Tuesday, September 19, 2017

There Can Be Only Some

Something I'm really interested in are Pathfinder's Mythic rules. These appeared a few years ago as a few standalone books, as well as the campaign Wrath of the Righteous. It's a very dramatic subsystem within Pathfinder to add incredibly powerful abilities to a PCs, and accordingly, monsters. If you have not seen them, I suggest checking them out. This also plays into my own changes to the Mythic rules you can find here.

Inspired by things such as Highlander and the general trope of "There can only be one" kind of thing, I've been working on some homebrew rules as a way to change the flow of Mythic power around. The idea is for the more amoral of PCs to pick this up as a quick path to power, or for villain NPCs to use to harass the PCs. 
Corrupted Tier (Ex)
You gain all the regular benefits of a Mythic tier, except as follows: Instead of gaining two mythic power you gain one corrupted mythic power. Corrupted mythic power can be used just like regular mythic power, but if used to surge, you may only add 1d6, regardless of your actual tier. Each corrupted tier only counts for 1/2 of a tier for the purposes of determining the potency of your mythic abilities (minimum 1). When you use the Consume Legend power, do not count corrupted tiers as a penalty to your contested mythic check.

Consume Legend (Ex)
As a full round action, a creature can make an attack against another mythic creature. If it hits, and deals damage, both creatures must make a contested mythic check. The attacking creature takes a -2 penalty per tier on this check. Creatures can spend any amount of Mythic points to surge this roll. If the attacking creature succeeds, they steal 1d4 trials. If the defending creature succeeds, no trials are lost. If the defending creature succeeds by 10 or more, they steal 1d4 trials from the attacker. These trials can result in the loss and gain of mythic tiers, but cannot reduce their trials below 1.


If you have thoughts on how these mechanics can be better, tell me on Twitter @raathcatarn. If you're a Pathfinder GM, come hang out in the Order of Gamemasters and discuss with myself and others there!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Tarn and Sycillya

It went bad fast.
In the middle of Tarn trying to suss out what this caravan was doing leaving Kenebres, a tarp on the back got yanked off, revealing a group of menacing tieflings. I watched as Tarn was pierced with daggers before he could even stumble back. Ka'ar hastily cast a spell, conjuring stones that pelted everyone and covered the ground in sharp rocks. I heard Heilig shout as she pulled her fauchard and faced off against the four mongrel men around her.
Before I even knew what was happening, more daggers pierced Tarn and he began to look pale and sickly. I trudged through the stones, desperate to get to his attacker. I climbed onto the caravan, letting my rage take over. As I clamored onto the caravan, I watched Tarn get overwhelmed by mongrels and crumple to the ground. I felt my rage nearly break as I watched him fall, until another mongrel crushed his skull.
"TARN!"
Then a dagger was thrust at me, only to clang off my armor. This was Tarn's attacker, and in his face I saw my fury. I felt my chains grow hot and heavy as I lashed out, the glowing links wrapping around and digging into his neck.
"You have made a mistake today," and with one swift motion, ripped the chains from his body.
After that, I remember little. My rage only ended when the last tiefling surrendered. He was bound and I went to Tarn. Seeing his lifeless form was almost too much as I carried him to the caravan. The way back to our camp in Kenebres was dim and bittersweet. I took Tarn and found my way to clerics of Iomedae. They assured me he would be brought back, that it was the will of The Inheritor. So I watched as they preformed the resurrection. I wept. I don't know why.  First of my friends and I failed him already? I promised him I'd never allow it again.
This day was not done yet, though. After all the drama with Tarn, we searched this caravan. In it, I found a most beautiful sword. I picked it up in awe and was immediately struck with visions of the Hidden Light. I saw through her eyes as a warhammer struck down a skeletal figure. Horrific monsters, one after the other, each falling to this hammer. When it was over, the weapon in my hand felt warm. I held it up only to find it shaped identical to the hammer in these visions. I looked up to see the others staring at me.
"It's called Radiance," as much shocked by my words as they were, "and it belongs to me." How I knew what it was called, or knew that it was now bonded to me, I don't know. But it was another clue about who the Hidden Light is and where she came from.

Now, to visit with the Queen...

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The End of Golarion


“A world, untouched by the struggle between good and evil, between law and chaos.”

The end came for Golarion.

The Anchors obeyed the Gatherer without question. The gods reacted swiftly in an attempt to quash the powers loosed by such artifacts. Instead they were shredded, their forms were reduced to chaotic streams of raw magic, ripping through the Outer Sphere. Every deity's domain was affected, being dissolved into raw planar material, carrying out the will of the Gatherer. Most lesser deities had no time to escape, subsumed into the churning chaos of the outer planes.
The Inner Planes began to slowly fade. The Elemental Planes came first, all of their structure melting away into ash and fog. The Material Plane came next, much to the horror its inhabitants. Massive fonts of energy rushed from every direction, every angle. Every creature was consumed by the energies of their plane of origin until nothing but barren rock remained. Then, even that began to crack and crumble into a grey formless mist. For a time, the Gatherer stood in nothing. Panicked and confused, they wandered these mists for a time, trying to find something of substance.
“The world that was, untouched by the struggle between good and evil, between law and chaos. To be judged by what we do, not who we are.” The mists faded. The nothing went black. The Gatherer closed their eyes, pleaded and became the Dreamer.

From the Dreamer, the planes were reborn. The Inner Sphere spread until contained by the borders of the Outer Sphere. Air, Earth, Fire and Water swirled in the Inner Planes mixing and combining to create the Material Plane. The eternal light and darkness of the Positive and Negative Energy Planes spread their influence among them, infusing the new world with sentience. The Dreamer saw the Outer Planes remain empty. No Heaven, no Hell. They saw life and unlife begin to rise in this new Plane and dreamt of the world that was...   

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Mythic House Rules

I love the Mythic rules for Pathfinder. If you aren't familiar, take a moment to check them out, maybe read about some (spoiler-free) Wrath of the Righteous games, or other Mythic games (if you have a recorded game, let me know!). I've been excited for it since it was in playtest, following it every step of the way. At the time of this post, I'm just starting Wrath of the Righteous and playing my first Mythic character, Sycillya. I have run campaigns with mythic power, though. I powered up the AP Reign of Winter and, through their mythic exploits, have achieved some interesting things. I'm also running Way of the Wicked right now, also with Mythic power.
Despite my love for it, there was some obvious problems in terms of player power vs monster power. Reign of Winter was the first time any of us in my gaming group, Dragon Steaks, used the Mythic rules. I added them in around the end of the first module, and watched the PCs begin shredding things. Shortly after their Mythic power was gained, the Paladin blocked, then countered a white dragon's attack and killed it outright with a critical. After a few more similar encounters, I realized Mythic monsters needed to have real power. My first idea was to tackle the creation of Mythic monsters. All Mythic monsters have maximized HP for their hit dice, plus gains additional HP based on their mythic rank. I also changed most DR from being overcome by epic/mythic sources to just flat DR. For example, instead of gaining DR 10/epic it gains DR 10/-. A huge amount of Mythic powers (and even a few non-mythic, like Smite) overcome any DR type, so it's important that it functions well. This lead to one of my first homebrew mythic monster powers:

Heavily Armored (Ex)
These mythic creatures have an impenetrable armor over most of their body, granting them damage reduction based on their Hit Dice. This damage reduction can be overcome by a called shot, typically to the head or vitals (tricky shot, -5). This DR stacks with any other DR the creature may have.

HD
DR
1-5
5/-
6-10
10/-
11-15
30/-
16-20
50/-
Format: DR 10/Called shot, tricky -5; Location: Defensive Abilities.
This power does a few things. A -5 penalty is fairly significant if it's also a creature with a high AC normally. Touch attacks become normal attacks, and it's a full-round action to make a called shot. With stacking DR, even PCs putting out incredible amounts of damage is limited.
Another issue was with Mythic magic. I'm not going to dive deep into it because magic is powerful enough on it's own and one could go on about Mythic ramifications of magic. So, instead, I'll tackle the obvious ones. The big one was spells bypassing energy immunity. Nothing is more sad than an ancient red dragon getting wasted by a Fireball. Keeping the ability to bypass resistances was important because it's things like that that allow Mythic power to still feel like something extra. But, for someone who really wanted to invest in being the best fire/cold/acid/lightning user, this Mythic power was fun to create

3rd Tier Universal Path Abilities

Elemental Overload (Ex)
Your elemental spells and effects are infused with mythic power. You can spend one mythic point when you use an ability that deals acid, cold, electricity or fire damage. That damage ignores energy resistance. If the opponent is immune, you may spend an additional mythic point, and the effect instead deals half damage against the opponent.

 As you can see, when you really need your Scorching Ray to deal it's damage, you can invest power to make it happen. If you want to see my (still work in progress) changes to the Mythic rules, you can follow along in this Google Doc. Comments and suggestions are ALWAYS appreciated and anything you've used in your own games would be great to cover in another post.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Sycillya

Just this last week, I've finally begun playing my Half-Orc Paladin, Sycillya. I finally managed to hash out her backstory to a place I like, and after all the crunchy bits in the last post, I figured I'd share it with you. Here is the story of how Sycillya found her Hidden Light.

“Run, little one! RUN!”

They found her in the woods, huddle down in a ragged blanket among the roots of a tree. There was no resistance when they scooped her up, taking note of her grayish skin and pronounced canines. Small as she was - just a child - they noticed muscle rippling under her skin. The three men carried her back to their horses and rode swiftly back to camp. Half a mile away, a small band of adventurers lay among the trees, eyes closed, their wounds still bleeding as the sun set.
They named her Sycillya. They asked of her name when they found her, but she didn't have it to give. One of the men who found her chose it. Such a soft name, a human name. A few of the older kids took to calling her Sissy for a while - until she broke a boy’s nose and tore a chunk from another’s arm with her teeth. After that, they called her Monster… behind her back. That didn't matter. She grew stronger for it.
Every day she woke at dawn to some menial task such as cleaning the kitchens after a feast or mucking the stables. There was always something to do, and she was often chosen first to do it. Even this young, she was bigger than most of the other kids, and that gave her the unfortunate distinction of being useful.
At the age of twelve, it was decided she was strong enough to be put to real work. As strong as most of the other adults around her, her patrons were eager to see what she was capable of. It was grueling. From sunup to sundown, she was worked. They told her it was to make her more valuable. That's when she began to realize how bad off she was. The dilapidated building she stayed in with a dozen other kids. The minimal food and water. The beatings. She didn’t want to end up like the failures.
Sycillya dreamed. She saw a hooded figure with a menacing red glow obscuring a pale face. She felt pain and anguish. All around her were the sounds of battle
By her teens, her masters learned how to use their tool. They raised her to hunt. Not animals, but escapees. They trained her to hunt them down and either coerce them into coming back or bringing back the body. She reveled in it, finding the wretches huddled in the woods surrounding their camp. Even though they kept her chained, she never failed to bring someone back.
Another dream. Two figures stood in a dense wood: a Human woman seemingly pleading with a Dwarven man. Both in blacks and reds and both speaking in low, sad voices. She placed a hand on his shoulder and asked him a question. After a long pause, a white light shot from the sky, enveloping them both, blinding Sycillya.
By adulthood, they had molded her into a machine. Enforcer in the camp, hunter of escapees. No one escaped. She was perfectly loyal to her masters, seeing first-hand the price of weakness. Every pitiful slave in the camp feared her glare, and feared the chains she now wore with pride. They were her weapons, her power.
A feminine figure stood silhouetted before a burst of bright colors. All she could make out of the woman was a sword bathed in a silvery light and a perfect, white circle emblazoned on her massive, scaled tower shield.
“Sycillya!”
She bolted up, and scrambled to the sound of the voice. Her chains rattled around her as she strode from her place in the camp to a well-lit, large tent.
“Good girl. I have another task for you. Remember that group of kids yesterday? The one of mostly your kind? It looks like they aren’t trained like you are and managed to sneak out under the nose of Gerry. Find them. Bring them back.”
Sycillya nodded and headed to grab her few things. The man called out, “Make an example of one, would you?” Another nod.
She went back to her tent, took a swig of ice-cold coffee from a cup on the floor and left. Finding the tracks were easy enough. She went over the tracks in her head. Four children, aged 8-12. Walked in a tight group. Moved swiftly, but quietly. Light steps. She followed them out into the woods. Even then, the trail wasn’t obscured. Broken branches, footprints in mud. A branch cracked and she snapped her head around to look, only to be blinded by another vision.
A woman lay crumpled on the ground, black hair obscuring her face, clutching her stomach. Then, in a city Sycillya had never seen, what looked to be the same woman stood in front of her. A child was walking away, the woman watching intently. A large rune glowed on the back of the child’s head, then there was an explosion. Screams. The same woman, bent over the bed of a child. The same black hair fell over her face, and a deep red glow filled the room. From the child’s lips flowed a thick white smoke, into a clear gemstone.
Sycillya gripped the tree next to her as the light faded. She felt her eyes fill with tears, but shook them out with a low growl.
“Sycillya?” Called a meek voice.
She whipped her chain around and snapped it at the voice. There was a cry of pain and then the child began to cry.
“You knew better than to try to escape. You knew I would come!” The other three half-orc children huddled around the wounded one. She began to advance on him, hardening her heart for the task. Visions of the woman lying crumpled on the ground, tears stained on her unconscious face. Sycillya raised the chain as she again saw the child lost to the force of explosive magic.
“Run. Run West. Never return. Never let me find you.”
The children hesitated for a moment, then turn and fled. Sycillya leaned against the trunk of a tree and began desperately thinking of how to explain this to her master.
“Tsk tsk, Sissy,“ cooed a familiar voice, “I thought you seemed off.”
“I-”
“Shut up, girl. I gave you a simple task, one you’ve done plenty times before. Why quit now? Sympathy for other monsters?” He pulled out a mace and started to approach Sycillya, “You will be made to remember your place here.”
Your light, Sycillya…
She hung her head as her master advanced on her. Shame and rage paralyzed her. She stared at her manacles, and was reminded of her place.
Be free of the darkness, let your hidden light shine.
Sycillya closed her eyes. She felt her body lighten, as her manacles grew heavy and hot. All her fear and anger flowed into the chains.
“No.”
The footsteps stopped. When she opened her eyes, the chains that held her manacles glowed with a fierce white light. Steam rose from around her body, the heat of the light burning away her fear.
Life must flourish, and you must see that it does so unbound.
Her master hesitated for a moment, and that was all Sycillya needed. The chain hissed through the night and struck her master across the face. He screamed in agony as the light clung to him, searing his flesh. Again and again she swung until he lay bloodied and burned on the forest floor.
She stood for a moment, breathing heavily and her light fading away. Then her instincts kicked in. More would come soon. She stripped her master of anything valuable - armor, a bow and arrows, rope and a coin purse - and fled West to Eor, to seek the Hidden Light.

That's the story of Sycillya, Paladin of the Hidden Light. Sorry for any spelling or grammatical errors! They'll get fixed.
If you want to follow along with her progress and story, you can see my live notes in this Google Doc or you can watch her live sheet in this Google Sheet. Curious about the Hidden Light? Watch this blog for a post about the PC that had become the Hidden Light and is now inspiring new champions.

As always, leave comments or bug me on Twitter!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Paladin Problem

I'm starting Wrath of the Righteous at some point in the near future, and I'm planning out my character, a Half-Orc Paladin. I'm basically agonizing over my build path, and this post is to throw it out there and let the idea bounce around. The only non-negotiable fluff is that she is a Warrior of the Holy Light and that she has the Chain Fighter racial trait, and wields a spiked chain. This is personally imposed for roleplay things, which I'll go over in another post. Her combat role will be to get up close to the biggest baddie and stay in their face to allow the rest of the party to do their thing. Out of combat, I'll be a skilled tracker, generally good at most physical tasks and a decent speaker.

My current thought is that I will go straight Paladin, using the Variant Multiclassing rules to also gain a set of Barbarian abilities. Instead of five feats at 3rd, 7th, 11th, 15th and 19th, I gain Rage, Uncanny Dodge, a single Rage Power, DR 3/- and Greater Rage. With my remaining feats, I would take Fey Foundling, Power Attack, Skill Focus (Survival) and Eldritch Heritage (Orc) with my final feat as a wild card. The Warrior of the Holy Light replaces spellcasting for additional uses of Lay on Hands and the ability to release your inner light, granting a variety of combat bonuses. Finally, for mythic powers, I will be taking the Guardian path. Mythic Path Powers on the table are Supreme Tracker, Armored Might, Legendary Item, Retributive Reach, Cage Enemy, Invincible Stand and Take the Hit. Mythic Feats will be for sure Eldritch Heritage, possibly Power Attack and another wild card feat or two. 

So what do all these powers actually do for me? The Orc bloodline, granted from Eldritch Heritage, fits thematically for the character, while the powers it grants are very useful for a front line tank. Touch of Rage to bolster and ally, Fearless for the natural armor bonuses, Strength of the Beast grants large Strength bonuses, and Power of Giants is a personal and more powerful enlarge person. Mythic Eldritch Heritage allows me to gain all of the bloodline powers without taking additional feats, a huge boon for an already feat-starved build. In the early levels, Fey Foundling (which adds +2 for each die of a healing effect), Lay on Hands and Smite Evil makes for a solid core set of abilities to pick a fight with the biggest baddie. A higher survival skill and detect evil at will (along with the Supreme Tracker from Mythic power, later on) allows me to hunt down any evil that escapes me. As I level up into and beyond 4th, the powers from Warrior of the Holy Light begin to come online: A bless effect, curing ability point damage, daylight effect and energy resistance, and critical hit protection. Around 11th level, I begin to gain my Strength bonuses and the rage power Celestial Totem, Lesser. When I'm raging, all healing effects healing for +1 point per caster level of the effect. Coupled with Fey Foundling, I have an amazing capability to heal. At 19th level, Rage and the Orc bloodline powers combine for a massive +18 to Strength from class abilities alone. On top of all this, the large array of Paladin abilities are still at my disposal as well. It all looks lovely on paper, but something in my brain is bothering me.

My questions are as follows: Is Power Attack even worth it? It's a lot of damage, to be sure, and I do have a full base attack progression, but can I make better use of two empty feat slots? Is the combination of Fey Foundling and Lesser Celestial Totem overkill? Is the combination of Rage and the Orc bloodline powers also too much? Should I the Barbarian powers in favor of more feats? Or should I forget the bloodline powers in favor of saving the few feats I gain for better specializaion? Is there something I missed, or doesn't stack how I think it does? If you have any thoughts, share them on Twitter or post in the comments.