Pathfinder: Grave Hulk

It is another Shadowsfall Friday. Today, we bring you a monster straight from the brain of Richard Moore. He wrote this one for his home game sent it over to me to send off to you. If you use it in your game, buy him a drink if you see him at a convention.

As always you can find more awesome monsters like this for your game in the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Grave Hulk CR/HD 9

Init –2; Perception +17 (darkvision 60 ft.)
Size Large (10 ft.); Speed 30 ft.


Defenses


AC 25 (touch 14, flat-footed 19); Fort +10, Ref +10, Will +10; CMD 29
hp 126


Attacks


Melee 2 claws (reach 10 ft.) +17/+17 (2d6+15)
Attack Options (DC 16) awesome blow, energy explosion (1/day, 20-ft. radius, 1d6+9 slashing); CMB +15


Statistics


Str +7, Dex –2, Con —, Int —, Cha +4
XP 6,400; NE undead


Special Abilities


Absorb Corpse (Su) As a move action, a grave hulk can grab the body of an unconscious Medium-sized or smaller living creature at less than 0 current hp, automatically dealing claw damage to it. If the creature dies from this blow, the grave hulk absorbs its body into its form, gaining 4 temporary hit points per hit die of the absorbed creature.

A grave hulk is formed from dozens of dead bodies, their putrefying flesh and bone twisted by necromantic magic into a vaguely humanoid form that stands some ten feet tall. It reshapes its body as it moves, manifesting new claws and limbs seemingly at random and even discharging bone shards in destructive showers when surrounded by foes.

Although a grave hulk can be made out of approximately 25 corpses via create greater undead, most grave hulks either occur naturally in areas suffused with extreme levels of negative energy or are constructed in rituals that profane the culture or religion of the dead whose bodies will comprise the creature.

In combat, a grave hulk prefers to use its awesome blow in conjunction with its superior reach to keep foes at bay, instinctively discharging its energy explosion ability whenever three or more enemies are within its radius of effect. It is not smart enough to distinguish friend from foe in most cases, however, so poorly-worded instructions from its master could have disastrous consequences for a novice necromancer who attempts to control one.

5e: Unbroken Hero

With the Book of Heroes: Heroic Fighter Archetypes coming out next week, we wanted to give you a taste of what is inside. This one is one of my favorites. This is the “you saw Cthulhu and critted your Sanity check” archetype. This archetype pairs well with the soldier background. It is designed for a character that fought in a war and returned home and having the horror of seeing your friends slain upon the battlefield play out over and over again in your mind. While it does not fully portray those that have survived a true war zone, I hope it provides enough flavor to express that type of character for those looking to play one.

Download all of JBE’s Fifth Edition PDFs at the JBE Shop. Our adventure Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin is coming out in game stores this month. Tell your local game store that you want to pick up this 7th-level adventure today. And now, to the archetype.

Unbroken Hero

You have seen things. Whether it was someone being torn apart, whole villages destroyed, loved ones dragged into the Abyss, or something even worse, you witnessed it with your own eyes. What you have seen would break many. The memory of that day fuels your drive to continue forward, never yielding or surrendering.

Take the Attack

When you choose this archetype at 3rd level, you can use your reaction to make an attack targeting an ally within 5 feet of you target you instead. You must say you are using this before the attack is rolled. This cannot be used with area attacks or on spells that do not require attack rolls.

Haunting Eyes

At 7th level, your gaze can piece the mind, heart and soul, making you far more persuasive, to the point of terrifying. You gain proficiency with Intimidation and Persuasion. If you are already proficient with these skills, you add double your proficiency bonus when using these skills.

Fight Through the Pain

Starting at 10th level, you can use your Second Wind ability a second time before needing to finish a short or long rest.

Undeterred by Fear

Upon reaching 15th level, nothing can frighten you. You are immune to the frightened condition. Additionally, you can use a bonus action to remove the frightened condition from an ally within 10 feet.

Avatar of Terror

At 18th level, your very presence is terrifying. As an action, you can give a loud shout, requiring all of your enemies within 30 feet to make a Charisma saving throw (the DC is equal to 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier) or become paralyzed with fear for the next minute. A successful save means the creature is frightened until the end of your next turn. Once used, you cannot use this again until you complete a short or long rest.

Announcing the Book of Heroes

Today JBE is announcing we are consolidating all of our player-focused lines into the Book of Heroes. This goes for DnD 5e, Pathfinder, and 13th Age. So all future Book of Heroic Races, Book of Magic, Book of Feats, Book of the Faithful, 13 Class Options, and several other lines we created will all be in this line. This is something we should have done from the beginning, and I only recently understood just how important it is. So I thought I would share with you our reasoning and hope you will check out our titles.

1) It Makes It Easier for You to Recognize

This is easily the biggest reason. From now on, you will know that any book of ours labeled Book of Heroes, you will know it is designed for players. From there, all you have to do is look at the subheading to see if it is right for you. Makes life easy.

2) It’s Less Confusing

Previously we had put Arcanist, Warlock and Witch class options, dragon themed-archetypes, and spellcaster feats in the Book of Magic, Cleric subdomains, feats, and artifacts under the Book of the Faithful, and some magic items and Cavalier class options under no heading at all. Where exactly the line was on these was not well planned out and was downright confusing. By consolidating all of these and others under the heading of the Book of Heroes, it all makes sense.

3) It Gives Us More Freedom

Lastly, we have the freedom to combine different ideas. Take the Book of Magic: Dragon Spells and Archetypes as an example. In addition to the spells, we included archetypes and class options for the Occultist, Shaman, and Wizard classes. You’ll notice there is no dragon rider archetype for the Cavalier, dragon hunter for the Ranger, or a scaled warrior for the fighter. Those ideas were cut because they did not fit under the heading of Book of Magic very well. From here, we are no longer held back by the label we put on the product. From here out, you should enjoy seeing our products covering a wider range of topics. Now we are freed up to include new archetypes and class options as well as magic items designed to work with those new class options and spells to make better use of these archetypes. Plus we can consolidate them all under one title to give you more print books for your shelves.

I should point out that Shadowsfall will still be separate but that is because it is its own setting and not designed for use with any setting, like the Book of Heroes line is.

Check out all of our Pathfinder, D&D 5e, and 13th Age products at the JBE Shop. Order and download them today.

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.

Traveller: A Universe of Monsters

Foreven Worlds Creatures of Distant WorldsNow that tax day as well as a few personal days is behind us, I am getting back into the groove of working on at JBE full time again. Today I am sharing with you something I wanted to post right when the book first came out. Today I am sharing with you the full table of contents of the Foreven Worlds: Creatures of Distant Worlds so you can get an idea of exactly what you are getting with this book.

This book has more than 60 monsters for your Traveller game, yet it has only 17 monster entries (18, if you count the benchmark appendix). How did we do that? We have more than one monster per entry. Some of these monsters have young, adult, and elder version of these creatures. Others have completely different creatures under the headings. Take spiders for example. We have stalking spiders and web spinners as well as giant version of each. Imagine a spider that can take 105 damage! I know I don’t want to, but it is the book. How about psionic plants. We have pyroplants, siren plants and telekinetic plants. That is not something you see every day on planet Earth. How crazy do our monsters get? How about a blog of living magma? Is that crazy enough for you?

Are you looking for a pet? I would recommend one of 5 varieties of dogs we have in the book over the three varieties of gorallians or psirats we present you. Snake fans may enjoy the young sand cobra but by the time it grows into a terror sand cobra, they may consider releasing it to the wild. A shock lizard may make a fun pet, but I would not let a giant shock lizard near the electronics. All of the creatures in this book can be found above. Download this book now exclusively at DriveThruRPG.

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.

Traveller: Unleash the Creatures of Distant Worlds Upon Your Game

Beyond the Imperium, unknown creatures await unwitting explorers. Even in established civilizations, devious politicians and gangsters keep dangerous pets to show off their status. On frontier outposts, scarcely documented plants and animals attack any who threaten their habitats and food sources. With Foreven Worlds: Creatures of Distant Worlds, you’ll have a new monster to throw at your players no matter where they go.

This 29-page book features more than 60 new creature stat blocks. These include:

  • 4 varieties of ants, from swarms of tiny creatures you can stomp with your boot to enormous specimens able to devour entire buildings
  • 3 varieties of mutated canines called devil dogs, known for their mean disposition and terrible bite
  • Blob creatures that can cause significant damage even to ships, such as magmites and space oozes
  • Psionic plants and animals that coordinate their attacks and lure their prey to their doom
  • Expanded traits and numerous benchmark creatures which enable you to create your own native flora and fauna for your games.

Give your players a new challenge today!

Download this awesome book of monsters exclusively at DriveThruRPG.

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.

Traveller: Pyroplants

Next week sees the release of our long awaited book Foreven Worlds: Creatures of Distant Worlds. This 29-page book of monster for you to shoot up turned out exceptionally well and we are truly proud of it. We hope that you enjoy the creatures inside this book as much as we loved creating them for you. I personally consider myself first and foremost a monster creator so this was a labor of love above anything else.

Image by Tadas Sidlauskas
We have showed off the various monsters inside this book during its creation including ants, magmites, psirats, and spiders. Today, I want to share with you one that had quite a bit of fun inflicting on some poor unsuspecting players: a pyroplant. When you start igniting without an obvious source, words that I cannot repeat in this blog post get said. Watching their reactions is fun as hell.

Grab the Foreven Worlds: Creatures of Distant Worlds, available now at DriveThruRPG, and let us know how much you enjoy these creatures in your game.

Animal Pyroplants
Hits 6
Speed 1 m
Skills Telekinesis 3, Telepathy 0
Attacks
Traits Armour (+1), Camouflaged, Heightened Senses, Immune to fire, Psionic (5), Small (–2)
Behaviour Carnivore, Killer

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