Unleash the Wilds!

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Wilderness

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

With who?

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

What are you waiting for? Unleash the WILD!

Thanks for joining us on d20 Diaries.

Jessica

 

Adventurer’s Armory 2

Things are pretty crazy around my house right now. My son’s sick (again), and both of my children had their birthdays this past week. But, as things begin to settle, we’re ready to get right back into the swing of things here on d20 Diaries. So today, we’re taking a look at another book I recently got my hands on: Pathfinder Player Companion: Adventurer’s Armory 2!

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Pathfinder Player Companion: Adventurer’s Armory 2

The Adventurer’s Armoury 2 is a sequel to the ever-popular Adventurer’s Armory, which was also released as a Player Companion back in April 2010. As a product from the Player Companion line, it’s a thin, soft-cover book intended for use by players, which clocks in at 32 pages in length. In my opinion, the Adventurer’s Armory was among the most universally useful books in the Player Companion line, so I was thrilled to pick up the sequel.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at what’s inside…

The inside covers both feature purchasing charts showcasing the new equipment in this book. The front inside cover’s home to weapon and armour charts, while the back inside cover’s where you’ll find everything else. This includes adventuring gear, alchemical remedies, alchemical tools, alchemical weapons, poisons, clothing, magical items, and mundane tools. Looking past the covers we find the table of contents and then the introduction.

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Pathfinder Companion: Adventurer’s Armory

Although it doesn’t sound very exciting, the introduction’s home to one feat, Equipment Trick, which is an old, quirky feat originally printed in Adventurer’s Armory which allows your characters to make interesting uses out of a specific type of equipment chosen at the time of taking the feat. Only certain items have equipment tricks written for them, and in order to use each trick you must meet its specific requirements. Sound confusing? No worries. You take the feat and select which kind of item you’re going to learn tricks with, then read the list of tricks. If you meet the requirements for any of those tricks, you can use them. If not, keep an eye on them. You can use the trick as soon as you do meet the requirements, even if its many levels down the road. Curious what kind of equipment you can utilize? We’ll touch on that again later. For now, just know there’s plenty.

After the feat, you’ll find a collection of five traits which are all themed around where you buy your goods and feature some of the most infamous marketplaces in the Inner Sea. Including Absalom’s Coin District, Cassomir, Katapesh, Ostenso, and Riddleport, each of these traits are flavourful and fun. That being said, they’re not staples. You won’t read them and decide every one of your characters has to have it. My personal favourite? Absalom’s Amiable Briber, which is a social trait allows you to offer bribes without fear. The first time someone refuses a bribe you offer, that person’s attitude towards you doesn’t worsen, even if the offer normally would offend the person. Cool! Cassomir’s Bountiful Herb-Lore and Riddleport’s Master Messenger are also pretty cool, so be sure to check them out.

Lastly, the introduction features a handy rules index that lists the page numbers of each feat, trait and other rules option presented in this book. By now, one thing’s already clear: not everything in Adventurer’s Armory 2 is new. Some of the equipment and player options in this book are reprints from other out-of-print books. An understandable move, and helpful for those of you who might not own the original sourcebooks.

Moving on from the introduction we come to one of my favourite sections of the book: Equipment Packages! What, you may ask, is an equipment package? Simple! It’s a big collection of gear that your characters can choose to start with. What does it cost you? Two things! First, it costs a trait: Well-provisioned Adventurer. Second, it costs your starting gold. That’s right! If you take this trait you don’t staring gold at all. So, are these equipment packages worth it? That depends. In terms of value, each of these packages is worth about a thousand gold pieces. That’s a lot! In addition, the gear is well-chosen, and varied. Each allows for a minor amount of tweaking with GM approval, which should make them even more accessible. Having that much extra wealth can mean the difference between life and death at level one. However, whether or not you personally feel the gear is better than a +1 to a saving throw, a bonus to a few skills, turning a skill into a class skill, or picking up a quirky minor ability, is entirely a personal preference. My husband wasn’t wowed by it, but I certainly was, and my kids also loved it. I wouldn’t use it for all of my characters, of course, but for plenty these equipment packages are an option I’d consider. In addition to a well-chosen set of equipment geared at many different class types, these packages also include the weight for both medium and small characters already calculated. A wonderful thing if you don’t really like number crunching weights and carrying capacities, determining the adjusted weights for small sized characters, or coin counting to the copper piece. These equipment packages can also be purchased for 1,000 gp, for those of you who don’t want to use a trait to get one. As an aside, GMs can also use these equipment packages as rewards, care packages and gifts to be handed out to your players by grateful NPCs.  The only obvious downside? They’re heavy. With the lightest weighing in at 44 pounds (28 3/4 for small characters) your low-strength characters are bound to be overburdened by them. I’d love to see some more light-weight options appear in the future. My favourite equipment packages turned out to be the Arcane Adept (intended for arcane spellcasters) and the Daring Bravo (intended for any lightly armoured combatant). My young son loved the Wilderness Warrior, while my daughter loved the Mystic Guide (which she’d like to use on her next druid). After you’ve given the equipment packages a read, leave us a comment and let us know if you intend to use any. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Next up we come to what most people will purchase this book for: armour and weapons. First up’s the armour. With eight new choices varying in price from 1 gp to 2,100 gp, there’s a wide variety of new armour, even if there aren’t many. My personal favourites are the Erutaki coat, the Varisian dancing scarves, and the reinforced tunic. In addition to armour, this book introduces a new type of item called a modification. Modifications can be applied to armour by a skilled smith, and offer both a benefit and a drawback. You’ll also find a feat later in the book that allows players to better utilize armour modifications. Although cool, none of these modifications are cheap, so invest with care. I’d recommend the nimble modification, which increases an armour’s Max Dex by two, reduces its check penalty by one, but costs 1,000 gp, and adds five pounds to its weight. Burnished also sounds like lots of fun at lower levels. For a cost of 500 gp, five pounds of added weight, and a -10 penalty to stealth in areas of bright light, you can dazzle your enemies with your brilliantly shining armour! Capable of targeting everyone who can see you within 30 feet, this ability has the potential to be really effective. However, each target can only be affected once per day. Other armour modifications include deflecting, double-plated (which I expect will see a lot of use), jarring, nimble, razored, slumbering (which is SUPER handy) and vitalguard.

With that we come to the Weapons. There’s a whopping twenty-five new weapons in this book, most of which are exotic, and only one of which is simple. I’m pretty partial to the cutlass, the lantern staff, and the spiral rapier. That being said, the flask thrower’s going to be incredibly handy for some characters. Past the new weapon options you’ll find a handy list showing what weapon group each belongs to, followed by seven weapon modifications. Weapon modifications work in the same way as armour modifications do, and also feature some feats which can improve their efficiency and capabilities. In addition, modified weapons have their weapon type increase by one step (from simple to martial, and martial to exotic). The weapon modifications included in this book are brutally weighted, dual-balanced, jagged hooks, razor-sharp, serrated edge, tactically adapted, and versatile design. Personally, I think that dual-balanced (which reduces the penalties for two-weapon fighting by -1) and tactical adapted (which allows you to add weapon qualities like blocking, disarm, and nonlethal to a weapon) are bound to see the most use in play.

All in all, I like the idea of modifications more than I like them mechanically. I’m unlikely to invest in them due to their hefty price tag, and the extra weight. Of course, if I’m playing a character who has extra cash to spend, a wide array of proficiencies and carrying capacity to spare, I’d give definitely them a try. I’m very curious to see them in action.

Next up we have a single page of feats. There’s nine of them total, and all of them are combat feats. Seven have to do with armour and weapon modifications, while the last two involve utilization of the dwarven dorn-derger, an exotic weapon that appears in this book. Although I’m sure some people are bound to try out the modification feats, especially Creative Armorsmith and Creative Weaponsmith, I found the feats on offer so specialized that I’m highly unlikely to use them. It’s a shame, but luckily these aren’t the only feats up for offer in Adventurer’s Armory 2.

Leaving the weapons and armour behind we come to the next section of the book, which showcases eighteen new pieces of mundane gear. Of them, I’d guess that only five or six will see play with any kind of frequency. The most useless item on the list would definitely be the false teeth, while the most universally used would probably be the charcoal. It’s so much better than buying ink and an inkpen! But, my favourite? The spring-loaded scroll case. This snazzy little case is five gold, and can be hung from a belt or backpack. It holds a single scroll which can be retrieved as a swift action. Shiny!

After the adventuring gear is a new type of equipment known as preparatory gear. These are items that you practise with for an hour everyday, then make a specific skill or ability check. If you pass, you gain a benefit that lasts for 24 hours. For example, the drowner’s helmet can help train you to hold your breath longer and the practise straitjacket can help train you to escape from bindings. There’s only two other preparatory gear in this book: the hanging board and a thief trainer. Each option’s a bit pricey–between 35 and 200 gp–but is certainly useful. The one hour daily training requirement might be a turn-off for some players, but I don’t mind at all. It’s particularly useful for non-spellcasters who travel with spellcasters and can give them something to do while your casters  prepare their spells or pray to their deities. Since the benefits of each last 24 hours, training can also be done at night before heading to bed. All in all I think it’s an intriguing concept, and I’m excited to see them put to use.

Up next is some equipment tricks for use with a few fun bits of mundane gear: ladders, lanterns, mirrors and poles. Each type of gear has between three to five tricks associated with it (poles have three, ladders have four, while lanterns and mirrors have five each).  Some of these tricks require a number of ranks in an associated skill to utilize, while others require specific feats as the prerequisites. The lantern tricks are the most utilitarian, and allow users to make their lanterns burn brighter or dimmer and explode like alchemist’s fire when thrown. When being held in the same hand as a shield, your lantern can deal some fire damage with each shield bash. Finally, you can toss lantern oil in an opponent’s eyes with the dirty trick maneuver (your lantern or theirs) which can both blind and burn them. The mirror tricks also sound like lots of fun. My personal favourites let you shine light into your opponents eyes, reflect gaze attacks, and even penetrate illusions! No longer is your mirror just for looking around corners!

Leaving behind the mundane adventuring gear we head into the exciting world of more mundane gear! This time it’s tools and tool kits we’re taking a gander at. Both of these sections are small, with only six items in each. As far as tools go, I was excited for a duo of new bear traps, while my daughter insisted that the portable terrarium was the greatest item in the entire book. (Warning: She may have been biased by the adorable picture of the terrarium, which features a cute little frog in a glass globe…). As for tool kits, I’m partial to the elemental explorer’s kit, and the underground survival kit, although I’m more than ready to admit that the fiendslayer’s kit and the undead survivor’s kit will see more use in play. And what other kits are up for offer, you ask? The emergency interrogation kit, and the invisible enemies kit.

The next section is a single page that features seven new poisons. The cheapest poison up for offer is the delightfully named rainbow scarab shell. At a price of only 150 gp per dose, this iridescent toxin deals strength damage upon injury once per round for four rounds. Although it’s not particularly difficult to resist or overcome, victims who reach 0 strength also begin to suffocate. The priciest poison also happens to be my favourite.  Grinding joint paste is an ingested poison with a ten minute onset which costs a whopping 2,100 gold per dose. Made from dried and ground up cockatrice organs it causes a decent amount of Dexterity damage for six minutes. In addition, movement becomes so painful that the victims take damage whenever they swing a two-handed weapon or move more than ten feet in a round. Ouch! I’m also pretty partial to the Leng’s tears, which is a fast acting contact poison which causes vivid hallucinations and paralysis. Failing just once causes a full ten minutes of paralysis, with unlucky victims being unable to move for an entire hour. Nasty!

Following these nasty poisons is another set of equipment tricks, this one for instruments. Of all the equipment tricks offered in this book, this set are by far my favourite. In fact, they might be my favourite equipment tricks ever. I love them! Attention grabber lets your character draw attention to themselves in order to cover their allies movements. Goad animal lets you command friendly animals to perform tricks they know as a free action or push them to perform tricks they don’t know as a standard action. Jaw-dropping distraction lets you feint with a perform check instead of a bluff check. Play to the crowd let’s you use a perform check in place of an initial diplomacy check to influence an NPC, and finally, ruffian’s riff lets you treat an instrument as an improvised weapon with the performance special feature. Got a masterwork instrument? Then it counts as a masterwork weapon. Got a magical one? It’s treated as magic for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. Awesome. I’m definitely going to be giving these tricks a try.

Side by side on the same page with the instrument equipment tricks is a column that I actually loved a lot. Examples of masterwork tools. I know, it doesn’t sound very exciting. But, think of it. How often do you purchase the generic ‘masterwork tools’ from the Core Rulebook. On occasion, right? Maybe if you’ve got a character who has a craft or profession. But this list reminds us that these tools are far more useful than the average player has been giving them credit for. This lists a large number of skills (which don’t already have a designated tool or tool kit), and provides example tools that you could purchase to improve those skills. Want to improve your acrobatics check? Pick up a balancing pole, gymnast’s slippers or a vaulting pole. Feel like being menacing? You could invest in frightening tattoos, an executioner’s hood, or a set of torturer’s tools. How about a reference book to help with a knowledge check, or lubricating oils to help escape bonds. This list really got me thinking about the term ‘tool’ and how they can be applied to a wide variety of characters and skills. I was honestly surprised how useful I found this little column, and I’m sure plenty of other players will get good use out of it, as well.

The next two pages revolve around clothing, with the first page being ten new articles of clothing, and the second being six new spells that need to be cast upon specific articles of clothing. The burglar’s outfit, courtesan’s outfit and squire’s outfit all provide great new options for starting outfits, while the spells allied cloak, grappling scarf, and surefoot boots were all great fun.

Past clothes we get to one of my favourite sections in the book: impromptu equipment. That’s right! Want a list of example objects and their damage for reference? It’s here! Want some magical items that help improvised weapons? Also here! There’s also a few neat feats and, my personal favourite: special qualities that some improvised weapons can possess. So whether you’re wielding a pronged taxidermic moose head, a gross hunk of rotting meat, a heavy anvil, or a burning log, these improvised weapons qualities are a lot of fun that can really get your player’s creativity flowing. It’s going to be a blast! As for feats, check out hook fighter, which lets you turn a grappling hook into a deadly weapon. For magical gear be sure to pick up gloves of improvised might and quick metal bracers, both of which are awesome options for characters interested in focusing on improvised weapons.

As we near the end of the book we find ourselves among a pile of products that can be created with arguably the most popular type of crafting in Pathfinder: alchemy. This section features two new alchemical remedies, three new alchemical tools, and seven new alchemical weapons (four of which are forms of alchemical bolts). My personal favourites were troll stypic (a painful paste which can grant users fast healing for up to 8 rounds) and the tress tincture (an alchemical weapon that causes raid hair growth, which can be terribly irritating, as your opponents hair constantly gets in their eyes and obscures vision. Yes, you read that correctly!). In addition to new alchemical substances we also get three new sets of equipment tricks which showcase the classics of alchemy: smokesticks, tanglefoot bags, and thunderstones. Exciting! Although all three are awesome, the tanglefoot bag tricks are my favourite. If you’ve got a sneaky or stealthy character, definitely give the smokestick tricks a read. The final part of the alchemy section is a new kind of brew called concoctions. These creations are less stable than your typical alchemical creations and are known for having bad side effects. In addition, players who consume more than one concoction at a time roll on a table of random effects. Half of these effects are good, and half are bad. Of those, they vary from alright and not too bad, all the way up to amazing and horrible. If you’re a gambler this can be great fun to fiddle with, but with the options ranging from ‘unleash the full potential of my body and mind’ which allows you to gain a +4 bonus on two ability score for 24 hours, all the way to the concoction explodes within your stomach, or is highly toxic, I’m not really into to testing my luck. The concoctions themselves are typically 50 gold each with the priciest being 100 gp. Each offers a benefit and a drawback. The crystal-sweet concoction gives you +2 on diplomacy and -4 on sense motive, while the sphere-song concoction gives you +1 on Will saving throws and a -2 on initiative. Although interesting, I think these items have great potential for GM

use. These can easily be added into drug dens, dangerous bars and high-end noble parties. They can also be focal points for social encounters, or used as a ‘test of faith’ or as ‘dares’ by gangs, religious organizations and the nobility. Whatever use your group happens to find for them, they’re certainly a colourful (and potentially dangerous) experience.

The next two pages of Adventurer’s Armory 2 feature a variety of equipment from two distinct regions: the Dragon Empires and the Padishah Empire. Each region has an entire page to itself, and contains a few articles of clothing, alchemical remedies or tools, and a special material. Spirit-vision ink turned out to be my favourite piece of equipment from Tian Xia, while the special material, sunsilver, was my favourite object to come from the Keleshite culture.

The final section of this book turned out to be among my favourites. It releases rules for a brand new type of construct you can make right from level one: poppets. If crafting’s not your cup of tea, you can also purchase these little fellows. Although too costly to purchase as a brand new level one character, they’re certainly affordable by the time level two rolls around. These tiny or small creations can be upgraded and modified with a host of abilities, and can even be taken as familiars with a special feat. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you may have already heard me speak about poppets. My seven-year-old son made a mad scientist who is obsessed with creating new life, and currently has two poppets he’s hand-crafted with care. To read more about poppets and our experiences using them in games, read my blog post Character Focus: Professor McMaan, and Crown of the Kobold King: Part One. Short summary: we love them.

And that’s it. We’ve reached the end.

So when it comes down to it, what do I think of Adventurer’s Armory 2? Was it worth the money?

d20diaries Ultimate Equipment
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Equipment

I think so. This books features a lot of new equipment and gear, as well as some cool new rules to go with them. Although most of the rules are quite specialized and exclusive to certain character builds, the items in the book are much more varied and useful. It’s one of those books that you’ll pull out every time you’re making a new character, and pull out again for your first few level ups. Certainly, it’s not as useful as Ultimate Equipment. And with the upcoming change to Pathfinder Playtest this next August, it’s unlikely to be as popular as its predecessor, Adventurer’s Armory, was. But as far as Player Companions go, it’s definitely one of the most universally useful ones they’ve printed. In my opinion, it’s worth it.

Have a copy of Adventurer’s Armory 2 at home? Let us know what you think in the comments! Do you have a favourite item featured in its pages? Let us know that, too!

I hoped you’ve enjoyed this look at Adventurer’s Armory 2.

Until next time,

Jessica

 

Pathfinder Playtest: Actions! Reactions! And a Glass Cannon!

As you may have heard, Pathfinder recently announced that in August they’ll be releasing the beta version of Pathfinder’s Second Edition ruleset. For the first few months these rules will be available for a free download on Paizo’s website, and feedback will be collected from us, the players. Known as Pathfinder Playtest, this news has stirred up a lot of excitement. As mentioned in my previous post on the matter, I’m excited for the new edition, but also afraid. It’s not that I worry about the rules–I know I’ll like them–but I worry about the investment. I have no intention of leaving behind 1e, especially in regards to the Pathfinder Society. Although I know I’ll switch over to 2e eventually, the cost that’s going to be involved when 2e officially launches is going to prevent me from making the transition immediately.

Pathfinder is slowly releasing some spoilers and details on their blog of the new Playtest rules, and has an extensive FAQ section dedicated to the game already. So what do we know? For starters, alchemist will be one of the classes released with the original core classes in the first book. Also, goblins will be among the core ancestries up for offer, which is exciting! Who doesn’t love goblins? Wait! Ancestries? What’s that? It’s a new name for races, which will influence your character as it always has. In addition to ancestry and class, your character will also be influenced by a third category called your Background. I’m not sure what this is exactly, as details haven’t launched yet, but it sounds like having a theme from Starfinder. There’s also plenty of other little things that have been hinted at, but the only things that have been spoilered in any kind of detail is the action system.

You know all that work you put into learning which actions are standard, move, swift and free actions? Ignore that! Instead, everything costs one Action. During each round, every player gets three actions. Want to attack three times? Go for it! Draw a potion, move and administer it to someone else? Sure! Move and attack twice? Yup! Open a door, move through, shut a door? Yup! Three actions. Do what you will. Those of you choosing to attack multiple times take a cumulative -5 penalty on those additional attacks (so the second attack is at a -5 penalty and the third is at a -10). The only exception mentioned so far in regards to the ‘one Action’ rule is spells. Most spells will cost 2 Actions, some can be cast as 1 Action, and some will be cast at variable Action costs, which will increase the spell’s effectiveness. Every character also gets a single Reaction that they can take between the start of their turn and the start of their next turn. In addition to attacks of opportunity, each class has special Reactions they can take, like a fighter readying a shield against an attack in order to reduce its damage. So far I like this concept. It’s effective and uncomplicated. But will it work? After hearing it in action on the Glass Cannon Podcast special where they tried out Pathfinder Playtest alongside Jason Bulmahn and Erik Mona, I think it’s going to be great. This podcast was a lot of fun to listen to, and featured a lot of cool glimpses at the new rules.

My favourite thing I learned from the podcast? Initiative is no longer a single score. Instead, what you roll for initiative is determined by what you’re doing. For example, if you’re looking around and keeping alert it will run off of your Perception. If you’re slinking around and hiding at the time, Stealth will be what you’re rolling. And if you’re checking out the terrain and looking for tracks, you’ll roll Survival for your initiative. It’s a neat way to run initiative that sounds like a lot of fun.

For further details on Pathfinder Playtest check out Paizo’s website, blog post, or the podcast mentioned above.

What’s surprised me more than the new rules we’ve heard about is the variety of attitudes I’ve seen on the Paizo Messageboards about it. Some people are thrilled, which is what I expected, and some people are worried–also expected. Some are upset. One GM was so angry he immediately dropped every game he was GMing, leaving dozens of players in the lurch! Seriously!? How unprofessional can you be? Luckily, the wonderful community of players on the Paizo Messageboards leapt to the rescue and are managing replacement GMs as we speak. My character leaps for joy and thanks her lucky stars.

Since the announcement of Pathfinder Playtest, the news has settled. The shock has faded. And we’ve received a glimpse at the new rules and how play works.  So how do I feel now? Excited. I can’t wait until we get to learn more about the new system.

And you? How are you feeling about Pathfinder Playtest and the upcoming Pathfinder 2e?

I’d love to hear your opinions!

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

 

Blood of the Beast

Welcome back to d20 Diaries!

Today we’re going to be taking a look at one of the wonderful new Pathfinder books I purchased: Blood of the Beast!

Blood of the Beast is a Pathfinder Player Companion compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. This means it’s a thin, soft-cover book with plenty of new options intended for players creating characters. More specifically, this volume focuses on some of the anthropomorphic (‘animal-people’) races of Golarion.

The races detailed in Blood of the Beast include catfolk, grippli, kitsune, nagaji, ratfolk, tengu and vanara. Although each of these races was originally introduced in Pathfinder’s Advanced Race Guide, Blood of the Beast introduces further information about each race, as well as new favoured class options, archetypes, feats and spells. Most of these options are compatible with other races, which means this book will give you a lot more bang for your buck than expected. Each race contains four pages worth of information, making the entire book 32 pages long.

Blood of the Beast opens with a map of the Inner Sea showcasing the areas that each of the featured races are most commonly found. This was surprisingly enlightening. Although I expected grippli to be found in the Mwangi Expanse, tengu to be found in the Shackles, and Nagaji to be found in Jalmeray, many of the other race’s territories were unexpected. Especially when it came to ratfolk!

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Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Beast, by Paizo Publishing.

Following this is the Introduction, which gives us a new trait for each of the races, as well as a reference list for easily finding the options in this book by type (archetypes, feats, and other options). I liked most of the traits, although some are considerably less useful than others. Although the catfolk trait, Adherent of Ancient Osirion, is really cool, my favourite turned out to be the grippli trait, Jungle Native, turned out to be my favourite. In addition to making survival a class skill, this trait also grants you a +1 trait bonus on saving throws against disease and poison, and a +1 trait bonus on initiative checks made in jungle terrain! This is one solid Region trait!

After the Introduction we dive right into the races! Up first was the Catfolk! Although I know plenty of people who love catfolk, they’ve never been my cup of tea. Probably because my sister-in-law plays only catfolk, so they’re a pretty common sight around my game table. That being said, catfolk are cool, so I was excited to see what this chapter had to offer! Catfolk options in this book include nine favoured class options, three archetypes, three feats, a vigilante course (for use with the wildsoul vigilante archetype from Ultimate Intrigue), and three spells. Although I expected the Senedipity Shaman archetype to be my favourite catfolk option, it turns out I was most impressed with the Prowler At World’s End, an archetype for bloodrager. Based on the premise that “ancient catfolk legends claim their kind was created to protect the world from the sinister forces that exist at the world’s fringes,” these bloodragers commune with powerful predatory nature spirits who take on the forms of lions, cheetahs, and leopards. This allows the bloodrager to use the medium’s spirit and spirit surge abilities. At later levels these bloodragers can also assume the forms of these great cats while bloodraging, and can cast spells while transformed this way. Honestly, I’ve never been particularly interested in being a medium, since it’s the most complicated class I’ve ever read, but this archetype really makes me want to give this medium-inspired Prowler At World’s End a try! Other highlights of the catfolk chapter are the Graceful Athlete feat, and the Curse of Befouled Fortune spell.

The second featured race in this book are Gripplis. Grippli are small frog people who live in jungles. These colourful little fellows are a quirky race, but I’ve never personally played one. My son does, and he loves it, but frogs aren’t really my thing. That being said, the options presented for grippli are my favourite in the entire book! Next time I have a chance, I’m definitely making a grippli. There’s nine favoured class options in this chapter, three archetypes, two feats and three spells. All three of these archetypes are awesome! Fiend Keeper is a medium archetype that allows you to contain evil spirits within yourself and, through your good deeds, cleanse the spirit until it is no longer evil. Done through the generations, it is an honour to be a fiend keeper among grippli tribes. Warpainter is a skald archetype which allows you to ceremonially paint your allies faces in order to imbue them with your magical songs. Later, spells and rage powers can also be imbued into your allies with this ability. However, my favourite grippli archetype is the Poison Darter! This ranger archetype allows you to concoct debilitating poisons which get better over time, grants you poison use, and allows you to take some rogue talents or alchemist discoveries in place of a combat style. It also grants you sneak attack–when attacking with a blowgun! Cool! As for other options, I really enjoyed the Cunning Killer feat, and the Batrachian Surge spell.

Up next is Kitsune. For the record, kitsune are my favourite non-core race in Pathfinder, so I expected to be irrationally in love with this chapter. Which is why I was so surprised that the previous chapter on grippli turned out to be my favourite! That being said, kitsune didn’t disappoint. This chapter contains four alternate race traits, nine favoured class options, three advanced versatile performances, one archetype, three feats, two spells, three vigilante social talents and three vigilante talents. To start with, each of the four alernate race traits are very cool. Keen Kitsune lets you shift around the kitsune bonus ability score from Charisma to Intelligence. Multilingual shakes up the kitsune starting languages and allows you to choose any languages you want with a high intelligence score. Skilled gives kitsune an extra skill point every level. My favourite, Superior Shapeshifter, gives you the feat fox shape which allows you to take on the form of a normal fox, in addition to the form of a specific humanoid via change shape. Among their favoured class options is another neat option which can be taken by kitsune of any class, that allows them to gain the Magical Tail feat every six times it’s taken. I’m a big fan of that feat, so I’m thrilled to see this option surface!  In a similar vein, the sorcerer archetype Nine-Tailed Heir lets the kitsune gain the Magical Tail feat four times through the course of its 20 levels, in exchange for the bloodline spells known. If you’re a fan of that feat, like me, you might finally get to be a kitsune with the whole nine tails! Though not overpowered, it’s more than a fair trade. Martial Performance turned out to be my favourite Advanced Versatile Performance option available, while the feats Shapechanging Savage and Startling Shapechange really tickled my fancy. Coupled with the shape changing themed feats found in the Pathfinder Player Companion: Dragon Empires Primer, they get even better! If you’re into the Vigilante class, be sure to check out the Obscurity, Brutal Maneuver and Deceitful Trick talents.

Nagaji are up next in Blood of the Beasts, which is very exciting. For some reason I’ve been hooked on these guys since their brief introduction in the Advanced Race Guide, and their links to the Naga’s of Kaer Maga, which (thanks to Pathfinder Chronicles: City of Strangers), is my favourite city in all of Golarion. The nagaji article featured eight favoured class options, two naga bloodlines (one for bloodrager and one for sorcerer), two feats, one archetype, three mesmerist tricks and a whopping five spells. Both of the Naga bloodlines turned out to be interesting, although I liked the sorcerer one slightly more. With the ability to turn invisible, increased effectiveness with charm abilities, and the ability to cast spells with somatic components even when your hands are full by gyrating your body like a snake, this bloodline sounds like a blast! The First Mother’s Fang cavalier archetype allows you to ride a large constrictor snake and allows you to become a master of martial and politic pursuits. Personally, I think it’s the mesmerist abilities that are the coolest part of the nagaji entry. Be sure to check out the feat Venemous Stare, and the trick Break Stupor. For spells, be sure to check out Greater Hypnotism, and all of the Naga Shape spells!

If you’ve read the article on my blog ‘Vermin, vermin, everywhere…‘ you’ll know that vermin are not my favourite thing. So, it should come as no surprise to you that ratfolk are not at the top of my list for races I was excited for in this book. Still, with an open mind I delved into the ratfolk chapter. And was more than pleasantly surprised! This chapter contains ten favoured class options, three archetypes, five feats, and a psychic discipline. Like the much beloved grippli chapter, I thoroughly enjoyed every one of the ratfolk archetypes. Opportunist is an awesome fighter archetype that makes you a master at using bombs, alchemical weapons and dirty tricks. Swarm Monger is a druid archetype that lets you influence vermin, turn your companion and eventually yourself into a swarm. Finally, my personal favourite, the Scavenger archetype for investigators lets you make clockwork gadgets instead of extracts, allows you to enhance, hinder or repair mechanical devices, and even craft constructs. To read about a Scavenger in action, check out my character Nix in my blog post ‘Iron Gods: Character Focus: Haji and Nix,’ or read about her continuing adventures in the Iron Gods Adventure Path starting with ‘Iron Gods: Part One: Into the Weeping Pond.’ For feats, be sure to check out Cooperative Swarmer and Underfoot. Lastly, be sure to check out the Warp psychic discipline which allows your ratfolk to sense the weak points in reality, and open portals through which they can manipulate objects, teleport, and turn aside blows. For a bit of awesome flavour, listen to the last line of text describing the warp discipline: “Ancient practitioners […] even claimed that the art once allowed ratfolk to guide great caravans to the stars.” That’s right. Now you know why the ysoki are found on nearly every planet in the Starfinder’s Pact Worlds. Awesome!

With only two races left to explore, we’ve come to the chapter on tengu. Much like ratfolk, although a lot of people love tengu, I’ve never really been one of them. Despite this, I was excited for reading about tengu and hoped that I’d find something I’d love. This chapter has ten favoured class options, three archetypes, two feats and three spells. Although I was most excited to read about the Jinx Witch archetype for witches, it’s the Courser swashbuckler archetype that really excited me. This archetype takes the already nimble swashbuckler and ramps it up a notch, focusing on speed, agile maneuvers, spring attacks, and some cool deeds including the ability to run along walls, and leap incredible distances. Got a character who’s a big old liar? Be sure to check out the feats Empty Threats and Lovable Scoundrel. As for spells, check out fumblestep.

Last up? Vanara! These wonderfully fun monkey-people come with two alternate racial traits, twelve favoured class options, five feats, one archetype, some fighter advanced weapon training options, one unchained summoner eidolon subtype, and a bevy of unchained monk options. Now, I love Vanara, but I have to say this chapter was less useful than the others for one reason: nearly all of the options in this chapter requires you to own other supplementary books that many of us don’t own. While this is expected with Pathfinder’s many, many books in print, to have three quarters of the chapter require these books is unfortunate. All five of the feats offered for vanara are meditation feats, rules for which you’ll need to check out Pathfinder Player Companion: Faiths & Philosophies. Fighter Advanced Weapon Training options are found in Pathfinder Player Companion: Weapon Master’s Handbook (but it looks like enough details are presented in this volume for you to get by without it),. Lastly, all of the monk and summoner options require you to make unchained characters with the rules found within Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Pathfinder Unchained. To those of us who don’t own these supplementary books, that leaves only the alternate racial traits, favoured class options, and the archetype usable. On the plus side, the Fortune-Finder archetype for rangers is pretty cool. These expert explorers adapt themselves to fight against any enemy in any terrain, and can traverse any terrain, even magically impeding ones, without difficulty.

And that’s it! We’re at the end of Blood of the Beast! Overall, I really liked this little supplement book. If you’re a player with interest in any of the more bestial races of Golarion, I highly suggest you pick it up!

Until next time,
Happy reading!

Jessica

 

Paizo: New Releases

Hey there, guys!

With the passing of Family Day here in Canada, and a wonderfully lazy long weekend over and done, it’s time to get back to work, and back to school!

So welcome back to d20 Diaries!

There’s a ton of new releases kicking around Paizo’s Pathfinder and Starfinder lines, and we’re going to look at my favourites today. So sit back, enjoy, and get ready to wish your wallets had a bit more money in them! I know I will… Haha.

Pathfinder:

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Pathfinder’s War for the Crown: Part One: Crownfall, by Thurston Hillman.

There’s three great new Pathfinder products I’m dying to get my hands on! First up is a book we’ve already taken a look at here on d20 Diaries, War for the Crown: Part One: Crownfall. This is part one of a new Adventure Path which takes place in Taldor and looks AWESOME. All of the reviews I’ve read of it have been great, and I literally cannot wait to get my hands on it! I hear that the Player’s Guide is in editing, and won’t be out for another week or two.

The second release is something I’ve been waiting for since I got my hands on Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Bestiary 6. That’s right! The Pathfinder Pawns: Bestiary 6 Box! There’s plenty of awesome pawns in this collection, including monkey goblins, mockinfey, a ton of new daemons and demons, enough dragons and golems to make any GM cackle madly, and–my personal favourite–the ever creepy sakhils. The icing on the (fabulous) cake? A total of six Archdevils and three Great Old ones! I hope your PCs have some mythic tiers under their belts… Currently, The Pathfinder Pawns: Bestiary 6 Box is only available on Paizo’s website, but I’ll be sure to update this post as soon as it appears on Amazon.

UPDATE: Check out Pathfinder Pawns: Bestiary 6 Box on Amazon!

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Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Inner Sea Taverns! Newly released by Paizo Publishing.

Finally, we’re going to talk about a surprising addition: Inner Sea Taverns. I have quite a few of the ‘Inner Sea’ supplments, and the ‘Of Golarion’ line. Some of them I’m thrilled with, while others see little use around my house. I wasn’t sure where I would fall with this one. It’s about taverns, after all! But, after reading the previews and reviews, I’m actually keen to get my hands on it. This book takes a look at six unique taverns throughout the Inner Sea, including the Whispering Stone in Wati (which will be sure to see use for anyone running Mummy’s Mask: Part One: The Half-Dead City ); Runoff in Starfall, where even taking a sip of your drink is dangerous (perfect for Iron Gods: Part 5: Palace of Fallen Stars!); Formidably Maid in Port Peril (which is where Skull & Shackles: Part 1: The Wormwood Mutiny begins!); and–the one I’m most excited for–Aeylinth Vineyard, a sophisticated treetop wine bar in Kyonin! In addition to detailing these very different establishments, it’s owners and some notable patrons, Inner Sea Taverns also includes rules for barfights and some new pub games. It sounds like a ton of fun!

Starfinder:

And with that we blast off into space! As a new product, Starfinder has a ton going on right now, but we’re going to take a look at two products that just hit shelves, and one that’s coming soon!

First up? Starfinder’s first and only Adventure Path, Dead Suns: Part Four: The Ruined Clouds! This adventure is intended for level seven characters and sees the players explore an ancient alien city floating in the atmosphere of a gas giant in the middle of an unexplored star system! Throw in a powerful weapon and the ominously named Devourer Cult, and this adventure sounds like a blast! This adventure is part of a six volume adventure path, and is preceded by Dead Suns: Book One: Incident at Absalom StationDead Suns: Part Two: Temple of the Twelve, and Dead Suns: Part Three: Splintered Worlds.

The second new release I’m itching to get my hands on is Pathfinder Map Pack: Starship Decks. This useful collection of sci-fi rooms includes a med-bay, escape pods and a starship brigde, all of which are perfectly suited for starships and buildings. Coupled with Pathfinder Map-Pack: Starship Corridors, or Pathfinder Map-Pack: Starship Chambers, you can easily make a ton of varied environments for your players to explore.

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Paizo’s Starfinder Roleplaying Game: Pact Worlds, due out next month!

The final product we’re going to salivate over is coming out next month: Starfinder Roleplaying Game: Pact Worlds! As previously mentioned on d20 Diaries, Pact Worlds is much more than a book about Starfinder’s campaign setting. Yes, it contains details on all of the major planets of the Pact Worlds. And yes, it has all kinds of awesome details on those planet’s inhabitants, settlements and environments! But it also contains 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. I can’t wait!

Thanks for checking out some of Paizo’s new releases with us!

See you next time,

Jessica