We at JBE are constantly hard at work at bringing you new products. So we don’t always devote the time we would like to updating our blog. Sure, we post previews of upcoming products or we talk about stuff that is in our current products, but we do not just create stuff for our blog as often as we would like. Oddly enough, these posts are some of our most popular. Take the 5 Questions series as an example. These 5 questions for each class help players flesh out their characters without much longer 50-100 question series that are elsewhere on the internet. These five questions tailored to each class help new players and veterans alike. Or how about our 3 Rules series. These are designed for game masters looking to start GMing or to start GMing in a new way. And then there is when we just like to post random stuff. Take the Baby Owlbear as an example. I came up with this for a campaign I was running last year at the start of the pandemic and I just decided to share that with everyone just because. It has become one of our most popular posts since.
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I DM a D&D 5e game at home. It started off as a Lost Mines of Phandelver campaign with some Yawning Portal thrown in. But when Phandelver finished, I started them in on the Tomb of Annihilation. We finished that and the group is on the road to hunting down the rest of Acererak’s phylactories. The group has now two multiclass characters and one person that changed out a character for another. One went multiclass for story reasons while the other two did it because they were bored with the class as it was. Even then, I suspect the story provided the excuse for the player to multiclass because he was bored with his choices.
This brings me back to the days of 3rd edition where prestige classes abounded. Many remember prestige classes with hatred because WotC just published book after book filled with PrCs, but I remember them fondly and I think 5e could really benefit from them for many reasons. Here are my top 3.
1. They Provide High-Level Options Later in the Game
Fifth edition can be described as many things: approachable, easy to learn, a good mix of old school and modern. But the one thing it cannot be described as is having a significant number of character options beyond 3rd level. Sure you can choose to raise an ability score or choose a feat, choose a new warlock invocation, a new spell for casters, or a new subclass option if you selected a subclass with options at 3rd level, but that is literally it. There aren’t other class choices. So a 10th-level fighter wanting some different options adds a level of bard, for example, and gets a few cantrips, 1st-level spells, and an extra skill proficiency. Hideous laughter does not appear very helpful when the single-classed wizard can cast dominate person. A prestige class designed for higher level characters can add options that multiclassing with a base class at level 1 simply cannot.
2) They Can Be a Reward for the Story
Did your group slay a dragon? Being able to take a prestige class called Dragon Slayer would be a nice way to distinguish a character. Did you die and come back? A Deathwalker prestige class might be fun. Were you reduced to 0 hit points with fire? Why not take the Pyrowielder prestige class. This can make the actions in game have mechanical impacts at your table.
3) They Let Games Be More Flexible
According to the book, you gain your proficiencies at 1st level and that’s it. Some subclasses give extra proficiencies when you take them, but there are no other way according to the PHB to gain proficiencies beyond that. I have a houserule where every 4 levels, the players gain an extra proficiency with either a toolset, skill, or language. Multi-classing in bard or a few other classes give an extra proficiency, but that is about the only way to change things up at higher levels. So if no one is proficient in thieves tools, and you want to put a trap in your next dungeon, you’re either guaranteed for them to fail at disarming it or you have to remove it. So a prestige class could offer additional proficiencies. So when no one took Acrobatics and you want to make the group face off against ninja assassins, someone in the group will not be outclassed after taking the Roofrunner prestige class. Someone wants to own a tavern, they can take the Brewmaster prestige class and become proficient with brewing toolset as well as get better at fighting after repeatedly quelling a drunken mob.
Earlier this year, we started sharing a new batch of signature characters. These new characters focused on humans and the human experience, helping us all see ourselves in our fantasy games. Today we want to share with you a new one. Allow me to introduce you to our new signature paladin.
Thando Xolani’s name means “Love and Peace.” Like most parents, Thando worked hard to provide a good life for his wife and kids. He missed his son’s first steps and his daughter’s first words; he was working at the time. He worked hard to send them to a good school. When a monster attacked the school, Thando and his wife were left childless. Thando swore vengeance upon the creature and prayed to any deity that would provide him the power to do so. Obhejane, the Stubborn One, deity of Strength, Persistence, and Loss answered. He and others that lost their children that day tracked down the monster and killed it. When he returned home, he and his wife found moving on difficult. Within a year, they separated. They still love each other, but they need time apart. Now a paladin of Obhejane, Thando rededicated his life to stop monsters from causing the pain that he endured and continues to endure.
Yesterday saw the release of the D66 Compendium 2 on Fantasy Grounds. We are thrilled to have such an awesome easily available for Traveller gamers to have access to all these tables in an easy to use format. We were asked if there is a listing of all the tables in the book. I looked and we had not posted that anywhere previously. That is a serious oversight on our part so let’s correct that now. Here are all the lists within, in order in which they appear.
- Home Overview
- Background Events
- Agent Events
- Army Events
- Citizen Events
- Drifter Events
- Entertainer Events
- Marine Events
- Merchant Events
- Navy Events
- Noble Events
- Prisoner Events
- Psion Events
- Rogue Events
- Scholar Events
- Scout Events
- Life Events
- Contact’s Main Use
Crime and the Law
- Biometric Security Devices
- Gambling Games
- Criminal Hideouts
- Famous Space Battles
- Interstellar War Names
- Military Base Names
- Military Base’s Main Purpose
- Pirate Bases
- Scout Base Names
- Prison Facility Names
- Prison Inmate Nicknames
- Narcotics/Recreational Drug Names
- Things Customs Won’t Allow on Planet
- Atmosphere Taints
- Corrosive, Flammable and Insidious Atmospheres
- Desert Names
- Large Bodies of Water
- Native Fruits
- Disease Names
- Reasons Why the Planet is Dead
- Cargo Ship Names
- Criminal Ship Names
- Generational/Sleeper Ship Names
- Medical Ship Names
- Personal Spacecraft Names
- Pirate Ship Names
- Research Ship Names 1 and 2
- Warship Names
- Reasons Why the Ship is Crashed
- Escalations of a Panicked Crowd
- Gossip About a Ruler or Noble
- Mine Names
- Planetary Bureaucracies
- Spaceport City Names
- Random Spaceport Events
- Reasons for an Amber Travel Zone
- Reasons for a Red Travel Zone
- Reason Why the Starport is Closed
- Reasons Why Your Ally Cannot Help Right Now
- Ways Your Contact Was Killed
- Medical Equipment
- Things Stuck in the Pipes After Water Refueling
- Local Fashion
- Stores in a Spaceport
- Pets (Common)
- Pets (Uncommon)
- Dog Breeds
- Cat Breeds
- Bird Breeds
- Sports Team Names
- American Colony Names
- American Warships
- French Colony Names
- French Warships
- Chinese Warships (Capital Vowels are Long Pronunciation)
- Luna City Names
- Mars Cities and Places
- Outer System Bases and Stations
- Aslan Male Names (Pronounced)
- Aslan Female Names (Pronounced)
- Darrian Male Names (Given, Pronounced)
- Darrian Male Names (Chosen, Pronounced)
- Darrian Female Names (Given, Pronounced)
- Darrian Female Names (Chosen, Pronounced)
- Darrian Last Names 1 & 2 (Pronounced)
- Droyne Male Names (Pronounced)
- Droyne Female Names (Pronounced)
- K’Kree Male Names (Pronounced)
- K’kree Female Names (Pronounced)
- Vargr Male Names (Pronounced)
- Vargr Female Names (Pronounced)
- Vilani Male Names
- Vilani Female Names
- Vilani Family Names
- Zhodani Male Names
- Zhodani Female Names
- Zhodani Family Names
I love me some 13th Age. It is a well built game and highly enjoyable, one you should check out if you are not familiar. I’d describe it as D&D 4th Edition without all the compromises that held 4e back from being a truly awesome game. Having said that, I know plenty of groups that will only play D&D 5e or Pathfinder.
For GMs in such a group, I recommend doing a bit of stealing from 13A. There’s plenty of goodness in this game that is relatively easy to add into other games. Here are a few ideas.
If there is a single mechanic that is truly iconic to 13th Age that is highly stealable, it is the idea of Icons. Every setting has more powerful persons that may take an interest in the player characters. These powerful persons have allies all over the place, and they will help you where you can.
2) Ignore XP and Level Where Appreciate
Old school players will remember having to find a teacher to train you and having to pay them, which ate the gold you found. So even if you got enough XP to level up, you didn’t level up until you got back to town and trained. By today’s standards by players use to modern versions D&D or Pathfinder, that can feel a little punishing. So instead, steal from 13th Age and just ignore the XP gained and level up at an appropriate place in the story or between arcs. There are many good justifications for this: leveling up is too fast, less mechanics for the GM to keep track of, or you feel it makes more sense in the story are just a few.
3) One Unique Thing and the Skills
Player characters are unique, even among adventurers. They should have an idea about them to help crystalize the idea of their character and emphasis their uniqueness. Steal the one unique thing and help them have their character’s personality shine through.
And if you want to take this one a step further, steal the skill system. If you can justify using your skill of bring a “Noble” to add your proficiency on Charisma checks when trying to influence people, the “Rebellious Youth” skill to explain how you add your proficiency to Strength or Dexterity checks that would normally use Acrobatics or Athletics when climbing a rope or walking across a narrow rooftop, and the “Royal Education” skill to why you are better with Intelligence checks when trying to unravel historical, religious, or arcane mysteries you encounter.
This past weekend during my home 5e game, I threw something in a dungeon I never had before: a deva. Depending on your game and edition of the game, this is an angelic outsider or celestial. It was standing in the room with a curtain for a door. The characters listened at the door and (somehow) the cleric got the highest roll. I described the sound of large, feathery wings. The barbarian peaked around the curtain; before she got a description of what she saw, I terrified the group by making her roll a Charisma save. She passed and I described it as her being able to hold back the tears of joy for seeing such a calming and wonderful sight.
I put it in there to give them something different: hope. All too often, we gamers just see problems in the next room. Literally, I’ve heard players cringe before opening the next door. Everything is doom and gloom. New horrors are behind every single door. So this time, I gave them a reason to hope. He healed their wounds and spoke some kind words to them. But mostly, just seeing that there is good still in the world was a breath of fresh air to the players.
This wasn’t just for the characters but also for the players. We’ve been living under quarantine for a year now. Playing in a regular D&D game has helped keep us connected to other people and kill evil things. However, it is easy to get discouraged and see nothing but doom and gloom. So I added the deva as a way for them to offer them rest. The group seemed to relax when they first saw it. There seemed to be a tension break at that moment. I think it helped their characters as well as the players.
How Can You Use That in Your Game?
The short answer is put in a non-combat encounter that doesn’t want or ask anything from them. Monsters need killing. Innocents need rescuing. Masses need rescuing. Everywhere the characters go, something is asked of them. Instead, let them role play with something that not only asks nothing of them but also gives to them. And I’m not talking treasure. Give them a reason to hope.
What are some examples? Well, you can steal my idea and have them talk to an angel they’re sworn to protect a location. If they’re in a ruin, perhaps they find a fountain still flowing water that heals those that drink it (1/person per day) that also keeps evil creatures away, affording them a safe place to rest for the night. Maybe a forgotten shrine to a deity one of the character’s worship that is other than the cleric.
Add in a moment of happiness to your game.
We commission some beautiful artwork here at JBE, and we hope you enjoy them as well. If you enjoy them,put one in your computer desktop or as zoom background. Download these high resolution images you want and add it to your life today.
Few things bring me joy like making Pathfinder monsters. I take a beautiful piece of artwork and forge it into something new and terrifying. It’s like alchemy. I take something and I forge it into something new, something that never existed before. Well, it did exist before, but only as an idea. Take this week’s monster, the Memory of Anger. Plenty of people have gone through angry streaks in their life. Quite often, remembering their anger brings them shame afterward, but they cannot stop themselves at the moment. And even after the angry streak is over, remember what caused that anger still sends them into random rages. I thought I would make a monster that represented that anger. Similar ideas around this concept are rage elementals and fury demons, but I don’t have artwork for them at this exact moment. Perhaps another day for them.
Memory of Anger CR 8
CE Medium undead (incorporeal)
Init +10; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +3
AC 19, touch 19, flat-footed 12 (+2 deflection, +6 Dex, +1 dodge)
hp 78 (12d8+24)
Fort +6, Ref +10, Will +11
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +2, incorporeal; Immune undead traits
Speed fly 40 ft. (perfect)
Melee incorporeal touch +15 (5d6 negative energy plus dark memories)
Str —, Dex 22, Con —, Int 6, Wis 17, Cha 15
Base Atk +9; CMB +15; CMD 28
Feats Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Critical (touch), Improved Initiative, Skill Focus (Intimidate), Stand Skill
Skills Fly + 14, Intimidate +23, Stealth +21
Languages Common; any others it knew in life
Organization solitary, pair, 3-8 (collection)
Dark Memories (Su) A touch from a memory of anger brings up feelings of uncontrollable anger in someone, making one no longer able to recognize friend from foe. Those touched must succeed a DC 18 Will saving throw or become confused and gain a +2 circumstance bonus to Strength for 1d4 rounds. The affected creature can attempt a new saving throw at the end of every round. A successful save ends the confusion and the bonus to Strength. The save DC is Charisma-based.
When anger consumes a person’s whole existence and they die with that anger unsated, they can come back as a memory of anger. Most memories of anger haunt the place where they died or a place where the person’s anger is centered around. A few, however, roam around, causing chaos and death wherever they go.
Like I said not long ago, making Pathfinder monsters is something that I do just for fun. Give me an image and I can make a monster from it. This is one of the reasons why I love Gennifer Bone’s Patreon. By supporting it, she makes new monster art, and I get an image to make a new monster from. If any other artists have a similar set-up, please let me know. Today’s monster comes from another of Bone’s images. I hope you enjoy it.
Cave Chupacabra CR 4
CE Medium magical beast
Init +8; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +2
AC 17, touch 13, flat-footed 14 (+3 Dex, +4 natural)
hp 37 (5d10+10)
Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +3
Resist cold 2
Speed 40 ft.
Melee bite +8 (1d6+4 plus 1d6 cold and poison)
Special Attacks breath weapon (15-ft cone, coughing poison, Fort DC 14, usable every 1d2 rounds)
Str 17, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 4, Wis 15, Cha 9
Base Atk +5; CMB +8; CMD 22
Feats Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Skill Focus (Stealth)
Skills Stealth +15
Languages understands Undercommon
Environment cold underground
Organization solitary, pair
Cave Chupacabra Poison (Ex) Bite–injury; save Fort DC 14, frequency 1/round for 6 rounds, effect 1d2 Con, cure 2 consecutive saves.
Coughing Poison (Ex) Breath weapon–inhale; save Fort DC 14, frequency 1/round for 2 rounds, effect the living creature collapses into fits of coughing, falling prone. The creature can take no actions while coughing, but is not considered helpless. After the poison wears off, the creature can act normally, cure 1 saves.
Not related to a true chupacabra, the cave chupacabra is named so because of its vague resemblance. The dwarven name for them translates as “bat-faced crawler.” It hides in the darkness and attacks those it deems weak and vulnerable. Mostly a solitary hunter, it occasionally fights in pairs to take down larger targets or when it is especially hungry.
As those that follow me on Twitter know, I recently started watching Critical Role. I’m still working my way through Campaign 1. I got to the point where a shadow demon was possessing someone (I’m trying to be as obscure as a I can to avoid spoilers) and it was much bigger than your typical shadow demon and it inspired me to make a monster that would fill that same role but in Pathfinder, in honor of the game they were playing before they went on the air. I hope you all, including the Critical Roll crew, enjoy this.
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Demon, Shadowlord CR 14
CE Huge outsider (chaotic, demon, evil, extraplanar, incorporeal)
Init +12; Senses darkvision 120 ft.; Perception +34
AC 25, touch 25, flat-footed 16 (+8 deflection, +8 Dex, +1 dodge, -2 size)
hp 144 (17d10+51)
Fort +10, Ref +20, Will +16
Defensive Abilities incorporeal; DR 10/cold iron and good; Immune cold, electricity, poison; Resist acid 10, fire 10; SR 24
Weaknesses sunlight powerlessness
Speed fly 50 ft. (perfect)
Melee 2 claws +23 touch (1d8 plus 2d6 cold), bite +23 touch (2d6 plus 2d6 cold)
Special Attacks pounce, sprint, shadow blend
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 17th; concentration +25)
At will—deeper darkness, fear (DC 22), greater teleport (self only), telekinesis (DC 23)
3/day—magic jar (DC 23), shadow conjuration (DC 22), shadow evocation (DC 23)
1/day—greater shadow evocation (DC 26), summon (level 8, 1d4 shadow demons 90%, 1 shadowlord demon 50%)
Str –, Dex 26, Con 17, Int 19, Wis 22, Cha 27
Base Atk +17; CMB +27; CMD 46
Feats Acrobatic, Blind-Fight, Combat Reflexes, Dazzling Display, Dodge, Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Skill Focus (Bluff)
Skills Acrobatics +32, Bluff +34, Disguise +28, Fly +36, Knowledge (arcana, local, planes) +24, Perception +34, Sense Motive +26, Stealth +20; Racial Modifiers +8 Perception
Languages Abyssal, Common; telepathy 100 ft.
Environment any (Abyssal)
Organization solitary, pair
Sprint (Ex) Once per minute, a shadowlord demon increases its fly speed to 240 feet for 1 round.
Shadow Blend (Su) During any conditions other than bright light, a shadowlord demon can disappear into the shadows as a move-equivalent action, effectively becoming invisible. Artificial illumination or light spells of 4th level or lower do not negate this ability.
Sunlight Powerlessness (Ex) A shadowlord emon is utterly powerless in bright light or natural sunlight and flees from it. A shadowlord demon caught in such light cannot attack and can take only a single move or attack action. A shadowlord demon that is possessing a creature using magic jar is not harmed by sunlight, but if it is struck by a sunbeam or sunray spell, while possessing a creature, the shadow demon is driven out of its host automatically.
Shadow demons that possess a body and force it to act in a manner that is contrary to their nature are quickly defeated by adventurers. Those that possess a person and just whisper in their mind, slowly corrupting them from the inside last a long time, bending them towards evil over years. It is these shadow demons that feeds upon their possessed victims for a long time. They grow in power, size, and importance. When they do show themselves, they are true demonic terrors.