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“Death” In The “Family”

You may have seen my post on social media that my computer died Monday. What exactly happened and what does it mean for JBE. First, what happened: the hard drive went. The boot sector is dead and nothing I do is bringing it back. “Have I tried …” My wife is a computer adept. She tried it. She was able to bring it back enough to copy any files that weren’t backed up online to a thumb drive. There’s still a few more things she wants to try, but what we lack is time to do them immediately, with Thanksgiving being this week and family obligations filling our weekends for the next few weeks. More than likely, I’ll be buying a new computer sooner rather than later.

What does this mean for JBE? Fortunately, there’s good news: my old computer works perfectly fine. It’s been sitting on my desk since I got the laptop and I’ve been wondering what I should do with it. Well, now I know: put it right back where it use to be. Sure, it has lots of updates to do, but beyond that there was nothing wrong with it. I just couldn’t play Skyrim on it. Oh well…

Next bit of good news: earlier this month, I decided to pay for online storage earlier this month and set up the computer so it would auto-backup anything in certain folders. So every file for JBE is saved, and when I left for the day job this morning, I was syncing it with my old computer. I even have the cover backed up that I was working on the night before the hard drive bit the dust. Grand total of files lost: zero.

That’s the good news. Any bad news? Well there will be two things lost: time (syncing, digging out activation numbers, working on an older system, computer shopping, trying to get the old one repaired) and money (new computer/repairing computer cost). How much, I don’t know yet. This much, I am sure about: I will not compromise the quality of our products because of this. If I tried to publish Deadly Delves: Nine Lives for Petane for Pathfinder RPG in December, it would be rushed and may not be up to our standards. Instead, I am delaying it until January 2018 and bringing 13 Fighter Talents and Maneuvers for the 13th Age Roleplaying Game up into December’s slot. The first in our 13 Class Options series is going to be significantly shorter and will require less time than a level 12 adventure. This should be completed before Christmas with the computer delays without compromising quality. I will admit, this is not how I wanted to show off the cover for it to you, but I hope you like it nonetheless.

As far as the rest of the schedule goes, I do not anticipate any issues, but I will keep you up to date should any such issues arise.

Have a happy holiday.

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5 Questions Every Fighter Should Be Able To Answer

It doesn’t matter which fantasy game you play: Pathfinder, D&D of any edition, 13th Age, Swords and Wizardry, or any other variation on the game, they all have someone that is easy to for a new person to play that generally involves swinging a sword. Some move onto more complex classes; others stay with their tried and true favorite. No matter how long you have been playing the classic fighter class. Just because the mechanics are not terribly complex does not mean that role playing such a character should be stunted. Fighters can be just as involved and complex characters as any other on the board. To help you get into your character and see the world through their eyes, here are five simple questions that can help you immerse yourself into your character even more.

1) Why Did You Start Fighting?

You didn’t pick up the sword yesterday. You have trained for this. You fought against something and you emerged victorious. What was it? Why did you fight? Did you grow up on the family farm and a spider the size of a dog start spitting its venom at your family nearby and you attacked it with your garden hoe? Did the king conscript you into some battle and you happened to survive? Where you sold into slavery and thrown into a pit with another slave and were told to kill the other before the other slave killed you while the crowd took bets on who survived? No matter how you answer that question it will provide you with a solid foundation for your character.

2) Why Do You Fight Now?

Sure, fighting may not have been your choice before, but why do you do it now? You could be sitting in a tavern drinking, in a mine swinging a pick axe, a local guard, someone in the regular military, someone that loads the cargo docks, or one of a hundred other jobs that will probably see you having a longer life expectancy than walking into a dark cave looking for trouble. Are you on the run from someone more powerful? Perhaps you are trying to avenge the death of someone you held dear. Maybe you already killed the person that murdered your loved one and are now just trying to earn enough money to have the dead person resurrected. Did you return home from the war having seen so much that no one you love wants to be around you anymore? Have you been fighting for so long that you no longer know who you are until you are wearing the armor and swinging your weapon? This will help you find out who this character is on a day to day basis.

3) When Will You Not Fight?

“When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like the nail,” is an apt expression for the fighter. “Something is coming!” “I STAB IT!” Fighters are frequently accursed of being from the “Stab first, ask questions never,” school of thinking. But even they will sheath their swords if the right thing is put in front of them. The question is, what is it for your character. Is it an old war buddy that had your back? An old commander, mentor, teacher, or family member that helped you become what you are today? Perhaps it is a wounded bunny rabbit, even if it is sitting on top of a suspicious-looking tree stump with what could be a weird grin on its front? How about instead of it being something that obvious, you will stay your hand for something less expected, like when a member of a religious order appears, even if you do not appear religious at any other time. Perhaps you will not fight on the anniversary of your parent’s death, and you just won’t tell anyone why you are spending the day in a bar. This question is important because it introduces a source of internal conflict in your character, helping them go from an idea to a person.

4) What Are You Afraid Of?

Everyone is afraid of something. Some won’t admit it, but even they are. Are you a sensible person and are afraid of spiders? Did you see your dead buddies on a battle field being raised before your eyes and now have a terrifying fear of dead bodies just lying around? Is the sound of war drums or the way the ground shakes when cavalry is charging right at you? Is it the musty odor of a dungeon or the putrid smell of rotting corpses? Even worse, is the screams you hear every night as you try to fall asleep that can only be quieted by massive amounts of alcohol? Like the last question, having a fear is a source of internal conflict that provides depth to the character, but it also gives the person a way to grow. By standing up the fears, you can make a character that fights not only the demons on the battlefield but also the demons raging inside.

5) Why Do You Trust The Rest Of The Party?

Please note, I didn’t ask “do you trust the rest of the party?” The answer to that question must be a resounding “Yes.” As someone that has played his fair share of games that involved the rest of the party not trusting each other, it can go bad. Like ending friendships bad. Yes, I am speaking from experience on this. Many campaigns start with the group coming together and that is fine, but after a while you all need to have a talk where everyone finds reasons to trust each other beyond “they fought beside me.” Consider having a session where everyone stays in character the whole time around the fire and everyone gets to know the other characters. You’d be amazed at just how bonding that can be to a group.

What Other Questions Should A Fighter Be Able to Answer? Leave Your thoughts in the comments below.

Darlanrea, the elven fighter, is featured on the cover of our adventure Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin. Download this adventure today for Fifth Edition, Pathfinder RPG, 13th Age, and Swords and Wizardry.

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13th Age: Befouled Air Elemental

Deadly Delves Reign of Ruin (13th Age)

If you haven’t played the 13th Age Roleplaying Game, you really should. It is a solid take on Fourth Edition of Dungeons and Dragons that focuses on the best parts and leave the less fun parts to the wayside. Not only that, it is designed with great and important people in the world and your relationship to them. In the same way that Gandolf was an important person Middle Earth and had to leave Bilbo and the dwarves to their own devices in The Hobbit, so here are the icons. They delegate tasks to the players, and the players’ actions have a major impact on the world.

Today we are showing off a befouled air elemental from the 13th Age Compatible version of the adventure Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin. This creature is meant to be a magical construct, similar to elemental but suffused with negative energy. We hope it is quite a bit of fun in your game.

Befouled Air Elemental

A noxious funnel of dust, debris, tumbleweeds, and stinking swamp air twirls toward you.

3rd level troop [construct]
Initiative +9

Whirling fury +8 vs. PD—10 negative energy damage.

Natural 16+: The target is hampered (save ends).

C: Lightning strike +8 vs. PD (1 nearby or far away enemy)—5 negative energy damage and 5 ongoing lightning damage; The air elemental moves through the target’s space and cannot be intercepted during this movement. It must end this movement nearby the target.

Flier: Air elementals are flawless fliers, changing altitude with great ease.

Resist lightning 16+: When a lightning attack targets this creature, the attacker must roll a natural 16+ on the attack roll or it only deals half damage.

AC 20
PD 17 HP 45
MD 13

If you want to see more 13th Age Compatible adventures, download Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin today from. the JBE Shop. Your support helps us create more great products. This adventure is also available at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, and Open Gaming Store.

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The 2017 Not Going to Gen Con Sale for Print Books

Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium

As you are gearing up for Gen Con, getting ready the year pilgrimage to Indianapolis, I am sad to say that JBE will not be attending this year. That, however, does not mean that you should be sad because we just relaunched our Not Going to Gen Con Sale. This year, it is all about the print books.

That’s right, this sale is on books you can hold in your two hands. Those that love the feel of the covers, the smell of paper, the sight of seeing the book on your shelf, and the ability to make notes in the margins, this sale is for you. You can grab these books for a nice discount.

How much of a discount you ask? Easy. All of our print books that are more than $10 are $5 off. If the book is $10 or less, it is $2 off. That simple. And this is on ALL of our print books, even the one we released only a few short months ago. So if there is a new release you wanted and you wanted it in print, now is your chance to pick it. Do you want to read it now? Well that is even easier. For $2 more, you can get the PDF. This means you can devour it now and still have the print book on your shelf.

Which books are on sale? Great question.

Monster Books (PFRPG)
Book of Beasts: Legendary Foes
Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane
Book of Beasts: Monsters of the River Nations

Adventures (PFRPG)
Deadly Delves: The Gilded Gauntlet
Deadly Delves: To Claw the Surface
Shadowsfall: Temple of Orcus

Player Races (PFRPG)
Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium
Book of Heroic Races Compendium
Book of Heroic Races: Half-Faerie Dragons
Book of Heroic Races: Seedlings

Traveller
d66 Compendium
Creatures of Distant Worlds Compendium
Mech Tech ‘n’ bot: Fighters and Small Ships
Character Datafile

Fifth Edition
Deadly Delves: Rescue from Tyrkaven

13th Age Compatible
Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin

This sale is exclusively at DriveThruRPG and RPGNow. So hurry over there and order your books today. This sale will not last long. Share this sale with your friends on Facebook and Twitter as well as with your regular gaming group. I am sure they will want these books in their hands as well.

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Meet the Iconics: Runa Cloudsoles

There are many projects that I started long ago, got distracted from, and never got back to. One of them was introducing you to all our iconic characters. Well 2-1/2 years late is better than never, right?

I would like to share with you the tale of Runa Cloudsoles, our signature cloud dwarf cleric. Read our tales of Darlanrea Moonbright, our elven fighter and Edward Amante, our human rogue. I am sure you will find Runa’s tale most fascinating, yet relatable.

Name: Runa Cloudsoles
Race: Cloud Dwarf
Gender: Female
Age: 87
Background: Miner of cloud silver
Reason for Becoming an Adventurer: Fell to the ground, cannot return home

While in training to become a cleric of Marduk, Runa Cloudsoles spent her days in the cloud mines mining cloud silver. Her family needed her to work so she spent her days working the mines and her nights at the local temple in Cumulia in studying and performing rituals. All the other acolytes came from clans that did not lose anyone to the giants in their various wars or were from clans influential enough to sponsor them while learning their trade. Neither was true for Runa, and had to provide for herself and her sister and two brothers until they were of age.

It is fortunate that one of her brothers was of age and was able to provide for the other two when the accident happened. Mining cloud silver is always dangerous. A miner digs too deep and a leak opens, causing a downpour that takes all the miners in the area with them. It was not her fault; one of the other miners was careless and the bottom dropped out of the cloud. If she had not been so tired, so overworked from years of working, studying, and acting like the parent her family lacked, perhaps she could have saved herself from falling to the ground far below.

Most cloud dwarves know that doing so is almost certainly death, but a few here and there survive. Runa was one of the lucky ones. Perhaps it was Marduk looking out for her. She may never know for sure, but she believe that that is the case. She landed was cushioned by several other cloud dwarves that dropped down first and died upon impact. At first she tried to get back, but she lacked the money to hire a wizard to fly her there. So she turned to adventuring to earn the money to go home.

By the time Runa earned enough to contact her brothers and sisters to find out how they, she was a full cleric of Marduk. She talked with them enough to know that they are doing ok, their brother Guthrik took up silver smithing to pay the bills. She also learned that she was blamed for the mining accident. With no family connection, the elders blamed her and pretended it never happened. If she showed up back home, however, she would find life most difficult.

While she is sad for what happened, she counts it as a mixed gift from Marduk. She is free to be a cleric and adventure, spreading justice and her god’s thunder wherever she goes. All for the price of never being able to go home and see her family again. That knowledge drives her to become the best cleric she can be, hoping to one day to see them again and take her brothers and sister somewhere where they can live safely, where family connections do not matter.

She has a new clan now, adventurers all like her. She guards their back and they hers. Sure they are not dwarves like her, but they are loyal to her like any clan should be. It is not a better clan, just a different one.

Runa Cloudsoles graces the cover of Deadly Delves: To Claw the Surface. Download this adventure for Pathfinder at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Download all of our Deadly Delve Adventures for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, the OpenGamingStore, and Paizo.com, our Fifth Edition Adventures at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, the Open Gaming Store, and Paizo.com, and our 13th Age Compatible Adventures at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow and the Open Gaming Store.

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We’re On YouTube

I created a YouTube Channel about 2 years ago, but I have not really done anything with it until lately. Earlier this month, however, I decided to give regular vidcasting a try, and I have to admit that it is fun. If you ever wanted to find out more about what is going on in my head when I write something, or have the curtain pulled back on the process, or if you just really like what we create and want to hear more about it, this channel is great for that.

I will admit there is a second motive for me to do this: I need exercise and this keeps me honest. I am far from a slim person, and it is all too easy for me to skip my walk to do more at the day job. That needs to change. By recording myself on my walk, I have proof that I actually walked, and by sharing my thoughts on my company or what I am working on right now provides me with that necessary bit of motivation I need to get me out the door when I otherwise would stay at the desk. I encourage you to go for a walk as well. If recording yourself and sharing it on YouTube helps you, then I encourage you to do the same.

Watch our channel to hear more about us and what we are working on and subscribe today.

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13th Age: A New Age of Races Has Begun

A New Age for Heroic Races

Go beyond the standard fantasy races and play a new breed of hero! These intrepid adventurers forge their places in legend with circuit, claw, feather, and gill. Now you can play one of these heroic races in your home game and battle monsters like never before.

Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 2 introduces a number of playable races for your 13th Age Compatible game. This 17-page supplement gives you everything you need to include the following races at your table:

  • Androids, born of logic and circuitry originating from beyond the stars
  • Geppettoans, wooden constructs who rebelled against their former masters
  • Gillfolk, human-like dwellers of the deep sea fighting the horrors below
  • Moonblooded, half-lycanthropes who become bestial in battle
  • Tengus, crow-like creatures consumed with greed and avarice

Be Heroic With These New Races Today!

Download the Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 2 for your 13th Age Compatible game at the JBE Shop, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow and the OpenGamingStore.

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13th Age: Shift Your Shape With the Moonblooded

Next week sees the release of the Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 2, and we couldn’t be more excited. We are taking many of the races we developed in-depth for Pathfinder and bringing them over for your 13th Age Compatible game. We’ve got 5 races in total in this book: androids, geppettoans, gillfolk, moonblooded, and tengus. Today we are going to look at the moonblooded.

I will be honest, I was hesitant about bringing a shapechanger playable race into 13th Age with Richard Moore proposed it. As far as I know, there hasn’t been one yet, and I was not sure how it would be received. I know Richard knows his stuff so I gave him the green light. After seeing the race, I am glad I did. I really like this race and think it is a solid addition to any 13th Age game. See for yourself.

Moonblooded Racial Traits

Moonblooded have the following racial traits.
+2 Wis; also see Racial Power.

Change Shape (Racial Power)

You may shapeshift into a bestial form as a standard action once per battle. When you do so, you can increase either your Str, Dex, or Con by +2, and your unarmed melee attacks deal damage as though you were wielding a two-handed light or simple weapon for your class (unless you are a monk and your damage dice and attack bonus for such an attack would be higher than this amount, in which case you use the better of the two).
Champion Feat: You now change shape as a move action, and your unarmed melee attacks benefit from the effects of two-weapon fighting (see the “Attacks” section of Chapter Five: Combat Rules in the 13th Age Core Rulebook).

Download the Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 2 for your 13th Age Compatible game at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow and the OpenGamingStore.

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2016 in Review

With little over a week left in the year, I thought I would do some analysis on the company. How’d we do? Well, we released a total of 11 new products this year (plus 4 d66 lists, but we’ll talk about that later). In previous years, we tried to release one product every two weeks but sometime during the year that changed to one per month. We feel that that is a more sustainable release rate for us, especially considering we are trying to release larger products.

So what did we produce? What I could consider to be JBE’s key releases for the have been finishing up the the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Series and the Book of Magic: Patron Hexes for Pathfinder and the start of the Prelude to War Adventure Path and the D66 Compendium 2 for Traveller. Why were these so key? Because fans like you requested them. I’ve been hearing requests for the D66 Compendium 2 since the release of its predecessor. Patron Hexes started off as a forum thread where fans of the Pathfinder witch requested more hexes. And the Prelude to War Adventure Path and Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Series is the request of me just posting a thread asking people what they wanted. So if there is something you want us to tackle, please ask. We listen.

systemWhat was the result (click on the pie charts for larger images)? Well, as you can see from the graph, Pathfinder represented 55% of the company while Traveller made up about 30%. Oddly enough, our single best seller was Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 1 for D&D 5e. That’s right, that red area is almost entirely one book, and that was released last year. I hate to admit it but we did not do nearly enough with 5e this past year. We will be doing much more for D&D next year.

Traveller was a major comeback this year. Aside from d66 lists we released 1 (yes, one) product for it last year. This year, this year it was 4 and even then, we didn’t finish up a 5th by the end of the year or there would have been one more. We have two more adventures in the Prelude to War Adventure Path we are finishing up. Then we will probably do a few stand alone adventures for those that like to make their own campaigns. We’re also working on ships, space stations, and some more locations. Oh and we still have a sector to finish detailing. Look for these in the coming year. 2017 is going to a massive year for Traveller from us. Strap in!

pathfinder-locationIt is kind of hard for Pathfinder to not dominate our sales considering how many books we have written for it in the past. Unfortunately, our individual Pathfinder releases have slowed to where few products actually make back their cost to produce them. Having said that, we are still creating Pathfinder material because some of our ideas are just too damn cool not to do!!! Like one Deadly Delve adventure we have coming up next year has the players into the heart of a volcano. The best part is that 5e and 13th Age fans can look forward to seeing this converted to their game systems at some point as well. And that is how we are targeting Pathfinder products these days when you don’t ask explicitly ask for them: what can we convert over to another system. Because if we just want to do it bad enough, we’ll find a way to make it work.

As you can see from the chart, Pathfinder is pretty evenly split between Paizo and the OpenGamingStore for the whole year. However, this is far from representative for the year. Throughout the year, OGS has gained ground on Paizo and has overtaken Paizo in recent months as our #1 Pathfinder retailer. DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, on the other hand, has stayed a constant #3 and has never been a great retailer for Pathfinder for us. Will OGS continue to increase over Paizo in terms of Pathfinder sales? We shall see.

locationThat last chart is only for Pathfinder. For all of our sales, DriveThruRPG/RPGNow dominates but that is mostly because our D&D 5e and 13th Age sales do not sell nearly as much as outside of DriveThruRPG, and Second Edition of Mongoose Traveller is exclusive to that same site.

All of these leaves a number of questions for us. Chief among them is: how is Starfinder going to shake this up? What kind of releases do we have in mind for Starfinder? Well for the time being, here is everything I can say about Starfinder: I am under a Non-Disclosure Agreement concerning Starfinder as part of the closed Playtest. Any more than that and one of the Paizo team will have me summoned to Seattle where lawyers will … lets just say … do this to me. Expect me to talk more when I am allowed to talk more, not before.

So aside from that, what can you expect to see us do in 2017? Well I mentioned the volcano adventure. It is written by Joel Flank. He turned it in a month ago. I am still reading it over and damn does it look fun. I can’t wait to hand it off to the editors and start working on the 5e conversion. The Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium will be out early next year and you can expect to see more races from that in 5e soon after hopefully in 13th Age not long after that. We have a product that has been top secret for over a year at this point and we hope to have ready next year.

All in all JBE is doing great. We have had a great year and we expect 2017 to be even better.

EDIT: On Dec 27, I updated the graphs and some of the text after discovering an error in my spreadsheet.

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Last Day of the Christmas in July Sale

Its the last full day of the Christmas in July Sale. Now is the best time to grab many of our PDFs while they are 25% off. That is just about every single PDF we have. Be it a Pathfinder book on settling a wilderness rules like the Book of the River Nations, monster books like Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane, adventures like the Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin, or player races like Book of Heroic Races Compendium.

Or if you are want Traveller, get the d66 Compendium and the D66 Compendium 2, vehicles like the Foreven Worlds: Vehicles of the Frontier, careers like Player Careers Pack 1, monsters like the Creatures of Distant Worlds Compendium, or  fighters like Mech Tech ‘n’ bot: Fighters and Small Ships.

Players and Game Masters of Fifth Edition can get adventures Deadly Delves: Rescue from Tyrakven and Along Came a Spider and the races in Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 1 at a great discount right now.

13th Age GMs will enjoy getting 25% off of Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Great Druid, or an adventure like Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin, or NPCs like Age of Icons: 100 Lich Queen Agents.

Don’t forget everything else we have on sale right now on the Christmas in July Sale going on right now at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow.

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Sale: One Day Only $2 Sale on Pathfinder, Traveller, 5e, and 13th Age

Book of Beasts: Legendary Foes (PFRPG)

Book of Beasts: Legendary FoesToday only, we are running a $2 Sale on all of our items currently on sale that normally sell for more than $4. That is a minimum of 50% off the regular price and as much as 80% off. That’s right, you can get our PDFs that are normally $10 for the rock bottom price of $2. This mean for Pathfinder you can grab for $2:

d66 CompendiumFor Traveller, be sure to grab:

For 5th Edition, don’t miss out on:

For 13th Age, download right now:

Don’t forget everything else we have on sale right now on the Christmas in July Sale going on right now at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow.

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13th Age Compatible: Under the Sea

Book of Heroic Races: Age of Ideas 1 The Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 1 is available now. So far we have shown off the catfolk, lizardfolk, and samsaran races. And now we are sharing with you the merfolk race.

Although initially cautious around members of other races (for land dwellers have long coveted the riches of the sea), merfolk are insatiably curious about the world that exists above the waves. They are rare compared to other races, but certainly not unheard of. Perhaps their perceived rarity is also due to merfolk adventurers disguising themselves as humans or elves, fearful that revealing their true identity might repel their newfound friends or draw undue attention to their aquatic cities. Bards, commanders, and sorcerers are highly prevalent among this race due to their natural charismatic bent.

Merfolk Racial Traits

+2 Con OR +2 Cha.
Magical Amphibian:
Merfolk can magically morph their fins and tail into legs, or vice versa back into half-fish form, with a full-round action. They can move and fight in water as well as a flying creature can in open air when they are in their half-fish form.
Siren Song (Racial Power)
As a move action once per battle, you can sing a beautiful melody reminiscent of a gentle sea breeze, or a mournful dirge that carries the portent of tidal waves. Until the end of your next turn, all nearby allies add the escalation die to their defenses, OR all nearby enemies subtract the escalation die from their defenses (your choice).
Champion Feat: Using your siren song is now a quick action.

Download Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 1 for your 13th Age Compatible game at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow and the OpenGamingStore (formerly d20pfsrd.com).