2        +0        +2        Spellcasting
2nd      +1                    +3        +0        +3
3rd       +2                    +3        +1        +3        Eldritch bond
4th       +3                    +4        +1        +4
5th       +3                    +4        +1        +4
6th       +4                    +5        +2        +5        Woodland Stride
7th       +5                    +5        +2        +5
8th       +6/+1              +6        +2        +6
9th       +6/+1              +6        +3        +6        Bonus Feat
10th     +7/+2              +7        +3        +7
11th     +8/+3              +7        +3        +7
12th     +9/+4              +8        +4        +8       Venom Immunity
13th     +9/+4              +8        +4        +8
14th     +10/+5            +9        +4        +9
15th     +11/+6/+1       +9        +5        +9        Timeless body
16th     +12/+7/+2       +10      +5        +10
17th     +12/+7/+2       +10      +5        +10
18th     +13/+8/+3       +11      +6        +11      Bonus Feat
19th     +14/+9/+4       +11      +6        +11
20th     +15/+10/+5     +12      +6        +12    Second Bond

Proficiency: The druid/magic-user is proficient the following weapons: club, dagger, dart, quarterstaff, scimitar, scythe, sickle, shortspear, sling, and spear. She is also proficient with all natural attacks (claw, bite, and so forth) of any form she assumes with wild shape (see below).

Druid/magic-users are proficient with light and medium armor but are prohibited from wearing metal armor; thus, they may wear only padded, leather, or hide armor. A druid/magic-user may also wear wooden armor that has been altered by the ironwood spell so that it functions as though it were steel. Druids/magic-users are not proficient with shields, but if they gain proficiency they must use only wooden ones.

A druid/magic-user who wears prohibited armor or uses a prohibited shield is unable to cast spells or use any of her supernatural or spell-like class abilities while doing so and for 24 hours thereafter. She can cast arcane druid/magic-user spells while wearing nonmetallic armor without suffering a risk of arcane spell failure. If she casts spells from other classes, she suffers normal ASF chances.

Prerequisites: The druid/magic-user treats her class level as her druid level and her wizard level for purposes of prerequisites.

Favored Class Bonus: If druid/magic-user is your favored class, you can take any favored class bonus that you would be allowed to take for the druid, shaman, or wizard classes, as long as it does not modify a class feature the druid/magic-user does not have.

Spells: The druid/magic-user casts spells drawn from the druid and wizard spell lists. When casting a spell from the druid spell list, it acts as a divine spell. When casting a spell from the wizard spell list, it acts as an arcane spell. If it is on both spell lists, the druid/magic-user selects whether it is arcane or divine each time it is cast. A wizard/magic-user’s bonus spells and maximum spell level cast are determined by her Wisdom score, while her spell DCs are determined by her Intelligence bonus. If using a feat or ability from a soruce other than this class that affects spells or spellcasting that has a calculation or check based on Intelligence or Wisdom (including any calculation that is part of a spell she casts, such as the ability check in detect poison), she may use the higher of the two scores.

A druid/magic-user keeps a spell fetish, which records all her spell knowledge. This follows the rules for a wizard’s spellbook, including weight and cost, but may take any of a number of forms. Many druid/magic-users carve their spell knowledge on sticks, or have long cords with informative knotwork, or store the information on fingerbones kept in a bag which can be arranged in many different ways. A druid/magic-user may learn spells from the spell fetish of other druid/magic-users, the spellbooks of wizards, or scrolls. Wizards cannot learn from the spell fetishes of druid/magic-users.

A druid/magic-user begins play with a spell fetish with all 0-level druid and magic-user spells, plus a number of 1st level spells drawn from the list equal to her Wisdom or Intelligence modifier (whichever is higher). At each new druid/magic-user level, she automatically adds one wizard spell, and a number of druid spells equal to her Wisdom bonus. These may be any spells of her choice of a level she can cast.

A druid/magic-user has spells per day equal to a wizard of her class level, and must prepare her spells in advance. Her spellcasting, spell recovery, and spell preparation otherwise follow the rules for a wizard.

Eldritch Bond: At 3rd level the druid/magic-user forms a special bond with the mystic forces of the universe. This bond takes one of three forms.

At 20th level, the druid/magic user selects a second bond.

Beast Bond: The druid/magic user gains an animal companion, as a druid 2 levels lower than her class level. The animal companion also gains the abilities of a familiar of a wizard 2 levels lower than her class level.

Change Bond: The druid/magic-user gains the transmutation arcane school, as the wizard class feature, treating her wizard level as 2 levels lower than her class level. Additionally, beginning at 6th level, the druid/magic-user can wild shape once per day (as the druid class feature) into a Small or Medium animal. This functions as beast shape I. At 8th level she can assume the form of a Large or Tiny animal, and the ability functions as beast shape II. At 10th level she can wild shape twice per day, and can assume the form of a Huge or Diminutive animal, and the ability functions as beast shape III. At 16th level, she can use this ability three times per day, and it functions as beast shape IV.

Elemental Bond: The druid/magic-user gains an elemental arcane school, as the wizard class feature, treating her wizard level as 2 levels lower than her class level. Additionally, beginning at 8th level, the druid/magic-user can wild shape once per day (as the druid class feature) into a Small elemental. The druid/magic-user can only take the form of an element matching her elemental arcane school. This functions as elemental body I. At 10th level she can assume the form of a Medium elemental, and the ability functions as elemental body II. At 12th level she can wild shape twice per day, and can assume the form of a Large elemental, and the ability functions as elemental body III. At 14th level she can assume the form of a Huge elemental, and the ability functions as elemental body IV. At 18th level, she can use this ability three times per day.

Woodland Stride, Venom Immunity, Timeless Body: These act as the druid class features.

Bonus Feat: At 9th and again at 18th level, the druid/magic-user gains a bonus feat. This must be a metamagic feat, and item creation feat, or a feat or ability a wizard may take in place of their bonus feat.

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Undead Agent

A short description of a complex spell.

Undead Agent

School Necromancy (shadow); Level cleric/wizard 7

As project image, but targets one undead and lasts one hour per level. The undead is controlled as by control undead (without the need to speak to the undead), and gains the appearance and abilities of the illusion from project image, and you do not need to maintain line of sight to it. The spell ends when its duration is up or the undead is destroyed.

 

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Song of Doom Goom

Inspired by a neural network’s effort to name rpg spells, I present:

Song of Doom Goom
School conjuration, enchantment* (compulsion) [fear, mind-affecting, sonic]; Level bard 3
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Targets 1 creature/level (no two of which may be more than 30 feet apart)
Duration 1 minute/level
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes

This spell causes foes to form sticky, disgusting “goom” over their ears. All sounds the creature then hears for the duration of the spell are altered to sounds like signs the creature is doomed. Affected creatures are shaken, cannot benefit from competency, insight, or morale bonuses, cannot aid another or benefit from aid another, cannot flank or benefit from another creature’s flanking, and cannot use teamwork feats, or help other creatures benefit from teamwork feats (even if those creatures can benefit when using teamwork feats with a creature that lacks the feat).

If an affected creatures is adjacent to an affected foe of the caster, the adjacent creature must make a will save (at the same DC), or the goom leaps over to affect the new foe as well (for the rest of the spell’s duration).

*This spell counts as a conjuration spell or enchantment spell, whichever is more advantageous to the caster, or less advantageous to the target. In either case, it counts as a (compulsion) [fear, mind-affecting, sonic] spell.

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Tech of the Magi

An (unofficial, third-party) Starfinder-compatible option for mechanics, which is taken in place of artificial intelligence (thus selected in place of the drone or exocortex).

Tech of the magi represents technological study into the use and manipulation of magic. While other mechanics were focusing on creating a unique technology to calculate and analyze and have conversations as if it was sentient and sapient, you turned to technomancy, integrating the understanding of magic into your understanding of technology.

Your mechanic level adds to your caster level. You can cast a limited number of spells drawn from the technomancer spell list. Your spells known and spells per day are determined by the tables below, and you also gain bonus spells for a high Intelligence score as determined by the Technomancer Bonus Spells table. You can cast your 0-level spells an unlimited number of times per day.

Tech of the Magi Spells Known

Class                Spells per Day
Level               (by Spell Level)
            1          2          3
1
2
3          1
4          1
5          2
6          2          1
7          3          1
8          3          2
9          3          2          1
10        3          3          1
11        3          3          2
12        3          3          2
13        3          3          3
14        3          3          3
15        3          3          3
16        3          3          3
17        3          3          3
18        3          3          3
19        3          3          3
20        3          3          3

Class                Spells Known
Level               (by Spell Level)
            O          1          2          3
1          2
2          2
3          3          2
4          3          2
5          3          3
6          3          3          2
7          3          3          2
8          3          3          3
9          3          3          3          2
10        3          3          3          2
11        3          3          3          3
12        4          3          3          3
13        4          3          3          3
14        4          3          3          3
15        4          4          3          3
16        4          4          3          3
17        4          4          3          3
18        4          4          4          3
19        4          4          4          3
20        4          4          4          4

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Fantasy Yatagan for Pathfinder

Welcome to more things inspired by Forged in Fire, where I do fantasy Pathfinder version of weapons I was introduced to by the television show Forged in Fire. Given how cool many of the weapons they feature on that show are, I decided to do another one. And while doing so, I thought I would continue to explore the design space created by using odd-sided dice (d5s, d7s, and so on) such as those available from Impact Miniatures.

This is an effort at a fantasy pathfinder version of the Yatagan, a weapon from the Ottoman Empire often used by janissaries. This is a game option inspired by the real-world history of the weapon, and is designed to be no more accurate than the Pathfinder versions of the longsword or falchion.

A Yatagan is a single-edged, light long knife or short saber, with a pronounced forward curve and a handle with a two-lobed pommel of “ears” that make the grip easy to hold on to. Despite being a one-handed (rather than light) melee weapon, you can use a Yatagan with Weapon Finesse, and any feat or ability that allows you to use your Dexterity modifier, rather than Strength modifier, with melee weapons.

Yatagan

Cost 20 gp     Weight 1.5 lbs.

Light: Dmg (S) 1d3     DMG (M) 1d5     Crit 18-20, x2,  gripping

Gripping: Gripping weapons give you a +2 bonus to your CMD against disarm, steal, and sunder maneuvers directed at that weapon.

Speaking of Cool Options

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SpellTweet: Entropic Block

(Spelltweets originally got posted only to Twtitter, and the whole point is that they defined a spell in 140 characters or less, generally by modifying an existing spell. Now they’re more likely to appear here and be linked to Twitter, but sometimes I prefer to keep the character limit as a design challenge.)

Entropic Block (cl/inq 1) As entropic shield, but the miss chance is 15% and it only applies to melee attacks.

Star-Crossed Races: The Vorruk

Continuing the idea of (totally unofficial, third-party) Starfinder-compatible crossbreed races, we present the vorruk. You can go back and find our first twos crossbreed, the aeshun (here) and the lashirren (here).

Vorruk

Vorruk are a genetically engineered blend of the genes of orcs (specifically those than combine naturally with human genes in half-orcs), and vesk woved together and placed in in birthing matrices. While it might theoretically be possible for a vorruk zygote or embryo to be transferred to a mother for gestation and live birth, normally vorruk are engineered, machine-nourished, and watched over in large numbers in artificial wombs. Vorruk were originally bred by drow mercenary companies specifically to create hearty, quick-maturing, capable warriors during a long war that threatened the drow base planet. Those first few generations were the largest vorruk population, though many died during the fighting. When the war suddenly ended, those vorruk already implanted in birthing machines were brought to maturity, but since that time the creation of vorruk has largely been performed in small batches, as labs and weapon dealers seek to improve on the genetype and maturation and training process.

Because most vorruk are raised from birth being told they are living weapons (and nothing more), and the majority of other species only encounters vorruk in battlefield conditions, they have a reputation as simple-minded, amoral, brutal killers. It is certainly true than many vorruk who have known only a life as indentured soldiers often focus on their fighting skills and find anything not related to warfare to be a luxury they cannot afford. Vorruk raised in more nurturing environments are no more brutal or bloodthirsty than any other race, however, and even among those who have lived lives of endless conflict many develop more nuanced ethical and aesthetic perspectives.

Appearance: Vorruk have a basic appearance very similar to half-orcs, but with more pronounced brow ridges, and fine scales (visible only at fairly close range) over their whole bodies. Their coloration focused heavily and reds and greens or more rarely purple, generally in dark shades, and some show striping or spots of darker and lighter colors. They have strong, sharp canines and retractable claws.

Racial Traits

HP: 8

Ability Adjustments: Vorruk are strong and swift, faster than either genetic donor, but can have difficulty grasping deep theoretical concepts. A vorruk gains +2 Str, +2 Dex, and -2 Int.

Size and Type: Vorruk are medium humanoids with the orc and vesk subtypes, and a 40 foot speed.

Vision: Vorruk gain darkvision and low-light vision

Resilient: Once per day, a vorruk that is unconscious but stable can stay in the fight without spending Resolve to do so. (See the rules for death and dying.)

Natural Weapons: Vorruk are always considered armed. They can deal 1d3 lethal slashing or piercing damage with unarmed strikes and the attack doesn’t count as archaic. Vorruk gain a unique weapon specialization with their natural weapons at 3rd level, allowing them to add 1–1/2 × their character level to their damage rolls for their natural weapons (instead of just adding their character level, as usual).

Vital Statistics

Vorruk stand between six and seven-and-a-half feet tall and weight between 200 and 325 pounds, with no distinction in height or weight between male and female vorruk. They reach maturity at five years of age, with a maximum age of 40 + 2d10 years.

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Speaking of my patreon, it has some (currently) patron-exclusive content vaguely linked to the vorruk, the war rig character theme!