New Pathfinder Society Scenarios: Beneath Unbroken Waves and Betrayal in the Bones

Today we’re going to take a look at two of the most recent Pathfinder Society Scenarios that are currently available for purchase, and let you know we thought. Although you’ll find references to events in each that I liked or disliked, and comments about specific characters, these scenarios are not explored in detail. It’s not my intention to spoil the events in these scenarios, or give summaries and full reviews, but to share my opinions and provide recommendations. That said, if you want to avoid even minor spoilers then I recommend clicking on a different article. Whether you intend to use them in home games of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, sanctioned scenarios for use with the Pathfinder Society Organized Play, or just want to read a nifty new adventure, we’ve got you covered! So let’s get cracking!

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Scenario #9-24: Beneath Unbroken Waves. A tier 5-9 adventure by Kate Baker.

Scenario #9-24: Beneath Unbroken Waves is a Tier 5-9 adventure written by (the amazing and super nice) Kate Baker! It takes place off the coast of the Isle of Jalmeray, in a region of the Obari Ocean known as the Deadly Ocean Passage. For more information on the Isle of Jalmeray, check out the Inner Sea World Guide. This scenario features creatures from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary, Bestiary 2, Bestiary 3 and Bestiary 5 (although all of the necessary stat blocks are included within the scenario) and utilizes the Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Ship, Pathfinder: Flip-Mat: Sunken City, and a custom map. This mission is of particularly importance to members of the Concordance faction.

This adventure gives the PCs a mysterious key that moves of its own accord and tasks them with taking it to its destination, exploring the site, and discovering what it opens. The location is known to be underwater, and involves a lost monastic academy.  This mission makes heavy use of the underwater combat rules so GMs should refresh their memories on those rules (a handy summary is provided in this scenario) and players should select their PC carefully. If you’ve got sailors, swimmers, monks, unarmed fighters, members of the Concordance, or undine, now is a great time to take them for a spin (all for different reasons).  Do not bring someone who relies on ranged combat, slashing weapons or bludgeoning weapons (they don’t work well underwater). This scenario starts with a very engaging mission briefing with a refreshing Venture-Captain (Rashmivati Melipdra of Niswan) who I desperately want to be pals with! Haha. There’s a fun navigation portion to this adventure. The first battle is very interesting, while another had some great hazards in play. The finale is a blast and looks like it could be a challenge. There were plenty of great opportunities for social encounters, and some interesting NPCs you can interact with. All of the enemies have distinct goals that really show in their tactics, which was awesome to see. Overall I thought this scenario was great fun. I can’t wait to play it. I give it four out of five stars.

Scenario #9-25: Betrayal in the Bones is a Tier 12-15 adventure written by Tom Phillips. It takes place in the ossuary of Taal Mornat in the Five Kings Mountains. For more information on The Five Kings Mountains check out the Inner Sea World Guide, or Pathfinder Player Companion: Dwarves of Golarion. This scenario features creatures from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary, Bestiary 2, Bestiary 3, Bestiary 4 and Bestiary 5 (although all of the necessary stat blocks are included within the scenario). It utilizes the Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Twisted Caverns, Pathfinder Map Pack: Evil Ruins, and a custom map. This mission is of particularly importance to members of the Grand Lodge faction.

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Scenario #9-25: Betrayal in the Bones. A tier 12-15 adventure by Tom Phillips.

This adventure tasks the PCs with entering Taal Mornat, and capturing or killing two enemies of the Pathfinder Society: the demoniac Ex-Venture-Captain Thurl, and the assassin Pasha Muhlia al-Jakri. I highly recommend that players bring along any of their characters who have had run ins with these characters in the past, or have gone up against their machinations and plots. Thurl can be found in Scenarios: #2-08: Sarkorian Prophesy, #5-09: The Traitor’s Lodge, #5-24: Assault on the Wound, #5-25: Vengeance at the Sundered Crag, #7-17: Thralls of the Shattered God, #9-06: Shores of Heaven, and the Special: Siege of the Diamond City. As for Muhlia? As the old leader of the Qadiran Faction, she’s been mentioned and featured in a ton of early scenarios, but most notably #2-21: The Dalsine Affair, #3-25: Storming the Diamond Gate#6-05: Slave Ships of Absalom, and #6-11: Slave Master’s Mirror. This scenario is a direct sequel to #9-21: In the Grandmaster’s Name. That said, due to the tier difference, it won’t be played by the same characters. For more information on #9-21 check out my previous blog post here. This is also a great scenario to play any dwarves you have, or characters who have the ‘Hero of the Five Kings’ boon.

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Muhlia Al-Jakri from Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-25: Betrayal in the Bones.

Now, heading into an ancient dwarven ossuary to get two bad guys isn’t as easy as it sounds. Thurl has drawn a portion of an abyssal labyrinth to the region, making the corridors incredibly dangerous and difficult to navigate. By the time you arrive, many dwarves have gone missing or lost their lives in an attempt to oust the intruders from their holy site. In addition, monsters made from the desecrated remains of the dwarves ancestors have come out of the ossuary and slaughtered a legion of dwarven soldiers. Players who don’t want to try navigating the labyrinth can attempt to enter through the volcanic fissure above the mountain, but its clear that this will likely be an even more difficult task than the labyrinth — especially since no one’s even sure if the fissure can take you to Thurl and Muhlia. Either way, I like that the option is there. Particularly for such high-level PCs.

The next line I’m about to write is a bit more of a spoiler than I normally include, so it gets its own special warning! If you don’t want to read it, skip the rest of this paragraph! The labyrinth portion of this scenario was surprisingly short, and fell a little flat, I felt. Although the battle within was great, it just didn’t feel like you were trapped in a labyrinth. The battle was really well done, though. And I love the… added complications involved.

There were some fun NPCs to interact with, my favourite of which was Borsaget. She’s awesome, although not all groups will end up getting to meet her. Muhlia was very well done! I’m curious to see how different groups handle her (and the arguments that are sure to pop up regarding her fate). Thurl is much more of a classic villain, which will give players someone to unite against and give the characters they bring some much needed closure. Some groups may uncover clues in this scenario that can lead them to the location of another enemy of the society (which is sure to be covered in an upcoming Pathfinder Society Scenario). Overall I thought this was a great, challenging scenario that did an awesome job of wrapping up Thurl and Muhlia’s story. I give it four out of five stars.

Thanks for tuning in today! Be sure to head over to Paizo’s website tomorrow and download the free rulebook for the Pathfinder Playtest! I’ll race you to it!

Jessica

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Falehetu from Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-24: Beneath Unbroken Waves. Illustrated by Nicolas Espinoza.

July New Releases!

School’s out for summer, Canada Day has passed, and Independence Day (for all you American’s out there) has just ended. It’s a new month, with new releases in the gaming world. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited for some of this month’s products!

PZO1141Last month there were some awesome releases, including Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Planar Adventures, Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Distant Realms, the finale of the Dead Suns Adventure Path: Empire of Bones (Dead Suns 6 of 6), and The Reaper’s Right Hand (War for the Crown 5 of 6)! Tricky to top! So what’s on the schedule for this month?

First off, Pathfinder Playtest.

Now, this isn’t out until AUGUST, but if you want to get your hands on a print copy now is your chance. Paizo is releasing the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook in hardcover, softcover, and in a special edition cover. They’re also releasing the Pathfinder Playtest Adventure: Doomsday Dawn and the Pathfinder Playtest Flip-Mat: Multipack. All of these products will be available for free as PDF downloads on August 2nd, but print copies will be quite hard to come by. Preorder or bust! In addition they’re releasing three Pathfinder Society Scenarios for Pathfinder Playtest. One series of quests at tier one, and two scenarios at tier five. An interesting choice! All three will be available as PDFs for free on August 7th. For more information, or to preorder print copies, check out Paizo’s website.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at some products you can get your hands on this month!

In the world of Pathfinder there are only two new products up for grabs. The Six-Legend Soul (War for the Crown 6 of 6) is the much anticipated finale to the War for the Crown Adventure Path! Oh, it’s gonna be a good one! I’m SUPER curious! Pathfinder Player Companion: Heroes from the Fringe presents a look at a lot of non-human, unique character options. Examples of this include the Ekujae elves of the Mwangi Expanse, and Pahmet dwarves of Osirion’s deserts, and many more. The part I’m most excited about? Whimsical phantoms for spiritualists! Come on, you know you want to be haunted by a chipper gnome ghost! I’m very intrigued with this product and can’t wait to see what’s inside. Pocket Editions of Ultimate Combat and Bestiary 5 also come available this month.

PZO7108Starfinder also has two exciting releases: The Dead Suns Pawn Collection, which has over 100 custom pawns from the Dead Suns Adventure Path, including a bunch of awesome starships! It looks amazing! What’s more exciting than that? A new hardcover book! Starfinder: Armory. Aww, yeah! This book is packed full of tons of new weapons and armour, as well as magical, technological, hybrids and mundane gear. There’s new bioaugmentations, weapons fusions… Every kind of item type has some new choices in this book. Also? New character options which focus on equipment! I don’t have a clue what they’re going to be, but I sure am intrigued!

In the world of Organized Play there will be four new scenarios coming out at the end of this month. Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-24: Beneath Unbroken Waves is a tier 5-9 scenario written by Kate Baker of particular importance to the Concordance Faction. It tasks the PCs with investigating underwater ruins. Scenario #9-25: Betrayal in the Bones is a tier 12-15 scenario written by Tom Phillips which continues the ongoing story of the Grand Lodge Faction. It allows players to finally get back at some old enemies! For more details, check out a previous blog post where we spoke about events leading up to this scenario! Starfinder Society Scenario #1-18: The Blackmoon Survey is a tier 1-4 scenario written by Jesse Benner which tasks players with exploring an ancient Eoxian ruin to determine why the workers on the excavation have been going missing. This one sounds like a ton of fun. Scenario #1-19: To Conquer the Dragon is a tier 5-8 scenario written by Matt Duval which send the players to Triaxus to open a Starfinder Lodge! This scenario builds on events from #1-13: On the Trail of History, and involves starship combat. I can’t wait until I get my hands on them later this month!

What’s left? Maps of course! And this month certainly brings us a LOT. Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Watch Station is a pretty handy map set which gives is a solid dungeon or underground prison on one side, and a moderately sized sheriff’s office/town barracks on the other. It can also sub in as any small building that includes barracks, such as a thieves den, guild headquarters or school. Pathfinder Flip-Mat Multi-Pack: Forest is a useful set of two flip mats which feature woodlands, rocky banks, and small rivers. These two mats each connect to each other in multiple ways, which means that you can continue your game with a rolling scene, over and over again. They look gorgeous. Starfinder Flip-Mat: Asteroid is an interesting map release. One side is an incredibly useful map of a canyon, impact site or crater which is going to see a ton of use. It’s super adaptable, and can even work in Pathfinder play. The other side is a complex built into the interior of an asteroid. It looks quite interesting. Clearly intended to be used in the Diaspora, it can double as a lot of other complexes, including an underground bunker, base, laboratory, military instalment or even a school. Unfortunately, all three map sets are not yet released on Amazon, so if you’re Canadian, like me, or from another place in the world where the cost of having anything delivered from Paizo is ABSURD you’ll need to wait a while before getting these beauties on order.

PZO4073There’s also a whole new type of map being released this month: Pathfinder Flip-Tiles! We’ve talked about these before on d20diaries, but in short, they’re a collection of 6×6 tiles with images on both sides which easily can connect to form a large complex. This month brings us two sets of map tiles. Pathfinder Flip-Tiles: Dungeon Starter Set, includes basic dungeon features including halls, stairs, turns, entrances and rooms. It has a whopping 42 double sided map tiles. The second set, Pathfinder Flip-Tiles: Dungeon perils Expansion Set, is an expansion which works will the Dungeon Set (and will work with other sets in the future). It contains 24 double sided flip-tiles which depict hazards including trapped and lit hallways, chemical spills, chasms, rock falls, magical devices, and fungal growths. They look pretty cool. Much like this months flip-mats, these products aren’t yet available on Amazon. As a brand new product, I haven’t yet seen these in person, so I’m not sure how easy they’ll be to adapt and use in a live game, but I’d love to find out. If any of you get your hands on these tiles, let me know! I’d love to hear what you think!

That’s it for this months new releases! What products are you most excited for? I know my household can’t wait to get our greedy little hands on Starfinder: Armory! Here’s hoping!

Jessica

June New Releases!

Hey, guys! It’s that time again! A new month brings new releases!

There were plenty of fun releases last month, including two awesome pawn collections I’d love to get my hands on: Ruins of Azlant Pawn Collection and Starfinder Pact Worlds Pawn Collection. We were also treated to War for the Crown: Part 4 of 6: City in the Lion’s Eye, and the Pathfinder Players Companion: Blood of the Ancients. The Pathfinder Society Scenarios were solid, and the Starfinder Society Scenarios really knocked it out of the park. Amazing! And this month? Well, I think it’s looking just as exciting…

PZO1141First up, Pathfinder’s released a new hardcover book: Planar Adventures. I’ve been a huge fan of Pathfinder Chronicles: Pathfinder Campaign Setting: The Great Beyond since it’s release, so to see that the Planes are getting an entire hardcover complete with new archetypes, feats, spells, gear, monsters and three player races, is AWESOME!

Moving on from hardcovers into softcovers, we come to Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Distant Realms. Inside this book you’ll find details on six completely different planar cities, complete with maps, history, locations and the cities movers and shakers. Which six cities does it contain? I’m not sure about all of them, but I do know you can expect to find the city of Dis in Hell, the isle of Yulgamot on the Astral Plane, Basrakal (I have no idea where that will be…) and, my personal favourite, Shadow Absalom! Colour me intrigued!

We’ve also got two other awesome adventure path volumes coming out. War for the Crown, which has been spectacularly popular, is getting it’s second last instalment! That’s right! War for the Crown: Part 5 of 6: The Reaper’s Right Hand! And on the Starfinder front? The finale of it’s first adventure path! Dead Suns: Part 6 of 6: Empire of Bones! I cannot wait to get my hands on that bad boy!

PZO90131On the Flip-Mat front we have two to peruse this month. Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Bigger Village is a super-sized play mat which features a desert oasis village on one side, and a walled village on the other side. Both sides seem quite nice looking, and rather usable. The second flip-mat is a super popular mat reprinted. Which one? Flip Mat: Classics: Pub Crawl! One side features a street lined with taverns, while the other is an expanded Flip-Mat: Warehouse for a more cheap and grungy kind of bar. This one’s bound to see a ton of use in PFS play, so I’d get your hands on it while you can.

Near the end of this month we’ll have two new Pathfinder Society Scenarios, and two new Starfinder Society Scenarios  to dive into. PFS: #9-22: Grotto of the Deluged God is a tier 1-5 scenario that tasks your PCs with investigating a shipwreck and contributes to the ongoing storyline of the Concordance faction. Meanwhile, PFS: #9-23: The Ghol-Gan Heresy is a tier 7-11 scenario that lets you take on the Aspis Consortium alongside your grippli allies! In addition to continuing previous events in the Kaava Lands, this scenario also contributes to the ongoing storyline of the Exchange.

SFS: #1-16: Dreaming of the Future is an exciting scenario! A series of four one-hour long quests that task your players with investigating the prophetic visions of a Liavaran Dreamer. These quests take you far across the Pact Worlds, into the Diaspora, Aballon, Verces and, of course, Liavara. This scenario is for tiers 1-4, features starship combat, and is REPEATABLE. Awesome! SFS: 1-17: Reclaiming the Time-Lost Tear is a tier 5-8 scenario. Yup, you heard that right! Tier 5-8! Even more exciting? It continues the story of the Scoured Stars! Pardon me while I squeal in delight!

June’s releases are looking amazing! Got a favourite? Let us know!

Jessica

 

Disciple’s Doctrine

We’ve been looking at a lot of Starfinder products lately, but today we’re changing gears. I recently got my hands on Pathfinder Player Companion: Disciple’s Doctrine, so today, we’re going to take a look at what’s inside.

Disciple’s Doctrine is a soft cover book that is 32 pages in length. Like the other ‘Faith’ books before it (Faiths of Balance, Faiths of Purity, Faiths of Corruption, Faiths & Philosophies, etc.), this book takes a look at a dozen complex philosophies that are found throughout Golarion. As a book in the Player Companion line, it’s aimed at players, which means that you won’t find any great secrets of the order explained in this book. What you will get is spoiler-free information about each of the disciplines inside, including what the discipline’s about, how its organized, and what’s expected of its members. In addition, you’ll find some new player options related to each discipline, typically spells and character archetypes.

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Pathfinder Player’s Companion: Disciple’s Doctrine

Curious? Read on!

Disciple’s Doctrine features awesome cover art by Setiawan Fajareka, and features the Iconic Psychic Rivani, and the Iconic Slayer Zadim, facing off against a devourer. The inside front cover compiles information on each of the disciplines inside the book. Each has some iconography to represent it, and a few sentences describing it in an abbreviated fashion. So what’s in the book, exactly? The Concordance of Elements, Cults of the Failed, Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye, Harbringers of Fate, Hellknights of the Godclaw, Magnimarian Mystery Cults, Oracular Council of Po Li, Prophecies of Kalistrade, Razmir the Living God, Sangpotshi, Shoanti Shamanic Traditions and Tamashigo. It’s quite an array! Some of them are expected–for example, I was well aware that the Oracular Council and the Prophesies of Kalistrade would get some attention in this book, but others are a surprise. I had honestly no idea that the Concordance of Elements would be featured in this book! I’m a huge fan of them in the Pathfinder Society Organized Play, so I’m thrilled to get a bit more background for this group. I was also super excited about getting to learn about the Hellknights of the Godclaw and the Cults of the Failed. A few of the other disciplines I’ve read about before, so I wasn’t entirely sure how much new information would be presented here on them. The Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye, for example, although mysterious to most is featured in the Carrion Crown Adventure Path–which I’m currently running for my children. (Yes, that’s a horror campaign, and yes, my children are very young. They love it, I swear! Haha! More details on that in the future!). The Shoanti Shamanic Traditions are another example of this. I LOVE them, I cannot emphasize that enough, but they were already covered in depth during the Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path (which I played through with a wonderful group of players back when it was new). Still, I was hopeful that the player focus of this book would bring something new to the table.

Up next is the table of contents, followed by the introduction. Here you’ll find some flavourful information about what’s inside the book–and what the difference is between a religion and a discipline or a philosophy. Of more interest to most players is the Rules Index, which is a handy list of all of the archetypes, traits and other rules option found in this book, with page numbers for reference. There’s also a series of six new traits focused on some of the traditions found in this book. Five are faith traits, with one a social trait. Of those, one is very focused on a specific tradition (Dogged, which is for members of the Cult of the Failed), while the others are more broad. They’re not amazing traits, and you’re certainly not going to wish you could take them with every character, but they’re thematic, and I really like them. I think that Heretic’s Caution, which gives you a bonus on bluff checks that gets better against religious figures, is going to see the most use, followed by Self-Sustaining, which grants you a 0-level spell once per day as a spell-like ability (from a small selection).

Past the introduction we enter the bulk of the book: the disciplines. Each one has two facing pages devoted to it, with approximately one page being information about the group, and one page being player options (although there is variance in these lengths).

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The Concordance of Elements

Concordance of Elements is up first and, as previously mentioned, I was super excited for it! The Concordance of Elements is a planes-spanning organization whose goal is to preserve balance between the elemental forces of the world (air, earth, fire and water). They can act as diplomats and impartial investigators amongst the elemental planes, and also work to stop planar disturbances, planar portals and powerful magic from messing the world up. The information presented on the Concordance is all quite useful and interesting, and contained different information than that which can be found in the Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Guide. In addition to general organizational information, we get to learn about the role that Concordance Agents play within the group, and how the group as a whole interacts with other organizations and religions.

As for character options, we’re treated to two archetypes and a combat style. The first is the Elemental Monk, which is a monk archetype I can’t wait to try. It’s definitely one of my favourite archetypes in the entire book! For starters, they must be true neutral, and instead of gaining stunning fist and bonus feats they gain the feat elemental fist with one special alteration: they don’t select one element for use with this feat. Instead, they select what element they want whenever they use the feat, which makes them super adaptable. At second level they gain the ability to enter any of the five genie fighting styles as a swift action, chosen each time they activate the ability. At low levels this grants them the basic fighting style feat, but as they increase in level they gain access to the more advanced fighting style options automatically. This is super cool! I’ve been a fan of style feats for a while, but they’re such a big feat investment for very specific circumstances that I’ve never really had the opportunity to make good use of them. I’m thrilled that this archetype give us a chance! There’s other abilities the elemental monk gets, but I won’t go into any more depth on it than I already have. Just know: I love this one. I want to make one. Heck, I might go make one right now. The second archetype is the Elemental Envoy for rangers, which is quite thematic and cool, but very focused. Lastly, we’re treated to the elemental combat style for rangers, which offers some quirky feat choices for a combat style. Overall, I really enjoyed getting to take a look at the Concordance of Elements. It’s one of my favourite entries in the book.

Up next is the Cults of the Failed, a group of people who pay homage to those brave souls who have attempted to achieve godhood through the Test of the Starstone and failed. They venerate, honour, and learn from these deceased mortal heroes lives, and trials. They maintain a spartan temple in Absalom which is more of a solemn memorial than anything, and have no holy texts, or official clergy. Now, having played through Pathfinder Society Scenario #6-10: The Wounded Wisp, I know a tiny bit about the Cults of the Failed, which made me very curious to hear more. The information was definitely intriguing, and I was pleasantly surprised. For character options, we get a single medium archetype: Vessel of the Failed. Now, although I love the flavour of this archetype, it’s not really my cup of tea. As previously mentioned in other blog posts, the medium is my least liked class, so it takes a lot to get me interested in a medium archetype enough to make me want to actually make one. It’s not impossible, as I learned when we took a look at Blood of the Beast, but it is hard, and this one didn’t really do it for me. Still, I was intrigued enough with the group to start thinking of other things I wanted to do with the them, which is a win in my book!

Next we come to the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye. This elite secret society is heavily influenced by Osirion mysticism, Varisian occult traditions, and Pharasmin beliefs, which they have fused into a strange amalgam in order to achieve wisdom, enlightenment and an understanding of the occult. Based in Ustalav, this group has far reaching influence, and hidden agents throughout the world. As previously mentioned, this group is featured in the Carrion Crown Adventure Path, and an in-depth article aimed at GMs can found in Carrion Crown: Part 2: Trial of the Beast. That means that I was coming to the table with a lot of information in hand. I found that although the information on the Order inside this book didn’t offer me anything new, it was interesting, well-written and (very importantly) geared towards players, meaning the group is now accessible to a much wider audience without giving away the group’s secrets and too much history. I really enjoyed it. As for player options, there’s one archetype offered for my favourite class, the occultist, which I loved. The Esoteric Initiate focuses his studies on objects of antiquity related specifically to his Order’s teachings. Their symbolism ability is particularly interesting. There’s also a few new magus arcana which are super useful, my favourite of which is Book-Bound.

The Harbringers of Fate are up next, and I can honestly say I had no idea what these guys were about when I opened this book. And now? It think they’re cool! In short, they believe that Aroden can be ushered back into the world if the prophecies in his holy text are be made real. They gather information and attempt to manipulate events in order to bring about such prophecies. Apparently the group was recently splintered into three differing opinions, all of which are pretty interesting. Now, there’s not too much information on the Harbingers themselves, with one half of a single page devoted to information about their order, while the rest of the two pages consists of player options. We get a new Prophesy School (a focused arcane school for wizards) which I really enjoyed, and three new thematic spells, including one enchantment (debilitating speech), and two divinations (fortune’s path and prophetic lore). Although nice options, I wish there was a big more useful information on the group itself.

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The five faiths of the Godclaw

Then we come to The Hellknights of the Godclaw! Now, I was intrigued with these guys from the moment I first read about them on the front inside cover. They’re Hellknights, obviously, but they don’t exclusively worship Asmodeus or Hell. Instead, they worship a collection of five lawful deities–Abadar, Asmodeus, Iomedae, Irori, and Torag–believing that all five work together to put an end to chaos. Abadar is the keeper of laws, Asmodeus is the strategist, Iomedae is the perfect offensive combatant, Irori is disciplined, and Torag is the perfect defensive combatant. Together, they are the Godclaw. Now, obviously, this is super heretical to all five of those faiths, but these guys? They don’t care! Their quirky, super oppressive dogma collects the lawful aspects of those deities, and smushes them together into one religion, playing it off like these five are good pals who happen to work together to obliterate disorder in their off-time. Like some weird, super, adventuring party. I cannot express how much I love it! Haha. Suffice to say as far as information goes, I’m sold! But what about character options? I loved that too! In fact, this whole section is right up in there among my favourite parts of the book. First, we’ve got the Fist of the Godclaw, which is an archetype for war priests that sounds like a ton of fun. Because it’s so focused on defeating chaos, it’s quite specific in terms of usage. It’s not one of those universally awesome archetypes you’ll always want to add to your character, but it’s cool and I love it. Also? It’d be particularly useful in the Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Path, as well as the Second Darkness Adventure Path (to a lesser extent). After this we’ve got a new war priest blessing: Godclaw, which is useful and quirky. And lastly we’ve got four new spells called litanies, which are each activated as either an immediate or a swift action, and are for inquisitors, paladins and on occasion even antipaladins. You should really check these awesome spells out! All in all, I highly recommend you give this part of the book a read!

Up next is the Magnimarian Mystery Cults. Now, this entry isn’t really a unified group or religion. It’s a lot of religions, all focused on the worship of little known empyreal lords. These demigods are worshipped in private or in small groups, at personal shrines or sacred monuments. Typically, these beliefs are passed down through the generations. They are particularly prominent in and around the Varisian city of Magnimar, where they have been worshipped since before the city was founded. The most commonly worshipped empyreal lords in Magnimar are Arshea (the Spirit of Abandon), Ashava (The True Spark), Ragathiel (General of Vengeance), Sinashakti (The Immaculate Joy), Soralyon (The Mystic Angel) and Ylimancha (Harborwing). There’s a ton of information on these Empyreal Lords (and a lot more!), mystery cults, and the Mystery Cultist prestige class in Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Chronicle of the Righteous, but this entry contains just enough information to whet your appetite for more, and to briefly describe (just a few sentences) each of the most common empyreal lords in Magnimar. After this it moves right onto a new cavalier order, Order of the Monument. I think this Order is very cool and useful, but not suitable for all campaigns. This order requires that you select a single city or settlement to protect. You don’t need to stay in that city all the time, but it’s pretty hard to justify somehow protecting your city when you haven’t been there in a long time. So, although this would be an awesome Order to play in plenty of Adventure Paths and modules (including Curse of the Crimson Throne, Kingmaker, Hell’s Vengeance, Ironfang Invasion, Ruins of Azlant, The Dragon’s Demand and even the Crown of the Kobold King series of adventures), there’s a lot of other Adventure Paths and Modules where it wouldn’t be thematically appropriate. After this nifty new Order we get a Variant Channeling ability for each of the mentioned empyreal lords, which can also be chosen by clerics who worship deities with the same portfolios. These variant channeling abilities include Duty, Flying, Journeys, Moonlight, Monuments and Sexuality. Personally, I like the moonlight and monuments abilities best, but I’d be curious to see what everyone else thinks.

And that brings us to the Oracular Council. Located in the nation of Po Li where divine magic is revered, but worshipping the gods is forbidden, the Oracular Council uses advanced mathematics and a wide variety of divinations to foretell the future and govern their nation. In addition to information about the group itself, there’s also details on initiation and membership with the Oracular Council, as well as details on what it’s like working for the Council. Although this entry wasn’t my favourite, they did a great job of presenting thorough, but not overwhelming, details on this group. I really liked it. After this is the Divine Numerologist, which is an oracle archetype that’s pretty neat. This archetype is compatible with any mystery, and replaces the 10th, 12th, 14th, 16th, and 18th level bonus spells with divination themed ones. But, it’s the two unique revelations that really make this archetype shine. The first is Calculate the Odds, which must be taken at 1st level, and allows your character to quickly use numerology to grant herself a bonus on her next d20 roll equal to her Charisma bonus. Very cool, but I wish you could use it more often (it’s usable once per day at 1st level, twice at 7th, and three times at 15th).  The second unique revelation is Program the Divine Algorithm, which you must take at 7th level, and lets you choose to take the average of a single or set of die rolls instead of rolling (so a 10 on a d20 or three 3s if rolling 3d6). All of your regular modifiers are then added as normal. The final revelation makes your character immune to aging, and allows a critical threat rolled within 30 feet of you by an ally to automatically confirm once a day. Neat. But, that’s not all this entry has to offer. There’s also five new numerology themed investigator talents, the coolest of which is Greater Numerical Alchemy. Definitely check it out!

Prophecies of Kalistrade
Iconography of the Prophecies of Kalistrade

Up next is the article I was the most excited to read about when I learned about this book: The Prophecies of Kalistrade. Now, I knew of the prophecies, and I knew that Prophets of Kalistrade were full of themselves and interested in amassing wealth. I also know that they wore long white gloves so they’d never have to come sully themselves via contact with someone not of their faith. But, I didn’t know much more than that. They have weird taboos, but I didn’t know what they were, and they wear a lot of white and gold. Voila! I know, Ygritte, I know nothing. Which is why I was hoping I would learn something more concrete about their group in this book. There was plenty of information in here, but at the end of it, I still don’t fell like I’ve got a handle on them. Maybe it’s me. I have a feeling I might ‘get’ them more if I just made a Kalistocrat and played them. Still, info aside, these guys have some awesome player options. First up is a new psychic discipline: Superiority, which focuses on the Kalistocrats absolute confidence in themselves, disdain for touching the unworthy, and their greed. The Magical Hoarder ability is particularly cool! I definitely recommend checking this one out if you’re going to make anyone who’s particularly proud or self-centred. It’s pretty awesome! There’s also three new spells, fastidiousness (which keeps you perpetually clean), hallucinatory decor (which lets you change the way things appear so they meet your high standards), and unflappable mein (which tries to stop others from touching you, and can harm them if they try). I’m not going to lie, my next bard is definitely taking fastidiousness! Haha.

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A mask worn by followers of Razmir, the Living God.

Following the self-centred Kalistocrats is a guy who takes ‘self-centred’ to a whole new level: Razmir, the Living God. Now, I love to hate these guys. In everything I’ve seen Razmirans used, they’re the villain. The wonderful modules Masks of the Living God and City of Golden Death are particularly good examples of this. But, that doesn’t mean that’s all these cultists are. An entire nation worships Razmir, and most of those people are just trying to get by. They’re normal. So, I love that this is an article that aimed at them. We get some information about Razmir himself, reasons that outsiders might say he’s not a ‘real’ god but a charlatan, reasons that believers refute those claims, and reasonings behind Razmir’s teachings. There’s information on a priest’s role, and Razmir’s interactions with other religions. All of this was really helpful, and I feel like it gave me a much better understanding for them as a group. I definitely want to make a worshipper of Razmir now, which isn’t something I’ve never wanted to do before. After all this information we get to an archetype for the ninja. Yeah, when does that ever happen, right? Well, wait no longer! This ninja archetype is called Mask of the Living God, and it’s pretty awesome. Of course, it’s also intrinsically tied to the Razmiran faith, so it’s not very adaptable. After this there’s four new arcanist exploits, my favourite of which is Mending Flesh, and a single greater exploit which is pretty nifty, Convert Wand. All of the arcanist options are worth a read.

Next we have the philosophy of Sangpotshi, which is the concept that our souls are reincarnated after death into a form based upon our deeds and worthiness from our previous lives, until we eventually achieve the honour of breaking the cycle and resting in Pharasama’s Boneyard. It’s a mix of the concepts of reincarnation, karma and fate, all rolled into one. This philosophy is incredibly prevalent in Tian Xia, and is compatible with many different religions. Most of the information presented on it involves the role of a believer to the, and their relationships with other religions. There’s a spiritualist archetype up for offer, called the Seeker of Enlightenment, which I thought I would like more than I did. I think my favourite ability it offered was Words of the Past, which lets you cast comprehend languages at will as a spell-like ability. There’s also some options for vigilantes, including two social talents and three vigilante talents. My favourites were  Ancestral Enlightenment, Magical Familiarity and Weapon Familiarity.

Which brings us to the Shoanti Shamanic Traditions. Now, as mentioned, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Shoanti peoples and their culture. But, I’ve also read a lot about them already. So, as much as I was hoping there’d be new information on them for me to drool over, I wasn’t sure what I’d be getting. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any new information about their traditions in this volume. However, for those of use who don’t own the original Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path, The Inner Sea World Guide, or Varisia, Birthplace of Legends, this is a great way to explore the awesomeness that is the Shoanti. The character options were quite exciting, though. The Totem Channeler is a fun looking skald archetype, while the faith trait Aspect of the Quah, allows hunters to replace one of their animal aspects with a new aspect related to a Shoanti’s quah (tribe). Shiny!

The last discipline we’re looking at in this book is Tamashigo, which is a philosophy that teaches that every part of nature has a soul and a spirit, and that these spirits must be treated with honour and respect, for their whims shape the world. This is most common in Tian Xia (which is where it is known as Tamashigo), but this philosophy can also be found in many other cultures of the Inner Sea, from Kellid tribes, to the Shoanti Quahs, and beyond. Much like Sangpotshi, this philosophy is compatible with nearly any religion, and can be used for characters of a variety of faiths. After this there’s a cool Samurai archetype, called the Ward Speaker, which honours the kami (more information on Kami can be found in Bestiary 3 or the Jade Regent Adventure Path). There are also two new bardic masterpieces, which are neat. I especially like Kaminari Drums, which allows percussionists to call lightning down from the sky.

Although that brings us to the last of the disciplines explored in Disciple’s Doctrine, this isn’t the end of the book. There’s a little bit left: a chapter called Tools of the Faith, which features three pages of mundane and magical equipment for characters to purchase, followed by two occult rituals. I particularly enjoyed the Godstar, and the Lantern of the Four Elements. The Echo of Divinity’s Promise was also cool, but too expensive. As for the occult rituals, check out the Song of the Kami’s Gift!

And that brings us to the end of Disciple’s Doctrine. This was a really good book, and I rather enjoyed it. My favourite entries were on the Concordance of Elements, The Cults of the Failed, the Hellknights of the Godclaw, and Razmir the Living God. As for character options, it’s the elemental monk archetype, the superiority psychic discipline, the arcanist exploits, and the hellknight litanies that I’m going to make the most use of.

Have your own copy of Disciple’s Doctrine? Let us know your favourite parts in the comments!

Jessica

 

Unleash the Wilds!

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Wilderness

There’s been exciting changes to the Pathfinder Society Organized Play this past week. On Wednesday, Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Wilderness became legal for play. So crack out your books, and calculating statistics, it’s time to make some Shifters! In addition to the Shifter class, there’s a ton of wilderness themed archetypes that became usable. Around 80 archetypes from the book are now considered legal, and nine of them are not (blighted defiler, blighted myrmidon, fiendflesh shifter, flood walker, rageshaper, raging cannibal, verdant grappler, wildborn and wild soul). Happily, all three of my favourites, the oozemorph, the season sage and the viking, made it into PFS. Nearly all of the familiar and animal companion options were made legal, as were all of the animal tricks (excluding mark territory). All but three of the spells were added to the additional resources document (with forest’s sense, grasping vine, and vine strike being the spells left out of play), making around fifty new spells up for grabs. Feats had nearly as good luck, with around a hundred feats sanctioned for play and only ten being left out (Cultivate Magic Plants, Expert Cartographer, Expert Explorer, Expert Salvager, Hide Worker, Mutated Shape, Natural Poison Antitoxin, Sproutling, Wild Growth Hex, and Wood Crafter are still not allowed). Nearly all of the miscellaneous character rules like discoveries and rage powers were made legal. All in all it’s an exciting, vast collection of new player options for us to tinker with. For full details on what’s become legal from Ultimate Wilderness for PFS Organized Play, check out the Additional Resources document on Paizo’s website and scroll down to the bottom.

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The sigil of the Scarab Sages, a faction of the Pathfinder Society whose relevance is coming to an end.

On a related note, another major announcement was made last week. The storyline of the Scarab Sages Faction has officially come to an end, although characters are still allowed to keep their Pathfinder Society Characters in the faction and continue earning their season goals. In it’s place we get a new faction, Concordance. As the only ‘nature’ or ‘wilderness’ themed faction, this group was a long time coming. The two main members of the group we’ve been introduced to so far were met quite a long time ago, with the janni Jamila being introduced back in the third PFS scenario ever published, #03: Murder on the Silken Caravan, and the gnome Falbis being introduced in scenario #3-05: Tide of Twilight. The actual leader of the group, Ashasar, was introduced in scenarios #8-12: Caught in the Eclipse, and #8-24: Raid on the Cloudborne Keep. The Concordance was first utilized in the Tyranny of Winds Trilogy, which includes scenarios #8-08: The Sandstorm Prophecy, #8-10: Secrets of the Endless Sky, and #8-12: Caught in the Eclipse.

 

Now, I mentioned that The Concordance is a ‘nature’ themed Faction, but this isn’t strictly true. They’re not some ring of tree-hugging druids, or animal-loving rangers. They’re concerned with keeping the elements, and the elemental planes, in balance. Although they’re typically involved in affairs on the elemental planes themselves, a group of the Concordance has recently established itself on the material plane, upon realizing that its home to many extra-planar rifts, wild magic, elemental surges and the like. More properly known as the Concordance of Elements, this group is ancient and diverse. Honestly, I think they sound awesome.

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The sigil of The Concordance of Elements, a new Faction joining the Pathfinder Society.

The Concordance wasn’t released on it’s own. It was also released with a society scenario which features the organization, and offers Pathfinders who play in it the chance to join the faction after playing it through to its completion (without cost or penalty). That’s pretty neat! Very rarely do you get the chance to test out a faction in this way, without committing.

 

The scenario itself, #9-14: Down the Verdant Path, was a lot of fun. I won’t get into the plot line too much, but know that it involves a bleached gnome, the First World of the Fey, and unnatural weather. Down the Verdant Path makes spectacular use of NPCs, both allies and enemies, and in addition to starring new characters it also features all three of the above-mentioned members of the Concordance Faction (Jamila, Falbis and Ashashar). They did a splendid job of bringing these characters to life in an engaging, fun way. Down the Verdant Path is a splendid tier 1-5 scenario, which I can’t wait to play in.

With who?

A member of the Concordance, of course! As to WHAT I’ll make her, I’m not quite sure. I’m contemplating an elf druid of some kind. I never make elves. Haha.

What are you waiting for? Unleash the WILD!

Thanks for joining us on d20 Diaries.

Jessica