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Technomancer Mind-Affecting Spells II

We’re exploring the design space of technomacner mind-affecting spells.

If we want a mind-affecting spells to feel like a viable concept for a technomancer (which is the only time at which it would make sense to select the robot influence magic hack), we’re going to need at least two different mind-affecting spells at each spell level for 1st and higher, and at least one 0-level spell.

Which sounds like a great subject for a short series of blog posts!

We already did two 1st-level spells, and there’s already daze monster at 2nd, so let’s look at a 0-level and a 2nd-level.

Fragmented uses fatigue as a comparison to make sure we’re still at a 0-level spell’s power level.

Fragmented  [Technomancer 0]
School enchantment (mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range touch
Targets one creature
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes
You can fragment the mental processes of the target, causing them to feel disrupted and attacked by slivers of old sensations and memories. You make a melee attack against a single target’s EAC, adding your key ability score modifier to the attack roll instead of your Strength modifier if it is higher. The target must succeed at a Will save or be sickened for the spell’s duration. Casting this spell doesn’t provoke attacks of opportunity.

Malware is much more complex, but we still looked at hold person and daze monster as comparisons. It’s designed to be of use even if the target succeeds at a save, without even being as completely incapacitating as hold person and daze monster. It’s compulsion has strong limits, but still gives some interesting options within those limitations.

Malware [Technomancer 2]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range Medium (100 ft. +10 ft./level)
Targets one creature
Duration 1 round/level
Saving Throw Will partial; Spell Resistance yes
You insert a psychic control program into the target, causing you to have some control over its actions. The target must make a will save. If it succeeds it fights off the control program, but doing so causes it to be staggered for 1 round. If it fails, the creature is staggered for the spell’s duration, but you can also give it one command each round. If the target takes a standard action, you can command it to take a specific additional move action. If it takes a move action, you can command it to take a specific additional standard action. If the action you command it to take places itself or its allies in direct risk, it gains an additional saving throw with a +5 bonus to end your ability to give it orders, though it remains staggered for the spell’s duration.

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Design Space: Technomancer mind-affecting spells I

Sometimes a game has rules or options that suggest there are things that should exist, but they don’t. Or at least, they don’t existing in the form or to the degree they should. This is often a sign of a good ‘design space,’ a place where a game seems to need more material designed for it, where the existing rules don’t feel every reasonable iteration of the concept, and where such material won’t feel extraneous or uninteresting.

As a negative example, there’s not much design space between a shortsword that does 1d6 damage, and a longsword that does 1d8 damage. There are certainly things you can do (some companies make 7-sided dice, you can add or remove other elements such as cost and weapon traits and proficiency, and so on). So yes, you could make a ‘broadsword’ that cost more than a short sword, and weighed more, and did a d8 damage, but was easier to gain proficiency in than a longsword. But it’ll feel :showhorned in,” and not be as useful an addition to the game as a weapon with a totally different damage die or some more clear differentiating feature.

A positive example is in the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, where technomancers have a magic hack (“robot influence”) that allow them to affect constructs, robots, and other creatures that have the technological subtype, even if they’re mindless or would normally be immune.

Now, think about what mind-affecting spells a technomancer would use that with. … Right. Daze monster doesn’t suck, but it’s not worth a whole magic hack. The problem, of course, is that mind-affecting spells don’t normally feel like they are closely connected to technology. But that’s a conceptual hurdle that can be overcome, and mind-affecting spells are such a broad category that we can design them to feel very different from existing spells that mystics and witchwarpers get.

So, let’s create some! Specifically some low-level, technology and computer culture-inspired mind-affecting technomaner spells!

Check the Comments [Technomancer 1]
School enchantment (compulsion, mind-affecting)
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Targets one creature
Duration one minute/level
Save Will negates

The target creature announced each action it is about to take before it takes it. If it is aware of a shared language it has with you, it uses that language to make these announcements, otherwise it uses its native language. If it announces an attack or effect that requires a saving throw, any creature that understands its announcement gains a +2 circumstance bonus to their AC or save against that effect. Additionally, if someone who understands the announcements readies an action to be triggered by an action the target announced, the readied action is triggered by the announcement, and thus is resolved before the triggering action. 

Dropped Pixel [Technomancer 1]
School enchantment (mind-affecting)

Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Targets one creature
Duration one minute/level
Save Will partial

The target creature cannot maintain any direct observation of you with a precise sense. They can track you with imprecise senses, but whenever they try to determine your exact  location or appearance they find themselves looking away, fixating on an item near you, or similarly not directly observing you. You gain concealment from the target. If the target succeeds at a Will save, the spell’s duration is reduced to 1 round.

PATREON
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Heightened Spellbook: New Spell Options for PF2

One of the interesting things Pathfinder second edition has done is have a uniform set of rules for casting spells at higher spell levels. Many spells end up taking niches similar to lesser- and greater- versions from the first edition by having a set of effects that get better as you access higher-level versions of the spell.

Of course not every Pathfinder Second Edition spell has heightened benefits… but they all COULD.

So, I’m beginning to look at ways to add heightened effects to PF2 spells that currently don’t have them. For the moment, I’m starting at the beginning of the alphabet and just seeing how far I get, doing just a few each day.

Later these may all get compiled into a pdf, and backers of my Patreon at every level will certainly have compiled access to them eventually, as well as having the similar rules for focus spells I am posting exclusively on my Patreon pages.

I don’t want to duplicate the fine work other people have done compiling the base rules online (such as the PF2 SRD and the Archives of Nethys), so I’ll just list the spell, and it’s new heightened rules.

So, let’s get started with the Heightened Spellbook!

ABYSSAL PLAGUE     Spell 5
Heightened (+2) Targets increases to +1 additional creature adjacent to the touched creature; disease level increases by +2.

AIR BUBBLE     Spell 1
Heightened (+1) Targets increases by +1; duration is doubled (x2 at 2nd level, x4 at 3rd level, etc.)

AIR WALK     Spell 4
Heightened (+2) Targets increases to +1 additional creature adjacent to the touched creature; duration is doubled (x2 at 6th level, x4 at 8th level, etc.)

ALTER REALITY     Spell 10
Heightened (+1) Level of spells you can duplicate in each category increases by +1.
(Note: You’ll need some rules for 11th level spells to use this one, but if you’re using spells from some rando’s blog, who knows what other optional spells you’ve adopted?)

ANIMAL MESSENGER     Spell 2
Heightened (2nd) Animal messenger will bring a message or light Bulk item back to you, as if the recipient has also cast this spell.
Heightened (+1)
 Range and duration is doubled for each time you add this heightened effect.

00 Dragon and Wizard - RetroPunk

Art (c) RetroPunk, used under license

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Social Technomancy for Starfinder

While the technomancer spells presented in the Starfinder Core Rulebook focus on mixing magic and specific, physical applications of technology, as residents of the modern world we know that technology is much more than a set of devices. Social technologies exist, from things like first aid techniques to social media to advances in the social sciences and philosophies, as well as data organization and storage techniques, metadata analysis, and so on. Surely in a galaxy that has spellcasters blending arcana with other fields of study, technomancy would leak into every aspect of advanced knowledge.

So, here are some technomancy spells that investigate other paces magic and advanced techniques might overlap. It also introduces some new focus rules—elements that are useful to casting a spell, but not mandatory.

Cram (T2)
School transmutation
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range touch
Target one creature
Duration 1 minute/level (see text)
Saving Throw Will negates (harmless); Spell Resistance yes (harmless)

With this spell, the caster can take the knowledge from any text-based, audio, or video source and implant it into the mind of the target creature. This grants the subject a number of bonus ranks in one skill of the caster’s choice to bring the target’s total ranks (their own ranks + bonus ranks) equal to half the caster’s level (for Int-, Wis-, or Cha-based skills) or 1/4 the caster level (for Str-, Dex-, or Con-based skills). A caster that has access to an infosphere can generally use this to grant ranks in any skill, or a computer can have sufficiently complete versions of the relevant information downloaded into it for the same cost and effort as adding a secure data module.

Focus: If the target has a source of information on the granted skill on their person (such as a book or a datapad with the information downloaded into it) the spell’s duration increases to 10 minutes/caster level.

Fashion Plate (T1)
School transmutation
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range touch
Target one set of clothing
Duration 1hour/level
Saving Throw Will negates (harmless); Spell Resistance yes (harmless)

This spell transforms the appearance of one set of clothes. The clothes may be transformed into a specific set of normal clothing, or they may be turned into clothes appropriate for a particular group of people. For example, a mage could change his ragged jeans and leather jacket into a business power suit, or skateboarding street gear, or a karate gi. This has no impact on any game mechanical bonuses the clothing offers—a cold weather suit works just as well when it appears to be swimming trunks. This spell ends if the clothing is taken off.

Focus: If the caster has access to fashion information about a specific group (normally available automatically with access to a related infosphere, or compiled with a DC 15 Culture check), this spell can make clothing appear to be perfect for interacting with a specific group or segment of society (such as a specific gang, or a specific social class in a specific city). When wearing clothing perfectly matched for such a group, the clothes grant a +3 circumstance bonus to all Charisma checks and Charisma-based skill checks made with that group. One set of clothing can only be perfect for one group at a time.

Instant Therapy (M2, T2)
School enchantment (language-dependent)
Casting Time 1 minute (see text)
Range close (25 ft. +5 ft/2 levels)
Target one creature
Duration Instantaneous
Saving Throw Will negates (harmless); Spell Resistance yes (harmless)

This spell removes the confusion condition from the target. It also acts as dispel magic and remove affliction against all fear and mind-affecting effects on the target and moves the target one step closer to healthy on the mental disease track.

Once a creature has been the target of this spell, it can’t be targeted again until it has undergone a 4-hour traditional therapy session.

Focus: If you have a mental health file for the subject, the casting time for this spell becomes 1 standard action. A target can give you a file they have access to, or one can generally be compiled over 24 hours with a recall knowledge Culture check or liberated from modestly-secured infosphere sources with a Computers check (both DC 15 + 1-1/2 target’s level).

Rap Sheet (T0)
School divination
Casting Time 1 minute
Range close (25 ft. +5 ft/2 levels)
Target one creature
Duration Instantaneous
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes

This spell gives the caster knowledge of one target’s legal record. This acts as a Culture check to gain information about the target as if the caster has ranks in Culture equal to her caster level and has access to a relevant database, but only covers information such as arrests, torts, convictions, adoptions, marriages, divorces, and bankruptcy. Only legal records are revealed, and only for the identity of the target as understood by the caster—disguises are not automatically penetrated and actual guilt or innocence is not revealed.

Speaking of Social Magic!

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Wilderness Spelltweets I

It’s a tad odd to still call these spelltweets, since they aren’t exclusive to twitter and even twitter doesn’t have the same character limit as when I first started these as a design challenge. But the core idea is the same, and it’s a bit more branded for me than just “spell variants.”

The idea is simple–take existing spells and make minor changes that cause them to serve a different purpose. The simplest version of such things is having a fireball do cold damage, but there are lots of other ways you can take rules that are already fully fleshed out, and make them work in new ways.

The base spells for all of these come from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Ultimate Wilderness. They are organized by base spell, rather than by the variant spell name.

Hive Queen: Bard 4, druid 2, medium 3, mesmerist 2, ranger 3, shaman 2, witch 2.
As alpha instinct, but applies to vermin, gives no bonus to Handle Animal but does allow you to use it with vermin as if they were animals.

Ultramount: Antipaladin 3, druid 4, paladin 3, ranger 4, shaman 4, summoner 3
As aquatic cavalry, but the summoned hippocampi also have land speeds of 60 and fly speeds of 30.

Die For Me: Antipaladin 4, mesmerist 4, witch 4
As bleed for your master, but the target is one creature with an attitude toward you of indifferent or better. If the creature’s attitude changes after the casting, it remains affected.

Hospice: Bard 5, cleric 4, paladin 4, psychic 4, shaman 4, summoner 6
and Greater Hospice: Cleric 7, psychic 7, shaman 7
As callback and greater callback, but target is one willing creature and anytime the target takes damage that would normally trigger the spell it may, if conscious, choose for the spell to not take effect.

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Undead Agent

A short description of a complex spell.

Undead Agent

School Necromancy (shadow); Level cleric/wizard 7

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

 

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Song of Doom Goom

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

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

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

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

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

Speaking of Links

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SpellTweet: Entropic Block

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

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

Astra Arcanis I

Two new Starfinder Roleplaying Game spells! Both based on vehicles.

Polymorph Vehicle (Technomancer 3)
Casting Time 1 full action
Range touch
Target One vehicle with an item level no greater than your caster level
Duration 1 hour/level
Saving Throw Fortitude negates (object)      Spell Resistance yes

You can transmute a vehicle (but not starship) into any other vehicle of a lower item level. The vehicle becomes a typical, “stock” version of the new vehicle, not one that has any special equipment or upgrades. The vehicle must be empty of all passengers and cargo to be affected by this spell. The vehicle retains any damage it had on it before you cast the spell, and if this damage would causes it to be broken or have 0 HP in its new form, the spell fails. At the end of the spells duration, the vehicle is restored of half the damage it took in its transformed form. When the spell ends (even if dispelled), it takes one minute for the vehicle to assume its original form, and any creature or cargo that cannot fit in the new form is ejected harmlessly at the end of this time.

Vehicle Link (Mystic 3)
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range touch
Target One creature and one vehicle
Duration 1 hour/level
Saving Throw Fortitude negates (object)      Spell Resistance yes

You forge an eldritch bond between one creature and a specific vehicle that creature is within. The creature gains an intuitive understanding of the vehicle and its control, allowing the creature to use Acrobatics checks in place of Pilot checks to operate the vehicle, and granting the creature a +2 circumstance bonus to all skill checks made in regards to the vehicle. Additionally, anytime the vehicle takes damage, the creature may opt to reduce the damage the vehicle takes by half, and apply that amount of damage to itself. The creature must make this decision immediately after the amount of damage done to the vehicle is determined.

More Star Magic

I have a Patreon, where I posted the reload spell for mystics and tecnomancers as (at the moment) exclusively-patron bonus content.

Even More Star Options

There are tons of new spells for the Starfinder Roleplaying Game in the Starfarer’s Companion, available at DriveThruRPG, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store!

Tailorthurgy

I don’t know if I have a lot of tailorthurgy spells in me, but one came to mind.

Bundle Up

School abjuration; Level bard 0, cleric 0, occultist 0, shaman 0, sorcerer/wizard 0, witch 0

Casting Time 1 standard action

Components V, S

Range touch

Target one outfit

Duration 1 hour

Saving Throw Fortitude negates (harmless); Spell Resistance yes (harmless)

You cause one touched outfit to grant to its wearer the benefits of any one other outfit with a base cost of 10 gp or less. It retains any of its normal benefits. An outfit can only have a single bundle up spell on it at a time. If a new bundle up spell is cast on an unattended outfit, it replaces any older bundle up spell. If a new bundle up is cast on an outfit someone is wearing, the wearer knows what outfit benefit the spell grants the outfit, and can choose to allow the new spell to take effect, or not.

Only worn items referred to in their title as outfits benefit from this spell.

Patreon Exclusive Content

Okay, while writing that one MORE came to mind, the repattern spell, which I opted to offer as exclusive content to my patrons.

Check it out!