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Pathfinder: Playtest at Origins

Yesterday I got my first chance to play the demo of the Pathfinder Playtest, and I couldn’t be more excited to have been apart of it. I played in a 2 hour demo with pregen characters. So I would like to share with you my impressions of the game.

Before I begin, I would like to say that I am not going to talk about the adventure itself since I don’t want to spoil it for anyone that is going to play it. I am only going to limit my remarks to my thoughts on the game itself.

Have you ever played a sequel to a video game you loved and realized from all the changes and upgraded that this was for all tense and purposes that this is a completely different game (none of the original programming code reused whatsoever), but the design loveingly took the time and effort to make sure that the new game still look and felt like it was a successor to the original. Like those working on it loved the original game but knew the code needed to rewritten for modern audiences. That is exactly how this felt, only with a tabletop game. It is undoubtedly a different game than Pathfinder 1e, but it felt the same. That is without a doubt a good thing.

I played the Kira the cleric (my apologies to Paizo if I got her name wrong). The character had the Fire domain, giving her a bolt of fire as an attack. I was able to cure one person in the group with a touch and the whole group with a burst. The fighter moved and attacked. Traps were disarmed and on and on. All of this sounds familiar to Pathfinder 1e fans, but the way it happened is different in 2e. That fire bolt was launched from my pool of spell points instead of X uses per day. The fighter had a specific 2-action option for moving and attacking. Disarming the trap was assisted by the paladin because she had a background that helped in this matter.

All those differences are good and all, but what do I think of it? And more importantly, is this the 5e killer? Well, I like it. It currently appears to be a solid game from the little I saw of it. Is it a 5e killer, I think that is the wrong question to ask. The right questions is, are they going after the same audience? To me, that is an unquestionable, “No.” Fifth edition is an elegant game. It is fun and easy for new players to pick up and learn. It also has painfully few choices for an individual character. Sure you get a subclass in the early levels and can choose to upgrade an ability or take a feat every so often, but that is it. It is all to easy to make one elf rogue look exactly like another elf rogue in that game. Add in the fact that the number of books they sell that are not tied to a specific campaign that contain new player options can still be counted on one hand several years in, and it becomes obvious that Wizards designed their game to be played by casual gamers. They wanted someone that only had the core book five years after launch to not be intimidated by someone with the gym bag library at the table.

That is not the audience Paizo is going after. One year of Pathfinder 2e will see more pages of player options published than 5e has from their respective companies outside of their core books by the same date. Where 5e is covering the basic ideas for you to play, Pathfinder 2e is going to cover all the options, allowing you to make exactly the character you want to play. Between classes, class options, feats, skill feats, archetypes, and more, choices for your character are something you will not be hurting for in Pathfinder 2e.

That is where I see Pathfinder 2e finding it’s home, among gamers that want their character the way they want it and not having characters that are highly similar. Where 5e is the Basic Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder 2e is the Advanced game.

I just want to take a moment to thank Mark Seifter. He ran an awesome game for our group and took the time to answer all of our questions about it after the game. I am sure he had to do that a million times at PaizoCon and he was still fresh and engaging with us at Origins.

Be sure to check out all our Pathfinder and 5e options at the JBE Shop.

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5 Questions Every Ranger Should Be Able to Answer

Frequently depicted as the paladins of the natural world, rangers are far more complex than that. They are the fighting force in the places few others dare to tread. They stand on the bridge alone, preventing others from passing. They are loyal to their cause, to an individual, to a group, or to an ideal. While their general mission of protecting those that cannot protect themselves against terrible dangers frequently draws them to the wilderness, they can be found in towns, cities, and royal courts. Some look upon them as vigilantes, working outside of the law while others see them as the only semblance of law where the local guard fears to stand watch.

Join us Fridays 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 the barbarian, bard, cleric, druid, fighter, monk, paladin, rogue, sorcerer, and wizard.

1) Where Do Your Loyalties Lie?

One does not simply walk into the mouth of danger for no reason. Even treasure hunters and tomb plunderers do not seek out terrible danger half as terrible as a ranger encounters on an average Tuesday. You face this danger out of loyalty to someone, some group, or to an idea. What is it that you are loyal to? Describe those you are loyal to. Is it your hometown? Maybe it is just your family. Perhaps it is something larger, like your people who have been persecuted by the crown for generations and no one is coming to help you in your people’s time of trouble? Maybe your kingdom was conquered, and you are one of the last of the royal guard, living in the wilderness to avoid detection by the new rulers, all this time you are carrying out your liege’s final request: protect the people.

2) Why Do You Continue On When Few Others Do?

The obvious answer here is, “because I am loyal to them,” but that is to easy of an answer. Others were loyal as well but they abandoned their such a dangerous situation. You are a ranger and stand your ground when few others do. Something drives you forward when prudence and good sense says to flee. What is it? Are you fighting to earn the respect of the parents of the one you love? Do you seek the safety of your family and your people? Did someone now gone save your life and you are fight on in your memory? What drives you into danger?

3) How Did You Become So Comfortable with Nature?

A ranger works among by the wild places in the same way a physician does surrounded by the sick. Some find those environs so dangerous, they will work hard to avoid them. You, however, fear it not and even find it comforting. That level of comfort does not come without any explanation. It can be as simple as growing up in a small town or as a serf child on a lord’s farm and you played in the woods when ever the adults were not looking. Perhaps you’re an orphan or a runaway that fled a city to avoid those from whom you had no defense, found people that took you in and loved you, so when they were in danger, you stood your ground. Even more, you learned to make friends with animals. Did you share with a wolf some meet from a deer you shot? Did you pull a thorn from a lion’s paw? Did you raise a dinosaur from an egg?

4) What Was The Most Memorable Danger You Encounter Alone?

Remember, this is a world where a hag can disguise a cave as a candy house so unsuspecting children will enter, and it can devour them before the parents realize their young are even missing. So any tale about some deadly foe you encountered should be more interesting than a mundane mountain lion or bobcat. Make it something not from our world like gremlins, kobolds, giants, demons, or a ravaging horde of undead. No matter how you survived, it should not be by strength alone. Relying on your arm strength is for fighters. You should have survived and even overcome by your wits. Did you have the zombie horde run off the cliff edge like lemmings? Did you tie the giant’s shoe laces together when he was asleep? Did you sic the gremlins on the kobolds?

5) Do You Really Like Your Fellow Adventurers More Than Your Animal Companion?

Jokes about rangers loving their wolves a little to much aside, rangers are people that spend less time around others than they do battling monsters. Because of that, they can be socially less adept than other classes. So their interactions with their fellow adventurers should be a little awkward. No place is that better illustrated than in the Lord of the Rings when Aragorn first meets the hobbits. He’s abrupt, gruff, and even off-putting. It is when he proves to the four that he is there to help that they begin to trust him. In the same way, if your character grows up away from civilization and does not choose any Charisma-based skills, then your character should be rough around the edges. While your character should always be well meaning, helpful to the group, and never a jerk, there is plenty of room there for your character to be less than socially graceful. The strong-silent type, always phrasing their thoughts in as few words as possible, is an excellent way of doing this. No matter how you portray your character, remember to be one of the group.

Iragui is our signature ranger. His kind are knows as dragonborn but some call them a dragonspawn or even a wyvaran. He and his kind are no strangers to the wild places far from human civilization. With so much smaller numbers than humans, they have to be brave and delve into deadly places with little backup. Iragui knows the sounds of the woods and the smells of the caves. He know if the smell of mold is harmlessly decomposing something dead or if he should draw his weapon. He knows to be ready for battle when the birds are suddenly silent. All these little cues he constantly pays attention to, sometimes so much he misses the casual conversations of his fellow adventurers. While that doesn’t make him the most friendly of travelling companions, they do appreciate it when he warns then that battle is about to begin.

Find the racial stats on this dragon-based race and all our 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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Pathfinder: Spectre Spawn

Back when I was creating Shadowsfall, I wanted it to feel both familiar yet different. One way I wanted to accomplish this was by making higher and lower level versions of existing monsters. By allowing players to encounter a monster that is normally not seen until higher levels, it gives the feeling that this monster is more common, that this type of danger is more prevalent then say your average goblin. Similarly, by making a higher power version of the monster, you are saying that conditions are right for it to flourish and grow.

Take the spectre as an example. This classic monster is only in Pathfinder as a level 7 monster. However, by making its spawn a CR 5 monster, you can have groups of level 3 take it on and live, albeit they will be wiping their brows and healing up afterwards, but that is the point of a weakened monster. The players get experience with that kind of monster so when the face off against the normal monster, they have an idea of what they will be facing and not only be better prepared but also be weary of its deadly powers, especially if they realize that the higher CR monster looks like it can dish out more pain. Not only that, by encountering a spawn, you know that something must have spawned it, meaning there is more danger to come.

Before we share with you the spectre spawn’s stat block, I would like to point out that the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane is on sale at the JBE Shop for 75% off their regular price along with just about all of our other Pathfinder PDFs. If you prefer your Pathfinder books in print, head over to DriveThruRPG/RPGNow and order our Pathfinder books for 20% off. This is the last day of the sale so grab it now!

Spectre Spawn CR 5

XP 2,400
LE Medium undead (incorporeal)
Init +3; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +15
Aura unnatural aura (30 ft.)


DEFENSE


AC 14, touch 14, flat-footed 11 (+1 deflection, +3 Dex)
hp 33 (6d8+6)
Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +8
Defensive Abilities incorporeal, channel resistance +2; Immune undead traits
Weaknesses resurrection vulnerability, sunlight powerlessness


OFFENSE


Speed fly 60 ft. (perfect)
Melee incorporeal touch +8 touch (1d6 plus energy drain)
Special Attacks create spawn, energy drain (1 level, DC 14)


STATISTICS


Str -, Dex 16, Con -, Int 14, Wis 16, Cha 13
Base Atk +4; CMB +7; CMD 18
Feats Blind-Fight, Skill Focus (Perception), Weapon Focus (touch)
Skills Fly +11, Intimidate +10, Knowledge (history) +11, Knowledge (religion) +11, Perception +15, Stealth +12, Survival +9
Language Common


ECOLOGY


Environment any
Organization solitary, pair, gang (1 spectre or spectre lord and 2-5 spectres spawns), or swarm (2-4 spectres or spectre lords and 5-10 spectre spawns)
Treasure none


SPECIAL ABILITIES


Create Spawn (Su) Any humanoids slain by a spectre spawn becomes a spectre spawn themselves in 1d4 rounds. Spawn so created possess the above spectre spawn stats. A spectre spawn created by a spectre spawn are under the command of the spectre or spectre lord that created the spectre spawn and remains enslaved until its death, at which point the spectre spawn become a full-fledged and free-willed spectre (as described in the Bestiary). A spectre spawn does not possess any of the abilities it had in life.
Resurrection Vulnerability (Su) A raise dead or similar spell cast on a spectre spawn destroys it (Will negates). Using the spell in this way does not require a material component.
Sunlight Powerlessness (Ex) A spectre spawn is powerless in natural sunlight (not merely a daylight spell) and flees from it. A spectre spawn caught in sunlight cannot attack and is staggered.
Unnatural Aura (Su) Animals, whether wild or domesticated, can sense the unnatural presence of a spectre spawn at a distance of 30 feet. They do not willingly approach nearer than that and become panicked if forced to do so unless a master succeeds at a DC 25 Handle Animal, Ride, or wild empathy check. A panicked animal remains so as long as it is within 30 feet of the spectre spawn.

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Pathfinder RPG: Bladecypher Protean

When it comes to outsiders, proteans are an interesting addition. In a game that is frequently a game of good and evil, proteans are neither. Infact, they are defined as chaos incarnate. That is their hook. Proteans are to destroy and remove all semblance of order to reality.

When I first wrote the bladecypher, there were only few proteans created. So I wanted a powerful force for nothingness for the players to face. My first thought was that it should be able to unmake just about anything in a certain range. Not only that, they should make lawful creatures pay just for the insult of being near the protean. That was the original concept of the bladecypher. I hope you enjoy it.

PaizoCon is this weekend but you don’t have to be there to enjoy yourself. Going on right now is the We’re Not Going to PaizoCon Sale. Order all our Pathfinder print books from DriveThruRPG/RPGNow at 20% off. Also all our Pathfinder PDFs at the JBE Shop, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store are available at 75% off. Grab them today.

Protean, Bladecypher

This flying creature’s body is covered with enormous plates resembling an exoskeleton. Long blades extend from several of its fingers and its head appears to be the skull of a terrifying demon.

Bladecypher CR 20

XP 307,200
CN Huge outsider (chaotic, extraplanar, protean, shapechanger)
Init +8; Senses blindsense 120 ft., darkvision 60 ft., detect law; Perception +41
Aura lawbane aura (60 ft.)


Defense


AC 37, touch 17, flat-footed 28 (+8 Dex, +1 dodge, +20 natural, –2 size)
hp 396 (24d10+264); fast healing 15
Fort +25, Ref +22, Will +18
Defensive Abilities amorphous anatomy, freedom of movement; DR 15/epic and lawful; Immune acid, polymorph; Resist electricity 10, sonic 10; SR 36


Offense


Speed fly 80 ft. (perfect), swim 80 ft.
Melee 2 bladeclaws +29 (2d8+7/17–20 plus 4d6 chaotic), bite +29 (2d6+7 plus 2d6 bleed and warpwave), tail +27 (2d6+3 plus grab)
Ranged disintegrating ray +30 touch (25d6)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.
Special Attacks constrict (2d6+3)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 21st; concentration +25)
Constant—detect law, tongues
At will—chaos hammer (DC 18)
3/day—dispel law (DC 19), quickened chaos hammer (DC 18), summon (level 7, 1d4 imentesh B2 80%)
1/day—cloak of chaos (DC 22, self only), summon (level 8, bladecypher 60%)


Statistics


Str 24, Dex 26, Con 32, Int 16, Wis 30, Cha 18
Base Atk +24; CMB +33 (+37 grapple); CMD 52
Feats Ability Focus (disintegrating ray), Alertness, Combat Expertise (–7/+7), Combat Reflexes, Critical Focus, Dodge, Greater Feint, Improved Critical (bladeclaw), Improved Feint, Magical Aptitude, Multiattack, Quicken Spell-like Ability (chaos hammer)
Skills Bluff +31, Fly +12, Intimidate +31, Knowledge (arcana, planes) +30, Perception +41, Sense Motive +41, Spellcraft +34, Stealth +27, Swim +15, Use Magic Device +35
Languages Abyssal, Protean; telepathy 100 ft., tongues
SQ change shape (greater polymorph)


Ecology


Environment any (Limbo)
Organization solitary, pair, disruption (3–5)
Treasure none


Special Abilities


Bladeclaw (Su) This primary natural weapon deals extra chaotic damage equal to 4d6 to lawful creatures and 2d6 to neutral creatures. No extra damage is dealt to chaotic creatures. A bladeclaw threatens a critical hit on a 19–20.
Disintegrating Ray (Su) Once every 1d4 rounds, a bladecypher can release a thin green ray as a standard action. Upon a successful touch attack against a target within 300 feet, the target sustains 25d6 points of damage. If the target is killed with a disintegrating ray, it is reduced to a fine dust. A disintegrating ray affects living creatures and objects, including those composed entirely of force, such as a wall of force. A successful Fortitude save (DC 28) reduces this damage to 10d6. The save DC is Charisma-based.
Lawbane Aura (Su) All lawful creatures within 60 feet of a bladecypher suffer 2d6 points of chaotic damage and are staggered for the round. A lawful creature that succeeds on a Fortitude save (DC 26) receives half damage and is not staggered. The save DC is Charisma-based.

If a keketar is a priest and prophet of primal chaos, then a bladecypher is a holy warrior and inquisitor. Cunning, dangerous and determined to put an end to all order, a bladecypher can cut lawful creatures to shreds in no time at all. It brings down all threats to the community, whether external or internal. What drives it forward, however, is making sure that worshippers of chaotic deities do not fall into a regular pattern, bringing order into their lives. The non-euclidean armored plates on its body keep it safe from most attacks and prevent non-epic weapons from dealing any substantial damage.

A bladecypher is constantly changing its height and weight, but it typically is between 12 and 15 feet tall and weighs between 7,000 and 15,000 pounds.

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5 Questions Every Barbarian Should Be Able to Answer

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

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

1) Where Does Your Rage Come From?

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

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

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

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

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

4) How Did You Learn to Depend Upon Yourself?

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

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

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

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

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

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Pathfinder: Gibbering Glob

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

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

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

Gibbering Glob

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

Gibbering Glob CR 25

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


Defense


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


Offense


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


Statistics


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


Ecology


Environment any underground
Organization solitary, pair
Treasure triple


Special Abilities


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

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

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

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

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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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Pathfinder: Phantasm Swarm

Swarms are a pain in the butt. Physical weapons are of not much use against them if at all. Spells that target only a single creature are downright useless. You have to rely on area effect spells to take them out. Otherwise, you’re running away.

Incorporeal creatures are a pain in the butt. Physical weapons are of little use. Spells that don’t deal force damage or positive energy are not very effective. You’re have to rely on a small selection of spells and certain divine casters to take them out. Otherwise, you’re running away.

So when creating the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane, I thought why not combine the two. That would make a monster that is just downright terrifying and perfect for a higher level game. The only thing that would make it even worse is if one of those classes you would normally rely upon were less effective. That would be evil! The result of that is below.

You can find this creature and more that are equally awesome in the Book of Beasts: Monsters of the Shadow Plane at the JBE Shop. This book is also available at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, Paizo, and the Open Gaming Store.

Phantasm Swarm

A cloud of dark malevolent energy manifests itself as a roiling mass of angry skulls and grasping hands. The parts move and act as one – a single entity driven to destroy all that is holy.
PHANTASM SWARM CR 12
XP 19,200
CE Tiny undead (incorporeal, swarm)
Init +10; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +32


DEFENSE


AC 23, touch 23, flat-footed 16 (+4 deflection, +6 Dex, +1 dodge, +2 size)
hp 102 (12d8+48)
Fort +8, Ref +12, Will +14
Defensive Abilities channel resistance +2, incorporeal, swarm traits; Immune undead traits; SR 20 (divine spells only)


OFFENSE


Speed fly 40 ft (perfect)
Melee swarm (1d8 Wisdom damage)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks distraction (DC 22), hatred of religion (+2 Wis)


STATISTICS


Str —, Dex 23, Con —, Int 13, Wis 22, Cha 18
Base Atk +9; CMB +13; CMD 28
Feats Dodge, Hover, Improved Initiative, Improved Lightning Reflexes, Lightning Reflexes, Mobility, Skill Focus (Perception), Skill Focus (Stealth), Step Up
Skills Fly +33, Knowledge (religion) +16, Perception +27, Spellcraft +16, Stealth +35
Languages Aklo, Common
SQ divine spell resistance


ECOLOGY


Environment any (Plane of Shadows)
Organization solitary, pair, or mass (3-5)
Treasure none


SPECIAL ABILITIES


Divine Spell Resistance (Su) A phantasm swarm has spell resistance against divine spells equal to 8 + its total HD. Arcane spells are not subject to this spell resistance.
Hatred of Religion (Su) The only thing a phantasm swarm hates more than religious holy/unholy symbols are those bearing them. The Wisdom damage dealt by the swarm attack is increased by +2 if the targeted creature possesses some kind of obvious holy/unholy symbol or channels energy.
Wisdom Damage (Su) A phantasm swarm’s attack deals 1d8 points of Wisdom damage to a living creature. This is a negative energy effect. A creature dies if this Wisdom damage equals or exceeds its actual Wisdom score.
It is done. These souls will never reincarnate nor will they be at peace. We have made them an offer and they chose to reject it. They refuse to work for us; they will have all eternity together to regret their decision. It is too late for them to reconsider now. Their souls are now damned for all time. Let them writhe in torment and remember their loss with no end. Pain is all they shall ever know.
– Thykan Rast, cleric of Asmodeus, “Ledger of Souls”

It is said that souls that reach their final reward forget their earlier lives. Less known is that souls forbidden from this reward never forget. Over the course of centuries, clusters of these tortured souls have gathered together on the Plane of Shadows to form a phantasm swarm, an entity more powerful than just the combined ectoplasmic energy of the souls alone. Its collective hatred for priests and all divine casters—the living intermediaries to the afterlife—gives a phantasm swarm power. The ghostly lynch mob now seeks revenge.
A phantasm swarm, armed with all its loathing of divinity, will attack any creature it identifies as an agent of a deity, regardless of the religion or alignment. Wearing a holy/unholy symbol or simply invoking the name of a deity may be enough for a phantasm swarm to exact retribution for its wretched state of disembodied unrest on a worshipful creature.
Magic bludgeoning weapons deal half damage to a phantasm swarm. All other magic weapons deal one quarter damage. Mundane weapons do no harm this furious soul cloud.

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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.