Feat Friday: Magus’ Prerogative

Hope you like this Pathfinder RPG feat, designed for the Magus class.

Magus’ Prerogative

Your mastery of technique lets you convert martial skill into magical penetration.
Prerequisites: Improved spell combat class ability, Int 15, Dex 15
Benefit: When you roll both an attack roll with a weapon and use a spell in a full attack, you can choose to use your attack result as your caster level check to overcome spell resistance. Negate any results of your weapon attack if you do so.

Notes

This feat is intended to give certain maguses an interesting option. It’s possible to end up in a situation where a combat-focused magus can’t get any spells through because they’re facing a lot of enemies with high spell resistance (like, say, a demon horde) and they don’t have the necessary feats or build to overcome the SR. With this feat, that combat-focused magus can choose to push a spell through the SR when necessary, at the cost of their weapon damage.

-Max Porter Zasada

Theme Thursday: On-The-Fly Tweaking

The Pathfinder RPG design we do around here is generally thought-out and playtested. But what happens when you’re in the midst of a game and you need to do some tinkering? We are speaking here of encounters and monsters, not basic rules of the game.

Sometimes you throw an old favorite monster at the players and they freak out! They scramble to get to the fight, but wonder aloud if they should flee. But other times, someone at the table goes, “Oh, it’s just minotaurs again.” This may be accompanied by a yawn or the opening of a laptop to do some crossword puzzles. What do you do then?

Well, you can’t exactly take back your minis and pretend it never happened. GM’s need their mask of infallibility! Simply adding a new monster to the mix can be almost as problematic–the fields of history are littered with the bodies of players whose GM mistook ambivalence for boredom.

Instead, what you need to do is some on-the-fly tweaking. What if one of those axe-wielding minotaurs pulls out a whip instead? Change one feat to Improved Trip (very easy to remember), and voila! The whole situation is different and more than a little scary (being prone is no joke).

Here are three paths you can take to making monsters fresh and interesting without doing too much work–or even writing anything down.

Combat Feats

Switch a feat for Improved Trip, Improved Grapple, Power Attack, or the like to suddenly make a humdrum Strength-based beast do something surprising and dramatic. What’s great about these options is there’s really very little difference in description that’s required. You can even have monsters hang on to this ability until late in the encounter, then change everything in a round if you have to.

Spell-Like Abilities

When a monster is tainted (or blessed!) by arcane powers, it may develop a few unusual powers that can really shake things up. There’s nothing wrong with opening the rulebook at the table, picking a spell from a level-appropriate list, and slinging a spell at the players. It’s probably best to give the monster the ability once or three times per day, so that you don’t have to make a whole lot of fundamental changes. This can be a fascinating surprise! Oh, and if the players ask why you’re looking through the rulebook, just say that you needed to check how one of the monster’s abilities work.

Give ’em Wings

If you haven’t already gone and described the monsters in full, go ahead and change a major physical feature, like wings and a fly speed. No one’s going to care if the skill ranks don’t add up properly or whatnot. Nothing changes a monster like a weird or unusual body! Give them a pustule that explodes when struck, fins and a swim speed, shovel claws and a burrow speed, horns, a tail with spikes, an extra bony arm, an extra eye, a stinger, a really long tongue, or maybe teeth where there shouldn’t be any!

The important thing to remember is that Pathfinder and all RPGs play best when every encounter is stranger and more unique than the last.

-Max Porter-Zasada

 

 

Weapon Wednesday: Bearded Axe

One-handed martial weapon. 1d8 slashing damage. x3 critical. 12 gp. 6 lbs. Special: disarm

With a wide cutting edge, this weapon is designed to hook onto an opponent’s weapon or shield. However, it is awkward to use in a quick response, and its base damage drops one die type on attacks of opportunity.

Notes

Sometimes you just want to experiment with a weapon, stretch the boundaries of weapon variations. In my opinion, there are too many weapons with extremely similar mechanics; making weapons function differently in unusual situations is one way to improve that issue. Have fun hacking and slashing!

-Max Porter Zasada

Tuesday Tweak: Retry Knowledge Checks

To continue our tweaking of the knowledge skill rules:

 New Studies in Knowledge; you cannot normally retry knowledge checks, as the check result represents the limits of what you know. However, when you take a new rank in a knowledge skill, you can then retry knowledge checks using that skill once again.

Simple enough, right?

The awesome part about this tweak is that players who sink skill points into knowledge skills continue getting rewarded, and combined with the previous Tuesday tweak, it will be the whole party that works together and feels good about themselves.

The downside is that sometimes, with certain obsessive players, leveling up will result in a whole bunch of retried knowledge checks, slowing down the game. Here’s how to handle that: since retried knowledge checks are rarely urgent, find out if the whole party wants to stop and do those right now. If anyone isn’t willing, then ask the knowledging players to pick one or two checks to retry now, and schedule an hour of time for the rest that doesn’t interfere with regular gameplay.

Have fun!

-Max Porter Zasada

Magic Item Monday: Shadowfire Candle

Shadowfire Candle

Aura faint evocation; CL 5th

Slot –Price 750 gp

Description

Instead of illuminating, this candle burns with a cold black flame, creating a darkness effect in a 5 ft. area. Alternatively, you can light both ends to create a deeper darkness effect in the same area. The candle burns for one hour, or only 15 minutes if both ends are lit. Once lit, the candle cannot be put out, and it does not burn like normal fire.

Construction

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item,  deeper darkness. Cost 375 gp

Notes

Meant to be a creepy and cool item for certain creatures of darkness (or anyone with darkvision!) to use. Have your enemies approach under a few clouds of darkness, or purchase this item so you can benefit from your darkvision without hampering your allies.

Enjoy!

-Max Porter Zasada

Sunday Spell: Moment of Tranquility

Moment of Tranquility

School Illusion (phantasm) [mind-affecting]; Level Bard 2
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range close (25 ft +5 ft. / 2 levels)
Components V, S, M (a dove’s feather)
Target 1 creature/ 3 levels, no two of which may be more that 3o ft. apart
Duration instantaneous
Saving throw: Will negates; Spell Resistance: yes

While using bardic performance, you can cast this spell to make creatures believe that your performance has quieted the raging battlefield. These creatures take no offensive actions for 1 round (as if affected by calm emotions). In addition, as they are transported by thoughts of peace far from the battlefield, they take a -1 penalty to attack and damage rolls for the rest of the encounter.

Notes

This spell is an attempt to make an interesting and effective second-level illusion spell for bards that uses a DC and contributes to the party in a significant way.

Also, welcome back to your regularly scheduled dose of Gaming Mage! Hopefully we shall proceed with fewer interruptions from now on.

-Max Porter Zasada

Tuesday Tweak: Aid Another’s Knowledge

Yes, that’s right. I promised to put up complete ship stats this week for airships. However, what with all the days I haven’t been able to work on this…it’s been impossible. I will have to save it for another time, if my dear readers are interested. Instead, enjoy this tweak!

Players can aid one another on knowledge checks, as with many other skills. A character must be trained in the knowledge skill to aid, and this can only be done out of combat, as it takes a few minutes when the characters argue and discuss esoteric notations in old texts or hearsay on the street.

Furthermore, a scaled method of aiding: for every 10 by which the player beats the aid another DC of 10, they can add an additional +1.

Notes

This tweak makes discovering and exploring your world a fun group process, which EVERYONE can participate in, at the cost of one skill point. It becomes a fun discovery, instead of a boring chore. Best used in a game with a lot of story and background detail, all of which could be important to the players. Using these rules can lead to sessions of rapt attention from players as they explore the richness of your world!

Ooooooh right, and this is the LAST WEEK of interrupted posting. Thank goodness! No post this Thursday or Friday, but Gamingmage will resume its normal schedule on Sunday!

-Max Porter-Zasada