Pathfinder: The Shadowsfall Elevator Pitch

Every setting should have what is called an “elevator pitch.” If you never heard the term before, it is a quick speech that a writer/producer can pitch to a producer during an elevator ride. It should quickly telegraph exactly what kind of stories you are going to tell in the setting. Just take a look at your favorite TV shows and movies and you can quickly figure out what the elevator pitch was. *Spoiler Warnings* MASH: A bunch of doctors in an army field hospital work to save soldiers and civilians. When they are not working, they are bored out of their skulls and occupy themselves with relationships, practical jokes, and writing letters home. Star Trek: The voyagers of the starship Enterprise are on a 5 year mission to explore strange new worlds, seeking out new life and new civilizations. Together they boldly go where no human as gone before. Marvel Cinematic Universe/Avengers: The adventures of Earth’s mightiest heroes. They are each a force powerful enough to deal with serious dangers. However, when they encounter something so powerful that none of them can stop it alone, they put aside personal differences and team up for the good of the world.

This is also true for role playing games. Take the Pathfinder Campaign Setting as an example. The elevator pitch is basically a setting where each country has their own flavor allowing for just about any kind of story to be told there. The god of humanity died when he was foretold to ascend to even greater power. Now the world is in an age of lost omens where prophesy no longer works reliably. How about Eberron? Its elevator pitch is a high magic society run amok. Various magical wars have left some of the landscape barely hospitable yet the people have access to magical equivalent of modern tech such as street lights and high speed transportation.

The obvious question is then, “What about Shadowsfall?” Of course we have an elevator pitch. Here it is. A lich very nearly took over the world when he decided to take on the sun goddess and destory the sun. The after the goddess’ death, the gods destroyed the lich and his phylactories, leaving the undead a leaderless horde. You are one of the survivors, beating back the masses of zombies and skeletons while trying to reestablish civilization.

So how does that pitch make it different from more stand RPG settings like a Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, or Pathfinder? In these settings, a common source low-level violence involves raiders, be they human, elf, dwarf, orc, goblin, kobold, gnoll, or whatever. An adventure jumps off from there because the raiders took something and you have to get it back. In Shadowsfall, that source of low-level violence is a horde of skeletons and zombies. Since these can’t take something (unless controlled by an intelligent creature), adventures go in a different direction. Are there too many zombies? You have to get everyone to safety. Do they all bare the markings of the orc tribe your village trades with? You have to go and investigate. Do all the skeletons bare the same arcane symbols to reanimate them? Someone is actively raising them and you have to go find out who and stop them.

Another source of adventure in most campaign settings is delving into ancient ruins looking for treasure. In Shadowsfall, you’re trying to steal food from ancient fields and orchards protected by constructs that can no longer tell living from undead or from fey growing magical mushrooms that can feed anyone that submits to their whims. Political campaigns in standard settings revolve around taking down a corrupt city ruler and getting the backing of the powerful NPCs to install an honest person. Shadowsfall political campaigns involve getting humans, elves, and gnomes, to coordinate their efforts with orcs, hobgoblins, and trolls and getting them to see that working together will help for the greater good.

The Greater Good. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

What about high level campaigns? Your standard campaign settings frequently fall back on 4 different sources of danger (mixing and matching as desired): giants, dragons, the planes, and undead. Well, one of these is kind of obvious for Shadowsfall. Undead are definitely there. The question then becomes, who or what is the power behind the undead. Is it a powerful wizard or sorcerer that wants to unify the worlds under their rule? Perhaps it is an archkyton that want to keep the people afraid of the undead enough to submit willingly to their torture? Maybe it is a fey lord trying to clear her lands of undead and inadvertently sending them to the mortals? Maybe a construct machine that has seen all the fighting the living and undead have wrought and decided to wipe out the source of the undead by eliminating the living. The possibilities are endless. Sure you can have an undead only campaign but you need a reason behind them or else it will become boring fast. You need to have a conscious mind with clear goals and that is where all the other creatures come in.

Shadowsfall is shaping up to be a fun and exciting place to adventure in. We hope you will join us.

Download all of our Pathfinder RPG books at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Pathfinder: Kytons

Like all outsiders, kytons do not feed on the same food as humans. That does not mean they do not need to consume something to sustain their existence. For devils, it is despair. Any type of despair will do but they particularly love the aroma of despair from oppression. If a soul they take for their own gives up and accepts that there is no escape from Hell, they feed upon that despair. That is their food. Which is why devils work so hard to make someone give up and accept the terrible situation around them instead of fighting to change it. For azatas, it is joy. They feast upon the child-like joy and wonder of a soul experiencing a place for the first time. This is why the chaotic good plane constantly sprouts new flowers and features an ever-changing landscape, perfect for adventure.

Kytons feed upon willful surrender. They love someone that willingly accepts pain. These outsiders will never remove the ability for a soul to not accept the pain they offer because a forced surrender taints the taste of that surrender to them, making it unpalatable to them. So the pain they offer is pleasurable to those that give of themselves willingly. This differs from devils in that a devil always aims to outmaneuver their target, so they have no choice but to give in to a devil; such actions are an anathema to a kyton. The chainclad want that sweet taste of willingness.

Below are some of the images of kytons of Shadowsfall. Some of these will be in the upcoming campaign for Shadowsfall while others will be in a a future Shadowsfall monster book.

Below is a whelp kyton, one of the lowest form of kytons in existence. Its eyes are not under a blindfold as many believe. It keeps what humans would consider eyes closed until it uses its unnerving gaze where the target sees itself in a similar position of voluntary servitude as the whelp. The chain it wears around its neck attacks anyone that attack it. Additionally, the chain lifts it off the ground by the neck when it needs to fly. It carries out small jobs that are beneath the status of more powerful kytons. For all this, it gets to feed upon the willing submission from those that kneel to its master.

Kyton, Whelp CR/HD 2

Init +1; Perception +7 (darkvision 60 ft.)
Size Tiny; Speed 15 ft., fly 30 ft.


Defenses


AC 14 (touch 12, flat-footed 12); Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +5; CMD 12; Concentration +5
hp 20; DR 5/good or silver; Immune cold, fear effects


Attacks


Melee chain +3 (1d8+3), 2 claws –2(1d6+1)
Attack Spells (DC 13 + spell level) 1/day—inflict light wounds, scare
Attack Options unnerving gaze (30 ft., DC 13, shaken for 1 round); CMB –1


Statistics


Utility Options alertness, telepathy 60 ft.
Dex +1, Int +2, Cha +3; Bluff +10, Escape Artist +7, Fly +7, Perception +7, Perform (act) +10, Sense Motive +10, Stealth +10,
XP 600; LE Outsider (kyton)

Be sure to download all our Pathfinder books at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

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.

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