Friday, August 12, 2016

Infinity Matrix: Relationships

A while ago the party made a vote to determine the direction of the campaign. Originally it was going to be a magic macguffin quest to stop a planet sized robot bent on destroying the galaxy, something simple and familiar. But they were so enamored with Hypercorporations that I gave out the option to instead have more social conflicts involving them and they voted in that direction's favor. To make this work out I decided to put a little structure into the campaign. They will go on a long-winded delivery quest before getting the opportunity to gain their own ship and dealing directly with hypercorporations. The bigger reason for the delivery quest is for them to meet NPCs. When they get an opportunity to actually run a ship they will also have an opportunity to recruit these NPCs as their crew or take action against them as enemies. To that end I needed a system of friendship to determine who they recruit and who they make enemies of. The system I landed on is an amalgam of the Relationship system in Ultimate Campaign, the Influence system from Ultimate Intrigue and the group Leadership system from Everyman Games' 'Ultimate Charisma'.

As a group and as an individual the PCs have a list of groups and individuals that they have relationships with. The relationship is defined by starting attitudes and move according to different actions taken towards them. For an individual you can declare that you want to start a relationship with that NPC followed by a social skill check that influences their starting attitude and also grants a relationship score equal to your Charisma Modifier (minimum 0) With favors (positive actions like gifts, quests, dates, ect) or slights(Negative actions such as attacks, theft and so on) you can increase your influence on that character. Unlike normal Relationship rules, this does not go into the negatives but favors and slights also affect starting attitudes, so if you have a high relationship score with a character that moves from Friendly to Unfriendly the numbers are just as high but the reaction is negative rather than positive. Basically betrayal and redemption is pretty powerful. To develop a relationship you can interact with favors or slights to increase the relationship score to a limit of your level plus your Charisma Modifier. Favors and slights will also change starting attitudes but keep in mind that ignoring them, doing a favor for someone they do not like or making a slight against something that they do like can affect starting attitude as well. 

Relationship scores come in tiers that have numerical bonuses.

0 is an acquaintance that doesn't really know or have a greater reason to trust/abhore you.
1-5 represents an Association. 
6-11 is a Friendship if their starting attitude is on the positive side of Indifference and Competition on the negative side.
12-30 represents Fellowship/Rivalry.
31 and up represents Devotion/Enmity.

These tiers are grant bonuses or penalties on various rolls equal to their tiers, so 0=0,1-5=2, 6-11=2, 12-30=3, and 31 and up = 4. For example a diplomacy roll against a character with a friendship that is Helpful would have a +2 bonus but this would be a -2 bonus if that same character was Hostile instead of Helpful. So the relationship score is levels of familiarity whereas attitude is the degree of cooperation.

This does not mean that relationship scores don't go down. Anything that causes distance will lower relationship scores like ignoring the NPC or doing something out of character. As such there is an added mechanic 'bond' which represents the principle the relationship is based on and the nature of it. There's no real list for what kind of bonds there can be and they are less mechanically relevant than alignment, but an example can be a bond is Family. You have a familial relationship and hurting other family members or not supporting family can lower relationship scores as they try to distance themselves from you. However the score doesn't lower and rather their attitude changes if you affect them directly with slights like attacking them.

Similar things happen towards groups and organizations only on a much bigger scale and has functions similar to reputation within the organization. Also, while starting relationships is voluntary with individuals any slight or favor towards an organization automatically starts one. To this end most organization relationships will be tracked by the GM.

Additionally collectively or individually PCs can form a special group called a 'crew'. Individually a player can lead a crew of NPCs who's HD is equal to the player's level plus his or her charisma modifier(Max individual HD is level-4). In order to recruit an NPC their relationship with the leader must be higher than their Psych DC (HD+Wis or Sense Motive Bonus). The crew member must also have an attitude of Indifferent, Friendly or Helpful at recruitment. The party can form a crew pooling the HD limit. This forms any sort of ship crew, guild, company and so on. Since this somewhat makes relationships similar to Leadership a lot of the same numbers apply. Things that affect Leadership scores can change attitudes and relationship scores, usually forming slights and favors. Also cohort feats were banned at the beginning of the game so that this system could replace it.

I've already given players a rundown of getting relationship points with NPCs with them keeping track through a friends and foes sheet from Dyslexic Studeo's character sheets but it is next week that I'll be revealing the full scope of it and why it will be important to make friends now so that they will have a better crew for later when they have their own ship.

And there you have it. Quick and dirty relationship rules for building a crew. I'll be using the same system in future campaigns where the campaign goal is to build kingdoms, gain allegiances or build a pirate crew. As i tinker around with it more I'll slowly introduce modifications using Everyman Game's Ultimate Charisma. For examle, the relationship tier will serve as a bonus rounds of the Antagonized condition and I'll connect it more to reputation.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Horror Adventures: Drunken Overview Part 1

So when Ultimate Intrigue came out I decided to get my opinions out there early and read the pdf while typing out my general impressions on what I read. Reading a 300+ page book that’s mostly rules left me tired and staring at a screen for so long made my eyes burn so halfway through I started drinking a bottle of wine my sister recommended and finished off the overview pretty drunk That overview was actually a pretty popular post so I decided to have a go again, now that Horror Adventures is out, only this time I’m not messing around by getting drunk halfway through. I’m starting drunk.

Here’s how this is going to work; as I type the introduction out I’ll be nursing a mix of rum and coke. Eventually I’ll be switching to Everclear and fruit punch. I’ll read a significant section or chapter, and then I’ll type up my assessment. I held off reading the book when it first became available to download so all of my first thoughts and impressions are from an inebriated state of mind. This does mean that this is not much of a review and more of an overview since I don’t think alcohol is going to make my judgement on rules more precise. I have my phone set to deliver an alarm every hour so I can pace myself with pre-measured shot classes of what I’m mixing with my soda and fruit juice so that I don’t die. My wife will be spotting me to further prevent my from dying. My computer is still broken so I’ll be using my tablet. Luckily I got myself a bluetooth keyboard to make this easier but this still means that I’ll be typing without a great ability to edit on the fly so I’ll be getting to that when I’m sober. I’m through my first glass so I’ll start up now…

We’re skipping the introduction and table of contents because I don’t care. I will say that the cover is kind of fun. We have the iconic Wizard, Paladin and Cavalier getting mobbed by zombies. If this was anything but a 3.X game I’d be worried but if they’re high enough level this will be easy to get out of. The Wizard is probably fucked though if he needs to make some Fort saves. I’m always playing games where arcane casters are complete chumps against undead. Especially witches.

The first chapter opens up with the Paladin turning evil and now the Monk has to fight her. The Monk is probably dead by now. Unless he’s unchained, then he might stand a chance I guess. Or he’s a really sick build, but I saw his stats in the NPC Codex and he’s not so great.

The book then tells us how to make a character for a horror game, although I’m pretty sure all of these are ways to play any game. It tells you to ask yourself things like what your character’s motivations and fears are so I thought to myself, you know, like every character should whether they’re in a horror game or stabbing ponies in Sparkleland. I shouldn’t criticise it that much though. It's not like this happens as frequently as I’d like. And I enjoy that about pathfinder. some games try to tell you how to role play to the point where you might as well not play after character creation, the game just plays itself. Anyways, blah blah, teach us how to roleplay like rollplayers, moving on.

We get some rules on fear. This initially seems overly convoluted for something we already have status effects for, but for the most part it's just adding some extra severities on fear effects by dividing the stages that exist into more steps. Also you get some variant rules about replacing fear immunity. Then there’s sanity. Basically your highest mental stat becomes your sanity AC and different stuff will attack you with brain menacingness when you fail saves and stuff and if you lose, depending on the severity, you get some kind of insanity. So if you’re pissed off that you couldn’t stab things more often in Call of Cthulhu, there you go.

Corruption gets a pretty deep subsystem. Basically you get some corruption that scales like spell levels that give you feat-like powers based on how much corruption you have. The powers differ based on the nature of your corruption. But these powers have some kind of downside and many of them are pretty harsh. Your level of corruption also starts messing with your alignment and can also lead to occasional loss of control over your character. This is kind of a  wet dream for anyone that likes to roleplay significant weaknesses and purity struggles, and a literal wet dream for anyone that’s into Corruption of Champions. if you’re into werewolves then, this is a great fun way to handle lycanthropy curses. speaking of which, I just agreed to play an 5th edition game and made a character along those lines and my list of options made me miss Pathfinder so bad for options like this. Currently my character is forced to half-ass my concept.

The core races get some new alternate racial traits and favored class bonuses, which disappoints me because I barely use Core races outside of humans at this point. Who want’s to play a horror game with an elf. That’s is super weak. I want to play with a mud monster man, or a ratfolk or something else spooky. In Frankenstein the monster’s plan was for his dad to make him a woman and go off somewhere but Frankenstein didn’t want to because that would make a race of Frankenstein monsters. I want to play that. Some half constructs that are born with bolts in their necks and get healed with lightning damage. Do we have that already? a Flesh golem race? Or just zombie people? I’m pretty sure I have some third party thing about it.

So the cult leader at the intro for chapter 2 has awesome facial hair. I’m also still endlessly amused that the iconic Occultist is more portly. The cosplay potential for Pathfinder ever increases and now I really feel like ‘I’ could be an adventurer with my own fat ass. Anyways this is the real meat of the book, the class options. As much as the subsystems so far are pretty nice and the corruption bit more than a bit nice, that part is awesome, people are mostly going to look through this book for options so this is the real important part. It’s where everyone is going to open the book and judge it because the GM can already do whatever he wants so nobody cares.  And with no classes introduced in the book we have a lot of room for everyone to get in on the party. It looks like everyone gets two pages of archetypes and options. I’m not looking to see what class is missing.

Alchemist gets two archetypes. One that lets you turn people in kool aide and one that lets you cast extracts above your level at the expense of it being random. It's handy how they did that, you’re limited to the APG list and they tell you the number of possibilities so you can roll some dice without counting. Still kind of a bookeeping nightmare if you aren’t using an app that has all the spells on it.

Barbarian gets some gnarly rage powers and four fun looking archetypes. One is a murder trance guy and one is a werebeast one.

Cleric gets a Cthulhu cultist archetype and two new domains, Stars and Void. Wait a minute. don’t we have those already? I’m pretty sure we did. I’m not that drunk. Okay I’m a little dizzy at this point but seriously I was pretty sure there was alrady a void and star domain. Fuck it I’m tired, i’m not fact checking so these are new domains. Even though I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the Dark Tapestry subdomain before.

Okay so I notice Bard is missing so I guess not everyone is on board the Horror train.

Druid gets a couple of archetypes. I’m noticing one gets a spirit, a la  the Spiritualist class. Seems weird to me. Also weird is the devolutionist Druid that can make animals feral and has a creepy devolved human as an animal companion. I’m not getting the horror theme on that one. Maybe it's a reference to some gross black and white era movie that will give me nightmares when I find it on the criterion collection. I will say that it's creepy but in a gross kind of way.

Page 52, I love that guy. Since he's in the Inquisitor section I guess he’s one of those. Probably the archetype that gets special eyes that are spookier than normal. naw, that’s the hex archetypes He’s probably the bookwork archetype that has Int as a main stat. Because he has a book you see.

Investigator gets three archetypes. I don't’ like most of them but I do like the one that is kind of an occultist but even then I’m not that enthused.  I have to say, so far these options are way different from Ultimate Intrigue, in the sense that in that book the archetypes seem to be for roleplaying first at the expense of being actually useful but for the most part I don’t feel harshly crippled with little payoff with these archetypes. Sure there are exceptions but for the most part I feel like I’d pick these up more readily.

Kineticist gets two archetypes. Psycho and Dark. Both let you use Wis and Int respectively for your powers instead of Con, with different things happening in place of burn, or in the case of the Dark Kineticist, you can burn souls instead. . Its nice to have options like this because I was never that big on Burn. I’m especially happy that I can make myself an M Bison build now.

Good luck using the new Medium Legendary spirits. They’re all psychopaths that get you to do things that wouldn’t fly in most games.

I like the Mesmerist archetypes but really they aren’t making me too excited. I do like the prospect of being a freddy kreuger mesmerist even though in a lot of campaigns it's not exactly useful.

I absolutely adore the Occultist archetypes. One lets you have haunted implements with types chosen among the medium’s spirits, and the other makes for a fun japanese flavored paper talisman mage although the talismans aren’t by default paper.

Paladin Takes a weird turn by jacking class features from the Bard of all things. It's flavored as an effect cause by stigmata. The other two are more ‘normal’ but one switches charisma for wisdom so there's some interesting things to do with that.

Slayer gets two interesting archetypes and one that’s only useful in very specific campaigns.

Spiritualist starts off aping the bloodrager. Here is where I realize that I’ve been seeing a lot of class feature poaching in this book. More interesting is the other archetype that allows your phantom to be an undead creature as opposed to an outsider. Makes sense to me but I’ve seen so many arguments about the nature of undead and how they interact with class features and alignment to know that this will make some people’s head explode due to the way we think about ghosts and the undead in a non planar logic. Hell I’m on my… I don’t know what drink. I had two sodas worth of rum coke and another of vanilla coke rum, and I’m on black cherry soda and peach sake now, but anyways even now I get the difference between dead ghost and undead ghost.

Vigilante gets three new archetypes. They aren’t blatantly going superhero this time but still cover some iconic tropes of having a dual identity, like Serial Killer.

Witch gets a hefty slew of Patrons, mostly cthulhu mythos flavored. I couldn’t even read the second archetype because of Gingerbread Witch. FINALLY we get a proper fairy tale witch archetype. This will be my next witch. I’ll name her Totenkinder.  You even get a gingerbread familiar. Mine will smoke cigars and swear and drink a lot with a scottish accent.

Wizard gets some cthulhu stuff. Lots of Cthulhu stuff in this book by the way. We get it. Cosmic horror in a horror book. If we get a Modern book then we’re all set to play Call of Cthulhu conversions I guess,  but also two whole archetypes  based on necromancy.

And that's it for the archetypes. lots of elder god/dark tapestry kind of things and a few stinkers but overall I feel like I’ve found plenty that I really want to play and not much is hampered by the feeling that the options are limited to very specific kinds of games. also lots of casting ability score swapping which is always nice to play with.

Next section is feats. since I don’t want to type about these all day i’ll just note the highlights. Nothing exciting. Some clarification occurs with the availability of monster feats because there’s some of those here. roughly half the style feats are interesting enough where I want to build around them. Story feats are back. Otherwise they are kind of mid ranged feats that you might take for flavor or when you’re running out of feats you need to fight or cast spells but not many actual trap options or anything that will become staples of the game except maybe fleshwarping but I don’t even know what that is yet.

Okay, I’ve been doing this for a while and I just burped up something that tastes like vomit so I’m going to call this Part 1 and finish this later. My general opinion so far, since I’m not even halfway through and we’re already done with feats, is that this book is a bit backed into a corner. If we didn’t have so much spooky crap in the game already, like zombies and occult stuff and all that jazz, then we’d have somewhere to go but right now I’m not exactly feeling the ‘horror’ of the book aside for re-teaching us how to roleplay with some actual consequences. I mean I like the archetypes for the most part but I’m not coming across much that seems drastically necessary. And the general themes seem to lean heavy on the Cthulhu corner since we’ve only really gotten bestiary stuff from that front. Out of the things that are worth the whole book no matter what the rest of it looks like is the Corruptions. That crap is awesome. I kind of wish it had been a class though but there’s more ways to play around with the concept as it is so there’s that. So far its the best part of the book. Of course the fear and sanity stuff is neat and i’ll use them but I’ve been doing something along the lines of sanity using third party stuff so i’m not that excited. And it’s got nothing on Corruptions. I love that subsystem so much. Although its probably a soothing a sore spot because 5e has given me nothing but crap in terms of making my concept actually work. I know people like the game and all and it is a cool game but this stuff constantly makes me feel like I have to play with my balls at home and I have nothing to rely on but DM fiat to do anything. People complain about the flavor options in Pathfinder being trap options but I love stuff like story quests and corruptions. It makes my weird whims and random ways for my character to suffer have some kind of mechanical relevance.

Sober me talking now; That was fun. I’ll find some time to review the rest of the book when I have some more extended drinking time. Please forgive the typos I missed and I’ll see you next time.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Where I've been?

If you're wondering where I've been for the past few weeks, the excuse is simple. My computer broke and I'm low on computer fixing money.

The long version is that for whatever reason I turned my computer off and now it won't power back on. I'm more savvy than a lot of people I know when it comes to computers and can fix some problems but many problems just leave me at a loss and I have no idea what to do. There are also a few family crisis and big convention going plans, which haven't exactly eaten up my free time but have eaten enough money where getting the funds to deal with them makes fixing my computer less of a priority.  I've been keeping up a bit on my phone and tablet which are still functioning but that involves typing with my thumbs or using a bluetooth keyboard on squinto-vision so I'm reluctant to actually make full on posts. I do have some access to stuff at work so I may post a bit to tide things over since I have a few half-finished posts that I can probably finish easily. For the most part I have about an hour and a half of typing per day on an actual keyboard/screen.

Sorry guys but reviewing will also be trickling in rather than getting back on the saddle since I'll be mostly reading them on my tablet, thinking them over and then posting about them rather than going through my usual re-reading and analysis since navigating pdfs on my tablet is kind of a pain and I have no real time for editing, so typos ahead.

My weekly top ten posts will be late for a while, this weeks will be on Wednesday, but I'll get them up starting this week.

Anyways, sorry for the lack of delays. Hopefully things will be up and running soon.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Pathfinder 3pp Top Ten, June 4, 2016

Every week Paizo sends out an email detailing the happenings of the Paizo store. This includes top 10 lists of what sells on their stores. Each week I'll be focusing on the list, 'Top 10 downloads from other companies' and commenting on the rise of the companies involved and changes of the list as well as new and trending products that catch my attention.

Here is the Top Ten list.

1. One on One Adventures Compendium - Expeditious Retreat Press

2. Kineticists of Porphyra 3 - Purple Duck Games

3. Kineticists of Porphyra - Purple Duck Games

4. Kineticists of Porphyra 2 - Purple Duck Games

5. In the Company of Treants - Rite Publishing

6. Everyman Options Kineticists - Rogue Genius Games

7. In the Company of Dragons - Rite Publishing

8. Ultimate Psionics - Dreamscarred Press

9. The Genius Guide to the Talented Cleric - Rogue Genius Games

10. Path of War Expanded - Dreamscarred Press

One on One Adventures is at the top this week. This products facilitates play with 1 GM and 1 Player allowing you to keep going when you're short on players. Its also very thoughtful of the needs and limitations of types of classes for the adventures.

This week is also another week of Kineticist Domination. The Kineticists of Porphyra series has been a top seller since I first started these weekly overviews back in March with Everyman Options: Kineticists joining the list more recently. All give new options to the Kineticist class including, new feats, new wild talents and new archetypes.

Rite Publishing hits the list this week with two race books, one for Treants and one for Dragons. In the Company of Dragons has been a high seller for a while, but In the Company of Treants is rather new, with a new paragon class and three different races of Treants. Rite Pubilshing's race books never fail to have satisfying crunch and beautiful fluff.

Dreamscarred Press has been out of the list a few times in the past few weeks but since last week they have a solid stand with the ever popular Ultimate Psionics, and relatively new expansions to the popular Path of War book, Path of War Expanded.

 Rogue Genius Games continues with it's popular Talented line with the Cleric class getting the treatment this time. The Talented series takes paizo classes and breaks their class features and archetypes down to a series of edges and talents that you select piecemeal in order to get the kind of character you really want without the fuss.

As far as other things catching my eye this week:

Abandoned Arts, under Fat Goblin Games has put out a Spell Power: Animated Object, a book of feats to interact with the Animated Object spell. 

Legendary Games joins in with the Kineticist trend with Legendary Kineticists. This product boasts over 150 new options for the Kineticist, including new blasts and talents but also new archetypes for other classes. Also from Legendary Games is the third part of their Trail of the Apprentice adventure, The Thieves Den. Its important to know that this series is a part of a line of adventures meant for beginning players and particularly compatible with the Beginner Box.

Continuing their supplemental support of Spheres of Power, Dropdead Studios now has the Enhancer's Handbook. This product has a lot of bang for the buck, introducing new talents for the Enhancement Sphere, five new archetypes for both Spheres of Power and Paizo classes. feats and expansions on animated object monsters.

Zenith Games now has Superhero Classes allowing you to play as a Superhuman, Animalman or Telepath.

Coming out from their kickstarter is Total Party Kill Games' Wardens of the Wild, a 200+ page book all about elves with more lore and options for elves for both Pathfinder and Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition.

Well that's it for this week. I'll see you next week with more looks at Paizo's top ten list as well as new and trending Pathfinder products that should be on your radar.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

More Feats! Compilation: Volume 1

First of all, a big thanks to Fat Goblin Games for gifting this product. 

Abandoned Arts is a publisher that puts out some decent product. Not great but not terrible. But they are consistent in putting out their material that has a lot of crunch per page and not really wasting time on fluff or art, so you get quite the bang for your buck. However I'm not one to start picking up tons of little books, mainly because I don't want players (or myself) to go file hunting for just the right options by digging through a bunch of small titles. When it comes to player options I like my fat books or at least fat pdf that I can print out into a fat book, so the only Abandoned Arts book that I actually use is The Class Acts Compendium. Otherwise the company has drifted into obscurity for being fairly low profile crunch that I can honestly live without. Lately Abandoned Arts has started publishing under Fat Goblin Games, who I didn't really pay attention to until after their Fantastic Technology book, and most of the products I've seen after that book has been miles better than what I had purchased before so I see this as a huge step up for both companies. Here we have More Feats!: Vol 1, which is a compilation of Abandoned Arts More Feats! line.

This pdf is only 38 pages long but true to Abandoned Arts tradition it doesn't waste much space or time. These are a truckton of feats with seven pages being just the feat tables. The document promises another compilation as they put out more More Feats! books with two more compilations showing up sometime this year culminating in over 500 feats.

The feats here cover themes of Agility, Alchemy, Athleticism, Charisma, Courage, Dexterity, Endurance, Fellowship, Fury, Horsemanship, Intellect, Leadership, Marksmanship, Secuction, Speed, Strength, Style, Subterfuge, Wisdom, and Witchcraft.

The downside of wanting a fat book of feats is that I can't talk about every individual feat and how I feel about it so I'll just bring up my general feelings. Another downside is that this product is a bit difficult to judge. The feats inside are totally not equal. Some are pure gold that I want to take and are evocative and useful, granting you something new to do. Some are basically situational trap options that I'll never take. As far as I can tell not even one of them will break your game and they are written clearly enough for me to understand on the first try (Although I noticed a few typos and wonky language like gaining 'a bonus equal to the highest level spell..' not specifying spell level.), so do I judge it for the bad stuff or the great stuff? I guess judge by how much value I get for $9.95 it takes to purchase this product.

From that point you actually get quite a bit of value. I'm noticing some really cool feats for fighters and monks like one that lets you use Str for Initiative and a series of style feats that let you be really dangerous while mobile. There's also some really interesting social feats like distracting a room full of creatures enough to allow observed creatures to make stealth checks. The useless ones are situational but if you known what kind of campaign you're getting into they can be pulled off regularly. I would say that overall the feats are about as good as you'd expect from Paizo's Ultimate books with a large swath being ignored due to the abundance of feats you need for particular builds but the ones with good flavor and great usefulness peeking through, even producing new kinds of builds.

It does tend to mess up a bit less, where a number of the feats aren't bad but make me wish characters got more feats because really they do new things but will get crowded out by hyper-optimized combat focused builds needing feats to be way more aggressive. This is kind of a result of the product not exactly rocking the boat by revolutionizing the game or generating new subsystems or changing power dynamics but at the same time the tendency kind of keeps it playing safe and not messing up by completely bungling what its trying to do and wind up being completely useless or overpowered. Its the kind of thing that you wouldn't seek out with any real enthusiasm except for about a dozen feats and more of something that you're really happy to have when you have it. Its a dose of diversity that doesn't rock the boat that can be a really nice treat for casual games that have a particular kind of game in mind and giving a few new reasons to build in a weird way. From a powergaming grognard point of view there's only a couple of gems to break you from the core rulebook and is about as useful as your average Pathfinder Player Companion. That doesn't mean I wouldn't recommend it to a powergaming grognard because in context the same price is less than your average Player Companion and the density of the product does lend to it more actual content to sink your teeth into so it actually comes out as being as useful as a really good Player companion so I can deem it as well worth the price.

For the rate of traps per gems I'd have to lower my final score to somewhere between three stars and four, as that just adds more choice paralysis to anyone that has trouble finding feats, but I get more value out of it than others because I run and play a huge range of types of campaigns so my personal feelings lean it more towards a 4 stars out of 5 and call it a day.

You can find this over at here.

You can find this over at here.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Pathfinder 3pp Top Ten, May 27 2016

Every week Paizo sends out an email detailing the happenings of the Paizo store. This includes top 10 lists of what sells on their stores. Each week I'll be focusing on the list, 'Top 10 downloads from other companies' and commenting on the rise of the companies involved and changes of the list as well as new and trending products that catch my attention.

Here is the Top Ten list.

1. Kineticists of Porphyra 3 - Purple Duck Games

2. One on One Adventures Compendium - Expeditious Retreat Press

3. Kineticists of Porphyra 2 - Purple Duck Games

4. Kineticists of Porphyra - Purple Duck Games

5. Everyman Options: Kineticists - Rogue Genius Games

6. Way of the Wicked-Book #1: Knot of Thorns - Fire Mountain Games

7. Hypercorps 2099 - Legendary Games

8. In the Company of Unicorns - Rite Publishing

9. Ultimate Psionics -Dreamscarred Press

10. In the Company of Treants - Rite Publishing

Once again its a week of Kineticists as Kineticist products take 4 out of the 5 top slots. This has been happening for weeks and it shows that the class has really taken everyone by storm. Perhaps it's the new way of "casting". Perhaps it's the similarities to the Avatar series.  Whatever it is Kineticists are still a hot ticket. Purple Duck Games proved themselves with three excellent products and Everyman Options has been a fan favorite for a while leading in to new options. Recently Legendary Games even announced their own Kineticist book, and with the class trending high I'm sure I'll see it here soon.

One on One Adventures keeps it's number two slot. For anyone who wants to play at the table with friends but doesn't have enough consistent people on board, this is the perfect product to get your game on with only one GM and one PC. Filling out those kind of needs is what third party publishing is best for. I'm only crossing my fingers for a Fighting Fantasy-like adventure where you need no GM at all.

Way of the Wicked, the popular Adventure Path that is specifically for villainous PCs makes it to the list again. Another niche that rarely gets filled and has nearly a 100% rate of five star reviews among 19 reviews.

Hypercorps 2099 has made it to the list allowing players to play in a cyber-fantasy superhero game. Its full of fluff (fluff that is already impacting my games), tons of NPC and monster stat blocks, the exciting Hypernet, a digital plane of existence full of hackers, spam and virtual reality fun, a new system of being hyper powered beings and two new classes that do what hasn't been done before, including being a Flash like speedster.

Rite Publishing has already put out In the Company of Unicorns but their new race book, In the Company of Treants, has quickly risen to the list too. Instead of just some leafy people you can be a full fledged ent. In fact there are three entire new races of treefolk. Rite Publishing has never failed to produce race books that were evocative and mechanically interesting so I have high hopes for both of these products.

And Lastly Ultimate Psionics is back on the list. The popular remake of 3.5's Psionics has had a place on the list almost constantly for years so seeing it on the list is a familar and welcome sight. Ultimate Psionics is the one stop product for introducing psionics into your game with new classes races and other options along with a whole new system of mind magic that uses points instead of slots.

As far as other things catching my eye this week:

Dreamscarred Press has released their first Steelforge book. I got this from DP's Patreon and it looks pretty good. New magic and psionic items and some big 6 magic items for different slots for greater versatility. There's also new rules for handling magic items and a new prestige class.

Jon Brazer Enterprises has a new book for Arcanists detailing new normal and greater exploits.  

Abandoned Arts has been under the Fat Goblin Games banner lately; Abandoned Arts being a publisher known for having products that get a lot done in a little amount of time. They're continuing their More Feats! line with Feats of Discipline. This product promises feats for monks, martial artists and ki users.

Flaming Crab Games has put out a new Letters from the Flaming Crab that handles a subject that I'm very interested in that I think isn't covered very often. Hygiene.  This is going on my wishlist fast enough to leave skid marks on the website out of pure novelty but given previous Flaming Crab letter I've seen in the past I have high hopes that this will revolutionize my games.

Little Red Goblin Games has put out The Godhand, a class that grafts a minor deity to their arm? I'm not sure what to think by looking at the cover text but I can't say that I'm not interested.

Another hybrid class (Bard/Occultist) has made its way out of Shattered Skies from Wayward Rogues Publishing, in the form of the Librarian. This looks like the most interesting hybrid class from this series and really I hope someday to see all these in one book or something.

Rogue Genius Games, under the banner of Four Horsemen Presents, has produced Living Magic Items, intelligent items to spice up your games, a subject that isn't aptly explored in my opinion so I'm very excited. Best part yet, you get to PLAY a magic item. Forget my wishlist, this is going into my shopping cart now. Probably along with Flaming Crab's Hygiene book. Also from Rogue Genius Games is a continuation of the Talented class series with The Talented Cleric.

Well that's it for this week. I'll see you next week with more looks at Paizo's top ten list as well as new and trending Pathfinder products that should be on your radar.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Starfinder is Coming!

So over at Paizocon the past weekend it was announced that Paizo would release a new RPG for GenCon 2017. This is big news since Pathfinder is basically Paizo's only RPG, but where I lost it was when it turned out that it was basically Pathfinder in space, and is called Starfinder.

If you've been with the blog from the beginning you'll know that I have an unhealthy obsession with using Pathfinder to play sci-fantasy in space. I've collected a ton of third party material to facilitate playing a space campaign, I've been running a scifi campaign using Pathfinder for a few months now, I've made articles on what classes and races and house rules to use. So obviously the news is a big deal for me. And by big deal I mean that I jumped and shouted a bit about it.

Here's the rundown of what's happening.

  • Starfinder will be billed as its own RPG. It will come out as a core rulebook and have new rules that will be playable without Pathfinder. 
  • The release date is GenCon 2017 with no Pathfinder release for that GenCon.
  • At the same time it will be OGL and thus have some kind of compatibility with Pathfinder, at least in regards to monster stat blocks. What this will actually mean is currently unknown but I've been seeing the words 'backwards compatibility' and 'new AC system' so the range on how much converting you'll have to do to say, bring in a catfolk Bard using Pathfinder rules is pretty wide. 
  • The Starfinder Core Rulebook will contain the core rules and setting information. The setting is basically Golarion, or rather Golarion's solar system only without Golarion. There's a gap in time where Golarion was taken away by the gods with no information as to where it is or what happened during the time gap. Where Golarion once stood is now Absolam Station, a Babylon 5-like central point of the setting and instead of Pathfinders we have Starfinders investigating the nature of the time skip and Golarion vanishing. 
  • The predicted page count is at 540 right now. 
  • The Distant Worlds book will be the baseline for the setting as it already details Golarion's solar system. This means that we'll see some of those space Ratfolk and Androids are a core race. The core races from Pathfinder will be around but it looks shaky as to whether or not they will be a large part of the core races because there will be at least one non-humanoid core race and there will be an emphasis on aliens. I speculate People of the Stars will give us some clues.
  • Several upcoming, and possibly delayed, 3pp products are on board. Aethera is doing something. Publishing changed the name of their project from Starfinder to Starjammer and will have something by the launch of Starfinder. LPJ will be working on something. Until more information comes out it looks like a lot of upcoming projects may or may not have monkey wrenches thrown into their work, especially with the large influx of scifi Pathfinder material. Either way third party publishers will be heavily involved, and in some cases directly talking with Paizo in making launch pretty pretty content heavy.
  • There's one subscription line that will include the Core Rulebook and an adventure path. The adventure path will include new rules, monsters, and equipment along with adventures. 
  • There will be new classes, equipment and races. The setting and ruleset is distinctly science-fantasy so we get things like magic laser cannons and magical computer hacking. This also means that the assumed laws of physics will be rule of cool or action movie logic rather than be completely simulationist. 
  • James L. Sutter will be the creative director of Starfinder. Other names on the project include Rob McCreary, Owen KC Stephens(!!!), and Sarah Robinson. 
  • There will be no public playtest. There will be a playtest though. They're reaching out to community members for it soon.  
I am totally excited but also a bit worried. Despite backwards compatibility I really wonder what the fate of the products i already have is. Will Psionics fit in or will I have to get new psionic books? What about Anachronistic Adventures or The Machinesmith?  Some Pathfinder stuff I got specifically to play scifi Pathfinder so I'd like to be able to use them. But if the whole backwards compatibility thing means that Pathfinder classes still work then I'll be all good.

Otherwise I have quite a bit of faith in this project, particularly because I obviously already believe Pathfinder can do space science fantasy. Having a new Pathfinder that is focused on the genre has got to be good. and if not at least I have some compatible material for Pathfinder that I can use to continue to play scifi campaigns. Really, I'm practically playing it already so why not? When it comes out I'll probably be covering Pathfinder and Starfinder equally, especially with all the third party gear that will probably bankrupt me at launch. I'm pretty sure that once it comes out it will be my new favorite thing ever and eventually become my primary RPG to play. I'm still working on my overview of D&D 5th edition and really I feel sorry for it. I like it, but prefer Pathfinder, but once Starfinder is out I won't have time for a second fantasy game. Maybe I can squeeze it in between Pathfinder games but I don't see that happening too often. Owen K Stephens is also a big chunk of hope for me as well. I've gotten plenty of products, both Paizo and third party, that have his name on it and more often than not it's something amazing.

But the worst part of this is the wait. It comes out in over a year and potentially drags projects that were going to be released soon towards that date. I'm playing Space Pathfinder now. I don't want to wait a year to see how this affects me. And I definitely don't want to wait longer for the things I backed on Kickstarter, or even the things I've been casually watching on Kickstarter. Heck even Dreamscarred Press has been playtesting psionic tech rules that I needed published months ago, is that going to be pushed back a year too? And this is all probably going to come out all at once at GenCon. Well I know where my birthday money is going. And probably my Christmas money too. Better start saving up now.