22 May 2015

Wayfinder #13 is live! (for definitions of life acceptable in Ustalav)

And after another half a year shorter period because of PaizoCon moving to an earlier date, a new issue of Wayfinder is >here< This time it is dedicated to Ustalav, a region of Paizo's Golarion inspired and shaped by gothic horror stories, Ravenloft, and things that go bump in the night...

This time, my contribution is "Rituals Secret And Superstitious" article presenting a few new feats and rogue talents. Yes, no bestiary entry this time—this is a printed issue and thus the space is limited, meaning that my submitted monster hadn't made the cut.

30 April 2015

Fantasy Races: Azan

Azan
(both singular and plural, adjective is azani)

Azan are ancient people whose arrogance overshadows their deceptively innocent appearance. Their civilization mastered arcane magic, alchemy, and engineering, blending them to create wonders undreamed of by the less developed races. In their intellectual advancement they slowly went beyond inefficient sexual reproduction and moved to growing their children via alchemy, perfecting their very own design and weeding out the undesirable traits. Or so they vehemently claim. The truth is, that between their culture being already accustomed to low reproduction rate, extended longevity, dedication to arcane and scientific studies more than social and family life, costs and time need to grow a new azan, and occasional flaws in the growing process itself, the azan are exceptionally rare for a self-proclaimed intellectual masters of the world.

Azan wishing for a progeny has to build, purchase, or otherwise acquire growing vat, as well as numerous alchemical ingredients required for the reproduction process. Multiple azan often pool their resources to share burdens, responsibilities, and benefits of breeding acting as batch parents together. Such cabals often grow single azan progeny for each of the batch parents. The growing process produces a fully functional young adult and implants basic knowledge of azani language, culture, and the skills needed for the individual's planned apprenticeship—with batch siblings sharing tint of their skin and their skill predisposition. There is little love for the progeny, though, for the child is almost invariably seen as an investment by its batch parents. Azani culture considers a newly grown azan an indentured apprentice to its batch parents until its servitude repays the costs of its creation, usually with a hefty interest, especially if the batch parents suffered from failed growing attempts before. Apprenticeship on average lasts for 7—10 years after which, the progeny might be retained as an assistant, sent as an envoy to perform services away from its parent, or dismissed to live independently.


Physical Description: An azan looks somewhat like a pale, hairless, sometimes a bit chubby child with totally inhuman beady black eyes. It's skin is very smooth and usually white or pale grey in color, often with a slight blue, green, or violet tint, depending upon exact formula and technique used in growth of the batch it was part of. Sexual dimorphism was breed out ages ago, as purposeless—azan genders determine little except the names chosen for the progeny. Very old azan might grow a small amount of hair on their chins, tips of their ears and rear of their heads but it is quite rare, unlike the wrinkles and pronounced veins that commonly mar the skin of elder azan.

The modern azan appearance is the result of deliberate slowing and later completly stopping the body development at an early stage—ancient azan were probably fully developed Medium-sized humanoids.

Society: Azan organize themselves in cabals (small groups that share interests, goals, and resources), colleges (larger networks that share information about related interests and exchange information), and corporations (groups that control specific resources or technologies). Majority of azan live in small outposts where all activity goes around a cabal or two. Larger azani settlements are usually governed by a college or corporation serving primarily as a focal point for interest of the group.

Azan dedication to mastering arcane magic, alchemy, engineering, and blending them into a combined science borders with obsession. Advances in this fields allow them to offset their minuscule population, however, with their creations used as tools and workforce tending to the needs of azan and freeing them to pursue higher callings.

Azani settlements are marvels of engineering and magic, using short-range portals, extradimensional space, guardian constructs, mechanized factories, and mutated flora and fauna whenever possible.

Relations: Azan see themselves as intellectually and culturally superior to other races. Individual and group attitudes range from patronizing benevolence to shameless exploitation, with isolationism being the dominant policy among cabals and colleges. While the azan prefer to believe that other races has little to offer to them in field of science, research, and culture, they are aware of their own need for raw resources, occasionally trading with other races. They favor controlling the raw source of materials, though, building their outposts in locations allowing them to control the harvest and refinement of the resource.

Alignment And Religion: Azan tend to favor either distancing themselves from gods, seeing reliance on them as undermining the azani overarching goal of cultural, magical, and technological superiority, or viewing the gods and their magic as another resource to be exploited while pursuing those goals.

Azan philosophy is based on viewing the universe as inherently chaotic system, with azani intellectual superiority being the sole way of imposing meaningful and lasting patterns.

Adventurers: Azan obvious superiority means praise of lesser races is irrelevant, but gaining reputation among other azan might be occasionally helpful. Most azan prefer to become adventureres for more utilitarian purposes, though, collecting raw resources, research materials, rare ingredients, exotic specimens, and sheer wealth that will help finance their future works and research. As the arcane magic, alchemy, and technology are the most favored azani vocations, alchemists, arcanists, investigators, sorcerers, summoners, and wizards are the most common classes among azan. A few martially oriented azan prefer bloodragers and magi, and oracles are majority of the rare azani divine casters.

Names: Azan have a first name that is short and often sharp, one or two syllables, followed by a batch name that is composed of the first names of all the parents and the number of batch they created together, and then followed by ranks and organizations they belong to. Azan that are still in their indenture period are expected to precede their name with "apprentice" while respected azan may claim the honorific of master before their name.

Sample Names: Zix CortValDax III, fractalist of Pyromantic College, inductor of ValDax corporation.

Azani Racial Traits

Ability Scores: +2 Intelligence, +2 Charisma, -2 Strength. Azan are intellectually superior, and inherently confident about that, but their small frames are muscle-deficient.

Type: Azan are humanoids with azan subtype.

Small Size: Azan are Small creatures gaining +1 size bonus to attack rolls and AC, –1 size penalty to CMB and CMD, and +4 size bonus to Stealth checks.

Slow Speed: Azan have land speed of 20 feet.

Low-light Vision: Azan see twice as far as humans in conditions of dim light.

Apprentice Training: Azan have a +2 racial bonus to single Intelligence- or Wisdom-based skill selected when they are grown. They always treat their apprentice training skill as class skill.

Magetech (Sp): Once per day, Azan with Intelligence score of 11 or more can spend 1 minute building a small techno-magical device that will replicate effects of single 0th level spell. Using this ability requires access to proper tools, and the way the device works should be somewhat related to the azan's apprentice training skill. Replicating a spell with costly components require using materials of equal value during the construction process. The device falls apart if used or when a new one is build. Any saving throws and concentration checks required by the use of device use the azan's Intelligence score.

Magetech Lore: Azan gain a +2 racial bonus to Disable Device and Use Magic Device checks.

Languages: Common and Azan. Azan with high Intelligence can choose any non-secret language they want.

Azani Racial Feats
Azan can select following feats enhancing their racial abilities.

Azani Supervisor
You are supervising a college or corporation of your own.
Prerequisite: Azan, character level 7th.
Benefit: This feat works like Leadership feat, but uses Intelligence instead of Charisma to determine your leadership score and all the followers are azan. The cohort has to be either an azan, a construct, or your magical, mechanical, or alchemical creation.

Magetech Initiate
Your magetech devices last until you disassemble them or break them.
Prerequisite: Magetech racial trait.
Benefit: The magetech device replicating effects of 0th level spell you built can be used any number of times. It still falls apart if you build another one.

Magetech Servitor
You have constructed yourself a servant following your simple orders.
Prerequisite: Magetech racial trait.
Benefit: You have a Tiny magetech servitor that follows your simple orders, having a functionality of constant unseen servant spell, except it can be easily destroyed with attacks (AC 12, 1 hit point, always fails saving throws). If the servitor breaks or is destroyed you can rebuild it with your set of tools with one hour of work.

Azani Equipment

Growing Vat: This is a complex alchemical device, composed of a large crystal container with a tangle of pipes, valves, power cords, and gauges required to complete the process of growing a new azan or a batch of them. Growing vat weighing about half a ton and costs 1,000 gp for a vat capable of holding up to six growing azan seeds. Growing a young azan in a vat requires components costing another 1,000 gp and takes about three years.

Magetech Tools, Basic: A basic set of tools used for constructing, repairing, and salvaging azani magetech. Weighs 5 lbs and costs 100 gp.

Favored Class Options
Azan can select following options for their favored class bonuses.

Alchemist: Gain 1/6 of a new alchemist discovery.

Arcanist: Gain 1/6 of a new arcanist exploit.

Bard: Maximum level of a spell replicated with magetech device increases by 1/4. This applies to single device per day, even if the character can create more than one per day.

Investigator: Gain a +1/4 bonus on all inspiration rolls.

Machinesmith: Gain 1/2 follower. Each such follower is an expert 1 level higher than the previous one.

Metamorph: Add +1/4 to the metamorph's evolution pool.

Rogue: Add +1/2 to number of magetech uses per day.

SorcererThe sorcerer adds +1/2 use of a 1st level bloodline power that can be normally used 3 + the sorcerer's Charisma modifier per day.

Summoner: Add +1/4 to the eidolon's evolution pool.

Witch: Add +1/4 evolution point to the witch's familiar.

Wizard: The wizard adds +1/2 use of a 1st level school power that can be normally used 3 + the wizard's Intelligence modifier per day. 

23 March 2015

Terrors Of Obsidian Apocalypse: Haunts

A creeping pool of raw ectoplasm, a haunted door, a cell where hanging took place, a bed of lover strangled, all those places were tainted by fear and death, and now wait to scare intruders... Or even take their lives.

A small but neat package of haunts is waiting for you.


I never before used haunts in Pathfinder so large part of the design process of this piece included learning the haunt building rules.

12 February 2015

Metamorph Love!

Since metamorph is already here, with publication of Liber Influxus Communis (or here, or here), I wanted to show some love for it with a few new options. Completely incidentally and not in any relation to incoming Valentine's Day some of those options will be related to gender and sexuality. Yes. Definitely no connection here.


New Evolutions:

Some of the following evolutions might not be suitable for every campaign or style of play, depending upon themes and topics included or excluded in your game. Apparently some groups don't reference sexuality, or reproduction in any way in their games. Number in bracket after the name of evolution is the evolution base point cost. Metamorph was written with (deliberately) unwieldy neutral form in mind—I imagined iconic metamorph to be genderless from the start. That's why the text uses it or its while referring to singular metamorph (except when speaking about metamorphs of specific gender like in case of control fertility evolution).

Control Fertility (Ex) [1 point]: Simple control of one's reproductive organs is child's play for anyone who already mastered much higher degree of control over one's body. Metamorph with this evolution has unerring mastery over one's fertility. Male metamorphs in addition to deciding between providing fertile or inert seed, can also decide the gender of their offspring. Female metamorphs only become pregnant willingly, can conceive female progeny via parthenogenesis, can suspend very early pregnancy for up to twelve months, can terminate pregnancy without outside means, or induce early labor.

Metamorphs who spend additional evolution point have greater influence over the capabilities of their progeny, and can decide which of the ability scores will be the highest and which will be the lowest.

Cosmetic Feature (Ex) [1 points]: A metamorph can manifest one or more unusual but minor appearance traits, such as strange eye, hair, or skin color combination, skin patterns, differently shaped nose, eyes, or ears. Cosmetic feature grants +2 bonus to Bluff checks made to distract or Perform checks made to entertain observers but must be deliberately concealed while trying to use Disguise skill.

Genderless (Ex) [1 point]: A metamorph adjusts its body becoming genderless and asexual, both physically and mentally. The metamorph is immune to any attempts of seduction, and any effects that manipulate or rely on gender, sexuality, or lust (e.g. unnatural lust spell), and gains +4 bonus to saving throws against charm effects. While any metamorph can develop this evolution it is particularly appropriate for reconstructed phenotype.

Gendermorph (Ex) [2 point]: A metamorph can switch it physical sex after eight hours of rest. The change adjusts the metamorph's physical appearance to match the new gender but does not mask it, the metamorph is still recognizable but gains +20 bonus to Bluff, and Disguise checks made to pretend to be close relative of oneself of opposite gender.

A metamorph that spends 2 additional evolution points on this ability can switch its gender quickly. Such change is a supernatural ability that requires expenditure of a vital surge and takes a full round.

Hermaphrodite [1 point]: A metamorph develops functional sexual and reproductive traits of both genders becoming attractive to both genders and capable of reproduction with either.

Prime Mate (Ex) [1 point]: A metamorph's becomes more attractive gaining +2 bonus to Charisma ability and skill checks made to interact socially with creatures attracted to the metamorph's apparent race and gender.

Sleepless (Ex) [1 point]: A metamorph no longer sleeps and becomes immune to magical sleep effects. It still needs to rest to refresh its spells and special abilities.

A metamorph can spend 1 additional evolution point to become immune to non-magical effects that induce sleep.

Smell Magic (Su) [2 point]: A metamorph can smell magic auras. Requires scent evolution or ability.

A metamorph can spend 1 additional evolution point to be able to recognize school of magic involved.

Favored Class Options:

The following options are available to metamorphs of various races in place of standard favored class bonus.

Android: Add +1/4 to the metamorph's evolution pool.

Dhampir: Gain 1 point of resistance to positive energy damage.

Drow: Add +1/3 to save DC of one evolution (maximum +2 to any one evolution).

Dwarf: Add +1 to healing provided by vitality surge.

Elf: Add +1 to the number of times per days the metamorph can use spell-like ability gained from basic magic or minor magic evolutions. The number of times this bonus is selected for minor magic cannot exceed number of times it was selected for basic magic.

Ghoran: Add 1 to a number of berries affected with goodberries spell-like ability and the maximum number of hit points that the ghoran can healed by eating goodberries each day.

Gillman: Add +1 to swim speed. In combat this option has no effect unless the metamorph has selected it five times (or another increment of five).

Gnome: Add +1 to range of blindsense, blindsight, lifesight, scent, termorsense and other evolutions that grant new senses. In combat this option has no effect unless the metamorph has selected it five times (or another increment of five).

Half-elf: Add +1/3 to number of vitality surges.

Half-orc: Add +1/3 to number of vitality surges.

Halfling: Add +1 to land speed. In combat this option has no effect unless the metamorph has selected it five times (or another increment of five).

Hobgoblin: Add +1/6 to natural armor.

Human: Add +1/4 to the metamorph's evolution pool.

Kobold: Add +1 point to damage of breath weapon evolution.

Lashunta: Add +10 feet to range of telepathy or limited telepathy special abilities.

Nagaji: Add +1/6 to natural armor.

Strix: Add +5 to fly speed.

Vanara: Add +1 to climb speed. In combat this option has no effect unless the metamorph has selected it five times (or another increment of five).

19 January 2015

Monster: Rainbow Cat

Rainbow Cat

This creature is a small rainbow-hued cat with a single straight horn growing from its forehead and a pair of butterfly wings.

CR 5; XP 1,600
N Small Magical Beast
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60-ft., low-light vision; Perception +19
Aura pattern amplification (60 feet)

Defense

AC 18, touch 14, flat-footed 14 (+3 Dex, +4 natural, +1 size)
HP 51 (6d10+18)
Fort +8, Ref +8, Will +4
Defensive Abilities prismatic affinity

Offense

Speed 40 ft., fly 60 ft. (good)
Melee gore +10 (1d4 and rainbow burst), bite +10 (1d4), 2 claws +10 (1d3)
Ranged rainbow arc +10 ranged touch (5d6 and rainbow burst)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks rainbow burst

Statistics

Str 10, Dex 16, Con 16, Int 13, Wis 15, Cha 15
Base Atk +6; CMB +5; CMD 18
Skills Fly +18, Perception +19, Stealth +16; Racial Modifiers +8 Perception
Feats Flyby Attack, Improved Initiative, Weapon Finesse
Languages Common, Sylvan (can’t speak)

Ecology

Environment any
Organization solitary or gang (2-4)
Treasure none

Special Abilities

Pattern Amplification (Ex): A rainbow cat's colorful pelt shimmers with all the colors of the rainbow synchronizing with nearby pattern effects. Pattern effects created with spells and spell-like abilities within 60 feet of a rainbow cat have their caster level increased by 1. All creatures within the aura suffer -1 penalty to saving throws against pattern effects. This modifiers stack to a maximum of +3 to caster level and -3 to saving throws.

Prismatic Affinity (Ex): A rainbow cat is never blinded by prismatic sphere, prismatic spray, prismatic wall, and similar effects and has effective Spell Resistance of 26 against them. Unlike most other cats, rainbow cats are completely immune to fascinated condition caused by visual effects.

Rainbow Arc (Su): A rainbow cat can project a ray of prismatic light from its horn with a range of 60 feet. Rainbow arc deals 5d6 points of damage and exposes the target to rainbow burst.

Rainbow Burst (Su): A creature struck with horn or rainbow arc has to succeed a Will saving throw (DC 15). Failure exposes them to a burst of light that causes one of the following conditions: blindness for 1d4 rounds, fatigue for 1d4 rounds or sickness for 1d4 rounds, as chosen by the cat. If the attack that triggered the rainbow burst was a confirmed critical hit, the target also becomes stunned for 1d4 round on a failed save or staggered for 1 round if successful.

Like many other magical beasts, rainbow cats are results of magic gone wild. This particular species arose from a group of semi-feral cats dwelling in highly magical ruins. There, many generations of cats were exposed to lingering magic; residual power flew through the area and the creatures living there, slowly imbuing them with increased intelligence. They also acquired appearance and abilities corresponding to various magical effects dissipating in the ruins: for the ancestors of rainbow cats it was a series of prismatic walls protecting various sections of the ruins. After a few generations rainbow cats acquired limited ability to pass those wards and to harness the prismatic magic infusing them. With their heightened intelligence and ability to fly they spread from the ruins and into the world around them.

Rainbow cats are curious and yet very jaded beings—they enjoy new things but coming from a high magic environment they are accustomed to seeing strange, terrible, and completely weird things, rarely matched in more mundane places. They like to occasionally interact with other intelligent beings and usually avoiding violence, unless their young or their territory is threatened.

The average rainbow cat is 2-½ feet to 4 feet long and weights 20–40 pounds.

15 January 2015

Little Red Goblin: Nontraditional Races

A Little Red Goblin in its sack just brought us a new book: Racial Guide 4: Nontraditional Races.
>Here< is LRGG's blog post and >here< you can find the book itself.

I am pleased to announce that it contains a creation of mine: oc'cli, selected in a contest on Paizo messageboard. Apparently it was unanimous pick of three judges...

The race itself was based on a creature that appeared in my dream in the autumn—appearance only, though, for the cultural and biological background hastily evolved in my mind when I was hastily designing the race for the contest. I can only say I wish I'd remember more of ideas I have in my dreams.

06 January 2015

Wayfinder #12

Twelfth issue of Wayfinder is here! Well, actually it's there...

New creations of mine are aucturn cat and pheyraoh in the bestiary section. Have fun.