We asked our first Patreon support what kind of blog posts they wanted to see. Their response was a series on the writing process. Previously, we talked about where we get the core idea from. Today we are developing that idea into a full usable draft. Like last time, we are using the example of a 5e warlock, one we’re calling the Crusadress. We decided last time that this patron has good intentions but with a spin of doing the wrong thing. We’ll see how that changes as we go through our steps.

1) Describe Each Core Concept in a Few Words

Before we make this a big pile of random, we need a solid idea of all the Crusadress’ core concepts. As we said above, “doing the right thing” is one as well as “doing the wrong thing” is also apart of that. While I could tighten up that last concept to something like, “for the wrong reasons” or “goes about it the wrong way,” I am intentionally not doing so. When creating player-faced material, you have to keep it loose for individual interpretation. If this was for an NPC, I would most definitely pick one of them as a core concept. However, player material needs room for different character concepts. Saying, “this is the one right way to play this material” is the worst thing you can do. That would be like calling a fighter a “defender” without leaving room for an archer, a Dex-based finesse fighter, and so on.

Next core concept is “blind dedication to a cause.” “Hitting first and asking questions later to never,” is another solid idea. You can deep doing this for a while, but it is best to limit the core concepts to three or four. We’ll stick with these four.

2) Create Abilities that Match Concepts

Warlock patrons get 4 class abilities and a total of 10 spells across 5 levels. Spells are an easy place to start. When I hear “doing the right thing,” I think paladin. So let’s pick some spells from the paladin spell list to give to our warlock patron. Branding smite is definitely going to be picked, if for no other reason than it is the only OGL smite spell. As a result, we may end up creating some new smite spells, but we’ll work on that later. Heroism is another good choice since a lack of fear fits well with both doing the right thing and blind dedication to a cause. So is detect evil and good, banishment, and dispel even and good.

When I think of “doing the wrong thing,” I think warlock. So lets add a few spells. Enthrall is a solid choice. Hellish rebuke is a good for “wrong thing” as well as “hitting first.” However, we already choose two first-level spells. That’s ok. Right now having too many options is a good thing; we can make cuts later. Vampiric touch has a very “ends justify the means” vibe which is another way of saying, “blind dedication to a cause.

The question now becomes, how do you turn these concepts into class abilities or spells for empty spell slots. Well let’s go back to the Core Idea blog post and use “look at official sources” principle. The core book’s first level warlock abilities include charming/frightening someone once per short rest, bonus hit points when providing the final blow on a creature, and telepathy with a creature you can’t otherwise understand, XGtE has two additional cantrips + a healing pool, a curse + bonus proficiencies + the ability to attack with your Charisma modifier instead of Str or Dex.

So some of these recreate a variation on a spell (charm person, fear, vampiric touch), so varying up a spell and toning it up or down for 1st level. Bless fits the concept of “doing the right thing” and “hitting first and asking questions never.” I specifically didn’t choose that in the spell list because that spell has its routes purely in the divine. So let’s vary it up some. How about instead of blessing people, you “bless” attacks against a creature you attacked? This could be something like, “All attacks against the creature roll an additional d4 and add the number rolled to the attack roll.” This will need some verbage about not stacking with bless. To balance it against similar first-level abilities, you’ll need to use a bonus action to activate it after hitting said creature with a spell or weapon attack and can’t use again until after a short/long rest. Solid idea, it encourages coordination with the party since everyone should be ready to make attacks against the big bad, the basic concept is already familiar, but it is different enough to be special. Use the same process for creating new spells, but here you have to consider which classes can cast it by default.

When you’re done here, you should have a full spell list and all the abilities in a rough draft version. Here is where you…

3) See What Other’s Think

Show the mechanics and core concepts to other game designers and people you trust (like your home gaming group). Let them give you feedback based on how they read it as well as playtest it. Is one ability far too powerful or utterly worthless. It takes a whole lot of eyes on something to see whether it is a good idea or not, more than you have alone.

Please note, I said above that you are showing the mechanics and core concepts, not the final version of the thing. Simple reason: everything is still subject to change at this point. EVERYTHING. If no one agrees that one of your core concepts and all associated mechanics works with the rest, the core concept associated mechanics have to be kicked out of the thing. When that happens, either you have to create new mechanics based on the remaining concepts or add a new concept and create new mechanics. When you have a consensus that what you have is on point and balanced, then you are ready to move on.

Support our Patreon to help us create more blog posts like these and download our PDFs from DriveThruRPG and the Open Gaming Store, and if you play over Fantasy Grounds or Roll20, we have downloadable modules at their store.

As I write this, I am sitting in a metal tube several miles above the surface of the Earth. No matter how many times I do this, I still find it amazing. I know all the physics involved, but that still doesn’t make it any less a wonder of the potential we can achieve when we put our brightest minds and the most daring among us together. There needs to be a deity to just that thing. Frankly, I can think of no one better than Daedalus.

For those of you not familiar with Greek mythology, Daedalus strapped on a pair of wings made from feathers and wax and flew to escape the tower he was imprisoned in. While the story is a celebration of innovation and daring, it is also a cautionary tale as well, as his son Icarus flew too close to the sun, causing the wax to melt and he fell back to Earth.

With all that in mind, what would a religion based on such a deity look like?

Daedalus

Chaotic Good Hero-Deity of Artificial Flight, Daring, and Ingenuity

Followers of Daedalus believe in understanding the natural world and look to create mechanical ways to emulate them. Chief among these inspirations is the ability to fly like a bird, run as fast as a horse, and haul as much as an elephant, however, this is hardly an exhaustive list. Also among Daedalus’ followers are those daring enough to try such inventions and see if they work.

Daedalus has a strong following among gnomes. Even those of their kind that do not worship him still respect him and will offer up a quick prayer before trying a new invention out. Other races with a sizable following for the hero-deity include humans, dwarves, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds. The goblinoid and kobold followers go hand in hand as the hobgoblins create the new invention and the goblins and kobolds are more than willing to try. Kobold inventors may be less successful, but they still try hard.

The holy symbol of Daedalus is a pair of feathery wings. Followers are hardly commanded to but still frequently keep a feather on them somewhere. Most often this is in the hair or in a hat, but followers of Daedalus are an individualistic lot and feathers can be found anywhere and in any quantity on the faithful.

While followers of Daedalus are stereotypically the friend that is up for anything (the crazier, the better), they also heed their deity’s warning for they do not want to end up like the son of the deity before ascending to godhood. Proficiency with mechanical tool sets are taught among the faithful and they check the working of anything the device they are not familiar with, both to see how it works as well as to make sure they feel it is safe.

If you enjoyed this minor deity and would like to support us in our creative efforts, join our Patreon. For only $3/ month, you can help bring more posts like this to life. Join today. Also download our PDFs at DriveThruRPG and the Open Gaming Store.

I have always been a fan of fantasy deities. The one thing that I always feel is that fantasy deities are missing is some appeal to common persons. I feel that deities that have a direct appeal to adventurers or villains are given special status while those that would be far more relevant to serfs and farmers are barely given any attention when they given any attention at all. Which brings me to my favorite fantasy deity as of late: Grumble. If you have read the Spells, Swords, and Stealth series by Drew Hayes, you’ll know Grumble as the kobold deity of minions, servants, and slaves. Grumble treats his followers nice because he is a former minion himself and knows how bad his followers have it. And honestly, who is going to have more faithful, the deity of undead, the deity of bankers, or the deity of minions? In terms of sheer numbers and quantity of prayers, the minion deity should win out and be frankly be the leader of all deities.

So this is where I want to begin my deific musings, focusing on a deity that should have a sizable number of followers but is largely ignored by most fantasy RPGs. Which brings us to Avarna, the minor deity of tradespersons. Those with a skill: butchers, bakers, candlestick makers, stonemasons, weavers, cobblers, locksmiths, tanners, etc., have a very specific skill and few deities that represent them in any standard fantasy pantheon. So consider adding Avarna to your game.

Avarna

Lawful good deity of skilled work, integrity, and community

When Avarna appears to their followers, they appear as any race, skin/fur tone, or gender they see fit, knowing full well that skilled crafters and laborers are not limited to any one group. Instead they frequently appear as a customer to a troubled crafter, purchase a product, compliment them on their work, ask about their troubles and then helps them solve the problem. This is why Avarna is sometimes called the Great Problemsolver. It is because of this that Avarna preaches education among their followers, encouraging them all to read as well as taking apprentices to pass on what they have learned.

Avarna also extols integrity, believing that quality work should stand on its own. Those that sell poor quality items and passing them off as the work of a more skilled crafter is seen as the highest form of blasphemy among the faithful. Anvils breaking, looms snapping, and dead yeast area few of the signs of a ways Avarna is seen as punishing those that do not meet the deity’s standard of honesty.

The community of workers is another of the highest tenants of Avarna. If the cobbler cannot repair shoes, they cannot buy bread, who cannot higher purchase wheat, and so on. Everyone suffers. The deity teaches that the community should look out for one another and help each other out for the good of all.

The clergy of Avarna tend to have less formal religious training and more experience lending a helping hand. Come the harvest, a cleric of Avarna is frequently in the fields. When the giving holiday of winter comes around, a cleric of Avarna helps the crafters make toys for orphans. Yet if there is one service all clergy of Avarna help with most of all, it is helping crafters to sell their own products. This way more the money they make flows into the hands of crafters and stays out of the hands of the merchants.

Paladins of Avarna are rare but not unheard of. Most of them are the children of tradespersons and saw their lives enriches by their skilled parents and how the wealthy kept working to take everything they had away from them. These paladins take a vow to serve the common folk against the wealthy and powerful. After a paladin of Avarna slays a monster that attacked a village, you can find them helping to rebuild.

Most followers of Avarna keep a small house shrine or holy symbol of a sewing needle crossed with a rolling pin on a wall and placed kissed fingers to the shrine before starting work for the day. Religious services are weekly and short, after the sun goes down and the work day is done. Once a month there is a communal feast for the faithful where all share in their collective good fortune or troubles. This is where followers meet up and find solutions collectively.

If you enjoyed this minor deity and would like to support us in our creative efforts, join our Patreon. For only $3/ month, you can help bring more posts like this to life. Join today. Also download our PDFs at DriveThruRPG and the Open Gaming Store.

13th Age: Equitaur

Like we said at the start of the week, we’re creating one monster for D&D 5e, Pathfinder 1e, and 13th Age. Today we bring you the third in the series. The nastier specials are always fun when creating 13th Age monsters. The regular abilities are exactly what you expect from said monster. So when creating the nastier special, I’m always thinking, “what would the boss have?” That’s where I get to turn the monster up to 11. As I mentioned in the 5e post, the inspiration for this monster is a horse-themed minotaur and folklore creature known as a Tikbalang. So I took a version of the minotaur’s durable ability as well as increased the quantity of the terrifying whinny ability. That should give players a rough time.

As always, if you like these blog posts, support our Patreon as well as download our 13th Age PDFs at DriveThruRPG and the Open Gaming Store.

Equitaur

3rd level spoiler [humanoid]
Initiative +7

Claws +8 vs AC—8 damage
Natural 16+ hit—The equitaur can make a terrifying whinny attack as a free action.

[Special trigger] C: Terrifying Whinny +8 vs MD (1d3 nearby enemies)—3 psychic damage and affected targets do not add the escalation die to their attacks until the end of the equitaur’s next turn

Nastier Special

Durable: The first time each round the equituar takes damage, prevent 2d4 of it.
Even More Whinny: The equitaur can make a terrifying whinny attack on a natural even hit or miss.

AC 19
PD 17
MD 13
HP 45

PF 1e: Equitaur

We mentioned on Monday that this month is going to focus on monsters all month. We’ll be releasing new monsters for 5e, PFRPG, and 13th Age all month long. This week is the equitaur, a creature inspired by the Phillippine folklore monster tikbalang. See the 5e version here and check out the 13th Age version on Friday.

Be sure to download all of our Pathfinder products at DriveThruRPG and the Open Gaming Store an support us creating monsters and other stuff for your RPG and releasing it free on the web. Support our blog by joining our Patreon today.

Equitaur CR 6

XP 2,400
CE Large monstrous humanoid
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +12

Defenses

AC 19, touch 12, flat-footed 16 (+3 Dex, +7 natural, –1 size)
hp 68 (8d10+24)
Fort +5, Ref +9, Will +7

Offense

Speed 40 ft.
Melee bite +11 (1d8+4), 2 claws +11 (1d6+4)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks terrifying whinny (30-foot radius, DC 16; shaken for 1d6 rounds, usable every 1d4 rounds)

Statistics

Str 19, Dex 16, Con 17, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 15
Base Atk +8; CMB +12; CMD 25
Feats Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Run, Skill Focus (Stealth)
Skills Intimidate +13, Perception +12, Stealth +13
Languages Giant

Ecology

Environment temperate forests or ruins
Organization solitary, pair, or team (3–5)
Treasure standard

Special Abilities

Terrifying Whinny (Ex) As a standard action, an equitaur can let out a whinny that shakes all those nearby to their core. All creatures within 30 feet that can hear it must succeed a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw or be shaken for 1d6 rounds. Creatures that are already shaken become frightened. The equitaur can use this ability every 1d4 rounds. The save DC is Charisma-based. This is a mind-affecting effect.

5e: Equitaur

With only one day left in May, I am starting June’s blog posts early. This month is going to focus on monsters, mainly because I got some new monster art recently and I want to create the fun creepies. *evil laugh* We’re going to be doing like at the April with the skunkdrill, where we created a 5e, Pathfinder 1e, and 13th Age version of these creatures.

Additionally, the votes from our Patreon are in and they want to see details on minor deities and their associated religions So those are the blog posts coming your way in June. I’m not sure what kind of religions to create for Traveller, but we will be coming up with something. I love a challenge. Anyways, join our Patreon today for only $3 to help us decide what our blog posts should be about.

Back to this blog post, the image for this blog post comes from Dean Spencer. If you love his work, tell him. For that matter tell whatever artist who’s work you enjoy how you feel. Same is true for writers. And publishers. We love to hear your thoughts and feedback, especially positive feedback. He named this piece a Tikbalang, which got me researching its origins. When I bought it, however, I thought equine minotaur. I hope I was able to merge these two ideas together into one absolutely terrifying monster. Enjoy.

Equitaur

Large monstrosity, chaotic evil
Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 93 (11d10 + 33)
Speed  40 ft.


STR 20 (+5) DEX 19 (+4) CON 17 (+3)
INT 9 (–1) WIS 17 (+3) CHA 10 (+0) 


Skills Stealth +6
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 13
Languages Abyssal
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)


Run. An equitar may take a Dash action as a bonus action.
Spiked Body. A series of spikes protrude from the equitar’s spine. Creatures grappling an equitaur automatically take 2d6 piercing damage at the start of their turn.

Actions


Multiattack. The equitaur makes 3 attacks: one bite and two claws.
Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 8 (1d6 + 5) piercing damage.
Claw. Melee Weapon Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 7 (1d4 + 5) slashing damage.
Terrifying Whinny (Recharge 5–6).
As an action, an equitaur can whinny in a way that can give someone shivers down to their core. All creatures within a 20-foot radius that fail a DC 14 Charisma saving throw take 14 (4d6) psychic damage and are frightened for 1 minute. A successful save means the creature takes half the damage and is not frightened. Frightened creatures may attempt a new saving throw at the end of their turn to end this effect.

When we began this month, we set off with the directive of posts focusing on either 13th Age or on new class/career options. So far, we’ve focused on the former and all but ignored the latter. So today I thought I would share with you a few new class options that we created. Specifically, here are a few new slayer talents that I really feel should have been published before now.

Before sharing these, I want to note that none of these appear in the upcoming Book of Beasts: Slayer Codex. That book exclusively uses options published by Paizo in their RPG line. So nothing created by us, any other Pathfinder compatible publisher, nor Paizo for their campaign setting lines make an appearance in this book. These slayer talents are options that I noticed were missing and I would like to see added to the game. Eventually, they will make their way to a book, but that is not today.

New Slayer Talents

The following slayer talents can be taken by any slayer who meets their prerequisites.

Horizon Tracker (Ex): The slayer gains a +4 bonus on all Knowledge (planes) checks, and can use Track with Knowledge (planes) when tracking creatures of the outsider type. 

Martial Artist (Ex): The slayer gains a Style feat as a bonus feat. The slayer must meet all the prerequisites for the feat, adding their slayer level to any monk level, if any. The slayer can choose this talent up to three times. Each additional time he does, he chooses a feat that requires the style feat as a prerequisite.

Vigilante Talent: A slayer can select one of the following rogue talents in place of a slayer talent: armor skin UI, blind spot UI, cunning feint UI, or favored maneuver UI. Any talent effects based on vigilante level use the slayer’s class level. A slayer can select this talent multiple times. If the vigilante talent has a prerequisite, the slayer must fulfill the prerequisite before taking that vigilante talent. This talent can be selected multiple times; each time, it grants the slayer a new vigilante talent.

We hope you enjoyed these new slayer talents. If you want a say in what blog posts get published for next month, join our Patreon. Also download our Pathfinder 1e products at DriveThruRPG and the Open Gaming Store.

It was ten years ago this month that JBE released the Book of the River Nations: Complete Player’s Reference for Kingdom Building to the world. This book who’s name is exceedingly too long introduced Pathfinder players to our books and the quality of work we put into our material. This book holds a very special place in our hearts as it was a huge success for us. It was designed for the Kingmaker adventure path because all of the special rules for that campaign were in the adventure paths, away from the eyes of the players who needed them to succeed. So we had the great idea of taking all those rules that were OGL, clarified them where they needed smoothing out, and republished them in a spoiler-free book designed for players. It sold in game stores on three continents and is one of our most popular PDF books of all time.

So for its 10th anniversary, we wanted to bring it to you at a special discount. For the rest of this month, you can download the Book of the River Nations Complete for $2.95 at DriveThruRPG, more than 50% off the regular price. This isn’t just a book of rules, but a piece of gaming history. Many game masters credited this book with making Kingmaker playable, proving that compatible publishers are not competition as WotC always believed but can instead exist symbiotically with the larger game company. Not only that, a few years later, Paizo released Ultimate Campaign which contained the kingdom building and mass combat rules found inside. Had it not been for the Book of the River Nation‘s success, Paizo might not have created that book. This book changed gaming history.

While you are there, grab yourself the Pathfinder adventure Deadly Delves: The Gilded Gauntlet. This adventure is enjoying its 4th anniversary. This 9th level adventure is received 5 stars and the seal of approval from Endzeitgeist. This 61-page adventure is available right now for $3.95, more than 40% off the regular price. Download this adventure today at DriveThruRPG.

Both of these sales only last until the end of May. So go over to DriveThruRPG today and download these and more of our Pathfinder 1e products.

13th Age: Guild Items

This month, we are focusing on new 13th Age material. Last week, we shared with you two new monsters for 13th Age: the usurper’s troops and the hound golem. This week, we are sharing with you some of the magic items specific to some of our alternate icons we created for 13th Age. Monday we shared a pair of item preferred by the Herald. Today we have favored by the Guild Mistress.

The Guild Mistress likes two things: gold and those in the guild also being productive. So the ring of persuasion is something that her negotiators frequently have on them. The better crafters in the guild keep the hammer of flawed creativity. Having a bonus to all magic item crafting rolls is something any crafter likes. However, it has been known to make magic items that are imperfect, which is better than just wasting time and resources on a failed attempt.

Ring of Persuasion: This silver ring looks like a simple signet ring with the Guild Mistress’ symbol on it. You gain a +2 bonus to skill checks to make someone give you or sell you something. Quirk: Always smiling.

Hammer of Flawed Creativity (Champion item, recharge 11+): What normally looks like a normal blacksmith’s hammer turns into whatever kind of crafting tool you need it to be at that moment when crafting a magic item. When crafting a magic item, you gain a +2 to your skill check. Should you fail that skill check, you may immediately roll another d20 and add that result to your total. If you succeed with the new total, you successfully create the item but it has some unexpected but thematic flaw (GM’s choice). Examples of flaws: if you are making a weapon that also deals lightning damage, you also deal the lightning damage to one random nearby target (friend or foe alike). If you are making an item that grants resistance to one type of damage, the target of your attacks gains that same resistance until the start of your next turn.

If you enjoyed these 13th Age magic items, join our Patreon today. Also download our 13th Age PDFs at DriveThruRPG and the Open Gaming Store.

We slightly altered this symbol we obtained via Creative Commons at http://game-icons.net. Full license at
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/legalcode. Icons created by Lorc.

13 Cleric Domains and Spells

We slightly altered this symbol we obtained via Creative Commons at http://game-icons.net. Full license at
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/legalcode
Icons created by Lorc

All month long, we are releasing new 13th Age material. Last week we focused on monsters. This week we are focusing on new magic items. One of our Patrons asked for magic items for the Herald, so that’s what we’re starting with first.

Confession, Symbol of (recharge 16+): When you hit an enemy with a divine spell or attack, that enemy is also stuck until the end of their next turn. (Champion: recharge 11+) Quirk: Prone to telling others about your deity, bringing the subject up in irrelevant conversations.

Ring of the Blessed (recharge 11+): This ivory ring is carved with the holy symbol of a deity. When you fail an attack roll, saving throw, or skill check, add +1 to that roll. Quirk: Confident in the deity to the point of calm.

If you enjoyed these 13th Age magic items, join our Patreon today. Also download our 13th Age PDFs at DriveThruRPG and the Open Gaming Store.