Pathfinder: Shadowsfall Symbols and Map Fonts

This past weekend, the map arrived for the first Shadowsfall campaign that we are hard at on work. I would love to show you the full map, but we are still putting names on everything. There is one part of the map that I am able to show you right now and it is the legend. In the picture above, you can see all the symbols of places in the area. It shows everything from villages and towns all the way to the stronghold at the center of the campaign: Blackbat.

There is another reason why I am showing you the legend. It is because I would like your help deciding on the font we should be using for the map. It is difficult because we want it both stylized and easy to read. If it is not easy to read, then it fails at its main purpose as a map. However, if we go with something that is obviously a modern font it will pull your mind out of the immersion of the world. So we are looking for the right balance.

Some of the fonts there are modern fonts simply to have a baseline. Others are more stylized. Take Ruin for example; that font is the same font that we used for the Shadowsfall logo.

Tell us which font is your favorite in the comments below.

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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 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

Pathfinder: Ravager Wolf

I mentioned last month that we at JBE decided to continue with Pathfinder 1e support. Having said that, we decided to not continue on as business as usual. Since Paizo will be ending support for PF1 soon, we no longer feel the need to continue on in their footsteps; we want to do things our way. One of those ways is that we do not care for the core Bestiary monster creation rules. Personally, I never followed them. If anything, I did them backwards from the way the Bestiary described them. So all our monsters from here out will be using the Pathfinder Unchained monster rules. Today being Friday, I decided to make one for fun. Let me introduce you to the Ravager Wolf.

First a little background. The artwork was originally intended for the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane, however, we cut it for space. I always liked this image of a wolf with its guts cut out and felt bad we never used it. So today I am creating a monster around this image. The ravagers are corpses of animals that are consumed by the darkness and are reanimated into unlife. Each is more vicious than their mundane counterparts as they suffer from a constant hunter and an unquenchable desire to feed. Even worse, as they get more powerful, they get more intelligent. This one here is one of the weaker ones as well as one of the most commonly encountered. These creatures are without mercy and will attack as soon as see an opportunity.

Be sure to follow the JBE blog since we will be posting more monsters and other options while we are working on new Pathfinder 1e projects. Also, be sure to tell you friends that we at JBE are working on some awesome Pathfinder projects. We need your help in letting everyone know that plans to stick with 1e PFRPG that we are here for them.

We hope you enjoy this monster.

Ravager Wolf CR/HD 3

Init +5; Perception +11 (darkvision 60 ft., scent)
Size Medium; Speed 30 ft.


Defenses


AC 17 (touch 12, flat-footed 12); Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +4; CMD 18
hp 33; Immune undead immunities


Attacks


Melee bite +6 (1d12+4 plus bleed), 2 claws +1(1d4+2)
Attack Options bleed (1d6, DC 15 or any magical healing); CMB +6


Statistics


Str +4, Dex +1, Con —, Wis +2; Climb +8, Perception +11, Survival +8
XP 800; CE undead

The 2017 Not Going to Gen Con Sale for Print Books

As you are gearing up for Gen Con, getting ready the year pilgrimage to Indianapolis, I am sad to say that JBE will not be attending this year. That, however, does not mean that you should be sad because we just relaunched our Not Going to Gen Con Sale. This year, it is all about the print books.

That’s right, this sale is on books you can hold in your two hands. Those that love the feel of the covers, the smell of paper, the sight of seeing the book on your shelf, and the ability to make notes in the margins, this sale is for you. You can grab these books for a nice discount.

How much of a discount you ask? Easy. All of our print books that are more than $10 are $5 off. If the book is $10 or less, it is $2 off. That simple. And this is on ALL of our print books, even the one we released only a few short months ago. So if there is a new release you wanted and you wanted it in print, now is your chance to pick it. Do you want to read it now? Well that is even easier. For $2 more, you can get the PDF. This means you can devour it now and still have the print book on your shelf.

Which books are on sale? Great question.

Monster Books (PFRPG)
Book of Beasts: Legendary Foes
Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane
Book of Beasts: Monsters of the River Nations

Adventures (PFRPG)
Deadly Delves: The Gilded Gauntlet
Deadly Delves: To Claw the Surface
Shadowsfall: Temple of Orcus

Player Races (PFRPG)
Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium
Book of Heroic Races Compendium
Book of Heroic Races: Half-Faerie Dragons
Book of Heroic Races: Seedlings

Traveller
d66 Compendium
Creatures of Distant Worlds Compendium
Mech Tech ‘n’ bot: Fighters and Small Ships
Character Datafile

Fifth Edition
Deadly Delves: Rescue from Tyrkaven

13th Age Compatible
Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin

This sale is exclusively at DriveThruRPG and RPGNow. So hurry over there and order your books today. This sale will not last long. Share this sale with your friends on Facebook and Twitter as well as with your regular gaming group. I am sure they will want these books in their hands as well.

Pathfinder: Occult Intrigue in the Wilderness

To put it lightly, I have gotten a few requests for additional support the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium races, specifically for the classes from Occult Adventures, Ultimate Intrigue, and the upcoming Ultimate Wilderness. So I would like to ask you directly, are you interested in additional support for the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium races? Would you like to see archetypes and favored class options for these races? Please tell us. We want to hear from you.

While we are at it, should we throw in the races from the original Book of Heroic Races Compendium? You know, seedlings, umbral kobolds, half-faerie dragons, fosterlings, ursine and the rest. Should we create archetypes for the vigilante, shifter, and all the classes in Occult Adventures?

And if we are going to go crazy here, why not throw in the Shadowsfall races? Would you like to see archetypes for a wanderer kineticist, a dhampir spiritualist, or a fetchling shifter?

Tell us! We want to know.

Download Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium today at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, the OpenGamingStore, and Paizo.

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