Pathfinder 1e: Animal Shaman

The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Advanced Class Guide set out to hybridize a number of the existing classes in the game. Not only the new classes but they added archetypes for the existing classes as well. Paizo gave the fighter a mutagen, allowing the fighter to grow wings. They gave the barbarian bloodline-like powers making it more akin to the bloodrager. The cavalier received can turn his mount into a more dangerous animal. A paladin gains some ranger-like abilities, and the list goes on and on. Then Paizo released a number of new classes that never got hybridized with those classes previously released. This is one of the many ideas I have while working on this new series of archetypes for the ACG.

Today I bring you the animal shaman. We take the shaman class and mix in a little of the shifter. While the shaman does not fully shift into the form of another animal, those who take this archetype do take on aspects of an animal, letting them gain some of the creature’s advantages. This is a fun little archetype and we hope you stick around for more like it.

To help us keep making Pathfinder 1e products, download our existing PFRPG books, whether they are monster books, adventures, expanded races, or other class options. Download them today at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, the Open Gaming Store, and Paizo. If you prefer print, you can find our books at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, and Amazon.

Animal Shaman

Most shaman speak to the spirits that are all around them. Some shaman, however, not only speak to the spirits around them but let them fill their bodies, taking on a small aspect of their power and nature.
Associated Class: Shaman
Replaced Abilities: Hex (4th, 10th, and 16th levels only)
Modified Abilities: Spirit (1st level only)
Spirit: The animal shaman must choose the Nature spirit at 1st level.
Animal Aspect (Su): At 4th level, an animal shaman gains her first aspect—a category of animal to which her body and soul have become supernaturally attuned. She can shift into her
aspect’s minor form (see Aspects in the animal shaman class in the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Wilderness, Chapter 1) for a number of minutes per day equal to 3 + her animal shaman level. The duration need not be consecutive but must be spent in 1-minute increments. Shifting into a minor form is a swift action, while ending the effect is a free action that can be taken only on the animal shaman’s turn.
As the animal shaman gains levels, she gains more aspects; she gains her second aspect at 10th level, and a third aspect at 16th level.

Pathfinder 1e: Dark Soldier

Image by Matt Bulahao

The dark folk have not gotten much love. These underground dark reflections of the humanoid races rarely held the spotlight. So I am going to work to fix that. Below is a new entry into the society of of the dark folk, the dark soldier. These fighting legions keep their people safe from the greater dangers of the underground world, be they monstrous in origin or other humanoids. While open warfare is a rarity among the dark folk, dark soldiers frequently serve as body guards for the dark guildmasters protecting them from assassination attempts.

If you need more darkness-themed monsters in your game, check out the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane, on sale now at DriveThruRPG. Check out all of JBE’s Pathfinder 1e titles while they are 40% off their regular price at DriveThruRPG. Download now.

Dark Soldier CR/HD 3

Init +1; Perception +8 (see in darkness)
Size Medium; Speed 30 ft.


Defenses

AC 17 (touch 12, flat-footed 15); Fort +7, Ref +5, Will +2; CMD 18
hp 40
Weakness light blindness


Attacks


Melee 2 short swords +6 (1d6+4/17–20)
Ranged dagger +4 (1d4+8/19–20)
Attack Options critical striker, poison use, stun attack (Fort DC 7, stunned for 1 round, success negates); CMB +6


Statistics


Utility Spells at will—darkness, detect magic
Str +4, Dex +1, Con +2; Intimidate +11, Perception +8, Stealth +8
XP 800; CN humanoid (dark folk)


Special Abilities


Death Throes (Su) When a dark soldier is slain, its body combusts in a flash of bright white light, leaving its gear in a heap on the ground. All creatures within a 10-foot burst must make a DC 12 Fortitude save or be blinded for 1d6 rounds. Other creatures of the dark folk subtype within 10 feet are blinded for 1 round on a successful saving throw, due to their light blindness. The save is Constitution-based.

Pathfinder: Even More Android Favored Class Options

The Book of Heroic Races Advanced Compendium did an excellent job of expanding options for 12 races that do not get nearly enough love. However, that book covered classes up to the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Advanced Class Guide. For the classes beyond that book we have the Book of Heroic Races Occult Intrigue in the Wilderness. Both the Advanced Compendium and the Occult Intrigue in the Wilderness are on sale right now at DriveThruRPG. Grab them both right now at the above links before this sale ends.

To share what is inside the Book of Heroic Races Occult Intrigue in the Wilderness, we’ve got favored class options for androids right here. Check them out now.

Kineticist: Add +1/3 point of damage to air element blasts that deal damage.
Medium: When gaining a taboo, the medium can use spirit surge without incurring influence an additional +1/4 time per day.
Mesmerist: Increase the number of mesmerist tricks the mesmerist can use per day by +1/3.
Occultist: Gain a +1/2 bonus on Spellcraft checks to identify the properties of magic items and on Use Magic Device checks to use scrolls.
Psychic: Add one spell known from the psychic spell list. This spell must be at least 1 level lower than the highest spell level the psychic can cast.
Shifter: Add +1/4 to the shifter’s nanite surge bonus when used on attack rolls with natural attacks.
Spiritualist: Add +1/6 to the bonus on saving throws against mind-affecting effects granted by the shared consciousness ability.
Vigilante: Gain 1/6 of a new vigilante talent.

Pathfinder 1e: Dragon Fist

Last week we posted a new swashbuckler archetype. We’re going to try to continue with this by posting a new Pathfinder archetype every Monday. We’ll be focusing on the newer classes (those in the Advanced Class Guide, Occult Adventures, Ultimate Intrigue, and Ultimate Wilderness), but we’ll be posting some archetypes to the older classes as we think them up. Today we are giving the brawler class a bit of a dragon theme with the Dragon Fist archetype. Not only that, the table found here can be equally applicable to sorcerers, bloodrager, and dragon disciples. I must admit, I was rather disappointed that the table for the bloodrager bloodline was not updated to include more dragon types. Well, we did it for you here. Happy gaming.

As always, support us bringing you new Pathfinder material by downloading our books at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, the Open Gaming Store, and Paizo. If you prefer print, you can find our books at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, and Amazon.

Dragon Fist

The blood of a dragon flows through you, making you a superb combatant.

Associated Class: brawler

Replaced Abilities: Unarmed strike, awesome blow, improved awesome blow

Modified Abilities: AC bonus, brawler’s strike, modified ability name (note: sort them by level, also note, the difference between these and replaced abilities is if the name of the ability changes)

Dragon Blood (Su): The power of dragons flows through you and manifests in a number of ways. At 1st level, you must select one of the dragon types. This choice cannot be changed.

Dragon Type Energy Type Breath Shape
Black, Brine, Copper Acid 60-foot line
Blue, Bronze Electricity 60-foot line
Brass, Infernal, Solar, Underworld Fire 60-foot line
Cloud, Dream, Sky, Time Electricity 30-foot cone
Crypt, Umbral Negative Energy* 30-foot cone
Crystal, Havoc, Sovereign Sonic 15-foot cone
Gold, Magma, Red, Sea, Vortex Fire 30-foot cone
Green, Nightmare, Rift Acid 30-foot cone
Lunar Cold 60-foot line
Silver, Void, White Cold 30-foot cone

* harm to living creatures only; this does not heal undead creatures.

Claws: Your nails grow and harden into claws. The damage you deal with your claws is the same as the brawler unarmed damage except it deals slashing damage.

AC Bonus: At 4th level, the brawler’s skin begins to grow scales in patches, granting a +1 natural armor bonus to AC. Also, you gain resist 5 against your energy type. At 9th, 13th, and 18th levels, your AC bonus increases by 1 (to a maximum of +4 at 18th level) and your energy resistance increases by 5 (to a maximum of 20 at 18th level).

Brawler’s Strike (Ex): Unlike other brawler’s, a dragon fist drips acid, scorches flames, tingles with electricity, or freezes with a touch. At 9th level, her claws are also treated as the energy type that matches the dragon type chosen with the dragon blood ability. The rest of this brawler’s ability affect her claws but otherwise remains unchanged.

Breath Weapon (Su): At 16th level, you gain a breath weapon. This breath weapon deals 2d6 points of damage of your energy type per sorcerer level. Those caught in the area of the breath receive a Reflex save for half damage. The DC of this save is equal to 10 + 1/2 your dragon fist level + your Charisma modifier. The shape of the breath weapon depends on your dragon type (as indicated on the above chart). At 16th level, you can use this ability twice per day. At 20th level, you can use this ability three times per day.

Dragon Form (Su): At 20th level, you can choose to take the form of your chosen dragon type (as form of the dragon II, but with good maneuverability). You can use this ability once per day.

Pathfinder: Luckstealer Sword Archetype

Recently asked on Twitter and Facebook what 1e Pathfinder classes need more options. Replies came back and the answers were overwhelming. We are glad to see so many Pathfinder 1e fans still interested in the game, and we are here for you. Since your replies, I came up with this little archetype for swashbucklers. My editors haven’t polished this yet so please do not consider this final.

As always, support us bringing you new Pathfinder material by downloading our books at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, the Open Gaming Store, and Paizo. If you prefer print, you can find our books at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, and Amazon.

Luckstealer Sword

Luckstealer swords are swashbucklers that have no luck of their own. Instead they have to steal the luck from their opponents, dooming those that oppose them.
Associated Class: swashbuckler
Replaced Abilities: Charmed life
Modified Abilities: Panache
Panache: Unlike other swashbucklers, a luckstealer sword starts each day with 1 panache, although her normal maximum is still her Charisma modifier. A luckstealer sword can regain panache in the following additional way:
Setup: Each time the luckstealer sword performs an action that grants a bonus to an ally’s attack or penalty to an opponent’s defense—such as using the curse bringer ability, taking the aid another action, grappling an opponent, or helping a rogue perform a sneak attack—she regains 1 panache point.
Curse Bringer (Su): At 2nd level, a luckstealer sword’s attacks opens their target up to other attacks. Three times per day as an immediate action after successfully attacking a living creature, she curses the attacked creature with a –1 penalty to all saving throws until the start of the luckstealer sword’s next turn. At 6th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the penalty increases by –1 (to a maximum of –5 at 18th level). At 10th level and 18th level, the number of times she can do this per day increases by 1 (to a maximum of 5 times per day at 18th level).

5e/Pathfinder/13th Age: Guide to Minions

In a previous post, I wrote up a guide to mini-bosses. The thing about mini-bosses, they’re nothing without those to boss around. Today we are following that post up with the group that makes the last group possible: minions.

Minions come in all shapes, sizes, and levels of willingness. While fantasy and science fiction races that are weak, selfish, and not particularly clever are typically seen as the normal minion groups, always remember the Empire in Star Wars treated Wookiees as minions and that species is anything but weak or selfish and Chewbacca proved they are quite clever. So what makes a minion a minion?

1) Minions are Controlled in Some Fashion

Whether it is a psychic link that takes over a mind or a security of a regular pay check, the mini-boss gives orders and the minion follows. That at the end of the day that is what makes a minion a minion. Does that make most of the civilized world someone’s minion? Yes actually it does. However, I am not advocating you overthrow your boss. Remember it is both the organization treats those minions as well as those outside the organization that determines whether the company is evil or not. A lumber company that hires orcs and hill giants as a way to give them honest work as opposed to raiding human villages, gets all the appropriate permits in an above board fashion, works with the local fey to remove select trees with their permission, and hires orcs to guard the logs on their way to the mill still uses minion even if those minions are working for a good company. Compare that with the human only lumber company that bribed officials to work a section of forest right next to the good company. They attack the fey and fight the hill giants and ogres whenever they leave the human permitted area and enter the other company’s territory prompting both to defend themselves and possibly attack back. Not only does the human company fail to plant new trees but they also try to steal the felled trees from the other lumber company. This company as well uses minions. The first one controls their people with a regular pay check and a desire to be law-abiding citizens; the second controls their minions through a desire for violence and quick cash.

While the word minion has negative connotations, it covers employee, freelance contractor, slave, indentured servant, thrall, and many others just to name a few. Use the full breadth of the term to give real variation to your organizations, evil or otherwise.

2) Minions Fill a Variety of Roles and Can Be Found at Every Level

Frequently, I hear the question, “Why doesn’t [insert name of ultra high level NPC in the setting] just take care of this minor problem?” The answer is simple: they can’t handle everything. Take a modern world variation of that problem: if you have a question on your taxes, do you go to the best accountant in the world or do you go to the local accounting firm and ask someone there (an accounting minion to use a gamified term)? The best in the world is busy handling other cases that can pay more. Instead, we get it handled by an accounting minion. Now if you start a business and it becomes rather sizable, you’ll need higher level accounting minions. You wouldn’t ask them to do plumbing work because they do not fill that role. You would need a minion that is trained in plumbing.

Same is true for fantasy games. Kobolds are the go-to minions when mining, gnolls when taking slaves, hobgoblins when needing military like precision, goblins for random violence, and orcs when slaughtering people indiscriminately. Each of these has their own role. So why not just have a higher level one handle this? Well the higher level hobgoblin is training the next group of recruits, the higher level gnolls are working their connections to sell their slaves, higher level kobolds are scouting out potential caves to mine, and on and on. The higher level ones have better uses for their time than to do the same thing as their lower level compatriots.

So when you get to a higher level, you need new minions to fight. Demons, devil’s, undead, and giants are the classics. Unless you are playing a convention/organized play-style game where one session has nothing to do with the other, these higher level minions are working towards the same end (if a different aspect of the overall plan) as those same low level minions. Why would the giants and devils be working towards the same ends as the kobolds and gnolls? The simple answer is ‘because the big boss of the whole campaign is all having them work towards a single goal.’ While you could train up a bunch of orcs to do your bidding instead of working with a number of different groups, it would be much simpler to take advantage of some other group of minions’ natural strengths when they lend themselves to solving a particular problem. Just like you don’t ask an accountant to do plumbing, you don’t ask a goblin to solve a problem that a requires patience and planning, things devils excel at. So change up the monsters you are using as minions to fulfill a different aspect of your big bad’s overall plan.

3) Minions Have Similar Stats, Despite Being Individuals

Minions are a collection of individuals. Each one has different stats if you wanted to take the time to create unique stats for each. However, minions can instead be represented by a single stat block. Sure, that single stat block is not going to catch the nuance of one loving to solve true crime mysteries while another appreciates listening to music, but if all you are having them do is fight the PCs, then those abilities don’t really matter. Making a minion stat block that presents average stats for a group saves considerable time.

Back to that accounting example for a second. All those accountants at the tax firm can be represented by a single stat block. You don’t need to assign stats for their individual hobbies and other life events unless it is somehow relevant. You’ll need their ability to crunch numbers and use their stapler offensively. Maybe wield a letter opener if you want to be cute about it. Remember these are supposed to be average stats for the group, not specific stats for everyone. Making a single stat block for the whole group doesn’t prevent you from making a single stat block for a specific accountant. So you can have a stat block for the NPC that discovered the company’s fraud and became the whistle blower. Had that NPC not done that and just stayed another face in the crowd, they would still be just another minion with the same minion stats. As always, the Order of the Stick has a great comic that exemplifies what it is like going from a minion to a named NPC.

Quick tangent here: feel free to change the stats of any monster in the monster books. If the book says a lizardfolk has 5 hit dice (as an example), feel free to make it 3 if it fits your needs that way. Five is just an average. Maybe this tribe is composed of young lizardfolk. Maybe they’ve been starved or are sickly. The book has average stats. Raise or lower them as your game needs. This goes doubly true for specific NPCs instead of minions. Individuals can vary widely from the average of their kind. Just remember to change its level of difficulty to match the new stats.

Speaking of monster books, be sure to download our monster books for Pathfinder 1e, DnD 5e, and Mongoose Traveller 2e.

Christmas in July Sale 2019

It’s the middle of summer. The temperature is murder. In about a month, it will be time for new role playing groups to form and for existing groups to get back together and roll some dice. So now is the time for you to grab some of the best PDFs on the market at 25% off their regular price over at DriveThruRPG. What better place to start than with Jon Brazer Enterprises’ Pathfinder, D&D 5e, 13th Age, and 1e Mongoose Traveller books. All the books you have been wanting are now on sale. Grab them now for this awesome price.

Traveller

All of our 1e Mongoose Traveller books are on sale. for 25% off. Grab the Vehicles of the Frontier, Mech Squadrons, Fighters and Small Ships, and of course the d66 Compendium. See all of our other 1e Mongoose Traveller RPG books we have for sale right here at DriveThruRPG. All of these books and more you can treat yourself to right now at a great price.

Fifth Edition

We have an awesome group of Deadly Delve adventures available for Fifth Edition for 25% off during the Christmas in July Sale. Check out our 1st level adventure Doom of the Sky Sword, 2nd level adventure Rescue from Tyrkaven 7th-8th level adventure Reign of Ruin, and 15th-18th level adventure Temple of Luminescence. Prefer to make your own adventures? Grab the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Forbidden Woods. Are you a player? Grab the Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 1 and Player Races 2. Get all these and more for Fifth Edition.

Pathfinder 1e

Sticking with Pathfinder 1e? Here are some awesome options you shouldn’t pass up while they are on sale. Want to play a new race? Grab the Book of Heroic Races Compendium and the Advanced Compendium for even more options. Play a spellcaster? Check out the Book of Magic: Signature Spells 2, 7 Spellcaster Feats, Patron Hexes, Insurgency of Summer, and Pirate Spells. Need modules beyond the low levels? Check out the 9th level Deadly Delves adventure The Gilded Gauntlet, 11th level adventure The Chaosfire Incursion, 12th level adventure Nine Lives for Petane, and 16th level adventure The Dragon’s Dream. There is lots more for Pathfinder on sale now.

3 Keys to Reskinning an Adventure

As I mentioned, my “office” game is Tales of the Yawning Portal. Previously, I talked about reasons to use published adventures and how to turn published modules into a campaign. Today I want to talk about keys to taking a published adventure and turning it into what you need for your campaign. This process is called reskinning and it is pretty easy.

1) Figure Out What to Keep

The single biggest reason to use a published adventure at all is to save time. So if you are not using a published adventure as written, you have to ask yourself why you’re not simply using a different adventure. Some reasons include you like the map, or the story, or perhaps some unique monster. These are the things about the original adventure you will want to keep in your reskinned final version of the adventure.

This will also tell you what about this adventure you need to change. If you simply do not like the map, then all you need to do is draw a different map and perhaps change the read aloud text to describe the vicinity. If the level of the adventure does not work for you, figure out if can you just increase or decrease some of the numbers in the monsters/difficulties to make it work? This works best if the level of adventure is only 3 or less levels away the character’s level. Any wider a gap and the designers probably did not anticipate the capabilities of the characters (whether in their favor or not) to be able to complete the adventure. If some of the monsters simply do not grab you, then it is time to use those creative skills you have in you and craft a new one. Alternatively, you could just a monster book and switch out the offending monster with a new one.

2) Add New Reasons to Go In

Changing the premise of the adventure is the easiest thing to do. If the adventure is at the right level, features enemies you want to pit against the characters, and has a map you like but the reasons the module has for going on the adventure don’t work for your campaign, change it to something that does work for you.

When you do that, make sure to add multiple reasons for the characters to go on the adventure. Players and their characters are not monolithic. Seeking out a treasure horde does not always excite them. Similarly, serving the good deity if goodness is not always proper motivation. Having a handful of reasons means that everyone can find something. These reasons should be a mix of long term campaign reasons and some reasons specific to this adventure.

3) Just Use the Encounters

If you want to be dramatic and essentially throw out the adventure, there are still parts of you you can keep. Namely, the monsters and their proportions (aka the encounters). By using the encounters, you know the battles are already balanced; the math is already worked out. All you have to do from there is focus on the map, the descriptions, the reasons to go in, and maybe make a monster more or less difficult. Translation: do everything above.

This works great when you have an adventure that takes place that doesn’t work for your campaign—such as a volcano like in Deadly Delves: The Chaosfire Incursion—and you want it to take place elsewhere, like in a magical glacier. Well you will need new maps and will need to rewrite all the flavor text. However, you can keep all the encounters, simply renaming the monsters and changing fire damage to cold and the …. well that is a spoiler for the adventure.

The real advantage of doing this is you save time on crafting your own adventure, but you save some by using whatever parts of the existing adventure work for you. Plus you have a template for how the story should flow, giving you a basis for your own version of the adventure.

Download all of Jon Brazer Enterprises’ adventures for 13th Age, Fifth Edition, and Pathfinder at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

3 Steps to Turn Published Adventures into a Campaign

As I mentioned last week, I am running an “office” game of Tales of the Yawning Portal. These are some really great adventures, but what they are not is a campaign. These are adventures that for all tense and purposes have nothing to do with each other except that one starts at a level where the previous left off. Beyond that, there is no connective story, no common set of NPCs to help make everything work together, nothing. It is exactly like running a campaign from a bunch of pre-published modules that you pulled off the shelf. So if you want to run a campaign with these kinds of modules, here’s what you have to do.

1) Make an NPC or Item Significant

The best example I can think of from this happening in fiction is the Ring from The Hobbit / The Lord of the Rings books. In The Hobbit book (not the movies), the ring was little more than a ring of invisibility. It wasn’t anything special. Then came The Lord of the Rings and that same ring now has a back story, one that will spell the end of the world as they knew it if it fell into the wrong hands. That is what you should do when running a campaign using pre-published adventures.

So what did I make significant? Well, I choose an NPC that they just rescued and an item they destroyed. Other than saving the NPC, their characters had no interaction with her. This particular Macguffin could just as easily have been a puppy. Because of spoilerific reasons to the first adventure that NPC was perfect to make significant. Not only that, the big bad of the first adventure used an item that the PCs ultimately destroyed. That item is perfect to be made important to the larger campaign.

2) Add in the Connection

This step is relatively small, but is critical. This, in The Lord of the Rings is where Gandalf found Bilbo’s behavior suspicious, went and researched the ring, and came back to tell Frodo what he found. Last week in my campaign, I had one of two NPCs that the PCs just rescued just up and died suddenly. So now the players have a reason to go on another adventure. What is that adventure? It is to follow the spread of the item encountered in the first adventure into adventure two. Like I said, the characters destroyed the item in the first adventure, but I added in that they found a note saying that another of that thing is elsewhere, and from examination of the body of the NPC, her fate appears tied to that item. That is the connection to the next adventure.

So what was my total work on making the connection: I wrote a note they found, and I added what amounted to a paragraph of box text. It was not hard at all. You might be thinking that that connection is not much. Let me point you to the TV show Supernatural. In the pilot episode, one of the brothers find’s his dad’s journal with some numbers in it. They figured that was a location and maybe dad would be there. Was he? No, but it got them from adventure 1 to adventure 2. Not only that, it established that finding dad as a connection between what would otherwise be random episodes in that first season. And that is what you are doing in this step: adding in those numbers in the journal or giving that ring a backstory. Those are not much either, but it is enough to get the PCs to go off on another adventure.

3) Make a Few Small Changes to the Adventure

Now I have to add in the impact of that connection to the existing adventure. How much does that change the adventure? Surprisingly little. Whenever they encounter an NPC that I already picked out, I have to add in the item. That’s it. From there, it is their call. Do they destroy the item again or do they bring it back? I can guess which way they are going to go, but I will wait for them to make that call and at that point I will adjust the reasons why they are going to adventure 3 accordingly.

Did you catch that important detail? “… the reasons why they are going…” not “… where they are going…” The latter requires changing the module from one to another; the former requires you to change the connection (see above) to the module you already have picked out. If I had said, “they must bring back the item,” some will balk feeling that it should be destroyed, and the reverse would also be true. By leaving the decision up to them, they feel like their decisions matter to the overall campaign. However, it does not impact what further adventures will be, only the motivation behind those adventures. And I can still run the adventure that I want to run, no matter what they decide.

So to recap, what changes am I making to the next adventure: adding in an item from a previous adventure to the next one and adding a connection to the following adventure based on the PCs actions. That’s it. This is not difficult and you can do this as well.

The perfect place to start is with our Deadly Delve adventures. Download our 5e, 13th Age, and Pathfinder adventures at the JBE Shop today so you can make your own campaign.

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