Ch-ch-ch-CHANGES! (August News)

Well, it’s official! Season Nine: Year of Factions’ Favour has come to an end, and the Pathfinder Society has launched Season 10: Year of the Ten. Faction Cards have been updated, and the newest edition of the Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild Guide has been released. If you don’t have the newly updated versions of these documents then I highly recommend you head on over to Paizo’s website and give them a download. They’re free.

In other news, Gameday VII is underway. This means that my family is enjoying the chance to play in a bunch of new Pathfinder Society Scenarios online via play-by-post. There is a HUGE number of games scheduled to start now. That includes playing in the Pathfinder Society, Pathfinder Society Core, Pathfinder Society Adventure Card Game, Pathfinder Society Playtest and the Starfinder Society! In addition, they’re running the Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-99: Solstice Scar Special and Starfinder Society: #1-99: Scoured Stars Invasion Special as we speak. More games are slated to start in October. That’s also when Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-00: Assault on Absalom Special will run. Although it’s likely too late to join any of August’s games, there’s still plenty of time to sign up for October’s. That said, many games are full already, so I wouldn’t dawdle much longer if you want to get into a game! Haha.

First seeker Jadnura
First Seeker Jadnura. Art by Graey Erb for Starfinder.

For those of you who don’t know, the Scoured Stars Invasion special also brought with it the introduction of a new faction: Second Seekers (Jadnura). Who the heck is Jadnura? Jadnura is the First Seeker who led the Starfinders into the Scoured Stars system. That’s right. He’s the kasatha who got everyone stuck and lost in an event now known as the Scoured Stars Incident. So why would you still follow this guy when Luwazi Elsebo is the current First Seeker? For starters, it lets you make a character who was a loyal Starfinder before the advent of the Scoured Stars Incident. You can be the guy left behind, whose still loyal to a leader no longer present. Second? Well, the special is called the Scoured Stars Invasion, and it’s main purpose is to enter the Scoured Stars System and rescue as many lost agents as you can. I suppose some might call that a spoiler, but honestly, it’s obviously the point of the scenario right from the first few sentences of playing. Why else go there? Want more details? I can’t give them to you! Haha. I’m currently playing this scenario for Gameday VII and don’t know how it ends. If you want more information (and some spoilers) feel free to check out Paizo’s blog post on First Seeker Jadnura here.

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The Sigil of the Open Road, logo of the Pathfinder Society.

So what the heck is Season Ten: Year of the Ten all about, anyway? Judging by the title, something to do with the Decemvirate. But what? It’s been hinted that it has something to do with the infamous Grandmaster Torch, and that some of the Decemvirate might find their anonymity threatened and their mysteries unveiled. Interestingly, most of the missions this season will revolve around the Hao Jin Tapestry. For those of you who don’t know, the Hao Jin Tapestry is a literal tapestry that leads to a demiplane which contains mysteries, relics, ruins and other places collected by the wizard Hao Jin. This object was acquired by the Pathfinder Society way back in Season Three and has been a source of tons of adventures. It’s also been harnessed by the Pathfinders in order to allow their agents to travel the world quickly and efficiently. This season the Hao Jin Tapestry is beginning to unravel and, if we can’t fix it, it’ll dump everything inside it into the Astral Plane. An unfortunate event for not only the Pathfinder Society, but also all the people and creatures who still live inside the demiplane itself. Unfortunately, you can bet that fixing it won’t be as easy as just casting mending. I’m sure there’s plenty of adventure involved! There’s a few other things that have been revealed to be a part of this season. There’s plenty of relics related to the lich Tar Baphon that will be surfacing. There’s also a demon who wants to utilize the Worldwound’s collapse to launch his apotheosis into full demon lord. Pretty nifty! I think I’m most excited for the missions involving Grandmaster Torch, but hey, I’m biased! I’m also excited to learn more about Tar Baphon. I love a good (BAD) lich!

Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook
Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook

There’s a few more exciting things going on around my house right now. My daughter’s begun work on creating her second Pathfinder Playtest character so that we can continue with our Doomsday Dawn Playtest. She’s decided to make a gnome fighter who wields an absurdly large sword. She’s very excited to be the melee character for a change.

My family and I entered a contest a week or so ago. Hosted by the overly generous Hmm on Paizo’s message boards, she was going to give away all the boons necessary to create a mermaid in PFS play. There were a few ways to enter — for yourself with a mermaid character concept, for a group of friends with a team created from the other boons she was giving away, or by nominating someone else who you thought deserved to win. Now, when we play in the Pathfinder Society, the question my kids ask me most often is:

“Mom, why can’t I be any race I want?”

Unfortunately, at the ages of six and seven, the idea of holding out for race boons is absurd. Haha. The follow up question I most often get after any explanation I can concoct is:

“Yeah. But WHY?”

So, as soon as I read the contest I told my family about it. My kids were jumping up and down in joy. They spend that night brainstorming, and spent the next day planning their characters while I madly tried to keep up with them. And then we got to the end. They were ready! Sort of. For bonus points you could also write a song.

….yup. A song.

Not my forte. My son wanted to add jokes into the song, and my daughter wanted it to have a lot of animal sounds (since we were nearly all animal people of one kind or another).

It was… hard. Haha.

But, in the end we handed in our entry with pride. So what was it?

My family and I wanted to make a quartet of characters who are (and were) universally considered outcasts among their people and Golarion at large. They’re weird, and different. But what’s strange for one culture isn’t strange for others, and it’s those very oddities that the others embraced and connected with. After all, who cares if the vanara has unnaturally large eyes, if he’s hanging out with a grippli? These guys are friends, companions, and (in many ways) family. They don’t have the same interests, and they don’t always get along. But, hey? What family does?

My daughter made an energetic poisonous grippli, my son made an eco-conscious vanara with a stumpy tail who has hair growth issues, my husband made a ratfolk who chews on everything (including magical objects), and I made an overly adventurous aquatic elf whose curiosity got her abandoned on the surface. Together, these quirky characters would do… stuff!

Just the other day the winners were announced. There were a ton of great ones. And some of the songs were awesome! Hmm ended up giving out boons to winners of each category, which is incredibly generous! We won in the ‘buddies’ category, and my kids have been hard at work ever since, plotting out their character mechanics. We were lucky enough that a fellow play-by-poster offered to run us through our group’s first PFS scenario together, so once everyone is ready and formatted for online play we’ll be starting Heroes for Highdelve! My daughter got to work first and is almost done. She’s thrilled!

We’ll post more about these lovable weirdos once they’re ready for a game. One thing’s for certain: they’re going to be the most eccentric group of characters we’ve ever made! (And that’s saying something…)

Now it’s time to say goodbye,

Or, more accurately: ‘Now it’s time to get to work on my next article.’

Season 10, here we come!

Jessica

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Starfinder: Character Focus

I love Pathfinder. My husband loves Pathfinder. My kids love Pathfinder. So when I first heard about the release of Starfinder I was excited. I didn’t think I’d love it as much as I did Pathfinder, but I knew I’d enjoy it. And I was right! Although it didn’t supplant Pathfinder as my favourite d20 game, it turned out to be a blast. My husband and son were the same. Love that Starfinder! But love Pathfinder more.

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Starfinder Roleplaying Game: Starfinder Core Rulebook

And my daughter? Ah, my daughter! She loves Starfinder best of all. Absolutely, positively loves it. She has such patience for the game, and for learning it. It should be noted: she’s six.

So, it came as no surprise to me that she finally looked at me and said, “Mom! d20 Diaries needs to hear about our Starfinder characters! Write about my Starfinder!”

And here we are! Mommy’s on it, dear!

So without further ado, (and because my daughter’s certain she’s waited enough!), here they are.

I was the first one to make a Starfinder character in my house. But, I didn’t start by making characters I intended to play, so much as making characters for the sake of making them. I wanted to get a handle on the creation process, and understand the mechanics of the game. I tested out classes and mixed them with different themes, curious how much it would effect the feel of the character. The first character I made with the intent of continued play was a bold, enthusiastic (and admittedly stupid) Vesk solarion by the name of Julakesh Starfist created for playing in the Starfinder Society via play by post. She’s not my only Starfinder Society character, of course. I have three, but we’ll touch on them another time.

So, imagine my surprise when it came time to sit down and make our characters as a family, that my daughter was the first to insist upon a turn. She immediately informed me that nothing would be good enough until we converted her lovingly made rabbitfolk to Starfinder. But, we sat side by side and flipped through the book while I read to her. She thought humans might be okay, and that bug and lizard people were right out (“Ewwww!” was her actual response). But there, right at the back, were the ysoki.

“Rats?!” She said. And then, “Hmmmm… Them are cute…”

And by the time she heard the words ‘cheek pouches’ she was sold. “Them are my favourite!” She exclaimed.

“They.” I corrected, because grammar matters.

“THEY are my favourite! I will be a ee-so-keeeeee with a robot rabbit that I made myself!”

Sure, I thought. She’ll be a mechanic! So I read her the mechanic class and she said, “No way! I am NOT a mechanic!”

Uh… Okay, then.

So we set to work reading through all of the classes and she finally decided upon technomancer. We fiddled with her stats, and picked out her spells. I thought for sure she’d choose something flashy, and was surprised at her very utilitarian, understated choice of air bubble and unseen servant. For cantrips she chose dancing lights, energy ray, mending, and token spell.

We looked at themes and she immediately decided on being a bounty hunter. When asked why she told me, “Cause her is–“

“She.”

“Cause SHE is looking for the perfect mate! She will hunt him down if she has to!”

I decided it was best to discuss that issue no further, and her ysoki bounty hunter technomancer was born! She put skill points into computers and engineering, so she could modify her custom robot rabbit at higher levels, and then chose to put the rest into acrobatics, medicine, physical science, piloting and mysticism. For her feat she chose skill focus (engineering), to better enable her to create her own robot rabbit.

Then we turned our attention to gear. Her first priority? Making her robot rabbit. So we flipped to the chapter on computers and created a mobile computer that looks like a mechanical bunny, with basic AI, an artificial personality, a voice box, locomotion, the ability to function as a personal comm unit, and as her spell cache. Oh! And she wrapped it up in faux rabbit fur for optimal cuddling. It’s the most expensive frivolous object I’ve ever had a hand in crafting. Unfortunately, it used up all of her starting credits (and some if mine as a loan). Apparently I would be making a character who was either generous, or a moneylender…

With her ysoki complete, all she needed was a name. She scrunched up her face in thought, and made up the name Hoponisa! Or Hops for short. She decided Hops was from the dark side of Verces, and used to the cold. And what did she name her robot/spell-cache rabbit? Snowball.

But who would be travelling with our quirky little ysoki? A good question! For answers we turned to my son. After peering over my shoulder as I read to my daughter, and stealing my Starfinder rulebook to gawk at the pictures whenever he could, my son already had a solid idea of what he wanted to make.

“I love drones, Mom! You know I always ask you to get me one for Christmas and you never do! Well, I WILL have one! I am a mechanic! And I will either be a ysoki or a shirrin. I like the Shirrin best, I think, cause they are so funny… But she is being a rat… Maybe I should be one to?”

“Don’t copy me!” My daughter yelled. “Mom! Him is copying me!”

Obviously, there was a great argument following this statement, which I will spare you, but by the end of it my son decided he liked shirrin better. He would be a bug and have lots of baby bugs dangling off of him in their little canisters, and it would be awesome! So there!

My son decided early that his ‘super-awesome way-better-than-a-ysoki’ shirrin mechanic would be an ace pilot by the name of Vishkesh. His drone was a spy drone, with little arms and hands. With these he would manipulate tools and be a mini mechanic who always helps Vishkesh with repairs–or does them on his own if they’re in hard to reach places. With a flare gun mounted on his back and a chipper attitude reminicent of Claptrap from the Borderlands video games, the little fellow was adorable. He decided to name him Rijin, and even before play began, my son LOVED him. For skills, he invested in piloting, engineering and computers, followed by perception, physical science, athletics and survival. For his feat he chose skill focus (piloting). Enamoured with the iconic mechanics flamethrower, my son decided he would purchase a flame pistol for himself. Along with his other gear he purchased a pig stuffed animal. He decided Vishkesh was from Absalom Station, and worshipped the god Hylax. 

My husband went next, and after much deliberation he ended up making two characters.   However, the one he chose to use to play with our kids characters in the end was a halfing by the name of Tucker Aetherfoot. Tucker’s an operative with the daredevil specialty, making him a nimble, acrobatic fellow. He chose scholar for his theme and nimble moves for his feat. For skills he invested in acrobatics and athletics, of course. He also invested in bluff, computers, culture, life science, perception, piloting, sleight of hand, stealth. Finally, he invested in profession (blogger), his quirkiest choice by far. When it came time to choose his equipment, Tucker invested in a survival knife and azimuth laser pistol for combat purposes, along with some more utilitarian gear. As a nod to his pal, Vishkesh, he purchased a t-shirt with a Shirrin design across it, while to represent his friendship with Hops he purchased a space helmet with a rose tinted visor and stylized mouse ears on the the sides. Tucker comes from Absalom Station, and worships Desna. Thus prepared, it was my turn.

As previously mentioned, I have a few Starfinder characters, and already had a few favourite races (ysoki, vesk, and shirrin), so I wanted to try out a race I hadn’t before. In the end I chose to make a kasatha. Knowing our group would be in need of healing, I decided on Mystic for my class. Although I had a few connections I was debating between, I went with the healing connection in the end, with the concept that my character would be a serene, wise, enigmatic character with a strong respect for life. This granted me the healing channel, and healing touch abilities. I chose the xenoseeker theme, and the bodyguard feat. For zero level spells I went with daze, detect magic, stabilize and token spell, while my first level spells were mystic cure, mind thrust and share language. Deciding my character would be traditional and more interested in cultures than technology, I went with culture, diplomacy, life science, mysticism and survival for my skills. (That’s right! No engineering, piloting, or computers here!). When it came to choose her gear, I picked up a battle staff (love that block ability!), and a pulse caster pistol (because all life is precious). I have ambitions of installing a merciful infusion on my battle staff, but that’s a thought for another day. Then it came time for the name. Now, it should be noted, I love naming conventions, so the Kasatha’s absurdly long lineage name really tickled my fancy. In the end I decided to not go too crazy or off formula. I named her Aya. Full name: Aya Nina Qaru Jehir of Clan Zomala, House Maendar, soul-splinter of the Line of Altronus. Aya worships Talavut, and is lawful neutral. She comes from Idari, the kasathan home-ship.

With our characters complete, it was time to get together, and play. But, that’s a tale for another day!

See you next time, when we head Into the Unknown!

Jessica