Weapon Wednesday: Puncher Slicer

Puncher Slicer

Light martial weapon. 1d4 slashing or piercing damage. Critical: Special. 1 lb. 5 gp.

This weapon is crafted from a combined dagger and punching dagger that can be slid in the wound after puncturing an opponent’s armor. It can be used as either a dagger or a punching dagger, but you may declare which after you have rolled your attack. As a dagger, it has a 19-20 x2 critical; as a punching dagger, it has a x3 critical. This weapon may not be thrown like a dagger.

Notes

This weapon is fun when you roll a critical, since you’ll always feel rewarded. If you get a 19, that’s a crit you wouldn’t have gotten with one weapon; if you roll a 20, that’s a x3 crit you wouldn’t have gotten with the other. The tradeoff is mostly that it’s a martial weapon, and a character that has access to such weaponry generally wants higher-damaging weapons. Nevertheless, this could be cool once in a while, and some characters will be specialized to use it.

Last post before the holiday! See you next Sunday!

Max Porter-Zasada

Tuesday Tweak: Experience Adjustment

So it’s Rosh Hashana time, the Jewish new year, and I won’t be able to update this Thursday and Friday. Fair warning!
Today’s tweak deals with rules adjustments when players are missing.

In Pathfinder, as opposed to D&D 3.5, there is no ‘catch-up’ mechanism. Used to be, if you fell behind in experience because you had to miss a session or three, you could still jump back into the game if you were a lower level, because you’d gain an XP boost for fighting high-level monsters.

In Pathfinder, they had to change that, because of the new system whereby a monster of a particular CR has their own XP “package.”

So other than not playing, having someone else play the character, simply gifting them the xp, or other less-than-tasteful options, what’s to be done?

Tweak: Instead of each character gaining and falling behind on xp individually, change your concept of how experience works. The adventuring group is instead considered a single entity, with an “experience pool” earned each game session. The experience is then divvied up when desired, usually at the end of a session when players think there’s enough to hand out levels. Usually, there should be an equal division of experience; to prevent cheating, no player is allowed to gain enough xp to level up unless either the entire party can level up OR if there is a unanimous vote to give that player enough experience to level.

With this tweak, players don’t have to keep track of xp values every session, except as one total value. XP becomes a resource that’s shared throughout the party, instead of an abstract number that is really predetermined by the adventure. You also have some interesting new choices to play with, if one or two players are willing to wait for their levels.

PLUS, no more arguing about whether you remembered to award xp last time, or if one of the players forgot to write it down, or grumbling about keeping track!

Try it out, let me know how it goes!

Max Porter Zasada

Magic Item Monday: Shadestrike

Shadestrike

Aura medium necromancy; CL 8th; craft magic arms and armor, ray of enfeeblement;

Price +2 bonus

Description

This blade is worked with deadly strength-draining shadowstuff. Enemies struck by this weapon must make a fortitude save (DC 11 + your strength modifier), or take 1 strength damage.


Notes

Today, instead of a specific item, we’ve got a weapon ability. A nasty, nasty weapon ability. This weapon could win battle all on its own, especially with iterative attacks.

-Max Porter Zasada

Sunday Spell: Summon Wood Spirit

Summon Wood Spirit

School Conuration [summoning]; Level Druid 3
Casting Time 1 minute
Components V, S, DF (crushed aromatic bark)
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft. / 2 levels)
Effect one summoned creature
Duration 1 hour / level
Saving throw: none  Spell Resistance: no

This spell calls to your side a spirit of nature to advise and aid you. This being is insubstantial and possesses no hit points or other combat statistics, as it does not interact with the world other than to advise and aid. It follows you about, never straying further than the spell’s range. While the wood spirit is nearby, you can spontaneously convert prepared spells of equivalent or higher level into spells from the following list:

Level 1: detect animals or plants, goodberry, pass without trace

Level 2: forest friend*, tree shape, wood shape

Level 3: diminish plants, plant growth, speak with plants 

This functions similarly to spontaneous conversion of summon nature’s ally spells.

* this spell is found in the book “Ultimate Combat”.

 

Notes

A spell that can let a savvy druid be awesome unexpectedly, becoming a master of nature at the drop of a hat even when that druid has prepared for a city adventure. I would use this spell to increase options dramatically, though I feel that these spells have such specific uses and are so rarely used in a game that this spell is well balanced.

Enjoy!

Max Porter Zasada

 

Feat Friday: Arcane Inspiration

Arcane Inspiration
You use your magic to lead your forces in victorious battle.
Prerequisites: BaB +5, ability to cast arcane spells, Cha 13
Benefit: You can sacrifice an arcane spell slot as a standard action to give allies within a 100 ft radius a bonus on attack rolls equal to your base attack bonus and not more than double the level of the spell sacrificed. The bonus lasts for 1 round. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3+ your charisma modifier.

Notes

Perhaps more appropriate for an NPC warlord, it will make them terrifying and memorable! This feat is a great way to make low-level monsters  scary again to high-level players and make them sit up and take the orc army seriously. Alternatively, a player in a war-heavy game would find this feat extremely useful. Enjoy the drama of the warlord-wizard! Now I have an idea for a Bard villain…

-Max Porter Zasada

Theme Thursday: Terrain Advantage

Today’s theme is all about how to move around the battlefield and how to control it.

The setup of a battle must not be overlooked. If you have a lazy GM or module, you end up with a bare room to fight in, a lot. Then this theme isn’t for you. A good encounter has difficult terrain, places to hide, concealment, and maybe a lava pit or three.

Controlling the Field With Spells

The most obvious way to gain terrain advantage is to make it yourself. Use a grease spell to trip up enemies coming through a door or force them to walk around something and open themselves to flanking. Think about what can give you and your teammates the biggest advantage, and be aware of your teammates’ strengths and weaknesses–perhaps your monk can waltz freely through your web spell while the enemies are trapped helplessly.

Around a Corner

This is the best position to be in with a ranged weapon like a bow. Because the around-a-corner rules work differently for melee and ranged weapons, you can gain +4 cover (negating your attack of opportunity provocation!), but not give your enemy such a penalty. This is amazing! Take advantage.

Push into Dangers

You can Bull Rush opponents off of cliffs and into spiky pits, sure, but not every encounter has those do they? Well, there are other hazards and other ways of manipulating opponents. Position yourself such that you flank, and moving out of that spot puts the enemy within reach of an ally. Place yourself so you limit an enemy’s movement options, or put them in a  position where they will be in trouble in a moment (coordinate those fireballs to win!).

Alternate Movement

When you are yourself limited in movement options, think about alternate ways of getting through an obstacle. If you can’t tumble through an enemy’s square, perhaps you can run away and draw them into a more open zone. Perhaps you can run over the top of the bookcases in the library rather than between them.

Plan the Opportunity Attacks

Most of the time, you will face opponents who lack the Combat Reflexes feat. Rather than everyone taking up an inferior position because they need to avoid an attack of opportunity, plan to provoke one on purpose with the heavily-armored fighter so an enemy can’t hinder your movement nearly as much.

I hope some of these tips help you out! These are the tricks good players use. Go forth and control the battlefield.

-Max Porter-Zasada

Weapon Wednesday: Pillager’s Pleasure

Pillager’s Pleasure

One-handed martial weapon. 1d6 slashing damage. 19-20 x2 critical. 10 gp. 2 lbs. Special: Sunder

This cruel weapon is designed to damage the armor of opponents. It gets double damage when used to sunder armor, and can can critical armor even though it is an object.

Notes

A nasty trick to have up your sleeve. Perfect for the character with questionable morals and tactics. Combine with dastardly measures!

-Max Porter Zasada