Pathfinder Playtest

Pathfinder Playtest RulebookPathfinder Playtest.

It’s here!

Finally, it’s here!

For some of you this might be irrelevant. Others, a little scary.

But me?

I’m excited.

I’m getting up first thing in the morning and heading over to Paizo’s website to download my free copy of everything Pathfinder Playtest. I’ll read it within a day or two, and soon be testing out the character creation process. I’ll be teaching it to my kids by the start of next week, and trying my hand at GMing an adventure for them shortly after. I’ll download the Playtest PFS scenarios as soon as they launch next week, and have reviews up on them within a day or two. When Gameday comes I’ll have a chance to try the game out as a player. Afterwards, I hope to have a chance to play again. Then there’s surveys to fill out and feedback to give, so that Paizo can make this next version of Pathfinder the best that it can be.

So what’s first?

Everything is be available on the Pathfinder Playtest landing page, so head there first and see what there is on offer. Want it all? Click ‘Download All.’ Easy!

But, what exactly is there to download?

The first thing you’ll want to download is the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook. This is a short version of the rules which give you all the information you need to know in order to play Pathfinder Playtest, GM it, create and level up characters. Now, as the Playtest, this is not a full Rulebook. It’s not what you’ll see when Pathfinder Second Edition launches next year. It’s a streamlined Rulebook with everything you need to know to try out the game. To try running the game. And to make a wide variety of characters. This is the major download. Read it. Enjoy it. Give it a shot. Make characters. Try new things. Share it with your family and friends. Help them make characters.

Pathfinder Playtest Doomsday DawnAfter this you should download Pathfinder Playtest Adventure: Doomsday Dawn. This adventure is actually a series of short, multi-encounter adventures which are linked over a decade of time to tell one epic story. Ancient Osirion features a wide variety of magical clocks which have been counting down through millennia. Previously a mystery, these Countdown Clocks will soon reach 0, at a time when Golarion will line up with the foul planet of Aucturn and allow the horrifying and mysterious Dominion of Black to surge across the world. Your players will travel throughout Golarion over a decade in order to understand the Countdown Clocks, defeat the Dominion of Black, and save Golarion! These mini-adventures are designed to show off and test a wide variety of game mechanics and adventure styles.

I’m thrilled for the Doomsday Dawn, particularly because I first read about the Countdown Clocks back when the The Pact Stone Pyramid was released before Pathfinder had its own rules set. I found the clocks so intriguing I made a whole campaign around it (which was pretty awesome if I do say so myself!). Unfortunately, that was one of the games that fell apart through the years (multiple pregnancies from both a player and myself were the joyous reason that campaign never got played through to its conclusion). I’m thrilled to see what the Paizo team does with it!

Those of you who will be GMing also need to download the Pathfinder Playtest Bestiary (link not available at the time of posting) which contains all the monster rules you’ll need to run the Doomsday Dawn. You’ll likely also want to download the Pathfinder Playtest Flip-Mat Multi-Pack. This contains digital downloads of four major encounter areas in the Doomsday Dawn Adventure. These maps are said to include a burnt-out crypt, a ruined temple, a wizard’s tower, and an astronomer’s underground laboratory. I have high hopes for these maps, so I can’t wait to see them.

Those of you hoping to get your hands on a physical copy of these books can try their hand on Paizo’s website, or order them on Amazon: Pathfinder Playtest RulebookPathfinder Playtest Rulebook Deluxe HardcoverPathfinder Playtest Adventure: Doomsday DawnPathfinder Playtest Flip-Mat Multi-Pack.

And that’s it!

For now.

On August 7th Paizo releases three Pathfinder Society Scenarios for the Pathfinder Playtest (all of which are free). The first, Pathfinder Society Playtest #1: The Rose Street Revenge, is a series of four tier 1 quests that task the PCs with investigating a series of murders perpetrated by the Rose Street Killer, who has been targeting recently freed slaves. They’ll get to ally with kobolds, explore the Puddles, and… do some other exciting stuff that I’m not yet privy to! Haha. This scenario is written by Leo Glass, Thurston Hillman, Joe Pasini, and Linda Zayas-Palmer, so you know it’s going to be awesome!

Pathfinder Playtest Scenario #2: Raiders of Shrieking Peak is a tier 5 scenario written by Luis Loza. Recently, the Pathfinders discovered an Iomedean artifact that was being shipped overland from Diobel to Absalom. Unfortunately the caravan transporting it was attacked and its up to your PCs to find the thieves, and retrieve the relic. It sounds like this scenario is intended to have multiple ways to achieve your goals, which should allow both combat heavy groups, and diplomatic groups to try out different aspects of the game. The only art I’ve seen for this scenario so far features a harpy, so I’m very intrigued! (Fans of my Legacy of Fire novelization will know I’m a huge fan of harpies as potentially dangerous NPCs. Undrella was awesome!)

Sebnet Sanserkoht gnome.jpg
Sebnet Sanserkoht, a gnome Pathfinder from Pathfinder Society Playtest #3: Arclord’s Envy. Art by Javier Charro.

Pathfinder Society Playtest #3: Arclord’s Envy is a tier 5 scenario written by Liz Lydell which I am most excited for. It takes place in NEX, which is a place I’ve never had a chance to play in before, and is a mystery investigation that I know pretty much nothing about! It said to reflect the location wonderfully, and have some flexibility, which ensures that the mystery is different each time you play. This is particularly important since all of the PFS scenarios are replayable.

Well, I’m off now. I’ve got to download the Playtest materials myself, after all. Here’s hoping the website doesn’t crash…

Best of luck!

Jessica

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Summer Flies By! (And other news)

Well, it’s been a busy summer so far. We’ve visited family, celebrated birthdays, gone swimming, tended our garden, played at the park and… Well, frankly my allergies are acting up like CRAZY! Whoo, I feel horrible! Haha. Still, my kids are happy, and I’d rather get out and enjoy the summer than I would let it pass me by.

In gaming news we’ve had a chance to play the Mummy’s Mask Adventure Path a few times, Reign of Winteronly once, Shackled City a few times (look for an update soon!) and haven’t had a chance to play Iron Gods at all (sad!). In fact, we haven’t had a chance to play Starfinder at home lately, either. (Double sad!).

A while ago my daughter asked me if I would start moving some of our d20 games online to play-by-post. She felt that she never got to play her many, many, many adventures and characters because when the weekend comes we only have time for one game, and it’s going to be one of the ones everyone agrees on. That means that we could go months without playing some of her characters.

“Pleeeeeeease, Mom?” she asked. “Some of my characters might as well be DEAD! I would rather play them one post a day than take no turns EVER! PLEEEEEEASE!?!?”

She’s a little dramatic, but she got the point across. Haha.

So, at my daughter’s request, we moved one of our ongoing family PFS games online and we moved our family Dead Suns Adventure Path online. My kids and I also have a lot of campaigns that involve only me and them. I told them they could choose one to move online for now. They gave this a great deal of thought and, although they have a ton of characters they enjoy playing, they also have campaign envy.

What?

Campaign envy.

Every time the grown ups play Mummy’s Mask, or Iron Gods, or Reign of Winter they are desperately jealous. A while ago they began their own Mummy’s Mask campaign and they’ve been begging me to let them start Iron Gods and Reign of Winter ever since. In the end, they chose the Mummy’s Mask Adventure Path. I’m actually really excited, since they created a very entertaining group of characters that shook up our typical party dynamics. More details on that will come in an upcoming blog post.

In other news, Gameday VII will start in another few weeks, which is super exciting! I can’t wait! GenCon is coming up (for those of you lucky enough to attend such things), and Paizo recently released their Puzzle Hunt from PaizoCon online for mass consumption. No idea what that is? In short, its a series of Golarion-themed puzzles within puzzles that were given out at PaizoCon back in May. It’s a free download on their website, and you can talk about the puzzles with other gamers on the boards. I gave them a read and am actually super excited to try them out. It looks fun!

Paizo recently announced their upcoming Pathfinder Society Scenarios, which include the finale for Season 9 and the start of Season 10! They’ve also shared details on the next four Starfinder Society Scenarios. Soon we should get information on two new Adventure Card Game adventures, and the first three of their upcoming Pathfinder Playtest Scenarios! I can’t wait to get my hands on these beauties at the end of the month!

Speaking of the Playtest, there have been some awesome spoilers lately. My favourite turned out to be the BARD. Now, I’ve always had a soft spot for bards, so I was pretty sure I was going to love it no matter what they did. After reading their recent blog post on the topic I was elated! It’s got full spellcasting, performances are now a special sort of bard only cantrip called a composition (which means you’re not going to run out of music!), and some of the performances are reactions (counter song, here’s looking at you)! It’s just… awesome! I can’t wait to read the whole class!

Luckily, we don’t have much longer to wait. Pathfinder Playtest releases on August 2nd, along with the Doomsday Dawn Adventure, free maps to go with it, and a trio of Playtest Society Scenarios. I’ve had the good luck to join up with a group of play-by-posters who are going to be playing all three PFS scenarios in a row, which will give me a chance to try the game as a player. Meanwhile, I’ll be GM for Doomsday Dawn (and perhaps even the PFS Scenarios) for my family at home. I expect there will be a lot of characters being made around the house at that time, so who knows what we’ll end up playing with! It’s exciting.

Now I just have to find the time to read all of that…

Today I’m going to leave you with a photo my daughter took especially for d20 diaries. And yes, it has rabbits.

Enjoy

Jessica

d20diaries rabbit

SaveSave

SaveSave

Skitter Shot

Welcome, welcome, gather round! Need a hand? Today there’s plenty of furry hands just itching for a chance to be helpful! Curious what’s up?

Skittermanders.

For this year’s Free RPG day, Paizo released a wonderful Starfinder module entitled Skitter Shot. This adventure is written by Jason Keeley and is intended for a group of four level two characters. Each player gets to select one of four pre-made skittermanders and get helping! My family and I were incredibly excited to give this adventure a whirl, so I gave it a quick read and within a day we settled in to play.


The first job? Picking your character! There are four up for offer, and each of them is a member of the Clutch, a salvage ship run by a vesk named Nakonechkin, whose entire crew are fluffy, manic little skittermanders. First up, Dakoyo, a purple furred priest mystic, worshipper of Ibra, and the ship’s doctor. Dakoyo is obsessed with learning about ancient forms of medicine, and is pretty sure life before the advent of modern medicine must have been horribly stinky and disease ridden! My husband took on the task of playing this contemplative fellow. Up next is Gazigaz, a green furred xenoseeker envoy who loves nothing more than being helpful and making friends. In fact, he grooms himself constantly, in an effort to always look his best. Even when under attack he’s prone to make excuses for his attackers. Perhaps they had a bad life? No choice? They’re just confused! We can still be friends!? Right? My son happily took on the role of this chipper, friendly guy. The third skittermander is a red furred, female spacefarer soldier named Nako. She idolizes their captain, Nakonechkin, and even took his name as her own. She fights with a doshko and is the most battle-minded of the skittermanders. Nako wears her hair in a big braid on the top of her head, and enjoys playing her exotic finger drums (which are sized for someone much larger than she is, so she wears them around her forearm). My daughter happily picked Nako (she picked first). Lastly, there’s Quonx. Quonx is a blue furred scholar mechanic who loves to fix things. Everything. Machines, computers, wounds, and even reality. Or, at least, she’s trying to fix reality. Her tools don’t really work yet… But… Theoretically, if it did work, she could fix things! This messy but well-meaning skittermander was my favourite of the four, so I was thrilled to play as the delightful Quonx.

With our character selections made, it was time to get rolling! The adventure started innocently enough. Your salvage ship discovered a cruise liner aimlessly drifting through the Vast. Initial scans show no signs of life, so Nakonechkin went aboard to check it out, leaving his helpful crew behind, with the promise not to ‘fix’ anything while he was gone.  But, it’s been a long time since then, and the skittermanders are restless. Deciding that their captain must be in trouble, my daughter (as Nako) ordered her crew to follow her! There was saving to be done!

“Whoah, whoah!” I made Quonx exclaim. “I can fix it! I’ll check the scanners!”

PZO9500-13
Skitter Shot is a free download on Paizo’s website.

Unfortunately, I rolled horribly, and all we discovered was the location of their airlock. Armed with this imperative information the skittermanders turned on their armour’s protections and space walked over to the cruise liner. Unfortunately, Nako and Dakoyo spotted something strange coming right for us. Tiny meteorites! Quonx bravely tried to fix it with her quantum wrench, but alas! My wrench still couldn’t repair reality. Gazigaz (my son) and I got walloped pretty hard, but Dakoyo and Nako slipped by unharmed. Quonx opened the airlocks and we all slipped inside.

The cruise ship was fancy looking, and we immediately were greeted by some robots! Unfortunately, the robots thought we were pets, and tried to stuff us in cages. My kids thought this was HILARIOUS. Gazigaz tried to make friends with the confused robots, while Nako was offended, and pulled out her doshko to do battle! The robots proved little trouble, but Nako almost got shoved into a cage. My daughter was hopping around and shrieking in a panic every time the robots tried to lock her in.

As we left the broken robots behind, Quonx resisted the urge to fix them… But it was so hard! They needed it so bad! And think how much MORE amazing she could make them!

Dakoyo convinced the group to take a bit of a rest, and then they moved on, only to hear an announcement from the ship’s AI. It informed the passengers — wherever they were — that pets were on the loose, but they would be captured soon. Please inform your porters if you find one!

Quonx decided immediately that the AI was bonkers! Clearly it needed fixing! Joy!

Nako was pretty sure it needed smashing, while Dakoyo — the contemplative one — wondered where all the passengers were. Gazigaz was pretty sure that wherever the AI was, they would soon be great friends!

More importantly, where was Nakonechkin?

They hurried deeper onto the ship and discovered a room full of cool stuff! Holographic billiards tables, cards, and a dart board where Nako found a really fancy dart. After that they found a room full of hurt sick people who pointed guns at them! Wow! New friends!

Gazigaz put his stylish hair and pleasant words to the test, and convinced the dirty, scared people with guns (passengers) who were hiding in the dining room to not shoot them! Yay!

My son was very excited. Making friends is one of his very favourite things about d20 games. He was absolutely adorable, prancing around the table in excitement, and trying to learn everyone’s names and problems. They learned that the AI, M2, had gone crazy! In an effort to make the relaxing cruise much more relaxing, it altered their course to empty space, and started drugging people who caused trouble or were stressed. It even sent robots to attack them in an effort to force them into their rooms. Gazigaz was pretty sure that M2 only needed a friend, and Nako still said we should smash it. (My daughter was taking great glee in being the strong character for a change!).

Meanwhile, Dakoyo used his magical powers to heal a wounded man.

After learning a bit about they layout of the ship the helpful skittermanders continued on their quest for Nakonechkin!

As they entered what was supposed to be the observatory, they found the room unnaturally dark! They heard sounds in the dark, and soon little skittering, shadow bugs appeared! Nako sliced and diced with her doshko, while Gazigaz tried to befriend the bugs. Maybe they didn’t know any better?! Luckily, Quonx and Dakoyo realized that in the centre of the room was a tiny portal to the plane of shadow, which was being drawn in by some magical rocks around the room. Well, alright, there was more to it than that, but they knew explaining that to the others wouldn’t be worth their time. Quonx and Dakoyo worked together to deactivate the onyx shards and shut down the shadow portal, while Nako and Gazigaz battled against the bugs. After a bit of work, the observatory was saved! Quonx used her wrench to fix reality around the portal — but really it was Dakoyo using his mystic arts.

“Yeah! Fixed it!” Quonx exclaimed.

Leaving behind the observatory, the skittermanders hurried down the hall. Stairs were on their left, and ahead was the bridge, but to their right they heard a sound…

Nako gasped! (My daughter shrieked). “It’s Nakonechkin!” (Or rather, she tried to say Nakonechkin. It came out more like ‘Nakokochiky.’ I’m not sure why they decided to give the vesk such a long and tough to say name. We butchered it constantly during play. Haha!

The group bust into the room to find Nakonechkin relaxing at the spa! Or, was he relaxing? Why was he in pain?

Quonx knew what was up! “The robotic masseuse is massaging too hard! NO MEANS NO! I’ll fix it!”

Quonx leapt upon the robot and whipped out her tools — her proper ones, not the quantum reality spanner — and in no time flat she disabled the robotic massage arms and Nakonechkin was freed!

Nako helped Nakonechkin up while Dakoyo healed him.

Nakonechkin thanks his ‘little fuzzballs’ for helping him and gave them new orders: get to the bridge, shut down the psycho AI and take control of this ship. He was sure that the cruise line would pay good money to get this ship back — and some hush money for them to keep this debacle quiet! And with that, the skittermander’s brave and fearless captain… went back to the Clutch.

“Got it, Boss!” Nako exclaimed. Then she turned to boss around the rest of the crew. “You heard him! To the bridge!”

The door to the bridge was locked, but that was no trouble for Quonx, who had the door open in a jiffy. The group hurried inside only to find a dead crew member on the floor! Dakoyo went over to check on him while Quonx approached the computer consoles.

A moment later the crewman moved! Yay!

And bit Dakoyo in the face!

No!

The poor crewman looked like he had come into the bridge to try to shut down the AI and had been electrocuted! Oh, no! The shock messed with his augmentations and he arose as a cybernetic zombie! Double oh, no!

The zombie managed to deal a lot of damage to the little skittermanders when stuck in the close quarters of the bridge — particularly by shooting electricity from its arms! Poor Gazigaz’s hair was never the same after that…

But, in time, they poor crewman was defeated.

Gazigaz tried talking to the corpse. “I’m sorry we had to kill you, Mr. Deadman. Now that you’re not trying to kill us, did you want to be my friend?”

The crewman didn’t argue.

“Yay!” Gazigaz exclaimed. He shook the crewman’s hand ‘hello’ while Quonx tried to access the ship’s mainframe…. to no avail! The clever M2 had disabled these consoles. In order to access the ship’s mainframe and shut down the mad AI they would have to reboot the computer core (which was likely on the engineering deck!)

It was at this point that the calm, soothing voice of M2 came over the loudspeakers once more. She had decided that we were not, in fact, pets. We were rebellious intruders here to upset her passengers! We needed to be calmed! Preferably into unconsciousness!

Gazigaz tried to explain that we were only here to make friends, but M2 didn’t respond. The group of hyper skittermanders hurried down the stairwell to the lower level of the ship. There they found the crew and guest quarters, as well as a second airlock where baggage would have been loaded onto the ship.

As they investigated the various cabins Dakoyo noticed something strange… He felt a little sleepy… And what was that sound…? A quiet hiss..?

Poisonous gas was pouring into the rooms though the vents! That sneaky AI was trying to knock them out!

As Dakoyo explained the many proper uses for knockout gas, Quonx tried to override the ventilation controls and jam them all shut. Luckily, it worked, and the skittermanders hurried on to the engineering deck. But they did not go unopposed! Outside the doors was one final robot who stood over the corpse of another crew member.

Before Gazigaz could even try to befriend the robot Nako dashed into battle! Overcome with the urge to help the others followed suit and soon the robot was defeated. Quonx hacked her way into the engineering deck while Dakoyo and Gazigaz checked on the corpse. Quonx ushered everyone inside and took a look at the layout, quickly determining that they would need to dismantle parts of the computer’s core which would be located somewhere in the ship’s framework. Unfortunately, Quonx had no more time to ponder. The AI made another pleasant announcement.

In order to rid the ship of pests it would vent the entire interior of the ship to space!

The skittermander thought on that for a moment.

Finally Gazigaz asked, “Would that kill everyone?”

Dakoyo very helpfully assured him it would.

“Ah!” Gazigaz exclaimed. “I have to go help the people!” Then he ran off, heading back upstairs to try to get all of the passengers into emergency space suits.

Nako and Dakoyo looked to Quonx. “What do we need to do?” they asked.

20180616-Quonx
Quonx, the delightful skittermander mechanic, is one of the four main characters of this adventure.

Quonx got right to work. “Nako! Pry open that panel! We’re going to have to head into the walls and shimmy through the vents to get to the core.”

Nako did as told, Quonx led the way into the vents and Dakoyo followed. From down the hall they could hear Gazigaz struggling to carry too many suits up the stairs.

“I’m going to help Gazigaz!” Nako exclaimed. She couldn’t help it!

Quonx and Dakoyo hurried through the vents and came upon the core.

“Uh-oh!” Quonx exclaimed. “She’s got a decentralized core! It’s bound to have at east a few nodes we need to break!” Quonx hurried forward, but Dakoyo stopped her.

“No! There’s a magical aura around here. If you get any closer you’ll get burned!”

Quonx explained that she had no choice, but Dakoyo shook his head. “Nope! I will go first. Then you can break the node!”

Dakoyo proudly moved forward and, sure enough, a ball of fire exploded on him. He moved to heal himself while Quonx took the opportunity to scurry forward and deactivate the node. Then they hurried off to the others.

It was a race against time!

Which the skittermanders won!

They cheered! They danced! They celebrated!

The skittermanders took control of the ship and assured the passengers that they were saved, while Quonx repaired the ship and got it up and running. Soon after they sent a hail to Nakonechkin on the Clutch.

He didn’t answer.

The proximity alert sounded and Quonx fired up the sensors…

“Pirates are approaching! They’ve already hit the Clutch with an EMP! We’ve got to hurry or we’ll be next!”

“NO! NAKONECHKIN!” Nako shouted. (The word Nakonechkin was once again mutiliated). “To your stations!”

Gazigaz leapt into the pilot’s chair. “Are you sure we can’t be friends?”

Nako fired up the guns, Quonx switched over to the engineering console and rerouted auxiliary power to the guns, and Dakoyo calmly climbed atop the Captain’s chair.

“Fire at will, Nako.” he ordered.

The battle was underway!

The battle was a short one. Although the enemy ship had a lot of guns (and the cruise liner had few), the cruise liner was also a higher tier ship with solid defences. Our group wasn’t in any real danger of being defeated. Still, my kids were on the edge of their seats, and it was a blast.

The skittermanders left the pirate ship broken in the Vast and flew off, with Nakonechkin and the Clutch. They had a cruise ship to return to Verces!

All in all, a good day’s work for a group of helpful skittermanders! And a great day’s gaming. My whole family enjoyed the adventure and it’s colourful cast of characters. They’re already talking about next year’s Free RPG Day, where they hope the skittermanders will be back in action!


As we cleaned up, my daughter turned her big brown eyes up to me and gave me a pleading look.

“Mom? You know I LOVE Starfinder. And I love PLAYING Starfinder.”

“I do,” I replied.

“I want to play Dead Suns!”

I laughed.

That was a story for another day.

Until next time,

Jessica

 

Nidal, Land of Shadows

Welcome, welcome! Gather round! Today we’re taking a look at an awesome new release for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game that focuses on the dark and creepy land of Nidal. That’s right! Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Nidal, Land of Shadows.

Now, before we get started, there’s one thing I need to state plainly, right up front. This is NOT a family friendly book. It’s not the book you want to bring with you to read at the laundromat or on the bus, and it’s not a book you’re going to get a lot of ideas from for games involving children, or the many gamers who prefer a fun, carefree kind of game. This book is dark. It’s disconcerting. More specifically, it features body horror, mental and physical torture, as well as imagery and content that may disturb some readers. If you’re a gamer who doesn’t enjoy (or enjoy experimenting with) such content in your d20 games, then this is NOT the book for you. I’d suggest such readers pass on it, and pick up another of the wonderful books that are available for Pathfinder.

However, if you’re the kind of reader who enjoys exploring the dark side of Golarion, then I highly recommend this book. A few similar products that it reminded me of are Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Horror Adventures, Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Book of the Damned, Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Horror Realms, GameMastery Module E1: Carnival of Tears, and the Pathfinder Adventure Paths Second Darkness (specifically Book Four: Endless Night) and Hell’s Vengeance (which begins with Book One: The Hellfire Compact). Use these other products as a measure to judge whether or not this book is right for you.

nidal land of shadows - openerThose of you who regularly read my blog may wonder why I bothered to invest in a book with mature content when most of the time when I GM my children are involved (a six and seven year old). That’s a fair question! This book was not chosen with them in mind. This book was for me. Why?

For starters, I have no other content outside of the Inner Sea World Guide, and the Pathfinder Module: The Midnight Mirror, that features Nidal. None. To me, that spot on the map is a giant question mark. I know the basics, but nothing else. Second, I’m the kind of player that likes a wide variety of experiences in my games. Yes, I love a happy, feel-good, fun game. I love character development, social interactions, and humour. But, I also love horror. I want my dark locales to actually be dark. The evil in my games should be disturbing, and disconcerting, not shallow and cliche. Within reason. Games are only worthwhile when the players find them fun, after all. This book on Nidal did just that.

PZO92108Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Nidal, Land of Shadows is written by Liane Merciel, with additions by Lyz Liddell, Ron Lundeen, and Mark Moreland. It’s cover features awesome artwork by Kiki Moch Rizky that depicts the iconic hunter, Adowyn, and the iconic bard, Lem, facing off against an umbral dragon! This book is a thick softcover book which weighs in at 63 pages long. As a book in the Pathfinder Campaign Setting line, it contains information on the locations of Golarion (Nidal, specifically). It does not feature new archetypes, or other character options. But, that doesn’t mean this is only a book for GMs! They’re awesome for GMs, of course, but they’re also great for helping players of all kinds create fully-formed characters from different locations. In addition, I find these books really fire up the imagination.  They spark ideas for both adventures, side quests, villains and characters.

nidal, land of shadows - illustrated by federico musettiThe inside cover features a gorgeous map of Nidal, complete with labels, scale, and beautiful tiny depictions of the major settlements, drawn with care. The book is split into four chapters. ‘Living in Shadow’ is a ten page look at what life is like for most citizens. ‘Gazetteer’ is a thirty page look at the locations found within Nidal. ‘Threats in the Gloom’ is a twelve page look at the various locations which are particularly well suited to adventuring. And ‘Bestiary’ is a nine page look at some of the unique creatures found within Nidal’s borders. The entire book is filled with darkly beautiful artwork, some of which may be disturbing to some readers.

images
For more information on Zan-Kuthon and the other gods of Golarion, check out Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea Gods

The first chapter of the book, ‘Living in Shadow,’ begins with a wonderful Nidalese sermon which really helped put their view on their (horribly evil) religion into perspective. If read with the proper gravitas I swear it could make a shiver run down your spine.  Very atmospheric! Its accompanied by some gothic artwork of a vampiric noblewoman looking out across the city. After this is a short, half-page summary of Nidal, it’s origins, and its culture. Up next is a gorgeous image of a Nidalese Horselord and about a page worth of text on the history of Nidal. This includes what life was like before they became thralls of Zon-Kuthon. There’s also information on the government of Nidal and some of its important personages. Nidal is a theocracy dedicated to Zon-Kuthon, headed by the Black Triune, and governed by the Umbral Court. After this there is information on some of the rare citizens you might come across in Nidal, including Caligni, Fetchlings, and the terrifying Kytons. Then we get a glimpse of what life is like in the decadent cities of Nidal, and the rural countryside. Spoiler Alert: It’s WAY different. Haha. There’s also a short section about the different kinds of religious and underground resistance found within Nidal. There’s also a discussion on Nidal’s relations with other nations, and a full page timeline showing important dates in Nidal’s history. Oh! And a delightful (disturbing) image of Zon-Kuthon, the benevolent (NOT) god who rules Nidal! Such a photogenic guy! (Note the sarcasm.)

nidal land of shadows - skrialsikenI found this chapter was the incredibly useful in helping me understand life in Nidal. I had forgotten that the Nidalese people used to be horselords. Although I knew that they were the only civilization to survive Earthfall and the Age of Darkness (sort of), I hadn’t quite realized how important it was to their history. It’s a source of constant pride. Proof of the validity of their beliefs. It also means that they have relics, written works, books, maps, and actual, reliable artifacts and history from that time. From before that time. Refugees from other places —  say… Azlanti and Thassilon for example — would have fled to Nidal for safety as refugees. it was once the literal centre of civlization in the Inner Sea. The Absalom of it’s time in a world of darkness, death, and barbarism. Even the poorest farmer would still have housewares and relics handed down through the millennia. Family heirlooms that are older than nations. Even if you only count Nidal’s history from the moment they made a pact with Zon-Kuthon, they’re a nation over 10,000 years old. That’s… monumentous. This nation’s history makes it particularly useful for anyone wanting to make a character with ties to ancient civilizations, including some of the new character options from Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Ancients.

I particularly enjoyed reading about the difference between city life and rural life, as well as about the Black Triune. For those of you who don’t know, they were the original horselords who beseeched Zon-Kuthon for protection for their people from Earthfall. Although the evil Zon-Kuthon granted their desires and saved their people (making them the only civilization to survive Earthfall and the Age of Darkness without crumbling) it also transformed the horselords into literal servants of Zon-Kuthon’s. They are his will made flesh. Eternal and unloving. They rule Nidal to this day, though they are rarely seen by any outside the Umbral Court.

The Gazeteer begins with a moving quote from a retiring Chelish Ambassador to her replacement about the cold beauty, harsh cruelty, and ancient knowledge which can be found in Nidal. I particularly loved the last line:

“…It is a place, for better or worse, that you will never forget. You can’t. The scars remain forever.”

Such a wonderful, atmospheric quote — again. Whoo! Love it! It’s accompanied by artwork depicting a Varisian caravan approaching a Nidalese city, surrounded by wildlife that looks rather ominous. Past the opening quote is about a page and a half of information about Nidal’s culture and politics, followed by details on their four major holidays.

nidal land of shadows - opener - illustrated by federico musettiNote to self: Don’t celebrate the Eternal Kiss. Or The Festival of Night’s Return. Or The Shadowchaining. Or anything, really. In fact, let’s amend that to: never visit Nidal. Haha. Honestly, I adored reading about the holidays! They were the perfect balance of ‘holiday’ and dark horror. Shivers!

After this we get to the bulk of the Gazeteer: details on a ton of locations, all of which are shown on that loverly inside-cover map I mentioned earlier. There’s a total of 55 locations which are detailed in this chapter, including two major cities (Pangolais and Ridwan) which include their own maps, and multiple locations within them. The Gazeteer’s locations include cities, towns, settlements, ancient ruins, dangerous locales, and natural features. They run the gamut from ‘safe’ and ‘unique’ to ‘deadly’ and ‘disturbing.’ It’s got a really great variety. A lot of these places sparked ideas for campaigns, adventures, and character origins — not all of which are evil. In fact, the most useful part of this chapter may be in it’s ability to make you realize that you can adventure here. You can be a hero in Nidal. I don’t mean just as a sweeping revolutionary who tries to change Nidal, but as a Nidalese person who lives and survives here. A local hero. In addition to details on the places, there’s information on important figures, enemies, and plenty of plot-hooks. There’s also a ton of useful references for where you can find further information on those places, people,  and topics (both within this book, and in other books).

nidal land of shadows - stormhollow
Stormhollow from Nidal, Land of Shadows

Some of my favourite places to read about were the Atteran Ranches (which is a great place to create characters who want to be members of the underground resistance), Auginford (a small settlement which recently unearthed a disturbing monument), Blacksulfur Pond (a pond connected to the Shadow Plane), Brimstone Springs (where a devil is enjoying a ‘delightful’ prank), Grayfrond (home to a creature based off a chilling Inuit folk creature), Stormhollow (a village whose inhabitants were slaughtered by kytons — and still walk the streets today as mutilated husks), and, my personal favourite, The Library Without Light, which is home to ancient texts and relics dating back to before Earthfall. If any of you own this book, I’d be curious to hear what your favourite locations were!

Zon-Kuthon
Unholy symbol of Zon-Kuthon, god of envy, pain, darkness and loss.

The next chapter, ‘Threats in the Gloom,’ begins with a recounting of an adventure in Nidal, by an Aspis Agent. It’s dour and dark, and perfect. And the art that comes with it? Creeeeeeepy! After this is looks at eleven different dangerous locations in Nidal, dedicating about a page to each. It includes the classes of powerful denizens, the kinds of creatures you can encounter there, features common to the area, as well as history, and plot-hooks for these locales.  Once again, there’s a wide variety of locations here, from dungeons, dangerous wilds, haunted places, and urban areas. Those of you looking for more information on hidden bastions of good should check out the ‘Plains of Night’ and ‘Undervale.’ ‘The House of Lies’ is a great location for those of you looking for reasons for  foreigners to visit. ‘Shadowreach’ revisits the legacy of a character from the Council of Thieves Adventure Path (Ilnerik Sivanshin who was mentioned in Council of Thieves: Book 3: What Lies in Dust, and featured in Council of Thieves: Book 5 – Mother of Flies). Looking for something darker? Check out the ‘Tower of Slant Shadows.’ Not only does it have connections to the wonderful Curse of the Crimson Throne Adventure Path, it’s also (in my humble opinion) the creepiest thing in the entire book. Yikes! I wish I had thought of that for my home game of Second Darkness… My personal favourite locations in this chapter are ‘Castle of the Captive Sun’ wherein a vampire keeps a collection of divinely descended beings prisoner, and tortures himself with holy artifacts! Very cool! And Barrowmoor, which is land filled with ancient burial mounds of the Nidalese Horselords. It’s steeped not only in creepy a atmosphere and a bunch of undead, but also in the occult, which I ALWAYS love. Barrowmoor is also the setting of the Tomb of Attai Horse-Speaker, which was published in its entirety in Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Tombs of Golarion. Honestly, it’s one of my favourite tombs I’ve ever had the pleasure to read.

nidal land of shadows - castle of the captive sun
Castle of the Captive Sun from Nidal, Land of Shadows

The last chapter of this book is the Bestiary, which collects six random encounter tables (which contains a few entries which pleasantly surprised me!) and six new monsters. The creatures vary from CR 2 to CR 8. There’s a new kyton, of course, called the suffragan. It’s born from the souls of another new creature, the joyful thing, which definitely is my pick for the most disturbing creature in this book! Yikes! The strongest monster on offer is the hive brute. For more information on hives you can check out Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Horror Adventures. I’m not a big fan of most plant creatures, but there is a cool shadow plant called the shadow fern which I actually really like. There’s also the smokeshade, which is a tiny extraplanar, incorporeal, aberration that looks like a patch of shadow. In addition to being an enemy, these little guys can be taken as familiars by casters of at least 7th level with the Improved Familiar feat. They’re actually quite fun, flavourful critters, that enjoy forming themselves into different rude shapes in order to mock other people or pantomime insults. I want one! Haha. But, the definite winner for the most useful creature is the shadow animal template. Not only can it be used to make shadow tainted creatures, it’s abilities are chosen from a list, which makes it very adaptable. It’s super useful, and really well done.

And that brings us to the end of Nidal, Land of Shadows. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It made me think about Nidal in a new way, which made it playable. It also gave me a lot of good ideas for characters and adventures set in this morbid, horrible place. But, keep in mind, this book is NOT for everyone. Only purchase this book if you enjoy adding dark horror to your games.

Those of you looking to more fully immerse yourself in Nidal should pick up the Pathfinder Tales novels: Nightglass and Nightblade, both of which are written by Liane Merciel. Player’s looking to make characters from Nidal, should check out Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of Shadows, or Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Horror Adventures.

Thanks for taking a walk through the darkness with me!

Jessica

shadow plane by jay epperson
The Shadow Plane by Jay Epperson

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

Character Focus: The Tangletops

Hello everyone!

GiftsWe just finished up a wonderfully busy long weekend! In addition to celebrating Canada Day, playing The Shackled City Adventure Path, and Heroscapes, we also celebrated my wedding anniversary. After nine years of marriage and eleven years together, my husband and I couldn’t be happier. Wow, it’s passed in a flash! Curious what I got for my anniversary? Jewelry, flowers, something romantic? Nope! Something way better! My husband and kids got me The Shannara Chronicles: Season 1 (which is awesome so far), the Iron Gods Dice Set, and a the Pathfinder Battles: Iconic Heroes Set 5. Can you say ‘spoiled’? As for my husband, my kids and I picked him up a Magic The Gathering Fat Pack for Dominaria! There were all kinds of goodies in there!  I’m curious to see what he makes from it.

But, enough about my family. Today we’re going to talk about another family: the Tangletops!

Who?

So glad you asked!

During the recent OutPost convention my children made their second Pathfinder Society characters. My husband didn’t. He wasn’t sure how much he would enjoy play-by-post gaming, so he waited. But, AFTER OutPost? Ah! He wanted more. My husband made a total of three characters after that, two of which he really enjoys, and one of which he decided needs some work. One of the ones that really clicked was a strange gnome by the name of Toban Tangletop.

Toban is an experienced gnome with an eclectic past. He’s travelled the world, and tried his hand at nearly everything he could. In time, he came to worship Shelyn, the goddess of art, beauty and love. He also developed a complete and total obsession… with food. Toban became a chef who creates art through fantastic meals. He drew on his vast experiences to make fusion food, drawing on traditions throughout Golarion. Toban is always looking for rare ingredients and new recipes. Toban enjoys cooking for friends and strangers alike. He is not shy and is prone to approaching strangers and cooking them a meal unlike any other! Toban is adventurous in his cooking and willing to try new exotic foods. Because of this Toban has developed a strong stomach. Every meal and tasty treat he creates is a holy communion with his goddess, Shelyn.

Toban is short even for a gnome. He is barely over 3 feet tall and weighs 37 pounds. Toban has a rather large bottom lip that flaps when he speaks. He has black hair and a wildly long moustache. When Toban is in thought he often taps a finger on the bottom of his lip which makes a popping sound. He wears flamboyant leather clothes and a spectacularly over-the-top tophat which clashes with the rest of his clothes. He carries his cooking supplies with him wherever he goes.

PZO1115_500
Read more about inquisitors, as well as five other base classes, in the Advanced Player’s Guide.

Mechanically, Toban is a gnome inquisitor of Shelyn who works for the Grand Lodge Faction. He selected the protection domain. He uses his divinely gifted magic to heal wounds, and understand foreign languages. He’s quite old, but uses his vast experience of the world to his advantage, so he chose ‘breadth of experience’ as his first feat, which is honestly one that we LOVE in my household. To better represent his adventuresome eating habits he took ‘resilient’ as a trait. He also took ‘weathered emissary’ to help him in learning new languages.

Toban’s a knowledgable fellow, and an amazing chef. But, he strongly cares about using fresh ingredients, so he’s also good at perception and survival. Although he tries to make friends, his eccentricity can sometimes get in the way.

In battle, Toban always to gives humanoids a chance to surrender and repent, believing that death ends all chances for that person to create beauty. A tragedy! When forced into battle he uses a fine glaive, or his cooking knife. He can also hurl globs of acid at his enemies. He carries acid vials, holy water, and smokesticks, wears studded leather armour. He also carries plenty of healing scrolls, and recently picked up a healing wand. His wayfinder hangs around his neck, while his backpack is overflowing with cooking equipment.

So far, Toban has completed a single scenario: #5-08: The Confirmation. He’s currently working his way through #7-10: The Consortium Compact, alongside “Scaredy’ Sir Lansle Eine, Lady Naysha, and a few other colourful characters.

But, perhaps the strangest thing about Toban, is his family.


My daughter had the chance to play alongside Toban during his confirmation with her character, Lady Naysha. She thought he was hilarious! A day or so earlier she had been begging me to let her make a third Pathfinder Society character so she could play more play-by-posts, and I had relented. She’d been stewing over character ideas for days. She was pretty sure she wanted to play someone who could be a melee character, which is a role my daughter very, very, VERY rarely tries to fill. Fighter? Barbarian? Monk? She couldn’t decide.

That night we watched some Bleach on Netflix and my daughter saw Ururu fight for the first time. No idea what I’m talking about? You can see a short video of it on youtube here.

My daughter thought it was amazing.

“Mom! That little girl is just like me!”

She held up her tiny little fists and showed me her ‘fighting stance.’ Then threw a little punch that would flatten a fly — if my daughter had better aim — but not much else. When she tries to punch my daughter also lets out a little squeak of effort, which makes her ‘fierce’ attempts at battle the cutest and funniest thing you’ll see. It should be noted, she’s the same proportions as Ururu, tall and skinny with slender little arms and tiny fists.

“I’m just a little girl, Mom. But, I am pretty strong you know!”

She threw a few more punches accompanied by some squeaks.

I smiled.

After the episode was over my daughter announced quite proudly that she had figured out what she was going to make. It would be a little girl fighter, just like her and Ururu. A little girl who fought with her fists and was a monk. Except she wasn’t a girl! She was a girl gnome! She would be Toban’s sister, and she would act like a shy, scared little girl. Until battle! Then she’d say something like ‘Please don’t hurt me! I am just a little girl’ before punching them in the stomach really hard! “She is not a weak little girl, Mom! She is strong! And also a big LIAR! She will try to trick people all the time!”

My daughter then showed us a demonstration of her character’s fighting style, which involves some fine little punches and a lot of squeaking.

Very proud of herself, we pulled out the rulebooks and got to work.

PZO1110
Monks can be found in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Core Rulebook, along withall the rules you need to play Pathfinder!

She decided that her character would be named Rosie. Rosie Tangletop. She would be Toban’s sister. Even though she is a gnome, she looks like a little girl. She has brown hair done up in pig tails, big brown eyes and a big happy smile. She wears a little pink cotton dress, stretchy little shorts, and comfy shoes. She keeps her eyebrows trimmed to better help her blend in with human children. She’s tall for a gnome and very slender and frail looking. She acts shy and meek. She would be a monk, of course.

After some reading and planning, she decided that Rosie carries no weapons at all. Instead, she gave her ‘throw anything’ as her monk bonus feat. She also invested in some vials of acid and a holy water. For her regular feat she ended up settling on weapon focus (unarmed strike). Rosie’s good at physical skills — acrobatics, climb, and stealth — as well as bluff. She’s hoping to invest in disguise at her next level up, but couldn’t afford to from the start. Why? Well, Rosie would use those skills to become trained in Handle Animal and Profession Cook!

Rosie picked up a love of cooking from her brother and, even though she doesn’t worship Shelyn (or any god for that matter), she is a well-trained chef who makes artistic culinary creations. She’s prone to making the food she’s served ‘better’ by pulling out her cooking tools and ingredients at the dinner table and spontaneously making a custom sauce to enhance the meals she’s been served. Then she cleans up and shares her additions with everyone else present.

As for handle animal? My daughter loves rabbits. She decided that Rosie had a pet rabbit that she purchased from an animal breeder and fellow Pathfinder, Bunny Paras. Rosie named the rabbit Lily, and keeps her in a familiar satchel when on missions. She took the trait ‘animal friend’ which gives Rosie a bonus on will saves as long as she keeps her rabbit nearby, and made handle animal a class skill.

Rosie also took the trait ‘loyalty’ and the alternate race trait ‘vivacious’ which helps her recover faster at the expense of the gnome spell-like abilities.

All in all, Rosie Tangletop is a sneaky little thing. She looks meek, but she packs quite a punch. She’s currently working her way through Scenario #6-10: The Wounded Wisp. She’s has great fun cooking in the middle of the Wounded Wisp — which earned her a job offer as a chef. She also was one of the only people who managed to harm the choker they faced in the cellar. Archers and melee fighters missed, and there was poor little Rosie, squeaking in ‘fear’ at the back of the group. She picked a wine bottle off the shelf, and tossed it, sending it end over end towards the monster, past companions, and down the hall. And scored a critical hit! Which dealt MAX damage. My daughter has never laughed so hard after an attack roll in her life. She was absolutely thrilled with herself. Rosie’s bottle tossing saved the day. She’s also shadow-boxed with an illusion, followed clues, solved mysteries and discovered secret chambers. All without having to break her ‘child’ persona. She’s had an absolute blast, and her first adventure’s not even over yet!


With the announcement of Gameday VII on play-by-post, my family and I have been trying to finagle our way into some scenarios together. One of the ones I managed to get them into involved the three of them. Having already played the scenario in question I had to sit this one out. My husband chose to be Toban. My daughter clapped her hands in glee and chose Rosie! This would mark their first scenario where the brother and sister duo would be on the same mission.

And my son?

“Sign me up with a Tangletop, Mom!”

“You don’t have a Tangletop, dear,” I reminded him.

“I will make one.” He assured me.

So we signed him up and he’s been plotting ever since.

images
Read more about Shelyn and the other gods of Golarion in Inner Sea Gods!

He knew he would be a gnome — “A fun, happy one, Mom!” Shortly after he decided that Toban would be his big brother, and Rosie would be his twin sister. His character desperately wanted to be like his big brother, Toban. He tried to be a chef, but he was horrible at it! He does worship Shelyn, though.

With a bit more thought, my son decided he would be a painter who fought with an iron brush. He would be a bard, and when he casts spells he draws through the air with his paintbrush, while describing what he’s making. After a bit more thought, he decided he would instead be a skald. He’d never made one of those before. We did a bit more digging and he settled on being an urban skald.

With those decisions made we got down to work. He decided to name his gnome artist Jastrokan Tangletop. He would be a member of the Sovereign Court. He gave up a few of his gnomish racial traits to take ‘eternal hope’ which allows him to reroll a critical fail once a day, and gives him a bonus on saving throws against fear and despair. For spells he chose comprehend languages and silent image. He wanted the ability to understand anyone, and to make his paintings come to life! For cantrips he chose detect magic, resistance, sift and spark. For his trait he chose ‘simple disciple,’ which gives him a bonus on profession (painter), and unswaying love, which gives him a bonus on saving throws against charms and compulsions. As a skald he gains scribe scroll, which is replaced by extra performance for PFS play. For his other feat he selected prodigy, which makes him better at profession (painter) and perform (oratory). His archetype gives him ‘controlled inspired rage’ instead of the basic ‘inspired rage’ raging song the skalds get, which he’s quite excited about. With a whopping 12 rounds/day of music at his disposal, he’s thrilled to get to start instructionally painting his way through battle. It’s going to be hilarious!

When it came time to buy his gear, Jastrokan went a little overboard. He purchased a whopping 10 iron brushes for battle, two alchemists fire and a holy water. His other combat gear includes leather armour, and a buckler. He bought plenty of painting supplies, of course, and a spell component pouch. In addition to some standard gear (like backpack and a bedroll) he bought a pet songbird (a thrush), and a familiar satchel to keep him in.

With his character complete, my son and I got to work writing his backstory. Here’s what he had to say:

Jastrokan was born and raised in Sandpoint, with his parents and his twin sister, Rosie. Their older brother was a famous travelling chef. Rosie and Jastrokan always wanted to be just like their big brother, Toban, so they tried to cook, too! Rosie was great, but Jastrokan was terrible! And his food tasted gross! Instead, he painted pictures of his sister’s tasty food for signs. He realized he was pretty good at it! He started painting other things, and soon became a really good artist. He started worshipping Shelyn.

PZO1129_500
You can find the skald, as well as nine other base classes, in the Advanced Class Guide!

Eventually he got bored. He started to travel, and paint all kinds of things. His favourite things to paint were places and things that people hadn’t seen for a long time. Ancient ruins, dangerous monsters, hard to reach wild places, and magical relics! What fun!

A while ago his parents died, so the Tangletop family had a reunion in Absalom. Jastrokan was sad, but was also happy to see his brother and sister. He found out Toban worked at a local church of Shelyn, and that both Toban and Rosie were Pathfinders. Jastrokan missed seeing them, and he did love seeing new things… So he joined up, too!

Jastrokan is a chipper little golden-eyed gnome with a wide, smiling face framed all around by fluffy red hair. He takes great pride in his appearance, and keeps his hair and beard will brushed. He wears a white button up shirt and two vests — one blue (worn buttoned up) and one orange (worn open). His pants are black and around his neck is a little blue ascot. On his feet are good sturdy walking shoes. He wears a backpack that is bulging with gear, and carries a whole bunch of paint brushes sticking out of his pockets and belt. His fingers are stained by different colours of paint. On one of his arms is a wooden buckler that has been painted with a beautiful picture of a sunset and birds. He also wears a satchel, from which peeks a colourful little songbird.

Jastrokan is kind, adventurous, and very curious. He is bold and bright!


With Jastrokan created and ready for adventure, the Tangletops are complete. At least until my daughter decides I should make a Tangletop of my own, I suppose… Haha. So where are the Tangletop’s off to first? They’re signed up to play Scenario #6-01: Trial by Machine in session two of the Gameday VII convention. Although, if I can find another game for them to play in session one, they might sneak an extra game in before hand!

I hope you had a great weekend, and you enjoyed taking a peek at the Tangletops. If you haven’t signed up for any Gameday VII games, and you’d like to, I recommend doing so soon. Games are filling up fast!

Best of luck,

Jessica

Dice Gift
Take a look at these bad boys! I love my new dice!

 

New Pathfinder Society Scenarios: Grotto of the Deluged God and The Ghol-Gan Heresy

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!

grotto of the deluged god - nalu - enrique barajas
Nalu from #9-22: Grotto of the Deluged God. Illustrated by Enrique Barajas. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

Scenario #9-22: Grotto of the Deluged God is a Tier 1-5 adventure written by Gabrielle Harbowy (who also happened to write the wonderful novel Pathfinder Tales: Gears of Faith). It takes place in the ever-lasting hurricane, The Eye of Abendego! It features creatures from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary 2 (although all of the necessary stat blocks are included within the scenario) and utilizes the Pathfinder: Flip-Mat: Elemental Planes Multipack, Pathfinder: Flip-Mat: Warship or Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Ship and a custom map. This mission is of particularly importance to members of the Concordance faction.

This adventure tasks the PCs with locating the lost Pathfinder ship, Pride of Aspenthar, which was lost in the events leading up to Scenario #7-19: Labyrinth of Hungry Ghosts. Any characters who have played that scenario or those related to it (Scenario #6-06: Hall of the Flesh-Eaters and Scenario #8-14: Hrethnar’s Throne) or are from the Concordance Faction can gain a minor bonus during this adventure, which is a nice touch. There’s some nice terrain hazards that can complicate one of the encounters, which I rather enjoyed. The exploration of the shipwreck was enjoyable, and I rather liked that it didn’t give everything away. I’m a fan of giving players hints as opposed to answers.  The social encounters in this one were all enjoyable, and I like the looming sense of danger in some of them.  Overall, I really enjoyed this scenario. I give it four out of five stars.

ghol-ghan heresy - parveen - tadas sidlauskas
Parveen from #9-23: The Ghol-Gan Heresy. Illustrated by Tadas Sidlauskas. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

Scenario #9-23: The Ghol-Gan Heresy is a Tier 7-11 adventure written by Charlie Brooks. It begins in Eleder, but quickly leads the PCs to the ruined cyclops city of Kadoddi, located in Sargava’s Kaava Lands. This scenario is of particular importance to the Exchange faction, and involves both the Aspis Consortium, and the Vanji Prospector’s Guild. In addition, it continues an ongoing storyline that includes: Scenario #6-14: Scions of the Sky Key Part 2: Kaava Quarry, Scenario #8-21: Champion’s Chalice Part 2: Agents of the Eye, and Scenario #9-10: Signs in Senghor (which was an amazing scenario written by my brother, Kris Leonard! I highly recommend picking it up!). The Ghol-Gan Heresy features creatures from Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary 2 and Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary 3 and utilizes the Pathfinder: Flip-Mat Classics: Forest as well as two custom maps.

pfs 9-23 - kahsu - tadas sidlauskas
Kahsu from #9-23: The Ghol-Gan Heresy. Illustrated by Tadas Sidlauskas. Art courtesy of Paizo Inc.

This adventure tasks the PCs with shutting down an Aspis Consortium operation in the area thereby ensuring that a powerful asura remains imprisoned. It has some wonderful NPCs who make cameos including the return of Pathfinder Fola Barun, and gripplis! Who doesn’t love grippli? Purpurrup and Mother Bogwynne would be great fun at a table. There’s some fun social encounters, important decisions, difficult battles, and even features manifestations, which is a rarely used mechanic that functions similar to a haunt that was first introduced in Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Hell Unleashed. Thankfully, all the rules necessary to use these manifestations are included in the scenario. But, my favourite part? The final encounter is really well written and, with the right GM, has the potential to be epic! I give this scenario five out of five stars!

Thanks for joining us today!

Until next time,

Jessica