Weapon Wednesday: Slip Sword

One-handed exotic melee weapon. 1d10 slashing damage. x2 critical. 65 gp. 6 lbs. Special: Trip

This heavy weapon has a curved section at the end, perfect for gripping limbs. 

Modelled after the bastard sword, this weapon is less precise in its swing but can trip opponents. In addition, you get a +2 circumstance bonus to dirty trick maneuvers performed with this weapon. A character can use a slip sword two-handed as a martial weapon like a bastard sword, but cannot benefit from the special qualities or bonuses of the slip sword.

Background

Developed by a troop of ingenious warriors, the slip sword was created to combine deadly prowess with nasty cunning. They enjoyed some success as highwaymen and mercenaries, finally taking a small keep in the wilderness. However, as arguments arose about who first thought up the slip sword, this troop of warriors has since broken up, allowing the use of the weapon to spread to a few lucky souls.

Notes

I love the idea of the dirty trick maneuver, but it’s a bit unreliable compared with trip. This weapon combines both in a neat little package!

So, as we continue infusing our weapons with interest through background, I wish to ask you: is it working? Do you enjoy the background for these weapons, and does that add the missing ingredient for making Wednesdays worthwhile?

Enjoy!

-Max Porter-Zasada

Tuesday Tweak: Role-playing XP

Role-playing in most RPG’s is secondary to the combat, yet absolutely vital to the game. Today’s tweak addresses a common house rule that can be hard to get right. Award too much out-of-combat xp, and the game slows down while everyone tries to be as goofy as possible with as many NPC’s as possible. Award too little XP, and either the players ignore it or the bonus points simply become a way of slapping your favorite players on the back. These dangerous roads can be avoided by using the following technique:

Tweak: Whenever a player learns a major story point from an NPC, convinces someone of something in a significant way, or influences the game’s story through role-playing, award the entire party XP for an encounter of their average party level. Ignore the CR of the NPC’s. This award should usually come no more than once a session.

This tweak encourages the players to engage with the story as a group rather than individually seeking glory and power. You want them to argue among themselves about how to handle  a card sharp on the street, a political dissenter against the king, or any intricate social situation. You want them to become immersed in your world and their characters through role-playing. Therefore, handle the encounters as you would any other; plan for a certain situation to arise, then play it out by ear according to what the players choose to do!

Enjoy,

-Max Porter-Zasada

Magic Item Monday: Reaver’s Helm

Reaver’s Helm

Aura faint divination; CL 4th

Slot head; Price 5,200 gp; Weight 3 lbs.

Description
This weapon makes your blade sing on the wind as you fight. When you make a single attack in a round, you deal a bonus 1d6 damage.

Construction Requirements
Craft Wondrous Item; Cost 2,600 gp

 

Notes

Simple, but instant awesomeness. This magic item was developed by militant pirates such as privateers, who favored a mobile fighting style and wanted to cut down enemies with a single blow.

-Max Porter-Zasada

Sunday Spell: Green Doom

Green Doom

School Conjuration (creation); Level Druid 4
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range close (25 ft +5 ft. / 2 levels)
Components V, S, M (a pinch of moss)
Effect one 5-ft. square of green doom
Duration concentration up to 1 round/level; see text (D)
Saving throw: Reflex negates (see text); Spell Resistance: yes

As you concentrate on this spell, you cause a horrific green moss to creep over the ground. When first cast, the green doom covers one 5-ft. square within range. Each round of concentration thereafter, the moss spreads to another 5-ft. square adjacent to a square already affected. If you stop concentrating, the green doom does not disappear but withers and disappears in one square of your choice, although you must keep an unbroken chain of affected squares if possible. When you resume concentrating, the duration resets and the green doom spreads once more.
Squares affected are considered difficult terrain due to the clinging moss. Any creature in contact with the ground that moves over a square affected by green doom becomes infected with acidic spores unless they succeed on a reflex save. The spores deal 1d6 points of acid damage and slow that creature’s speed by 5 ft. for one round. In addition, a creature so affected trails the green doom behind it, and any square that it moves into becomes covered by the moss, subject to the same rules as above.

Notes

Beware the creeping doom! I’m also thinking about writing this up as a magic item for RPG superstar. What do you think?

Also, welcome back to gamingmage! We had to take a short break during the holiday week, but we’re back on schedule now! I only wish I were able to update gamingmage without interruption, but unfortunately there’s a lot going on right now. Sorry about the lack of notice!

Note that creatures get a new chance to shake the moss off of them each round with a new reflex save, since the effects only last one round.

-Max Porter-Zasada

Feat Friday: Stand Your Ground

Stand Your Ground (combat)
You can defend yourself from a flurry of attacks.
Prerequisite: Combat Expertise, BaB +4
Benefit: When you use the Combat Expertise feat and an opponent makes a full attack on you, you double your AC bonus from Combat Expertise against each attack after the first.  You can only use Stand Your Ground against a particular opponent once per minute.

Notes

Sometimes, Pathfinder is all about avoiding full attacks. And nothing else. Once you get to 8th level or so, the full attacks of monsters can instantly kill most members of the party, while your two-weapon fighter’s full attack does the same to the enemy. This feat lets you avoid the unavoidable when you need it.

I feel that the “once per opponent per minute” restriction is necessary, but it’s also very clunky. Anyone have a better suggestion to balance this feat?

-Max Porter-Zasada

Theme Thursday: Land Grants

Today’s commentary on Pathfinder RPG design helps you handle it when PC’s are immersed in the story, and perhaps a little too immersed. Through a story and series of adventures one or more PC’s have been rewarded with their own demesne, to rule as they see fit and to earn some coin in taxes. This is a good thing! It’s exciting to gain treasures that are larger and more meaningful than another magic sword, and a sign of a great PC is indeed one who owns land.

However, with this great form of reward comes a frustrating host of issues and problems. All of a sudden, a PC can’t just gallivant off into the wild on a whimsical adventure. There are families to take care of, buildings to maintain, businesses to run, and so on and on with a host of everyday issues.

These mundane things can be really fun to play out. Possibly. For a while. Entering another world, another life, can never be more immersive than when the everyday is fantasy. But sooner or later your players are going to want to have an adventure, and you’re going to run out of interesting pig-run-away or patch-the-leaky-roof scenarios. What do you do then? Here are three suggestions:

Kingmaker

The impressive and excellent Kingmaker adventure path from Paizo contains an excellent set of kingdom-building rules. They’re not perfect, but they can be an interesting little side game for your players, and they can really help you run adventures while still keeping a domain running in a somewhat believable way. You will need to watch out however, for there are ways to make the kingdom too profitable.

Make The Story Center on Defense

Most adventures are about the PC’s attacking–charging into a dungeon delve, raiding an ogre camp, or seeking fights out where they choose. It can be a fascinating change of pace when they have something to protect. Players will care much more about characters and places if the adventures force them to protect their own handiwork. Use the land grant to your advantage and make it into a wonderful place to adventure!

Leave Another in Charge

The steward, a non-adventurer spouse, or an elected group of aldermen are great ways to handle the mundane task of running an estate  if the players care about the place being kept up, but aren’t so interested in the details. Use the place as an occasional adventure hook or fun background, but create ways to prevent the PC’s from abusing their privilege. If they’re not working to earn benefit from the estate, don’t give them too much, or the game will lose its fun.

Enjoy your titles, lands, and kingdoms!

-Max Porter-Zasada

Weapon Wednesday: Belly Sticker

One-handed martial weapon. 2d3 slashing or piercing damage.  x2 critical.

This weapon is uniquely designed to pierce armor and get at well-protected foes. If the target of your attack has an armor bonus of 4 or greater, a belly sticker ignores 2 points of that armor bonus.

Background:

A company of rogues or ninjas found prosperity in the underworld of a large city. They lurked in dark alleys and cut purses with daggers, for the guards were helpless against their stealthy, murderous training.

However, the city soon decided to equip the guards with better armor, placing a gleaming steel patrol on the streets. Desperate, the guild developed a sword to penetrate the heavy metal and leather of the law enforcement. It became colloquially known as the “belly sticker,” a weapon of a vicious warrior.

Notes

Thanks for the suggestion to give these weapons a background! I think a rogue or dueling fighter would enjoy this weapon

Enjoy!

-Max Porter-Zasada