Weapon Wednesday: Briarblade | Pathfinder RPG Design


2-handed exotic weapon. 2d6 damage. 19-20 x2 critical. 8 lbs. 85 gp. Special: trip

This immense two-handed sword is marked with cruel barbs and prongs to catch off-balance foes.  When you make a full attack and strike your foe with your first attack, but deal more damage with a secondary attack against the same enemy using this weapon, his speed is lowered by 5 ft. for one round and you may make a trip attempt against that enemy with a +2 bonus.

The first briarblades were forged by the Howlers, a savage band of forest guardians who would leap screaming into battle, almost naked save for their deadly two-handed weapons. The Howlers would come away covered in scars, and it was hard to find new recruits. However, they developed the briarblade to put fear into those who would defile their forest, laying enemies low and helpless among the tangled roots of the forest floor.

One of their greatest warriors, known for wearing a single thorny rose in his hair during battle, was felled by a dwarven captain-at-arms who was too difficult to trip. This warrior and his briarblade were brought to a nearby town, and the secret weapon was developed and its use spread elsewhere. Facing enemies trained to counter their best attack, the Howlers were eventually disbanded and driven from the forest, leaving their weapon as a fell legacy. 


This weapon is great for a raging barbarian with a bit of extra style. You don’t have to specialize in tripping to be awesome with this weapon, but that’s the path to getting the maximum benefit. Enjoy the use of a terrifying blade of legend!

-Max Porter-Zasada


Tuesday Tweak: Creepy Scene Saves | Pathfinder RPG Design

In this Pathfinder RPG design tweak, we’ll explore something for the horror genre and attempt to make your players afraid.

Tweak: Creepy Scene Saves; whenever a player comes upon a scene which the GM rules is frightening, they must make a Will save or become shaken. The DC of this save is 15 plus modifiers as outlined below. This save only needs to be made when first seeing something with the potential to be terrifying, and no additional saves are required when seeing the same event once again. Examples: an execution, a cult ritual, evil extraplanar creatures appearing, inanimate objects coming to life, a terrible disease taking hold, and children under evil influence.

DC modifiers

Multiple frightening enemies: +1 DC per enemy after the first

Darkness, fog, or other obstruction to sight: +2 DC

Sound, smell, or touch creating part of the creepy scene: +4 DC

Mysterious magic plainly at work: +1 DC

Warped humanoids present: +1 DC

Relative danger of  enemies completely unknown to players: +1 DC

Surprised by the scene: +1 DC

Broad daylight: -2 DC

Familiar scene: -1 DC for each previous time the player has seen something similar. Something which is experienced on a daily basis incurs no creepy save at all.

If you’re using some sort of Taint points in your game, failing this save could also inflict a taint point on the player.


This tweak is great for horror campaigns and especially scary scenes! Make sure that you only apply this tweak to especially dramatic moments, when you really want to impress your players with the idea that this is supposed to be scary.


-Max Porter-Zasada

Magic Item Monday: Bloodthirsting | Pathfinder RPG Design


Aura Moderate necromancy; CL 8th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Price +1 bonus


When it strikes a creature with blood, a bloodthirsting weapon remains embedded, inflicting a -1 on attack rolls and dealing bleed damage each round equal to the weapon’s damage die. Do not add any additional bonuses to this bleed damage. A creature with a free hand may remove a bloodthirsting weapon as a standard action. A single creature cannot have more than one bloodthirsting weapon embedded at one time unless each weapon has a damage die of 1d4 or smaller. This special quality cannot be added to two-handed weapons.



There’s something terrifying and awesome about the idea of embedding weapons in foes. Especially in cinematic dragon battles or similar things. Give a weapon with this quality to a character to make them a brutal wonder to behold!

I’m not sure that my balancing rule at the end there is as clean and working as it could be. Thoughts?

-Max Porter-Zasada

Sunday Spell: Hardy Hunter | Pathfinder RPG Design

Hardy Hunter

School Transmutation; Level Ranger 2
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range close (25 ft +5 ft. / 2 levels)
Components V, S
Target your animal companion
Duration 10 minutes/level
Saving throw: Will negates (harmless); Spell Resistance: yes (harmless)

Your animal companion gains the benefits of your Favored Enemy ability for a time. If it has scent, the animal companion can also sense enemies at twice the normal distance and gets a +4 enhancement bonus to Survival checks to track using scent.


It’s always annoying to play a ranger and wonder why your animal companion has to lag behind a druid’s. There are some hidden balance issues at play here, but I’ve always believed that rangers should have spells that are useful and important, and buffing your animal companion fits the bill. Enjoy!

-Max Porter-Zasada





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

Feat Friday: Arrow at The Ready | Pathfinder RPG Design

Arrow at The Ready (combat)

You are never caught with your weapon idle.

Benefit: You can nonchalantly walk around with your bow or crossbow loaded at all times. If you also have the Quick Draw feat, you can make a full attack with a bow during a surprise round.



A boon for bows and crossbow users alike, this feat lets you be prepared for a serious ambush! Something my friend Paul has been bugging about for ages.


-Max Porter-Zasada

Tuesday Tweak: Hero Points and Action Points–Pathfinger RPG Homebrew

This is a system I’ve been using in my games for a while. I love the idea of one-use points (in fact, I’m creating an RPG of my own based around that idea), and I love the way it makes characters feel brilliant or heroic. I especially like that their use can balance out some of the more annoying random rolls in the game (you only need to fail a save against a death spell you knew was coming once or twice before it starts to get dull).

Hero point rules can be found in the back of the Advanced Player’s Guide, while action points come from DnD 3.5 and were detailed in Unearthed Arcana. 

Award action points  based on something closely tied to the game’s story. In the religious world where Nakash, the Slithering City resides, I have the gods grant action points to the players for upholding their deity’s principles and worshiping them well.

Award hero points only rarely, for particularly astounding actions. To continue the example, I award hero points for reclaiming a lost temple or speaking directly with one’s deity.

Don’t get into the whole side-design of action point and hero point feats. Using this tweak, they bolster the storyline and are not a distraction or the focus of a character.

While hero points are fine as written, action points have been used for so many different things it’s worthwhile to limit their use:

Use an action point to add 1d6 on one d20 roll, take an extra attack during a full attack, or recall a spell slot that was just expended. That’s it.

Using this tweak, you will have a number of clutch rolls and exciting moments! Your characters will feel like heroes, and will only be rewarded for delving into the game’s story and background. No one feels like their time was wasted when their buddy gets an action point–it benefits the whole team, and doesn’t create the same anger that xp disparity does.

What methods do you use for action points or hero points? I love this limited and story-specific way of using them.


-Max Porter-Zasada




Magic Item Monday: Expanding Shield

Expanding Shield

Slot shield; Price 3,155 gp Weight 5 lbs.


This +1 buckler is made of heavy steel. It has magically hidden plates that expand or shrink at a command word (a free action). You can cause the shield to become a light steel shield or a heavy steel shield on command, or shrink back to a buckler.

Construction Requirements

Craft Magic Arms and Armor, shrink item. Cost 1577 gp and 5 sp


I’m sure someone has come up with this before, but I wanted to do my own version. Enjoy the flexibility this item allows!

-Max Porter-Zasada