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Updated: 2 hours 57 min ago

Hail the Gauntlet!

Fri, 05/25/2018 - 19:00

Hail the Gauntlet!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Thank you to everyone who donated to Paizo's 2018 team for the Gauntlet charity tournament. Team Paizo fought hard in Tak, but a catastrophic Valeria round tumbled us towards the bottom, and we clawed our way back up to 11th, and almost as high as 8th, with an awesome performance on the final Puzzle Hunt round. Thanks to all of you, including an incredible last-minute donation over $1,000, we also unlocked an astonishing number of blog segments revealing further secrets about previously blogged classes. This will be a monster-length blog, so strap in for a long ride!

Fighter Combos: Randyll and Solveig

Luis Loza

I've always been a big fan of martial characters, which was fully solidified by one of my favorite characters, who happened to be a fighter. One of the big things I love about the fighter in Pathfinder is his ability to do just about anything in combat. With the right set of feats, a fighter can be anything from a typical sword and shield-wielding knight, to a spear master who leaps across the battlefield to defend his allies, to a light-footed master of the rapier. When I got a chance to join one of the playtest games here in the office, my first thought was to put this new fighter to the test. A lot of it felt the same, as the fighter was gaining lots of feats, but it turns out there was much more to the fighter this time around.

The Fighter Class Preview previewed several fighter feats and class features, but one thing it didn't mention was fighters' ability to string together attacks to make powerful combinations. They do this through abilities that let them Fan attack or press the offensive—abilities with the open trait must come before any other attacks, and those with the press trait must come after you've already made an attack. Fighters can also enter stances, which are one of the most common types of open abilities, and grant various powerful benefits for the duration of the encounter or until you enter another stance. A bastard sword switch-hitter can appreciate the debuff potential of following up an Intimidating Strike (which is neither an open nor a press ability) with Shatter Defenses, a press ability that stacks various penalties on an intimidated foe, or Combat Grab, a press ability that uses your open hand to grab a foe and simultaneously attack with the weapon in the other hand. Between those options and your ability to make your opponents flat-footed with critical hits, you can significantly reduce the AC of monsters so your lower-accuracy allies can take them down. With all of these new abilities in mind, I created my first fighter, Randyll. He was a master of the bastard sword with a penchant for yelling and rushing into combat. He would use the versatility of his bastard sword to his advantage, switching between a one-handed grip and a two-handed grip to use whichever feat was best for the situation, granting him a surprising amount of versatility.

Unfortunately, due to his recklessness, Randyll was not long for Golarion. In his place, I created Solveig, an Ulfen shield maiden entirely dedicated to defending her allies. She's fared even better. A shield fighter with a flail is all about careful tactical placement on the battlefield. If you're standing in the right spot, you can block for your allies with Shield Warden, and the flail critical specialization effect of knocking enemies prone can keep enemies right where you want them, even on an open battlefield. With Shielded Stride, you can even Stride at half speed with your shield up, ignoring reactions that trigger off your movement. The Shield Paragon stance is an open ability that gives you the benefit of a raised shield for the rest of the battle, an extremely powerful advantage. Solveig is a complete shift from Randyll's combat style. Her movement is calculated and her defense is unmatched (at least by the rest of the party!). By the time she had avoided close to 10 attacks in a row, I was in love with the fighter. I had found that same feeling that I had in Pathfinder First Edition and I could tell that there were so many possibilities with different weapons, armor types, and of course, all the new fighter feats. But there are so many amazing feats—how can your fighter take all the ones he wants? And how do you make sure you have the one you need for the day's adventure? The fighter's 9th-level Flexibility feat grants a different feat each day, and that increases to two flexible feats with Improved Flexibility at 15th level. This also means that, counting those two flexible feats, fighters have the most class feats in the game! Let me just say that playing the fighter in the playtest has only further solidified my love for the class. The fighter is awesome and continues to be awesome in Pathfinder Second Edition. In fact, if I were told I could play only fighters for the duration of the playtest, I would be happy. There's so much the fighter can do that I don't see myself running out of ideas any time soon!

Cleric Domains of the Mox Gauntlet

Andrew White

Thanks so much to everyone who helped us get this far! Your generosity is hugely appreciated, and we did our best to represent you accordingly at this weekend's showdown. And as a special reward to those of you who made your donations in the name of Team Cleric, here's a sneak peek at more of what's coming for everyone's favorite energy channelling, undead-neutralizing, wound-healing bludgeon enthusiasts!

If the Mox Gauntlet was a deity, what domains would it have? A gauntlet is a symbol of Might, the donations are a form of Wealth, the charity this year helps Families, and each year there's usually a final round shrouded in Secrecy. So let's talk about the domain powers that a cleric of the Gauntlet might be able to cast. The Cleric Class Preview already included unity, but the Family domain also has the basic power soothing words, which dispels emotion effects on a target; this is actually extremely strong because as a power, it's always heightened to your highest possible level. This means it's quite tricky to keep up emotion effects on a Family cleric's allies, and you'll probably never need to prepare remove fear. Might has two options that are really good for heavily armored and high-Strength clerics. The basic power athletic exploit lets you ignore your armor's check penalty and movement speed reduction when you really need to, and enduring might is a reaction that reduces damage based on your Strength modifier and your cleric level. The Secrecy domain has forced quiet, which limits the target's voice to a hoarse whisper, making it much harder to raise an alarm. Even a successful save against forced quiet still affects the target for 1 round (though the effect might last as long as 10 minutes on a critical failure!). Secrecy's advanced domain power, safeguard secret, has a 1-minute casting time but thereafter grants you and all willing allies in range an enormous conditional bonus to skill checks (almost always Deception) to conceal a specific secret you pick, and to saving throws against spells that seek to ferret out that specific secret. These benefits last indefinitely until you use the spell again. Finally, Wealth's basic power, acquisitive's fortune, is sure to make you popular with every business owner in the city and with allies who like to make money during downtime. Once cast, it allows the target to reroll any critical failure on their check to Perform a Trade in the next 24 hours. As the name implies, it's a fortune effect. The domain's advanced power, money talks, allows you to substitute coin currency for any sort of cost with a value measured in monetary value. So for instance, if you needed a vase worth 100 gp, you could just use 100 gp. This is particularly handy when you're away from a settlement and suddenly need a bizarre item for a cost that you wouldn't have thought to bring along; the Wealth cleric has you covered.

The Rogue's Hidden Tricks

Katina Davis

Although I'm not particularly stealthy in real life, I've always enjoyed rogues and their stealthy ways because I figured they were most like how I would actually behave in an adventure setting. Instead of barreling headfirst into a fight and counting on being able to chug a bunch of potions afterward, the rogue is more calm, calculated, and precise. What's the point in drawing attention (and attacks) to yourself when you can tiptoe in, get the job done, and sneak away unscathed? Never let your opponents know how strong you are, and they will always underestimate you.

Even after the Rogue Class Preview, the rogue was hiding some of her sneakiest tricks. What did you expect? One thing about the rogue that's different than in Pathfinder First Edition is the rogue's focus on slippery mental defenses. In addition to the Cognitive Loophole feat mentioned in her preview blog, the rogue gains the slippery mind ability, which makes her a master at Will saves. Add in double debilitation, the ability to apply two debilitations to a foe at once, and you have a good sense of the rogue's odd-level features. But there are so many feats still hiding in the shadows. While the first blog focused on ways to get sneak attack, the rogue also has some fun ways to play with the action economy, including drawing and attacking with a weapon as a single action, or Stepping and Striking at a -1 penalty with the same action (in either order, perfect for flanking, entering reach, or forcing your foe to take an action to reach you). The rogue also has a pair of feats that allow her to poison weapons more easily, keep her poisons from being wasted, and create a bunch of doses of a very simple poison for free each day (this also works great with an alchemist on the team to make some really powerful poison for free every day). For those interested in traps, you can gain Trap Finder, which makes finding even the most devious traps easier and protects you against them, and Delay Trap, which can give you the time you need to escape the area when you accidentally set off a trap. However, unlike in Pathfinder First Edition, engaging with traps as a rogue is your choice.

All right, those feats were cool, but what about some high-level options? Sense the Unseen is a reaction you can use when you Seek that lets you automatically learn the location of unseen creatures in the area, no matter how well they were hidden. You still can't see them, but it's a good start! Cloud Step allows you to step so lightly that you are essentially weightless when you are Striding, allowing you to walk over water or air and avoiding pressure plates until you finish moving. Perfect Distraction allows you to use smoke and mirrors, decoys, and other tactics to make it seem like you are somewhere you aren't, perfect for leaving a decoy right after you hide. If you have Legendary Deception, you can even gain Reactive Distraction and use the decoy as a reaction to avoid an enemy's attack or other ability. Afterward, it takes a bit of time to set up your next decoy, but it's worth it! Trickster's Ace lets you jury-rig magic item resonance and stolen magical energy to set up your own magical contingency each day, similar to the spell. And finally, Hidden Paragon lets you go completely invisible, even beyond the sight of true seeing, see invisibility and the like and impossible to outline with even glitterdust, faerie fire, or similar magic!

Take That, Evil!

Mark Seifter

The Paladin Class Preview was centered around alignment and the paladin code, with some extra helpings of spells, healing, and defenses, but there's more to paladin options than that. Sometimes you just want to put on your Gauntlet and beat evil down. So, this section is all about offense. Retributive Strike, first mentioned in the paladin blog, is a good way to add onto your damage while enfeebling enemies that dare to attack your allies, and all paladins have access to it at 1st level. Another ability all paladins receive is the righteous ally, a holy spirit that assists you from 3rd level on. There are three righteous allies to choose from (and you can take the Second Ally feat to gain another): blade, shield, and mount. Naturally, the blade righteous ally is the most offense-focused of the three, inhabiting your weapon (which you are free to change each day), and giving it the benefits of a property rune for the whole day. This starts with some simple properties like disrupting and ghost touch, but you can use feats to gain the benefits of more powerful runes; for instance, you can make your weapon dancing, allowing the spirit in your blade to attack on its own. The first major blade righteous ally feat is Blade of Justice, which is parallel to the Pathfinder First Edition paladin's smite evil—you declare a target to face judgment and deal extra damage to evil foes. Although Blade of Justice deals less damage than smite evil, it can be used as many times as you like as long as you have the actions for it. And the real kicker is that this extra damage is good damage, which means that creatures like fiends that are weak against good abilities are going to take a lot more damage.

Speaking of how offense-focused paladins can wreck fiends, there's also Aura of Faith, a feat that makes nearby good allies' first attacks each turn deal 1 extra good damage against evil creatures (and of course, this can become quite a bit higher when applying a fiend's weakness!). But there's also a smiting ability every paladin gets that can ruin a fiend's day. Holy Smite deals persistent good damage equal to your Charisma modifier to evil creatures you hit with any Retributive Strike, which can apply extra damage round after round if the creature has a weakness to good. Instrument of Zeal is the last in the series of badass offensive abilities for the blade righteous ally: when you score a critical hit with your weapon, either with a Retributive Strike or against your Blade of Justice target, you gain an additional die of damage and the target is slowed 1 on its next turn, which can put it in a really tight spot! There's another fun way every paladin can increase a party's offense, particularly if the group stands in a tactical formation. Aura of justice is a class feature all paladins get that allows you to take a penalty to any Retributive Strike in order to allow all allies within 10 feet and in reach of the monster to make Retributive Strikes of their own! If you find your group often uses this to create a mega-chain reaction, you can later take the Aura of Vengeance feat to remove that extra penalty when you use aura of justice.

Behold the Gauntlet!

The Gauntlet is a powerful magic item fought over by champions since ages long past. We will now reveal the powers of the Gauntlet in a Pathfinder Playtest-compatible form. Behold, the Gauntlet!

The Gauntlet Item 18

Invested

Magical

Potent

Transmutation

Price 24,000 gp

Method of Use worn, gloves; Bulk L

Activation [[A]][[A]] Operate Activation

This mighty adamantine gauntlet was forged by the legendary artisans of Mox from the Card Kingdom and is inscribed with hidden runes of great power. The Gauntlet boosts your might and enhances your strategy to a razor's edge. You gain a +5 item bonus to Athletics checks and Warfare Lore checks. When you invest the Gauntlet, you either increase your Strength score by 2 or increase it to 18, whichever would give you a higher score.

While wearing the Gauntlet, you gain a +2 conditional bonus to damage rolls on unarmed attacks against minotaurs.

When you activate the Gauntlet, you slam the ground, creating the same effects as an 8th-level earthquake.

While you have invested the Gauntlet, if anyone offers you a challenge for the Gauntlet and the challenge is fair, you must accept that challenge, though you can finish any life-threatening or time-critical task before doing so. Once someone has won the Gauntlet from you in a challenge, you must wait 1 year before you can challenge them again to regain the Gauntlet. If the Gauntlet is stolen, sold, traded, looted from a corpse, or obtained in any way other than being won in a fair challenge, it vanishes instead, perhaps returning to the vaults of Mox.

A Familiar Disguise

Mark Seifter

Familiars, the traditional fuzzy friends of wizards and witches, are extremely popular in Pathfinder, especially among those who are fans of animals or cute things. While many classes gained access to familiars in later books, including the archetypes I wrote for Familiar Folio (my first-ever author credit for Paizo), plenty of characters have access to familiars from the outset of Pathfinder Second Edition's playtest. Not only can wizards take a feat to gain a familiar even if they also have an arcane bond, but alchemists can also gain an alchemically created familiar, and druids can gain a leshy familiar. But the most surprising and awesome feature might send our fans who love both gnomes and familiars (hmm, who could that be?) into a spiral of gnomes: there is a gnome ancestry feat to gain a familiar regardless of your class.

So enough about who can get familiars—how do they work? As someone who loves building familiars and getting exactly the type of animal that fits my concept, I was sometimes stymied when my ability to choose a familiar was locked behind how many low-power creatures that would be useful mostly only as familiars could be fit into the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary schedule. In the playtest, you won't have to wait for Bestiary 5 to have a flying fox. Familiars have always been magical creatures forever altered by your magic, so why not capitalize on that to allow for more variety and flexibility than ever before?

In the playtest's familiar system, you get to pick from a variety of powers that either allow the familiar to gain special abilities, like flight or speech (yes, you can have a talking cat, or a talking winged cat) or that grant special benefits to you, including extra spells and delivering your touch spells at a distance. You can normally swap those powers each day as part of your daily preparations, which allows you some awesome flexibility for your familiar, though a familiar that would naturally have any of these special abilities (like an owl's flight) always has that ability locked in. So if you need your rabbit to be able to swim for the next day's adventure, you can do that, or you can grant your leshy wings of flower blossoms. For the playtest, we started with around 10 different powers, but I imagine the list will expand over time and we might create feats for familiar-friendly characters to gain more powers than usual or to unlock particularly strong powers.

So we know about powers, but what about a familiar's base statistics? Your familiar uses your full saving throw modifiers and AC, with a set 4 HP per level, so it has better defenses than familiars had before. Familiars are adept at Perception, Acrobatics, and Stealth, counting as trained characters of your level and adding your spellcasting key ability modifier (this isCharisma if you have only innate spells, like the aforementioned gnome non-spellcaster). For other skills, they have the modifier of an untrained character of your level, meaning that after a few levels, their skills are far beyond what a simple animal could achieve.

Whew, that was an epic-length blog. Thanks again to everyone who donated to the Gauntlet to support Wellspring in their efforts to assist the homeless, and if you liked how much content was in this blog, be sure to post and thank all the donors as well!

Tags: Charity, Community, The Gauntlet, Pathfinder Playtest

2018-05-25T19:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Countdown to PaizoCon 2018!

Thu, 05/24/2018 - 19:00

Countdown to PaizoCon 2018!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Our books and dice are packed, the trucks have left for SeaTac, and we're ramping up to meet everyone at PaizoCon 2018 tomorrow! Four days of Pathfinder, Starfinder, Organized Play, seminars, board games, old and new gaming friends, and more await over the long weekend. Plus! This year we are joined by our guests of honor: The Glass Cannon Podcast and artist Taylor Fischer.

If you aren't on your way to PaizoCon 2018, you can follow along with updates from the show by following Paizo's social media accounts, or by following #paizocon2018. This year we're so excited to announce that for the first time we'll be streaming on our Twitch channel from the show! You can find the full streaming schedule here.

See you at the show!

Chris Lambertz
Web Product Manager

Tags: Community, Conventions, PaizoCon, PaizoCon 2018

2018-05-24T19:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

UK Games Expo and Renkroda Heartlove!!!

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 22:00

UK Games Expo and Renkroda Heartlove!!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2018

Before I turn you over to Starfinder Society developer Thurston Hillman for a peek at May's scenarios, I'd like to highlight a couple upcoming non-US conventions other staffers and I are attending.

Also, we are pleased Michael's blog last week about sanctioning the the Strange Aeons Adventure Path was so well received. While there was a slight glitch in the pdf attachment process, it was resolved and you can now download the sanctioning documents from the link above.

I've spent the past few weeks previewing convention offerings at PaizoCon, Origins, and Gen Con. This week, let's take a peek at a conventions outside the United States. For those of you in the area, you can find lots of gaming goodness the to 1st to 3rd of June at the United Kingdom Games Expo in Birmingham, England . A group of Paizo staffers joins the local Organized Play community to bring lots of Pathfinder and Starfinder options.

Come take a sneak peek at the Pathfinder Playtest by visiting the Paizo booth in the NEC Exhibition Hall. Space is limited, so be sure to visit early and secure a place. Meanwhile, the Hilton Ballrooms play host to a cornucopia of organized play offerings, including the European premier of the next installment of the modular interactive special Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-99C: The Solstice Scar, version C on Saturday night. For more information on this scenario, see this week's Pathfinder Society Scenario preview blog.

Visit the UK Games Expo website to get a badge and sign up for events. We have a bunch of Paizo staffers, including Amanda Hamon Kunz, Cosmo Eisele, Dan Tharp, Erik Mona, Jason Bulmahn, Jeff Alvarez, and myself, flying in for the event and we hope to see you there!

If UK Games Expo doesn't work into your schedule, consider attending PaizoCon UK July 20th-22nd at the Aston University Campus in Birmingham, UK. Come join designer Logan Bonner and I, along with UK and European venture-officers, in celebrating the 10th anniversary of PaizoCon UK by playing games, talking about your characters, and enjoying some English hospitality. I'll write more about this event in a few weeks, but you can get a jump on planning by visiting their website!

With all the upcoming conventions, we need new scenarios. I'm turning you over to Thurston as he catalogs the delights instore for Starfinder Society players this month.

Until next time—Explore, Report, Cooperate!

Tonya Woldridge


Organized Play Manager

Wow, it's already coming up on PaizoCon season! When it came time to plan out the two scenarios the Organized Play Team knew would take the first salvo of "convention season", we wanted to focus on some less conventional scenario archetypes.

Starfinder Society #1-14: Star Sugar Heartlove!!! is an experience! Anything I could say about it would spoil that experience. I can say that it brings together a lot of things that people have enjoyed about our inaugural Starfinder Society season in a fun and exciting way. OK, fine, I can also say that it begins right before the sugar pop sensation, Strawberry Machine Cake, is set to perform a debut concert for their new album. Paizo's own Eleanor Ferron, the creator of Strawberry Machine Cake, exceeded even my ridiculous expectations when she wrote this scenario. I look forward to seeing the fan reaction to this.

This scenario has the Faction (Dataphiles) and Faction (Exo-Guardians) tags.

If this month's first scenario tells us anything, it's that the Organized Play Team can be swayed by fan reactions. Our next scenario continues this trend.

Pathfinder Society veteran author, Andrew Hoskins, is notorious for scenarios such as Pathfinder Society #6-17: From Under Ice, Pathfinder Society #7-17: Thralls of the Shattered God, and Pathfinder Society #8-07: Tome of Righteous Repose. He approached me last year about writing for Starfinder Society and I was happy to bring him onboard with a new scenario. What he received was an idea madly brewed in a cauldron of ideas floating around the Organized Play Team. Of course, Andrew being the stellar author that he is, ran with our somewhat abnormal outline.

Starfinder Society #1-15: Save the Renkrodas differentiates itself from our other May scenario by having a space dinosaur. Ok, Ok… the space the dinosaur is technically an alien lifeform called a renkroda (first detailed in Temple of the Twelve, written by Organized Play Lead Developer John Compton. So while there was certainly already some love for renkrodas on the team, it wasn't until a particularly dedicated volunteer (who we'll be highlighting in next month's scenario preview) began espousing some detailed renkroda-related lore on social media, that we realized the time was right for a scenario.

This scenario has the Faction (Acquisitives) and a new Vehicle tag that denotes the presence of a vehicle-related encounter.

That's it for this month's preview. In June, you'll get to see a whole bunch of previews for scenarios debuting at our season launch at Origins Game Fair. For those of you attending PaizoCon this weekend in Seattle, feel free to come up and say hello! I'm on the Starfinder Society Organized Play panel on Friday and roaming the venue throughout the whole weekend.

Either way, have a happy week of gaming!

Thurston Hillman
Starfinder Society Develope

Tags: Conventions, Organized Play, Starfinder Society, Starfinder Society Scenarios

2018-05-23T22:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Deception, Betrayal, Redemption

Wed, 05/23/2018 - 19:00

Deception, Betrayal, Redemption

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

PaizoCon is just a few days away, and that means some great adventures are already in GMs' hands. Sure, Gen Con is important for releasing piles of new scenarios and kicking off a new season, but PaizoCon's where we love debuting adventures that really appeal to the engaged fans who attend that convention. The organized play team's been saving three scenarios for just this opportunity, and that's not to mention the delightful pair of adventures published for Starfinder Society this month. With our expanding cast of developers, you'll get to hear from each of the Pathfinder Society developers about their respective projects.

This year at PaizoCon we're debuting Pathfinder Society Special #8-99C: The Solstice Scar, the penultimate version of the evolving storyline that began one year ago. We've brought on Kalervo Oikarinen to write the last two parts of the adventure, including both this fifth chapter as well as the final piece that debuts early in 2019. If you're new to the whole Solstice Scar phenomenon, I encourage you to check out the blog that details this experimental format and its schedule.

As a low-spoiler overview, the Pathfinder Society has been helping a Kellid following recover a potent relic—a morally upstanding favor made all the more urgent because that relic keeps a powerful supernatural evil at bay every winter solstice. Thanks to the relic's recent theft, the Society and Kellid following have been working overtime not just to recover it, but also to track down the tools necessary to end the slumbering evil forever. In Version C, the PCs are fending off an invasion, seeking out a long-lost Shining Crusade paladin in the frozen Tusk Mountains, and finally vanquishing a powerful curse in the Northern Fangwood in Lastwall.

The adventure is exclusive to a handful of conventions until Gen Con 2018, after which anyone can play it at events with three or more tables.

Next up, Linda's got some news about our higher-level scenario this month. As she warns, there are some spoilers about an earlier Season 9 scenario in the second paragraph.

I'm excited to see what everyone thinks of this month's Tier 7-11 offering, Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-20: Fury of the Final Blade. Author Lyz Liddell has edited quite a few Pathfinder Society scenarios, and it's awesome to have her writing for us too. Lyz's writing is immersive, creative, and beautiful, and this scenario was truly a joy to work on. If you haven't yet played Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-02: A Case of Missing Persons, I recommend checking that out first, because there are spoilers ahead. So without further ado, here's a preview of what's coming up next in the Liberty's Edge story—with a little more context for people who were baffled by the product page.

Illustration by Marko Horvatin

Liberty's Edge faction leader Colson Maldris is no stranger to crossing lines of propriety in what he believes to be the service of the greater good, and he's learned that his agents are willing to bury his indiscretions. This time, he's taken more drastic action than ever before. After a wealthy man was cleared of treason charges under dubious circumstances and several troubling measures for punishing debtors received serious debate on the floor of Andoran's senate, Maldris became convinced that Andoran's elite had become an untouchable class destined to destroy democracy and bring de-facto slavery to the nation. The only way forward in his mind was bring those treacherous "nobles" before a jury of people who he believed could give them a more just trial for their crimes than Andoran's courts—the citizens of Galt. In exchange for several concessions from the Galtans, such as a promise that Galt would not to use their infamous soul-trapping guillotines to carry out a sentence, Maldris arranged for the people he believed to be most guilty of corruption to be kidnapped and transported to Galt. Yet with the captives in their hands, Galtan authorities were quick to discard the promises they made to Maldris, forcing Maldris to take action against them. If the PCs don't act quickly and carefully, Maldris's rash actions could spark an international incident and possibly end in a gruesome fate for both the captives and Maldris himself. For a peek at what may happen to Maldris, check out this portrait by Marko Horvatin.

But hey, when we're thinking of NPCs with controversial reputations, we can't ignore Grandmaster Torch. Michael gives us some insights into the lower level May adventure.

Pathfinder Society Scenario #9-21: In the Grandmaster's Name takes place in Druma, where the PCs have been sent to intercept an agent of the enigmatic Grandmaster Torch. Similar to a certain low level adventure from Season 5, this adventure is an opportunity for players to insert themselves into one of Torch's cryptic plots. In addition to continuing one of the longest and most polarizing storylines of the Pathfinder Society campaign, author Jenny Jarzabski brings some very unique challenges and story elements to this scenario, weaving her background as a sommelier into an adventure that climbs into the luxurious estates of Kalistocratic high society.

In addition to the excellent opportunities to undermine Torch and several other longstanding villains in the Pathfinder Society campaign, In the Grandmaster's Name has also been a fun opportunity to present elements of Druman society, from hardworking, handsome half-orc bartenders to confident and capable tieflings. These illustrations by Sebastian Gomez really highlight the possibilities as well as the colorful characters you'll certainly meet during this adventure.

Illustrations by Sebastian Gomez

That's it for now. Be sure to check out the Starfinder Society blog today, too, and check in regularly for news updates from PaizoCon this weekend. See many of you at the show!

John Compton, Michael Sayre, and Linda Zayas-Palmer
Pathfinder Society Developers

Tags: Marko Horvatin, Organized Play, Pathfinder Society Scenarios, Sebastian Gomez

2018-05-23T19:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Wizard Class Preview

Mon, 05/21/2018 - 19:00

Wizard Class Preview

Monday, May 21, 2018

With Paizocon getting underway in just a few days, we wanted to round out our previews by looking at the final class that you will be able to play at the show. So, without further delay, it's time to look at the wizard!

Wizard Features

If you are building a wizard, everything starts with your key ability, Intelligence. Having a high Intelligence gives you a boost to the DCs of your spells, and it gives you more skill choices at 1st level.

At 1st level, you begin play with a spellbook containing 10 cantrips and eight 1st-level spells, giving you a wide variety of spells to draw upon when you prepare your magic each morning. Starting out, you can prepare four cantrips and two 1st-level spells each day. In addition, you also select your arcane school at 1st level, which grants you one extra spell slot of each level that you can use only to prepare a spell from your chosen school. You can compare this to the cleric, who doesn't get extra spell slots, but instead gets a narrow ability to cast extra heal or harm spells. Your school also grants you a school power that you can cast using a pool of Spell Points. Take a look at the nifty power you can pick up from choosing divination as your school. (Remember, that [[A]] code you see indicates that this is an action, and it will be a snazzy icon in the final rulebook!)

DIVINER'S SIGHT

Concentrate, Divination, Fortune

Casting [[A]] Verbal Casting

Range 30 feet; Targets one willing living creature

Duration end of your next turn or until dismissed

You glimpse into the target's future. Roll a d20. When the target attempts a Perception check, saving throw, or skill check, it can use the number you rolled instead of rolling, and the spell is dismissed. Casting it again dismisses any active diviner's sight.

Even if you don't roll so great, it might still help avoid a critical failure on a vital saving throw.

You can forgo selecting an arcane school, instead choosing to be a universalist. This grants you a bonus wizard feat and extra uses of your arcane focus.

Speaking of which, all wizards gain the ability to place some of their power into a designated item called an arcane focus. You can drain the power from that focus once per day to cast any one spell that you have already cast without spending another spell slot. Universalists get to use this ability once for each level of spell that they can cast!

As a wizard goes up in level, they gain more spells that they can cast (either one extra spell of their highest level, or two of a new level) and their proficiency at spellcasting also increases. They start as trained, but rise to the rank of legendary at 19th level.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Wizard Feats

Wizards have never had too many class features to choose from to help distinguish them from one another, so when it came time to design feats for the wizard, it was a clear opportunity to add some variety to the class.

Lets start out with a few classic concepts. At 1st level, you can pick up a feat that allows you to spend your reaction to counterspell any spell someone else casts as long as you currently have that spell prepared. If that isn't to your taste, you can take a wizard feat to recruit a familiar instead. Every day, you can select a pair of abilities to give this loyal companion, some of which grant you boons as well. At high levels, your familiar can even grant you an additional spell slot, as long as it is 3 levels lower than the highest-level spell you can cast. At 8th level you can select from a series of feats that enhance the power of your arcane school, increasing your pool of Spell Points and granting you an extra spell you can cast using that pool. One of my favorites is the necromantic power called life siphon, which lets you draw some of the magic from a non-cantrip necromancy spell you cast to regain 1d8 Hit Points per level of the spell.

Not surprisingly, the wizard also has a lot of feats to choose from that modify the spells that you cast. While many of these metamagic feats will be familiar to veterans of the game, allowing you to extend the reach or widen the area of a spell, for example, others are new. Conceal Spell lets you add an action to a spell as you cast it to hide the fact that you are casting. Focus Conservation is an action you can add to any spell that you cast by draining your arcane focus, and it lets you drain your arcane focus again the next round, casting another spell as long as it is 2 levels lower than the spell you just cast. Better still, you can keep using this feat as long as you have lower-level spells to cast. For example, if you start out draining your focus to cast cone of cold (a 5th-level spell dealing a wicked 11d6 cold damage to all your enemies), you could follow it up next round with a fireball. If you use the feat again, you could drain focus again on the following round, casting any 1st-level spell you had already cast.

As a wizard rises to the highest levels of power, their feats grant them more and more options when determining how to best utilize their spells. Effortless Concentration gives you a free action at the start of each round to concentrate on a spell you have cast, freeing you up to use all 3 actions normally. Superior Focus gives you another use of your arcane focus. Quick Preparation lets you swap out spells you have already prepared in just 10 minutes. At 20th level, you can pick Spell Combination, which lets you combine two spells into one terrifying attack that you can unleash on one unfortunate foe.

Spells

One of the biggest ways you can customize your wizard is in your spell selection, so it's probably worth looking at a few signature wizard spells to see how they work. Let's start with one of the most iconic spells of them all.

MAGIC MISSILE SPELL 1

Evocation, Force

Casting [[A]] Verbal Casting or more

Range 120 feet; Targets one creature

You send a dart of force streaking toward a creature that you can see. It automatically hits and deals 1d4+1 force damage. When Casting this Spell, you can increase the casting by a Material Casting action, a Somatic Casting action, or both. For each component you add, increase the number of missiles you shoot by one. You choose the target for each missile individually.

Heightened (+2) You shoot one additional missile with each action you spend.

Magic missile shows off a couple of interesting options in the wizard's arsenal. Casting a spell can be done in a number of ways using a variable number of actions. While most of the time this is through metamagic feats, it can also come from the spell itself. Adding casting actions to magic missile gives you more missiles to throw. In addition, a wide variety of spells can be prepared using a higher-level spell slot, giving you a better effect without having to refer to an entirely different spell. (You can find out more about that in the All About Spells blog.) That means you can prepare magic missile as a 9th-level spell and spend three actions casting it for 15 missiles!

Another important aspect of picking spells for your wizard is to balance what saving throws they allow and what effects you can get depending on the results of the save. For that, let's take a look at a spell that might instantly kill a foe.

PHANTASMAL KILLER SPELL 4

Death, Emotion, Fear, Illusion, Mental

Casting [[A]] Somatic Casting, [[A]] Verbal Casting

Range 120 feet; Targets one living creature

You create a phantasmal image of the most fearsome creature imaginable to the target. Only the spell's target can see the killer, though you can see the vague shape of the illusion as it races forth to attack. The effect of the killer is based on the outcome of the target's Will saving throw.

Success The target is frightened 1.

Critical Success The target is unaffected.

Failure The target takes 8d6 mental damage and is frightened 2.

Critical Failure The target is so afraid it might instantly die. It must attempt a Fortitude saving throw; if the target fails, it is reduced to 0 Hit Points and dies. On a successful Fortitude save, the target still takes 12d6 mental damage, is fleeing until the end of its next turn, and is frightened 4.

Heightened (+1) The damage on a failure increases by 2d6 and on a critical failure by 3d6.

This spell is perfect for removing a lower-level foe from a fight, but it has the chance of greatly hampering a higher-level foe as well. The frightened condition reduces by 1 each turn, but it applies a penalty to almost all of your checks and rolls until it does. You will find interesting choices like these throughout the arcane spell list. While most will be familiar to a Pathfinder veteran, there are a lot of new spells to explore as well, from grim tendril to chromatic wall, so your wizard will be ready for anything.

Well, that wraps up our look at the wizard. If you want to give this class (or the alchemist, cleric, fighter, paladin, or rogue) a try, make sure to stop by PaizoCon (this weekend), the UK Games Expo (early June), or Origins (mid-June), as we'll be running demos during all three conventions!

Jason Bulmahn
Director of Game Design

Tags: Ezren, Pathfinder Playtest, Wayne Reynolds, Wizards

2018-05-21T19:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Order of the Amber Die--The Azlant Odyssey, Part 3

Sat, 05/19/2018 - 19:00

Order of the Amber Die—The Azlant Odyssey, Part 3

Saturday, May 18, 2018

Those Adventure Path marathoners from the Order of the Amber Die are back again with a report from their play through of Pathfinder Adventure Path #123: The Flooded Cathedral! If you've missed the first two installments, check them out here: Part 1 and Part 2. As usual, there be spoilers! Read the following at your own risk!

By the third volume of an Adventure Path, we have usually acquired a pretty definitive feel for the locale and some of the themes of a particular AP. The Flooded Cathedral became the adventure where we really felt like we were deep in the ruins of Azlant in the most literal sense. Remains of the empire were everywhere, and we got to explore the most awe-inspiring structure yet: a massive cathedral so time-worn that it was now partially lost to the waters. We couldn't stop to gawk too long though, for we were in a race against time to recover dozens of kidnapped colonists from the machinations of their new aboleth master!

To enhance immersion, we decided to focus on the feel of submerged dungeon crawling. Black curtains blocked out light from the room, with illumination provided by lava lamps possessing underwater hues, and a strobe light was used for the parts of the cathedral where the lighting was malfunctioning. Elsewhere on the islands of Azlant, Black Scrolls Games helped us bring the landscape to life with their outdoor map tiles.

Highlights from "The Flooded Cathedral"
  • One of the most unsettling parts of adventuring in ancient Azlant involved encountering former inhabitants of an age gone by. Wraiths known as hollows—spirits whose pride kept them from fleeing Earthfall—inhabited an area of the island where the trees and soil were left still blackened from the cataclysm. They paced us for hours, until the darkness provided by some ruins allowed them the chance to strike, hoping to sap our precious egos.
  • The treasures of Azlant are as enticing as its lore, and we couldn't resist braving s a shiver of great white sharks to explore the Hall of the Heroine, which contained a statue of the Azlanti heroine Savith. In our very own sword-in-the-stone moment, only a human had the strength to wrest the sword of Savith from her grasp, and this glowing aberration-bane keen longsword became single greatest factor in our defeat of Onthooth, the aboleth in the final encounter.
  • The outer temple grounds contained a breathtaking 100-foot-tall statue of Amaznen that had crashed to the ground long ago. Before our scholars could satiate the pages of their logs, a tough fight began, possessed of wave-by-wave action against ugothol defenders. What increased the complexity was the combination of three lanes of engagement, and that each wave of faceless stalkers was armed differently, including the dreaded mutilators, who hit the hardest. We won it decidedly, by making sure they couldn't break our line: two of us held the left side on the smashed head of the statue, two held the right amongst some crumbling walls, two scampered up onto the statue itself, and the last provided air support in the form of lightning bolts.
  • Intensity peaked as high as the volume of Hans Zimmer's "Supermarine" when we faced off against one of the first ulat-kini ever created. To take things up another notch, we should add that we were we far from air, a retinue accompanied it, and this immense creature carried an equally large crossbow of the crab. Our GM shocked us a couple of times by using the reposition combat maneuver to place us in the path of a malfunctioning electrical altar. This win went to Valeros's aquanaut abilities and Ezren's aqueous orb spell.
The Odyssey

Author Mikko Kallio gifted us with one of the most interactive and unique dungeon crawling experiences we've ever come across. Not only did a submerged ruin provide its own challenges, but also there were several objectives to be accomplished within the cathedral, and these stood alongside our main goal. Aoinse, the awakened clockwork servant and former cleric of Amaznen, became our friend and guide throughout the delve—she won't be forgotten. True to any Odyssey, the treasures have been equally epic, as it took more than thirty years of playing this game to finally come across an apparatus of the crab!

Character Deaths
  • Merisiel paid for her curiosity when she approached a perfectly intact table standing alone inside a broken tower. She'll tell you it was the magical haversack resting upon the table that she couldn't resist. Karnax, the mimic with slayer levels, showed his delight in having visitors to the island by surprising the rogue, studying his target, and finishing her in two hits before the party could act.
  • While attempting to turn the temple's power generators on, we found ourselves in a fierce encounter with lightning elementals where every square of movement mattered. Unfortunately, our party roster included a locathah with a 10 foot movement, Kyra with a 20 foot movement, and a hobbled clockwork companion in tow. Kyra sacrificed herself to help the rest escape, but not before we lost Oorka the strix as well.
  • As we explored a haunted sacristy, Valeros fell victim to a murderous command effect and tried to claim the spoils for himself. It didn't help that the fighter was being played by Erick, who has more blood on his hands from other PCs than anyone in the Order. With a stellar critical hit of 73 points of damage, he added Koloshkora to his list.
Best Quote From Marathon 3

(Following an encounter with chaos beasts, our wizard suffered from a Wisdom score of 4.)

Ezren: Excellent hit Marissa, watch out for the other elemental!

Merisiel: It's Merisiel...

Ezren: Nice throw Melanie, behind you!

Merisiel (dodges): It's Merisiel, old man.

Ezren: Sorry Maria, I won't make that mistake again!

Current Situation

We managed to defeat the aboleth and recover the colonists (mostly) intact. Through diplomacy and action, our network of friends and alliances among the current inhabitants of ancient Azlant now includes: Mordant Spire elves, wyrwoods, locathah, strix, and even some clockwork compatriots. We were able to raise our companions from the dead, and things look good as we prepare to spend what looks like an extended amount of time underwater. Equipped with our newly reconstructed apparatus of the crab, we're ready to set out across the ocean toward the next destination in our odyssey: the underwater city of Talasantri!

More Content

For character builds, questions about The Azlant Odyssey, additional content and more, see our thread on the paizo.com messageboards!

Follow Order of the Amber Die on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube!

Adam Daigle
Managing Developer

Tags: Community, Order of the Amber Die, Pathfinder Adventure Path, Ruins of Azlant

2018-05-19T19:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

The Evolution of PaizoCon's Monday Events!

Fri, 05/18/2018 - 23:00

The Evolution of PaizoCon's Monday Events!

Friday, May 18, 2018

My very first PaizoCon, and the only one I've been at as an attendee and not an employee, was in 2009. It was an amazing experience to be surrounded by so many gamers and gaming professionals excited to share their knowledge and sit down and game as a community. One particular highlight came on the last day as things were winding down. Employees and fans started informally gathering in the lobby area of the hotel and it provided a unique experience getting to ask questions and listen to expertise from not only the game designers and developers, but operational staff as well. I had a unique experience getting to learn about some of the aspects of what keeps the amazing RPG books I loved in print and shipping out. When a customer service position opened at Paizo a few months later, I had no hesitation to apply since this casual networking had let me know that the people I was hoping to work with were fantastic, friendly people. As the convention has grown and moved hotels around, sometimes without a good central lobby space, that kind of connecting atmosphere has been harder to figure out how to facilitate.

A few years ago we moved to Memorial Day weekend, turning PaizoCon into a 4 day convention. Monday's have always been a bit difficult day to predict for scheduling as many folks use this day as a travel day and are worrying about checking out of the hotel, thus making attendance for Monday events much lower than those same events would traditionally pull on one of the other days. Thinking about both of these puzzles together, we've decided to try a bit of an experiment with PaizoCon Monday's schedule.

There will be the traditional 50 tables of organized play Monday morning and Delves-two Playtest and one Starfinder. But this year we're only putting one panel on the schedule, a Playtest feedback seminar where attendees can talk with the designers about how their Playtest experiences at PaizoCon went, and we have no scheduled individual games. Instead, from 10am to 1pm we have over 30 Paizo employees from all departments who will be up in the Evergreen Rooms ready to play our favorite casual board & card games. I'll be there with one of my favorites, Settlers of Catan and I've heard from other folks that games like Dice Forge, One Deck Dungeon, Sentinels of the Multi-Verse, Undercity/Widower's Wood, Island of Dreams, Munchkin Nightmare Before Christmas, Munchkin Rick and Morty, and variations of Fluxx might all make appearances. If you have young kids I'll also be bringing copies of Dinosaur Escape and Spookies. There will also be two employees in Olympic 1 who will be hooking up video games to play on the the seminar projector and bringing a Switch to battle in Mario Kart. For those who are still hoping to play pick up games with other attendees, all of the Cascade rooms will be open for use.

My hope is that the more casual aspect of gaming will help facilitate both PaizoCon attendees and employees getting an opportunity to interact and have fun together in a semi structured environment. As this is an experiment this year, if you have any feedback, please let us know at paizocon@paizo.com.

See you next week!

Sara Marie
Customer Service Manager

Tags: Community, Conventions, PaizoCon, PaizoCon 2018

2018-05-18T23:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Attack the Stat Block

Fri, 05/18/2018 - 19:00

Attack the Stat Block

Friday, May 18, 2018

In Monday's monster blog, Mark told you about some of the changes we made to monsters to make them more engaging and easy to run. So how did we turn all that into something you can use? Well, we put a lot of thought into making a new monster stat block that would be more concise, while remaining flexible enough that we can still keep a similar level of complexity for some of our most powerful and iconic monsters.

But let's start small. Well... big, but also small. You'll see.

So Now There's Ogres, Okay?

Oh no... what's that smell? It's like a gym bag ate roadkill!

Ogre Creature 3

Chaotic, Evil, Giant, Humanoid, Large

Perception +5, darkvision

Languages Giant

Skills +1; Acrobatics +4, Athletics +9

Str +5, Dex -1, Con +2, Int -2, Wis +0, Cha -2

Items hide armor, 6 javelins, ogre hook

AC 16, TAC 14; Fort +8, Ref +3, Will +5

HP 60

Speed 25 feet

[[A]] Melee ogre hook +10 (deadly 1d10, reach 10 feet, trip), Damage 1d10+7 piercing

[[A]] Ranged javelin +8 (thrown 30 feet), Damage 1d6+7

Ah, of course. It's an ogre! This is an example of one of the simplest stat blocks in the playtest. Ogres are big bruisers, and they don't have a whole lot of special actions to use. They play a role as big challenges for low-level groups and in groups as minions for higher-level threats, so having them be simple makes plenty of sense for how they're used in the game. You might notice that this stat block is shorter than a Pathfinder First Edition stat block. We think this will give us more room for other text in our bestiaries and adventures. Some elements went away because of rules simplifications, while other pieces of information, like organization and environment, will appear in the monster's text instead of in the stat block.

We don’t have art of ogres or redcaps yet, but check out this illustration by Wayne Reynolds of a bugbear!

Quick reminder: the [[A]] symbol is code for "action," and it will have a special icon in the actual Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook and other products. You'll also see an [[R]] later to represent a reaction.

You can see how a stat block leads off with the creature's name and level, followed by its traits. These traits include its alignment and size. The top section of the stat block continues with the first stats you'll typically use, since you'll be determining whether the PCs and monsters can see one another (requiring you to use Perception), or the party might start out with an interaction (meaning you'll use the monster's languages and skills). The skills entry first lists a number you can use (in addition to the relevant ability modifier) for any skills the monster doesn't have listed, followed by a list of all the skills the monster has a different modifier for. So if you needed to roll an Acrobatics check for the ogre, you'll roll 1d20 and add 4, which is much better than its base modifier plus its Dex modifier (a total of +0).

You'll also notice the monster gives just its ability score modifiers instead of scores. This lets you make calculations more quickly, and since monsters don't increase their scores the same way PCs do, listing those is unnecessary. Monsters with items also list those up top.

There's a line to show where the monster's defenses start. Our ogre's pretty straightforward, with just ACs, saves, and Hit Points.

The next line separates the statistics and actions the monster can use on its turn. Here, that's Speed and the ogre's Strikes: an ogre hook and javelins! Even though the ogre doesn't have any special actions, it does have some special options due to its ogre hook. In parentheses, you can see the ogre hook's traits: deadly 1d10 (making it deal 1d10 more damage on a critical hit—ow!), a reach of 10 feet (letting the ogre attack past the first space), and trip (which lets the ogre trip using its hook instead of its body). Just as in Pathfinder First Edition, the reach comes from the ogre's size—the hook itself isn't long enough to increase reach.

So you can see the stat block is organized so that you're looking at the middle section when it's not the monster's turn, and at the bottom section on its turn. We think that will make it easier to use at the table, but we'd love to hear your feedback as you run these monsters during the playtest!

Blood and Boots

So how about a stat block that has a bit more going on? Here's a redcap: the nasty, brutal little fey with oversized scythes. This is a moderately complex monster. We won't be showing you any liches or pit fiends today, but the redcap will demonstrate how we present a few special abilities.

Redcap Creature 5

Evil, Fey, Small

Perception +10, low-light vision

Languages Aklo, Common, Giant, Sylvan

Skills +5; Acrobatics +13, Athletics +13, Deception +13, Intimidation +11, Nature +11, Stealth +13

Str +4, Dex +4, Con +4, Int +3, Wis +1, Cha +2

Items red cap, expert Medium scythe, iron boots

Red Cap (arcane, necromancy) A redcap's shapeless woolen hat is dyed with the blood of its victims. If the redcap loses its cap, it no longer benefits from fast healing and takes a -4 conditional penalty to its damage rolls. It can create a new cap in 10 minutes, but that cap doesn't grant its powers until the redcap has turned it red with Blood Soak. A cap has no benefit for creatures other than redcaps.

AC 20, TAC 19; Fort +8, Ref +11, Will +9

HP 55, fast healing 10; Weaknesses cold iron 5, irreligious

Irreligious (emotion, fear, mental) If a redcap sees a creature brandish a holy symbol of a good deity or use one for the Material Casting of a divine spell, the redcap must attempt a DC 17 Will save. On a failure, the redcap is frightened 4 and fleeing for 1 round; on a success, it's frightened 2; on a critical success, it's unaffected. To brandish a holy symbol, a creature must Interact to brandish it for 1 round (similar to Raising a Shield). Once a redcap has to attempt a save against a brandished holy symbol, it is bolstered against brandished holy symbols for the next 10 minutes.

Speed 50 feet

[[A]] Melee scythe +13 (deadly 1d10, trip), Damage 2d10+4 slashing
boot +13 (agile, versatile B), Damage 2d4+8 piercing

[[A]] Blood Soak (manipulate) The redcap dips its cap in the blood of a slain foe. The foe must have died in the last minute, and the redcap must have helped kill it. The redcap gains a +4 conditional bonus on damage rolls for 1 minute.

[[R]] Deadly Cleave

Trigger The redcap drops a creature to 0 Hit Points with a scythe Strike.

Effect The redcap makes another scythe Strike against a different creature, using the same multiple attack penalty as the scythe Strike that triggered this reaction. This counts toward its multiple attack penalty.

[[A]] Stomp The redcap Strides up to half its Speed and makes a boot Strike at any point during that movement. If the boot Strike hits a prone creature, it deals an extra 2d6 persistent bleed damage.

You can see here that the redcap has an ability to represent its blood-soaked hat, and that appears in the top section because it affects all of its statistics. You'll also notice the weakness to cold iron that comes from being a fey creature. One of the nice things about the new system of building monsters is that we can just give monsters the statistics we want them to have instead of sometimes building them in strange ways to get their statistics to be good. For instance, in Pathfinder First Edition, a fey might have had far more Hit Dice than expected to get its statistics high enough, which led to odd results from abilities that counted Hit Dice. Now, the redcap gets statistics that are suitable for its level and how it's used.

You can see the Irreligious ability is an example of a special ability that will come up when it's not the monster's turn. A redcap can be scared off by symbols of divinity!

In the bottom section, you see two special actions and a reaction. The reaction appears down here because the trigger is most likely to occur during the recap's own turn. You'll also see how some of the basic actions of the game end up being used in other actions. For instance, Stomp tells you that the redcap uses Stride and Strike. An ability like this lets you know any ways in which these actions operate differently than using them normally.

Spell It Out

How about just one more example for today? Let's look at how innate spells work. These are much like spell-like abilities from Pathfinder First Edition, but they function more like spells than they used to. The only difference between these and other spells is that the number of times the monster can cast them is based on the monster itself rather than on a spellcasting class. Innate spell entries look much like prepared spells, with a couple extra categories of usability. Here are some we stole from the efreeti:

Innate Arcane Spells DC 22, attack +17; Constant detect magic; 5th illusory object; 4th gaseous form, invisibility (×2); At Will plane shift (7th, to Elemental Planes, Astral Plane, or Material Plane only); Cantrips produce flame (4th)

The spell DC is listed right there, along with the attack bonus for touch attacks since the efreeti has produce flame. Illusory object is presented the same way a prepared 5th-level spell would be, as are gaseous form and the two spell slots of invisibility. Anything that doesn't come in a level entry is cast at its lowest level unless a level appears in parentheses. You can see that happening with the produce flame cantrip, which the efreeti casts as a 4th-level spell. Its detect magic is level 1, but that's a constant ability that functions all the time for the efreeti. The other special way a creature can use innate spells is with at-will spells. These are spells the monster can cast as many times as it wants even though they aren't normally cantrips. The efreeti can cast plane shift any number of times, but the parentheses tell you that it's the 7th-level version and that it can go only to certain planes.

What do you think of this take on monster presentation? Do you think it'll be easy to use these stat blocks in your game?

Logan Bonner
Designer

Tags: Pathfinder Playtest, Wayne Reynolds

2018-05-18T19:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

New Paizo Faces, Part 2

Thu, 05/17/2018 - 21:00

New Paizo Faces, Part 2

Thursday, May 17, 2018

In our last blog about some of the new faces here at Paizo, you got to learn some more about the newest developers. However, there are a couple of folks that have been here longer, working in other capacities, who haven't been formally introduced in their new roles as developers.

Jason Keeley, Developer

I'm not exactly new to Paizo; I was hired an editor about three years ago. They even let me introduce myself back then. I'm not even that new to development. After all, I got hijacked into helping the Starfinder RPG along around the end of 2016. And I think I developed a couple of Pathfinder RPG Player Companions around that time too. I didn't get the official title of developer until the middle of last year, however. So, of all the new faces being introduced in this blog, I'm definitely the oldest.

But that doesn't mean I don't have something exciting to say! With Rob McCreary becoming the Starfinder creative director, I tricked everyone into letting me develop the next few volumes of the Starfinder adventure path! They then told me the AP is going monthly, so I guess the joke is on me.

There is so much happening right now. Dead Suns is coming to an explosive finale that is sure to thrill players. We're starting to see the adventures for Against the Aeon Throne, and I'm already rooting hard for the rebels of Madelon's Landing, because the Azlanti Star Empire is a bunch of jerks. I'm also putting the finishing touches on the outline for the adventure path after that, which I can't wait to tell you about!

It's going to be an exciting year. IN SPACE!

Joe Pasini, Developer

Hi! I'm Joe, and I totally belong here.

I snuck in to Paizo in late 2016, so I'm quite excited for the opportunity to say hello!

Here's an abridged timeline of what I've gotten away with thus far.

September 2016: I joined Paizo as a temporary editor, just as Starfinder hit the editorial fan, and I fell in love with the game right away.

March 2017: I became an official Paizo employee, and the Golem whispered its great secrets into my ear as it instilled me with a small fraction of its power. There was tea and biscuits afterward.

June 2017: After eight months of putting up with me—and during a period of great change—the powers that be drew straws, and the development team won (or lost): I became a developer! I worked on a couple Player Companions and then became the back-matter developer for the first half of the War for the Crown Adventure Path.

December 2017: I joined the Starfinder dev team! Now it's aliens and lasers, all day, erryday, and I love it.

Before getting to work with the incredible folks here at Paizo, my biggest accomplishment was thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, which I can talk about for far too long if you let me. I also play a ton of board games, love etymology, and (with Jason Keeley) will be bringing you Paizo Con Puzzle Hunts as long as they let us.

I'm partially engaged on Twitter (@joeadultman), where I am open to suggestions—especially how those of us in the industry can make our games more accessible, inclusive, and fun!

Adam Daigle
Managing Developer

Tags: Paizo

2018-05-17T21:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Pathfinder Society Sanctioning: Strange Aeons

Wed, 05/16/2018 - 19:00

Pathfinder Society Sanctioning: Strange Aeons

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

I spent several minutes trying to think of a clever name for the blog announcing that we had finished sanctioning the Strange Aeons Adventure Path. However, after talking to the team and reading the posts from players eager to get started playing the adventure path in a PFS-sanctioned environment, I realized that less was probably more. So, as you may have surmised from the title, Strange Aeons is now officially sanctioned and available for Pathfinder Society credit!

Strange Aeons is the first sanctioning project I tackled after joining the OP developer team here at Paizo, so the boons and decisions in the sanctioning document are a combination of my (perhaps overly) enthusiastic ideas tempered and refined by John and Linda's wisdom and experience. We came up with an idea that the boons themselves could tie into the search for identity and purpose that interweaves the themes of psychological and subversive horror found in Strange Aeons, taking fundamental questions about who your character is and why they're on this adventure and turning them into mechanical benefits that enhance an already-awesome story.

But what if Strange Aeons isn't really your kind of adventure? Well, no worries, because there are even more modules and adventure paths queued up and rapidly nearing completion! I'm not going to spoil the surprise, but I will say that the next module sanctioning we've got working its way through the publication process rhymes with "Hearing the Bound Ditty" and I recently sent off a sanctioning document for layout that rhymes with "Druids of Pantsland." So, I guess what I'm saying is, be ready for an awesome year full of newly sanctioned content!

Happy gaming everyone!

Michael Sayre
Developer

Tags: Organized Play, Strange Aeons

2018-05-16T19:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

It's in Your Blood!

Tue, 05/15/2018 - 19:00

It's in Your Blood!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Soon Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Ancients will be hitting shelves worldwide and the digital bookshelf of paizo.com as a PDF. If you're looking to have your character gain knowledge from the ancient cultures of Golarion, this is the book to check out!

Blood of the Ancients kicks off with a section that allows you to tie your character to the traditions of the ancient cultures of Golarion in a similar manner that a worshipper of a god follows an obedience. These traditions grant characters special abilities like spells and bonuses to skills.

Illustrations by Alyssa McCarthy and Kent Hamilton

The book then continues with sections on various ancient cultures such as the ancient Azlant, Imperial Lung Wa, and Ninshabur. Each section features new options that allow aspects of these ancient cultures to survive to present day Golarion. Some of these new options include the Hinyasi brawler archetype from the Abendego Gulf, which focuses on fighting with improvised weapons, and the dwarven scholar bard that can teach her allies the ancient fighting styles of the dwarves of Tar Taargadth.

We have more than just archetypes in this book, though! Maybe you're interested in the astrological wonders of the Saoc Brethren. Perhaps you've wanted to tap in to the arcane secrets of the Poleheira of the Jistka Imperium or follow the ancient paladin code of Wadjet. There are many things your character can learn from the past and Blood of the Ancients is the best way to do so!

Illustrations by Alyssa McCarthy and Lucas Durham

Luis Loza
Developer

Tags: Alyssa McCarthy, Kent Hamilton, Lucas Durham, Pathfinder Player Companion

2018-05-15T19:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Building Monsters

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 19:00

Building Monsters

Monday, May 14, 2018

We've talked in depth about many of the systematic changes and PC options in the blogs so far, but what about monsters? From animated objects to zombies, from the lowliest kobold to the mighty jabberwock, the Pathfinder Playtest Bestiary includes over 250 different monsters and other adversaries built specifically for the playtest. But what makes these monsters tick? We've worked to bring you many of your favorite Pathfinder monsters with their familiar feel and niche in the world, but with updated mechanics to make your encounters even more memorable!

Signature Abilities

One of the monster innovations I—a computer science student at the time—appreciated most in Pathfinder First Edition was the idea of the Universal Monster Rule. It follows one of the most important principles of programming: modularity, which is to say, don't reinvent the wheel. One side effect of Universal Monster Rules having been a new concept in Pathfinder First Edition, however, is that many less fantastic creatures, especially animals, had a similar suite of Universal Monster Rules. For example, owlbears are iconic and memorable creatures, but as far as their statistics, if you look at the CR 4 owlbear and the CR 4 tiger side by side, the owlbear doesn't really have anything different to use during the encounter that the tiger doesn't.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

In the playtest version, those two monsters have some significantly different abilities. The tiger still has grab, allowing it to grapple a creature it hits with its jaws or claw attack, and the pounce action, allowing it to Stride and then Strike. Based on its real-world fighting style, it now also has wrestle, allowing it to claw a creature it's grabbed and knock it prone, and sneak attack, granting it extra damage against flat-footed creatures (typically ambushed via Stealth or those prone from its wrestle). Meanwhile, the owlbear also still has grab, but once it has you grabbed, it can gnaw on you, hoping to disembowel you so it can devour your guts and later regurgitate them to feed its young—and potentially making you sick from the disgusting sight. It can also unleash a blood-curdling screech as it advances into the fight to frighten you.

In general, giving interesting new abilities to real-world animals like the tiger allowed us to do some fun research into the animals' habits and design from there. Animals that hunt in packs sometimes have abilities to deal extra damage in groups, ambush predators use sneak attack and various sneaky tactics, and so on.

Dynamic Defenses

In Pathfinder First Edition, damage reduction (DR) and energy resistance both reduce damage by a set amount, the rarer vulnerability multiplies damage by 1.5, and immunity flat-out prevents certain abilities from functioning. Taken as a whole, monster defenses generally penalize you for using the wrong thing; you can deal your normal damage only by correctly bypassing DR, resistance, and immunities, and monsters rarely have a vulnerability. But in stories, we often imagine fey as being burned by cold iron or werewolves being poisoned by silver, and the reality of DR is that they just take the same damage from those as they do from cold, electricity, or fire. To fit those stories and to vary things up, we've combined DR and energy resistance into resistance, which reduces damage by a set amount, and we've changed vulnerability into a more common element called weakness, which increases damage by a set amount.

Two great examples of how this can dramatically change the feel of monsters are skeletons and zombies. A level 0 skeleton has 14 AC, 6 HP, and since it's made of bone, resistance 5 to slashing and piercing damage. A level 0 zombie, on the other hand, has 11 AC, 20 HP, and weakness 5 to slashing damage. The zombie takes 5 extra damage every time it's hit by a slashing weapon—that's an extremely high weakness! This means the fights feel very different, even though the creatures both take about the same number of swings to bring down. You can test this out for yourself in Pathfinder First Edition right now: consider giving zombies some extra HP and changing their DR into a weakness instead and see how the feel of the fight shifts!

Sweet Suites

Some monsters in Pathfinder First Edition have a large suite of abilities (typically from long lists of spell-like abilities), which vary between key iconic abilities, story abilities that influence what the monster can do in the narrative, and other abilities that are niche, redundant, or sometimes much weaker than their other attacks. For instance, it's pretty unlikely a nalfeshnee's call lightning is a good idea for a CR 14 monster to use in combat, and it doesn't have much of a noncombat application, either. In Pathfinder Second Edition, we tried to keep a monster's iconic abilities and story abilities while removing redundant or niche abilities, and then adding something new that fits the monster's ecology. For instance, barbed devils don't have the equivalent of order's wrath or unholy blight, but they have a special power called Warden of Erebus that lets them create extremely versatile glyphs of warding, cementing their role as, well, wardens of Erebus. For all such monsters, the goal is to make the monster's suite of abilities much easier to use and more memorable without oversimplifying the monsters, following our overall goal of adding as much depth to the game as possible while minimizing the cost in complexity.

I Have Multiattack

To close off, many people have been wondering how in the world we handle creatures with many heads, like the hydra, or arms, like the marilith or hekatonkheires, in the 3-action system. Such creatures have unique abilities to use their attacks in tandem in different ways. For instance, a marilith has three options for her six blades. She can make a focused assault on one enemy, which can deal a massive amount of damage on a hit, and deals damage for a single longsword even on a failure (but not a critical failure). Alternatively, she can spin about like a whirlwind of blades, attacking up to six different creatures with her swords. Finally, she can just attack twice and use the other blades to parry, giving her a killer AC for 1 round.

That's it for monsters for today; tune in on Friday as Logan goes through an example monster in detail and shows how we made the statblock easier to reference!

Mark Seifter
Designer

Tags: Pathfinder Playtest, Wayne Reynolds

2018-05-14T19:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Everyone Has a Past

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 21:00

Everyone Has a Past

Friday, May 11, 2018

While we all live moment-by-moment, we are also shaped by our past. This is especially true for adventurers. After all, very few elves at the ripe age of 14 think to themselves, "Hey, I think I'm going to become a barbarian." There is a path that leads the character to their class. It might synergize obviously with the class's discipline, or at first blush it might seem a non sequitur, but the path is there.

In the Pathfinder Playtest, your ancestry talks a bit about your past, but it also speaks to your present and the promise of the future, by virtue of the fact that you continue to gain ancestry feats through the course of your adventuring career. But to help you dig deeper into your past, you'll choose a background.

Generally, backgrounds allow you to select a bit of backstory that mechanically affects the current state of your character. The first thing it does is grants you a pair of ability boosts (with some limitations on one of those ability boosts), and then it grants a skill feat tied to the theme of your background and proficiency in a Lore skill that also ties into the background. For instance, here is an old chestnut:

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Blacksmith (Background)

You were a blacksmith or a blacksmith's apprentice, and during countless hours toiling at the forge, you learned how to smith armor and weapons. Perhaps you worked hard each day and dreamed of adventure each night, or perhaps the adventuring life was thrust upon you by a pivotal event.

Choose two ability boosts. One must be to Strength or Intelligence, and one is a free ability boost.

You gain the Specialty Crafting skill feat for blacksmithing, and you're trained in the Smithing Lore skill.

Sure, it's a bit cliche, but it's a fun cliche. Before becoming a fighter, you were a blacksmith's apprentice. Maybe you crafted your sword or suit of armor and decided to protect home and hearth from monsters. But take a closer look at the background. It's more flexible than that. It's also an excellent background for an alchemist or another character who wants to specialize in crafting. Since you can boost Intelligence via this background, and Intelligence is the key ability score for both Crafting skill and the alchemist class, you can refocus this background into that of an intelligent tinkerer who uses innovation rather than toil to create metal objects. And who knows? Maybe later on in your career, you can fuse your background with other skill feats to invent a new form of alchemical armor or some kind of metal construct.

Not all backgrounds have to do with gainful employment; others deal with the circumstances of your upbringing that you can parlay into useful skills. Here is another example of a classic fantasy trope:

Street Urchin (Background)

You eked out a living by picking pockets on the streets of a major city, never knowing where you'd find your next meal. While some folk adventure for the glory, you adventure as a means of survival.

Choose two ability boosts. One must be to Dexterity or Intelligence, and one is a free ability boost.

You gain the Pickpocket skill feat, and you're trained in the Underworld Lore skill.

While a classic rogue background, this background also has enough flexibility to serve as a perfectly fine background for a wizard or alchemist, and that's only if you dwell on the limited ability boost. Remember, one of the ability boosts if free, so you can play against type and still make a perfectly reasonable character. Imagine a paladin with this background, which isn't so hard if you know anything about a certain iconic paladin...

Not all backgrounds are so all-encompassing, though. After all, your background not only deals with activity but also your personal focus. You may have been an apprentice blacksmith, even for a long while, but retained none of its benefits because you were too busy dreaming about being a Pathfinder.

Pathfinder Hopeful (Background)

You've long wanted to join the adventurous Pathfinder Society, a world-spanning organization of relic hunters. This aspiration has led you to take up the dangerous life of an adventurer eager to make a name for yourself and gain the attention of the Pathfinder Society.

Choose two ability boosts. One must be to Strength or Intelligence, and one is a free ability boost.

You gain the Additional Lore feat, and you're trained in the Pathfinder Society Lore skill.

While the boosts are similar to that of the blacksmith background, the skill selection is, of course, different. I can easily picture this background as that of a young dreamer, toiling away when she must but finding whatever time she can to read various Pathfinder Chronicles (both real and forged) and honing her body and mind for the chance to join the Pathfinder Society.

Incidentally, this is not a background you will find in the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook. While that weighty tome provides 19 backgrounds, you'll find six more backgrounds in the Pathfinder Playtest Adventure: Doomsday Dawn. Those six are tailor-made for the adventure, granting the opportunity for small, sometimes incidental perks during play for those who take them and allowing you to tailor your character to the story. This is one of the chief benefits of the background system—it can be used to make very general backgrounds or to tailor specific backgrounds to an adventure or a campaign.

And so there you have it; that's the skinny on backgrounds. What kind of backgrounds can you imagine?

Stephen Radney-MacFarland
Senior Designer

2018-05-11T21:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Origins and Gen Con Convention Offerings!

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 19:00

Origins and Gen Con Convention Offerings!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Over the past few months, we announced the launch of the new season of Starfinder Society at Origins Game Faire and previewed some of the PaizoCon 2018 organized play offerings, including our newest scenarios. Tickets for events at Origins and Gen Con went live this past week, so this week's blog focuses on offerings at those conventions.

Origins Game Faire

In prior years, Pathfinder Society at Origins focused on a mix of older season favorites with a sprinkling of the current season. This year, we've extended that idea across Starfinder Society as well. Given that Starfinder Society doesn't have the depth of scenarios, given that we are not even a full year into the campaign, this means we scheduled the entire Starfinder Society catalog. So if you haven't explored Absalom Station, sailed through the Drift, or met celebrity maven Zo!, now is your chance.

As Starfinder Society developer Thurston Hillman discussed in the Starfinder Launch blog, the limited release meant we hadn't finished the story of the Scoured Stars. So instead of launching a new season with a new theme, we are extending the Year of the Scoured Stars for another 12 months and pivoting the storyline with the release of interactive specialStarfinder Society Scenario #1-99: The Scoured Stars Invasionby veteran Society writer Mikko Kallio. Thurston finished up development on this adventure this week and from his reactions, players are in for a treat! Besides #1-99, we have two new scenarios debuting at Origins—Starfinder Society Scenario #1-16: Dreaming of the Future is a 4-part quest pack for character levels 1-4 (replayable with 1st level characters) and Starfinder Society Scenario #1-17: Reclaiming the Time-Lost Tear, a continuation of the season metaplot involving the First Seeker [elect] Luwazi Elsebo's mission to return to the Scoured Stars.

Pathfinder Society players have the opportunity to experience the next installment of the modular interactive special Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-99C: The Solstice Scar, version C on Friday night. Besides a selection of offerings from Seasons 0-8, Season 9 scenarios highlighting the Liberty's Edge, Concordance, and Dark Archive Factions are scheduled. In addition, each block a Paizo staff member is running a table of Pathfinder Society Playtest Scenario #1: Rose Street Revenge. That's so secret, there isn't even a product page made for it yet. If you aren't able to get tickets to one of the Rose Street tables, consider trying out a 2-hour Pathfinder Playtest Demo.

Origins attendees need to purchase a badge and then purchase tickets for each event they wish to participate in. Visit the Origins website for more information on attending the convention.

Gen Con 2018

The schedule at Gen Con is choc-a-bloc with offerings. The latter half of Pathfinder Society Year of Faction's Favor makes a showing, as well as the first three scenarios in the not-yet-announced Season Ten storyline. Thursday sees an encore run of the modular interactive special Pathfinder Society Scenario #8-99C: The Solstice Scar, version C. The interactive special Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-00: The Hao-Jin Cataclysm makes its debut on Friday night.

On the Starfinder front, Saturday night is the interactive special Starfinder Society Scenario #1-99: The Scoured Stars Invasion. Year of Scoured Stars is well represented, including the debut of Starfinder Society Scenario #1-20: Duskmire Accord 9 and Starfinder Society Scenario #1-21: Yesteryear's Sorrow.

Pathfinder Adventure Card Guild offerings include the PACG Open Tournament, the interactive special Pathfinder Society Scenario #10-00: The Hao-Jin Cataclysm on Friday night, and the launch of the newest Season (name to be announced at PaizoCon). Plus tables of prior season play!

Prior years saw Paizo staff participating in a wide range of panels and seminars in room 212 and this year is no different. While we haven't posted the schedule yet (something about a Playtest taking up quite a bit of time and attention) we are hoping to do so in the very near future.

In looking at ticket sales, we have sold out some events, including specific tiers in each of the interactive specials. I'm working with the Gen Con events team to reallocate our GMs from less sold events to sold out events and more tickets to sold out items should release shortly.

We still have a need for Starfinder Society and Pathfinder Society GMs! Volunteers receive benefits based on how many blocks they contribute. Rewards include 4-day badges, 1/4 hotel rooms in the downtown Westin, credit to paizo.com, a copy of a Paizo print product Interested? Check here for more information and to complete a volunteer questionnaire.

As with Origins, attendees at Gen Con must purchase a badge and then buy tickets for each game they wish to participate in. We will take generic tickets on a space available basis, so I encourage anyone to sign up for the games they really want. For more info, check the Gen Con 2018 website.

Whew! So many options, I'm glad I don't have to choose which to play! I'm looking forward to a bustling convention season and hope to see many of you at a convention soon!

Until next time—Explore, Report, Cooperate!

Tonya Woldridge


Organized Play Manager

Tags: Conventions, Organized Play, Paizo

2018-05-11T19:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Ultimate Intrigue Deck preview

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 19:00

Ultimate Intrigue Deck preview

Thursday, May 10, 2018

I was up to my eyeballs working on the Adventure Card Guild offerings for PaizoCon when Tyler volunteered to help with the Ultimate Intrigue blog, so I happily took him up on the offer. I am terribly amused that he's switched his favorite character yet again... and this time he technically picked two characters! —Keith Richmond

Hello again, everyone! Now, I know what you're thinking: "Tyler already told us who his favorite character was! Then he told us he lied, and really had a different favorite character!" Well, that's all true... but we can move past all that now, can't we? Today I'm here to talk to you about my new favorite character, Aric. Or as he's known to members of the seedy underbelly of the cities of Galt, the Red Raven.

Aric's constant smile and The Red Raven's constant frown are all you need to see they're VERY different people. (Who needs glasses, right, Clark?)

While the other Ultimate Decks each feature one new character, the Ultimate Intrigue Add-On Deck features two! They're most assuredly distinct characters—in the RPG, they even have different alignments!—but they are inexorably linked, as you can see from the first power on each of their respective character cards.

Aric is real good at chatting people up, making friends, and getting those friends to do favors for him. He's charismatic, charming, and likable. The Red Raven, on the other hand, is a creature of the shadows, striking quickly and decisively and without mercy. Aric and the Red Raven share a single role card that you flip when you switch between their two character cards. It's not hard to figure out the basic strategy to deal with different situations: Aric prefers finding and acquiring boons and likes to evade encounters with monsters, while the Red Raven is all about taking out those monsters, leaving their gear for Aric to clean up.

As you can see, Aric can easily avoid monsters, leaving them for his masked alter-ego to dispatch.

Now, I'm not going to say that I love complex ACG characters, but... well, no, I do. I love complex ACG characters, and the complexity of the interactions that these characters have with boons and banes as you're playing the game is just fantastic. There's no better feeling for me than examining the villain as Aric, switching to the Red Raven, grabbing a powerful weapon from my kit, then exploring and utterly destroying that villain.

If you run into a monster as Aric, it's really your own fault, but even then you can use your Mancatcher to hold him off while you go put on your mask. (Don't ask about the "real world" logistics of that, please...)

Oh, that's right: we haven't discussed the kit yet! Did you notice that Aric's deck starts with 18 cards instead of the normal 15? This is because Aric and the Red Raven have the unique ability to set aside a few extra cards when they draw their starting hand to create the kit, and when you switch between the characters, you get to trade a card in your hand for a card in your kit! It's a fantastic way to allow two disparate characters to work well with the same deck, and it's just one more reason that Aric and The Red Raven are my favorite character(s) ever! (And this is definitive—I mean, there's no chance that a character in some future release could take that place in my heart, right?)

If you didn't expect to see masks in the deck that introduces the iconic vigilante, then I don't know what you did expect...

But oh, we're not done yet! Apart from the amazing new characters, there are tons of exciting new boons in Ultimate Intrigue. From swords that you can use to acquire allies in addition to fighting enemies, to spells that automatically defeat monsters and make them your friends, to armors that keep you from being randomly selected by banes, there really is equipment for every character somewhere in this deck.

FYI, if you are using the Ultimate Intrigue deck, you have no excuse for failing a Diplomacy check. Like, ever.

Ultimate Intrigue also holds a plethora of amazing allies. You thought the allies in the Pathfinder Tales Character Deck were cool —and trust me, they were—but wait until you see the ones in this deck!

With friends like these, who needs... anyone else?

I hope I've made you as excited for the Ultimate Intrigue Add-On Deck as I have been since playtesting it. This deck can bring new life to so many of the older class deck characters, it's making my head spin. (Siwar, I'm looking at you, gorgeous!)

That's it for this edition of "Tyler lies to you but at least shows you some really cool stuff." Tune in for the inevitable next time!

Tyler "Cartmanbeck" Beck
Venture-Captain, Pathfinder Adventure Card Guild Online Play

Tags: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

2018-05-10T19:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

New Paizo Faces, Part 1

Tue, 05/08/2018 - 21:00

New Paizo Faces, Part 1

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Things have been busy here for a while and we knew we needed to bolster our forces if we wanted to keep apace of our production schedules, so in recent months we've added a few new faces to the development team. Some of you keen-eyed readers might have noticed new names in our credits, and now's the time to let them introduce themselves. Welcome the newest faces of Pathfinder!

Eleanor Ferron, Developer

Hello! My name is Eleanor Ferron. I just joined Paizo back in January as a new developer, and it hasn't quite sunk in for me yet. I'm amazed to be a part of this team!

I got into tabletop roleplaying back when I was ten years old, when my brother started buying RPG books and bringing them home. As I was dedicated to my role of annoying younger sibling, I promptly stole all of his books when he wasn't home and read through them as well. I wasn't able to play until much later in life, but I was fortunate in joining a dedicated RPG club, which exposed me to all sorts of RPG systems and styles. In 2015, I started freelancing for Paizo, and it's been exhilarating to share my creations with the Paizo community.

I originally was trying to break into the RPG industry as an artist; I've illustrated RPGs such as Short Order Heroes and the Queen's Cavaliers. The fact I have now been hired as a Paizo writer is a clue to how well that went.

Luis Loza, Developer

Hail and well met! My name is Luis Loza and I'm happy to be your new developer! I've been playing tabletop RPGs in some form for almost 15 years. My first experience with Pathfinder was a random picture I found online which featured the cover art of The Skinsaw Murders with a caption proclaiming it to be the scariest night your characters would ever have. My interest was piqued and I was fully hooked shortly thereafter. I jumped into Pathfinder, fell in love with the setting, and never looked back.

My first freelancing gig with Paizo was writing spells for the Giant Hunter's Handbook and I've done plenty more since then! (I keep a list of my credits on my profile page.) I guess Paizo liked me enough to bring me on as a developer and I'm excited to get to work! (Note: This is actually my second time on the Paizo blog, the first being a random picture of me from PaizoCon years back. I told myself I would mention this fact if I eventually worked for Paizo, so here's to you, Luis from 2013!)

Ron Lundeen, Developer

Adam Daigle didn't believe me when I said I wanted to come work for him full time. He knew I had a career as an in-house attorney for a large company, but he didn't know that all my freelance writing, freelance developing, and blog post authorship was part of a long-ranging scheme to live my dream by working at Paizo. My wife, in particular, was more supportive than I deserve when I told her I was angling to pursue my dream job. And now I've done it! I've moved my family from Chicago (where the winters are cold enough to kill people and the summers are hot enough to kill people) to the Pacific Northwest. We were greeted with a Christmastime snowfall robust enough to build a snowman with my kids. That's a rarity here, I've been told.

I've been hurled into the deep end of Adventure Path development—more specifically, the back end of the Adventure Paths, where the articles, gazetteers, new monsters, and "what's coming next month" all go. I see a lot of variety packed into the backmatter, from articles about noble spy networks to flaming ghost monsters to wicked halfling gods. It's a rush to see all the goodies Paizo's stellar freelancers have created, and still a bit of shock to realize that coordinating and developing it all is my actual job now.

Everyone at Paizo has been incredibly open and helpful, from setting up useful macros to showing me around the cavernous warehouse, and from talking about bicycle trails to work to explaining what a "Fred Meyer" is. I'm thrilled to be with such an energetic and friendly group, and I can't wait to bring these wonders to you!

Michael Sayre, Developer

Hello! My name is Michael Sayre. Before joining Paizo as the new organized play developer, I've worked as a lead designer for Dreamscarred Press and Drop Dead Studios, and done freelance design and development for companies like Amora Games, Lost Spheres Publishing, and Rogue Genius Games. If you're a fan of third-party materials you might recognize my name from projects like Dreamscarred's Akashic Mysteries, Drop Dead's Spheres of Might, or Lost Sphere's recent City of 7 Seraphs Kickstarter. Working here at Paizo is going to present me with some amazing opportunities to help develop and grow the adventures for the organized play community and I'm looking forward to helping the team as we work on the current and future seasons.

Chris Sims, Developer

Life is weird. It's like a strange dream moving along unexpected paths. I'm a Starfinder developer now. How did that happen?

I knew from an early age that I wanted to work in games, but in a massive failure of imagination, I didn't ponder the design and development route. I trained as a graphic artist, thinking that was my road to a game job. When D&D's third edition came out, it revitalized my love of the game. I delved deep, and I reviewed d20 products. Owners of a few such products asked me to edit or develop for them. I did.

Then, Wizards of the Coast issued an open call for freelance editors. I answered. The rest is history.

For fifteen years, now, I've been in games. I've worked on Magic, D&D for the last three editions, Pathfinder, and a few digital offerings, including the upcoming State of Decay 2 video game. With plenty of ups and downs, I've been a freelancer and an in-house contributor. I've had the privilege to know a lot of fine folks in this industry.

It's to these relationships that I feel I owe many of my past successes and my current lucky arrival here on the Paizo Starfinder team. Yeah, I have experience and skill, but being a known variable helped, I'm sure.

Anyway, that's enough history and philosophy. I'm excited to be delving into a new game yet again. My work on Starfinder is supposed to focus on Adventure Paths, which is right up my alley. Since I started, though, I've been developing and designing all kinds of game elements, from hybrid items to aliens, starships to new rules. Like an explorer looking for that big find in the Vast, I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. And, I can't wait to show you what I discover.

Adam Daigle
Managing Developer

Tags: Paizo

2018-05-08T21:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Paladin Class Preview

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 21:00

Paladin Class Preview

Monday, May 07, 2018

All it takes is a cursory browse of the Paizo forums to see that paladins are not just the most contentious class in Pathfinder, they are the most contentious conversation topic. Weeks before we previewed the class, multiple threads with thousands of posts arose in advance, filled with passionate fans with many different opinions and plenty of good ideas. Turns out, the Paizo office isn't too different.

The Quest for the Holy Grail

Early last year, I went on a sacred quest through the office and surveyed all the different opinions out there about paladins. Turns out, almost everyone had slightly different thoughts. But there was one element in common: whether they wanted paladins of all alignments, paladins of the four extreme alignments, lawful good paladins and chaotic evil antipaladins, lawful evil tyrant antipaladins, or even just lawful good paladins alone, everyone was interested in robust support for the idea that paladins should be champions of their deity and alignment. That is to say, whatever alignments paladins have, they should have an array of abilities deeply tied into that alignment.

Since that was the aspect of the paladin that everyone agreed upon, that's what we wanted to make sure we got right in the playtest. But given the limited space for the playtest, we chose to focus on getting that aspect fine-tuned for one alignment, and so in this book we're presenting only lawful good paladins. That doesn't mean antipaladins and tyrants are gone (there's even an antipaladin foe in one of the adventures!) or that the door is closed to other sorts of paladins down the road. We'll have a playtest survey on the matter, we're open to more opinions, and even among the four designers we have different ideas. But we want to focus the playtest on getting lawful good paladins right, first and foremost. If or when we do make more paladins and antipaladins, having constructed a solid foundation for how an alignment-driven champion functions will be a crucial step to making all of them engaging and different in play.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

The Code

Tell me if you've heard this one before: My paladin was brought to a court where she was forced to testify under oath to tell the whole truth, by a legitimate authority, about the whereabouts of certain innocent witnesses, but she knows that if she answers the questions, a villain is going to use that information to track down and harm the innocents. It's the "Inquiring Murderer" quandary from moral philosophy set in a way that manages to pin you between not just two but three different restrictions in the old paladin code. Sure, I can beg and plead with the judge that the information, if released, would harm innocents, but ultimately if the judge persists, I'm in trouble. These sorts of situations are some of the most common paladin threads on the forums, and they're never easy.

With the playtest presenting the opportunity, I wanted to analyze the paladin's code down to basic principles and keep all the important roleplaying aspects that make paladins the trustworthy champions of law and good we've come to expect while drastically reducing, and hopefully eliminating, the no-win situations. Here's what it looks like at the moment.

Code of Conduct

Paladins are divine champions of a deity. You must be lawful good and worship a deity that allows lawful good clerics. Actions fundamentally opposed to your deity's alignment or ideals are anathema to your faith. A few examples of acts that would be considered anathema appear in each deity's entry. You and your GM will determine whether other acts count as anathema.

In addition, you must follow the paladin's code below. Deities often add additional strictures for their own paladins (for instance, Shelyn's paladins never attack first except to protect an innocent, and they choose and perfect an art).

If you stray from lawful good, perform acts anathema to your deity, or violate your code of conduct, you lose your Spell Point pool and righteous ally class feature (which we talk more about below) until you demonstrate your repentance by conducting an atone ritual, but you keep any other paladin abilities that don't require those class features.

The Paladin's Code

The following is the fundamental code all paladins follow. The tenets are listed in order of importance, starting with the most important. If a situation places two tenets in conflict, you aren't in a no-win situation; instead, follow the most important tenet. For instance, if an evil king asked you if innocent lawbreakers were hiding in your church so he could execute them, you could lie to him, since the tenet forbidding you to lie is less important than the tenet prohibiting the harm of an innocent. An attempt to subvert the paladin code by engineering a situation allowing you to use a higher tenet to ignore a lower tenet (telling someone that you won't respect lawful authorities so that the tenet of not lying supersedes the tenet of respecting lawful authorities, for example) is a violation of the paladin code.

  • You must never willingly commit an evil act, such as murder, torture, or casting an evil spell.
  • You must not take actions that you know will harm an innocent, or through inaction cause an innocent to come to immediate harm when you knew your action could reasonably prevent it. This tenet doesn't force you to take action against possible harm to innocents or to sacrifice your life and future potential in an attempt to protect an innocent.
  • You must act with honor, never cheating, lying, or taking advantage of others.
  • You must respect the lawful authority of the legitimate ruler or leadership in whichever land you may be, following their laws unless they violate a higher tenet.

So let's break down what's the same and what's different. We still have all the basic tenets of the paladin from Pathfinder First Edition, with one exception: we've removed poison from the tenet of acting with honor. While there are certainly dishonorable ways to use poison, poisoning a weapon and using it in an honorable combat that allows enhanced weaponry doesn't seem much different than lighting the weapon on fire. However, by ordering the tenets and allowing the paladin to prioritize the most important tenets in the event of a conflict, we've cut down on the no-win situations. And of course, this opens a design space to play around with the tenets themselves, something we've done by incorporating one of the most popular non-core aspects for paladins...

Oaths

Oaths allow you to play around with the tenets of your code while also gaining mechanical advantages. For instance, the Fiendsbane Oath allows you to dish out near-constant retribution against fiends and eventually block their dimensional travel with an Anchoring Aura. Unlike in Pathfinder First Edition, oaths are feats, and you don't need an archetype to gain one.

Paladin Features

As many of you guessed when Jason mentioned it, paladin was the mystery class that gains the highest heavy armor proficiency, eventually reaching legendary proficiency in armor and master proficiency in weapons, as opposed to fighters, who gain the reverse. At 1st level, you also gain the Retributive Strike reaction, allowing you to counterattack and enfeeble any foe that hits one of your allies (Shelyn save those who strike your storm druid ally). You also get lay on hands, a single-action healing spell that not only heals the target but also raises their AC for a round to help prevent future damage. Combine that effect used on yourself with a raised shield, and you can make it pretty hard for a foe to hit you, and it helps recovering allies avoid another beating.

Lay on hands is the first of a paladin's champion powers, which include a whole bunch of elective options via feats. One of my favorites, gained automatically at 19th level, is hero's defiance, which makes a paladin incredibly difficult to take down. It lets you keep standing when you fall to 0 HP, gives you a big boost of Hit Points, and doesn't even use up your reaction! Leading up to that, you gain a bunch of fun smite-related boosts, including the righteous ally class feature that you saw mentioned in the code. This is a 3rd-level ability that lets you house a holy spirit in a weapon or a steed, much like before, but also in a shield, like the fan-favorite sacred shield archetype!

Paladin Feats

In addition to the oath feats I mentioned when talking about the code, paladins have feats customized to work with the various righteous ally options, like Second Ally, a level 8 feat that lets you gain a second righteous ally. There are also a variety of auras that you can gain to improve yourself and your allies, from the humble 4th-level Aura of Courage, which reduces the frightened condition for you when you gain it and at the end of your turn for you and your allies, to the mighty 14th-level Aura of Righteousness, which gives you and your allies resistance to evil damage. Feats that improve or alter your lay on hands include mercy feats, which allow you to remove harmful conditions and afflictions with lay on hands, up to and including death itself with Ultimate Mercy. And we can't forget potent additional reactions like Divine Grace, granting you a saving throw boost at 2nd level, and Attack of Opportunity at 6th level.

To close out, I'll tell you about one more popular non-core paladin ability we brought in, a special type of power called...

Litanies

Following their mold from Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Combat, litanies are single-action Verbal Casting spells that last 1 round and create various effects. For instance, litany of righteousness makes an enemy weak to your allies' attacks, and litany against sloth slows down an enemy, costing it reactions and potentially actions as well. One of the coolest story features of the litanies against sins is that they now explicitly work better against creatures strongly aligned with their sin, so a dretch (a.k.a. a sloth demon) or a sloth sinspawn treats its saving throw outcome for litany against sloth as one degree worse!

Just as a reminder to everyone, please be respectful to each other. Many of us have strong opinions about the paladin, and that's OK, even if we each have different feelings.

Mark Seifter
Designer

Tags: Paladins, Pathfinder Playtest, Seelah, Wayne Reynolds

2018-05-07T21:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

The Last Cut is the Deepest

Mon, 05/07/2018 - 19:00

The Last Cut is the Deepest

Monday, May 7, 2018

This week, we look at the final batch of Pathfinder Battles Deep Cuts miniatures coming out in the July wave, wrapping up a brief series on the unpainted plastic miniatures from our partners at WizKids. Each of the figures below is sold individually, and is pre-primed for your painting pleasure.

Both figures this week are mounted warriors with a lot of versatility. The first is the knight on horse. The sample paint scheme depicted below shows him as a knight of Iomedae, with her holy symbol emblazoned across the knight’s tabard. The figure could just as easily be painted with the symbol of any nation, faith, or organization to fit the needs of your campaign.

Facing off against the knight on horse is the similarly named skeleton knight on horse. While not as easily adapted to represent a player character (unless they’re undead PCs, I guess. Anything’s possible!) this figure makes a great addition to any undead army, especially those fighting for the Whispering Tyrant, the nation of Geb, or summoned by a particularly powerful necromancer.

Pathfinder Battles Deep Cuts aren’t the only unpainted plastic miniatures available for Pathfinder and Starfinder, though. In addition to the Pathfinder Bones figures from Reaper, we have copies of the Starfinder RPG iconics and their ship, the Sunrise Maiden, from Ninja Division back in stock, so get yours today!

Keep posting your custom-painted Pathfinder Battles miniatures on social media with the #PathfinderBattles hashtag, and we might feature your work on a future blog! Heck, why not paint the Starfinder iconics with the #StarfinderMasterclass hashtag? The sky’s the limit, miniature lovers!

Mark Moreland
Franchise Manager

Tags: Deep Cuts, Licensed Products, Miniatures, Pathfinder Battles

2018-05-07T19:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Gearing Up!

Fri, 05/04/2018 - 20:00

Gearing Up!

Friday, May 04, 2018

In Monday’s blog, we talked about weapons and all the plentiful options you have when you’re picking those. So let’s stay in the Equipment chapter for the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook and take a look at armor, other gear, and everything else having to do with items!

Don Your Armor!

Armor’s job is to protect you from your enemies’ attacks. Your character can have proficiency in light armor, medium armor, or heavy armor (or, in some cases, none of the above). Most classes are only trained in their armor at first, though some martial classes gain better proficiency at higher levels. In Pathfinder First Edition, many types of armor were effectively obsolete because you could just buy a better type, but for Pathfinder Second Edition, we’ve made a few new adjustments to make each type a little different.

A suit of armor has many of the same statistics as in Pathfinder First Edition, but now each one also gives a bonus to your TAC (Touch Armor Class). For instance, studded leather gives a +2 item bonus to AC and +0 to TAC, whereas a chain shirt gives a +2 item bonus to AC and +1 to TAC, but it is heavier and noisier. That last bit comes from the noisy trait, one of a small number of traits some armors have to reflect their construction and effect on the wearer. Armor also has a Dexterity modifier cap (which limits how much of your Dexterity modifier can apply to your AC); a check penalty that applies to most of your Strength-, Dexterity-, and Constitution-based skill checks; a penalty to your Speed; and a Bulk value. You’ll balance these variables to pick the armor that’s best for you.

As you adventure, you’ll find or craft magic armor. Weapons and suits of armor alike can be enhanced with magical potency runes. For weapons, a potency rune gives an item bonus on attack rolls and increases the number of damage dice you roll on attacks with the weapon. For armor, the potency rune increases the armor’s item bonuses to your AC and TAC and gives you a bonus to your saving throws! For instance, studded leather with a +3 armor potency rune (a.k.a. +3 studded leather) would give you +5 AC, +3 TAC, and +3 to your saves. You can also upgrade the potency later, etching a +4 armor potency rune onto that armor to increase its bonus. You can even upgrade the potency of specific armor (and weapons) so you can hold on to your celestial armor at higher levels. If you don’t wear armor, not to worry! Your bracers of armor give you a bonus to AC, TAC, and your saves without requiring you to clad yourself in a clunky metal box. They might not protect you quite as well, but maybe that trade-off is worth it to your wizard or monk!

Illustrations by Wayne Reynolds

Shield Yourself!

You’ve probably seen mention of shields in previous blogs, announcements, and broadcast play sessions. To gain the benefits of a shield, you have to spend an action to raise it, which then gives you a bonus to AC and TAC (+1 for a light shield or +2 for a heavy shield) for 1 round. Your character has proficiency in shields just like she does with armor, and when using a shield, you use the lower proficiency rank of your armor or shield to calculate your Armor Class.

Shields don’t have potency runes. Instead, you might pick up a shield made of a durable material like adamantine or craft a magic shield that catches arrows, reflects a spell back at its caster, or bites your enemies!

Fill Your Backpack!

The Equipment chapter also includes all sorts of other gear you might want on adventures, from rope to tents to musical instruments to religious symbols. Many of these items are required to perform certain tasks, like thieves’ tools. The new system of item quality makes it pretty straightforward to figure out how tools work. For example, you need thieves’ tools to pick a lock or disable many traps. Normal thieves’ tools let you do this normally, expert-quality tools give you a +1 item bonus on your check, and master-quality tools give you a +2 item bonus on your check. Now what if you get stuck without your tools and need to improvise? Well, if you can scrabble something together, you’ve created a poor-quality set of tools, which gives you a –2 item penalty (much like the penalty for having an proficiency rank of untrained in a task). The same thing might happen if you had to turn vines into improvised rope or use an empty chest as a drum for an improvised musical instrument!

Take a Load Off!

Not everything you can purchase is adventuring gear. Cinco de Cuatro wouldn’t be complete without some luxuries like a bottle of fine wine or renting an extravagant suite! You might even rent an animal to ride about town. Of course, an extravagant lifestyle can have a high cost, and the chapter includes costs of living per week, month, or year so you can accurately budget your lifestyle decisions.

Switch It Up!

One of the squidgy parts of Pathfinder First Edition we wanted to clear up with the redesign is how holding, wielding, and stowing items work, particularly switching how many hands you’re using for an item. Now, drawing an item from a pouch, changing your grip from one-handed to two-handed, or detaching a shield from your arm all require the Interact action. We’ve codified the rules for many of the basic things you do with items so the other rules interface with them cleanly. That [[A]] code you see there indicates this is an action, and will be a lovely icon in the final rulebook!

[[A]] Interact Manipulate

You use your hand or hands to manipulate an object or the terrain. You grab an unattended or stored object, open a door, or do some similar action. You may have to attempt a skill check to determine if your Interact action was successful.

The equipment chapter also covers the full rules on item quality and on Bulk, plus a section on how items and Bulk work for creatures of different sizes.

Now you have a basic rundown of the gear in this book. We’ll dive deep into magic items at a later date. Looking at what you see here, what sort of useful, peculiar, or silly things do you think your character will spend their silver pieces on?

Logan Bonner
Designer

Tags: Pathfinder Playtest, Wayne Reynolds

2018-05-04T20:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

Playtest the New Pathfinder Adventure Card Game at PaizoCon!

Thu, 05/03/2018 - 19:00

Playtest the New Pathfinder Adventure Card Game at PaizoCon!

Thursday, May 03, 2018

The designers of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game can’t wait for PaizoCon! I mean, we can. We’re physically capable of it. But we don’t want to wait for it, because that’s when we get to show you what we’ve been cooking up for the last year. At PaizoCon, we’ll have the first public playtest of the new version of the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game.

Now, the word “new” may throw some of you. We’ve been very clear that this isn’t a reboot of the game—our baby is going to remain firmly in the tub while we change the bathwater. But we’ve been using that word because we want to be open to changes that we might not do if we were “just” launching our next Adventure Path—Curse of the Crimson Throne—by itself. Since we’re making a universal base set—that is, a set of cards that can be used with any Adventure Path or standalone adventure—we wanted to address just about everything that’s been on our minds to change about the game for the last five years.

I’m not going to get too deep into that now, because I want to save some surprises for PaizoCon. Specifically, I want you to playtest those changes without knowing what they are in advance. Playtesters’ reactions have guided us as part of the process of every PACG set we’ve made. We use PaizoCon as an incubator for new concepts. After all, the first time anyone outside the Paizo and Lone Shark offices saw the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game (codenamed “Project Swallowtail”), it was at PaizoCon 2012. And it looked like this:

Look how clever we were! The W is a swallowtail butterfly!

The thing we’re taking into PaizoCon 2018 looks like this:

Don’t get too attached to anything you see—it’ll all be different by Monday.

So we want you to play with us! Even if you haven’t played much PACG, we want your feedback. And Adventure Card Guild members will get rewards for their characters even though we’re testing some weirdness that may not make sense to them. (They’ll get over it.)

Here are the times we’re playtesting.

You can sign up for these now, if you like. Or just come find us at those times. We’d very much like your help.

And if you’d like to be among the first to find out when the new version is coming out, you’ll want to make sure you secure your ticket to the Preview Banquet!

Hurray, PaizoCon!

Mike Selinker
Adventure Card Game Lead Designer

Tags: Conventions, PaizoCon, PaizoCon 2018, Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

2018-05-03T19:00:00Z
Categories: Company News

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