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“Loot 4 Less” for Pathfinder 1e

In 1st edition Pathfinder, it can be tricky to give players interesting, useful, nonconsumable treasure at low levels. I did a whole line of Loot 4 Less books to extend the options available, but it’s often still useful to come up with new inexpensive-but-nice items for characters under 6th-7th level.

Here are some I have written up.

Boots of Quick Pace
Aura: faint Transmutation           Slot: feet              CL: 1st    Price: 1,000 gp  Weight: 1 lb.
These boots increase the wearer’s base land speed by 5 feet.
Construction
Feats Craft Wondrous Item; Spells longstrider; Cost 500 gp

Oil of Reforging
Aura: faint Transmutation           Slot: —   CL: 1st    Price: 450 gp      Weight: —
When applied to a weapon, this oil turns the weapon into a shiny mass of claylike material. If the claylike material is then applied to a second weapon, that weapon gains any masterwork, special material, or magical property of the first weapon that can apply to the second. The first weapon is destroyed, and the duration of this change is instantaneous. If for some reason granting the second weapon the appropriate properties would cost more than forging the first weapon, the difference between the two must be added to the oil bottle prior to adding it to the first weapon. If the oil is applied to a weapon to make it claylike, and that clay is not applied to a second weapon within an hour, the claylike material returns to its original weapon state, and the oil is expended.
Construction
Feats Brew Potion, Craft Magic Arms and Armor; Spells polymorph any object; Cost 225 gp

Resistant Mantle
Aura: faint Abjuration    Slot: Shoulder    CL: 1st    Price: 340 gp      Weight: —
Once you have worn this mantle for 24 hours, you gain a +1 resistance bonus to your lowest saving throw category (Fort, Ref, or Will) while wearing it.
Construction
Feats Craft Wondrous Item; Spells resistance; Cost 170 gp

Rod of Cantrips
Aura: faint Transmutation           Slot: Held             CL: 1st    Price: 650 gp      Weight: 1 lb.
While holding the rod, when you deal damage with a cantrip that has no other enhancement to its damage and has not been augmented by any form of metamagic, you add your caster level to the damage dealt (maximum +5 damage).
Construction
Feats Craft Rod; Spells spiritual weapon; Cost 325 gp

Weapon Talisman of Eldritch Blows
Aura: faint Transmutation           Slot: —   CL: 1st    Price: 400 gp      Weight: —
This silken ribbon is roughly a foot long, with an apparently wax seal bearing a sigil of crossed staff and scimitar. It can be wrapped around any nonmagic weapon, the wax seal affixing it in place, at which point it changes coloration and symbols to match the patronage, deity, order, or personal mark of the weapon’s bearer.
Once per day when an attack is made with a weapon it is attached to, as part of the attack the wielder can activate the talisman, causing the attack to be affected as by magic weapon (+1 enhancement bonus to attacks and damage for 1 minute).
A weapon can only benefit from a single weapon talisman each day.
Construction
Feats Craft Magic Arms and Armor; Spells magic weapon; Cost 200 gp
Special
Like a +1 magic weapon can be upgraded to a +2 magic weapon, a weapon talisman of eldritch blows can be augmented to work more often, with its total cost increased as noted below
2/day    800 gp
3/day    1200 gp
4/day    1600 gp
Permanent         2300 gp

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Holiday-Themed Constructs

Look, maybe you want to run a fantasy ttRPG with giant animated fruitcake warriors… and maybe you’ll just get a giggle out of my actually taking this topic seriously. But if you want to reskin some class iron, clay, and stone constructs (or any construct-type creature) into holiday-themed materials, here are some options for powers to add based on the holiday material used.

Figgy Pudding/Fruitcake: Take half damage from bludgeoning attacks. Are sticky, so they gain a climb speed.

Gingerbread: As almost 2-d, flexible creatures, they can get through spaces a creature 2 size classes smaller could, without taking any penalties. Any fire damage sets them on fire, both damaging them and causing their attacks to do fire damage.

Holly: Anyone hit by the construct, or adjacent to it for a full round, must make a mental save or move towards the person present they would be most interested in kissing (though once they take that move, all compulsion stops).

Hot Cocoa: Gains all the powers of both a fire elemental and a water elemental of the same threat level. takes double damage from bite attacks.

Peppermint: These constructs are “curiously strong.” Tracking them by scent is easy, but they cover all other scents, and after being in an enclosed space for a minute, scent can no longer pinpoint their exact location with that space.

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Bravery Alternatives for the PF1 Fighter

In Pathfinder 1st ed, fighters get the feature “bravery.” It’s not a bad thing, but it’s also not super-exciting. As I looked at doing a PF1 version of Starfinder’s Soldier class, I was considering how I wanted to handle bravery, and looked into what abilities archetypes give to replace it.

And there are… a lot.

I realized I was considering turning the Soldier’s “gear boost” into a more flexible “combat boost” (which might or might not be gear-based), and that all the things fighters can repalce bravery with might make a great starting point for that.

Then I realized a lot of people playing fighters might like to just be bale to pick things to take as alternate class features in place of bravery.

So, I made those. I’ll look at converting Starfinder soldier gear boosts into PF1 combat boosts later.

Alternate Class Features for Bravery (“Combat Boosts”)

Agility (Ex): You gains a +1 bonus on saving throws made against effects that cause you to become paralyzed, slowed, or entangled. This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels beyond 2nd.

Ardent (Su): You are difficult to sway from your beliefs. You gain a +1 bonus on Will saves against charm effects. This bonus increases by 1 for every 4 levels beyond 2nd. Once per day, if you are forced to take an action that is diametrically opposed to your alignment, beliefs, or values while under the influence of a charm or compulsion effect (as determined by the player), you can immediately attempt a Will save against the effect’s DC to resist acting out that order. Success does not remove the existing charm or compulsion effect, but does allow you to resist betraying that belief.

Armored Vigor (Ex): As a swift action, you can gain 2 temporary hit points that last for 1 minute. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Constitution modifier (minimum 1 per day), but only while wearing armor. At 6th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the number of temporary hit points the you gain increases by 2.

Bravery (Ex): You gain a +1 bonus on Will saves against fear. This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels beyond 2nd.

Buckler Bash (Ex): You can perform a shield bash with a buckler (use the same damage and critical modifier as for a light shield).

Burst Barrier (Ex): You can use a tower shield to screen yourself from burst spells and effects, gaining a +1 bonus on Reflex saves against them while employing a tower shield. This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels after 2nd.

Deceptive Strike (Ex): When you are wielding a 1-handed melee weapons, and have a hand free (not holding a weapon, shield, or anything else), you gain a +1 bonus to CMB and CMD on disarm checks and on Bluff checks to feint or create a diversion to hide. This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels after 2nd.

Deflective Shield (Ex): You specialize in using your shield to deflect attacks. You gains a +1 bonus to your touch AC, and this bonus increases for every four levels beyond 2nd; however, this bonus cannot exceed the sum of the armor and enhancement bonus to AC provided by the shield you are currently carrying.

Dirty Maneuvers (Ex): You become skilled at deceiving and discomfiting your opponents. You gain a +1 bonus on disarm, dirty trick, and steal combat maneuver checks, and to your CMD against the same maneuvers. These bonuses increase by 1 for every four levels after 2nd.

Duplicitous (Ex): You add Bluff, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth to your list of class skills. You gains 2 bonus skill ranks at each level, which must be allocated among these skills.

Efficient Packer (Ex): You adds a bonus equal to 1/2 your soldier level on Sleight of Hand checks to conceal objects on your body. You also add a bonus equal to 1/2 your class level to your Strength score for the purpose of determining his carrying capacity.

Expertise (Ex): You qualify for feats and other abilities as though you had the Combat Expertise feat. If you are 10th level or higher, you gain Combat Expertise as a bonus feat, even if you would not normally qualify for this feat. If you already have Combat Expertise, you instead gain any one combat feat that includes Combat Expertise as a prerequisite (and for which you otherwise qualify).

Fame (for Performance Combat)(Ex): When you begin a performance combat, you always starts with at least 1 victory point. If you already have victory points, you gain 1 extra victory point. At 10th level, you start out with at least 2 victory points (and if you already have victory points, you gains 2 extra victory points).

Fearful Might (Ex): You gain a +1 bonus on Intimidate checks to demoralize a foe. This bonus increases by 1 for every 4 levels beyond 2nd.

Fearsome (Ex): You can make an Intimidate check to demoralize an opponent as a move action. At 10th level, she can do so as a swift action. At 18th level, she can demoralize a foe as a free action once per round. You can never do so more than once per round.

Guard (Ex): You add Appraise, Knowledge (local), Knowledge (nobility), and Perception, to your list of class skills. You gains 2 bonus skill ranks at each level, which must be allocated among these skills.

Guarded Senses (Su): You gain a +1 bonus on saves against sonic effects, figments, glamers, patterns, gaze attacks, and scent-based attacks. This bonus increases by 1 for every 4 levels beyond 2nd.

Harsh Training (Ex): You gain a +1 bonus on saving throws against effects that cause the exhausted, fatigued, or staggered conditions or temporary penalties to ability scores. This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels after 2nd.

Hawkeye (Ex): You gain a +1 bonus on Perception checks, and the range increment for any bow you use increases by 5 feet. These bonuses increase by +1 and 5 additional feet for every 4 levels beyond 2nd.

(Art by Work on Color)

Pole Fighting (Ex): As an immediate action, you can shorten the grip on your spear or polearm with reach and use it against adjacent targets. This action results in a –4 penalty on attack rolls with that weapon until you spend another immediate action to return to the normal grip. The penalty is reduced by –1 for every four levels beyond 2nd.

Reconnaissance Training (Ex): You are trained to operate in heavily trapped or naturally hazardous areas. You gain a +1 bonus on Reflex saving throws to avoid traps, natural hazards, and environmental effects. This bonus increases by 1 for every 4 levels beyond 2nd.

Ruin Raider (Ex): You add Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (dungeoneering), Knowledge (religion), and Use Magic Device, to your list of class skills. You gains 2 bonus skill ranks at each level, which must be allocated among these skills.

Shattering Strike (Ex): When using a 2-handed melee weapon, you gain a +1 bonus to CMB and CMD on sunder attempts and on damage rolls made against objects. These bonuses increase by +1 for every four levels beyond 2nd.

Spark of Life (Ex): You gain a +1 bonus on saving throws made against death effects, energy drains, and necromancy, and to constitution checks to become stable when dying. This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels beyond 2nd.

Stand Firm (Ex): When you are wielding a shield, you gain a +1 bonus to CMD against bull rush, drag, overrun, and trip attempts. This bonus also applies on saves against trample attacks. The bonus increases by +1 for every four levels beyond 2nd.

Steadfast Mount (Ex): After you have spent 1 hour practicing with a mount, the mount gains a +1 dodge bonus to AC and a +1 morale bonus on saves while you are mounted on it or adjacent to it. This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels after 2nd.

Tactical Awareness (Ex): You gain a +1 bonus on initiative checks. This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels after 2nd level.

Tactician (Ex): You gain the cavalier’s tactician class feature, treating your soldier level as your cavalier level for the purposes of this ability.

Tenacious Tracker (Ex): You gain a +1 bonus on Diplomacy checks to gather information and on Survival checks made to identify or follow tracks. This bonus increases by 1 for every 4 levels the vengeful hunter possesses beyond 2nd.

Tidal Celerity (Ex): You gain a +1 bonus on Reflex saves and saving throws against effects that would immobilize or paralyze you. This bonus increases by 1 for every 4 levels beyond 2nd.

Unassailable Allegience (Ex): You gain a +1 bonus on Will saves against compulsion spells, spell-like abilities, and effects. This bonus increases by 1 for every 4 levels beyond 2nd.

Weapon Guard (Ex): You add the bonuses to attack you gain from Weapon Focus (and Greater Weapon Focus and Mythic Weapon Focus), to your CMD against disarm and sunder attempts while wielding the appropriate weapon. This bonus also applies on saves against any effect that targets that weapon (for example, grease, heat metal, shatter, warp wood).

A Request

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Empath Connection for the PF1 Fantasy Mystic

Having written a draft of the mystic class redesigned for PF1, I want to get through the connections in the Starfinder Core Rulebook alphabetical list. That seems the best way to ensure we’ve covered enough of the original classes flavor and options.

Empath

Your connection helps you sense emotions and notice details others can’t, and sometimes manipulate the emotions of others. You might be a diplomat, an investigator, a mind-reading bodyguard, a ship’s psychologist, or a psychic con artist..
Associated Skills: Diplomacy, Handle Animal, Perception, Sense Motive
Spells: At the listed mystic class levels you receive the listed bonus spells. The spell level of each spell gained is listed in parenthesis. 3rd – Detect Thoughts (1st), 5th – Detect Desires (2nd), 7thCharitable Impulse (3rd), 9th – Apparent Treachery (4th), 11thPessimism (5th), 13th – Curse of Disgust (6th), 15th – Perceive Betrayal (7th), 17th – Antipathy or Sympathy (choose which when you reach 17th level)(8th), 19th – Symbol of Strife (9th).

Connection Powers

Empathy (Su)(1st Level): As a full-round action, you can attempt a Sense Motive check to read the emotions of a particular creature (DC = 20 or 10 + its total Bluff modifier, whichever is higher). If you succeed, you learn its general disposition and attitude toward creatures within 30 feet of it, and you gain a +2 circumstance bonus to Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Sense Motive checks against that creature for 1 hour. Whether you succeed or fail, after opening your mind to read emotions, you take a –2 penalty to saving throws against mind-affecting effects for 1 minute.
Greater Mindlink (Su)(3rd Level): You can use your mindlink ability on the same creature as many times per day as you wish, and the communication can be both ways, though the maximum of 10 minutes of communication per round still applies.
Emotionsense (Su)(6th Level): You can detect and locate creatures within 60 feet that have emotions, as if you had blindsense. A creature can keep its emotions calm to avoid detection by this ability by succeeding at a Bluff check with a DC equal to 10 + your Sense Motive modifier, but a creature under the influence of an emotion effect cannot try to avoid detection. Creatures under the effects of nondetection or similar effects automatically avoid detection by this ability. Unless otherwise stated, constructs, mindless creatures, and those with Intelligence scores of 2 or lower don’t have emotions and can’t be sensed this way.
Discern Lies (Sp)(10th Level): You can use discern lies as a spell-like ability a number of times per day equal to your mystic level, each time targeting a single creature. This effect lasts 1 round. Once a creature successfully saves against this ability, it becomes immune to further uses of this ability for 24 hours.
Greater Emotionsense (Su)(14th Level): Your emotionsense is far more discerning, as if you had blindsight. It otherwise functions as the emotionsense connection power.
Retrocognition (Sp)(18th Level): You can use retrocognition as a spell-like ability at will. When doing so, you take a –2 penalty to saving throws against mind-affecting effects for as long as you concentrate on retrocognition and an equal amount of time afterward.
Empathic Mastery (Sp)(20th Level): You can expend a 7th-level or higher spell slot to use psychic surgery as a spell-like ability. If you are incapacitated by an effect that psychic surgery could remove and have an appropriate spell slot remaining, you can expend the spell slot to use this ability on yourself at the beginning of your turn, even without being able to take any actions.

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Companion Bond as a Connection for the PF1 Fantasy Mystic

So, can we find a way for our PF1-compatible Fantasy Mystic to get an animal companion?

A lot of PF1 classes have a way to gain an animal companion. It absolutely seems on-concept for the mystic (especially some of the weirder options, like genie-touched or monstrous companions), but it is something we can do as a simple and balanced option? Well, let’s look at what other classes in the game have as options that can be replaced with an animal companion.

At 1st level, a druid can take either an animal companion or one of a short list of cleric domains as their nature bond class feature. While that’s not proof that those two options are equivalent, the fact that players still often choose the domain after more than a decade of PF1 game theory and play experience certainly suggests they are close enough in total utility to serve as a starting point.

So, that means to determine if a connection being replaced with an animal companion is reasonable, we need to compare the utility of a typical connection with the utility of a typical druid-allowed domain. Once we do that. we can see if we need to have a mystic give up more than just their connection to get an animal companion, or if we need to give them some benefit beyond a companion in order to balance taking the connection away.

Cleric domains give you a bonus spell you can prepare on top of your normal spell choices for every spell level. Often, domain spells aren’t on the cleric or druid class spell list. That’s not the same as a bonus spell known for each spell level, as a connection normally gives a mystic, but it’s close enough in utility for us to treat them as equivalent. So we can have an animal companion give up its bonus spells known to offset the domain spells.

Each cleric domain has two granted powers, one gained at 1st and one at 6th or 8th. Those granted powers are in the same ballpark as connection powers, so we can say we need to give up two connection powers (out of the seven a connection gives). That means it should be reasonable to have a mystic connection grant 5 connection powers, and a full animal companion.

That is a tad awkward, since we now have to create a set of connection powers that come with an animal companion… butmake them flexible enough they work with any animal companion, and spread out enough you only get 5 of them over 20 levels. Luckily, there are spells not normally available to a mystic that are animal-companion-focused, and animal companion-relared feats, which we can make as options out animal companion mystic can choose from.

So, here is what our Companion Connection looks like. (And now we know what connection the image I used for the original mystic class write-up has taken, which is why she has a hunting dog!)

(Art by Daniel)

Companion

Associated Skills: Healing, Handle Animal.
Spells: None

Animal Companion (1st): You gain an animal companion, as the druid’s nature bond option. Your mystic level acts as your druid level for your companion.

Companion Boost: At 3rd, 6th, 10th, 14th, and 18th level, you may select a companion boost. This is either a companion feat, or a companion spell, as defined below.

Companion Feat: Select one of the following feats, for which you meet the prerequisites. You gain that feat as a bonus feat. Alternatively, you can select a feat your animal companion meets the prerequisites for, and grant it to your animal companion as a bonus feat. You may select this connection power more than once. Each time, you must select a different bonus feat.

Andoren Falconry, Animal Soul, Beast Rider, Beast Speaker, Beast Speaker Mastery, Bully Breed, Curious Companion, Devotion Against the Unnatural, Distant Spell Link, Evolved Companion, Extra Item Slot, Forceful Charge, Genie-Touched Companion, Greater Tenacious Hunter, Heft Brute, Huntmaster, Improved Forceful Charge, Improved Share Spells, Improved Spell Sharing, Monstrous Companion, Pack Flanking, Pack Tactics, Share Healing, Skaveling Companion, Spirit’s Gift, Stalker’s Focus, Tenacious Hunter, Totem Beast.

Companion Spells: Select one of the following spells. It is considered to be a spell on your spell list and, if you can cast spells of the listed level, you gain it as a bonus spells known. You may select this connection power more than once. Each time, you must select a different spell.

acid maw (1st), carry companion (2nd), scamper (2nd), phantom hunt (4th), share shape (4th), raise animal companion (5th)

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I have a Patreon. It helps me carve out the time needed to create these blog posts, and is a great way to let me know what kind of content you enjoy. If you’d like to see more Pathfinder 1st edition options (or more rules for other game systems, fiction, game industry essays, game design articles, worldbuilding tips, whatever!), try joining for just a few bucks and month and letting me know!

Oracle Mysteries as Connections for the PF1 Fantasy Mystic

There’s a super-easy way to create PF1-ready connections for the Fantasy Mystic, if you don’t want to go to the effort of converting Starfinder connections to PF1 rules–just use oracle mysteries! While there are a number of tiny changes that need to get made, none are difficult or time-consuming. Here are the steps to turn a Mystery into a Connection:

1. Pick two skills to be the associated skills for the connection skill class feature of the mystic. You can pick of two the class skills the mystery grants to oracles, but you don’t have to. Any two appropriate skills is fine.

2. Change at what character level the bonus spells are granted to match the fantasy mystic connection spell progression.

3. Replace references to “oracle” with “mystic,” and switch anything Charisma-based to be Wisdom-based.

4. Write a “revelation” connection power gained at every level the mystic gets connection powers, that allows the mystic to select from the mystery’s revelations. (You can use the version I wrote for the example, below.) Don’t use a mystery’s final revelation for a connection–the mystic already has a 20th level capstone ability (they can pick a normal revelation for their 20th level connection power).

5. Adjust level requirements to select revelations, if any, to be at levels a connection grants powers. (Make sure you don’t let a mystic gain a revelation at an earlier level than an oracle would.)

Here’s a quick example of what a conversion looks like using the Ancestor Mystery. You can apply the same quick conversion to any PF1 oracle mystery.

Ancestor

Associated Skills: Linguistics, any one Knowledge skill.
Spells: Unseen Servant – 3rd, Spiritual Weapon – 5th, Heroism – 7th, Spiritual Ally – 9th, Telekinesis – 11th, Greater Heroism – 13th, Ethereal Jaunt – 14th), Vision – 16th, Astral Projection – 18th.

Revelation: At 1st, 3rd, 6th, 10th, 14th, 18th, and 20th level, a mystic with the ancestor connection can choose from any of the following revelations.

Ancestral Weapon (Su): You can summon a simple or martial weapon from your family’s history that is appropriate for your current size. You are considered proficient with this weapon. At 3rd level, the weapon is considered masterwork. At 7th level, 15th level, and 19th level, the weapon gains a cumulative +1 enhancement bonus. At 11th level, the weapon gains the ghost touch weapon property. You can use this ability for a number of minutes per day equal to your oracle level. This duration does not need to be consecutive, but it must be used in 1-minute increments. The weapon disappears after 1 round if it leaves your grasp.

Blood of Heroes (Su): As a move action, you can call upon your ancestors to grant you extra bravery in battle. You gain a +1 morale bonus on attack rolls, damage rolls, and Will saves against fear for a number of rounds equal to your Wisdom bonus. At 7th level, this bonus increases to +2, and at 14th level this bonus increases to +3. You can use this ability once per day, plus one additional time per day at 5th level, and every five levels thereafter.

Phantom Touch (Su): As a standard action, you can perform a melee touch attack that causes a living creature to become shaken. This ability lasts for a number of rounds equal to 1/2 your mystic level (minimum 1 round). You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Wisdom modifier.

Sacred Council (Su): As a move action, you can call upon your ancestors to provide council. This advice grants you a +2 bonus on any one d20 roll. This effect lasts for 1 round. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to your Wisdom bonus.

Spirit of the Warrior (Su): You can summon the spirit of a great warrior ancestor and allow it to possess you, becoming a mighty warrior yourself. You gain a +4 enhancement bonus to Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution, and a +4 natural armor bonus to AC. Your base attack bonus while possessed equals your mystic level (which may give you additional attacks), and you gain the Improved Critical feat with a weapon of your choice. You can use this ability for 1 round for every 2 mystic levels you possess. This duration does not need to be consecutive, but it must be spent in 1-round increments. You must be at least 14th level to select this revelation.

Spirit Shield (Su): You can call upon the spirits of your ancestors to form a shield around you that blocks incoming attacks and grants you a +4 armor bonus. At 7th level, and every four levels thereafter, this bonus increases by +2. At 13th level, this shield causes arrows, rays, and other ranged attacks requiring an attack roll against you to have a 50% miss chance. You can use this shield for 1 hour per day per mystic level. This duration does not need to be consecutive, but it must be spent in 1-hour increments.

Spirit Walk (Su): You can become incorporeal and invisible. While in this form, you can move in any direction and pass through solid objects. You can take no action other than to move while in this form. You remain in this form for a number of rounds equal to your mystic level, but you can end this effect prematurely as a standard action. You can use this ability once per day at 14th level, and twice per day at 18th level. You must be at least 14th level to select this revelation.

Storm of Souls (Su): You can summon the spirits of your ancestors to attack in a ghostly barrage—their fury creates physical wounds on creatures in the area. The storm has a range of 100 feet and is a 20-foot-radius burst. Objects and creatures in the area take 1d8 hit points of damage for every two mystic levels you possess. Undead creatures in the area take 1d8 points of damage for every mystic level you possess. A successful Fortitude save reduces the damage to half. You must be at least 10th level to select this revelation. You can use this ability once per day, plus one additional time per day at 12th level and every four levels thereafter.

Voice of the Grave (Su): You can speak with dead, as per the spell, for a number of rounds per day equal to your mystic level. These rounds do not need to be consecutive. At 5th level, and every five levels thereafter, the dead creature you question takes a cumulative –2 penalty on its Will save to resist this effect.

Wisdom of the Ancestors (Su): Once per day, you can enter a trance in which you commune with the spirits of your ancestors. This trance lasts for 10 minutes, which must be uninterrupted and during which you can take no other actions. When you come out of this trance, you have gained mystical insight into the future. At 1st level, this insight acts as an augury spell with 80% effectiveness. At 5th level, the insight takes the form of a divination with 90% effectiveness. At 8th level, the knowledge you gain is equivalent to a commune spell. None of these spell effects require material components.

Expanded Post: This is an expanded post. Over on my Patreon, as a thank-you for their support, I went ahead and selected two skills for every official PF1 oracle mystery. My Patrons help me carve out the time needed to create these blog posts, and joining it is a great way to let me know what kind of content you enjoy. If you’d like to see more Pathfinder 1st edition options (or more rules for other game systems, fiction, game industry essays, game design articles, worldbuilding tips, whatever!), try joining for just a few bucks and month and letting me know!

Akashic Connection for the PF1 Fantasy Mystic

Having written a draft of the mystic class redesigned for PF1, it’s time to start adapting and/or creating some mystic connections to go with the class. I’m going to start with the alphabetical first connection in the Starfinder Core Rulebook, though we may hope around a lot as the week goes on, rather than just adapt the official connections in order.

Akashic

You’re linked to the collective knowledge of every sentient species that ever lived that’s held in the Akashic Record, an Astral library of perfect psychic records of every moment in history. You might be an ancient lorekeeper, an inquisitive student of the occult, an intuitive consulting detective, or a secret-hoarding spy.
Associated Skills: Appraise, Knowledge (all, each selected separately), Linguistics, Profession
Spells: You gain the following bonus spells known at the listed mystic class level; 3rd – Identify, 5th – Augury, 7th – Akashic communion, 9th – Divination, 11th – Contact Other Plane, 13th – Legend Lore, 15th – Vision, 17th – Discern Location, 19th – Akashic Form.

Connection Powers

Akashic Knowledge (Su)(1st Level): Each day when you recover your spell slots, you can tap into the Akashic Record, enabling you to choose one Knowledge skill or Profession skill to gain a +2 bonus to all checks with for that day. This acts as the connection skill class feature you gain at 4th level, and when you connection skill bonus increases, your akashic knowledge bonus increases by the same amount.

Access Akashic Record (Su)(3rd Level): You can access the Akashic Record to augment your skills. You can take 1d4 hours to take 20 on a Knowledge Skill or Profession skill, and when you do so you make the check as if you had ranks in that skill equal to your mystic level.

Peer into the Future (Su)(6th Level): Once per day, you can spend 10 minutes in uninterrupted meditation to receive visions of possible futures. At any point over the next 24 hours, you can declare that you are using the benefit of this ability before rolling one initiative check, saving throw, or skill check. You gain a +4 insight bonus to that check. At 11th level, you can use this ability twice per day, though you can’t use it the second time until after you’ve used your first bonus.

Mind Probe (Sp) (10th Level): You can use mind probe as a spell-like ability a number of times per day equal to your mystic level, lasting for 1 round. A creature that successfully saves against your mind probe is immune to further uses of this ability for 24 hours.

Telepathic Memories (Su) (14th Level): You can share memories at will with allies linked by your telepathic bond class feature. As a full round action, you or a linked ally can send a memory of up to 1 minute to as many others in the bond as they choose. Sending a relevant memory counts as a successful aid another attempt for a skill check, even if you wouldn’t otherwise be able to use aid another (to a limit of one such memory per skill check).

Memory Palace (Su) (18th Level): You assemble an extradimensional library to house mental constructs representing your accumulated knowledge. This memory palace has a single shimmering entrance. You can access your memory palace once per day; when you do, the entrance appears within close range. If any creatures or objects that were not part of the memory palace when it was created remain inside it, the entrance remains where it first appeared. Only those you designate can enter the memory palace, and the entrance closes and becomes invisible behind you when you enter. Anyone inside can open the entrance and exit the memory palace at will. The only way to enter and exit the memory palace is via the entrance; even plane shift and similar magic do not access it.

You can create any floor plan you desire for your memory palace, up to a number of 10-foot cubes equal to your mystic level. Inside, the atmosphere is clean, fresh, and warm; outside conditions don’t affect the memory palace, nor do conditions inside it pass beyond. There is no furniture other than bookcases, computers, and a few desks and sofas. A number of unseen servants (as per the spell of the same name) equal to half your mystic level serve as librarians. The library keeps the same layout each time you access it, though you can alter its appearance each time you gain a level or by spending 15 minutes concentrating—you don’t need to be inside it to alter it.

When you gain this ability, choose one Knowledge or Profession skill. Consulting your memory palace gives anyone who studies within—including you—a +4 enhancement bonus to checks with the selected skill, and creatures inside the memory palace can attempt checks of that type untrained. At 16th level, and at each level thereafter, choose another Knowledge or Profession skill to which your memory palace’s skill bonus applies.

Glean Spell (Su) (20th Level): Once per day, you can meditate for 10 minutes to delve into the Akashic Record to temporarily gain a spell from the cleric, psychic, shaman, or wizard spell list as a bonus spell known. You can cast the spell using your spell slots, though it consumes a spell slot 1 level higher than the actual level of the spell. When you next regain your spells, the spell you gleaned is lost (though you could take 19 minutes to regain is as a bonus spell known for another day).

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First Look at Fantasy Mystic for PF1

So, while it’s easy to say that Starfinder mystics function as clerics for that game, and technomancers serve as wizards, that’s not entirely accurate. While it is true that many of the same design and role concerns went into the mystic and technomancer as the fantasy classes they are commonly associated with, they are far from 1-to-1 conversions of those concepts. As a result, there is often some interest in creating fantasy versions of such classes (and other Starfinder class options, such that I have written fantasy a version of the solarian for PF1, and have a version for PF2 available on Pathfinder Infinite).

Converting a class over is a big project, and generally takes more than one writing draft and multiple development passes, so this is just a first look at how I’d take the mysterious-supernatural-powered mystic from its SF setting and move it to PF1. Today we just look at the core framework, with connections coming later in the week.

The Mystic (PF1)

Alignment: Any.
Hit Die: d8.
Starting Wealth: 3d6 x 10 gp (average 105 gp).

Class Skills

The mystic’s class skills are Bluff (Cha), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Fly (Dex), Handle Animal (Cha), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (any 6, selected individually)(Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), and Survival (Wis).

Skill Points at each Level: 6 + Int modifier.

(Art by Daniel)

Class Features Spells Per Day

LevelBase Attack BonusFort SaveRef SaveWill SaveSpecial1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8th9th
1st+0+0+0+2Connection, connection power, healing touch3
2nd+1+0+0+3Mindlink4
3rd+2+1+1+3Connection power, connection spell5
4th+3+1+1+4Connection skill63
5th+3+1+1+4Connection spell64
6th+4+2+2+5Connection power653
7th+5+2+2+5Connection spell664
8th+6/+1+2+2+6Connection skill6653
9th+6/+1+3+3+6Connection spell6664
10th+7/+2+3+3+7Connection power66653
11th+8/+3+3+3+7Connection spell, telepathic bond66664
12th+9/+4+4+4+8Connection skill666653
13th+9/+4+4+4+8Connection spell666664
14th+10/+5+4+4+9Connection power6666653
15th+11/+6/+1+5+5+9Connection spell6666664
16th+12/+7/+2+5+5+10Connection skill66666653
17th+12/+7/+2+5+5+10Connection spell66666664
18th+13/+8/+3+6+6+11Connection power, transcendence666666653
19th+14/+9/+4+6+6+11Connection spell666666664
20th+15/+10/+5+6+6+12Connection power, enlightenment666666666

Spells Known

Level01st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th8th9th
1st42
2nd52
3rd53
4th631
5th642
6th7421
7th7532
8th85321
9th85432
10th954321
11th955432
12th9554321
13th9554432
14th95544321
15th95544432
16th955444321
17th955444332
18th9554443321
19th9554443332
20th9554443333

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Mystics are proficient with all simple weapons, and light armor.

Spells: A mystic casts divine spells drawn from the psychic and shaman spell lists. She can cast any spell she knows without preparing it ahead of time. To learn or cast a spell, a mystic must have a Wisdom score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a mystic’s spell is 10 + the spell level + the mystic’s Wisdom modifier.

Like other spellcasters, a mystic can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given on her class feature table000. In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Wisdom score (see Table: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Spells).

A mystic’s selection of spells is extremely limited. A mystic begins play knowing four 0-level spells and two 1st-level spells of her choice. At each new mystic level, she gains one or more new spells, as indicated on Table: Mystic Spells Known. (Unlike spells per day, the number of spells a sorcerer knows is not affected by her Wisdom score; the numbers on Table: Mystic Spells Known are fixed.)

Upon reaching 4th level, and at every even-numbered mystic level after that (6th, 8th, and so on), a mystic can choose to learn a new spell in place of one she already knows. In effect, the mystic loses the old spell in exchange for the new one. The new spell’s level must be the same as that of the spell being exchanged. A mystic may swap only a single spell at any given level, and must choose whether or not to swap the spell at the same time that she gains new spells known for the level.

A mystic need not prepare her spells in advance. She can cast any spell she knows at any time, assuming she has not yet used up her spells per day for that spell level.

Connection: At 1st level the mystic has a mysterious connection with some force that grants her magical powers. The exact nature of the connection can vary widely, and even mystics who share the same connection may interpret it differently. The mystic picks one connection upon taking her first level of mystic—once made, this choice can’t be changed. (Connections you can choose from, or how to adapt other class abilities into connections, are presented in this blog throughout this week).

Many mystics serve as priests of various gods, and while you can theoretically choose any type of connection with any entity or concept, deities rarely grant connections that don’t fit within their ethos.

Connection Power: At 1st, 3rd, 6th, 10th, 14th, 18th, and 20th level, the mystic gains a connection power unique to her connection. If a connection power allows a saving throw to resist its effects, the DC is equal to 10 + half the mystic’s class level + her Wisdom modifier. Connection powers are listed with each connection.

Connection Spell: Each connection grants additional spells known, starting at 3rd level and then another every other level thereafter. These spells are in addition to the spells known listed on Table: Mystic Spells Known. The spell level of each spell is listed in each connection’s entry.

Healing Touch (Su): At 1st level, the mystic can heal with a touch. Once per day, as a standard action you can heal a creature touched of 1d6 damage per mystic level. this healing touch does not harm undead or other creatures damaged by positive energy, instead healing them.

Mindlink (Sp): At 2nd level, the mystic can form a mental link with creatures she touch, communicating information rapidly through it. She can use mindlink at will as a spell-like ability, though only once per day on any given individual.

Connection Skill (Su): As the mystic grows in power, her link to her connection grants her supernatural benefits to related skills. At 4th level, the mystic selects two skills associated with her connection (See Connections), and receive a +2 bonus to all checks with that skill. At 8th level, and every 4 levels thereafter, that bonus increases by 2. This bonus does not stack with bonuses to skills from abilities with favored in their title (such as favored enemy and favored terrain), or abilities that function as favored abilities.

Telepathic Bond (Sp): At 11th level, as a standard action, the mystic can form a telepathic link with up to six other willing creatures, allowing her to communicate telepathically at great distances. This functions as telepathic bond, except the duration is permanent. She can have only one telepathic bond active in this way at any given time; creating a new telepathic bond immediately ends the previous one.

Transcendence (Sp): By 18th level the mystic is close to becoming one with her connection. She can cast each of her connection spells once per day without consuming a spell slot. In addition, she learns how to temporarily transcend her physical form. Once per day, she can project her consciousness outside of her physical body in the form of an intangible psychic image of herself. This counts as a 6th-level illusion effect and lasts for a number of rounds equal to her mystic level. While her consciousness is projected, her physical body is considered blind, deaf, and helpless, but she can return to her body as a swift action. She controls her psychic image as though it was her own body, and her senses perceive only what the image can see and hear. She moves with a fly speed of 60 feet and perfect maneuverability. She can pass through solid objects as though she was incorporeal, but she can’t go farther into a solid object than her space (5 feet for a Medium creature). She can’t directly affect physical objects. Her projected consciousness is immune to most attacks or effects, whether or not they affect incorporeal creatures, but mind-affecting effects have their full effect on her, as does any ability that can negate or dispel magic.

The mystic can cast any mystic spell or spell-like ability with a range of touch or greater from her projected consciousness. The spells affect other targets normally. She can’t cast any spells on her projected consciousness except for illusion spells. She need not maintain line of effect to her projected consciousness, but if she crosses into another plane, even momentarily (including via teleportation), her mind immediately returns to her physical body.

Enlightenment (Su): At 2th level the mystic achieves enlightenment, becoming a living incarnation of her connection. She no longer ages, nor does she die of old age. Once per day as a move action, the mystic can enter a state of total communion with her connection that lasts for 1 minute. During this time, she gains a +4 insight bonus to attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks.

Patreon
I have a Patreon. It helps me carve out the time needed to create these blog posts, and is a great way to let me know what kind of content you enjoy. If you’d like to see more Pathfinder 1st edition options (or more rules for other game systems, fiction, game industry essays, game design articles, worldbuilding tips, whatever!), try joining for just a few bucks and month and letting me know!

Me, NaNoWriMo, and 52-in-52

I keep wanting to try to participate in National Novel Writing Month, and it almost never works out. That’s sad to me, because there is an energy, expectation, and support system in place for NaNoWriMo’s goal of writing 50,000 words in 30 days that makes it ever-so-slightly easier to get a lord of wordcount produced in November than times where you’re doing it largely alone. The groundswell of support, suggestions, public accountability, and even people talking about hard times they are having can help buoy a writer past obstacles that might stop them on other months.

But, yet again, I can’t do NaNoWriMo this year, because if I have any spare capacity beyond my regular monthly writing contracts and obligations to people depending on me for projects to move forward so they can make money on the labor they’ve already put into them, it has to go into 52-in-52.

You remember 52-in-52, right? It was my big swing at doing something new, announced in November 2019. The idea was to produce one new product every week in 2020, with each product being released in four different versions–on each for Pathfinder 1e, Pathfinder 2e, Starfinder, and D&D 5e. It was a big, ambitious subscription model and something I knew would take all my focus.

Obviously since I am still talking about needing to work on it nearly two years later, it did not go as planned.

The Covid pandemic is part of the reason why, along with moving twice in 2020, being hospitalized, having friends die, losing a beloved pet–seriously, it’s been among the roughest 24 months of my life. I tried to allow for complications and interruptions on the schedule I had for creating 108 game products in a year, but I never could have guessed at even half the things that were going to hit during that production time.

And this was not a Kickstarter, or some other crowdfunding campaign, where the entire budget is covered in advance. The idea was a classic pre-order, with enough money from early orders to get started, followed by ongoing sales to keep funding the project as it went along. I had carefully noted that my plan was to personally write or develop each product in the line. That meant if I fell behind on writing things, I could hire writers I knew to take on one or more parts of the project. I had a decade of sales information to extrapolate from, so I was confident that I could get things done that way if I had to. I was covered… as long as a major economic disaster didn’t have a huge impact on how much money people spent on tabletop rog products on a scale even ten years of sales data couldn’t predict.

Cue sad trombone.

So, that’s why now, ten months past the original deadline, the project is still only about half-finished. Under any other circumstances, I’d consider doing more than 100 game products cover 4 different gam systems over two years to be a triumph of productivity. But I promised customers a series of products, and while I can’t change history so those things arrive on-time, I can make sure everyone who pre-ordered gets everything I promised them.

So, what does all that have to do with NaNoWriMo? Well, I’m going to produce 50,000 words of 52-in-52 this month.

No, that won’t be all the rest of what is missing. Nor is it really what NaNoWriMo is about. But it’ll be closer to doing NaNoWriMo than I have been able to try in recent years, and 50k words produced towards overdue subscriptions will go a long way towards providing material I am dedicated t putting in people’s hands.

So, I’ll be tracking my Na52WriMo at the beginning of each day. It’ll be in the form of Words Prepared for layout/Words Turned Over to Layout (Words Sent to Subscribers)/50,000. So if I have 1,000 words prepared but none turned over yet, that’d be 1,000/0/0/50k. I’ll update each weekday, with the stats from the previous day.

It won’t fix things being late, but it will move a lot of materials forward on this much-overdue subscription model.

The Icosantheon. No 20 — Aor

The Icosantheon is a host of twenty deities bound not by a common origin, but by a united conservatorship of the immaterium that forms the sides and edges of the material plane.

(Art by grandfailure)

Aor is among the most unusual of deities in the Icosantheon, as it is not perceived as self-aware. Rather Aor is the Beacon Tower, the very first structure created by mortals to serve as a warning to others. It is believed to be the first structure made by any civilization to be so tall it’s top could not be reached by one standing on the shoulders of another, the first made of stone, the first to have artifice and magic both involved in its creation, and the first built by more people than the land around it could support, requiring the coordination of multiple communities over months or years.

Thus Aor became a thing early civilizations would swear by, and call upon when attempting to rally people. Aor represents the act of creation and cooperation not to destroy, or even to defend, but to warn. A nonviolent transmission of data that required people struggling and sacrificing in order to pass a benefit on to later generations. While there is significant disagreement about when, where, and by who the true Aor was built, that made no difference to it’s growth as a symbol. And much as the sun, or the ocean, or the wind could act as a divine force with no anthropomorphization, so, too, could the Beacon Tower.

The first worshippers of Aor were essentially philosophers and planners who discovered that parables about the effort needed to build Aor, and the benefits that were reaped not by those who did so but those who came after, granted them more than just wisdom. Stories spread, and were compiled, talking about the need to maintain Aor so it would not fall into disrepair, to man it so the beacon could be lit as needed, to set aside some effort of a community to keep the advantages Aor had granted them. Aor became a symbol of a thing mortals did without the gods, and in doing so took the palce of gods in the minds of many.

Aor has no tenets, being an inanimate object, but its worshippers actively promote the ideas that must have held sway when it was constructed. They see themselves as beacons of their own, looking for dangers to entire societies and teaching the needed behaviors that will prepare populations to be ready for such threats.

*Aor is Neutral, and accepts worships of all non-chaotic alignments. The essential quality to worship Aor is to accept that there are benefits of forethought, and working together, and maintaining that which has been wrought. Such beleifs can be applied to good and evil, to strict laws or general trends, but do not mesh well with those who hold individual freedom of choice above joint, organized action.
*Aor’s color is gray — the gray of rock, stone, and dust gathering in ancient corners. Often Aor is represented by a single vertical gray stripe, which may be placed in the center or to the left of any other pattern or image.
*Aor’s favorite weapons are hammers, which were used to help craft and place it.
*Aor’s favored animal is the ganet. There are debates about why. Ganets are seabirds, suggesting the Beacon Tower might have been the first ligthhouse. Ganets are also famously fearless and easy ot kill, perhaps suggesting they need Aor more than other animals.
*Its servitors are non-chaotic outsiders linked to architecture and crafting, regardless of their other affiliations.
*Its holy symbol is a tower with a light or bolt at the top, spiraling outward from it.
*Its areas of concern are architecture, cooperation, communication, diligence, forethought, navigation, teaching, and warning.
*Its domains are Artifice (industry, toil), Community(cooperation, education), Rune (wards), Sun (light), Travel (trade), and Water (oceans).

Worshipers of Aor are often gifted with divine foresight, and an inherent understanding of construction. They may give up any skill known to gain Knowledge (Engineering) and have one bonus rank in that skill per level (still limited to max ranks equal to their level). Additionally, any worshiper of Aor that receives a domain, hex, or mystery can sacrifice a domain power, hex or, revelation to gain a power from the divination wizard school, or any of its subschools, that could be gained at the same or lower level.

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