Friday, December 21, 2012

If it ain't broke, don't fix it (New Ork Feat)

One of my players (Leoz) gave me a nice idea for an Ork racial feat (from my Middle-Earth Ork post).

If it ain't broke, don't fix it
Orks are renowned for fighting with their blades chipped or shattered, all without hindering their prowess or savagery. That when they aren’t breaking their blades on their enemies’ faces.
Prerequisite: Ork blood.
Benefit: You ignore the broken condition modifiers when attacking with damaged weapons. Once per encounter, after striking an adversary, you can add the broken condition to your weapon to automatically confirm a critical hit or to inflict maximum damage.
Note: Extra damage dice (from class features like sneak attack or from magical enhancements) must still be rolled.

Edit: Just an addendum. If the weapon already has the broken condition, then it's destroyed (after inflicting the damage).

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Middle-Earth Orks for Pathfinder

Here’s something I wanted to do for a long time: a version of the ‘original’ orc from Tolkien to Pathfinder. Forget D&D and – most important – forget Warhammer and Warcraft, which are the main culprits for today’s idea about what an orc is: a brute, barbarian and green-skinned warriors (a mix between the Hulk and Mongols if you like).

I always loved the way Tolkien described orcs in ‘The Hobbit’ as a race of cunning and clever trapsmiths, weaponsmiths and armorers, which a taste for back-stabbing and violence (and fresh meat). Actually, given those descriptors, ‘orks’ (as Tolkien wished to call them later in life) are ironically well-suited for a player character race: they love to fight, to tinker with weapons and mechanical stuff, and to conquer. Sounds familiar?

+2 to one physical ability score of their choice, –2 Wisdom, –2 Charisma. The different kinds of Orks described by Tolkien could be easily represented by different choices regarding the Ability Score bonus.
Darkvision: Orks can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
Base Speed: Orks have a base speed of 30 feet. Orks ignore difficult terrains when in mountains, caverns, wastelands, deserts or plains.
Sneaky: Orks gain a +2 racial bonus on Stealth in areas of dim light or darker.
Ork Etiquette: Orks gain a +2 racial bonus on Bluff and a -2 penalty on Diplomacy.
Smeller: Orks gain a limited scent ability with half the normal range.
Perilous Life: Orks gain Endurance as racial bonus feat and a +2 racial bonus against poison.
Squalid: Orks live in surroundings so filthy and pestilent that they gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws made to resist nausea, the sickened condition, and disease.
Machinery: Orks love all kinds of contraptions and devices; they gain a +2 racial bonus on Disable Device. They also gain a +2 racial bonus on one Craft skill of their choice.
Light Sensitivity: Orks are dazzled as long as they remain in an area of bright light.
Warmonger: Orks are proficient with all martial weapons and receive a +2 racial bonus on attack rolls with siege weapons. After training for 24 hours with a particular weapon, an Ork can reduce any penalty due to non-proficiency by half.
Languages: Orks begin play speaking Common and Black Speech.

I tried to balance the fact that Orks are relatively weak at Ability Scores by granting them more racial features. Not sure if it worked properly. My main concern is the Warmonger feature. I think it may be too powerful, but I also believe that it represents the “iconic feature” of the archetype. Orks are total weapon-nuts. In Pathfinder – if I’m not mistaken – only the Druid, the Wizard and Monk aren’t proficient with all Simple Weapons; while the Barbarian, Cavalier, Fighter, Gunsliger, Paladin, Magus, Ranger and Samurai all have full-access to Martial Weapons. Giving access to Simple Weapons isn’t much. I don’t think that proficiency with all Martial Weapons is a game-breaker (unfortunately, as I really wished that weapons matter more in Pathfinder… maybe if you used Paper & Pencil’s suggestion on weapon qualities, but I digress). So, I decided to grant them martial weapon-access, and a conditional reduced penalty for other weapons, besides a small bonus to siege stuff.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Weird Arcana - Olorin’s Acquiescent Fog (New Spell)

Here’s a new spell. With any luck next weekend may give me the time to finish that Green Book entry on the Alalas.

I designed this spell for my (no yet started) G+ sandbox campaign based on the Forgotten Realm setting. I managed to run one 'test drive' session two weeks ago, mainly to show the G+ Hangout tool to my old players. It worked well above my expectations (I'm and will always a fan of "true table-top" sessions). Because our session was scheduled to last 2 hours, the entire game was a lot more focused and organized than previous campaigns (otherwise we would barely finish one encounter or NPC interaction). This test drive convinced me to keep in touch with my old group and to try new things (technologicaly speaking). When we really start the real thing (hopefully on April 2013), I'm ansious to see how things will go. 

Olorin’s Acquiescent Fog
Level: Bard 2, Druid 2, Sorcerer/Wizard 2, Witch 2
Components: V, S, M (a lit smoking pipe)
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: 30 ft.
Effect: The caster controls natural of magic fogs around him
Duration: Concentration (see text)
Saving Throw: None (harmless)
Spell Resistance: No

This spells allows the caster to control any mist, fog, smoke or smog around him. He can command the fog to assume shapes, open corridors in the mist or even to dismiss it entirely from a 30 ft. radius area centered on him. The caster must have line of effect to the fog.

If the caster attempts to confuse other creatures by creating shapes within the fog, allow the targets a Perception check (based on sight) to determine the false nature of the vaporous forms (as a suggestion, allows an opposed check between Perception and a caster level check).

Olorin’s acquiescent fog also allows the caster to see 30 ft. inside any mist, fog, smoke or smog.

Once a caster ceases to concentrate, the spell remains in effect for another 1d6 rounds.

Olorin’s acquiescent fog is known among druids as mischievous mists and among witches and bard as witchfog. Druids require mistletoe as a material component.

Finally, Olorin’s acquiescent fog doesn’t work properly on mists created by magic (as fog cloud). The caster must succeed at a Spellcraft check (DC 20) or the spell is interrupted and he becomes confused for 1 round.