The hill people are as much a culture as an occupation. They have traditions and customs different from civilization, but those off-the-norm backgrounds come with powers that are just as different from the standards of society. Hill people often suffer from significant wonderlust, and it is not unusual for them to spend many years adventuring. However, they dislike committing violence, and generally look for places they can safely travel, or companions they can safely travel with. However on the rare occasion they are pushed to defend those they love, their powers to do so are significant.
Despite not fitting any of the classic roles of heroes, most groups who have a hill person as an ally are delighted to have their knowledge, good cheer, and not a small bit of luck along even in the darkest of times. And hill people are rugged and sturdy enough (though they mostly don’t look it) to survive even the most dangerous of adventures without being a significant drain on their allies.
Hill people are, obviously, inspired by one of my favorite fantasy movies. (And they aren’t the first thing the movie inspired.)
Hit Die: d12
Starting Wealth: 2d6 × 10 gp (average 70 gp.) In addition, each character begins play with an outfit worth 10 gp or less, and one pie.
The hill person’s class skills are Acrobatics (Dex), Appraise (Int), Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disable Device (Dex), Disguise (Cha), Escape Artist (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (all, each skill taken individually) (Int), Linguistics (Int), Perception (Wis), Perform (Cha), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Spellcraft (Int), Stealth (Dex), Swim (Str), and Use Magic Device (Cha).
Skill Ranks per Level: 6 + Int modifier.
Table: Hill Person
Level BaB Fort Ref Will Special
1st +0 +2 +2 +2 Hill shape, knack, lack the power to do harm, organize notes
2nd +1 +3 +3 +3 Luck of the hill folks 1/day
3rd +2 +3 +3 +3 Knack
4th +3 +4 +4 +4 Luck of the hill folks 2/day
5th +3 +4 +4 +4 Knack
6th +4 +5 +5 +5 +1 hill shape luck of the hill folks, 3/day
7th +5 +5 +5 +5 Knack
8th +6/+1 +6 +6 +6 Luck of the hill folks 4/day
9th +6/+1 +6 +6 +6 Knack
10th +7/+2 +7 +7 +7 Luck of the hill folks 5/day
11th +8/+3 +7 +7 +7 Knack
12th +9/+4 +8 +8 +8 +1 hill shape, luck of the hill folks 6/day
13th +9/+4 +8 +8 +8 Knack
14th +10/+5 +9 +9 +9 Luck of the hill folks 7/day
15th +11/+6/+1 +9 +9 +9 Knack
16th +12/+7/+2 +10 +10 +10 Luck of the hill folks 8/day
17th +12/+7/+2 +10 +10 +10 Knack
18th +13/+8/+3 +11 +11 +11 +1 hill shape, luck of the hill folks 9/day
19th +14/+9/+4 +11 +11 +11 Knack
20th +15/+10/+5 +12 +12 +12 Hill lord, luck of the hill folks 10/day
The following are class features of the hill person.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency
Hill people are proficient with all simple weapons and light armor, but not with shields.
Hill Shape (Su): At 1st level, a hill person gains the ability to turn himself into any Tiny or Small animal of no more than 1 HD (and back again) three times per day. This ability functions like the beast shape III spell, except as noted here. The effect lasts for 1 hour per hill person level, or until he changes back. Changing form (to animal or back) is a standard action and doesn’t provoke an attack of opportunity. The form chosen must be that of an animal the hill person is familiar with. The hill person retains the ability to speak in this form, though he can also make sounds appropriate to the form, and speak to creatures of the same general grouping (canine, feline, avian, etc.) as determined by the GM as though using speak with animals.
You can also attempt to use this power on another target, in which case it functions as baleful polymorph. However, you must roll a natural 20 on a d20 for this to work. Otherwise you transform yourself into the desired creature, as if you had used the reflexive form knack. (Though you can use luck of the hill folk to try this roll multiple times).
A hill person can use this ability an additional time per day at 6th level and every six levels thereafter, for a total of six times at 18th level.
As a hill person gains in levels, this ability allows him to take on the form of larger and smaller animals and elementals as an extreme measure. Each form expends one daily usage of this ability, regardless of the form taken. Any time the hill person uses this ability to become anything except a Tiny or Small animal of 1 HD or less, it counts as making an attack for purpose of his Lack the Ability to Do Harm class feature.
At 6th level, a hill person can use hill shape to change into a Medium or Large animal or a Small elemental. When taking the form of an elemental, the hill person’s hill shape functions as elemental body I.
At 8th level, a hill person can use hill shape to change into a Huge or Diminutive animal, or a Medium elemental. When taking the form of an elemental, the hill person’s hill shape now functions as elemental body II.
At 10th level, a hill person can use hill shape to change into a Large elemental. When taking the form of an elemental, the hill person’s hill shape now functions as elemental body III. At 12th level, a hill person can use hill shape to change into a Huge elemental. When taking the form of an elemental, the hill person’s hill shape now functions as elemental body IV.
Lack the Power to Do Harm (Su): The hill people dislike violence, and are blessed by powerful good fortune when they avoid it while maintaining strong hill people traditions. A hill person gains a luck bonus to AC and saving throws equal to his Charisma bonus. However, if the hill person makes an attack (as defined by the invisibility spell), they lose this power for 24 hours. Additionally, if a hill person multiclasses to the point they don’t have more “hill person” levels than all other combined class levels, they also lose access to this power.
Organize Notes (Ex): All hill people have a pile of notes, generally in the form of a loose shuffle of papers and mementos, but they can take nearly any easily-recognizable form, which contain their thoughts on mystic incantations, cooking, and anything else they find important.
These are never organized.
Each day you try to organize your notes. You can only do this once per day, and only after getting 8 hours of rest. This takes one hour, and resets your daily class abilities. Also, if you have not attempted to organize your notes for more than 24 hours, you lose access to one randomly determined hill person knack, plus one additional knack for every additional 12 hours. These return once you properly attempt to organize your notes.
Hill Person Knacks: You gain one hill person knack at 1st level, and an additional knack at 2nd level and every level thereafter. You cannot take a knack more than once unless it says otherwise.
Actions Give You Weight (Su): Hill people often place themselves at risk to aid others. As a standard action you can give an ally within 30 feet the benefits of your Lack the Power to Do Harm class feature until the beginning of your next turn. If the ally makes an attack (as defined by the invisibility spell) during this time, they lose this benefit and cannot regain it for 24 hours.
General Knack: You gain one general feat (a feat that is not also any other kind of feat) for which you meet the prerequisites, as a bonus feat. You may take this knack more than once. Each time, you must select a different general feat.
Great Chooser of Roads (Ex): You and your allies increase your overland travel speed by 10%, and do not have it reduced for terrain.
Minstrel (Ex): You have learned some of the storytelling and singing art of the hill people. You know spells and have spells per day as a bard of 1/3 your class level. Your caster level is equal to your class level. You must be at least 3rd level to select this knack.
Narrow of Purpose (Ex): Hill people are capable to being very focused, directing all their attention to a single goal. You gain Skill Focus as a bonus feat. Each day when you try to organize your notes, you may select what skill this bonus feat applies to. This must be a skill you have ranks in.
Pack Mule (Ex): Hill people can be surprisingly hearty when carrying large piles of gear. Your carrying capacity is tripled.
Reflexive Form (Su): If the result of an attack is a critical hit, or causes you to be unconscious or dead, as an immediate action you can expend one daily use of your hill shape ability to turn yourself into a tiny 1 HD animal. This causes the attack to miss entirely, but you are stuck in that shape for 1d4 rounds.
Rushed Flight (Su): Once per day you can expend one daily use of your hill shape ability to turn into a fireball that flies through the air at a speed of 1,000 miles per hour. You can do nothing but fly during this time, and if you touch down, hit an object, or are stopped or slowed down at any point the effect ends. Navigation in this form is difficult, and requires a Survival check with a DC equal to 10 +1 per 100 miles travelled.
Short in Stature (Ex): You are particularly slight of build, even for one of the hill people. While your weapon and equipment use, space, reach, and movement are determined by your true size category, for all other purposes you calculate your modifiers as if you were one size smaller.
Sweet tooth (Ex): Many hill people are strongly drawn to sweets, from gooseberry pies to nut bars. However, they do not carry such things themselves, and do not wish to pay for them. You are one such hill person. If you acquire a dessert through a skill check (Bluff, Diplomacy, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth are most common), once during the next 24 hours you can use that skill check result in place of any failed skill check for a skill you have at least as many ranks in. If you acquire a new dessert with a new skill check before you use the old one, you can keep the new check in reserve if it is better, but you may only have one in reserve at a time. Once you use this ability to replace a skill check, you can’t use it again until you organize your notes.
Wide of Vision (Ex): Hill people are often very alert to their surroundings. You gain a bonus to Perception checks equal to half your class level (minimum +3). Additionally, if you succeed at a Perception check to act on a surprise round, you may choose to limit yourself to a move action while warning your allies within 60 feet of the danger you spotted, allowing them to also act on the surprise round.
Wishful Banter (Ex): Hill people are excellent at cheering people up and imagining better circumstances. Over the course of one minute, you can daydream about better circumstances for yourself, and a number of willing allies equal to your Charisma bonus (who must be willing to discuss things they would prefer with you). You and those allies each gain a +1 morale bonus to one d20 check made in the next 24 hours. The decision to use this bonus must be made prior to the check. The bonus increases to +2 at 5th level, and by an additional +1 for every 5 levels thereafter.
Luck of the Hill Folk (Su): Things just tend to go well for hill people, and their allies, and tend to go badly for those who wish them harm. Beginning at 2nd level, once per day as a swift or immediate action after a d20 roll of a creature within 60 feet has been determined to be a success or failure, you may immediately force the die to be rerolled. The new roll is used to determine if the original roll was successful or note. This second roll gains a bonus or penalty (your choice), equal to 1, +a value equal to 1/5 your level.
You gain an additional use of this ability at 4th level, and every 2 levels thereafter.
Hill Lord (Su): At 20th level if the hill person would lose the lack the power to do harm class feature due to making an attack or taking a hill form that isn’t a 1 HD or less animal, he can decide not to lose the benefits of the ability by expending a daily use of luck of the hill folk. This leaves the hill person clear to attack and take any desired form for 1 minute.
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The proud warrior species of the Xorarcan, and rules for using them as a player character species, were introduced here. While all Xorarcans are resilient, and those raised in the native tradition of Xorarcan warriors are all feared in battle, the legend of the unstoppable Xorarcan champions largely comes from encounters with their elite centurions.
Xorarcan centurions train to harden body and mind, and hone themselves to battle-ready perfection. They are a tradition that evolved from the shock soldiers of he Overlords, who forced Xorarcans to sacrifice their lives fearlessly to gain even small advantages over the Overlord’s enemies. While those shock troops often died before becoming veterans, over generations of endless combat, and some horrific experimentation by the Overlords themselves, the surviving Xorarcans learned to survive even nearly-impossible battlefield conditions. With the Overlord’s empire collapsed, the Xorarcans take pride in reclaiming this brutal period in their history, and applying the lessons learned through endless war for cruel masters to achieve their own goals.
A Xorarcan centurion expects to be the point of the spear, the first into the breach and the last off the battlefield. They train not for a single method of combat, but to be prepared for any adversity, and to seek out foe’s weaknesses and maximize allies’ strengths.
Xorarcan Centurion (Archetype)
You have spent your life training to be the ultimate combatant. Much of that training is pure skill and martial technique, but some is also calling upon the changes wrought to your lineage by the Overlords when they used Xorarcans as shock troopers and cannon fodder. While your hate for the long-lost Overlords is as great as any native of Xorarca, you have reclaimed some of the horrors they inflicted upon your ancestors to better serve those you hold dear.
Only members of the Xorarcan species, or characters with the Xorarcan Warrior theme, can take the Xorarcan Centurion archetype.
Centurion Traits: At levels 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, and 18, a Xorarcan centurion may choose to take a centurion trait as an alternate class feature (using the normal rules for archetypes), or may instead gain the normal class feature for their class and level. Once this choice is made at each level, it cannot be changed. Each centurion trait may be selected only once unless it states otherwise.
Battle Meditation (Ex): You have learned the ancient Xorarcan techniques of mind over body, and can force your physical form to obey your will. At the beginning of your turn you have a 50% chance of ending any bleed effect you are suffering. Additionally, you can imbibe one serum or medicinal (or poison, if you wish), and have the effects delayed as your metabolism holds off any changes wrought by the material. As a move action, you can have the serum, medicinal, or poison take its normal effect on you. Once you use this ability in this way, you cannot do so again for 24 hours.
Combat Training: You gain one bonus combat feat. You must meet its prerequisites normally. You may take this alternate class feature more than once. Each time, you must select a different bonus combat feat.
Crusader’s Blade (Su): Your ancestors were exposed to eldritch energies as part of the Overlord’s efforts to turn them into better shock troops. You have learned to access those energies to melee weapons you use. You may cause any melee weapon you attack with to have the block, bright, and penetrating special weapon properties.
Dimensional Blade (Ex): Your ancestors were exposed to strange dimensional energies as part of the Overlord’s efforts to turn them into better shock troops. You have learned to access those energies to empower attacks you make. Your melee attacks gain the force descriptor. The first ranged attack you make each round also gains the force descriptor. This does not change the AC your attack targets or its damage type (if any), but does generally allow you to affect incorporeal targets normally.
Flight Pack (Ex): You have recovered an ancient Xorarcan flight pack, and restored it to at least partial function. You can attach it to any suit of armor you wear with 10 minutes of work. This does not take an armor upgrade slot. If you do not have a flight speed, this acts as if you had a 1st level flight spell cast on you, and in zero G you are always considered to be adjacent to an object that allows you to push off it and gain a +4 bonus to Acrobatics checks made in relation to the Moving in Zero G rules.
If you do have a fly speed, your flight pack also increases your maneuverability by one step. If you already have perfect maneuverability, instead you gain a +10 bonus to your fly speed.
Incorruptible (Ex): you have hardened yourself to resist and throw off all efforts to weaken or debase your body. When you make a successful saving throw against an affliction (curse, disease, or poison), you are cured of that affliction. Any damage already inflicted by the affliction must be restored or fade normally.
Ironclad (Ex): You have learned to leverage the joints, lockouts, and hard plates of armor to your benefit when lifting or carrying items. You treat your Strength at 4 higher for purposes of meeting armor proficiency feat prerequisites, and using heavy. When wearing light armor, your carrying capacity is calculated as if your Strength was 2 higher. When wearing heavy armor, your carrying capacity is calculated as if your Strength was 4 higher and you treat your Strength as being 4 higher when determining your effective Strength for wielding heavy weapons.
Martial Prowess (Ex): You have mastered several Xorarcan fighting techniques. Your melee attacks have the disarm and trip special weapon properties. They also have the staggered critical hit effect. If they already have a critical hit effect, when you score a critical hit you may choose between the attack’s normal critical effect, and staggered. If the attack normally has the staggered critical hit effect, you may choose to instead apply the stunned critical hit effect.
Spirit of Xorarca (Su): You can channel the spirit of the harsh world Xorarcans call home to imbue your attacks with lethal forms of energy. Once per day as part of making an attack, you can choose to add the corrosive, flaming, frost, shock, or thundering weapon fusion to one weapon you are attacking with. If you are of chaotic alignment, you may instead add the anarchic fusion. If you are of lawful alignment, you may instead add the axiomatic fusion. If you are good aligned you may instead add the holy fusion. If you are evil aligned, you may instead add the unholy fusion.
This fusion does not count against the weapon’s maximum number of fusions, and can be applied to a weapon of any item level (or your unarmed attacks). The fusion only functions with attacks you make. The fusion lasts until you next regain Stamina Points during a 10-minute rest, though you may suspend it for any attack you do not wish to use it.
If you have already used this ability for the day, you may spend a Resolve Point to use it again. A weapon cannot have more than one fusion from this ability active at a time—if you use it on a weapon that already has such a fusion, the older fusion from this ability ends.
You must have the crusader’s blade, dimensional blade, or martial prowess centurion trait in order to select this centurion trait.
Wallbreaker (Ex): You have trained yourself to overcome the limits of physical exhaustion and trauma, a limit known in Xorarcan philosophy as “the inner wall.” You gain a +4 bonus to Constitution checks to continue running, to avoid damage from a forced march, to hold your breath, and to avoid damage from starvation or thirst. You also gain a +4 bonus to Fortitude saving throws to avoid taking damage from hot or cold environments, to withstand the harmful effects of thick and thin atmospheres, to avoid choking when breathing in heavy smoke, and to avoid fatigue caused by sleep deprivation.
Additionally, as a move action you can recover a number of Stamina Points equal to your character level. Once you have used this ability in this way, you cannot do so again until you have recovered Stamina during a 10-minute rest.
Warrior Spirit (Ex): You can call upon the legendary Xorarcan determination to overcome great adversity. Once per day when you fail at an attack roll or saving throw, as a reaction you may immediately reroll the failed attack or save with a bonus equal to your character level.
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Once again, I was watching the show Forged in Fire, and found myself moved to write Pathfinder Roleplaying Game stats for the features weapon. In this case it was a pollaxe, which is similar in some regards to the halberd and lucerne hammer, but distinct enough (and was common enough) I think it deserves its own write-up.
Martial Two-Handed Weapon
Name Cost Dmg (S) Dmg (M) Crit Weight Type Special
Pollaxe 30gp 1d8 1d10 x2 7 lbs. B/S/P Brace, Trip
A pollaxe is a common weapon among knights and those who must face heavily armored foes on foot. It has a wooden haft between fix and six-and-a-half feet long, with languets running along the top third or half. A metal head is mounted to the top, which features an axe blade, hammerhead, and spike. It is often confused with the halberd (which has a larger axe blade and normally no hammer), and the lucerne hammer (which has a clawhead rather than an axe blade).
A proficient character can use a pollaxe one-handed. Whenever a pole-axe is used one-handed, it is a one-handed weapon, and it’s damage die is reduced by one step (to d8, for S/M weapons).
A proficient character using a pollaxe two-handed, and who has the Lunge feat, can use Lunge with the pollaxe while taking only a -1 penalty to AC (rather than the normal -2).
A proficient character using a pollaxe two-handed, and who has the Combat Patrol feat, can use Combat Patrol as a standard action (rather than the full round action).
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The Xorarcan are legendary as a humanoid warrior-species with an ancient history, but the truth of their existence is far more complex.
They evolved on the dead world of Xorarca, a high-G planet which has little water, extreme temperature shifts, and numerous radioactive heavy metals. Strength and resilience were crucial survival traits for all live on Xorarca, but the one humanoid race that evolved there clawed its way to the top of the food chain by adding planning, tools, and a willingness to sacrifice for the good of a larger community. No Xorarcan wants to die, but even more no Xorarcan wants to die uselessly. The idea of seeking a death that serves a greater good isn’t just a cultural element of Xorarcan life, it’s a survival instinct that developed as the only way for the species as a whole to thrive.
Long before Xorarca technological levels reach the point of space travel, they were discovered by a more advanced society who saw their value only in terms of slave labor and shock troops. Different races have been suggested as this conqueror of Xorarca, though native histories refer to them only as the Overlords. For millennia, the Overlords raided Xorarca every generation, taking the strongest and most accomplished warriors and engineers, and leaving behind only enough population to ensure that, with effort and sacrifice, there would be more potential slaves in another generation.
Xorarcan history states that in time the Overlords empire collapsed, and their many enslave races were left adrift. Most fell into barbarism and developed into petty warlords fiefdoms, but the Xorarcan drive to live a life that meant something caused many of them to strive to build something more. Over centuries, ships of Xorarcan who had never set foot on their native soil returned home, in ships cobbled together from Overlord technology or earned from other races through mercenary service. All were welcomed back as lost kin, and accepted into the greater Xorarca community.
But Xorarca was still a harsh world, and it could not support such an enlarged population. It became clear that for the Xorarcans to survive, they must continue to travel among the stars. The species does not wish to a find a new homeworld, but it does want to protect the world and culture that birthed it. In each generation, more than 75% of the Xorarcans born on their homeworld find themselves driven to leave native soil, for the good of their brethren. To ensure no new empire of Overlords ever seeks to enslave them again, and to protect their homeworld, those Xorarcans who leave take on warrior roles and work to establish a presence throughout the galaxy as acknowledged masters of war and defense. While the species has its share of poets, engineers, philosophers, mages, priests, actors, and even criminals, those who leave their world see projecting strength as a species a crucial step to protecting their beloved homeworld.
Similarly, Xorarcans abroad seek to be known as honest and good to their word, to ensure that deals made by their homeworld are respected and valued. This is not to say all Xorarcans are good or kind—a Xorarcan criminal simply ensures that any threat made can and will be carried out, and Xorarcan cheats avoid making any statement regarding the falsehoods they depend on.
Xorarcans value community, and even a lone member of the species far from home looks to find allies they can trust and protect. Most Xorarcans are taught from birth that their first and greatest duty is to their homeworld and their species, but a Xorarcan may choose duty and loyalty to a community of choice over one of inheritance.
Ability Scores. Xorarcans have a wide range of body types and mental traits, and despite a reputation for being strong and narrow-minded are actually among the most varied of species. A Xorarcan gains a +2 bonus to two ability scores of their choice, and take a -2 penalty to one ability score of their choice.
Size, Type,Vital Statistics: Xorarcans are Medium humanoids with the Xorarcan subtype. A typical Xorarcan stands 5’10” to 7 feet tall, and weighs 190-280 pounds. They reach the age a maturity at 15 years, and have a maximum age of 100 + 2d20 years.
Move: Xorarcans have a 30 foot land speed. If any effect reduces their speed by a set amount, that reduction is decreased by 5 feet.
Darkvision: Xorarcans have darkvision with a range of 60 feet.
Plain Speech. Xorarcans are renowned for being straightforward and good as their world, and find getting what they want through deception awkward and uncomfortable. They receive a -4 penalty to Bluff checks to lie (though not for any other task of the skill), and a +2 bonus to Diplomacy and Intimidate checks.
Independent: Xorarcans have evolved to be difficult to control, and even-tempered. They receive a +2 bonus to all saving throws against mind-affecting to emotion effects, and the DC to bully them with Intimidate is 5 higher than normal.
Harsh Homeworld: Xorarcans take no penalties in thin, normal, or thick atmospheres. They treat hot environments as 30 degrees cooler, and cold ones as 30 degrees warmer, for purposes of environmental hazards. They treat high gravity as standard gravity and extreme gravity as high gravity (even for purposes of determining bulk).
THEME: XORACAN WARRIOR
Many of the traits considered “inherent” to Xorarcans are actually cultural norms ingrained in all Xorarcans born and raised on their homeworld of Xorarca. While theoretically a non- Xorarcan could be raised in the same manner, such as a human adopted by Xorarcan parents or a shirren born to diplomats on Xorarca who have adopted its culture and have numerous native friends, normally only Xorarcans can take this theme.
Theme Knowledge. Xorarcans know the universe is a cold, harsh place and train their young to be prepared to use even protection available to them. You begin play proficient with heavy armor. If the class you take at 1st level is already proficient with heavy armor, you begin play proficient with powered armor. If the class you take at 1st level is already proficient with powered armor, you reduce the armor check penalty of any armor you wear by 1 (minimum 0). Additionally, you can alter any armor you wear to match the appearance of traditional Xorarcan war-gear with 1 day of work, giving you a +2 bonus to Intimidate checks to demoralize while wearing it.
Armored Juggernaut [6th]. At 6th level, you ignore the bulk of any armor you wear. Additionally, when wearing heavy armor or powered armor, your unarmed attacks deal damage equal to the solar weapon of a solarian of a level equal to your character level.
Rugged [12th]: At 12th level you can, once per day, when wearing armor, grant yourself a number of temporary Hit Points equal to your level. These fade after 10 minutes or when used.
Unstoppable [18th] At 18th level, your ability to overcome adversity is so great you gain determination when things turn against you. The first two times each day when facing a significant enemy you take a critical hit or fail a saving throw, you gain one Resolve Point.
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As far as I can tell, the urge to do this species came straight from the art, by the amazing Jacob Blackmon. Certainly nothing else I can think of inspired this. The write up should work for both the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the Starfinder Roleplaying Game.
The ichthine are an ancient, accomplished species who have had access to star travel for millions of years. Able to place themselves into a natural form of hibernation, their species travelled the stars in vast slower-than-light ships to explore and learn. However, lacking any way to communicate with each other or their homeworld, each ichthine ship became its own hub of knowledge and developed its own culture. Most eventually began to break down in systems lacking the technology to repair or replace their advanced systems, and the ichthine inhabitants within eventually choose a new world to colonize. Ichthine than thus be found on thousands of world, many of which have no native star-travel capacity, or have only developed such capacity in recent centuries. If the original ichthine homeworld is still populated, none of the current ichthine populations know where it is. It has even been suggested the ichthine originated in a different galaxy, though most scholars dismiss this as hyperbolic legend.
Ichthine culture has survived, however, in part because they have a remarkable racial memory that retains a great deal of core knowledge from generation to generation. Each ichthine is born knowing the Aquan language, already able to speak and understand basic phrases, with a general knowledge of the history of their line. Thus most ichthine populations are aware of their long history of star travel, even those living on worlds with no more than iron age levels of technology. While the ichthine diaspora happened so long ago that many isolated ichthine populations have evolved to look radically different than their distant cousins, most recognize their kinship to ichthine of all types, and can remember in general terms a time when they had a united appearance.
On many worlds ichthine are known as “grandparent fish,” and are considered skilled advisors and scholars, Icthine generally take a long view of things, from history to politics to religious tolerance. This partially comes from their long lifespans and partially from their racial memories, but also seems to be a natural tendency of the species. While young ichthine are significantly more excitable than their older relatives, even as “tads” ichthine generally contemplate major actions and their consequences before diving into them.
However, once an ichthine has decided a risk or consequence is worth the benefit that causes it, they are loathe to reconsider that opinion without significant new evidence. This sometimes leads to ichthine picking up damaging vices, or remaining friends with people who have changed from being short-sighted or brash to being genuinely destructive or evil. Ichthine also think strongly in terms of groups, and hate excluding anyone once they have been accepted into any social or cultural organization.
(Art by Jacob Blackmon. Available as stock art here!)
Ichthine are Medium monstrous humanoids. Despite their fishlike appearance, they can easily manipulate items with their nimble fins as well as a human with two normal hands.
+2 Wis, +2 Cha, -2 Str. Ichthine are calm and caring, often contemplating how helping others may help them as well, but have frame ill-suited to the leverage needed for optimized application of strength.
Movement. Ichthine have a 20-foot move rate, and a 30-foot swim rate.
Deep Senses. Ichthine have low-light vision and darkvision. When in a liquid environment, they also have blindsight, 30 feet.
Amphibious. Ichthine can breath air and water with equal ease.
Depth acclimated. Icthine ignore penalties for high pressure, both in water and in normal atmosphere.
Hibernate (Ex). As a full action an ichthine can slow its metabolism to a crawl, radically reducing its need for air, water, and food. In this state it does not suffocate or starve, and is considered unconscious for most purposes. However, a hibernating ichthine can make Perception checks at -10 to notice changes to its environment while hibernating, and choose to end its hibernation as a full action. A DC 10 Medicine check is required to differentiate between a hibernating ichthine and a dead one. An icthine’s hibernation can last for tens of thousands of years with no harm.
Racial Memory (Ex). An ichthine can attempt a recall lore task with untrained skills, regardless of the check’s DC. An ichthine receives a +2 bonus to all recall lore checks. If the recall lore check is for questions relating to the ichthine’s own heritage, this bonus increases to +10.
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Some weird, awesome stuff came out in the 1980s, that impacted my geek trajectory significantly. The Awesome 80s line of blog posts is about sharing some of the things I have been inspired to create by movies, shows, games, and literature of that decade. In this case, it’s gazer guns, optical weapons that use the optic nerves (or cameras) to access the nervous systems.command circuits of a target and shut them down.
This one is a bit more obscure so I’ll mention, there was this 1981 science fiction film written and directed by Michael Crichton called Looker…
Gazer guns create bolts of intense optical patterns that, when perceived by optical nerves, travel directly to the brain and can short-circuit the nervous system (or control circuitry) of nearly any creature with sight. Gazer gun attacks are made against a target’s EAC.
The damage dice of a gazer gun don’t indicate points of damage, but instead the number of rounds an affected creature is dazzled. If a gazer gun affects a creature that is already dazzled, the creature is instead dazzled, flat-footed and off-target for the duration indicated by the damage dice. If a gazer gun hits a target that is already dazzled, flat-footed, and off-target, the target must make a Fortitude save (DC 10 +1/2 weapon item level +attacker’s Dex modifier, minus any penalties that apply to the attack roll) or be dazzled, flat-footed, off-target, and staggered for the duration indicated by the damage dice. If a gazer gun hits a target that is already dazzled, flat-footed, off-target, and staggered, the target must make a Fortitude save (same DC) or be dazzled, flat-footed, off-target, and dazed for the duration indicated by the damage dice.
A creature dazed by a gazer gun does not notice the passage of time while dazed, and is not aware of events that happen within the condition’s duration.
A gazer gun cannot make attacks against creatures that cannot see the attacker, including those that are blinded or sightless.
All gazer guns are of light bulk, and have a capacity of 20 and a usage of 1.
|Untyped Small Arms|
|Gazer, astarte||1||200||1d2||Staggered||20 ft.|
|Gazer, qetesh||4||2,500||1d3||Staggered||30 ft.|
|Gazer, hathor||8||10,000||1d4||Stunned||30 ft.|
|Gazer, turan||10||19,000||2d3||Stunned||40 ft.|
|Gazer, nanaya||12||44,000||2d4||Stunned||50 ft|
|Gazer, venus||14||90,000||2d5*||Stunned||60 ft|
|Gazer, xochipili||16||200,000||2d6||Stunned||70 ft|
|Gazer, prende||18||400,000||2d7*||Stunned||80 ft|
*If you do not have access to d5s, this damage can be 1d4+1d6. If you do not have access to d7s, this damage can be 1d6+1d8.
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An awooginator is an unusual weapon, popular with pacifists, some law-enforcement groups, anarchists, and some tactical combat teams. It does nothing but create a technologically-generated psychic wave that causes all creatures in the area to hear a loud claxonlike noise, which is most often written as “awoooGA” by those who try to express the sound to people who have never been on the wrong end of an awooginator. Because the waves of psychic energy are carried along an electromagnetic field to affect the nervous systems of creatures, things like armor and cover can protect a target from the awooginator’s effects. To be affected, a target must be in the weapon’s blast, and it must successfully hit the target’s EAC.
The psychically-generated sound is spectacularly sudden, loud, and distracting. Targets are thrown off-target for a number of rounds equal to 1/5th the awooginator’s item level (minimum 1 round), and can be deafened by it (even though the sound is psychic, rather than real), as the target is overcome by the sheer neurological memory of the phantom sound. All awooginator models are of light bulk, and have a capacity of 20 and a usage of 4.
|Awooginator, bellow||1||400||30 ft.||deafen||blast|
|Awooginator, horn||6||5,000||40 ft.||deafen||blast|
|Awwoginator, siren||11||22k||50 ft.||deafen||blast|
|Awooginator, claxon||16||146k||60 ft.||deafen||blast|
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Some weird, awesome stuff came out in the 1980s, that impacted my geek trajectory significantly. The Awesome 80s line of blog posts is about sharing some of the things I have been inspired to create by movies, shows, games, and literature of that decade. In this case, it’s the Kontos, a legendary line of throwing weapons that remain relevant even with the prevalence of far-future technology.
The origins of the Kontos can be traced back to a small world of humanlike beings who possessed a feudal society with primarily analog technology. They had some rudimentary control of magic, but primarily used it for healing and magical metallurgy, with anyone attempting more advanced magic (such as shapeshifting) generally being at best half-trained and often seen as lacking the power to do harm. However, several lines of these people had innate psychic powers. Those lines often rose to positions of nobility and royalty. Inbreeding then caused their powers to weaken, requiring them to be channeled through devices such as the original Kontos, a bladed throwing weapon though could be controlled telekinetically by even the most latent of psychics. This weapon evolved from spears and lances and is still called by the same name, despite clearly not being a polearm.
This minor world likely would have gone almost entirely unnoticed if an invading aberration had not landed a teleporting magitech starship on the surface and, treating it as a nigh-impregnable keep, moved to conquer the world. This caused once-opposing factions to join, combining two royal lines in such a way that they could both maximize the effectiveness of the Kontos, and granting them (and their offspring) powerful pyrokinetic powers. This alliance defeated the alien invades, backwards-engineered its teleporting hybrid starship’s magitech, and within a generation became a powerful starfaring power, bringing duplicates and variants of the original Kontos with them to the stars.
Rapid Returning Fusion
At its base, the Kontos is a typical thrown weapon with a special weapon fusion. This functions as the returning fusion, but the weapon returns immediately after each attack, allowing it to be used to make multiple attacks in the same turn. It also gains the penetrating special weapon quality. However, a character must meet the prerequisites for the Psychic Power feat to gain these additional benefits—for anyone else it functions purely as a returning thrown weapon.
The rapid returning fusion costs 125% of a normal fusion, and all Kontos have it added automatically (it is included in their base price). As a result, all Kontos are magic items.
The blades on a Kontos retract automatically when they approach their thrower, making it safe to catch and throw again quickly. All Kontos have light bulk.
|Advanced Melee Weapons, 1-hand|
|Kontos, guisarme||1||490||1d4 S||Knockdown||Thrown (20 ft.)|
|Kontos, fauchard||4||3,180||2d4 S||Knockdown||Thrown (30 ft.)|
|Kontos, volge||8||12,710||4d4 S||Staggered||Thrown (50 ft.)|
|Kontos, corseque||10||21,300||3d8 S||Staggered||Thrown (60 ft.)|
|Kontos, ranseur||12||49,000||4d8 S||Staggered||Thrown (70 ft)|
|Kontos, sovnya||14||95,100||6d8 S||Staggered||Thrown (80 ft)|
|Kontos, caber||16||215,000||8d8 S||Staggered||Thrown (90 ft)|
|Kontos, glaive||18||445,000||11d8 S||Staggered||Thrown (100 ft)|
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A gate gun creates a gate through hyperspace. The first time a gate gun is fired, it creates an “A” gate, which doesn’t do anything on its own. The second time it is fired, it creates a “B” gate. Each gate takes up one 5-foot square. Anything that enters an A gate is immediately teleported to the B gate, while maintain the same orientation and momentum. This includes light, so the gates can be used to establish line of sight and line of effect for Perception checks, spells, ranged attacks, and so on.
An A gate lasts 1 round per level of the gate gun, or until an associated B gate collapses. A B gate lasts 1 round per level of the gate gun. Thus if you have a 5th level gate gun, when you establish an A gate it lasts 5 rounds on its own. If during this time you create a B gate, the A-B gate pair them lasts 5 rounds from that moment. Then both collapse. If you trigger a gate gun when there are no gates associated with it, or when there is a full A-B gate pair, you create an A gate, and any old gates collapse. If you fire a gate gun when it just has an A gate open, you automatically create a B gate paired to it.
A gate gun has a maximum range of 10 feet per level, both for how far away it can create a gate, and how far apart those gates can be. If you attempt to create a gate too far from the gate gun or too far from its paired gate, all gates collapse. If travel between pair gates draws a line through a force effect or at least 1 inch of star metal, the travel fails (though the gates remain active, and they can’t be used to establish line of effect or line of sight).
Gate guns aren’t illegal in most jurisdictions, but carrying one is often seen as evidence you are a thief, spy, or voyeur.
|Gate gun, Brandenburg||4||3,200||40 ft.||80/20||L|
|Gate gun, Meridian||7||8,500||70 ft.||80/20||L|
|Gate gun, Ishtar||11||34,000||110 ft.||100/25||L|
|Gate gun, Buland Darwaza||15||125,000||150 ft.||100/20||L|
|Gate gun, Triomphe||19||725,000||190 ft.||100/10||L|
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We’ve explained ThemeTypes—a kind of character option that uses both your theme and an archetype to make a bigger change to your character that either could by itself—and presented a number of specific ThemeTypes designed to be alternate multiclass rules for adding some envoy, mechanic (drone), mechanic (exocortex), mystic, operative, and technomancer class abilities to a character.
But ThemeTypes can do much more than replace multiclass rules. That can open up whole new realms of character concepts, allowing for roles and ideas that are more than just a background or a subset of any one character class, but don’t rise to the level of needing their own character class. These are things like champions of interstellar police forces, space-faring knights-errant, and entities who have had their whole bodies replaced with transforming cyborg frames. Within each of these concepts, a character could still be an envoy, soldier, mystic, and so on. Indeed, entire campaigns can be built around such role-based ThemeTypes, emulating popular comics and cartoon series that focus on one specific group of starfaring heroes, while still exploring the individuality of each character.
As an example of this kind of sweeping, character-defining ThemeType, we present the LawStar Justicar.
The LawStar is an organization that promotes order, justice, and safety throughout the known galaxy. A central LawStar Executive exists that works to build systems and train agents to end war and crime, support peace and prosperity, and oppose evil and suffering in all forms. Seven LawWorlds form the core of this organization, each ruled by a branch of the Executive and operating under the LawStar Code, which promotes fairness, freedom, and equal treatment. It is believed that the LawStar Executives themselves answer to a High Executive, a being of pure beneficent order, which may be an angel, demigod, or ancient alien species that have long since become creatures of pure energy.
Typical LawStar agents and even LawStar fleets and ground forces operate mostly in lawless zones, applying the most widely-recognized, democratically selected laws against slavery, piracy, tyranny, and oppression. Any world can request LawStar enforce such laws on that world with a general referendum of the population, with a 2/3 majority being seen as the will of the people, regardless of the will of the government.
But even beyond the agents, judges, and executives, the most elite members of the LawStars are the Justicars.
The Code of the LawStar
It is the right of all Sapients,
To Live free of slavery, tyranny, torture, or oppression.
To Choose their own life path, to Gather and to Freely Express Themselves,
To be treated with Dignity, Fairness, and Compassion,
And to be able to seek Redress for wrongs against them.
This is the Code of the LawStar.
We Live by the Code, We Die by the Code.
Those individuals who show an extraordinary aptitude for investigation, law enforcement, compassion, and drive, are sometimes selected to become LawStar Justicars. While such candidates are often taken from the ranks of LawStar agents and officers, it is not unknown for a Justicar position to be offered to a sapient creature with no connection to, or even knowledge of, the LawStars.
Justicars are considered the LawStar elite, but they are also outside of the lawStar’s normal chain of command. Each LawStar Justicar is an authority onto itself, and neither takes orders from, nor has any power to give orders to, any other LawStar. If a LawStar Justicar turns from the Code of the LawStar, it is the duty of any Justicar who learns of this breach to make amends for their kin’s wrongdoing, and to insure that such wrongdoing stops. Of course the fact that the LawStar sigil cannot be made to function for those with evil intent generally makes this easier, but there are cases of LawStars who truly wish to do good to be so damaged or mistaken in their beleifs that they must be stopped by other Justicars.
The sign, and power source, of the Justicars are their LawStar Sigils, powerful hybrid items that defy all efforts to determine their origin, function, or power source. Each Justicar is offered a sigil when offered the role of starfarer agents of justice, and once accepted it becomes part of their spiritual essence. It appears as a ring, broach, piercing, or similar item appropriate for the Justicar’s species, but is in fact inherent to each Justicar—it cannot be removed, damaged, or destroyed, it fades when a Justicar dies, and it returns if they are raised from the dead.
Justicars often work with similarly gifted individuals who are outside the LawStar organization to seek out injustice and tyranny and oppose it, though small bands of Justicars also sometimes form to tackle more significant issues.
LawStar Justicar ThemeType
LawStar Knowledge (Ex, Theme, 1st Level): At first level, you gain Culture as a class skills. If you already have Culture as a class skill, you instead gain a +1 bonus to all Culture checks. Additionally, you gain limited telepathy. If you already have (or later gain) limited telepathy, you instead gain a number of bonus languages equal to your character level, which only count as languages for purposes of determining what creatures you can use your limited telepathy with.
LawStar Sigil (Su, Archetype, 2nd Level): You can absorb nonliving equipment into your LawStar Sigil. This takes ten minutes per item, and requires the equipment be unattended. If the equipment has proficiency requirements, passwords, activation phrases, security measures, or prerequisites for use, you must have full access to all of the item’s abilities before it can be absorbed. You can absorb items with an item level no greater than your character level +2, and can have a maximum number of items absorbed equal to your maximum number of Resolve Points. While absorbed in your ring the equipment is nonfunctional and safe form outside influences, though time passes for it normally. Items in your LawStar Sigil do not count towards your maximum bulk. You can have no more bulk worth of items absorbed into your LawStar Sigil that your two highest ability scores.
Your LawStar Sigil gives you the benefit of any one suit of armor (and its upgrades, as well as its drawbacks such as slower speed or Max Dex Bonus to AC) absorbed into it at a time, and you can swap what suit of armor that is as swift or move action. If you have a suit of powered armor in your LawStar Sigil, you can manifest it using the rules below separately from gaining the benefits of a suit of absorbed light armor. You can change what upgrades are in what absorbed armors during a ten-minute rest without a check of any kind, though upgrades must be placed in armors able to accommodate them.
You can manifest any other items absorbed into your LawStar Sigil as hardlight constructs from your sigil, and use them normally. If you use a consumable item, it is no longer absorbed into your LawStar Sigil, and equipment needs batteries, ammunition, fuel, and similar charges normally, and can be reloaded normally. Any item destroyed or disarmed or stolen from you is removed from the items absorbed in your LawStar Sigil.
You can’t use the appendage your LawStar Sigil is on for any other function while you have equipment manifested. However, your LawStar Sigil can support two hands/limbs worth of items without using any other hands from you. If you need to use more equipment than that, you can handle your manifested equipment normally. You cannot manifest more items than you can wield at once.
You can drop a manifested item, causing it to fully form (no longer as a hardlight construct) an no longer count towards items absorbed in your LawStar Sigil.
LawStar Sigil Flight (Su, Archetype, 4th Level): Your LawStar Sigil grants you 30 feet of flight when in a vacuum or zero-G environment.
Improved LawStar Sigil Absorption (Theme, 6th Level): Your LawStar Sigil causes all absorbed items to count as having an item level at least equal to your character level for purposes of determining hardness, Hit Points, and save DCs. This is true even while such items are manifested, but not if they are dropped. Additionally, all damaged equipment absorbed in your LawStar Sigil regains a number of Hit Points equal to your character level whenever you take an 8-hour rest and regain your daily abilities.
Greater LawStar Sigil Flight (Su, Archetype, 4th Level): Your LawStar Sigil grants you 30 feet of flight.
Improved LawStar Sigil Absorption (Su, Archetype, 9th Level): Your LawStar Sigil can now manifest (a LawStar Sigil nd allow you to wield) two additional arms worth of hardlight equipment.
Improved LawStar Sigil Environmental Protection (Su, Theme, 12th Level): Your LawStar Sigil can now grant you environmental protection for a number of weeks equal to your character level. You must forgo any environmental protection from your LawStar Sigil (including from any armor absorbed into it) for 24 hours to recharge this ability.
LawStar Sigil Space Travel (Su, Archetype, 12th Level): Your LawStar Sigil flight speed increases to 60 feet. Additionally, you can fly through space to travel from point-to-point on a planet, go into orbit or land, reach satellite, or travel in-system using the starship Standard Navigation and Astrogation rules. You cannot enter hyperspace using your LawStar Sigil, nor leave hyperspace if already there, though you can fly around within hyperspace normally.
LawStar Telekinesis (Sp, Theme, 18th Level): You can use the sustained force function of the telekinesis spell at will, and use the combat maneuver function 5 times per day. Additionally, you can carry willing, unconscious, or helpless creatures weighing no more than 2,000 lbs and extend your LawStar Sigil’s environmental protections to them, though each creature you carry reduces the number of limbs worth of equipment you can manifest as hardlight by one.
LawStar Starship Construct (Su, Archetype 18th): Your LawStar Sigil can now absorb one starship, with the same restrictions on access and passwords as absorbing equipment. You can access this starship as a hardlight construct, as long as you are in the same system, or gain its abilities when engaging in starship combat. The LawStar Sigil will fill any role you do not, and has a flat bonus equal to your character level for any checks in makes.