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Jul 15, 2017

Oh, lord. I think they ripped off one of the ghosts from The Real Ghostbusters for Chapel Wight. Just tried to make it edgelord.


Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012

Night10194 posted:

What kind of idiot puts tons of 'Haha you won the fight now die for it' mechanics in their game anyway.

Does every monster have this Killing Blow thing?

Most of them do. Some don't. Most of them are really boring poo poo, like "Take +2 to next saving throw" or "Your next attack does maximum damage" type stuff. I'll only mention them when they're permanent or narrative.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

All This Can Be Yours

Birthrights are the divine gifts granted to you. They come in four varieties, all of which are pretty customizable: Creatures, Followers, Guides and Relics. Demigods and Gods get access to other Birthrights, but these are what you have for now.

Creatures are...well, mythic beasts that serve, ranging from Inari's foxes to Odin's ravens to basilisks or dragons. They might be intelligent or might not, though they are unlikely to be the brightest creatures - if you want a person that listens to you, take Followers instead of Creature. Creatures are more...pets, companions, mounts. They are loyal and obedient, though they may require negotiations if they're smart enough. If not, it can be assumed that they know at least (dot level) commands and will obey them. Creatures are assumed to be willing to die for you, as long as you seem to be loyal to them as well, though they aren't suicidal and won't go looking for their own death for no reason. Creatures are constructed as Antagonists - they have a base primary dicepool, determined by their dot level, and then you buy Flairs and Qualities for them at a rate of 2 dice per Flair or Quality you want. At the end of this, you take your dicepool size for the primary and match that to the appropriate Antagonist archetype, from what I can tell, to fill out their stats. You get to define their primary dicepool, but it needs to thematically match them. Obviously, any Tension costs must be paid with Momentum, instead.

Creature 1 is generally for small, mundane and largely ineffectual critters - they have a base dicepool of 3 before spending.
Creature 2 is for a larger mundane critter - a wolf or crocodile, say - or a weak mythological critter, like a Chinese fox or a serpopard. Base dicepool 6.
Creature 3 is good for a modestly potent mythic creature, like a hellhound or pegasus. Base pool 9.
Creature 4 is a potent beast, like a manticore, guardian lion or anka. Base pool 12.
Creature 5 is something unique and terrifying, like a sphinx, basilisk or kirin. Base pool 15.

Followers are your companions, sidekicks or gangs. The Fianna, Pigsy and the Sand Monk, a band of Amazons, your faerie servant, whatever. Followers are assumed to be loyal, either because a god has ordered it or because you've earned it. They're generally sentient beings, and if mistreated enough they might leave, of course. Followers can be mortal, but most are mythic beings or at least touched by Fate. Your pet dog isn't a Follower unless it's a Cu Sith, and if your football team are your Followers, some of them are probably alfar. Followers are NPCs, but they don't make rolls normally. Instead, they function as a kind of living equipment for you that gives you extra options.

First, you need to define what your Followers are, which determines what they can do narratively. A football team, a flock of ravens and your bodyguard all do different stuff, after all. They have whatever equipment or items fit their concept. You also pick an Archetype for them, which determines what arena they're helpful in. These are: Heavy, for physical stuff, Entourage, for social stuff, and Consultant for mental stuff. Then, for each dot invested in them, Followers get one tag. They have one Bruised and one Maimed box before being Taken Out, and have Defense of half their rating. You and they can take damage for each other if you're both present, and they do not act independently. Rather, they act on your turn, and commanding them to do something takes your turn, using a roll of one of your Attributes, plus the higher of their rating and your Leadership. Followers that get Taken Out typically reform at the start of the next session; if they're gone for good, you get the dots back to spend on other Birthrights freely, including new Followers. The Followers are NPCs controlled by the ST when dice aren't involved, but you command them when dice are rolled. If they're unhappy and mutinous, they likely may produce Complications, but it is assumed that they will never actually betray you unless you're down with that OOCly. Singular Followers can't be Fatebound to anyone but their master, but members of Follower groups can be; however, anything that'd permanently remove such a character from play must have your consent.

Tags for Followers include Archetype (They get another Archetype), Group (they're actually a group of 5-15 guys), Mob (replaces Group, for a mob of 20-50 guys), Savage (they get Enhancement 2 on actions to harm others), Helpful (they add a free Interval to any Complex action that is in line with what they're good at), Knack (they get a single Knack they can use, which can be Immortal at Followers 4+) and Unruly (all Difficulties on actions to command them get +1, but you get 1 Momentum when you fail those rolls).

Guides are your mentors and day-to-day advisors; the average god has to be distant and avoid intervention except when strictly necessary, see, and even then they don't usually stick around long. Thus, you find your advice needs fulfilled elsewhere. Guides can be anything from a god's mortal Incarnation to a legendary critter like a kitsune or dwarf to a Titan or titanspawn to an oracle or witch to another Scion. Hell, if you want to get weird, a Guide could be a ghost or a talking Relic or your own prophetic dreams or past life memories. While a weaker Guide will likely have fewer dots, the dot value of a Guide is more about how useful they are. You could have an extremely potent Titan as a low-dot Guide if they can't or won't help you out very often.

The Guide is both a character and a resource, and the ST needn't stat it out fully unless they want to. Rather, a Guide can be invoked like a Path in order to get narrative benefits. If you call on the Guide this way too much, you get the Paying Tribute condition, which gives you a new Deed to repay your debt, and until you do, you Complication equal to the Guide's rating to any action that doesn't work towards doing that. Once per arc, you can call on your Guide for a deus ex machina solution, though only one Guide can be called this way at a time. Basically, by some means available to the Guide, they empower you. For the rest of the scene, you are treated as if you were a full Tier higher than you are and may use one Boon you don't know from a Purview you have access to. At the end of the scene, you get the Tempted Fate condition, which immediately compels one of your Fatebindings, and until you resolve a number of Fatebindings based on your Guide's dot level (more for a lower-dot Guide, as they had to call on more power), you can no longer access any of the benefits your Guide would normally provide, including any access to Boons or Knacks they allowed you to purchase.

All Guides provide access to a unique stunt that can be used with their Asset Skills when you invoke them; they have two Asset Skills (except for one-dot Guides, who only have one). They also provide any generalized access to equipment, allies, contacts and so on that a Path would, following the same rules as a Path. For every dot above the second, they also get one of the following benefits:
  • Access to a single Purview, which cannot be a Pantheon Signature Purview. You can call on it via your Pantheon's motif.
  • The ability to purchase Knacks in a single Calling. No guidance on how you slot them, but I assume any slot will work for them, and you use your Guide dot rating as the Calling's rating if that matters. I might be wrong on that.
  • A Legendary Title associated with the Guide, which you can use as if it were your own.
A Guide at 3+ may also have a unique Knack you get access to. Depending on the power of this Knack, it may be able to be combined with the above, or may take up one or even two 'slots' of Guide benefit.

The game provides a number of example Guides, including a bodhisattva (Guide 1), one of the Animikii (Guide 2), an Ifa diviner (Guide 2), a magic scarab beetle (Guide 3), the Titan White Eyebrow (Guide 3), an Incarnation of Itzpapalotl (Guide 4), an Incarnation of a Muse (Guide 4), a Kodama (Guide 5), or Preceptor Drona (Guide 5).

Next time: Relics, which are complicated.

Sep 10, 2003

peed on;

Ultiville posted:

My guess is the Chapel Wight name is a nod to Whitechapel and therefore Jack the Ripper, though that's also weird unless he had a shaving thing.
The shaving thing is probably a reference to the Victorian-era pop culture horror touchstone Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street.

Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*

Alien Rope Burn posted:

It's good to know there are proper monsters out there to enforce solid Christian values. Whoops, did you take the lord's name in vain? Well, here comes the magic skullblob that burrows its way into your spleen through your ear canal.

You say that like there isn't a monster in the book that specifically punishes blasphemers.

Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?

The SenZar Cosmology

Okay, so technically we're now more or less done with all the chargen material and are ready to move on to the combat rules, the radiation rules and the fluff. And also the rules for becomign a god. If anyone's interested, hit me up with a class/race combo and I can try making some example characters and seeing how silly we can get them right out of the gate(or very close to it).

Anyway, the fluff starts off with the HISTORY OF SENZAR. Once, long ago, there were great and powerful kingdoms and empires that were also total idiots because they practically murdered each other and almost left SenZar a dead world, until they had to band together to fight off an invasion that consisted of either aliens, demons or demon aliens. Then things were pretty cool for a few millennia, as no one blew up SenZar and were instead busy inventing cool new spells and enslaving various indigenous populations to serve as colonial holdings. It'd have been pretty great if the world hadn't been rocked by earthquakes, volcanoes and terrible weather, casting down all of the mighty empires.

That triggers the AGE OF SCREAMING SKULLS, which is a pretty good name for a terrible age where evil demon lords rule your world from the BLACK PYRAMID(this is also where most of the PC races are brought to SenZar, or their ancestors, at least, as slave labour or entertainment for the demon lords who've stolen them from various places in other solar systems and dimensions). Then there's a period of history where everyone briefly unites to kick the demon lords in the dick, then falls back into infighting, rinse and repeat for what is presumably a few millennia. As these ages go on, though, the demon incursions switch from "lets burn everything and make lamps out of their skulls" to "lets just promote racism, greed and the like and watch them set each other on fire while our minions take advantage of it."

At the point in history where the game is going, seven legendary heroes have returned as gods to stabilize the world, which has sort of worked, in that SenZar is no longer going to hell in a handbasket, but everyone who isn't a benevolent demigod still seems intent on trying to make it happen.

The creators also admit that SenZar's stellar circumstances(two moons, one of which is about 1.5x the size of Earth's, and the other of which is about half the size of Earth's, which are approximately half and a quarter the distance from SenZar that Earth's moon is from Earth, respectively) should more or less destroy it horribly in short order, but tell us not to worry about it, because it's loving magic. There's also a third moon, which is invisible. It's invisible because the SHADAR DEMON LORDS cursed it to more or less be a huge UV light burning with enough intensity to erase all life from SenZar's surface given enough time, so the forces of Good had to shift it out of reality entirely, except the spell was kludged together hastily, so during certain astronomical or spiritual conjuctions, it'll peek in briefly to give everyone a night-time tan.

I'm also scratching my head over the astronomical details. Apparently both moons orbit SenZar, but for one week out of every four, one of the moons "circles [the other moon] twice per night." I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around how this could possibly work out.

The calender and time stuff is more or less "it's Earth's but with more nicely rounded numbers and a few changed names," though the zodiacal signs are somewhat more badass. Capricorn? No, you're not a Capricorn, you're a ZONE OF DESTRUCTION. Seriously, THE ZONE OF DESTRUCTION is one of the zodiacal signs. Said Zone of Destruction is an "oopsie" by the primordial gods that more or less opened a torus-shaped Eye of Terror around the SenZar solar system more or less in line with the plane of the ecliptic. Sadly, despite it sounding like it earlier in the book, your zodiacal sign provides no goofy magical powers, bonuses or drawbacks. Instead it's more or less just a stereotypical personality description... more or less like real-world signs of the Zodiac.

It also turns out that SenZar and Earth(or "Terra") are located in the same universe, canonically, sort of. There's a fourth wall(The Dream Barrier) separating the two, but we're told it's not completely inviolate(also a couple of pages later we're told that the humans on SenZar were, in fact, imported from Earth in ancient times by the demon lords). We're also given a run-down on the various planes we can visit, which is more or less the standard, "here's where the Gods and souls go," "here's where the demons and bad guys go," "here's Time World, keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times," "here's the Border Ethereal, except we're calling it The Shadow World," "here's a vaguely described place called The Far Side of Shadow where the Eternals live," and "here's where magic goes when it's done being magical." It's not very creative, but it's functional. Plus, I kind of like the name Far Side of Shadow, it's neat.

There's a section on the various languages of SenZar and what they sound like, and whether they're spoken or written. About the only interesting thing I spotted was that, of course, the elven language is "lisping and ethereal." Because why wouldn't it be?

It's honestly not super detailed, in fact there's a baffling lack of information about the world itself and what's on it outside of general descriptions of some of the cultures(usually as off-hand remarks), repeated information(we get four separate sections on the moons. First a general one, then a second general one, then a third one about stories about them, and then a fourth one about the UV moon rather than just stuffing it in with the rest of the moons). But, it's cool, because now we finally get to the meat of the game. The thing we've been waiting for...


Yes, it has the three exclamation marks in the book, too. It starts off by telling us about the action economy, essentially each round is split into ten "phases," everyone goes in the first phase, then everyone with a second action goes in the second phase, everyone with a third action goes in the third face and so on. It's not a bad idea, because it allows for multiple actions without allowing someone with a shitload of them to alpha strike the rest of the fight out of action in the first round. If I remember right, WFRP handles multiple attacks in combat the same way, too, or at least somewhat similarly. Attacks always take one "phase" to pull off, but some stronger spells may be initiated in one phase and then not finish until you've gone through several more of them. Of course, spells that take more than one phase to finish might get interrupted if someone beats you over the head with a mace in the meantime. Sufficient Willpower might allow you to resist it(if you pass a WILL save), but it's far from guaranteed.

There's no rolling initiative, it's determined entirely by your Speed rating what order you go in, though ties are broken by a D20 roll.

I have to admit, this is probably one of the better initiative systems I've dealt with.

Also, as a basic combat action, aside from attacking, using items and casting spells, you can also try to browbeat someone with your charisma(or PRESENCE stat). If you have sufficient charisma, you can more or less stunlock or scare off a number of enemies equal to your charisma. If they fail a contested Presence roll, they will at the very least act last in every combat phase, possibly get shifted down a combat phase(so, for instance, rather than taking their first action in phase 1, they'd take it in phase 2), lose an entire combat round or, in a worst-case scenario, just run away. Some enemies may be too stupid or fearless for it to work, but in most cases, charisma is literally one of the strongest weapons on the SenZar battlefield if you can back it up with a sufficient speed stat.

In general the combat chapter is pretty well-organized and easily readable. The basic attack roll is also pretty simple. D20+Attack Value-Defense Value. 0-9 is a miss, 10 to 18 is a normal hit, 19 or 20 is a critical hit which does 2X damage and has a chance of crippling the victim(reducing their attack and defense values by 10 each, and penalizing all skills rolls by 10, until the damage done by the wound is completely healed).

It's not exactly 4th edition D&D, but it does also give combat characters more to do than just hitting enemies. Allowing for called attacks(which can lop off or destroy important parts of the target's body), dodges, parries, sweeping attacks, etc. it's honestly reasonably satisfying. Also nothing appears to prevent you from using your non-combat skills in a fight either, so it seems entirely possible to, for instance, use your pickpocketing to remove important stuff from enemies who aren't paying attention to you in the fray. In addition, some combat options not listed in this chapter, but instead in the skills chapter, like the various martial arts maneuvers.

There's also the sort of RAW stuff that the Murphy's thread could possibly have fun with. For instance, it doesn't say you can't act while asleep, merely that you have a -10 to all "applicable skill rolls" and saves while asleep. To me that reads like you can be a sleepwalking potion mixer if you're good enough at it. The whole combat chapter is also laden with decent suggestions for GM's on how to handle various situations or how to modify them.

More or less the entire combat chapter just solidifes my desire to one day run SenZar.

Next: Equipment(if it's interesting), making a character(if anyone wants me to) and then the Immortals' Rules

Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
You know Senzar doesn't sound that bad. Silly, but it doesn't sound like the bad kind of silly.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Yeah, it honestly sounds like it'd be fun for a big dumb metal album cover game.

Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
I'm honestly a bit sad that the creators of SenZar appear to have more or less vanished from the internet, because I'd love to get a .PDF version of SenZar, or maybe a slightly cleaned up version with a bit more setting info.

Hell, in general it'd be fun to watch the creators come back to SenZar and see what they'd change, with the intervening years, and what they'd keep. I really hope they'd keep the Sorcerer art, though, because it rules.

Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.

FMguru posted:

The shaving thing is probably a reference to the Victorian-era pop culture horror touchstone Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street.
I imagine it's meant to be a horrific compulsion which nonetheless does not actually leave you responsible for murder, merely the common trade in assault and battery that every adventurer distributes.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007

PurpleXVI posted:

Everything just explodes behind him. When he gets out of bed in the morning and goes to brush his teeth? Bed explodes. When he comes back? Sink and toothbrush explode. He's terrified of leaving the Watch Fortress for fear it might explode behind him, too. It could be a terrible curse, an always-too-late assassination plot, or maybe he's just really clumsy about forgetting where he leaves his grenades.

I blame the Eldar.
According to the Farseer, something terrible will happen when he returns. Returns where, the Farseer didn't say. So they blow up everything behind him to make sure he can never return to it.

Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!

PurpleXVI posted:

I'm honestly a bit sad that the creators of SenZar appear to have more or less vanished from the internet, because I'd love to get a .PDF version of SenZar, or maybe a slightly cleaned up version with a bit more setting info.

Hell, in general it'd be fun to watch the creators come back to SenZar and see what they'd change, with the intervening years, and what they'd keep. I really hope they'd keep the Sorcerer art, though, because it rules.

Both SenZar and World of Synnabar...and you know at its heart, even Rifts have the potential to be really fun if approached with the right attitude...and re-jiggered by someone with some actual game design chops.

Anyone know how World of Synnabar's new edition went? it was kind of amazing to see Raven C.S. Mccracken return.

That Old Tree
Jun 24, 2012


oriongates posted:

Anyone know how World of Synnabar's new edition went? it was kind of amazing to see Raven C.S. Mccracken return.

You used to be able to get the Universal Adventurers Guide (aka Players Guide) on DTRPG but for some reason it's not there anymore, though there is a 10-page quickstart for $3 and a GM screen. I don't know where or even if you can get the UAG now, and I never saw or heard tell of any further mainline books for coming out. The last Kickstarter update was in 2015.

The fact that the UAG even came out is a minor miracle. McCracken's house burned down with his book drafts (I guess he's not into cloud services?). I don't know if this meaningfully affected the final product, but whatever the case the PDF that was released is very obviously a barely prettied-up MS Word document. I'd be surprised if any physically saleable copies were ever made.

I can't remember if the final version had you spending calories and counting out joules for your character to perform actions, but that was the standout thing from the pre-release drafts that stuck with me. Mostly, though, it was kind of a sad, tired retread without the energy and un-self-conscious enthusiasm of the old 1990-ish book.

EDIT: Oh, it looks like he actually got his site up and running. I kind of just assumed that never happened. It looks like you can order the UAG, the Atlas, and the Book of Fate (GM's guide) there…as pre-orders that were meant to ship in August last year. There haven't been any updates I could see since mid-2017 (the one and only blog post; the front page has what looks like a newsfeed with no timestamps), and I'm doubtful.

EDIT 2: Welp, his public personal Facebook didn't have any posts since right before the supposed release date, so I assumed it was dead and he was in hiding. However, the World of Synnibar Facebook group has a post from last month where he's showing off a "color proof" (printed on a home printer and put in a three-ring binder). At the very least, he added a page background and might've spruced up the art, it looks like.

That Old Tree fucked around with this message at 06:05 on Apr 5, 2018

Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

NS4: Blood on the Snow

Hengrid Donarsdottir is one of the most famed living heroes of the Northlands. Descended from the legendary god of thunder himself, she is the Beast Cult of Shibauroth's greatest threat in Estenfird. As a result the foul worshipers of the demon-god are engaging on an unprecedented campaign of terror to lure her into taking a siege position in Three Rivers. With a major desperate strike they hope to kidnap the Daughter of Thunder and Storms in order to sacrifice her to their deity. The PCs can get involved in the adventure are in a variety of ways: perhaps they heard Hengrid's call to arms across the Northlands, they have personal ties to Estenfird, a religious or divine caster receives visions from their deity to venture here, or some other reason for being up there.

Blood on the Snow is part wilderness trek, part strategy wargame recommended for 8th to 10th level parties. The PCs begin in the port town of Vöss and must visit villages on their way to convince the local hirthmenn (militia) to march with them to Three Rivers. Complicating matters is that Estenfirders use an anarchistic direct democracy model and thus the PCs must win over people at the local Things via social skill checks. Single target enchantment spells won't work due to the political structure. Additionally many warriors are reluctant to leave their families behind in the fear that their communities will be less-defended from Beast Cult attacks. The higher their social skill check at the Thing, the more hirthmenn join the PCs' number.

Random encounters up to Three Rivers are assumed to be larger skirmishes, with the presented enemies being the forces the PCs must deal with (be they cult leaders or VIPs). To simulate losses among the hirthmenn, the adventure suggests adding up the hit point totals of all the PCs and cohorts and doing a 'health roll call' at the end of the encounter. If the party lost 25% of their hit points, the hirthmenn suffered 25% casualties. Army minutia, such as equipment, supply lines, etc are not dealt with in favor of personalized heroism.

While at communities the party can use Diplomacy and Knowledge skills to gather information about the Beast Cult. A particularly high Knowledge skill can reveal the Beast Cult's true plan as well as the fact that the cultists bear runic tattoos with protective magic. A sidebar also suggests having arrogant cultists unwittingly give away their plans as a demoralizing tactic if the PCs did not catch on: explaining how they plan to capture Donarsdottir and rape her, and (if they already caught her) how they already have her at their secret lair to sacrifice to their god. All this is mixed in along with taunts at perceived weaknesses of the PCs.

What I Changed: Whelp, another sexual violence inference to delete for my home games. In fact, this adventure is a bit more heavy on this subject matter than the others. Beyond the taunts, one of the information gathering skill checks reveal that the Beast Cult are fond of raping the villagers of settlements they attack, and Hengrid Donarsdottir is naked and bound on the altar during the final encounter.

On the more tactical side of things, I also added an involved mini-game of hired help to supplement the local hirthmenn. Mercenary groups both foreign and local were in the various towns the PCs could visit. They ranged from democratic revolutionaries from Bard's Gate (who find Estenfird's style of government appealing) to Monrovian knights searching for a cure for their cursed king (who is not cursed in the standard setting). They each had a mini-encounter for the PCs to complete in order to have them march with the army. I may post a more detailed post on this, as otherwise the various factions and their quests would take up too much word count here.

There are some random encounters on the way: cultists attacking a village, an empty destroyed settlement, sabre-tooth tigers, and even a sapient tree who strangles its victims to death. There's a one-time encounter where the PCs can gain the aid of a mythical creature known as the Great White Stag who knows all the safe, secret routes of the forest. He also tells them about a planned ambush near the town of Risør, a later set-piece encounter.

Halfway between Vöss and Three Rivers is the village of Risør. Although walled and relatively safe, the place is near-full capacity as farming families and their livestock seek refuge behind its fortifications. The hirthmenn are aware of Donarsdottir's call to Three Rivers, but are fearful of doing so in that they believe the Beast Cult is close to their settlement. They are right, as there is a large force waiting to ambush the hirth army. This is the last set-piece encounter of Chapter One, and includes 10 Beast Cult warriors, 3 trolls, and 5 worgs complete with a rolling log trap. But if the PCs gained the aid of the Great White Stag, they use a secret route to ambush the ambushers and gain an automatic surprise round!

One thing I'd like to mention: the human Beast Cult warriors are meant to be the mooks of this adventure in the form CR 3 human barbarians. However, they have extremely high hit point values while raging (67) and their runes grant them barkskin, bull's strength, bear's endurance, and freedom of movement along with immunity to mind-affecting effects. This grants them 26 Strength and Constitution also while raging for very high attack and damage values for enemies of their level. The runes can be dispelled via an erase spell, but the 20th Caster Level (!!!) makes this a challenge for 8th-level PCs. And it wouldn't matter in the heat of combat, given that the adventure expects the PCs to take on around a dozen or more per battle along with various monsters.

What I Changed: Needless to say I nerfed the beast cultist's hit point values to avoid overly-long combats. Besides our party witch, save-or-dies were not my gaming group's strong suit.

Continued in Next Post

Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

NS4: Blood on the Snow Part Deux

The Battle of Three Rivers

When the PCs and their army reaches Three Rivers, they find that the Beast Cult arrived well ahead of them. Warbands in loosely-organized encampments burn fires throughout positions in the forests. Fortunately the bad guys cannot mount a united front (yet) and loud squabbles are common enough that PCs can use Stealth/Disguise checks to sneak their entire army to the gates of Three Rivers. On a failure they'll have to deal with an encounter and potential battlefield casualties. Once inside the town's walls the PCs' hirthmenn unite with the local defenders, and the party can position themselves where they wish among the town map. Aside from a few healing potions and scrolls the PCs do not have much time to plan or rest, for the Beast Cult makes their move shortly after their arrival.

The adventure suggests two options, and the GM is free to use one or both: first option is to present a series of random and set-piece encounters during the siege where the PCs take out key warbands. The amount of hirthmenn recruited has an effect on encounters in the form of reducing the numbers, hit points, or both via a percentage value to represent injuries and casualties from superior forces. The second option is to make use of Pathfinder's Mass Combat Rules, and statistics for army units on both sides are provided. This would be a cool idea save for one minor detail...

The Battle of Three Rivers is meant to be an unwinnable encounter. Not only are the hirth militias lovely in power, the beast cult units are both more numerous and stronger. The idea is that the town will fall, and the PCs discover the cults' real mission and set off to save Hengrid Donarsdottir. As this is the first time the Mass Combat Rules are used in this Adventure Path, thrusting them onto first-time players only to not make a difference in the long run is Bad Game Design.

Several major encounters during the sack include a war mammoth brought from Nûkland to bash down the southern gates, fire drakes setting the Great House of the Gods ablaze, and a giant demon-badger burrowing a tunnel into Three Rivers' farmland (T5). The last encounter is quite deadly in that the badger immediately lets 48 cultists through until the tunnel it leaves behind plus 20 more per minute until it is collapsed. Jesus Christ, running this last encounter'll be a nightmare unless you use the Swarm, Mob, or Troop templates to simulate large numbers!

Hengrid Donarsdottir stands guard over the Allthing, where the town's women, children, elderly, and wounded are being kept. She is amply fighting off cultists and giants with her mithral hammer Thundersurge. Hengrid is a level 12 aasimar Fighter. Sounds like a good ally to have on the PCs' side right? Nope, in reality she's a Faux Action Girl with no stat block for this adventure and will get kidnapped by a flame drake offscreen after being overcome by her wounds.

What I Changed: Hoo boy, where to start? Well first off I beefed up the Hirthmenn and nerfed the human Beast Cult army units who are amusingly more powerful than the monster units. In addition to the Hired Help I added some units representing common Northlands archetypes: Cunning Women as magical medics, Shieldmaidens as defensive fighters, and Bearserkers as glass cannons. I made it so that the number of recruited hirthmenn added bonus token units on the map. I used an ultra-simplified version of the Mass Combat Rules, given that this was a small-scale siege meant to be done within an in-game day rather than a long, drawn-out war on many fronts. The last part is what the rules were originally meant to simulate.

I also had it so that the Jomsvikings were helping supply the Beast Cult with weapons and advanced military tactics. In my campaign the organization was hired by the Empire of the Huun, a major superpower in the Lost Lands' eastern continent. Their mission was to weaken the Northlands for invasion by sowing political discord, including exacerbating the Gat-Hrolf feud. The fall of Estenfird and the defeat of Hengrid Donarsdottir is meant to serve as a severe morale blow. The Empire of the Huun in the default adventure path otherwise has no presence until NS10: the Broken Shieldwall where they show up out of nowhere.

I ran both encounters and used Mass Combat Rules, the former of which were interspersed between rounds of mass combat. I divvied up the flame drake, war mammoth, and dire badger (reflavored as a giant worm) as three major encounters happening at once: this forced the PCs to choose which to prioritize in handling personally while letting the other defenses weaken. In keeping with the Beast Cult's true goal, I had it so that the bulk of their forces massed among the south as a diversionary tactic so that the riverside groups and flame drakes had an easy strike at the Althing. The players came up with an interesting plot to use charges from the wand of fireball as well as strategic ice-breaking to weaken the iced-over river on the east side. One of the players mentioned that even in winter, the river beneath is still flowing, therefore it will be a "pull" on the fractured ice to further weaken it to heavy loads. I don't know if this works IRL, but it sounded plausible enough for the game.

I also changed the plot around so that Hengrid Donarsdottir knew of the Beast Cult's plan to sacrifice her. However, as their tattoos also had anti-divination abilities (my addition) her plan was to let them capture her so that one of Three Rivers' godi or cunning women may scry on her position. This way they can locate their central headquarters and strike them down once and for all. The PCs burst into the Hall of the Althing and saw Herjof the Bloody-Handed, the Cult's leader, tying Hengrid's unconscious form to a flame drake. The party fought him and cut the ropes as the hall collapsed around them; the skald scarred Herjof's runes to disable his runic protections just as the cult leader contingency-teleported back to the lair. The PCs were understandably angered at Hengrid putting so many lives at risk, but they used this temporary advantage to scry on Herjof's location.

The Stones on the Marsh

Once the Beast Cult flies off with Hengrid Donarsdottir, small warbands retreat while others stay to plunder the town. This final portion of the adventure assumes that the PCs give chase. The cult's lair is in the Yellow Light Marshes, a realm with a foul reputation home to will-o'-wisps aplenty. Random encounters here include both the aforementioned glowy balls of death as well as a "winter worm" remorhaz. The Stones are a man-made array of standing stones located within the huge tangle of a thorny hedge maze. Characters can move through the squares with overgrowth, but risk damage and poison. The various rooms here include various beast cultists and giants either on patrol or "baptizing" captured hirthmenn in muddy water with gradually sinking chains. There are also hangman trees, bog mummies, and evil fey such as redcaps to contend with here.

The climactic encounter is in area 11 at the Stones themselves. When the PCs arrive, Hengrid is bound and naked in the center, surrounded by blood-red candles and iron spikes overseen by a huge bull-headed statue. Herjof the Bloody-Handed is chanting a prayer in Abyssal while green hags sing a chorus in tune with the prayer.

This is a pretty intense encounter. First off we have 14 human cultists surrounding the stones, 3 green hags (who thus form a covey), an obsidian minotaur which animates in 5 rounds, and Herjof himself. The Beast Cult's leader is a tough guy, and perhaps one of the few NPCs who threatened my party with actual death. He's a 13th-level cleric with several save-or-die spells along with a bunch of battlefield control ones. Destruction, Disintegrate, Blade Barrier, Harm (which deals 130 damage at his caster level), along with some buffs such as freedom of movement and bulls' strength/bear's endurance are but a few of them. The obsidian minotaur and will tear out Hengrid's heart and eat it in 6 rounds after its own activation (11 rounds total) to complete the ritual. If Herjof is killed while it is animated, the minotaur will blindly rampage by attacking friend and foe alike.

If the PCs fail and Hengrid is sacrificed, a tide of blood and gore shoots out of the altar and foul omens simultaneously erupt across all the Northlands. The minotaur transforms into a thanatotic titan as Shibauroth gains an avatar in the mortal world and absorbs Donar/Thor's divine power. He will reign a path of destruction around Estenfird and begin to establish a dread domain. Given that the rest of the adventure path presumes Hengrid's survival, this is more or less a Non-Standard Game Over.

But if Hengrid is saved and the Beast Cult routed, a thunderstorm like none other will rain down on the Beast Cultists and all of their hidden lairs. Herjof, whether he's alive or a corpse, is burned in spontaneous combustion. The people of Estenfird have little to reward the party with, but the true treasure is a personal visit by Thor himself! One day the PCs find themselves lost in a fog, only to come upon a glorious hall where a party of unearthly proportions is held in their honor! After a night of revelry they wake up with some personalized magic items; and as a cherry on top, once per campaign each individual PC may have the favor of the gods intervene on their behalf in the form of a Limited Wish spell.

What I Changed: The PCs managed to save Three Rivers. Upon the disappearance of their leader, the warbands retreated; this left the more disciplined Jomsvikings to be captured or slaughtered by the hirthmenn. A few survivors holed up in a grainary and used the food supply as a hostage. Feeling betrayed by the Beast Cult yet unwilling to die needlessly, the PCs brokered a deal to tell them of the Beast Cult's plans in return for letting them go (once the Beast Cult was dealt with first).

The assault upon the Stones was done without any ritual, and I reflavored the divine storm to be that of the stone pillars overloading with magical power (which our party witch dispelled). The PCs spent a good time doing character development post-adventure. Due to a near-death experience at Herjof's hands our skald desired to part ways with the party as a means of bringing in a new PC next adventure. Combined with the fact that Hengrid didn't need saving and this made for a satisfying conclusion, I did not have them meet Thor.

Concluding Thoughts: Once again the Northlands manages to throw a novel mode of play every new adventure so far, this time in the form of a low-scale wargame. Blood on the Snow's a bit rougher than the others and needs additional tweaking, particularly the Mass Combat encounter. The final fight can be extremely deadly for even optimized parties on account of Herjof and his minions having superior action economy and debilitating spells.

Counting the two prequels, we are halfway through the Northlands Saga Adventure Path! Join us next time as we take the fight to the Jomsvikings directly in NS5: Raven Banners Over Gatland!

Sep 11, 2011

Fun Shoe

Piell posted:

You are mis-remembering. Besides the mark and the AoO/OA (they are the same thing) retaliate, you also had 2 more at-will fighterpowers (unless you were human, in which case you had 3)

in addition to other actions such as: basic attack, aid another, bull rush, and grab. plus anything granted by a theme if they had one.

Oct 5, 2010

Lipstick Apathy

Libertad! posted:

Concluding Thoughts: Once again the Northlands manages to throw a novel mode of play every new adventure so far, this time in the form of a low-scale wargame. Blood on the Snow's a bit rougher than the others and needs additional tweaking, particularly the Mass Combat encounter. The final fight can be extremely deadly for even optimized parties on account of Herjof and his minions having superior action economy and debilitating spells.

could I ask for a short description of how the mass combat rules (or at least the simplified version you used) works? How did you find them?

Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*
Hey hey, it's time for some more relentless misery!

CONTENT WARNING: misogyny, dead children, torture
(The monsters in this post are actually pretty low-key, but I'm keeping the standard CW.)


The Teratic Tome posted:

The Avernal maiden appears as a nude human female with pale green skin.


They also have horns and a bone spike instead of a left hand. At least the art for them is 'nude monster' rather than 'naked woman'. They mostly hang around Avernus, which is some flavour of hell.

The Teratic Tome posted:

When found outside of Avernus, maidens often use polymorph self to appear as damsels in distress; they lure adventurers into traps with tales of abduction, or chain themselves to walls and cry for help.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot this was an OSR product.

Also of note is that this is a 7 HD monster which can cast gate AT WILL. In case you'd forgotten what AD&D gate did, it "opens a gate to another plane to draw through some demon, devil, demi-god, god, or other powerful entity. Something always responds to the gate, and typically remains to take some action, but the action it takes depends on its own desires -- and likely the alignment of the caster and their companions, and the threats they face."

So yeah, hope you like fighting otherwise-unremarkable demon women who can speed-dial pit fiends and evil gods.

A dead elf woman, just like a normal banshee, except instead of an unjustly slain elf ghost or a lovelorn spirit or a woman who keens for her lost children this one was actually a demon-worshipping nasty piece of work in life. So she looks like an elf woman but "her features are deformed; yellowish wings grow from her shoulder blades, and a cluster of cream-colored tentacles dangles from her waist."

Naturally, her tits are perfect.

Otherwise this is a banshee with some extra attacks but it retains the usual banshee problem where its distinctive ability is an AoE save-or-die that can plausibly wipe an entire party.

A unique mega-level monster (24 HD) which "resembles a grotesquely deformed fetus". It haunts old people's dreams until they have a heart attack and die, or sometimes until it gets bored and murders them with medical implements.

I... don't know what you're supposed to do with this thing?

The Teratic Tome kind of has a problem with a lot of its monsters where they'd make great threats for a one-off Call of Cthulhu or Delta Green scenario, but they fall extremely flat when deployed in D&D because D&D handles mystery, helplessness, and horror really badly. Baskra's the first example we've come to, but there are plenty of others.

Oh, also:

The Teratic Tome posted:

In his lair (an ossuary), he is attended by 1d20 ghouls, 1d8 zombies, and 1d4 ghasts.

Any party capable of taking on a 24-HD powerhouse isn't going to be challenged by Baskra's minions. One turn undead from the party cleric and pfft they're all gone.

A greebly purple monster which manifests whatever limbs it needs, hates demihumans, and writes poetry in the blood of its victims. I actually like this one: it's a low-level monster (2+2 HD) which could serve as a neat twist on a serial killer hunt for low-level characters.

It's literally just a mind flayer with the serial numbers filed off.

It's a bulette with fire breath. It's also got some life-cycle details which make it fractionally more interesting than that, but eh.

Next Time: One of the most WTF illustrations in the book, and some other stuff.

Monsters: 14
Female Monsters: 3
Female Monsters With Their Tits Out: 2
Anti-Theist Monsters: 1
Worm Monsters: 2

Apr 29, 2013

a miserable failure as a person

an incredible success as a magical murder spider

Night10194 posted:

You know Senzar doesn't sound that bad. Silly, but it doesn't sound like the bad kind of silly.

Mors Rattus posted:

Yeah, it honestly sounds like it'd be fun for a big dumb metal album cover game.

Guys, it's got an AGE OF SCREAMING SKULLS and a BURNING DEATH MOON OUTSIDE OF TIME. I think we can safely conclude that SenZar is the best game of all time.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Scion: Hero
Relics of the Past

Relics are your legendary gear, your great tools. Your Excalibur, your Golden Fleece. These are some of the most common Birthrights, as they represent obvious power and - more than any other - don't care about pantheon. You find a Netjer relic but you're Teotl? That's fine. Use it and be happy. Most Scions get at least one Relic as part of their Visitation, and may be given more as time passes. It's also not uncommon to quest for or seek out lost Relics, or to steal them from other Scions or from Titans. They can even be made, though not at Hero-level, typically.

Typically, Relics come in five types, though they can fall under multiple of these categories. Classic Relics are your original artifacts - the tools wielded by gods and heroes of myth, like the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi. Archetypal Relics are those that resemble an original artifact and can tap into its legend directly, possibly due to being a replica or homage. They tend to have the same or at least similar form to their predecessors - like Twofold Guise, a hat or scarf or jacket modeled on Eshu's red-and-black hat. Modernized Relics indirectly call on the power of an original artifact, but greatly alter the form and function to fit the modern world. Often they have a piece of the original in them, are reforged from them, or somehow associate themselves via Fate. The example here is the iGjallar, a magical cell phone that taps into the power of the Gjallarhorn. New Relics are wholly designed for you. They will express a Pantheon's themes, sure, but have no specific ties to an existing god. Maybe you made it, maybe someone made it for you. There is no example - these are new! And then you have General/Mass-Produced Relics - series of similar or identical Relics, either copied from a more potent artifact or meant to be generic. Maybe they let an army or cult tap into the gods' power in some small way, or are meant to allow many Scions to each have access to some useful ability. For example, the Netjer produce the Amulets of Resurrection, which can raise corpses as servants temporarily.

Relics have a lot of potential abilities. They can grant access to Purviews and Boons, though obviously once purchased, these Boons can only be used while you've got the Relic, and a Relic that grants Purview access can have its Motif used only for that Purview and your Pantheon Signature Purview. Some Relics also grant unique Knack access or alter how your powers work; these are always on and don't need to be slotted. They may also grant innate Enhancement to some actions. However, any use of a Relic that requires non-reflexive action can't be part of a mixed action.

Relics always have an associated Deed (for ones at chargen, it's your Visitation). Whenever you use or show off your Relic while interacting with someone that knows about the Deed, you get Enhancement based on your Tier - just 1, at Hero level. This can stack with any normal Enhancements the Relic provides, to a max of +3. Borrowed Relics used this way give their Enhancement based on the actual owner. Relics are rated from 1 to 5 dots, but can also take up to 5 dots of Flaws to give them room for more powers. And yes, Relics are physical objects, so you can hand them around...or lose them. Anyone who has the necessary traits can use them. However, any use of a Relic that isn't one of your Birthrights costs (Relic rating) Momentum - and those with passive abilities cost that much per scene you want access to those abilities. You may fully claim a Relic by Fatebinding it, as if it was an NPC. Once the Fatebinding Strength is greater than the dot rating, it becomes one of your Birthrights - and yes, that means for 5-dot relics you must hit effective Strength 6, even though for most things that doesn't exist.

Invoking a Fatebound Relic allows you to pick an NPC that recognizes the Relic or its original owner, and it lets you use one of the actual owner's Legendary Titles or relevant Paths as if they were yours when dealing with that character for the scene. When you compel the Fatebound Relic, the ST chooses an NPC that recognizes the Relic or its original owner, and Fate lashes at you. You gain 1 Legend but the Difficulty of your next action while interacting with that character is increased by 1. Normally, you won't Resolve this condition, but if you choose to do so, you must boldly renounce the Relic and give up all claim to it, immediately gaining a new Fatebinding of equivalent Strength to another character in the scene, with an archetype appropriate to the way you renounced the Relic. The Relic is either returned to its original owner or abandoned for someone else to claim.

So, Relic design. A situational Enhancement 1 to a certain type of roll costs 1 dot, while a general Enhancement 1 to everything costs 2. Each additional +1 costs 1 or 2, depending on if it's situational or general. General Enhancement can't exceed 3, and situational can't exceed 4. A Purview costs 2 dots for the first Purview, another 2 for a second, and then 3 for a third. Obviously, this means it's probably gonna need Flaws to offset it, especially if you want a 1-dot Relic with a Purview. If a Relic grants at least one Purview, it gains a Motif; Relics cannot grant more than 3 Purviews. Relic weapons and armor get the standard set of tags for what they are; additional points of tags cost 1 dot per point added, or per negative point removed. You can also add negative tags as a Flaw. Custom Knacks add dots based on how powerful they are.

So what kinds of Flaws can a Relic have? Flaws include only functioning in a scene if you spend an action entering a password or using a special activation phrase (1 dot), increasing Difficulties under certain circumstances, like 'in a scene where it is submerged' or 'in a scene where it's used to take a life' (2 dots), once per arc the Relic's divine patron requires a favor be done for them (2 dots), each use adds 1 Tension to the pool (3 dots), each use, the Relic attacks its owner due to an unstable power source (5 dots), or you lose access to a full dot of Legend and all its benefits when you do not have the Relic (5 dots).

We get a bunch of example relics - Soma, which is a plant that produces a magic sap you can drink to gain a pool of magic luck points you can spend to reduce Complications, get temporary HP or get useful strokes of luck. Icarian Wings, reworked by Hephaestus, which let you fly. A Jade Seal of the Celestial Bureaucracy, which allows access to the Order Purview via the Motif of 'I'm going to need that in triplicate.' (Typically this means the Order powers must be accessed by carrying around special forms that you fill out and stamp.) Then there's Giantsbane, a massive revolver made with a shard of Mjolnir, which gives access to Sky via the Motif 'The flash and fury of the thunderstorm', gets a general Enhancement 1, or 2 vs foes of larger Size, shoots humongous bullets, can be used to shoot lightning if you have the Bolt from the Blue boon, and can call down hurricanes. However, each time it is used to call a storm, the ST gets 3 Tension.

There's a lot of example Relics, to help you learn to design your own or just pick one of the ready-made ones.

Next time: IMMORTAL Knacks

Oct 5, 2010

Lipstick Apathy

Pathfinder Unchained

Pathfinder Unchained was released in April of 2015, and is a collection of variant rules or houserules that Paizo deemed to be too radical to be published anywhere else, and so was being released here to cordon it off from the rest of the material.

While some parts of it are used rather frequently, every other Paizo product that was released after it still retains full compatibility with the Core rules. I decided to review this now because with the impending release of Pathfinder 2nd Edition, there's a couple of key ideas hinted at from what we know of it now, that came from Pathfinder Unchained.

Unchained Classes

The first chapter deals with four revisions of base classes. These are improvements over their original incarnations, but you'd never get Paizo to admit that they're supposed to be replacements.

The Unchained Barbarian was made a lot easier to use since their Rage now provides temporary HP and they gain flat bonuses to attack and damage rolls, rather than the D&D 3e convention of increasing your Constitution, Strength and Dexterity scores and asking the player to recompute the new values (and then un-recomputing them when the Rage fades). A lot of their Rage powers were also changed to last the entire time that the Barbarian is Raging, rather than on their own separate duration.

The Unchained Monk was given full BAB, their Flurry of Blows was made easier to use by simply letting them attack one more time, and most of their Ki powers were improved, and some of the legacy-D&D-3e abilities were made to work within the Ki power system (such as Quivering Palm costing 4 Ki points to use). They also got upgraded to a d10 hit die commensurate with their full BAB, but they did lose the Good Will save in exchange. As far as I know though, there's some compatibility problems with trying to use regular Monk Archetypes with the Unchained Monk because of how the abilities have changed (as in Archetypes that trade out class abilities that no longer exist).

The Unchained Rogue gets Weapon Finesse for free, and then also gets Dex-to-damage for free at level 3. They also get a new Debilitating Injury class ability that lets them inflict AC, or attack, or speed penalties against targets. Finally, they also receive the Edge class ability, which gives them free Skill Unlocks, which is a new set of rules elaborated-upon later in this book. Really though, the big deal is just the Weapon Finesse and the Dex-to-damage abilities, since that frees up a feat tax and makes the class far less MAD and makes it more of a viable class compared to, say, the Ninja as a replacement.

The Unchained Summoner is not one that I'm rather familiar with, but as far as I can tell, a lot of the changes were to how it constructs its Eidolon and its spell list - the changes amount to nerfs, one might say fairly significant ones, but also because the regular Summoner is largely acknowledged to be a very powerful class as-written.

It's the Unchained Rogue and Monk that get the most attention when this section of the book is used, because they are a lot better than their regular versions. The Unchained Summoner also gets play, and I assume that the reason there's not a lot of talk about the Unchained Barbarian is because it's mostly an ease-of-use revision rather than a balance change. All in all, this is a good and useful part of the book, and I'd recommend using the revised classes if you're going to be playing any of them at all.

Fractional Base Bonuses

This is a rule adapted from D&D 3e's Unearthed Arcana, which basically breaks down the Base Attack and saving throw bonuses into their fractional amounts so that you don't miss out on whole points because of rounding-down issues.

It's a good rule that I imagine most people were already using long before Unchained came out because it came from D&D 3e, and I have to assume that this is here mostly to pad the page count.


As an aside, a lot of rules from Unchained are going to come from Unearthed Arcana, but it's also the case that variant rules from Unearthed Arcana have also popped up in various other Pathfinder books, such as Ultimate Combat containing the armor-as-DR rules and the wounds-and-vigor rules.

Staggered Advancement

This rule splits up a level into quarters and lets you get partial level-ups as you earn experience towards those smaller benchmarks. Normally, one would require 2000 XP to get from level 1 to level 2. What this rule does is it sets a benchmark at 500 XP, 1000 XP, and 1500 XP. Whenever you get to that point, you choose either to increase your BAB, increase your saving throw bonus, increase your HP by half of your normal gain, or increase your skill points by half your normal gain. You still need to get to level 2 to gain everything, but the idea seems to be to let players earn some things sooner than later.

It's a ... workable rule, but it's also very book-keepy, and assumes that you'd be using the XP rules, which I imagine most playing groups do not.

Background Skills

This rule shifts most of the knowledge-based skills into their own separate category of Background Skills, of which everyone always gets 2 skill points to sink into every level.

Consolidated Skills

This rule merges a lot of skills and cuts them down to just 12, from an original 35.

It does however also cut down on the number of skill points that every class gets. For example, a Fighter only gets 1 skill point per level, plus half-a-point per +1 Int modifier. Or a Rogue gets 4 skill points per level, plus half a point per +1 Int modifier.

This means that where a Fighter used to be able to cover 5.7% of all the skills (2/35), now they get to cover 8.3% of the skills (1/12). Or where a Rogue used to be able to cover 22.85% of all the skills (8/35), now they get to cover 33% of all the skills (4/12).

Grouped Skills

This rule creates six different skill groups: Natural, Perceptive, Physical, Scholarly, Social, and Thieving, and then places all 35 regular skills somewhere within those groups.

Characters then gain a number of skill groups and a number of skill specialties.
If they make a skill check with a skill that they have as a specialty, they add their character level to the roll.
If they make a skill check with a skill that's inside a skill group that they know (but the skill is not their specialty), they add half their character level to the roll.
If they're both unspecialized in the skill and don't know the corresponding skill group, then they don't add anything except their ability modifier.

For example, a Fighter knows 2 groups and 1 specialty at level 1. They gain a second group at level 10.
A Rogue knows 3 groups at level 1, and they gain an additional group at levels 8 and 18 (so 5 out of 6 groups total).
All characters start with 1 skill specialty at level 1, and gain an additional one about every other level, ending at 11 by level 20, though this is the one that's actually affected by having high Int.

The rule broadens the capabilities of characters, and simplifies character creation by eliminating the process of having to allocate skill points, but it does come at some cost in relative power, since you're losing a +3 to the check at the top-end.

Between the different skill rules, it's the Background Skills that require the least work for the most benefit for those that really need it (such as effectively doubling the skill points of a Fighter), and then it's the Grouped Skills that simplify and broaden your horizons by a lot with a minimum of headache. The Consolidated Skill Rules are good in theory, but require a lot of conversion work with existing items, feats, abilities, etc.

Alternate Crafting Rules

This rule rejiggers the way Craft works so that you measure progress on a per day basis: like the standard crafting rules, you still complete the item once your "progress" matches the item's cost, but there is now a table that gives you the amount of progress you can make per day, eliminating the multiplication and per-week calculations of the regular crafting rules.

It's a good change in my opinion, though I don't know how many people closely track the Craft rules anyway.

Alternate Profession Rules

This rule includes tables and references on how to set-up an actual business to support your profession, whether you're a cook, an innkeeper, a librarian, a shepherd, a barrister, and so on. There's rules for the size of the business, hiring labor, determining profits, etc. etc.

I can't imagine myself ever using this myself, and I have no doubt that there's some math flaw in this somewhere were someone to dig deep into it.

Skill Unlocks

This section of rules adds special abilities that you can gain once you hit so many ranks in certain skills. A character can take the new Signature Skill feat to make themselves eligible to use the skill unlocks for a single skill, but then the Unchained Rogue's Edge ability lets them get skill unlocks for free.

As an example of what Skill Unlocks are capable of:

Acrobatics 5 halves the penalty for trying to Tumble through spaces without provoking an AOO
Acrobatics 10 lets you use Acrobatics checks against trip attempts and Reflex saves to avoid falling
Acrobatics 15 eliminates provoking AOOs when standing up from prone
Acrobatics 20 lets you double your Acrobatics results when jumping

Bluff 5 halves the penalty for successive Bluff attempts on the same creature
Bluff 10 eliminates the penalty
Bluff 15 lets you make a Bluff check to foil attempts at mind-reading, or alignment detection, or magical truth-telling
Bluff 20 lets you cast the Suggestion spell

Climb 5 lets you keep your Dex bonus to AC while climbing
Climb 10 gives you a flat climb speed of 10 feet as long as the climb DC is 20 or less
Climb 15 gives you a flat climb speed equal to your normal movement as long as the DC is 20 less, and 10 feet for everything else
Climb 20 gives you a flat climb speed on everything

Disguise 5 lets you create your disguise in 1d3 minutes
Disguise 10 lets you create your disguise in 1d3 rounds, and eliminates the gender, race, and age penalties if you take the normal duration
Disguise 15 lets you create your disguise as a full-round action
Disguise 20 lets you create your disguise as a standard action, or a full-round action that includes a Bluff check to let you hide

The rest of them are all like this, with the Climb ones perhaps being the most daring. Everything else is just reducing penalties and letting you accomplish things faster. It would have been an interesting development if Skill Unlocks were something more like Legend RPG granting you the ability to Acrobatics on a snowflake at a high enough DC, but no such luck. Characters are still going to be largely terrestrial sans magic.

Variant Multiclassing

This rule allows you to trade away every other feat (that is, the feats at level 3, 7, 11, 15, and 19) to gain a core class ability from another class.

As an example, you can get the Barbarian's Rage at level 3, their Uncanny Dodge at level 7, a single Rage Power at level 11, DR 3/- at level 15, and Greater Rage at level 19.

The problem with this rule is that the abilities are way too far apart and way too conservative from discouraging people from trying normal multiclassing, or even against just taking the feat that they traded away.

The Gunslinger is perhaps the exemplar of how bad this section is: you gain proficiency with firearms at level 3, and then the Gunsmith class feature at level 7, and then the Amateur Gunslinger class feature at level 11. It would take you more than half the game to gain basic use of firearms via VMC, when you could just as easily either take a 1-level dip in Gunslinger, or just take the feats themselves, or take an Archetype.

It's a bad rule, and one whose badness should have been easily detectable.

gradenko_2000 fucked around with this message at 17:24 on Apr 5, 2018

Oct 14, 2011

gradenko_2000 posted:

Pathfinder Unchained ...

I agree with pretty much all of this. As I've heard, the Unchained Summoner is largely a nerf of the original Summoner class, but then I've not actually read up on either class.

I rather like the skill unlocks, and I'm currently using the grouped skills.

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
It's awesome how Paizo treats actual game design as something that has to be done in the equivalent of a vacuum glove box.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Scion: Hero
To You, The Immortal

Mortal Knacks were still fundamentally human, mostly. Immortal Knacks aren't - these are explicitly divine acts, drawing on the power of the gods. They work pretty much the same way as Mortal Knacks, but they take up two slots and count as two Knacks for pretty much all purposes.

Immortal Creator
Afternoon of Fortnights: When you start a project, spend Momentum and make a roll. Each success reduces the duration of Intervals by one unit - either dramatic time (session to scene) or actual (years to months, months to weeks), whichever is more appropriate.
Lifted from Dust: When you work on a creative project that would cover a massive Scale, such as planning a city or designing a civilization, you may imbue Legend rather than spending it to invoke your Legendary Title as a Feat of Scale.
Raise the Pillars of the Earth: You can make a roll to create a small building, structure or monument in minutes, raising it from nothing but rock and dirt with any successes. You can spend Momentum to raise it instantly.
Touch of the Muses: When working on an artistic project, double the successes on each roll made by an artistic partner. You can spend Momentum to give this bonus to yourself.

Immortal Guardian
By Your Side: You can innately sense whenever someone you are protecting would be in danger, and you can spend Momentum to teleport to their side. If they are your designated charge, this is free.
Eternal Guardian: When you protect a person, place or thing that has Scale, such as guarding the gates of the Underworld or watching over an entire city, you may imbue Legend rather than spending it to invoke your Legendary Title as a Feat of Scale.
Living Pillar: While you protect someone else with your body, you are immune to environmental hazards such as burning buildings, landslides or drowning, and as long as they're within arm's reach of you, so are they. (They still need to eat and sleep, however, so you probably want to get them to safety.)
They Cannot Be Touched: You may spend Momentum to designate one person that you have a Bond with or who is of lower Tier. That person is immune to all sources of damage until the end of the session. If the target doesn't need protection, such as a Warrior-calling Scion, this doesn't work on them.

Immortal Healer
Breath of Life: If you touch someone within 3 minutes of their death, you can spend 1 Legend to bring them back to life with all of their health boxes filled. Any longer than 3 minutes and they're dead for good.
Internal Refinery: When you are exposed to a poison or disease, you can make a roll to instantly cure yourself of it. You may spend Momentum to generate a dose of cure or antidote, which you may then secrete and give to someone else.
Panacea: When you work to cure disease or fight illness on a large Scale, such as curing cancer or stopping a divine plague, you may imbue Legend rather than spending it to invoke your Legendary Title as a Feat of Scale.
Reconstruction: Once per day, you can make a roll to remove any one Condition someone has that isn't necessarily a disease or illness. For example, you might cure blindness, restore a limb with a perfect prosthetic or end paralysis or PTSD. Additional ailments can be removed for 1 Momentum each. Further, at the start of each session, you may reassign your Attribute dots as you like within their categories - so any Power attribute can swap with each other, but not with Resistance attributes, for example.

Immortal Hunter
Always There: No one of lower Tier than you can ever escape you. You can always find them or track them down, no matter how far they go.
Perfect Camouflage: You get +3 Enhancement to avoid notice by anyone you are pursuing, applied before you roll, and targets of lower Tier just can't spot you at all. Further, you get access to the Vanish stunt, which lets you attack someone and then get out of their vision, so they can't target you for a round.
Relentless: When you pursue or hunt a target on a massive Scale or of great Size or Speed Scale, such as chasing a target across worlds or hunting a mountain-sized monster, you may imbue Legend rather than spending it to invoke your Legendary Title as a Feat of Scale.
Send the Pack: You can make a roll to designate a target you can see unaided. A number of other characters based on your Legend can pursue them ceaselessly without any increased Difficulties.

Immortal Judge
Bound by Oath: When someone swears an oath to you to do something, you can bind it with a short ceremony. As long as they work towards the task, they get +1 Enhancement on all rolls until they finish, applied before the roll. If they break the oath, their next roll automatically botches.
I Am the Law: When you reshape laws or challenge societal structure on a wide Scale, such as by rewriting a constitution or smashing the patriarchy, you may imbue Legend rather than spending it to invoke your Legendary Title as a Feat of Scale.
The Pain of Dishonesty: You spend 1 Momentum to cause anyone who lies directly to you to gain 1 Stress or a -1 Injury of your choice. (I think Stress is a relic of an older draft.) You can choose to withhold the damage, but you always spot the lie. You also know the severity of the lie - like a white lie to preserve feelings vs lying to obstruct justice, which might be a reason to hold back the damage. Or not. That's up to you.
Terror of the Guilty: Anyone guilty of a wrongdoing of your choice who is also of lower Tier than you can't bear your presence, and will flee in terror or break down and confess while weeping. You must spend Momentum and make a Clash of Wills to apply this to anyone of the same or higher Tier.

Immortal Leader
Fearless Presence: As long as they can see you, your followers of lower Tier are fearless and will not panic or flee.
Invulnerable Master: While leading NPC followers that are loyal to you, you may spend Momentum to prevent a -1 or -2 Injury as they are suffered.
Masterful Efficiency: When you lead people in a task, you can make a roll, increasing the Scale of those you lead by 1 per success, to a max based on your Legend, for one action. You can spend Momentum 1 for 1 to further increase Scale, to a max based on your Legend.
Not Today, Friends: When you command others or stir hearts on a huge Scale, such as commanding an army or calling an entire city to your aid, you may imbue Legend rather than spending it to invoke your Legendary Title as a Feat of Scale.

Immortal Liminal
Enforcing the Boundary: You can make a roll to create a forcefield that protects you and your allies within short range. It moves with you, but you cannot Rush or Disengage. It lasts for the rest of the scene, until you are Taken Out or until you dismiss it, whichever comes first. Anyone under protection of the field cannot be targeted by weapons or abilities with the Firearms or Arcing tags and gets Enhancement based on your Legend to resist the Rush action, applied before the roll.
The Long Road to Anywhere: You can make an extended journey without stopping, but must rest when you arrive. When you arrive, you may ask hospitality of anyone of lower Tier, and if they refuse, you may cause them to get +2 Difficulty to all actions until you withdraw your curse.
Pierce the Veil: When you cross boundaries on an epic Scale, such as walking into the afterlife or driving across the globe, you may imbue Legend rather than spending it to invoke your Legendary Title as a Feat of Scale.
Step Sideways: When you take a Move action, you teleport directly to your destination without actually needing to cross the intervening terrain. As long as you can see it and your Move would be able to reach that distance, you can get there, even if there's hazardous terrain or a chasm in the way or anything, really. This only works with Move, however, not Rush or Disengage.

Immortal Lover
Center of Attention: If you're at a party and need to meet someone of political or social importance, they are there. Period. If you want the attention of a supernaturally potent person, you must spend Momentum to have them be there. The ST may allow you to even have a god be there with a roll, but this may not always work out well for you.
For You, I Will: When you perform an impressive feat to positively impact someone you love, platonically or otherwise, you regain 1 Legend. This can be an NPC or Pc, but the feat must be suitably impressive for them.
Hearts Aflame: When you inspire passions or promote relationships on an epic Scale, such as inspiring millions or changing a culture's attitudes towards consent, you may imbue Legend rather than spending it to invoke your Legendary Title as a Feat of Scale.
Lover's Oath: You and a consenting partner may bind yourselves together in love by Fate forever. Both sides must spend 1 Legend, if they have any, to do so. From that point on, either needs only to concentrate to know the location and general state (emotional and physical) of their partner. Each may take Injuries for the other, and each may imbue Legend to power each other's abilities, if both have Legend. This doesn't need to be romantic love, but Fate will punish those who mistreat their partners.

Immortal Sage
Cipher: You can always crack any code or encryption put in place by someone of lower Tier. You read and speak all foreign languages without accent, and may translate them into your native tongue in minutes without any roll. If translating mystic runes or other magic language, you must make a roll but remain very fast. Your own encryptions cannot be broken by those of lower Tier, and you get Enhancement based on your Legend to prevent decryption by anyone of equal or higher Tier, applied before you roll.
Eternal Genius: When you solve a mystery or tackle a complex scholarly problem on a massive Scale, such as figuring out the secrets of quantum physics or solving a trickster god's codes, you may imbue Legend rather than spending it to invoke your Legendary Title as a Feat of Scale.
Immortal Mastermind: When you make a plan and direct others to follow it, they get Enhancement 1 on all actions while obeying the plan. Anyone not following it gets +1 Difficulty to all actions. No one has to obey you, especially not PCs, but they get the bonus when they do. You are also free to create plans and order your enemies around to bait them into taking the penalty.
Overworld Knowledge: Once per scene, you can make a roll and, for each success, ask a relevant question to the ST about events happening now, based on what you know or have studied, and will receive a truthful and applicable answer. These aren't yes-no - you can ask stuff like 'what is the enemy's strategy' or 'what is this guy's true motive'. If you have any remaining questions left unasked, you can spend Momentum to carry the pool over to the next scene.

Immortal Trickster
Doppelganger: You can make a roll to clone yourself exactly. The copy has all of your stats and abilities and is controlled by you, allowing you to be in two places actively and independently. However, the copy can't make teamwork actions, and if attacked it crumbles to dust. Otherwise, it lasts for several days based on your Trickster Calling.
One Man's Trash: You can spend Momentum to make trash seem rare and valuable. Anyone of lower Tier is automatically fooled and will squabble over the 'treasure'. Those of the same or higher Tier can make an Empathy roll to see through this, but they get increased Difficulty based on your Legend to convince anyone else.
Surprise!: You may, when attacked, voluntarily choose to be Taken Out. You may then return at any point later in the session to make a surprise attack or set up an ambush at +4 Enhancement, applied before the roll. If someone has seen you pull this before, however, you get no bonus and they get +4 Enhancement on combat rolls against you in the first round if they successfully resist your ambush. You may, alternatively, choose to dramatically return in the middle of a social scene to get that Enhancement to the next most appropriate Social roll.
Woven from Lies: When you tell a story or make an elaborate deception on an epic Scale, such as spreading a rumor across the world via social media or convincing an entire society you're something you aren't, you may imbue Legend rather than spending it to invoke your Legendary Title as a Feat of Scale.

Immortal Warrior
Army of One: When you fight while outnumbered, you never take penalties or increased difficulty from being outnumbered. You also get Enhancement based on your Legend to all attacks as long as your party remains outnumbered. When fighting a greater force, you may imbue Legend rather than spending it to invoke your Legendary Title as a Feat of Scale.
Hurl to the Moon: When lifting or throwing objects with Size higher than yours, you may imbue Legend rather than spending it to invoke your Legendary Title as a Feat of Scale. Objects thrown this way can be hurled out to Medium range. All of your normal Thrown attacks may hit out to Long range, regardless of their range tag, but are still rolled as normal.
Perfect Defense: Once per fight, you may declare that an attack made against you by someone of equal or lower Tier automatically does not affect you in any way. You may spend Momentum to do this a second time per fight, but may never do this more than twice per fight.
They're Everywhere: Any Field you fight in is Divine Territory. When an enemy enters your Divine Territory, you may choose to make a single attack against them, regardless of range, but may not boost this with any Knacks that allow extra attacks. You can use this ability even if you've already acted this round, and can do so no matter how many enemies enter your Divine Territory, but you can only make one attack per enemy.

Next time: Purviews.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Scion: Hero
For Purviewing Pleasure

Purviews are the expression of divine authority over some part of reality. They are elemental forces, though not as we or as the ancients quite understood them. They are things - things that are real, that are part of the world. Fertility, War, Fire, Order, Stars. Scions inherit these powers in their blood, able to claim mastery over them to perform freeform marvels, and more specific Boons. Most of these abilities require the user to imbue or spend Legend. Imbued Legend is tied up for the duration of a marvel or Boon, but can be reclaimed. Each Purview also grants you access to an innate power that is always on if you have it. (Note: if you lose access to a Relic or Guide that grants a Purview, you lose access to all of its abilities, including the innate power.) So, what are marvels?

A marvel is the flexible use of one of your Purviews to do all kinds of things. What your marvels can do is determined by the combination of your Purview and the Motif by which you wield it. You call on the Purview through the lens of the Motif, the mystic paradigm or metaphor which explains how you control it. For your innate Purviews or those granted by Guides, you will typically use your Pantheon's Motif. For Relics, you'll use the Motif of the Relic most of the time. It is also possible to gain other Motifs from other sources. The ST is instructed to not let the game grind to a halt over whether or not a certain marvel fits a player's Purview or Motif - it's better just to let a shaky marvel happen and apply a Complication or thematically related drawback if you really think it's thematically poor.

Pantheon Motifs
Aesir: "By drawing runes or weaving threads, one may perform a jarteign."
Kami: "The kami are all things, and can be bidden to work wonders."
Deva: "By chanting spells and undergoing austerities, one may create or become a miracle."
Loa/Orisha: "Those who understand plants can use them in magic and medicine."
Manitou: "An offering of tobacco, prayers, dance, and song convinces the myriad, unseen manitous to work their magic in your favor."
Netjer: "Speaking the sacred ritual words releases sekhem, lending power to the soul."
Shen: "Alchemy manipulates the energies both within and without the body through exercises and concoctions associated with the five elements."
Teotl: Offerings of flowers, food, effigies, and blood empower the Gods to sustain the World with miracles."
Theoi: "The most high may grant their favor to those who beseech them."
Tuatha De Danann: "Magic flows from verse and satire."

The game says you can only do a marvel once per scene as a simple action; I'm not sure if that's an actual or a practical limit, because I like allowing players to use marvels more freely, but RAW it seems to be intended as a hard limit of one per scene. You tell the ST your Purview and motif, what you want, and then do it. Marvels cannot be part of a mixed action. Also, any use of a Marvel on a trivial target doesn't require payment of the usual cost unless it also affects non-trivial characters meaningfully. So what can marvels do?

A Blessing marvel will empower you or another character. You can imbue 1 Legend to give Enhancement 2 to a single action of a specific type, or ignore up to 3 points of Complication spread across one or more actions. The benefits are lost if not used by the end of the scene, and the Legend returns either when the bonus has been fully used or the scene ends, whichever comes first.
A Complication marvel makes an obstacle or curse on someone. You can imbue 1 Legend to give +3 Complication on the next action of a specific type that they take this scene, with the ST deciding the consequences based on your description of the marvel. The Legend returns either when the Complication gets applied or the scene ends, whichever comes first.
An Impose Condition marvel lets you inflict basically any condition you choose on someone, as long as it reflects the Purview. You can spend 1 Legend to do it, and if you just want a generic 'your life is awful now' curse, that's a condition that gives +1 Difficulty to all actions and is resolved by doing a challenging or risky thing thematically tied to the marvel's nature.
A Resolve Condition marvel lets you spend 1 Legend to resolve any condition either related to or opposed by your Purview, which can explicitly break curses or other magical conditions.
An Attacking marvel lets you wield your Purview as a weapon. You can spend 1 Legend to be able to make either melee or ranged attacks for the rest of the scene as simple actions with up to three points of appropriate tags. Melee attacks use Close Combat+Might, while ranged ones use Occult+Cunning, but the ST can allow other pools depending on marvel description.
An Equipment marvel lets you create or summon something related to your Purview, or just declare you had it all along. You can imbue 1 Legend to get a mundane but useful item, like a gun or cell phone, which you keep as long as the Legend is imbued, and which then fades or vanishes between scenes when you reclaim it. If you want something that'd normally be difficult or significantly expensive to get, like a car or rocket launcher, you must spend 1 Legend instead, and it fades at the end of this or the next scene, whichever the ST feels is more appropriate.
An Offscreen Action marvel lets you imbue 1 Legend to do a quick cutaway to a nearby mortal or animal and describe how they do something helpful that impacts the current scene. If the action has longterm effects beyond a single scene or you want to literally create a person from nothing, you must spend 1 Legend instead.
An Upheaval marvel lets dramatically edit the local terrain or events by spending 1 Legend. Maybe you set a building on fire or call down a storm or make everyone feel intense feelings of love. This can add a significantly advantageous feature to the Field, create a difficult terrain area or hazard, make an obstacle that imposes a Complication or other dramatic and large-scale effects.
An Emulate Boon marvel lets you use a Boon you don't have - even from a Purview you don't have, as long as you can describe how your Purview and motif let you tap into the effect. If the Boon requires you to spend Legend, you must spend 1 additional. If it rquires you to imbue Legend, you must spend instead, and indefinite durations are cut down to a single scene. If the Boon would be free, you must spend 1 Legend.
Esoterica marvels cover anything else. You work them out with the ST. If they're just cool sfx but no real mechanical or narrative impact, they are free. Beyond that, the ST determines cost based on similar effects.

Artistry is the Purview of poetry, dance, storytelling and art, as well as the Purview of inspiration. It is also one of the Purviews that can specialize. Basically, if you choose to specialize it, then you can only use the Purview to draw on and express your selected specialty - music, poetry, dance, cuisine, manga, painting, whatever. However, in exchange you gain a Motif based on the chosen art, which you can use with any Purview you have. For example, you might get "losing yourself in the rhythm" or "composing the perfect harmony" from Artistry (Music).

The Innate Power of Artistry is that when you put on an artistic performance or create an art piece, you may express yourself to those that experience it as if you were speaking to them, even if you don't share a language. This can also bypass Complications that might apply to normal rolls to communicate, such as being overheard. Only those you intend to receive the message can perceive it, but 'everyone' is a valid intended target.

Enthralling Performance: You can put on a performance that no one can look away from, and anyone trying to do anything else must do so as a mixed action with Integrity+Resolve, Difficulty 2. Doing a performance this way is a complex action that can last multiple rounds, but you don't need to make a roll to keep it up once the Boon has been activated.
Heartfelt Expression: When you make a work of art, you can instill an emotion into it based on your current feelings or the ones that inspired it. Anyone who witnesses the performance or piece gets +1 Attitude based on the emotion, which doesn't stack with other magical bonuses. This lasts until you turn the Boon off, but when you do, your piece no longer supernaturally resonates with emotion.
Muse's Kiss: You inspire someone, giving them Enhancement 3 when they try to create art, do a performance or otherwise do something creative and expressing. You can name a requirement they must meet to keep the blessing, like 'pay my cult a tenth of your earnings' or 'spend eight hours a day writing'. If not met, the Boon ends immediately. There is no cost to use this Boon on trivial targets.

Beasts is the Purview of animals. It can command any animal and tap into the iconic and mythic symbolism assigned to them by humanity, so you can draw on lion courage, owl wisdom or fox cunning. This is another Purview you can specialize by narrowing yourself to a specific sacred animal. If you do, any Beasts boons that call forth animal traits must do so from your sacred animal, but you get a Motif based on that animal - so a dog might give "the faithful companion" or "hunter and tracker of prey" or "the good boy".

The Innate Power of Beasts is that animals will never attack or harm you unless they are either compelled by magic or are Legendary themsevles.

Animal Aspect: Pick an animal; you get one of its iconic traits. This can grant a new form of movement, such as dolphin swimming or mole burrowing, allowing you to bypass some forms of difficult terrain or barrier, can boost your senses by giving eagle vision or bat echolocation, granting Enhancement 3 on relevant rolls, or can give you other traits, like octopus camo or anglerfish glowing, which give Enhancement 2 to relevant rolls or negates up to 3 points of Complication on relevant rolls, whichever best works with the idea of the trait.
Leader of the Pack: You can speak to and understand all animals. Animals with no Legend automatically like you at least a little. When you deactivate this Boon, your animal helpers will keep trying to do anything you've convinced them to do, but may become more distractible and less reliable.
Tooth and Claw: Pick an animal; you gain some of its physical traits and weapons. Your brawling attacks gain the Lethal tag and up to 3 points of other appropriate tags, such as Grappling and Piercing for an alligator bite.

Next time: Beauty, Chaos, Darkness

Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.

Halloween Jack posted:

It's awesome how Paizo treats actual game design as something that has to be done in the equivalent of a vacuum glove box.

Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.
Fallen Rib
The unchained summoner does two basic things to nerf the class. The first is that it reduces the options you have for your eidolon. You pretty much built your eidolon from scratch before. Now you get fewer points, but get a subtypes that give special abilities as you level up. They also made some abilities more expensive, or give smaller bonuses. You generally get about the same effective amount of points of abilities, but they aren't quite as good, and you'll have some situaional abilities you normally wouldn't have picked, like energy resistance.

The other thing was a reduction in the number of early access spells Summoners got, like Haste as a level two spell. This makes their casting slightly less good.

Their summoning SLA, arguably the strongest part of the class, went unchanged.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!
Yeah, Paizo has traditionally "fixed" spellcasters by chipping around the edges and making some problem spells less effective, but it doesn't really do much for the core issue. There's a lot of legitimately good fixes they did, but they're so tiny and incremental that many players are unlikely to notice the difference.

Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
I mean, a lot of that is because you fundamentally can't fix the problem of 3.PF esque spellcasters without either throwing out the entire magic system and starting over, or making every PC engage with some kind of 'per arc' and 'per engagement' 'I get to just say what happens and maybe other people can resist' function. The system either needs to be a universal way PCs engage with the game in order to bring about parity or they need to go back to the drawing board and try some other way of doing wizards.

E: To make that clearer, the problem with 3.PF wizardry isn't that it's too strong, it's that it's an entirely different mechanical framework (that also happens to be more powerful than the other mechanical framework it lives with) where you have a limited supply of 'This Happens' instead of 'I try to do this'. The ball is, at best, in the other guy's court to Save (and poor balancing of Saves IS an issue, too) but much of the time a wizard doesn't have the extra steps of 'trying' to do something, they just expend a resource and do it right away.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 22:57 on Apr 5, 2018

Oct 14, 2011

Night10194 posted:

The system either needs to be a universal way PCs engage with the game in order to bring about parity or they need to go back to the drawing board and try some other way of doing wizards.

Well, hopefully PF2 will do something like that. I'm cautiously optimistic that not being tied to 3.5 any more will help them make some positive changes, but I guess that like everybody else, I'll just have to wait and see...

Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*
Okay, the last batch of monsters were pretty tame. This should wake you up a bit.

CONTENT WARNING: misogyny, dead children, torture

A unique high-level enemy who bears virtually no resemblance to the chimeras she ostensibly gives birth to. She's got a handful of 1/day 'gently caress you' spell-likes as well: maze, power word: blind, meteor swarm, some others. She likes to hunt people.

The Teratic Tome posted:

The Chimaera Queen has the torso of a humanoid female. From between her shoulders juts a cluster of green tentacles ending in three black claws. Her arms are long, and her body is covered with pale green thorns. Between her legs, there's a thick pale blue tentacle from which grow several smaller tentacles. This main tentacle ends in her head, which is topped by thin white tentacles that writhe around her face. The Queen's tongue is long and grey and dry, ending in a wad of tissue tipped with spikes. Her legs are pale blue with dark brown spots, each ending in three spikes.

There's a full-page art piece which faithfully reproduces this description.

:nws:Naturally, her tits (and rear end) are perfect.:nws:

A white man in the recent Black Panther movie-- no, wait, that's a coloniser. Let me start again.

A colonist is a six-legged insect-like creature with a humanoid torso and blades for hands. They establish nests and build monstrous spires for unknown reasons (and by unknown means since they don't have hands).

On the one hand, they're low-level enemies (1+1 HD) and it's always nice to have a bit more variety there. On the other hand the number encountered is 2d4 (reasonable) or 5d20 (what) and since they don't talk to people and attack other life-forms on sight they're really boring low-level enemies.


The Teratic Tome posted:

Built from spare parts by infernal gnomes, contrivances are mechanical golems that guard the passages to the long-forgotten subterranean clockwork kingdom of Mecha Zel.

Devil-gnomes in an underground clockwork kingdom, guarded by junk-golems? Well, I'm sold. I actually really like this concept, and the mechanics make them dangerous physical combatants with a variety of spell immunities.

A six-foot fish-sphere with tentacles. Also they cast a few spells. My main problem with this one is that rather than swimming, the craanoi floats above the water's surface and dangles tentacles down to grab people. But... have you looked at the sea, recently? It's flat. There's nowhere for a six-foot floating fish-sphere to hide! I dunno.

It's an approximately humanoid, four-armed monster which is red and gold and green and blue which makes it a loving eyesore as well as whatever else it does. Which is 'gather up victims and turn them into paintings'.

The Teratic Tome posted:

The curhadac will select one of its prisoners at random and disassemble him before the others, slowly and painfully. It will then create its instruments. Using the victim's bones and hair, it will create paintbrushes. After flaying the victim, it will stretch the skin over a frame made of bones, creating a canvas. Squeezing various bodily fluids from the victim's glands and organs, it will create paint.

After assembling all of the necessary components, it will paint a portrait of one of its other victims. When finished, it will drag the portrait's subject from captivity and create new paints, brushes, and canvas. It will continue in this fashion until six portraits have been painted. The last victim is set free and given the paintings as a gift.

Just as a side note, I saw the dissection of a human cadaver some years ago and I never realised our insides were so colourful. It's really quite striking.

But, like with Baskra, curhadacs are edgy torture-monsters which would work way better in a different game. And if they weren't every colour under the sun. As it is, D&D is just the wrong game to showcase stuff like this. What makes a curhadac interesting isn't fighting the bastard thing, it's the horror of being one of its victims, or of trying to track it down because it's kidnapped someone you care about. Neither of which D&D lends itself to.

A small (foot-long, which is smaller than a typical cat) animal predator which disguises itself as a gemstone to attract large, well-equipped, gem-seeking prey (?). It sometimes works in symbiosis with larger predators, who use the damsel stone as bait then pounce while the adventurer is waving their arm around shouting "gerroff gerroff".

This is clearly a trap monster designed to gently caress over player characters. Bleah.

Next Time: Mostly demons!

Monsters: 20
Female Monsters: 4
Female Monsters With Their Tits Out: 3
Anti-Theist Monsters: 1
Worm Monsters: 2

Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

gradenko_2000 posted:

could I ask for a short description of how the mass combat rules (or at least the simplified version you used) works? How did you find them?

In short, you have tokens on the battlefield, with size categories representing the armies. Each army unit derives its stats from the most common creature/class type within it. Overall, Mass Combat boils down to "move your army up to an enemy army, roll 1d20 and add Offense Modifier, compare to the enemy's Defense Value, damage dealt is the Defense Value subtracted from the total Offense result." Given the swingyness of the D20, this means that a very high result can wipe out an army, but as army units can conceivably be anything from Level 1 Commoners to Fire Giants there's just as much potential variety in the powers of army units as in standard combat.

The default mass combat rules were too cluttered with extraneous modifiers and variants. There's plenty of description for weather, terrain, spells, and class features and how they can impact things. For myself, I included no Boons or Commander abilities, Army Resources, and so on and so forth. I consolidated things down to Hit Points, Army Challenge Rating, Offense Modifiers (attack bonus), Defense Value (AC), along with damage. I changed the speed to reflect the number of squares an army could move (standard speed was too slow for map), and put all special abilities/conditions under "Tactics."

Personally speaking, I found that the rules worked well at least for my group. To be fair a lot of it came from the fact that once the war mammoth crashed the gates the players moved most of their pieces to form a choke point while the eastern river became a natural barrier. The terrain slowing down the advance of the Cult helped them take on the armies at a reasonable rate.

Also here's a complete list of hired help descriptions, if not their stat blocks:

Bard's Gate Exiles: Supporters of the now-suppressed democratic revolution from their home city, these exiles see a kindred spirit in the Things of Estinfird. They are more than willing to water the seeds of liberty, whether it’s with the blood of beastmen or tyrants.

Here are the other units I included:

Castorhagian Necromancers: Hailing from a city built upon the labor of the unliving, the necromancers of Castorhage are nothing if not pragmatists when it comes to the dark arts. From alchemical concoctions to battlefield necromancy, the fires of war only strengthen their talents.

Endholme Arcanists: Hailing from the continent’s most prestigious wizarding academy, the arcanists of Endholme seek the mysteries of the beast cult’s runic tattoos and magic items. Having proved remarkably resilient to magical tampering, Thorsdottir believes that hiring expert help is required to discover any weaknesses.

Foedewaithian Judges: Hailing from a southern empire of Law and Good, its citizenry is now more concerned on keeping to their own affairs. But rumors of growing demonic cults in foreign lands encouraged more than a few "renegades" to adopt a more proactive policy.

Monrovian Knights: Currently on a quest in the Northlands to save their cursed king, this lot is more honorable than the typical sellsword. Albeit their mission is their primary goal, appealing to their better natures might win their aid.

Ulfhanders: The warrior-cults of Odin have embraced the harshness of the wildlands, but are by no means enamored of the beast cult. On the contrary, they view their monstrous forces as the worthiest challenge in the land.

Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

Night10194 posted:

I mean, a lot of that is because you fundamentally can't fix the problem of 3.PF esque spellcasters without either throwing out the entire magic system and starting over, or making every PC engage with some kind of 'per arc' and 'per engagement' 'I get to just say what happens and maybe other people can resist' function. The system either needs to be a universal way PCs engage with the game in order to bring about parity or they need to go back to the drawing board and try some other way of doing wizards.

E: To make that clearer, the problem with 3.PF wizardry isn't that it's too strong, it's that it's an entirely different mechanical framework (that also happens to be more powerful than the other mechanical framework it lives with) where you have a limited supply of 'This Happens' instead of 'I try to do this'. The ball is, at best, in the other guy's court to Save (and poor balancing of Saves IS an issue, too) but much of the time a wizard doesn't have the extra steps of 'trying' to do something, they just expend a resource and do it right away.

basically spellcaster classes can completely bypass a good chunk of the rules with their spells, marital classes do not have that same availability.

Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.

Robindaybird posted:

basically spellcaster classes can completely bypass a good chunk of the rules with their spells, marital classes do not have that same availability.

Exactly. Also, the spellcaster can still interact fine with the normal rules, or summon meatshields that do it for them, while the martial has no equivalent ability to double dip into the marvelous world of narration as the wizard.

Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.
In theory arcane spellcasters are restricted by needing unusual and sometimes difficult to acquire material components for their spells, but when's the last time anyone's tried to actually restrict arcane spellcasting that way?

Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

players and GMs don't like to do the book-keeping required to limit them via material components, it's also why most games ignore encumbrance rules.

Sep 12, 2006

✨sparkle and shine✨

Robindaybird posted:

marital classes


Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

drat it.

Aug 11, 2010

Secure. Contain. Protect.
Fallen Rib

Cythereal posted:

In theory arcane spellcasters are restricted by needing unusual and sometimes difficult to acquire material components for their spells, but when's the last time anyone's tried to actually restrict arcane spellcasting that way?

The problem with this kind of fiddly bookkeeping is that it's not much fun, slows the game down a lot, and requires the GM to try and keep track of the components as well. It does a lot to rein spellcasters in, but at the cost of making the game much worse to play.


Jun 20, 2008

Also I don't think doubling down on "wizards get staggeringly overpowered effects, which they can use as often as they like unless the GM arbitrarily makes up a reason why they can't refresh them right now" is the best way to go.

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