What is Your Favorite Kind of Fantasy Monsters to Fight?

Today, I thought I would make a nice fun poll to end the week. What is your favorite kind of fantasy monster to fight? No matter if you play Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, 13th Age, Swords and Wizardry or some other fantasy game that we don’t support, you can still tell us your thoughts.

So what team are you on? Team Fiends? Team Sparkle Vampires? Team Venus Fly Trap? Vote in our poll and share it with your friends. We would love to hear your thoughts.

Watchtower Balleron

You would be forgiven if you were not aware that the kingdom’s forced still operated out if Watchtower Balleron long after the hobgoblins took it over. Few in the kingdom did, including the hobgoblins. The lower level had a secret door to a staircase that led to the caves below. The Stone Breakers, the Queen’s elite dwarven commandos, listening (aided by magic) to the hobgoblins plans from below, slipping into the watchtower itself when vital to the mission, and stealing maps and committing various acts of sabotage.

Because of the kingdom’s internal politics, the kingdom could not strike openly against the hobgoblins so the reigning queen took steps to make sure they were ineffective. She let them operate out of Watchtower Balleron as a concession to the local Lord since he was taking bribes from the hobgoblins. However, the queen had her people to think about and detached a small force to serve as an information source. So frequently when the hobgoblins go out on raids, away from the lord’s lands, they mysteriously found the local guards prepared for an attack.

Since the queen cannot act openly against the aggressors, she hopes a group of adventurers show up and handle the problem for her. One of her advisors suggested holding a fighting competition to attract such persons but to do so they need enough advanced warning to advertise the competition so they can attract such seasoned adventurers. As things stand, they fear that only new adventurers will be present and answer the call and will likely die in the fight. She may not have much choice, however, as keeping up current operations costs more than the kingdom’s treasury can afford.

Even then, once the hobgoblins are dealt with, the lord that was backing the hobgoblins will be upset and may have against the royal court or he may run away. To catch the lord, the queen knows she’ll need the help of the adventurers to keep her hands out of it. She may have to have the Stone Breakers leave evidence of the lord’s collusion with hobgoblins and escape before the adventurers show up. But then again, they are elite troops, specializing in information gathering, stealth, and subterfuge over combat. Should the queen’s roll in all of this be made public, there could be considerable complications for her.

Watchtower Balleron

LE large fortification
Government military overlord
Population 1,300 (1,000 hobgoblins; 100 dwarves; 200 other)

Notable NPCs


Captain Teurik Deathaxe, military overlord (LE male hobgoblin fighter 5 [13A: 3rd level leader])
Lieutenant Ooknar Bloodvengence, lead raider (LE female hobgoblin ranger 3 [13A: 2nd level archer])
Iknix Flamecloak, priest of goblinoid god (NE male goblin cleric 2 [13A: 1st level caster])
Lieutenant Harnask Silverheart, leader of the Stone Breakers (LG male dwarf rogue 6 [13A: 3rd level spoiler])

Be sure to also check out Fort Strange and let us know if you want to see more locations like this.

Support our efforts to bring you more awesome material like this by downloading our Pathfinder RPG, D&D 5e, 13th Age, and Swords and Wizardry books directly from the JBE Shop.

What Kind of Monster Artwork Do You Prefer?

Earlier this week, we showed off a monster that a druid or wizard can summon with the conjure minor elemental spell. I really like that monster, but there’s something I have been wondering about with the artwork: the style. It is a beautiful color image. The problem is is that I don’t have a massive library of color images. I have a much larger library of black and white image. So as I continue to work on monster books for Fifth Edition, 13th Age, Pathfinder 2e (possibly), and other systems, I want to stay consistent as much as possible throughout the entire project. So that leads me to ask, what do you prefer?

Adding a parchment background to a black and white image is quite easy and rather fun. Not only that, it gives the image a distinctive feeling of being from an ancient tome that time forgot, in keeping with the fantasy theme. However, I do love looking at the color images in monster books. So I am asking you to help me make up my mind.

Tell me what kind of image would you like to see in a monster book from us. Vote in the poll below and as always, elaborate in the comments below.

[poll id=”4″]

See our monster books we have published so far for Pathfinder and Fifth Edition at the JBE Shop.

GM’s Day Sale 2018

It’s that time of year again and the GM’s Day Sale is in full swing. Just about everything from Jon Brazer Enterprises is on sale at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store. There you will find just about everything in the JBE catalog for Traveller, Pathfinder, Fifth Edition, 13th Age, and Swords and Wizardry at 30% off or more.

Additionally, we will be doing a number of 1-Day Sales at JBE Shop. Today we are offering the Pathfinder adventure Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin for only $2 when you use the GMsDayReignOfRuin coupon code. Download this adventure today and check back this adventure over the next week for more.

5 Questions Every Paladin Should Be Able to Answer

I have seen quite a few paladins in my time—both at the table and in fiction, and my favorite is O-Chul from the Order of the Stick Comics. He is what a paladin should be in my opinion, fighting for justice without overdoing it. Paladins have a stereotype of being “lawful stupid.” Frequently they appear so full of themselves and their station that they make everything about them.

A paladin should put their deity above everything including their own pride. They shouldn’t be glory seeking zealots but seeking to glorify their deity through their every action. Their should be someone with rock hard faith in the rightness of their cause, not the rightness in themselves. If anything, they should doubt themselves, questioning whether or not their every action is the right one to exemplify the rightness of their deity and their cause. Here are 5 Questions to help you role play a paladin better. Previously we shared with you 5 Questions to help you play a fighter, cleric, monk, bard, and rogue better.

1) What Caused Your Strong Devotion to your Deity?

Following a deity is one thing. You worship, follow a few tenants, and go about your daily life. Being devoted is another. A devoted person will take time out of their day to contemplate how to best incorporate their deity’s tenants into their actions and will wonder if they are devoted enough. Being a paladin is far, far more devoted than that. You are so devoted that you are willing to go into dangerous places risking your own live to do your deity’s work and are willing to kill while doing so. Being that devoted should be sobering. One does not do that “because it seemed like a good idea at the time,” at least, not for long. The person had to have had a life changing event to inspire that level of devotion. So what was it? Were you rescued from certain death or worse by a servant of that deity (or the deity him/her/itself/themselves)? Perhaps you were in a bad place in your life and the church helped you leave that life behind. Did you lose a family member to monsters or strung out on demonic narcotics and a paladin of this deity was the only thing that kept you alive? What bad place were you in and how does this deity help change that in you?

2) What is Your Purpose?

For many religious people that find faith because of some great change, they feel they now have a purpose to their lives that they lacked before. What is that purpose? “Spreading the word of the deity,” is far too easy and generic of an answer. It would be specific and would relate directly to your old life before you began worshiping the deity. It is this purpose that propels you to wake up every morning, even when you are questioning your devotion to your deity. You remember what your life was like before and are determined at all costs to not return. You swore an oath and follow a strict code of conduct that keeps you on that purpose. That purpose can suddenly change your perspective in any situation. If you were addicted to drugs, you would be particularly merciful to someone you were after the moment you found out they are hooked on those same narcotics and even more wrathful if the person you are after sells those bits of false pleasure. If you purpose is to hunt down demons so no one else’s family need die and you were hunting down a nest of demon worshipers, you would only show mercy to those that were doing their bidding out of fear, not out of a desire for power. What drives you?

3) What About Yourself Do You Not Like?

You swore an oath and follow a strict code of conduct because you were in a bad place and do not want to return. The thing is, deep down you blame yourself for being in that bad place in the first place. If you didn’t blame yourself, you could have fought your way out of that situation and became a fighter or learned to see the right opportunity to escape it and became a rogue. Instead, you couldn’t adapt, couldn’t figure a way out, and needed rescued. Situations like this can make a person turn their anger at the situation inward and see the fault with themselves, making them not like some aspect of themselves.

Yet there is the purpose that let’s the person ignore that inner struggle, silencing it for a time while focusing on the work. As such those unresolved feelings fester inside and can make the paladin stumble. This is exactly why paladins have the ex-paladin sections in their class description, about breaking their oaths. Everyday for a paladin should be a constant struggle between the good person they want to be and the darkness that lurks inside. What is that darkness for you?

4) How did those you know respond to your change?

People don’t like change. You have changed yet your old friends and family have not. They are still in the same place they were before. Some people can handle that you are a different person now; others cannot. Some relationships should end, like those that helped you to get to your bad place. Others were unaware of how bad that place you were in truly was and do not understand what that change means to you. So when you start trying to help them in ways they do not want helped, it is not uncommon for people to abandon the changed person. Name three relationships that changed for your character. The first should be someone that helped get you to that bad place. The person can be evil but does not have to be. The second should be someone you were close to before but you are now estranged from. The third should be someone you casually knew before but are now close to after your change. All three of these people should be people your GM can use as NPCs to cause internal conflict, making the story more personal.

5) Why Do You Stay With Your Fellow Adventurers?

Let’s be honest, adventurers can be a rather unpredictable lot. They steal, fail to show proper respect for “worthy” deities or those that serve them, and can commit all manner of sacrilege, not because they are evil (necessarily) but because they are ill-informed of what they are doing. Is this why you stay with them? To help them see how they could be better? Or do you see the person you use to be before you went to your bad place and are trying to help them find a way to avoid the same fate? Is this simply a relationship of convenience, where they happen to be fighting the same evil you are? Or do you genuinely care for them and as a good and faithful friend you are sticking with them?

Corrakwak is a tengu paladin (sometimes preferring the term inquisitor) of the goddess Amanozako, bent on making sure that all are treated fairly. He despises those that go back on their word having once been left for dead by those that use to be his close friend. As such, Carrakwak has trouble making close friends now, but has learned to trust his fellow adventurers enough to know they will not cheat him. Now he fights for truth and justice with a vengeance.

Carrakwak is featured on the cover of the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium for Pathfinder, the Book of Heroic Races Player Races 1 for 5e and Book of Heroic Races Age of Races 2 for 13th Age. Download these today at the JBE Shop with the “holiday2017” coupon code until January 31st for your game to choice to get 30% off your order.

Happy Festivus and Merry Whatever

With the holidays upon us, get yourself something that you really want. Download the JBE book you have been wanting now through January 31, 2018 for 30% off your entire order at JonBrazer.com with the “holiday2017” coupon code.

From all of us at Jon Brazer Enterprises, have a safe and happy holiday.

5 Questions Every Rogue Should Be Able to Answer

Comparing a fighter with a rogue is a healthy exercise and helpful when trying to understand how these characters are fundamentally different. When in a fight, a fighter walks up to the thing and beats it down until it is dead while a rogue will look for the creature’s weak point and strike there. When trying to get something from a cave where a monster lies sleeping, a fighter will most likely wake it up with the clanging of its armor and then have to kill it before getting the treasure while a rogue will quietly sneak past it and just take it. When trying to talk their way into a room past a guard, a fighter will try to intimidate the guard into letting them pass while a rogue may intimidate but will more likely turn on the charm and convince the guard that they should already be in there. The common thread in all of them is that a rogue relies on looking for the opportunity, and that is where the heart of your character should lie.

To help you flesh out your character, we have 5 questions for you that you, as the player of the rogue should be able to answer through your character’s eyes. If you prefer to play a fighter, cleric, monk, or bard, we have 5 questions for them as well. So lets begin.

1) Why Did You Start Seeing the Opportunity in Every Situation?

Being a rogue doesn’t mean that you look for an opportunity; it means that you just see the opportunity in every situation. You were not born seeing the opportunity. This is a survival mechanism; you were made. So something had to happen over and over again, and you compensated by looking for ways to fight back. This happened so often that it comes to you as easily as breathing. So what was it? Did you grow up an orphan on the street and had to hide in order to avoid the bigger kids? Are you the scion of a noble and were constantly tricked by someone jealous of your station? Was one of your parents an abusive drunk that would beat you until you could find ways to keep the drunk from attacking before the beatings began? In short, something in your life was not pleasant for a long time and this is how you survived. What was it?

2) How Did You Escape that Bad Situation?

You’re an adventurer and are no longer in that bad situation. The story of how you got out of there is one that will hold considerable meaning to you as it will be your goto backup plan the moment the chips are down. Did you run away from your problem? This will probably mean that if the battle turns badly, you may well abandon your friends to get away. It will also mean that you take feats and other class choices that let you move faster and get away without taking attacks from your enemies. Did you finally confront that abusive parent and say, “No more!” If that were the case, you’d probably make character choices that let you attack before anyone else, striking hard with that first blow, ending the fight right away. It also means you would rush into battle faster than the fighter. Did you outsmart your jealous rival, tricking them as you were? This means you will rely on far less conventional tactics than most characters. Maybe you will use a net, whip, or other weapon that incurs some type of penalty onto your enemy. Your method of escape is a proven method of survival in your mind. What is it?

3) When Did You Fight Your Instincts and Trust Someone?

Trust is a difficult thing when you have been treated in some fashion that turns you into a rogue. However, those that do not trust lead very lonely lives. Sooner or later you have to take a chance and trust someone. Come up with three examples. Two of them should be good friends, even if you have moved on and have not talked to them in a long time. The third should be someone that let you down. It could be out and out betrayal, but it could also be something as ordinary as simple human failing. Remembering those that you trust is what keeps you trying to trust again. Feeling that pain of being let down should always temper that trust, keeping you from getting too close.

4) What Actions Will Make You Trust Again?

As mentioned previously, you don’t trust easily. To a rogue, actions speak louder than words. You have heard words over and over again and no longer trust them. “I won’t get drunk and hit again,” “I only want to help you, “I won’t tell anyone your secret.” It doesn’t matter. You’ve heard all the lies. So what does someone have to do to make you trust them? Is it someone that makes sure you get a fair share of the gold? Someone that stands up to a bully? Honesty no matter how much it hurts? What is it that will let you put your guard down to someone?

5) How Does Staying With Your Fellow Adventurers Benefit You?

While you will not sell out your fellow adventurers, you can walk away from them at any time. So why do you stick with them? There must be something in it for you? Money is the obvious answer. Going on adventures makes you rich. Yet you could find another group of adventurers. Why do you stick with this particular group? Do you trust one of them (or *gasp* all of them)? Are you doing it as a favor for someone that you want a favor from? Did someone you trust ask you? Or are you with them only for the moment and could leave when you get paid? Why are you still in this group?

Edward grew up a noble but renounced his birthright because of all the political games he had to play. He did run away, stealing to survive from that day forward. It was the Princess Yolanda that made him trust again. So when the King caught Edward and Yolanda together and he talked with them, Edward trusted the King as well. Now he adventures to prove himself worthy of the Princess’ hand and the King’s approval, trying to amend his past crimes.

Edward stands tall on the cover of Deadly Delves: Rescue from Tyrkaven. Download this adventure for Pathfinder and Fifth Edition. Download these and all of our books today using coupon code “holiday2017” to get 30% off this and everything else at the JBE Shop now through January 31, 2018.

5 Questions Every Bard Should Be Able to Answer

“Why did you think going into the dungeon and singing at the monsters was a good idea?” Let’s just agree that the idea of going into a deadly location armed with a tune is silly concept, at least at first glance. Yet, no one will hear of the hero’s exploits unless someone that is skilled at retelling the tale of heroic is there to witness them. In so doing, they have to know how to stand their ground and meet dangers head on. So it makes sense that they would use what they are best at to full effect.

To help you flesh out your character, we have 5 questions for you that you, as the player of the bard should be able to answer through your character’s eyes. If you prefer to play a fighter, cleric, or monk, we have 5 questions for them as well. So lets begin.

1) How Long Have You Been Training?

Anyone can move to music. Anyone can pick up an instrument, blow on it or pluck a string, and make noise. Anyone read words on a page while changing pitch. These, however, are not the product of years of training, dedication, and long hard work. That is what you have done. Day in and day out you played your lute until it comes to you as easily as breathing. You strengthening certain muscles while hammering your dulcimer, carrying your tuba, lifting your trombone again, and again, and again. Imagine what it was like, being a child on stage performing your dance routine and years later still performing. Not only are you good, you are captivating, enthralling, mesmerizing, inspiring. Your performances are quite literally magical. What were those long days like? Did you enjoy them or were they downright torture? This is actually the perfect intro to the next question…

2) Why Did You Start Training and Keep Training?

First off, why did you start? Did it seem like fun? Did you try it out and liked it? Were you forced by your parents for some village or clan festival? Trying it is one thing; continuing it is another. Children are notorious for trying something and stopping the moment it gets hard. So why did you stick to it? Did you tell your parents you wanted the instrument, they got it for you, you were unhappy when it got hard and your parents made you continue after they spent the money for it? Did they tell you how proud they were of you for doing so? Were you determined to earn someone’s approval by playing hard? Were you trying to emulate the local performer? What made you keep going when it was hard?

3) How Did You Learn a Bit of Everything?

Bards may not be experts in any one area, but they are darn good at just about everything. They may not be front line fighters but they know how to use a number of weapons well. They may not have the spell breadth of a wizard, but they do have a solid number of spells. Their skill selection is diverse. How are you so well educated, so much of a jack of all trades? Did you get sent to college or did you go to the school of hard knocks? Was far more expected of you than most others or were you naturally gifted at learning anything you were shown once. How are you so good at everything?

4) What Drives You To Be Better?

While this answer should always be, “To be better than I was yesterday,” what fun is there in that? If anything this is a great end point for your character—coming to a point where you are in competition with no one but yourself—but not a good starting point. This is a point of professional conflict with your character. Are you trying to be better than someone you consider your equal, that started around the same time as you, but got all the recognition that you feel you deserve? Perhaps you want to be just like your hero, the one person that got you into performing in the first place. Maybe you have this idealized version of yourself and you are forever striving for it but never attaining it. Over the course of the campaign, you should come to terms that you are only in competition with yourself, and talk to your GM about wanting to explore this in the campaign. Maybe your rival or hero can play a part in the campaign and your character can find a kind of peace when they finally see the truth of the situation. This will make your character engaging long after the campaign is over.

5) What “epicness” does your current group of companions present?

If you are going to tell the tale, sing the songs, perform the scene of the exploits of your character and their adventures, their deeds should be worthy of tales, songs, and plays. Maybe they haven’t done anything yet, but you see the spark inside them. What is it that makes you believe in them, and how does being with them make you believe in yourself more?

Sharem is our signature transman samsaran bard. He remembers himself playing instruments and telling tales in previous incarnations and started playing to connect with his former lives. That is what kept him practicing year after year growing up. Today he is more of an actor than a musician. He makes his performances showy, using his whip whenever possible to swing over the audience. He uses similar showmanship when in the dungeon as well. By keeping the monsters’ attention on himself, his companions can take them down with ease.

Sharem and his fellow adventurers are on the cover of the adventure Deadly Delves: The Gilded Gauntlet. Download this Pathfinder book today using coupon code “holiday2017” to get 30% off this and everything else at the JBE Shop now through January 31, 2018.

5 Questions Every Monk Should Be Able to Answer

Monks may not have been in every edition of d20 fantasy games, yet most accept them as one of the core classes. If your only exposure to what a monk should be is by watching Kung Fu or by watching bad (awesome!) martial arts movies, then I recommend checking out a few other sources of inspiration. High up on my list is the movie Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring. It is an excellent movie about the life of a monk. It can help you see a monk as a complex person rather than just someone that wanders around spouting nonsense and calling it wisdom (wah). You could also sign up for some martial arts classes and understand first hand the discipline a monk possesses. Unlike learning sword fighting and casting spells, martial arts classes are relative common and should be taken advantage of if you want to understand how a monk sees the world.

If you want to play a monk, here are five questions that will help you get into your character. See our 5 Questions for fighters and clerics here.

1) Were You Born To This Life, Or Did You Choose It?

The fundamental question, how did you get here? This will alter your world view. If you were raised from a small child to be a monk, you will see their ordered way of life as the only natural way to live. Such an austere lifestyle will be something you do not even question. You will recognize the importance if breathing and how it relates to life and fighting. However, you may always wonder who your parents were and why you were sent to the monks. If you joined a monastery later in life, you may choke at the lack of pleasures, chafe at the rules. Like Doctor Strange, you find it difficult accepting their ways and practices. Yet you choose this life for some reason. What happened that made you see this lifestyle as better than the one you previously choose.

2) Why Did You Start Adventuring?

Unlike classes like fighter and ranger that pretty much require adventuring, monk is one of those classes where it would be completely normal to stay in the building where you train and never go adventuring. So why did you? Did your master send you out in the world to gain experience (not XP) so you can achieve a higher plane of enlightenment? Perhaps you walked out of your own accord, not feeling that the reasons you originally joined changed. Did “real” life happen, like a family member die and you are now just wondering around looking for answers before returning to the monastery? For one fleeting moment, did you achieve enlightenment and now are trying to reattain it?

3) What Do You Think Of The World Outside the Monastery?

Now that you have spent time in the monastery, what is it like going out into the world? If you were raised by monks, this place would be strange, almost alien in the way that people do not treat each other with respect and honor. If anything, the monsters of the world might be more familiar to you since you probably have seen your fair share of them, being away from civilization. If you were raised in civilization and choose the monastic life and then returned to civilization, you would definitely be surprised by how your perspective has shifted. Things that once seemed normal to you would seem completely unreasonable. Your “fish out of water” point of view should be evident whenever you enter town.

4) How Do Your Actions Demonstrate Your Philosophy?

Being a monk means you have a philosophy, a way of looking at the world that is part practical, part mystical. Unlike lawful religion that sees things in start terms—good and bad, holy and unholy, worthy and unworthy—monks tend see the world through the lens of discipline because of their rigorous training. But the specifics of what your monk philosophy are up to you. The real question is how does your actions demonstration what that philosophy is? Do you believe in only defending and will only attack those that attack first? Will you always give someone the option to surrender? Are you careful where you step, always cautious of stepping on a bug or a worm? Will you have tea with your enemies? Always think how your actions are different than a typical fighter. They should be very visible to everyone.

5) What Do You See In Your Fellow Adventurers

For a monk to travel with adventurers is a great honor. It shows that they are worthy of you. What do you see in them in worthy? What sets them apart? You should be able to answer that for each of the characters.

Emberwood choose to join the Cragtree Monastery at age 407. Before then, it found life confusing. Humans did not make any sense. The monks were the first such humans that were logical and saw the world in much the same way. All the other students admired Emberwood for his ability to meditate endlessly, since it did not need to eat or sleep. Now that he is over 1,000 years of age, he is the last of his monastery. The numbers of the Cragtree Monastery dwindled over the intervening centuries and yet Emberwood stayed. It was only the building collapsing under it that broke it from meditation. In all that time, Emberwood never achieved enlightenment like the other monks had. It recalled the words of one of an old master, that enlightenment sometimes comes from strange places. So it went in search of those strange places. It continues to meditate every morning but then continues on seeking what it had not yet achieved.

Emberwood is featured on the cover of the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Do you prefer 5e? Download his kind’s racial traits today in the Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 2. How about 13th Age? Download the Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 2 today. Be sure to use coupon code “holiday2017” to get 30% off this and everything else at the JBE Shop now through January 31, 2018.

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