5 Questions Every Ranger Should Be Able to Answer

Frequently depicted as the paladins of the natural world, rangers are far more complex than that. They are the fighting force in the places few others dare to tread. They stand on the bridge alone, preventing others from passing. They are loyal to their cause, to an individual, to a group, or to an ideal. While their general mission of protecting those that cannot protect themselves against terrible dangers frequently draws them to the wilderness, they can be found in towns, cities, and royal courts. Some look upon them as vigilantes, working outside of the law while others see them as the only semblance of law where the local guard fears to stand watch.

Join us Fridays as we delve into the classes one at a time, helping you to get in touch with your character. Previously we had similar questions for the barbarian, bard, cleric, druid, fighter, monk, paladin, rogue, sorcerer, and wizard.

1) Where Do Your Loyalties Lie?

One does not simply walk into the mouth of danger for no reason. Even treasure hunters and tomb plunderers do not seek out terrible danger half as terrible as a ranger encounters on an average Tuesday. You face this danger out of loyalty to someone, some group, or to an idea. What is it that you are loyal to? Describe those you are loyal to. Is it your hometown? Maybe it is just your family. Perhaps it is something larger, like your people who have been persecuted by the crown for generations and no one is coming to help you in your people’s time of trouble? Maybe your kingdom was conquered, and you are one of the last of the royal guard, living in the wilderness to avoid detection by the new rulers, all this time you are carrying out your liege’s final request: protect the people.

2) Why Do You Continue On When Few Others Do?

The obvious answer here is, “because I am loyal to them,” but that is to easy of an answer. Others were loyal as well but they abandoned their such a dangerous situation. You are a ranger and stand your ground when few others do. Something drives you forward when prudence and good sense says to flee. What is it? Are you fighting to earn the respect of the parents of the one you love? Do you seek the safety of your family and your people? Did someone now gone save your life and you are fight on in your memory? What drives you into danger?

3) How Did You Become So Comfortable with Nature?

A ranger works among by the wild places in the same way a physician does surrounded by the sick. Some find those environs so dangerous, they will work hard to avoid them. You, however, fear it not and even find it comforting. That level of comfort does not come without any explanation. It can be as simple as growing up in a small town or as a serf child on a lord’s farm and you played in the woods when ever the adults were not looking. Perhaps you’re an orphan or a runaway that fled a city to avoid those from whom you had no defense, found people that took you in and loved you, so when they were in danger, you stood your ground. Even more, you learned to make friends with animals. Did you share with a wolf some meet from a deer you shot? Did you pull a thorn from a lion’s paw? Did you raise a dinosaur from an egg?

4) What Was The Most Memorable Danger You Encounter Alone?

Remember, this is a world where a hag can disguise a cave as a candy house so unsuspecting children will enter, and it can devour them before the parents realize their young are even missing. So any tale about some deadly foe you encountered should be more interesting than a mundane mountain lion or bobcat. Make it something not from our world like gremlins, kobolds, giants, demons, or a ravaging horde of undead. No matter how you survived, it should not be by strength alone. Relying on your arm strength is for fighters. You should have survived and even overcome by your wits. Did you have the zombie horde run off the cliff edge like lemmings? Did you tie the giant’s shoe laces together when he was asleep? Did you sic the gremlins on the kobolds?

5) Do You Really Like Your Fellow Adventurers More Than Your Animal Companion?

Jokes about rangers loving their wolves a little to much aside, rangers are people that spend less time around others than they do battling monsters. Because of that, they can be socially less adept than other classes. So their interactions with their fellow adventurers should be a little awkward. No place is that better illustrated than in the Lord of the Rings when Aragorn first meets the hobbits. He’s abrupt, gruff, and even off-putting. It is when he proves to the four that he is there to help that they begin to trust him. In the same way, if your character grows up away from civilization and does not choose any Charisma-based skills, then your character should be rough around the edges. While your character should always be well meaning, helpful to the group, and never a jerk, there is plenty of room there for your character to be less than socially graceful. The strong-silent type, always phrasing their thoughts in as few words as possible, is an excellent way of doing this. No matter how you portray your character, remember to be one of the group.

Iragui is our signature ranger. His kind are knows as dragonborn but some call them a dragonspawn or even a wyvaran. He and his kind are no strangers to the wild places far from human civilization. With so much smaller numbers than humans, they have to be brave and delve into deadly places with little backup. Iragui knows the sounds of the woods and the smells of the caves. He know if the smell of mold is harmlessly decomposing something dead or if he should draw his weapon. He knows to be ready for battle when the birds are suddenly silent. All these little cues he constantly pays attention to, sometimes so much he misses the casual conversations of his fellow adventurers. While that doesn’t make him the most friendly of travelling companions, they do appreciate it when he warns then that battle is about to begin.

Find the racial stats on this dragon-based race and all our other nature-friendly races in the Book of Heroic Races Compendium and Advanced Compendium for Pathfinder, Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 1 as well as Player Races 2 for Fifth Edition, and Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 1 and Age of Races 2 for 13th Age.

5 Questions Every Barbarian Should Be Able to Answer

Conan is the classic barbarian. Most artwork for this class depicts someone from a tribal background in some type of leather clothing covering only the bare essentials to be considered “decent,” wielding a sizable weapon. While there is nothing wrong with that image of a barbarian, it is only one interpretation of a barbarian. The problem with it came in when some versions of the game mechanically reinforced it. As late as D&D 3.5, a barbarian was illiterate unless you took “reading” as a language. This meant that all barbarians are tribal. Personally, I am quite glad this has been done away with. It allows for different interpretations of what a barbarian can be. One such interpretation: the movie Falling Down. In it, Michael Douglas plays a man who has simply had enough, lashing out at the problems he sees in society. This is one reason why I like the 13th Age and D&D 5e idea of background separate from a class and am glad that it looks like Pathfinder 2e is going that route as well. Ever wanted to play a noble that rejects the laws their family set up? Now you can.

When coming up with this 5 Questions I took a long look at modern and even some classic iterations of the barbarian class and decided to focus in on a few aspects that I feel are key: using anger as a way to help them fight, self sufficiency, and a natural instinct to spot danger. To see which aspect of the other classes we focused on for their 5 Questions posts, see what we posted for the bard, cleric, druid, fighter, monk, paladin, rogue, sorcerer, and wizard.

1) Where Does Your Rage Come From?

The classic answer is that you are an uncivilized person and you simply cannot control yourself. While this answer is perfectly fine, this is far from the only available option. You could be cursed (ahem, failed science experiment) that when you get into a fight you lose your head and fly into a battle rage, potentially making you a danger to everyone in the fight except yourself. My personal favorite is the civilized person that use to make biting comments and engaged in sarcasm–letting the rage inside of them out in small doses–but saw their friends and loved ones hurt and finally unleashing the full force of their anger. I like this one because it subverts what many expect a barbarian should be, opening up a range of character possibilities.

2) How Do You Try to Emulate Your Characters Rage?

This question is quite a bit more meta than the other questions we’ve asked in the 5 Questions series, but I think it is important with the barbarian. A barbarians rage is meant to be uncontrolled, reactionary. It is telling Hulk to “smash,” because telling him anything else isn’t going to help. So when you are done with your turn, you have to sit and wait for everyone else to take their turn. That design choice lends itself towards a more thoughtful, tactical approach to your character. If you play it like a tactician, carefully considering every move to figure out what is the optimal course of action, you are not letting your character live as they should. So to help me get into my barbarian more, I intentionally choose less than optimal actions if it means it would be more reactionary. When facing multiple opponents, I generally go after the toughest looking enemy until one of my allies is hurt, then I rush to attack whomever was hurt (prioritizing the squishiest ones first), taking whatever attacks come from leaving an enemy in the middle of a fight. But that is just me; how does your way to attack your enemies reflect being in an all-consuming rage? Do you ignore all but the closest enemies to you? Do you just run through your enemies, one attack at a time, no matter if they drop or not? What is your style?

3) How Do You Reflect Your Ability to Spot Danger?

The barbarian class typically grants some advantage to spotting danger. How do you reflect this in your character? Are you jumpy, ready with a weapon in your hands because a cute, fluffy bunny rustled some bushes nearby? Are you constantly looking g around, trying to maintain a constant vigilance? Are you always listening to everything going on around you? How do you role play your ability to spot Danger?

4) How Did You Learn to Depend Upon Yourself?

Barbarians are frequently have the survival skill and other skills that would help them do well on their own. That is understandable considering the classic barbarian is one that shuns civilized society for the natural world. It even makes sense for the civilized barbarian; getting angry rather quickly tends to drive people away, requiring you to depend upon yourself more. If you’re cursed, you probably do not want many people around you for fear they will get hurt, promoting self sufficiency. So what was that like? If you are a societial outcast, how do you make clothes for yourself? What was it like learning to hunt? We’re you raised by a tribe and they taught you? We’re you always on the outskirts of civilization and had a basic idea of how to survive on your own before, even if it was not previously your soul source of survival before and now it is? Did you almost starve before learning how to use a bow? Do you trade with the local tribes, helping you get what you cannot do yourself?

5) How Much Does It Mean to You That Your Companions Accept You?

No person can exist without interacting with others. Even the most standoffish dwarf still needs friends. Barbarians may be self sufficient, but they still need friends and companions as well. So what does that mean to you? Put it another way: what will you do to protect them and keep them? Being with a person that frequently gets angry is not an easy person to get along with and after you failed to hear the cries for help from your fellow adventurers yet again because you were fighting the toughest-looking bad guy might mean they are not happy with your character. So how far is your character willing to go? Should such a situation arise, how will your character grow and change? Who will you become?

Catfolk are known for being free spirits and Khol Saka is no exception. He roams the plains, playfully pouncing on whatever trouble comes his way, appearing more care free than most humans. Just don’t get him angry; you wouldn’t like him. It is as if he turns into an uncontrollable green rage monster, even if he still looks like a catfolk on the outside. He will scratch the face off of anyone that hurts him or his allies, unable to stop himself even if he wanted to.

Khol Saka is featured on the cover of the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium. Download this awesome book today at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Fort Strange

Officially known as Fort Vanderwalten, many refer to it as Fort Strange because of the numbers of non-humans and less common demi-humans present here. When Kortrill Nightfeather was appointed captain of this frontier fort and military governor over the sparsely-populated region until a noble can be entrusted with this land, she took with her many other non-humans with her—both military and civilian alike. In her new position, she made sure that all under her care have been treated equally and prejudicial actions are prosecuted. It did not take long for word of her commendable action to spread and non-humans that want to live in peace to start flocking to live here. Today, Blacktooth Blacksmith and Glittering Foundry—owned by the orc Gathic Blacktooth and hobgoblin Miktar Deathblade, respectively—may be rivals but their rivalry plays out with them pushing the other to make better blades and other wares, instead of slaughtering each other’s families as many humans would expect of their their kind.

Fort Strange is home to many hagborn, catfolk, gnomes, everborn, tengu, lizardfolk, and even a few umbral kobolds. The majority of them came since Captain Nightfeather took command of the post. Previously, the region was inhabited mostly by humans and elves. Those that stayed when a tengu was appointed commander have been far more receptive of their new neighbors. A small yet vocal minority, however, have been voicing their opposition to so many “weird” creatures living among them. While the military-police force protecting this region have made it clear that voicing such concerns will be tolerated, that is the limit; any hostile actions against another law-abiding citizen will be met with swift justice. A number of attacks against non-humans has baffled investigators considering the military forces are not set up to handle such investigations and Lieutenant Gronk Bloodaxe is looking to hire adventurers to assist in this investigation.

The majority of the humans in this region are serfs, living in the work-farms adjacent to the fort. Their owners—mostly human—are not happy with the current regional government. Normally they hate each other and actively plot against one another, but they are united in their prejudice. If they could be turned against one another, their petitioning to speed up the appointment of a noble (preferably one of human ancestry) would fall apart.

Fort Strange

LG large town
Government military overlord
Population 3,500 (1,000 humans; 400 elves; 350 catfolk, 250 hagborn, 1,500 other)

Notable NPCs


Captain Kortrill Nightfeather, military governor (LG female tengu fighter 9 [13A: 4])
Lieutenant Gronk Bloodaxe, head of special operations (LN male orc fighter 4 [13A: 2])
Faixgrop, Crafter’s Guildmaster (LN female umbral kobold rogue 3 [13A: 2])
Darren Rimeheart, Farm owner and serf master (NE male human bard 6 [13A: 3])

If you want to see more locations like this detailed, please let us know in the comments below.

To find out more about the races mentioned here see the Book of Heroic Races collection for Pathfinder, Fifth Edition, and 13th Age here at the JBE Shop. You can also find out titles at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, the Open Gaming Store, and Paizo.

5 Questions Every Sorcerer Should Be Able to Answer

Sorcerers can be a bit of a problematic topic, depending on what edition of the game you play. If I remember correctly, they came into existence because a sizable chunk of the Player’s Handbook was for wizards only so they created another class that used the exact same spell list. So there are some originalists that do not feel they should exist. I’m more of a modernist in that sense where I accept the class as they are and go from there.

The basic concept of the class itself is that you can just do magical abilities. No matter the reason why, you can just wave your hands, utter what would otherwise sound like nonsense and BOOM magic happens. Frankly it sounds like that if the magic didn’t happen, you’d be locked up for insanity. But here you are, making with the magic. So yeah!

If you want to play a sorcerer, here are five questions that will help you get into your character. See our 5 Questions for bards, clerics, druids, fighters, monks, paladins, rogues, and wizards here.

1) How Did Your Magic First Manifest?

One day you were an average person. The next you were making sparks shoot out of your fingers or you levitated something or you made someone suddenly agree with you. Wait a second, how do you know that that last one wasn’t just a really persuasive argument? Simple, you tried it again without waving your arms or putting that same amount of force to your voice and it didn’t work. It is only when you did that exact same sequence over and over again that you realized that you were making magic. The same is true with the other spells you cast. You tried to make fire happen without waving your hands or suddenly gain the ability of perceiving magical auras by speaking different words but they simply don’t happen.

This brings us to a first if several non-obvious truths about the sorcerer class: sorcerers have to work hard at their magic. Being a wizard requires years if study while sorcerers just make the magic happen so it is easy to think that being a sorcerer is easy. That’s simply not true. There is no guidebook to being a sorcerer. Wizards literally have a book that says this is how you make magic; sorcerers have to reinvent the wheel for every new spell they want to cast. That requires lots of work and patience.

2) When Was The Last Time You Lost Control of Your Magic?

Like I said, being a sorcerer just happens. You did something and unexpectedly magic just happens. So was anyone hurt when you did that? How about the second time that happened? Third? How many times were you told to keep your magical powers under control after you broke something without meaning to? In your anger did you burn someone without meaning to? Is this why you left home and became an adventurer, because you feel you are a danger to those you care about decided to not return until you could control your new-found powers better?

3) Did You Always Choose to Use Your Magical Abilities for Good?

Frankly, I hope the answer to this one is “No.” It is far more of an interesting answer to decide to choose good instead of always being good. Say you left home in a hurry because you had burned someone, not bringing much in the way if food or supplies. You are now a homeless person. So if you manage to outrun the stories about yourself, you’re going to be hungry. So you walk into a tavern and and charm your way into a free meal and a night’s rest from the tavern owner. So when the tavern owner comes to their senses and brings their spouse comes to collect what you owe, you try again and fail and get run out of another town. Sooner or later (maybe after spending a few nights in jail for your actions, maybe after you saw someone in need and you helped and someone looked upon you favorably for the first time since you developed your powers), you realize that you have to clean up your act and can use your abilities to earn your keep instead of stealing it from others.

This brings us to the next non-obvious truth about sorcerers: it’s easy to go bad. Instead of choosing to clean up your act, suppose you always decided to stay selfish. Sure you did the occasional good deed so you could tell yourself you’re a good person, but much of the time you are motivated by your own wants and desires, ignoring the pain you cause others. That way is easier, even quicker. That is a seductive thought, one that your sorcerer should be able to understand, no matter which way they choose.

4) What Spell Is Inside of You That You Can’t Seem to Cast?

Much like Rincewind with a powerful spell inside of him that doesn’t want to come out, you should also have a powerful spell inside of you that doesn’t want to come out yet. You know it is inside of you, but you can’t seem to get it to come out yet. Maybe you don’t even have a name for it yet, but you can feel it inside if you, deep in your soul. Do you hold it back until you can control it? Perhaps you try to bring it out, but it simply will not come out yet. Is it asleep inside if you and you are not sure you want to wake it yet? This is why I like to make my sorcerers with a theme. You know you have a raging inferno inside if you and you try to tap into it and instead you only get burning hands. You try again and you get scorching ray. Then fireball and so in until you can fully tap into that power deep inside if you that you know is there.

This brings us to our last non-obvious truth about sorcerers: it should be confusing as hell. Why does flapping my arms and saying nonsense make magic happen when it doesn’t for someone else? Why can I now call forth this one spell when I couldn’t yesterday? How come I could make this magic spell before but I simply can’t now? There should be very little about your abilities that actually makes sense. That would make some seek stability. Which brings us to our last question:

5) What Do Your Fellow Adventurers Offer You?

Why are you with this group of adventurers instead some other group? The simple answer is that they offer you something that others cannot: stability and acceptance. Your powers can be viewed as weird or downright scary by those that do not understand them. For you to stay with your fellow adventurers, they must have accepted you for who you are. Maybe they express that acceptance while teasing you, but they will stand by your side if anyone is mean or attacks you. This group may very well be the most stable relationships you have had since you developed your powers. So the question then becomes, what will you do to defend them when they need you?

Greyrend, our signature sorcerer, left her clan of lycanthropes and other skinwalkers when she was only 12. She could only manifest her magical powers when she was angry and she did not have much control of her powers at first, making her an outcast. She tried to live among humans in her human form, but growing up among wolf-people didn’t imbue her with the greatest amount of social skills. While she can unleash destructive power, she prefers to focus on ways to enhance her natural fighting abilities and to adjust the minds of those that oppose her, making it feel like she has some acceptance, even if it is only for a little while. Since joining up with her fellow adventurers, she has had to change other people’s minds far less. They are helping her interact with others when she is less than socially graceful and teaching her how to get along better with others.

Greyrend is featured on the cover of the adventure Deadly Delves: The Chaosfire Incursion for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Download this adventure today and check out all our Pathfinder, D&D 5e,13th Age, and Traveller titles today at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

13th Age: Slow Spell

Previously, we’ve shared two low-level spells from the recently released 13 Wizard Cantrips and Spells: web and mirror image. Today we are sharing with you a 7th level spell, perfect for high level characters—the slow spell. This classic spell makes it harder for enemies to attack. With this spell, it is impossible for an enemy to both move an attack, tipping the balance of power into the players’ favor. Check out this new spell now.

Slow

Ranged spell
Daily
Target: One nearby enemy
Attack: Intelligence + Level vs. MD
Hit: On the target’s next turn, it can only take either a standard action or a move action, but not both.
In addition, at the start of each of the target’s turns this battle, if the escalation die is odd, roll a d20 and add the escalation die; on a 16+, this effect persists for that turn.
Miss: You regain this spell during your next quick rest.
9th level spell The roll to repeat the effect is now 11+ instead of 16+.

Download 13 Wizard Cantrips and Spells today for your 13th Age game today at JonBrazer.com. You can also download it at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow and the Open Gaming Store.

Cast The Spells You Want in the 13th Age

Ancient Spells Are Yours To Wield

Harness the fury of storms and stone! Snare, confound, and spy on your foes! Bend gravity and light to your whim! Wizards develop their starting spells into intricate dweomers that define their adventuring careers and leave enemies cowering beneath the yoke of their arcane might as their power reaches its apex. Now you can go beyond the core book and expand your character’s knowledge of both fundamental and esoteric spellcraft.

13 Wizard Cantrips and Spells is the latest in our 13 Class Options series for the 13th Age Roleplaying Game. Inside this 12-page PDF, you will find:

  • 2 New 1st Level Spells to create illusionary doubles of yourself and shrink or enlarge objects
  • 2 New 3rd Level Spells to conjure up webs to keep enemies in their places or recklessly throw snowballs at your enemies
  • 3 New 5th Level Spells to make it rain down acid, harness the strength of a titan, or shrink or enlarge your friends and enemies for fun and profit
  • 2 New 7th Level Spells to send your enemies hurling skywards or slow down enemy attacks
  • 1 New 9th Level Spell to protect yourself with a rainbow of defenses
  • 2 New Utility Spells that let you see far away or create walls of stone
  • 1 New Cantrip designed to quench campfires or other small flames

Bend Reality to Your Will in the 13th Age.

Download 13 Wizard Cantrips and Spells today for your 13th Age game today at JonBrazer.com. You can also download it at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow and the Open Gaming Store.

13th Age: Web Your Enemies and Dance Like a Spider

Tomorrow sees the much anticipated release of 13 Wizard Canitrips and Spells—the second in our series of 13 Class Options for the 13th Age Roleplaying Game—and we couldn’t be more excited. Last week we showed off the mirror image spell, a classic spell with a 13th Age twist. This week we are sharing with you another classic spell updated with 13th Age that is also one of my favorites. Like last week, this spell has a nice twist to it.

Web

Close-quarters spell
Daily
Target: One or more nearby enemies (see below)
Special: You can choose more than one target for this spell, but you take a –2 penalty when attacking two targets, a –3 penalty for three targets, and so on.
Attack: Intelligence + Level vs. PD
Hit: The target is dazed for a number of rounds equal to the escalation die; a normal save (11+) ends the condition. On an attack roll of natural 16+, the target is also stuck until the end of your next turn.
Natural Even Miss: The target is dazed until the end of its next turn.
5th level spell On any miss, the target is dazed until the end of its next turn.
7th level spell On an attack roll of natural 12+, the target is also stuck until the end of your next turn.
9th level spell You can target far-away enemies with this spell, and you suffer no penalty for targeting up to 3 enemies (targeting 4 or more enemies incurs all penalties as normal, however).
Adventurer Feat: The dazed effect ends only on a hard save (16+).
Champion Feat: You summon a swarm of spiders into the webbing, which deal 4d10 poison damage to anyone stuck in the web at the start of their turn.

Download 13 Wizard Cantrips and Spells today for your 13th Age game today at JonBrazer.com. You can also download it at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow and the Open Gaming Store.

What Kind of Monster Artwork Do You Prefer?

Earlier this week, we showed off a monster that a druid or wizard can summon with the conjure minor elemental spell. I really like that monster, but there’s something I have been wondering about with the artwork: the style. It is a beautiful color image. The problem is is that I don’t have a massive library of color images. I have a much larger library of black and white image. So as I continue to work on monster books for Fifth Edition, 13th Age, Pathfinder 2e (possibly), and other systems, I want to stay consistent as much as possible throughout the entire project. So that leads me to ask, what do you prefer?

Adding a parchment background to a black and white image is quite easy and rather fun. Not only that, it gives the image a distinctive feeling of being from an ancient tome that time forgot, in keeping with the fantasy theme. However, I do love looking at the color images in monster books. So I am asking you to help me make up my mind.

Tell me what kind of image would you like to see in a monster book from us. Vote in the poll below and as always, elaborate in the comments below.

[poll id=”4″]

See our monster books we have published so far for Pathfinder and Fifth Edition at the JBE Shop.

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑