Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Podcast: Hell's Rebels, part 11

After feedback from a kind listener (thanks Roger, we love you) I've gone back and redone the audio for episodes 5-10 to get a better balance of volume for people's voices. Hopefully they'll all be clearer in future. Feedback is great, please leave comments!

Pathfinder Adventure Path: Hell's Rebels Part 1 - In Hell's Bright ...

In which our GM appears to be underwater and/or possessed but it's just the audio, he assures us. We embark on a chase, resulting in an increasingly elaborate series of lies and impersonations in an attempt to extricate ourselves from the previous lies and impersonations. The words "I'm going to have to ask you to make another Bluff check feature prominently.

Part eleven of the campaign is now up on Archive.org at Episode 011: It's such a horrible coincidence.

Direct Links

  1. RSS feed for all episodes
  2. Episode 001: Number My Thugs
  3. Episode 002: Technically She's Goop
  4. Episode 003: The Mediaeval Equivalent of a Zimmer Frame
  5. Episode 004: Personal Snot Monster
  6. Episode 005: By our powers combined
  7. Episode 006: There is honour amongst, ah... normal civilians
  8. Episode 007: You have it on good medical advice not to lick the ground
  9. Episode 008: Mmm, blobs of quivering flesh - my favourite
  10. Episode 009: A lot of papier-mâché
  11. Episode 010: Kamikaze ferrets and commando weasels
  12. Episode 011: It's such a horrible coincidence

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Podcast: Hell's Rebels, part 5

There is no escape; I have released another podcast episode. We just have to get through this together.

Pathfinder Adventure Path: Hell's Rebels Part 1 - In Hell's Bright ...

Having heroically rescued a guy who'd already fought off his attackers, our heroes go to a bookshop. Sadly that isn't all they do, no matter how much my character would have liked it to be.

Part five of the campaign is now up on Archive.org at Episode 005: By our powers combined.

This recording is a bit odd, and our GM in particular sometimes sound like he's underwater. I don't know why, but hopefully it isn't too annoying.

Direct Links

  1. Episode 001: Number My Thugs
  2. Episode 002: Technically She's Goop
  3. Episode 003: The Mediaeval Equivalent of a Zimmer Frame
  4. Episode 004: Personal Snot Monster
  5. Episode 005: By our powers combined

By Spell and Spreadsheet I Abjure

A slight frown creased Harknorth's brow as she gazed down at her work, a sign of immense concentration and mild irritation. She reached up to tuck a stray wisp of hair back under her cap, accidentally painting a black line across her left cheek in the process. Ignoring this frankly irrelevant detail, she dipped her pen once more in the inkwell at her belt, held the papyrus down with her right thumb, and painstakingly inscribed a collection of arcane syllables potent enough to melt a rhinoceros where it stood. Not that she had any intention of doing such a thing. Where would she even find a rhinoceros at this time of year? They'd long since started their annual westward migration.

She paused to scatter a handful of chalk dust to dry the ink. It always reminded her of flour, of childhood surrounded by the creaking of the mill and the tireless circling of sails. Wonderful stuff, flour; you could do practically anything with it, if you knew how, turning feather-soft dust to bread or glue, cleaning copper, repelling ants, even treating skin disease, all through the humble alchemy of the hearth. Her parents said it was like a child, unformed and capable of anything, and looked at her with warm pride. They had high hopes for her, and so did she.

The young wizard bent low over her tome as a breeze rustled through the grass, bringing the scent of woodsmoke. A faint scratching filled the air as her pen danced across the papyrus, forming knots and glyphs with the ease of long practice. It was, all things considered, a nice afternoon to be out in the sun. The pile of debris she was sitting on was largely free of shrapnel, and the slight overhang of the grassy bank behind her helped to deflect the roiling bursts of ice and lightning that sporadically erupted nearby. Speaking of which, Harknorth paused for a moment as a minor divination tripped. She clutched the tome to her body and leaned over to the right as a wash of turquoise flame flowed over the top, reducing grass to ash and scorching the bare earth before winking out.

When the Cranemount 4th Regiment held a live fire exercise, they clung to literalism with the same tenacity they showed in battle.

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Podcast: Hell's Rebels, part 4

QUIVER, MORTALS, for the next episode of our podcast IS NIGH!

Pathfinder Adventure Path: Hell's Rebels Part 1 - In Hell's Bright ...

Honestly, I've completely forgotten what happened in this one, so, uh... hope it was good. Shenanigans, certainly. Rolling really terribly is also a good bet.

Part four of the campaign is now up on Archive.org at Episode 004: Personal Snot Monster .

Since getting a new laptop, I've been having major issues with uploading. My internet tends to stick every so often, and either actually disconnect or think it's disconnected. If I'm not keeping a gimlet eye on the business to hastily disconnect and reconnect before anything times out, I end up having to try the whole upload again, which is obviously a huge pain. If anyone has suggestions for what might be up I'd be glad to hear it! My ISP hasn't changed so I don't think it can be that...

Direct Links

  1. Episode 001: Number My Thugs
  2. Episode 002: Technically She's Goop
  3. Episode 003: The Mediaeval Equivalent of a Zimmer Frame
  4. Episode 004: Personal Snot Monster

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Podcast: Hell's Rebels part 3

Harken once more, merry companions, to ineffective adventuring piped directly to your shell-like ears.

Pathfinder Adventure Path: Hell's Rebels Part 1 - In Hell's Bright ...

A completely peaceful protest is underway, at least until we get our hands on it. In our defence, we had it on good (and accurate) information that the authorities planned to violently suppress it. Might as well get our counter-suppression in first, eh? Lessons were learned about the importance of base movement speeds, the aerodynamicity or otherwise of barrels that are on fire, and stocking up a hideout before doing the things that will make a hideout necessary.

Part three of the campaign is now up on Archive.org at Episode 003: The Mediaeval Equivalent of a Zimmer Frame.

Since getting a new laptop, I've been having major issues with uploading. My internet tends to stick every so often, and either actually disconnect or think it's disconnected. If I'm not keeping a gimlet eye on the business to hastily disconnect and reconnect before anything times out, I end up having to try the whole upload again, which is obviously a huge pain. If anyone has suggestions for what might be up I'd be glad to hear it! My ISP hasn't changed so I don't think it can be that...

Direct Links

  1. Episode 001: Number My Thugs
  2. Episode 002: Technically She's Goop
  3. Episode 003: The Mediaeval Equivalent of a Zimmer Frame

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Have you considered being evil? The Antipaladin's Almanac

It's time once more for gratuitous self-promotion. I mean, nobody else is going to promote me, getting my hands dirty is really the only option. And that, your Honour, is why I was in the High Temple of Fraconis at the witching hour with the sledgehammer and this wheelbarrow of piglets.

No, wait, where was I... oh yes, evil. Despite the best efforts of my family, friends and an assortment of dark powers with whom I was formerly associated (for professional purposes only), I have recently published another Pathfinder supplement, devoted to the art of the Antipaladin. The class is sadly neglected for an iconic representation of true evil, and I thought it deserved a bit of love.

So, the Antipaladin's Almanac is now released on Open Gaming Store and on DriveThruRPG.

"Continuing professional development is an essential part of any career in the service of metaphysical Evil. Whether you are a blackguard raised from the cradle in the service of dark gods, a paladin newly-fallen from laughable idealism to a true understanding of the universe, or simply considering your career options, this publication is for you."

It is 40-ish pages of lovingly-crafted evil, archetypes, feats, spells, and traits. I've created an assortment of fiendish pacts, to mirror the Oathbound Paladin's solemn vows. You can trade in your fiendish bond for a wide array of vile partnerships with outsiders of various types, from oni-powered shapeshifting to mind-shredding ugliness courtesy of a qlippoth. If plate armour isn't your thing, you have the opportunity to be a ruthless duellist (maybe Captain Harrison Love from The Mask of Zorro?), or a nightmare gunslinger firing bullets of raw malevolence. The Witch-Eyed Knight combines martial prowess with a dreadful gaze that brings cities to their knees and shatters the resolve of valiant heroes. On the other hand, you could fuse elemental might and diabolical power into an apocalyptic hellspawned union.

Please take a look!

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Conversions: Wellspring of Change mage archetype

As (very) long-time readers may know, I have a certain fondness for the wild and weird world of Warhammer and its various offshoots. Admittedly I haven't played tabletop for about 15 years, what with moving house, country and occasionally continent, and also discovering that I was far more into the narrative and individual characters than a murderous tactical wargame really supported (hence my slide into RPGs). But I still find myself coming back to the ideas.

For reasons I'll get to another time, I ended up helping with a Khorne Berserker archetype for Pathfinder and began musing about how the flavour of the other Chaos Gods could be brought into the game.

Well, enough of that! While you're here, why don't I show you this mage archetype I happened to put together? The following is, I want to be absolutely clear, a homebrew archetype for Pathfinder that is in no way related to Games Workshop. Obviously.

Wellspring of Change (Arcanist, Sorcerer or Wizard Archetype)

The Wellspring of Change worships the Transforming Fire, a mysterious deity of secrets, fate, transformation, revelation, and above all, the arcane mysteries that underlie and entwine all of them. No matter what the source of her arcane talents may be, she finds overwhelming magical power in the worship of her deity; power to overcome rivals, unwind the spells of enemies, and become whoever or whatever she wishes in the quest to unlock ultimate knowledge of the universe. Whether that quest will raise her to immortality or damn her beyond the reach even of fiends is a secret whose answer only the Transforming Fire may know.

 

Table for Arcanist

Spells Per Day

Level

Base Attack Bonus

Fort Save

Ref Save

Will Save

Special

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

8th

9th

1st

+0

+0

+0

+2

Arcane reservoir, cantrips, mutable magic, wealth of magic

1+1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

2nd

+1

+0

+0

+3

2+1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

3rd

+1

+1

+1

+3

Arcanist exploit, consume power

2+1

1+1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

4th

+2

+1

+1

+4

3+1

2+1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

5th

+2

+1

+1

+4

Blue fire

3+1

2+1

1+1

-

-

-

-

-

-

6th

+3

+2

+2

+5

3+1

3+1

2+1

-

-

-

-

-

-

7th

+3

+2

+2

+5

Arcanist exploit

4+1

3+1

2+1

1+1

-

-

-

-

-

8th

+4

+2

+2

+6

4+1

3+1

3+1

2+1

-

-

-

-

-

9th

+4

+3

+3

+6

Arcanist exploit

4+1

4+1

3+1

2+1

1+1

-

-

-

-

10th

+5

+3

+3

+7

4+1

4+1

3+1

3+1

2+1

-

-

-

-

11th

+5

+3

+3

+7

Arcanist exploit

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

2+1

1+1

-

-

-

12th

+6/+1

+4

+4

+8

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

3+1

2+1

-

-

-

13th

+6/+1

+4

+4

+8

Arcanist exploit

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

2+1

1+1

-

-

14th

+7/+2

+4

+4

+9

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

3+1

2+1

-

-

15th

+7/+2

+5

+5

+9

Arcanist exploit

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

2+1

1+1

-

16th

+8/+3

+5

+5

+10

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

3+1

2+1

-

17th

+8/+3

+5

+5

+10

Arcanist exploit

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

2+1

1+1

18th

+9/+4

+6

+6

+11

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

3+1

2+1

19th

+9/+4

+6

+6

+11

Arcanist exploit

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

3+1

20th

+10/+5

+6

+6

+12

Magical supremacy

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

Table for Sorcerer

Spells Per Day

Level

Base Attack Bonus

Fort Save

Ref Save

Will Save

Special

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

8th

9th

1st

+0

+0

+0

+2

Arcane reservoir, cantrips, bloodline arcana, eschew materials, mutable magic, wealth of magic

1+1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

2nd

+1

+0

+0

+3

2+1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

3rd

+1

+1

+1

+3

Bloodline power, consume power

2+1

1+1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

4th

+2

+1

+1

+4

3+1

2+1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

5th

+2

+1

+1

+4

Blue fire

3+1

2+1

1+1

-

-

-

-

-

-

6th

+3

+2

+2

+5

3+1

3+1

2+1

-

-

-

-

-

-

7th

+3

+2

+2

+5

Bloodline feat, bloodline spell

4+1

3+1

2+1

1+1

-

-

-

-

-

8th

+4

+2

+2

+6

4+1

3+1

3+1

2+1

-

-

-

-

-

9th

+4

+3

+3

+6

Bloodline power, bloodline spell

4+1

4+1

3+1

2+1

1+1

-

-

-

-

10th

+5

+3

+3

+7

4+1

4+1

3+1

3+1

2+1

-

-

-

-

11th

+5

+3

+3

+7

Arcanist exploit

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

2+1

1+1

-

-

-

12th

+6/+1

+4

+4

+8

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

3+1

2+1

-

-

-

13th

+6/+1

+4

+4

+8

Bloodline feat, bloodline spell

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

2+1

1+1

-

-

14th

+7/+2

+4

+4

+9

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

3+1

2+1

-

-

15th

+7/+2

+5

+5

+9

Bloodline power, bloodline spell

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

2+1

1+1

-

16th

+8/+3

+5

+5

+10

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

3+1

2+1

-

17th

+8/+3

+5

+5

+10

Arcanist exploit

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

2+1

1+1

18th

+9/+4

+6

+6

+11

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

3+1

2+1

19th

+9/+4

+6

+6

+11

Bloodline feat, bloodline spell

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

3+1

20th

+10/+5

+6

+6

+12

Bloodline power

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

Table for Wizard

Spells Per Day

Level

Base Attack Bonus

Fort Save

Ref Save

Will Save

Special

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

8th

9th

1st

+0

+0

+0

+2

Arcane reservoir, arcane school, cantrips, mutable magic, wealth of magic

1+1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

2nd

+1

+0

+0

+3

2+1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

3rd

+1

+1

+1

+3

Arcanist exploit, consume power

2+1

1+1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

4th

+2

+1

+1

+4

3+1

2+1

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

5th

+2

+1

+1

+4

Blue fire

3+1

2+1

1+1

-

-

-

-

-

-

6th

+3

+2

+2

+5

3+1

3+1

2+1

-

-

-

-

-

-

7th

+3

+2

+2

+5

4+1

3+1

2+1

1+1

-

-

-

-

-

8th

+4

+2

+2

+6

4+1

3+1

3+1

2+1

-

-

-

-

-

9th

+4

+3

+3

+6

4+1

4+1

3+1

2+1

1+1

-

-

-

-

10th

+5

+3

+3

+7

Bonus feat

4+1

4+1

3+1

3+1

2+1

-

-

-

-

11th

+5

+3

+3

+7

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

2+1

1+1

-

-

-

12th

+6/+1

+4

+4

+8

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

3+1

2+1

-

-

-

13th

+6/+1

+4

+4

+8

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

2+1

1+1

-

-

14th

+7/+2

+4

+4

+9

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

3+1

2+1

-

-

15th

+7/+2

+5

+5

+9

Bonus feat

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

2+1

1+1

-

16th

+8/+3

+5

+5

+10

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

3+1

2+1

-

17th

+8/+3

+5

+5

+10

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

2+1

1+1

18th

+9/+4

+6

+6

+11

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

3+1

2+1

19th

+9/+4

+6

+6

+11

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

3+1

3+1

20th

+10/+5

+6

+6

+12

Bonus feat

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

4+1

Deity

A wellspring of change must accept the Transforming Fire as her patron deity.

Alignment and Ethos

Followers of the Transforming Fire understand that progress and learning require constant change; the acceptance of new perspectives, new truths, and the transformation of the past self into the future. A wellspring of change can never be of lawful alignment. In addition, she cannot willingly destroy the knowledge of any magical secret.

Spellcasting

A wellspring of change masters magic through divine inspiration as well as study, allowing her to advance more quickly at the cost of raw power. She has the same number of spells per day as a cleric, including a domain spell slot which can only be used to prepare spells from her wealth of magic class feature. Her number of spells known or spells prepared does not change.

This alters spellcasting.

Arcane Reservoir (Su)

A wellspring of change gains an arcane reservoir as an arcanist of her class level.

This replaces a sorcerer’s 1st-level bloodline power, or the wizard’s arcane bond class feature.

Mutable Magic (Su)

A wellspring of change pursues the transformative secrets of her deity. When she expends 1 point from her arcane reservoir to increase the caster level of a transmutation spell, the caster level increases by 2 instead of 1. Whenever she expends 1 point from her arcane reservoir to increase a transmutation spell’s DC, it increases by 2 instead of 1. She can expend 1 point from her arcane reservoir to reroll a failed saving throw against a magical transmutation effect.

This replaces the arcanist exploit gained at 1st level, the bonus class skill granted by a bloodline, or Scribe Scroll.

Wealth of Magic

A wellspring of change can invoke the tumultuous magic of her patron. She gains access to the 1st-level domain spells of the following domains: Chaos, Knowledge, Magic. These bonus spells are in addition to the number of spells given on Table: Spells Known or Spells Prepared, and she is always considered to have them prepared. These spells cannot be exchanged for different spells at higher levels. Every two levels thereafter, she gains the next level of domain spells.

Blue Fire (Su)

At 5th level, the wellspring of change must select the flame arc or lightning lance exploit. She unleashes blasts of roiling blue energy that sear and alter whatever they touch. If the exploit allows a saving throw, creatures that fail the saving throw don’t benefit from energy resistance against its damage, and even those with energy immunity suffer half damage. Blue fire is a transmutation effect, and bonuses on saving throws against transmutation apply as normal. Abilities that modify the base exploit apply to blue fire as normal.

This alters the arcanist exploit or wizard bonus feat gained at 5th level, or replaces the sorcerer bloodline spells gained at 3rd and 5th level.

Consume Power (Su)

A wellspring of change doesn’t gain the ability to convert her spells into arcane reservoir points. From 3rd level, when she resists a spell or spell-like ability through either a saving throw or spell resistance, she can consume its residual magic. Doing this adds a number of points to her arcane reservoir equal to half the level of the spell consumed. She cannot consume cantrips (0 level spells) in this way. Points gained in excess of the reservoir’s maximum are lost. She can use this ability a number of times per day equal to her class level.

This replaces an arcanist’s consume spells ability.

Gifts of the Transforming Fire

A wellspring of change can select any of the following feats in place of an arcanist exploit, bloodline feat or wizard bonus feat: Arcane Strike, Riving Strike, Arcane Blast, Arcane Shield, Reactive Arcane Shield. She adds her casting modifier (typically Intelligence or Charisma) to her class level to determine whether she meets the prerequisites of these feats.

A sorcerer wellspring of change can select an arcanist exploit in place of a bloodline power or bloodline spell, and she must do so at 11th and 17th levels. From 11th level she can select a greater exploit instead. She can select a bloodline power of a lower level in place of any bloodline power or spell (such as reinstating her missing 1st-level bloodline power).

A wizard wellspring of change can exchange her 1st-level arcane school powers for an arcanist exploit, gaining a second arcanist exploit at 5th level if she does so. She can exchange either her 6th or 8th-level arcane school power (but not both) for an arcanist exploit gained at 9th level, gaining additional exploits at 13th and 17th levels if she does so. She can also select an exploit in place of a wizard bonus feat.

The following unique exploits are available to a wellspring of change.

Blue Fire Mastery (Su)

As a swift action while casting a spell that deals acid, cold, electricity or fire damage, the wellspring of change can expend 1 point from her arcane reservoir to infuse it with blue fire. This modifies the spell as the blue fire class feature.

Interrogate Word (Su)

The wellspring of change can wrest secrets from the written word with her intellectual and magical prowess. She gains a bonus equal to half her class level on skill checks to detect written forgeries or discover hidden messages in writing, as well as to use another mage’s spellbook to prepare spells. By spending 1 point from her arcane reservoir, she can gain the benefits of authenticating gaze or mage’s perusal.

Riving Strike (Su)

The wellspring of change gains Riving Strike as a bonus feat. She must meet the prerequisites for this feat. When she affects a creature with Riving Strike, she can expend 1 point from her arcane reservoir as a free action to have the penalties last for a number of rounds equal to 1 + her casting modifier.

Evolving Magic (Su)

The wellspring of change gains a +2 bonus on caster level checks to dispel or counterspell and to the DC of attempts to identify, counter or dispel her own spells. If she selects the Counterspell exploit, when she successfully uses that exploit, she can choose to benefit from one additional ability that triggers on a successful counterspell, such as Countering Loophole.

Spell Mimic (Su)

The wellspring of change can temporarily grasp how to cast a spell after seeing it in use. She must identify the spell with a Spellcraft check as normal. If successful, she temporarily treats the spell as a spell known. If it is part of her spell list, she casts it at the same level it appears on her spell list; otherwise she uses the highest level at which it appears on other spell lists. In addition, she increases the effective spell level by 1 if it doesn’t appear on any spell lists with the same casting type as her (usually arcane), and if it doesn’t appear on any spell lists that offer 9th-level spells. For example, a typical wellspring of change could borrow a spell from the bard or psychic spell list at one level higher, and a spell from the paladin spell list at two levels higher. A wizard with this exploit can spontaneously convert a prepared spell into the mimicked spell, but this increases the casting time in the same way as a spontaneous caster using a metamagic feat.

Master Magic (Su)

The wellspring of change can expend 1 point from her arcane reservoir to duplicate the effects of magic aura or expend 2 points to duplicate aura alteration. If the wellspring of change uses spells known, she gains conjurer’s burden* and necromantic burden as bonus spells known. If she uses spells prepared, she can expend 1 point from her arcane reservoir and expend an appropriate spell slot to cast either spell providing she knows it, even if she doesn’t have it prepared. She must be at least 3rd level to select this exploit.

*this spell is presented in The Antipaladin’s Almanac.

Rule Magic (Su)

If the wellspring of change uses spells known, she gains alter summoned monster and control summoned creature as bonus spells known. If she uses spells prepared, she can expend 1 point from her arcane reservoir and expend an appropriate spell slot to cast either spell providing she knows it, even if she doesn’t have it prepared. When she gains the ability to cast 5th-level spells, she gains access to covetous aura in the same way. She must have the Master Magic exploit and be at least 7th level to select this exploit.

Feats

Metamorphic Spell (Metamagic)

You can unleash spells that grant your enemies the transformative blessings of your god.

Prerequisite(s): Worshipper of the Transforming Fire

Benefit(s): If a creature fails its saving throw and suffers damage from your spell, it suffers penalties as though sickened for a number of rounds equal to the spell’s level, as its body warps and writhes monstrously with the mutating energy of your spell. The mutations eventually fade and restore the creature to normal. If the creature is slain by the spell or while under the effects of this feat, its body transforms into an unrecognisable mutant over the following rounds. A metamorphic spell uses a spell slot 2 levels higher than normal.

Herald of Change

Your body is sanctified to the Transforming Fire, and no lesser power can alter it.

Prerequisite(s): Worshipper of the Transforming Fire

Benefit(s): You are immune to any polymorph effect unless you choose to accept it, unless it originates from a fellow worshipper or servant of the Transforming Fire of equal or greater hit dice, or from the Transforming Fire. You gain a +4 bonus on saving throws against transmutation effects, on any spell resistance you have when applied against transmutation effects, and on checks made to dispel or remove transmutation effects from yourself or others.

Blasphemous Secrets

You are heir to magical knowledge that others would prefer to keep from mortal minds.

Prerequisite(s): Worshipper of the Transforming Fire, Knowledge (arcana) 7 ranks

Benefit(s): When casting a language-dependent or telepathic spell, you can impart a fragment of forbidden knowledge to them. Doing so inflicts 1 point of Sanity damage to you, but increases the DC of the spell by 1. If the spell imposes the confused condition, Sanity damage or any form of madness, its caster level is also increased by 1. Any of the spell’s targets who fail their saving throw also suffer 1 Sanity damage.

Using this feat is liable to draw the attention of forces who wish to conceal this knowledge, such as the Order of the Eastern Star. Such creatures gain a +1 morale bonus on attack and damage rolls against you if they are aware you have used this feat at any time.


 

Spells of the Transforming Fire

The following spells are available only to a Wellspring of Change, or at the GM's discretion, to other spellcasters who worship the Transforming Fire.

Inscrutable Conundrum

School divination [language-dependent, mind-affecting, sonic]; Level sorcerer/wizard 2 (Transforming Fire)

Casting Time 1 standard action

Components V

Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)

Targets one creature

Duration instantaneous; see text

Saving Throw Will negates (see text); Spell Resistance no

You whisper one of the insane riddles taught by the Transforming Fire, magically conveying it to your target's ears. If the target fails its saving throw, it suffers a -2 penalty on attack rolls and a -4 penalty on initiative checks, Reflex saving throws, concentration checks and all Intelligence-based and Wisdom-based skill checks. An affected target continues to ponder the riddle for a maximum number of rounds equal to its Intelligence score. As a standard action each round, the target can attempt a new Will saving throw to realise the impossibility of the riddle and abandon its attempt, ending the spell. Deaf creatures, mindless creatures and those of Intelligence 2 or lower are immune to this spell. If using the sanity rules, the target suffers 1 Sanity damage whenever it fails a Will save to negate or end the spell.

Innumerable Aliases

School transmutation; Level sorcerer/wizard 3 (Transforming Fire)

Casting Time 1 standard action

Components V, S, M (a piece of the creature whose form you plan to assume)

Range personal

Targets you

Duration 1 minute/level

This spell functions as alter self, except as follows. This spell provides you with a +10 bonus on Disguise checks to conceal your identity, but not on checks to impersonate anyone in particular. This spell distorts your appearance, voice and gear in the same way each time, essentially creating an alternate persona that can be recognized by those who have observed it before. You can maintain a number of alternate personas equal to your spellcasting ability score modifier (minimum 1); if you wish to establish a new persona, you must abandon an existing one. Each persona is associated with a name or title. Knowledge checks about one do not reveal information about the other, unless your true identity is revealed to the world at large. Any attempts to scry or otherwise locate you  work only if you are currently in the identity the creature is attempting to locate (or if the creature knows that the two identities are the same individual). Otherwise, the spell or effect has no effect, revealing nothing but darkness, as if the target were invalid or did not exist.

Fires of Change

School transmutation [chaos, fire]; Level sorcerer/wizard 5 (Transforming Fire)

Casting Time 1 standard action

Components V, S, M (a chrysalis)

Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)

Area cylinder (20-ft. radius, 40 ft. high)

Duration instantaneous

Saving Throw Fortitude half (object); Spell Resistance yes (object)

A column of multi-hued flames envelops the area, searing flesh and warping bodies like wax. Creatures and unattended objects within the area suffer 1d8 damage per caster level (maximum 15d8). A Fortitude saving throw halves the damage. For every 5HD of creatures slain by the spell, a pink cackler is summoned that remains and serves you for 1 minute; creatures with fewer than 1 HD don't contribute to this total. Targets destroyed or slain by the spell are warped unrecognisably.

Arcane Superiority

School evocation; Level sorcerer/wizard 7 (Transforming Fire)

Casting Time 1 standard action

Components V, S, M (ashes from a magic staff)

Range personal

Area 20-ft.-radius emanation centered on you

Targets you

Duration 1 round/level

Crackling pink, blue and white lightning arcs ceaselessly from you, gifting arcane power to your allies. Any arcane spell cast by a creature within the area gains a +2 enhancement bonus to the DC of any saving throws against the spell, or a +2 enhancement bonus on any attack roll required. In addition, it can be cast as if one of the following metamagic feats was applied to it (without increasing the spell level or casting time): Disruptive Spell, Ectoplasmic Spell, Empower Spell, Extend Spell, Fleeting Spell, Intensified Spell, Lingering Spell, Piercing Spell, Reach Spell, Silent Spell, Still Spell or Vast Spell. The creature casting the spell decides which metamagic effect to apply. You can discharge this spell as an immediate action to counter a spell cast at a point or target within the affected radius, as though using greater dispel magic to counterspell with a readied action.

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Podcast: Hell's Rebels part 2

Harken once more, merry companions, to ineffective adventuring piped directly to your shell-like ears.

Pathfinder Adventure Path: Hell's Rebels Part 1 - In Hell's Bright ...

We resume our adventures in the oppressed city of Kintargo, where our disgruntled heroes(?) are accidentally sliding into rebeldom. I'm confident that a pacifist healer, a weaponsmith, a satirical novelist and a really good chef are the perfect figures to lead an uprising against the oppressive devil-wielding regime. Ahem.

Part two of the campaign is now up on Archive.org at Episode 002: Technically She's Goop.

Since getting a new laptop, I've been having major issues with uploading. My internet tends to stick every so often, and either actually disconnect or think it's disconnected. If I'm not keeping a gimlet eye on the business to hastily disconnect and reconnect before anything times out, I end up having to try the whole upload again, which is obviously a huge pain. If anyone has suggestions for what might be up I'd be glad to hear it! My ISP hasn't changed so I don't think it can be that...

Direct Links

  1. Episode 001: Number My Thugs
  2. Episode 002: Technically She's Goop

Thursday, 20 August 2020

Firearm crutches for fantasy RPGs

This post is immediately inspired by a Twitter conversation, but of course its parent inspiration is the Combat Wheelchair created by Sara (mustangsart).

Firearms in Fantasy

Pathfinder, which I play weekly, has long had rules for firearms and an entire class dedicated to them, the Gunslinger. I've always been a bit chary of them for a couple of reasons. One is simply that fantasy with firearms drifts into a different space from fantasy without, mostly due to source material. The other is my personal, non-expert discomfort with things like "targeting touch AC" (meaning firearms bypass armour and shields) and the very rapid reloading that 6-second combat rounds and fights that generally finish within 5 rounds require.

I'm not really interested in delving into the exact realistic chances of these things, especially given a fantasy world. But for the record:

In the first case, I find it immersion-harming that a small lead pellet fired by alchemy from a tube has a rules mechanic of punching simply punching through armour (or perhaps inflicting damage through sheer force?), but an arrow fired by a Strength 24 orc sniper's composite bow or from a gastrophetes doesn't. This is before we get into oddities like "this Diminutive sprite the size of your thumb has a pistol that will shoot right through the frost giant's tank-like plate mail, but the frost giant's tree-sized spear can be deflected by the sprite's thimble breastplate."

In the second case, obviously it varies a lot with guns, but by my understanding you'd be doing well to fire a flintlock weapon three times a minute.

DSC 6284 - Hurry load that musket. (2792555112)

The topic of making crutches that doubled as firearms came up in the thread, and got me thinking of magic, and actually - while I'm not enamoured of actual "magical firearms" in a general fantasy setting, incorporating minor magical elements into a mechanical & alchemical firearm actually works pretty well for me. I'm a fan of thinking about how the fairly widespread availability of trivial magic might affect society!

The concept we're looking at is sturdy, adventurer-friendly crutches with a built-in firearm. So how might this work?

Friday, 7 August 2020

Podcast: Hell's Rebels part 1

Harken, adventure fans, to our exploits!

Pathfinder Adventure Path: Hell's Rebels Part 1 - In Hell's Bright ...

After a very considerable interlude, I'm very pleased to announce I'll finally be releasing some audio again. For the past few months, one of my groups has been playing Pathfinder. Specifically, the Hell's Rebels adventure path, featuring free-spirited heroes rising up against a draconian regime that continually attempts to rewrite history in its favour.

I'm pretty sure the GM didn't intend anything political by it, but it's hard to overlook the parallels now that I think about it...

Anyway, the first of our efforts is now up on Archive.org at Episode 001: Number My Thugs. I'm aiming to keep the files manageable, for two reasons. One, I personally find audio of longer than a couple of hours is a pain; my phone forgets where I was in the recording if I can't listen to it all at once, for example. The other is that actually processing the larger files - downloading, moving, editing, audio processing - takes far longer in a non-linear fashion. It also means more issues trying to upload them, which is tricky enough at the best of times as my home internet appears to have a virulent hatred of people uploading anything at all... sigh. So, you're looking at about 90 minutes to two hours on average.

The adventure begins in splendid style, with our soon-to-be heroes accidentally meeting in a tavern and becoming radicalised. Thrill to the clumsy attempts at subterfuge! Bemoan the accents of questionable geographical origin! Wonder at the half of the party which is physically incapable of hurting anyone in this swords and sorcery setting!

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Rusty Mick's Off-Brand Specials: the Giveaway Gun

“It's really gear”
“Sometimes you just need that 'what the hell!?' edge”

Look, you don't go to Mick's for chips and irons and that workaday crap. The reason I trot down to that poky rat-hole every once in a while is for an edge. Mick's genius, if you wanna call it that, is laying his servo-hands on kit that no scummer nor rent-a-cop nor Mister Johnson ever considered you might have.

"Scanner-proof? That's a dangerous game you're throwing yourself into. Trouble is, y'see, you never know what Mr Johnson has waiting for you, so it's very much a case of contact with the enemy, and you're the proverbial plan. Sure, you can tuck a bioplas gadget into a muscle pocket with synskin to hide the scars, but if you run into a Kurokawa-type tissue analyser at the front door, it's a balls-up situation, and by that I mean you're going to be hanging from your ankles in an interrogation cell.

What you want is to skip the risk of taking your toys through security at all. Walk in clean and give 'em nothing to work with. Well, only what you need to show a bit of respect; a couple of mid-range bugs they can squash, just enough to keep them confident they've got the upper hand.

Now, take a look at this little beauty. Fully functional, nice and obvious. You can hand it in at the welcome desk or wait for them to frisk it off you and sling it in a locker. They're practically doing the recon for you."

Little Chicken 'Oyakodon' Type 4 Clip

This middle-of-the-road auto clip fits neatly into any Type 4-compatible magazine. It can contain standard bullets, but the owner replaces one or more with disguised nanotech reconnaissance tools. When a pre-set internal timer activates, a tiny electrical charge briefly runs through the memory metal casings of these 'bullets', causing them to split open and release the payload before resuming their cylindrical form.

Agglutinator payloads are self-assembling origami robots which cooperate to extract themselves from confinement. They are thin enough to slip through cracks in a typical locker or bag, and light enough to move within a captor's pocket without being noticed. Agglutinators contain one key component each, and combine into a larger form that can function as a full-blown recon device to capture images, signal or other information. They then transmit their data in ultra-slow signals that are virtually impossible to detect, before deliquescing into unidentifiable fluid.

Linnorm payloads, on the other hand, are a mass of nigh-invisible intelligent nanowires that can wriggle their way out of almost any container. Linnorms are programmed to seek out specific targets, but can also receive instructions encoded in apparently harmless transmissions from devices that will typically pass through security. Linnorms can physically tap into corporate surveillance systems, such as CCTV and intranets, to obtain the desired information. Once their job is done, the linnorms work their way back to the origin point for retrieval without the need for any transmission.

Yıldız QBR 'Cassandra' Handset

To the untrained eye, as well as the trained eye and 99.8% of analytic devices, this sleek telecomms handset looks like the typical overpriced, bloatware-ridden corporate-assigned gadget. If the user is forced to operate it under scrutiny, its slow performance and limited functions are unlikely to attract more than eyerolls and sympathetic scorn.

In truth, the Cassandra is a highly sophisticated memory-metal electromagnetic bomb, with circuits that realign into a crude telecomms device when primed. Once the triggering conditions are met (typically timed), it releases a pulse that scrambles unshielded electronics in a significant radius, suppresses communications and creates a perfect opportunity for a second team to follow up.

Of course, once a Cassandra goes off there's always a decent chance its depositor will be asked some meaningful questions. So it's usually best to fob it off on a patsy.

Now on DriveThruRPG and the Open Gaming Store

It's been a while, sorry folks. Work and personal life in the Time of COVID have been fairly brutal (I've been signed off work) so writing for the blog hasn't been a top priority.

One thing I have finally achieved is getting my Pathfinder supplements onto RPG stores! My first two are now available from DriveThruRPG and from the Open Gaming Store. So if you fancy taking a look, please drift over there.

I should mention that the Open Gaming Store charges a much smaller commission, so all things being equal I'd prefer you to buy from there... regardless, they're all DRM-free (or supposed to be).

Inglenook's Bloodlines is being reviewed as I have added more material to it. I've also been putting together an antipaladins supplement which I hope you might enjoy.

Hopefully I will be able to do some more writing soon. I just haven't been in the right headspace for pondering general questions of gaming, rather than putting together rules ideas.

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Work in progress... Gutterspites

I've been working on a few things over the last few months - although most of my gaming energy goes into my Pathfinder campaign, now in its third year. The characters are, uh... 8th level. I should feel more guilty.

Here's a little taster of one of those projects, or rather a taster of a little slice of the project: devising some very, very minor supernatural beasties to afflict the ordinary population of a fantasy realm, the kind to produce folk remedies and the intervention of a village witch rather than a full-blown adventuring party. These are partly for flavour, partly as an alternative to rats and diseased goblins as an introductory adversary for beginner adventurers.

Just wanted to share a bit of this with you! There's still a lot to do on this new supplement but I'm enjoying it (but being sidetracked by the research).

If anyone's wondering about the supplements I already wrote - I'm now waiting to hear back from both Paizo and the Open Gaming Store about consignment, both having received my application form and gone radio silent. Did I put explosive runes on them by accident?

Gutterspite

Imps are often held to be the lowliest of fiends, but even lesser entities are responsible for much misery around the world. Gutterspites are barely-conscious bundles of malevolence that prey on whatever unfortunate mortals they can find. Too weak to inflict serious harm, they settle for inflicting unhappiness, pain and ill-luck, feeding greedily on the misery of their victims.

Gutterspites have the following traits unless otherwise noted:

Paltry Malevolence (Ex): Gutterspites are such pathetic fiends that even a hint of divine power is enough to annihilate them. Any devout follower can use a holy symbol to make a touch attack against a gutterspite. A successful attack with a symbol of a non-evil faith deals 1d6 damage, bypassing their damage reduction. An unholy symbol instead makes a gutterspite sickened and frightened for 1 minute. Unlike most other fiends, a gutterspite’s attacks do not count as evil for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Shun Hallows (Ex): Gutterspites cannot enter an area protected by a consecrate or desecrate spell. If a holy symbol is displayed in a door or window, a gutterspite must succeed at a DC 15 Will saving throw to pass through the opening or any other opening within 20 feet of it.

Minor Telepathy (Su): A gutterspite has a limited form of telepathy, allowing it to convey simple concepts or emotions to other creatures that possess telepathy.

Baleful Gutterspite

The long, feathery tail of this creature could almost be beautiful, if it weren’t for its sickly colouration and the dull malice in its three bone-white eyes. Four crooked arms clasp greedily at a dropped coin.

Baleful Gutterspite

CR 1/8

XP 50

NE Diminutive outsider (evil, gutterspite)

Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception –2

DEFENCE

AC 16, touch 16, flat-footed 14 (+2 Dexterity, +4 size)

hp 4 (1d10–1)

Fort +2, Ref +4, Will –2

DR 3/cold iron, silver or good; Resist acid 3, cold 3, electricity 3, fire 3

Weaknesses paltry malevolence, shun hallows

OFFENSE

Speed 20 feet

Melee tail +7 melee (1 nonlethal plus fatewrack)

Space 1 ft., Reach 0 ft. (5 ft. with tail)

Spell-like abilities (CL 1st; concentration +1)

1/hour–lightfingers (DC 10, drop item only)

STATISTICS

Str 3, Dex 14, Con 8, Int 2, Wis 6, Cha 10

Base Atk +1; CMB –7; CMD 2

Feats Improved Initiative, Weapon FinesseB

Skills Perception +2, Sleight of Hand +6, Stealth +14

Languages minor telepathy 10 ft.

ECOLOGY

Environment any

Organization solitary

Treasure none

Description Resembling a four-armed squirrel with a third eye in place of a mouth, baleful gutterspites lurk amongst furniture, clothing and rafters, waiting for an opportunity to afflict a victim with bad luck. They relish the scent of failure and frustration, and are the bane of artisans and cooks, who find simple tasks suddenly eluding them.

Fatewrack (Su): A creature struck by a baleful gutterspite’s feathery tail is subject to misfortune. For the following 24 hours, the creature can’t take 10 on any skill checks, and a natural 1 on a skill check always fails as though it were a critical miss on an attack roll or saving throw. This also affects the result of taking 20.

Feather Touch (Ex): The incredible softness of a baleful gutterspite’s tail means a creature doesn’t automatically become aware when struck. The baleful gutterspite can attempt a Sleight of Hand check to conceal the attack, opposed by the victim’s Perception.