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5 Questions Every Druid Should Be Able to Answer

The clerics of the natural world, druids believe in the divinity of nature and the elemental forces. They draw their magical power directly from these forces. This gives them power to tap into incredible raw power that they can channel for the greater good (the greater good) for the Wild places.

Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium

Join us each Friday as we delve into the classes one at a time, helping you to get in touch with your character. Previously we had similar questions for fighters, clerics, monks, bards, rogues, paladins, and wizard.

Before I continue, we have been having trouble with our Facebook account and have been unable to share our posts in groups for quite a while. So we are asking you to help us. Please share this post (any any other post of ours you find entertaining) to your Facebook profile, any Facebook groups you belong to that would find this post helpful, as well as any other social media platform (Twitter, Google+, Reddit, etc) that you frequent. This will help us during this period. Thank you in advance.

1) Where Does Your Deep Connection with Nature Come From?

You’re not just some random person wandering around a forest. You are a priest and defender of the wild. You can feel the pain of the trees as an axeman cuts it down. You experience the pain of animals hunted for their skins. You cannot bare the enslavement of wheat plants in rows for food instead of being allowed to grow wild and allowed to live a full life, free of civilized taint. Where do you get it? Do you worship one of the elemental lords? Were you blessed by a fae queen? Do you have a shard of the planet’s spirit in your soul? Where does your connection come from?

2) What is Your Spirit Animal?

This one is weird since it sounds like a game term, but it isn’t. A spirit animal, as I mean it, is the soul of a beast that is inside a person, like when a person and their pet have pretty much the same personality. A druid, possessing a deep connection to nature, would be deeply connected it there spirit animal and they would let it show in their mannerisms, their attitude, and their whole person. So what animal spirit do you possess? Consider making that the creature you change shape into, when you gain that ability.

3) How Do You Behave in Urban Environs?

The short answer to this one should be, “Not well.” Remember, you are the priest of nature, and when you are in a city, you are witnessing trees and stones forced into unnatural shapes to make buildings. This could make you angry and want to yell at carpenters and stone cutters. Before your eyes, you see horses forced to wear bridals and harnesses and being made to work for their supper instead if being free spirits. This could make you want to free the horses when the the stable master’s back is turned. Or you could instead see nature as undefeated in the city, forcing people to give a wide berth around a weed that is growing in the middle of a street or giving the rats some food. What is your personal style of behaving “weird” by city folk standards?

4) Why Would You Side With Humans Over Fey?

You may be a priest of nature, but you are still human (or a dwarf or elf or whatever). No one ever sees what their side is doing is completely right, unless you are brainwashed. Reasonable people can disagree. So what would make you say that the side of nature has gone too far and want to protect some humans? Would it be some fey resorting to murder instead of playing the pranks that most fey resort to. Is it fine to kill a dwarf that cuts down a tree? Is it ok to kill an elf if you eat it (since that is nature’s way)? Is disrupting human commerce as far as you will go to protect your furry friends? How far will you go?

5) How Do You Share Your Love of Nature to Fellow Adventures?

Obviously you are working with your fellow adventurers towards the greater good (the greater good) of protecting nature, even if that is not their goal. Yet if they do not respect the wild places, it is doubtful that you will stay with them for long. How do you share with them your passion for protecting the untamed wilderness? Do you make shelter for them each night so they do not have to endure the elements during the night? Do you call and have a deer come to you so your party can eat and not have to hunt? Do you wake up each morning surrounded by bunnies and song birds and ask the others to hold them as a way to start their day off on a positive note? How do you spread the joy of nature?

Kanoa is our signature druid, although some call him an oracle of the sea. His kind, being one of the gillmen, live underwater and are distant relatives of humans. He sleeps with the fishes and walks with an octopuses. While he has no problem with shipping, he does mind it when ports and harbors dump their garbage in the sea, and he makes his displeasure well known to the council chambers of local cities. His eternal fight for the sea is never done.

Find the racial stats on the gillmen race and other nature-friendly races in the Book of Heroic Races Compendium and Advanced Compendium for Pathfinder, Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 1 as well as Player Races 2 for Fifth Edition, and Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 1 and Age of Races 2 for 13th Age.

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5 Questions Every Wizard Should Be Able to Answer

Wizards are the geeks of the fantasy realm. They spend quite some time in books, prefer to spend time in a library instead of with other people, and they are frequently imagined as wearing glasses. They are the studious ones, the one that went to a university and can bend the universe with a gesture of their hand, words of power on their tongue, the right magical material within their grasp and an investment of power from their mind. The road to become a wizard or wizardess is far from easy and many burn out along the way. You are one of the lucky ones that was able to achieve such a lofty goal without losing your mind or worse.

Experiences that you had while learning to harness such power will shape your outlook on the world, and these questions will help you define that outlook. Previously we had similar questions for fighters, clerics, monks, bards, rogues, and paladins.

1) Why Did You Start Learning Wizardry?

Did your parents scrimp and save in order to send you to wizarding school? Did you exemplify some basic talent and a traveling wizard took you on as their apprentice? Are you from a rich family and going to wizarding school was always in your future whether you wanted it or not? Were you a blacksmith that wanted to learn to enchant your swords because enchanted swords sell so much better? Did you simply decide that that is what you wanted to do with your life? Did you follow someone you were in love with? There are all kinds of answers to this question and yours should be both unique and interesting.

2) How Did You Learn to Wield Arcane Power?

The two most obvious answers to this questions are at an arcane college/university or as an apprentice to a great wizard. Other less common answers include self taught, a tutor as part of your upbringing in a great wizarding family, and other similar examples. The important distinction in this answer is that you are taught from another source as opposed to a sorcerer where the magic was always inside them.

Describe what your schooling was like. Did you learn illusion magic quickly so you could make an image of yourself taking notes while you cut class? Did you have to perform hundreds of menial tasks for your teacher in exchange for them teaching you the basics? Did you take up mud artistry in addition to leaning transmutation magic so you can change your clay statue into stone?

What where your classmates like? In a sizable school you’d have dozens, hundreds of peers. As an apprentice, you’d have only two or three. Do you have close friends or bitter rivals? Come up with a memory involving classmates that happened during your schooling years that you remember fondly and another one that still causes you pain.

3) Why Did You Leave?

If you start off as a 1st level wizard, you are far from accomplished. Sure you can cast cantrips all day and a few 1st level spells, but there is so much you cannot do yet. First year Hogwarts students could levitate a troll’s club. While a first level wizard could levitate the feather with a cantrip, the club is out of the question. Nor can you locate your lost keys, unlock a door because you lost your keys, nor walk on the walls to get to the open second floor window which you wouldn’t have to do if you could find those dang keys. Like I said, you’re barely competent as a wizard, yet you left your studies behind. Why did you do that?

4) How Do Others Perceive You?

As I said above, wizard are the nerds of the fantasy world, and nerds are not known for their popularity. So how do others see you? Does your family get you and what you are doing, or do they just not understand what you study and why you do it? Do the people that you grew up with respect you or fear you? At the same time, do you hold a grudge against those that picked on you when you were young and now seek revenge now that you wield immense power? Do you make friends easily, or do people risk getting blasted by magic just to punch your face within ten minutes of meeting you?

5) What Have You Learned From Your Fellow Adventurers?

The thing about wizards is that they never stop trying to learn. Every moment is an opportunity to learn something new. So what is it you learned from your fellow adventurers? Do you learn to always expect an ambush from the ranger or how to secure your belongings from the rogue? Did the monk teach you that meditating can help focus your mind? Or rather is it that your fellow adventurers inspired you to learn something new? Did you learn to make someone large to help make the fighter more deadly in combat? Did the bard teach you the value of enchanting someone?

Luis is our signature halfling wizard. He learned wizardry from his tribal mage because he was one of the clever people in his tribe and wanted to learn arcane secrets. When the tribe was taken over by a priest that wanted to return to the old ways, he and the others well schooled were thrown out of the tribe. Being a halfling, he was able to make friends faster than other wizards. From his fellow adventures, he learned to accept himself for who he is since he no longer had to hide his intellect to appease religious extremists.

Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin features Luis blasting a black dragon with ice. Help us bring you more great role playing game posts by downloading Deadly Delves: Reign of Ruin for Fifth Edition, Pathfinder, 13th Age, and Swords and Wizardry. Use the “holiday2017” coupon code to get 30% off your order today.

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5 Questions Every Paladin Should Be Able to Answer

I have seen quite a few paladins in my time—both at the table and in fiction, and my favorite is O-Chul from the Order of the Stick Comics. He is what a paladin should be in my opinion, fighting for justice without overdoing it. Paladins have a stereotype of being “lawful stupid.” Frequently they appear so full of themselves and their station that they make everything about them.

A paladin should put their deity above everything incuding their own pride. They shouldn’t be glory seeking zealots but seeking to glorify their deity through their every action. Their should be someone with rock hard faith in the rightness of their cause, not the rightness in themselves. If anything, they should doubt themselves, questioning whether or not their every action is the right one to exemplify the rightness of their deity and their cause. Here are 5 Questions to help you role play a paladin better. Previously we shared with you 5 Questions to help you play a fighter, cleric, monk, bard, and rogue better.

1) What Caused Your Strong Devotion to your Deity?

Following a deity is one thing. You worship, follow a few tenants, and go about your daily life. Being devoted is another. A devoted person will take time out of their day to contemplate how to best incorporate their deity’s tenants into their actions and will wonder if they are devoted enough. Being a paladin is far, far more devoted than that. You are so devoted that you are willing to go into dangerous places risking your own live to do your deity’s work and are willing to kill while doing so. Being that devoted should be sobering. One does not do that “because it seemed like a good idea at the time,” at least, not for long. The person had to have had a life changing event to inspire that level of devotion. So what was it? Were you rescued from certain death or worse by a servant of that deity (or the deity him/her/itself/themselves)? Perhaps you were in a bad place in your life and the church helped you leave that life behind. Did you lose a family member to monsters or strung out on demonic narcotics and a paladin of this deity was the only thing that kept you alive? What bad place were you in and how does this deity help change that in you?

2) What is Your Purpose?

For many religious people that find faith because of some great change, they feel they now have a purpose to their lives that they lacked before. What is that purpose? “Spreading the word of the deity,” is far too easy and generic of an answer. It would be specific and would relate directly to your old life before you began worshiping the deity. It is this purpose that propels you to wake up every morning, even when you are questioning your devotion to your deity. You remember what your life was like before and are determined at all costs to not return. You swore an oath and follow a strict code of conduct that keeps you on that purpose. That purpose can suddenly change your perspective in any situation. If you were addicted to drugs, you would be particularly merciful to someone you were after the moment you found out they are hooked on those same narcotics and even more wrathful if the person you are after sells those bits of false pleasure. If you purpose is to hunt down demons so no one else’s family need die and you were hunting down a nest of demon worshippers, you would only show mercy to those that were doing their bidding out of fear, not out of a desire for power. What drives you?

3) What About Yourself Do You Not Like?

You swore an oath and follow a strict code of conduct because you were in a bad place and do not want to return. The thing is, deep down you blame yourself for being in that bad place in the first place. If you didn’t blame yourself, you could have fought your way out of that situation and became a fighter or learned to see the right opportunity to escape it and became a rogue. Instead, you couldn’t adapt, couldn’t figure a way out, and needed rescued. Situations like this can make a person turn their anger at the situation inward and see the fault with themselves, making them not like some aspect of themselves.

Yet there is the purpose that let’s the person ignore that inner struggle, silencing it for a time while focusing on the work. As such those unresolved feelings fester inside and can make the paladin stumble. This is exactly why paladins have the ex-paladin sections in their class description, about breaking their oaths. Everyday for a paladin should be a constant struggle between the good person they want to be and the darkness that lurks inside. What is that darkness for you?

4) How did those you know respond to your change?

People don’t like change. You have changed yet your old friends and family have not. They are still in the same place they were before. Some people can handle that you are a different person now; others cannot. Some relationships should end, like those that helped you to get to your bad place. Others were unaware of how bad that place you were in truly was and do not understand what that change means to you. So when you start trying to help them in ways they do not want helped, it is not uncommon for people to abandon the changed person. Name three relationships that changed for your character. The first should be someone that helped get you to that bad place. The person can be evil but does not have to be. The second should be someone you were close to before but you are now estranged from. The third should be someone you casually knew before but are now close to after your change. All three of these people should be people your GM can use as NPCs to cause internal conflict, making the story more personal.

5) Why Do You Stay With Your Fellow Adventurers?

Let’s be honest, adventurers can be a rather unpredictable lot. They steal, fail to show proper respect for “worthy” deities or those that serve them, and can commit all manner of sacrilege, not because they are evil (necessarily) but because they are ill-informed of what they are doing. Is this why you stay with them? To help them see how they could be better? Or do you see the person you use to be before you went to your bad place and are trying to help them find a way to avoid the same fate? Is this simply a relationship of convenience, where they happen to be fighting the same evil you are? Or do you genuinely care for them and as a good and faithful friend you are sticking with them?

Corrakwak is a tengu paladin (sometimes preferring the term inquisitor) of the goddess Amanozako, bent on making sure that all are treated fairly. He despises those that go back on their word having once been left for dead by those that use to be his close friend. As such, Carrakwak has trouble making close friends now, but has learned to trust his fellow adventurers enough to know they will not cheat him. Now he fights for truth and justice with a vengeance.

Carrakwak is featured on the cover of the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium for Pathfinder, the Book of Heroic Races Player Races 1 for 5e and Book of Heroic Races Age of Races 2 for 13th Age. Download these today at the JBE Shop with the “holiday2017” coupon code until January 31st for your game to choice to get 30% off your order.

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Happy Festivus and Merry Whatever

With the holidays upon us, get yourself something that you really want. Download the JBE book you have been wanting now through January 31, 2018 for 30% off your entire order at JonBrazer.com with the “holiday2017” coupon code.

From all of us at Jon Brazer Enterprises, have a safe and happy holiday.

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State of the Enterprise 2017

Good day everyone and welcome to the State of the Enterprise 2017.

Before I begin on I want to take a moment to thank everyone that helped make JBE the success it this year and in all the years proceeding. I want to thank my wife who does not want to be talked about much online who supports me in all I do. Thank you to my two editors Kevin and Richard and the many authors and artist whom make all the wonderful products you enjoy. Thank you to all the people at DriveThruRPG, Paizo, and the OpenGamingStore for selling and promoting our books, helping us to get our books into your hands. Thank you to Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Mongoose, and Pelgrane Press for letting us make gaming material for your games. Thank you to everyone that told your friends how awesome our books are. Lastly, thank you to our fans like you for all your support over the years and for sharing our passion. All this we do is for you and for the love of the game; thank you for being apart of that love.

Book of Heroic Races: Advanced CompendiumSo how have things gone for the past year and where are they going next year? First up, our accomplishments: we finally have a schedule that works for us. We have been releasing 1 product every month since Fall of 2016. This year proved that we can hold that schedule. Some are rather thick like the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium. Some were rather thin like the Book of Magic: 10 Warlock Invocations. Yet we still made it. Why is this a big deal? Because being regular and on time is huge part in showing those that are skeptical that we are reliable and approach our work seriously. Previously we tried releasing 1 product every two weeks, and we simply could not sustain that. Some months we did succeed in releasing 2 products. Those were frequently followed up by months without a single product. Just take a look at the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium. That book was supposed to take 1 year to get all the individual PDFs released. It took 2 years. While the quality of that book was well worth the additional time, it did show that we bit off more than we could chew. We learned from it and the next project like this we do, we will allocate our time better. Hooray for lessons learned!

Another major development with JBE is the creation of our own webstore. I decided it was long past time to invest in the website and gave it an upgrade, including a way to sell our books, both in print and PDF online. If you haven’t downloaded from us directly yet, I invite you to do so with the coupon code “holiday2017” to get 30% off. The coupon code expires on 31 January 2018. So be sure to do that today.

All in all, I have to say that it was a good year for the company. The worst thing that happened to us is that my computer died on me. Even though I had all the data backed up online, temporarily switching to an older system tends to impede workflow. A new computer has been ordered (Acer Aspire Tower with an AMD Ryzen 7 processor, Nvidia 1070, and 16 Gigs of RAM, for all you technophiles out there), but I do not have an estimate on its delivery date yet. With Christmas a week away, I would not be surprised if it arrived next year, but I can hope. My Skyrim and Witcher III games are about to get an upgrade. As we all know, however, even this can’t hold a candle to the graphics in our imaginations.

Traveller

Foreven Worlds: Rusted Fang StationTraveller remains our favorite science fiction game. It is quick and simple, allowing the GM to focus on the story rather than a bunch of mechanics. That really was what led to the creation of Foreven Worlds: Rusted Fang Station. This was meant for Traveller referees to have a location they could use and incorporate into their own games. Its a small station, meaning the players can take their time to get to know everyone aboard from commander to the maintenance staff. It is a place for legitimate business people can make deals that are on the edge of the law. We really liked this little piece and feedback on it has been great. Expect to see more locations like this in the future. I started working on the next one recently, a Zhodani domed city. “But how can the Zhodani be interesting with all their people mind altered into thinking everything is puppies and unicorns?” That is the exact question we are setting out to answer, and we hope to give you a new perspective on them. Look for that in 2018.

At the time of writing this blogpost the rewrite of the Prelude to War Adventure Path part 3 should be arriving at our door soon. Between edits, artwork, and layout, we are hoping to have it out in the summer. That is one thing we learned for future Adventure Paths: have all the adventures in hand and edited before the first is published. This way, we can release the issues one after the other in rapid succession with only the monthly break in between.

In years past, when I was bored or frustrated and infront of a computer, I would create a Pathfinder monster. In the last few months, I realized that that habit has been replaced by the creation of a Traveller vehicle. As a result, I have a nice little database of Traveller vehicle stats. Sure they all need a description and artwork, but one piece of a nice Traveller vehicle book is well on its way to being made. While such a book is not on the schedule at this point in time, I would not be surprised if it were not created at some point during 2018. Keep your eyes pealed.

13th Age

My feelings on 13th Age can best be summed up as the Little Game System that Could. It is not our best selling system, but it holds it’s own, and we are happy with it. I always expect Pathfinder and Fifth Edition to dominate sales because they have such a large player base, but because their base is so large they attract an overwhelming number of publishers, giving players more choices than they know what to do with. Smaller games like 13th Age and Traveller have far fewer publishers catering to the players of that game. So it is easier to get a player or GM’s attention.

Our first release for the year was a conversion of Pathfinder races to 13th Age, Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 2. Giving players more choices in the races they play is something we have done for some time and are glad to do the same for this game. We may do another set of converted races (or even some new ones) next year, but I forsee us focusing on more products like our second release—13 Fighter Talent and Maneuvers. This short supplement is designed with one class in mind and expands players options, allowing a player to customize their character to the player’s unique vision. Supplements for the Wizard, Cleric, and Rogue classes are planned throughout the coming year.

Fifth Edition

In a number of ways, what happened with Pathfinder happened with 5e but on a much more accelerated pace. Two years ago when I released Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 1, it quickly became a smash hit and one of our best selling products that year, if not our best selling product that year. It’s sequel, Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 2 released earlier this year, did not sell at the same pace. The reason for this is simple: increased competition. When Pathfinder was released the number of companies supporting it we’re few, but as time passed that number grew. The same has happened to Fifth Edition, but on a much quicker scale.

The solution to this situation is simple: distinguish yourself in a way your competitors cannot, essentially putting yourself in a market of one. We do have plans to do exactly this but they will not be ready in 2018. We are taking a long view with 5e and will be working to make something amazing for it, something you are going to want to grab the moment it is released and hug it and squeeze it and call it “George.” For next year we have a number of adventures and magic item supplements that GM’s will be sure to want to get their hands on. Who knows, we might even make some more monsters. We’ll see. Expect great things from us in 5e’s future.

Pathfinder

For obvious reasons, our best selling product of 2017 was the Big Book of Everything. Have everything bundled up for 90% off and it goes like hot cakes. It does, however, mark the beginning of the end of our Pathfinder support. We are still releasing high level adventures well into next year (and possibly beyond) because GM’s need the help and there are far too few adventures that go up that high. For them, we are glad to help. You can count on us next year.

The first two will be coming out rather quickly. Deadly Delves: 9 Lives for Petane was supposed to be out this month, but my computer dying required me to push it back a month. This 12th-level adventure written by Christen N Sowards of Lost Spheres Publishing has the players trying to figure out which body is the right one to bring back from the dead, and the stakes get worse as time goes on. Deadly Delves: The Dragon’s Dream by Landon Winkler is a 16th-level adventure where the players are asked by a group of psychopomps to travel into the demiplane formed by a dead dragon. Both of these adventures are challenging and fun to boot. If you like running high level games, be sure to check these adventures out.

We do have one other product coming out next year that is not an adventure—the Book of Heroic Races: Occult Intrigue in the Wilderness. When we started designing what would become the Book of Heroic Races Advanced Compendium, we specifically excluded Occult Adventures and Ultimate Intrigue, despite both fans and authors asking to include material from them. We decided against it since we did not want tengu, catfolk, and other early released races excluded merely because of timing. Now that the Advanced Compendium is complete, we have the time and do right by all of the race and create rules for all these races with the classes found in these books plus Ultimate Wilderness, and that is exactly what we are doing.

Sword and Wizardry

With all the good news we have to report, there has to be some bad. Unfortunately, it is with Swords and Wizardry. We decided to convert over an adventure—Book of Heroic Races: Reign of Ruin—to this old school system to test the waters. I set a very low threshold of sales it would have to meet for us to continue to support it. Two months and a 4-Star review from Endzeitgeist later, and it did not make it a third of the way there. Should it get there we’ll talk about more releases, but for the time being all of our old school plans are on hold.

That is all the plans we are able to talk about at this point. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ and subscribe to our newsletter to stay current of more previews of upcoming and current products from us and see our regular blog posts through the week. Remember to use coupon code “holiday2017” to get 30% off at the JBE Shop.

Dale McCoy, Jr
Jon Brazer Enterprises

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5e: Bloodboar

Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Forbidden Woods (5e)

I consider myself primarily a monster maker. Some specialize in new class options, adventures, magic items, or whatever. Me, I can just take a look at some piece of artwork and can just see all the ways it can tear a human to shreds, eat it alive, take over its mind, or a number of other bizarre desires it may have. This is why I write monster: it just comes to me. This also is why I share monsters every Wednesday with you. Previous 5e monsters I shared on this website include the draugr and the snapping skulls trap.

Today, I bring you a bloodboar. This relation of a pig is as large as a hill giant and as deadly as an ogre. They have a deadly charge and are downright terrifying. This is a monster worthy for the players to fight against. Pit your players against this monster today.

Bloodboar

Large beast, unaligned
Armor Class 13 (natural armor)
Hit Points 37 (5d10 + 10)
Speed 50 ft.
Str 16 (+3) Dex 11 (+0) Con 14 (+2)
Int 2 (–4) Wis 9 (–1) Cha 5 (–3)


Senses passive Perception 9
Languages
Challenge 2 (450 XP)


Charge. If the bloodboar moves at least 20 feet straight toward a target and then hits it with a tusk attack on the same turn, the target takes an extra 3 (1d6) slashing damage. If the target is standing on the ground, it must succeed on a DC 13 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.
Relentless (Recharges after a Short or Long Rest). If the boar takes 7 damage or less that would reduce it to 0 hit points, it is reduced to 1 hit point instead.
Actions


Tusk. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft.; one target. Hit: 10 (2d6 + 3) slashing damage. If the target is a living creature, it must succeed on a DC 13 Constitution saving throw or have its speed reduced by half until the bloodboar’s next turn.
Battlesqueal (1/Day). A bloodboar can let out a loud squeal, calling all nearby boars to attack. All boars that can hear the bloodboar’s squeal gain advantage on their next attack.

The bloodboar is one of the many monsters in the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Forbidden Woods. Download this book today at JonBrazer.com. You can also find it at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

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5 Questions Every Rogue Should Be Able to Answer

Comparing a fighter with a rogue is a healthy exercise and helpful when trying to understand how these characters are fundamentally different. When in a fight, a fighter walks up to the thing and beats it down until it is dead while a rogue will look for the creature’s weak point and strike there. When trying to get something from a cave where a monster lies sleeping, a fighter will most likely wake it up with the clanging of its armor and then have to kill it before getting the treasure while a rogue will quietly sneak past it and just take it. When trying to talk their way into a room past a guard, a fighter will try to intimidate the guard into letting them pass while a rogue may intimidate but will more likely turn on the charm and convince the guard that they should already be in there. The common thread in all of them is that a rogue relies on looking for the opportunity, and that is where the heart of your character should lie.

To help you flesh out your character, we have 5 questions for you that you, as the player of the rogue should be able to answer through your character’s eyes. If you prefer to play a fighter, cleric, monk, or bard, we have 5 questions for them as well. So lets begin.

1) Why Did You Start Seeing the Opportunity in Every Situation?

Being a rogue doesn’t mean that you look for an opportunity; it means that you just see the opportunity in every situation. You were not born seeing the opportunity. This is a survival mechanism; you were made. So something had to happen over and over again, and you compensated by looking for ways to fight back. This happened so often that it comes to you as easily as breathing. So what was it? Did you grow up an orphan on the street and had to hide in order to avoid the bigger kids? Are you the scion of a noble and were constantly tricked by someone jealous of your station? Was one of your parents an abusive drunk that would beat you until you could find ways to keep the drunk from attacking before the beatings began? In short, something in your life was not pleasant for a long time and this is how you survived. What was it?

2) How Did You Escape that Bad Situation?

You’re an adventurer and are no longer in that bad situation. The story of how you got out of there is one that will hold considerable meaning to you as it will be your goto backup plan the moment the chips are down. Did you run away from your problem? This will probably mean that if the battle turns badly, you may well abandon your friends to get away. It will also mean that you take feats and other class choices that let you move faster and get away without taking attacks from your enemies. Did you finally confront that abusive parent and say, “No more!” If that were the case, you’d probably make character choices that let you attack before anyone else, striking hard with that first blow, ending the fight right away. It also means you would rush into battle faster than the fighter. Did you outsmart your jealous rival, tricking them as you were? This means you will rely on far less conventional tactics than most characters. Maybe you will use a net, whip, or other weapon that incurs some type of penalty onto your enemy. Your method of escape is a proven method of survival in your mind. What is it?

3) When Did You Fight Your Instincts and Trust Someone?

Trust is a difficult thing when you have been treated in some fashion that turns you into a rogue. However, those that do not trust lead very lonely lives. Sooner or later you have to take a chance and trust someone. Come up with three examples. Two of them should be good friends, even if you have moved on and have not talked to them in a long time. The third should be someone that let you down. It could be out and out betrayal, but it could also be something as ordinary as simple human failing. Remembering those that you trust is what keeps you trying to trust again. Feeling that pain of being let down should always temper that trust, keeping you from getting too close.

4) What Actions Will Make You Trust Again?

As mentioned previously, you don’t trust easily. To a rogue, actions speak louder than words. You have heard words over and over again and no longer trust them. “I won’t get drunk and hit again,” “I only want to help you, “I won’t tell anyone your secret.” It doesn’t matter. You’ve heard all the lies. So what does someone have to do to make you trust them? Is it someone that makes sure you get a fair share of the gold? Someone that stands up to a bully? Honesty no matter how much it hurts? What is it that will let you put your guard down to someone?

5) How Does Staying With Your Fellow Adventurers Benefit You?

While you will not sell out your fellow adventurers, you can walk away from them at any time. So why do you stick with them? There must be something in it for you? Money is the obvious answer. Going on adventures makes you rich. Yet you could find another group of adventurers. Why do you stick with this particular group? Do you trust one of them (or *gasp* all of them)? Are you doing it as a favor for someone that you want a favor from? Did someone you trust ask you? Or are you with them only for the moment and could leave when you get paid? Why are you still in this group?

Edward grew up a noble but renounced his birthright because of all the political games he had to play. He did run away, stealing to survive from that day forward. It was the Princess Yolanda that made him trust again. So when the King caught Edward and Yolanda together and he talked with them, Edward trusted the King as well. Now he adventures to prove himself worthy of the Princess’ hand and the King’s approval, trying to amend his past crimes.

Edward stands tall on the cover of Deadly Delves: Rescue from Tyrkaven. Download this adventure for Pathfinder and Fifth Edition. Download these and all of our books today using coupon code “holiday2017” to get 30% off this and everything else at the JBE Shop now through January 31, 2018.

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5 Questions Every Bard Should Be Able to Answer

“Why did you think going into the dungeon and singing at the monsters was a good idea?” Let’s just agree that the idea of going into a deadly location armed with a tune is silly concept, at least at first glance. Yet, no one will hear of the hero’s exploits unless someone that is skilled at retelling the tale of heroic is there to witness them. In so doing, they have to know how to stand their ground and meet dangers head on. So it makes sense that they would use what they are best at to full effect.

To help you flesh out your character, we have 5 questions for you that you, as the player of the bard should be able to answer through your character’s eyes. If you prefer to play a fighter, cleric, or monk, we have 5 questions for them as well. So lets begin.

1) How Long Have You Been Training?

Anyone can move to music. Anyone can pick up an instrument, blow on it or pluck a string, and make noise. Anyone read words on a page while changing pitch. These, however, are not the product of years of training, dedication, and long hard work. That is what you have done. Day in and day out you played your lute until it comes to you as easily as breathing. You strengthening certain muscles while hammering your dulcimer, carrying your tuba, lifting your trombone again, and again, and again. Imagine what it was like, being a child on stage performing your dance routine and years later still performing. Not only are you good, you are captivating, enthralling, mesmerizing, inspiring. Your performances are quite literally magical. What were those long days like? Did you enjoy them or were they downright torture? This is actually the perfect intro to the next question…

2) Why Did You Start Training and Keep Training?

First off, why did you start? Did it seem like fun? Did you try it out and liked it? Were you forced by your parents for some village or clan festival? Trying it is one thing; continuing it is another. Children are notorious for trying something and stopping the moment it gets hard. So why did you stick to it? Did you tell your parents you wanted the instrument, they got it for you, you were unhappy when it got hard and your parents made you continue after they spent the money for it? Did they tell you how proud they were of you for doing so? Were you determined to earn someone’s approval by playing hard? Were you trying to emulate the local performer? What made you keep going when it was hard?

3) How Did You Learn a Bit of Everything?

Bards may not be experts in any one area, but they are darn good at just about everything. They may not be front line fighters but they know how to use a number of weapons well. They may not have the spell breadth of a wizard, but they do have a solid number of spells. Their skill selection is diverse. How are you so well educated, so much of a jack of all trades? Did you get sent to college or did you go to the school of hard knocks? Was far more expected of you than most others or were you naturally gifted at learning anything you were shown once. How are you so good at everything?

4) What Drives You To Be Better?

While this answer should always be, “To be better than I was yesterday,” what fun is there in that? If anything this is a great end point for your character—coming to a point where you are in competition with no one but yourself—but not a good starting point. This is a point of professional conflict with your character. Are you trying to be better than someone you consider your equal, that started around the same time as you, but got all the recognition that you feel you deserve? Perhaps you want to be just like your hero, the one person that got you into performing in the first place. Maybe you have this idealized version of yourself and you are forever striving for it but never attaining it. Over the course of the campaign, you should come to terms that you are only in competition with yourself, and talk to your GM about wanting to explore this in the campaign. Maybe your rival or hero can play a part in the campaign and your character can find a kind of peace when they finally see the truth of the situation. This will make your character engaging long after the campaign is over.

5) What “epicness” does your current group of companions present?

If you are going to tell the tale, sing the songs, perform the scene of the exploits of your character and their adventures, their deeds should be worthy of tales, songs, and plays. Maybe they haven’t done anything yet, but you see the spark inside them. What is it that makes you believe in them, and how does being with them make you believe in yourself more?

Sharem is our signature transman samsaran bard. He remembers himself playing instruments and telling tales in previous incarnations and started playing to connect with his former lives. That is what kept him practicing year after year growing up. Today he is more of an actor than a musician. He makes his performances showy, using his whip whenever possible to swing over the audience. He uses similar showmanship when in the dungeon as well. By keeping the monsters’ attention on himself, his companions can take them down with ease.

Sharem and his fellow adventurers are on the cover of the adventure Deadly Delves: The Gilded Gauntlet. Download this Pathfinder book today using coupon code “holiday2017” to get 30% off this and everything else at the JBE Shop now through January 31, 2018.

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5 Questions Every Monk Should Be Able to Answer

Monks may not have been in every edition of d20 fantasy games, yet most accept them as one of the core classes. If your only exposure to what a monk should be is by watching Kung Fu or by watching bad (awesome!) martial arts movies, then I recommend checking out a few other sources of inspiration. High up on my list is the movie Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring. It is an excellent movie about the life of a monk. It can help you see a monk as a complex person rather than just someone that wanders around spouting nonsense and calling it wisdom (wah). You could also sign up for some martial arts classes and understand first hand the discipline a monk possesses. Unlike learning sword fighting and casting spells, martial arts classes are relative common and should be taken advantage of if you want to understand how a monk sees the world.

If you want to play a monk, here are five questions that will help you get into your character. See our 5 Questions for fighters and clerics here.

1) Were You Born To This Life, Or Did You Choose It?

The fundamental question, how did you get here? This will alter your world view. If you were raised from a small child to be a monk, you will see their ordered way of life as the only natural way to live. Such an austere lifestyle will be something you do not even question. You will recognize the importance if breathing and how it relates to life and fighting. However, you may always wonder who your parents were and why you were sent to the monks. If you joined a monastery later in life, you may choke at the lack of pleasures, chafe at the rules. Like Doctor Strange, you find it difficult accepting their ways and practices. Yet you choose this life for some reason. What happened that made you see this lifestyle as better than the one you previously choose.

2) Why Did You Start Adventuring?

Unlike classes like fighter and ranger that pretty much require adventuring, monk is one of those classes where it would be completely normal to stay in the building where you train and never go adventuring. So why did you? Did your master send you out in the world to gain experience (not XP) so you can achieve a higher plane of enlightenment? Perhaps you walked out of your own accord, not feeling that the reasons you originally joined changed. Did “real” life happen, like a family member die and you are now just wondering around looking for answers before returning to the monastery? For one fleeting moment, did you achieve enlightenment and now are trying to reattain it?

3) What Do You Think Of The World Outside the Monastery?

Now that you have spent time in the monastery, what is it like going out into the world? If you were raised by monks, this place would be strange, almost alien in the way that people do not treat each other with respect and honor. If anything, the monsters of the world might be more familiar to you since you probably have seen your fair share of them, being away from civilization. If you were raised in civilization and choose the monastic life and then returned to civilization, you would definitely be surprised by how your perspective has shifted. Things that once seemed normal to you would seem completely unreasonable. Your “fish out of water” point of view should be evident whenever you enter town.

4) How Do Your Actions Demonstrate Your Philosophy?

Being a monk means you have a philosophy, a way of looking at the world that is part practical, part mystical. Unlike lawful religion that sees things in start terms—good and bad, holy and unholy, worthy and unworthy—monks tend see the world through the lens of discipline because of their rigorous training. But the specifics of what your monk philosophy are up to you. The real question is how does your actions demonstration what that philosophy is? Do you believe in only defending and will only attack those that attack first? Will you always give someone the option to surrender? Are you careful where you step, always cautious of stepping on a bug or a worm? Will you have tea with your enemies? Always think how your actions are different than a typical fighter. They should be very visible to everyone.

5) What Do You See In Your Fellow Adventurers

For a monk to travel with adventurers is a great honor. It shows that they are worthy of you. What do you see in them in worthy? What sets them apart? You should be able to answer that for each of the characters.

Emberwood choose to join the Cragtree Monastery at age 407. Before then, it found life confusing. Humans did not make any sense. The monks were the first such humans that were logical and saw the world in much the same way. All the other students admired Emberwood for his ability to meditate endlessly, since it did not need to eat or sleep. Now that he is over 1,000 years of age, he is the last of his monastery. The numbers of the Cragtree Monastery dwindled over the intervening centuries and yet Emberwood stayed. It was only the building collapsing under it that broke it from meditation. In all that time, Emberwood never achieved enlightenment like the other monks had. It recalled the words of one of an old master, that enlightenment sometimes comes from strange places. So it went in search of those strange places. It continues to meditate every morning but then continues on seeking what it had not yet achieved.

Emberwood is featured on the cover of the Book of Heroic Races: Advanced Compendium for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Do you prefer 5e? Download his kind’s racial traits today in the Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 2. How about 13th Age? Download the Book of Heroic Races: Age of Races 2 today. Be sure to use coupon code “holiday2017” to get 30% off this and everything else at the JBE Shop now through January 31, 2018.

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Happy Hogswatch (Or Whatever You Celebrate)

From now through Festivus and all the way through January 31, 2018, you can download anything JonBrazer.com and get 30% off your entire order with the “holiday2017” coupon code. May your Yule be bright, your Saturnalia be joyous, your St Lucia Day be merry, your Kwanzaa be celebrated with family, your Hanukkah be will lit, and have a Merry Christmas. 

From all of us at Jon Brazer Enterprises, have a safe and happy holiday.

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5 Questions Every Cleric Should Be Able to Answer

Last week we posted an article about 5 Questions Every Fighter Should Be Able to Answer. Well, we decided to make that into a series and share with you our thoughts on 5 Questions Every Cleric Should Be Able to Answer. Like last week, this series applies to any d20 fantasy-based game, such as Pathfinder, D&D 5e, 13th Age, or Swords and Wizardry.

Of the core four classes, clerics frequently get the least respect. In books and movies, they seldom have the spotlight. They can fight, but do not have the selection of weapons that a fighter possesses. They can cast spells but not as good as a wizard. In combat, they tend to have to drop what they are doing because the fighter has a boo-boo.

So why play one, other than the party needs a healer? Well, the role playing opportunities are excellent. The class itself is so full character and life that someone playing a cleric should just drink it up. To help you do this, here are 5 questions you should be able to answer when playing a cleric.

1) Why Did You Join This Church?

In all d20 fantasy games gods are as plentiful as puddles after a rain. So why did you join this church? Please note, this question is not, “Why did you join the clergy?” I’m just asking what got your foot in the door initially here. Was it because your parents are dead, and they took you in and raised you? Were you a merchant looking to make important business connections? Did you like the spectacle of their ritual sacrifices? Did a member of the church save you from an undead attack? Were you hedging your bets for the afterlife? Perhaps it was as pedestrian as, you grew up in a small town and it was the only religion in the area. All of these answers will help provide you with a solid foundation for your character.

2) What Made You Join the Clergy?

You could easily have been just a another member that listens to the cleric speak from time to time, made the occasional offering, and lived the rest of your life, but you didn’t. Why? Do you genuinely believe that the deity’s beliefs and methods are something you agree with, and you can see no other way for you to live your life? Do you have a need to tell everyone how much better their lives would be if they just did what your deity said. Were you in some kind of tragic accident/attack that killed everyone in your town/family/etc and the church is all you have left? Is it that you like to kill things, and this is one of the few socially acceptable ways of doing so in a civilized society. Do you crave the power to tell someone that follows the same faith as you what to do, and they do it, no matter what? How about this answer, its just a job. While we have trouble imagining that today, 500-1,000 years ago, being a priest was not a calling of faith but a way to provide a job to the fifth or eighth child of a land owner that didn’t want to split their territory. This is a defining moment in your character’s life, one that keeps you close to the deity’s power. This should not only color how you see the church but the world as well.

3) What Does Your Character Do To Have Fun?

Sure you can play a stereotypical cleric that loves singing the deity’s songs, reading the deity’s holy books, yet even real life clergy get tired of that from time to time. Heck, some even enjoy watching Family Guy. Not many, sure but still. They all have to kick back and relax. Not only that, some are naturally relaxed and can chill with no problem; others never seem to be comfortable having fun. Is your character socially awkward and makes noticeable but cute mistakes trying to fit in while drinking and playing cards? Are they an entertainer that missed their calling and are the life of the party by singing and juggling? Perhaps your character is more studious and is a voracious reader. This question adds a layer of complexity to the character and provides your character with more depth.

4) Where Do You And Your Deity Disagree?

The all to frequent answer to this is, “I don’t know. I never thought of that one before.” Before being asked that question, most players of clerics just substitute their deity’s beliefs for their own and call it a day. Remember, you are playing a person, not a bunch of talking points. Play someone with their own unique point of view. This can be technical, trivial point that no one outside the church’s clergy would care about or this can be as a serious fundamental point? Perhaps it is that you felt the deity should have acted to save someone from harm and the deity failed to do so. This sets up a conflict between the character and a major part of their life. If you want to explore this aspect, make sure you communicate this to your GM to build something with that in your game.

5) What Is Your Relationship To the Rest Of The Group?

Do you see your party as potential converts and are always telling them about why they should kneel before your god’s symbol? Do you see them as allies on a common mission. Are they just comrads in arms or are they friends? Like I said last time, you should definitely trust your party. However, that doesn’t mean that you cannot have a complex relationship with them.

Runa Cloudsoles is our signature dwarven cleric. Her clan worshipped Marduk and joining the clergy was her dream. She seldom had time for fun, working the cloud silver mines to help her family earn a living. Now that she lives on the ground, she is free to seek adventure. While Marduk believes justice should involve an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, she shows mercy more often than others of her order would otherwise be. She sees her fellow adventurers as friends that work towards similar goals: justice, adventure and wealth. Runa, however, wants to use her wealth to talk to her family and find out if they want to live on the ground with her and make a safe and stable place for them. Read more about Runa here.

Pathfinder player? Give your cleric a celtic flare and download Book of the Faithful: Celtic Subdomains today. Do you prefer Fifth Edition? Check out the Book of Heroic Races: Player Races 1, which includes the cloud dwarf subrace which Runa is one of.

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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.