Within some shadowdancer training schools, an elite few develop a more martial focus to their abilities with the goal of becoming true warriors of the night. The shadow knight is an archetype of the shadowdancer prestige class.
For years, Pathfinder Roleplaying Game fans have lamented the absence of an ‘arcane paladin’ type of class – one with full base attack bonus, limited spell access (to arcane spells instead of divine) and a small set of interesting, flavorful special abilities.
Lament no longer! The Expanded Battle Scion is just such a class!
Designer Marc Radle builds on his battle scion class to create the combat caster you’ve been craving. The Expanded Battle Scion includes:
- Force Blaster and Bonded Scion archetypes
- 5 new feats including Awakened Arcane Bond, which imbues your arcane
- bond object with intelligence and will
- A Prepared Spell Tracking Sheet, usable by any prepared spell caster
- New rules for legendary magic items, and 3 new items: the legendary shield, sword and armor of the first battle scion
If you dream of scattering your enemies with a powerful force attack before finishing them off with lethal bladework, New Paths 4: The Expanded Battle Scion is for you! Get it at Paizo or DriveThruRPG today.
Try to remember for a moment a more innocent time in your life. Back then, the thought of vampires and werewolves lurking in the dark might have sent a chill down your spine. These days, though, when people discuss shows such as The Walking Dead or Being Human, it’s not with the same sense of fear that they once had in the past. The classic horror monsters have become mundane. Zombies, werewolves, ghosts, and vampires lost that mystery of the unknown that made them scary and instead they have become tropes.
It happens at gaming tables, too. Eventually, many gamers are lucky enough to settle in with a long-term gaming group. Many of our favorite roleplaying games are rooted in strategy games, and those playing them begin to form strategic patterns as they play. These patterns often mean that careful planning by the GM is somewhat wasted, because not only do the players see your favorite moves coming, but they know each other as well and have transitioned into being a good team when confronted by the familiar and common threats they’ve faced in the past. This is fun for awhile, but if all they face are familiar threats, then you’re dealing with a form of stagnation that no longer challenges your players to think as much. As a result, your game will either change or everyone will get bored and find other things to do.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The fantasy genre is at its best when you mix familiar with new. We’ve discussed civilizing and mutating our old hat monsters, and today we’re going to reverse the formula to keep your players guessing by adding classic templates to some monsters that might be less familiar.
You can find the templates I’ll be discussing here. Join me after the jump as we discuss making vampires, lycanthropes, and zombies scary again in “Old Hat Monsters: Mashed.”
Last time, we went over a quick system for mutating your monsters so that they can provide a more unknown challenge for your player characters to face. Let’s take a look at a few examples, starting with the humble goblin.
For starters, goblins are not CR 1. To get there, they need 2 player character class levels. The stats below reflect a 15-point buy, the goblin template located here, and 2 levels of rogue, which are highly favorable for our nasty little foes. Evolutions are as follows: 2 points for winged flight, 2 points for poison attack, 1 point for reach (total: 5 points). Replace the skilled racial trait with hard head, big teeth for a 1d4 primary bite attack. The reach attack is bite. Add the Fly-By Attack feat, and use Weapon Finesse for the 2nd-level rogue trick. So, how did our newly created bitewing goblin turn out? Take a peek at the statistics block.
A good GM is one part entertainer and one part engineer. And, like a magician, you are only as good as your last trick. Players are like a savvy audience at a magic show—you aren’t going to wow them with the standard magic act. All too often, it seems like they’ve seen behind the curtain. So, when you apply templates to a monster, doing so can be akin to using a little of the magician’s skill at misdirection: The player expects to see the same old monster, but when he or she gets something unexpected, suddenly it’s magic!
In terms of templates, the advanced template can be applied quickly, and it adds challenge to the encounter, but it can fall short of instilling a sense of wonder, awe, or fear that a monster can bring to the combat. The young template applied to a monster outside the player characters’ CR can make for an exciting encounter, but it takes a deft hand to work with it in a way that doesn’t guarantee a total party kill. Also, you can apply the giant-sized template to make your monster bigger and badder in a way that’s more exciting than the advanced template, but then you’re faced with making it work for the story and campaign flavor that resides in each monster’s entry.
A great contrast to the civilized template is to make your next monster more monstrous. Join me after the jump for a handy way to customize monsters with a balanced approach. I introduce mutated monsters, the next rabbit to pull out of your old magician’s hat.