Category Archives: Pathfinder Compatible

Changes to Love’s Thoughts Blog

I have been sporadic, at best, in my posting on this blog for the year of 2016. This was a long, hectic, stressful, and challenging year for me personally, but also a year full of blessings.

This year I changed jobs (twice), spent almost four months unemployed, battled through several bouts of depression, took my first actual vacation since 2009, and watched as the political party I had previously affiliated with self-combusted and abandoned principles to elect a crude reality television star whose policies more closely resemble the opposing party’s disastrous policies than the principles which I value.

This made my writing here especially difficult- whenever I found myself wanting to write a blog post, I found myself wanting to write about politics. Yet when I started this blog, I specifically aimed to write about “Subjects diverse not divisive” and I know that even when writing about policies, politics can be a very divisive subject.

Today, I am happy to announce that going forward into 2017, I will be rededicating myself to blogging more, however I must also announce that rather than maintaining this one blog, I will be splitting my time between three separate outlets.

For all my political posts, I will be writing on my newly registered domain-

Home

Join me there, in exile, as we wander the political wilderness of a movement dispossessed of a party and examine American conservative principles, values, foundational literature of the movement, and work to redefine and rededicate ourselves to what it means to be a Conservative in 2017.

And yes, this means I promise there will be no politics in either of my other platforms

I’m also pleased to announce a domain I registered earlier this year–

Home

Sun Love Games is the launching point for my upcoming Pathfinder Compatible RPG Products, Alternative Avenues, and the fiction that occurs in the same world of Kesperex which the campaign materials detail.

You’ll find product announcements, descriptions, and previews as well as occasional OGL content blog posts, and will be able to keep up on all my current self-publishing RPG efforts!

That leaves this space here for the other writing that I do- the Sun Cycle will still be here (more to come on this story in 2017!), as well as any sports, culture, writing process, and other non-games related, non-politics writing.

So, in summation- happy New Years, and please follow me on the blog (or blogs) which provides the parts of my writing you are interested in reading!

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Ascetic Of the Oni Way (Monk Archetype)

Ascetic of the Oni Way

Many Ogres, half ogres, and other followers Cuth, the Chaotic Neutral Demi-God of Magic and Ogres, follow a path towards enlightenment that embraces chaos rather than law. They spend time meditating on the connections between magic, chaos, and the mortal figure.

Alignment: Any chaotic. This modifies the Monk’s usual alignment restrictions.

AC Bonus (Ex): Ascetics of the Oni Way add their Intelligence Modifier instead of Wisdom to the Monk’s AC Bonus. This modifies the AC bonus feature.

Chaotic Mind (Ex): At 3rd level the Ascetic of the Oni Way gets a +2 saving throw bonus on saving throws against Illusion spells and effects.

Ki Pool (Su): Use the Ascetic’s Intelligence modifier instead of Wisdom for calculating Ki pool. At 10th level their natural weapons are treated as Chaotic.  This ability modifies the Ki Pool ability.

Spellcasting: Beginning at 4th level, the Ascetic of the Ogre Way can cast a small number of arcane spells, drawn from the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list. They progress in spells per day at the same rate as a Paladin, using a spell book like a Wizard, and using Intelligence for calculating bonus spells and save DCs. This ability replaces purity of body, wholeness of body, diamond body, abundant step, diamond soul, tongue of the sun and moon, and empty body.

Oni Self: At 20th level the Ascetic gains damage reduction 10/lawful. This modifies and replaces Perfect Self.

 

Back story:

In my campaign setting, Kesperex, there are two magic gods– Ge’Shanai, LN Goddess of the Law of Magic and Cuth, a CN bastard/demi-god of Ogre, mages, and ogre-mages. I happened to pick up this Ogre Magi figure when I bought a stack of singles at the game store yesterday, and I’m preparing to run a Plateau Lands game (the Eastern setting in my world), so looking for Eastern themed figures I grabbed this guy up. Wanting to use him in my game, but he was screaming “monk”, even though Ogres in my world are chaotic. So, I set out to make a Monk archetype to align Chaotic instead of Lawful, and added the Mage abilities.

This Post Contains Pathfinder Compatible Material.

Planesfinder: An Experiment in Progressive Nostalgia

For gamers of my age, thirty-three for another month or two, there is a definite nostalgia for some of the settings, if not the rules, of second edition Dungeons and Dragons.

The settings, while in a historical context part of the downfall of TSR, were where it was at. Forgotten Realms was immensely popular, overshadowing Grayhawk and being one of the few settings to transition to later editions proper. There was Dragonlance, with its gully dwarves and kender halflings, and oh yeah- dragons.

One of my personal favorites was Darksun, where you could encounter such creatures as psionic grass that melts your brain, psionic moles that melt your brain, and squid-sharks that got nine attacks while melting your brain.

Ravenloft featured lots of vampires, werewolves, horror, gypsies, and strangely mists. People got real scared of mists in second edition– you just never knew when a Ravenloft game was going to suddenly suck everyone into the Mists and their inevitable doom.

And there was Red Steel.

But among all of the settings, the one that holds a special place for me, personally is Planescape. Looking at the books now, they definitively ooze 90s. The post-modern belief paradigms set up by the Factions seemed so edgy and interesting.

The art of Planescape deserves special mention. DiTerlizzi created a unique and distinct style which remains striking and memorable today. The art was definitely a huge part of the magic of Planescape that fascinated our play group. The art and of course, Modrons.

So, fast forward to 2015. My group plays Pathfinder now, having played 3.5 for years and having skipped fourth edition. Since the end of second edition, virtually everything for the planes released by both Hasbro/Wizards and Paizo has been typically a single book, and not nearly as good as Planescape. Or at least it has lacked the kind of magic that captivated us as edgy teens in the 90s.

In my group, I’ve been running a very successful, long running Kingdom Builder game. Its been run more than a dozen sessions, spanning two years, and taking the characters from 1st level nobles sent to colonize the new world in my own Kesperex setting, to 12th level nobles running a booming Empire with a few dozen squares of land (and water) after merging with (and one of the PCs marrying) a sahuagin Empress and her territoru. They have several settlements, large populations of sahuagins, orcs, ratkin, and humans; armies including human griffin riders, orc witches, and sahuagin warpriests.

I love this game, and its continuing on still. However, I’ve been itching at the same time for a new challenge to run, a new game to excite people who’ve drifted into the game and missed out on the early run of the kingdom builder game. I had three distinct ideas for games I was interested in running– a dark, early, post-Apocalypse military game set in the not too distant future using my own Core8 dice rolling system, a pre-run for my as to yet undeveloped/unwritten Adventure Path “Reign in Hell” wherein the players take on the role of devils trying to climb the hierarchy of hell, or Planesfinder– which at the time I pitched it was nothing more than the desire to run Planescape updated for the Pathfinder and compatible rules set.

So, thus begins the epic journey to run a Pathfinder/Planescape game. Where will this journey lead?

Its hard to know, but certainly all over the planes.

Wheel of the Year

Here’s a Pathfinder compatible supplement I was a writer on from Flaming Grab Games– out now!

Wheel of the Year

Centaur Codex: Emissary of Prophecy

Looking like a pale centaur with flowing golden locks, and eyes brilliant gold. White fur covers its bottom half, and a set of white feathered wings sprouting from its shoulders.

EMISSARY OF PROPHECY CR 8

XP 4,800

LG Large outsider (Angel, Lawful, Good)

Init +1; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +11

Aura protective aura

DEFENSE

AC 21, touch 11, flat-footed 18 (+4 armor, +6 natural, +2 dex,–1 size; +4 deflection vs. evil)

hp 85 (10d10+30)

Fort +10, Ref +5, Will +9; +4 vs. poison, +4 resistance vs. evil

DR 5/ evil Immune acid, cold, petrification; Resist electricity 10, fire 10; SR 19

OFFENSE

Speed 50 ft., fly 80 ft. (good)

Melee +1 axiomatic spear +16 (1d8+6/×3; +2d6 vs. chaotic),

Ranged +1 returning javelin +13 (1d6+5)

Full Attack +1 axiomatic spear +14/+8 (1d8+6×3; +2d6 vs. chaotic), 2 hooves +11 (1d6+3), +1 returning javelin +9 (1d6+3)

Space 10 ft., Reach 5 ft.

Spell-Like Abilities (CL 6th)

At will— anticipate thoughts, augury

3/day— anticipate thoughts (quickened), cure light wounds, divination, hypercognition

1/day— commune, cure moderate wounds, dream council. flamestrike (6d6; ref DC 17)

STATISTICS

Str 20, Dex 15, Con 16, Int 11, Wis 14, Cha 16

Base Atk +10; CMB +16; CMD 18 (22 vs. trip)

Feats Battle Cry, Critical Focus, Death from Above, Third Eye, Two Weapon Fighting

Skills Diplomacy +12, Fly +11, Heal +11, Knowledge (Planes) +9, Knowledge (Religion) +9, Perception +11, Perform (Oratory) +12, Sense Motive +11, Stealth +11, Survival +11

Languages Common, Elven, Sylvan, truspeech

SQ divine psychic, undersized weapons

ECOLOGY

Environment any (heaven or nirvana)

Organization solitary, pair, or phalanx (5)

Treasure double (+1 axiomatic spear, +1 returning javelin, other treasure)

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Divine Psychic (Su) Emissaries of Prophecy’ spell-like abilities are both divine and psychic in origin. For all purposes treat them as being able to cast psychic and divine magic.

Undersized Weapons (Ex) although an Emissary of Prophecy is Large, its upper torso is the same size as that of a Medium humanoid. As a result, they wield weapons as if they were one size category smaller than their actual size (Medium for most centaurs).

Emissaries of Prophecy are the Angelic servants of Pacifa, the God of Prophecy, Lord of All Things Yet To Come. Looking like centaurs whose forms combine an angel with a Pegasus. Made long ago by divine whim, the Emissaries are creatures of law and prophecy, congregating in Pacifa’s realms on heaven near the border of nirvana. Sent to guide mortal prophets, particularly centaurs whose shamans revere him. While not the most powerful of the angelic hosts, the Emissaries can use their powerful psychic and divine powers to guide the mortals they are sent to serve. Their preferred tactics are to visit their charges in their dreams at first, waiting till the prophets have revealed themselves as true mouthpieces of the divine before manifesting to serve them directly. Centaurs of lawful good and lawful neutral alignments may add Emissaries of Prophecy to the summon monster VI list.

This post contains Pathfinder Compatible material.

Campaign World Design Philosophy: Kesperex

As you may or may not remember, I am currently working on finishing up the first of a line of supplement books that will eventually fit together and flesh out an entire campaign setting. Each of the supplements will bring forth the beginnings of the details of a region, which are designed to be portable– you can drop any one region into any other world and use all the goodies it has to offer, or piece them together into the grand vision of the planet Kesperex.

I’ve been listening to a lot of the seminars from Paizocon, thanks to the team at Know Direction on their podcast feed. This has started me thinking on the design philosophy that guides the writing of this setting– the things that make Kesperex what it is (or will be).

I thought I’d share a few of these guiding principles here, to set them up and put them in stone. Each of these is a guiding principle for Kesperex, a mission statement of a sorts for the realm.

1. Kesperex is fun. This one is so easy to lose track of. I want the setting to be a place where any kind of story can be told, but that is at its core light-hearted and where everyone can have fun with the story. That’s not to say there aren’t darker/serious/gritty themes, but I don’t mean to dwell on those too much.

2. Kesperex is a little wacky. This goes hand and hand with point one, but it stands on its own. When I am designing Kesperex anytime I hit a spot where I am questioning whether something makes sense, I need to remember that this is a world where a city can be ruled by a council of 12 chosen by a cross between street warfare and musical chairs, where the Crofter’s Guild (and the Merchant’s Guild, and the Banker’s Guild) can all also be thieves guild’s and rule their own city, and a world where the ancient defeated dragon god’s name literally contains the entire alphabet because, why not?

3. Kesperex is a world defined by its Gods and its history. In the beginning there was one god, The Father. Then he got tired of it all and left. In the second age, that Father’s brides ruled– The Warrior Woman, the Dark Mother, The Mystic Mother, Mother Earth– they bred the races of mortal-kind, cast out the outsiders and the Fey and then birthed the young Gods till they too grew tired and gave up ruling. Fifteen young gods ruled the Third Age, striking out the Dragons, suppressing the Bloodline of Ogres, fighting and forming alliances and building churches and sects and cults and religions that shape the nations of the world down to the end of the Third Age.

4. On Kesperex law versus chaos is as important or more than good versus evil. Alignment isn’t linear on Kesperex. In the King lands, a lawful good and chaotic good nation are locked in a Holy war against each other. In the Old Empire, chaotic good and chaotic evil War deities are worshiped together. In the North and in the East, the Children of Mother Earth are worshiped as nature deities of truest balance– good, evil, law, chaos all given their due so long as none get too powerful.

5. Kesperex is a world of mystery. Why do Tengu travel the world asking so many questions? And where did they come from, and how do they all seem to know so much? What is it that lurks in the depths of the deep wells that makes the Elders so afraid? Where did the dragons go when they left a thousand years ago, and why have they returned now?

6. On Kesperex, either its a PC race or its not. No races with crippling triple mental stat losses, or bonuses that stack up to steep net negatives– all humanoids were created by the Mothers on relatively equal grounds, from humans, to Tower and Pixie Elves, Fire and Cloud Dwarves, to Mobgoblins, Bobgoblins, and Lobgoblins, to Draconic Scaled Kobolds, Caste-Lizardfolk, Cuthian Ogres, and War Orcs– you can play what you want without being hindered (or overpowered).

7. Kesperex is a world on the brink of great discoveries. This is an early Renaissance campaign world at the end of the Third Age. Firearms are just starting to be invented, but you won’t find lasers or machine guns. The world is being explored, its edges pushed, and the previously unknown wilds outside the great cities and the empires of the south filled in, new continents have been spotted by the most daring of sailors, and the race is on for a new trade route to the Plateau Lands that by-passes Riverport’s monopoly on the river passes through the mountains that have controlled trade throughout the world the last 900 years.

I am sure that I will revise some of these, add to and take away, clarify as I go on, but I wanted to put this in writing so I can hold myself to it as I go. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this design philosophy, or what you’ve done as guiding principles when building your own campaign worlds!  Comments always welcome, or contact me directly!

Characters of the Old Empire: Dean Brim Saloman

I’ve been working a lot on my Kesperex campaign world, and specifically on the Old Empire area which I am publishing eventually once I can get this finished– I am down to three more sections to write, plus lay out so it is coming along, but publishing a book completely on one’s own while still fulfilling other commitments has proven to be a massive undertaking.

I have also recently been reading up on some of the Unchained rules sets. One that I like quit a bit is the “Variant Multi-Classing”. While its not a true substitute for multi-classing or prestige classes, its an interesting system that opens up lots of extra avenues for character customization. It is somewhat taxing on the feats, but I can live with that for the secondary classes where I’m getting a real mechanical or flavorful benefit.

It got me thinking on just how far from core I could take a character. I decided to try out a build where I gave the character both the Eldritch Heritage chain of feats and a secondary class, and throw in an archetype for good measure.

When researching for this character I remembered a Bard-clergy member I had recently mentioned in my Old Empire region– a member of the Church of the Three that worships the three chaotic war deities as a pantheon, I had basically just mentioned that this guy was a bard and a member of the Church Hierarchy.

I looked at it, and eventually settled on giving him the Liberation Domain and the Celestial Bloodline as his options, then fleshed him out into a full stat block.

Would love to hear from you guys what you think of this kind of character customization, but without further ado here is Dean Brim Saloman the Bard-Clergy.

Dean Brim Saloman

Dean Brim is a Bard clergyman of the Church of the Three. Hailing from Xerxis, a third son standing to inherit no lands he joined the Chruch of the Three at an early age, but always exhibited a love in equal measures for song, dance, and burning things. Quick witted and quick tempered, Saloman is known as a prodigy in many circles, rising quickly through the hierarchy of the Church, but making enemies in equal measure as he earned allies.

Recently shuffled off to the Dean position in charge of the tiny area of Primal lands that are nearly surrounded by the Dread of the Dragon. Dean Saloman tried to convince the Primate to ally with Xerxis, eventually earning political disrepute for his divided loyalties. Dean Brim loves flames, seeing their power as the cleansing flames of the Three. Though nearly exiled, Dean Brim has been consolidating what supporters he has into his territory and still schemes to regain glory, playing a long game since his short term aims have been stymied to date.

Dean Brim gives sermons once a week in the Cathedral of the Three that is his current stronghold. He is known to give masterful performances on the ancient masterwork pipe organ which fills the entire Cathedral with glorious anthems of war.

Clergy bard                                                                                 CR 12

XP 19,200

Gnome bard (Flame Dancer, Variant Multi-class Cleric) 13

CG Small humanoid (Gnome)

Init +0; Senses Low Light Vision; Perception +17

DEFENSE

AC 19 Touch 11, flat footed 19 (+1 Size, +6 Armor, +3 Shield)

hp 94 (13d8+36)

Fort +7, Ref +8, Will +7; +4 vs. bardic performance, language-dependent, and sonic

OFFENSE

Speed 20 ft.

Melee +11/+6 +1 Longsword (1d6+1)

Ranged +11/+6 +1 Short Bow (1d4)

Special Attacks bardic performance 33 rounds/day (swift action; distraction, fascinate, fire break, fire dance, inspire competence +4, inspire courage +3, inspire greatness, song of the fiery gaze,  soothing performance), channel positive energy 6/day (DC 19, 5d6)

Domain Spell Like Ability Freedom of Movement 13 rounds/day

Sorcerer Bloodline Abilities Holy Fire 1d4+5 9/day; Wings of Heaven 9 minutes/day

Bard Spells Known (CL 13th; concentration +17)

5th (2/day)— Cure Light Wounds, mass; Summon Monster V

4th (4/day)— Cure Critical Wounds, Dimension Door, Dominate Person (DC 19), Shout (DC 19)

3rd (5/day)—Charm Monster (DC 18), Confusion (DC 18), Cure Serious Wounds, Fireball (DC 18), Haste, Witness

2nd (6/day)— Cat’s Grace, Cure Moderate Wounds, Eagle’s Splendor, Flaming Sphere (DC 17), Locate Object, Tongues

1st (7/day)— Burning Hands (DC 16), Charm Person DC 16), Comprehend Languages, Cure Light Wounds, Feather Fall, Remove Fear, Silent Image

0 (at will)— Dancing Lights, Detect Magic, Know Direction, Light, Read Magic, Summon Instrument

TACTICS

Before Combat Dean Brim prefers to activate his Wings of Heaven class feature, flying out of melee range above the fray to avoid the worst attacks from his enemies. If he has time he will activate buffing spell like Cat’s Grace and Eagle’s Splendor.

During Combat The first round of combat Brim will activate his Inspire Courage abilities to buff any allies he has present. Next he will use Summon Monster V to summon a Bralani Azata.Thereafter, he will attack with spells—preferring to use Fireballs first, followed by flaming spheres. He will heal allies when injured using his Holy Fire ability and Cure spells.

STATISTICS

Str 10, Dex 10, Con 16, Int 13, Wis 8, Cha 20

Base Atk +9; CMB +8; CMD 18

Feats Skill Focus (Heal), Secondary Feature (Liberation Domain), Eldritch Heritage, Secondary Class feature (Channel), Improved Eldritch Heritage, Secondary Feature (Improved Channel), Lingering Performance

Skills 91 Heal +16, Knowledge (Arcana) +16, Knowledge (History) +16, Knowledge (Religion) +16, Perception +17, Perform (Dance- use for Acrobatics & Fly) +21, Perform (Keyboard instruments- use for Diplomacy and Intimidate) +21, Perform (Sing- use for bluff and sense motive) +21, Profession (Soldier) +7, Spell craft +7, Use Magic Device +21

Languages Common

SQ bardic knowledge +6, jack-of-all-trades (use any skill), lore master 2/day, versatile performance (dance, keyboard instruments, sing)

Combat Gear +1 Chain Shirt, +1 Long Sword, +1 Animated Heavy Steel Shield, +1 Short Bow, Potions Cure Moderate Wounds (x2), Scroll Other Gear Cassock of the Clergy, Healer’s Gloves, Masterwork Pipe Organ (At Cathedral)

“This post contains Pathfinder Compatible Material”