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Freakishly Long Monkey Arms

Since someone asked:

Freakishly Long Monkey Arms

You have freakishly long monkey arms.
Benefit: though it does not increase your reach for purposes of making attacks, when otherwise trying to determine what you can carry (though not wield) or reach (for noncombat actions), treat your natural reach as being 5 feet longer.

Relic Masters: Magic for the Spell-Less (Pt. 2)

Okay, we now have a relic master archetype that every spell-less class can access, which boosts the options available to characters with Item Mastery Feats, and allows a character to focus on them. So, how we we expand the Item Mastery rules to expand the kinds of characters you can make with them?

More Feats!

Channel Spell (Combat, Item Mastery)

You can invoke a scroll or wand you possess through a different magic item.

Prerequisites: 1 or more Item Mastery feats, UMD 3 ranks, relic master level 3.

Benefit: When you have a wand or scroll on your person (somewhere you could retrieve it as no more than a move action), you can cast spells from it through any other magic item you are holding or wearing that has a spell from the same school as a prerequisite. Additionally if you have to make a Use Magic Device check to use the wand, you may take 10 on the UMD skill check when using this feat.

For example, if you have a wand of magic missile in your backpack, you could cast magic missiles from the wand (expending charges normally) — without getting the wand out — while you are holding a +1 flaming longsword (since the flaming ability has evocation spells as part of its prerequisites), and when doing so could take 10 on a UMD check to activate the wand.

Item Mastery Focus

You have learned additional ways to manipulate the magic of items.

Prerequisites: 2 or more Item Mastery feats, UMD 5 ranks, relic master level 5.

Prerequisites: For each item mastery feat you know that allows you to cast a spell a number of times per day from a magic item that has a spell from a specific school as a prerequisite, select an additional spell. This additional spell must be of the same school as the spell granted by the appropriate Item Mastery feat, must be of that spell’s spell level or less, and must be from the same class spell list. A number of times per day equal to your base Fortitude saving throw bonus, when you use an Item Mastery feat to cast a spell, you may instead cast one of these alternative spells. This counts as a daily use of the appropriate Item mastery feat.

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Relic Masters: Magic for the Spell-less

Though it is far from universal, there are several common styles of Pathfinder RPG play that cause groups to decide classes that lack any spellcasting ability are at a disadvantage, and that the disadvantage grows as other classes gain increasingly powerful spells. This is especially frustrating for players who have a character concept for someone who shouldn’t have spells (spellcasting would invalidate the character concept), but seem to then be penalized with fewer options in many encounters due to their lack of access to magic.

Item Mastery Feats are a great way to add magic abilities to characters that don’t gain spells or spell-like options from their class features. In a nutshell, they allow characters to force magic items to do things the item isn’t normally able to do. Since the Use Magic Device skill proves that spells are necessary to use magic items, and numerous classes can pick up just a little spellcasting without being a spellcasting class (such as minor magic from rogues), the idea that there is a technique to manipulate magic in new ways to do new things without being a spellcaster is in keeping with the suggested metaphyscis of the Pathfinder rules.

Item Mastery Feats can patch one or two holes in a character’s options easily, but using them to alter how nonspell classes play in general requires some new options. Some of those should be limited to characters who really focus on these feats, which is nromally rep[resented with the relic master archetype. However, that archetype can only be taken by fighters, and there are a lot of classes that don’t gain spells.

So, step one is to give rules for the relic master archetype to be usable by every class with no automatic access to spells, extracts, or similar broad-utility magic options. That means we need replacement options for the relic master’s powers at the appropriate levels for the barbarian, brawler, cavalier, gunslinger, kineticist, monk, rogue, slayer, swashbuckler, and vigilante.

Below are the rules for a “More Universal” Relic Master, that also tweaks the archetype itself to fix weaknesses that have been found in play since the archetype was published.

“More Universal” Relic Master

Skills

The relic master receives Knowledge (arcana) and Use Magic Device as class skills, but doesn’t receive two class skills of the base class, as noted below: as class skills.

Barbarian: Handle Animal and Ride

Brawler: Handle Animal and Ride

Cavalier: Bluff and Swim

Fighter: Handle Animal and Ride

Gunslinger: Handle Animal and Ride

Kineticist: Intimidate (already receives Use Magic Device)

Monk: Intimidate and Knowledge (history)

Rogue: Intimidate (already receives Use Magic Device)

Slayer: Intimidate and Knowledge (geography)

Swashbuckler: Intimidate and Ride

Vigilante: Knowledge (engineering) (already receives Use Magic Device)

Improved Item Mastery (Su)

At 3rd level, once per day, a relic master can use an item mastery feat she knows with a magic item that doesn’t have an appropriate spell in its construction requirements. The magic item must meet all other requirements of the item mastery feat. Alternatively, if she is using a magic item with an appropriate spell in its construction requirements, she can use an item mastery feat without it counting against the feat’s total uses per day. She can use this ability one additional time per day at 7th, 11th, and 15th levels.

This ability replaces or modifies a class feature gained at or before 3rd level depending on the relic master’s base class, as detailed below:

Barbarian: Trap sense

Brawler: Maneuver training

Cavalier: Cavalier’s charge. (The cavalier still receives mighty charge and supreme charge at their normal levels)

Fighter: Armor training

Gunslinger: Any 2 of the following 3 deeds: gunslinging initiative, pistol-whip, utility shot. Anytime the gunslinger gains new deeds from any source in the future, she may choose to forgo the new deed in favor of gaining one of these deeds.

Kineticist: Infusion gained at 3rd level

Monk: Still mind

Rogue: Trap sense

Slayer: The slayer does not gain the slayer talent normally gained at 2nd level.

Swashbuckler: Any 2 of the following 3 deeds: kip-up, menacing swordplay, precise strike. Anytime the swashbuckler gains new deeds from any source in the future, she may choose to forgo the new deed in favor of gaining one of these deeds.

Vigilante: Unshakeable

Relic Channeler (Su)

At 5th level, a relic master can increase the potency of a magic item she wields by investing it with a bit of her vitality as a swift action. If the item is armor, a shield, or a weapon, its enhancement bonus increases by 1 to a maximum of +5. If the magic item creates a spell or has a save DC, its effective caster level increases by 1. The bonus gained increases by +1 at 10th level and every 5 levels thereafter, to a maximum of +4.

A relic master can use this ability for a number of minutes per day equal to 1 + her Constitution modifier (minimum 1 minute). This duration doesn’t need to be consecutive, but it must be used in 1-minute increments.

This ability replaces or modifies a class feature gained at or before 5th level depending on the relic master’s base class, as detailed below:

Barbarian: Rage powers gained at 4th and 12th level.

Brawler: Brawler’s strike or close weapon mastery (once this decision is made, it cannot be changed)

Cavalier: Banner

Fighter: Weapon training

Gunslinger: Gun training

Kineticist: Metakinesis.

Monk: Purity of body

Rogue: Sneak attack is 1d6 lower than normal for a rogue of the same level.

Slayer: Has 1 fewer studied targets than normal for a slayer of the same level

Swashbuckler: Swashbuckler weapon training

Vigilante: Startling appearance

Improvised Item Mastery (Su)

At 19th level as a full-round action, the relic master can select one item mastery feat whose prerequisites she meets but that she doesn’t already have. She gains access to this feat, though she can’t use it as a prerequisite for other feats or options. If she selects a different item mastery feat, she loses access to her previous use of improvised item mastery and any magic effect created with it ends immediately. Any daily uses of a selected improvised item mastery feat count against all improvised mastery feats selected in the same day.

This ability replaces or modifies a class feature gained at or before 19th level depending on the relic master’s base class, as detailed below:

Barbarian: Damage reduction does not increase to 5/–

Brawler: AC bonus does not increase to +4 at 18th level

Cavalier: Challenges does not increase to 7/day

Fighter: Armor mastery

Gunslinger: Any one deed gained at this level is not gained. Once this decision is made, it cannot be changed.

Kineticist: Metakinetic master

Monk: Empty body

Rogue: Rogue talented not gained at 8th level

Slayer: Improved quarry

Swashbuckler: Any one deed gained at this level is not gained. Once this decision is made, it cannot be changed.

Vigilante: Social talent

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Thematic Cheese Feat: High Priest

Sometimes what the GM and players both want is not some carefully balanced, playtested, and theorycrafted expansion of the rules usable by a broad range of characters.

Sometimes you just want some cheese of the right flavor.

High Priest

Regardless of your level or base of operations, you are an acknowledged leader within your religion, able to command vast resources and use pure presence to bring others to your cause.

Prerequisites: Cha 13, member of a church.

Benefit: You gain the benefits of the Leadership feat, except your followers and cohort don’t arrive (and aren’t replaced) automatically, Instead, when you drop a foe to 0 or fewer hit points, if you have a cohort or follower slot open that foe could fill (it is the appropriate level or level-equivalent) you can force the foe to make a Will save (DC 10 +1/2 your level + your Wisdom or Charisma modifier — whichever is higher). If it fails the save, rather that die or fall unconscious, it’s alignment changes to match your deity’s and it becomes a loyal cohort or follower (depending on what slot it took). The foe gains a +4 bonus to this saving throw for each of the things that is true; the foe is a priest or divine agent of another deity or philosophy; the foe has an alignment subtype that does not mach the alignment of your deity; the foe is already a follower or cohort.

Additionally, when in a settlement with a church to your deity, you can command any service that does not have a significant cost to your church. This normally includes feeding and housing a modest number of people and having local priests cast any spell with no costly material components or inherent risks. However, any service with a cost as high as a single gold piece costs the full amount, and you can never use this ability to turn a profit.

Additionally, you can cast atonement, as the spell, once per character level as a spell-like ability.

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Thematic Cheese Feats: Elven Curvedance

Okay, let’s get back to some game ideas!

Sometimes what the GM and players both want is not some carefully balanced, playtested, and theorycrafted expansion of the rules usable by a broad range of characters.

Sometimes you just want some cheese of the right flavor.

Elven Curvedance

You know the ancient, and nearly-lost, art of the wardance of the elven curveblade, which strongly encourages (though it does not require) mobility in combat.

Prerequisites: Str 13, Dex 13, proficiency with the elven curveblade.

Benefit: You can use your Dexterity modifier in place of your Strength modifier when making attack rolls with the elven curveblade, as if you had the Weapon Finesse feat for just that weapon. When you choose to do this, and you make only a single melee attack on your turn, you may also use your Dexterity modifier in place of your Strength modifier when calculating your damage bonus with the elven curveblade (including adding 1.5x your strength modifier when using the weapon two-handed).

If you have an option that you can normally add to a melee attack only when making a standard action or attack action for a single attack, you made add that to melee attacks with your elven curveblade anytime you only make a single melee attack on your turn. for example, if you have Vital Strike, you could use it with your elven curveblade on a charge (a single attack), even though Vital Strike does not normally allow that.

Special: This feat counts as Weapon Finesse for any feat or ability that has Weapon Finesse as a prerequisite or modifies how Weapon Finesse works, but you can only use such feats and abilities with an elven curveblade unless you actually have the weapons Finesse feat.

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#Microfeat: Power Cast

Why are weapon users the only ones who can boost power at the cost of precision? Of course, with spells things are a little different…

Power Cast

You can make exceptionally deadly spell attacks by sacrificing accuracy and penetrating capacity for raw power.

Prerequisites: Ability score that determines your bonus spells 13, caster level 1st.

Benefit: When you cast a spell that requires an attack roll or allows a saving throw for half or to negate, you can choose to take a –2 penalty on all attack rolls and a –1 penalty to all concentration checks, caster level checks to penetrate SR, and saving throw DCs for effects you create this round to gain a +1 bonus on the spell’s effective caster level for everything except caster level checks to penetrate SR and concentration checks.

When your caster level reaches 4th, and every 4 levels thereafter, the penalty increases by –2 for attack rolls and –1 for checks and save DCs, and the bonus to caster level increases by +1.

You must choose to use this feat before casting any spell, and its penalties last until your next turn.

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The One Universal Spell-Like Metamagic

The feats Empower Spell-Like Ability and Quicken Spell-Like ability follow the same set of rules on when you can gain spell-like metamagic, how often you can use it, and what spells you can apply it to. By boiling those rules down to a universal set of guidelines it’s possible to have a single balanced monster feat that allows any metamagic feat to potentially be applied to any spell-like ability. This allows a GM to give monsters all the options player spellcasters have, without having to create scores of new feats.

Universal Spell-Like Metamagic

Select one metamagic feat, subject to this feat’s requirements.

Prerequisite: Spell-like ability you can cast with a caster level equal to at least 2 + double the spell slot adjustment of selected metamagic feat.

Benefit: Select one spell-like ability that meets this feat’s prerequisites. If the spell-like ability’s spell level is higher than 1st level, your caster level must be at least double the metamagic feat’s spell slot adjustment plus double the spell-like ability’s spell level. Three times per day when you use this spell, you may gain all the benefits of the selected meamagic feat. This does not allow you to use a spell-like ability more times per day than you are normally able to.

Special: This feat can be taken more than once. Its effects do not stack. Each time you select it you must select a combination of metamagic feat and spell-like ability you have not already selected with this feat.

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Microfeat: Needle to Death

Needle to Death

You can make the most of your weapon;s smaller size, finding chinks in your foe’s armor and slipping it nimbly into weak spots.

Prerequisites: Size Small.

Benefits: While Small, and using a light weapon, one-handed weapons, or ranged weapon, and the weapon is sized appropriately for you, you roll damage dice for that weapon as if it was Medium. You can only use this ability with attacks that apply your Dexterity modifier to your attack bonus (normally all ranged attacks, though it also applies to any melee attacks you use your Dexterity modifier for, most often as a result of having Weapon Finesse).

#Microfeats are quick sketches of rules I am considering for possible use in a 3pp Pathfinder-compatible product, which may be altered, adjusted, or never make it into a final product.

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The Never Miss Feat

This feat is adapted from an edge designed for a Champions/Hero character, run by my friend Carl. It exists to allow the concept of “the character who never misses,” a popular fiction trope, without boosting accuracy to a degree that breaks the game. It can be considered a Genre Feat for some pulp campaigns.

Never Miss

If your attack roll does not connect, you didn’t shoot.
Prerequisites: Far Shot, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot
Benefit: When making a ranged weapon attack (but not any other kind of ranged attack), if your attack roll fails to hit your foe’s AC, or hits your foe’s AC but misses as a result of a percentile miss chance,  you actually didn’t make the attack (though you can’t take some other action instead), and do not expend the ammunition. If you used some ability in connection with the ranged attack (such as making an attack with true strike), that ability is still considered expended.
If you fail to hit or effect your target for any other reason (such as DR, energy resistance, invisible walls, your target being an illusion, and so on), you don’t get to invoke this feat and expend your ammunition normally.

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Tanks Without Aggro

Many computer games have an “aggro mechanic,” which determines who NPCs are going to attack. This makes it easy to design “tank” classes, who have the tactical role of encouraging people to attack them( and surviving that attack) simply by giving them a power that causes the NPC to do that.

In tabletop there are mixed feelings on aggro mechanics. I’ve done some myself, but they were in the context of WarQuest World, a microsetting designed to use a tabletop game to simulate the genre of real-world people stuck playing in a fantasy world that modeled the rules of an MMO.

Some people love tabletop aggro rules, because they feel fighters and related classes need *some* way to encourage foes to attack them. This helps fighters do one of the things they do well (soak up a lot of damage) even when facing foes they have trouble damaging.0

But within a typical Pathfinder campaign, the rules shouldn’t be as heavy-handed as WarQuest World’s are. Otherwise they feel too bolted-on, and too much like the rule exists to be a rule, rather than existing to be an option that makes sense within the context of the game’s reality. So, here are two ideas IF you want to make tanking a broader option, but don’t want a formal aggro mechanic. I present them as feats, but they could just as well be class features for archetypes, magic abilities placed in weapons, and so on.

(A quick aside — these first two feats assume the officially-revised Antagonize feat, found here)

Improved Antagonize (Combat)

You are skill at raising your foe’s ire.
Prerequisites: Antagonize.
Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus to Diplomacy and Intimidate checks required to employ the Antagonize feat, and may make such checks as move actions. You can use either skill to produce either effect, and can target a creature with each once per day. You can use these on creatures that do not the understand you. If you have wild empathy, you can use them on animals, magical beasts and vermin with an Intelligence of 3 or lower.

Greater Antagonize (Combat)

No one is better than you at royally pissing someone off.
Prerequisites: Antagonize, Improved Antagonize.
Benefit: Your bonus to Diplomacy and Intimidate checks required to employ the Antagonize feat increases to +4, and you may make such checks in place of an attack when you take the full attack action. When you successfully damage a foe you have used Antagonize against in the past 24 hours, you reset how soon you can next use this feat on them as if you had not used it in the past 24 hours.

(This next ability works off the same principle as a witch’s cackle — it’s not that there’s any artificial forcing of foes attacking you, it’s just that you get so annoying GMs think it’s smart to attack you).

Champion’s Benediction (Combat)

When you focus your will against a foe, things go badly for them.
Prerequisites: No access to casting spells or spell-like abilities from class features.
Benefit: As a swift action, select one foe that has a spell or effect or condition with a duration measured in rounds that was placed upon it by an ally. The next round does not count against that effect’s duration, causing it to last one more round than normal.

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