RPG Design – Magic Item Monday: Gimlet of Irresistible Mental Penetration

Magic item by Carlos celurian JorreblancaGimlet of Irresistible Mental Penetration

Aura Strong Abjuration; CL 17

Slot – ; Price 40,000 gp Weight 1 lb

 This gimlet is made of iron and gold, fashioned with a snakelike visage. Mind-affecting spells or abilities cast by the wielder of the gimlet negate half the targets’ resistance bonuses to Will saves.  

Construction Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, mind blank, antimagic fieldCost 20,000 gp

An ancient cult sought to gain control over the mind of the king and his nobles with their dark rites, but were foiled time and again by the mind shielding magic of the royal wizard. After much praying and sacrificing, the forces of darkness taught the head priest how to create an item that could pierce the veils of magic. However, it had taken so long that the king’s paladins finally found the den of iniquity and destroyed the cult, taking their magic items for the royal college. 


This item is very difficult to balance, because you don’t know how much resistance the target is going to have. It might be easier to just give the caster a bonus, but that just didn’t seem as fun. 


–Max Porter-Zasada

RPG Design – Magic Item Monday: Bracers of the Silent Stalker

magic_item_by_ianllanasBracers of the Silent Stalker

Aura Faint Transmutation; CL 3rd

Slot wrists; Price 2,000 gp Weight 1 lb

 These leather bracers are embossed with copper and animal designs. The wearer gains a +2 competence bonus to Stealth checks and a +2 competence bonus to initiative if she is allowed to act in a surprise round. 

Construction Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, anticipate perilCost 1,000 gp

They say that deep in the darkest wood there lives a ranger gone mad. He stalks the silent trees, looking for civilized folk. When he finds someone, he demands they answer three riddles, all of which only a true woodsman  could answer. Those who answer incorrectly he hunts down mercilessly, firing arrows from the dark. To those who know the correct answer he gives a precious gift, a pair of bracers that grant a hunter’s skill.


I had to take a sick day Sunday, but we’re back with a magic item. I think these bracers would work as well on a  Pathfinder Diviner as on a ranger. Enjoy!

–Max Porter-Zasada

RPG Design – Magic Item Monday: Subtle Charm

Amulet of GreedAura Faint Transmutation; CL 5th

Slot Arm; Price 500 GP per charm

Each of the several kinds of subtle charms fits on a silver charm bracelet, lending its power to the wearer. No more than six charms may be worn on a single bracelet. Each charm’s power can be expended once per day, when making a Bluff check, under specific circumstances, for a +5 bonus.

Subtle Charm of Aggrandizement: This grinning face can be activated when making a Bluff check that makes false claims about the high importance or power of the wearer, such as great social stature, physical might, or great wealth.

Subtle Charm of Scorn: This gold disk with a suspicious-looking face molded into it can be activated when making a Bluff check to convince someone that another person cannot be trusted.

Subtle Charm of Nondescript: This tiny silver hood can be activated when making a Bluff check to convince someone that the wearer is of no consequence, not worth the trouble to notice.

Subtle Charm of Belonging: This small pearl carved in the shape of a shield or coat-of-arms can be activated when making a Bluff check to convince someone that the wearer belongs to a particular social group, such as a club, gang, order, or neighborhood.

Construction Requirements glibness; Cost 250 GP per charm

Adries the master thief was a smuggler who became famous for the enormous quantity of goods he got across enemy lines repeatedly throughout the old war. His face was never well-known, but as the enemy became aware of his constant shenanigans Adries had to come up with ever-changing tricks to save his countrymen and collect his massive rewards. An accomplished spellcaster as well as a thief, he developed the subtle charms to ensure that he always had a new trick (literally) up his sleeve. 


I prefer items that strongly suggest roleplaying ideas or new adventures while also bringing a gold-efficient option to the table. Every time  a player uses this item they should feel rewarded for their investment, even if the Bluff check fails.

Something about February inspires me to create new RPG elements again. Stay tuned as we make some changes to the website!

–Max Porter-Zasada

Magic Item Monday: Crown of the Long-Dead King

Crown of the Long-Dead King – Major Artifact

Aura strong necromancy; CL 20th
Slot head; Weight 4 lbs.


Long ago, the tales say, there lived a nameless king. His people knew not what to call him, nor what to make of his strange and silent guardians that marched out from his vast stone fortress. One day, however, the king and all his armies disappeared–some say their life force was sucked away and bound within the nameless king’s crown. Legends hold that should someone find and don the crown, his visage will peel away and he shall appear as the king in his last moments. Legends go on to say that the bearer of the crown will gain a +6 enhancement bonus to Charisma,  +2 to the DC of any necromancy spell he casts, and the ability to control an additional 10 HD of undead through spells. Some even whisper that those with the ability to command undead as the feat can do so as a swift action while wearing the crown–but they are obviously madmen.


The Crown of the Long-Dead King can only be destroyed by a Paladin of at least 10th level who has never killed a living being.

-Max Porter-Zasada

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

Magic Item Monday: Reaver’s Helm

Reaver’s Helm

Aura faint divination; CL 4th

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

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



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

Tuesday Tweak: Fantasy Airships

This set of rules is intended for an interesting and sufficiently complex game of fighting on airborne vessels. The primary goal of these rules is to make airship combat interesting for every player, giving everyone a task to do.

This post does not include ship statistics, which you can create yourself or simply wait for them to appear on gamingmage next week! Assume that airborne vessels function pretty much the same way seagoing vessels do, with the following additions and tweaks. These are a bit quick and dirty, without going into great detail. Feel free to ask for additions or clarifications in the comments!

Assume that these vessels carry a highly buoyant gas in a somewhat well-defended balloon above the deck, and some vessels are equipped with magical lightning engines in addition to sails. Most ships can only turn 45 degrees in a round, and have a speed equal to 20 x the wind multiplier (set by the GM, usually x1 or x2). They can usually rise a maximum of 10 feet in a round, or fall up to 20 feet without injuring anyone.

There are a number of positions which must be filled on any airship. Different positions need to make skill checks, ability checks, or use other options both to make the ship function or to perform special combat actions. On long journeys, you can assume that all members of the crew are taking 10, which allows the ship to function normally. In a long storm, you must make one check for the winds and rain (DC determined by the severity of the storm–usually 20 to stay afloat, or 25 to take advantage and move faster), plus one additional check to avoid additional dangers, such as lightning.

A player may fill a position, in which case they use their own bonus on the check as they direct and supervise the crew. Otherwise, use the default crew bonus for each position unfilled by a player. The crew bonus is equal to the number of expert ABAs (able-bodied airmen) among the crew, regardless of the actual position of each expert ABA. All checks are made on the respective player’s turn, though the effects of that check are often only felt on the ship’s turn.

Pilot: often the captain or quartermaster, the pilot takes up a position at the ship’s wheel on the aft deck. The ship moves on the pilot’s initiative roll and moves at his or her direction. Special: Profession (aerosailor): the pilot must make checks to avoid airborne hazards or to keep the ship on course in high winds. Additionally, the pilot may make a DC 20 check to adjust the ship briefly to gain combat advantage, granting all ranged weapons aboard gain a +1 bonus on attack rolls against enemy ships.

Paddle-sailer: The airships maneuver by banking or directing the wind in their paddle-sails, which are moved by ropes and pulleys. Though the ship is directed by the will of the pilot, the paddle-sailers are the ones who make sure the ship functions properly. Special: Profession (aerosailor) or Dexterity check: the paddle-sailers must make a DC 10 check to keep the sail paddles from tangling when the pilot avoids a hazard. Failure means that the ship cannot make turns until the damage has been repaired by a carpenter. Additionally, the paddle-sailer can make a DC 20 check to allow the ship to turn up to one greater degree than normal (most large ships have a maximum turn of 45 degrees).

Ratline Runner: These numerous but crucial members of a crew manage the sails on the ship, which make the ship run on the back of the wind. Special: Profession (aerosailor) or Strength check: Letting out or taking in sails requires a great deal of strength, and hauling away on the sails requires a DC 10 check to allow the ship to move at its maximum speed each turn. Failure by 4 or less means that the ship cannot move at its maximum speed, while failure by 5 or more means that the ship can only move at half speed. Additionally, the ratline runners may make a DC 25 check to let out additional sail, and give the ship a 10 foot speed boost for a turn.

Balloon Master: Managing the gas in the ship’s balloon can be quite a lot of work, what with temperature, weight, volume, pressure, and a hundred other concerns to worry about, which only gets worse once the ballista bolts start flying! Special: Profession (aerosailor) or Intelligence check: When the balloon is punctured by enemies, the balloon masters must make a DC 10 check for every attack that successfully punctured the balloon. Success indicates that the hole was patched or compensated for, and the ship suffers no ill effects until after the battle. Failure by 4 or less means the ship loses 5 feet of height on its turn, while failure by 5 or more indicates that the ship loses 10 feet of height on its turn. Note that most ships can only withstand up to 10 punctures before they being falling! Additionally, the balloon masters can make a DC 20 check to mix a special infusion of gas to allow the ship to suddenly gain 5 feet of height on its turn, or 10 feet with a DC25 check.

Lightning Engineer: Some special ships are equipped with lightning engines to supplement their wind power. These ships can fly into the teeth of the wind if they so choose, usually at a speed of 15. Engines otherwise add 10 to a ship’s speed when active. The engineers keep these in good working order and keep them from exploding and zapping everyone aboard. Special: Profession: Engineer or Wisdom check: Operating the engines with the correct amount of “juice” requires a DC 10 check. Failure by 4 or less indicates that the ship only gains a 5 ft. bonus speed, while failure by 5 or more indicates that lightning arcs out dangerously, dealing 1d6 points of damage to the engineers on a failed DC 15 reflex save, and 3d6 damage to the aft section of the ship! Additionally, the engineer can expend double the normal amount of fuel with a successful DC 25 check, granting the ship an extra 10 feet of bonus speed on its turn.

Additionally, many ships mount heavy or light ballistae, which players can use with the normal rules for siege weapons!

Enjoy the awesome aerial combat that awaits you!

Also, be aware that with yet still MORE high holy days coming up on the jewish calendar, the gaming mage will miss thursday and friday updates.

Max Porter-Zasada