Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Trickster Spell List

In my last post, I introduced a Trickster base class for Pathfinder.  This class combines low-level elements of the rogue and wizard with the arcane trickster prestige class.  Though I am not the first to have created this type of hybrid, my version is particular to my current Pathfinder campaign--made for a specific player whose multi-classing placed his character behind his peers.

By crafting a new base class, it also gives me the chance to customize the class's spell list.  Like the Magus, the Trickster has a spell book that must be studied, but may only learn spells from his class list.  Spells were selected for this list base on reinforcing roguish abilities; over-the-top, flashy spells were either left our, or increased in level for this class.  As with the class itself, play-testing will likely result in modifications to this spell list. 
There has been talk among my players about creating archetypes for this class as well--but we will see what our needs are.


Acid Splash: Orb deals 1d3 acid damage.
Dancing Lights: Creates torches or other lights.
Daze: A single humanoid creature with 4 HD or less loses its next action.
Detect Magic: Detects all spells and magic items within 60 ft.
Flare: Dazzles one creature (–1 on attack rolls).
Ghost Sound: Figment sounds.
Know Direction: You discern north.
Light: Object shines like a torch.
Mage Hand: 5-pound telekinesis.
Open/Close: Opens or closes small or light things.
Prestidigitation: Performs minor tricks.
Ray of Frost: Ray deals 1d3 cold damage.
Read Magic: Read scrolls and spellbooks.
Sift: See area as though examining it.
Spark: Ignites flammable objects.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Rethinking Hybrid Classes - The Trickster

Back in October, I posted about the multi-classing rules in Pathfinder. I did this because I favored the hybridizing prestige classes (Arcane Trickster, Eldritch Knight, Mystic Theurge) instead of the hybrid base classes from the Advanced Class Guide--and I wanted characters who followed the prestige class path to be on-par with single-class characters.  However, this "fix" has only served to make the rules more bulky--and there is too much for players--particularity new players--to remember.

On second thought, the Magus isn't a bad class.  In fact, it is better at being an Eldritch Knight than a Fighter / Wizard / Eldritch Knight.  Are there base classes that do this for the Arcane Trickster and Mystic Theurge?  Not in the Advanced Class Guide--so my distaste for the hybrid classes in that book remains.  My distaste for the concept of hybrid classes is in question, though.

In fact, hybrid classes have been a part of Dungeons & Dragons for several edition:
  • Bard = Enchanter / Rogue [originally a Fighter-Thief-Druid "prestige class"]
  • Paladin = Fighter / Cleric
  • Ranger = Fighter / Druid [originally also Wizard]
And Pathfinder has given us a few new ones already:
  • Alchemist = Transmuter / Rogue
  • Inquisitor = Cleric / Rogue
  • Magus = Fighter / Wizard

Friday, December 18, 2015

Nefret, Chapter 6: Pyramid of Arithmetic Bliss

A new name for this chapter because of the direction the players went with it.  The Garden of the Vizier's Daughter shall not be forgotten, however.
You have reported to Iban concerning Ekram's exile, and he applauds your decision as being the best course of action.  While it is true that the Order of the Medjay is above the law, it is best not to have one willing to kill the Pharaoh's own free in the Pharaoh's city.  As a reward for your service, Iban has offered you a handy haversack filled with treasures--contraband that Ekram had abandoned when he was forced to leave Peraten.

Iban also has more information about the Wati murders:  Namely, that Ekram wasn't working alone.  During their interrogations, every member of Velriana's team (including Uzoma, our portly vanara hireling) had mentioned encountering a necromancer at some point during the day in question.  As these accounts did not generally agree, the necromancer was initially assumed to be a lie meant to divert attention from Velriana's motivations.  However, casual discussions with Ekram's associates revealed that the enforcer had recently begun working closely with the Embalmer's Guild--so Iban is now willing to accept the existence of a necromancer.  With the recent disappearance of specially trained embalmers, hunting down Ekram's necromancer ally has been difficult--particularly if the Medjay are, in fact, working with the guild.

Investigating the Order of the Medjay is dangerous, and Iban is afraid that his questioning into the murders has made him a target.  However, if a necromancer was involved, then the immunity of the Medjay would not protect him.  The nobleman Oshep (the one who granted Velriana access to Wati) had previously hired a team from the Embalmer's Guild to investigate a shrine in the dead city.  The leader of this team was an alchemist named Nephethus (!).  Since Nephethus "does not have any known associates in Peraten" according to Iban, he would like someone to investigate Oshep.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Simplifying Pathfinder: More than One Attack

While running my Nefret campaign and continuing to develop/convert my Monvesia campaign, I find the sleeker ruleset of 5th Edition very attractive.  Is it possible to create the same feeling for Pathfinder?  Possibly.

One major rules redundancy in Pathfinder (which is inherited from 3rd edition), is making more than one attack during combat.  Three rules systems operate simultaneously:  two-weapon fighting, natural attacks (including secondary natural attacks), and multiple attacks.  These rules are scattered throughout the combat chapter, each confusing the next.

While these rules can be understood, they present a lot of exceptions and alternate circumstances.  The fewer circumstances you have to think about during the game--the less intrusive that the rules are--the more fun the game will be.  Therefore, I propose merging the concept of off-hand attack with the secondary natural attack.  These basics of this are:
  • As a full round action, a character may make as many primary and secondary attacks as one's level, feats, and race/species may allow.
  • A secondary attack must be made with a light weapon (unarmed strikes and natural attacks count as light weapons)
  • A secondary attack is made at -5 to the attack roll; and only one-half of a character's strength modifier (if any, rounded down) applies to damage.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Nefret, Chapter 5: Into the Valley of the Princes

It has been ten days since Aloysa left for Tamisha, and now she returns to Peraten with a spotted tiger at her heals.  Unfortunately, she returns with little additional information regarding the thrice-divided soul--merely that it is a reference to an ancient empire that ruled long before the dynasties of Nefret. The elders of Aloysa's clan do not believe this empire, said to be ruled by sphinxes, to be historical fact--merely folklore relating to the Mythic Dynasty.

Upon her return, Aloysa and Kiji are approached by Ibankhkhnum, a captain of Pharaoh's guard.  He explains that he has been assigned to investigate the murder of the Wati guards (which the party had reported).  After interrogating Velriana and Uzoma, he investigated both the Wati gate and the Sanctum of the Erudite Soul.  From this, Iban has a lead as to the whereabouts of the suspected murderer.  Unfortunately, he cannot trust his own men to investigate--for the perpetrator may be a member of the Order of Medjay, a special branch of the royal guard.  As you had expressed interest earlier in assisting the investigation, Iban was hoping that he could call on the party now.

Your particular skills, he believes, will be an asset--for he is relatively certain that the murderers are hiding out in the Valley of the Princes, beyond the Pyramid of Sekh-pa-Mefer III.  Unearthed at the same time as the pyramid, the tombs in this valley remain untouched--only a few just outside the valley, in the shadow of the pyramid, have been looted.  In addition to not being able to trust his men with the identity of the murderer, he also cannot trust them not to damage history in their investigation.  An unbiased team including both an archaeologist and an inquisitor is ideal.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Sphinxes [Etc.] of Nefret

In Nefret, the role that would traditionally be served by dragons in other fantasy settings is instead served by Sphinxes.  Because of this, one partocular aspect of the 3.x rules needs to be modified:  Creature types.  With so few dragons and dragon-kin in the world, it does not make sense for "Dragon" to be a unique creature type.  On the other hand, the prominence of sphinxes and sphinx-kin  may benefit from the creation of a "Sphinx" creature type.
Another aspect related to this that was already changed in play was the replacement of the Draconic language with the Sphinx language where it applies to arcane magic.  Furthermore, sorcerers do not have the option of a draconic bloodline (neither a sphinx bloodline, for that matter).