Blog Archives

Halidoms: Relics of the Unburned World for GammaFinder (Part 2)

Okay, we’re still discussing Halidoms, for GammaFinder! We introduced the concept in yesterday’s article, and now we start looking at game rules.

PA The Gray

Halidom Game Rules

Halidoms are a form of item that come without instructions. The GM can replace 25% of all treasure given out with Halidoms, though they are most common as Moderate and Major items.

The good news for layers is that if you find a Halidom, getting it to work gets you a scaling item. A halidom upgrades itself as you gain levels (normally once every 5 levels, based on when a version of roughly the same item is available with a higher item level). The base news is, you may blow yourself up trying to figure out how to use it.

Halidom Key Skills

Every Halidom has a key skill that is the primary way it was designed to be interfaced with. In 70% of cases this is Computers, Engineering, Life Science, Mysticism, or Physical Science. In 20% of cases, it’s Culture, Diplomacy, Medicine, or Sleight of Hand. And in 10% of cases, it can be literally any other skill. That said, take it easy on Halidoms with Profession as their key skill–there are a lot of different Profession options, and no group can possibly cover them all. On the other hand, a quantum knife that keys of Profession (cook) is both reasonable and, if we are being honest with ourselves, funny. (I like the idea of “Soup’s On!” as a battle cry…)

A GM may pick the skill to match either the form of function of the Halidom, if desired. For example, a laser pistol that takes the form of a small remote control steering wheel (which is used to guide a targeting dot like a flying remote, with a gear shift to fire the weapon) might have Engineering (for the laser weapon aspect), Physical Science (for the general laws dictating how such a device works ), or Piloting (for the actual interaction with the device’s steering mechanism).

On the other hand, it might interact with Culture (to recognize the Unburned World toy name brand and marketing), Acrobatics (because you have to twist and turn the device to make its various functions work), or Bluff (because it constantly asks if you have parental approval to use it without the safety systems engaged).

A GM can also just roll on the table below to determine a Halidom’s Key Skill.

Roll 1d100 
01-14 Computers
15-28 Engineering
29-42 Life Science
43-56 Mysticism
57-70 Physical Science
71-75 Culture
76-80 Diplomacy
81-85 Medicine
85-90 Sleight of Hand
91 Acrobatics
92 Athletics
93 Bluff
94 Disguise
95 Intimidate
96 Perception
97 Piloting
98 Profession (Pick one at random)
99 Sense Motive
100 Survival

PA Electroflies

Discovery Checks

A Halidom does not come with instructions, and it doesn’t work in a way that is obvious to adventurers of the GammaFinder World. Even if it looks like a gun, acts like a gun, and has a trigger, a Halidom gun may require you to think a mantra in praise to the Saint of Bullets before you pull the trigger, or might have a palmlock that requires you to fake only having 3 fingers, or might only work when held sideways.

And, of course, it might exactly like the serum of healing that requires you to place the gunlike object against your own thigh and pull the trigger.

There were reasons for all these odd things to exist, and they made sense to the society of the Unburned World. But those reasons were based on philosophies and conditions that are in many cases inconceivable to heroes of the world as it exists now, and the factors that caused such unusual designs are long-lost to the Chasm of History.

When a character first encounters a Halidom, they can make skill checks to try to determine its Key Skill. The base DC for any such check is 15 + 1.5x the Halidom’s item level. Any skill that is NOT a Halidom’s key skill has a -5 penalty to all checks regarding the Halidom.

Until a Key Skill is identified, all characters can do it pick a skill, and use it to interact with the Halidom. This can be done once an hour, unless a side effect deactivates the Halidom for a time. You cannot intentionally activate a Halidom until you make enough Identification results to gain that knowledge.

Halidom Interaction Skill Checks
Beat DC by 10. Make a Identification roll.
Beat DC by 5. Identify that if skill being is Key Skill. DC lowered by 1.
Meet DC. Identify if skill being used is Key Skill.
Fail DC by 4 or less. Minor side-effect.
Fail DC by 5 to 9. Minor side-effect. All DCs increase by 1 until Key Skill is identified.
Fail DC by 10 or More: Major side-effect.

PA Robot

Identification Rolls
Roll 1d4. If you get a result you already know, you get the first result of a higher value you haven’t gotten yet.
1. Learn Item Level
2. Learn Item Function (Small Arm, Upgrade, Computer, and so on)
3. Learn Key Skill’s ability score
4. Learn Key Skill. +1 to all future rolls (cumulative with getting this result multiple times)
5. Learn a hapahazard activation. (Can activate Halidom, but suffer a minor effect when doing so unless you succeed at a Fortitude or Reflex save, DC 10 + Halidom’s item level). +1 to all future rolls (cumulative with getting this result multiple times)
6. Halidom mastered, can be used normally.

Minor Side Effects
Roll 1d6.
1. Item changes Key Skill. Any activation is haphazard (as 5, above) until Key Skill is identified.
2. Take damage of a random physical type, 1 point per item level.
3. Take damage of a random energy type, 2 points per item level.
4. Weird discharge. You are sickened for 1 hour per item level.
5. Weird discharge. You are confused for 1 round per 2 item levels.
6. Discharge. You are targeted by the item for its normal function (if it cannot affect targets, nothing happens).

PA Explosion

Major Side Effects
Major side effects function as a wonder grenade, but the area is a radius with a number of feet equal to the Halidom’s item level, rounded down to the nearest 5 feet. If that is less than 5, it only effect’s the triggering character.

A Request
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.

Halidoms: Relics of the Unburned World for GammaFinder (Part 1)

I introduced GammaFinder, a post-apocalypse campaign hack for Starfinder, yesterday. The response was… positive. 🙂

So, now I am exploring what kinds of rules we can add to that simple framework to help bring the PA flavor to a GammaFinder campaign. We begin with halidoms… which are going to need to be split into two articles. Here’s Part One.

PA Vault

The Unburned World

No one is sure what happened to create the GammaFinder World. Some say it was a war, fought with quantum reassignment projectors, x-ray-pumped lasers, and boson bombs. Others think there was a Great Disalignment, when magic flooded into the world, dragons awoke, demons rose, and common citizens turned into trolls, orcs, kasatha, and wizards. Other theories include a genetic virus, the Gray Death, luddite cults, social anarchy, and even a rogue comet. The records of the time of the Burning are muddled, contradictory, and confused, as if a half-dozen worlds got shoved together into a single shared disaster.

The Chasm of History

History, in short, has a Chasm. On this side, the GammaFinder World.  Before it, the Unburned World. And in the middle… anarchy, pain, horror, and disagreement. What is certain is that before the rise and fall of the great cities of Alpha and Beta, there was a very different place, able to do things no one can conceive of now.

Halidoms

There are… things… left over from the Unburned World. Or at least, from the time of the Chasm, if not the world before. Objects. Strange devices that use super-science, eldritch powers, or some combination of the two to create effects no one in the GammaFinder World can duplicate. They are often the thing that allows a town to survive in a harsh terrain, grant a petty warlord his power of metal men, or make cursed places seen as vaults of wonder and horror.

These are sometimes called relics, fragments, antiquaries, or crytobjects. But for whatever reason, the most common term for these Unburned Icons is “halidoms.”

Appearance

PA Toy

A halidom can look like… anything. Some are straightforward–a sword hilt which can project a sunblade. A vial of liquid you drink. A talking teddy bear which informs you of the ill intent of nearby creatures. Others are obtuse. A cube made of 27 smaller cubes which slide and shift into different configurations. A gnarled knot of roots and vines that are never observed to move, but constantly seem to be in different shapes. A tiny metal sphere with incorporeal lights orbiting it.

The problem is, form does not seem to follow function. A sword hilt may project a sunblade… or it maybe designed to be shoved into a rock that forms a mouth that gives medical advice. A vial of glowing liquid may be meant to be drunk, or it may hold the soul of a cryptowizard that casts one random technomancer spell a day. A spoon may full a bowl with soup, or it may project a sunblade.

A GM wanting a jumping-off point for the appearance of a halidom can roll 1d10 and consult the table below. It’s important to note that players don’t get to know what you rolled–if a haildom looks like a gun, that could be because its a kind of gun and you rolled a 1, or it could be a computer, and you rolled a 5.

  1. Typical appearance for its function (a gun looks like a gun)
  2. Representational appearance for its function (a gun looks like stone with a gun-shaped rune on it)
  3. Appears to be a puzzle with no link to its function
  4. Appears to be a toy
  5. Appears to be a typical appearance for an unrelated function (a gun that looks like a vial of serum)
  6. Appears to be a shifting mass of some specific material (a gun that looks like a ball of wires with tiny lights traveling along them)
  7. Representational appearance unrelated to its function (a gun that looks like a holy symbol)
  8. Appearance of a household object unrelated to its appearance (a gun that looks like spoon).
  9. Appearance of an item of apparel with some hint of its function (a gun that looks like a glove with a barrel on the wrist)
  10. Appearance of an item of apparel with no hint of its function (a gun that looks like a belt)

PA Engine

Most denizens of the GammaFinder World don’t risk trying to determine the function of a halidom once they realize what it is. But PCs are made of sterner (or dumber) stuff. So they tend to… experiment.

We’ll get into the rules for interacting with a halidom tomorrow.

A Request

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.

 

Homebrew Relic: The Eye of Chanokh

I ran into this note recently from 2013. It’s a relic I wrote for a Pathfinder First Edition game (using the Relics of the Godlings rules), for my wife’s “Daybreak” campaign.

I thought people might enjoy seeing stuff my friends and I homebrewed with.

Eye of Chanokh – The Sixth Lock

The Eye of Chanokh is a gleaming ring of layered gold wire that is bent and twisted into sigils of summoning and control, forming an almost lacelike pattern. Set in the wire is a bright emerald which shines with an internal light each time the wearer casts a conjuration (summoning) spell.

Legend claims that the gem is truly a fraction of a star that forms part of the 8-star elven constellation of Chanokh the Warcalled, a mote of the star forged into the form of an arcane gem when this relic was created. Elvish myth presents Chanokh as a warrior-wizard who summoned arcane armies he commanded as their general, and who eventually learned to summon creatures from the stars themselves. He was a great defender of elven lands, and a proponent of the effectiveness of knowledge and cunning over brute strength. When he died, the star-warriors he had called took him with them into the night sky, creating the constellation that bears his name.

Supposedly the Eye of Chanokh is one of eight great rings of conjuration, which were created to lock away a vast and evil summoning gate (which was created by demons to allow them to invade the world of men). Each of the eight rings is a lock that drains power from this evil gate, allowing the wearers of the rings to augment their conjuration spells with the leached power. As long as the rings are used, the gate is constantly weakened and can never become a threat.

Abilities By Character Level

Level 1: Once per day when you conjure creatures with a summoning spell, they gain a +1 enhancement bonus to their existing natural armor bonus to AC.

Level 2: Each creature you conjure with summoning spells gains a +1 enhancement bonus to its existing natural armor bonus to AC.

Level 3: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell gains +1 resistance bonus to saving throws.

Level 4: Once per day you may cast a conjuration (summoning) spell with a casting time of 1 round as a standard action. The summoned creature arrives immediately, and may take an action immediately.

Level 5: Once per day when you cast a conjuration (summoning) spell that summons a random number of creatures, you may roll twice to see how many creatures are summoned and take the better of the two results.
Additionally, you are able to speak to and understand all the creatures you summon with conjuration (summoning) spells.

Level 6: Each creature you conjure with any summoning spells gains a +2 enhancement bonus to its existing natural armor bonus to AC.

Level 7: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell gains +2 resistance bonus to saving throws.

Level 8: You may now cast a conjuration (summoning) spell with a casting time of 1 round as a standard action twice per day.

Level 9: You may now roll twice to see how many creatures are summoned by a conjuration (summoning) spell twice per day.

Level 10: When you conjure creatures with a summoning spell, they gain elemental resistance 10 for one element of your choice.

Level 11: Each creature you conjure with summoning spells gains a +3 enhancement bonus to its existing natural armor bonus to AC.

Level 12: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell gains +3 resistance bonus to saving throws.

Level 13: You may now cast a conjuration (summoning) spell with a casting time of 1 round as a standard action an unlimited number of times per day.

Level 14: The elemental resistance against an element of your choice gained by creatures you summon with a conjuration spell increases to 20.

Level 15: You may now roll twice to see how many creatures are summoned by a conjuration (summoning) spell three times per day.

Level 16: Each creature you conjure with summoning spells gains a +3 enhancement bonus to its existing natural armor bonus to AC.

Level 17: Each creature you conjure with any summon spell gains +3 resistance bonus to saving throws.

Level 18: The elemental resistance against an element of your choice gained by creatures you summon with a conjuration spell increases to 30.

Level 19: Three times per day you may cast a conjuration (summoning) spell of 1st-3rd level as a swift action.

Level 20: Three times per day when you cast a conjuration (summoning) spell that summons a random number of creatures, you may choose to receive the maximum number. You may make this decision after seeing how many creature the spell would have randomly produced.

Become a Patron!

Hey folks, do you enjoy the content on this blog? Why not become a patron, and support the creation of more free material! Or you could even become a sponsor, and get me to link to YOUR content!

Starfinder: Make Some Noise

We continue our look at some of the weirder classic magic items, and how they can be updated to the Starfinder Roleplaying Game.

But first, an aside.

All Starfinder content offered here is third-party material provided under the Open Gaming License and the Starfinder Compatability License. It is not official. It is not available for use in Starfinder Society organized play. It’s not even in its final form. It’s just fun thought experiments that may, or may not, ever show up in a rogue Genius Games product someday.

Air-Horn of Interruption
Hybrid Item
Level: Varies (see text)     Cost: Varies (see text)
Bulk: L

Air-horns of interruption can be found at various item levels, from level 7 and up. They have the same price as the cheapest armor upgrade of the same level from the Starfinder Core Rulebook. When the air-horn is held, you can ready a standard action to use an air-horn of interruption to use against a creature when it next casts a spell. This is a purely defensive action, and the readied action preempts the target’s action if it attempts to cast a spell or use a spell-like ability. When the readied action goes off, you make a ranged attack against the target’s EAC. If your attack hits you do 1 point of damage, and the target loses the spell (and its spell slot). Once you have successfully caused a target to lose a spell with this device, it is immune to the air-horn of interruption for 24 hours.

More Star Magic

I have a Patreon, which supports this blog and is sometimes home of some exclusively-patron bonus content.

Even More Star Options

There are tons of new PC options for the Starfinder Roleplaying Game in the Starfarer’s Companionavailable at DriveThruRPG, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store!

Starfinder Hybrid Item–Flashlight of Truth

Okay, while I am at Gen Con. let’s do one more quick, weird update of a classic magic item for Starfinder!

Flashlight of Truth
Hybrid Item
Level: Varies (see text)     Cost: Varies (see text)
Bulk: L

Flashlights of truth can be found at various item levels, from level 4 and up. They have the same price as the cheapest armor upgrade of the same level from the Starfinder Core Rulebook. A flashlight of truth can be shone directly into the face of a willing creature, or one that is bound, paralyzed, or helpless, as a full-round action. You gain a circumstance bonus equal to the flashlight’s level to all Sense Motive checks made against a creature you shine the light into in this way. Also, it functions as a flashlight that does not run out of charges.

Speaking of Quick:

I have a patreon. Check it out!

Rogue Genius Games 234-page “Starfarer’s Companion” is available now in pdf! Check it out!

More Starfinder Magic and Hybrid Items

Just more random ideas for updates of some of the sillier classic magic items.

Air-Horn of Opening
Magic Item
Level: Varies (see text)     Cost: Varies (see text)
Bulk: L

Air-horns of opening can be found at various item levels. They have the same price as the cheapest armor upgrade of the same level from the Starfinder Core Rulebook. An air-horn of opening can be pointed at any sealed or shut door, lock, or other closing and, when it’s loud sound is blasted as a standard action at the closure, magically opening it. The air-horn attempts an Engineering check to disable device with a total bonus equal to it’s item level +5. If an air-horn of opening fails to open a closure on the first attempt, it can never successfully open it.
An air-horn of opening can only be used twice per day. Alternatively it can can be used once as a full round action, which grants it an additional +5 bonus, but the item’s magic is then expended and it becomes mundane and worthless. An air-horn of opening can only function in a gas atmosphere, and only at a range of 15 feet. it can normally be heard 500 feet away, and if the sound from the air-horn cannot reach the opening for some reason, it does not function.

Torpedo Minisub, Folding
Hybrid Item
Level: 4     Cost: 2,750 credits
Bulk: 1 (see text)
At the press of a button this torpedo minisub (see Vehicles in Chapter 7: Equipment of the Starfinder Core Rulebook) folds, spins, and transforms its shape until it is down to a 1-foot cube weighing 10 lbs. It can only do this if it is empty of any creatures of cargo, and it takes 1 minute. When in cube form it can be placed in a large enough body of unobstructed water to support it, in which case it unfolds and expands back into a torpedo minisub over 1 minute.

Speaking of Things of Value

I have a Patreon, which supports my efforts to make blog posts here. I even post things to it from time to time that are (at least at first) Patreon-exclusive. Like the trenchcoat of the bat!

The First Starfinder Roleplaying Game Content Post!

So, obviously I’ve been thinking a lot about Starfinder-compatible material that could go up here. It has to be material I thought off on my own time (rather than while doing Paizo work), and that I honestly believe is not a good match for any Paizo product. Otherwise, I’d need to reserve it for Paizo. Also, it has to be based only on products already available to the general public or that a special accommodation was made for. (The existing RGG Starfinder-compatible products were written using advance materials Paizo made available to numerous third-party publishers—RGG included—otherwise RGG couldn’t have even begun work on Starfinder-compatible material until today).

That’s a fairly narrow path to walk, and I take the good-faith parts of it seriously. I’m pretty well the only person who knows what goes on in my head, but that just means I have to hold myself to the highest standard for this. My mental firewalls must err on the side of saving the best ideas for the company paying me specifically to guide rules design for the game, so anything that shows up here is going to be something built off a third-party-publisher’s rules, or too weird to wrongly themed for the official campaign setting, or entirely experimental.

Once place I think there’s some interesting design space is updating magic items and options from the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game to the Starfinder Roleplaying game. There are lots of ways to do that, and some of them aren’t the right tone for what the official campaign setting is shooting for. As an example of something I’m comfortable publishing myself, let’s look at the thing I call the “Weasel Gun.”

Pistol of Tricks

Name  Level  Price   Range Capacity Usage          Bulk    Special

Minor Gray     1          300 credits      20        1          L          (tiny weasel)

Standard Gray 3          1.5k credits     20        1          L          (tiny bat, rat, or weasel)

Major Gray     5          3k credits        20        1          L          (tiny bat, rat, squid, or weasel)

Minor Rust     7          7k credits        40        2          L          (small wolverine)

Standard Rust 9          14k credits      40        2          L          (medium boar, small eagle or wolverine)

Major Rust      11        25k credits      40        2          L          (medium boar, small eagle, octopus, or wolverine)

Minor Tan       13        45k credits      100      10        L          (medium bear or large rhino)

Standard Tan  15        90k credits      100      10        L          (medium bear or vulture, or large rhino)

Major Tan       17        180k credits    100      10        L          (medium bear, shark, or vulture, or large orca, rhino, or roc)

Pistol of Tricks Description

Pistols of tricks are magic uncategorized small arms that summon “trick monsters,” magic constructs that are designed to emulate the appearance and actions of animals. When fired, the magic device converts the energy of its battery into a temporary kinetic manifestation. These “trick monsters” attack whatever they are closest to when summoned. If you successfully hit a creature’s EAC when you fire, that creature is the exclusive target of the trick monster (even once the creature is dead or dying), and the trick monster seeks that creature out if it moves or hides. On a miss the trick monster scatters as a thrown weapon, and attacks the creature nearest to it when it arrives (determine randomly if it is equally close to multiple creatures).

Trick monsters remain for 1 round, plus 1 round per 2 levels of the pistol of tricks that summoned them. It attacks at the end of your turn each round, and can flank or move but doesn’t make combat maneuvers or tack actions other than melee attacks and movement. A pistol of tricks can normally only maintain a single trick monster at a time, so firing a second time ends any previously summoned trick monsters. On a critical hit, the pistol of tricks actually summons two trick monsters of the same type, that attack the same target.

Each pistol of tricks lists which trick monsters it can summon and the size of each. Trick monsters can be targeted by anything that can target an animal or magical construct. You select from the available trick monsters with each attack. The trick monster summoned by a pistol of tricks has game stats based on the level of the weapon used to summon it, as follows:
BAB: Level    Melee damage: 1d6/2 levels (minimum 1d3)

EAC: 9 + level           KAC: 11+ level          Saving Throws: ½ Level

Move: 30 feet + level*           HP: 5 x level  Perception: Level

*Additional movement only counts in +5 ft. increments. So a trick monster goes from 30 to a 35 ft. move when fired from a 5th level weapon, to 40 ft. when fired from a 10th level pistol, and so on. Terrestrial creature have a land speed, flying creatures a fly speed with average movement, and aquatic creatures a swim speed.

Thus the trick weasel of the 1st level Least Gray Pistol of tricks (the iconic “Weasel Gun”) is:
Size Tiny
BAB: +1         Melee Damage: 1d3
EAC: 10         KAC: 11         Saving Throws: +0
Move: 30 Feet            HP:Perception: +1

There are lots of other magic items that get weird and interesting if you consider updating them to a high-tech science-fantasy campaign world. Is a belt of dwarvenkind now an ancient relic, and is there a belt of veskkind to go with it? Should there be a spacesuit of useful items? Eyes of the star eagle?

Patreon

I have a patreon, and it supports these posts. And I thought a belt of vesk-kind sounds cool, so i wrote one up and posted it there for my patrons.

Check it out!