Pathfinder: The Undead of Shadowsfall

Last week, we announced that we are creating our own setting known as Shadowsfall. It is a worlds where a lich tried to take over the world, killed the sun goddess, and was destroyed by the other gods. Here, you are a survivor fighting for the living in the aftermath of all that. Nine out of every ten creatures are undead and more than half of them are mindless.

So saying that undead feature prominently in any Shadowsfall game is an understatement. With the survivors either in protected cities, living near some fortification to retreat there when the undead hordes come close, or wandering the wastelands hunting for food and slaying small groups of walking corpses they encounter, seeing a zombie or skeleton here is as common as seeing a goblin, kobold, or orc in a standard fantasy setting. Today I just want to take a few moments and share with you some of the undead creatures that “live” in this land of poor sunlight. Long time fans of JBE will recognize these pieces as being from the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane.

You can also see some of the other walking corpses like the orc skeletal champion and a ravager wolf. Today, however, we’re going to share with you the stat block for the unquiet giant. This big brute is jovial in the way it smashes everything in its sight. Its a fun monster to have wandering around.

Unquiet Giant CR/HD 13

Init +0; Perception +17 (darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision)
Size Huge; Speed 30 ft.


Defenses


AC 30 (touch 16, flat-footed 23); Fort +14, Ref +14, Will +14; CMD 35 (39 vs bull rush)
hp 198; DR 15/slashing; Immune undead immunities
Weakness easily distracted


Attacks


Melee greatclub +22/+17/+12 (3d8+23) or 2 slams +22 (3d6+25)
Ranged spirit stone +16/+11/+6 (28)
Attack Options improved combat maneuver, rock throwing (120 ft.), stun attack (13/day, Fort DC 14); CMB +26 (+30 bull rush)


Statistics


Str +9, Con —, Wis +4, Cha +6; Climb +21, Intimidate +17, Perception +17
XP 25,600; CE undead (giant)


Special Abilities


Easily Distracted (Ex) Although it is immune to all mind-affecting spells and spell-like abilities, an unquiet giant is highly susceptible to mundane distraction. At the start of its turn, it must succeed a DC 15 Wisdom check to fight normally. If it fails, it attacks a random creature within its reach.
Spirit Stone (Su) An unquiet giant imbues every stone it throws with the essence of its final battle, flying unwaveringly, and even veering to follow its target. An unquiet giant uses its Charisma bonus instead of its Dexterity bonus to its attack rolls when throwing rocks. All rocks thrown in this manner are considered to be magic weapons for purposes of damage reduction.

Pathfinder: The Return of Shadowsfall

I’ve been dancing around this ever since our post on The Big Meeting. We decided then that we are going to be bringing back Shadowsfall as our Pathfinder 1e setting. We are very excited about this and hope those that are sticking with 1e Pathfinder are excited about this as well. I never liked the way that we left Shadowsfall and I always wanted to come back to it. This undead-heavy setting is one I absolutely love, and I finally feel ready to do it right. So for those that don’t know what it is, let me answer some obvious questions.

What is Shadowsfall?

Originally, Shadowsfall was the Plane of Shadows, designed to be inserted into any campaign setting. We are changing that and making Shadowsfall its own campaign setting as the material plane. To be honest, we should have done this from the beginning; I simply was not brave enough at the time and did a half-measure, finding a way to incorporate it into other campaign settings. JBE has more than doubled in age, we have leveled up several times as a company, and we are ready to create our own setting.

Tell Me About Shadowsfall.

Image by Luis Salas Lastra

Shadowsfall is a fantasy post-apocalyptic setting. A powerful lich led armies of undead across the planet and nearly wiped out all life on it. He grew arrogant and decided to take on the sun goddess herself. The lich won, slaying the goddess and shattering the sun. The remaining gods were angry at this affront and destroyed the lich and all his phylacteries. In the few years since that happened, the living are trying to move on and reestablish civilization all while battling the overwhelming numbers of undead left behind. You are not just adventurers—you are survivors, trying to help others survive beneath the shadow that has fallen over the living.

How Much is Changing From Your Earlier Shadowsfall Books?

Some, but surprisingly little. The map is staying the same (or at least, very little will be changing). The pantheon will remain mostly unchanged; if anything, we’ll be expanding the number of deities in it. The same basic feel and flavor will be the same.

Having said that, this is going to be its own stand-alone setting instead of just a segment of the Plane of Shadows, so previous ways of returning to the Material Plane won’t apply anymore. In fact, probably the biggest change that we will be making is that the one adventure we released for the setting—Shadowsfall: The Temple of Orcus—will be de-canonized. It was a tough call, but it had to be made. That adventure starts off on the Material Plane and takes the PCs to the Plane of Shadows. The point of the adventure was to demonstrate a method of incorporating Shadowsfall into your existing campaign.

Now, there is no escape from the undead horde. Now, you can’t simply pop through a gate to the Material Plane to escape a swarm of zombies or plane shift away from a skeletal army. Now, there is nowhere to run. Your only options are to hide behind the walls of a stronghold, evade the hordes, fight the living dead head-on, or die and become one of them.

Will There Be Adventures?

Oh yes. Most definitely. One of my never-publicly-discussed goals of our Deadly Delves line was to learn how to create adventures for the day we return to Shadowsfall. We believe we have a solid handle on it now, especially considering the number of 5-star reviews we’ve received for adventures like To Claw the Surface, Temple of Luminescence, and the Dragon’s Dream, just to name a few. We have some awesome adventures planned that we are not ready to talk about yet.

What Else Can You Share?

Keep watching our Friday blog posts for more details about Shadowsfall. We hope you are as excited about this as we are.

Download all of JBE’s Pathfinder material at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Pathfinder: Orc Skeletal Champion

Image by Eric Quigley

We’re bringing you our Pathfinder blog this week on Monday instead of Friday like usual since last week was the GM’s Day Sale that occupied us. This week we are bringing you an orc skeletal champion. To make this one, we had to write a skeletal champion graft. We will be sure to include it in a future Pathfinder 1e monster book we create. We are after all first and foremost monster designers and making new monster books is something we can hardly stop ourselves from doing. We move creating these baddies so much that we just have to share them with you. Anyways, we hop you enjoy this monster in your game.

Be sure to check out all our Pathfinder books at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, Paizo, the Open Gaming Store, Amazon, and Noble Knight Games.

Orc Skeletal Champion CR/HD 4

Init +7; Perception +12 (darkvision 60 ft.)
Size Medium; Speed 30 ft.


Defenses


AC 19 (touch 13, flat-footed 16); Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +5; CMD 20
hp 44; DR 5/bludgeoning; Immune cold, undead immunities
Weakness light sensitivity
Defensive Options channel resistance +4


Attacks


Melee +1 scimitar +8 (1d6+13/18–20)
Ranged composite (+4) longbow +6 (1d8+9/x3)
Attack Options combat reflexes, create spawn, power attack; CMB +8


Statistics


Str +4, Dex +3, Con —, Wis +1; Climb +12, Intimidate +9, Perception +12
XP 1,200; CE undead (orc) fighter


Special Abilities


Combat Reflexes (Ex) Orc skeletal champion can make up to 5 attacks of opportunity each round and can make attacks of opportunity when flat-footed,
Create Spawn (Su) Any creature killed by the orc skeletal champion rises as a skeleton in 1d4 days and is under the command of the orc skeletal champion. The orc skeletal champion can have up to 10 skeletons under its command at once.
Power Attack (Ex) Orc skeletal champion’s scimitar attack changes to +6 (1d6+22/18–20)

Poll: Where Do You Buy Your Pathfinder Compatible, 5e Compatible, and 13th Age Compatible Books and PDFs From?

Today we would like to ask you where you buy your books from, be they print or PDF. Please note, we are only asking about Pathfinder Compatible (so not Paizo’s books), 5e Compatible (so nothing from Wizards nor from the DMs Guild), and 13th Age Compatible (so not Pelgrane’s books). Vote for your top 3 answers. If you don’t see where you purchase your books and PDFs from, please let us know in the comments below.

Sorry Traveller, we would include you in this poll, but the license allows for only one place for Traveller MGT2e books to be sold at DriveThruRPG.

Thank you in advance.

GM’s Day Sale 2019 Is Here!

The GM’s Day Sale is here and it is better than ever. Get 20-40% off of our Pathfinder, Fifth Edition, 13th Age, and Traveller 1e books you have been wanting for a while now. Grab these books now while they are available at a great price. Which books you ask? Here are some highlights.

Fifth Edition

Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Forbidden Woods
Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 1
Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 1 (For Fantasy Grounds)
Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 2
Book of Magic: 10 Warlock Invocations
Deadly Delves: Along Came a Spider (2019 Edition)
Deadly Delves: Doom of the Sky Sword
Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin
Deadly Delves: Rescue from Tyrkaven
Deadly Delves: Temple of Luminescence

13th Age Compatible

13 Fighter Talents and Maneuvers
13 Rogue Talents and Powers
Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 1
Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 2
Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin

Pathfinder

Book of Heroic Races CompendiumBook of Beasts: Legendary Foes
Book of Bests: Monsters of the River Nations
Book of Bests: Monsters of the Shadow Plane
Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium
Book of Heroic Races Compendium
Book of Heroic Races: Occult Intrigue in the Wilderness
Book of Magic: Dragon Spells and Archetypes
Book of Magic: Gemhancements
Book of Magic: Insurgency of Summer
Book of Magic: Patron Hexes
Book of the River Nations Complete
Deadly Delves: Along Came a Spider
Deadly Delves: Doom of the Sky Sword
Deadly Delves: Nine Lives for Petane
Deadly Delves: Quests of the Sands
Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin
Deadly Delves: Rescue from Tyrkaven
Deadly Delves: Temple of Luminescence
Deadly Delves: The Chaosfire Incursion
Deadly Delves: The Guilded Gauntlet
Deadly Delves: To Claw the Surface
Treasury of the Sands
Shadowsfall: Shadow Plane Player’s Companion

Traveller 1e

Creatures of Distant Worlds Compendium
d66 Compendium
Foreven Worlds: Vehicles of the Frontier
Mech Tech ‘n’ bot: Fighters and Small Ships
Mech Tech ‘n’ bot: Mech Squadrons
Mech Tech ‘n’ bot: Warp Ships 1

Download these and other titles now at DriveThruRPG.

Pathfinder: Unleash New Martial Arts Styles for your Monk

The Martial Magic of Monks

Monks are the undisputed masters of of the mystical martial arts. Through discipline, determination, and years of practice, they can produce effects on par with the spells of mages. Within these pages are three new styles perfect for monks looking to rival the power of magic.

Inside the 7 pages of the Book of Feats: 3 Monk Styles, you will find:

  • Blurred Strike Style: attack so fast that few can dodge your attacks
  • Stone Mountain Style: harden your body to all but the most durable of weapons
  • Strand of Fate Style: interact with someone’s life-threads in the tapestry of time

Hone Your Technique for the Adventures that Await!

Download the Book of Feats: 3 Monk Styles today at the JBE Shop and DriveThruRPG, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Pathfinder: Blurred Strike Style

Monks simply do not get enough love. What magic items there are cost more, even though they are supposed to be impoverished. They have far fewer archetypes alternate classes and feats.

Well, we are going to do something about that last one right now. Below is a martial arts style perfect for the monk that loves to move so fast they are nothing but a blur. If you enjoy this style, be sure to check out Book of Feats: 3 Monk Styles at the JBE Shop and DriveThruRPG, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Blurred Strike Style (Combat, Style)

You dodge attacks at incredible speed.
Prerequisites: 1st-level monk or base attack bonus +1.
Benefit: You add your Wisdom modifier to your initiative instead of your Dexterity modifier. When using this style, you add your Wisdom modifier to your Reflex saving throws instead of your Dexterity modifier.

Blurred Strike Assault (Combat)

Your strikes are so fast, they are difficult to defend against.
Prerequisites: Blurred Strike Style, 6th-level monk or base attack bonus +6, flurry of blows.
Benefit: When one of your flurry of blows attacks deals damage to a creature, all additional flurry of blows attacks against that creature this round are made against the target’s flat-footed armor class.

Blurred Step (Combat)

Your enemies never see your strikes coming.
Prerequisites: Blurred Strike Assault, Blurred Strike Style, 11th-level monk or base attack bonus +11.
Benefit: If you moved more than 10 feet this round, all of your unarmed strikes are made against the target’s flat-footed armor class.

5e/Pathfinder/13th Age: Guide to Mini-Bosses

There’s a short story by Janni Lee Simner called Practical Villany that I particularly love. It’s from the villain’s point of view. The opening line is “The first thing I want you to know is that I drowned those kittens for a reason.” It’s a dark comedy about a villain talking to his latest kidnapee about his rebellious daughter that turned hero, betraying the family business. In the story, the author talks about how evil is a business while heroes are just one person. That is where mini-bosses come in. Mini-bosses are akin to mid-level managers. The real question is why would someone in a fantasy RPG world need them.

No matter which level-based fantasy game you play, you get more powerful by level. You are obviously more powerful at level 2 than level 1 and even still more powerful at level 3 and so on. The same is true for your main enemy. They didn’t try to take over the world at level 1. They worked to amass enough wealth and influence and easily outclass the adventurers at the start of the campaign. So why are they employing people that can’t hold their own against a plucky group of low levels?

1) Your Big Bad Has a Source of Revenue and Power that Must be Maintained

Your big bad has a source of income that still needs to be maintained, and they are busy with taking over the city/country/worlds. So the actual job of generating that income has to be in the hands of some trusted aid to oversee the operation. Whether that operation is a kobold mining company digging up gold, orc hunters that sell skins for leather armor, or an ogre timber consortium, they have to perform operations far to trivial for the big bad to do. The problem comes in when they interact with the humanoid races. Do the kobolds breech into a dwarven mine or a gnome village? Do the orcs kill the cows of a small hamlet? Are the elves upset the trees are being felled? The people doing the work need direction and someone to pay them for their work, someone that represents the big bad to the workers. That is a mini-boss. Remember, any good business has lots of moving parts to it (different managers in charge of different workers at different locations all doing the same job, different departments doing different jobs, etc.). That is a lot of different mini-bosses at a number of different difficulty levels. In this case, the employees are minions.

2) Your Big Bad Doesn’t Have Every Skill or Ability

The person at the top simply can’t have every skill or talent possible in the whole world. CEOs hire accountants and lawyers to help them navigate those arenas. Your big bad trying to take over the city/country/world needs someone to advise them on the way to the crown and how to finance it. So your mini-bosses can be advisers to the big bad in their specialty field. Other possible advisers include a cleric of an influential church and the big bad isn’t a follower of the deity or doesn’t have any divine casting ability, a public relations bard to smooth over incidents like the kobolds invading the dwarven mines, and a spiritual advisory monk.

The important thing to remember with advisers is that they should fill two roles: the official one and an unofficial one. The official one is the job for which they are known. This is their day job, how this adviser is presented in the public. The unofficial one should be the real reason that person in particular was hired by the big bad. Does the financial advisory funnel money from the crown to the big bad? Does the cleric get people (more minions) to act against their interests in the name of the religion? Is the public relations bard in charge of spreading disinformation? All of these roles a big bad needs done and these make great mini-bosses.

3) Dirty Workers

Bad guys are not known for fighting fair. Once the adventurers have been identified as disrupting some small plans, they should have someone to deal with them. Assassination attempts have been done and the players will see that coming. Instead, trying having the big bad hire the adventurers for a job they are not qualified, like killing a monster that is more powerful than they can handle. Have the public relations bard hire them, apologizing for any previous incidents involving low-level managers, and praise them for bringing such bad actors in their organization to light. The job is something like clearing out a cave where some new miners will be going soon. The adventurers aren’t told there’s a dragon in there. The dragon will be warned and compensated for it’s trouble. Naturally the dragon will have his own minions to soften you up in your way there. The idea behind this is that if the adventurers never return, no one will miss them or possibly figure they left for another problem elsewhere. As an added bonus, the public relations bard can claim they had bad information and apologize for their near deaths. By doing this, you turn what would otherwise be a single encounter into a night’s game session and they might even believe the big bad isn’t so bad.

Every mini-boss need minions and we have some excellent ones in the Book of Beasts series, available now for Pathfinder, Fifth Edition, and 13th Age. Download them now.

Pathfinder RPG: Carrion Bug

Last week, I write my first Pathfinder monster in quite some time and I remember how much I enjoy doing it. In fact you might even say I caught the “bug” again. So I couldn’t help myself and I created another one.

The image that caught my eye this week is a bug eating a long decomposing corpse. Naturally my first thought was to Shadowsfall with how useful this would be. Humans and other intelligent living creatures
would want to keep these guys around since they could be useful in devouring zombies and making sure their own fallen do not rise again as undead. Yet they would still be a problem, eating the things that eat the things that eat the things that become food for the players. So even if the forces of the living wanted them around, they would still need to keep their numbers under control. So thinning their numbers would be a solid low level adventure.

If you like this monster, please let us know in the comments below and take a look our other monster books here at JonBrazer.com, DriveThruRPG, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Carrion Bug CR/HD 1/2

Init +0; Perception +2 (darkvision 60 ft.)
Size Small; Speed 30 ft.


Defenses


AC 13 (touch 12, flat-footed 12); Fort +3, Ref +1, Will +0; CMD 12
hp 11


Attacks


Melee bite +1 (1d4+1 plus disease)
Attack Options (DC 9) disease (onset 1d3 days, frequency 1/day, effect 1 point of Con damage, cure 1 save); CMB –1


Statistics


Utility Options mindless
Dex +1, Con +3, Int —, Wis +2
XP 200; N Vermin

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