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Pathfinder: Book of Beasts Preview #5, Table of Contents

Book of Beasts: Monster of the Shadow Plane (PFRPG)

This whole week we’ve been previewing the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the River Nations. Earlier we took a look at the unquiet giant, darkling, appendixes and the Monsters from the Bestiaries. As our final installment we’re showing you the Table of Contents. Click on the image to see the enlarged version of the page.

Look through and you will see a wide variety of CRs from low to high level monsters. We’ve got sub CR 1 monsters like the Dull Mite and the Monkeybat and we’ve got high level monsters like the Champion Helblar and the Starak. We wanted to make sure all levels of play were supported with this book, not just the early levels. We hope that this monster book will be invaluable to those that have been asking for high level support while still enhancing the low and mid level games.

One last thing we have been saving. We raised enough to print enough quantities of our Free RPG Day adventure to get 3 in every box! That’s right. So now there is more than just the one copy that goes to the store’s best Game Master. Now there is enough for others to that have been excited about this or those that have never heard of us to grab yourself a copy.

I hope you have been enjoying these previews as much as we have had sharing them with you. Tell your local game store today to preorder you a copy. Don’t forget our PDF Guarantee allowing you to get an electronic copy when the buy the print version.

PS: Oh and look what just arrived!

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Pathfinder: Book of Beasts Preview #4, Bestiaries

This whole week, we’re previewing the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane. Monday we started with the unquiet giant. Tuesday saw the darkling. Yesterday detailed the book’s appendixes. Today we’re looking at how the Book of Beasts helps to create a full environment for Shadowsfall. Click on the image to see the enlarged version of the page.

As you can see, we combed for all three of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiaries for you for all monsters that work best in the setting and listed them all for you. All the monsters listed on this page are monsters that we encourage you to use straight out of those monster books with no variation. But really, the Plane of Shadows has … well … just about everything the material plane has. As we described at the top, you can use any monster you want with the darkened template applied. We also wanted to make sure that we empowered GMs to use any monster they want to come up with their ideal story. To that end, we described how a normal monster that normally would not be on Shadowsfall could be found there. That last bit has more details in Shadowsfall: Shadow Plane Gazetteer, but we wanted to give you a start now.

Tomorrow is our last preview of the Book of Beasts. We’ll show you the table of contents so you can see exactly how many monsters there are in the whole book, their names and their CRs. Tell your local game store today to preorder you a copy. Don’t forget our PDF Guarantee allowing you to get an electronic copy when the buy the print version.

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Pathfinder: Book of Beasts Preview 3, Appendixes

We’re doing previews all week of the upcoming Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane. Monday we previewed the unquiet giant and yesterday we previewed the darkling. Today we’re taking a look at the Appendixes in the Book of Beasts. Click on the image to the left to see an enlarged version of the image.

The three most common monsters on the Plane of Shadows are Shadows, Skeletons and Zombies. However, all these of these appear in Bestiary so they are not new monsters. Skeletons and Zombies are templates so you can make your own pretty easily. However, we wanted this to be a real resource for GMs playing a Shadowsfall game so we gave added a few appendixes to the book. Each of these appendixes fill a 2 page spread of pregenerated monsters. While we did a few low CR versions of these templated monsters, we gave them a little shake up. As you can see in the image, the cave fisher shadow has an incorporeal filament attack that can attach to a creature’s shadow, something a normal shadow does not possess, but still familiar to those that have fought a cave fisher before. Additionally, we also have high CR versions on the second page. Expect to see a CR 21 ancient dragon shadow, a CR 16 Fighter/Rogue Half-Elf Skeletal Champion, and a CR 17 sorcerer gnome juju zombie.

After these three appendixes, we have the darkened template. This template describes how most creatures that spend generations on the Shadowsfall end up being altered by the Plane. This is similar to a celestial/fiendish templated creature.

Up next we have the parts that turn this from a book of monsters to a true bestiary in its own right. The next few appendixes are the Universal Monster Rules, Feats, New Creature Subtypes and Creatures by CR. All the rules from the Pathfinder Role Playing Game Bestiary 1-3 that were used in this book are collected into one place so you do not need to reference another book if you need to reference a particular ability. Same with feats. All the feats used in this book that cannot be found in the Pathfinder Core Rulebook are collected here. So Flyby Attack comes right after Combat Patrol and Bloody Assault.

Tomorrow we’re releasing the Monsters from the Bestiaries page. This will help you in your game to make full use of your monster books and make a true environment setup for your game.

Incase you had not heard, the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane left the printer and is on its way to the warehouse. Soon it will be working its way through distribution. Be sure to tell your local game store today to preorder you a copy. Your game store can give you a PDF copy of the book when you do.

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Pathfinder: Book of Beasts Preview #2, Dread Gargoyle

Yesterday, we previewed the unquiet giant. Today we’re taking a look at the Dread Gargoyle. Like yesterday click on the image to see a larger version.

The dread gargoyle emphasizes is one example of a themes we wanted in Shadowsfall: that monsters here are recognizable, but they’re twisted and far more dangerous. A number of monsters including the black worm, dull mite, onyx ooze, and spectre lord are all similar to the monsters that we all know and love, but have been changed either by having been on the Plane of Shadows for generations or by “living” in a place that is ideal for them. In the case of the dread gargoyle, there are lots of ruins around, allowing it ample living space. Spectre lords, by contrast, are not held powerless by the dim sun of the Shadow Plane.

These creatures are not merely the same as their material plane brethren with more hit dice and higher attack bonuses and DCs. Oh no, my friend. These creatures possess new and dangerous abilities that make them more than the creatures your players expect. May evil GMs everywhere rub their hands together in glee.

Tomorrow we take a look at the the most common creatures in Shadowsfall: shadows, skeletons and zombies. Pre-order this book today at your local game store or at your favorite gaming website and get the PDF for free when you do.

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Traveller: d66 of Planetary Bureaus and Criminal Hideouts

Bad aliens! Bad aliens! Whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

Ok, I won’t torture you with my singing.

We’re excited to announce we’ve got two new d66 being released today. First up is d66 Criminal Hideouts. Need someplace imaginative for the alien your characters are searching for to hide, look no further. This list covers everything from low-life drug dens to high class private floating islands. Grab some new ideas where to stash your NPCs today.

Also up, we have d66 Planetary Bureaucracies. Sooner or later, everyone has to deal with some type of government bureaucracy. Name your offices something unique and a little troubling like the Vargr Registration Office or something totally opposite of what it actually does like Institute of Peace and Justice for the office in charge of oppressing the masses. Give your planets their own flavor with their own Planetary Bureaucracy Names.

Grab these and other d66 lists today at DriveThruRPG.com

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Legend RPG: My First Cult, What Do You Think?

In my spare time (both seconds), I keep up to date on other RPGs. One that I’ve been following is the Legend RPG. I’m not sure if I should provide support for it. So please, tell me what you think. If there were a bunch of these together in one product, would you buy something like this? Are you looking for something different or presented a different way? Would you want these with NPCs? I’m sure you’d like to see custom spells/heroic abilities, but I didn’t want to go to far on my first attempt. Please leave your thoughts as a comment.


Bronze Star (Chivalric Martial Order)

While calling a member of the Bronze Star a heartless mercenary is not true, it is not far off. The Bronze Star exists to bring order to the varying mercenary bands that rove the country side. It serves to make contract negotiations more prosperous and passage between nations easier. Plus it helps to train its members to become better fighters.

The Bronze Star has a code of conduct that its members are sworn to uphold. This code includes: never fight another member of the Bronze Star in paid combat, do not turn a blind eye to someone being threatened, do not break local laws unless paid to do so, pay those that help you what they are owed, and obey the Grand Masters of the Bronze Star. Despite the sworn oath, there are few repercussions for failing to obey. Only paying what is owed and obeying the Grand Masters see significant action when members break these tenants. The other tenants exist for good public relations with hiring nations. A lord is more likely to hire a mercenary company had the company prevented his citizens from being eaten by trolls and kept good relations with local guards.

The single biggest service is that it provides schools to teach train military units. Members receive a discount for all training they receive at one of the Bronze Star fighting school. Knights are in charge of teaching new recruits the basics of weapon fighting. Knight Captains train new officers how to effectively order their units in battle. The Grand Masters train veteran officers and generals how to effectively run a war.

Payment in the Bronze Star is done by shares. The amount of money collected is divided by total number of shares of everyone in the Bronze Star’s actions plus the Bronze Star’s shares. The Bronze Star’s has a number of shares equal to half of all those participating in the military action (minimum 1).

Common Magic: Bladesharp, Heal, Protection, Strength

Heroic Abilities: Heroic Aura, Mighty Blow, Severing Slash

Men-at-Arms

To be among the Men-at-Arms in the Bronze Star, characters must possess either a sword or spear style at 30%. Men-at-Arms are not official members of the Bronze Star but may join in a mercenary fight where Men-at-Arms are required and receive a payment. All Men-at-Arms each receive 1 share for their participation.

Squire

Squires are official members of the Bronze Star and are required to have a image of a bronze star on their armor at all times. This is typically stamped and painted onto metal armor or pinned onto cloth or leather armor. Most squires earn their money by adventuring although some routinely take part in sanctioned Bronze Star actions. All squires must have a sword or spear style at 50% and any four other order skills at 30%. Squires are each paid 3 shares.

Knight

Knights are the most recognizable members of the Bronze Star. With a large bronze star embedded into the middle of their armor, they are easily recognizable walking down a city street and on the battlefield. Being knighted requires slaying a known foe or monster, a sword or spear style of a minimum of 70% and four other order skills at 50%. All Knights receive 5 shares.

Knight Captain

Being a Knight Captain means being a deadly force on a battlefield. Minstrels sing songs of their battles and everyone in the region from kings to commoners has heard the Knight Captain’s name. The horse’s armor is decorated in Bronze Stars. A Knight Captain must have a sword or spear style at 90%, any four other order skills at 70%, the Teaching skill at 30%, and one of the order’s Heroic Abilities. Additionally the Knight Captain must be selected for promotion by the school’s Grand Master.

Grand Master

Each of the four Grand Masters is in charge of a fighting school. Although seldom involved in fighting directly, a Grand Master mainly stays with a king or general, orchestrating the war from afar. When a Grand Master enters battle, it is typically to lead the King’s forces because the Grand Master is more capable than the general. Grand Masters receive 20 shares for any military action they directly participate in. To be a Grand Master, the character must possess a sword or spear style at 110%, four other order skills at 90%, the Teaching skill at 50%, and any 2 of the Order’s Heroic Abilities. Once those are met, the potential Grand Master must defeat another Grand Master in a non-lethal single combat. There are only four Grand Masters at a time.

Order Skills

The Bronze Star offers training in : Common Magic, Evade, Resilience, Ride, Track, Any Lance Style, Any Spear style, Any Sword style, Long Bow style

 

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Pathfinder: Book of Beasts Preview – Unquiet Giant

With the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane PDF going on sale next week, we’re spending this week showcasing the monsters in the book. First up is the Unquiet Giant. We’re starting with this one because it is one of our favorites. Click on the image to the left to see the full preview page. First thing you should notice is that this is a CR 13 monster. That’s big because 22 of the over 50 monsters in this book are CR 10 or higher, with the top being 21.

The next thing we want to draw your attention to is the Feats section of the stat block. We placed the relevant penalty/modifier next to Power Attack. I know when I am GMing a game, I have enough numbers flying around in my head that I don’t need to figure out what the appropriate penalty/modifier for the Power Attack is. Hero Lab is our inspiration for that addition. So I’d like to say a “Thanks guys,” to the crew at Lone Wolf Development for that. We did the same for Combat Expertise as well.

Lastly, I want to call your attention to the quote between the stat block and its descriptive text. As we mentioned in our last preview, the quote gives a bit of inworld perspective of the monster either from the monster itself or from others. The unquiet giant’s text in particular is a reference to Andre the Giant’s character in the Princess Bride. When I decided to put in game quotes into the monster book, that movie was one of the first references I thought of and wanted to make sure it went in there. I am glad it is a reference to one of my favorite scenes.

Follow along all week to get more insights and spoilers from new Book of Beasts. Pre-order this book today at your local game store or at your favorite gaming website and get the PDF for free when you do.

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[Pathfinder] Riyal’s Research: Traps Now Available

The great adventurer, abjurer and researcher, Riyal Starlight, has explored much of the world. Throughout his travels he documented many of the dangerous and unusual hazards he has lived to tell the tale. Now within these pages, he shares his findings with you.

Riyal’s Research: Traps brings you two dozen new traps for you to endanger your player characters’ very lives. These traps range in from CR 1 to 19 and include traps from the best kobold designers, traps from ancient temples, and traps in active castles and shops. These murderous menaces will enhance your world and your adventures.

Grab your copy today at Paizo.com or at DriveThruRPG.com

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[Pathfinder] Inspiration of Shadowsfall Monsters

T. Glenn Bane
Now that Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane is off to the printer, I can start to share some of the details from the book. Today I’m going to start off with several of my sources for inspiration. Over 50 monsters are in the book altogether and we drew inspiration from many difference places.

Wonderful Wizard of Oz
This isn’t the old movie. This is the series of books written by L. Frank Baum. The books were a lot darker than the movie ever was. For example the tin man chopped his whole body off one piece at a time. While reading the book, I was amazed at how closely the book was to the tone I wanted to strike with Shadowsfall. Because of this, I made sure our version of the winged monkey made it to the cover. We also have a tree creature that evoked a similar feeling as the dark forest in the book. Mind you, the creature itself is rather different, but we wanted a tree that would feel right at home in that forest.

Firefly/Serenity
“If they take the ship, they’ll rape us to death, eat our flesh, and sew our skins into their clothing – and if we’re very very lucky, they’ll do it in that order.” -Zoey, Firefly
Early on, I said I wanted a creature that characters were afraid of as Mal was of Reavers. I really think we accomplished that with the Dermestide Kyton. This creature rips the skin off a living creature for sport. Mind you, they don’t rape (mostly because that is not something the system compatibility license will allow), but I hope Joss is happy with my homage to this deadly creation.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The Gentlemen are another of my all-time favorites. When I saw the artwork, I knew I this book would have its own version of these creatures. Darklings as they are called here are fey with a constant zone of silence. After damaging a creature, they can lick the blood off their feystone battleaxes to gain fast healing for a few rounds. And like The Gentlemen, they are accompanied by
their minions. In this case: dull mites.

Dresden Files/Order of the Stick/Princess Bride
In my opinion, giants and poetry go together like giants and violence. So why not a giant that is known for being either “jovially violent or malevolently violent” as Harry Dresden described one of the monsters in his books. From there it was just a matter of crossing Thog with Fezzik and making it outcome undead. I hope you enjoy the outcome as much as we do here.

Warhammer Fantasy
Early in the planning for the book, someone pointed me to Old World Bestiary, describing it as the best monster book they have ever seen. It didn’t take long to see why. It was downright awesome. Each monster had various quotes from academics and common folk. They displayed the world’s view of the monsters. I wanted to capture as much of that as possible. So with few exceptions (space reasons), the monsters within have quotes from research books, poetry, retired adventurers, the last thing an adventurer said, religious texts, and much more. Each of these reveals the inworld attitude towards each of these monsters. Some of these quotes are obvious references (like to Buffy, Ghostbusters, and Dune). A few are inside jokes bade by some of my previous characters or characters of my gaming group. Others are more academic in nature. We really feel this will help bring a new life to these monsters few monster books today possess.

Preorder your copy of the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane at your local game store or goto our Retailer Locator to reserve your copy today.

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Pathfinder: Read Part 1 of Pawn, Deception and Sacrifice

Today, we present you with the exciting opening to Shadowsfall Legends: Pawn, Deception and Sacrifice. This story, written by Mur Lafferty is an exciting opener to the Shadowsfall Legend series. Without further ado, we present the opener to Pawn Deception and Sacrifice.


The baby in her arm shrieked, and all Valdia could think of was how she was going to get down the cliff face while holding the child. If it were just herself, she could nimbly drop down, slowing her fall with clever grabs onto rocky outcroppings, but there was no way she could do that with a baby in one arm. If the baby died while she was rescuing it, she would be reviled and possibly run out of the town of Sheol.

“Never mind that without me, they’d fall prey to the undead hordes that roam Shadowsfall in a week’s time,” she muttered to herself. She could barely hear her low voice over the infant’s cries.

Valdia held tightly to the ledge leading to the cave with her right hand and felt carefully for her next foot hold. It had seemed so much easier climbing up. But then she’d been solo, intending to rescue the kidnapped infant from the clutches of ghouls. She didn’t know why they needed it, but she was sure that ghouls couldn’t want it for any noble reason. She had accepted the gold from the tearful parents and gone on her way.

She broke the rule of free climbing and looked down, hoping to see the next foot hold for her to step down. She didn’t know what she expected, in this land of eternal night, there was little difference between day and night. As she started to feel around with her feet for another foot hold, a boot settled on her left hand. It was carefully placed, the intent was clearly to trap, not crush.

Valdia hissed and looked up. A very tall man stood above her, watching her.

“What do you want, Father?” she asked.

Lavin, the vampire, gave her a closed lipped smile. “Just a moment of your time.” The pressure on her hand increased. She was definitely trapped; she couldn’t enter combat with a child in her arms, even she knew that much about parenting.

“All right,” she said. “You have that.”

He removed his foot from her hand. She thought briefly about running, but gritted her teeth. She was a woman of her word, and besides, he was much, much faster than she was. She pulled herself up to the ledge and kicked aside an ichor-coated skeleton to face him.

The baby wailed. She made a face at it, but she held it tighter to her body. Valdia knew that this little bundle of annoyance was ill-bred for surviving on this dark plane. The little warmth the dim sun provided was fading fast as it would soon set. The sky was already beginning to change from its deep purple color of day to the all-consuming blackness of night.

“I can think of a quick way to silence it,” her father suggested mildly.

“No, thank you,” she said. She pulled her cloak up and over her armor, then settled the baby against her shoulder. It let out a very loud belch and then made a surprised whimper. Instead of screaming again, it reached out and grabbed the handle of Valdia’s wartrident.

“I can see you get your nurturing instincts from me,” Lavin said.

In the blessed quiet, she said, “What do you want with me, Lavin?”

“You’re an admirable warrior, Valdia. I’ve been watching you; I don’t know many in Shadowsfall who could defeat you. But I do worry.”

She snorted. “You worry? That implies you care, and we both know that is a lie.”

He frowned. “Yes, you have a point. You are a product of me, however, and carry my reputation with you.”

“I hunt people like you.”

His pale face broke into a wide grin, displaying his fangs. “Yes, but you do it so well. I don’t care who you fight for, only that you do it well, not stupidly. As long as you are feared then I can call you my daughter.”

“You have no idea how little that means to me.” She tried to pull her trident from the infant’s fist, but it would not let go, and she figured it was keeping the little rat occupied.

“It matters to me. And therefore I must warn you to think about why you are here, and what you are doing.” He extended his long-fingered hand, palm up, to the carnage around them. Dead ghouls and one gigantic spider littered the shallow cave; one body smoldered over a fire, giving off a ghastly scent.

“As you said, parenting wasn’t your strong point. But humans usually want their children safe,” she indicated the infant on her shoulder, which had brought the handle of her wartrident to its mouth to gnaw.

“That infant has no parents,” her father said dismissively. “If you were a true vampire, you would have known this the minute you picked it up.” He leaned forward and made a big deal of sniffing the top of the infant’s head. “You could smell his mother’s milk on him, if he had a mother. He hasn’t touched his mother in weeks. See?”

He pulled the boy’s shirt back and Valdia could see the small brand on the back of the child’s neck. “They brand orphans?”

“Some brand unwanted, yes. Humans can be so barbaric. So if this child doesn’t belong to this woman, why did she send you here?”

“She could still be an adoptive mother,” Valdia protested.

Her father nodded. “Yes. She could. By all means, I could be wrong. But when you got here, the child was unharmed. Did you wonder what a ghoul would want with a human baby in the first place? Could he have been bait?”

They both looked around at the carnage, and Valdia shrugged. “If so, they needed a stronger force at this end.”

Lavin pointed down the mountain toward the village, and said, “Then perhaps the child was a distraction, to get you away from the village?”


Pick up your copy of Shadowsfall Legends: Pawn, Deception and Sacrifice – Valdia’s Tale today at DriveThruFiction, RPGNow, Paizo.com, Amazon Kindle Store, Smashwords and B&N Nook.