Posted on

My Trip To St. Louis

This past week, my wife and I took a trip to St. Louis, Missouri for her day job; I came along for the ride. We had a great time out there. St Louis is a very nice city. Pictures do not do the Arch justice. The zoo recently beat out San Diego as the best in the country. We loved the fact that new construction went out of their way to fit the character of older construction in the local area, keeping the flavor of the area. All in all, we really enjoyed St. Louis.

Before we headed there from New Jersey, we did our homework and planned to visit a number of gaming stores. The first thing that struck us as crazy was the sheer number of gaming stores out there. Here in New Jersey, I can count on one hand the number of gaming stores we have in a twenty mile radius and have fingers left over. I do not believe I could have counted on both hands the number of gaming stores in half that radius. Here in New Jersey, we have seen gaming stores close or reduce their space. Every store in St. Louis we visited had a sizable amount of space and some were talking about expanding. In short, the St. Louis gaming scene is impressive.

If you happen to be visiting St. Louis, be sure to check out the gaming scene there. We checked out check out are the Fantasy Shop, Game Nite, Miniature Market, and the Wizard’s Wagon. If you live in the St. Louis area and have other recommendations that someone visiting your fair city should check out, please provide a link in the comments below.

And Happy Gaming…

Posted on

5e: Halfling Warlock Skeleton

I just thought I would take a break from my regular posting of expanding the number of creatures you can summon with the conjure spells in your Fifth Edition game and post a monster I made just for fun. How to make NPCs for 5e is a quesiton I don’t have a good answer for since examples in the MM do not coorelate to levels in the PHB and their stats are completely off from what a monster of that challenge level should be in the DMG. The archmage is a prime example, Its an 18th-level spellcaster, is a challenge 12 monster but the hit points and armor class of a challenge 2 monster. Let me repeat that: the 18th level NPC has hit points and an armor class of a monster 16 levels below what it should be.

So how do I adjust that when I make an NPC? Short answer: The level of the NPC is it’s challenge rating. That 18th level archmage should be a challenge 18 NPC. How do I have it meet the stats of a challenge 18 monster? It gets as many hit dice as needed to be in that range. Think of it as that the NPC also has levels of aristocrat, commoner, or warrior—to use a 3.5/Pathfinder-ism. From there I make option choices to get all the other numbers where they should be.

Take the halfling warlock skeleton below as an example. I settled on a level 3 warlock, so I designed for a challenge 3 monster. We placed the 14 (from the standard 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8 ability score array) in Dexterity where it gains a +2 from the halfling race, making it a 16. That +3 ability modifier means its armor class is 13, right where a challenge 3 monster should be. Sure it has only 3 levels of warlock, but that few hit points is going to put it squarely in CR 1/8 territory. So we added as many hit dice as necessary to get it in the 101-115 range. Now considering that the skeleton gave it a damage vulnerability to bludgeoning weapons and an immunity to poison, I felt letting it have 10 hit points more than the normal value was wall justified. The attack bonus on eldritch blast is +4 but its 8 damage falls short so we added repelling blast, making it push its opponents away. This will make coordinating attacks more difficult for the players. It does not make up for it fully, but it is a consideration. Having said that, the halfling warlock skeleton casts burning hands as a 2nd-level spell. That will deal an average of 14 damage each time it is used, counting as 28 considering it damages more than 1 creature. That is close enough to the damage expected for a monster of that level and can be considered balanced for its level, as described by the DMG.

I hope you enjoy this monster and remember to download our other Fifth Edition gaming material at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Halfling Warlock Skeleton

Small undead, chaotic evil


Armor Class 13
Hit Points 126 (28d6 + 28)
Speed 25 ft.


STR 8 (–1) DEX 16 (+3) CON 13 (+1)
INT 10 (+0) WIS 12 (+1) CHA 16 (+3)


Skills Deception +5, Intimidation +5,
Saving Throws Wis +3, Cha +5
Damage Vulnerabilities bludgeoning
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities exhaustion poisoned
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 11
Languages Abyssal, Common, Halfling
Challenge 3 (700 XP)


Brave. The halfling warlock skeleton has advantage on saving throws against being frightened.
Dark One’s Blessing. The halfling warlock skeleton gains 6 temporary hit points when it reduces a hostile creature to 0 hit points.
Eldritch Invocations. The halfling warlock skeleton has the following invocaitons: agonizing blast, repelling blast
Halfling Nimbleness. The halfling warlock skeleton can move through the space of any creature that is size Medium or larger.
Lucky. The halfling warlock skeleton can reroll a 1 rolled on an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, but must use the new roll.
Naturally Stealthy. The halfling warlock skeleton can hide behind a creature that is Medium or larger.
Spellcasting. The halfling warlock skeleton is a 3rd-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 13, +5 to hit with spell attacks). The halfling warlock skeleton knows the following warlock spells:
Cantrips (at will): eldritch blast, mage hand
2nd level (2 slots): blindness/deafness, burning hands, charm person, command, comprehend language, hold person, protection from evil and good, scorching ray

Actions


Eldritch Blast. Ranged Spell Attack: +4 to hit, range 120 ft., one creature. Hit: 8 (1d10 + 3) force damage. A creature hit by the halfling warlock skeleton’s eldritch blast is moved 10 feet away from the halfling warlock skeleton in a straight line.

Posted on

5 Questions Every Barbarian Should Be Able to Answer

Conan is the classic barbarian. Most artwork for this class depicts someone from a tribal background in some type of leather clothing covering only the bare essentials to be considered “decent,” wielding a sizable weapon. While there is nothing wrong with that image of a barbarian, it is only one interpretation of a barbarian. The problem with it came in when some versions of the game mechanically reinforced it. As late as D&D 3.5, a barbarian was illiterate unless you took “reading” as a language. This meant that all barbarians are tribal. Personally, I am quite glad this has been done away with. It allows for different interpretations of what a barbarian can be. One such interpretation: the movie Falling Down. In it, Michael Douglas plays a man who has simply had enough, lashing out at the problems he sees in society. This is one reason why I like the 13th Age and D&D 5e idea of background separate from a class and am glad that it looks like Pathfinder 2e is going that route as well. Ever wanted to play a noble that rejects the laws their family set up? Now you can.

When coming up with this 5 Questions I took a long look at modern and even some classic iterations of the barbarian class and decided to focus in on a few aspects that I feel are key: using anger as a way to help them fight, self sufficiency, and a natural instinct to spot danger. To see which aspect of the other classes we focused on for their 5 Questions posts, see what we posted for the bard, cleric, druid, fighter, monk, paladin, rogue, sorcerer, and wizard.

1) Where Does Your Rage Come From?

The classic answer is that you are an uncivilized person and you simply cannot control yourself. While this answer is perfectly fine, this is far from the only available option. You could be cursed (ahem, failed science experiment) that when you get into a fight you lose your head and fly into a battle rage, potentially making you a danger to everyone in the fight except yourself. My personal favorite is the civilized person that use to make biting comments and engaged in sarcasm–letting the rage inside of them out in small doses–but saw their friends and loved ones hurt and finally unleashing the full force of their anger. I like this one because it subverts what many expect a barbarian should be, opening up a range of character possibilities.

2) How Do You Try to Emulate Your Characters Rage?

This question is quite a bit more meta than the other questions we’ve asked in the 5 Questions series, but I think it is important with the barbarian. A barbarians rage is meant to be uncontrolled, reactionary. It is telling Hulk to “smash,” because telling him anything else isn’t going to help. So when you are done with your turn, you have to sit and wait for everyone else to take their turn. That design choice lends itself towards a more thoughtful, tactical approach to your character. If you play it like a tactician, carefully considering every move to figure out what is the optimal course of action, you are not letting your character live as they should. So to help me get into my barbarian more, I intentionally choose less than optimal actions if it means it would be more reactionary. When facing multiple opponents, I generally go after the toughest looking enemy until one of my allies is hurt, then I rush to attack whomever was hurt (prioritizing the squishiest ones first), taking whatever attacks come from leaving an enemy in the middle of a fight. But that is just me; how does your way to attack your enemies reflect being in an all-consuming rage? Do you ignore all but the closest enemies to you? Do you just run through your enemies, one attack at a time, no matter if they drop or not? What is your style?

3) How Do You Reflect Your Ability to Spot Danger?

The barbarian class typically grants some advantage to spotting danger. How do you reflect this in your character? Are you jumpy, ready with a weapon in your hands because a cute, fluffy bunny rustled some bushes nearby? Are you constantly looking g around, trying to maintain a constant vigilance? Are you always listening to everything going on around you? How do you role play your ability to spot Danger?

4) How Did You Learn to Depend Upon Yourself?

Barbarians are frequently have the survival skill and other skills that would help them do well on their own. That is understandable considering the classic barbarian is one that shuns civilized society for the natural world. It even makes sense for the civilized barbarian; getting angry rather quickly tends to drive people away, requiring you to depend upon yourself more. If you’re cursed, you probably do not want many people around you for fear they will get hurt, promoting self sufficiency. So what was that like? If you are a societial outcast, how do you make clothes for yourself? What was it like learning to hunt? We’re you raised by a tribe and they taught you? We’re you always on the outskirts of civilization and had a basic idea of how to survive on your own before, even if it was not previously your soul source of survival before and now it is? Did you almost starve before learning how to use a bow? Do you trade with the local tribes, helping you get what you cannot do yourself?

5) How Much Does It Mean to You That Your Companions Accept You?

No person can exist without interacting with others. Even the most standoffish dwarf still needs friends. Barbarians may be self sufficient, but they still need friends and companions as well. So what does that mean to you? Put it another way: what will you do to protect them and keep them? Being with a person that frequently gets angry is not an easy person to get along with and after you failed to hear the cries for help from your fellow adventurers yet again because you were fighting the toughest-looking bad guy might mean they are not happy with your character. So how far is your character willing to go? Should such a situation arise, how will your character grow and change? Who will you become?

Catfolk are known for being free spirits and Khol Saka is no exception. He roams the plains, playfully pouncing on whatever trouble comes his way, appearing more care free than most humans. Just don’t get him angry; you wouldn’t like him. It is as if he turns into an uncontrollable green rage monster, even if he still looks like a catfolk on the outside. He will scratch the face off of anyone that hurts him or his allies, unable to stop himself even if he wanted to.

Khol Saka is featured on the cover of the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium. Download this awesome book today at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Posted on

5e: Shadow Elemental

In our quest to increase the number of creatures you can bring to the table with the conjure spells, the most obvious place to expand is the number and type of basic elementals in existence. My interests in the shadow lands means a shadow elemental should be in the game. Naturally that also means there’s a light elemental somewhere but we’ll save that for another day. Today I just hope you enjoy this one.

Remember to check out all our Fifth Edition products at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store. Supporting us helps us to bring you more monsters every Wednesday and other blog posts throughout the week.

Shadow Elemental

Large elemental, neutral


Armor Class 15
Hit Points 90 (12d10 + 24)
Speed 0 ft., fly 90 ft. (hover)


STR 14 (+2) DEX 20 (+5) CON 14 (+2)
INT 6 (–2) WIS 10 (+0) CHA 6 (–2)


Damage Vulnerabilities radiant
Damage Resistance bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons
Damage Immunities necrotic, poison
Condition Immunities exhaustion, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone, restrained, unconscious
Senses see in darkness, passive Perception 10
Languages Shadowspeak
Challenge 5 (1,800 XP)


Aura of Darkness. All non-magical light in a 20-foot radius from the elemental is treated as 1 level lower (bright light is dim light, dim light is darkness).
Light Blindness. The shadow elemental is blinded when in bright light.
See in Darkness. The shadow elemental can see in dim light and darkness like a human can in bright light.
Shadow Form. The shadow elemental can enter a hostile creature’s space and stop there. It can move through a space as narrow as 1 inch wide without squeezing.

Actions


Multiattack. The elemental makes two slam attacks.
Slam. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d8 + 5) bludgeoning damage. The target must succeed a DC 15 saving throw or be blinded by shadows until the start of the shadow elemental’s next turn.
Douse Light (Recharge 4–6). A shadow elemental’s touch puts out nonmagical light sources (such as flames) of Large size or smaller and magical light sources of 3rd level or lower. The elemental can dispel magical light sources of 4th level or higher it touches with a Wisdom ability check against a DC of 10 = the spell’s level; a successful check dispels the light (as dispel magic).

Few things are as symbolic of Shadowsfall as a shadow elemental. They are dark, dangerous, all-concealing, and fatal to those unprepared for such an encounter. Summon one at your own peril.
—Irodia, “Collected Knowledge on the Shadow Realm

Composed of physical darkness, a shadow elemental wings its way about the shadowlands concealed in a deeper darkness. It is truly the horror of midnight imagings, but reports typically describe a black four-legged creature with only a pair of slitted eyes and a toothy grin clearly discernible. The elemental glides through the darkness as easily as a ghost through the ether. Swallowing any light encountered, it prefers to strike targets from this natural concealment catching them unaware.

Posted on

Pathfinder: Gibbering Glob

When it comes to monsters, there are some D&D classics that everyone just loves. Owlbears spring instantly to mind. Gelatinous cubes is another one. Bugbears, drow, multicolored dragons, and a whole host of others make the game instantly recognizable. Then there are the ones that Wizards owns and doesn’t let anyone out side of some license touch. Things like a panther with tentacles on it’s back or a human sized race if Cthulhus. The great classic, however, is the floating eye ball with little eyes on stalks. That one is well known.

Making those monsters with the serial numbers filed off is a proud tradition that goes a long way back. To claim that that monster was not a source of inspiration would be untrue. That was only one source of inspiration. Another was the gibbering mouther from the Pathfinder Bestiary. So when I set out to create the Book of Beasts: Legendary Foes, I wanted a high level version of that monster in my book. To make it unique, we added in flavor from other sources, including the classic monster that we will not name.

Download the Pathfinder Book of Beasts: Legendary Foes today at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow Paizo and the Open Gaming Store.

Gibbering Glob

The entire surface of this red, ball-like creature is covered with eyes and mouths. A constant cacophony surrounds this creature as each mouth speaks in a different language.

Gibbering Glob CR 25

XP 1,638,400
CE Huge aberration
Init +16; Senses all-around vision, darkvision 120 ft.; Perception +47
Aura gibbering aura (60 ft., DC 33)


Defense


AC 44, touch 24, flat-footed 32 (+12 Dex, +4 insight, +20 natural, –2 size)
hp 565 (39d8+390); fast healing 30
Fort +23, Ref +25, Will +28
Defensive Abilities amorphous; DR 10/epic; Immune death effects, disease, energy drain, mind-affecting effects, negative energy, paralysis, poison, polymorph; Resist acid 20, cold 20, electricity 20, fire 20, sonic 20; SR 39


Offense


Speed 5 ft., fly 30 ft. (good)
Melee 12 bites +36 (2d6+8/19–20 plus grab)
Ranged 24 eye rays +40 (2d6 energy/19–20 plus eye effects)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks swallow whole (4d6 acid plus 4d6 cold plus 4d6 electricity plus 4d6 fire plus 4d6 sonic, AC 20, hp 56)


Statistics


Str 26, Dex 34, Con 30, Int 18, Wis 20, Cha 18
Base Atk +29; CMB +39 (+43 grapple); CMD 65
Feats Blinding Critical, Critical Focus, Dazzling Display, Deadly Aim (–8/+16), Flyby Attack, Hover, Improved Critical (bite), Improved Critical (eye ray), Improved Initiative, Improved Iron Will, Improved Precise Shot, Iron Will, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Shatter Defenses, Skill Focus (Linguistics), Spell Focus (necromancy), Stealthy, Weapon Focus (bite), Weapon Focus (eye ray)
Skills Escape Artist +58, Fly +54, Intimidate +46, Knowledge (arcana) +46, Linguistics +49, Perception +47, Spellcraft +46, Stealth +50
Languages Aklo, Common, Terran, Undercommon and 39 other languages


Ecology


Environment any underground
Organization solitary, pair
Treasure triple


Special Abilities


Amorphous (Su) A gibbering glob’s body is constantly in flux. There is a 75% change that any critical hit or sneak attack scored against the gibbering glob is negated and normal damage is rolled instead.
Eye Effects (Su) Upon a successful attack, an eye ray also deals an additional effect as per a particular spell. The spell only affects the target of the eye ray. The exact effect is randomly determined. A gibbering glob possesses a 25th caster level for these effects. These spells are: (01–05%) baleful polymorph (DC 19), (06–10%) disintegrate (DC 20), (11–15%) dominate monster (DC 23), (16–20%) energy drain (DC 24), (21–25%) feeblemind (DC 19), (26–30%) finger of death (DC 22), (31–35%) flesh to stone (DC 20), (36–40%) greater dispel magic, (41–45%) harm (DC 21), (46–50%) hold monster (DC 19), (51–55%) horrid wilting (DC 23), (56–60%) implosion (DC 23), (61–65%) irresistible dance (DC 22), (66–70%) mage’s disjunction (DC 23), (71–75%) power word blind (DC 21), (76–80%) power word kill (DC 23), (81–85%) power word stun (DC 22), (86–90%) prismatic spray (DC 21), (91–95%) slay living (DC 20), and (96–00%) temporal stasis (DC 22). These save DCs are Charisma-based.
Eye Rays (Su) The whole of a gibbering glob’s body is covered with eyes and the gibbering glob can shoot out rays of harmful energy at a creature that deal 2d6 points of energy damage. The exact kind of energy is determined randomly (01–20% acid, 21–40% cold, 41–60% electricity, 61–80% fire, 81–00% sonic). No more than 6 rays can be aimed at a single creature in a single turn. The range is 150 feet.

Gibbering Aura (Su) The cacophony of speech emanating from the scores of mouths that make up the gibbering glob forces all within 60 feet of the creature to succeed at a Will save each round (DC 33) or suffer the effects of an insanity spell. This is a mind-affecting, sonic attack. The save DC is Charisma-based.

A disgusting, floating mass of mouths and eyes, a gibbering glob speaks just about every language known and it can make a reasonable approximation of any language it does not know. However, with so many mouths speaking at any one time, any creature that comes close typically finds the constant noise to be maddening.

A gibbering glob is about 14 feet in diameter and weighs about 4,000 pounds.

Posted on

Fort Strange

Officially known as Fort Vanderwalten, many refer to it as Fort Strange because of the numbers of non-humans and less common demi-humans present here. When Kortrill Nightfeather was appointed captain of this frontier fort and military governor over the sparsely-populated region until a noble can be entrusted with this land, she took with her many other non-humans with her—both military and civilian alike. In her new position, she made sure that all under her care have been treated equally and prejudicial actions are prosecuted. It did not take long for word of her commendable action to spread and non-humans that want to live in peace to start flocking to live here. Today, Blacktooth Blacksmith and Glittering Foundry—owned by the orc Gathic Blacktooth and hobgoblin Miktar Deathblade, respectively—may be rivals but their rivalry plays out with them pushing the other to make better blades and other wares, instead of slaughtering each other’s families as many humans would expect of their their kind.

Fort Strange is home to many hagborn, catfolk, gnomes, everborn, tengu, lizardfolk, and even a few umbral kobolds. The majority of them came since Captain Nightfeather took command of the post. Previously, the region was inhabited mostly by humans and elves. Those that stayed when a tengu was appointed commander have been far more receptive of their new neighbors. A small yet vocal minority, however, have been voicing their opposition to so many “weird” creatures living among them. While the military-police force protecting this region have made it clear that voicing such concerns will be tolerated, that is the limit; any hostile actions against another law-abiding citizen will be met with swift justice. A number of attacks against non-humans has baffled investigators considering the military forces are not set up to handle such investigations and Lieutenant Gronk Bloodaxe is looking to hire adventurers to assist in this investigation.

The majority of the humans in this region are serfs, living in the work-farms adjacent to the fort. Their owners—mostly human—are not happy with the current regional government. Normally they hate each other and actively plot against one another, but they are united in their prejudice. If they could be turned against one another, their petitioning to speed up the appointment of a noble (preferably one of human ancestry) would fall apart.

Fort Strange

LG large town
Government military overlord
Population 3,500 (1,000 humans; 400 elves; 350 catfolk, 250 hagborn, 1,500 other)

Notable NPCs


Captain Kortrill Nightfeather, military governor (LG female tengu fighter 9 [13A: 4])
Lieutenant Gronk Bloodaxe, head of special operations (LN male orc fighter 4 [13A: 2])
Faixgrop, Crafter’s Guildmaster (LN female umbral kobold rogue 3 [13A: 2])
Darren Rimeheart, Farm owner and serf master (NE male human bard 6 [13A: 3])

If you want to see more locations like this detailed, please let us know in the comments below.

To find out more about the races mentioned here see the Book of Heroic Races collection for Pathfinder, Fifth Edition, and 13th Age here at the JBE Shop. You can also find out titles at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, the Open Gaming Store, and Paizo.

Posted on

Pathfinder: Jack-In-Irons

It was just last month that we released our latest Pathfinder adventure Deadly Delves: The Dragon’s Dream. This amazing high-level Pathfinder adventure is a perfect way to move through he upper levels of play. It features high level challenges, monsters, traps, haunts and much more. We already shared one of those high level monsters—the godling. Today we are sharing with you another one of those terrors, the jack-in-irons.

This monster is nothing but a chain inhabited by a spirit—whether angry, confused, or in pain—making it an undead creature. It is difficult to hit, owing to the fact that a miss just passes right through the links. Atop a mound of hit points and resistance to spells and channeled energy, it can hit with a melee attack out to a range of 120 feet. this means that just about anywhere you can see is a potential place for it to kill something. It originally appeared in the Book of Beasts: Legendary Foes, a monster book for high level games. You run a high level game download this adventure and monster book from the JBE Shop today.

Jack-In-Irons CR 17

XP 102,400
CE Medium undead
Init +7; Senses bloodsense 60 ft., darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +34
Aura frightful presence (120 ft.; DC 29)


Defenses


AC 32, touch 17, flat-footed 25 (+7 Dex, +15 natural)
hp 273 (26d8+156)
Fort +16, Ref +15, Will +20
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +4, hardness 10; Immune cold, spiked chain, undead traits; SR 28
Weaknesses vulnerable to force damage


Offense


Speed 20 ft.; fly 20 ft. (poor)
Melee 6 spiked chains +28 (2d4+8/19–20 plus grab)
Space 5 ft.; Reach 120 ft.
Special Attacks chain command, rend (2 spiked chains, 2d4+12), sundering rend


Statistics


Str 26, Dex 24, Con —, Int 15, Wis 20, Cha 22
Base Atk +19; CMB +27 (+31 grapple, sunder); CMD 44 (46 vs. sunder)
Feats Bleeding Critical, Combat Refexes, Critical Focus, Disruptive, Great Fortitude, Greater Penetrating Strike, Greater Sunder, Hover, Improved Sunder, Penetrating Strike, Power Attack (–5/+10), Spellbreaker, Weapon Focus (spiked chain)
Skills Fly +32, Intimidate +35, Knowledge (religion) +31, Perception +34, Sense Motive +34, Stealth +36
SQ fighter’s iron


Special Abilities


Bloodsense (Su) A jack-in-irons knows if any creature within 60 feet has ever killed a living creature.
Chain Command (Su) All chains (including spiked chains) within 120 feet of a jack-in-irons are under this undead creature’s command. A creature wielding a spiked chain within 120 feet of a jack-in-irons must succeed on an opposed Charisma check against the jack-in-irons to attack with the weapon. On a failed check, the creature cannot wield its weapon in combat.
Fighter’s Iron (Ex) A jack-in-irons counts as a 19th-level fighter for purposes of qualifying for feats.
Spiked Chain Immunity (Su) A jack-in-irons is immune to damage from spiked chains.
Spiked Chains (Ex) A jack-in-irons’ spiked chains threaten a critical hit on a 19–20. These spiked chains cannot be disarmed.
Sundering Rend (Ex) A jack-in-irons can perform a sunder attempt with its spiked chains. If two spiked chains successfully deal damage to an object with a sunder attempt, they automatically deal rend damage to the sundered object.

Posted on

5 Questions Every Sorcerer Should Be Able to Answer

Sorcerers can be a bit of a problematic topic, depending on what edition of the game you play. If I remember correctly, they came into existence because a sizable chunk of the Player’s Handbook was for wizards only so they created another class that used the exact same spell list. So there are some originalists that do not feel they should exist. I’m more of a modernist in that sense where I accept the class as they are and go from there.

The basic concept of the class itself is that you can just do magical abilities. No matter the reason why, you can just wave your hands, utter what would otherwise sound like nonsense and BOOM magic happens. Frankly it sounds like that if the magic didn’t happen, you’d be locked up for insanity. But here you are, making with the magic. So yeah!

If you want to play a sorcerer, here are five questions that will help you get into your character. See our 5 Questions for bards, clerics, druids, fighters, monks, paladins, rogues, and wizards here.

1) How Did Your Magic First Manifest?

One day you were an average person. The next you were making sparks shoot out of your fingers or you levitated something or you made someone suddenly agree with you. Wait a second, how do you know that that last one wasn’t just a really persuasive argument? Simple, you tried it again without waving your arms or putting that same amount of force to your voice and it didn’t work. It is only when you did that exact same sequence over and over again that you realized that you were making magic. The same is true with the other spells you cast. You tried to make fire happen without waving your hands or suddenly gain the ability of perceiving magical auras by speaking different words but they simply don’t happen.

This brings us to a first if several non-obvious truths about the sorcerer class: sorcerers have to work hard at their magic. Being a wizard requires years if study while sorcerers just make the magic happen so it is easy to think that being a sorcerer is easy. That’s simply not true. There is no guidebook to being a sorcerer. Wizards literally have a book that says this is how you make magic; sorcerers have to reinvent the wheel for every new spell they want to cast. That requires lots of work and patience.

2) When Was The Last Time You Lost Control of Your Magic?

Like I said, being a sorcerer just happens. You did something and unexpectedly magic just happens. So was anyone hurt when you did that? How about the second time that happened? Third? How many times were you told to keep your magical powers under control after you broke something without meaning to? In your anger did you burn someone without meaning to? Is this why you left home and became an adventurer, because you feel you are a danger to those you care about decided to not return until you could control your new-found powers better?

3) Did You Always Choose to Use Your Magical Abilities for Good?

Frankly, I hope the answer to this one is “No.” It is far more of an interesting answer to decide to choose good instead of always being good. Say you left home in a hurry because you had burned someone, not bringing much in the way if food or supplies. You are now a homeless person. So if you manage to outrun the stories about yourself, you’re going to be hungry. So you walk into a tavern and and charm your way into a free meal and a night’s rest from the tavern owner. So when the tavern owner comes to their senses and brings their spouse comes to collect what you owe, you try again and fail and get run out of another town. Sooner or later (maybe after spending a few nights in jail for your actions, maybe after you saw someone in need and you helped and someone looked upon you favorably for the first time since you developed your powers), you realize that you have to clean up your act and can use your abilities to earn your keep instead of stealing it from others.

This brings us to the next non-obvious truth about sorcerers: it’s easy to go bad. Instead of choosing to clean up your act, suppose you always decided to stay selfish. Sure you did the occasional good deed so you could tell yourself you’re a good person, but much of the time you are motivated by your own wants and desires, ignoring the pain you cause others. That way is easier, even quicker. That is a seductive thought, one that your sorcerer should be able to understand, no matter which way they choose.

4) What Spell Is Inside of You That You Can’t Seem to Cast?

Much like Rincewind with a powerful spell inside of him that doesn’t want to come out, you should also have a powerful spell inside of you that doesn’t want to come out yet. You know it is inside of you, but you can’t seem to get it to come out yet. Maybe you don’t even have a name for it yet, but you can feel it inside if you, deep in your soul. Do you hold it back until you can control it? Perhaps you try to bring it out, but it simply will not come out yet. Is it asleep inside if you and you are not sure you want to wake it yet? This is why I like to make my sorcerers with a theme. You know you have a raging inferno inside if you and you try to tap into it and instead you only get burning hands. You try again and you get scorching ray. Then fireball and so in until you can fully tap into that power deep inside if you that you know is there.

This brings us to our last non-obvious truth about sorcerers: it should be confusing as hell. Why does flapping my arms and saying nonsense make magic happen when it doesn’t for someone else? Why can I now call forth this one spell when I couldn’t yesterday? How come I could make this magic spell before but I simply can’t now? There should be very little about your abilities that actually makes sense. That would make some seek stability. Which brings us to our last question:

5) What Do Your Fellow Adventurers Offer You?

Why are you with this group of adventurers instead some other group? The simple answer is that they offer you something that others cannot: stability and acceptance. Your powers can be viewed as weird or downright scary by those that do not understand them. For you to stay with your fellow adventurers, they must have accepted you for who you are. Maybe they express that acceptance while teasing you, but they will stand by your side if anyone is mean or attacks you. This group may very well be the most stable relationships you have had since you developed your powers. So the question then becomes, what will you do to defend them when they need you?

Greyrend, our signature sorcerer, left her clan of lycanthropes and other skinwalkers when she was only 12. She could only manifest her magical powers when she was angry and she did not have much control of her powers at first, making her an outcast. She tried to live among humans in her human form, but growing up among wolf-people didn’t imbue her with the greatest amount of social skills. While she can unleash destructive power, she prefers to focus on ways to enhance her natural fighting abilities and to adjust the minds of those that oppose her, making it feel like she has some acceptance, even if it is only for a little while. Since joining up with her fellow adventurers, she has had to change other people’s minds far less. They are helping her interact with others when she is less than socially graceful and teaching her how to get along better with others.

Greyrend is featured on the cover of the adventure Deadly Delves: The Chaosfire Incursion for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Download this adventure today and check out all our Pathfinder, D&D 5e,13th Age, and Traveller titles today at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Posted on

5e: Great Eagle

How many times have we all said that the answer is the giant eagles? I mean, come on. That has been the answer to how many problems in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies? Yet the one in the book is only CR 1 and Large size. There’s no way that thing can go toe to toe with the great flying creatures that the Nine ride. So if you are a druid looking to call upon wondrous help when you cast conjure fey, you will need this choice creature.

Why not have a truly memorable character ride a great eagle instead of just another elf or dwarf. Download the Book of Heroic Races Player Races 2 for your Fifth Edition game at JonBrazer.com. You can also find this at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, the OpenGamingStore and Paizo.com and make your 5e character something truly special.

Great Eagle

Gargantuan beast, neutral good


Armor Class 15
Hit Points 81 (6d20 + 18)
Speed 10 ft., fly 80 ft.


STR 20 (+5) DEX 21 (+5) CON 16 (+3)
INT 9 (–1) WIS 17 (+3) CHA 12 (+1)


Skills Perception +6
Senses passive Perception 16
Languages Giant Eagle, understands Common and Auran but can’t speak them
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)


Keen Sight. The eagle has advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.

Actions


Multiattack. The great eagle makes two attacks: one with its beak and one with its talons.
Beak. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d8 + 5) piercing damage.
Talons. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (2d6 + 5) slashing damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 15). Until this grapple ends, the target is restrained, and the great eagle can’t use its talons on another target.