April New Releases

Spring is in the air, April is here, and plethora of new gaming products are hitting shelves! Check out this month’s new d20 releases!


Dungeons and Dragons

Last month was full of exciting product announcements for Dungeons and Dragons, but only one major product was released, D&D Icons of The Realms: Waterdeep: Dungeon of The Mad Mage miniatures! Produced by WizKids these pre-painted minis come in blind boosters, each of which contains four figures — one large or huge figure and three medium or small figures. In addition to a single booster box you can pick up a standard booster brick, which consists of eight booster boxes. Also released was a special collection of minis and set dressing, D&D Icons of The Realms: Waterdeep: Dungeon of The Mad Mage: Halasters Lab .

There are no major product releases for Dungeons and Dragons this month (as far as I know).


Pathfinder

Highlights from last months Pathfinder releases include the Return of the Runelords Pawn CollectionPathfinder Player Companion: Heroes of Golarion, and Pathfinder Adventure Path 140: Eulogy for Roslar’s Coffer (Tyrant’s Grasp 2 of 6).

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April will see the release of two Pathfinder books. Pathfinder Adventure Path 141: Last Watch by Larry Wilhelm continues the ongoing Tyrant’s Grasp Adventure Path. Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Concordance of Rivals takes an in depth look at monitors — neutral outsiders — including aeons, proteons, and psychopomps. In addition to details on a variety of monitor demigods, this book also contains occult rituals, details on monitor sects, a prestige class, and a bestiary.

Map releases for April include Pathfinder Flip-mat Classics: Deep Forest and Pathfinder Flip-Tiles: Dungeon Vaults Expansion, which is compatible with Pathfinder Flip-Tiles: Dungeon Starter Set.

Organized Play releases include Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-18: The Daughters’ Due and Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-19: Corpses in Kalsgard. The Daughters’ Due is a Tier 5-9 scenario written by Thurston Hillman that involves the infamous Blakros family, their enemies in the Onyx Alliance, and Shadow Absalom! Corpses of Kalsgard is a Tier 5-9 scenario written by Alex Riggs that takes place in the Land of the Linnorm Kings and involves a sudden outbreak of gnomes dying from the Bleaching.

The most exciting Pathfinder release of April is Pathfinder Battles: Ruins of Lastwall! This brand new set of pre-painted miniatures comes in blind booster boxes that contain four minis each — one large figure and three small or medium figures. In addition to buying a single standard booster box you can order a brick of boosters (which contains eight boosters) or a case of boosters (four bricks for a total of 32 boosters). Anyone who orders an entire case of boosters may also order Pathfinder Battles: Ruins of Lastwall: Cemetery of the Fallen Set which is a collection of graveyard themed set dressing.

There have been a lot of wonderful renderings of this product’s miniatures released over the past month or so. Far too many to share here. Be on the lookout for further details on Pathfinder Battles: Ruins of Lastwall in a future blog post!

NOTE: According to WizKids, Pathfinder Battles: Ruins of Lastwall will be available in MAY, not April. The release date seems to have been pushed back a month.


Starfinder

Highlights from last months Starfinder releases include Starfinder Adventure Path 14: Soldiers of Brass (Dawn of Flame 2 of 6) and the Starfinder Critical Fumble Deck!

This months releases include Starfinder Adventure Path 15: Sun Divers (Dawn of Flame 3 of 6), the Signal of Screams Pawn Collection, and the highly anticipated Starfinder Beginner Box!!! (Yes, it deserves all those exclamation points). Organized Play releases are Starfinder Society Scenario #1-36: Enter the Ashen Asteroid (a Tier 1-4 scenario written by Larry Wilhelm that tasks the PCs with investigating a Duergar complex discovered on an asteroid by dwarven space-miners), and Starfinder Society Scenario #1-37: Siege of Civility (a Tier 5-8 scenario written by Kalervo Oikarinen that sends the PCs on a trip to visit the Gideron Authority Republic previously featured in Starfinder Society Scenario #1-24: Siege of Enlightenment).


Enjoy!

Jessica

Our Favourite Things of 2018

To celebrate the New Year we’re taking one last look back at our favourite things of 2018! So what made the cut? Read on and see!

Favourite d20 Bestiary: Alien Archive
(for more information check out this blog post)

Favourite Dungeons and Dragons Book: Dungeons and Dragons: Guildmaster’s Guide to Ravnica
(Dungeons and Dragons meets Magic: The Gathering!!)

Favourite Pathfinder Book: Ultimate Wilderness
(for more information check out this blog post)

Favourite Starfinder Book: Pact Worlds
(for more information check out this blog post)

Favourite d20 Book (Other): Realms of Atrothia: Legacy Races Revisited
(for more information check out this blog post)

Favourite d20 Adventure: Skitter Shot
(for more information check out this blog post)

Favourite d20 Campaign: Return of the Runelords Adventure Path
(for more information check out this blog post and be on the look out for another blog post early this year)

Favourite Pathfinder Society Scenario: #9-10: Signs in Senghor
(for more information check out this blog post as well as this one)

Favourite Starfinder Society Scenario: #1-14: Star Sugar Heartlove!!!
(for more information check out this blog post)

Favourite Kid’s Game: Tails of Equestria: The Storytelling Game
(for more information be on the lookout for a new blog post later this month!)

Favourite Board Game: Dinosaur Island
(for more information check out this blog post)

Favourite Family Movie: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse
(now playing in a theatre near you!)

Favourite Movie: Ready Player One
(if you haven’t seen this movie or read this book yet, you REALLY SHOULD!)

Favourite Upcoming Kickstarter: Realms of Atrothia: Primary Expansion
(Kickstarter coming in February 2019!)

I can’t wait to see what 2019 brings!

Jessica

Holiday Wish List!

The holidays are on their way! For many of us that means its time to buy the people around you gifts. But, what do you buy for those d20 gamers on your list? Well, read on! We’re sharing our top picks for gift giving!

First off: books! More specifically: new books that those gamers in your life probably don’t have yet. Our favourites?

Next up? Minis! Perfect for your favourite GM!

Also a perfect gift for the GMs in your life? Maps.

Finally? Accessories! Here’s our favourite awesome d20 related products!

But wait! Got young ones? So do I! Here’s my favourite d20 products to pick up for your kids!

We hope you enjoyed our top picks for holiday gift giving!

All the best, everyone!

Jessica

 

Starfinder Society Scenarios

I love the Starfinder Roleplaying Game (Starfinder Core Rulebook). But, I also didn’t want to leap right into Starfinder with my own custom adventures. I wanted to try it out as a player first. Obviously, there’s not many options right now. There’s the Starfinder Adventure Path: Dead Suns (Part One: Incident at Absalom Station), which looks great, but I didn’t want to lock my family into a long campaign with their first characters. I wanted to do something short. Something that got started right away. That hopped right into the action!

So I turned to the Starfinder Society.

The Starfinder Society is a lot like the Pathfinder Society, but in space. It’s a world-wide organized play campaign where anyone can make a character and play a single short adventure (usually four hours in length). The adventures are called scenarios and available as PDF downloads on Paizo’s website for only a few dollars each (usually $4.99 American). These scenarios are short, action packed, and fun. There’s other rules you’ll need to know for playing in the Starfinder Society, all of which are available as a free download on their website, here. In addition to special rules, you should also know a bit about the setting, and the recent achievements of the Starfinder Society. Paizo’s website says it better than I ever could:

“The gods have mysteriously spirited Golarion away to an unknown location and refuse to answer questions about it. In its place, the cultures of that world have evolved and spread throughout the solar system, especially to a vast space platform called Absalom Station. Gifted access to a hyperspace dimension by an ascended AI deity, the residents of the system suddenly find themselves with the ability to travel faster than light, and the race is on to explore and colonize potentially millions of worlds. But there are horrors out there in the darkness…”

“The Starfinder Society is on the brink of ruin, having had to resort of mercenaries to maintain their hold on claimed planetoids, stellar regions, and archeological sites. After training to join a new cadre of Starfinders, it is up to you as a member of the Starfinder Society to help restore the organization. The Starfinder Society, with memories of the Scoured Stars incident still fresh, embarks on the quest to rebuild and discover the truth of what happened in the inaugural season: Year of Scoured Stars!”

Playing in the Starfinder Society is a blast, and I highly recommend it either in person, or online via play-by-post (which is my preferred method), but you don’t have to use these Starfinder Society Scenarios for organized play alone. These scenarios also make great mini-adventures for playing at home in a more casual setting. I’ve continually been impressed with their quality, and the continuity of the scenarios. When used together they’re already beginning to tell a longer, more important story than they do on their own.

Today we’re going to take a look at the Starfinder Society Scenarios that are currently available for purchase, and let you know our favourites. 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 I recommend you check out a different article. So sit back, and get ready to enter the Drift!

Scenario #1-00: Claim to Salvation is a Tier 3-4 adventure which is unlike any of the other scenarios. In this special scenario you don’t play your own Starfinder Society character. Instead, you play one of the level four pre-generated iconic characters. These characters are mercenaries hired by the Starfinder Society only a few months after the Scoured Stars incident decimated their ranks. These mercenaries are tasked with exploring the surface of a ‘fake-moon’ known as Salvation, for the purpose of determining if the site is worth further exploration, or is a dud that needs shelving. As one of the very first scenarios released, this adventure has some great supplementary rules notes and cheat sheets included within it for ease of play, which is a really awesome addition. This adventure is really fun, and has a cast of colourful characters, both allies and enemies, which are a blast to interact with. The starship battle in this adventure is really unique and kooky. Plus, it’s got goblins in it! Who doesn’t want to see goblins in space?!? Despite that this was a really fun adventure, there are two major downsides for me. The first, is that you need to use pre-generated characters if you’re playing it in the Starfiner Society, as mentioned above. And the second? You’re only exploring the surface of Salvation and determining if the site is worth further exploration. Exploration of the interior continues in another adventure, #1-09: Live Exploration Extreme!, and I strongly believe it will continue on in at least another scenario or two further down the line. That means that when you reach the end of this scenario you’re likely to feel as a player like its unfinished. Although I’m definitely going to use this scenario with my family as part of an ongoing campaign, I’m unlikely to play it in the Starfinder Society. Pre-generated characters aren’t really my thing. Overall, I give this scenario three out of five stars. However, if you enjoy using pre-generated characters, or, if you’re going to use it in a home campaign, I’d increase it to four out of five stars.

Starfinder Society Quests: Into the Unknown is the next adventure we’re going to take a peek at. This tier 1 scenario is awesome! For starters, Into the Unknown is a free download. So click the link and get downloading. Its a repeatable adventure, which means that if you’re playing it in the Starfinder Society you can play it once for each character (as opposed to only once as a player). That’s a very  important thing when there’s so few scenarios to choose from. Like Claim to Salvation, Into the Unknown has some wonderful cheat sheets and extra rules listed, which makes it awesome for beginner players and GMs. As a quest, it’s formatted a bit different than the other scenarios. Instead of being one four hour long adventure, its a connected series of five short one-hour long adventures. Each of these short quests forms one cohesive, wonderful adventure that feels much grander in scope than your typical scenario. These quests are meant to be played in order, and intelligence gathered in the first four quests can provide you with an advantage in the final quest. The adventure itself has got a bit of everything in it: fun social interactions, local combat, and starship battles. My kids loved roleplaying with Julzakama and the ysoki family who own the Vat Garden in the first quest, ‘Salvation.’ The Vat Garden encounter also had some tricky environmental effects that made it unique. I loved the ‘Boarding’ quest, but did have a few qualms with it. There’s no mention of any bodies, which is unfortunate. Also, this scene could really benefit from an ominous, atmospheric opening description. I loved the battle in ‘Salvage,’ although this scene also could have benefitted from a scripted description of the wreck. There’s a total of two different starship battles in these quests, both of which are very different. I would have loved to learn more about the crew of the Lawblight, though. For such a cool ship with a lot of build-up, we don’t even learn the name of the captain! Events in this scenario tie into later adventures, including #1-02: Yesteryear’s Truth. In addition, there’s further hints that this scenario will tie into other unwritten scenarios in the future. All in all, Into the Unknown is one of my very favourite scenarios, and I give it five out of five stars. I highly recommend it as the first scenario for new players to try.

Up next is scenario #1-01: The Commencement. This is a repeatable scenario that does not feature any starship battles. This scenario is intended as an introduction to the Starfinder Society and its major factions. As brand new Starfinders, you’ll need to complete a task for each of the faction leaders. These tasks are fun, but quite minor. Some of them are… silly. That being said I enjoyed the silliest one a lot. (Star Sugar Heartlove!!!, here’s looking at you!). I found there was a bit too much rolling and math during the Acquisitives mission, which bogged down gameplay quite a bit. The Wayfinder and Exo-Guardian missions were great fun, while the Dataphiles task allowed characters with a lot of skills to shine. One of the best parts of this scenario is its adaptability. Multiple parts of this scenario are chosen randomly each time you play, which is just awesome in a repeatable scenario. From vehicle statistics, to enemy abilities, and even alien appearances and motives, although the tasks don’t change, the details do, which will make for a fresh experience every time. Conceptually, I like that they give fresh agents minor tasks, but in practise it feels… underwhelming. Not very exciting. For that reason, although this is a great first adventure for Starfinder Society characters, and a wonderful introduction to the factions, I don’t recommend it be your first Starfinder experience. If you’re new to Starfinder, play Into the Unknown instead. This adventure features events that tie into other adventures, as well as characters that continue to play a role in the Year of Scoured Stars. I give it three out of five stars.

Scenario #1-02: Fugitive on the Red Planet is a tier 1-4 adventure that doesn’t feature any starship battles. This scenario sends you to the Mars-like planet of Akiton on the trail of an ex-Starfinder who stole an artifact from the Society. This is a another fun adventure. I like the encounters, both social and combat, but the scenario itself was very ‘on the rails.’ Now, this isn’t surprising for SFS or PFS scenarios, and it doesn’t feel like it’s constraining, but it is worth noting. I was impressed that the investigation in Maro has an effect later in the scenario. I really enjoyed the inclusion of AbadarCorp in this scenario, and that there were repercussions or benefits based on your interactions with them. I also liked that infamy repercussions were built right into the module, which is a nice early example that evil actions don’t work out for your characters in the long run. The final battle’s location was wonderfully varied, and the inclusion of the mine carts made it very dynamic. Overall, I really enjoyed this scenario and give it four out of five stars.

Scenario #1-03: Yesteryear’s Truth is a tier 1-4 adventure that contains one starship battle. This mission is of particular importance to the Wayfinders faction and sends you to explore a newly discovered planet. I found that the starship battle was too long, but a slower launch rate of the combat drones, or less hp for each drone would fix that easily. I really loved the premise of this adventure. It’s very much a ‘first contact’ situation, and I thought it followed through on this wonderfully. As expected for a scenario of this kind, social skills are very important to the mission, which could be hard for some groups. That being said, they have plenty of chances to make friends with both types of locals, and the module can progress as scheduled even if they fail to do so. Finally, I loved the history this scenario lets you uncover, and that your actions can affect the planet’s future. This scenario features a planet that was first mentioned in Into the Unknown, and introduces Winks, a character who will later be met again in Scenario #1-04: Cries from the Drift. I give it five out of five stars.

Scenario #1-04: Cries from the Drift is a tier 1-4 adventure that sends the players to investigate a missing Starfinder ship. It contains one starship battle. This mission is of particular importance to the Exo-Guardians faction and is highly likely to link to further missions regarding Sangoro’s Bulwark. I thoroughly loved this scenario, but be warned, this one is NOT for the squeamish. It features body horror, gore and suspense. Because this scenario really benefits from all players being surprised, I won’t be saying anything else about the events contained within. What I will say is that it connects to lots of other adventures. It name-drops Winks, from scenario #1-03: Yesteryear’s Truth. It also introduces a starfinder team known as the Manta Corps, who will make a further appearance in scenario #1-08: Sanctuary of Drowned Delight. This social encounter is a fun way to let players brag about their accomplishments. There’s some fun goodies hidden in this scenario for players who’ve already experienced scenario #1-01: The Commencement, including the return of Zigvigix and his warehouse. It also features tie-ins to a not-yet-released scenario that involves a Strawberry Machine Cake concert. I give this scenario five out of five stars, but remember: it’s not for everyone!

Scenario #1-05: The First Mandate is a tier 1-4 adventure that tasks your players with impressing dignitaries and contacts who are important to the Starfinder Society. It is of particular importance to members of the Acquisitives faction, and the Second Seekers faction. There are no starship battles in this scenario. This scenario introduces six really important NPCs, including Luwazi Elsebo, leader of the Starfinder Society. It also introduces Royo, a ysoki Forum member, and Naiaj, a gnome bleachling Venture-Captain. All three of these characters were fun to interact with, detailed, and are certain to make plenty more appearances as the Starfinder Society continues. There’s also two other important NPCs of note, Iteration-177, an android Aspis Consortium member, and Zo!, an Eoxian media mogul. Despite the premise of this adventure, it doesn’t all come down to social skills. There’s plenty of combat to go around and the NPCs varied interests mean that even the most awkward characters have a chance of impressing someone. The NPCs represent a wide variety of races, which was really refreshing. The social encounters themselves are a lot of fun, and the rules introduced to measure the players success aren’t overly complicated. In addition to the intangible benefits of impressing the dignitaries, there’s also visible, mechanical benefits that occur in the scenario, which are sure to make players pleased. I felt that the investigation part of this scenario was really well done. The clues were subtle, and it didn’t beat you over the head with details, which was really refreshing. The final battle allowed for multiple different approaches, methods and tactics, all of which look to be a lot of fun. So far two other scenarios are connected to this one, including #1-06: Night in Nightarch, and #1-09: Live Exploration Extreme! Although I wasn’t sure I’d like this scenario from it’s premise, I ended up really loving it. I give it five out of five stars.

Scenario #1-06: Night in Nightarch is a tier 3-6 scenario that grants your players leave to track down a missing weapons shipment from a drow thief. The best part? She’s on a planet of drow. Yeah. Take a second and imagine that. Yikes! This scenario doesn’t feature any starship battles. I absolutely love the premise of this scenario. It’s got some fun NPCs to interact with, awesome drow artwork, and does a great job of setting an atmospheric tone with only a few short sentences. I really enjoyed that the mission was on a timeframe, and the quick mechanics that were used to speed up/determine time. The office levels were well-detailed and organic. It had character, which was really nice. There were multiple ways to go about one of the encounters, which is nice. The outcome of the battle doesn’t change too much from one to the other, but its nice to have the option. I even loved the little details hidden here and there, like the advertisements–particularly the one featuring Zo!’s reality tv show. I give this scenario four out of five stars.

Scenario #1-07: The Solar Sortie is a tier 1-4 adventure that sends the players undercover on Brilliance, a solar satellite owned by the Arch Energy Consortium, for the purpose of recovering classified information. To this end, the players must earn the friendship of Envar Tamm, the ‘boss’s’ hard-partying son. This scenario could contain one starship battle. This scenario is fun and quirky. It requires subterfuge, social skills and computer skills to succeed, but is not without combat. Because of the skills required, its not a scenario for everyone, but it did a great job of making all kinds of characters useful. Envar himself is a great NPC who’s going to be a blast to play at the table. This scenario features a character introduced in #1-01: The Commencement, and can be affected by your players experiences in #1-02: Fugitive on the Red Planet. I give this adventure four out of five stars.

Scenario #1-08: Sanctuary of Drowned Delight is a tier 3-6 adventure that has your players investigate an old Starfinder Lodge on an aquatic planet. In addition to determining if the Lodge is salvageable, they also need to make contact with the first group who was sent on this mission, the Manta Corps, who were introduced in #1-04: Cries from the Drift. This mission is of particular importance to the Wayfinders faction. It does not contain any starship battles. This scenario is location based, which is to say that they are given a single location to explore, and can do so in any fashion and order they desire. In addition to room-based encounters and there are also event-based encounters, which are a lot of fun. In addition to getting to explore a great location on a new planet, players will get to meet and interact with a new alien race. This is a great adventure for players who love to role-play social encounters. It also features investigation elements which are wonderfully subtle. This scenario reintroduced us to Fitch and the Master of Stars, which is the same ship visited in #1-01: The Commencement. This scenario is just… AWESOME! I give this scenario five out of five stars.

The last adventure we’re going to take a look at today is Scenario #1-09: Live Exploration Extreme! This is a tier 1-4 adventure which is a direct sequel to #1-00: Salvation’s End. It also has ties to #1-05: The First Mandate, and features Zo!, who was met in that scenario. It is the first (likely of multiple) scenarios that will delve into the fake-moon, Salvation. The catch? In the aftermath of the Scoured Stars incident, The Starfinders had to rely on mercenaries, investors and powerful organizations in order to keep operational. One such investor was Zo!, a undead Eoxian media mogul. He provided the Starfinders with a vast amount of funding, on the condition that if any important discoveries were made on those sites the Starfinders would cease investigation immediately, until Zo! and his camera crew were ready to document the findings and turn it into a new reality television special. That’s right! You don’t just get to explore an awesome ruin and make amazing discoveries, you have to do it alongside a film crew while impressing a live studio audience! It does an awesome job of playing up this quirky experience, including pulling characters aside to ask prying questions, and having the studio audience vote on how some situations should play out. This adventure is populated with a ton of entertaining characters. From the crew, to Zo!, and the people met while exploring Salvation, this is a scenario that’s overflowing with fun, engaging, social encounters. It’s full of personality, and I guarantee you’ve never played anything like it before. Aside from the wonderful ‘reality t.v.’ schtick it’s got going for it, the adventure itself–the things you find in Salvation–are really, really surprising. Honestly. Wow! I cannot wait for the investigation into Salvation to continue in another scenario, and I strongly hope that Zo! and his camera crew will be along with us for the ride. This scenario is one of my very favourites. I give it five out of five stars.

And that’s it! The first eleven Starfinder Society scenarios, specials and quests for your perusal. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to play through them all. But when it comes down to it, which ones were my very, very, favourites? Which ones blew my mind?

Into the Unknown, Sanctuary of Drowned Delights, and Live Exploration Extreme!

What about you? If you’ve got a favourite Starfinder scenario let us know in the comments below! Have experiences playing or GMing these adventures that you want to share? Do so! We’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for checking out d20 Diaries!

Until next time,

Jessica

 

Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today on d20 Diaries we’re celebrating by sharing all things ‘love’ from Pathfinder. So whether you’re a romantic looking for love like Aldern Foxglove (who you can meet in Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition) a jilted, jaded loner like the Stag Lord (who you can meet in Kingmaker Part 1 – Stolen Land), or a parent who would do anything for their children like Nadya Petska (who you can meet in Reign of Winter Part 1 – The Snows of Summer), we’ve got you covered! So slip on your sleeves of many garments (Pathfinder: Ultimate Equipment) to get that perfect look and get ready to celebrate Valentine’s Day in style!


We’re starting simple, with a collection of mundane equipment that can make Valentine’s special for even the lowliest level one character! Prepare yourself for the day with a grooming kit and some perfume/cologne. Head out for a lovely carriage ride, or to see a show. Read poetry (if you’re literate), or serenade that special someone with a musical instrument.  For dinner, set the mood with a candle and candlestick, and be sure to bring a bottle of wine and some chocolates. All of these items are available in Pathfinder: Ultimate Equipment

But, for those of us who are higher than level one, chances are you’ve got some cash to burn! Let’s take a look at some pricier options! Unless otherwise listed, all of the items below are from either the Core Rulebook or Ultimate Equipment.

Still trying to catch the eye of that special someone? Be sure to get your armour and weapons glamered. Up your game with a circlet of persuasion, headband of alluring charisma, or a headband of seduction. Really put in the effort with a Zonzon Doll of Forgiveness (Inner Sea Gods) tailored just for them! Or skip the effort completely and invest in a staff of charming, or eyes of charming.

Trouble Hanging on? Love keep slipping through your fingers? Be sure to invest in some tanglefoot bags, silk rope, an elixir of love, philter of love (Advanced Player’s Guide), or a harp of charming.

Beloved often caught in the thick of things? Give them a paper flower favour (Heroes of the High Court) or a true love’s locket (Giantslayer Part 2 – The Hill Giant’s Pledge) as a token of your affection. Always keep an eye out for them with kinsight goggles.

Got someone you’d do anything for? Invest in an allying weapon, martyr’s tear and a ring of friend shield.

Can’t bear to be separated? Pick up a bracelet of friends.

Worried about all that romance (and enchantments) clouding your mind? A cap of the free thinker should help keep your head on straight! While the Liberator’s Rod will give you a second chance to see to the heart of the matter.

But enough about romance! Some character’s love life in general! So if you’re the kind of adventure who would rather preserve life than end it, pick up a merciful metamagic rod  or a merciful weapon. Then try out some benevolent armour.

Broken Hearted? Share your pain with a heartseeker, seeking or stalking weapon. They’ll regret tossing you to the curb!

My personal choice for the most romantic in-game gift? Boots of the winterlands! It’s quite cold where I live. Haha.


250px-Shelyn.jpg
Shelyn, Pathfinder’s goddess of love, beauty and art.

But love isn’t all about stuff! Up next we’re taking a look at the gods of Pathfinder, some loving, some possessive, and some plain evil! All of the gods listed below can be found in Inner Sea Gods, although some are in other sources, as well.

If you’re going to make a character interested in love you’re definitely going to want to take a look at Shelyn, The Eternal Rose, the popular goddess of love, beauty and art. If you’re a dwarf you’ll instead check out Bolka, The Golden Gift, goddess of beauty, desire, love and the goddess responsible for making arranged marriages blossom into loving relationships (Dwarves of Golarion). For a less obvious faith, take a look at Hembad, the Wise Grandfather, an empyreal lord of connections, matchmaking and synergy. Contrariwise, Naderi is the heartbroken goddess of love, romantic tragedy, suicide and drowning (Inner Sea Faiths, Faiths of Balance).

Looking to tackle a more physical aspect of love? Calistria, The Savoured Sting, is the most popular choice. She’s the elven goddess of lust, revenge and trickery. Or take Arshea, the Spirit of Abandon, for a spin! He’s the androgynous empyreal lord of freedom, physical beauty and sexuality. Try going the opposite direction and take a look at Lymneiris, The Auroral Tower, an angel interested in prostitution, rites of passage, and virginity (both of whom are featured in Chronicle of the Righteous and Heaven Unleashed). Take a walk on the darker side of sex with Ardad Lili, the infernal Whore Queen of seduction, snakes and women (Princes of Darkness) or with the Green Mother, a divine fey interested in carnivorous plants, intrigue and seduction (The First World, Realm of the Fey).

Want to worship a god worried less about romance, and more about family? Erastil, god of family, community, farming, hunting and trade, is the most well-known option. Although plenty of others exist. For dwarves there’s Folgrit, the Watchful Mother, goddess of children, hearths and mothers (Dwarves of Golarion). For giants there’s  Bergelmir, Mother of Memories and goddess of elders, family and genealogy (Giants Revisited). Orcs can pay homage to Dretha, goddess of birth, fertility and tribes. Feronia is a lesser known demi-goddess of flame and fertility. Svarozic is an empyreal lord interested in parenthood, ingenuity and progress. And lastly, Shei is an empyreal lord interested in life and self-actualization.

But love isn’t always good. Love of all kinds can be twisted into something foul. If you’re looking to take a look at the darker sides of love, lust and obsession, check out these horrible devils, demons, daemons and other foul beings: Belial, Archdevil of adultery, deception and desire (Princes of Darkness); Slandrais, a daemonic harbinger interested in lechery, love potions and obsession (Horsemen of the Apocalypse); Zaigasnar, a daemonic harbinger interested in body modification, destructive vanity and pins (Horsemen of the Apocalypse), Nocticula, demon lord of  assassins, darkness, and lust (Lords of Chaos, Demons Revisited); her brother Socothbenoth, demon lord of perversion, pride, sexual gratification and taboos (Lords of Chaos); Zepar, an infernal duke of abduction, rape and transformation; Zaebos, an infernal duke of arrogance, nobility and sexual perversion; and Verex, the orc god of lust, pillage, and plunder.


If you’re interested in bringing love and heartbreak into your game further, try using nymphs (Bestiary), satyrs (Bestiary), erodaemons (Bestiary 2 (Pocket Edition)), pairaka (Bestiary 3), incubus (Bestiary 3) and succubus (Bestiary) in your games as enemies, as well as enchanters of any kind.

Players can check out the Sacred Attendant archetype for clerics (Healer’s Handbook). Clerics and other classes with access to domains can check out the charm, community and good domains (Pathfinder Core Rulebook), as well as the cooperation (Inner Sea Gods), family, home, love, and lust subdomains (all from the Advanced Player’s Guide). Inquisitors can check out the seduction inquisition (Inner Sea Intrigue). Spiritualists can make phantoms with the dedication, despair or jealousy focus (all from Occult Adventures), as well as the kindness focus (Psychic Anthology) or lust focus (Occult Realms). Bards can add the ‘dance of captivating desire’ (Elemental Master’s Handbook) or ‘at the heart of it all’ (Ultimate Magic) masterpieces to their repertoires. Characters of all classes can benefit from the feats: Cursed Love (Agents of Evil) and True Love (Ultimate Campaign).

There’s a ton of spells in Pathfinder that have to do with love, lust and infatuation, most of which are enchantments. Some of my favourites include charm person, charm monster and enthrall, all of which are from the Pathfinder Core Rulebook. Ultimate Magic introduced lover’s vengeance, unadulterated loathing, unnatural lust, and waves of ecstasy. From other sources there’s adoration (Ultimate Combat), dream dalliance (Agents of Evil), lover’s vengeance (The Inner Sea World Guide), matchmaker (Ultimate Intrigue), seducer’s eyes (Inner Sea Gods) and shamefully overdressed (Ultimate Intrigue).


Lastly, we’re going to take a look at a few adventures that are the perfect fit for Valentine’s Day.

PZO9523_500My personal favourite is Realm of the Fellnight Queen! This Pathfinder adventure module is intended for level seven characters and was written by Neil Spicer as his winning entry in RPG Superstar 2009. This wonderfully written adventure begins as the players attend a wedding ceremony for a friend. The wedding itself is a blast, with activities for the players to participate in, a great cast of colourful NPCs for them to interact with, and a feast in addition to the wedding. But soon a love-spurned gnome crashes the wedding with his beloved bees at the behest of his mistress, Queen Rhoswen. The players will have to save not only the wedding, but the entire town from the Fellnight Queen’s machinations by heading deep into the forest and entering her extra-planar realm! This adventure is just a blast to play! I highly recommend it!

For adventure’s about familial love, I recommend playing Racing the Snake or Final Resting Place. Both are 3.5 Dungeons and Dragons adventures published in Dungeon Magazine. Racing the Snake is by John Simcoe and is found in Volume 105. It’s intended for level six characters, and has the PCs hired by a nobleman to protect his beloved daughter from assassins–with a twist! While she travels secretly to her wedding in the capital, the PCs get to impersonate her and lead her assassins and enemies on a wild-goose chase until she’s safe and sound! This adventure has interesting encounters and really tips the regular format on it’s head! Final Resting Place is written by Michael Kortes and is found in Volume 122. It’s intended for level three characters, and has the PCs hired by the daughter of a famous adventurer who recently perished on an exploratory mission underground. Knowing her father is dead, but unable to come to grips with it without his body, the PCs are sent underground to the site of his last mission, in order to return his body to his daughter for a proper burial. This adventure is one of my all-time favourite 3.5 adventures and is a TON of fun.

But what about all those lover’s scorned out there? I’d suggest giving Curse of the Riven Sky or Clash of the Kingslayers a whirl. Both are larger than life, awesome level ten Pathfinder modules that are driven in one way or another by the heartbroken, the betrayed, and the angry lovers out there! And best of all? As your player’s discover the motivations and history of the NPCs involved, they’ll question their cause, enemies and allies in a way they haven’t had to before. Both are definitely worth a whirl! Curse of the Riven Sky is written by Monte Cook, while Clash of the Kingslayers is written by Leandra Christine Schneider (and currently on sale for only two dollars American).

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We B4 Goblins, a free Pathfinder adventure by Crystal Frasier. Come on! You know you want to ride a pig through a wedding cake!

Want to worry less about morality and more about destroying something beautiful and having a BLAST? Take We B4 Goblins for a whirl! This FREE Pathfinder adventure makes the player’s all goblins fresh out of their whelping cages, and sets them loose on some super fun rites of passage which culminates in an attack on a halfling wedding! Smash the cake, terrorize the guests and work out all your anger on the happy couple! The goblins are crashing the party!

Romantic love isn’t the only kind that causes pain and heartbreak. These next two adventures revolve around what happens when family is taken from us. Murder in Oakbridge is a murder mystery printed in Dungeon Magazine volume 129, written by Uri Kurlianchik and intended for level five characters. Wingclipper’s Revenge was printed in Dungeon Magazine volume 132 and pits the PCs against the perils of the fey (and man!). It was was written by Christopher Wissel and is intended for level four characters.

If you’re into the Pathfinder Society, try playing Scenario #27: Our Lady in Silver, or Scenario #4-09: The Blakros Matrimony. Our Lady in Silver unleashes our Pathfinders upon the desert nation of Qadira. It’s written by James McKenzie for tiers 5-6 and 8-9. The Blakros Matrimony takes place on Pariol Island outside of Absalom, an island owned entirely by the infamous Blakros family. It is written by Thurston Hillman for tiers 3-7. Both are unique adventures that are a ton of fun.

We’ve got one final Valentine’s Day treat for you today… An adventure path that is all about the relationships you forge with your companions and fellow players… The Jade Regent Adventure Path (starting with Jade Regent Part 1 – The Brinewall Legacy)! With rules for how to befriend and woo each member of the caravan, and updates in every volume for what items, events and places have meaning to each NPC, this adventure path is the first (and only) one that pays loving attention to the side characters right from the start of the campaign, to the end. If you want to get in on a game where relationships matter, give Jade Regent a try. The player’s guide is available as a free download, here.


That’s all we’ve got for you today!

No matter who you are, and what kind of love (or lack of) you’re celebrating today, I hope you enjoyed taking a look at the many ways you can spread the love with Pathfinder!

All the best, and Happy Valentine’s Day!

Jessica

Starfinder: Supplementary Products

The Starfinder Roleplaying Game launched a while ago, and unsurprisingly there’s a LOT of supplementary products already out on the market. Today, we’re going to take a look at these awesome (and not so awesome) products!

To start off with, The Starfinder Core Rulebook (for more details on the Starfinder Core Rulebook, check out my blog post about it here). You want it. You need it. This book is NOT optional. It’s got everything you need to play! Or does it? The only thing it’s missing?

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Starfinder Core Rulebook

Monsters! Which brings us to our second necessary product, the Starfinder: Alien Archive. This is the book where you’ll find a ton of monsters, new player races and, most importantly, simple rules for making MORE monsters and races. If you’re going to run a game of Starfinder, you NEED the Alien Archive.

But there’s another product you can already pick up about monsters in Starfinder. And this one’s FREE. Starfinder: First Contact is a short PDF of some Starfinder monsters, available as a free download on Paizo’s website. You can also purchase it in print for five dollars on their website, but I’m pretty partial to free, myself.

So you’ve got your game, and you’ve got you’re monsters. For books, this is all that’s necessary. However, Paizo just announced a third hardcover book in their line-up which is available for pre-order (and is expected out next month): The Pact Worlds! If you enjoyed the campaign setting chapter in the Starfinder Core Rulebook, then Starfinder: Pact Worlds is for you! This book contains details on all of the major planets of the Pact Worlds, new playable races, new themes, new ships, new archetypes, and new gear, spells and feats! In short, despite being a book about the setting of Starfinder, it’s got a ton of new class options for everyone. This book isn’t necessary, but I know I’m DEFINITELY adding it to my collection.

Once you’ve got your books, you need something to actually play on. Starfinder uses two grid types, one for player battles, exploration and so forth, and one for starship battles. For starship battles, they have only one flip-mat for sale, but it’s awesome. It’s big, it’s beautiful, it’s good with dry and wet erase markers, as well as permanent markers, and it’s double sided. Starfinder Flip-Mat: Basic Starfield is a must-have play mat for the Starfinder game.

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Starfinder Flip-Mat: Basic Starfield

For standard play, though, there are a ton of options. Now, chances are, if you’ve played Pathfinder, Dungeons and Dragons or any other d20 games you have a play mat already. My personal favourite, Pathfinder Flip Mat: Basic Terrain Multi-Pack, is a great choice for a wide variety of terrain types. Starfinder has launched another new basic flip-mat, which is a great addition to your game (and my favourite of the new Starfinder mats), Starfinder Flip-Mat: Basic Terrain. One side is a windswept desert or badlands style terrain, while the other is a metallic, grey terrain type. In addition to basic mats, Starfinder has launched a couple REALLY beautiful flip-mats. In general, although they’re lovely, and easy to use, I tend to stick with the basic mats for budgeting purposes. But if you’re interested, there’s the Starfinder Flip-Mat: Cantina, which features a high-end dance-club scene on one side, and a grungy, dive-bar on the other. The Starfinder Flip-Mat: Starship features a sleek exploratory starship on one side, and a more utilitarian ship on the other side which would work great as a military ship, a freighter, or a derelict ship. The last map I haven’t been able to find on amazon, which means you’ll have to order direct from Paizo’s website (which if you’re Canadian, like, means the shipping fees are a nightmare). That being said, the Starfinder Flip-mat: Urban Sprawl is gorgeous. One side is a sleek, futuristic city or parkscape, while the other side is a grungy, dystopian slum. There are plenty of other maps on the horizon, which we’ll be sure to keep our eyes out for.

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Starfinder Pawns: Alien Archive

You’ve got your books, and you’ve got your play-mat, but what the heck are you going to put on it?  Paizo has a few paintable resin miniatures available on their website, Navasi the human envoy, Iseph the android operative, and Keskodai the shirren mystic. They’re nice figures, and I’d expect the other iconics to be released in the future. But, for the cost and time investment, paintable minis aren’t for me. What I’d suggest instead is the Starfinder Core Rulebook Pawn Collection which comes with a hundred awesome minis perfect for player characters and humanoid enemies, as well as a large assortment of ship pawns. You are going to get a TON of use out of this collection! In addition, I highly recommend the Starfinder Pawns: Alien Archive which has 300 pawns inside, in a collection of monsters, humanoids and even a few ships. These two pawn collections will give you a ton of minis to work with, and should be al you need for a long time to come. The only other thing you’ll need to go with them is a set of bases. They’re compatible with the Pathfinder Pawn bases, so if you have some at home already, you won’t need to buy more, but if you don’t you can pick Starfinder Pawns: Base Assortment from amazon or from Paizo’s website here.

In addition to the necessities, which we’ve gone over, there’s a collection of other, less useful, supplementary products available. There’s a helpful Starfinder GM Screen (which has gorgeous artwork on one side and a collection of very important information for the GM on the other), Starfinder Player Character Folio (which is a very detailed character sheet), and Starfinder Combat Pad (to help make combat organization quicker and easier). But what I’d recommend is the Starfinder: Condition Cards, which put all of the conditions in Starfinder on handy cards which can be given out to players, or used by the GM for easy reference. They also feature some snazzy artwork of space goblins on each condition to make them more interesting.

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Starfinder Adventure Path: Incident at Absalom Station (Dead Suns 1 of 6)

The last Starfinder product we’re going to touch on today is adventures. Currently, there’s only one adventure path out for Starfinder: Dead Suns! The Dead Suns Adventure Path consists of six volumes, three of which are out now and three of which are available for pre-order. They are: Starfinder Adventure Path: Incident at Absalom Station (Dead Suns 1 of 6)Starfinder Adventure Path: Temple of the Twelve (Dead Suns 2 of 6)Starfinder Adventure Path: Splintered Worlds (Dead Suns 3 of 6)Starfinder Adventure Path: The Ruined Clouds (Dead Suns 4 of 6)Starfinder Adventure Path: The Thirteenth Gate (Dead Suns 5 of 6), and Starfinder Adventure Path: Empire of Bones ( Dead Suns 6 of 6). From what I’ve read so far of the Adventure Path, it’s great fun.

But, if long adventure paths aren’t your thing, you can also check out the Starfinder Society. Much like the Pathfinder Society, this is a world-wide gaming community where you make a character, bring them to your local game store, convention, or take them online on Paizo’s message boards, and play a short 4 hour scenario together. If you’re not interested in actually joining these games, you can always purchase the PDFs for a few dollars each and run them at home with your regular Starfinder rules. I’m a big fan of these short scenarios, and for my family, this was how we decided to test out the Starfinder Roleplaying Game.

Currently there are eight scenarios available for purchase, with new ones coming out regularly. I highly recommend picking up Into the Unknown, which is a series of short 1 hour mini-quests that form a continuing story-line and is available as a free PDF download on Paizo’s website. It’s great fun, and has a great introduction to starship combat rules, which makes it a spectacular first-time adventure for everyone. In addition, the plot-line’s great. I also highly recommend Scenario #1-03: Yesteryear’s Truth, which can be used as a sequel to Into the Unknown, as well as Scenario #1-04: Cries from the Drift, and Scenario #1-08: Sanctuary of Drowned Delight. All three have a great balance of social encounters, combat encounters, and starship encounters. They’re AWESOME.

Scenario #1-01: The Commencement provides a great introduction to all the factions of the Starfinder Society, but has your players performing minor tasks that aren’t very glamourous. If you’re planning on playing in the Starfinder Society I’d pick this one up, but otherwise I recommend passing on it. If you’re a fan of social encounters or mysteries I’d give Scenario #1-02: Fugitive on the Red Planet, Scenario #1-05: The First Mandate, or Scenario #1-07: The Solar Sortie a try, but keep in mind that none of them feature starship battles. Lastly, Scenario #1-06: A Night in Nightarch is a fun romp which sees the players attempt to reclaim a stolen weapons  shipment from a drow thief, though this is a slightly higher level adventure and is intended for levels 3-6.

Thanks for joining me for a look at the many Starfinder Products available! Be sure to check back in at d20 Diaries to read about new releases, and reviews on further products.

See you in the Drift!

Jessica

 

Vermin, vermin, everywhere…

There’s a mouse in my house.

Now, for those of you who have to deal with vermin way worse than mice… say rats or cockroaches or something else horrible, you might be thinking: “Auww, a mouse! How cute!”

No! Not cute!

Dirty, filthy, sneaky little mice. In my KITCHEN.

Blech!

So while my kitchen has been taken over by an abundance of glue-traps (admittedly, it might be overkill), we’re going to take a look at VERMIN.

Pardon me while I suppress a shiver!

Now, I don’t just mean insectile vermin, or the vermin creature-type, I mean vermin of all kinds. And the most likely way you’re going to interact with these creepy, crawlies? Battle.

To kick things off we’re looking at a classic: the dire rat. I know, I know, you’ve fought a ton. But if you haven’t? Do it! These nasty little blighters are a staple for low level d20 games of all kinds, and for good reason! They’re a decent challenge for their lowly CR 1/3, and due to their horrible hygiene, they’re likely a player’s first interaction with diseases, as well. Love them or hate, you’ve gotta take them down!

A few of my other favourite vermin include giant leeches (so gross!) and the tick swarm. Giant leeches have the ability to attach themselves to their victims and drain the blood right out of them–except this bad boy’s the size of a grown man. At a CR 2, they’re still a low-level threat. And the tick swarm? The opposite. The tick swarm is a whopping CR 9 monster that’s immune to weapon damage in addition to the typical swarm immunities. These little buggers are diseased, and possess a cool ability: cling. Even after fleeing the swarm’s area a bunch of ticks still cling onto the PCs, draining their blood. This causes the PC to take swarm damage each round even after running away. They’re going to hate these things!

There’s another new vermin out there that I love, and it’s creature type? Undead! Cause the only thing worse than finally killing that cockroach? When it comes back to life! Check out the exoskeleton! An exoskeleton is the corpse of an insect, given unlife by necromancy. Sort of like a skeleton bug. Minus the skeleton. As an acquired template the exoskeleton can be added onto any corporeal vermin that has an exoskeleton, so prep the beetles, centipedes and spiders! Bring on the exoskeletons!

But vermin aren’t always the enemy, right? What about those of us you who want to make nice with the little guys? Well, look no further!

Want to let out your inner vermin? Play a ratfolk! These sneaky little fellows are a fun player race, who excel in tight spaces. They’re nimble, smart, and are naturally good at creating alchemical substances, and using magical devices. They’ve got some cool race specific archetypes and feats, but my favourite thing to make with a ratfolk? A witch! Seriously! Imagine them brewing their noxious substances, hurling hexes and cackling their furry little heads off! So great!

But what if alignment’s not an issue? Well, if you’re alright with letting a load of villainy into your games you can crack out the classic wererat. Or better yet? Be an entothrope! A what?

An entothrope! Introduced in Bestiary 6, the entothrope is lycanthropy with BUGS! And my personal favourite? The weremantis! With wicked claws, mandibles, and the ability to lunge and make sudden strikes, these guys are a blast!

Now, there’s also some awesome class options for those of us you who want to dabble with vermin without being one. The most obvious way is with your pets. My favourite vermin familiar is the moth. Why? Honestly? I HATE moths. I have a terrible fear of moths. Eww! Yeah, yeah, I know they’re not THAT bad… Looking for a good animal companion? Pick up a giant cockroach (also EWWW!). Both options are from Ultimate Wilderness.

And my all time favourite vermin themed character option?

The swarm monger druid!

These guys have to choose an urban companion–centipede, cat, rat, raven or spider–and can make them multiply into a swarm a few times a day for a few minutes at a time. They gain the ability to influence vermin, bonuses on saving throws against disease and poison, the ability to be healed by consuming rotten food, and, my personal favourite, the ability to transform themselves into a shifting swarm of vermin. Neat!

And gross!

Not up for a full-body commitment?

There’s a lot of cool items and spells that you can pick up, so I’ll only name my very favourites. First up? Pipes of the warren guardian, a magical musical instrument that can be played once a day to summon a bunch of dire rats to fight for you. And the spell? Vomit swarm! Cause… just… GROSS!

And what are we finishing off the day with?

Urban Decay! A 3.5 Dungeons and Dragons adventure intended for 2nd level characters that pits the players against a group of wererats operating out of the sewers who attempt to conquer the city above with rats, and plagues of disease. This is an awesome little adventure that’s a perfect way for me to work out my anger at something generally mouse-shaped. Take THAT rats mouse-stand-ins!

That’s all for today!

See you next time,

Jessica


Interested in anything you read about today? Want to know where it came from? Look no further!

Dire rats and giant leeches are from Pathfinder’s Bestiary and Bestiary (Pocket Edition). The tick swarm is from Bestiary 2 and Bestiary 2 (Pocket Edition). The exoskeleton and entothropes are from Bestiary 6. Rafolk and the pipes of the warren guardian are from the Advanced Race Guide. And the vomit swarm spell is from the Advanced Player’s Guide and Advanced Player’s Guide (Pocket Edition). Moth familiars and giant cockroach companions are from Ultimate Wilderness. Finally, the swarm monger druid is from Blood of the Beast.

Urban Decay was written by Amber E. Scott, and was published in Dungeon Magazine issue number 138 back in 2006.

Enjoy!