Wednesday, April 29, 2015

New Race: Lizardfolk

The Lizardfolk were here before humans were
born, and will most likely be here after they die
as well.
Lizardfolk are a proud and powerful race of reptilian humanoids native to the world's scattered swamps and marshes. While many "civilized" races view them as monstrous savages, they actually possess a very rich society with numerous unique traditions and stories that depict a vibrant history stretching back several millenia. 

Physical Description: The majority of lizardfolk stand 6 to 7 feet and weigh roughly 200 lbs, with females being slightly shorter and lighter. The scales of a lizardfolk are usually gray, green, or brown with some breeds sporting short dorsal spikes or brightly colored frills. All lizardfolk possess tails that reach 3 to 4 feet in length. Lizardfolk usually prefer light, loose clothing due to their warm, temperate environment and prefer practical design over gaudy fashion. 

Society: Lizardfolk are mostly found in temperate or tropical climates, living within small villages hidden deep in the swamps & marshlands found in those areas. While certain elements may differ from tribe to tribe, the majority of lizardfolk society tends to be matriarchal in nature, with one specific chief ruling the tribe with a group of elders advising her. Lizardfolk tribes very rarely keep written historical records, preferring an oral tradition. 

Relations: Lizardfolk society tends to be insular in nature, very rarely interacting with other civilizations beyond the occasional moments of trading resources. They generally prefer to handle their own problems than ask for help and despise other societies forcing their beliefs upon them. Because of this, lizardfolk tend to come off as hostile or standoffish to other races. With that being said, lizardfolk are also incredibly loyal to their tribes & friends. Many scholars say that turning a lizardfolk into a friend is difficult, but you will never have a better one once you achieve that task. 

Alignment & Religion: Most lizardfolk tend to favor neutrality due to their insular nature. However, they tend to lean towards the lawful side of the spectrum due to their loyalty to friends and family. Lizardfolk society is generally animistic in nature, believing everything possesses some spiritual essence, with certain ones being more powerful than others (i.e., the deities). When lizardfolk give favor to a deity, it's usually one who governs the natural world, community, or family. 

Adventurers: The few lizardfolk who decide to leave their marshy homes are usually seeking some form of enlightenment or wish to experience the outside world for a time before returning home to retire to an average life. A small few are also unfortunately exiles, banished from their village for one reason or another, falling in with adventurers because they have nowhere else to go. 

+2 Strength, +2 Constitution: Lizardfolk are powerful and tough creatures.

Medium: Lizardfolk are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size. 

Reptilian: Lizardfolk are humanoids with the reptilian subtype. 

Normal Speed: Lizardfolk have a base speed of 30 feet and a swim speed of 30 feet. Furthermore, you receive a +8 racial bonus on Swim checks. 

Athletic: Lizardfolk receive a +2 racial bonus on Acrobatics checks. 

Hold BreathLizardfolk can hold their breath for a number of rounds equal to four times their Constitution before they risk drowning. 

Natural Attacks: Lizardfolk receive a bite (1d4) and two claw (1d4) primary natural attacks. 

Scaly Hide: Lizardfolk have a +1 natural armor bonus due to their scaly flesh. 

Languages: Lizardfolk begin play speaking Draconic. Lizardfolk with high Intelligence scores can choose from the following: Aquan, Common, Goblin, and Orc.  

Camouflage: Some lizardfolk are born with smaller fangs, but the ability to change the color of their scales to better hide in certain locations. Lizards with this trait receive a +4 racial bonus on Stealth checks in marshes and forested areas. This trait replaces the lizardfolk's bite natural attack. 

Prehensile Tail: Many lizardfolk have tails, but some have long, flexible tails that can be used to carry items. While they cannot wield weapons with their tails, they can use them to retrieve small, stowed objects carried on their persons as a swift action. This racial trait replaces Hold Breath. 

Scent: Some lizardfolk have the ability to pick up strong scents with their tongue. These lizardfolk possess the scent ability (Bestiary 304). This racial trait replaces Hold Breath and Athletic. 

((WRITER'S NOTE: I know making lizardfolk into a player race isn't a new idea, but I've always loved the concept and wanted to make a version for Pathfinder. If you'd like to see another take on the subject, give Kobold Press's Advanced Races: Lizardfolk a look)). 

Pathfinder Unchained: Which Rules Will You Use?

I guess it sounds better than
 "Unearthed Pathfindica".
After spending nearly an hour this morning regularly refreshing a product's webpage, I finally got my metaphorical hands upon Pathfinder Unchained. I've been reading through it throughout the day, doing my best to wipe away the drool dripping down my chin.

Don't you judge me.

Now that I've thoroughly read through a majority of the book and the myriad of different systems presented within, I can definitively say that Pathfinder Unchained is easily my favorite book that Paizo's published in awhile. This book is perfect for people who like to tinker (i.e., f@*k) with the game. I can already see myself utilizing several systems and variants presented within this 258 paged PDF.

Which leads us back to the title of this post. I thought It'd be fun to talk about the different rules I'll be using from the book.

  • Unchained Classes (pg. 8-39): I will definitely be using the "unchained" versions of the Monk, Rogue, & Summoner as replacements for the original classes. I will probably allow the "unchained" Barbarian as just another option along with its original counterpart. 
  • Background Skills (pg. 46-51): I've tinkered around with a similar idea in the past, but I really like the new skills added with the official version. Who wouldn't want to play a Fighter with ranks in Lore (Owlbears)? 
  • Alternate Crafting & Profession Rules (pg. 72-81): I've always been dissatisfied with the rules presented within the Core Rulebook for the Craft & Profession skills. These new rules look like a much better alternative and I'll definitely be using them in future games. 
  • Skill Unlocks (pg. 82-87): I've always liked the idea of having options to get more uses out of skills, and I like the method they've created here. I think I might allow anyone to take the Signature Skill feat, but Rogues are the only ones to get it for free.
  • Stamina & Combat Tricks (pg. 112-135): This was a windmill slam into my house rules document the very moment I heard about it. At the moment, I think I'm going to allow other classes to select the Combat Stamina feat, but Fighters get it for free at 1st level. 
  • Diseases & Poisons (pg. 138-141): I love how this system makes diseases & poisons something lethal while keeping it relatively easy. This will definitely be seeing play at my table. 
  • Automatic Bonus Progression (pg. 156-157): I've hated the concept of the "Big Six" from the moment I learned about them. I like to have unique magic items utilized in my game, but I don't want to sacrifice my players effectiveness for it. This system will definitely be used. 
  • Scaling Items (pg. 160-179): Speaking of unique magic items, I've always liked the idea of magic items that grow in power as you utilize them. I like how they handle the system here and will definitely be using it. 

These are the rules I know I'll be using no matter what, but I'm currently still thinking about some of the other variants and rules presented within the book. I like the idea of the Consolidated Skill list, the reworked Action Economy, the removal of Iterative Attacks, Simplified Spellcasting, & Esoteric Material Components. However, I'll have to test them at the table before I officially add them to my house rules document. 

Now the question swings back to you, dear reader. Which Pathfinder Unchained rules will you be utilizing in your games?

Monday, April 27, 2015

New Rifts Game to Use Savage Worlds System

Now 100% Palladium System
It looks like miracles do happen.

Last week while visiting my local game store, the owner mentioned that a new roleplaying game set on Rifts Earth will be created by Pinnacle Entertainment group and will utilize the Savage Worlds system.

Like most sane people, I didn't believe it at first. Knowing how much Siembieda seems to love that clunky, convoluted system he's been using for years, I had my doubts that he'd actually allow this. Especially considering Palladium's actually threatened fans who've tried creating alternate rules for the universe with lawsuits.

Thankfully, I was proven wrong. Several days ago as part of their Weekly Update, Palladium Books announced that is was actually happening.

Cue the sound of numerous gamers screaming like excited tweens at a One Direction concert.

Rifts has always been one of those games that I've loved the insane concept and gonzo nature of the world, but greatly disliked the system. I've always enjoyed Rifts in spite of the rules, not because of them. Now, I might be able to do enjoy the world AND the mechanics! Especially considering that I absolutely love Savage Worlds and feel like it will be a great fit for the game.

What do you think about this news? Do you feel like this is a good thing, or a bad thing? Are you happy that Rifts will being using the Savage Worlds system, or would you like to see another company doing this with another system? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

((I know that I'm a little bit late with this piece of news, but I'd rather be last on the bandwagon than miss it entirely)).

Pathfinder Musings: What I'd Like to See in Pathfinder 2nd Edition

With the release of Pathfinder Unchained, I've been contemplating what the eventual 2nd Edition of Pathfinder might look like and what I'd like to see included. Now, I know to some Pathfinder fans that talking about a new edition of the game is utter blasphemy. They claim Pathfinder will never need a new edition, that Paizo would never burn their fans like Wizards of the Coast did, and they will argue to the death with anyone who states otherwise.

However, I feel these people are coming at this from an unnecessarily negative point of view. They're still angry about Wizards retiring 3rd Edition in favor of 4th Edition, fearing that Paizo might do the same thing. However, I feel like Paizo would go the route of Chaosium and how they handle new editions to Call of Cthulhu: keep the base mechanics of the game the same, but fix elements that cause to many problems and add some of the supplementary rules they've added into other books into the core of the game. 

Keeping that in mind, I thought it would be fun to talk about what I'd like to see in this hypothetical Pathfinder 2.0. This is solely based upon my own personal opinions, not some objective facts that you must take as the ultimate truth. Just things that I'd like to see. 

The first, and most obvious thing I'd like to see is some major revisions to the different classes. I'd love to see the "unchained" version of the Monk & Rogue become the official versions of the game, with some major changes to the fighter to make it a lot better at its niche. I'd also love to see the wizard knocked down a few pegs, given limitations that prevent it from being as powerful as it currently is. 

I'd also love to see archetypes integrated into the classes instead of being something separate. For example, the Fighter could have several archetypes that represent specific fighting styles, like Archery or Two Handed Weapons. They could then publish more archetypes later, allowing them to represent cool ideas without having to resort to new classes. 

I could also seem them consolidating the skill list a little more. I personally really dig the shortened version depicted within Pathfinder Unchained, Make fewer, broader skills that can cover much more ground. I also wouldn't mind having certain skills, like Craft or Profession, being turn into Background skills that were separate from the main skill list, allowing you to select them without preventing you from selecting much needed skills like Perception. Basically, take the systems depicted in Pathfinder Unchained and go one step further with them. 

Finally, I'd love for them to simplify and clarify the game a little bit more, making it easier to teach and run at the table. They could use the Beginner Box version of the game as a blueprint, including some of the simplified rules they introduced in Pathfinder Unchained (like the new action economy, simplified spellcasting, & iterative attacks) to make something that still looks like the d20 system, but isn't as rules heavy. Maybe find that nice balance between easy to understand rules and modular elements. 

Like I said, these are things I'd like to see within a theoretical Pathfinder 2e. I'm sure you all have different ideas as well. I'd love to hear about them, so go ahead and post them into the comments below. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Pathfinder Chronicles: Master of the Fallen Fortress, Part Three

Our Band of Adventurers
  • Strider, a Kellid Ranger hailing from the rural nation of Nirmathas. He is a quiet individual, dealing death with his twin blades. 
  • Morrigan, a Half-Orc Witch born in the Hold of Belkzen. She has made a pact with a mysterious entity and wishes to learn more about it. 
  • Pix, a Tiefling Alchemist of Varisian descent. He is a shrewd potion merchant and something of a pyromaniac. 
  • Firarli, a Half-Elf Rogue born from the union of a Mordant Spire elf and Ulfen sailor. She was banished from her secretive home and hopes to learn more about the world. 
  • "Coach", a strange Half-Elf bard who randomly appeared out of nowhere. Very little is known about him beyond his strange speech pattern.

After dealing with a troglodyte ambush, the adventurers slowly made their way up the ever-present spiral staircase. Once they were on the next floor, they quickly dispatched a pair of giant frogs, but had trouble dealing with a swarm of hungry bats and two fiery skeletons lurking within a destroyed chapel of Nethys. 

The group continued to explore the ruined tower, finally stumbling upon the troglodyte named Tulok and more members of the small tribe. The fight was tough, but they managed to overcome the subterranean humanoids and learned Tulok was not the actual leader, but merely a figurehead. The tribe's shaman, Tasskar, was the actual leader of the group.

They also found Balenor, but not in the best condition. He was chained within one of the smaller chambers, covered in filth, missing one of his legs. Based on the the bloody knives and other equipment within the room, they figured out the troglodytes were planning to use the unfortunate Pathfinder as a ready food source.

Once they freed him, Balenor quickly thanked the group and offered them the equipment found within the nearby chest to take care of Tasskar in the upper floor. As soon as they were ready, they made their way up the stairs for the final battle.

While things started out well, it went downhill as soon as they throw a bomb at the shaman's head and blew it up. That final explosion destabilized the already shaky tower, causing part of it to collapse. Thanks to their quick reflexes, the group managed to catch each other and ended up dangling over the edge. 

As soon as they were on safe footing, the group made their way back down, picking up Balenor on the way and returned to Absalom. Having completed their mission, they passed the final test and became official Pathfinders. They also learned that Balenor would be their Venture-Captain, and would be traveling with him on his small ship, the Naiad.  

Monday, April 6, 2015

Dungeon Delvers: Musings About a Rules-Light Roleplaying Game

What danger awaits these brave dungeon delvers?
There's only one way to find out...
Occasionally while you're hanging out with a few of your friends, you get this urge to roll some dice, explore some dungeons, kill some monsters, and find some treasure. However, you don't want to pull out the good, ol' rulebooks because you really don't want to deal with all those cumbersome rules and just want to have some fun around the table. 

Recently, I've been toying with a really simple game that would allow that. I'm currently calling it "Dungeon Delver". The goal of this is to create something that's easy to pull out and get started playing in just a few minutes. Currently, I'm still in the brainstorming stage, but I thought I'd post some of my ideas and get some feedback and possibly some additional ideas. 

As the name implies, players will create an adventurer that'll allow them to explore ancient ruins and dangerous dungeons. Each adventurer has an "Adventuring Level" ranging from 1 to 5. Unless told otherwise, players create new adventurers at 1st level and gain a new level each time they obtain 2,000 GP worth of treasure. 

Dungeon Delver won't have classes. Instead, players create 3 "knacks" and 2 "flaws" for their character (with GM approval, of course). Knacks represent something the adventurer is good at, while flaws obviously represent something they're bad at. 

During play, players will make tests when attempting to do something that has serious repercussions for failure. This done by rolling 2d6, adding the results and the adventurer's level together. The test succeeds if the result is equal to or greater than 10. Knacks associated with the test grant a +2 bonus while flaws give a -2 penalty. Adventurers who have an advantage with the test roll 3d6 and keep the 2 dice with the better results. Disadvantage works the same way, but you keep the 2 with the worst results instead. 

All adventurers receive a number of "Life Points" equal to 1d6. Each time they gain a level, they roll a number of d6 equal to their new level. This new result is their new Life Point total. All weapons deal 1d6 points of damage. During combat, you make tests to both hit a target or dodge an attack. When an adventurer reaches 0 Life Points, they fall unconscious and bleed out for a number of rounds equal to their level. Afterwords, they die. An adventurer can be stabilized by a successful test. However, during combat, this test is made at a disadvantage. 

This is the general blueprint of rules that I have at the moment. I'm still working out how magic will work, thinking I'll just keep it free-form by utilizing the same test mechanic representing if the casting was successful or not. I'm also wondering if I should lower the number of knacks and flaws a character has and maybe refine some of the other mechanics to make things as easy as possible. Feel free to give me any advice or ideas. They are greatly appreciated. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Pathfinder Unchained Preview: A Few Thoughts

Last year at PaizoCon, Pathfinder Unchained was announced. This upcoming supplement will supposedly shake up your game by introducing new rules and ideas that change fundamental aspects of the game. However, that's not all. The book will also contain four "unchained" versions of certain classes: the Barbarian, the Monk, the Rogue, and the Summoner. We've received a few snippets about some of the changes for these classes, but nothing major, so many Pathfinder fans have been speculating about the class for the past few months. 

Until now. 

Yesterday, Paizo released a blog that revealed some of the big changes that will be made to these classes. Because Pathfinder is my go-to fantasy roleplaying game and I've done this for most of their major rulebook releases, I thought I'd give my thoughts and opinions about these changes. 

Let's start with the Barbarian. Like most Pathfinder players, I was confused about this class' inclusion in Pathfinder Unchained. The Barbarian is actually a pretty solid class and I feel its spot should have gone to the Fighter. However, they've explained the reason they decided to unchain her is to simplify her. That makes more sense. They're making rage much easier to use at the table by cutting out all the calculations you have to do when entering it. They're also simplifying some of the rage powers and buffing others. The example they give is Rage Climbing. This power normally just gives you a bonus to Climb while raging. Now it will just give you a Climb speed. I still wish the Fighter had gotten this slot, but I'm okay with what they're doing with the Barbarian. 

Next is the Monk. I've always had a problem with Pathfinder's version of the class. You can actually go back to the first few posts of this blog and see that. I'm glad its one of the classes getting a unchained version and I like what I'm seeing. I'm happy its getting a full base attack bonus and a d10 hit die, and I love the idea of focusing the class around ki powers and allowing that layer of customization (which is an idea I've been toying around with for awhile). I'm totally on bored for this alteration and can't wait to see it. 

I'm also happy to hear about the changes to the Rogue. She gets an ability that allows her to hamper her enemies in combat, an ability to do cool things with her skills that only she gets, some of her rogue talents are getting a good boost, and she apparently gets Weapon Finesse as a bonus feat as well as being able to add Dexterity to damage! These sound awesome and I hope it means the Rogue won't be horrible anymore.

Finaly, we'll talk about the Summoner. Unlike the Monk and the Rogue, the Summoner was included to bring it more in-line with the other classes by simplifying its eidolon and fixing its spell list. Now, you pick an outsider theme for your eidolon and I believe can customize it from there. Also, they'll be reworking the spell list so it won't have some really stupidly releveled wizard spells. That's all good in my book. 

What do you think about these changes in Pathfinder Unchained? Are you excited for them? Are you dreading theme? I'd love to know.