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Fort Strange

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

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

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

Fort Strange

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

Notable NPCs


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

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

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

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What Kind of Monster Artwork Do You Prefer?

Earlier this week, we showed off a monster that a druid or wizard can summon with the conjure minor elemental spell. I really like that monster, but there’s something I have been wondering about with the artwork: the style. It is a beautiful color image. The problem is is that I don’t have a massive library of color images. I have a much larger library of black and white image. So as I continue to work on monster books for Fifth Edition, 13th Age, Pathfinder 2e (possibly), and other systems, I want to stay consistent as much as possible throughout the entire project. So that leads me to ask, what do you prefer?

Adding a parchment background to a black and white image is quite easy and rather fun. Not only that, it gives the image a distinctive feeling of being from an ancient tome that time forgot, in keeping with the fantasy theme. However, I do love looking at the color images in monster books. So I am asking you to help me make up my mind.

Tell me what kind of image would you like to see in a monster book from us. Vote in the poll below and as always, elaborate in the comments below.

What Style of Monster Artwork Do You Prefer?

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See our monster books we have published so far for Pathfinder and Fifth Edition at the JBE Shop.

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Pathfinder Playtest: My 4 Predictions

A few hours ago, the public playtest of Pathfinder Second Edition was announced. My guess was always the Gen Con 4 years after the launch of Pathfinder Unchained, which looks to be spot on (2 years to gather feedback from that book, 2 years to incorporate). My second clue that I was on the right track was when the point person on several of the RPG books was given to James Jacobs, a gentlemen more closely associated with the setting development instead of system development. This told me the RPG team had other priorities. The most likely guess to me was Pathfinder Second Edition.

With the core engine of the game nearly 20 years old, it is time for an overhaul, in the way that Wizards did with 4th and 5th editions in that time span. So what kind of changes should we expect to see in the new edition and what should stay the same. These are my predictions as to what we will see in the Pathfinder Playtest. Mind you: I have absolutely no more insider information than you; this is just the mad ramblings of someone else on the internet, except that I do have the perspective of being a publisher and I know how that affects certain decisions. So without further ado, here are my thoughts.

1. The Game Will Feel Familiar

A decent amount of the game will be something that you know already. Dwarven fighters wielding axes will join forced with half-orc barbarians and elven wizards to save the day. You will still have levels for characters and spells and of course they will not be the same thing. Your hat of disguise will still be your halfling rogue’s favorite accessory, and gnomes will still only be taken by gnome fans. You will all break down doors, kill monsters, and take their stuff all while rolling a d20 as the core die for the game. I do not see any need to fear here.

2. Some Classes Will Get an Overhaul

The cleric is a great class, really. However, its design is really showing its age. Both the oracle and warpriests are exceptional healers and have many more class options that the cleric lacks. Then there are secondary healers like the bard, druid, shaman, and witch which can heal as well but do so with considerably more versatility than just healing. For the cleric to be anything but an undead killer and healing wand, it needs much more in the way of class options.

Then there’s the rogue. The alchemist has trapfinding, and the ninja has sneak attack. Both of these have considerably more versatility than the rogue, and there are other classes do something similar to the rogue. It lacks abilities that it can call its own. Expect the rogue to be more distinct.

Other classes like the fighter and maybe even the wizard are could be considerably enhanced.

3. Borrowing Ideas from Starfinder/D&D 5e

I do not believe it a stretch to say that Pathfinder took the idea of alternate class options and ran with it more than any other before. They did such a good job with it, that design idea is evident in D&D 5e with their subclasses, hard-coding it into each class instead of bolting it on at a later date. Starfinder refined it even further by having the sub-classes/archetypes at the same levels, allowing a fighter or a wizard to take the same subclass. This idea, I expect to see in Pathfinder as well, if not exactly as in Starfinder, then the next evolution in the idea—whatever that may be.

In both Starfinder and 5e there are far less types of bonus to be applied to skills and consolidated skill lists; it seems only natural to see that in PF2e as well.

The last idea taken straight from Starfinder (originally from Pathfinder Unchained) is the monster creation system. As someone that built many monsters, I can say that the Unchained/Starfinder rules are the way to go.

4. Pathfinder Setting is Inseparable from the System

This is where my concern starts to show. As a compatible publisher, books that mix setting and system make it more difficult to separate one from the other. While I not have any doubt that I can accomplish this without any real issue, I do see this as a reoccurring issue for new publishers. Even still, it will be harder for me. I may be allowed to refer to a new spell called ray of light, but if it is listed in the spell section under D because the spell refers to a certain goddess that flowers at dawn, then it will only make my books that much harder to use. While I doubt this will be much of a problem for the core book, I do this as an issue for future expansion books down the road.

Like I said above, these are only guesses. It will be interesting to see come August how close those guesses are.

Visit JonBrazer.com for monsters, races, and other ideas you can use during the playtest (if we are allowed).